- Celebrate Earth Day, April 22, with a free visit to a national park. The National Park Foundation is lifting entrance fees to every inch of its 84 million acres of National Parks not just for the day, but for an entire “Earth Week,” April 21 to 29, 2012.
More than 100 national parks usually charge admission fees, so plan on taking advantage of the free week to celebrate the great outdoors at one of these ISLANDS’ favorites:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Christiansted National Historic Site, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida Keys
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
- Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii
- San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico
RELATED: Get some expert photo tips for capturing the perfect image at Haleakala National Park.
News from our friends at Ladera Resort on St. Lucia:
Ladera, the legendary Caribbean hotel known for its pioneering open-air architecture, luxury hospitality and eco-friendly practices at 1,100 feet above the Caribbean Sea, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a generous and extraordinary "Anniversary Package" promotion, launching today.
The first 1,100 people (or 550 couples) who book a Hilltop Dream Suite or Luxury Villa under the "Anniversary Package" promotion will receive all of their meals, every day during their stay, at no extra charge, valid on stays taking place now through December 21, 2012. The offer includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Ladera's legendary restaurant Dasheene, one of the Caribbean's most highly regarded tables. A selection of beverages with meals is included. The full details can be found on Ladera.com.
- The broad strokes are indelible: Teenager eludes authorities for two years—stealing cars, boats, even planes.
In The Barefoot Bandit, ISLANDS contributor Bob Friel didn’t just report on Colton Harris-Moore’s crime spree; he lived it. Bob is a resident of the San Juan Islands, Colton’s home and the place where he escalated from local nuisance to international outlaw. The vulnerabilities of small island communities, the resilience of a bright but troubled teen and the failure of a child-welfare system are told from the inside as this page-turner unfolds. Did Colton really re-steal a bike from the police to return it to its owner? How did he teach himself to ﬂy? Why ﬂee to the Bahamas?
Exclusive interviews with his mom, victims and friends reveal the true Barefoot Bandit, and a life of missed potential. But boy, what a ride.
- My room number has ﬁve digits.
As in, room number 11-544. Can I tattoo this number onto my hand? You know, so I can ﬁnd my room, or simply remember to keep looking for it? I’ve been distracted by a Maya temple, Chihuly glass sculptures, underwater ruins, 12-foot manta rays, shopping malls, slot machines and thousands of smiling kids — slipping and skipping through miles of water slides, rivers and aquariums.
Of course, all this is Atlantis, visionary Sol Kerzner’s take on the mythical sunken city, raised from the depths as a modern-day, semi-sunken resort. Perhaps the world’s most ambitious. I’m here for a travel conference. It’s an odd setting for one. Atlantis is decidedly not the Bahamas, nor travel. It’s a fantasy. A megasize one.
Now, if only I could locate my room in it all ... whoa, a race-car track?!”
- The recipes for my favorite Italian meals — that’s all my mom asked for as I headed to Sicily. It seemed like a simple request. But I don’t speak Italian, and I’m no chef, so I returned home with a collection of kitchen disasters.
And then I discovered Saveur’s Easy Italian cookbook for the iPad and iPhone. Its 30 recipes show that many of Italy’s most satisfying foods are also the world’s simplest. Find tips, wine pairings and a breakdown of the lore of Italian food without leaving home — did you know minestrone means big soup? Cook up pasta with lamb and almond pesto, and you too can pretend to be in Palermo shouting “Mangia! Mangia!
- I am wet, I am cold, and an endangered bird of prey just tried to kill my friend. Believe it or not, this is one of the best days of my life.
There is simply no good way to describe Sea Lion Island, the wildlife sanctuary considered to be the ‘jewel of the Falklands archipelago’. Every corner I turn brings me face to face with a scene that prior to this moment I had only seen on a Discovery Channel documentary. Want to see Elephant seals fighting? Sure-just go right over there. You say you’d like to plop down in the middle of 9000 Gentoo Penguins and have them wander up and sit literally right beside you? Just go out the back door of the lodge.
Honestly, there aren’t enough memory cards in the world to contain every photo that my trigger finger wants to create. If the in-your-face wildlife isn’t enough to whet that creative appetite how about dramatic cliffs and crashing waves, windswept plains or beautiful sheltered coves?
Here’s a sneak peek at some shots I grabbed while on the island. Look for my full photo essay in an upcoming issue of ISLANDS Magazine.