I like to travel by ‘alternative’ guidebook. That is, using things as guides that aren’t entirely meant that way. For example, my husband and I were given a coffee table book about beautiful villages in France when we were married. Before our first trip to France we bought the big spiral bound Michelin Atlas: France driving map that shows every single little town village and then we cross referenced every picture in the coffee table book on the map and circled it with an orange high-liter. We have carried that map with us for many trips and we find ourselves driving way out of our way and to towns in no guide book just because it is an “orange circle town”. This method of travel has served us very well to travel off the beaten track.
I have a book that I love by Thomas Pakenham called Remarkable Trees of the World. If I had a Michelin atlas of the whole world I would cross reference it for future travels. But that is completely impossible.
My dearest friend gave me a book for Christmas that is do-able though, and I love it just as much. It is called Remarkable Trees of Virginia. I am staying with her while in VA for the Inauguration later this week, so I am going to see if maybe we can make a few tree visits on the side. The nice thing about traveling in this way is that when you go ‘guide book’ free, you never know what you are going to discover along the way. I find that without expectation I am almost never disappointed in a place and almost always pleasantly surprised.
Remarkable Trees of Virginia is more than just a book. Project Coordinators Nancy Ross Hugo and Dr. Jeffrey Kirwan also have a website where you can nominate trees and learn about more trees than just those featured in the book.