Track your travel with Passport Maps

German food, music and entertainment are all part of the annual Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake, happening for eight weekends beginning Sept. 12 and continuing through Oct. 31.

German food, music and entertainment are all part of the annual Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake, happening for eight weekends beginning Sept. 12 and continuing through Oct. 31. Photo by Dan McKernan

The Lussier family from Bridgewater, Mass., traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in February 2013. “It was the first passport stamp for the kids,” father Scott said. Left to right: Chloe, Scott, wife Nella, Brooke and Andrew. [Courtesy photo]

The Lussier family from Bridgewater, Mass., traveled to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in February 2013. “It was the first passport stamp for the kids,” father Scott said. Left to right: Chloe, Scott, wife Nella, Brooke and Andrew. [Courtesy photo]

This Passport Map commemorates a trip to Costa Rica, highlighting itinerary and experiences. [Courtesy photo]

This Passport Map commemorates a trip to Costa Rica, highlighting itinerary and experiences. [Courtesy photo]

 

 

If you’ve ever taken a special vacation that you want to remember and/or share with others, you might want to know about the Passport Map, a unique vacation memento developed by Scott Lussier.

A Bridgewater, Massachusetts, college instructor, graphic designer, professional mapmaker and self-proclaimed “travel junkie,” Lussier has developed a way to preserve memories and vacation highlights. The idea for Passport Maps grew from a trip he took during his college days.

“Just for fun, several years ago I created a map of my Study Abroad trip to Europe using mapmaking software tools,” Lussier explained. “When friends saw my map on the wall, they wanted their own versions. Now I look forward to working with travelers to create a special piece of art about their trips.”

There’s always plenty to remember, too, he added, “like my honeymoon when we saw the rainbows in Kauai and Maui, and the funny things, too, like when my wife (Nella) got motion sickness in a helicopter. These random moments were important to the two of us, and we’d like our kids to know about them, too.”

One of Lussier’s favorite travel moments took place while visiting Greenwich, England.

“We stood at the Royal Observatory at the 0-degrees longitude line (the prime meridian) — a really big deal for me.”
The maps are printed on 51-pound, acid-free mat paper, which doesn’t fade over time. The finished product can be placed in a 12-inch-by-18-inch frame, or 11-inch-by-17-inch frame. Email passportmaps@gmail.com or visit www.passportmaps.com.

When the thermometer reads in the 80s and 90s for days on end, it’s hard believe that autumn weather even exists. But think mountains and Big Bear Lake, and that’s where you’ll find cooler climes and Oktoberfest — for eight weekends in a row. From Sept. 12 through Oct. 31, this town of 5,100 puts on a “genuine Bavarian-style celebration” for the 45th time.

It would be hard to find a place better suited for Oktoberfest.

Big Bear Lake sits among the evergreens at nearly 7,000 feet, and the town’s architecture reflects the heritage of the Bavarian Alps. Organizers promise nonstop entertainment, wacky German antics, special contests and lots of bratwurst, knackwurst, apple strudel, and of course, lots of German beer. There are special programs for children. Admission varies from $18 to $5, depending on dates and age, with some free days for military, firefighters, law enforcement and children under 12.

For information on Oktoberfest, visit www.BigBearEvents.com, or call (909) 585-3000. For a free visitors guide, visit www.bigbear.com, or call (800) 424-4232.

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