Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Review: Hidden Carolinas

Here we have a new edition of Catherine O'Neal's Hidden Carolinas, one of Ulysses Press' Hidden travel series. Moving from western Carolina east, and then south, this book covers both North and South Carolina. This is a comprehensive travel guide, in that it covers lodging, attractions, restaurants, shopping, driving routes: a bit of everything that might concern the traveler. That said, the book focuses heavily on attractions. Indeed, this is a guide that is unapologetic about uneven coverage. There is more on North Carolina than South Carolina, and far more on the western portion of NC than the eastern. Unsurprisingly, I found the section on western NC to be the strongest. The guide also has a clear focus on outdoor activities, in keeping, on assumes, with the 'hidden' theme. The 'hidden' theme means coverage of essentially, what one might expect- hidden gems and attractions that don't draw huge crowds. These listings are included with more popular attractions. Clearly, this is a smart move, as most people are not looking to buy multiple travel guides for a particular region. Thus, coverage in this guide is good, though it clearly weighted towards certain things. The one thing that might keep me from buying this guide is the fact that it's printed on newsprint-like paper, in black, white, and green. There are approximately fifteen pages of photos at the beginning of the book, but in travel books I prefer photos throughout, in the chapters that describe the places in question. Overall, this is a solid travel guide. I'm not sure that much distinguishes it from other guides, but it gets the job done.

This book was received through Mini Book Expo for Bloggers. Thanks to Ulysses Press.

Catherine O'Neal, Hidden Carolinas (Ulysses, 2008) ISBN: 1569756384

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