Best of … History

We saw lots of historic stuff on the trip. These are the standouts.

Best historic object: the original constitution, bill of rights and deceleration of independence. These are located at the National Archives in DC, along with one of the 4 original Magna Cartas. It is pretty amazing to see these documents. They are well-preserved, but at the same time you can see that they were documents hat were used, displayed and discussed. Awesome things to see.

Best historic place: the old south meeting hall in Boston. the American Revolution basically started here and it is amazing o be ale to stand where debates which decided the fate of the United States were discussed.

Best little known history: The first White House of the confederacy. This building is quite interesting and the objects and design of the house provides great insight into the man that was Jefferson Davis and what life what like for him and his family during the civil war years.

Best battlefield: The battlefield at Gettysburg is fascinating and horrifying. To be able to look on a place where so many men died is truly contemplative. The car tour is very useful and is a good way to see all of the battlefield. The museum is also very good.

Best tour: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the first parliamentary debates were really held. The tour guides are very helpful and the site well explained.

Best historic town: Harpers Ferry was a key strategic location for birth sides during the civil war and, seeing the town, is very understandable. Great location, good transportation options and workers skilled in arms manufacture. The town is also now well-maintained by the great national parks service.

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Best of … Accommodation

Best customer service: The Westin, in Washington DC. The front desk manager, Orlando, spent 20 minutes with us, explaining how to get to various places and what is great to see. It made us even more excited to see the city.

Best historic hotel: This one was a bit of a competition. The Omni Parker Hotel in Boston was fantastic, but the overall winner is the La Posada in Winslow, Arizona. The last of the great railway hotels, it has fantastic rooms and great art.

Best moderate hotel: The quality inn and suites are fantastic. They have great rooms, which are big and well equipped and you can get great rates.

Best non-hotel accommodation: the Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming is awesome. The rooms are comfortable and well-equipped, the environment is great and they have free cookies!

Best cheaper accommodation: La Quinta Inns are quite good. The rooms are clean, customer service is good and they are well located.

Best location: the Anaheim Camelot Inn is located across the road from Disneyland, is affordable and has good rooms.

Liebster Award

I would like to thank fellow travel blogger and fun adventure seeker, Here to conquer for nominating me for the Liebster Award. It is a great honour to be nominated for such an award.

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A Bit About the Award:
1. This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2. The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.
3. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
4. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
5. Choose 5 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.
6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
7. No tag backs.

My 11 random facts about myself.
1. I have recently got I to sewing and like making accessories for myself and friends.
2. I’m not a very good cook, but I have a slow cooker now, so my cooking consists of putting everything in the slow cooker and hoping for the best.
3. I have never dyed my hair.
4. I talk in my sleep.
5. I hadn’t seen snow until we arrived in Alaska, then I saw a whole bunch.
6. I can quote the whole of the Princess Bride from memory.
7. I am a Nintendo fan girl.
8. I find umbrellas unsettling. They are pointy and at eye level. Not safe!
9. I can’t drive. My husband really appreciated that in the road trip.
10. I named my dog Zen because he was quiet and cute when I get him. I am not sure I have seen him sleep since. He is always plotting something.
11. My other dog’s favourite thing is when Zen gets in trouble.

Questions from my nominee, here to conquer:
1. Name a secret talent that you have.
I can touch type and while looking at and have a conversation with someone. Freaks people out!

2. What activity would you want to try but are either too intimidated/shy/unsure to try?
I always wanted to rope a cow, but I have no idea where I would do that.

3. Have you visited any of the Wonders of the World yet (from any of the lists)?
Yes!

4. If you have, which one? If you haven’t, which would you like to visit?
I have been able to visit the Grand Canyon (one of the natural wonders of the world). I would also like to get to the barrier reef, since it is in my own country and all!

5. What is your favorite sport?
Ice hockey. I am a terrible ice skater (too hot for many ice skating rinks here) so I totally respect anyone who can skate on ice and try and play a sport.

6. What is the one piece of advice you’d offer to someone younger than you?
Be Bold! Be You!

7. What is your favorite book?
All through our trip we listened to the the dark tower series by Stephen King. I also like the Sleep Book from Dr Suess.

8. If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would you choose?
Alaska, but only if I had lots of money!

9. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you choose?
I am also going back in time on this one to meet Tesla. The coolest geek who ever lived.

10. If you could pick a theme song to play every time you entered a room full of people, what would you choose?
The song the Chicago Blackhawks play when they score a goal. Fun to dance to!

11. If you could be fluent in any language, which would you choose?
Navajo. They are an awesome people and it is an awesome language.

Questions for my nominees:
1. What type of animal would you be if you could choose?
2. What is your ideal travel destination?
3. Would you choose the money or the box?
4. What movie do you take with you to a deserted island? (Island has no Internet!)
5. What is your dream job?( You can make it up if you want).
6. What is the weirdest food you have eaten?
7. What is your best money saving tip?
8. If you could go back or forward in time, what time period would you visit?
9. If you had to be trapped inside a TV show, which one would it be?
10. What is your favourite Halloween costume?
11. If you had a million dollars to give to a charity, which one would it be?

My fantastic nominees are:
Traveledncaptured, fairly new travelled blog, but they look like they are having a great time.

Dad’s Bucket List. Fun adventures of a dad!

Shadow River. Really nice photography of really nice parts of the world.

NZhikers. Kiwis and their hiking adventures.

Travis Caulfield . Beautiful travel photos from all over the world!

Best of … Saving money

A trip like this is going to be expensive. It is pretty unavoidable, but there are certainly things that be done to reduce the costs.

Best overall money savings strategy. I know priceline.com spend a lot of time talking about how much they will save you, but it is true. Don’t be afraid to bid for a hotel. You may not know which specific hotel you will get, but in many respects it doesn’t matter. The star levels are pretty accurate and you can get amazing deals on hotels and cars. I. would recommend not going below 2 1/2 stars though.

Food Savings. You can go to Costco and buy stuff in bulk. This could be things like drink or snacks. You can also get stuff to microwave, many hotels have a microwave. Make sure you like it before you buy it though, otherwise you will end up with a lot of something you don’t like!

petrol. Costs for petrol can vary very widely while driving from one city to another. If you see cheap petrol fill up, particularly in remote areas. It is probably worth the extra time to fill up more often.

attractions try and buy things from groupon or online before you go. You will often save between 10 and 20 % off the prices you will pay at the door. The city passes are also available in specific cities. Not only do they save you money, but they also save you time on waiting in queues.

Best of … National Parks

National parks truly re the best of America. The rangers are awesome, they always seem well managed and the facilities are great. They are also in places which are completely amazing. Good job Teddy Roosevelt!

Best overall park. Yellowstone, up in Wyoming is awe inspiring. The geysers, the pools, the wildlife, even the stores, Yellowstone has everything. It will make you cry with amazement and wonder.

Best facilities in a park. Grand Canyon. One of the most attended tourist attractions in the world, the National Park Service has really done a lot to maintain this park. Shuttle buses are available to take you to key sites. Rangers to help you plan your trip. Stores to buy stuff. It is a really well maintained park.

Best Tour. Mammoth cave in Kentucky is a great place to learn from some excellent rangers. You can hear about the geology, history and activities of the area. Really cost effective and really interesting.

Best historical park. You can see where the constitution was debated at the independence national historical park in Philadelphia. The rangers that provide the tour here are funny, knowledgeable and cool. This has been well maintained and managed by the nps.

Best moving moment. Seeing school children raise the flag over Fort McHenry while one talented child sings the anthem is incredibly moving. It is really inspiring to see young people learn about and respect their national history.

Best of … Museums

We saw a Lot of museums on the trip. Some were really interesting, some had cool stuff, some were pretty weird. So the best are:

Best Building for a Museum. The American Indian Museum in Washington DC is a beautiful building and one that is really fit for purpose. It has fantastic gardens and a great shape for acoustics. A lot of thought was clearly put into the design of the building and the story that it would tell.

Best air museum. We saw a lot of planes in a lot of museums, but the best one was the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There is a great room which has a fantastic mural which really adds to the atmosphere. There are also a number of carnival rides that are pretty fun. The hanger with the stuff about space is not great, however.

Best weird museum. The Glore Psychiatric Museum in St Joseph Missouri is quite creepy. Not only is the subject matter unsettling, but they have set up mannequins in many of the rooms, many are facing away from you and feel like they may turn to look at you at any moment. However, the museum is fantastic and genuinely interesting. The complicated topic is handled in an understanding way and the staff are patients are treated with respect.

Best local museum . The millyard museum in Manchester New Hampshire is a really great local museum, you leave knowing a load more about the area. The building is also a great place for the museum and the prices are pretty good.

Best natural history museum. New York’s American Museum of Natural History is almost too good. They have so much amazing stuff that you feel bad for other museums. You could spend a week there and still not see everything.

Best museum about an unexpected topic. The sign museum in Cincinnati, Ohio was pretty cool. Doesn’t take forever to see, but the signs seems genuinely representative of their types. It is great to see all the old style neon and it is really beautiful.

Best surprise museum. The wizard of Oz museum in Kansas, is unexpectedly good. One, I didn’t know it existed until a sign on the highway tools me about it and even then I thought it was be terrible. It is actually pretty decent and the town has a yellow brick road!

Best of … Food

American food is known to be somewhat blah …

I don’t eat meat so it was particularly tricky for me. Try asking for a cheeseburger without beef – it will blow people’s minds! (Easy to get in Australia)

However, there was some stand out food that I would be happy to have as a last meal.

Best overall food: Gumbo shop in New Orleans. In fact all food in New Orleans is amazing. The depth of flavour is amazing and very enjoyable. It is extremely filling though.
Best value food: Food at the Chikasaw Cultural Centre in Oklahoma. I could happily eat there everyday.
Best road food: IHop. Cheap, consistent, good.
Best local food: Food along the coast in Mississippi – crawfish, aligator and other stuff!
Best Fast Food: Chipotle. Design your own burritos and they are also ethical purchasers
Best unusual food experience; eating underground at mammoth cave.