Posts Tagged With: america

A Look Inside America’s National Treasures

We all know them by name, the classic national treasures that reflect the history of America. But, do you know the history behind these famous landmarks and sites? From the Liberty Bell to Mount Rushmore, I’ll take a look inside some of the most popular national treasures in America.


The Liberty Bell – Known for its iconic crack, the Liberty Bell is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bell used to be referred to as the State House Bell, because its old location was the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell was created for the bell tower in 1751 by the Whitechapel Foundry in London. Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Isaac Norris, headed up the bell’s creation. However, a new bell had to be made after the first bell from London cracked during the first ring test. Metalworkers John Pass and John Stow soon developed the bell in Philadelphia. The bell was rung to call lawmakers to their meetings and townspeople together for important news. It wasn’t until the 1830s that the Liberty Bell became a symbol of liberty.

When it comes to the Liberty Bell, there are two famous symbols located on it. First, the crack. There are different theories as to why the bell cracked, but many believe it occurred during the 1840s, after 90 years of use. However, the split you see in the bell today is actually a repair job. In 1846, Philadelphia decided to repair the crack in the bell for George Washington’s birthday. Metal workers used a technique called “stop drilling” to widen the crack to prevent further spreading and to restore the bell’s tone. Sadly, this repair led to another crack and the Liberty Bell has not been rung since.

The second symbol is the bell’s inscription—“Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” This verse comes from Leviticus 25:10 and was chosen by Norris to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges. The Liberty Bell’s message was also used by abolitionists to end slavery.


The Statue of Liberty – “Lady Liberty,” one of the best-known landmarks of the New York skyline, was actually a gift to the United States from the people of France. It was dedicated as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy on October 28, 1886, and became a National Monument in 1924. The Statue of Liberty has a few key symbols associated with her, such as the torch, crown and face, the tablet and dates, and the chains. Lady Liberty’s torch was restored in 1986, and the original 1886 torch is located in an exhibit for all to see. The new torch is covered with 24k gold sheets. As for the crown and face, the iconic crown has seven rays, one for each of the seven continents, and her face is more than 8 feet tall. As for the monument’s tablet and dates, the 23-foot, seven-inch-long-tablet has the inscription “July IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776). Lastly, Lady Liberty’s broken chains represent the cessation of oppression and tyranny.

When visiting the Statue of Liberty, there are two ways to climb inside the monument. First, you can either walk/climb the 215 steps from the lobby to the top of the pedestal, or you can take the elevator. From my own experience, there is nothing better than the view of New York, Ellis Island, and the surrounding areas from the top of the pedestal. Another way is to visit the monument’s crown. Access to the crown is only available with advance tickets. Tickets are also needed for the pedestal.


Mount Rushmore – Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln can be seen for miles throughout the Black Hills National Forest. These four presidential faces are visited by more than three million people annually in their home at Mount Rushmore. The mountain’s sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, chose these four presidents based on their important events and contributions to history. Borglum led over 400 workers in carving the monument, which they began in 1927 and completed in 1941. A total of 450,000 tons of rock had to be removed to create the heads. Borglum’s original plan was to show the presidents from the waist up. However, lack of funding stopped the carving after the faces were completed.

Today, Mount Rushmore is known as the “Shrine of Democracy.” On July 4, 1930, a dedication ceremony was held for the head of George Washington. The remaining three presidents each had their dedication ceremonies between 1936 and 1939. After Borglum’s death in 1941, his son took over the job and completed Mount Rushmore’s final details. It is known as a “Shrine of Democracy” because of Borglum’s intention for the monument was to promote the “continuance of the democratic-republican form of government throughout the world.”

The Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, and Mount Rushmore are just a few of the many classic national treasures in America. The list of beautiful places can go on and on, and all are on my own personal list of places to visit.



Article published by The 20 Something Traveler in Forsyth Family Magazine, June 2017

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A Patriotic Fourth: Independence Hall

Happy 4th of July! Today, we celebrate our independence from Great Britain and becoming a new nation. What better way to remember the meaning of July 4th than by looking at the place where it all began – Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Independence Hall, formerly known as the Pennsylvania State House, was built in 1732 and is considered the birthplace of the United States. Inside the Deceleration of Independence was adopted and the United States Constitution was drafted and signed.

Take a look below at the little known facts about the building, where history came alive.

  1. The building housed all three branches of Pennsylvania’s colonial government.
  2. Within the Assembly Room, the Deceleration of Independence and United States Constitution were both signed.
  3. The Assembly Room also held the meetings for the Second Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention.
  4. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania worked in the courtroom in the 1700’s.
  5. Other rooms in the building include: the Governor’s Council Chamber, Committee of the Assembly Chamber, and the Long Gallery.

For more information, visit:

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Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day – the perfect time to get outdoors and spend time with your loved ones. While many people head to the beach, campsites, or mountains, it’s important to remember the real reason of the holiday. Today is a time to honor those who lost their lives fighting for our country.

As a traveler, I believe it’s important to incorporate a little bit of history behind the places I visit or the days with special meaning. So, for Memorial Day, I’m giving you a look into one of America’s most sacred places – Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

  1. The cemetery hosted the first national Memorial Day commemoration in 1868.
  2. It’s the only national cemetery to hold servicemen from every war in U.S. history.
  3. Three World War II enemy combatants are buried here.
  4.  Nearly 4,000 former slaves are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  5. Soldiers plant flags in front of every tombstone on Memorial Day weekend.
  6. More than 4 million people visit the cemetery annually.
  7. The Arlington Estate was originally owned by George Washington Parke Custis. His daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis married Robert E. Lee and inherited the estate. During the Civil War, the land was abandoned by the Lees and used as headquarters for the Union army.
  8.  The partial remains of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger are also buried in the cemetery.
  9.  On May 13, 1864, the  first military burial of Pvt. William H. Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry took place.
  10. The flags in Arlington National Cemetery are flown at half-staff from a half hour before the first funeral until a half hour after the last funeral each day.

With deepest gratitude, thank you to all of our soldiers and veterans for your service and for those who never made it home.

Source: and 


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Simply Carolina: Cheerwine Cupcakes

Happy Simply Carolina day! There is a special post planned for Wednesday, so I’m celebrating Simply Carolina two days early.

I love absolutely love this recipe and there is nothing more Southerner than a cup of ice cold Cheerwine.

Don’t know what Cheerwine is?  The beverage is a cherry soft-drink, founded in North Carolina. Trust me, it is a must-try! This soft-drink has multiple uses, including being made into quick and easy cupcakes!



  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 12 ounces Cheerwine
  • 1/8 teaspoon cherry flavor
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 4 cups Cheerwine
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-3 cups of powdered confectioner sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside
  2. Whisk together cake mix, Cheerwine, and cherry flavor. Pour into prepared pans and bake according to package instructions. Cool completely.
  3. In a saucepan, boil down the Cheerwine until it has reduced to 1/2 cup.
  4. In a mixer, cream butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar on medium speed. Slow speed to low and add Cheerwine reduction. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, adding additional sugar if needed.
  5. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with maraschino cherries.


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Simply Carolina- The History of the Palmetto State

South Carolina is one of my top ten favorite places to visit. With each trip, I love learning more about the state’s history and importance. My appreciation for history takes over and I always leave with a few more little known facts.

Here are a few of my favorite South Carolina fast facts.

  1. The state was originally part of the English colony, Province of Carolina, and was named after King Charles I.
  2. There are 46 counties and regions include: the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charleston Metro Area, Coastal South Carolina, and Sea Islands.
  3. Roughly 4.6 million people live in the Palmetto state.
  4. Columbia is the state capital and largest city. Charleston is the 2nd largest city with nearly 660,000 people.
  5. A quick timeline of South Carolina’s history:

16th century- 1st explored by the Europeans

17th century- Native Americans expel most of the Spaniards

1670s- The English begin arriving to the colony

December 20, 1860- South Carolina becomes the 1st state to secede from the Union.

1960s- The Civil Rights Movement proved to be transformative in the state

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The Main Street of America- Route 66

To celebrate “Keep America Beautiful” month, I’m taking you on a Route 66 roadtrip.

This famous highway was created in 1926 and stretches for 2,451 miles, from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Over the years, it has gained various nicknames including the Mother Road and the Main Street of America.

There are tons of places to visit on Route 66, but here are some of my favorite.

Cadillac Ranch- Amarillo, Texas 


The Painted Desert- Arizona 


Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park- Chelsea, Oklahoma 

Lou Mitchell’s- Chicago, Illinois 

Roy’s Motel and Cafe- Amboy, California

Wigwam Motels- Holbrook, Arizona 


La Posada Historic District- Winslow, Arizona 

Santa Monica Pier- Santa Monica, California 


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Must-See Places in the U.S.

April is known as “Keep America Beautiful” month. For every Monday, I’ll post about something United States related, starting today with the 10 must-see places in our nation.

French Quarter: New Orleans, Louisiana

Times Square: New York, New York

Mount Rushmore: Keystone, South Dakota 

Thomas Jefferson Memorial: Washington D.C.

Portland Head Light: Portland, Maine

Grand Teton National Park: Wyoming

Philadelphia City Hall: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Hollywood Sigh: Los Angeles, California

South Beach: Miami, Florida 

Pike Place Market: Seattle, Washington 



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The American West

Throughout the world, many places fascinate me with their history and picturesque views. One of these places is the American West. This area of the United States is full of road-trips, scenic views, and historical sites.

Take a look at my top seven places to visit in the American West. Trust me, it was hard to narrow it down to seven!

The Grand Canyon- National Park in Arizona

Hidden Lake- Glacier National Park in Montana 

Painted Hills- John Day Fossil Bed National Monument in Oregon 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota  

Cathedral Lake- Yosemite National Park in California 

Bisti Badlands in New Mexico 

The Window- Big Bend National Park in Texas 

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Remembering the Reagans


In remembrance of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who is laid to rest today at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, I’m taking a deeper look inside this historic site.

Located in Simi Valley, California, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, the Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center, and the Air Force One Pavilion. Within the foundation, visitors can see artifacts and gifts, while learning about the 40th President of the United States and his First Lady.

One of my favorite parts is the Library and Museum. Exhibits, including the Oval Office, Governor of California, and the Berlin Wall, depict the life and times of the former President. Some of Reagan’s speeches and pictures are also on display.

Another one of my favorites is the Air Force One Pavilion. I have also loved aviation and airplanes, so getting to walk onto a former Air Force One, you can say I was in my glory. Here, visitors can visit the actual airplane that flew Reagan and all of the presidents from 1973 to 2001. This Air Force One flew President Reagan to 46 United States and 26 foreign countries. In regards to the plane, President Reagan once said ” And as we liftoff aboard Air Force One…the winds of freedom will be propelling my mission… As I fly westward over our majestic land, I go knowing that we´re witnessing an awakening to those self–evident truths to which our forefathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” 

All of the Presidential Foundations are fascinating to visit. Trust me, though, you don’t want to miss a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. This is where history comes alive and there are so many fun and interesting facts to learn!

“As I’ve said before, time is short and life is precious.” -Nancy Reagan 

To President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan- you both are greatly missed and remembered.

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My Tarheel Food Must-Tries


It’s almost time to reveal a fun and exciting project I’ve been working on! The project, Simply Carolina, will feature stories, recipes, and cities related to North and South Carolina.  For a little preview, here are the must-try restaurants in the Tarheel state.

Put food and travel together and I’m a happy camper! So, when I saw an article titled, “15 Restaurants In North Carolina That Will Blow The Taste Buds Out of Your Mouth,” I knew I had to read it.

Out of the 15 restaurants mentioned, I made a 5 must-try bucket list.

1:Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill in Greensboro: Who doesn’t love BBQ with a signature sauce?
2: Hurricane Mo’s in Kitty Hawk: Dine on a meal of shrimp, wings, and tacos with a great view of the Outer Banks.
3: Dame’s Chicken and Waffles in Durham: Chicken and waffles, does anything get more Southern?
4: Johnny’s Pizza in Apex: You can’t keep me away for a good slice of pizza for too long!
5: The Cowfish in Charlotte: Where else can you get burgers and sushi at the same place?

To view the complete list, visit:

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