Five Awesome Things: First Edition

One of the things that go along with running a blog is a massive stream of emails. As someone whose blog is finally gaining some traction, I am grateful so many people have read my blog and thought it was worth sending a pitch or press release my way. However, I still work 40 hours a week, and don’t have time to get back to all of those people who email.

So, I have come up with a solution – well, something of a solution. That is, I will be introducing a new type of post to the All Aboard Beat. Hopefully about once a week, I will go through my emails and pick out the top five coolest topics submitted that week, and then give you guys, my readers, a brief summary of each and links to where you can find out more.

I know this might count as advertising, but let’s face it: a fundamental part of the travel and tourism industry is passing on recommendations, a.k.a. advertising. I can’t personally vouch for all of these events, but I can tell you that if I were in the vicinity and were able to, I would definitely attend – for what it’s worth.

So, to kick things off, here goes the first edition of Five Awesome Things (more eloquent title to come):

Photo credit:
Camping in Antarctica

1. You can now camp in a tent in Antarctica if you book with Hurtigruten.

From the press release: “Guests opting for this truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure get a glimpse of how it might have been for explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Earnest Shackleton – albeit with the perks of modern equipment and safeguards.  “The idea is to offer our guests an authentic experience in the spirit of the great explorer, Amundsen,” explains Mona Ringstrand, explorer product manager at Hurtigruten ASA.”

Why I would do it: Generally I am not a fan of the cold, but if given the opportunity to visit Antarctica, I would do it. And I would camp. I can only imagine the cold, but what a story I would have to tell. After all, no pain, no gain! Sometimes it applies in travel.


Phone: 877-301-3117
Fax: 888-524-2145
Order brochures: 800-582-0835

2. Discovery Park of America will open in summer 2013 near Union City, Tennessee.

From the press release: “The new Discovery Park of America is expected to be a major boost for the local economy and tourism by providing an attraction that has been described as “Smithsonian-like” and offering experiences normally found only in large metropolitan cities.    In addition to Discovery Park of America’s significant educational value, this attraction has several exhibits and experiences with high entertainment value.  For example, visitors can enjoy thrilling theater experiences, slide down the 32-foot leg of a giant human body structure, see a replica of the Liberty Bell, or tour an old settlement village.”

Why I would go: I like visiting random tourist attractions, and this seems it will rank with the best of them.  I like this one especially because of its emphasis on education. Plus, I am excited to see the design. Verner Johnson, Inc, a Boston-based architectural firm, will be designing it. They have designed over 200 museums worldwide to date, and this one will be ‘ultra-modern’ in design (see photo below).



photo source: Discovery Park of America press release
Discovery Park of America

3. Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is holding a Festival of Lights.

From the press release: “Hundreds of luminaria will line the aquarium’s walkways and festive décor will fill the aquarium while local organizations provide family-friendly entertainment that includes holiday music, face painters, storytellers, and a visit from Santa Claus, “Saxophone Santa”, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.  Complimentary hot chocolate will also be provided to warm up the festivities. . . A special highlight of the evening will be the scheduled dive of Santa and his elf in the large Coral Reef habitat from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.”

Why I would go: First of all, I would go because it is a good cause. It’s free to attend this event as long as you bring a nonperishable food item, which benefits the Gemma E. Moran United Way Labor Food Center in New London, Conn. Beyond that, I would go because it combines two of my favorite things: holiday celebrations and learning about undersea life. I believe everyone should visit their local aquarium and educate themselves about the part of our earth that largely goes unseen.


When: Friday, December 7, 2012 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Once inside, guests may stay until 8 p.m.


Mystic Aquarium
55 Coogan Blvd.
Mystic, CT 06355


4. First Peoples Worldwide held a festival for filmmakers advocating for social change

Why I would go: The five-day event brought together filmmakers from around the world to address social issues – an important effort in and of itself. The two films that were selected by FPW to be screened sound interesting as well. Both describe a cultural identity, its challenges and how it has survived – a fascinating topic in today’s world.

From the press release: “‘Cry Rock’ documents the struggle of the Nuxalk in British Columbia to maintain their language, culture, and identity in response to colonialism and the infringement of non-Indigenous culture.  It was the directorial debut of Banchi Hanuse (Nuxalk), a graduate of the University of British Columbia, and has won eight awards since its premier at National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival in Washington, DC.

“‘March Point’ tells the story of three Swinomish boys awakening to the negative impacts of oil refineries on their communities in Washington State.  Tracy Rector (Seminole/Choctaw), the director, is co-founder of Longhouse Media, an organization that promotes artistic and community growth of young Indigenous filmmakers.”


First Peoples Worldwide Website:
Twitter: @FirstPeoples
Social Change Film Festival & Institute Website:

5. Italy’s La Corte Spa Wellness & Beauty offers relaxation and gorgeous views.

From the press release: “La Corte Spa Wellness & Beauty provides a sanctuary of calm and rejuvenation, far from the hustle and bustle of Florence, only miles away. Offering exclusive treatments devoted to the well-being of its guests, La Corte offers an array of soothing treatments that provide visible and surprising results. The treatments for the face and body utilize natural products of extremely high quality, with ingredients grown right on-site at the estate, such as grape extracts and olive oil.”

Why I would go: I get a lot of these emails – basically a hotel or resort advertising their luxurious spa services, gorgeous views, and flawless customer service. Honestly, I have never been to one of these spa resorts. However, I would go in a second if given the opportunity. La Corte, within the estate Il Borro, is no exception. It looks luxurious and serene with views to kill for, like the one below.

Il Borro, resort, spa, and winery in Tuscany


To make a reservation call or visit

If any of you are able to make it to one of these, please let me know how it goes. I would love to know your travel experiences and see your photos. And recommendations go both ways. I want to hear what you would recommend too!


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