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Scare Yourself Silly

Feel like going to Hell today? Hell, Michigan, that is—a town about 20 miles outside of Ann Arbor, whose ice cream parlor welcomes visitors with flavors like “scaramel” and “buttersnot.” No? Too much for you? Well, what about Half Hell, North Carolina?That shouldn’t be quite so full of fire and brimstone.

If there’s ever a day to pay homage to a town with a spooky name—and trust me, there are plenty; in fact there’s probably one just a few hours’ drive from wherever you are—Halloween would be the day. What about Devil Town, Ohio? Devil’s Backbone, Connecticut? Or how about visiting another part of the devil’s anatomy entirely and heading up to Devil’s Elbow in California’s Colusa county? And for something a little different, there’s always Satan’s Kingdom, Vermont.

Girls Weekend at Lake Tahoe

This weekend, as wildfires raged across the southern half of California and Governor Schwarzenegger channeled The Terminator to warn all arsonists that he will “hunt them down,” I fled to the east and atop the jack-o-lantern laden Sierra Nevada mountains for my annual “girls weekend” at Lake Tahoe.

Now put your frozen-bra and pillow-fight illusions aside. This fall tradition began about five years ago, when we didn’t even know it was going to be a tradition, just a generous invitation to a friend’s family cabin in the woods with views of the lake, mountains, pink-valentine sunsets, and a woo-hooo witchy-woman moon glowing through the giant glass windows.

Photo: One of the Angora Lakes before this year’s fire.

Beach Time? RIght Now.

Reading the New York Times travel section this weekend made me yearn for a quick getaway to someplace sunny and warm. Or at least someplace that felt better than here (New York City aka The Big Apple.) Usually I just love fall but it has been a bit of a disappointing fall this year, you know, with the wacky weather and the leaves not quite performing as we’d like all like. Although the air has only just turned chilly this passed week I’m already thinking about what’s next on my travel horizon…

The New York Times seemed to be leaning toward the Caribbean and the call of the warm blue waters. The section was dominated by an opening with a fruity umbrella topped cooler and the allure of soft, sandy beaches. They’re clearly not the only ones with some beach-time on their mind. Maybe it’s a result of the increased access with new flights to the Caribbean but I’ve looked at the data for thanksgiving and noticed that the share of travel to the Caribbean is up 20% this Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving? you ask. Sure thing. It’s trendy to take turkey abroad. Mexico’s share is up by 17%. Even Europe’s is up too. (And I thought the whole Western Hemisphere Passport Initiative and the new passport rules combined with the weak dollar was supposed to be deterring people from traveling? Well apparently not.) What’s more is that these people aren’t like me and thinking I need a little break, uh, now! They’re booking in advance. WAY in advance. The average domestic ticket for thanksgiving this year was booked 85 days prior to departure, international tickets were booked over 100 days in advance. Given that math, that means right now I should be booking for sometime in January possibly more like February.

Guerneville Gay-cations

I remember the first time I went to Guerneville. I was young, naive, and–perhaps most relevantly–freshly out of the closet. After a month-long road trip up to Washington and Canada, my then-girlfriend Amanda and I were hauling back down to our home turf in Los Angeles. We drove through thousands of miles of unknown, un-gay terrain. Amanda peeled the rainbow sticker off the bumper of her Saturn, and we both sunk low into our seats and tried to look less gay.