As we prepare to close for Thanksgiving, all of us at Globe Travel want you to know how grateful we are for you—for your kindness, your support, your friendship, and your business. We love making your travel dreams come true, and we thank you for the trust you place in us.
Right behind Thanksgiving comes the season of holiday shopping. As you think about how you support local businesses on Small Business Saturday and throughout this holiday season, we thank you for choosing us, your local travel advisors!
Family History Travel
With the popularity of genealogy and DNA testing kits, travel that helps people discover their roots is becoming more and more popular. A couple of years ago, I took a family history tour of Scotland in an effort to connect with my heritage. I’ll share a little bit about my trip and the tips I learned to make family history travel more enjoyable.
Tip #1: Research where you are going and your family’s connection to the place.
My aunt has done lots of research on our family history, and she has traced our roots back to Scotland, where our ancestors left to come to America in the 1600s. In our case, the “place” I wanted to see was Tulloch Castle and a small museum there that is dedicated to all things Clan Davidson, of which I am a part. I like to say that we went to Scotland “and stayed in the family castle.” The truth is that Tulloch Castle is no longer in Clan Davidson and is now a hotel. And the other truth is that Tulloch Castle didn’t even belong to anyone in Clan Davidson until the 18th century, well after my branch of the Davidsons had come to America. But Tulloch Castle is the primary building associated with Clan Davidson, and it was the main place we wanted to go to learn more about our family’s heritage.
For you, the place may be a region of a country, a small town, a neighborhood of a larger city, or even a farm or a church or a building that played a role in your family’s heritage. If you connect with living relatives as part of your family research, it might even be their homes.
Tip #2: As you are planning your family heritage tour, think about both places and significant historical events that shaped the lives of your ancestors.
For me, the historical event that I was most interested in was the Battle of Culloden, where the Scottish clansmen rose up against the British forces and were defeated in a bloody battle. At the Culloden Battlefield museum, I was able to see drawings of where the Davidson Clan was fighting. Knowing that my ancestors were there made the history that I learned at the museum come to life for me.
Local museums and cultural centers are a great way to learn more about the lives of your ancestors from a specific time period or event. Some examples of places that I know people have visited as they’ve explored their ancestry include Jewish heritage museums that focused on the Holocaust, Native American heritage museums in the Southwest, Ellis Island, and WW II monuments and sites in Europe.
Tip #3: Consider reaching out to a local historian or family member if you want to do research on your trip.
For many people, like me, family heritage travel is about trying to walk in the shoes of my ancestors and get a better understanding of who they may have been and the events and geography that shaped their lives. I wasn’t necessarily looking for specific information; I was content to discover and to have serendipitous moments of learning through my travels.
For others, though, family heritage travel is part of their genealogical research, and they are looking for headstones, documentation, or maybe even people who may have known their ancestors. If you have specific information you are looking for, it’s best to make arrangements in advance with someone who may be able to help you find that information, especially if you require translation or interpretation services. If you’ve found a long lost relative via the Internet, traveling to meet him/her can be especially rewarding as you build new relationships based on your common heritage.
So where is the special place from your family heritage that connects you to your ancestors? We can help you get there. From hiring private guides to finding drivers who can take you to the smallest villages, we can help you plan a rewarding trip where you come home with just a little bit stronger sense of self and satisfaction.
What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is dedicated to protecting and preserving natural and cultural sites of significance around the world. By focusing on the world’s cultural diversity and natural wealth, UNESCO’s goal is to protect and cherish these sites in order to preserve them for future generations.
To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet specific selection criteria related to their natural or cultural significance. For example, cultural sites must be highly-regarded examples of human traditions, human creative genius, historical architecture, or human values. Natural sites must display exceptional natural beauty or phenomena, represent the development of earth’s history, or be a biologically-diverse habitat.
When a site is listed on the World Heritage List, that site attracts a good deal of international attention and cooperation in protecting and maintaining it as a cherished place of natural or cultural significance. It sometimes also becomes a magnet for tourism, as people around the world become interested in seeing these authentic locations—and in caring for the culture and history of the local community by supporting the sites.
I love visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites when I travel. I know that they will be beautiful and that they will tell a story—a story of nature or a story of the people in the region. Here in Charlottesville, Monticello and the University of Virginia are World Heritage Sites. Here are some favorite World Heritage Sites of Globe Travel consultants:
Great Wall of China: 6,000 km of wall, built as early as 7th century BC
Machu Picchu, Peru: ancient city of the Incas from the 15th and 16th centuries
Pyramids, Egypt: constructed around 2500 BC
Angkor Wat, Cambodia: the world’s largest religious monument, built in the 12th century
Roman Colosseum, Italy: one of the few remaining buildings from Roman times, built around 72 AD
Mesa Verde, Colorado: cliff dwellings in canyon walls date to the 13th century
Chichen Itza, Mexico: ancient city of the Mayans from the 7th to 13th centuries
Acropolis, Greece: see the remains of buildings from the time of the powerful Greek empire
Great Barrier Reef, Australia: more than 2,300 km of amazing ecosystem
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe: with a 100-meter drop, this is one of the largest waterfalls in the world
The next time you are planning a trip and have an opportunity to visit a World Heritage Site, do it! You won’t be disappointed!
World War II Landing Beaches in Normandy
In honor of Veterans Day, we’re showcasing a popular destination for American tourists in France: the WW II landing beaches and the American cemetery in Normandy. The area is celebrating the 75th anniversary of D-Day this year. The people of the region and the memorials ensure that the world never forgets the events that unfolded on June 6, 1944 and the people who sacrificed their lives in the Allied invasion of France that ultimately led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Here are some highlights for a visit to the area:
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is incredibly moving and serene. The highlight is 9,387 headstones in 10 grave plots. The white marble Latin crosses and Stars of David are precisely aligned in perfect rows. Before coming into the cemetery, there is the Garden of the Missing, a rose garden with engraved tablets that honor those missing in action. The cemetery is situated on the cliffs over Omaha Beach. An overlook offers panoramic views of the beach below and the English Channel beyond. There is also a museum onsite that details the timeline for American soldiers and the obstacles they faced.
Omaha Beach is one of the five landing beaches from World War II. It was an American landing beach, and also where the Allies saw their greatest losses. Today, a memorial called Les Braves honors American soldiers. You can stand on the beach and begin to imagine the bravery of US soldiers who landed on that beach with the goal of liberating France.
Arromanches D-Day Museum is located near Gold Beach, one of the British landing beaches. The museum tells the story of how the Allies established a temporary harbor at Arromanches to enable the advance of Allied troops in Normandy, because all of the existing ports in the area where strongly held by the Germans. The components for the harbor were built in England, floated across the English Channel, and then assembled off the coast at Arromanches. The temporary harbor allowed for the movement of supplies into Normandy to support the effort of the Allies.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply longing for a sense of unity, try a visit to the Normandy beaches. We were told that the memorials were established to ensure the world never forgets the work of the Allied forces on D-Day and the ultimate liberation of Europe. The people in these towns and villages along the coast are keeping history alive by remembering and honoring the work that so many soldiers from many nations pulled together to do in the summer of 1944.
A Travel Treat!
There were so many cute kids at my house last night trick-or-treating! I saw more princesses and super heroes than I could count! A delightful surprise was dogs that were dressed up. Yes, dressed up!! We saw dogs as skeletons, dogs wearing hats, and a doggie UPS driver. My favorite was a family of dinosaurs: a little boy dinosaur, a mommy dinosaur, and 2 doggie dinosaurs. I wish I had thought to get a picture of them. Fortunately, we had some biscuits for dressed-up dogs who came trick-or-treating.
Pets are a very important part of our lives. But so often, we aren’t able to take them on vacation with us. Some people have reworked their lives to be able to vacation with their pets, like taking road trips and trying to find pet-friendly hotels (ugh). Here are two ideas for taking your cats or dogs on vacation with you.
Consider a Transatlantic cruise on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. They have kennels onboard so your cat or dog can get a vacation at the same time you do—complete with Cunard’s legendary White Glove service! And you still get to see each other every day. What’s better than vacationing with your best friend?
Take your dog or cat to Walt Disney World. Best Friends Pet Care is available on WDW property so that your pets enjoy a vacation while you are in the theme parks. There are both indoor and outdoor play spaces, overnight accommodations, special activities (like an ice cream break for dogs and tuna-on-a-ritz for cats), and a grooming salon. Whether they go for the day or for a week, you know they will be pampered while you enjoy some fun in the parks.
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