A look at the five Home of the White Squirrels, long-trip tips, where not to drive fast in Germany and more.


 


American Tourist

Four towns in the United States and one town not too far to the north, in Canada, lay claim to being THE Home of the White Squirrels. We certainly can’t settle the debate, so we’ll let you decide which is the true home. Here is a quick rundown of the white squirrel towns: 

Olney, Ill.

Where: Olney is in southeast Illinois, about two hours east of St. Louis.

Fun facts: Olney has laws that give white squirrels the right of way on all streets; the town conducts an annual squirrel count; the police patches include a picture of a white squirrel.

More information: http://www.ci.olney.il.us/Visitors/WhiteSquirrel.htm, http://www.ci.olney.il.us 

Marionville, Mo.

Where: Marionville is in southwest Missouri, about a half-hour from Springfield, Mo. (and about 3.5 hours from St. Louis)

Fun facts: The town says it has the oldest (since the Civil War) and largest colony of white squirrels, according to Roadside America.

More information: http://www.marionvillemissouri.com

Brevard, N.C.

Where: Brevard is in southwest North Carolina, a little more than an hour from Greenville, S.C., and about 2.5 hours from Charlotte, N.C.

Fun facts: Unlike the other towns on this list, the white squirrels in Brevard aren’t albinos; the town holds the annual Brevard White Squirrel Festival on Memorial Day weekend; about 25 percent of the town’s squirrels are white squirrels.

More information: http://www.whitesquirrelinstitute.com, http://brevardnc.org

Exeter, Ontario

Where: Exeter is a community in the Canadian municipality of South Huron, Ontario, about halfway between Detroit and Toronto.

Fun facts: In 1984, Peter Snell made a music video about Exeter’s white squirrels – check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7DKsZmFjds&eurl=http://www.whitesquirrels.ca/why.htm

More information: http://www.whitesquirrels.ca/festival.htm, http://www.town.southhuron.on.ca

Kenton, Tenn.

Where: Kenton is in northwest Tennessee, about two hours from Memphis, Tenn.

Fun facts: A 2006 count found about 200 white squirrels in Kenton; locals say all the other towns’ white squirrels came from the Kenton colony.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenton,_Tennessee

For more information on white squirrels around the U.S., check out http://whitesquirrelinstitute.com/WSColonies.html.

Travel Tales

It’s always good to know where you’re going, even if you think you know where you’re going. Got that? Well two Italian women found that out the hard way. The women were planning to pick up their niece in Monaco, but they went to Munich, Germany, instead. In Italian, Munich is called Monaco di Baviera, which explains the mishap. The woman drove from northern Italy to Munich, where they eventually discovered they were in the wrong place, so they drove the 500-some miles to the Monaco where their niece actually was.

Good to Know

If you’re planning to travel to Germany so you can put the pedal to the metal on the motorways, make sure you don’t speed through Bremen in northern Germany – the city became the first in the country to impose a speed limit. The city’s 75-mph speed limit is designed to promote road safety and to reduce CO2 emissions.

Fun Facts

- One of the sights of Sydney's Manly district is The Quarantine Station, preserving the city's original defenses against infectious diseases. -- Wikitravel.org

- Feeling a little under the weather in Indonesia? Odds are you've caught wind (masuk angin), so the local cure is to either rub an oiled coin on your skin or, easier yet, just break wind. -- Wikitravel.org

Travel Tip: Long-Trip Tips

The first thing to realize when considering a long trip is that travel can be hard work – it definitely isn't the same as a vacation, and it can often be more taxing than the work or school that you're leaving behind. Here are some things to do before you go to help you cope:

- Talk to people who have done a trip similar to the one you are planning. Or check out a travel Web site that has first-person travel stories.

- Plan big and loose. Read everything you can about the area you will be visiting. A rough outline of your trip might have three or four target points and a variety of ways to get between them. You don't want to find out that the weather isn't what you thought, or the guidebook was incorrect, after committing to six weeks in a specific spot.

- Set up a pre-trip timeline so you don't end up with a full to-do list the last week before you go. Things to consider are doctor's visits for a check-up, inoculations and prescription refills; purchasing plane tickets; renewing passports and obtaining visas and other documents; and checking your insurance coverage abroad and purchasing additional travel insurance if needed.

- The longer the trip, the lighter you should pack. Stick to the absolute basics and know what you can and cannot buy at your destination(s).

- Be prepared for uncomfortable trips. You will often find yourself in a busy, cramped, economy-class environment, and it could be for many hours - especially long plane trips.

- Plan your trip around activities, not just sights. Looking at every church in Paris or every temple in Katmandu can quickly turn into a blur of monotony. Activities such as cooking, language classes or volunteer work can keep you from turning into a spectator in your own adventure. (Wikitravel.org)

Talk Like a Local: In Japan

Good afternoon: Kon'nichiwa (kon-nee-chee-WAH)

How are you? Ogenki desu ka? (oh-GEN-kee dess-KAH)

Fine, thank you: Genki desu (GEN-kee dess)

How about you? Anata wa? (an-ATA wa)

GateHouse News Service