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Book Review: Dream Destinations – The Worlds 100 Greatest Places To Vacation by LIFE Magazine Editors

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Touted as both a book of enticements as well as potential memories, Dream Destinations: The Worlds 100 Greatest Places To Vacation is an oversize hardcover book that has a span of 144 pages. It is meant to transport you around the globe to both well known places such as the Sydney Opera House and Martha's Vineyard, and to lesser known spots such as the Masai Mara and Kiawah Island. The book is laid out in six specific types of vacations and is meant to have places to travel for everyone.

"For Families” includes the destinations of London, Orlando, and the impossible dream of Space. One note: in each section is an impossible dream which is a trip that would appeal to only a select few. In this case it is space. While you may be able to afford the $200,000 per ticket cost for a future Virgin Galactic space flight — as over two dozen have been purchased already — it is, for the rest of us, only something to dream about.

“For Culture Vultures” takes us to spots that tantalize our culture instincts. Here we have places like the Vatican museums, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Hemingway’s Havana. “For Sight Seers” we have Transylvania, the Orient Express, and seeing Morocco by camel. And for dreamers, it is an underwater adventure.

“For Sporty Types” provides us with destinations such as golfing in Oregon, The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and fishing off the Keys in Florida. “For History Buffs” has us on the trail with Lewis and Clark, traveling through 11 states. Then there is Captain Cook’s Polynesia, and hunting for dinosaurs in Wyoming.

“For Romantics” takes you into Napa Valley wine country; to what was the capital of Imperial Japan for a thousand years, Kyoto; or, if you don’t mind dropping $3000 a night, you can even stay at the Kennedy Cottage on the San Ysidro Ranch in California, where the future first couple spent part of their honeymoon in 1954.

All in all? Dream Destinations is the kind of book that made LIFE magazine famous, with its large format images and colorful descriptions meant to tantalize the reader. For the most part the images are well done, although a couple, at such a large size, show a bit of grain noise; for example the “Inside Passage” story about Alaska is rather grainy, but that could also have been done for effect as well.

If you want a book that can tempt you with travel destinations, give you a bit of background about the location you are going to travel to, or even if you just want a colorful coffee table book that will entertain visitors, then Dream Destinations: The Worlds 100 Greatest Places To Vacation fits the bill.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.