Posts Tagged With: travel blog

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Taking the Stress Out of Traveling with Kids

Traveling-With-Kids

It’s summer time! And with summertime come trips and family vacations. Spending long hours traveling in a car, on a plane, or another mode of transportation can be tiring on both parents and children. But, there are tricks to keeping kids engaged and not asking the typical, “Are we there yet?”

Keep the Activities Coming: Pack a travel bag full of games, puzzles, coloring books, stickers, and more to keep your kids occupied. If you are traveling for several hours, try handing out a new item once per hour. Take the travel bag a step further and create a small bag for each child. This bag can be a pencil pouch or something of a similar size and include items that are interesting to that child. Lastly, play family games along the way. Have printable road bingo or a road trip scavenger hunt. Another classic family game is the license plates game, where everyone competes to see how many different license plates they can find. When traveling by airplane, it can be hard to pack all of these items into your carry-on. Instead, try downloading kid-friendly apps with games and videos on your iPhone or iPad. This way, your children will stay engaged in an activity other than running up and down the aisles of the plane.

Pack a Snack Bag without Sweets: Kids will get hungry going from place to place. Be sure to have their favorite treats to ease their hunger and avoid the hangry mood (hungry plus angry). However, remember one thing: don’t include sweets. There is nothing worse than being in a public tourist attraction with a child having a sugar rush. Include in the bag savory treats like cheese cubes, pretzels, fruit, and veggies. Don’t forget water to drink!

Start a Travel Journal: Put an educational spin on your trip and have your kids start a travel journal. This travel journal can include drawings, lists, and stories about the interesting places you visit, food you eat, and the various activities you do. Also, collect postcards from the different places. With these postcards, you can either write a message on the back and mail them to yourself or include them in the journal. Another way to engage your kids in the travel journal is to give them a camera to take pictures. This child-friendly camera will allow kids to capture their favorite sites and what interests them. Types of cameras can include disposable or Polaroid.

Have a First-Aid Kit and a Clean-up Kit: When you are traveling with kids, anything can happen. Be prepared with a First-Aid kit and a clean-up kit for spills. In the First-Aid kit, include band aids, gauze pads, a digital thermometer, cold pack, sunscreen, bug spray, aloe vera, saline solution, antibacterial wipes, medicine, and anything else you would normally include. For the clean-up kit, put in antibacterial wipes, paper towels, small garbage bags, zip-lock bags, and extra clothing and diapers.

Plan Ahead: Plan your trip and make your reservations well in advance. Along with hotel and flight reservations, buy tickets for attractions ahead of time. In addition, plan out a schedule for your trip, including the various activities for each day. Check out the websites for the places you’ll visit, see the nearby restaurants, and other sites to help your trip go smoothly. However, one of the most important things to remember is to stay flexible! If you have one attraction planned for a day and end up doing something else, don’t worry! Don’t plan too much or too little. The ultimate goal of the trip is to have fun and make memories with your family. Also, have a plan of what you’re going to pack in regard to clothes for your kids. Have a to-do list and schedule of what needs to be done in the final days leading up to your trip.

Bring Your Child’s Must-need Items: Don’t forget to bring your child’s favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket—anything they normally carry around and need to have at home. These items will help kids feel safe and comfortable while exploring new surroundings. Plus, it might help prevent some emotional break-downs.

Traveling with kids can sometimes be stressful. However, use the tips above to ease that stress and create lasting family memories.

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7 Things to Know: Germany

  
Heading to Germany soon? Here are seven things to know before going.

  1. May through October is the high season, while December through March is the best time for skiing.
  2. Be on time. Punctuality is key in Germany.
  3. Waitstaff is only supposed to be tipped 5-10%
  4. Keep your hands out of your pockets when talking to someone.
  5. Be prepared for Germans to correct your behavior and are reserved with compliments.
  6. When finished eating, lay your fork and knife across the right side of your plate.
  7. Germans are very formal. Avoid shouting or chewing gum in public.

 

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Rio de Janiero 


The 2016 Summer Olympics is finally here! Tonight, the games officially kick off in Rio de Janiero with the Opening Ceremonies.
Rio de Janiero is known for it’s beauty, history, and lively attitude. The city’s name means “River of January” in Portuguese and is one of the largest in Brazil. Before we watch the Olympians go for the gold, let’s take a deeper look into Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

When to Go:

Best Weather: March – June and Sept. – Nov.

Rainforest: June – Nov.

Caranval: Feb. – March

Food to Try:

Feijoada Stew

Vatapa

Chrrasco Barbecue

Sights and Activites: 

Enjoy the party of Caranval

Climb up the Christ the Redeemer Statue

Take a cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain

Relax on the beaches of Copacabana

Facts to Know:

Haggling is expected of street vendors.

At night, don’t travel in public transportation. The safest option is to call a taxi.

The crime rate is high in Rio de Janiero, keep valuable items, passports, and additional cash in a hotel safe. Traveling with fewer valuable items the better.

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Simply Carolina

North Carolina and South Carolina are two of my favorite states. As a traveler and lover of history, I always like to learn about the places I’m visiting. For this week’s Simply Carolina, here are five quick facts about each state. Did you know the Carolinas originated as one colony?

North Carolina:

  1. State nicknames include the “Tarheel State” and the “Old North State.”
  2. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts was founded in Winston-Salem.
  3. Babe Ruth hit his first home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.
  4. North Carolina is the nation’s leader in furniture, tobacco, brick, and textile production.
  5. The state’s motto is: Esse quam videri, meaning to be rather than to seem.

South Carolina:

  1. The state dance of South Carolina is the shag.
  2. The Palmetto state is leading the nation in peach production and shipper east of the Mississippi River.
  3. South Carolina entered the Union as the 8th state on May 23, 1788.
  4. The Civil War started at Fort Sumter.
  5. Duncan Park Baseball Stadium in Spartanburg is the oldest minor league stadium in the nation.

Don’t forget YOU can join in the Simply Carolina fun!

If you live in either state, I want to hear your stories, recipes, etc. about the Carolinas. Simply fill out the contact form on the contact tab at the top of my blog with your information and story

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My Travel To-Do List

We all have bucket lists. Lists of things we want to do before our last day on Earth. But, I don’t like calling them “bucket lists.” Sounds as if you are counting down the days. So, instead, lets call them “to-do lists.” My to-do lists consist of making memories, spending time with loved ones, and traveling. Here is my travel to-do list.

  • Visit all 7 continents
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Go on a Route 66 road-trip
  • Visit and hike Machu Picchu
  • Hike Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Camp under the Northern Lights
  • Visit Brazil during Carnival.
  • Dive through the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • Walk across the Trift Bridge in the Swiss Alps
  • Swim in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon
  • Kayak through Caddo Lake in Texas
  • Go on a hot-air balloon ride in Turkey
  • Go fly-fishing in Montana’s Glacier National Park
  • See the floating lanterns in Thailand
  • Watch the Changing of the Guards in London
  • See the Fairy Pools in Scotland
  • Tickle whales in Mexico
  • Walk the Great Wall of China
  • Helicopter over a volcano in Hawaii
  • Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Dreaming a little big, aren’t I? That’s the fun of it- dream and LIVE big!

What is on your travel to-do list?

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Christmas at Biltmore

  
Take a step back in time and visit America’s largest home. Or if you want an American version of the Downton Abbey house, this is the place.

This past weekend, I visited the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. As a North Carolinaian, I have been to the house before, but not at Christmastime and all I can say is WOW! This house is prettier than normal (if that’s even possible) and a sense of holiday joy is felt all around.

You are probably wondering “why should I visit such as fabulous house?” Well, here are the reasons why you MUST go to Christmas at Biltmore.

  1. Owner George Vanderbilt introduced his home to family and friends on Christmas Eve 1895.
  2. It’s a one stop shop for carolers, Santa visits, and shopping.
  3. Breathtaking scenery, including mountains, Christmas trees, and architecture.
  4. A variety of tours to participate in, such as the Daytime Celebration and Candlelight Christmas Evenings.
  5. Turn a day trip into a weekend trip and take in everything the estate has to offer. A hotel and inn are located on the property.

Stay tuned for another post on Biltmore later this week!

For more information, visit: http://www.biltmore.com/events/christmas-at-biltmore-daytime-celebration-1

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The 4-Shoe Rule

When it comes to packing for a trip, I always follow an age old travel tip: pack only three pairs of shoes. Well, this piece of advice quickly failed me. I was in Charleston and it was pouring down rain. If you know Charleston in the rain, things can get a little muddy and messy, especially when you are wearing sandals and didn’t pack any closed toe shoes. Long story short, by the end of the day, my feet were a sight and I discovered this three shoe rule needs altering.

For each trip, I now pack one pair of:

  • Closed toe shoes (usually flats)
  • Tennis shoes
  • Flip-Flops
  • Something dressy (when it’s summer, this is where I use my sandals.)

We all have our travel mishaps, but trust me, the four shoe rule helps prevent them.

 

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Happy Back to the Future Day!

back to the future

Today’s the day where Marty McFly arrives in the future! If I could time-travel, I would go back to some of my favorite periods of history, such as the 1800’s, 1940’s, and the 1950’s.

It’s good to reminisce about old times, but always remember to live in the moment!

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Insider’s Guide to Charleston, S.C. 

Charleston, South Carolina 

 One of my favorite places in the world is Charleston! There is nothing better than seeing the Palmetto trees swaying in the Atlantic breeze and reliving the city’s history. So, of course, the Holy City would be the first stop on my Southern Summer Roadtrip!

For each place, I’ll give you the things to do,  the restaurants to try, and the tips to use. Let’s go!

Things to Do:

  1. Rainbow Row
  2. Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens
  3. Carriage Rides
  4. Charleston City Market
  5. Fort Sumter

Restaurants to Try:

  1.  Poogan’s Porch
  2. The Rooftop
  3. Charleston Crabhouse
  4. Brown Dog Deli
  5. Fleet Landing

Tips to Use:

  1. Weekday rates for hotels are often cheaper than weekends. If your schedule allows, come to Charleston during the week. My past trip was a Tuesday-Thursday and I loved it! For all of the places I visited, there was little to no wait.
  2. Look for special packages if you plan on doing a carriage ride, tours of plantations or museums, or the South Carolina Aquarium.
  3. You don’t have to stay in the heart of the city. Check out a hotel on the outskirts or North Charleston. Lower hotel rates are always a favorite.
  4. Walk the city! Save on gas and a get a little exercise. Trust me, you’ll see a TON more if you get out of the car.
  5. Go to the Charleston City Market  FIRST thing in the morning, right after it opens. You’ll get first pick over all the vendors. Plus, the crowd’s still small, so there’s more room to shop.
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