Monday, May 10, 2010


Notre Dame… Notre Dame.. Notre Dame… When you think about Indiana you can’t help but think about good old Notre Dame and college football. This school also has a beautiful campus with religious attractions like the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes on top of their well known athletic stadium.

The state of Indiana is also known for basketball. The history of Indiana basketball is presented at the Hall of Fame Museum in New Castle.

Likewise you have RACECAR DRIVING. The Indy Speedway has a museum that traces race car history and displays restored racecars such as the first Indy Winner from 1911.

Clifty falls State Park is another place where you can be active. It is another local in the US that has hiking, canyons, and waterfalls. Also in Indiana you will find caverns and go spelunking at Bluespring caverns, afterwhich you can head over to the Carasoul Winery in Bedford for a relaxing evening.

Besides sports, there are plenty of museums throughout the state including the Eiteljorg Museum which showcases both Native American and Western art, culture and history. The museum features artists such as Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, Allan Houser, and Kay WalkingStick

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a great place for the family. Dinosaur fossil digs, interactive video games, a glass blowing sculpture, a limestone wall that you can climb, etc make this museum a worth while find when traveling through Indiana.

The Studebaker Museum has Studebaker automobile exhibits including the final car to roll off the assembly line.

The coolest thing about Indiana is that there is a town named for Santa Clause. It has amusement parks such as Holiday world where it is Christmas all year long as well as a Santa Claus Museum telling the history of the town.

Sidenote: It makes me sad that Indiana is so short- I would love to hear from people who have been there and have other great ideas of places to visit within the state.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I love Chicago...well quite frankly I love any major city where you can take public transportation/walk absolutely everywhere. Chicago has one of the best train stations so that even if your hotel is in the boonies you can take a 15 min bus ride to a train station and get anywhere you need to go.

Best Attractions:

The Art Institute of Chicago is any art history fiends daydream. This huge museum has tons to look at and will not disappoint. Walk over to the Buckingham Fountain afterwards for a picnic lunch.

John Hancock center/observatory –You can pay money to go to the top or you can just get brunch or lunch at the restaurant on the 54th floor. I suggest the restaurant move. If you go during lunch you can actually feed two people for about 25.00, which is about the same price the observation deck would have cost you.

Sears tower—They guard this place like it houses the President. You can only go in during certain hours, you can only go to the observation deck or shops, etc. So make sure you enter the correct door and come during business hours.

Wrigley field—Catch a game here for a reasonable cost. The stadium is open, large, and is always packed. Like everywhere else in the city, you can take the train here.

Lincoln Park zoo- What is better than going to the zoo? Free admission to it! This is a fun stop for the family or if you just want to take a break from the city.

Navy pier—This place is hopping at night. You can take the bus to the pier, make sure you head home before the last bus leaves without you. Restaurants, shops and usual city park entertainment. On holidays you can see fireworks!

Millennium park –This is the city’s cultural center where you can walk through free art galleries or rent bikes or segways.

Field museum—This place is known for the the largest/most complete T-rex

Chicago theatre—this is one of those places that you just have to take your picture in front of.

If you prefer smaller towns with lots of history, then Springfield is the place for you. Home of President Lincoln, you can visit his home, which is now a museum, or also the official Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum. He also has the Lincoln Memorial Garden.

Oddly in Springfield they also have the Museum of Funeral customs near Springfield's historic Oak Ridge Cemetery and near Abraham Lincoln's Tomb. The museum displays the history of funerals in the US.

Another smaller town with something fun to offer is Rockford.

Midway Village in Rockford is a 137-acre site that recreates village life at the turn of the 20th century The property also includes a Doll Museum and the Old Millhouse.

Anderson Garden is a12-acre Japanese garden complete with Tea House

Tinker Swiss cottage is a Victorian mansion with a Native American burial

Last but not least is Metropolis. What town names Metropolis could not be dedicated to Superman? They do not disappoint and are the home of a Superman Statue as well as a Super museum.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Idaho = Outdoors. It is just one of those outdoor states, and honestly if you don’t want to waterski, snow ski, snowboard, etc, then you really should not waste your time in Idaho. If you are the type that thrives on adventure, then Idaho is probably the vacation spot for you. Because they are so outdoors friendly in Idaho they are just covered in Resorts—Summer resorts, Winter resorts, mountain resorts are everywhere, so you will have somewhere beautiful and scenic to stay no matter what part of Idaho you visit.

Just some of the fun places to visit are outlined below:

The Activity Barn Tubing Park in McCall has a tubing hill, sleigh rides, snow tubing, cross country skiing and more

Idaho Iceworld in Boise offers public ice skating and hockey leagues

Spud Drive In theatre- a classis American drive-in movie theater still in operation

Canoe Camp Historical Site- Lewis and Clark camped her on their expedition in 1805.

Dog Bark Park in Cottonwood- is a 30ft tall beagle that has a bed and breakfast and dog inspired gift shop

Idaho Botanical garden center in Boise is home to 13 gardens. Beautiful around Christmas time since they decorate the place

Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise June-Sept

Rotary International Rose Garden in Pocatello features over 1,100 beautiful domestic roses of a variety of colors and 16 ft statue of Chief Pocatello

Tolo Lake Mammoth Replica in Grangeville is home of six mammoths found near Tolo Lake.

There are hot springs all ovber the state—Burgdorf in Mccall, Challis, Downata in Downey, Gold Fork in Donnelly, etc, but Heise Hot Springs in Ririe has a 350ft water slide as well as fishing and golf next to their hot springs

Balanced Rock in Buhl is a rock that is over 48ft tall, carved by the wind that now balances on a pedestal only 3ft 17inches across.

Bruneau Dunes State Park is the tallest single-structure sand dunes in North. This park also has fishing, hiking and camping and Idaho's largest public observatory.

Emmett Area Fruit Orchards in Boise is known as "The Valley of Plenty" and is a favorite spot to hand pick your own fruit.

Hell's Half Acre National Landmark in Idaho Falls is a 5,200-year-old lava flow with paved walkways

Minnetonka Cave in Bear Lake is half-mile of stalactites and stalagmites in the largest limestone cave in Idaho. Open summer only.

Soda Springs Geyser is a sparkling waters geyser that shoots over 70 feet into the air on the hour, every hour daily.

Whether you like to fish, hike, bike, canoe, rockclimb, ski, or just sit by the lake Idaho has something for all friendly to the outdoors.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Georgia Peaches

There are lots of small towns throughout Georgia that I am sure are loaded with history. They have not been included on this list. Due to the overwhelming amount of history in the state, I am focusing on Atlanta and Savannah.


Centennial Olympic Park is in the hear of downtown. It was built for the 1996 olympics, but now tells you the story of the Olympic games with quilt plazas, memorials, and Fountain of Rings. This public park also offers weekly concerts, a dancing water fountain, and a memorial quilt in remembrance of the victims of the 1996 Olympic bombing.

Martin Luther King National Site lets you explore the home where he was born, the church he preached, and the memorial site where he was buried all at once. Also visit Ebenezer Baptist Church is where Dr King served as senior pastor in the 1960s.

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world with over 8 million gallons of water and more animals than any other Aquarium.

There are plenty of historic houses throughout Georgia including Wren’s Nest The 19th-century farmhouse that once belonged to Joel Chandler Harris, the author of Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Fox.

Piedmont Park is a 185-acre park that houses the Atlanta Botanical Gardens where many summer festivals are held. This is a great place to just be outside and bike or run.

Two main facets of US culture are located in Georgia. You can tour the Coca Cola factory or take a CNN studio tour. Your trip just wont be complete unless you tour these locations.

Savannah is said to be the most haunted city in the nation. There are plenty of tours for you to jump in on, including the Creepy Crawl Haunted Pub Tour. Besides the numerous cemeteries in the area, you also have lots of historic houses, beautiful for their architecture and perfect for ghost stories. Likewise, Battlefield Park is where on October 9, 1779, the French, Haitian and American troops battled against the British soldiers who were defending Savannah. The battle ended more than 800 troops from each side either wounded or killed. Many of the dead were buried on the spot with no monuments to mark their graves.

One of the most popular haunted cemeteries is Colonial Park Cemetery. The magnificent arch at the main entrance to the Park was placed there in 1913 by the Savannah chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Made of Georgia granite, it was constructed to honor Revolutionary War soldiers buried in the cemetery. It is believed that close to 10,000 people are buried in Colonial Park Cemetery.
You will learn things like this at the Savannah History Museum , where they will explain history from 1733. That history includes the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, where Savannah handled freight and passengers and was said to be an indispensable site for a number of years
Savannah also is home of the first Girl Scout Headquarters. Troop activities, adult training and administrative offices were housed inside the house until 1985 when the Girl Scouts Council was moved to its new office on Bull Street.

Fans of Old Architecture should stop by the Wormsloe Historic Site, which is a former plantation with exhibits showing colonial life or go to Old Fort Jackson, which is Georgia’s oldest remaining fort, built in 1808.

Architecture usually includes churches. Beautiful places of worship are all over Savannah. Cathedral of St John was founded in 1700 by the first French Colonists and although the original early structures were destroyed by fire, the current cathedral dates back to 1874. Temple Mickve Israel is another gorgeous religious building. It is the third oldest Jewish congregation in the nation, built in 1876.

For those who just want to have some extra fun, head down to the Riverwalk, where you can enjoy dinner, shopping, and a beautiful view. Or make a day of Forsyth Park, which is 30 acres of beauty and history. There are several monuments that pay tribute to soldiers who fought in the Confederate and Spanish-American Wars as well as a Civil War monument is in the center. No park is complete without a fountain. The Forsyth Fountain was added to the park in 1858. The park also has a Fragrant Garden for the Blind. You can usually find a play or concert taking place here as well.

The City Market is another fun stop. It has been around since 1755 and still houses restaurants, shops, live music, museums, and art galleries. This is where the night life of Savannah is located. Don’t forget to take a horse drawn carriage ride!

Monday, March 15, 2010


So we all know that Florida is one of those states that we could go on and on and on about, so I will just do a brief overview of Key West, Orlando, and Miami. However we all know Florida has beaches and water sports, so I will focus less on that.

Orlando – Kid Friendly all the way

If you are bringing the kids, then you must visit Orlando. Orlando has every theme park that you can imagine – Disney World, Universal, Wet N Wild, Sea World, Islands of Adventure, and even the less known Holy Land Experience which focuses on showing people how it was to live in biblical times. Right outside Orlando is Gatorland, a theme park dedicated to alligators. It houses also an educational center a wildlife preserve, or visit my favorite theme park is Discovery Cove Park where you can swim with the dolphins, visit the aviary, and see a tropical reef all in the same place.

After spending all day at the parks, take a walk in Lake Eila Park in downtown Orlando, where you will find 43 acres of running, picnicking, playgrounds, and more. Or head over to the Mall at the Millenia for tons of shopping.

Take a break from the hectic park life by taking the kids over to Tibet-butler reserve, which has educational and environmental focuses programs that teach you about Florida’s ecosystem.

Key West—Water, Water, and more Water

Yacht charters, glass bottom boat tours, dinner cruises, scuba diving, and dolphin watching is all part of the Key West experience, but get out of the water and visit some of these other tourist attractions. The Conch tour train or the Old Town Trolley Tours will give you an old fashioned tour of Key west. I always recommend these toursyou’re your first day so you can just sit back relax and learn what the city has to offer before spending the rest of your trip experiencing it all first hand. It lets you know where things and located and what is worth going to, and even about some attractions that you had no idea existed. Among them, Key West offers Cayo hueso y habana, which is located in Mallory Squares and offers shops and Cuban history. You can even see cigars being hand rolled. Another gem is the Flager Station History Center, which will tell you all you could ever need to know about the history of Key West. If you love history, then hit the Shipwreck Musuem which combines actors, films and the actual artifacts from the 1985 rediscovery of the wrecked vessel Isaac Allerton, which sank in 1856.

Dry Tortugas national park offers key west with a little less of the tourism and a little more natural beauty. You can climb up the lighthouse, hike, snorkel, birdwatch, fish, or camp. Not many people come all the way out there, so you get a little less crowded than on Key West.

Miami is for the grown ups.

Besides it’s lively night life of clubs and bars, they also have

Little Havana which has murals, monuments, cigar rollers, and everything else Cuban including music and restaurants. Also a great place to shop, eat, or stroll is Bayside market, which offers great views of the water and a mall front atmosphere.

If you want to get away from the beaches, the food, the nightlife, and the shopping head to one of these pitstops:

Oleta river state Park—camping, hiking, kayaking, wildlife, and of course still beaches.

Wings over Miami MuseumAir Museum located near the airport that tells visitors about military and civilian aviation.

Freedom tower- memorial to Cuban immigration

Sculpture park Martin Margulies Sculpture park encompasses the FIU campus with beautiful sculptures donated to the campus. Admission is free, and you know we like free.

Nascar fans should head over to the Daytona 500

There are also a million other museums including the Jewish Museum of Miami, and the Bonnet Museum and Gardens

Of course there are also a thousand other things that I failed to mention above to do in Florida. The general message = visit Florida.

Sunday, February 28, 2010



Delaware is a little state, but all the little things to do add up. The people there love their state and boast about being the first state in the Nation. However what they are most known for is the fact that you can do all the shopping you want there and pay NO SALES TAX.

For those of us who prefer to see things rather than shop, the below are lots of viable pit stop options:

Pit stops for the Active Type:

Besides making a NASCAR fans day by visiting the Dover International Speedway, you can actually give any visitor a thrill by booking a monster racing behind the wheel experience.

Go from car ride to boat ride by sailing all over Delaware or visiting one of the many beaches, such as Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach or taking the 80 min Cape May Lewes Ferry. The Cape Henlopen’s state park is actually another beach where thousands of visitors come each year.

Those who like to take chances with their lives on land and by sea, often also like to gamble with their money. They should head over to the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino or the Harrington Raceway and place their bets.

Pit stops for the History Lover:

Delaware was originally the home of the Nanticoke people. You can visit their museum which has information about the tribe, as well as pottery, traditional tools, clothing, photographs, and more. If you like learning about different people from our world’s history, you can also head over to the Delaware Natural History Museum, which has exhibits about sea life, dinosaurs, and more.

Since Delaware has been around for so long, it is a state full of history including dutch settlement museums such as Dutch House and DeVries Monument, Swedish colonies, Cooch’s Bridge Revolutionary War battle site, and the World War II Aviation Museum

The most famous family in all of Delaware is the DuPont family. Learn about them at the Brandywine Valley area, which includes the Hagley Museum and Library as well as various other museums and mansions.

If you prefer more of the Civil War era, then Delaware has that as well. You can visit the Lincoln Museum or you can head over to Fort Delaware State park , which was a Union fortess and houses Confederate prisoners. The park hires costumed civil war buffs to reenact the time period for you.

Pit stops that the whole Family will love:

Yo ho, yo ho, Delaware has a Pirate’s life for me…. Visit the Discoversea Shipwreck Museum and get yourself some shipwreck coins and pendants for your pirate’s chest. Similarly, there is a treasures of the sea exhibit in Georgetown where you can find silver ingots and coins, bronze cannons, gold coins and chairs, and emeralds—all from the pirate era.

Go from Pirates to Ghosts! You can do the tour of the old New Castle or take a Ghost train ride, but with all of the history in the First state of the union, you can only image how many ghosts may be lurking around.

Some of the best places to look for ghosts are lighthouses, and Delaware has quite a few of those. You can visit the Rockford Tower, the Breakwater East End Lighthouse, or the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse

If you find yourself near Bethany beach, you should stop by The Artful Bean. This is a coffee house that also houses art exhibits from local artists including painter, jewelers, ceramics, and more.

A couple cool pit stops include the Bennett Orchard or Woodside farm creamery where you can either pick your own fruit, or get fresh made ice cream.

There seems to be a lot of little things to do in Delaware that add up to a larger picture full of history and family fun.

Saturday, February 20, 2010



This is just a wholesome, family friendly state. There should be something for the entire family to enjoy at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, which houses collections of decorative art, natural science, and anthropology. They also throw festivals and educational programs throughout the year. Continue down the Connecticut Art to the Bush-Holley Historic Site in Cos Cob/Greenwich, the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Wilton/Ridgefield, and the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk. In the Greater New Haven region: the Yale Center for British Art and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven. In the Litchfield region, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield and Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center in Waterbury. In the Mystic region, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, the William Benton Museum of Art in Mansfield/Storrs, the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, and the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain. In the Hartford / Central region, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford. Another museum that should be on the list is the Yale –Peabody Museum. It was established in 1866 by the first Professory of Paleontology in North America. Professor Marsh donated the dinosaurs he named Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus in the museum’s Great Hall.

Another gem that offers something for the entire family is the River Museum, where you can run across bald eagles and other birds. The history of this place includes dinosaurs, Native Americans, and Dutch explorers, offering lots of history.

If you like to be outside visit the Northwest Park and Nature Center has 12 miles of hiking trails that during the winter you can also use for snowshoeing or cross country skiing. They also offer demonstrations on maple sugaring and Coffee House Concerts. You can also see the stars at the Copernican Observatory whether through the largest telescope in the US or in the planetarium. Or enjoy one of my favorite pit stops is the Creamery Bison Farm in Brooklyn is a place where you can see bison, eat icecream, and take a wagon ride. So far- no down side.

Good old American History would force you to drop in on the inventor of the cotton gin by stopping by the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden. If you prefer your history in writing, stop by Mark Twain’s House and Museum in Hartford. You can also learn about the Woodland Indians at the Institute for American Indian Studies. Lots of exhibits to show you about the way of life of the people, but also hike, look at gardens, buy some jewelry or pottery, etc.

One of the coolest things in Connecticut has got to be the Watertown Alpaca South Wind Farms. They of course sell various materials made out of the alpaca hair (which is supposedly second only to cashmere)

In terms of nightlife, feel free to see a show at the Warner Theatre and while you are there you can enjoy the architecture, the inside design, murals, glass chandeliers and more that make this place famous.

Like all the other states, Connecticut offers alchol. Connecticut wineries make ciders and fruit wines. The best known winery, is the Litchfield Winter Wine Trail that runs in the winter and makes a full event out of it offering sledding, etc.