Unique Places in United States of America

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in United States of America

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    1830 - Point Lookout, Lighthouse, Prison & St. Pk

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Point Lookout is a lighthouse on top of a regular house. It is on the northern (Maryland) shore of the Potomac River. Just like Smith Point in Virginia, the waters are often rough around Point Lookout. The first time we came around this point, windsurfers were having a marvelous time in the boistrous weather.

    The 2nd picture was taken on the 4th of July 2000 when we took our grandson, SIL and daughter out for a picnic and anchored for lunch. Since then (in 2002), the lighthouse has been painted. The main picture was taken in July 2005. It is in the process of being listed in the National Historic Register. The lighthouse is said to be haunted.

    The Point Lookout lighthouse is in or near Point Lookout State Park, which is the site of a notorious Civil War Prison where many southerners were held after capture. There is also a lake, with a channel from the river, and beaches and various other recreational activities available. The most visible items from the water are the various antennae and other structures.

    The lighthouse, which was built in 1830 was sold to the Navy in 1965 and the interior of the lighthouse was dismantled. The lighthouse is not a part of the State Park, and normally is off limits. It can only be toured when all the lighthouses on the Bay are open to the public on a lighthouse tour.

    The sign on the fence says:

    Point Lookout
    Tracking Station
    Chesapeake Test Range
    Naval Air Test Center
    Patuxent River, Maryland
    Call 863-1188


    In 2004, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer got the funds relocate the Theodolite Tracking System from Point Lookout to a safer, more secure location so that the lighthouse can become part of the State Park and eventually be opened again to the public.

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    • Sailing and Boating

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    The 3rd Bodie Island Light- built in 1872

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Bodie (pronounced Body) Island is a part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The 150 ft light 4 miles N of Oregon Inlet, has two black and three white horizontal bands. It is an active lighthouse which is equipped with the original first-order Fresnel lens (Lens is a separate property from the tower). The 160,000 candlepower beacon flashes 19 miles over the ocean in the on for 2.5 seconds and then off for 2.5 seconds.

    Originally built on Pea Island in 1847, and rebuilt with improvements in 1859, the 80 foot tower was blown up in 1862 by Confederate troops to prevent its use by the Union forces.

    On October 1, 1872, the present tower was put into operation and is the third lighthouse built here. According to a lightkeeper on duty at the time, shortly after this light was activated, a flock of wild geese flew into the lantern, causing severe damage to the lens. It was quickly repaired, and a wire screen was placed around the light to prevent further mishap. It was also necessary to put a lightening rod on the tower.

    The light was electrified in 1932. Finally, all of the light station’s property except the tower itself were transferred to the National Park Service in 1953. Still a functioning U.S. Coast Guard navigational aid, the tower is closed to the public.

    Since this lighthouse isn't open to be climbed, so I don't have to feel guilty about not climbing it. It is all surrounded with that orange plastic web fencing at ground level - apparently because pieces sometimes fall off of it.

    The lighthouse keeper cottage is now a museum, and there are accessible restrooms, a visitor center, walking paths, and a bookstore. The lighthouse raters give this lighthouse a platinum rating as among the best lighthouses to visit.

    Open All Year 9am - 6pm in summer, 9am - 5 pm rest of year
    5/31/04 - 9/6/04 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
    9/7/04 - 5/29/05 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Directions: 8 miles S of the US 158 and US 64 intersection, W of NC 12. The entrance on the right will sneak up on you quickly, so be on the lookout for it.

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    1856 Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse-2nd Bay Screwpile

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse is a beautiful red screw pile lighthouse which was at the end of Bodkin Creek, near the Patapsco River. It was the second one built on the Chesapeake. Screw pile lighthouses are suspended above the water by a system of cast-iron pilings with cork-screw-like bases which are screwed into the soft mud of the sea floor.

    Seven Foot Knoll was constructed with nine cast-iron screw piles supporting a gallery deck some nine feet above mean high water. It is the oldest surviving one in Maryland and was moved to the inner harbor of Baltimore in 1989. The house is unusual in that in addition to being red, it is round.

    My husband's (and now my BIL's) home was on Bodkin Creek and they remember this lighthouse when it was active when the waves from wakes and wind would sometimes be 7 to 15 feet or more tall. The shoal is still there, but it is now marked only by a simple post .

    The Seven Foot Knoll light is included in the Maritime Museum which also includes the TORSK and CONSTELLATION. Tickets are on sale near the Constellation. The Lighthouse Society does not rank this lighthouse in the top 50 lighthouses for visits.

    Children under 5 years - Free
    Children 6-14 years - $3.00
    Adults - $6.00
    Seniors - $5.00

    Winter Hours
    Friday - Sunday: 10:30am - 5:00pm

    Spring hours start in March

    Sunday - Thursday: 10:00am - 5:30pm
    Friday - Saturday: 10:00am - 6:30pm
    Ticket Booth closes 1/2 hour earlier than ships

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    • Sailing and Boating
    • Museum Visits

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    Cove Point 1828 - Still an Active Lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Cove Point is still an active lighthouse in Lusby near Calvert Cliffs at the narrowest part of the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to Calvert Cliffs, where there is a state park and fossiling possibilities, you can see a nuclear power plant from the bay at this point and the LNG platform to the north (on the right of the photograph). The two insets are different views of the lighthouse as we sailed past in one of my first attempts at digital photography.

    The Cove Point, MD Lighthouse was built in 1828 and still retains the original caisson with octagonal brick dwelling / light tower. It is 51 feet tall and was build by John Donohoo, the same person who built the Concord Point light (which is an earlier light, which I have not yet seen). It cost less to build than Congress budgeted for it.

    Originally 11 lamps were used, each with a 18" reflector. These were replaced in 1855 with a fifth order Fresnel lens, then again in 1899 with a fourth order lens. While the light is now electrified, the old winding mechanism and counterweights are still in working order. Like other land based lights on the Bay, the keepers dwelling began as a simple single story home and was later enlarged (1883) by the addition of a second story. Several fog bell towers have also graced the site over the years.

    The lighthouse was deeded to the Calvert Maritime Museum in 2000 and there are shuttle buses twice a day on weekends and Holidays, May and September, and daily June, July and August. The lighthouse is closed October through May.

    Admission is free with payment of admission to the Museum (normal adult admission is $7.00) . Cove Pt. Access is only available by shuttle bus from the Museum in Solomons. You can NOT drive directly to the lighthouse.

    WARNING: If there are not enough volunteers working at the museum, the the shuttle bus does not run, regardless of the schedule. I still have not visited this lighthouse by land.

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    • Architecture

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    Drum Point - 1883 Screwpile Lighthouse in a Museum

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Drum Point offers the opportunity to actually climb through the lighthouse's lower hatch to enter the lighthouse, as the light keepers did a century ago. This really brings a unique perspective that you will not get any other screwpile lighthouse.

    Each room in the lighthouse has been painstakingly re-created under the direction of Anna Weems Walt who was born and resided in the lighthouse. The furniture was based on her memory and she even donated some family china to top off her efforts. These factors give the lighthouse a gold rating.

    Drum Point Light was originally out in the Bay at Drum Point. It is a screwpile, cottage-type light. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were forty-five of these screwpile lighthouses that served the Chesapeake Bay because they were less expensive to build than other types of lighthouses.

    The only one that remains in service is Thomas Point. Three (Drum Point, Hooper Straits and Seven Foot Knoll) are part of land museum exhibits.
    See the Solomons narrative for additional photos

    Directions:
    Calvert Marine Museum is located on State Route 2 in Solomons, Calvert County, Southern Maryland, twenty miles south of Prince Frederick

    HOURS & FEES:

    The Drum Point Lighthouse is open year round, weather permitting, except for when the museum is closed on certain holidays. Your admission fee for the museum also allows you to tour the lighthouse. Check out the Calendar of Events to see when you can meet the light keeper. The lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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    Kansas: Geographic Center of the U.S.A.

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This remote rural crossroads in Smith County, Kansas, not far from the Nebraska state line, is both in the middle of nowhere and in the center of it all. This is the "Geographic Center of the Conterminious United States." It is the point where a plane map of the 48 contiguous states would balance if it were of uniform thickness. The spot, determined by an 1898 geographical survey, is about two miles north and west of the tiny town of Lebanon, Kansas, population 303.

    The exact center point is on a grassy knoll and marked by a 10-foot-high stone monument over which an American and a Kansas flag fly. Nearby is Center Chapel, a tiny little church which might seat six very friendly people. There is an open Bible on the podium and a guest register beside the door. When I visited the place the only life I saw was a herd of white faced cattle in an adjacent pasture.

    To reach the center of the contiguous United States take Hwy. 281 north of Lebanon about one mile, and turn west on a country road at a barely discernable homemade sign. Follow this road one more mile to the Center. It's always open and there's no one there to take your money.

    The geographic center is:
    1424 miles from New York City
    1450 miles from Los Angeles
    1700 miles from Seattle
    1753 miles from Miami

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    Wisconsin: Timm's Hill County Park

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The geographical high points of many of the various states lie within State and National Parks; Wisconsin is the only state high point in a County Park. The 220 acre Timm's Hill County Park is on the site of an old logging camp, however the last time trees were harvested here was in 1944 and the woods have recovered nicely. Today things are very peaceful and quiet here in the far North Woods of Wisconsin.

    A winding gravel road leads through the park. but the summit, 1,951feet above sea level, is attained only by walking. An easy wood-chip trail takes you to an 88-foot wooden observation tower at the high point. From the top of the tower you can see in all directions, 30 miles or more of rolling hills forested with northern hardwoods and 6 lakes tucked between them. Woolly Mammouths once roamed these hills, and today there is still an abundance of wildlife with minimal human intrusion. While standing here and drinking in the view, contemplate that you are very near the 45th parallel - half way between the equator and the north pole.

    This is a great place for hiking and cross-country skiing. Hiking trails within the park connect with the 1,000-mile Ice Age Trail, a State and National Scenic Trail which goes all around the state of Wisconsin. Winters are cold and snowy here; summers are pleasant. When I was at Timms Hill on an early-October morning the air was crisp and clean and the autumn foilage was spectacular.

    Directions:
    Timm's Hill County Park is In Price County, about 23 miles west of the tiny town of Tomahawk, and 5 miles east of the even smaller town of Ogema, just off WI-86.

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    Adventure/tailor-made tours

    by sheherezad Updated Feb 19, 2011

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    For the active/adventrous take a look at : http://www.trekamerica.com/ for younger people or http://www.trekamerica.com/grandamericanadventures.html which caters for all age groups!

    Check also: http://www.trailfinders.com/usa for organised or tailor made tours/flights!

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    Hunting Island Lighthouse 1875

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 2, 2011

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    When we were staying at Hilton Head, we took a day trip to Beaufort, and on the way back, we looped by Hunting Island to take photos of this lighthouse. The lighthouse is in a state park. This is the only lighthouse in the state of South Carolina that is open to the public. From the top platform, for those who are adventurous enough to climb the 167 step spiral staircase, one truly can get a birds eye view of the Atlantic Ocean, the park and surrounding marshes from about 132 feet above the ground.

    The park collects a $2.00 fee to climb the 167 steps in the lighthouse. I was not about to climb it even though the view has been reported as "definitely worth it." Admission is from 10:00 am - 4:45 pm daily March - October, and until 3:45 pm November - February. During inclement weather, it may be closed.

    The light replaced a previous light built in 1859 that was destroyed by the Confederates during the Civil War to keep the Union from using it for navigation between Charleston and Savannah. Interestingly, this light was constructed using cast iron plates and designed to be dismantled in case it ever needed to be relocated. And in 1887 it DID need to be moved due to beach erosion (photo 2). It was dismantled and reassembled 1.3 miles from the old site and relit on October 3, 1889.

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    Try your hand at disc golf

    by richiecdisc Updated Jun 20, 2010

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    Disc Golf is a sport played much life ball golf. Instead of holes, there are chained baskets. Trees and water hazards work the same way. Instead of a ball and club, you throw flying discs which are smaller, heavier and more beveled than "regular Frisbees" so you can throw then a lot further. I was very into the sport in 1994 and visited over 100 courses around the US which vary as much as the terrain of the USA does. The best part? It's free.

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    Myrtle Beach, SC

    by richiecdisc Written Jun 20, 2010

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    Myrtle Beach is snidely referred to as the redneck Riviera due to its geographic location in the southern US and the preponderance of condominium buildings that dot its admitted beautiful sandy coastline. Though a tad overbuilt it presents itself well as a most welcoming family resort with every amenity a vacationer could need. But in the end it is not the leisure facilities that are most impressive but the natural beauty of the area itself. White sandy beaches and a clean warm ocean are the hallmarks of Myrtle Beach. More surprising is a fair amount of forest this close to the coast which makes man made attractions pale in comparison.

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    Charleston, SC

    by richiecdisc Written Jun 20, 2010

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    Though lacking the genteel grace of Savannah and small town down home feel of Beaufort, Charleston conjures images of southern charm ala “Gone with the Wind” like no other. It satisfies all comers with a spic and span version that verges on Disney World and yet somehow escapes being too slick a production to be taken for what it really is, a spotlessly clean, upscale historic resort with a wealth of beautifully well preserved buildings, fine eateries, and varied nightlife. Despite its popularity, it’s a quiet getaway with ample parking and manageable traffic. With scenic timeless plantations and beaches nearby, it’s a well-rounded holiday destination for all those who mosey on in.

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    Beaufort, SC

    by richiecdisc Written Jun 20, 2010

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    Beaufort, SC lies midway between Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC. It makes a nice stopover between the two better-noted cities for its timeless and peaceful air. Aside from a rich history of settlement and occupation by the Spanish, French, English, Scots, Yemassee Indians, and Swiss, Beaufort is best known for the many films that were filmed there such as Forrest Gump, The Big Chill and The Great Santini. Once you wander the shady streets of the historical district it will be obvious why. With Spanish moss dangling from massive oaks and stately mansions on every corner, it is a perfect setting for southern life as we have read about in countless novels. But the true reason it is picked over cities like Savannah and Charleston is the lack of tourists and it seems even residents as you have the streets all to yourself. That’s an even better reason to go there. Pictured is "Tidalholm," built by Edgar Fripp in 1853, and later where both The Big Chill and The Great Santini were filmed.

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    Paradise, PA

    by richiecdisc Written Jun 20, 2010

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    The land of the Amish may only be an hour's drive from Philadelphia but it is a world away in terms of lifestyle. This rural section of Pennsylvania is a gently pretty one full of covered bridges, old wooden barns, and empty roads that wind through one farm after another. If one times their visit to mid-week, you will be surprised at just how relaxed a place it is to visit, especially with its close proximity to the big city. But it is not just the scenery that changes when you head out this way, it is the people too. It is an older style of life, one without electricity or motorized vehicles as practiced by a deeply religious group of people that settled here from Europe in the early 1700s, taking advantage of William Penn's religious tolerance doctrine. It is an interesting area to explore with local foods and crafts adding to the pretty sights. It is well worth renting a car if in Philadelphia for more than a few days, and enjoying this wholesome slice of Americana.

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    Ashville, NC

    by richiecdisc Updated Jun 20, 2010

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    Ashville is often erroneously seen as a mere gateway for the venerable Biltmore Estate and sadly missed by many who venture to that esteemed site on tight schedules. What they miss is one of the South’s more interesting historical cities, one kept in a near time warp due to a combination of being hit particularly hard by the Great Depression and a stubborn adherence to the idea of paying off debt, however long it might take. For this rare loyalty, the city has been rewarded with one of the nation’s greatest collections of Art Deco architecture. Add to this, an incredible mountain setting, an artsy population, eclectic cuisine, and an unusually varied amount of entertainment and you can easily see why it has become such a popular place to relocate. That it draws a different breed is well heralded in Rolling Stone’s hailing the fair city the “new freak capital of the US.” However you look at it, Asheville is not a mere entry point but a veritable attraction in its own right.

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