Enjoying a weekend getaway doesn't have to mean breaking the bank or traveling long distances. In fact, you don't even need to leave the comfort of your home. It's incredible how a few materials and a little imagination can transport you... literally anywhere you want to go.
While we may be longing for a break, a brief distraction, not everyone is ready to hit the road, catch a train or board a plane. The Automobile Association of America (AAA) shared its summer travel forecast, which covers July 1 - September 30, 2020, and it's projecting a more than 14% drop from 2019.
There's another option available to you though. Have you thought about armchair travel? Our staff is suggesting some titles that are great for a little excursion, which were recently featured in The State newspaper.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
Available in Overdrive
Recommended by Sara Shiver McBride
In 1911, Hiram Bingham “discovered” Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. (The people living nearby had never actually lost it, a fact that evidently didn’t faze Bingham in the slightest.) A century later, travel editor Mark Adams, a man who had never before spent the night in a tent, launched an expedition to Peru to follow in Bingham’s footsteps. The result is an engaging and very funny travelogue full of Incan history, modern Peruvian culture, and the kind of spectacular mishaps you should expect to encounter if you take the road less traveled through some of the most spectacular and rugged terrain on the planet.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura and her family are snowed in. A long and terrible winter of blizzards has blocked supplies and stranded their small town on the prairie without food.
The snow is so intense, the schools had to close, and visiting neighbors is impossible. Laura misses her friends and is tired of eating only brown bread and potatoes. The house is cold, and Laura has to help Pa twist hay to burn and keep the family warm. Worried and hungry, Laura spends her days trying to keep up with her studies and helping Ma with her sisters. Will the supply train get through in time?
A timeless classic from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, “The Long Winter” is particularly poignant in this day and time. The book is based on the true story of Laura and her family in the winter of 1880-1881 in the town of De Smet in Dakota territory.
Readers will enjoy this heroic tale of one family and their struggle to deal with hardships that affected an entire community.
This title is geared toward tweens, teens and families.
Funky Kingston by Toots & the Maytals
Available in hoopla
Recommended by Lisa Gieskes
Music transports you in difficult situations, like coping with a pandemic, so put on your headphones and travel to Jamaica with Toots and the Maytals’ “Funky Kingston.” As Toots sings on his version of John Denver's "Country Roads (Take Me Home)," West Jamaica is "almost heaven." Frederick "Toots" Hibbert was born in May Pen, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, and his pride in Jamaican culture emanates from this reggae album (His song "Do the Reggay" is often cited as the song that gave the new style of music its name). It lifts up your spirits, even when he sings of hardship, like in “Time Trouble.” The one-drop Jamaican rhythm will resonate in your heart and get you dancing. Smile and sing along to the song "Pomp & Pride," "For today, today, today is a happy day! For tonight, tonight can be a happy night, yeah!"
Our Blood Is Wine (2019)
Directed by Emily Railsback
Available in Kanopy
Recommended by Keith Brinkmann
I can imagine no better metonym for the Georgian soul than “Shen Khar Venakhi” (Thou Art a Vineyard) - a medieval hymn sung by three winemakers near middle of this intoxicating film. The cultural centrality of wine to Georgian life blends with devout Orthodox spirituality through the medium of uniquely moving polyphonic singing. Director Emily Railsback expertly ferments her documentary from the clusters of conversations and images she gathers of her travels with sommelier Jeremy Quinn through the Georgian countryside, exploring the “oldest, unbroken wine tradition,” stretching back to the Neolithic era.
Quinn has previously developed relationships with local winemakers and acts as our guide to several small regional vineyards. Railsback captures the details of the process, showing Georgians hand pick grapes off the vine, press them with their feet, and store the juice in underground clay vessels, called qvevri, to ferment throughout the winter months. She remains calm amid a hailstorm. A trip to a winemaker’s ancestral village is punctuated with stunning views of Vardzia, a royal fortress of rooms cut into rock during the 12th Century Georgian golden age.