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Updated: Oct 16, 2021
A great way to whet your appetite for traveling again is to explore a few favorite destinations online but with a different perspective. This way, when you start planning your next trip, you may choose to stray off the beaten track and have a whole new kind of experience of the place!
So get a cup of cocoa or a homemade airline cocktail, settle in to your comfiest first-class chair, and enjoy these five virtual getaways!
1. Stroll through New Orleans’ Enchanting Garden District
To begin our virtual vacation, let’s head down to New Orleans, but this time, local guide Andrew Farrier will lure us away from the hubbub of the French Quarter’s Bourbon Street out to the city’s beautiful and mysterious Garden District on a walking tour. Few tourists venture out to this part of town that feels suspended in time.
Just a short streetcar ride from the French Quarter, it feels like a world apart. Excluded from early 19th Century Creole society, newly arrived Yankees created their own city. The result is one of New Orleans’s most desired neighborhoods and one of the nation’s most beautifully preserved city districts and that’s home to the rich, the famous, the strange, and the dead!
2. Go Back in Time and Tour Frankfurt on the Hudson
Journey to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1930s. That’s when the neighborhood of Washington Heights was known as “Frankfurt on the Hudson,” a reference to the many German Jews who settled there, after fleeing Nazi Germany.
Travel back in time as you listen to twelve episodes in this beautiful podcast woven with songs based on true stories from neighborhood residents, set to Felix Mendelssohn’s “Songs without Words.” Each song presents a snapshot of German Jewish life in New York from the 1930s to the near-present.
This unique tour can be enjoyed anywhere or downloaded to your mobile device and used as a self-guided walking tour of the actual locations in the neighborhood, the next time you visit NYC.
Written by Alison Loeb (pictured above with Mendelssohn), narrated by Samuel Guncler and produced by Inwood Art Works. Songs performed by Bernard Holcomb (“Son of Trujillo,” “Stairs”), Mary Illes (“Bracelet,” “Lottie’s Bad Summer,” “Diner,” “Pencil Sharpener”), Karen Jolicoeur (“Westphalia,” “Jakob”), Robert Osborne (“Pencil Sharpener”), Laura Pfortmiller (“Rose & Eddie,” “Lillian”).
3. Let Artists Escort You Around the Met Museum
If you’ve visited New York City before, there’s a good chance that you have already visited the incredible collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and gotten totally lost discovering the endless galleries, mesmerized by the creative beauty that surrounds you. It is one of the greatest art museums in the world and you could visit it hundreds of times and still find treasures you had never seen before.
Now you can return to the Met, but this time with your own personal tour guide at your side. Join any of the 120 local, national and worldwide artists who reveal their favorite pieces in the museum and let you know the feelings and inspirations they find in them. These personal and often surprising interpretations let you see what an artist sees when they go to the Met.
The Met’s special “The Artist Project” videos were recorded from March 2015 to June 2016.
4. Tool Around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Grab your iPad and hop on a stationary bike or treadmill to take this stunning POV tour along Desert View Drive and its side trails that hug the edge of the Grand Canyon’s awe-inspiring South Rim.
It’s a perfect summer afternoon, enhanced only by the natural sounds of the winds rushing through the canyon down below and the calls of the hawks and wrens overhead. You’ll pass by groups of mule deer grazing near the path and stop at various overlooks to take in the stunning views.
Your tour is capped by a breathtaking sunset, saturating the canyon walls with golden hues.
5. Sky Dive from Space
Tag along with Austrian Felix Baumgartner as he tumbles out of a space pod suspended 24.2 miles high and free-falls to earth on October 14, 2012, setting set the world record for highest sky dive. His plummet lasted 4 minutes and 19 seconds and also set the record for fastest speed of free fall at 843.6 mph, making him the first human to break the sound barrier outside a vehicle.
By comparison, commercial aircraft typically fly at cruising altitudes of between 31,000 and 38,000 feet -- about 5.9 to 7.2 miles high.
Cameras inside his space pod and also on his diving helmet captured his stupefying feat. This is a distinctly different way to visit Roswell, New Mexico!
Video at top of page by Subhadip Ghosh from Pexels