Skunk Train, California
This century-plus-old heritage railroad that started out transporting timber, has turned into a favorite for families visiting Mendocino, in northern California. Different routes go through tunnels and forests and over trestle bridges, and along the way you’ll come up close to giant redwood trees along with wildlife like blue herons and ospreys in an estuary. You may even be serenaded by the well-mustached train singer. If the scenic route isn’t your thing, there’s always the bar car. In 2019, the Skunk Train expanded their offerings with railbikes. These custom-built, two-person electric bad boys let you pedal along the same rails as the train while breathing in that fresh northern California air. (Not to be confused with the smog in southern California’s air.) And no, these trains don’t smell like a skunk…anymore. The story goes that when motorcars were introduced in 1925, the gasoline-powered engines gave off an odor that the “old timers” said smelled like a skunk.
– Jason Stahl
Montezuma, Costa Rica
Lovingly called Montefuma by the locals (fuma means to smoke in English), this tiny bohemian surfer’s town has the best of everything that Costa Rica has to offer. Surrounded by jungle, there’s a thundering waterfall where reckless youth tumble off cliffs into the clear pool below. Along the coast are several yoga studios and resorts fit for a peaceful retreat, but every morning begins with the chaotic cacophony of howler monkeys. The coast is renowned for its perfect surfing waves and extensive beach — either is a wonderful way to build up an appetite. Good thing the village sits not yards away and offers an eclectic range of options from typical Cuban seafood at Cocolores, to vegetarian health food at Orgánico.
The Entire State of Wisconsin, USA
Hello, Wisconsin! At first thought, it seems like the only magnetism to Wisconsin may be the Green Bay Packers or the Milwaukee Brewers, but bordered by Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, Wisconsin provides stunning sights and has a little something for everyone.
For the motor enthusiast, one can visit the Harley Davidson museum in downtown Milwaukee. If your interests sway in the manner of design and architectural history, you can check out Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s former estate in Spring Green. For nature lovers there are a plethora of state parks to explore and plenty of ski trails throughout the Badger State, like Granite Peak Ski Resort in Wausau. They make enough snow for winter to last six months!
A history buff will appreciate the state capitol in Madison where a replica of the Liberty Bell is housed (this one does not have a crack). Lest we forget the cheese hailing from this state… A must-visit is the Mars Cheese Castle, “an icon for generations of I-94 travelers.” C’mon! What do you want, an embossed invitation? We’re not sure they’ll have all 600 of the varieties of cheese Wisconsin produces, but they should have something you’re looking for.
Meripaviljonki, Helsinki, Finland
Located in the Hakaniemi neighborhood of Helsinki, Meripaviljonki is one of the most stunning and delicious restaurants in the Finnish capital. Floating atop the Säästöpankinranta harbor, the restaurant offers panoramic views of the sea and has a dazzling interior and floor-to-ceiling windows. Aside from the breathtaking views and impeccable service, the main draw of Meripaviljonki is its seafood. The restaurant specializes in fish and shellfish, and diners can choose their lobster directly from the restaurant’s lobster tank. Meripaviljonki focuses on seasonal delicacies, allowing customers to experience the unique flavors of extremely authentic Finnish cuisine. The restaurant also offers a variety of vegetarian as well as “free” dishes — gluten-free, lactose-free and dairy-free — making it a must-hit restaurant for any type of eater. Especially if you’re a dessert eater: salty liquorice-flavored mud cake, raspberry gel and caramelized white chocolate mousse. Mic drop.
Mars Village, California
We are getting excited about outer space and all the possibilities that seem to be right around the corner. While the ultra-rich are shilling out for journeys to the International Space Station — or for Virgin Galactic’s overpriced, in our opinion, under delivering intended skip off the top of the Earth’s atmosphere — more affordable options to experience the ersatz wonders of the galaxy are cropping up left and right.
Interstellar Labs is currently working on an Experimental Bioregenerative Station (EBIOS) in the Mojave Desert, set to open in 2021. EBIOS is basically jargon for space village. Developers are hoping to replicate conditions on Mars as accurately as possible and build living facilities to train astronauts and let tourists get a feel for the Red Planet. It will basically be a space station here on Earth, and will provide everything that human’s need to live in a hostile environment. This won’t be the first time something like this has been done. In 2001 a group of NASA scientists lived in a similar environment for two years. This new settlement will welcome tourists for as little as $6,000. Initial designs for living quarters look luxurious and sleek. Not exactly the room you’d expect to see on a remote space outpost, and more like the domicile of a successful colony that’s firmly established. And has a luxury franchise hotel.