From haunted hotels to rare tree discoveries, get inspired with our staff picks for the top 5 inspiration stories in 2023.

1) 6 Haunted Destinations Across the US


During the spooky season, we wrote about some of the top haunted destinations to visit across the country. Our list features such spooky sites as the Crescent Hotel in Arkansas, which is allegedly haunted by former inventor Norman G. Baker who bought the building and posed as a doctor in 1937. Other sites are supposedly haunted by famous ghosts, including The Mark Twain House where guests have reported smelling cigars in the billiard room where Twain reportedly used to smoke.

2) These Trees in a Polish Forest Have Mysteriously Grown Crooked


The Krzywy Las, or Crooked Forest, is a forest in Poland where 400 pine trees have grown with mysteriously curved trunks. With the largest tree reaching approximately 50 ft tall, they curve just above the forest floor to form a shape that resembles the letter J and they each point in the same direction – north. The mysterious and identical growth pattern has baffled researchers.

3) 6 Barbie-Inspired Vacation Hotels and Rentals

Barbie's Malibu Dreamhouse; Photo Credit: Airbnb
Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse; Photo Credit: Airbnb

In honor of the highly anticipated Barbie movie that was released earlier this year, we highlighted some homes or hotels that are Barbie-inspired. Among the featured accommodations include Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse, located in Malibu, California. This is an oceanfront mansion heavily decked out in bright pink and featuring Barbie amenities, including an outdoor disco dance floor, roller rink, and infinity pool.

4) National Geographic Explorer Discovers Rare 1,000-Year-Old Cedar

Giant redcedar; Photo Credit: TJ Watt
Giant redcedar; Photo Credit: TJ Watt

TJ Watt, a National Geographic Explorer and self-described “tree hunter”, focuses on preserving old-growth trees. He was bushwacking a remote forest in Flores Island, part of Clayoquot Sound, in the territory of the Ahousaht First Nation off the west coast of Vancouver Island. He encountered a rare 1,000-year-old redcedar, measuring over 17ft wide near its base and 151 ft tall.

5) Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Inspires Conservation and Sustainability

Sun shining on native plants; Photo: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
Sun shining on native plants; Photo: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s mission is to inspire the conservation of native plants through its research, demonstration projects, education programs, and the development of national-scale programs to promote sustainable landscapes. The facility is home to nearly 900 species of Texas native plants, 1,800 insect species, 148 bird species, and 15 mammal species.