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The Gipper

The Gipper's Guide to America

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Here is some food for thought as you plan your summer vacations. Some hints for your travels, all USA (incl. possessions):

 

Best Sunset: Cape Flattery, Washington

 

Best Sunrise: On top of Mt. Haleakala, Maui. (honorable mention: Quoddy Head, Maine)

 

Best Beaches: St. John, US Virgin Islands

 

Best Patriotic site: Fort McHenry, Baltimore

 

Best Trees: California: Redwoods/Sequoias/Ancient Bristlecone pine/Joshua Trees

 

Best Single Vista: Inspiration Point, Yosemite NP (Multiple vistas: Grand Canyon)

 

Most Fun Town: New Orleans. (Honorable mention: Chicago)

 

Best Small Town: Woodstock, Vermont. (honorable mentions: Chatham, Mass. Seaside Fla.)

 

Best Consistent Architecture: Santa Fe, NM

 

Campiest Attraction: House on the Rock, Spring Green, Wisconsin

 

Nicest College Campus that is not Kenyon: Duke (honorable mention: Notre Dame)

 

Nicest State Capitol building: Olympia, Washington (more for it setting than the building itself)

 

Best Tall Building: Empire State Building

 

Best Statue not called Liberty: Mt. Rushmore

 

Best Scenic Town Setting: Sedona, Arizona

 

Best City Park System: Savannah, Georgia

 

Gawdiest Display of Wealth: Newport, Rhode Island

 

Best Stadium: Wrigley Field

 

Best preserved Western Town: Tombstone, Ariz. (honorable mention: Lincoln NM)

 

Best hiking for the average person: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

 

Best Lake: Crater Lake

 

Best Mountain Range: The Grand Tetons

 

Best Casino: Lakeside Inn and Casino, Stateline Nevada (Tahoe)

 

Best Aquariam: National Aquariam, Baltimore

 

Best Breakfast/Dinner combination: Camellia Grill and Commander's Palace, New Orleans

 

Feel free to add your own

 

I am revisiting this post that I put up here like 3 years ago. I have reviewed each of these and the only thing I might change is to take Chatham, Mass. off the honorable mention list and put Wellsboro PA in its place.

I am also going to add to the list in my next post.

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More "Best of Categories". These come from my own experiences. Feel free to add your own.:

 

Best Art Museum: I am going with the Guggenheim in NYC. It may not have the best collection, but it was the one place that was most fun to visit. (These categories are strictly US...or at least North America. I have been to the Louvre, which would take the cake)

 

Best Natural History Museum: The Field Museum, Chicago

 

Best Hall of Fame not in Northeast Ohio: the Baseball HOF, Cooperstown NY. Honorable mention: Horse Racing HOF in Saratoga NY.

 

Best Movie Movie specific Related Attraction: The Field of Dreams, Dyersville Iowa. Honorable Mention: The Christmas Story House, Cleveland USA

 

Best Ethnic Neighborhood: Little Italy, NYC. Honorable Mention: Chinatown, San Francisco

a bit of a copout sure. But there is a reason these places are popular.

 

Best Boat Tour: Chicago River Tour. Honorable Mention: Manhattan Circle Tour NYC

 

Best Ferry Ride/Tour: Whittier, Alaska to Valdez. Runnerup: Victoria BC to Vancouver

 

Best Historic Recreation: Williamsburg. That is pretty clear. Next is Tombstone AZ.

 

Best Presidential Home Tour: Eisenhower Farm, Gettysburg PA. Honorable mentions: FDR home, Hyde Park, NY and The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's farm outside of Nashville (note: I have not been to Mt. Vernon or Monticello)

 

Best Botanical Gardens: Longwood, outside of Philadelphia. Honorable Mention: Boyce Thompson Arboretum outside Phoenix (focusing on desert plants). Hawaii Tropical Botanic Gardens

 

Best Religious Site: Temple Square, Salt Lake City Utah (by best, I mean "most interesting...ignoring theology). Honorable Mention: San Xavier del Bac, outside Tuscon AZ.

 

Best Theme Park: Disney World, Orlando. Honorable Mention: Universal Studios, Orlando, Disneyland, Anaheim

 

Best Amusement Park: Cedar Point.

 

Best Architecture, Home Residence: Taliesin West, Scottsdale AZ (Frank Lloyd Wright), Winchester Mystery House, San Jose CA

 

Best Native American Preservation site: Mesa Verde, Colorado

 

Best Outdoor Concert Venue: The Hollywood Bowl. Honorable Mention: Blossom Music Center

 

Best Volcano: Mt. St Helen's, Washington. Honorable Mentions: Lassen Peak Cal., Capulin Volcano, New Mexico.

 

Best "Floating Museum": The USS Lexington: Corpus Christie TX. Honorable Mention: The Mayflower (recreation), Plymouth Mass.

 

Best Farmer's Market: Columbia SC.

 

Best Observatory: Palomar Observatory, Calif. Honorable Mention: Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff AZ

 

Best Aerial Tramway Ride: Whistler, British Columbia. Honorable Mention: Snowbird, Utah; Palm Springs Tramway, CA

 

Best Bridge: Golden Gate Bridge. Honorable Mention: Mackinac Bridge.

 

Best Pedestrian Bridge: Bridge of Flowers, Shelburn Falls, Mass.

 

Best Hispanic Mission: San Juan Capistrano. Honorable Mention: Taos NM

 

Best Canyon: The Grand Canyon. Honorable Mentions: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO; The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.

 

Best Sand Dunes: Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado. Honorable Mention: Death Valley CA, Imperial Dunes CA.

 

Best Maritime attraction: Mystic Seaport, Conn. Honorable Mention: San Francisco Maritime NHP.

 

Best Washington DC Memorial: Lincoln Memorial. Honorable Mention: Jefferson Memorial, WWII Memorial

 

Best Aviation museum/attraction: Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Honorable Mention: Wright US Air Force Museum, Dayton. Pensacola National Naval Aviation Museum.

 

Best Factory/Commercial Tour: World of Coca Cola, Atlanta. Anheuser Busch Brewery Tour, St. Louis

 

Best Fort: Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas Florida. Honorable Mention: Ft Laramie, Wyoming. Ft. William Henry, Lake George NY

 

Best Waterfalls: Niagra Falls. Honorable Mention: Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite NP; Akaka Falls, Hawaii

 

Scariest Road: Going to the Sun Road, Glacier NP. Berthoud Pass, Colo.

 

Best Children's Museum: Children's Museum of Indianapolis. Honorable Mention: The Exploratorim, San Francisco.

 

Best Speedway: Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 

Best Caves: Tie: Carlsbad Caverns, New Mex., Mammoth Caves Kentucky

 

Best Auto Museum: The Corvette Museum, Bowling Green KY. Runnerup: Used to be an Auto Museum in the Imperial Palace Casino in Las Vegas. I think both the Imperial Palace and the Auto Museum are gone.

 

Best Equine attraction (horses): Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington KY. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Farm, Ottawa Canada

 

Most "Miraculous" site: Loretto Chapel Stairway, Santa Fe New Mex.

 

Best Zoo: San Diego Wild Animal Park, CA. Animal Kingdom, Disney World

 

Best Antebellum Home: Oak Alley Plantation, outside New Orleans.

 

Best Battlefield: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Honorable Mentions: Antietum, Maryland; Saratoga, NY, Little Big Horn, Mont.

 

Best Seashore: Cape Cod National Seashore. Honorable mentions: Cumberland Island GA, South Beach, Newport, Oregon; Papahoku Beach, Molokai

 

Best Lakeshore: Pictured Rocks, Michigan (Lake Superior); Honorable Mention: Indiana Dunes(Lake Michigan)

 

Best Mall: West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton Canada. Honorable Mention: Mall of America, Minn.

 

I guess if we are getting down to malls, that is enough.

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Best battlefield is easily sharpsburg, Maryland, aka Antietam creek

 

I have been to a lot of Battlefields, Revolutionary War/Civil War/War of 1812/even French and Indian War. It is quite hard to rank them.

 

And sometimes it is difficult to even determine what a battle field is. Example: is a Fort where a skirmish took place considered a "battlefield". Just take the French/Indian War. I have been to Fort Ticonderoga, Fort William Henry, Fort Necessity, and the town/fort or Louisbourg. Are these "battlefields"?

 

In the following posts, I am going to list all the "battle sites" of the various wars that I have visited, as much for my own edification as anything else.

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French and Indian War Battlefields I have visited:

 

Braddock Expedition, Wester PA

Fort Necessity

Fort Carillon/Fort Ticonderoga (Carillon was the French name for the same fort)

Ft. William Henry

Lake George Battlefield

Louisbourg (Nova Scotia)

The Plains of Abraham (Quebec)

 

Mexican-American War Battlefields I have visited:

 

Palo Alto (outside Brownsville TX)

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Revolutionary War Battlefields I have visited:

 

Lexington and Concord

Ft. Stanwix/Oriskany

Brandywine

Saratoga

Kings Mountain

The Cowpens

Guilford Courthouse

The Siege of 96

Germantown (Philadelphia)

Yorktown

Valley Forge (not strictly a battle)

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War of 1812 Battlesites I have been to:

 

Lake Erie//Put-In-Bay

Ft. McHenry

Mackinaw Island

Washington DC and environs

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Civil War Battlefields I have visited:

 

Ft. Sumter

Bull Run/Manassas I and II

Wilson Creek

Ft. Donelson

Yorktown (yes, a Civil War battle was fought at Yorktown)

Shiloh

Ft. Pulaski

Corinth

Murfreesboro/Stone's River

Harper's Ferry

Antietem/Sharpsburg

Arkansas Post

Chancellorsville

Fredericksburg

Vicksburg

Gettysburg

Morgan's Surrender/Salineville

Charleston Harbor

The Wilderness

Spotsylvania

Brice Crossroad's

Tupelo

Monocacy

Siege of Columbia SC.

 

I am going to be visiting Richmond/Petersburg/Appamattox/Cedar Creek in June

When I was a little kid I may have visited Chattanooga, but I was so young I barely remember it, so I don't count it.

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I stick by Antietam. Its extremely moving, epic skirmishes occured there in places like the corn field, the sunken road, and burnside's bridge, and there's photographic evidence of the carnage that occured in those places so you really get the feeling of what it must have been like, defending the sunken road when the union boys started pouring over the ridge only yards in front of you and what must have been going through their minds.

 

Antietam is the site of the bloodiest single day in American history. It stopped Lee's first invasion of the north, and mostly sealed the south's loss by discouraging foriegn intervention. So the importance is definately there, and what makes it a great destination is that its compact compared to a place like gettysburg, and its lesser known. I had the chance to hike it one drizzly spring morning last year, and we were nearly alone. Oh, and the land it occured on is simply beautiful. Just the solemn feeling of walking burnside bridge in the rain was enough to justify taking a civil war vacation over the traditional beach scene.

 

If you're into battlefields and American history Antietam is just awesome.

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How about this one: best cemetery.

 

Winner: Arlington - for the history-

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Basilone-grave-arlington.jpg

 

1st runner up: Lake view cemetary, Cleveland Oh. President Garfield (assassinated) John Rockefeller. Absolutely beautiful landscaping and the haserot angel.

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Second runner up greenwood cemetary, Brooklyn NY.

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War of 1812 Battlesites I have been to:

 

Lake Erie//Put-In-Bay

Ft. McHenry

Mackinaw Island

Washington DC and environs

Add: River Raisin, in Michigan, just last month

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Civil War Battlefields I have visited:

 

Ft. Sumter

Bull Run/Manassas I and II

Wilson Creek

Ft. Donelson

Yorktown (yes, a Civil War battle was fought at Yorktown)

Shiloh

Ft. Pulaski

Corinth

Murfreesboro/Stone's River

Harper's Ferry

Antietem/Sharpsburg

Arkansas Post

Chancellorsville

Fredericksburg

Vicksburg

Gettysburg

Morgan's Surrender/Salineville

Charleston Harbor

The Wilderness

Spotsylvania

Brice Crossroad's

Tupelo

Monocacy

Siege of Columbia SC.

 

I am going to be visiting Richmond/Petersburg/Appamattox/Cedar Creek in June

When I was a little kid I may have visited Chattanooga, but I was so young I barely remember it, so I don't count it.

Yes, add Cedar Creek, Richmond, Petersburg, Appamattox where I was in early June.

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Here is some food for thought as you plan your summer vacations. Some hints for your travels, all USA (incl. possessions):

 

Best Sunset: Cape Flattery, Washington

 

Best Sunrise: On top of Mt. Haleakala, Maui. (honorable mention: Quoddy Head, Maine)

 

Best Beaches: St. John, US Virgin Islands

 

Best Patriotic site: Fort McHenry, Baltimore

 

Best Trees: California: Redwoods/Sequoias/Ancient Bristlecone pine/Joshua Trees

 

Best Single Vista: Inspiration Point, Yosemite NP (Multiple vistas: Grand Canyon)

 

Most Fun Town: New Orleans. (Honorable mention: Chicago)

 

Best Small Town: Woodstock, Vermont. (honorable mentions: Chatham, Mass. Seaside Fla.)

 

Best Consistent Architecture: Santa Fe, NM

 

Campiest Attraction: House on the Rock, Spring Green, Wisconsin

 

Nicest College Campus that is not Kenyon: Duke (honorable mention: Notre Dame)

 

Nicest State Capitol building: Olympia, Washington (more for it setting than the building itself)

 

Best Tall Building: Empire State Building

 

Best Statue not called Liberty: Mt. Rushmore

 

Best Scenic Town Setting: Sedona, Arizona

 

Best City Park System: Savannah, Georgia

 

Gawdiest Display of Wealth: Newport, Rhode Island

 

Best Stadium: Wrigley Field

 

Best preserved Western Town: Tombstone, Ariz. (honorable mention: Lincoln NM)

 

Best hiking for the average person: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

 

Best Lake: Crater Lake

 

Best Mountain Range: The Grand Tetons

 

Best Casino: Lakeside Inn and Casino, Stateline Nevada (Tahoe)

 

Best Aquariam: National Aquariam, Baltimore

 

Best Breakfast/Dinner combination: Camellia Grill and Commander's Palace, New Orleans

 

Feel free to add your own

Damn, you've really gotten around! Do you travel for your job?

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Revolutionary War Battlefields I have visited:

 

Lexington and Concord

Ft. Stanwix/Oriskany

Brandywine

Saratoga

Kings Mountain

The Cowpens

Guilford Courthouse

The Siege of 96

Germantown (Philadelphia)

Yorktown

Valley Forge (not strictly a battle)

I am hoping to go to Morristown next week, if the damn thing is open....at least let the road be open.

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Hey Gip I like the cut of your jib. Any guy that visits all those battlefields is alright by me.

I went to Morristown....but also was at the sight of a very much unknown Revolutionary War battle called the Battle of Minnisink. It was in upstate NY, just above the Delaware River. 200 Patriots lost their lives to a group of Tories and Indians.

Also was at the sight where Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve before the Battle of Trenton.

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Revolutionary War Battle Sites I have visited:

 

Lexington and Concord

Boston

Gunpowder Incident (Williamsburg)

Ft. Ticonderoga

Machias (Maine)

96

Quebec

Savannah

Trenton (including Washington Crossing)

Ft. Stanwix

Oriskany

Brandywine

Saratoga

Germantown

Chillicothe

Charleston

Kings Mountain

Cowpens

Guildford Courthouse

Yorktown

Blue Licks Ky.

Arkansas Post

Minnisink

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People criticise americans for never leaving america. While I can understand that to a degree, not seeing all the different cultures etc, it's just incredible to see the vast range of nature and culture that exists within the country - you could not leave and still have 50 very unique holidays.

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People criticise americans for never leaving america. While I can understand that to a degree, not seeing all the different cultures etc, it's just incredible to see the vast range of nature and culture that exists within the country - you could not leave and still have 50 very unique holidays.

I have never heard anyone criticize Americans for never leaving America. Who the fuck does that? And why?

 

How about this gft: apply the categories I have used and apply them to the UK....or wtf, apply them to the entirety of Europe.

Bust sunsets, sunrises, stadiums, mountain ranges etc. etc. etc.

I mean, why go to the Alps when I can go to the Rockies.

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I have never heard anyone criticize Americans for never leaving America. Who the fuck does that? And why?

 

How about this gft: apply the categories I have used and apply them to the UK....or wtf, apply them to the entirety of Europe.

Bust sunsets, sunrises, stadiums, mountain ranges etc. etc. etc.

I mean, why go to the Alps when I can go to the Rockies.

People outside America, clearly! And no, that's not a dig. But people do, it's a real thing that happens. I guess you'll have to take my word for it.

 

Not been to enough places around europe to comment on all of that, but it'd probably go something like:

 

Best Sunset: Canary Islands

Best Sunrise: Don't recall ever being awake for sunrise (for good reasons at least)

Best Beaches: south of France/northwest italy

Best Patriotic site: differs country to country obviously, but for a few countries it might be Ypres

Best Single Vista: Pick your favourite point in the alps, there are loads with views of mountains, lakes, trees, snow and wildlife.

Most Fun Town: Honestly, London's up there, with Barcelona and Amsterdam

Best Consistent Architecture: Paris, without a single doubt in my mind.

Campiest Attraction: ? Most like a camp? Not much of a camper.

Nicest College Campus that is not Kenyon: My alma mata, University of Birmingham is pretty nice. But winner is probably Cambridge/Oxford, although not strictly speaking a campus

Best Tall Building: The Shard is striking, if not 'nice'

Best Statue not called Liberty: Probably the colossus at Rhodes or Zeus at Olympia, if they were still around

Best Scenic Town Setting: Any of hundreds in and around southern/central europe, through france, italy, switzerland, pick your poison.

Gawdiest Display of Wealth: Monte Carlo - yachts absolutely everywhere and not a poor person in sight. Closely followed by Cannes.

Best Stadium: Nou Camp

Best hiking for the average person: Swiss Alps

Best Lake: Geneva?

Best Mountain Range: Alps

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