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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Steele Agosta

Travel Magazines - What to Read When You're Stuck at Home

I love to travel and have been fortunate enough to be able to do so, from time to time. Not as often as I’d like to, but more often than I’d ever dreamed of when I was young. When I was a kid, we’d go up to Port Huron, about a two-hour drive in those days, through a great deal of countryside. It was considered a huge treat, as we generally didn’t go beyond a two-county area. My dad’s father lived there, in a highly unique house, and we kids always knew when we were getting close by the sight of some smokestacks and what I remember as a green-painted bridge.

I was under the age of eight back then and I loved watching the scenery slide past. It often sparked my imagination when I saw prosperous-looking farms with horses and cows in the fields. I liked to think about what it would be like, to be a kid on a farm, with all those animals, and maybe dogs and cats and chickens. I think this kind of day-dreaming is a big part of what made me want to write, later on. That whole idea of imagining myself into a different life and a different world.

Later, after we moved to North Carolina, we would make the trek back to Michigan to visit family and I never got tired of the variety of scenery – from the rolling piedmont to mountains to the flat farm country of northern Ohio, and then the urban sprawl of southeast Michigan.

Our kids have made the journey with us many, many times and always watched for their favorite landmarks – Fancy Gap in the mountains of Virginia, the gold cupola on the state capital building in Charleston, West Virginia, the half-football shape of the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio (one year when we drove past, our 4-year-old son suddenly pointed and shouted CONEHEAD!!). Also, the never-to-be-forgotten rest area where we stopped in Ohio one year during a cicada infestation, and the fancy dance that daughter Becky did all the way up the sidewalk when one of them landed in her hair.

Still later, Matt and I were able to travel to many interesting places as part of his involvement in a business group – to Puerto Rico, Cancun, Hawaii, L.A., Phoenix, San Antonio and more. And I’ve been to London three times – once with Matt, once with my sister Deb, and once with my daughter Joanna. On this last trip, we also made a whirlwind trip to Rome and Paris. I’ve been to Toronto, Bennington, Niagara Falls, Myrtle Beach, Key West, Washington DC, all along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and up the Shenandoah Valley. I’ve been on cruises and traveled by plane, train and helicopter.

But, of course, I’d love to do more.

During this time of quarantine, I ain’t goin’ nowhere. Two planned trips have already been cancelled and a third is in jeopardy. It’s very frustrating, as my husband Matt had just retired as of January 1st, and traveling was one of the things we’d wanted to do. But c’est la vie.

In the meanwhile, there are travel magazines.

I have subscriptions to three – Britain, Yankee, and Our State (which features locations in NC). They’re each wonderful in their own way.

I’ve had the Britain subscription the longest – it started as a Christmas gift from my daughter several years ago, and I’ve kept it up ever since. I’m such a fan of British literature, film, TV and history, that getting to visit England – even as an armchair traveler – is a treat. I love the great gorgeous photos of woodland and coastline and tiny quaint villages, as well as the articles about castles and the homes of famous writers and recipes for things like Bakewell tarts or sticky toffee pudding. Even the ads are fun reading. Who can’t imagine themselves staying in a ‘clifftop folly with great views of the surging Atlantic’ or visiting the ‘leading museum dedicated to the history of anaesthesia in the UK’. What? Or buying a ‘bespoke’ British pen? It’s a vacation and fantasy trip just to read this stuff.

Our State magazine was something I began reading after seeing one at my sister Jacki’s house. It highlights the best of NC, which has many tourist attractions, but it also does in-depth feature articles about some of the more ‘ordinary’ towns – and gives us great ideas for day-trips. North Carolina has the advantage of a long sea coast, stupendous mountains, lovely rolling countryside, and first class cities like Charlotte and Raleigh with their museums and concerts and ballets. Okay, nothing to compare to Manhattan, but I’m not particularly anxious to be there right now, anyway. Maybe someday.

Yankee magazine is my newest subscription. Two of my sisters recently went on a group trip to New England, and that’s what inspired me to get the magazine. I’ve been to Boston once, and to Bennington, Vermont, several times and have always wanted to get back up that way. Yankee covers the whole New England area and makes great reading, and their website offers access to additional photos, videos and articles.

When I can finally get to a bookstore again, I’d like to see if there are any good magazines that feature Canada, as it’s one of the places I’d like to visit next. There are a few different magazines listed on Amazon, but until I can actually see one and hold it in my hands, I won’t know if it’s exactly what I’m looking for. I demand high quality photos and articles, not just a lot of ads.

But that can be a future trip to think about and dream about….Going to a real live book store!

Where have you been and where would you like to go? And do you have any travel magazine recommendations for me?

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