When the book by Eric Dregni first showed up at our house, we thought the “impossible” in the title meant the book was all about historic roadside attractions and quirky destinations across the United States we’d never get to see.
But now that we look closer, we see that the long-gone spots mentioned here simply offer context for all the corny, quirky, and unique places that are still around.
Here’s a look inside the book, which includes infographic maps, themed roundups, and some wonderful photographs taken by the late architectural critic and photographer John Margolies.
We checked to see if some of our favorite attractions in Washington were included and were pleased to the Zillah’s Teapot Dome Gas Station and Seattle’s Hat ‘n’ Boots included. (These photos are not from the book).
(This is a slightly different version of a story we wrote for NBC News online)
This was supposed to be the summer of “revenge travel,” catch-up trips, and rescheduled family reunions — but the surge in coronavirus cases, and in particular, the highly contagious delta variant has some travelers pausing their plans.
Summer 2021 has come with soaring prices for everything from rental cars to lobster rolls. Wildfires, heatwaves, delays, worker shortages, and an uptick in unruly passengers have all already tested the patience of the hardiest traveler.
But it wasn’t until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged even vaccinated people to resume wearing masks indoors that the ramifications started to ripple through the travel and tourism industry.
Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings, which operates sites such as Kayak and Priceline, said the rise of the delta variant and the new travel restrictions “have led to a modest pullback in our booking trends in the month of July relative to June.”
Around the country, major tourist destinations, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles County, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. reinstated mask requirements in public indoor settings. Many communities are taking it a step further — a growing list of bars and restaurants in Seattle now require that patrons show proof of vaccination for entry. And nationwide, Yelp now has a filter that allows users to see if a restaurant or business has instituted a ‘proof of vaccination’ rule.
Later this month, New York City will begin requiring proof of vacation for indoor dining, performances, and other leisure activities. At least one hotel, Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, said it will require guests and workers to present proof of vaccination.
With changing rules and ever-tightening restrictions, travelers say they are beginning to think twice about their plans.
“I’m in the fretting stage. There’s so much that’s uncertain,” said Frieda Werden, who has a trip to Durham, North Carolina, planned for September. “I want to go see my mother, who is about to turn 96 and feels she is declining. But I don’t want either of us to get the variant.”
In Coupeville, Washington, Moe Bébé Fraser Bowman is adding concerns of the delta variant to the list of reasons why she keeps “putting off the notion of checking off the travel bucket list.”
Other travelers say they are still willing to travel, even abroad, despite the risks.
Nicole Woolcock of New York City says she won’t cancel her family’s trip to Portugal in September.
The family is booked into hotels that are taking extra precautions, she said. However, “if it looks like we won’t be able to leave our hotel and really experience Portugal, we’d reconsider our travel,” Woolcock said.
Tania Swasbrook, a luxury travel adviser at California-based Travelworld International Group, said many of her clients are also forging ahead.
“It is revenge travel with a hint of ‘the world may close down again so let’s go now,’” she said.
Deciding whether to take a trip is just one part of the puzzle, however. Travelers, or their agents, need to keep up with what can feel like a rollercoaster of changing protocols and rules. For some, the solution is to book “insurance” trips.
“Travelers are getting savvy, taking advantage of flexible cancellation policies, and booking multiple vacations for the same time but to different areas,” said Misty Belles, vice president for global public relations at Virtuoso Travel Network.
With several plans in place, “they know one will go through even if something happens in the other destinations,” Belles said.
Adding to the uncertainty of traveling right now is the fact that hotels, restaurants, and airlines are struggling to find enough workers to meet the demand.
“It is very bad right now,” said Jan Louise Jones, professor of hospitality and tourism in the Pompea College of Business at the University of New Haven. “And the variant? That’s not helping.”
Have you ever spotted a celebrity in the airport or on your flight during your travels? It’s a bit of a thrill, right?
A new book coming out from Rizzoli called Come Fly With Me: Flying in Style, is filled with paparazzi-taken images of actors, rock stars, and others coming and going from airports around the world.
Jodi Peckman an award-winning creative director, photo editor, and writer who spent thirty years working with Rolling Stone magazine, chose the images for the book, which you can read about in our story on The Runway Girl Network
Before yo go, here are a few other images from the book.