Travel the World with Your Library Resources

Despite the limited possibilities of a real escape due to the ongoing pandemic, thanks to the Internet and resources offered by your library, you can explore the world and enjoy travel – virtually!

Lately, the travel industry has cooperated with government agencies to create a wonderfully appealing virtual experience for travelers who might enjoy exploring the world from the comfort of their homes. 

Explore and discover five National Parks, a series Hidden Worlds of the National Parks created by the National Park Service with Google Arts & Culture.

You will find even more National Parks to tour virtually here.

Travel book publishers were also exploring beyond travel guide books. Here is their new product—a series called Passenger.

Greece: Passenger for Explorers of the World is the second book in the series, tailored to the tastes of armchair travelers. It concentrates on the best writing, photography, and arts of the region. Greece can be reserved in print for Curbside Pickup, or you can check out the ebook on hoopla.

America the Beautiful by the National Geographic Society is a book of gorgeous photography that celebrates the unique beauty of all the 50 states. The book offers an alternative way to see the country in the time of limited travel. It is a gratifying and very worthwhile visual journey.

Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of Himalayas by Bruce Kirby shares the author’s account of a journey that his family undertook, chartering an absolutely new and unfamiliar territory by travelling to a distant Tibetan locale, staying at the Buddhist monastery, and backpacking in the Himalayas at high altitudes.

The book is a mixture of local history, culture, travelogue, and personal experience, and very well reviewed. You can reserve it in print for Curbside Pickup or check out the ebook on hoopla.

The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Pamela Roberts is aware of and inspired by the huge role that music, and pianos in particular, played in Russian culture. The British travel writer follows the ways pianos travelled from major Russian cities to distant Russian locales, and explores and portrays Siberia – the part of Russia that has long intrigued foreigners, though it is not much travelled and understood.

The book combines a travelogue with Russian history and culture, as well as music history. You will find a New York Times review here. Reserve the book in print for Curbside Pickup or read the ebook on Overdrive or hoopla

Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery by Wendy Lesser is another oeuvre by the author – a fan of Scandinavian mysteries – who has been sharing her enthusiasm and reviews with the public for almost four decades. 

Her deep interest in Scandinavian mysteries and voracious reading of numerous books written by writers from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark lead to her deep knowledge of those countries: their geography, history, culture, social norms, and laws.

When she traveled to Scandinavia, the author said she found it “even lovelier than she expected.”

Part literary criticism and part travelogue, the book was well regarded in The New York Times review.


As always, these books are available through the library catalog, either in print or digital format, sometimes both. 

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/Libby or hoopla with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, please carefully read the instructions for ordering and Curbside Pickup.

A Virtual Garden Tour

Take a (virtual) tour through some of the most beautiful gardens of the world! 

Though the weather might not be well-suited for a garden tour right now, with books borrowed or downloaded from the library, you can enjoy armchair travelling from the safety of your home, take pleasure in looking through books with gorgeous color illustrations and photographs of splendidly designed gardens from all over the world, and learn about the people who designed them.

A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood by Kate Markert is the first book on the history and design of Hillwood, the estate of Marjorie Post, the businesswoman and the heir of General Foods, Inc.

The gardens were designed with the idea of planting a very diverse range of plants and trees, thus providing something flowering or simply beautiful to look at for every season. The new commissioned photography for the book perfectly reflects the beauty of the garden.

For Rachel Lambert Mellon – best known as Bunny Mellon – plants and gardens have been a passion for all her long life (1910-2014), and she was really remarkable with garden designs. Best known for her redesign of the White House Rose Garden, she planned grounds designs for all the multiple estates her family owned in various parts of the world. She also designed a couple of gardens for the celebrated French couturier, Hubert de Givenchy, and several other gardens of the White House.

The Gardens of Bunny Mellon by Linda Holden includes spectacular newly commissioned photographs of some of Mellon’s gardens, as well as her sketches and watercolors.

In American Gardens, Monty Don, an eminent British horticulturist, travels across the US with celebrated photographer Derry Moore, exploring the country’s iconic as well as lesser-known gardens. Best known as a presenter of the BBC gardening television series, Mr. Don did one of the episodes this past year on American gardens; the book complements the series, and includes some previously unpublished photographs. 

The Garden Tourist: 120 Destination Gardens and Nurseries in the Northeast by Jana Milbocker describes 120 botanical gardens, historic estates, and nurseries from Southern Maine to Pennsylvania. 

665 luscious photos make this book more than a guidebook; it offers aesthetic enjoyment of horticultural colors and designs.

For those wishing to explore outside North America, the library has the following offerings:

Japanese Gardens: Kyoto by photographer Akira Nakata showcases 96 stunning Japanese gardens of Kyoto. These awe-inspiring works of art date between the 13th and the 17th centuries.

A recognizable aspect of Japanese culture, gardens embody a philosophy about the relationship between humanity and nature through seamless incorporation of living elements with man-made design and the surroundings (such as buildings).

Not to be missed, especially if Kyoto is a travel destination.

Everyday Monet: A Giverny-inspired Gardening and Lifestyle Guide to Living Your Best Impressionist Life by Aileen Bordman will take you to France, to the third most-visited site in the country: Giverny, a commune in Normandy best known for the location of an estate that was once home to Claude Monet, one of the founders of the French Impressionism.

Gorgeously illustrated with photos of Monet’s spectacular garden designs, reproductions of his paintings, and filled with instructions, the book becomes a practical guide for creating a lifestyle inspired by Monet’s works.

As always, these books are available through the library catalog, either in print or digital format, sometimes both. 

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/Libby with your library card. To obtain a print copy, please carefully read the instructions for reserving and Curbside Pickup.

ARTfull at Home with the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum wants you to get your creative energy flowing! Part of their ARTfull at Home program, they have put together a handy virtual guide of creativity prompts to inspire kids and kids at heart alike to create art with what they have.

Designed to get little ones engaging with their built and natural environments in experimental ways, the guide includes a list of objects from your home or backyard that can be used for art projects, as well as prompts for creating, such as sound sculptures, shadow art, paper planes, and looking for patterns in nature. 

The deCordova has a lot of other great virtual content, including an ARTfull at Home Story Time featuring Andrea Beaty’s Iggy Peck, Architect (you may also know Iggy’s friends Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist, too!). They’ve also got a lot of content for the not-so-littles (i.e., grown ups), like a virtual tour of the sculpture park, that is not to be missed.

For more inspiration to jumpstart your creative projects at home, check out these titles from our digital collections:

Books for Art Project Inspiration:

Art Lab for Kids and Art Lab for Little Kids by Susan Schwake

Art For Spring (from the Outdoor Art Room Series) by Rita Storey

Books About Artists:

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant, ill. by Melissa Sweet

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, ill. by Mary GrandPré

Viva FridFrida Kahlo,a by Yuyi Morales

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Books About Art & Design in Our World:

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (also available on hoopla as an audiobook)

The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, ill. by Rafael López

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty (also available on hoopla as an ebook, audiobook, movie, and Read Along!)