Making the best of a train stop
New travel books cover great old railroad stations and 1,000 places to visit before you die.
Patricia Schultz is out with a new edition of the ultimate bucket-list, "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" (Workman, $20). This version adds 200 new entries, including countries not in the original 2003 edition, like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Qatar and Mozambique, plus budget-conscious suggestions for lodging and food. An interactive companion iPad app for "1,000 Places" is scheduled for release Nov. 22, offering photos, maps and a way to log your past and future travels. The full app is free with a code included on the first stickered printing of the book; without the book, you can download the app for free with a preview of 99 places or pay $10 for full content. (HANDOUT / October 28, 2011)
Despite the best efforts of numerous government officials and agencies, American train travel is not what it used to be. That's the bad news.
The good news is that there still are many people out there who appreciate rail travel. In fact, railroad buffs Ed Breslin and Hugh van Dusen go so far as to insist that "America's romance with its railroading past is alive and well and thriving." Among the numerous things that separate train travel from every other kind of travel are the magnificent railroad stations that still dot the landscape.
It's true that many stations have been demolished in the rush toward modernization (Penn Station is one example), many more remain. Some no longer serve as stations but instead have been converted into museums, restaurants and banks. Cincinnati's Union Terminal, for example, which the authors rightly describe as looking like "the world's largest tabletop art-deco radio," houses numerous cultural institutions.
From the mid-Atlantic to the West, the authors have traveled the country with photographer Roger Straus III in search of the greatest of these stations. Straus' marvelous photography captures them in their full glory. Among the most magnificent are New York's Grand Central Terminal and Los Angeles' gorgeous Union Station, a combination of art deco, Spanish colonial and mission-revival styles. The great Chicago architect Daniel Burnham designed not only the Windy City's Union Station but also Pennsylvania Station in Pittsburgh and Union Station in Washington, D.C.
This book is a must for railroad aficionados everywhere. (Viking Studio, $40)
"1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler's Life List"
It's back. The full-color second edition of Patricia Schultz's wildly popular book (it sold more than 3 million copies the first time) includes 200 new entries and 28 new countries, including Ghana, Nicaragua, South Korea, Estonia, Mozambique, Ukraine and Croatia. In fact, there is so much new information here that Schultz considers this an entirely new book.
Schultz admits it is rare for her to return to a place she has visited. When asked what her favorite trip was, she invariably says it's her next one. This second edition reflects her excitement for discovering new places and uncovering new information about familiar places.
What's more, she has managed to work a little literary magic here — and still keep her original 1,000 favorite places — by reorganizing and rewriting the content of the first edition. Instead of emphasizing single places, she merged two or more, destinations into a single entry, "creating an embellished travel experience" and often "a perfect mini-itinerary."
As always, her entries are irresistibly idiosyncratic, from "Beer in Belgium" to "'The Last Supper' and Other Works of Leonardo Da Vinci." (Workman, $19.95; hardcover $32.95)