Holidays: The Name’s the Same!

It appears there are a number of cities and towns in the US with holiday type names, so how about a little trivia where the name is the same when it comes to holidays?

The Star of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is easily visible 20 miles away
The Star of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is easily visible 20 miles away

Probably the most recognized Christmas related town name is Bethlehem, and in the US there are (reportedly) eight to 12. I’ve discovered 9 of them: Bethlehem, CT; Bethlehem, GA; Bethlehem, IN; Bethlehem, KY, Bethlehem, MD; Bethlehem, MS; Bethlehem, NH; Bethlehem, PA; Bethlehem, WV, with Bethlehem, PA being the most prominently known.

It was on Christmas eve in 1741, when a group of Moravians founded the mission community of Bethlehem, which proved to be a town for the future when in 1762 it built the “first-water works in America to pump water for public use.”

After the Civil War Bethlehem became a city, and a center for heavy industry and trade during the industrial revolution, thus Bethlehem Steel Corporation was founded, becoming the 2nd largest steel producer in the US, and was also one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world. Unfortunately they ceased their operations in 1995, after about 140 years of being in business.

Could it be the result of a grand ceremony on December 7, 1937, during the Great Depression, when the wife of Bethlehem Steel Corporation President, Charles F. Brown, flipped on the switch to turn on the new Christmas street lights and a large wooden star [that the city of Bethlehem still beckons visitors]? It was also at this time the Chamber of Commerce adopted the nickname ‘Christmas City, USA’. Today, that wooden star when lit up can be seen as far as Wind Gap, 20 miles away.

Bethlehem is also home to three large universities, including Lehigh University, and Money Magazine listed it at number 88 out of 100 ‘best cities to live’ . . .
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Not Necessarily Off the Beaten Path . . .

I just love being a curator of tourist-ific information to pass along to visitors to our travel blog, Get-packin, so when I happened upon another great travel website I became quite excited , especially when it comes to conjuring up places to visit – you know, those out of the way places found along the nation’s byways . . .

beartooth mountain by B.S. TownsendI hope to whet your appetite for some new travel finds using this great resource! There are recommended byways in 46 states plus a dozen or more multi-state byways reflected, such as Beartooth Highway which meanders across the rugged Beartooth Mountain Range, providing a dramatic view and unparalleled wildlife watching in the states of Montana and Wyoming. There are also more than a dozen local resources through a variety of Chamber of Commerce offices located in both states.
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Spring Break is Bigger and Better Than Ever!

Spring break actually started for some schools in mid February and runs the second or third week in April.  If you would like numbers, has put together all the data on spring break 2012 dates and corresponding number of humans on break in a given week.
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Over the River and Through the Woods…

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people.  I have an 11-year-old son and I can tell you that his gift list, and those of his schoolmates, is daunting indeed. At the top of every list this year is all the “smart” technology, from phones to TV’s to Tablets, with a not so smart price tag. The media would have our kids think they are outside the norm if they do not have all these expensive gadgets, and many times parents are pressured into buying things they just cannot afford. This creates stress. On the other hand if we do not buy these things we believe our kids will be unhappy and this can also be stressful.
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Shuffle Off to Buffalo – a Road Trip Near the Falls

  Buffalo Skyline – Wikimedia Commons Photo  There’s more to Buffalo, New York than the “Falls”  . . . located on the eastern shores of Lake Erie, Buffalo has the second largest population in New York.  The city could attribute its growth to the Erie Canal and its proximity to Niagara Falls, which is the 6th most popular attraction in the world (according to Forbes Top 10 most … Continue reading Shuffle Off to Buffalo – a Road Trip Near the Falls

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A Road Trip along the Mississippi Blues Trail . . .

There are more than 75 reasons for you to take a meandering road trip along the Mississippi Blues Trail.  It is here that you’ll find the ‘roots of the blues’ – music that reaches way down deep in your soul.  A famous blues artist, Willie Dixon, said it best, “Blues is the roots of all music, and you know you can’t have no fruits without … Continue reading A Road Trip along the Mississippi Blues Trail . . .

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Did you think we meant Sparta, Greece?  There are a total of 28 towns named Sparta in the U.S., plus one in Canada and two in South America.  Although Sparta, Greece would provide the most historic significance, our travels are taking us to the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and to the town of Sparta, North Carolina, about six miles to the famed Blue Ridge … Continue reading PACK YOUR BAGS … IT’S A ROAD TRIP TO SPARTA!

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