Molvania — Massive Markdown on the Essential Travel Guide

Map of Molvania
Map of Molvania
by Jetlag Travel

If you are a fan of Borat, and favor Lonely Planet travel guides, you might get a kick out of the parody travel guide:  Molvania.

This small Eastern European country even has its own website and public relations bureau.

We got this book for my father-in-law to read on the plane when he travelled to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Molvania is available in used condition from for the truly incredible price of just one cent, plus $3.99 for shipping.

The book is by Rob Sitch, Tom Gleisner and is published by Jetlag Travel Guides.

In format and page layout, this inspired send-up of a travel guide looks exactly like the real thing, and it displays an acute feel for all the clichés of the genre. —New Yorker on Molvania

Subsequent Jetlag Travel guides spoof Phaic Tăn, a nation in Southeast Asia, and San Sombrèro in Latin America (A Land of Carnivals, Cocktails and Coups).Molvania

On a less frivolous note, adventurous travelers may want to check out New Girl in the Air’s trip report on the beautiful countries of Slovenia and Croatia.

Part 3: Destination Resort Overlooking the Hudson River — on Priceline

This mini-series explores stellar properties available through Priceline’s opaque bidding process.  

Part 1:  The Carolina Inn – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Part 2:  Little America – Salt Lake City, Utah

Part 3:  Tarrytown House Estate  & Conference Center, Tarrytown, New York

Tarrytown House Estate
Tarrytown House Estate

My husband grew up in Irvington-on-Hudson, one of those cute little river towns about 20 miles north of New York City.  His family lived in a development of mid-century modern homes just up the hill from Washington Irving’s Sunnyside home.

Irvington and its neighbor Tarrytown make a good base for exploring the Hudson River valley.  Scenic views, historical reenactments, art, and hiking opportunities abound, with attractions that will appeal to children and adults.  Tarrytown is easily accessible by car and by train, making this a great region for a weekend getaway.

Sometimes when we visited family in Irvington, we would get a Priceline room, most often ending up in the 2.5 star Hampton Inn in Elmsford, NY.

Once in 2008, we bid $50 on Priceline and were upgraded to the 3 star Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center.

This property is a 26-acre full service resort with several historic mansions and cottages, beautifully landscaped grounds, a magnificent view of the Tappan Zee bridge.  There are numerous recreational opportunities on site.  Several low-rise buildings discreetly sited on the property constitute the conference center.

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Springtime in Hershey

Hershey Gardens Photo by Joel Shprentz
Hershey Gardens 

In April, we stopped in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a day to break up a road trip from New England to Virginia.  We had visited the amusement park ten years ago, and wanted to explore other three different attractions on this trip.

First up was the free tour of the fake “Chocolate Factory,” because we love corny rides, factory tours, and chocolate!

The Chocolate Factory is a Disney-style animated ride that tells the story of how chocolate is produced from the growing the cocoa beans to producing Hershey Kisses.  On a Saturday morning, we were able to walk right in without a wait. The ride in little carts through the “factory” was lots of fun. The ride ended with a free sample and let us off in a gigantic chocolate gift shop with all manner of Hershey candy.

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Las Vegas Neon Boneyard — Photo Essay of Times Gone By

The Neon Boneyard
The Neon Boneyard
Photo by Joel Shprentz

Without a doubt, the highlight of our visit to Las Vegas last year was the guided tour of the Neon Museum’s Boneyard.

The tour is actually a superb introduction to the very colorful history of Las Vegas.

The museum houses discarded neon and incandescent signs from Vegas’ glory days.

The museum’s limited funds allow for the restoration of only a few signs each year.

The restored signs are displayed in the downtown Las Vegas block known as the “Fremont Experience.”

The rest of the collection — a hodgepodge of more than 150 historic signs — is on display at a two acre lot known as “The Boneyard.”

Stardust Sign
Volunteer Docent Welcomes Visitors
Photo by Joel Shprentz

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The Real Deal: Moore’s Inn in Saxtons River, Vermont

My family took a grand tour through New England this Spring, visiting schools in five states. One place we visited was the small village of Saxtons River in Southeastern Vermont.  Saxtons River is a quintessential Vermont village, complete with a covered bridge, a general store, and a white steepled church.

Moore's Inn Saxtons River, VT
Moore’s Inn Saxtons River, VT
Photo by Susan Lampe-Wilson

At one time, thanks to the water power provided by the Saxtons River, the village had a thriving woolen mill, saw mill, grist mill, tannery, distillery, clock manufacturer, and hotel.  The mills are closed now. Today, the major employer is Vermont Academy, an independent secondary school founded in 1876.

The historic village is remarkably intact, looking much as it did 100 years ago.  In fact, the entire village is designated an historic site  and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  

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Rafting Utah’s Green River

We are just back from a camping and rafting trip to Green River, Utah.  The scenery was spectacular.

New vistas and interesting rock formations greeted us at each bend in the river.

This formation is named for the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, but we thought it looked more like Bart Simpson!

Nefertiti Beach in Green River, Utah Photo by Joel Shprentz
Nefertiti Beach in Green River, Utah
Photo by Joel Shprentz

There are a number of well-preserved petroglyphs in the area near Nefertiti beach and sometimes you can spot bighorn sheep.

Further down river is Swasey’s Beach — an expanse of fine white sand shaded by cottonwood trees.  It’s a beautiful spot for a family picnic.  Just remember to bring pails so the kids can build sand castles.

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