101 Places Not to See Before You Die

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by Catherine Price | Travel |
ISBN: 9780061787768 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 3/22/2023
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, March 22, 2023
I got this ex-library softcover from Better World Books, intrigued by the idea of a travel book about places NOT to visit. And it's marvelous! Yes, often pretty bleak, when touching on places ruined by war and/or pollution, but the entries range from the merely tacky to the outright dangerous to the potentially-quease-inducing. (Some of the entries were clearly here because of the author's very personal reactions - several were places I would dearly love to go, and a few were places I have visited and loved!)

The book opens with the author's explanation of its origins - as something of an antidote to the flood of "x,000 places you must go/things you must do/books you must read/etc. before you die" books - and also describes the very different levels of "not", including an admission that tastes vary and some folks would be drawn to the places the author wouldn't visit on a bet. So she added a few entries that are simply impossible to visit, just to cover all bases... (She also includes a few quotes from other authors' lists, usually excerpts from books of their own, such as the Tupperware museum from Mary Roach's Spook, or the worst places in the encyclopedia, from A. J. Jacobs' The Know-it-all.)

Some examples of Price's "not to see" places:

The Winchester Mystery House - I visited this one myself and enjoyed it, though I agree with the author that it's probably not quite as thrilling as the writeups might suggest.

The Double Black Diamond Run at Powderhouse Hill - this one's a bit of a joke, as Powderhouse Hill is a ski-resort-in-miniature in Berwick, Maine, with no Black Diamond runs at all and barely any altitude to speak of. So this one's here more as a cautionary tale for those who Google "ski slopes" and don't read the fine print.

"The Room Where Spam Subject Lines are Created" - this would be one of the imaginary locations (I hope), and given the hatred of spam in general, if there were such a place and if people could find it, mayhem would ensue!

The Top of Mount Washington in a Snowstorm - OK, I would kind of like to be up there during a snowstorm; inside the observatory, of course, but being in a sub-Antarctic situation while within a couple-of-hours' drive from my house has its appeal. But I suspect I'd only ever *do* it if I could be teleported there and back again; the drive, especially during snowy winter months, is challenging in itself, and the trip up the mountain by heavy-duty all-wheel-drives can be treacherous. The author isn't referring to being inside the observatory, though - and if one were stuck outside under these conditions, one would not last very long...

Body Farms: the author's really not cool with these, while I (surprise!) would love to visit one, and have enjoyed books about them, including Death's Acre by Bill Bass.

The Tierra Santa Theme Park: this one I hadn't heard of before, and it sounds... well, pretty ridiculous to me. It's a religious theme park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and features a nearly-60-foot-tall figure of Jesus that rises up on the hour, rotates, blinks, and turns his palms upwards to the soundtrack of the "Hallelujah Chorus". This one would be on my places-not-to-visit list, too - though, amusingly enough, I've driven past an American version many times: Holy Land USA in Waterbury Connecticut. [It went derelict in the '80s, with various religious scenes falling into ruin over the decades, until only the big cross atop the hill was visible from the nearby interstate highway. I was surprised to learn that it was renovated about ten years ago and is now open once more - but it, too, is on my have-no-interest-in-visiting list.]

I was surprised to find Stonehenge here, as I visited that and was utterly thrilled - even though I wasn't able to walk among the stones (something the author is upset about in her description). I still felt their antiquity and power, and wouldn't have missed the chance to see them in person. So - tastes vary {grin}!

And there are many, many more entries, including historical ones - the cyclone/flood/windstorm of 1362 that killed tens of thousands along the UK and European coasts, for example. Impossible to visit, that one, but yeah, would have been a good place to miss if one had had the choice. And mundane-but-awful ones, such as being stuck on an airplane that had to sit on the runway for eight hours - this has happened {shudder}.

Even though I didn't always share the author's distaste for the destinations, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them!

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at See Release Notes For Details in Brookline, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, June 8, 2023

Released 3 mos ago (6/8/2023 UTC) at See Release Notes For Details in Brookline, New Hampshire USA


I left this book, bagged against the elements, hanging from a tree near the Nissitissit River Trail / Mary's Trail trailhead - a charming spot, with a nice little parking area. (There was even a storywalk in place - pages from a child's book posted at intervals down the trail.) Had a lovely view overlooking the nearby brook, too, with some mountain laurel in bloom... Hope the finder enjoys the book!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

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