Pony Express, NV
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10 December, 2015 , New Orleans, La. Gingerbread Cathedral at Sheraton Hotel New Orleans One of New Orleans’ most iconic landmarks, the St. Louis Cathedral, constructed entirely of gingerbread is welcoming guests as they enter the lobby of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel this year. Executive Chef Mark Quitney and his pastry team’s St. Louis Cathedral Gingerbread Scene enhances the hotel’s already festive décor which includes their time-honored display of Cajun Kris Kringle and his pirogue full of toys pulled by his trusty alligators, Bourée, Boudin and Roux-Dolph.

“This is the premiere piece of a wonderful new holiday tradition,” commented Chef Quitney. “Each year we plan to expand our French Quarter scene which will eventually include gingerbread renditions of the Presbytere and Cabildo as well.”

Geared up for the holidays, the hotel is also offering guests a new Holiday Traditions Treasure Hunt package which leads guests on a quest to discover treasured New Orleans’ holiday traditions.

Details on the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel’s seasonal offerings can be found at: www.sheratonneworleans.com/papanoel

6 October, 2015 , Aiken, South Carolina Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, Runs for the Roses Take an unusual route to a regular destination and you might happen upon Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, encompassing the town of Aiken, where horses are the prize. Travel by US 78 or 278 through Thoroughbred Country's charming small towns including Williston, Blackville, Denmark and Bamberg on your next trip to Charleston or Hilton Head.

As cool weather closes in, run for the roses at Thoroughbred Country's autumn and winter events like the Katydid Combined Driving Event, November 5-8, a three-phase driving competition including both horses and ponies driven as singles and in pairs by some of the top carriage drivers in the country. That same weekend, equestrian enthusiasts can bring their own horses for a special trail ride through Silver Bluff Audubon's 3,200-acre wildlife sanctuary with two eight-mile trails. On Thanksgiving Day, the Aiken Hounds' Opening Meet is preceded by the annual Blessing of the Hounds, a beloved and time-honored tradition at Memorial Gate in the Woods, presented by the Hitchcock Woods Foundation. At the end of 2015, don't miss Christmas in the Backcountry at The Living History Park, and the City of Aiken's 45th annual Christmas Craft Show, featuring over 100 local artisans, December 4-5, at the H. Odell Weeks Center.

Save the date: On January 9, the Aiken Training Track and Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame are partnering to offer the Backstretch Tour, going behind the scenes of Aiken Training Track to experience what it's like on the backstretch while also getting an inside look at the magic of training Thoroughbred racehorses. For more information, 803-643-2121 or 803-642-7631.

For a complete listing of special events, including the 24th Annual Christmas in Hopelands light exhibit at Hopelands Gardens in Aiken, December 13-23 and 26-27, featuring the famous gardens illuminated with over 100,000 visitwww.TBredCountry.org.

1 April, 2015 , SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS VISIT ALWAYS LEGENDARY SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS--Brought to you by Springfield, Illinois CVB this year to experience Abraham Lincoln's life and legend. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is marking its 10th anniversary with special exhibits, programs and performances throughout 2015.

The city features numerous sites and attractions that provide insight into Lincoln as a man, husband, father and politician. These include the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln gave his famous "House Divided" speech and the Lincoln Tomb, among many others.

Old Route 66 runs through the center of town. Travelers along the "Mother Road" often stop for an original "Cozy Dog" at the Cozy Dog Drive In, still operated by the same family that founded the business in the 1940s. A visit to the Route 66 Drive In Movie Theatre recalls nostalgic summer nights eating popcorn and watching a double feature on the big screen. South of town you'll find "Brick 66," a section of original brick road from 1931 nestled between two corn fields.

Springfield abounds with other interesting and unique things to do, including the Dana Thomas House, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces of the early Prairie Style, and featuring the most complete collection of original Wright furnishings and art glass. The Illinois State Museum tells the story of the state's cultural and natural history with interactive displays, life-size dioramas and a gift shop full of the work of Illinois artists. The State Capitol building gives visitors an insider's look at state politics in the beautiful Renaissance Revival/Second Empire style building topped with a 405 foot dome.

When you're done touring, spend some time cooling off at Knight's Action Park, a fully equipped water park with amusements, mini-golf, batting cages and lots more family fun. Or, spend your evening on a spooky ghost walk exploring the unusual and bizarre side of Abraham Lincoln's Springfield.

The city that Abraham Lincoln loved has its fair share of quirky food traditions, original Route 66 treats and "as-seen-on-TV" curiosities that appeal to both adventurous eaters and those that crave down-home comfort food. So when you're ready to dine, make sure to sample a "Horseshoe" sandwich, feast on a giant pancake at Charlie Parker's Diner or visit the country's oldest drive-up window at the Maid Rite.

Visit us in Always Legendary Springfield, Illinois for sites dedicated to the life of Abraham Lincoln, Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, the Illinois State Capitol and more. Visitors have a wide range of lodging options, from luxury full-service hotels to economy chains to quaint bed and breakfasts. Add in unique local dining, nightlife and recreation options and you're on your way to one great getaway.

More information about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum's 10th anniversary can be found at Springfield Illinois and information about Self-Guided Tours.

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1 December, 2014 , West Virginia THE TRAIN THAT TAKES YOU WHERE EAGLES FLY
In the shadow of US 50, WV's Potomac Eagle Is a One-of-a-Kind Trip

In the remote Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, just off US 50, lies a little tourist railroad that proudly promotes its 52-mile property as the location of a "bird highlight" that's unique in Eastern America: the gorge it traverses between Allegheny Mountains and Potomac River boasts more American Bald Eagle sightings than anyplace around. Indeed, so spectacular is the trip through a place known as "The Trough," that the National Wildlife Federation lists the railroad-rather than a specific place in the region itself--- as one of the best locations in Eastern America from which to see the iconic bird.

Once perilously close to extinction, the magnificent American Bald Eagle has made an impressive comeback. Having dwindled to a mere 417 nesting pairs in 1967, the symbol of American freedom that first appeared on the nation's emblem in 1782 was placed on the Endangered Species list, as environmentalists and historians alike held their collective breath and hopefully awaited the creature's comeback from DDT-hastened near-elimination.

Today, the impressive eagle has rebounded, to an estimated 9,800 breeding pairs. And yet, few Americans have ever seen one in its natural environment.

One place they'll see the great bird---or maybe several of them --- is a mountain valley 118 miles west of the nation's capital, near a town whose beloved railroad survived abandonment by man and disaster from Mother Nature to provide one of the most amazing eagle-spotting trips in Eastern America.

Indeed, so prolific is the great American Bald Eagle in the gorge along the South Branch of the Potomac River in West Virginia, that the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad boasts that "eagle sightings occur on over 90 percent" of their spring-through-autumn excursions. But it's actually even better than that.

"Last six years, it's been 100% of the trips," says Rodney Matheny, the affable fellow who paid to ride the scenic train in September of 1999 as a tourist and today runs the whole operation. "We see eagles every single trip."

All of this eagle watching happens in the town of Romney, population about 2,000, where the colorful Main Street is US Route 50, and the "biggest" towns nearby are Winchester, Virginia (42 miles east over the mountains) and Cumberland, Maryland (a half-hour drive north along US 220).

Much to to the chagrin of young news reporters who came here during the last Presidential election looking for a cute story hook, Romney has English settler roots but nothing directly to do with the US Senator named Mitt. Settled in 1725, it claims to be the oldest town in West Virginia. During the French and Indian War, there was a stockade here. But nowadays, there's the Koolwink Motel and quaint shops---and a little railroad that was born of man's desire to restore the rails that were originally laid in 1884.

As with so many tourist railroads, the 52-mile South Branch line was rebuilt after the dual calamities of man's neglect and Mother Nature's heavy-handed punishment. The line was acquired by the Baltimore and Ohio-the nation's first railroad--- in 1913. The B&O eliminated passenger service in 1928, but the freight trains survived until the B&O gave up on the line altogether in 1978.

While West Virginia economic officials anguished over how to keep the line alive for the sake of the large poultry industry at Moorefield (which routinely drew 65-car trainloads of feed) and other industries, an historic flood in 1985 washed out tracks and bridges, leaving the line in a disastrous state of disrepair.

Eventually, visionary railroad men saw potential in tourism. And they saw eagles----lots and lot of eagles.

The nearby Petersburg Hatchery is acclaimed its "albino" trout, and indeed, in these absolutely pristine waters, fishing is big. But it's the flying creatures here that most folks talk about, the fish-loving American Bald Eagle, whose dive toward the water to capture an unsuspecting meal can sometimes reach seventy or more miles per hour.

"A lot of people will call me on a rainy Saturday morning," says Matheny, "and ask, 'Will we see any eagles today?' Actually, we see more eagles on rainy days than any other time. Cool, rainy days. Think about it: if it's hot, where would you be? In the shade. When it rains, I think they just love to come out and take a shower, so to speak."

Matheny himself had grown up with model trains, but wasn't at all in the railroad industry. "I'm the only non-railroader here," says the West Virginian, comparing his background to the seventeen "weekend warrior" employees who help keep the trains running. But Matheny does have a railroading heritage: his grandpa was a conductor on the old B&O Ohio River Line. And, just as importantly for the future of the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, Matheny had grown up with one of the four men who had put the vision of a tourist line into motion.

"Dave Corbitt (one of the men in the original ownership group) asked me did I want a job," Matheny recalls. "So on Fridays, I drove 221 miles down from Marietta, Ohio and my fulltime job, and at the end of the weekend, I drove back." That difficult commute over the mountains and across the foothills of north-central West Virginia ended in March of 2003, when Metheny was offered the fulltime job of Operations Manager.

In that role, Matheny does absolutely everything, from maintenance to PR to actually operating the train; he's a federally licensed locomotive engineer. "Whatever it takes," he says proudly. "I love my job. A lot people say that, but they don't really mean it. I love my job. It's different all the time. It's different by the minute."

With or without eagles, the Potomac Eagle train ride is spectacular. "We have the best scenery," says Matheny. Indeed, the narrow gorge known as "The Trough" is a sight to behold. The six-mile passage, with railroad squeezing between the steep mountains and the Potomac, is inaccessible except by kayak, canoe, or train. The views alone are gorgeous. But in what can only be considered a Providential boost to an already scenic rail line, the Great American Bald Eagle recently seems to have gravitated to the area.

Sometimes, Matheny says, shocked rail riders spot multiple eagles on a single trip through The Trough. And each time a passenger sees one, he says, "their jaw hits the floor. What I get excited about is seeing them get excited."

Today, the once-endangered symbol of freedom can live an average of 28 to 30 years in the wild. Once mated, male and female stay together for life. Their ten-pound bodies---each with an average of seven thousand feathers--- effortlessly fly at 30-miles-per hour as high as ten thousand feet above sea level.

The National Wildlife Federation says Alaska is the most fantastic place to see the graceful birds in abundance, but it lists the South Branch of the Potomac---and specifically names the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad--- as one of the best eagle-spotting places in the Eastern U.S. As yet more proof of how lucky the tourists aboard those trains are, consider this from the Federation's web site:

If you live in Alaska, along the East and West coasts, the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River, then you can see bald eagles all year. The rest of the United States only sees bald eagles during the winter and their migration.

Rodney Matheny is well aware of the privilege he experiences almost every day from spring through autumn, and is constantly working to upgrade the experience for the Potomac Eagle's paying customers. The railroad currently operates two diesel locomotives and fifteen passenger cars. The former include a refurbished Chesapeake and Ohio engine---whose number Metheny has incorporated into his personal email address--- and an old Bessemer and Lake Erie locomotive that was rescued from a scrap yard.

There are concession cars and an open air observation car and cars where full meals are served---what railroads might one day long ago have called "first class." And there are "table cars," which can accommodate large groups without the normal chair seating pattern. "My bus groups love those," says Matheny.

In an average year, upwards of twenty thousand visitors take the eagle-spotting ride, many coming from far away---or at least, from over the mountains and the D.C./Baltimore area. They'll walk the quaint Main Street in Romney, which was in the thick of the Civil War and changed hands multiple times---"sometimes daily," Matheny adds. And sometimes, the real train lovers will hop off the Potomac Eagle and head north to Cumberland, to ride another scenic railroad that features a steam engine and parallel biking trail.

Matheny loves that railroad too, but he's quick to point out that visitors there won't get there what they get on the Potomac Eagle.

"We have the best view in the world," says the self-described non-railroader who now runs a railroad. "Come ride the train where the eagles fly."

Article Written By: Mark A. Vernarelli - American Road Magazine Contributor

1 October, 2014 , Johnson City, Tenn. PARKING THE BIKE PART OF THE FUN OF SOUTHERN DOZEN--Brought to you by Johnson City (Tenn.) CVB It's often the scenery that draws riders from all over the world to the Southern Dozen routes near Johnson City, Tenn. But one rider says the gorgeous surroundings are only half the fun.

Lesley Rosinsky of Warner Robbins, Ga., has been riding motorcycles with her husband David for several years and they, like most riders, love the scenic, mountainous curves.

But it's often the times when the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic is parked that Rosinsky has the most fun. That's why she fell in love with the Southern Dozen rides she was able to fit in during a week's stay in Johnson City.

"I loved it ... absolutely loved it," Rosinsky says. "The scenery was breathtaking, but for me, while the point of the ride is the ride, I love to be able to stop at the places along the route."

The couple, along with friends Stephen and Belle Givens, was able to visit historical sites, two different caverns, nature reserves, animal habitats and some restaurants with great local fare by completing the following rides:

The Snake Ride Through Stoney Creek and Shady Valley to Backbone Rock and into Damascus, returning through Mountain City, beside Watauga Lake.

Spelunker Tour Features Bristol Caverns and Appalachian Caverns - an underground labyrinth more than one million years old.

The Long Dam Ride Rugged gorges, rocky cliffs, mountain streams, tranquil lakes, spectacular formations, and miles of roller-coaster dips and rural charm.

Howling Wolves, Stars and History Bays Mountain Park features its famous wolf habitat, as well as a planetarium, hiking trails and more.

"The rides were on the whole mapped out well," Rosinsky says. "I would definitely like to come back and complete the rest of the rides. I would recommend the Southern Dozen to anyone."

2 August, 2014 , Greenwood Village, Colo. Celebrate the Joys of Summer with Ice Cream and a Visit to a National Parks-by Xanterra Parks & Resorts Although variations of what could be called ice cream were documented in China and the Roman Empire, did you know that the US claims responsibility for popularizing the sweet treat? The individual who played the most prominent role in bringing ice cream to the masses is the same person who authored the Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson developed a recipe for vanilla ice cream and served the dessert to his guests at a state dinner while president in 1802. Why not celebrate Jefferson's recipe at a national park this summer!

Stroll along the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and you will see some serious licking going on. The Bright Angel Fountain in the Bright Angel Lodge is the source of many smiles. Built as a classic soda shop in 1955, the Fountain retains the yesteryear charm while serving some amazing ice cream. Down on the canyon floor, Zion Lodge serves soft-serve and hard ice cream. Most summer months the lodge serves as many as 16,000 soft-serve cones and some 3,500 bowls of ice cream in the Red Rock Grill.

Utah's Zion National Park serves ice cream high and low. Austin Adventures, a relatively new member of the fast-growing Xanterra Parks & Resorts family, surprises its guests with cold ice cream cones at the top of the park's famous Angel's Landing hike, one of the most popular hikes in the national park system. Austin Adventures guides secretly tote hard-frozen ice cream balls in their packs as they hike to the top of the viewpoint with their guests and break out the dessert with cones just as hikers celebrate their accomplishment.

Enjoy ice cream overlooking Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park Lodges serves three-scoop plates of locally made ice cream using cream from Darigold, a Montana-based company.

A popular Yellowstone tour has a sundae station set up at Storm Point, an easy hike that takes travelers to a viewpoint overlooking Yellowstone Lake. Guest hike a mile to the station, and before making sundaes, they are offered the opportunity for a polar bear plunge into the icy 45 degree lake.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota celebrates Jefferson's lesser-known accomplishment with special ice cream - called TJ's Ice Cream - throughout the summer. The recipe for the ice cream is based on Jefferson's original recipe - with a sustainable twist. TJ's ice cream is made using Madagascar vanilla beans sourced locally from Pride Dairy of Bottineau, North Dakota. The beans give TJ's ice cream the delicious flavor discovered by Jefferson. The only other change made to Jefferson's original recipe was to use pasteurized eggs instead of raw eggs.

1 August, 2014 , Enter the American Road "Birds" Photo Contest! Send us your favorite "birds" themed road trip photo! You could win $300 and have your photograph published in an upcoming issue of American Road® magazine! Photographs must incorporate the theme of "birds." For example, photos can be of live birds, plastic flamingos, winged roadside sculptures, whatever: If it has wings and feathers, it flies! Be sure to complete the entry form with your photo submission. There is no limit to the number of entries, but one entry form must be completed per image. *Must be a US resident and 18 years of age to enter. Void where prohibited. Click here for more information, to read the contest rules, and for a link to the entry form. Good luck!

1 April, 2014 , SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS HISTORY TRULY COMES ALIVE IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS!--Brought to you by Springfield (Ill.) CVB. This summer, June 2nd - August 24th, Springfield is brimming with many FREE live performances and fun activities that will completely transport you back in time to the hometown Abraham Lincoln knew and loved. Mr. Lincoln's day comes to life as period re-enactors and performers recreate the life and times of Lincoln and his contemporaries. Check out the events and up-to-date schedules for all the Springfield Illinois History Comes Alive fun!

Experiences available nowhere else on earth will thrill and delight you...from a chance encounter with Mr. Lincoln and an authentic Civil War Medical Encampment Reenactment to an unexpected treat as you find yourself lunching next to a couple of nineteenth century ladies at their favorite bistro in the afternoon. Come walk through, talk to, and immerse yourself in the living, breathing history that's alive and well in Springfield, Illinois everyday! There is so much to see and do in Springfield, Illinois you should plan on staying with us for at least three days. We can help you plan an exciting and affordable vacation filled with adventure, history and most of all, fun! Call 800-545-7300 or go to Springfield Illinois Visitors Guide for a comprehensive visitors guide to Springfield, Illinois.


In his footsteps, through his eyes. It's no secret that Illinois is the land of Lincoln, and you could call Springfield, the City of Lincoln. From his boyhood town, first home, law office, and final resting place to an entire museum dedicated to Abe, Springfield immerses you in Lincoln's world. Special events throughout the year, such as live reenactments of his speeches at the Old State Capitol and the Great Western Railroad Depot, period musical performances, and civil war demonstrations--bring Lincoln and his times to life before your eyes. The legends of Abe's era...and beyond. Not only does the city boast the best sites from the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, but Springfield also possesses other curiosities, mysteries and historical landmarks of yesteryear. Lurking around every corner, you'll encounter legends from a multitude of eras past. Route 66, having plenty of curves and turns itself, once rambled through Springfield and its surrounding areas. And that's just the start of the 50's nostalgia--each year, classic and vintage cars line downtown streets during the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival. History buffs of the military persuasion find fascinations aplenty at our many memorials and themed museums.


From historic and nostalgic to arts and culture, Springfield has a multitude of events taking place throughout the year. Whether you've got the soul of an artist, an athlete, a party animal, or just a wanderer, Springfield has what you're looking for.


From one-of-a-kind antiques and gifts to the latest in fashion trends, Springfield offers something for everyone. That special treasure you've been searching for is just waiting to be discovered in one of the hundreds of shops and stores scattered and clustered throughout the city.

For more information visit Springfield Illinois or call 1-800-545-7300 plus visit Facebook.

Header Image: History Comes Alive in Springfield, Illinois

Go to the Calendar Page for more.

1 September, 2013 , ILLINOIS LINCOLN HIGHWAY ILLINOIS LINCOLN HIGHWAY'S AUTUMN HIGHLIGHT, JONAMAC ORCHARD--Brought to you by Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition. Start your own autumn tradition on the Illinois Lincoln Highway at Jonamac Orchard in Malta, Illinois! Jonamac is definitely an Illinois Lincoln Highway Highlight! The orchard offers visitors a delightful variety of things to see and do along with activities for the whole family and special events throughout the season.

Each year for the past 30 years, Jonamac Orchard has honored a local business or organization with their corn maze. For 2013, Jonamac Orchard has chosen to recognize the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Highway. The Lincoln Highway Coalition is thrilled that Jonamac has chosen our 100 Year logo as the subject for their orchard's corn maze. This is a wonderful tribute to commemorate the Lincoln Highway's National Centennial! 2013 marks the historical milestone of 100 years for the Lincoln Highway, America's first successful coast-to-coast highway! Carl Fisher, the "Father of the Lincoln Highway" took his dream of a road that traversed the country from concept to reality, mobilizing the nation and forever changing society.

Visit Jonamac's amazing 10-acre Corn Maze; try not to get lost along the three miles of pathways and two bridges! If you'd like to navigate the Corn Maze at night you can add in a special memory-making element to your evening by reserving a Campfire Site to enjoy s'mores around the fire until dusk. The maze is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October 27th, including Columbus Day.

Be sure to plan a night to experience The Haunting! Jonamac boasts, "Once the sun goes down in October, beware! The Haunted Corn Maze is filled with spooks and goblins lurking about in the shadows of the tall corn stalks. Follow the moonlit paths and try your best to escape!" Just to make your trek even more exciting, flashlights will not be allowed in the Haunted Maze, only glow-sticks or pen lights! The Haunted Corn Maze will be open for nine nights; October 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 25 and 26.

The entire family can spend the perfect day at Jonamac Orchard, Along with the Corn Maze there is something for everyone!

Browse the Country Store filled with a wide variety of homemade goodies and unique gifts. Enjoy a warm donut and specially processed fresh apple cider from the bakery and remember to take home some delectable treats and fudge.

Fill a basket with U-Pick Orchard apples and pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. There is a Barnyard Activity Area for kids featuring; plenty of hands-on activities and a petting zoo, kiddy barn, a child sized corn maze, the Apple Train and the giant Jumping Pillow.

Try the Apple Launcher and Apple Cannon where you can test your target marksmanship in firing apples from a slingshot or an air powered cannon. Visitors will see the Pumpkin Howitzer, where pumpkins are blasted clear across the field with the 15 foot tall cannon every half hour.

Stop off for some lunch and a rest at the Apple Cart. Quick and delicious choices are available, apple cider brats, pulled pork sandwiches, burgers and more.

Then continue on to making your own autumn family tradition of a day at Jonamac Orchard!

For more information, visit Illinois Lincoln Highway or call Toll Free: 866-455-4249.

Header Image: Jonamac Orchard, Malta Illinois

Plan your next trip with Illinois Lincoln Highway Itinerary

1 July, 2013 , PONY EXPRESS TERRITORY, NEVADA IT'S NOT OFTEN THESE DAYS A FAMILY CAN TRULY DISCONNECT from technology and busy scheduled lives to head out together on a cultural heritage adventure across the vast beautiful countryside but this is exactly what many families are doing in Nevada's Pony Express Territory. Almost three decades ago, Nevada's Pony Express Territory came to life as a travel destination and for those looking for a one-of-a-kind adventurous educational experience, Highway 50 through Nevada is full of intrigue.

Nevada's Pony Express Territory sits on 17 million acres of wide-open space with more than 150 years of rich history, rugged undisturbed nature and the blackest night skies. The Territory is where the Pony Express riders once galloped along its main trail, now Highway 50, connecting the six adventurous towns of Dayton, Fallon, Fernley, Austin, Eureka and Ely. Twenty years ago Life Magazine designated this section of Nevada State Highway 50 - "America's Loneliest Road" as it winds itself thru the 1,840 miles of land called the Pony Express Territory.

Stephen King wrote one of his most popular novels, Desperation, after traveling Highway 50 - "America's Loneliest Road" but obviously the book didn't highlight the plethora of activities and action that awaits every visitor. With approximately two-hours of driving distance between each of the six friendly towns, there are plenty of opportunities to take a short hike to an ancient petroglyph site, stop along a lake or stream to fly fish and take in some local cuisine or boutique shopping. ATV, mountain bike and hiking trails are prevalent throughout the area along with plenty of camping and picnicking spots. In addition to off road adventures, there are ghost towns, historical cemeteries, walking tours in each community, natural wonders, historic buildings, unusual festivals and a plethora of art.

Town highlights include Dayton where Nevada's first gold was discovered in 1849, the 1865 stone Schoolhouse Museum and where the 1950 Misfits with Marilyn Monroe was filmed. Fernley is home to shooting championships, the gateway to Black Rock and a short half-hour drive to the striking Pyramid Lake on the Paiute Reservation. Fallon is 'Eventful Nevada' with the Octane Fest, Spring Wings Bird Festival and more. Plus there's a multitude of recreational and educational offerings in Fallon to include Lake Lahontan State park, Grimes Point featuring petroglyphs, Hidden Cave archeological dig site and the 600 foot-tall, two-and-a-half-mile-long Sand Mountain for off-roaders. Austin features the Stokes Castle, 11 buildings on the historical register, an extensive network of mountain bike trails and petroglyphs. Eureka's walking-tour includes the 1879 courthouse, Eureka Sentinel Museum and there are live performances going on at the restored Eureka Opera House. Ely welcomes visitors with its Renaissance Society murals celebrating the town's history, the 1929 pet-friendly celebrity Ely Hotel and the one-of-a-kind Nevada Northern Railway is a main highlight. The Great Basin National Park is a short distance off Highway 50 east of Ely with iconic Wheeler Peak and Lehman Caves to start.

For more information, visit Pony Express Nevada or call 1-888-359-9449 and Facebook.

30 June, 2013 , UNITED STATES LEXINGTON BY VANTAGE - A COLLECTION OF INNS, HOTELS & SUITES providing a unique experience at each individual location, and offering exceptional quality, special packages, great rates and a personal touch to make you feel right at home.

Located in key cities worldwide, Lexington is designed to offer a memorable lodging experience for the business and leisure traveler with the conveniences of home, such as wireless Internet, dining options, business centers, and fitness rooms. In addition to Canada, China and Indonesia, Lexington Hotels, Inns and Suites can be found throughout the United States, including the beautiful Lexington Inn & Suites located in Stillwater/Minneapolis, MN.

Conveniently located just three miles away from the historic river town of Stillwater and nearby shopping, sporting events and sightseeing adventures, the Lexington Inn & Suites offers a complimentary, deluxe continental breakfast, indoor heated pool and hot tub, on-site meeting facility, on-site business center, guest laundry facility, and complimentary access to a nearby 24-hour exercise facility.

Become a member of the Lexington Rewards program, and through our partnership with VOILA Hotel Rewards, you'll enjoy rewards and earning opportunities at 3-5 star hotels and resorts around the globe. Instead of limiting earnings to one brand, Lexington Rewards members can travel to countless locations, stay at any participating VOILA hotel worldwide, and still earn points. In addition to hotel stays, member points can be redeemed for airline miles and with retail partners including Amazon.com and iTunes.

Lexington Rewards members also receive instant benefits such as room-class upgrades, complimentary amenities, tailored pre-arrival room preferences, priority check-in, and privileged access to hotel amenities. Registration is free and can be done at most locations or at Lexington Rewards.

Visit LexingtonHotels.com. or call 877-539-7070 for reservations. Because at Lexington, our guests come first!

1 June, 2013 , BROWNSVILLE, TENNESSEE PHOTOGRAPHER JOE B. GUINN GOES "OFF THE BEATEN PATH" FOR NATURE PHOTOS Photographer Joe B. Guinn knows he has to get "off the beaten path" for the best nature shots. A new exhibit at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, offers a look at his work featuring scenes of West Tennessee. The exhibition Off the Beaten Path: Scenes of West Tennessee can be seen daily now through September 7. A special artist reception will be held Thursday, June 27, at 6 p.m.

Birds and nature caught Guinn's eye at an early age. Once he got a camera in hand, this Tennessee native began to focus on his natural surroundings.

"My favorite photographic challenges are landscapes," says Guinn.

College and a career took him away from the area. When he returned in the 1970s, he discovered his beloved Hatchie River forest and wetlands had dramatically changed. And "not for the better," according to Guinn.

This prompted him to begin the project of photographing what remains of the Hatchie's fragile untouched wetlands and deep forest areas. Off the Beaten Path depicts life in the wetlands and river valleys that include the Hatchie, Reelfoot Lake and Tennessee and Mississippi rivers. Guinn captures this beauty using only natural light and his photos are untouched, except for an occasional cropping.

"Guinn is able to capture the heart of the river valley," says Sonia Outlaw-Clark, director of the Delta Heritage Center. "Through his photos, we are able to get a glimpse of life most would never be able to see."

There are also permanent photos on exhibit in the Hatchie River Museum at the Center, according to Clark.

His work has been featured by the Tennessee Ornithological Society, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy and Environmental Action Fund. Guinn was awarded a Wildlife Conservation Award by Haywood County in 1996. His most extensive exhibit has been in Nashville at Cheekwood Museum.

The exhibit is FREE and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The public is also invited to meet the artist at a special reception June 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. To learn more about the artist visit Joe B Guinn

The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is a tourist information center and home to three regional museums depicting the history and culture of the West Tennessee people. Inside visitors will find the Cotton Museum, West Tennessee Music Museum, Hatchie River Museum, the Sleepy John Estes Home and Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner. Call 731-779-9000.

Joe B. Guinn is a native West Tennessean who's love for birds and nature began at a young age. His photographs are on exhibit at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville through September 7.

"Great White Egret" is just one of over 30 photos, by Photographer Joe B. Guinn, available for viewing during the exhibition Off the Beaten Path: Scenes of West Tennessee now through September 7 at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. Guinn's work features nature scenes from Tennessee to the Mississippi rivers and points in between.


Take a hike!

The USDA Forest Service, Federal Highway, DOI agencies are partnering with the American Hiking Society for National Trails Day--a trails awareness program. Thousands of public outdoor events will take place nationwide on June 1, 2013 (National Trails Day).

In conjunction with National Trails Day, many state park systems, including Tennessee State Parks will host free events to encourage participation and increase awareness.

For example, Fort Pillow, and every state park in Tennessee, will host day hikes designed for all ages and abilities. Some hikes will be approximately one mile in length and tailored for novice hikers, while others are lengthier and geared toward more experienced hikers. For more information on the planned National Trails Day events in Tennessee visit Tennessee State Parks. An official Tennessee State Parks' hiking stick medallion will be given away to the first 1,500 participants statewide.

The American Hiking Society's annual National Trails Day began in 1993 and is the largest single-day trails and outdoor celebration in the country. Thousands of people are expected to get outside and participate in events at local, state and national parks, forests, and other public lands from coast to coast. To find an event near you visit: National Trail Days.

Note: Participants should bring water and food, and wear long pants and appropriate footwear. Some activities require reservations.

1 April, 2013 , SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS HISTORY TRULY COMES ALIVE IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS!--Brought to you by Springfield (Ill.) CVB. This summer, June 7th - September 1st, Springfield is brimming with many FREE live performances and fun activities that will completely transport you back in time to the hometown Abraham Lincoln knew and loved. Mr. Lincoln's day comes to life as period re-enactors and performers recreate the life and times of Lincoln and his contemporaries. Check out the events and up-to-date schedules for all the Springfield Illinois History Comes Alive fun!

Experiences available nowhere else on earth will thrill and delight you...from a chance encounter with Mr. Lincoln and an authentic Civil War Medical Encampment Reenactment to an unexpected treat as you find yourself lunching next to a couple of nineteenth century ladies at their favorite bistro in the afternoon. Come walk through, talk to, and immerse yourself in the living, breathing history that's alive and well in Springfield, Illinois everyday!

There is so much to see and do in Springfield, Illinois you should plan on staying with us for at least three days. We can help you plan an exciting and affordable vacation filled with adventure, history and most of all, fun!

Call 800-545-7300 or go to Springfield Illinois Visitors Guide for a comprehensive visitors guide to Springfield, Illinois.

SITES/MUSEUMS: In his footsteps, through his eyes. It's no secret that Illinois is the land of Lincoln, and you could call Springfield, the City of Lincoln. From his boyhood town, first home, law office, and final resting place to an entire museum dedicated to Abe, Springfield immerses you in Lincoln's world. Special events throughout the year, such as live reenactments of his speeches at the Old State Capitol and the Great Western Railroad Depot, period musical performances, and civil war demonstrations--bring Lincoln and his times to life before your eyes.

The legends of Abe's era...and beyond. Not only does the city boast the best sites from the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, but Springfield also possesses other curiosities, mysteries and historical landmarks of yesteryear. Lurking around every corner, you'll encounter legends from a multitude of eras past.

Route 66, having plenty of curves and turns itself, once rambled through Springfield and its surrounding areas. And that's just the start of the 50's nostalgia--each year, classic and vintage cars line downtown streets during the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival.

History buffs of the military persuasion find fascinations aplenty at our many memorials and themed museums.

EVENTS: From historic and nostalgic to arts and culture, Springfield has a multitude of events taking place throughout the year. Whether you've got the soul of an artist, an athlete, a party animal, or just a wanderer, Springfield has what you're looking for.

SHOPPING: From one-of-a-kind antiques and gifts to the latest in fashion trends, Springfield offers something for everyone. That special treasure you've been searching for is just waiting to be discovered in one of the hundreds of shops and stores scattered and clustered throughout the city.

Header Image: Springfield, IL! Family Fun!

1 March, 2013 , UNITED STATES A POINT TO PONDER BY CRUISE AMERICA - IT'S TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES In a fast paced world that has made huge technological strides over the last fifty years, speed seems to have become the number one priority of its inhabitants. We can access information at the speed of light. We complete purchase transactions instantly with the swipe of a card. We send written or verbal communication to peers on the other side of the world with a simple push of a button on our telephones. When it comes to electronics, communications, and data seeking, the faster the better.

Cruise America would like to make a suggestion to anyone who is thinking about taking a break; SLOW DOWN! The "faster the better" theory does not apply to everything. In fact, it's just the opposite when it comes to travel. When you're taking a break from the world, the slower you move, the better you rest. Speed is equated to stress, and relaxation is equated to slowing down.

The saying "stop and smell the roses" is one of the most profound statements to come forth in modern day, especially when it comes to travel. Along the highways of our great nation, there are a lot of roses, both in a literal and figurative sense. They cannot be smelled if you don't stop to do so, and the only way you can stop at these "rosy" spots is to travel at your own pace, on your own schedule. Get away from the need to comply with airline schedules, hotel check in and check out dates and times, car rental pick up and drop off times, restaurant hours of operation and dress codes and mass transit routing schedules. Take back your life and your time frame. Make your schedule according to your wants and your moods. Don't get out of bed just because you have to check out of a room. Don't leave a location you enjoy because you have to get to the next stop. Easier said than done? Cruise America thinks not.

When you're ready to really relax, then it's time to start traveling in the comfort and convenience of a motorhome. If you don't own one, don't sweat it. Cruise America will rent you one that will accommodate your travel party and activities. Make a list of things you would like to see, and how long you'd like to travel. Then load up all the things you might like to take along. Simple things, such as comfy bedding, your favorite foods, playing cards, games, and even your pet supplies if Fido will be coming along. Hit the open road and travel at your own pace. Leave the world behind, and view Mother Nature from 50-yard line seats to all the beauty that she has to offer. Stay in RV parks or go boondocking in the wild. Either way, you will leave the stress behind and start to discover that the journey to your destination is not just something to get done and out of the way, it is one of the sweetest parts of the reward.

Getaway to Cruise America

1 January, 2013 , GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI WAR COMES TO THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA for the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Fort Pemberton. The Museum of the Mississippi Delta commemorates the milestone with an exhibition opening January 29, 2013 and running through August 31, 2013. The exhibition tells the story of the Union forces' attempt to navigate the intricate rivers of the Delta during the winter of 1863. Known as the Yazoo Pass Exhibition, the attempt ultimately ended in failure, as confederate forces held strong at a hastily built outpost near Greenwood known as Fort Pemberton.

The most noted aspect of the Confederate defenses was the ocean steamer Star of the West, originally a Union transport ship, listed as the first ship fired upon during the Civil War at Fort Sumter. After being captured by rebel forces, the ship met her demise when it was sunk next to Fort Pemberton to block the passage of Union ships through the channel as they headed toward their destination: Vicksburg.

The Museum will display Civil War artifacts from the Star of West and the Union ironclad U.S.S. Cairo. The Lady Polk, a cannon used in the Battle of Fort Pemberton, is on permanent view at the Museum. There are only 17 examples of the Civil War-era cannon left in existence today, and the Lady Polk is the only one that has been restored for firing.

Stellar examples of period clothing including a butternut officer's frock worn by Capt. T. Otis Baker is on loan from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, along with an officer's sword, muzzle-loading pistol, a British import carbine and a forage cap worn by Maj. Gen. William Walthall. A rare 1860s homespun dress will help tell the story of women on the home front.

The exhibition opens January 26th in a special free event, which includes portrayals of General Ulysses S. Grant, Confederate and Union re-enactors and period music. The museum is located at 1608 Highway 82 West.

For more information on the Museum of the Mississippi Delta, visit museumofthemississippidelta.com

Brought to you by the Museum of the Mississippi Delta

1 September, 2012 , JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE TAKE A RIDE ON THE SOUTHERN DOZEN If a road trip with picturesque mountains, babbling brooks and serene lakes is your idea of a perfect drive; East Tennessee is the place for you. And don't worry about getting lost on a rural back-road void of civilization--unless that's what you want, of course. To help you find your way, the Johnson City, Tennessee Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has mapped-out twelve routes that take you by some of the most scenic, historical, and notable points of interest in a three-state area. The routes all begin in Johnson City and conveniently bring you right back to town where you can stay the night in your choice of dozens of hotels or dine in one of the area's hundreds of restaurants.

Originally created for motorcycle enthusiasts, these routes are perfect for anyone on wheels.

"A few years ago, the local Harley Group helped us develop twelve different rides that really are a sampling of the best our region has to offer," says Brenda Whitson, Executive Director of the Johnson City CVB. "We've recently re-branded the rides as the 'Southern Dozen' with a trademarked name, an eye-catching logo and a detailed website that includes GPS directions for each of the named rides."

And it's quickly becoming apparent that these rides are not just for those on two wheels.

Bobby Fair, President of the Tri Cities Miata Club, says he's driven ten of the twelve rides and says the routes are perfect if you like "twisties." "The views are spectacular," he says. "Some of the vistas and the back roads with the stream running beside you are just beautiful. There are plenty of places to stop and take in the view or stretch your legs."

The routes include local eateries and destinations along the way such as the famed Bristol Motor Speedway, David Crockett's birthplace, Virginia's Natural Tunnel (often called the 8th wonder of the world) and Lookout Restaurant with the best vinegar pie you've ever had.

A recent promotion and social media contest called "Choose your wheels, choose your ride, your adventure starts when you decide," was launched this summer to car enthusiasts and motorcycle riders. The contest directed folks to looked for special numerical markers along the designated routes of the Southern Dozen, snap his or her picture in front of the sign, and uploaded the photo to the Southern Dozen Facebook page. Southern Dozen signs were located at favorite destinations such as the Shady Valley Country Store, a federal trout hatchery, and the Historic Chester Inn in Tennessee's oldest town, Jonesborough.

"The beauty of the Southern Dozen rides is no matter how many times you travel these routes you may notices something different each time. And as the seasons change, the views changes and so it's great to do them at different times during the year," says Whitson. "We welcome all visitors to our area and know that once you come, you'll want to come back."

For more information on Johnson City's Southern Dozen rides, visit www.southerndozen.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernDozen.com.

Brought to you by Johnson City CVB

1 July, 2012 , LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO. DISCOVER ADVENTURE AND FUN AT LAKE OF THE OZARKS' Recreational adventure comes in all varieties at Ha Ha Tonka State Park and Lake of the Ozarks State Park at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks. Hikers, cyclists, sightseers, horseback riders, campers, anglers, kids, boaters and nature lovers of all ages can find a formula for fun among the borders of these two treasures of the state park system.


Established in 1978, has 3,709 acres to explore and is home to one of the most fascinating sites and stories in Missouri: The ruins of a European-style "castle," perched high atop a bluff overlooking the Lake.

A paved walking trail leads visitors from a nearby parking lot to the bluff-top ruins (and some spectacular views of the Lake). Robert M. Snyder, an affluent Kansas City businessman, envisioned the unique edifice at the turn of the 20th century. Snyder began construction on the castle in 1905, but died in one of Missouri's first automobile accidents before it was completed. Snyder's children finished construction on the castle and in later years it was operated as a hotel. In 1942, the interior of the property was destroyed by fire and the castle was never restored. Today, only the ruins remain.

Nature shares the spotlight with the castle ruins at Ha Ha Tonka. The park features eight caves, some of which were used as hideouts by bandits and others were used as Native American sacred places. Other natural wonders at Ha Ha Tonka include a 500-foot by 300-foot sinkhole called the Colosseum, a natural bridge 60 feet long and 70 feet wide, a glade and a woodland area with over 400 species of animal and plant life. Ha Ha Tonka is also home to Missouri's 12th largest spring (named after the park), which discharges approximately 58 million gallons of water daily into the Niangua arm of the Lake.

Each of Ha Ha Tonka's 14 diverse hiking trails gives visitors easy, up-close access to the park's natural beauty. These trails appeal to hikers and backpackers of all ability levels, with walks that can range from as short as 10 minutes to as long as six hours. For a full list of trails at the park, visit http://mostateparks.com/Trails/Ha-Ha-Tonka-State-Park

The park offers interpretive programs on a wide range of topics year around. Special group tours of the castle and interpretive demonstrations of the area's karst geology can be arranged in advance with the park naturalist any time of year. For more information about these programs or to arrange a group tour, call the park office at 573-346-2986.

Ha Ha Tonka doesn't accommodate overnight stays, but there are several bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels, campgrounds, RV Parks, and resorts nearby. For more about these Lake-area lodging properties, please contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit http://www.funlake.com/index.php

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

The Lake of the Ozarks State Park, on the Grand Glaize arm of the Lake, is the largest state park in Missouri with 17,441 total acres and over 85 miles of shoreline. The park was originally established by the National Park Service as a Recreational Demonstration Area in the 1930s but was turned over to the Missouri park system in 1946. With an assortment of opportunities for both recreation and natural exploration, it's no surprise that Lake of the Ozarks State Park is not only Missouri's largest but also one of its most visited, with over one million guests annually.

Visitors wanting to discover the variety can choose from one of the park's 13 trails. These trails range from under a mile to over 13 miles long and there are trails for walkers, joggers, hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, boaters, and backpackers. Hikers and mountain bikers can explore the park's specifically designed walking and biking trails, including the 30-minute White Oak Trail and the 12.75-mile Honey Run Trail. Equestrians can rent a horse from the park's stable or bring their own mount to ride on one of three horse trails, including the multi-purpose, 13.5-mile Trail of the Four Winds. The park even has a 10-mile Aquatic Trail for boaters wishing to take in the natural sights. For more information about these trails, visit http://mostateparks.com/Trails/Lake-Ozarks-State-Park

Recreation can be found on land or by lake, in two playgrounds and two sandy-beach swimming areas. Fishing and watersports are also popular activities at Lake of the Ozarks State Park with two marinas and three paved boat launches available to the public.

One of the park's attractions is Ozark Caverns, a short-but-roomy cave that offers a hand-held lantern tour - one of the few caves in the state that offers such an excursion. And, its showerhead bathtub formation called Angel Showers makes it one of only 14 known caves in the world to feature this unusual type of cave feature.

For more information about the cave or the various available tours, call the park at 573-346-2500.

The park staff also offers interpretive evening programs, nature walks, cave tours, and other programs at the main campground and at the Ozark Caverns Visitor Center. To find out more about these programs or to arrange for a special group program, call a park naturalist at 573-346-2500.


The Summer season is loaded with fun fairs, festivals and events at the Lake of the Ozarks. For more information about getaway packages, lodging, dining, shopping, events, and attractions throughout the Lake area, contact the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit http://www.funlake.com/index.php

18 June, 2012 , WESTERN UNITED STATES IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK: CLASSIC NATIONAL PARK LODGES OFFER WINDOW ON U.S. HISTORY A study of venerable national park lodges such as El Tovar in the Grand Canyon and the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone provides far more than a lesson in changing architectural styles. It also offers a glimpse of a young country's evolving priorities, vacationing styles, and values. And, sometimes, classic lodges support the cliche that "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

"While it may seem counterintuitive to go to a national park and check out the man-made structures, many of our buildings stand on their own as worthy of a tour or visit," said Dave Hartvigsen, vice president of sales and marketing for national park concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts. "If these walls could talk, they would probably be providing a history lecture."

Xanterra operates lodging in several western national parks, and within the parks are classic log structures, adobe buildings, elegant 1920s-style hotels, and more. Here are some of the best-known park lodges.


It is no surprise that as the world's first national park, Yellowstone has more than its share of great lodges.

The most famous structure in Yellowstone - and possibly in any national park - is the Old Faithful Inn. A Partnership of the Yellowstone Park Association and the Northern Pacific Railroad, the Old Faithful Inn was built mainly during the winter of 1903-04 to satisfy a demand for luxurious accommodations. Under the direction of architect Robert Reamer, some 40 craftsmen began constructing the Inn with the goal of opening the hotel in June 1904.

The original structure, now called the Old House, featured 140 rooms with such modern amenities as electricity, heat and plumbing. Some of the rooms even had private bathrooms for the high-rollers. A wood-burning boiler provided heat.

Most of the original Old Faithful Inn remains intact, but several additions were made through the years. Among the most significant were the addition of the East Wing in 1913, expansion of the dining room in 1922, and addition of the West Wing in 1927. What is now the Inn's snack bar was built in 1936 as the Bear Pit Lounge. In 1940 the bark was stripped from both structural and decorative logs, and the logs were varnished in 1966. A renovation completed in 2008 returned much of the lobby and many of the rooms - particularly those in the Old House - back to their original condition.

The oldest hotel in Yellowstone is the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, built in 1891 before a second national park even existed. The Lake Hotel offers 296 rooms in its original building, an annex, and a series of nearby cabins. The Lake Hotel was fairly plain when it was built, but architect Robert Reamer added columns, dormer windows, portico, and sunroom to give the building a grand 1920s feel. The most elegant lodging in the park, the Lake Hotel overlooks Yellowstone Lake, naturally, and is the favorite of many travelers who like its quiet atmosphere, views, and sunroom where a string quartet plays many nights.


In 1901, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway finished the 65-mile railroad spur from Williams, Arizona to Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. Charles Whittlesey, a native of Alton, Illinois and an architect with 25 years of experience in the Chicago area, was assigned the job of designing a hotel on the rim of the canyon. That lodge became the famed El Tovar.

While hotel architecture at the time tended toward Victorian with wooden frame construction, the designers of national park and other lodges along and near the railroad lines were attempting to define new styles using natural and local materials to create comfort in assuming luxury. Whittlesey mainly used local stone and Douglas fir trees shipped in from Oregon.

Described as a cross between a Swiss Chalet and Norway Villa, El Tovar cost $250,000 to build and opened Jan. 14, 1905. The hotel originally had 95 rooms, but a later renovation reduced that number to 78 to allow for private bathrooms in all guest rooms.

The front door to El Tovar is a mere 30 yards from the edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Visitors entering through this door pass through the lobby known historically as the Rendezvous Room. The interior features dark log/slab paneling and exposed log rafters.

The hotel is a three-story building with registration area, two gift shops, lounge, dining room, and a small number of guest rooms located on the first floor. The Terrace Level as well as the second and third floors contain the remaining guest rooms, including 12 suites.

The Fred Harvey Company, now Xanterra Parks & Resorts, managed El Tovar from the start. The famed Harvey Girls staffed El Tovar and other Harvey House Restaurants throughout the West. The Harvey Girls went a long way toward "civilizing" the region, and many of the West's prominent families today are descendants of these women and local ranchers and businessmen. Some former Harvey Girls still live in northern Arizona.

The opening of El Tovar preceded Arizona's statehood by seven years and the Grand Canyon's designation as a national monument in 1908 and a national park in 1919. The hotel's presence is credited with helping to increase visitation and international awareness of the remote Grand Canyon region.

Overlooking the rim of the Grand Canyon, the Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins was designed in 1935 by famed architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and was constructed of log and native stone. The lodge was built as a lower cost alternative to El Tovar, with ample parking to accommodate the now popular automobile. The lobby displays a dramatic wooden thunderbird the architects called the "bright angel of the sky." The lodge offers 37 rooms and 50 cabins, two restaurants, gift shop, and lounge. Mule rides depart from the lodge.

Grand Canyon's newest accommodation - re-opened in January 2012 - is the Red Horse Cabin. This two-room cabin was recently renovated after remaining vacant for close to 40 years. It is Grand Canyon Village's oldest structure, dating to 1890. The cabin was relocated from the Red Horse Ranch to the Grand Canyon by concessioner Ralph Cameron and used as a hotel and later as the village's post office until the early 1970s.


The four-story stone-and-wood Crater Lake Lodge was originally completed in 1915, more than 10 years after construction commenced. The lodge closed in 1989 and re-opened in 1995 after a complete renovation. Located 15 miles from the north entrance to the park and seven miles from the south entrance, the lodge's striking Great Hall boasts a massive stone fireplace that is its architectural trademark, and a world-renowned example of the elegance and rustic grandeur of early national park lodges.


With 66 rooms and two suites, the elegant Inn at Furnace Creek has long been considered a desert oasis for guests seeking a comfortable getaway in California's ruggedly beautiful Death Valley National Park.

Like many great national park hotels, the Inn at Furnace Creek was financed and built by a company in an industry not directly related to hospitality. Unlike the great lodges built by the railroads in several of our famous parks, however, the Inn was built by a mining company.

In the 1920s, the Pacific Coast Borax Company followed the lead of the successful Palm Springs Desert Inn and entered the tourism business by building a magnificent Inn for guests to enjoy the rare beauty of Death Valley. Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin designed the mission-style structure set into the low ridge overlooking Furnace Creek Wash. Adobe bricks were hand made by Paiute and Shoshone laborers. Spanish stonemason Steve Esteves created the Moorish influenced stonework, while meandering gardens and Deglet Noor palm trees were planted.

The Inn opened on February 1, 1927 with 12 guest rooms, a dining room, and lobby area. Room rates were $10 per night and included meals.

Over the following eight years, additions were constructed and improvements made. In 1928, construction crews added 10 guest rooms, and in 1929 the Travertine Springs were tapped for electricity and water for a new swimming pool. The spring water is still used for irrigating the Inn's gardens and flow-through pool. More rooms were constructed until the Inn reached 66 rooms in 1935.


Zion Lodge was designed in the 1920s by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built by the Union Pacific Railroad.

Zion Lodge offers 82 rooms and 40 cabins, a fine dining restaurant, snack bar, and gift shop.

The cabins were painstakingly restored to reflect their historical significance and reopened in March 1998. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cabins display furniture from the Old Hickory Furniture Company, which created the original furnishings. The gas fireplaces that replaced the wood-burning fireplaces years ago reflect the original design. Additionally, designers found original paint specifications and used modern-day colorization techniques to match the colors.

To make reservations at lodges in Grand Canyon, Zion, Death Valley, or Crater Lake National Parks, visit xanterra.com or the individual web sites grandcanyonlodges.com, craterlakelodges.com, furnacecreekresort.com, or zionlodge.com, or call (1) 303-297-2757 or toll-free at (1) 888-297-2757.

Reservations in Yellowstone can be made by visiting YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com or calling toll-free (1) 866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375) or (1) 307-344-7311.

For more information about Xanterra Parks & Resorts visit xanterra.com

5 April, 2012 , SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS YOUR NOT-SO-FAR-AWAY GETAWAY! Brought to you by Springfield (Ill.) CVB. Each year, people from around the world flock to Springfield to celebrate the life of our beloved 16th president. Springfield immerses you in Lincoln's world, with a treasure trove of Abraham Lincoln sites and historical attractions. From Abe's New Salem roots as a young man, to the only home Lincoln ever owned, his law office, final resting place and the special effects-intensive and interactive Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, just to name a few. At the Museum you will walk beside Lincoln's famous stovepipe hat, a replica of his boyhood cabin and a partial reproduction of the 1860's White House. See an original hand-written copy of the Gettysburg Address, the evening gloves in his pocket the night he was assassinated and the quill pen used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Commemorate the occasion with a photo next to a life-sized model of Abe himself.

Everyday, Springfield finds new ways to keep history alive with the "ghosts of Springfield's past." Mr. Lincoln roams the streets of downtown traveling between his home and law offices, with stops at the Old State Capitol to mingle with his many colleagues and neighbors of the day. Step back in time this summer as history comes alive featuring nineteenth century character interactions, live portrayals, Civil War reenactments and many more entertaining and engaging programs all kicking off June 8th and running daily for twelve weeks throughout the summer.

And, you'll enjoy the lively Springfield of today through our many other sites and attractions such as the Illinois State Museum or the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Dana Thomas House. Take a tour on your favorite wheels of Shea's Gas Station Museum, a vintage Route 66 Drive In Theatre, and the Cozy Dog Drive In -- just a few of the rockin' retro attractions that will keep your engine rumbling in Springfield. There are also nearly 400 great events in Springfield each year -- guaranteed to delight both the young and old -- including the Illinois State Fair, Old Capitol Blues & BB, and the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival and many, many more. Be sure to explore our wide variety of retail centers and boutique shops, for wonderful, unique treasures to remind you of your visit. Unwind with a multitude of fun-time attractions, dining and nightlife.

Thinking of a second honeymoon? A weekend away with the family? Maybe a group trip with the old gang? From romance to family fun or education, Springfield's got you covered on all fronts as a not-so-far-away getaway! It's the perfect combination of ease and excitement. Getaways are just plain fun in Springfield. . .with so many exciting and budget-friendly sites and attractions, you'll have to come back to try them all! We invite you to explore Springfield's intriguing past and exciting present in the city that Lincoln loved. For great getaway packages that include stays at premiere hotels and discounts at our most in-demand attractions, call 800-545-7300 or go to http://www.visit-springfieldillinois.com/. The help is free, and the time you'll save is priceless. Illinois. Mile After Magnificent Mile!

6 March, 2012 , NEWPORT NEWS, VA. NOAA to REVEAL FACES OF LOST MONITOR SAILORS The NOAA will offer the first look on Saturday at the digitally reconstructed faces of two sailors lost 150 years ago with the sinking of the USS Monitor.

The sailors' remains were discovered in the gun turret of the Monitor, which was recovered in 2002 from waters off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

Saturday, March 10 at 10:45 a.m. at The Mariners' Museum, NOAA Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent David Alberg will host "Monitor Faces Revealed," a session in which the three-dimensional, digitally recreated faces of the lost sailors will be presented. The computer recreation is the work of forensic technicians at Louisiana State University, working from exact models of the skulls.

Clay-model recreations were presented by NOAA at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The digital unveiling on Saturday is included with regular admission to The Mariners' Museum, which is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9-11 with its Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend.

One hundred and fifty years ago on March 8 and 9, the great naval conflict of The American Civil War raged in the body of water known as Hampton Roads.

The Battle of Hampton Roads was the culmination of a Civil War arms race between the Union and the Confederacy. After word reached the Union that the Confederacy was converting the hull of the burned frigate USS Merrimac into the ironclad CSS Virginia, the scramble to build a Union ironclad commenced.

Built in 118 days, the USS Monitor, Swedish engineer John Ericsson's "cheesebox on a raft," arrived in Hampton Roads on the evening of March 8, just a few hours too late to save the Union vessels USS Cumberland and USS Congress from the Confederate ironclad rampage earlier that day.

The March 9 four and a half-hour battle was a draw between the Monitor and the Virginia (popularly called the Merrimac). But there was a clear winner in iron vs. wood. On March 8, every wooden warship in the world had been rendered obsolete in the space of one afternoon. On March 9, their designs changed forever with the advent of the Monitor's gun turret.

The Monitor met her end at the close of 1862, sinking off the coast of North Carolina while in route to Beaufort, NC. Sixteen men out of her crew of 63 went to the bottom with her.In 1973, the wreck of the Monitor was discovered, leading to the creation of the first federally protected marine sanctuary, the NOAA Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. In 1987, The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Va., was designated by NOAA, on behalf of the federal government, as the repository for artifacts and archives from the USS Monitor. Working with NOAA and the U.S. Navy, the Museum has received more than 1,100 artifacts from the Monitor, including its steam engine, propeller and the Monitor's iconic artifact--its revolving gun turret, recovered in 2002. In 2007, The Mariners' Museum opened the $30-million, 65,000-square-foot USS Monitor Center, proclaimed by The Wall Street Journal as "an ironclad must-see."

The Mariners' Museum will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of ironclad ships in battle from March 9 to 11 with Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend. The event features the Civil War Navy Conference, with renowned Civil War authors including Harold Holzer and Craig Symonds; Ironclad BattleQuest, a family adventure game; Battle of the Ironclad Chefs, a culinary cook-off between a Navy and plantation chef; a Civil War Motorcoach Tour and a visit by the Civil War HistoryMobile, a 78-foot a moving history exhibition presented by the Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

For information on Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend, visit www.BattleofHamptonRoads.com or call (757) 596-2222 or (800) 581-7245.

24 December, 2011 , OHIO PLATED LANDSCAPE, by Lynne Thompson The dining room is a stand of Ponderosa pines where a long, narrow dining table, stark in white linens, winds through the trees like some giant fairytale serpent. Closer inspection reveals centerpieces of wildflowers in Ball canning jars interspersed with kerosene lanterns and arcs of votive candles anchored on wine-barrel stays. Two men seated nearby strum acoustic guitars.

It's not the sort of setting where one expects to enjoy a gourmet meal. And that's exactly why hundreds of patrons have signed up for Spice of Life Catering Co.'s Plated Landscape Dinners over the last six years. The Cleveland-based caterer creates unique dining experiences by adding a twist to the farm-to-table trend: Taking the table to farms providing key ingredients for themed meals.

From June to November of each year, staffers set up their field kitchen on eight to thirteen northeast-Ohio farms, where diners help harvest fruits, vegetables and mushrooms during site tours. Chefs then use the bounty to prepare five-course wine extravaganzas served at tables set with china, silver, and glassware. Jackie Bebenroth, director of marketing and public relations, says her husband Ben, Spice of Life's majority owner, began offering the dinners to educate clients about his efforts to source 90 percent of ingredients from within a hundred-mile radius of the city.

"He really wanted to start bringing people to the farms to see where the food is sourced and to meet the people who work so hard to put it on the table," she says.

On this early fall evening, the event is being staged at an atypical location: Holden Arboretum, approximately three miles north of Route 6 near Kirtland. Jess Andjeski, Spice of Life's executive event planner, directs latecomers down a path from the parking lot to rustic pond-side spot where servers are passing out a welcoming cocktail--apple cider spiked with Goslings dark rum and Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur--and paper cones of curried trail mix. Some days later, she explains that Ben Bebenroth wanted to do a dinner featuring tree nuts and fruits.

"Normally, we wouldn't go to a place where we couldn't harvest things on site," she says. "But the idea of having tables that wrapped between the trees, having everything focused on the trees, was inspiring. So we went with it."

Arboretum volunteers end cocktail hour by leading forty-plus participants on a 45-minute hike of the arboretum, pointing out features such as a buttonbush bog and rare dawn redwood imported from China. They then direct them to the table. Staffers arrive from the tented field kitchen bearing bowls of spicy cashew soup and bottles of a 2008 Trimbach gewurztraminer. They return a short while later with plates of red-oak lettuce, spinach, Fuji apples, shaved onion, and crumbled blue cheese, all dressed in hickory pecan vinaigrette, and a 2008 Selbach-Oster riesling kabinett. A pumpkin risotto topped by a dollop of pear-and-chestnut relish and washed down with a 2009 Peju Province sauvignon blanc follows.

By the time the main course--medallions of acorn-fed pork loin plated with tree mushrooms, greens, and a sweet potato mash--and a 2008 J pinot noir arrives, the food and wine have competition for the diners' attention. A full moon rising over the towering pines draws gasps for its brilliant illumination of the clear night sky. The temperature has dropped from unseasonably warm to downright cold. But no one leaves the table before sampling the innovative pawpaw brulee, accompanying quince cookie, and Croft Distinction port. As they board golf-cart shuttles to the parking lot, they all ask the same question: "When's the next one?"

The answer comes in February, when Spice of Life releases its 2012 schedule of Plated Landscape Dinners. For more information, call (216) 432-9090 or log on to spiceoflifecaters.com.

1 November, 2011 , NORTHERN ILLINOIS COME CELEBRATE THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY TODAY--brought to you by Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition. Take a journey on the Lincoln Highway, a 179-mile national scenic byway in Northern Illinois, where you will find an adventure filled with variety, rich in history, heritage, and culture. Learn the significance of this historic highway as you travel through its many wonderful communities; plan to stay awhile to enjoy their unique offerings. Relive the thrill of discovery around every corner that motorists experienced nearly a hundred years ago, as you uncover a past era woven together with the present, along the Lincoln Highway in Northern Illinois!

Start your Journey
The historic Lincoln Highway route in Illinois is known today as US 30, Illinois Routes 31 and 38, as it traverses from the east on the Indiana border in Lynwood to the western terminus at the mighty Mississippi in Fulton. Today you can follow the Illinois portion of the highway finding something for everyone; one-of-a-kind Lincoln Highway attractions, cozy lodging, parks, and outdoor recreation, historic architecture, family fun, auto racing, outstanding dining, riverboat gaming, wineries, boutique shopping, festivals, special events, and so much more!

A Must See
One of the largest works of public art in the country! The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition (ILHC) is producing a series of Interpretive Murals stretching along the 179-mile byway corridor, touching over two dozen communities. Each mural is a hand painted, 10 x 20 square foot unique work of art, with a fascinating true story to tell from history of the early Lincoln Highway. Elements of a bygone era are evident in every painting; the "larger than life" images will allow you to be transported back in time to recognize the importance the Lincoln Highway and its communities have had on history and the evolution of travel.

You Are Invited
We invite you to visit each of the 16 Illinois Lincoln Highway Interpretive Gazebos located in different communities along the highway corridor in northern Illinois. Each gazebo offers an enjoyable way to take in the many, intriguing stories of the famed highway and the communities that were impacted by its development. Be sure to visit every Lincoln Highway Coalition gazebo to see a total of 48 different displays!

Lincoln Highway - Illinois Style
The Coalition strives to provide the best Lincoln Highway experience for visitors, with the creation of large scale projects such as the Lincoln Highway Interpretive Gazebos and Murals along with one-of-a-kind byway exhibits, authentic sites, and countless attractions. The ILHC also promotes the partner communities along the Illinois corridor, highlighting their notable connection to the byway, as well as all they have to offer today's visitors. There is always something happening in the Illinois Lincoln Highway Corridor communities; special events, festivals, great places to stay, delectable dining, outdoor recreation, world-class entertainment, museums, and so much more!

Journey on the Lincoln Highway; rediscover the charm of the American road where every mile is a story! Download our complete visitor guide; find festivals, special events, and year-round fun at http://www.drivelincolnhighway.com. Toll free: 866-455-4249. Plan your trip, download an itinerary.

Header Photo Compliments of: Steven Peterson - Blackhawk Statue-Eternal Indian, Oregon Illinois

1 October, 2011 , NORTHERN WISCONSIN RIPE WITH ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES AND A RICH HISTORY DATING BACK TO MORE THAN 10,000 YEARS AGO, THE ST. CROIX NATIONAL SCENIC RIVERWAY IS A NATURAL WONDER--brought to you by Travel Wisconsin. The Riverway includes 154 miles of the St. Croix River from Gordon, to its confluence with the Mississippi River and the entire 98 miles of its Namekagon tributary.

A trip to, around or on the St. Croix River can include anything from hiking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, to following self-guided fall color tour routes by car through the area.

So, where to get started? Check out the following places and start planning your road trip to Northern Wisconsin.

The St. Croix and Namekagon River tributary are known for their calm waters, which makes them ideal for canoeing. For a leisurely day outdoors, rent a canoe or kayak from Bear Country Boat Rentals in Hayward. A three-hour tour on the Namekagon River tributary is $40 for a canoe, and $35 for a kayak (888-847-7869 or bearcountrysportinggoods.com/boatrentals.htm) or bring your own canoe and pick up the St. Croix in a number of areas. A paddling guide to the Namakegon and St. Croix Rivers can be found on the National Park Service website nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/canoeing.htm.

Who knew you could fly fish for the mighty musky? Northern Wisconsin is home to some of the world's best fishing. With a record amount of muskies and over 50,000 acres of lakes and rivers in Sawyer County, Hayward and the surrounding areas provide some of Wisconsin's top fishing destinations.

There are a number of area businesses that offer guided fishing tours, like the Hayward Fly Fishing Company (888-325-2929 or haywardflyfishingcompany.com). Specializing in fly-fishing trips for muskies, northern pike and smallmouth bass, Hayward Fly Fishing Company provides all the equipment from lures to boats to even snacks. Just bring a valid Wisconsin fishing license and you're good to go. They also have a full-service fly shop with every fly imaginable for purchase. For a listing of other Fly Fishing tours and services, check out the Hayward Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://haywardlakes.com/hayward-lakes-services/62/guiding-services.

While you're in the area:

Take advantage of the fall season. As leaves change from their bright green color to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, the Wisconsin landscape takes on a whole new look. Northern Wisconsin is no exception. While you're in the St. Croix River area, drive through one of six self-guided fall color tours developed by the Hayward Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau. Ranging from 40 miles to 75 miles long, trails loop around the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and the Namekagon River. For the list of six self-guided trails, visit the Hayward Lakes Convention and Visitors Bureau website at haywardlakes.com/color-tours.php.

Starting early September, you can get fall color information for the entire state of Wisconsin with the Travel Wisconsin fall color report. Check online for updates, print off maps or view the color report on your phone http://www.travelwisconsin.com/fallcolor_report.aspx#/Report.

Now, get ready, get set, get road tripping!

21 September, 2011 , Cleveland, Ohio WOMEN WHO ROCK, by Lynne Thompson If you're a rock fan who believe women deserve more recognition for their contributions to the genre, then you will want to see the latest headline attraction at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. "Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power"--billed as the world's first museum exhibit of its kind--fills two floors of the I.M. Pei-designed structure with over 300 artifacts as well as video-watching and audio-listening stations. Together they tell the story of women in popular music from the 1920s through the first decade of the new millennium.

As anyone might expect, the exhibit features plenty of iconic rock fashions. They include everything from the fringed white-leather tunic Jefferson Airplane front-woman Grace Slick wore at Woodstock to the gold-metallic bustier and panties Madonna slipped into for her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour to the even-more-controversial raw-meat dress (now dried to jerky) Lady Gaga donned to accept her Best Video of the Year statuette at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. But rock hall assistant curator Meredith Rutledge insists "Women Who Rock" is about more than just the clothes. As in any exhibit featuring their male counterparts, there are instruments, handwritten lyrics, posters, and photos.

"One of our missions with this exhibit was to present the artists as more than just fashion plates," she says.

"Women Who Rock" remains on display through February 26. For more information, call (216) 781-ROCK or log on to rockhall.com.

1 July, 2011 , WISCONSIN SET SAIL THIS SUMMER BY ENJOYING WISCONSIN's MARITIME HERITAGE--brought to you by Travel Wisconsin. From museums and lighthouses, to quaint harbor towns and even some unexpected scuba diving, Wisconsin's maritime heritage is alive and well -- all thanks to the vision and passion of the state's Great Lakes communities. Summer is the perfect time to travel Wisconsin. Whether you road trip to scenic Door County or Manitowoc, or head down Lake Michigan to Racine and Kenosha, you're bound to find adventure among Wisconsin's majestic shores.

Door County and Sturgeon Bay
Door County is known for its unparalleled scenery. Its 10 lighthouses -- framed by 250 miles of rugged shoreline among five state parks -- are an awe-inspiring experience.

Once a major shipbuilding center of North America, the gateway to Door County is Sturgeon Bay. Visitors can head to the Door County Maritime Museum for a cultural and scenic haven. The museum holds world-class maritime displays, ship models and has an unparalleled location on a working waterfront. www.dcmm.org

Explore Door County's beautiful shoreline and lighthouses aboard Lakeshore Adventures' cruise vessel Harbor Lights. The hour-and-a-half historical cruise departs daily from the Baileys Harbor Town Marina. www.lakeshore-adventures.com

Manitowoc and Two Rivers
Dubbed Wisconsin's "Maritime Capital" Manitowoc celebrates its illustrious past and present as a shipbuilding hub, turning out heavy-haul schooners and fishing craft, wooden sailing ships and boats, and pleasure crafts.

Manitowoc is also home to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, one of the largest maritime museums in the Midwest. In addition to commemorating the maritime heritage of the Manitowoc-Two Rivers area and the submarines built there during World War II, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is now a leader in preserving the maritime history of the Great Lakes region. www.wisconsinmaritime.org

A stop at the museum is not complete without a step aboard the World War II submarine, the U.S.S. Cobia. The submarine is fully restored to its 1945 condition and can be toured both topside and below deck.

From Manitowoc, take the scenic seven-mile drive north along the Mariners Trail to Two Rivers. Renowned as a vibrant fishing and shipping hub, Two Rivers is home to an extensive commercial and charter fishing fleet and boasts more than seven miles of sandy beaches. Beyond the glistening surf, numerous ship wrecks entice scuba divers from around the world. While visiting, check out the Rogers Street Fishing Village, The Great Lakes Coast Guard Museum and the Historic Washington House. www.roadstreet.com

Kenosha and Racine
Built in 1880, the Wind Point Lighthouse in Racine is believed to be the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Lake Michigan that is still operational. Fully automated in 1964, the Wind Point Lighthouse is open for tours on select days throughout the summer. The 144 steps are worth the climb for spectacular Lake Michigan views from the catwalk. www.windpointwi.us

In Kenosha, visitors can climb to the top of the 55-foot tall, 1866 Southport Light Station Museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A restored keeper's house featuring the maritime history of Kenosha County and the lives of the lighthouse's keepers is part of the tour.

For more great travel ideas, head to www.TravelWisconsin.com. While you're there, download the free Travel Wisconsin™ iPhone® and Android™ apps for an on-the-go resource!

24 June, 2011 , AMERICAN ROAD's TOP ROAD MOVIES SURVEY With the Summer 2011 issue of American Road, we honor the drive-in's unparalleled pull on nostalgia's strings. We begin by unveiling American Road's Top 12 Road Films. Months ago members of the American Road staff received ballots listing sixty contesting road movies. They rated each film with regard to classic status, cinematic contributions, and personal appeal. Our designated dozen presents cinematic milestones that defined the genre over the past one hundred years. Now its your turn.

24 June, 2011 , NEW MEXICO CANYON DE CHELLY NATIONAL MONUMENT Canyon De Chelly (Northeastern Arizona) provides a quiet retreat from the world! The Navajos call it "the heart of the world." This quiet, peaceful canyon-really two 20-mile-long canyons-was for centuries their place for prayer and contemplation. A place for songs and ceremonies. A place for gatherings.

Today, Canyon de Chelly (d'shay) in northeastern Arizona still offers respite to the weary traveler who might want to relax for a couple of days to recover from the more crowded tourist attractions of the Southwest.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument is within a day's drive of many major Western cities (http://www.nps.gov/cach/planyourvisit/directions.htm). It is a four-hour drive from Albuquerque, New Mexico; five and a half hours from Phoenix; seven hours from Salt Lake City and Las Vegas; and approximately nine hours from Denver.

Canyon de Chelly offers the perfect pastoral place for a laid-back vacation.

Contemplate the world: Though visitors can only tour the canyon with a guide, there are other activities. Sit on a rock in the sun and watch a lizard forage for whatever lizards forage for. Watch an eagle soar over the canyon, or the mule deer graze. Listen to the wind and observe the clouds rolling overhead, if any appear. At night, stargaze. Pack binoculars.

-Be a shutterbug: The spectacular landscape-with its softly colored walls and exotic plants-makes a wonderful subject. Remember: Do not photograph the residents of the valley without their permission. Most of us would not like it if someone came into our back yard and took a picture of us tending the garden.

-Drive the rim: There's no charge to drive the rim road. Be sure to pull over occasionally to admire the changing scenery. No exertion required.

-Take a walk. Not a hike, just a walk, leisurely stopping to examine a wildflower (but never picking it). Or, for the more energetic, there is one hiking trail-the White House Ruin Trail-open to visitors without a guide.

-Take a tour: If you want to tour the canyon, Thunderbird Lodge makes visiting the canyon easy by offering authorized group half-day and full-day tours. Six-wheel drive touring vehicles operated by experienced and knowledgeable Navajo guides take tourists through the canyon. Tour highlights include cliff dwellings of ancestral Puebloans (formerly called Anasazi) tucked high in the rock walls, historic sites, and ancient petroglyphs and pictographs.

-Explore the museum: An on-site museum-reopens in July 2011, following renovations and new exhibit installation

The only accommodations inside the monument, Thunderbird Lodge, sits on the site of a trading post built in 1896. The lodge's cafeteria-style restaurant resides in the trading post's original building. The Thunderbird Lodge gift shop and rug room offer some of the region's finest examples of Native American jewelry, rugs, artwork, and crafts.

For reservations, call 1-800-679-2473. For more information on Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Thunderbird Lodge, visit www.tbirdlodge.com.

20 March, 2011 , Richmond, Ind. CHOCOLATE TRAIL...A SWEET ADVENTURE Mama always said "Life is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're gonna get".-Forrest Gump (from the movie: "Forrest Gump")

The same comparison might be made with road trips--one never knows for sure what's waiting around the next bend. However, in Richmond, Indiana, one might actually find a box of chocolates.

Visitors to Richmond may take a self-guided journey along the Chocolate Trail. The trip consists of ten stops, including two chocolate shops, a candy factory, a fudge shop, a winery, and intriguing specialty shops. Complimentary chocolate-inspired specialties are featured at each stop and are presented in many different forms - candy, wine, fudge, ice cream, and even candles.

Pick up a Chocolate Trail Passport at the Old National Road Welcome Center in Richmond, Indiana. The passport is the ticket to the free samples along this tasty route.

Chocolate treasures await on this sweet path:
* Olympian Candy has been luring chocolate lovers in off the street since 1909. They still hand-dip their chocolates using the original Greek-cream recipes.
* Parker's General Store offers one scoop of local-made chocolate ice cream.
* Ghyslain Chocolatier signature chocolates are one-of-a-kind hand-painted masterpieces created with the finest ingredients.
* Warm Glow Candles are made in Wayne County. Each guest receives a complimentary chocolate scented votive candle. (Grandma's Brownie, Bing Cherry, etc.)

Many Chocolate Trail attractions offer exclusive discounts, or Chocolate Bucks, to those participating in the Trail. Even a discounted spa treatment featuring chocolate is offered and at the Gennett Mansion, every month they serve a gourmet 5-course dinner showcasing chocolate as an ingredient in each course!

Pick up a Chocolate Trail Passport, available at the Old National Road Welcome Center, 5701 National Road E., Richmond (just off I-70, exit 156A).

Travelers may never be certain of what awaits at their next stop. However, in Richmond, Indiana, one may anticipate a chocolaty treat in one form or another!

6 March, 2011 , Washington, D.C. CIVIL WAR HISTORY - 150-YEAR ANNIVERSARY The 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War (2011-2015) offers an opportunity to learn, discuss, and commemorate our greatest national crisis. Many events throughout the country are planned for this Sesquicentennial. The National Park Service-through the collective efforts of the superintendents at Civil War-related park developed a multi-faceted, multi-year, integrated program to simultaneously transform and improve interpretation of the Civil War. The website http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/civilwar.htm offers a forum for learning and for communicating the Sesquicentennial events and represents a partnership between the National park Service and state and local communities.

A few of the planned events include:

The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism
Tulsa, Okla.
The Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program is set to launch a special presentation of the Civil War History Tour planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. The Civil War Tour includes a visit to historic Capitol Square in Tahlequah, Okla., to learn about the town¹s destruction by Confederate troops. Guests will also visit the Murrell Home, an antebellum home that survived the fires of the Civil War. Visitors will explore Fort Gibson Historic Site, which changed hands several times between the states. And guests will stop at Honey Springs Battle site, a turning point in the Civil War and the largest battle fought between the states in Indian Territory.Civil War History Tour Dates: April 2 and 16. For ticketing, complete tour details and additional information on the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism program, call (877) 779-6977 or visit http://www.CherokeeTourismOK.com.

Fort Sumter National Monument
Charleston, SC
From April 8 - 17, 2011 the park will commemorate the first shot of the Civil War when diplomacy failed and erupted into cannon fire on April 12, 1861 at 4:30 AM igniting the start of the war in Charleston Harbor. Over the ten day period, living history demonstrations and programs will be held at Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, and the Liberty Square Visitor Center in Charleston.

Manassas National Battlefield Park
Manassas, VA
July 21 through July 24, 2011 commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War and the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run). Events include a commemorative program on the 150th anniversary date of the First Battle of Manassas, with addresses by elected officials, dignitaries, and historians, and re-creation of the reconciliation of veterans during the Manassas Peace Jubilee (held at the 50th anniversary of the battle in 1911). Other events will include special programs, lectures, music, tours, and living history and historic weapons demonstrations.

A full calendar of Civil War Sesquicentennial events may be found at http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/civwar150_events.html

15 December, 2010 , Yellowstone National Park (Mont. & Wyo.) YELLOWSTONE ASSOCIATION INSTITUTE OFFERS WINTER PROGRAMS AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO STAY IN CLASSIC TOURIST CABINS The people who live in Yellowstone National Park greet snow cheerfully--because more snow means more fun. Participants in the park's educational programs also greet the season enthusiastically.

"Winter for us means terrific cross country skiing, a sense of quiet and solitude and truly unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing," said Jeff Brown, director of education for the non-profit Yellowstone Association Institute (YAI). "With the exception of the hibernating bears and some migratory bird species, of course, winter in Yellowstone is the best time to view wildlife such as wolves, elk, bison and more in their natural habitat."

YAI offers a variety of programs during winter months designed to help people understand and appreciate the fascinating place that is Yellowstone. The Institute offers Field Seminars, Private Tours, and Lodging & Learning programs.

Lodging & Learning programs combine daily field trips with comfortable lodging in park hotels at night. These programs are especially popular in the winter because they combine field expertise with the accommodations and logistics required to navigate the park when most of its roads are open only to over-the-snow vehicles.

Field seminars have been YAI's mainstay for many years. Many participants return for courses year after year. These multi-day courses are taught by experts focusing on topics such as wildlife, geology, and history. Most courses last from one to four days and are limited to 13 participants.

Of particular interest to American Road readers, many courses are held at the Institute's Lamar Buffalo Ranch Field Campus--built in the early 1900s in an attempt to prevent extinction of the buffalo population--where old tourist cabins relocated from Fishing Bridge, are available for an affordable rate of $30 per person per night.

Fishing Bridge is located at the northern tip of Yellowstone Lake. Its name originates from a previously popular fishing spot--a 1902 bridge. Crowds of fishermen flocked to the area known for cutthroat trout. Today, sportsman are limited to "catch and release."

New in 2010, the Yellowstone Overlook Field Campus in Gardiner, Montana opened and now offers Private Tours and field seminars. Winter field seminars kick off with Snowshoeing, the History of Yellowstone Dec. 17-19, 2010 and wrap up with Yellowstone's Winter Serengeti March 21-23, 2011. Other offerings include: Holiday Wildlife Watching, Winter Landscape Photography, and The Living History of Yellowstone's Wolves. Yellowstone Association; members receive a $10 discount. For reservations and more information about field seminars call 1-406-848-2400. Lodging & Learning program reservations may be made by phoning 1-866-439-7375. Details are available at http://www.yellowstoneassociation.org.

13 December, 2010 , Lucas, Kansas Erika Nelson to appear on CONAN Erika Nelson, independent artist, educator, and contributing editor for American Road magazine's World's Largest department, is heading out to Los Angeles for a taping of Conan O'Brian's new show "CONAN". The air date is set for December 22nd, and will air on TBS (check your local listing for channel) at 11 p.m. (10 p.m. Central).

Erika was contacted in early October by a producer for the show, after he did a search on "World's Largest" and found the World's Largest Things website (www.WorldsLargestThings.com). After lengthy phone interviews, Erika and the producer worked up a pitch for Conan, with some of the best stories about World's Largest Things, and accompanying images and video.

In early November, Erika got the news that the show was a 'GO!'. From there, more images and story-writing flew through the email communication lines, narrowing down the actual World's Smallest Versions that would make the final cut. The format will most likely be a table display, with Erika leading Conan through some of the WSVs and telling some of the more offbeat stories behind them. The daily-driver Art Car "Scout" may also be a part of the show, either on-stage or via remote from the parking lot. Erika will drive out in the next few weeks for the December 22nd taping and air date.

Erika works and lives in Lucas, Kansas' Quirky Capital. Her original "World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things" mobile museum can be seen at the Home Base, just South of the historic Garden of Eden, and you'll often see her driving around in the smaller Art Car "Scout", which sports illuminated galloping ponies in the back, dinosaurs melting into prehistoric tarpits along the hood and roof, and astroturf flames circling a mural of Outsider Art Environments and Roadside Attractions along the side. Listen to an interview with Erika on the American Road Trip Talk podcast

29 September, 2010 , Fall Color: Websites and Hotlines Fall is here with crisp, clear days perfect for road trips. To assist you in your quest to enjoy the beautiful Autumn colors, cider stands, and farmers markets along America's back roads, American Road staff researched great websites to help the inner leaf peeper in you find Falls finest foliage.

The Weather Channel:Offers state and regional maps showing color conditions across the USA. http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/fallfoliage/

The Foliage Network:Provides twice weekly updates during the months of September, October, and November for the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest regions of the USA. http://www.foliagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=6&Itemid=53

USDA Forest Service: 1-800-354-4595 http://www.fs.fed.us/news/fallcolors/

State and local tourism bureaus frequently provide Autumn leaf changing reports, itineraries, and ideas for fabulous fall getaways. A list of more than eighty tourism sites with resources may be found: http://americanroadmagazine.com/resources.html

Find FREE downloadable itineraries on our website so you may grab your keys and hit the road: http://www.americanroadmagazine.com/itineraries.html#Northeast

We invite you to share photos from your trip on the Americanroadmagazine.com Forum on the American Road magazine Facebook page.

Safe travels and enjoy the season!

19 September, 2010 , Belvidere, Illinois The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition Tells Highway and Community Stories in a Manner Befitting a President The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition presents sixteen interpretive Gazebos along the Illinois stretch of the Lincoln Highway, a 179-mile designated National Scenic Byway in Northern Illinois. Completed in fall 2009, the Gazebos offer a unique and interactive way for visitors to learn the significance of the highway while enjoying stories of the early Lincoln Highway and its Illinois communities.

Each Gazebo is designed with the same structure, displaying signs mounted on the outside featuring logos for easy identification by travelers. Four artist-rendered panels are enclosed in every gazebo, specific to each location. Common to all is one panel with a map and narrative of the highway's beginning history and culture; different in each gazebo are two panels telling stories and events of the nationwide Lincoln Highway--with the last panel dedicated to the community and its specific connection to the highway.

The Gazebo in Fulton, Illinois tells the story of the newly paved Lincoln Highway connecting to the Lyons Fulton Bridge. It became the "Official Crossing" of the Lincoln Highway over the Mississippi River located between Fulton, Illinois and Lyons, Iowa. This connection eased travel for all those desiring to head out to the nation's west, allowing new freedom for commerce and tourism.

Take a virtual tour of all the Gazebos along the Illinois Lincoln Highway Scenic Byway and be sure to enjoy the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition's ongoing Byway project initiatives and developments at the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition website. Find out about the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition's current project: 10' x 20' hand painted murals by reading the article in the 2010 Autumn print and online editions of American Road magazine. For added adventure while traveling the Illinois route, map the Gazebo and mural locations from the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition's website. A FREE trip itinerary is also available for download on the American Road magazine itinerary page courtesy of the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition.

21 July, 2010 , Springfield, Ill. History The Way You've Never Seen It: Live! Brought to you by the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.

In Springfield, Illinois... it's in the streets, it's at the Capitol, it's around the park, it's inside the museums! It's History Comes Alive, and it's happening now through August 15th! This is one American Road Trip you don't want to skip!

See Springfield how it was when Abe Lincoln walked the streets, with live reenactments done by costumed period actors! Meet the citizens of 19th-century Springfield downtown, and at special events like ghost walks, poetry readings, ice cream socials, live music performances and even appearances by the famous Mr. Lincoln himself!

Interact with the costumed performers and hear their stories of life in Lincoln's Springfield with History Comes Alive! This truly one-of-a-kind experience is fun for all ages and free to the public. Located suitably along the Historic Route 66, Springfield is easy to get to, and has something to offer everyone.

Don't miss your chance see Abe Lincoln and experience history in a way you've never experienced it before: live! Events happen daily through August 15, so don't wait too long! We'll see you in Springfield!

For a History Comes Alive Brochure and full schedule of events, or to learn more about Springfield getaway packages, visit www.visit-springfieldillinois.com/historycomesalive or call 1-800-545-7300.

18 June, 2010 , Gallipolis, Ohio 1930's REVISIT GALLIPOLIS, OHIO CHAUTAUQUA STYLE See the 1930ss through the eyes and stories of Orson Welles, Eleanor Roosevelt, W.C. Fields and others on the Ohio riverbank of the quaint historic downtown of Gallipolis.

Beneath the sprawling trees, atop lush green lawns, tucked between the Ohio River and nostalgic small town - and inside the enchanting red and white striped big top tent reminiscent of yesteryear - five days of Ohio's Chautauqua will capture the hearts and minds of everyone. It combines living history, music, entertainment, education and theater. The audience interacts with an intimacy in which the good-old-days and small town Americana are remembered and for which Gallipolis is still known.

Gallipolis is the only town in all of southern Ohio that has been bestowed the honor of host site for the 2010 Chautauqua, presented by The Ohio Humanities Council.

"It is such a delight to bring Ohio's Chautauqua to Southeast Ohio so families throughout the region may enjoy a fascinating experience that weaves education and entertainment together in a way that touches the mind and heart," said Bob Hood, Executive Director of Gallia County Visitors Bureau.

The 1930's theme is fitting for the summer of 2010 due to the many references the Great Recession has to the Great Depression Era. As such, this year's Chautauqua program is free to attend.

The series will explore the legacies of five people who helped shape perhaps the most influential era in American history. The five characters for Ohio Chautauqua are Orson Welles - renowned film director; Eleanor Roosevelt - First Lady and prominent author; Margaret Mitchell - Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Gone With The Wind; Paul Robeson - world-known bass-baritone singer; and W.C. Fields - the exceptional comedic actor.

The Gallipolis City Park - from July 20 - 24, 2010 - will present different living history programs each evening when a figure from the past involves the audience on an odyssey that reveals his or her impact on American history and culture. The audience will have opportunities to interact and ask questions. In addition, musical performances will occur each evening at 7:30pm. The Bossard Memorial Library will host children's workshops each morning at 10:30am followed by adult workshops at 2:30pm.

The Gallipolis City Park is known as the focal point of the picturesque downtown and for its panoramic views of the Ohio River all along its sprawling shaded lawns and gardens. The focal point of the park is The Bandstand, originally erected in 1876, and since surviving several severe floods. To get an idea of what a river town flood was like, meander over to the Flood Marker near the edge of the park. It tells a grim story by indicating the high water mark of 1913 at 66.5 feet when 467 people perished.

Other downtown pastimes include the historical walking tours that feature landmarks like the 1819 Our House Museum which was once a three-story tavern and social heart of the young community. Tours also uncover the tales of the Underground Railroad that connected many of the historic buildings across town. Some actually have hidden tunnels running under the streets making for secret transport from the 100 year old Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Theatre. The Victorian-era opera house has been renovated and hosts many productions throughout the year. The nearby John Gee Black Historical Center preserves the tradition, culture and music of black Americans in southern Ohio history.

Shopping Gallipolis is a diverse leisurely pursuit to peel off the hours of an afternoon zigzagging from one-of-a-kind boutiques to specialty shops. A variety of eateries can break up the day of shopping for jewelry, floral, gift, antique and craft items. The Park Front Diner and Bakery offers a 50's theme with some of the best homemade desserts. Next door, Courtside Bar and Grill has a unique sports bar theme and the best known burgers around.

Gallipolis is the seat of Gallia County. Across the rolling hills of Gallia County there are scenic hiking and biking trails. There is one view nobody should leave without seeing, and that is the elevated overlook of the town, river, and Appalachian foothills from Fortification Hill. Bring a camera! From there, the air may carry the tantalizing aroma from the original Bob Evans Restaurant located in nearby Rio Grande. After getting a bite to eat, you may visit the homestead museum located at the Bob Evans Farm.

To learn more about the surrounding area or to get further details to partake in the 2010 Chautauqua, including lodging accommodations, restaurants and attractions, call 1-800-765-6482 or log onto www.visitgallia.com.

31 May, 2010 , Road Trip Tip to Avoid Road Construction Delays! If you are traveling the two lane highways this summer and want to avoid construction delays visit: http://www.randmcnally.com/rmc/tools/roadConstructionSearch.jsp

The tool requires that you enter the state through which you'll be traveling. Additional information required is the road type (e.g. US Highway, Interstate, state route, all routes, etc.). You may run the query during the date range of your travels or leave it open ended if you want to drive a specific route and haven't yet determined your travel time frame.

22 May, 2010 , New York, NY A Betrayed Widow, a Soviet Spy, and a Presidency in the Balance As you think about some of the road trips you and your family might be taking this summer, we wanted to make a recommendation for your reading list-especially since you're a fan of our national heritage. Robert Klara, one of our contributing editors, has just completed his first book (which you, as an American Road reader, can buy at a special discount-but more on that in a minute.)

Klara has taken American Road readers on some unusual adventures over the years, including a visit to Maine's Mackworth Island (haunted by the ghosts of dogs and horses, they say) and a drive past a 150-foot peach perched on the side of I-85 in South Carolina (actually, it's the famed municipal water tank for the town of Gaffney.) Klara is an acclaimed journalist and historian, which is why we're excited to tell you about his new book: FDR's Funeral Train: A Betrayed Widow, A Soviet Spy, and a Presidency in the Balance, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Hailed by historian Douglas Brinkley as "a major new contribution to U.S. history," Klara's book has something forAR logo everyone interested in America during the WWII years. It's the incredible, true story of the top-secret burial train that took the remains of Franklin D. Roosevelt on a 1,000-mile odyssey through nine states, carrying not only the president's coffin, but 140 of the most powerful men and women of the U.S. government-plus a KGB spy and what some said was an imposter's corpse. With a passenger roster like that, there's no shortage of intrigue, secret deals, and mystery to go around. Klara took a year to cobble together the facts of this largely forgotten story from the lost diaries of the passengers and a small mountain of declassified Secret Service documents. The result is what Kirkus Reviews has called "a little gem," and a book that bestselling writer James Bradley-author of Flags of Our Fathers-has hailed as "a fascinating tale, well told."

Best of all, American Road readers can enjoy a special 20% discount when ordering before Father's Day, June 20th. http://www.bit.ly/FDR

Just Click Here or contact specialsales@palgrave-usa.com. And use promotional code P356ED.

19 March, 2010 , Tucumcari, N. Mex. "SONGS OF TUCUMCARI" Cheryl Barns & the Teen tones, the late Jimmie Driftwood, Proverbial Cool Aid and nearly a dozen other recording artists have joined forces to create one of New Mexico's more unique fund-raising promotional efforts.

Bob Beaulieu, executive director of the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce, said that he couldn't help but notice that Tucumcari plays a starring role in a number of songs, both past and present, and wouldn't it be fun if they could all come together in one CD.

"Folk, pop, rock, country - even big band songs," Beaulieu said. “The songs span both decades and genres. Some artists are notable and some are not, but most of the songs are very appealing, and all of them are great songs about this place we call home. I don't believe many communities our size can boast having their own CD."

After narrowing the field to fourteen songs, Beaulieu contacted the artists for permission to use their music on the "Songs of Tucumcari" CD project and making sure licensing requirements were met. Many of the songs are old enough to be in the public domain. Chamber member Danford Dan's Music Shop helped put the CD together.

"We're delighted that the folks in Tucumcari have come with such an ingenious and clever way to spread the word," said Michael Cerletti, secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. "It goes hand in hand with our plans to promote New Mexico’s music on a national scale and we look forward to sharing our musical heritage with all our visitors."

Two of the songs have a similar title: "Tucumcari Tonight" by the Colin Sphincter Band and "Tucumcari Tonite" by Road Crew 66. The phrase is also the community slogan. Dorothy Shay performs "Two Gun Harry from Tucumcari," Andy Mason sings "There's Nothin' to Eat in Tucumcari," and Michael Hearne's "Two Miles Out of Tucumcari" is also present, along with songs by pop singer Jimmy Rodgers, folk singer Jimmie Driftwood, The Tarantulas, David Rubin, Randy Kaplan Durango with Brian Schey, Dan Roberts and Dale Watson.

The CDs will be available for purchase beginning March 18, 2010 at the Chamber's monthly Business after Hours event at the Main Street Project office, 207 South Second Street. They will also be available at the Chamber office and at upcoming community events.

Contact Bob Beaulieu at the Tucumcari/Quay County Chamber of Commerce, 575-461-1694 or chamber@tucumcarinm.com; or visit http://bit.ly/TucumcariCd0310

1 March, 2010 , Jackson, Miss. MISSISSIPPI UNVEILS COUNTRY MUSIC TRAIL Today, the State of Mississippi unveiled its newest heritage attraction, the Mississippi Country Music Trail. The announcement was made during the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism being held in Tupelo this week.

"As we continue to spotlight the state's slogan, "Birthplace of America's Music," we are excited to unveil such a key element in that message, the Mississippi Country Music Trail," said Mary Beth Wilkerson, Tourism director for the Mississippi Development Authority. "Because music--and country music in particular--is such an important part of Mississippi's cultural legacy, the Country Music Trail will help to increase awareness of Mississippi as a tourism destination for a diverse spectrum of consumers."

Building on the success of the Mississippi Blues Trail, which now boasts over 100 markers across Mississippi and in Muscle Shoals, Ala., Helena, Ark., Chicago and Memphis, the Country Music Trail celebrates Mississippi's rich heritage of country music legends and chart toppers. The trail will feature a variety of country music artists, including Jimmie Rodgers (known as the "Father of Country Music"), Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, Jerry Clower, Faith Hill, Paul Overstreet and others to comprise the first 30 markers across the state.

The trail has garnered significant support since before its inception. In early 2009, Mississippi's own country music legend Marty Stuart (an artist who will be featured on the trail) lobbied the State Senate to pass legislation to create the landmark-based attraction.

Wilkerson added, "The support of our artists and community leaders has been so inspiring and such a central part of making the Country Music Trail a reality."

For more information about the Mississippi Country Music Trail, visit MDA online at www.VisitMississippi.org or call 1.866.SEE.MISS.

28 January, 2010 , Louisiana CELEBRATE MARDI GRAS IN LOUISIANA MAIN STREET STYLE! Artemis, St. Denis, Claude, Slidellians, Akewa, Dionysos, Cypress, Bilge, Perseus, Ambassadeurs, Hercules, Andalusia, Mona Lisa, Moon Pie, Aquarius, Okeanos, Hyacinthians, Titans, Barkus, Ambrosia, Shaka, Aphrodite, Selene, Magic City, Waguns, de Roi, D'Acadie, Montegut, Terreanians, De Paws, Newcomers, Chronos, Cleophas, Cleopatra, Courier, Bonne Terre, Houmas, Kajuns, Half Fast, Ghana.

A parade of words or words for parades?

Louisiana celebrates Mardi Gras in towns large and small across the entire state, not only in New Orleans. For a different experience, make plans to visit Louisiana's Main Street communities for a small town take on all the beauty and pageantry of the Carnival season.

The season officially begins on January 6 with the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night is the day the three wise men found the baby Jesus, twelve days after his birth. This day marks the traditional end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Carnival. Carnival ends on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of 40 days of Lent. This year Fat Tuesday is February 16.

Carnival has deep cultural roots in Louisiana. There are many different ways to commemorate the season. The largest, and most famous tradition is the New Orleans style Carnival. Many small communities in the state follow this ritual. A second custom, Courier du Mardi Gras, is celebrated in communities in the Acadiana region of the state, and a third practice is known as the Mardi Gras Indians.

The Courier traces its roots to medieval France. It is a visitation tradition in which masked horseback riders make their "run" traveling from house to house to "beg" for items for use in preparing a gumbo. These riders precede a bandwagon and vehicles loaded with citizens of the community. Courier is celebrated in Cajun country, mainly in the prairie areas west of the Atchafalya River.

The Mardi Gras Indian tradition is practiced among black males in New Orleans. It is a blending of American Indian and Afro-Caribbean cultures-that includes recognizing the local Indian population for accepting slaves into their society when they made their break for freedom. Today, Mardi Gras Indian tradition and practice compares tribal songs, dance, and dress with other tribes as they meet that day.

Thirty-five Main Street communities across Louisiana celebrate Mardi Gras in their own unique way. However, you will find music, good food, family fun, beads, and "Throw Me Something Mister" at each and every one.

Visit Louisiana Main Street communities for a unique experience. . . Come as you are-leave different!

For a full listing of Mardi Gras parades and events in Main Street communities throughout Louisiana, visit the events calendar at www.louisianamaintomain.org.

Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll) on Main Street!!

18 January, 2010 , Key West, Fla. KEY WEST PUCKERING UP FOR CONCH SHELL CONTEST KEY WEST, Florida Keys -- Maybe major rock stars aren't abandoning their electric guitars to play conch shell concerts, but fans of the fluted, pink-lined shell are puckering up for a rocking test of skill in Key West.

The 48th annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 6, in the tropical garden of Key West's Oldest House, 322 Duval St. Nicknamed the Conch Honk, the lighthearted competition salutes Key West's seafaring heritage and is presented by the Old Island Restoration Foundation.

Blowing into the shell of the hardy sea mollusk has been a tradition since the island's earliest settlement, when sailors used the shells as signaling devices and 19th-century residents blew blasts to alert shipwreck salvagers that a sinking ship had been spotted.

The conch also is prized for its food value and flavor, with conch fritters and chowder prominently featured on scores of local restaurant menus. In addition, native-born islanders are called Conchs and the Florida Keys are known as the Conch Republic.

As many as 60 people from several states, ranging in age from toddlers to seniors, typically compete in the Conch Shell Blowing Contest in front of standing-room-only audiences. Winners are chosen for the quality, duration, loudness and novelty of the sounds they make, with trophies awarded in multiple age categories.

While most entrants only manage blasts or bleats, each year a few issue complex melodies that impress judges and onlookers alike. In addition, the festivities typically include performances by talented "pucker pros."

The 2010 Conch Shell Blowing Contest is free to enter and watch. Contestants lacking their own "instruments" can purchase conch shells on-site.

Aspiring conch honkers can pre-register at the Oldest House from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on or before March 6. The house is open every day except Sunday and Wednesday.

For more information, visit www.oirf.org or call the Old Island Restoration Foundation at 305-294-9501.

For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539) or visit the Keys Web site at www.fla-keys.com.

25 November, 2009 , Holiday Travel Tips Is your vehicle ready for your annual trip to grandma’s house? Be sure to have your auto checked for safety (proper tires for the weather conditions, properly inflated tires, windshield wipers for winter weather—to prevent icing, etc.). A safety check of your vehicle may be the most essential key to the safety of you and your loved ones.

Timing is everything
Avoid weather-related travel delays and accidents: Know forecasted weather conditions for your travel route. It may be advisable to leave an hour or two early to reach the airport or train station if you are traveling using public transportation. If traveling by car, you may also want to plan your travel to avoid nasty weather conditions. That may mean leaving earlier or arriving later than you originally planned.

Know Your Route
Road construction may also contribute to travel delays. If you plan ahead, you may re-route your journey to avoid annoying traffic delays due to construction and road closures. The DOT for the areas through which you’ll be traveling may provide road construction information. Be sure to bring a GPS and/or road maps so you may deal with any unexpected re-routing.

Stay in good cheer
Arriving at your destination cheerful and ready to celebrate the holidays may seem like the ultimate challenge. However, we’ve gathered a few helpful tips to keep you and your traveling companions in good spirits:
-Bring along reading material or another portable activity to keep occupied should you experience any delays. A few ideas to consider:
*Car games (Crossword puzzles (one person in the car could read the clue to the other travelers and be responsible for writing in the answer), scavenger hunt for road trips, create a travel journal.
*Visit a roadside attraction on the way to and from your destination. Let each member of the family (or each traveling companion) select one stop along the way. The pit stop will give everyone an opportunity to stretch (which is recommended to avoid developing a condition known as deep vein thrombosis—a condition leading to blood clotting), build excitement/anticipation for the trip, and be a subject of conversation for everyone before and after the visit. After all, how many people could resist smiling at the site of the world’s largest Catsup Bottle?
*Bring healthy snacks and beverages. If you experience delays you’ll have food, to quiet any rumbling tummies, and drink, to stay hydrated. Studies show that dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased alertness. Also, your body requires more fuel in the cold—so pack high-energy foods.

Think Safety First
Bring a cell phone (and car charger), ice scraper; tow rope and jumper cables, sand or cat litter to aid with traction, blankets, flashlights, flares, matches and emergency candles, first aid kit, and a portable radio. If you belong to an automobile club/ road safety service be sure to bring your membership card/information.

Remember, life’s a journey, enjoy the ride!

5 November, 2009 , Montana BIG SKY AUTUMN DRIVES Fall Foliage Favorites

Autumn in Montana is the season that locals relish... and a time of year that savvy travelers take advantage of the state's amber hues and wide-open byways. Warm, Indian summer days are followed by crisp, nip-in-the-air evenings. Set against a backdrop of river-carved valleys or lofty - sometimes snow dusted - peaks, Big Sky Country serves up five iconic driving tours for travelers seeking a kaleidoscope of leafy colors.

Paradise Valley
They don't call it Paradise for nothin'. Winding along the storied Yellowstone River - the longest free-flowing river in the lower-48 - head south via Highway 89 from the offbeat, artsy community of Livingston. Two hulking mountain ranges, the Absaroka/Beartooth's and the Gallatin's, flank the valley - Yellowstone National Park is just south. Stop for breakfast at the quirky Pine Creek Café, gaze at the Cottonwood trees as they turn to gold and make a few casts for rainbow trout. At the end of the day, book a room at historic Chico Hot Springs Resort and settle in for a calm, evening soak.

Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Loop
Nestled among the jagged peaks of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, this 63-mile route begins in mineral-rich Anaconda and winds its way up to Georgetown Lake via Highway 1. Nearby you'll find the charmingly restored community of Philipsburg where its gold and sapphire mining past has kept it teeming with a well-preserved western history. Be sure to sample some fudge at the Sweet Palace and stay at the kitschy Broadway Hotel where you'll find themed rooms like "Route 66" and "The Andes Suite".

Seeley-Swan Valley
Rolling through the Swan Range and the scraping summits of the Mission Mountains, Highway 83 is a tunnel of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and larch...not to mention pristine alpine lakes. Bring your canoe and enjoy the Clearwater Canoe Trail just north of Seeley Lake and then settle for a few starry nights at one of the ruff-hewn cabins at the Double Arrow Resort.

Kings Hill Scenic Byway
71 miles of Big Sky Country await you on this winding ribbon of Highway 89. This route travels through the untrammeled Little Belt Mountains and scenic Lewis and Clark National Forest. Bring your road bike to experience this lonely highway or your mountain bike to partake in the area's "super secret" singletrack. You can also stretch your legs on the short walk to Memorial Falls.

Fort Peck Reservoir & Dinosaur Trail Upland bird hunters will be in winged heaven in this section of Northeastern Montana during the autumn months. Game birds like pheasant, grouse and Hungarian Partridge abound in the khaki-colored, wide-open fields and the fishing on Fort Peck Reservoir may well result in landing a lunker walleye. Don't forget a stop at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center & Museum, featuring Pecks Rex (their complete T-Rex skeleton) and other dinosaur exhibits in this paleontological rich zone.

Warrior Trail
Highway 212 winds you through the wind-swept plains, which were the scene of many famous battles between Native American tribes and American soldiers between 1865 and 1877. Little Bighorn Battlefield, Rosebud Battlefield, and the Reynolds Battlefield Monument are slivers of preserved history along this scenic byway. Bring your hiking boots and a keen eye for elk and coyotes that also call this stretch of the Wild West home.

31 October, 2009 , Northern California AUTUMN DRIVES ALONG THE VOLCANIC LEGACY SCENIC BYWAY, by Allison Scull Fall offers perfect conditions for traveling along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in Northern California --sunny skies without the heat of summer, leaves of color, and meandering, peaceful byways full of natural beauty.

Whether you are an out of state visitor or live here and would like to venture out regionally, there are several particularly beautiful spots to view fall foliage in addition to having a volcano to volcano driving experience. In Northern California, the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway links Mount Lassen standing at 10,457 feet to majestic Mount Shasta at standing at 14,179 feet.

South of Lake Almanor, near Indian Creek, is another great spot for fall foliage. Heaps of golden oak, chokecherry and dogwood trees skirt one side of the road, while on the other, amber willow and flaming, red Indian rhubarb reflect in the shimmering waters of the stream.

Just east of Lake Almanor and west of Susanville--you will find the Biz Johnson Rail Trail. Perfect for hiking and biking, this trail running along the Susan River, features the broad, open expanses of yellow and gold colored aspen.

Further north, a drive on Highway 299, at the four corners of Highway 89 near Burney features the beautiful, falling red and gold leaves of the indigenous black oaks and white oaks.

In Dunsmuir, a freshly built platform now overlooks Hedge Creek Falls with a view of Mount Shasta. You can enjoy the colors of dogwood trees, black oak, big leaf maple as well as white fir, red willow, and vine maple. According to Dunsmuir based horticulturalist, Candace Miller, “ reddish-orange flowers called corral bells can be found on the rock faces of the falls.” With a brief break onto I-5 from the Scenic Byway, take the Dunsmuir/Siskiyou exit. Turn North on Dunsmuir Avenue, and immediately left into the small parking lot.

North of Dunsmuir, a drive on Old Stage Road from Mt. Shasta through to the Hammond Ranch area--taking you on parts of Old Highway 99--will give you a beautiful site of black oaks and big willow trees turning red, orange, and gold.

At the northern end of California, a drive up to the Klamath Basin Refuge area offers beautiful drives up highway 97 featuring the turning leaves of curl-leaf mountain mahogany surrounded by the oranges and reds of the tumbleweeds, bitterbrush, and sage brush. In addition to the beautiful fall colors, an estimated one to two million ducks and geese migrate through the Basin each October and November. Dave Menke of the Tulelake Wildlife Refuge says, "Fall is a very interesting time of year to visit the refuges."

For more information on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway or to inquire about a free map, e-mail us at info@volcaniclegacybyway.org, call us at 1-866-722-9929 or visit http://www.volcaniclegacybyway.org

4 October, 2009 , AMERICAN ROAD TRIP SWEEPSTAKES (SUMMER 2009) WINNER American Road Magazine is pleased to announce the winner of the American Road Trip Summer 2009 Sweepstakes brought to you by American Road magazine and the following sponsors:

Alton (Ill.) Area CVB
Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway (Md.)
America's Historic Triangle
Southern Oregon Visitors Assn.
Creole Nature Trail
Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition
Kansas Tourism

The sweepstakes winners are: Warren Hardaker - Davis, Calif. (DVD collection: Great Road Trips & Scenic Drives) Tricia Algieri - Westerly, RI (DVD collection: America's National Parks) Ted Dennis, Middletown, Conn. ($100 Gas Card)


You, too, could be a winner of the next American Road Trip Sweepstakes!


American Road magazine announces the American Road Autumn 2009 Sweepstakes brought to you by American Road magazine and the following sponsors:

Alton (Ill.) Area CVB
Baton Rouge Area (La.) CVB
Chautauqua County (N.Y.) VB
Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway (Md.)
Greene County Partnership Tourism
Jefferson City (Mo.) CVB
Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition
London (Canada) Tourism
Northshore/St. Tammany Parish (La.)
Pennsylvania US Route 6 Tourist Assn
Sumner County (Tenn.) CVB
Wise County (Va.) Tourism, Marketing, & Community Dev.

Visit http://americanroadmagazine.com/sweepstakes/sweepstakes.html for details and to Enter to WIN!

19 September, 2009 , HAPPILY EVER AFTER The Autumn issue of American Road takes its rhythm from the cat and the fiddle. The calliope to our carousel is "Happily Ever After," a colossal historical and pictorial whirl through ten North American storybook parks. Most of these nursery rhyme retreats are contemporaries of Disneyland. All prove-with regard to making magic-Mother Goose is as good as a mouse.

Children of all ages will find delight in reading about and visiting these fairy tale parks featured in the latest issue of American Road magazine:

Storyland at City Park, Louisiana
Enchanted Forest, British Columbia
Story Book Forest, Pennsylvania
Enchanted Forest, Oregon
Rotary Storyland, California
Storybook Land, New Jersey
Clark's Eliok Farm, Maryland
Storybook Island, South Dakota
Fairlyand Caverns, Georgia
Storybook Gardens, Ontario

We found more than a few magical fairy tale parks offering charm and entertainment across North America that we are including more for your reference below:

Storybook Land
Follow the yellow brick road (actually, the Yellowstone Trail) to Aberdeen's magical theme park - Storybook Land! Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion will all greet you as you enter a land of enchantment that includes over 60 larger than life exhibits. Enjoy a ride around the park on the Storybook Land Express with your children or grandchildren.

L. Frank Baum, noted author and resident of Aberdeen (1888 to 1891), penned The Wizard of Oz. The book provided the inspiration for Aberdeen's newest theme park - Land of Oz. The park is located just northwest of Storybook Land and features a farmstead area with Dorothy's house, children's petting zoo, Munchkin Land (plaza area with running stream), Scarecrow's house, Tin Man's house, Wicked Witch Castle, and Emerald City. You'll just need to bring your own ruby slippers!


Paul Bunyan Land
Tales of titanic timberman Paul Bunyan have long towered over Minnesota's woods. In "Bunyan Derby," author Joel Arnold explains how those fables carved a legacy in the form of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway in the Autumn issue. Travelers to the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway will find Paul Bunyan Land and This Old Farm not far away (approximately 34 miles South of Pequot Lakes-the Southern most point of the Byway). The park is located seven miles East of Brainerd, Minnesota. An animated 26-foot tall Paul greets visitors. Babe the Blue Ox, Paul Bunyan's companion, underwent some cosmetic work recently and is spiffed up to entertain weekend visitors this Autumn.


Fairytale Town
"A children's dream land . . . A magic wand is waving over a small section of our beautiful William Land Park changing children's dreams to reality. Fairytale Town, built of the dreams, fantasies and laughter of happy children."-the first brochure published by the Friends of

Fairytale Town, Inc. in 1956.
Fairytale Town, located in William Land Park in Sacramento, California celebrates its fifty year anniversary this year. The park originally dedicated as a gift to the children of the area by the City of Sacramento, the Junior League of Sacramento, and other community leaders was recently renovated and still fulfills childhood dreams to this day.


20 August, 2009 , Tombstone, Ariz. BILLY CLANTON WAS MURDERED! By Rebecca Rhoades Everyone knows that even the most diligent eyewitnesses are unlikely to see or remember every important detail of a crime. As such, what we believe to be the outcome of historical events is not always the truth. Consider the case of 19-year-old Billy Clanton, gunned down by Wyatt Earp during the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

For more than 100 years, the public has been led to believe that Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan, and Doc Holliday were true heroes of the battle, determined to bring law and order to the small town of Tombstone, Arizona, and take down the bad guys who threatened the peaceful existence of the townsfolk. And young Clanton, who along with his older brother Ike and Frank and Tom McLaury, was nothing more than a desperado looking for a fight. Or was he?

One thing witnesses agree on is the fact that Ike Clanton was involved in an ongoing feud with the Earp brothers over suspected cattle rustling and horse thievery. On that fateful October day in 1881, Billy met up with his brother and the McLaury's in a vacant lot near the back entrance of the O.K. Corral. The battle ensued shortly thereafter. Thirty shots were fired in less than 30 seconds, and when the smoke cleared, Frank McLaury was dead and Billy Clanton and Tom McLaury were mortally wounded.

But what the Hollywood movies and daily re-enactments fail to tell us is what happened after the battle. Billy was taken to a nearby house where he screamed, "They've murdered me." (Turns out that unlike the local legend, he didn't die where he fell.) And in a shocking turn of events, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were arrested for his murder. After a month-long trial, the two were acquitted by a judge who just so happened to be related to the Earps. Billy was buried in Boot Hill Graveyard just outside of town on Highway 80. With more than 2,000 mourners in attendance, his funeral was the largest in Tombstone history.

So was Billy really an armed criminal or did he yell, as witnesses claimed, "Don't shoot me, I don't want to fight." To learn more details about the famous gunfight, read the Summer 2009 issue of American Road magazine for an interview with Billy Clanton's relative, Terry "Ike" Clanton.

26 July, 2009 , COSHOCTON, OHIO STEP BACK IN TIME - AT HISTORIC ROSCOE VILLAGE Roscoe Village was a vibrant center of commerce along the legendary Ohio & Erie Canal. Forty years ago, it was brought back to life. Today, visitors can ride the canal just like their traveling counterparts back in the 1830s on their way to the streets of a vibrant canal town and all its dressings.

The famous port town is now known as Historic Roscoe Village. As soon as its guests step foot onto the red brick ways, they are pulled in different directions. Some come just to relax in the many beautiful gardens, some enjoy the living history journey back in time, others thrive on the original shops, and everyone marvels at the dining atmospheres and specialty dishes. Roscoe Village is a fully-functional town that basks in its history, yet entertains the interests of today. Special events fill the calendar, hands-on activities abound, and for those that really want to get lost in relaxation and Yesteryear, there's a variety of lodging accommodations.

Throughout the town, you see trendy shoppers and costumed canal era interpreters mingling along the streets and in the shops. Bicyclists frequent the streetscapes stopping for ice cream or a shade tree. Tour groups snake in and out of historic buildings for the hands-on experiences. Roscoe Village has always had a charm about it that attracts children, seniors and young women on a girls' day out. There's that much to see, do and enjoy.

The journey begins for most at the visitor center. It is there that sleeves are rolled up and work begins. All ages are welcome to try their hand at candle dipping, making rope, punching tin and crafting other bygone creations. A guide in period dress provides insight to the forgotten lifestyles of the town during the era long past. They demonstrate their skill at the work stations and provide punchy presentations filled with information, wit and personality.

Through the gardens and down the road past a few historical homes, is a blacksmith's shop. The rather large, rickety, old, red barn is dark inside but the tools of the blacksmith and his work station are strangely illuminated perfectly by the window light. Let the pounding begin. The black smith on duty will hammer and bend iron into just about anything the mind can imagine.

A few shops down, there's a building where brooms are made. A demonstration shows the strange old machines and techniques for making one of the most used tools of the 1800s. The tour guide may have a little known tale or two such as coaxing a spectator to jump over the broom stick on the floor followed by a bellowing "Now we're married." Details are explained on site.

Moving on, all aspects of life are explored including the doctor's office where an exam is given, another stop is made to make a bucket, and a little house with huge looms go into action weaving. One of the more fun, interactive moments comes in the old schoolhouse where kids of all ages get to experience something they know, a school. Don't misbehave or you'll experience something unknown in today's classrooms, a ruler on the knuckles!

Specialty Tours are scheduled through the end of the year: Towpath Tour is August 19, History of Roscoe Gardens is September 12, Roscoe Cemetery Tour is October 11, Christmas Open House at Dr. Johnson's House is November 27, and Roscoe Restoration Candlelighting is December 19, 2009.

Around lunchtime, and dinner too, the streets lure the hungry into the historic brick and stone eateries and fine dining houses. One of which is The Warehouse Steak n Stein. This architectural gem is smack in the middle of the village and, in the 1830s, was the Mill Store and main docking point for the village along the canal. Its lower level is P.R. Nyes Lock Twenty-Seven, which is accented by the canal's original stone walls.

Walking off a bite to eat is an easy thing to do in Roscoe Village. The charming shops are diverse and unique. Visitors often hit them all because it's so convenient to walk from one to the next marveling at the facade and gazing at the merchandise.

The wares made by the village blacksmith, broomsquire, weaver and woodworker are available at the Village Crafter's Shop, located in the Visitor Center.

The Roscoe General Store is a throwback to historic community general stores. It offers everything from antiques to collectible bears and pottery to unusual toys for kids. Its candy bouquet temps with lindts truffles, jelly beans, lollipops and gourmet chocolates.

The shopping list goes on. River Ridge Leather tans leather the old-fashioned way and hand stitches leather handbags, belts, harnesses and more. Visitors are invited to see a live demonstration of the old art and see the original tools of the trade dating back to the 1800s.

Over at Garden Gate, visitors find novel gardening gifts, herbs, flowers, fountains and other accessories. The House of G.A. Fisher is known for one-of-a-kind jewels and keepsakes, Lenox, clocks and watches. Liberty House has a fashionable collection of purses, scarves, wraps and whimsical styles of women's clothing. Wildwood Music is happy to hook you up with a handmade stringed instrument like a dulcimer, mandolin, banjo or guitar. And the Village Soap & Candle Shop has lotions, soaps and powders that are primitive and homespun.

Although walking around town may be like a living history museum outdoors and in, there is an actual museum to boot, The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. This nationally accredited museum has incredible collections in several galleries, including the American Indian Gallery, Historical Ohio Gallery, Decorative Arts Gallery, Oriental Gallery and a Special Exhibits Gallery that features a variety of collections throughout the year.

Roscoe Village is never more alive than during its special events. Annual favorites include the October 16 – 18 Apple Butter Stirrin' Festival and December 5th annual Christmas Candlelighting.

When the day winds down, Historic Roscoe Village offers several gardens beautifully landscaped to take a load off and melt into the scene on a park bench. Perhaps the favorite leisure-time activity is a 45-minute canal boat ride tugged by horses walking along the tow path along the canal banks.

Instead of packing the plentiful activities into one day, an overnight stay may be better. A variety of lodging options are nearby and include bed and breakfasts, inns, cabins, guest houses, motels, campgrounds and a lodge.

For more information to plan a trip to Historic Roscoe Village and learn about its operating schedule, fees and admissions, different tours, canal boat rides, lodging and special events, visit www.roscoevillage.com or call 1-800-877-1830.

11 June, 2009 , Dodge City, Ks. WILD,WILD WEST STILL ALIVE AND KICKIN'! Cowboys, cattle drives, and cowtowns are all part of the legend of the Old West in Kansas. The infamous cattle drives from Texas to Kansas ended at these cowtowns and established their reputations as the wickedest and wildest towns on the frontier. Although the cowtowns have quieted down somewhat, the romance of the Old West is still alive and can be experienced throughout Kansas.

In the open prairie of the Flint Hills, cowboys can still be seen working the cattle, much like their counterparts from the 1800s. The J.L. Canyon Ranch in Brookville and the Victorian Veranda Country Inn in Lawrence each offers city slickers the opportunity to participate in real cattle drives. Guests at ranch bed and breakfasts are given the opportunity to participate in daily ranching activities or to just spend time relaxing. The Circle S Ranch outside Lawrence is a luxurious country inn located in the middle of a 1,200-acre cattle ranch. Guests can watch the ranch hands work with the ranch's 400-head of cattle and 20-head of buffalo, or they can hike or bike on the many trails throughout the property.

Few towns capture the spirit of the American cowboy as Dodge City. Stroll the streets of the Boothill Museum, a re-creation of the original frontier town where fact and fiction go hand-in-hand. Not only does Boot Hill provide an insight into the genuine Old West, it also has fun with the fictional Old West as seen in the TV series Gunsmoke. Dodge City celebrates its history with Dodge City Days each summer. Or, visitors can settle in for an evening of entertainment at the Marchel Ranch and Wild West Show.

The larger-than-life cowboy legends of the Old West were born on the frontier plains and in the cattle towns of Kansas. Wichita grew from a cattletown to the largest city in the state. A visit to the Old Cowtown Museum, a 17-acre living history village with costumed characters recreating 1870s Old West life, or the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper for all you can eat BBQ and cowboy entertainment will have you humming Home on the Range all the way home. A visit to the Hopalong Cassidy Cowboy Museum will show you cowboy memorabilia Hollywood-style.

There are other original cowtowns in Kansas with museums dedicated to their role in the cattle drives. Historic Abilene showcases the history of the Chisholm Trail at the Dickinson County Heritage Center. Museums with exhibits relating to the Chisholm Trail can also be found in Wellington and Caldwell.

The Wild West wouldn't be wild without the outlaws. The Dalton Brothers gang stands out as perhaps the most infamous in Kansas history. In October 1892, they attempted to rob two banks at the same time. Visitors can learn more of the Dalton story at the Dalton Defenders Museum in Coffeyville. Nearly 300 miles to the west in Meade, the home of the Dalton brother' sister, Eva Dalton Whipple, is restored to its original 1887 appearance. The tour of this hideout home also includes the gang's underground escape tunnel leading from the house to the barn.

For many Kansans, the Old West remains part of modern day life. Professional,regional, high school, 4-H, and ranch rodeos demonstrate the skills of rodeo cowboys and real working cowboys. The Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City is the oldest continuously held rodeo in Kansas.

Craftsmen in Kansas produce western goods that are known around the world for their quality and authenticity. A few of the outlets for cowboy accoutrements are found at the Rusty Nail Boot & Saddle in Dodge City, where custom chaps, saddles, tack, and hats are made on the premises. Drovers Mercantile in Ellsworth offers 1870s style clothing, boots, and gifts. Wichita is headquarters for Shepler's Western Wear, the largest chain of western clothing in the world. Although the cowtowns and cattle drives were relatively short-lived, the excitement of the era lives on through the numerous events and activities held around the state.

Visit the Kansas Travel & Tourism Division web site at www.travelKS.com for information about attractions and events celebrating the Old West.

5 June, 2009 , Cartersville, Ga. DIXIE HIGHWAY 90-MILE YARD SALE Chenille bedspreads, pecan logs, fruit stands, and sweet ice tea fueled many local economies along the Dixie Highway from 1929 mid 1970's. Now during the first weekend each June, the Dixie Highway route will once again attract thousands of visitors as it gears up to sell nostalgic souvenirs, antiques and much more during the Dixie Highway 90-mile Yard Sale.

Northwest Georgia's Dixie Highway Yard Sale follows much of the original 90-mile stretch from Ringgold to Marietta, known as The Battlefield Route. The yard sale celebrates the revitalization of the Dixie Highway and attracts visitors to simpler times, giving communities along the route an opportunity to promote their individuality and hidden gems. There are thirteen Dixie Highway communities featured: Ringgold, Tunnel Hill, Rocky Face, Dalton, Resaca, Calhoun, Adairsville, Cassville, Cartersville, Emerson, Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta.

Find out more about the yard sale and the Dixie Highway at: http://www.dixiehighway.org/index.html


After a six-month winter, the arrival of spring can make people do strange things.

How else to explain the literary impulse that comes over residents of this tiny Lake Michigan coastal village every year when they see the first brave spears of spring asparagus pushing up from the sandy earth?

Each May, residents of Empire dress up in asparagus costumes and parade down their short three-block downtown. They hold huge asparagus cook-offs featuring everything from soups and souffles to casseroles and crepes. They sing, dance, compete in athletic events, and consume respectable quantities of beer and wine. But the spotlight event of the two-day Empire Asparagus Festival is the annual "Ode to Asparagus" competition, where local bards outdo each other in paying homage to this beloved vegetable.

Consider, for example, the eloquence of Tom Ulrich, assistant superintendent of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, who won the contest a year or two back:

I stand over the bed and imagine you arising Green and slender, uncurling towards me, Stretching with the pleasant ache of carbon, newly fixed.

It's been nearly a year since I've seen your face And a long winter since I've tasted anything that astonished me
The way you always seem to, no matter how you're dressed.

The iron clouds skid by, hiding the sun in their pockets.
In this cold, flat light my fingers are pallid and numb,
Trembling until your emergence proves everything anew.

I blow into my cupped hands,
And wait for you.

Was ever a side dish so sweetly serenaded?

After California and Washington, Michigan is the nation's third-largest producer of commercial asparagus, a crop worth some $29 million a year to the state. But Empire doesn't really have what you'd call an asparagus industry -- just one local farmer named Harry Norconk, who has a 240-acre operation about two miles south of town. Named for an ill-fated schooner that briefly served as the village school after running aground on the beach in 1865, Empire is best known as an artsy summer resort in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Still, asparagus is an opportunistic vegetable, and every May its perky green spears start showing up in fields, ditches, meadows and hillsides all over this part of the region. That's all it took for the citizens of Empire -- all four hundred of them -- to devise a celebration. (They already have a festival honoring a big anchor that was recovered from the bottom of the lake in 1977.)

"It's mainly just an excuse to get out and enjoy ourselves," says festival organizer Paul Skinner, a British expat who owns an antique store in the town. "We don't really need a big reason to have music or eat."

But the festivities do have their earnest save-the-world side, too. Like many other communities in the fruit-growing region around Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay, Empire is a hotbed of advocacy for small-scale local agriculture and regional cuisine. Other towns in the area celebrate cherries, wines and wild mushrooms; Empire opted for the humble asparagus.

This year's festival, the sixth, will be held May 15-16. In addition to the asparagus poetry contest, it will include such events as a 5K "Kick Ass-paragus" Fun Run/Walk, an asparagus recipe contest and cook-off, a tour of local art galleries and studios, the making of asparagus-garnished parade hats, the annual Asparagus Parade, an afternoon concert and dance, and a massive asparagus-based food, wine and beer tasting that will include such treats as asparagus focaccia, asparagus pizza, asparagus croissants, asparagus scones, asparagus bratwurst, asparagus slaw, asparagus & morel risotto, and asparagus beer. (Yes, it's true - asparagus beer from the too-creative-for-their-own-good brewers at Traverse City's Right Brain Brewery.

For more information on the Empire Asparagus Festival contact the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau at http://www.VisitTraverseCity.com or call them at 1-800-872-8377.

28 March, 2009 , Detroit AMERICAN ROAD MAGAZINE SPONSORS "PAVING THE WAY" American Road Magazine and Depth of Field Productions is proud to present director Brandon Wade's PAVING THE WAY: The National Park-to-Park Highway, set to air on public television once released May 1st, 2009. The two-part historical documentary notes the convergence of post-WWI America, the rise of automobile tourism, and the National Parks with a classic story of the Great American Road Trip in a time when the roads were barely paved.

Director Brandon Wade, in conjunction with co-producers Jennifer Wade, Jessica Potter, Eric Bean, and writer Kendra Willey, delivers a visually rich journey through eleven states, twelve National Parks, and five thousand miles as it follows the 1920 inaugural tour of the National Park-to-Park Highway.

PAVING THE WAY includes the talented voice of Bill Painter as its narrator, as well as dozens of interviews of experts on the National Parks and the post-WWI Good Roads Movements. Among these are historians Alfred Runte and William Tweed. Drawing its inspiration from The Playground Trail: The National Park-to-Park Highway, a book by Lee and Jane Whiteley, PAVING THE WAY adds its own perspective on this unique historic event and what it meant to the shaping of American culture.

Lee and Jane Whiteley have worked with American Road Magazine for the past five years. American Road Magazine Executive Editor, Thomas Repp, says, "This documentary, like American Road Magazine, is perfect for the historic travelers, nostalgia buffs, and anyone who believes America is worth exploring."

To learn more and see an exclusive clip visit: http://americanroadmagazine.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=365

15 March, 2009 , "THE WAY OUT WEST" By Michelle Van Parys with essays by Lucy R. Lippard and Geoffrey Batchen Published by the Center for American Places Publication Date: March 30, 2009 Price: $32.50 104 pages 60 halftones ISBN: 978-1-930066-55-7

Legend and myth hover over the breathtaking landscape of the American West, and the region has inspired adventure-seekers and artists alike for centuries. Yet the modern sprawl of suburbia and office parks conflicts with our nostalgic imaginings of "cowboys and Indians." With "The Way Out West" coffee-table book, Michelle Van Parys combines images that reflect on the contradictory and tumultuous landscape of the New West.

Traveling from California, Nevada, and Utah through to Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, Van Parys trains her camera's penetrating gaze on the hard-edged natural beauty of the West—and its constantly changing contemporary identity. Whether documenting the glitter of the ever-expanding metropolises of Phoenix and Las Vegas or the quiet reserve of Monument Valley, Van Parys's images, she explains, seek to "juxtapose nineteenth-century notions of the sublime landscape with the natural world."

5 March, 2009 , St. Joseph, Mo. AMERICAN ROAD JOURNALIST TAKES OATH Sworn to Tell the Truth about Jesse James In an unprecedented proceeding, at 8:25 AM on March 4th, in the 6th Division Court at the Buchanan County Courthouse, a feature writer for American Road Magazine, has sworn under oath to tell the truth about the outlaw Jesse James.

The oath was administered by Court Clerk Lori Schaeffer, presided over by the Honorable Judge Ronald E. Taylor, and witnessed by Marshal Howard Judd.

The clerk solemnly asked, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth regarding the life, times, and treacherous death of Jesse James, so help you God?" With his left hand on the Bible and his right hand raised, author Johnnie V resolutely replied, "I do."

At the invitation of the St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau, Johnnie V is visiting St. Joseph researching a feature article on the Jesse James Driving Tour, created by the St. Joseph CVB, which is scheduled for publication in the summer issue of American Road Magazine.

"We are so thrilled Johnnie V is here in St. Joseph and we look forward to his truthful interpretation of the Jesse James Driving Tour," said Beth Conway, Communications Director of the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The journalist's unlikely oath was precipitated by a visit with Gary Chilcote, Museum Director at the Patee Museum. In an interview with the Mr. V, Mr. Chilcote advised Mr. V that between 60% and 80% of everything that has ever been written about Jesse James was "...either 'BS' or fakelore." Mr. Chilcote's unvarnished comment alluded to liberties with the facts taken by authors motivated by the desire to shamelessly sell books, stories, magazines, videos, and other forms of media.

Mr. V, responding to a gauntlet thrown down before him, elected to demonstrably raise the standard of journalism associated with Jesse James by submitting himself to a court administered oath. After the proceeding, Mr. V stated that, "I am proud to be the first and only American journalist to take a sworn oath to tell the truth about Jesse James. It is especially meaningful that I took the oath in front of the maybe/possibly/could-have-been/purported-to-be/legendary/as-reported/said-to-have-been bench where the cowardly Ford brothers were indicted and convicted for the murder of Jesse James."

A skeptical bystander commented that if Mr. V confines his writing to the undisputed truth associated with Jesse James, and the celebrated landmarks along the Jesse James Driving Tour, that his expansive feature travel article might be whittled down to less than 35 words.

Mr. V, when asked about this possibility of a severely truncated feature article, replied with the wisdom of a seasoned professional journalist. "You know, it all depends on how you define truth, doesn't it?

22 February, 2009 , Indianapolis, Ind. INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: 100 YEARS OF RACING, by Ralph Kramer "In Indianapolis . . . racing is a religion. The Speedway is our temple. That is the best way I can explain my worship for Indianapolis." --Racing legend mario Andretti, in his foreword to Indianapolis Motor Speedway: 100 Years of Racing.

It started in a cornfield and one man's dream. Fast forward 100 years and what was once pastureland is now home to the world's most celebrated racetrack--the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Officially licensed in cooperation with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, "Indianapolis Motor Speedway: 100 Years of Racing" (Krause Publications) chronicles the moments, big and small, that mark the Speedway's first century as the most renowned racing venue in the world. This coffee-table book showcases more than 500 memorable images of early cars and their drivers, track officials in knickers and derby hats, turn-of-the-century spectators dressed in their Sunday best, istroical contracts, advertisements, and many other never-before-published photos culled from the Speedway's archives.

The book shared the people who have made the Speedway an institution, from Carl Fisher (of Lincoln Highway fame) to Eddie Rickenbacker, Wilbur, Shaw, and the Hulman/George family, who continue to uphold the Speedway's hallmark of world-class championships and world-class events. And of course, the legendary drivers who have become household names: AJ Foyt, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, and so many others.

From the early days of balloon races and motorcycle face-offs, to the most iconic motorsports race in the world--the Indianapolis 500--as well as NASCAR showdowns, US Grand Prix Formula One, and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP this book captures all the intriguing series of events that transformed the dirt and gravel track of 1909 to the "Brickyard" of today.

This book will be available from major bookstores, online retailers, and Krause Publications. http://www.krausebooks.com

ISBN 978-089689-835-6
256 Pages
10" x 10"
500 photographs
Available in March

19 February, 2009 , Salem, Oreg. TREES & MARKERS & HISTORY. . . OH MY! Just in time for Oregon's 150th birthday Oregon has unveiled a new way to appreciate their heritage with a special twist. The Oregon Travel Information Council has launched a new tool--an new interactive map showcasing all state owned historical markers and heritage trees throughout Oregon.

When you scroll over a tree or marker icon, you will learn about these beautiful trees and interesting markers, so that you may plan a fun filled and informative trip to view these unique signs of Oregon in person. You will also be able to search for nearby lodging, dining and other area attractions located close to these sites.

Eastern Oregon Visitors Association Executive Director, Alice Trindle, states, "Through this interactive model, we can reach a greater audience, nearly give a virtual tour, that will ultimately encourage visitors to rediscover the Oregon Trail."

Ready, set, click!

12 February, 2009 , Klamath Falls, OR WINTERWINGS FESTIVAL 2009, By Allison Scul Learn more about birds and their habitats at the Winter Wings Festival February, 13th-15th, at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Formerly called the Bald Eagle Conference, the Winter Wings Festival is celebrating its thirty year anniversary. This year, you, your friends, and family can do more than just imagine what it is like to view the spectacle of hundreds of eagles in residence, not to mention thousands of ducks, geese, and swans of the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge.

Located in both south central Oregon and northern California, the Klamath Basin National Wildlife is a key player on the Pacific Flyway, one of four major migratory routes in North America. According to US Fish and Wildlife Park Ranger, David Champine, "The Pacific Flyway is a general corridor or trail that birds take on a as a North-South migration route. The Winter Wings Festival marks the beginning of spring migration where birds fly from the South. Depending on the species, birds can come from as far as South America."

A total of six separate nearby refuges comprise the total National Wildlife Refuge complex spanning nearly 200,000 acres. A unique, strong cooperative partnership between farming, water resources, and the refuges provides an abundance of food and water that attracts vast numbers of waterfowl and raptors.

For this year's festival, renowned bird expert, author, and Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory will be the featured keynote speaker, trip leader, and workshop leader. Pete Dunne is Vice President for Natural History Information for the New Jersey Audubon Society and Director of the New Jersey Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory. A life-long resident of New Jersey, Mr. Dunne, dubbed the "Bard of Birding", has written or co-authored over a dozen books on bird-watching and is one of the leading birders in the nation.

The Festival will also feature expert, local, and nationally recognized leaders and speakers in workshops, field trips, mini-session, and special events. Nature photographers can also take advantage of many photographic opportunities as well as three special photography events sponsored by Canon. Samuels explains, "In 2008 we partnered with Canon USA for the first time on a photography workshop and photo safari that attracted 75 participants. In 2009 Canon is repeating that event and expanding their participation by bringing a professional photographer, Adam Jones, from Kentucky, to do another session and celebrity photo shoot."

Enthused about this year's event, Samuels comments, "this event should appeal to anyone with an interest in nature or birds. If you are a beginning birder, we offer some great introductory sessions to get you started. If you are life-long birding enthusiast, you'll be able to learn more from our knowledgeable leaders and presenters. We also want to encourage families to attend. We offer one and a half days of free activities geared to children, including live birds, simulation activities, and crafts." She adds, "Winter is a great time to come birding in the Klamath Basin. We expect about 400-900 Bald Eagles to be in the area and tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl. About 80% of the birds on the Pacific Flyway pass through this area. Visitors may not be aware that we provide transportation on all of the major field trips to the refuges."

On a final note, US Fish and Wildlife Park Ranger, Michele Nuss recommends you bring, warm clothing, binoculars, and a bird identification book. To register, see http://www.winterwingfest.org. The Oregon Institute of Technology is located at 3201 Campus Drive, Klamath Falls, Oregon.

6 February, 2009 , NORWALK, OHIO RUNNER READY FOR HISTORIC JOURNEY ON THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY Eric Ebinger of Norwalk, Ohio, long distance runner and Lincoln enthusiast, plans to begin an historic journey on the 200th anniversary of President Lincoln's birth on February 12. He will cross the length of the Lincoln Highway in Ohio, all 241 miles, in five days.

"This is an adventure worthy of honoring the nation's greatest president," Ebinger said recently. "The run will test the mental, physical, and emotional skill of any human being. I am very excited to get started."

Ebinger will begin running The Lincoln Highway at the Indiana state line near Van Wert, and continue on the historic road using the route completed in 1928. His wife Misty, who grew up in Orrville, Ohio will serve as the coordinator. "It looks like the weather is going to be cold but not extreme," Ebinger said, "ending a whole year of worrying over something we couldn't really control."

Ebinger will travel sixty miles each of the first two days, completing half the run in two of the five days. "From Van Wert to Mansfield is nice and flat," Ebinger said, "which should make for comfortable running. And it allows three days for the second half, which is filled with hills."

Ebinger has received numerous emails through his website, http://www.thelincolnrun.com, from runners across the state who plan on joining him for different parts of the run. "My wife and I are looking forward to meeting the people along this wonderful scenic highway, and perhaps drawing attention to a man whose wisdom and grace guided our nation through its most turbulent period."

5 January, 2009 , Lansing, Mich. MICHIGAN'S ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS The Michigan Historical Museum invites you to relive your special Michigan travel memories - and learn about some unique tourist spots along Michigan's back roads - with a visit to its latest special exhibit, Michigan's Roadside Attractions, opening Saturday, Jan. 10.

Michigan's Roadside Attractions, set to run through Sept. 14, 2009, features more than 50 roadside attractions that grew up as Michigan expanded its highway system from the 1930s through the 1970s. Many of these attractions still provide fun and excitement for millions of tourists each year.

"Deer parks and dinosaur gardens are just a couple travel experiences that take center stage again in this exhibit. Places like Castle Rock in St. Ignace, the Soo Locks Boat Tours and the multiple locations where Paul Bunyan has been spotted are also featured through photos, artifacts and souvenirs," said Phillip C. Kwiatkowski, director of the Michigan Historical Museum System. "Michigan's Roadside Attractions is about treasured mementoes, from miniature Paul Bunyan statues and plastic purses to dinosaurs, seashells and even ceramic doll dish sets."

Kwiatkowski said that business owners who have operated roadside attractions and small tourism businesses have supported the effort to develop the exhibit by sharing their heritage.

Michigan's Roadside Attractions is sponsored by American Road magazine, in cooperation with the Friends of Michigan History and Booth Michigan newspapers.

The Michigan Historical Museum is located inside the Michigan Library and Historical Center at 702 West Kalamazoo St., two blocks west of the State Capitol in downtown Lansing. The main entrance and visitor parking are located off of Kalamazoo Street, just east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Admission and weekend parking are free.

The Michigan Historical Museum, the flagship of the Michigan Historical Museum System, is fully accredited by the American Association of Museums. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/museum or call (517) 373-3559, TDD (517) 373-1592.