Have a road trip scavenger hunt – Road trip tip

Planning a family road trip? To avoid hours of boredom, plan a “scenic scavenger hunt.”

It’s easy. Just write down a list of 100 things you might see along the way, like landmarks, buses or bridges. The first person to complete the list wins.

For preschool kids, substitute magazine photos and trim the list to twenty familiar objects. For older kids, include a challenge: require them to provide one additional fact about each item they find.

Have fun. And by the time you reach the end of the road, you won’t be at the end of your rope.

Top 10 travel destinations for Twilight fans

New Moon, the second installment of the Twilight saga, will be hitting theaters on November 20th.

That’s like, just over a month until we get to see Edward in all his sparkly, “dazzling” glory! Plus Jacob, shirtless and “fur-sploding” into his werewolf form! O-M-Geeeeee!!

Okay, now that I’ve let the 13-year old girl in me have her say. . . To satiate your thirst for teen vampire angst until the movie’s premiere, why not take a trip to one of these destinations perfect for the Twilight-obsessed?

Forks, Washington
Forks is where the love story of Edward and Bella began, and where most of the action in the four Twilight books takes place. Stephanie Meyer chose the small town for the setting of her book because days here are usually cloudy, making it the perfect place for a clan of vampires (who sparkle in the sun) to settle. The tiny Welcome Center now offers maps of Twilight landmarks and “Dazzled by Twilight’, a store devoted entirely to the saga, offers tours to surrounding locations from the books (or at least, sites that resemble places in the books – “Bella’s house” isn’t actually the house used in the movie). A few local inns, including the Dew Drop Inn and the Pacific Inn Motel, have designed Twilight-themed rooms, and are of course, charging a premium for them.

Port Angeles, Washington
Port Angeles was a resort town even before Twilight put it on the radar of teenage girls, but now it proudly boasts its role in the story. There are several tours that show visitors to the Twilight landmarks around town, including Odyssey Books and Bella Italia, the restaurant where Bella and Edward had their first date after Edward rescued Bella from some unsavory characters in an alley. Guests who dine at Bella Italia can even order “Bella’s mushroom ravioli” and eat the same dish Bella did on her date. There’s no Edward dish; he of course didn’t eat.

Portland, Oregon
No part of the story takes place in Portland, but many of the movie’s scenes were filmed here. Go See Portland has put together a handy map of filming locations. The scene where Edward saves Bella in the alley took place in Port Angeles, but was actually filmed in Portland. You can visit that alley and see the store (really a hair salon) where Bella’s friends tried on prom dresses on this self-guided tour. The owner still has Catherine Hardwick’s director’s chair sitting in a corner of the shop. Chief Swan’s house is located in Portland, the hilltop location of the prom was The Viewpoint Inn in Corbett, and the beach that stands in for La Push in some scenes was actually Cannon Beach on Oregon’s coast.

Vancouver, Canada
While many of Twilight’s scenes were shot in and around Portland, much of New Moon’s filming was done in Vancouver. On Location Tours will take fans to not only the spots where scenes were shot, but also to favorite hangouts of the cast and crew. The 6-hour tours cost $119 for kids and $149 for adults. One of the main locations used in Vancouver was the David Thompson Secondary School, which stood in for Forks High School, and some of the woodland scenes were shot around Tofino.

Hoh Rainforest, Washington
Several scenes in the Twilight saga take place in the Hoh rainforest in Washington. It’s one of the few temperate rainforests in the US and one of the largest in the world. It’s densely populated with towering moss-covered trees, many of which are thousands of years old. It has become a very popular destination for those seeking the Twilight experience, but it is still large enough that you can find a place to escape the crowds. There are campgrounds in the Rainforest and hiking trails where you can spot birds and wildlife.

Quileute Reservation, Washington
The Quileute tribe of Native Americans have lived on the land that is now Washington state for thousands of years. Members of the tribe still reside on the reservation and control the town and beach of La Push and its harbor. The area is known for its whale watching, surfing, fishing, and beautiful, rugged beaches. Twilight’s beach scenes, including the one in which Jacob tells Bella about the ancient “cold ones”, take place on First Beach at La Push. The Quileute tribe operates a beach resort at La Push where cabin rentals start at $100 per night. The resort also runs a waterfront Twilight tour.

Syracuse, Utah
Syracuse has absolutely nothing to do with the Twilight books or movies, but it does have two corn mazes that depict the saga’s two hunks, Edward and Jacob. If you can’t make it to any of these other locations to immerse yourself in scenes from the movies or books, you can at least wander around in a big field of corn cut to look like a vampire or a werewolf.

Volterra, Italy
In the New Moon book, Bella tracks Edward to Volterra, Italy, where he is about to reveal himself to the Volturri, a clan of ancient vampires. Volterra is a real town in Italy, located in the Tuscany region with massive walls that surround the medieval town. The town has capitalized on its Twilight fame, offering Twilight-themed tours to the obsessed.

Montepulciano, Italy
The movie didn’t shoot in Volterra, but in nearby Montepulciano. If you want to see the fountain that Bella runs across to stop Edward before he steps into the sun in all his sparkly glory, you’re out of luck. The town square in Montepulciano does not have a fountain, one was constructed specifically for the movie shoot. But you can see other locations from the filming when you book the “New Moon” package at The Albergo Dumo, located right near the town square.

Los Angeles, California
Unless you get extremely lucky, your chances of getting into the New Moon premiere on November 16th are very slim. But you can still camp out at the Village Theatre and Bruin Theatre in Los Angeles in the hopes that you’ll catch a glimpse of your favorite supernatural being. Or you could stalk R-Patz and try to casually bump into him at an after-party in LA.

Photo of the Day (3-11-09)

I was first attracted to this photo because of the stance of the girl perched on the cart. Then the words Hai bôn´ caught my attention. Aha, Vietnam, I thought. The shoes are another give away that this is a Vietnamese scene. The shoes that these three have on are sold everywhere throughout the country. The red hat adds interest to the composition besides. Along with the visual appeal, jabry1221 has captured a scene that exudes happiness and delight.

If you’ve captured a scene somewhere, share it with us a Gadling’s Flickr Photo Pool. It might be chosen as Photo of the Day.

Skiing in Maine offers bargains in March

When I think of Maine, I think of leaping off barnacle covered rocks into the ocean and eating clams dipped in butter in Ogunquit like I did one summer when I went there to visit a high school friend. She was was working as a waitress at a hotel resort and I was a kitchen grunt and laundry girl at a kids camp–the only way I could afford making it to camp as a high schooler. Whenever else I’ve been to Maine, the theme has been the same–beach seafood,and leisurely strolls. Just recently I’ve thought of a different scene.

A friend of mine–a different one–just emailed me this week with news that he expected to be skiing in Maine until April. He lives near Portland. With the 70 degree weekend we’re having in Ohio, I’d say my one-day pass for tubing at Snow Trails will go unused. Maine is a different story. If I lived there, I’d go tubing and more. Perhaps, I’d dust off those cross-country skis of mine propped in a corner of our basement.

With the snow that socked in the northeast the beginning of this past week, the skiing in Maine has had an extra boost. The Ski Maine Association Web site offers links to each of the Alpine and Nordic ski areas and tells when it last snowed at each. Most places just got fresh snow.

The events page on the site offers a list of the myriad activities that are going on through the middle of April. I have to say the 22nd Annual Parrot Head/Bust N Burn Festival sounds intriguing. It’s taking place at Sunday River, April 3-5. Here’s an article in Boston.com from last year about the event. Key lime pie, Jimmy Buffet music and skiing are involved.

As a note, Sunday River is offering lodge and ski packages through March with an even greater price drop during the middle of the week. If you buy lift tickets ahead of time, you get a 10% discount. The Ski Maine Association also is offering discounts through the Maine Winter Activities Pass. Before you head somewhere, check out the deals.

The photo is of Sugar Loaf. College students who show ID can ski for $39 during mid-week days. That means Mon.-Thursday.

For those looking for skiing longer into the season, I’d seriously think about heading to Maine. Surely you can find steamed clams to dip in butter which could tide you over until summer.

Here’s an events page for what to do in Ogunquit in the winter. On Wednesday nights at Tapas and Tini’s there’s Divine and Dine–where you can have a choice of entrees that come with side dishes for $9.99. The deal ends the beginning of June.

The photo from Maine Coast Semester is of a winter trip to Holbrook Pond. Maine Coast Semester offers wilderness trips year round for adults and young people. Just another way to see Maine in the winter–or any season.