Even though I've only been in Ohio a couple of times, when I was there, I commented about the incredibly rich famland and the industrial cities which have given the rest of us an array of manufacted goods. Both farms and industry represent the United States; thus, I categorize Ohio as symbolic of America.
The name Ohio comes from the Iroquis word "O-hy-o" which means "something great". In the beginning of our young nation, Ohio was the gateway to the West. Its central location as well as its many waterways made it an important state.
Even though Ohio began as a farming colony, because of its many waterways, cities grew as industry and shipping flourished. But, in time, Ohio's land and water suffered terribly.
I've read that by 1948, the Ohio River was so dirty that people were not allowed to swim in it, and that Lake Erie was filthy by the 1960s that it was proclaimed "dead" Much of that has changed, but the fight against pollution continues.
Every four years, Ohio ends up in the political spotlight because there's an old adage that says, "As Ohio goes, so goes the nation." It's called a "barometer state" ( a place to find out how Americans feel about political and social issues.)
I recently discovered that in 1803 Ohio became the 1st "all-American state," because it was settled by people from every state that already existed!
I've always wanted to visit Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. I've seen Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (married to a lover of football) It commemorates football's heroes and legends.
But where I really want to visit is Cincinnati for its famed Zoo, Art Museum, Natural History Museum, Sharon Woods Village, Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Fire Museum, and a historic sternwheeler.
What I've seen of Ohio is positive; I just want to see more!
Even though I was born, bred, & have always lived in Illinois, I have many connections to Indiana. Growing up in the eastern portion of Southern Illinois (close to the Wabash River), my family always shopped in bigger cities: Terre Haute & Vincennes, Indiana.
My husband Allan is an Indiana boy from "the Harbor"--East Chicago, Indiana. Finally, my daughter Jill went to school for 2 years at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. So, I have a "soft spot" in my heart for the Hoosier State of Indiana.
Indiana is called the "Crossroads of America" because of its location in the middle of the the nation & because Indiana has more miles of interstate highway per square mile than any other state. Because 5 interstate routes converge within its borders, two thirds of the U.S. population is within a day's drive! But, today, Indiana is not just a crossroads; it's a destination all its own!
Being a midwestern state & being located in the middle of the country, Indiana has a "down-home rural atmosphere". The people seem to value the simple things of life & are people who seem to cherish the past. As a visitor, you'll be able to see places in Indiana where the past is certainly preserved.
For instance, New Harmony is a delightful old-time village; Madison is a lovely 19th century settlement that's beautifully preserved; Conner Prairie Settlement in Noblesville is a re-created pioneer village; but Zionsville is an authentic "well preserved carry-over of a nineteenth-century settlement."
I'm always amazed at how some of Indiana's old towns have maintained their "American Heartland" ambience--the past somehow lingers--thank goodness for that!
My best friend lives in the state of Michigan, and it's obvious to me that such a neat lady deserves to be in this gorgeous state.
Even though most people think of automobiles when thinking of Michigan, I think of outdoor attractions. With its 3,000+ miles of shoreline & sandy beaches, it's a popular place in the summer. Besides Lake Michigan, Huron, & Superior, there are more than 10,000 smaller lakes & numerous rivers & trout streams, an outdoor wonderland!
The Upper Peninsula is linked to the Lower Peninsula by a 5-mile bridge across the Straits of Makinac. The Upper is more rugged & much smaller than the Lower.
Here are the places I've been & enjoyed:
Battle Creek, known as "Cereal City", is home to "Kellogg's cereals".Sojourner Truth (ex-slave, women's right activist, & abolitionist) lived here in her old age, & she is buried in Battle Creek's Oak Hill Cemetery.
Flint, in southeastern part of the state is the birthplace of General Motors.
Don't miss the Flint Cultural Center which is 7 separate institutions on campus of Flint College. Also of interest: Crossroads Village (recreated 19th-century village). I loved the For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum.
Lansing is the capital of Michigan. It's also home to Michigan State University. There are wonderful free tours of the State Capitol, the Michigan Historical Museum, North Lansing Historic Commercial District, Tours of the city by paddlewheel riverboat, & Potter Park Zoo
Rocks National Lakeshore's ( the center of the Upper Peninsula) name is perfect with its dramatic, mineral-stained sandstone cliffs in fantastic shapes.
Parts have 200-foot-high sand dunes, & lovely beaches.
Saginaw in eastern Michigan on the Lower Peninsula has a Japanese Cultural Center & Tea House, Saginaw art Museum, a Sculpture Gallery, Children's Zoo, a Water Park, & lots of shops.
No matter where you go in Michigan, you'll be inspired by its natural beauty.
If you like forests, hills, caves, bluffs, and rivers, then you will love Missouri. It is a state that is covered with forests and many rolling hills, and it has more than 5,00 caves!
The Lake of the Ozarks are, I think, among the most beautiful in our nation. Saint Louis is a wonderful small city with culture, historic sites, & excellent restaurants. It's zoo is among the best in the nation, and it has a nationally acclaimed Botanic Gardens.
Kansas City, Missouri, has more fountains than any city in the world except Rome! In addition, it has miles and miles of tree-lined boulevards (more than any other American city.) It's the up-and-coming city of the future with its artistic enclaves, wonderful restaurants, & lovely shopping areas.
"Missouri" first appeared on maps that the French explorers made in the 1600s. It was the name of a group of Indians who lived near the mouth of a large river...and the Indians called it "river of the big canoes". The Misssouri River was big, swift, and quite difficult to navigate before the locks & dams of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tamed it (at least, they attempted to tame it!)
Missouri is known as the Show Me state. It has a reputation for people who are individualists, stubborn like the Missouri mules..that's not a bad thing either. Missouri people want proof. They will change if need be; however, with such a colorful past, they strive to preserve their history.
Missouri is divided into 5 unique areas:
Northwest Missouri with St. Joseph.
Central Missouri with Kansas City.
Southwest Missouri with Springfield.
Southeast Missouri with both Jefferson City & St. Louis.
Northeast Missouri with Hannibal and Columbia.
What a DIVERSE state it is...a state worth exploring.
It seems that everywhere in Maine there is beauty. Whether it be the northeast with its white potato plant blossoms that seem to carpet the land; or in the southeast with the rugged coastline that turns & twists through the inlets, coves, and islands (2,000 off-shore islands); or the seven chains of lakes that are found throughout the green forests; or could it be in the center of Maine with its densely forested mountains?
The largest island is Mount Desert Island where we visited the town of Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park. It's the oldest national park east of the Mississippi. A roadway leads to the top of Cadillac Mountain with its breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Also the park has plenty of cliffs, woods, coves, caves, islands, & lakes.
While visiting Maine, the locals joked about their weather. They say," Maine has only 2 seasons: July & winter"!
While there, we enjoyed Kennebunkport even though it attracts many other tourists. We, of course, saw the elder George Bush's house from afar.
Maine is the only state that borders just one other state, New Hamshire. If you like lighthouses, you'll love Maine because there are 60 of them; they line the rocky coast.
Main can boast of having one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States, Portland Head Light, which was commissioned by George Washington!
People who love the outdoors certainly love Maine for its fishing, sailing, white water rafting, & hiking.
Some of my favorite people are from Maine such as American painters Andrew Wyeth & Winslow Homer; poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay & Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This is a state with plenty of wilderness & home to deer, moose, & bears. 90% of the land is still covered with forest. I'm particularly fond of the paper birches. Their white is stark contrast, especially in the fall. Serene is the word I choose to describe most of Maine, especially the further north one travels.
A land of surpassing beauty, this state called Kentucky where I often visited by parents when they were living. I marvel at its jagged ridges & narrow valleys found in the Cumberland and Pine Mountains; the lovely "bluegrass meadows" of the north-central portion of the state; the gorgeous horse farms near Lexington where famed thoroughbreds graze; the rolling hills and rivers of the Pennyroyal; the vast labyrinths of the caverns, especially Mammoth Cave; the eatern highlands with its stunning waterfalls, cliffs, and towering forests; and, finally, the Purchase with its uplands "purchased from the Chickasaw Indians that still resemble the romantic "Old South" Even man-made areas are breathtakingly beautiful such as the Land Between the Lakes that 40-mile peninsula between Barkley and Kentucky lakes. Kentucky is a region of extreme contrasts.
Here are some of the places I cherish or facts I find fascinating:
For instance, Kentucky blue grass is not blue at all; its tiny buds lend a slight blue-purple cast in spring, but it's really green.
I'm proud to know that Mother's Day is the brainchild of a teacher from Henderson, Kentucky named Mary S. Wilson.
Must sees in this marvelous state for me would be "Cumberland Gap National Historical Park near Middlesboro; Land Between the Lakes near my parent's retirement home on Kentucky Lake; Mammoth Cave National Park in Cave City, the world's longest known cave system; Lexington's Kentucky Horse Park; Abraham Lincoln Birthplace and National Historic Site near Hodgenville; and Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill to experience a community that's quite historical.
But, don't miss such lovely places as The Old Governor's Mansion at Frankfort, The Samuels Distillery in Loretto, The Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum in Louisville, & The Museum of the American Quilter's Society in Paducah.
Ah, yes, Kentucky, a state that represents both the north and the south.
After visiting the state of Massachusetts, I came away thinking that if a state ever had a reason to be proud, this is the one. Massachusetts, I discovered, was the 1st state to make the black man equal, and the 1st state to admit black children into public schools. For those reasons alone, Massachusetts should feel proud.
It's the state where the Pilgrims first stepped foot; it's the state who had the 1st Thanksgiving feast; it's a state where the capital (Boston) is considered one of the country's friendliest; it's a state with a rich history, but it's also a state that meets the future head-on; indeed, it's a great place to seek the American future.
Did you know that the Massachusetts Constitution is the oldest governing constitution in the world? It is. Also, it's the high-tech capital of the East...once again, the past and the future unite.
Although Massachusetts is a small state, its diversity makes it an important state in the USA. It's filled with great people and picturesque places. Noted for its many wonderful educational institues, it is the state where the Institute of Technology (MIT), located in Cambridge, is home to more than 40 Nobel Prize Winners!
Five men from Massachusetts became President of the United States, even though not all were residents when elected: John Adams, John Quincy Adams. Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush.
But probably most important (LOL) Massachusetts is the birthplace of the Tollhouse chocolate-chip cookie & the Fig Newton cookie too!
Massachusetts offers visitors much to do, so much to see, so much to learn. Don't be the one to miss it!
NortheasternUSA is blessed to have New Hampshire as one of its states! While visiting the eastern states, both Allan & I agreed that New Hampshire was, by far, our favorite state in this region. Why? Well, we mainly loved it because of the friendly, welcoming people. The citizens are strong of character, hard working, &, oh, so helpful. Besides, they like to have fun!
The state's nickname, "The Granite State" is so appropriate because granite forms most of New Hampshire's hills & mountains. The serene beauty of New Hampshire's mountains & lakes attracts visitors for many reasons. Some come for a relaxing summer vacation; others come to see the brilliant autumn foliage; many come to swoop down snow-covered slopes. No matter why or when you come, I'm sure you'll fall in love with the people, the scenery, & the history.
New Hampshire has four symbols which are favorites of mine.
The state bird is the purple finch, a little bird with remarkable resilence. The male has a dark red head that is so dark that it appears purple; the female is a dull brown. The neat thing about these birds is that both parents care for the young birds, & they eat many insects that harm crops.
The State Tree since 1947 is the White Birch. The tree's white bark with the black marks can be peeled off the tree, & it feels like paper. Early settlers sometimes wrote on birch bark. The Native Americans crafted baskets, baby carriers, & snowshoes as well as spears, bows, & arrows from the birch bark. Oh, yes, they also made lightweight canoes.
The State flower, the Purple Lilac, which the early settlers brought from England, blooms in May in New Hamshire. You can experience the sweet smell of the blooming purple lilacs if you visit then.
Finally, the White-tailed deer is the State's Animal. It is also called the Virginia deer, & you might remember that it is red-brown in the summer & gray-brown in the winter. These four wonderful symbols represent this glorious state, New Hampshire.
There's no getting around it, California is utterly gorgeous! It's unmatched in its abundance & diversity. The 500-mile-long Central Valley that lies between the Coast Ranges & the Sierra Nevada is the most productive agricultural land in the entire Western Hemisphere! Yes, & those mist-covered forests of the north shelter the world's tallest living natural objects: the coast redwoods that have been alive for 1,000 years & reach heights of more than 350 feet! Of course, there's also an enormous desert with rock carvings that are visual reminders of past civilizations. And one can never forget the Sierra Nevada range of rugged mountains larger in area than the Swiss, Italian, & French alps combined!
Who could ever forget the Pacific Coast Highway with its Big Sur, the 760 mile coastline of jagged cliffs & sandy beaches where the twilight glows, transforming this state into a palette of pastels.
The population of California is just as diverse as its landforms. Asians & Hispanics add to the mix of African Americans & European immigrants to make a mini USA.
While in California, you must be sure to visit the Yosemite National Park with its alpine meadows, tumbling waterfalls, & towering trees are a sight to behold.
Everyone "leaves their hearts in San Francisco", & you will too when you see & experience this exciting city by the bay.
Two of my favorite cities are San Diego & Palm Springs, & they are as different as night & day.
Also make sure you visit the "Accidental Sea", the Salton Sea, the result of an accident on a massive scale...visit & discover what that accident was.
Other Places To Visit
Death Valley National Monument: a parched desert basin of canyons, sand dunes, & salt flats (lowest spot in US).
Hearst Castle in San Simeon: Wm. Randolph Hearst's lavish & eccentric home.
Wineries (Napa, Sonoma, Lake, & Mendocino counties) more than 700 wineries
California has a special place in my heart; come see what this love is all about.
I've taken at least 9 vacations to different parts of Florida, including Amelia Island, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, The Keys, Bonita Beach& Spring, Orlando, & Sebring Having spent time in all these areas really points out the wide diversity of this "Sunshine State". Florida's landscape is uncommonly lush & is punctuated by deep forest, springs, rivers, lakes, & vast wetlands.
There's 2 separate swamplands,The Big Cypress & the Everglades. Together these 2 virtually cover the southern tip of Florida.
I soon discovered that the sand beaches so popular with "snowbirds" , actually account for less than 1/2 of Florida's coast. Most of the coast consists of marshes, swamps, & muddy bays.
I've noted that Florida beaches come in 3 shades of color: dazzling white, a shade of tan, & even gray. The white beaches near Panama City are nearly 100 percent quartz sand; the gray tone of Venice beach has large amounts of phosphates; the tan beaches (on the east coast) reflect high shell & iron content.
There's more than Disney World. Hopefully, more visitors discover other wonderful spots:
Pensacola in Florida's panhandle, a gold mine of history.
Tallahassee, state capital, with its Civil War battlefield and stately old plantation homes.
Beautiful Amelia Island.
St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, with its restored streets, horse-drawn carriages, & old buildings.
The Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
Fort Lauderdale, the Venice of America because of its many canals.
The Florida Keys (32 islands connected by the 100-mile Overseas Highway.)
Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the USA.
The Gulf Coast with great cities like Naples, Fort Meyers, Bonita Beach, Sanibel & Captiva Islands, & the more laid-back cities of Sarasota, Bradenton, and St. Petersburg.
Tampa has Busch Gardens; Winter Haven has Cypress Gardens.
And in the middle of the state, Sebring, which is the golf capital.
Come visit, but see it all.
Named for King George II of England, Georgia was the last of the original 13 colonies. It has several nicknames: Peach State, Goober State, and Empire of the South.
Atlanta is its largest city, but Savannah is its prettiest. (see Savannah tip)
Poor Atlanta; even though it was the fourth state of the United States, it has very few historic old buildings because at the end of the Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman ordered Atlanta to be burned. The Confederates' food & ammunition were stored here. Thus, Atlanta had to be built from "the group up" so to speak. Atlanta is the capital of Georgia, & it also has the distinction of being the city where Coca-cola was born.
The story goes that cola syrup was accidentally mixed with carbonated water & served at Jacobs' Pharmacy in Atlanta in 1886, & a new drink called Coca-Cola was born.
The famous Reverand Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as from Atlanta & an eternal flame burns to honor his memory.
It's obvious why Georgia is called the Peach State (peaches grow in abundance), but why The Goober State? If you are not from the South, you may not know that "goobers" are peanuts, & Georgia grows more peanuts than any other State.
Most people think of Georgia as the backroads with verdant fields & dense forests interspersed with small towns. When you travel those backroads, you see roadside stands selling peaches, cold cider, & boiled peanuts. Oh, yes, & near the town of Vidalia, you can purchase famous Vidalia onionsIn the southeastern corner of Georgia & extending into Florida is the Okefenokee Swampt. It's full of cypress groves, spongy island peat, & glassy black water. In the 1890's farmers tried to drain it into the Atlantic Ocean 120 miles away! Thank goodness, it failed. Okefenokee serves as a refuse for alligators & other swamp life, is a haven for birds, & is important tot he "balance of nature". The Creek Indians called it, Land of the Trembling Earth.
continued in next tip
Hawaii is both a state and a group of 132 Islands, but only eight of these islands are big enough to be populated. The well-known islands are Maui, Oahu, Kauai, & Hawaii (called the Big Island). Of all the states, Hawaii is the southernmost place in the USA.
All the islands are volcanic in origin, but the only "live" volcano is on the Big Island and is called Mount Kilauea. Each time the world's largest active volcano erupts, the lava cools and hardens in the ocean, making the island larger!
The only royal palace in America is Hawaii's Iolani Palace because Hawaii was ruled by kings and queens from 1795 until 1893. (see separate tip) Hawaii did not become a state until 1959. The name "Hawaii" is based on "Owbybee", the native Hawaiian word for "homeland". It's known as the Aloha State or Paradise of the Pacific
Honolulu is the largest city and the capital. Travel between the islands is by inter-island air flights, a few ferry services, and some luxury cruises. Public transportation is almost non-existent except on O'ahu. Thus, a rental car is imperative.
Hawaii is exotic and somewhat seductive with plants and animals that are native to only these islands and nowhere else on earth!
Only 20% of the state's population is native descendants of Polynesians. There is about a 40% intermarriage rate between the Polynesians, Orientals, Caucasians, and other racial and ethnic groups. I personally found the locals to be friendly, relaxed, and hospitable. The traditional giving of the flower lei to greet someone is an example of the friendliness of islanders.
We personally visited Oahu and Maui (about 3 days on Oahu with a visit to Pearl Harbor and a month in a condo on the beach in Maui). What an incredible experience it was!
So, if you, too, wish to experience a little of paradise while in America, visit the Hawaiian Islands.
The 1st to see what is now Arkansas were the Spanish, but they did not give it a name. Instead, Marquette, the French priest and his friend, Joliet did, naming it after a Sioux word "Acansa" which means "Downstream Place"; others say that they used a Quapaw word meaning "South Wind". Marquette had no idea how much trouble this name would cause the Americans when they acquired possession 150 years later! It took the legislature to proclaim that the state's name would be spelled ARKANSAS but pronounced AR kun SAW!
Although historic, Arkansas is better known for its natural beauty than its history. Thus, it's been called both "The Wonder State" and the "Nature State".
Because of its natural barriers that once threatened its development, those same barriers (such as mountains) have nurtured its Unspoiled natural Beauty: Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge, the numerous natural hot springs, and the famous Ozark Mountains.
Forget the stereotyping of Arkansas as a "hillbilly haven"; rather, visit the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View where you can hear the old music and see/touch the ancient folk crafts.
Because of the peace and quiet in the Ozarks, it has become a "magnet" for retirees. Today, the Ozarks are among the fastest growing of the rural areas in America.
Also visit the natural spring waters that once lured the Eastern gentry to this area's thermal baths: Hot Springs and Eureka Springs.
Don't forget to see Little Rock, the state capital. See the museum and library of former President Clinton.
My Other suggestions:
Buffalo National River, one of America's premier canoeing and white water locations.
Fort Smith and the Belle Grove Historic District and Museum with its painstakingly restored homes. In town, city trolleys take visitors to points of interest such as Miss Laura's Visitors Center that is housed in a former brothel on B Street
"By The Rivers Gently Flowing, Illinois.." is the beginning of a famous song about my beloved Illinois. This is a state that is part of the Great Lakes Area and has been called "The Prairie State" and "The Land of Lincoln". Anyone who has ever driven in Illinois can affirm that it is, indeed, a flat prairie state. However, the whole state is not flat; a glacier-made ridge in the southernmost part of the state, Shelbyville moraine marks a dividing line between the prairies and the forests. South of that ridge, the hills are thick with trees, and farmers cultivate lush orchards. Here, too, you'll find a landscape that is dotted with crystalline lakes just as there are numerous lakes in the northern portion of Illinois.
When most people hear the word Illinois they think of the city of Chicago. Rightfully so because it is the third largest city in USA; a city proud of its 29-miles of Lakefront; a metropolis that is highly respected for its innovative architecture, fantastic parks, delicious cuisine, highly rated educational institutes, and its vibrant neighborhoods.
However, there's certainly more to Illinois than Chicago. Illinois has a wealth of hidden treasures such as forested cliffs, sleepy mining towns, historic villages, and friendly, down-to-earth "folks"!
In the two areas of the state that escaped the crushing glaciers, you will see a totally different "look"! Near Galena in the northwest section of the state, you'll find rolling hills and shallow valleys. Southern Illinois is even more surprising with more rolling hills, sandstone cliffs and breathtaking canyons (Illinois Ozarks). There are dense forests (Shawnee National Forest with its 268,400 acres), and there are even more than 100 caves! The Mississippi, Kaskaskia, Ohio, Illinois, & Wabash Rivers have all helped to create the Illinois that we know today...a state with the spirit of the prairie and the heart of America
Of all the midwestern states, I've always thought of Iowa as the most rural, the most idyllic, the most quaint. Because of the luxuriant growth of prairie grasses, it's become the best land for agriculture. 90% of its land is farmed!
Iowa places 1st in production of corn, soybeans, & pork. In this area of the US, Iowa is the only state that is bordered by two navigable rivers,the Missouri & the Mississippi.
I still have visions of the movie "Field of Dreams" when Shoeless Joe Jackson shows up in Iowa and asks,"Is this Heaven?"
Many people view Iowa as a certain kind of heaven because of its quaint small towns, tidy farms, & conservative lifestyle.
The other movie that I visualize when I hear Iowa is, of course, "The Bridges of Madison County". That popular book & movie really put Iowa, but especially the city of Winterset in Madison County on the world map! But, did you know that Winterset is also the birthplace of John Wayne?
The capital city of Iowa,DesMoines, is located close to the center of the state. It's the site of Drake University & KRNT Theater, one of the largest theaters in the nation! I loved the Sherman Hill Historic District with all the lovely turn-of-the-century homes.
The town in Iowa that I've been to the most is Dubuque because it's so close to Illinois. It has a spectacular location on the limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. It's very hilly, & those hills are dotted with "gingerbread" Victorian mansions. It's really the makings of a masterpiece of art with rocky outcrops, wildflowers, enormous trees, & an abundance of bald eagles. Surrounding the city are well-kept farms in quiet rural communities
Even so, Dubuque is a processing & transportation center.
Oh, I almost forgot, they also have leagalized riverboat gambling & river cruises.
Fond of history & architecture? If so, you'll love this ""Masterpiece on the Mississippi".
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