Oregon Is Home to 54 Quaint Covered Bridges. Here's How to See Them All in One Road Trip

Cameron Yee, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Cameron Yee, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you're looking for a theme for your next road trip, you have your pick of options. You can find maps that plan routes around cemeteries, restaurants, and national parks. This map from Jamie Hale gets even more hyper-specific, plotting over 50 covered bridges in the state of Oregon.

Writing for The Oregonian, Hale rounded up all the state's covered bridges that he could confirm are still standing. After sifting through sites like Travel Oregon, Covered Bridge Map, and Wikipedia, and cross-checking his research with local jurisdictions, he tallied up 54 in total. Considering that many bridges are in various states of disrepair—and not all of them are well-documented—it can be hard to name an exact figure, but Hale believes Oregon boasts the most of any state in the West.

Most of the bridges on his list were built in the early 20th century. It includes the Chambers Railroad Bridge, one of few surviving covered railroad bridges in the state; the Earnest Covered Bridge, which appears in the 1965 film Shenandoah; and the Joel Whittemore Bridge built by a high school shop class in 1989.

The designs of the bridges are as varied as their histories. They're all concentrated in the western side of the state, so hitting each site in one charming road trip is easy. You can check out the map of the covered bridges of Oregon below.

[h/t The Oregonian]

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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