Anclote Key Lighthouse: this skeletal cast-iron tower in one of Florida’s most remote state parks was built to withstand wind and waves.

At the Southern edge of Anclote Key, Florida, a spindly red-brown tower rises above the surrounding treeline, topping out at about 34 meters. It is the Anclote Key Lighthouse, which served as a navigational aid for ships in the Gulf of Mexico for nearly a century. The unusual beacon is located on the largest of the Anclote Keys, a group of barrier islands in Florida. The city was officially incorporated in 1887, the same year that the railroad reached the area and the lighthouse was erected, originally commissioned a year…

Read More

The strange story of the Farne Island devils

The island that Saint Aidan (born around 590 and died in 651), an Irish monk that restored Christianity to Northumberland, (and later St Cuthbert) chose for his retreat was the largest and closest to shore of the Farne Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Northumberland, England. It is known as Farne Island (Farena Ealande), which may mean literally “Island of the Pilgrims”, and sometimes as Inner Farne. In summer, artic terns nest in the island’s carpet of sea campion and over-protective parents divebomb the heads of visitors treading…

Read More

Kauai, the Hawaiian Island home to thousands of feral chicken

The island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian archipelago, is home to thousands of feral chicken that have developed a real relationship with the island’s human inhabitants. From the pristine beaches of Lumbahai, to airports, gas stations, even urban parking lots, they are everywhere on the Island. They roam freely, and have adapted to lead a a variety of lifestyles in their Hawaiian paradise, from eating garbage and cat food, to depending on tourists for food, or foraging on native arthropods. It’s because of this lifestyle variety that the chickens relationship…

Read More

Zombie Hunters, a local singer or photoshop? The true story of loneliest house in the world

For years, a variety of photos of a mysterious solitary white house on the side of a green hill, on a small, deserted island surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see have been doing the rounds on the web, earning the unofficial title of “loneliest house in the world”. But where is exactly? In Iceland. The Vestmannaeyjar archipelago consists of a cluster of small islands off the southern coast of the country. Elliðaey, or Ellirey, is the most northeastern of these islands, and home to the iconic…

Read More

Why one Australian Island celebrates thanksgiving

Norfolk Island is tiny, both in size and population. It is an Australian territory hundreds of miles from the mainland, that hosts fewer than 2,000 inhabitants. It has nice blue waters, unique flora, including famed Norfolk pine also displayed on their flag, and a curious story about its origin: the island was in fact populated by the descendants of mutineers from the British ship HMS Bounty. The British mutineers and several captive Tahitians had fled to nearby Pitcairn Island in 1790, and by 1856, their descendants moved there, to the…

Read More

Bolo Lêvedo: Portugal’s volcanic archipelago is home to addictively sweet and chewy muffins…

The beautiful island group of the Azores are one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. Composed of nine very isolated volcanic islands, are situated in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km west of continental Portugal, about 880 km northwest of Madeira, about 1,925 km southeast of Newfoundland, and about 6,392 km northeast of Brazil. All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the eponymous island, is the highest point in Portugal,…

Read More

Barra Head: the highest lighthouse in UK that shines from an abandoned island

We are in the island of Barra Head, the southernmost in the Outer Hebrides, an island unprotected from the ravages of ocean storms. In the fall of 1833, on October 15, the Barra Head Lighthouse lighted on for the first time, meant to help sailors near the island’s cliffs deal with the incredible waves. The lighthouse identifies the southern entrance to The Minch, a strait in north-west Scotland, separating the north-west Highlands and the northern Inner Hebrides from Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The 18-metre stone tower stands…

Read More

Mission Ruins of Venn’s Town: the remains of a 19th-century school perched atop a mountain surrounded by a thick tropical forest in Seychelles.

We are deep in the Morne Seychellois National Park where, perched on a mountaintop, lies the ruins of a mission named after Henry Venn (1796 – 1873) an Anglican missionary who in 1799 together with William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833), the English abolitionist, co-founded the Church Missionary Society to spread Christianity to the natives of Africa and Asia, as well as creating orphan asylums for children of slaves. Getting there is easy, it’s about 6 km drive from the city centre of Victoria, capital of Seychelles. A sign points at…

Read More

Isle of May beacon: a short white tower is all that’s left of Scotland’s first permanently manned lighthouse.

We are on the Isle of May, an island about five miles from the north shore of the Firth of Forth, now a national nature reserve famous for its abundant bird life. Looking at all that’s left of the first permanently manned lighthouse in Scotland, now it’s hard to believe the squat white structure was important enough to require three keepers at all times! The Beacon is Scotland first (and oldest) lighthouse and was considered at the time to be one of the best in existence. It was built in…

Read More

Dinosaur footprints at the Isle of Skye – Scotland

We are in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Here there are lot of icons of the past, as ruined castles that are hundreds of years old stand atop an unusual topography shaped by glaciers during the last Ice Age, or the pictoresque Old Man of Storr, said to be the gravesite of an ancient giant. The island, famous for its dramatic landscapes, was recently voted the most desirable place in Britain to live. But the land holds traces of an even more ancient past as well. It seems that dinosaurs…

Read More

Roosevelt Island Lighthouse: a little lighthouse in New York surrounded by mysterious stories of insanity-driven construction

Built in 1872 and known then as the “Blackwell Island Lighthouse”, the 15-meters-tall stone lighthouse at the northern tip of Roosevelt Island was constructed, if the legends can be believed, by the deranged occupants of a nearby insane asylum. But what’s not in doubt is that it was built by the city as a navigation aid for boats avoiding the rocks in the so-called “Hell Gate” waters. Historically, for nearly two centuries, Blackwell was the name that identified the island that lies in the East River just off Manhattan. For…

Read More

Kallur Lighthouse and the magnificent Kalsoy – Faroe Islands

We are in Kalsoy, one of the eighteen islands (and the westernmost) that make up the Faroe Islands. The island, nicknamed “The Flute”, is mostly known for the Kallur Lighthouse and dramatic and rugged landscapes, and is is long, skinny and wedged in between Kunoy and Eysturoy. Interestingly, “Kalsoy” means man island and “Kunoy” woman island. There are no bridges or underwater tunnels connecting Kalsoy to another island and you can reach it merely by ferry or boat. The scenery surrounding the simple lighthouse at Kallur is incredible: craggy cliffs…

Read More

Execution Rocks Lighthouse – New York

The solitary Execution Rocks Lighthouse in the Long Island Sound guards the way to mansions which inspired The Great Gatsby, but also hides a macabre history of murder. In the middle of Long Island Sound, equidistant from New Rochelle and Port Washington, stands the lighthouse built in the 1850s, when America was a British colony with a growing revolutionary spirit. Prior to 1850, there had been lights on this reef, but none were official or reliable. The tiny rocky island on which it was constructed was known as the Execution…

Read More

Snagov Monastery: the island that (allegedly) houses the tomb of Dracula

We are in Romania. Transylvania has long been known as a place where vampires, werewolves, and the souls of the dead haunt dark forests, like Hoia Baciu forest, which has a reputation as one of the most haunted place of the world, and ghostly-looking fortresses. Many of the most “haunted places” in Transylvania, Romania are also popular tourist attractions. On a tiny island in a lake just outside of Bucharest stands Snagov Monastery which local tradition states is the burial place of Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler,…

Read More

Poveglia: the “cursed” Venetian island between history and legend.

If we think about the islands of the Venetian lagoon, immediately come to mind Burano, Murano, Torcello and maybe some other less known, such as the beautiful Sant’Erasmo, or the picturesque Pellestrina. When most people begin planning a trip to that part of the world, in Venice area, images of romantic walkways and Renaissance art come to mind, and haunted islands generally don’t rank very high on anyone’s must-see list. This is probably one the reason because few people know Poveglia: the island has been uninhabited for many years, and…

Read More

Pheasant Island: the only territory in the world that changes sovereignty every six months

You are not allowed to visit Pheasant Island, which lies near the Atlantic Ocean terminus of the French-Spanish border. But “it can easily be seen from the Joncaux bank, on the Bay Path,” the Web site for the local tourist office suggests, without a hint of irony! About six kilometers before the Bidasoa River flows into the Atlantic Ocean, its waters, which in the last stretch mark the border between Spain and France, bathe the tiny Pheasant Island, almost a wooded rock in the middle of the river. It was…

Read More

The Canadian Potato Museum~

Here we are: Many people visit Canada’s Prince Edward Island because they are passionate about literature. The island, in fact, was the setting of the beloved Anne of Green Gables novels. However, for people less inclined toward tracing the footsteps of the fictional Anne Shirley, the western end of the island offers a more down-to-earth experience, as the town of O’Leary is the home of the Canadian Potato Museum. Open from mid-May to mid-October, the museum showcases the local potato industry and sports the “world’s largest exhibits of potato-related farm…

Read More

Bled Island Potica: a delicacy from Slovenia.

Here we are: Many people in Slovenia, especially people with a grandma with an affinity for baking, grew up eating potica’s slices. Potica is a traditional cake, and a must for every holiday in Slovenia, be it Christmas, Easter or a family celebration. It’s made from yeast-raised sweet dough, rolled thin and spread with different fillings. Since Slovenia boasts a wealth of culturally diverse regions with a variety of culinary traditions, there are not only one version of the cake, because it’s a versatile shapeshifter that takes on various forms…

Read More