Mapping the Way Back to School

When you think about back to school for you or your children (or other kids in general) what kind of images pop into your head? Maybe you remember wearing a crisp new outfit the first day of school. Or maybe you’re thinking about

how it felt to lift your leg high and take that first big step back onto the school bus. Perhaps you recall the excitement of seeing friends again or the flip side of that when you felt butterflies in your stomach as you ventured out into a whole different world after enjoying the long break of a summer vacation. This year is different for most – for parents and children – although many of these same images are conjured up. Maybe some are thinking about sitting at their newly-acquired desk at home with their freshly-cleaned computer ready to lead them into the world of virtual learning. Either way, back to school is still an important time, a mile marker that allows one and all to hit the reset button and embark upon new adventures.

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Masking Up

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a mask is as follows: a covering used to hide or disguise your face. A covering used to protect your face or cover your mouth.

That’s just Entry 1 of 2. The others go on to include such definitions as a grotesque false face worn at carnivals or in rituals, a sculptured face or a copy of a face made by means of a mold and an area (such as the one around the eyes) of an animal’s face that is distinguished by usually darker coloring; and that’s just to name a few.

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Hitting Our Parks and Other Outdoor Playlands

What a summer it has been! Back in the spring when the shutdown first began many people in the hospitality business were panicked about the prospects of a slim summer season. And now, look at how it has panned out. Our mountain and beach towns are booming, our national parks are overflowing with visitors, there’s nary an RV or camper available to rent, many choose to bike, kayak, SUP and other outfitters for fun outdoor toys have sold out and our scenic byways are packed with road trippers. Thank goodness the country has not run out of ice cream!

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Doing Summer Differently

Have you been to the drive-ins yet this summer? I’m not just talking about a regular drive-in where you sit in your car and watch a classic showing of “ET” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” No, the trend these days during these COVID-19 times is to go and be a part of the show. You can go to a country music concert as in the case of one of the many listed in this Billboard story (which also includes rock and other genres), groove to an electronic music and light show by Mark Rebillet or hear some good stand up comedy like some folks recently did when they attended Jim Gaffigan’s first drive-in stand up show. With your car or flatbed pickup, you have more opportunities than ever to show your enthusiasm–think flashing lights, gyrating windshield wipers and a cacophony of horn tooting. Of course you can also shout, clap, sway and sing along to your heart’s delight whether sitting within the comfy interior of your vehicle or lounging on the hood of your rig. It sounds like a blast and it’s not just happening at old drive-ins; all kinds of parking lots and fields are being converted into showplaces all over the country, allowing for lots of social-distancing fun on these warm summer nights. In Paris, they’ve even created a movie theater where you can watch a film on a boat floating on the river Seine. Not surprisingly, it’s called a float-in instead of a drive-in. Mais oui!

Some regular movie theaters have even started offering drive-in movie experiences. Big Picture Café Theatre in Mad River Valley, Vermont, is one such example. Isn’t it nice to be able to choose two different ways to watch a good flick?

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Mapping Contagion

Have you noticed how maps have taken on new significance during COVID-19? Just think of how many times you’ve consulted a map to see which continents, countries, states and cities are affected by this novel coronavirus? Maybe you’ve even looked at a map of your county to check its numbers. You can easily zoom in on one on your handheld device or trace its parameters with your finger in your local newspaper. No matter how you do your map reading, the Map Geek bets that you’ve consulted more maps in recent months than you did in the period leading up to the onslaught of this outbreak. Yes, indeed– the Map Geek is not happy to see how this virus has shaken our world to its core but she is delighted that maps have become such a valuable tool in helping people to better chart and understand this disease.

Whether you’re an ordinary citizen, a nurse, an infectious disease expert, an epidemiologist or just another Map Geek, there are all kinds of COVID-19 maps out there that can serve to better inform you. Many are often accompanied by graphs and statistics much to the delight of numbers people that share a geekiness similar to the Map Geek. It’s all cool stuff despite the fact that much of the information reflects very scary and unfortunate happenings such as loss of life and economic hardship, all a result of this worldwide scourge. But still, these maps have been and will remain essential to all. The Map Geek would go so far as to say that this pandemic will forever change how people look at maps.

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Map Geek's Worldview: We are one

I have been in awe of the manifestations of love that have been expressed throughout the world since the last time I posted here. As you well know, the novel coronavirus has spread across the globe at an alarming rate these past weeks and travel has come to a screeching halt. As a Map Geek, I am a true global citizen, so this worldwide pandemic has affected me to the core.

I have been pulling up many of the destinations on the Discovery Map website and looking and wondering how everyone is faring throughout. Are you allowed to walk on the beaches of Cape May, New Jersey right now? What about in San Diego, California? Can you take a dip in the ocean at Cozumel, Mexico? What’s it like to walk down the street of one of the picturesque towns of The Berkshires (in Massachusetts) on a dewy spring morning without a soul around? Is it possible to grab takeout from one of Providence, Rhode Island’s fabulous Italian restaurants? Are they still serving up some of that gorgeous lowcountry food in Hilton Head/Bluffton, South Carolina? I can practically taste that delicious crab rice topped with shrimp, fried green tomatoes and beer-and-bacon-braised greens. I hope they’re still preparing their jalapeño cornbread and peach cobbler. I’m wondering which of the fantabulous bars and restaurants featured on our Discovery Maps are selling craft cocktails to go. And what shops are depending more on online shopping than actual in-store purchases? Basically, I just want to know how it’s going for everyone out there.

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Armchair Travel Tips

With most everyone hunkering down right now due to the coronavirus outbreak, Map Geek says it’s a perfect time to catch up on armchair travel and also to research upcoming trips. Sure, some of you adventuresome types will be looking to cash in on cheap airfare and discounted lodging, however, hopefully most of you will follow the CDC travel guidelines and lay low. That’s the smart thing to do right now. The sooner this pandemic passes, the sooner we can get back to doing what we love most, which is traveling.

When I was a little girl, I remember seeing the book mobile pull into a parking lot in our remote mountain community in upstate New York. Written on the side of it in big, bold letters was “See the World Through Books.” That thought has stayed with me throughout my life and I imagine that concept resonates with many of you, too. One could also add: see the world through magazines, online publications, podcasts and yes, maps. Maps definitely tell a story - pull up anyone of the maps featured on the Discovery Map International website for our almost 150 destinations they will transport you to the heart of some of the most popular travel spots in the United States and beyond. Go ahead and do it; check out what beloved cities like San Diego, Baltimore and San Antonio have to offer (just to name a few). And how about little-known locales such as Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Addison County & Middlebury, Vermont or the Eastern Shore of Maryland? Looking at the maps of these destinations online is not quite as fun as holding them in your hands, but zooming in and out on them still provides an informative and entertaining experience. (Don’t forget, too, that you can order an actual map directly from Discovery Map’s website).

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Sam and Ann Douglass Celebrate 25 years of making maps, friends, and memories

In a day and age when most marriages don’t last 25 years, Sam and Ann Douglass achieved that milestone long ago and accomplished another one: 25 years as business partners as owners of five Discovery Map franchises. The couple recently celebrated their quarter century in business together with the following Discovery Map locations: the Lakes Region/Winnipesaukee, Hampton Beach, Kennebunkport/Wells, York/Ogunquit and Camden/Rockland.

“I’m not sure what we envisioned when we first purchased the Discovery Map of the Lakes Region franchise,” said Sam. “We thought the maps were great and we became the first franchisee. We could see the value and were attracted to how much people loved the maps. After getting our feet wet with the first one, it was pretty clear that Discovery Map would be useful in a number of areas beyond the Lakes region. So, we went for it.”

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Bamrick Celebrating 25 Years with Discovery Map

When Brian Bamrick began his Discovery Map business back in 1995, he made a tactical decision to be as hands-on with his business as possible. From Day One, he handled sales, creative and distribution, all done with a positive attitude. This old school formula provided Bamrick with a pathway to success that recently saw him celebrate his 25th anniversary as a Discovery Map owner.

Brian is the owner and publisher of Discovery Map of Cape May, Discovery Map of Princeton, Discovery Map of Long Beach Island and Discovery Map of Lewes/Rehoboth. He began Discovery Map of Cape May in 1995.

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Ski Maps Bonanza

It’s no secret that here at Discovery Map International we’re into skiing. Headquartered in Waitsfield, Vermont in the heart of ski country, most of the staff at DM loves snowsports. Peter Hans, president of Discovery Map International, is arguably the most enthusiastic skier of us all. And being the quirky bunch that we are, of course, there’s a couple from the dark side AKA snowboarding among us. Oh c’mon, hike up your snow pants up and have a chuckle.

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