January 3, 2019

HOW TO FIND THE UNUSUAL ON YOUR ROAD TRIP

Ready to start planning your next road trip? Your U.S. road trip itinerary can include stops from the sublime to the ridiculous!  Think abandoned towns, industrial wonders, historic homes, mom and pop restaurants known only to locals, secret trails leading to magnificent overlooks and, best of all, the REAL America!   HOW TO FIND THE UNUSUAL WHILE ON A ROAD TRIP is easy! Just use some invaluable websites. Double click each blue link in this post to be taken to that particular website.   (We encourage you to check out Backroad Planet, which supplied a portion of the content featured here.  By the way, Backroad Planet is one of our favorite travel blogs. It is superb.)  …

December 31, 2018

VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK, MISSISSIPPI

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. I have always wanted to visit but haven’t been quite sure why. I am no Civil War scholar. I only have an average knowledge of the various battles of the Civil War. But, for some reason, I felt like I needed to pay homage to this particular battlefield. I spent a fascinating and moving afternoon at the Military Park.   Confederate President Jefferson Davis called Vicksburg the “nailhead that holds the south’s two halves together.” President Abraham Lincoln said, “Vicksburg is the key” to victory, and could be the north’s lifeline into the south. With the…

December 6, 2018

FLORA-BAMA

Flora-bama! Is it a state, a tv show or a town? It is none of the above!   Flora-Bama is a one-building lounge located in Perdido Key, Florida on the state line of Alabama and Florida! Known as a honky-tonk and roadhouse, Flora-Bama is on Alabama State Route 182 and was built in 1964. When it was established in Escambia County, Florida, the county was “wet” while across the state line, Baldwin County, Alabama, was “dry”. When you go, ask for the “Bushwacker” drink.   Before Hurricane Ivan, Flora-Bama had in the range of 20 bars on site and up to 4 live bands playing at once. Right on the Gulf…

November 26, 2018

FORT PICKENS: Santa Rosa ISLAND, FLORIDA

Fort Pickens National Park is at one end of the Florida National Scenic Trail on Santa Rosa Island in The Gulf Islands National Seashore. The Fort is an historic and scenic treasure! This part of Florida has the largest collection of 1800s forts and batteries open to the public of any national park.   It doesn’t matter if you are looking for history, nature, hikes, sugar white sand beaches, fishing, biking or birdwatching-Fort Pickens has it all. Don’t forget to take your grandchildren! This is a great stop for seniors with their extended families!   HISTORY   A Military Strategy   After the War of 1812, the United States decided…

November 15, 2018

TAKE A BACKROADS TRIP: BOLLINGER MILL HISTORIC SITE IN MISSOURI

We enjoy finding out-of-the-way and rural surprises. There is so much American history down dirt roads and backroads! Take a backroads trip down Highway 55 to Bollinger Mill Historic Site in Missouri! This mill is four stories high and was the center of the settlements nearby. Early in our country’s history, towns grew up around water-powered mills.        The Bollinger Mill dates back to the Civil War era in Missouri when corn and wheat were ground into flour and meal. In 1800, George Frederick Bollinger built both a log dam and the mill bearing his name on the Whitewater River in Missouri. By 1820, a road linked Bollinger Mill with…

October 29, 2018

THE HISTORIC CITY MARKET IN Kansas City

The historic City Market in downtown Kansas City really bustles when farmers come to town to sell produce!   The City Market (sometimes called the River Market) dates to 1857. Today, it is one of the region’s largest City Markets with more than 140 farmer stalls. Shops surround the stalls with meats, fresh produce, specialty goods, flowers, and baked goods from America, Africa, Europe, the Middle and the Far East.       The City Market is located at the site on which Kansas City was first founded. A group of settlers created the “Town of Kansas” in 1850 which became the “City of Kansas” in 1853. In fact, the southern…

October 25, 2018

A TRIP TO HISTORIC ARROW ROCK, MISSOURI

Take a trip to historic Arrow Rock, Missouri! This entire town has been designated a National Historic Landmark with the town’s history inter-twined with Westward Expansion, artist George Caleb Bingham and the Santa Fe Trail!   HISTORY OF ARROW ROCK, MISSOURI   According to writer David Wolfe Eaton in 1918, Arrow Rock was named because of a flint-bearing bluff on the Missouri River. This name appears on a French map from 1732 as “Pierre a Flèche” meaning “Rock of Arrows.”   Eaton wrote that the bluff was a landmark and Lewis and Clark passed by on June 9, 1804. In 1808, William Clark passed through the area again and called…

October 22, 2018

Kansas City’s COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA

I couldn’t wait to show Stu the Country Club Plaza! Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza was the first shopping center in the world designed for shoppers coming by automobile in 1922.  The “Plaza” was also one of the first shopping centers in the country to be designed with a unifying theme and architecture. The Country Club Plaza was named for the nearby Kansas City Country Club (now Loose Park).   Developer J.C. Nichols began purchasing the land for the “Plaza” in 1907. The development project was the butt of local jokes since no development of its kind had ever been undertaken. The site was marshy and was next to a…

October 18, 2018

TAKE A BACKROADS TRIP TO BLACKWATER, MISSOURI

Take a backroads trip to Blackwater, Missouri which had a population of 162 in the year 2000! This charming village is only three miles off Interstate 70 and is full of 1800s buildings on The National Register of Historic Places. The entire downtown is one-block long and is a tiny town adventure.   HISTORY OF BLACKWATER   Blackwater was founded in 1887 after the Missouri Pacific Railroad developed a coal refilling station between St. Joseph, Missouri and Kansas City. Travelers who stopped in Blackwater kept the town bustling in the late 1800s.The post office has been in operation since 1873.   BLACKWATER TODAY   The Iron Horse Hotel & Restaurant was once…

October 15, 2018

TAKE A TOUR: Kansas City, MISSOURI

The Skyline Of KC

Take a tour of Kansas City, Missouri and you’ll discover that the city is more than you might think! Stu and I spent a fascinating few days exploring the city where I grew up.   THE LIBERTY MEMORIAL Our first stop was the Liberty Memorial and newly-designated National World War I Memorial and Museum.     The Liberty Memorial is America’s official memorial for the men and women who served and died in World War I. Momentum to build the Memorial ballooned shortly after the Armistice in November 1918.   Soon after the end of the war, a group of 40 Kansas Citians raised more than $2.5 million for construction in…