Authors Posts by Elisa Domenick

Elisa Domenick

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Elisa has been passionate about writing and travel almost her whole life. She loves exploring new places and going on adventures, even if it's someplace right around the corner from her home. When she's not traveling or writing, or writing about travel, she spends her time being a mom (to a human and a cat), volunteering, making films, studying comedy, and advocating animal rights.

We all know that the food served on an airplane leaves a lot to be desired, but the food served at The Airplane Restaurant (Solo’s) is just the opposite.

The restaurant is set inside of a fully-intact Boeing KC-97 tanker (one of the largest piston air crafts ever built by Boeing) that was built in 1953. In May 2002, it began its second mission to be the preeminent aviation restaurant in the United States. Unlike other “gimmicky” restaurants, Solo’s serves good food at affordable prices. Although, the restrooms do play sound effects of plane takeoffs and landings.  Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, adjacent to the Radisson Hotel, they are open daily for lunch and dinner.

airplane restaurant

Yelp photo by Jessica H.

Forty-two passengers can eat in the plane of the 275 seat restaurant. Solo’s serves classic American fare such as steaks and ribs, as well as chicken, seafood and pasta dishes. Displaying hundreds of pictures, memorabilia and rare artifacts, Solo’s offers much more than great food, it offers a flight through aviation history.

The Airplane Restaurant KC-97 is not only rich in history, but also in luck. Returning from one of the many refueling missions to Europe, the KC-97’s crew thought they were going to have to ditch in the Atlantic. They couldn’t remember where they put the Azores (islands located 970 miles west of Portugal)! Luckily for the crew, the plane, and The Airplane Restaurant, the Azores were rediscovered and the plane didn’t end up on the bottom of the ocean.

Treat yourself to first class and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of flight and fly on in to Solo’s!

 Have you visited the The Airplane Restaurant?

A volcano emerges from between the southern Andes mountains, a stunning waterfall flowing from its peak. It is called the Magic Mountain, and you can stay there. The Magic Mountain Lodge, or Montana Magica, in Chile is a real life fairy tale hotel.

Originally a place for friends to stay while they enjoyed the hunting and fishing resources of the Hulio Hulio reserve, the name is taken from a favorite book of the owners. The story describes a mountain that has magical powers and grants wishes, called The Magic Mountain.

The Magic Mountain Lodge is part of the complex Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. It is the first hotel to be conceived as a harmonious copy of a mountain; the lodge was built with noble indigenous materials by artisans from the neighboring communities of Neltume and Puerto Fuy. Enjoy being away from civilization in the self-sufficient lodge. Dine at the restaurant, “Meson del Bosque” – The Forest Table. All meals are taken here and you’ll get the opportunity to sample some authentic Chilean cooking.  During the evening the restaurant provides a bar where you can enjoy the traditional Chilean Pisco Sour. Made of grape liqueur, mixed with lemon juice and sugar. Each of the 12 rooms has a private bathroom, and the rooms are named with plants and animals found in the park. Relax in the spa that is shared with the Nothofagus Hotel, soak in one of the indoor or outdoor pools, or enjoy a book in the reading room. For extra indulgence, take a relaxation bath in an ancient trunk. If you seek something more active, there is plenty to do. From horseback riding, mountain biking, expeditions, to paintball and mini golf and so much more, there is something for everyone.

Harto del calor? Ven a Huilo Huilo y disfruta del rafting y de la grandeza del río Fuy. #SelvaPatagonica #rafting #SurdeChile #InstaTravel www.huilohuilo.com

A photo posted by Reserva Biologica Huilo Huilo (@reservabiologicahuilohuilo) on

But the highlight of your stay will be found amongst the tropical landscape. Huilo Huilo is part of a unique ecosystem in the Patagonian Rainforest, a region which is still relatively unexplored. The engagement in scientific research and conservation in this area is internationally recognized. The Valdivian ecoregion, also known as the Valdivian Rainforest is also a part of this region. It is made up of a narrow strip of forest, and is one the 25 most valued and endangered ecoregions on the planet. Recognized as a biodiversity hotspot, its biological importance is due to its high amount of endemic species, its great variety of habitats and its unique vegetation. It is home to extraordinary species and a unique flora and fauna, which date back to the age of the super continent of Gondwana. The Valdivian ecoregion has been naturally isolated for thousands of years and, as a result, a unique vegetation and animal life with very particular characteristics developed. It has some of the richest and most extraordinary biodiversity in the world.

Have you visited the Magic Mountain Lodge in Chile?

 

unique honeymoon destinations

A honeymoon is a couple’s excuse to take a once in a lifetime trip. It should be something magical for the newlyweds, but it doesn’t hurt to make it a trip that’s brag-worthy either. If you and your partner march to the beat of your own drums, or are bored with the “usual” honeymoon spots, check out these untapped honeymoon destinations for a diverse range of offerings.

Myanmar (Burma)

If you and your partner are the adventurous type, and are seeking to avoid the tourist vibe, Myanmar might appeal to you. Due to recent political shifts, Myanmar has started opening its doors to international visitors. So why not be first in line? While the country is still in transition, conditions are improving. However, it is also a place with gorgeous scenery, friendly people and a unique opportunity to embark on new things together and enjoy the challenges that come along with that. It is also one of the most diverse and culturally rich countries in southeast Asia.

Stay: Belmond Governor’s Residence. A 1920s colonial mansion that has been converted into a luxury resort. Indulge in the spa, dine alfresco by lantern light, and take in the lotus ponds and gardens.

Cuba

For those who do things because they can. With a culture that has been unspoiled since the 1950s, white sand beaches, and turquoise waters, this trip is a brag worthy getaway.

Stay: Hotel Nacional. Located in the heart of Havana, it is one of the most historic hotels in Cuba. Enjoy views of the harbor and city, and add your name to the guest book alongside Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner’s signatures.

Iceland

Perfect for those seeking the best of both worlds. Exciting nightlife abounds in the capital of Reykjavik, but Iceland also provides plenty of rugged terrain and clear, open skies. Cross seeing the Northern Lights of your bucket list, bathe in natural hot springs, and enjoy the urban culture and emerging music scene.

Stay: ION Luxury Adventure Hotel. Stay in luxury accommodations in this unique architectural structure, while taking in the the natural beauty that surrounds it, just outside of Reykjavik. Take in a day of fly fishing, a trek on a glacier, or just soak in the heated outdoor pool.

Botswana

A safari lover’s paradise, Botswana is for the couple that takes their adventure with a side of refinery. Tucked away in remote corners of raw and wild beauty in South Africa, Botswana offers a range of outdoor options. See massive herds of elephants in Chobe National Park, take a boat cruise, eat under the star and end the day with a hot outdoor shower.

Stay: Sanctuary Baine’s Camp. This intimate and romantic retreat has just 5 suites, and is tucked in a grove of trees surrounded by papyrus beds. Soak under the stars in an outdoor bathtub, or lounge in the sky bed on the private deck.

Nicaragua

Perfect for the bohemian couple who want to enjoy a more natural and eco-friendly destination. A land of lakes, jungles, beaches, volcanoes and culture without the crowds, will afford you and your mate a travel experience like no other.

Stay: Mukul Resort and Spa. Visit the spa’s healer and receive energy readings, learn how to surf, take a helicopter ride to volcanoes, or visit nearby colonial towns.

Do you know of any unique honeymoon destinations?

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Tucked away in a small corner of western Poland, near the town of Gryfino, sits a bizarre and eerie forest of approximately 400 pine trees called the Crooked Forest. What makes this forest stand out from all the others, and the forest that surrounds it, is that all of the trunks of the trees grow with a 90 degree bend at the base-all bent facing north.

The original tree farmers planted the forest around 1930, when its location was still within the German province of Pomerania. It is believed that the trees were around 7-10 years old when they experienced whatever force and or damage that resulted in the trunk curvature.

The most widely believed cause, and most plausible, is that the curves are man-made. This makes sense given the fact that the trees are very consistent. The suggestion is that during the 1930s, local farmers planted and manipulated the trees for use as construction material. Most likely for ship building or for furniture.

crooked forest poland

Some believe that fluctuations in gravitational forces or a unique gravitational pull in the area could be responsible, but there is no evidence to support this, and the force of gravity pulls objects down, not sideways.

Another theory is that heavy snow could have flattened the trees while they were still saplings. This reason seems unlikely due to the Crooked Forest being surrounded by normal, upright pine trees.

One popular idea is that during the invasion of Poland during World War II, enemy tanks plowed through the young forest, flattening the trees to such an extent that they grew back crooked. The invasion of Poland would have likely prevented the farmers from being able to finish the job, leaving this peculiar forest that we still see today. While the dates match up for this theory, it would be unlikely for the young trees to have survived the tanks.

The local town was devastated during the war and was not reestablished until the 1970s, when a new power plant was built in the area. This explains why none of the locals have any idea why the trees look like this.

In the end, no one can be certain of what caused the curvature of these trees, since there are no witnesses, making the Crooked Forest a natural phenomenon.

Interested in visiting Crooked Forest? Click here.

Have you visited Crooked Forest?

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Summer time is here, and it’s the perfect time to hop in the car or RV and head out for adventure. Wherever your next road trip takes you, be sure to download these free travel apps beforehand. Not only will they take some of the hassle out of getting to your destination, they will make the journey more fun!

GasBuddy

free travel apps

 

Flickr photo via Richard P J Lambert

Getting gas is probably the least enjoyable part of hitting the road. Take some pressure off your wallet by using this app to find the lowest price for gas throughout the United States and Canada. They even have a trip cost calculator that locates the cheapest gas prices based on your route.

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Taking a meaningful vacation doesn’t always have to break the bank. Especially when it comes to overseas destinations. While you will still have to find your own transportation, there are a few options for finding free lodging accommodations that suit a variety of needs, and let’s face it, that’s almost like traveling for free! If you want to really immerse yourself in another place or culture, and not just be a tourist, then these sites are a great place to start.

traveling for free

 

Flickr photo via Lucas

Couchsurfing. Download the app, or visit the social networking website to find a free place to stay in any county in the world. Find a host by viewing their profile, and live and feel like a local in their home during your stay.

Servas. The purpose of Servas is to help build world peace, goodwill and understanding by providing opportunities for personal contacts among people of different cultures, backgrounds and nationalities. They believe hospitality and cultural interaction are the essential tools for achieving conditions for people to live in peace and unity. This option is great for those who are seeking something beyond just being a tourist.

WWOOF. stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Hosts set up travelers to work on their farm for about 4-6 hours a day in exchange for room and board. Don’t worry if you’ve never milked a cow, a wide variety of tasks are usually available from gardening to cleaning to wine and cheese making.

BeWelcome. is a hospitality exchange program similar to Couchsurfing. Often times hosts on BeWelcome provide more than just a place to stay for you or your family; they act as a tour guide, and sometimes provide meals and transportation.

Home Exchange. is a global community of smart, like-minded travelers, based on trust, goodwill and mutual respect. The site allows users to swap homes with other users. Simply create a listing for your home, send and receive inquiries, then set up a home swap with the user you choose.

Do you have any good tips for traveling for free?

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