Thursday, 21 September 2017

Do You URBEX? USA Sites

Ruins in Jerome, Arizona (wikicommons)
Previous blog posts on the subject of urban exploration:
Do you URBEX? 1. Defined, Trends & Picks

With this post, we look at some of the more accessible sites popular with urban explorers in the United States. Plus we share USA-specific news, inspiration and resources.


Matt Lambros' After the Final Curtain photographs show America's forgotten movie theatres - Denzeen
Urbex Photographer Discovers Eerie ‘Train Graveyard’ in North Carolina Forest - Petapixel
Urbex Instagram Photog Killed While Subway Surfing in NYC - Petapixel
‘Urban explorer’ arrested inside Niagara Falls church - Niagara Gazette


Liz's URBEX Photography Blog - Peeling Walls
Philip's URBEX Flickr Photos - DJ Philly GEE
Abandoned America: Dismantling the Dream - book by Matthew Christopher

USA-specific URBEX resources

10 Eerie, Awesome or Abandoned Places You Can LEGALLY Visit in the US - Architectural Afterlife
Abandoned America: An Autopsy of American Dreams - Matthew Christopher's blog, books, events
Abandoned America Photography Workshops - USA workshops by Matthew Christopher
After the final curtain - Matt Lambros' blog, events
URBEX Location List USA - Urban Exploration Resource
A listing of tunnels in Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia - Tunnels & Bridges

ALABAMA.... [read more].

Want more layover ideas?
• Read more stories on the LayoverIdeas Blog
• Explore cities worldwide on

Related resources
Do Your URBEX? 1. Defined, Trends & Picks
Mugging: are you a target? 10 resources
Spot the deadly fake taxi on your international travels!
Dealing with taxi drivers
Dealing with touts
Airport arrival advice

Monday, 11 September 2017

Irma, Virgin Gorda and Sir Richard Branson

What Nester Islabd looked like, before Irma
In news reports about the destruction of Hurricane Irma, you may come across Sir Richard Branson's name in association with recovery efforts on Virgin Gorda.

Unless you have been following the career of the knighted business magnate and chairman of the the Virgin Group of companies, you may find yourself wondering, if only for a moment, why his company's name is associated with the island.

It is strictly coincidental, however you would be forgiven for thinking he owned an island here. He does, but it's not Virgin Gorda.

When Richard Branson learned that some of the British Virgin Islands were for sale in the late 70's, he bought Necker Island, a 30-hectare (74-acre) island, just north of Virgin Gorda. While Necker Island's land is entirely owned by Sir Richard Branson, the island's beaches, up to the high-water mark, are Crown land, and are open to the public.

When Branson bought the island, at age 28, it was uninhabited. As an alien landholder, however, Branson was required to develop a resort within four years or the island would revert to the state.

Three years and $10+ million USD later, Branson's private island retreat opened. Built using local stone, Brazilian hardwoods, Asian antiques, Indian rugs, art pieces and fabrics and bamboo furniture from Bali, the exclusive resort is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of luxury properties. The whole of Necker Island operates as a resort and can accommodate up to 34 guests.

For a tidy sum, guests at Necker Island have access to private pools, tennis courts, a team of 100 staff (including a personal chef) and a wide array of water sports equipment (Branson also owns nearby Moskito Island, where he operates a sail-in dive resort).

Until this past week, the 10-bedroom Balinese-style villa, perched atop a hill on Necker Island, featured open walls and 360-degree scenic views.

Today it is rubble.

Branson and his team rode out the storm in the resort's sizeable wine cellar.

Since emerging to the surrounding devastation, Branson has been mobilizing resources to assist residents on nearby Virgin Gorda Island.

Yesterday, he posted an update:
"I am writing from Puerto Rico, where I have travelled in order to further mobilise aid efforts and rebuilding plans for the British Virgin Islands and wider Caribbean. Communications remain mostly down in the BVI after Hurricane Irma. After sharing these updates and talking to various governments, aid agencies and media, we will be heading straight back to the BVI to continue helping the recovery effort on the ground... This story is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods. We have spent the past two days visiting team members who live on Virgin Gorda and as many people as possible, distributing aid, water and supplies. We have seen first-hand just how ferocious and unforgiving this storm was... [read more].
Related stories
Richard Branson reveals devastation of hurricane-hit private island, blames ‘man-made climate change’ - CNBC
The Night Before Hurricane Irma Arrives - Virgin blog

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Friday, 1 September 2017

5 Pages:

5 Pages is our way to highlight great travel resources. In a nutshell, we share a resource we recommend and highlight five of the website's most notable sections, tools or articles. Here's our pick this month:

TRAILS.COM is designed for outdoor enthusiasts by outdoor enthusiasts. We are happy to bring you thousands of trail guides, topographic maps, tips and useful information for hiking mountain biking, snowshoeing, mountaineering, trail running and water sports. (from the website)

1. Roadtrip Planning

This blockbuster of a section overflows with roadtrip planning resources, including route planning (with or without a GPS), calculating costs, distances and driving times, road maps, how to make your own map of a trip, scenic drives, off-highway drives, RV roadtrip planning and more. Mostly USA, with some UK, Canada and Mexico resources.
Roadtrip Planning

2. Motorcycle Travel

Created for the modern day Easy Rider, this thin section supports a range of options, from motorcycle camping to how to build your very own motorcycle trailer.
Motorcycle Travel

3. How to Plan a Route 66 Roadtrip

You can't pull out a map of the USA and find Route 66, at least not in its entirety: the historic highway began disappearing from maps in 1985. Today, the original 1926 route, stretching cross-country between California and Illinois, carries different names, so if you want to drive it, you're going to need a plan. And here are the tours to help you do just that.
How to Plan a Route 66 Roadtrip

4. International Travel

Roadtrip, camping, hiking trails and more around the globe.
International Travel

5. How to Rent an RV

Just in case you are inspired by all the RV'ing content on the site, and don't have one of your own...
How to Rent an RV

A few bonus pages...
Anatomy of a Hot Spring
How to Catch Garden Worms for Bait
How to Create Travel Kits for Your Kids
Homemade Children's Outdoor Games
Trail Finder

Forbes - Best of the Web, (5 years in a row!)
PC Magazine - Top 100 Undiscovered Web Site
Men's Journal - The 100 Best Web Sites (For Guys)

Our Review
Rating: 4.5 stars
Pros: comprehensive, practical, empowering (plan your own trip, your way!)
Cons: no rental car planning tips for all those roadtrips

Handy Links
Instagram: trailsdotcom
Facebook: Trails
Twitter: @Trails

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