travel

'Tis the season: GetReligionista work slows a bit, but we will still be paying attention

'Tis the season: GetReligionista work slows a bit, but we will still be paying attention

So it is Thursday afternoon. And next Monday is Christmas Eve, which will be a holiday for gazillions of people.

In front of that Monday, we have an ordinary weekend. #DUH

That means that lots of folks can skip work on Friday, as in tomorrow, and end up with how many days off in a row? Five or six — for the cost of one vacation day — depending how their office managers handle The Holidays?

So that sound you keep hearing outside your window, this afternoon, may be car doors slamming as people toss packages (or their suitcases, if headed to the airport) in the back of cars as they prepare to head hither and thither and yon. Some of us older folks, of course, will be joyfully preparing for cars to pull into our driveways containing loved ones — some wearing tiny shoes, in which to dash around the house.

So, what’s the point of this meditation?

Some of your GetReligionistas are already on the road and others will soon depart. Work here at the website will slow down, but our cyber-doors will not be locked tight. You can expect, as usual, a post a day, or maybe two, during the Christmas-New Year’s Day season.

I will be at home near a keyboard most of the days between now and, oh, Jan. 2 or thereabouts — but will have a chance, as always, to flee to the mountains of North Carolina, where Wifi and strong cellphone signals are often a matter of theory, rather than reality.

Let me stress, that we still want to hear from readers!

This is, after all, a time of year in which even the most cynical editor/producer has been known to gaze at the newsroom and mutter, “Somebody get out there and do a story about Christmas. I hear that has something to do with religion, maybe.”

The results are can be glorious or fallen. We are interested in both. Please keep sending us URLs for news that caught your eye.

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The Force and a horse, of course, of course: Washington Post visits new age Texas ranch

The Force and a horse, of course, of course: Washington Post visits new age Texas ranch

Check this out: "Namaste, y’all: Kicking back at a Texas-style New Age resort in Austin."

Seldom have I seen a more apt headline. If only the entire Washington Post story on a new agey resort near Austin were as pithy.

Unfortunately, the Post shows less interest in the spirituality of Travaasa Austin. It mainly snickers over a place that would offer "vision boarding" and "Equine Encounters" on the one hand -- and on the other, courses in hatchet throwing, Texas two-step dancing and mechanical bull riding.

Multiple spiritual "ghosts" hover about:

It’s rare for a hotel to offer both guided meditation sessions and hatchet-throwing classes. But Travaasa Austin is like few other hotels. This "experiential spa resort" is like a land-based cruise, with a cowboy and a shaman fighting over the helm.
The extensive list of activities — which includes hula-hooping, ¬sachet-making (with cocktails), archery, harmonica lessons and a mechanical-bull fitness class — is both enticing and daunting. Not to worry: "You don’t have to sign up for anything," the chirpy concierge reminded me during a recent visit, and in fact the expansive grounds offer ample opportunity for nothing-doing.
And yet I wanted to do it all -- to learn the Texas two-step, tour the hotel’s organic farm, try its elaborate zip-line course, and still have the time (and energy) for a swim, massage and dinner. But how? Perhaps I needed to settle down with a yoga class or try vision boarding, a course where I’d learn to "channel the power of positive energy and see what happens." Perhaps that power would manifest itself in a wine tasting later that evening.

So the story skims over facials, wine tasting, hiking and dirt biking.

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Time for a Christmas season lull here at GetReligion (but not a complete break)

Time for a Christmas season lull here at GetReligion (but not a complete break)

This is, as you might expect, the time of year when your GetReligionistas -- like most normal folks -- are scattered all over the place doing holiday and holy day things.

Right now, one of the East Coast guys is on the West Coast. The Oklahoma guy is, I think, currently in Texas (where he spends most of his time during baseball season), or on a highway coming back from the Lone Star State. The lady from the Northwest is currently in the Southwest (and, the last I heard, was in a Texas airport for a long, long time). The Florida guy is in Central Florida and I'm the Tennessee mountains (see photo above), which for some reason currently feel like Central Florida. I mean, it's 75 and humid. Where am I?

As always, posting will not stop here at the website, but the pace will slow somewhat. You never know when a major story will break and most of us will be near WiFi, especially me. But you never know when I am going to hear the call and head deeper into the Hills. With the Nativity Lent fast ending at Midnight tonight, that means it's time to hunt for barbecue, again.

Keep sending us story URLs and tips, which, as always, are much appreciated. We will jump back into regular posting -- with four posts on weekdays as the norm, and the weekly podcast -- on January 4th (also known as the 11th day of Christmas). And those who are traveling, please be careful.

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NY Times gets religion ... in Rome!

The New York Times published a lengthy travel piece with tons of religion in it. It’s written by David Laskin, and nicely weaves religion, history and travel together. A reader complained about one portion, incorrectly, but before we get to that, let’s look at the top of the story.

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