NEW BEDFORD — Need an escape but unable to leave your house? No problem. It’s National Virtual Vacation Day and there are places to visit only a mouse click away.
A moment to escape your surroundings can help reduce stress and refocus the mind. In fact, ScienceDaily.com says, “A person can reduce their metabolic symptoms — and therefore their risk of cardiovascular disease — simply by going on vacation.” It can also assist with problem-solving skills and overall brain health.
In 2016, Terrance Talks Travel founded National Virtual Vacation Day to help share VR experiences all over the globe. In 2018, the Registrar of National Daily Calendar made it official.
More: Senior citizens travel through virtual reality
Virtual Vacation Day reminds people that if your schedule doesn’t permit a physical getaway, you can be recharged and rejuvenate by taking a moment from your hectic schedule to explore something new. (Virtual adventures also don’t cost money and avoids any uncomfortable travel.)
And in a COVID-19 world, in which public travel, exploring interior museums or visiting potentially crowded attractions can still be deemed high-risk, a virtual vacation avoids it all.
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In honor of this digital day, The Standard-Times thought why not suggest some fun attractions to consider visiting virtually on the SouthCoast?
Lizzie Borden House (Fall River)
Explore all three floors of this infamous dwelling via a digital tour launched this year. You may know the chilling melody about Lizzie Borden and her axe, but have you actually seen where the crime went down?
In this perfectly rendered 3D space, viewers can rotate left and right, move throughout the home by a single mouse click and zoom in and out.
More: People dying to spend the night at Lizzie’s house
However, the tour is only visual and doesn’t provide any fun facts or haunting guides. But check out the website for more information and how to make plans to visit the house in person to take the two-hour comprehensive tour.
Nathan and Polly Johnson House (New Bedford)
Using the same design program as the Lizzie Borden House, this virtual tour invites any guest to explore this historic home on 7th Street. It’s available to view with a VR headset, too. It even has a “measurement mode” to show the actual sizes of selected artifacts.
Nathan and Mary Johnson were free, living in New Bedford, and owned a block of properties. They were active abolitionist who assistant with fugitive slaves such as Frederick Douglass — where he first resided about escape from slavery in 1838.
More: Here’s what the British Consul General learned about New Bedford’s own Frederick Douglass
The tour includes interactive green and white dots which share interesting tidbits such as the history behind a chair from Headly and Reed Photography Studio where one of four African Americans had the privilege to photograph Frederick Douglass.
Whaling Museum (New Bedford)
For someone who has been to the Whaling Museum, this virtual tour offers a special bonus to viewers to add some extra insight to the museum’s big attractions.
Viewers can explore every inch of the museum since its last update in 2019. There are even exhibits no longer at the museum still available to see such as the “Knot” exhibit.” The tour is also interactive with clickable white informational circles. They provide viewers with fun facts or embedded videos to watch bonus footage or staff members answering questions such as, “Can whales swallow a person?”
There are perspectives of the museum that in-person visitors might not have access to such as a view from the upper tier of the “Lagoda” exhibit or an up-close look from underneath the sperm whale skeleton.
New Bedford Walking Tour by Bruce Barnes
Launched on the YouTube channel StevesBoston, the New Bedford Preservation Society has virtual waking tours led by Bruce Barnes. He explores well-known places such as Friends Meeting House, Hetty Green Birthplace and The William J. Rotch House.
This comprehensive tour is the perfect guide through the historic streets of the Whaling City and led by a very intelligent, charismatic and informative guide. It features additional photos, music, and maps. It’s the best way to enjoy a walking tour without having to go for the walk.
Fairhaven Walking Tours
Similar to the Bruce Barnes’ tours, FairhavenTV.com produced similar videos with the help of the Fairhaven Office of Tourism. To help people learn more about Fairhaven, they produced a virtual way to attend the Henry H. Rogers and “Poverty Point” walking tour.
More: Fairhaven Tourism offers ‘Poverty Point Walking Tour Revisited’
Not only will viewers feel as if they’re part of a group of eager tourists, but there are cutaways to other scenic views or close-ups of other locations mentioned by the very instructive guide.
…Or travel the world
But, if you do want to leave the SouthCoast there are also some incredible VR experiences to try suggested by NationalHolidayCalendar.com. Take a virtual vacation to Paris to experience the Louvre, a simulated gondola ride in Venice, a cyber walk along the Swiss Alps or take a computer-generated ride on this thrilling roller coaster.
You can also join Chris with Yellow Productions to go for a cybernetic walk through Disneyland with the ability to turn the video up, down and around.
The VR Zone (North Dartmouth)
And if you can escape your home for just the afternoon, another virtual vacation can happen at the North Dartmouth Mall at The VR Zone.
Open Friday through Sunday, this hybrid virtual reality arcade lounge offers a variety of experience – even in an entirely new world. According to the site, the space features HTC Vive Pro, VR motion PODS, and Oculus Rift Stations to play arcade game.
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