A few articles to get you reading & thinking

I’m entertaining my Parents-in-law today so I hope you don’t mind if I’m a bit brief…

We’ve had a few discussions on this site about when (and if) to use travel agents. If I were gay, I would use this travel agent. He says he works hard for his clients and he has been to 120 countries so he has a bit of first-hand travel experience…

Most of the article is about gay/lesbian travel. There seem to be lots of cruise options.

Here we have a handful of free vacations for US soldiers. I hate mentioning the war because we tend to get at least one crazy comment about it every time (not surprising that war makes people emotional though) and it leaves me open to criticism about not supporting our troops. In reality though, injured soldiers like the guy in this story need more support from the US. 23 free vacations isn’t enough when thousands are dead or injured, is it?

Blowing Rock might be a funny name, but it sounds like a nice place for a vacation home. Apparently there are about 1,500 full-time residents but more like 10,000 people in the summer. Supposedly this place can compete with the nature spots we’re talking about on the post from the other day.

Filed Under: Travel discussion

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  1. Sharon says:

    Glad you mentioned Blowing Rock! I had forgotten about some vacations spent in and around that area with my parents – some time ago. The entire area of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive, etc, is one of spectacular scenery, wildflowers, birds, and such. We also spent time in the small town of Luray, Virginia, another beautiful setting, canoeing and kayaking on the Shenandoah River, etc.

  2. Travelfan says:

    Let me guess where you stand on the Iraq war:

    “23 free vacations isn’t enough when thousands are dead or injured, is it?”

    48,000 killed by illegal aliens in this country.

    600 a year killed in auto accidents just in New York in a year = 3,000 + in 5 years.

    The majority getting killed are the terrorists and we can thank our U.S. soldiers for that. They need more than free vacations as thanks from us. Perhaps getting the anti-war kooks to shut up would be a nice start to showing support for our troops.

  3. N says:

    Hear! Hear! Travelfan!

    I’m with you! Good post!

  4. sherry says:

    This not a SITE FOR POLTICAL STATEMENTS. This is a travel site so how ones feels about the war or troops is mute. Get over it …. just keep up the good work with valid information. Critics should just be quite!! Thanks for all that you do !!!!

  5. A says:

    Um, sherry – I love how you state that “critics should just be quiet”. Hence your addition of “get over it”, right? The author himself knowingly stuck his foot in his mouth by bringing the issue up and then took it right back out by commenting how he “hate(s) mentioning the war” because it always brings out a “crazy” post somewhere or other. It’s people like you who keep them going.

    Not to takes sides though: Travelfan, you’re either skimming or getting so bent out of shape when you see the word “war” that you didn’t even realize that the blogger said “In reality though, injured soldiers like the guy in this story need more support from the US. 23 free vacations isn’t enough when thousands are dead or injured, is it?” Which means that he DOES NOT think that it’s enough. Is his comment enough to make you stop reading his blog? If so, oh well; I belive that it’s your loss.

    We can all agree to disagree. It’s our differences that make us individuals, but it should never seperate us. That’s what makes our country great.

    And since this is a travel blog — should we ever get somewhere in Iraq, perhaps it will one day be a SAFE travel destination.

    I love this blog, BTW — no matter what I believe in.

    The Appalachians are beautiful in my opinion, no matter where you go. I had the opportunity, several years ago, to go deep into the mountains in Kentucky where I did a mission project. I’ve never seen clearer, or felt colder, streams (cricks, if you will). Everyone out here – E, NE, MW – is always dreaming about the Rockies, which are different and pretty too, but we often forget about our own “backyard.” The culture is incredible as well. This mountain chain deserves a second glance. Although I tend to stray from the larger areas and prefer to get down into the “real” aspects of a place — I am a camper, tried and true — it’s my belief that you’re really not seeing a place until you ask a local “where it’s at.” IMHO, that’s the way to travel. It’s not always the safest way, but you always come back with killer photos and great memories.

  6. James Trotta says:

    If you had to guess travelfan, I hope you guessed that I don’t like war. Seriously, does anyone like war?

    A is 100% correct though. I think people that go to war need more support. It reminds me of a Phil Ochs song where the lyrics go “Disillusioned soldiers come home from the war; sarcastic students tell them not to fight no more.”

    It also reminds me of my 95-year-old grandfather who fought in WWII. He still remembers how he had to put a promising career on hold and how the war messed things up in his life. Yet, most people would say he was lucky.

    Anyway, these aren’t the comments that scare me. It’s the more extreme one about presidents ruining the world and other inflammatory things.

    And A was wrong about one thing – I didn’t knowingly put my foot in my mouth. I do it often enough unknowingly though…

  7. travelfan says:

    James Trotta,

    You should have left your statement that 23 vacations wasn’t enough for the troops but you added “when thousands are dead or injured”, trying to make a point that all war is bad.

    No one wants war but sometimes war is necessary…like your father saving Europe from the Germans in WWII. I’m sure as time passes and the Middle East has many democracies, our troops will be more appreciated for what they are doing today.

    Unfortunately, the peace people think you can talk people out of killing you. You cannot. Thank God we have men and women who love this country and are willing to protect it.

  8. travelfan says:


    I read his comment and I disagreed with it. See my comment above to James Trotta. He could have said:

    23 vacations is not enough because:

    our troops have been away from their families supporting America for many months…

    serving America in countries where the temperature gets up to 120 decrees or more in the summer…

    our troops protect all of us and keep us free…

    our military is the greatest in the world….

    but he chose to say “when thousands are dead or injured”

    Go figure….

    I read this blog and enjoy it except when the writer has an agenda.

  9. James Trotta says:

    Hold on travelfan – we all agree that US soldiers deserve respect. I just happen to think that risking their lives is greater than any of your reasons.

    I hope I’m wrong, but it sounds to me like you would rather read “Our troops deserve more because they’re hot and their good at what they do.” That stuff matters, but not as much as the real tragedy many families have to face.

  10. travelfan says:

    James Trotta,

    My point was that there are many reasons for honoring our troops, including risking their lives for our freedom, that are 100 times better than your statement “when thousands are dead or injured.”

    It’s sort of the “I’m against the war but I support the troops” mantra of the anti-war protesters. If you support the troops, you should also support their mission. After all, it wasn’t THEIR vote that sent them to war in the first place and gave them the mission.

  11. James Trotta says:

    travelfan – you might want to change your name to politicsfan next time you leave a comment. I personally hate it when people say you have to support the mission and the troops together but this isn’t a blog for discussing political arguments so I’m going back to blogging about travel now…

  12. travelfan says:

    Maybe you should have stuck to just travel infomation earlier, before commenting on items that you yourself said might get political.

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