Category Archives: Tourist Attractions

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Montana

State 24:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Montana

Montana became the 41st state on November 8, 1889. The capital is Helena.

We visited Glacier National Park in 2006 on our very first cross country RV trip. The National Park had just opened back up after a wildfire when we arrived at Johnson’s RV Park.  The smell of smoke was heavy in the air and many firefighters were still in the area. Our campsite sat on top of a hill overlooking St. Mary’s Lake.

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St. Mary’s Lake

Driving from the eastern entrance of Glacier National Park to the western entrance in West Glacier on the 55 mile long steep and curvy Going to the Sun Road was the highlight of our visit. After wandering around West Glacier we turned around and returned to St. Mary the same way we came. We also enjoyed exploring the St. Mary side of Glacier.

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Glacier National Park, Montana
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Glacier National Park, Montana
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Glacier National Park, Montana
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Glacier National Park, Montana

The next year we traveled to Montana again, this time to visit the Little Big Horn National Monument near Hardin. While we were in the area we made a day trip to Big Horn Canyon.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
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Little Bighorn Battlefield
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Bighorn Canyon

Earlier in that same trip we had gone through snow storms in Minnesota so we kept an eye out the weather after we left Hardin. We made a quick overnight stop in Garrison, Montana. Everything was fine when we went to sleep that night. The next day we woke up to several inches of snow. We were headed west with more snow moving towards us from the east so we skedaddled out of there as fast as we could and arrived safely at our next destination in Washington.

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After the storm in Garrison, Montana

Several years later we enjoyed spectacular scenery as we traveled through Montana on the way to Alaska. We spent a night at Cardwell Store and Campground and three nights in Great Falls before crossing into Alberta, Canada about 120 miles north of Great Falls.

Mountains in the distance in Cardwell, Montana
Mountains in the distance in Cardwell, Montana
Our Lady of the Rockies overlooking Butte, MT
Our Lady of the Rockies overlooking Butte, MT
Snow on the mountains between  Butte and Great Falls
It was snowing over the mountains between Butte and Great Falls

In Great Falls we took care of some business and stocked up on supplies before continuing north to Canada and Alaska. We also got to do a little sightseeing.

Statue honoring Lewis and Clark at the Visitor's Center
Statue honoring Lewis and Clark at the Visitor’s Center
Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls and Dam

On our way home from Alaska two and a half months later we spent two more nights in Montana as we traveled east towards Georgia.

A Bear cub with fish in our campsite in St. Regis, Montana
A Bear cub with fish in our campsite in St. Regis, Montana
Montana Sunrise
Montana Sunrise at Camp Three Forks

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri

Mother-Daughter Weekend in New York City

I recently returned from a fabulous mother-daughter weekend in New York City. My daughter leads a very busy life and lives 400 miles away from me so it isn’t often we have time for just the two of us to be together. We talked and laughed, walked and rode subways and taxis, did everything on our bucket list and more, and ate our way through several different parts of the city. The best part of the weekend for me was spending this special time with my wonderful daughter.

We arrived Friday evening after a several hour weather related flight delay. The first thing on our agenda was a walk to Kesté Pizzeria in the West Village for possibly the best pizza I’ve ever eaten.

On Saturday we started off with an early morning walk to Katz’s Delicatessen for breakfast. It was bagel with lox and cream cheese for me and blueberry blintzes for my daughter. I even ordered a salami to be sent home (it’s delicious).

We took our time admiring the amazing art at the Modern Museum of Art. My daughter knows a lot more about art than I do and pointed out some of the most famous artists and paintings.

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Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
Girl before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso
Girl before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso
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Monet’s Water Lilies

We both loved the fabulous afternoon tea in the elegant Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel. It was our big splurge of the trip and my Mother’s Day gift from my daughter. We chose the New Yorker tea with so much delicious food that although we tried, we couldn’t eat all of the desserts.

We hopped on the subway to Central Park West to visit the John Lennon Memorial in Strawberry Fields. On our way to the memorial we stopped to admire the view of the city from The Lake.

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The Lake in Central Park West

After our full day we returned to the hotel for a short rest before wandering around SoHo and stopping for drinks and a snack at the SoHo Room. Before turning in for the night we browsed in a couple of book shops in Greenwich Village where my daughter found a book she hasn’t been able to find anywhere else.

Sunday morning started with an early morning ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Going early has it’s perks. We arrived at the Statue of Liberty early enough to beat the crowds.

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Statue of Liberty
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Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island Great Hall
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Lower Manhattan as seen from the ferry

Once we were back in Manhattan we walked to the 9/11 Memorial and spent a while in silence and reflection gazing at the two pools where the twin towers once stood. From the pools we looked up at the One World Trade Center building, also known as the Freedom Tower.

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9/11 Memorial
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One World Trade Center

It was cold and windy as we walked around lower Manhattan and it had been a long time since breakfast. We hopped on the subway to Little Italy for lunch, coffee and pastries. As we strolled along we browsed in a few shops and wound up in Chinatown (and had people trying to sell us watches and purses) before returning to the hotel for an afternoon nap.  Late in the afternoon we headed to Times Square and the Empire State Building.

Our weekend was filled with so much more than just sightseeing. One of my favorite things was just strolling through different parts of the city admiring the beautiful architecture of the buildings. I loved passing by community gardens and parks. It was fun stopping in a pastry shop on our way home one night and trying to decide which of the treats to take back for a late night dessert. Several times we had total strangers offer to help us find what we were looking for. A kind subway station attendant helped get us where we needed to go when we accidentally entered the wrong gate. One night we stopped to look at a FDNY Fire Station and had a nice conversation with one of the young Firefighters.

Monday morning we had time to walk to a coffee shop for breakfast before taking a wild taxi ride to La Guardia, We said goodbye to New York City with a fabulous aerial view of the city.

View of the city after take off from La Guardia

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Missouri

State 23:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Missouri

Missouri became the 24th state on August 10, 1821. The capital is Jefferson City.

From the Mississippi River to the Lake of the Ozarks and many places in between, we had great adventures while in Missouri.

High on our bucket list of things to see in Missouri was the Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. Henry rode the elevator up to the top of the arch while I strolled along outside. We hopped on the MetroLink to explore some of the other sights in the city.

What fun it was to explore Hannibal and see so many places where Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer had their adventures.

Harry Truman State Park was a great place for camping and taking a walk on a nature trail.

Our home base for visiting Branson was Table Rock State Park.

One fall we planned a trip to Missouri to attend a football game at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In addition to enjoying a football weekend we also camped beside the Mississippi River at Trail of Tears State Park, enjoyed the spectacular fall colors at Lake of the Ozarks and went shopping at the first Bass Pro Shop in Springfield.

Moon rising over the Mississippi River
Moon rising over the Mississippi River at Trail of Tears State Park
Barge going down the river at sunset
A barge went by right before sunset at Trail of Tears State Park
There are 24 different Mississippi River Tales Murals on the floodwall in Cape Giradeau
There are 24 different Mississippi River Tales Murals on the floodwall in Cape Giradeau
University of Missouri Logo in the grass at the Mizzou Stadium
Fall Colors at Lake of the Ozarks
Fall colors at Lake of the Ozarks
The original and largest Bass Pro Shops

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi

F.D. Roosevelt’s Little White House

The campground in F. D. Roosevelt State Park was a great home base to explore nearby Warm Springs, Georgia.

Franklin D. Roosevelt served as the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until 1945. He died at his home in Warm Springs, Georgia on April 12, 1945 after suffering a stroke while posing for a portrait.

FDR was born in New York and was diagnosed with polio in 1921. In 1924 he made his first visit to Warm Springs to receive physical therapy in the warm waters of the springs (88 degrees year round). He returned many times to Warm Springs to receive therapy and although it did help it did not cure his disease. The pools are no longer used for therapy. They are now part of a museum with displays about their history and how they were used to help polio patients.

These pictures show what the pools were like when FDR used them
These pictures show what the pools were like when FDR used them
Therapy pool in Warm Springs, GA
Therapy pool in Warm Springs, GA

He loved coming to Warm Springs and built a home overlooking the mountains just a short distance from the pools. A tour of The Little White House begins in the museum with many artifacts and interesting displays telling about the time he spent in Georgia.

FDR drove around Georgia in this car
FDR drove around Georgia in this car
FDR's carriage in Warm Springs
FDR’s carriage in Warm Springs

The Little White House was even smaller than I imagined. It had a tiny kitchen, living room, dining room, one bathroom and two small bedrooms. The best part of the home was the veranda overlooking the mountains. I was so busy enjoying the view I forgot to take a picture!

Around the house were Sentry Posts for Secret Service and Marines. Servants quarters and a guest house were also on the property. Everything in his home has been restored and everything is original to the house.

Dogwoods blooming at the Little White House
Dogwoods blooming at the Little White House
Marine Corps Sentry Post at Little White House
Marine Corps Sentry Post at Little White House
Servants Quarters and Guest House at The Little White House
Servants Quarters and Guest House at The Little White House
One of the many boats built by FDR while at the Little White House
One of the many boats built by FDR while at the Little White House
The Unfinished Portrait
“The Unfinished Portrait” – FDR had a stroke and died while having this portrait painted
Pink Dogwood blossoms on the grounds of the Little White House
Pink Dogwood blossoms on the grounds of the Little White House

One of his favorite spots to get away was Dowdell’s Knob. He even had a barbeque pit built there that is still on the property. There is bronze statue of him on a bench looking out at the view.

FDR enjoyed the view at Dowdell’s Knob
Dowdell's Knob with FDR's barbeque pit
Dowdell’s Knob with FDR’s barbeque pit

Spring at Callaway Gardens

Our latest wandering took us on a short trip that was full of excitement. Our first stop was F. D. Roosevelt State Park, Georgia’s largest state park, in Pine Mountain. It was the perfect place for us to use as home base for exploring both Callaway Gardens and F.D.R.’s Little White House in Warm Springs.

After driving in the rain on the winding road through the park we arrived at the Visitor’s Center to check in just after a tornado warning had been lifted. Everything was fine in the campground and we set up camp just before another rain shower began.

“Connecting man and nature in a way that benefits both.” – Callaway Gardens Mission

With the sun shining the next morning we drove about 15 minutes from our campsite to Callaway Gardens.  Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Callaway Gardens opened in 1952. Today, there are many different gardens to explore, a lodge, golf course, swimming beach, and even a zip-line adventure.

Our tour of the gardens began with a stop at the Pioneer Log Cabin. From there we strolled along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Trail with many Georgia native plants.  The Flowering Dogwoods and many other wildflowers displayed their brilliant spring colors.

Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens
Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens
Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Azalea at Callaway Gardens
Azalea at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens

Next we walked on the trails to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center for a look at some tropical butterflies. Butterflies of all sizes, shapes and colors fed on the colorful blossoms and sailed by our heads as they flew from flower to flower.

Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens

We learned about some of Georgia’s birds of prey at the Discovery Center. As our guide gave a very informative presentation, two different species of owl and a red tailed hawk flew over our heads during the program.

Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program
Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program
Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens
Willow the Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens
Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show
Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show

We must have just missed the Azaleas at their peak because most of the Azaleas on the Overlook Azalea trail had finished blooming. The Flowering Dogwoods and other trees added color to the landscape.

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Callaway Gardens Azalea Trail
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Flowering Dogwoods were in bloom at Callaway Gardens
Eastern Redbud Callaway Gardens
Eastern Redbud at Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail
Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail

Our visit to Callaway Gardens included only a few of the many gardens there. It is a wonderful family destination and bicycles are a popular way to get around the park. There are several restaurants to choose from or you can have a picnic in one of the picnic areas.