When I was a kid, vacation meant one thing: a road trip to Vermont. More often than not, this included a visit to the Shelburne Museum, on the shore of Lake Champlain. My dad loved the colonial barns. My brother adored the antique steamship. My mom was into the Impressionist paintings. Me? I was there for the pancakes. Enthralled by the exotic culinary experience of the roadside diner and, in particular, by the chemical reaction that came from introducing a fluffy buttermilk stack to a drizzle of maple syrup, I ordered them for every meal of every trip.
For better or worse, those carb-fueled historical sojourns taught me that traveling has two primary intertwined purposes: eating and education. This month when I headed to Sicily, where some local wine varietals urgently needed sampling, I made sure to escape the rigors of the vineyard long enough to explore my first Greek ruin and to catch sheep’s milk in the act of becoming ricotta cheese.
Traveling is all about seeing the things we learned about in textbooks (or know intimately from the grocery store) materialize in front of us. There’s something magical about it. With that in mind, we set out to find the most incredible vacation spots for people who love igneous rocks, modernist literature, bioluminescent plankton, and more. Hopefully, the stories we’ve uncovered inspire you to embark on a journey of your own—even if it’s just to your own backyard.
13 THINGS YOU’LL LEARN IN THIS ISSUE:
- who numbered America’s highways
- why fireflies glow
- where to find aquatic sloth fossils
- a new technique for tying shoelaces
- the sound grass makes while its growing
- two very alarming facts about crustacean urination
- how to ride 74 different roller coasters in one day
- what Agatha Christie did in the bathtub
- where to visit a prehistoric botanical garden
- Norman Mailer’s favorite contact sport
- the least visited country in the world
- the U.S.’s biggest international ice cream adversary
- George W. Bush’s ping-pong-peddling past