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SUNDAY NOVEMBER 28 2010

TRAVEL

Books for travelers: Gift ideas for the holidays By BETH J. HARPAZ

Wash., is the “next great wine destination.” Next up, the big picture in paperback: EW YORK (AP) — Whether your ■ Rough Guides’ hefty second edition of loved ones are armchair travelers “Make the Most of Your Time on Earth: or real-world travelers, consider 1,000 Ultimate Travel Experiences,” $30. one of the new travel books out this This book adds 200 suggestions to the fall as a gift. They range from big original edition. Organized by region, it’s a lush coffee-table books to travel-themed load of fun. Try laughter yoga in Mumbai, tales about marathons and food. platypus-watching in Australia, whitewaFirst, the big guys. Lugging these tomes ter-rafting on the Nile, lassoing reindeer in on an airplane may put your luggage over Lapland, a tapas crawl in Madrid, and right the weight limit. But if you’re tucking gifts here in the U.S., eating bagels in New York, under your tree or shipping from an online hang-gliding the Outer Banks in North retailer, these beautifully illustrated hardCarolina, and cruising the Inside Passage in covers are ideal for folks who like to dream Alaska. about faraway places — as well as for those ■ Lonely Planet’s “The Traveller’s Guide looking for real-world ideas. to Planet Earth,” $23. This book looks at ■ Lonely Planet’s “The Travel Book: A 50 destinations from a BBC documentary Journey Through Every Country in the of the same name. with chapters on mounWorld,” $50. The folks at Lonely Planet tains, fresh water, caves, deserts, ice worlds, started with a list of the United Nation’s great plains, jungles, shallow seas, sea192 member countries, then added nearly sonal forests and ocean deep. Destinations 40 places that don’t get their own seats at range from Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains the U.N., like Caribbean islands, Antarctica, to Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico to Tibet and Taiwan. Each destination gets Madagascar, home of the lemur. photos, description, map, lists of top things And finally, a couple of travel-themed to do and see, plus recommendations for books small enough to tuck in a carry-on ways to experience the place through books, bag, telling tales worthy of Odysseus. film, food and music. ■ “Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife ■“Where to Go When: Italy,” from DK Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Eyewitness Travel, $40. Italy remains the Continents,” by Cami Ostman, from Seal fifth most popular international destinaPress, $17. Traveling to another city or tion for American travelers (according country to run a marathon is increasingly to 2009 statistics from the U.S. Commerce common. The author of this book is endDepartment), but when is the best time to ing a marriage, questioning religion, and go? “January through December,” accordhoping to find solace in running when she ing to Frances Mayes, author of “Under the decides to tackle a race on every contiTuscan Sun,” who wrote the foreword for nent. But she’s not out to set records; she this book, which offers recommendations dedicates the book to “back-of-the-packers for every month of the year. February trav- everywhere.” elers might choose between the Calabrian ■ “Adventures in Eating: Anthropological town of Scylla or the lagoon islands and Experiences in Dining From Around the basilica mosaics in Aquileia, while July World,” edited by Helen Haines and Clare visitors might consider the Umbria jazz fes- Sammells, from the University Press of tival or the hilltop spa town of Sarnano. Colorado, $30. “Have you tried cuy? Did ■ National Geographic’s “Drives you like it?” Cuy is guinea pig, and those of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most are questions typically asked of visitors Spectacular Trips,” $40. For the wordly to Peru, according to a chapter in this road-tripper, this book offers itineraries book, which is a collection of essays by from U.S. 1 on the coast of Maine or Big Sur anthropologists. (The writer says guinea in California, to the Silk Road in Central pig tastes like — you guessed it — chicken.) Asia and the outback in Australia. The book Durian fruit, eaten on a visit to Malaysia, is divided into eight chapters by type of has “the texture of ripe avocado and the trip (such as mountains, coasts, cities, hisflavor of onion ice cream.” A sojourn in the tory), each offering a detailed selection of Philippines leads to a contemplation of food itineraries and top 10 lists. For foodies on taboos as the author politely declines dog, the road, the top 10 include Hermann Wine but finds lizard delicious. Although the text Trail in Missouri, pumpkins and chocolate is peppered with academic explanations of in Pennsylvania and pick-your-own fruit concepts like “commensality” (sharing a in Idaho. For European lakeside drives, the common gustatory and social experience), top 10 range from England’s Lake District “Adventures in Eating” is readable and to Italy’s Lake Garda and Sweden’s Lake entertaining. Each story explores foods that Vanern. might sound repulsive to Westerners but ■ Travel + Leisure’s “Unexpected USA,” are beloved by locals somewhere. $25 (paperback, $15). This book offers great ■ Lonely Planet’s “A Moveable Feast: inspiration for those of us who’d just as Life-Changing Food Adventures Around soon ferret out unexplored corners and the World,” edited by Don George, $15. surprising places in the U.S. than fill up This is a collection of 38 stories from chefs, the pages of our passport book. A road trip food writers and travel writers, including through the Midwest is recommended as a Anthony Bourdain, Jan Morris, Andrew way to see great architecture and design by Zimmern and Simon Winchester. They Zaha Hadid, Santiago Calatrava and Mies range from cooking a lamb-and-eggplant van der Rohe on a route that includes Ohio, dish as a prelude to an Arabic-language lesIllinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. son in Jerusalem, to the tale of a chicken Other chapters look at an into-the-wild trip shared with travelers on a train to Moscow, in Alaska, a barbecue quest from Kansas to bowls of fermented yak milk consumed to North Carolina, and why Walla Walla, in Mongolia.

N

AP Travel Editor

AP Photos

If loved ones are armchair travelers or real-world travelers, consider one of the new travel books out this fall as a gift.

Rural Pa. region banks on elk helping economy By GENARO C. ARMAS Of The Associated Press

BENEZETTE, Pa. (AP) — Through a light morning fog, two elk emerged in a clearing before disappearing a minute later behind a thick stand of trees, a teaser for guests arriving early at the ceremonial opening of Pennsylvania’s first elk visitors center. The elk did come back, and the state isn’t far behind them. Along with the natural gasrich Marcellus Shale reserve, the state hopes one of rural northcentral Pennsylvania’s most promising economic engines will be a hulking four-legged creature that can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. Years in the works, the Elk Country Visitors Center was unveiled this fall in hopes of turning the commonwealth into a prime destination to view the majestic animal. “We built it, and they will come,” Gov. Ed Rendell said, borrowing a phrase from the movie “Field of Dreams.” And the governor hopes they will bring their wallets. Building off the “Pennsylvania Wilds” tourism campaign that plays up outdoor getaways, Rendell and business leaders are optimistic the attraction will help dollars flow into a rural area that has

IF YOU GO ...

ELK COUNTRY VISITORS CENTER: 134 Homestead Drive, Benezette, Pa., www.experienceelkcountry.com/vc.html or 814-787-5167. (If using GPS to navigate, look for 950 Winslow Hill Road). Winter hours: Thursday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. long struggled financially. The gas drilling and so-called wildlife tourism are potential rural economic drivers in relatively early stages of development, though there are worries they could be in conflict, too. While Marcellus drilling isn’t pervasive in Elk County, home of the visitors center, state conservation and natural resources secretary John Quigley promised that Pennsylvania would keep close watch on how the explosive growth of the natural gas industry might affect the tourism investment and the elk herd estimated at about 725. “We had to plant this flag to make a strong statement about conservation and about the place of natural resources in this economy,” Quigley said. “If anything, the Marcellus makes this more important. ... We’re hoping the mindset carries forward.” The visitors center — built through a partnership between the state and the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, with $6 million each from the com-

monwealth and private funding — has the dark-wooded charm of the foyer of a country lodge. There’s a fireplace and large windows that look out on a serene field where the elk come to graze in the evening. What’s different are the two roughly 6-foot models of elk on display in the middle of the round main exhibit area. “We’re going to try to drive around here and see if we can see the elk,” said Joe Zandarski, 38, of Butler. He drove about an hour from the camp that he, his wife and two young kids were vacationing at in Mount Jewett. September and October are considered the best time to see elk, when in mating season, though late fall and winter may also provide good viewing opportunities. “Going to the zoo is one thing,” Zandarski said, his 2year-old son Zachary in tow, “but to see it in its natural habitat is something special.” A century ago, it wouldn’t have been possible.

Elk once roamed throughout Pennsylvania before logging, human settlement and hunting eliminated them in the 1860s. About 50 years later, the Pennsylvania Game Commission began introducing the first of about 170 Rocky Mountain elk from Yellowstone National Park. Rendell, the former Philadelphia mayor, was so taken with the animal during the opening ceremony that he said the bugling calls of elk during mating season were “one of the most amazing sounds I had heard in my life.” The governor has pointed to a Pennsylvania Wilds Planning team report that showed that attendance and state sales tax revenue up slightly in the Wilds region between from the middle of last decade to 2008. The number of hotels in the region has increased by more than a third during that period to 43. Brian Kunes owns the eightroom Benezette Hotel and restaurant just down the road from the visitors center. He plans to expand in part because of more business from elk watchers and the hope of year-round business rather than just busy times around hunting or leaf-peeping seasons.

Associated Press/STEVE MANUEL

Bull elk graze outside the Elk County Visitor Center after its official opening in Benezette, Pa. Years in the works, the center was unveiled this fall in hopes of turning the commonwealth into a prime destination to view the majestic elk. Visitors center organizers “think they can maintain it all year long, and for me, that’s good,” said Kunes. Elk can slowly wander through town and backyards, in view from the restaurant. “People come to see the elk, to see the leaves ... It’s got to help.” Elk remain far more plentiful in the mountain regions of the West — according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the largest herd is in Colorado (292,000) with Montana (150,000) and Oregon (120,000) next. The group on its website describes its mission as “ensuring the

future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat.” The national elk population of 1.03 million is up 44 percent from the mid-1980s. The foundation credits increased conservation efforts around the country, not just in the West. Pennsylvania’s elk herd is more than five times larger since 1984. According to the foundation, canoeists paddling the Buffalo River in Arkansas can see wild elk, a sight missing for more than a century before the animals were reintroduced into the Ozark Mountains as part of a program to increase biodiversity.

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