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World

Holy Moly! The World Is Strange And Incredible, Travel Website CEO Says

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, this summer, we at MORNING EDITION, are doubling as travel agents. We're here to help plan your summer vacation, and we begin with advice from David Plotz. He's the CEO of Atlas Obscura. It is a website that lists little-known or hidden places that might be worth visiting. He tells us about two favorite spots - one that's easy to get to - another that requires a healthy sense of adventure.

DAVID PLOTZ: I think we have this idea that exploration ended around 1900 - that there's nothing left for the average person to find. But, in fact, there is all around us, magical spaces that we can have the sensation that we have found something new in the world. So, our users love places of extraordinary beauty that is shocking, like Blood Falls in Antarctica, which is a waterfall that comes off of a glacier and then there's this blood red running off of it because of the geological circumstances. And you see the pictures and think, holy moly, the world is strange and incredible.

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PLOTZ: My favorite place in the Atlas is a place in Washington, D.C. - it's called Fort DeRussy. You take a little path off of a main road and all of a sudden you see a dirt moat and then these earthen walls that rise 15 feet in the air, enclosing an area maybe the size of a basketball court. This is the remains of a Civil War fort. It's being completely swallowed by the forest. And you could stand on these parapets - on these fortifications - and imagine what it was like in 1864, when the Confederates attacked. And now it's this hidden place in the forest, and it's not that it's unknown - it's listed on the National Park Service website, but it's a place which is not fully visible.

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PLOTZ: There's something about going to a place which has a history to it and to imagine what it was like to have been a soldier at Fort DeRussy. You can almost feel other people's human experiences in the air around you. And so, I think it's an act of profound empathy at a pretty deep level when you get a place which speaks to you.

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GREENE: That's David Plotz of the travel website, Atlas Obscura, speaking about two of his favorite obscure places to visit. It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.