A Monumental Day Indeed!

Washington Monument at dusk, Wikimedia Commons image
Washington Monument at dusk, Wikimedia Commons image
It was just announced that the Washington Monument is reopening Monday, May 12, after a nearly 3-year long repair and restoration project due to an 8.5 magnitude earthquake that damaged the Monument in August of 2011.

Washington Monument during cherry blossom time, Wiki News image
Washington Monument during cherry blossom time, Wiki News image
Although I have seen the monument fairly up close when I traveled to our nation’s capital, I did not tour the “world’s tallest free-standing stone structure,” but it appears I was one of 700,000 (based on statistics) visitors a year. I would imagine also that many did not know the structure, when completed in 1884, had been the tallest in the world [for five years] until the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris. Not bad for a 130 year old, although some could say 166 years old since its original construction began in 1848.

Who could question that one of the most beautiful sites in America is seeing the Washington Monument at dawn or dusk, its obelisk shape stretching high into the sky. Is it any wonder that it is highly photographed, no matter the time of year, although popular photo are often seen during the cherry blossom blooming season.

Brooklyn Bridge, cy 2008, as depicted in Wikipedia.org
Brooklyn Bridge, cy 2008, as depicted in Wikipedia.org

After reading about the Washington monument being 130 years old I wondered what other tourism finds have withstood the sands of time and found several other note-worthy structures, such as the Brooklyn Bridge which took 13 years to complete at a price tag of $15.5 million dollars (about the same amount for the Washington Monument restoration). The bridge’s grand opening in May 1883 caused a “hoopla” with thousands in attendance while fireworks went off overhead and canons boomed and music filled the air while President Chester Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland (who later became president of the U.S.) joined New York’s mayor celebrating this auspicious occasion.
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The Dream Continues . . .

Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial, Washington DC
Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial, Washington DC
2013 was the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s infamous “I Have a Dream” speech, a milestone marked by many remembrances and memorials. As we approach this January 20th, set aside to honor MLK, we are reminded once again that we should never give up on our dreams, which are as varied as the people who dream them.

Tower of old Jamestown Church, ca 1639, shown in  1854 image, Wikimedia comons
Tower of old Jamestown Church, ca 1639, shown in 1854 image, Wikimedia comons
. . . including dreams that go back as far as 1607, when the English (some 100+ men and boys plus 39 crew members) established Jamestown as the first settlement of the Virginia Colony, traveling across the ocean to fulfill their dream of religious freedom and a better quality of life. Today Jamestown, and nearby Williamsburg, are a testament to these early settlers’ fortitude, and what once was their first home reminds us of America’s early history, which have also become popular tourist attractions, drawing people from all walks of life.

1870, Crouffit's Great Transcontinental Tourist's Guide, Wikimedia Commons
1870, Crouffit’s Great Transcontinental Tourist’s Guide, Wikimedia Commons
May 10, 1869 marked another milestone in American History, where the dream of the first Transcontinental Railroad was finally realized thereby enabling Americans to travel virtually from one coast to the other overland, connecting with the existing Eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa. The dream may have actually begun with Asa Whitney, the widely-traveled cousin of Eli Whitney (inventor of the cotton gin) who said, “[It] would bring all our immensely wide-spread population together as one vast city; the moral and social effects of which must harmonize all together as one family; with but one interest – the general good of all.” Others, like Dr. Hartwell Carver kept the dream alive, with an article published in 1832, where Carver advocated the building of a transcontinental railroad from Lake Michigan to Oregon.

Although the initial building of a transcontinental railroad was very much for commercial purposes, as it evolved it is also provided a means for tourism.
Continue reading “The Dream Continues . . .”

Ten Musical Reasons to Like Halloween Plus Some Travel Trivia

mask No. 10 Head to the sunshine state, more so to Miami, Florida to soak up the sun by day and then by night dress up like your favorite zombie and head over to the Massive Ideas Masquerade. For family fun, the Miami Zoo can’t be beat for its free range where animals are grouped together based on their geographic territory and exhibits are entirely cageless. Afterwards try a Cuban sandwich at La Carreta, the original Cuban kitchen.
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FREE is GOOD! Part 3 of a 3 part series

Macy's 4th of July Parade flickr image by Joyce Andes
Macy’s 4th of July Parade
flickr image by Joyce Andes

Why not Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of our country? You might head over to Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing for the Philadelphia Orchestra Neighborhood Concert or simply watch the fireworks at the Philly 4th of July Jam.

If Philly is not on your mind, perhaps the beauty of the Smoky Mountains is calling your name – so head over to UNC’s Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to hear live music by Kenny Mann and Liquid Pleasure, and a spectacular light up the sky fireworks display. You don’t want to miss the watermelon eating contest as well . . .
Continue reading “FREE is GOOD! Part 3 of a 3 part series”

We Remember . . .

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Arlington National Cemetery Wikimedia Commons Image Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Arlington National Cemetery
Wikimedia Commons Image

Memorial Day is seen differently by many.  There are those who see it as a 3-day holiday, time to gather with friends and family for a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park.  Others look at it as the start of summer vacation.  Depending on the area you live you might appreciate the warmth it brings; a real end to late spring winter-like weather.  Often young people see it as the official ending of the school year with visions of sleeping late or playing the day away. Late May is also a gardeners’ delight.  No matter how you view Memorial Day, there is one constant for the last Monday in May It is a Day of Remembrance. Continue reading “We Remember . . .”

2013 – Happy New Year!

We’ve survived! The world did not come to an end on 12-21-2012!  It’s now time to celebrate . . .

220px-2000_times_square_ball_at_waterfordIt began in 1907, the iconic Times Square ‘ball’ drop at 11:59 pm capturing New Yorkers and a nation  to herald in the New Year.  This year, some 8 million plus folks in New York City alone, with an estimated audience of  over a  billion people throughout the world joining in to celebrate the new year of 2013.  The ball started out with 100 incandescent light bulbs, iron and wood in its construction, but has evolved over time, and with advances in technology, now features LED lighting, crystal panels and a much larger size. 
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A Rainbow at the End of the Storm . . .

Memories of the 1965 Typhoon Kompasu came rushing back as I watched Mother Nature’s disaster unfolding in New York and New Jersey.  I remember clinging to a mattress, huddled with my young sons, and fearing this was the end for us all.  It was said that “the storms eye was over Nago on Okinawa” . . . “with sustained winds of 90 miles per hour”.   The category 2 typhoon was heading our way; an island that was barely 15 miles wide and about 45 miles long.  The anxiety I felt was indescribable!  I had no knowledge of hurricanes or typhoons, being brought up in land-locked Colorado. That was an education in Mother Nature’s fury that I never wanted to experience again. Continue reading “A Rainbow at the End of the Storm . . .”