The Loneliest Road in America Is This Arctic Supply Route in Alaska

Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Sick of traffic? Try heading for Alaska’s Dalton Highway, considered the least-traveled road in the United States, CityLab reports. The 414-mile highway, traversed largely by a handful of truckers and passing through only a few small towns, sees the fewest cars per year of any road in the U.S., according to America’s Quietest Routes, an interactive website made by Geotab, a company that helps optimize truck fleet routes.

To create the site, Geotab used data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System’s 2015 average traffic statistics. Though the Nevada stretch of U.S. 50 is sometimes called the “Loneliest Road in America,” the numbers show you’d be much lonelier driving down the Dalton Highway, also known as State Route 11. The route, which runs along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline north-south between Fairbanks and the remote Arctic town of Deadhorse, saw an average of 196 vehicles a day over the course of 2015—one for every two miles of road. Many of those vehicles are trucks carrying vital supplies to the oil fields of the Arctic.

The highway has been featured on the History Channel reality show Ice Road Truckers and is considered one of the most dangerous routes to drive in the world. There is a 240-mile stretch that features zero services, and it’s full of steep grades, avalanche-prone areas, and the slow-moving landslides known as frozen debris lobes. Despite the dangers, it’s a picturesque route, one with views that writers regularly call “Tolkienesque.”

One thing’s for sure—you probably don’t want to drive it on your own.

[h/t CityLab]

A Finnish Tourism Company Is Hiring Professional Christmas Elves

iStock.com/kali9
iStock.com/kali9

Finland isn't quite the North Pole, but it will be home to a team of gainfully employed Christmas elves this holiday season. As Travel + Leisure reports, the Scandinavian country's Lapland Safaris is looking for elves to get guests into the holiday spirit.

Lapland Safaris is a tourism company that organizes activities like snowmobiling, Northern Lights-gazing, skiing, and ice-fishing. The elf employees will be responsible for leading guests to their buses and conveying important information, all while spreading holiday cheer. The job listing reads, "An Elf is at the same time an entertainer, a guide, and a mythical creature of Christmas."

Each Lapland Safari elf will receive training through Arctic Hospitality Academy prior to starting the job. There, they will learn "the required elfing and communication skills." Training will be conducted in English, but candidates' knowledge of French, Spanish, or German is a plus.

To apply, aspiring elves can fill out and submit this form through Lapland Safaris's website. The gig lasts from November 2018 to the beginning of next year, with employees having the option to work at any of the company's Finnish destinations (Santa's workshop is unfortunately not included on the list).

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Truth Behind Italy's Abandoned 'Ghost Mansion'

YouTube/Atlas Obscura
YouTube/Atlas Obscura

The forests east of Lake Como, Italy, are home to a foreboding ruin. Some call it the Casa Delle Streghe (House of Witches), or the Red House, after the patches of rust-colored paint that still coat parts of the exterior. Its most common nickname, however, is the Ghost Mansion.

Since its construction in the 1850s, the mansion—officially known as the Villa De Vecchi—has reportedly been the site of a string of tragedies, including the murder of the family of the Italian count who built it, as well as the count's suicide. It's also said that everyone's favorite occultist, Aleister Crowley, visited in the 1920s, leading to a succession of satanic rituals and orgies. By the 1960s, the mansion was abandoned, and since then both nature and vandals have helped the house fall into dangerous decay. The only permanent residents are said to be a small army of ghosts, who especially love to play the mansion's piano at night—even though it's long since been smashed to bits.

The intrepid explorers of Atlas Obscura recently visited the mansion and interviewed Giuseppe Negri, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were gardeners there. See what he thinks of the legends, and the reality behind the mansion, in the video below.

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