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The Advantages of Paper Maps

Why are paper maps still around in a world where GPS navigation can be accessed easily from a smartphone or other portable device? Well, there are many advantages that paper maps hold over their electronic counterparts. When it comes to safety, maps are more reliable. Paper maps won’t lose signal or run out of battery right when you need them most. This makes them a valuable resource any time you’re traveling in inclement weather or through rural areas. If you accidentally spill water on your phone, or realize a charger is broken mid-trip, a paper map will be there to save you. 

A paper map offers many advantages over a GPS in non-emergency situations, too. A GPS always puts the user at the center of the map. This is helpful for showing the quickest route to your destination, but it doesn’t help you understand the bigger picture of the area you’re in. Paper maps are proven to better help people create their own mental maps. This can be extremely beneficial if you’re moving somewhere new. You’ll learn neighborhoods, major intersections, and points of reference much faster.

If you like to plan your own route ahead of time, paper maps are the best choice. Your GPS may offer a few route options, but customizing your own route is difficult. If you’re going on a trip, you might prefer to take the most scenic route rather than the fastest. Or you might want to plan fun detours, or pass by plenty of rest stops. When you use a paper map, finding the best route for you is easy.

Paper maps often include more information as well. For instance, thematic maps from Global Graphics include additional information about the area to serve as a basic tour guide as you travel. In addition to labeling points of interest, they provide the hours of operation, and even some inside tips. Transit maps highlight the routes of all public transportation. Street maps include specific details of a city, including the names of businesses. Road maps give a broader view and clearly show highways and major intersections. While your GPS may include some of these features, a paper map is clear to read without any zooming or jumping between screens.

You can also save a paper map, which makes it the perfect keepsake to remember a favorite trip. You can trace the route you drove and circle your favorite stops. Paper maps can be framed and placed on display or stored away in a photo album. Even decades later you’ll be able to retrace your journey and recall memories in detail. 

Bring a paper map next time you travel. We bet you’ll agree they still hold a couple advantages over a GPS. If you need an accurate and easy-to-read map, shop the full collection at Global Graphics.

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San Francisco Map Serving Tray

Maps make the perfect souvenir, especially of major cities such as San Francisco. You can mentally re-trace routes you once took and reminiscence about all the places you’ve been.  While their compact, folded design is perfect for navigation, it doesn’t make them the easiest to display and share with others. These laminated servings trays from Trays4us are the perfect solution.

The serving trays are available in 100 different designs including 25 of California. Our favorites are the San Francisco Street Map Tray and the San Francisco Bay Area Street Map Tray.  Both designs beautifully and accurately represent the area because they are taken from Global Graphics maps. The San Francisco Street Map option (pictured above) details the city streets and neighborhoods within San Francisco. The San Francisco Bay Area Street Map (pictured below) gives a broader view of the entire San Francisco Bay area. Nearby cities, major roadways, and topographic features are all labeled.

A staff in Redwood, California designs each tray before they are handcrafted in Scandinavia. Each tray is made from birch veneer taken from a sustainable and certified forest. The material is of the highest quality, both sturdy and light-weight. The laminated finish makes them easy to clean. Even red wine can be rinsed right off with no stains. The 12 x 16 inch design is the perfect size to hold drinks and appetizers. It is sure to be the center of conversation the next time you serve guests.  

These trays also make the perfect gift. If you know someone who once lived in San Francisco, fell in love with the city on a vacation, or celebrated a special moment there, a map of the area makes the perfect memento. With every use, they’ll be reminded of their favorite memories. The trays are especially loved by pilots and retired military members who once studied the city from above.

If you’re interested in purchasing either of the San Francisco trays, use our affiliate links listed below. When you click the link, we will receive credit for referring you. This allows us to continue sharing the best map products on the market with you.

San Fransisco Street Map Tray:

San Fransisco Bay Area Street Map Tray:

These trays are meant for serving drinks only, never for navigation. If you need a map for your next trip to San Francisco, check out the options we have available: San Francisco Street Map, San Francisco Laminated Street Map, San Francisco Transit and Street Map, San Francisco Map Package (for extra savings!)

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History of California Wine

California has a long history of producing wine. Today’s thriving industry dates back to the state’s founding. If you’re planning a trip to the California wine country, bring a copy of one of our California wine maps

From Missionaries to the Gold Rush

Grapes were one of the first crops planted when Spanish Franciscan Missionaries settled the first mission in California in 1769. Father Junipero Serra sent for seeds to be planted at the Mission San Diego de Alcala. As the vineyards grew, a new variety of grape was created known as the Mission Grape. It remained prominent in the region until the 1880s.

When the Gold Rush began in California in 1848, it brought an influx of people to Northern California. This moved the center of wine production and consumption from Southern California to Northern California. Seeds were planted in many new areas including modern day Napa and Sonoma counties. With winemaking a popular industry across the entire state, California Wine began to receive international acclaim. It was even exported as far as Asia and Australia.

Prohibition and the Judgement at Paris

In 1919, California’s wine industry took a devastating blow. The ratification of the 18th amendment banned the sale of alcohol. It was not technically illegal, however, to own or drink wine. Each home could make up to 200 gallons a year for personal use. This legal loophole created an increased demand for grapes that helped keep some wineries in business. The vineyards of grapes that had been cultivated for generations to create fine wine had all been torn down in order to grown cheaper, sturdier grapes that could survive transport. A select few wineries were also still able to make wine strictly for sacramental use.

When prohibition was repealed in 1933, the once thriving California wine industry barely existed. It would take years of winemaking to restore the area’s reputation, but a group from Northern California stayed committed. Even after they began making quality wine again, it was hard to get the world’s attention. Their big break occurred in Paris on May 24, 1976. A judging panel consisting of expert French wine tasters ranked California wines as best in a blind test against in the two most competitive categories (red and chardonnay). Time Magazine reported their surprising victory and demand for California wine took off again.

California Wine Today

Today the California wine industry is prosperous and continuing to grow. California produces more wine than any other state and is the fourth largest producer world-wide compared to other countries. California is home to over 2,600 wineries and over 527,000 acres of land is dedicated to growing grapes. While Napa and Sonoma are the most well known, California actually has 107 recognized American Viticultural Areas.

The wine industry has also brought an increase in tourism. Nearly 20.7 million people visit one of the state’s wine regions everywhere. Only Disneyland outranked visiting the wine country as a the most popular tourist attraction. Most wineries now offer tours, wine classes, or seminars, and more are beginning to offer more attractions. Some wineries have art galleries, displays, fine dining, and even theater performances on their property so even those who don’t consider themselves wine enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy their trip.

If you’re traveling to the United States, bring a copy of one of our best-selling maps: California Wine Map, Napa Sonoma Wine Map, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles Wineries Map, California Road Map, Arizona Road Map, Route 66 Map, Grand Canyon Topographical Map, and Southern California Coast Map. 

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Top Attractions in Phoenix, Arizona

Any trip to the Southwest isn’t complete without a stop in Phoenix, Arizona. The fifth-largest city in the United States and one of the top tourist destinations, Phoenix is packed with things to do for all ages and interests. With sunshine and warm weather year-round, Phoenix is a great place to visit regardless of the season. Here are five of our favorite things to do near Phoenix. For even more ideas, check out our Arizona Road Map.

Desert Botanical Garden

Home to over 4,000 species of cacti, plants, and trees, the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona teaches visitors about the beauty and life that grows in deserts around the world. Trails cut through 55-acres of the property, allowing you to see displays up-close. Our favorite trail is the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail which features the plants Native Americans in the area once used as food, medicine, and even building supplies. A visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens is a fun way to learn about local history and the importance of our natural surroundings. If you visit on the second Tuesday of the month, admission is complimentary thanks to their Community Day program.

Heard Museum

With 12 exhibit galleries and a rotating collection of approximately 44,00 pieces, the Heard Museum is a leader in exhibiting Native American art. Their goal is to allow the artist to share their story and the meaning behind their art so people can better understand the Native American perspective.  The museum displays traditional and contemporary art, as well as items with historical or cultural significance. One of the most memorable exhibits is the collection of 1,200 katsina dolls. The carved wooden figures are incredibly detailed and hold an important spiritual value. Before you visit, check the calendar of events on the Heard Museum website. The museum hosts events year-round that invite local Hispanic and Native American artists to share their crafts and interact with visitors.

Goldfield Ghost Town

Goldfield Ghost Town is a 45-minute drive from Phoenix, but well worth the trip. The town was once a thriving gold mine, but like many others, fell into disarray when the mine closed. When you visit today, however, Goldfield is alive and thriving as it was in the 1890s. You can ride the only narrow gauge train still operational in Arizona, pan for gold, or have a drink at the local saloon. Performers even stage old west style gunfights throughout the day. If you enjoy the outdoors, there is also hiking trails, horseback riding lessons, a shooting gallery, zip-lining and even more in the surrounding area.

Phoenix Zoo

The Phoenix is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. Stretching over 125-acres of land in the Papago Park area, it takes an entire day to see the 1,400 animals living at the zoo. What makes Phoenix Zoo truly remarkable is the number of exhibits that allow you to interact directly with the animals.  You can visit monkey-village, the only walk-through squirrel monkey exhibit in the United States, meet the giraffes and feed them a snack, ride a camel, and brush the goats in the petting zoo. With a conservation mentality and a dedication to saving endangered species, the Phoenix Zoo is both educational and fun.

Plan a trip to Phoenix

Thinking of visiting Phoenix? You need our Arizona Road Map. 

Some of our other best-selling maps include: Southwest Indian Country Map, California Road Map, Napa Sonoma Wine Map, Route 66 Laminated Map. 

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History of NYC Holiday Traditions

New York City is the unofficial birthplace of modern Christmas traditions. When the Dutch set sail for New York, their ships were adorned with images of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors and children. As America was settled and New York grew, the ideas of winter holidays were mixed into new traditions. St. Nicholas became a jolly old man ready to deliver toys to all the good children on Christmas Eve. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in New York City in December, you should try some of these historical holiday traditions.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Today millions of people watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting every year on television. The specialty picked spruce trees range from 70 to 100 feet (the tallest was in 1999) and are elegantly decorated. The first Rockefeller Christmas tree came from much humbler beginnings. In 1931, during the Great Depression when most Americans were out of work, construction on the Rockefeller Center began. Workers pooled their money to buy a 20-foot tree for the community to share. As each man collected his paycheck, he added a homemade ornament, such as strings of cranberry or garlands made of paper that his family had made. The tradition carried on the next year, and by 1933, Rockefeller Center was open and the first “official” tree was lit. Two years later the ice skating rink was added below. The tradition has managed to adapt with the times. In 1942 at the start of World War II, three smaller trees had to replace one big one. In 1944 and 1945, the Rockefeller Christmas tree had to go unlit because of blackout ordinances. Each January the Christmas tree is donated, most recently becoming lumber to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. If you’re in New York City, you can find Rockefeller Plaza between West 48th and 51st street and 5th and 6th avenue. This years tree will be on display until January 7, 2019.

Holiday Window Displays

Another New York City holiday tradition is viewing the window displays that line the many shopping districts. During the late half of the 19th century, stores began to utilize their first-floor windows as a way to promote the products they were selling and bring more customers through their doors. Of course, this caused stores to put more and more efforts into their displays in order to outshine their neighbors, especially during busy times such as the holidays. In 1874, Macy’s made history by creating a scene from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin with porcelain dolls in their New York window.  People flocked to see the display and a new tradition was born. Stores all over New York City now use their space not to advertise a product, but to entertain and amaze tourists walking by in hopes their brand will be the most memorable. Modern displays involve rotating platforms, animatronic pieces, and life-size figurines. Make sure to pass by Macy’s on 34th Street and Saks Fifth Avenue for some of the most famous displays.

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

A relatively more recent holiday tradition for New Yorkers is walking the streets of the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn to view the decorated houses. Each one is decked in lights and lawn ornaments, leaving no space bare. Many recreate scenes from famous Christmas performances, such as The Night Before Christmas or The Grinch.  No one remembers exactly why it started, or when it spread from being a few blocks to an entire neighborhood. The best guess is the early 1980s, since by 1985 there were advertisements for guided tours printed in newspapers. Today professionals are hired to design the displays, costing homeowners anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 dollars each year. Two of the most well-known houses are across-the-street neighbors on 84th street between 11th and 12th avenue. One house’s theme is always Santa Clause, and the others is the Nutcracker. Each year the designs become more elaborate and creative, unofficially competing in a expensive, but beautiful neighborhood game. Tour the Dyker Heights neighborhood this December to see just how far the limits of Christmas decorating can be pushed.

If you’re traveling to New York, take a copy of our New York City 5 Boroughs Street Map and our Quick Access Manhattan Map. Both are clearly labeled to quickly guide you from destination to destination.

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