Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park was designated a national park on February 26, 1919, and is one of the oldest national parks in the United States.  It is located within Arizona, near Flagstaff, and within the parks lies the Grand Canyon, considered to be one of the major natural wonders of the world. Although the Grand Canyon is not the largest canyon in the world, it is spectacular in its combination of size and colorful layers of rock.  The National Park covers a little over 1.2 million acres, and is governed by the National Park Service.  Flying over the canyon always elicits lots of oooooh and aaaaaaaahs from passengers. The South Rim of the park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and services are available year round. The North Rim offers visitor services and facilities from mid-May to mid-October.  […]

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Making Faster Car Rental Pick-ups and Returns

In the March 2007 edition of Fast Company magazine, blogging pal Mark Ashley of Upgrade Travel Better wrote a great article about the changing rental car industry. Mark observes: Online check-in and on-site kiosks have quickly revolutionized the way we get through airports and hotels.  Renting a car, however, has remained a stubbornly retro experience. What can be done to make renting a car more user-friendly? How about check in kiosks, just like you’d check in for your flight?  I figure if the airlines can make sure you don’t present a risk to fly, that there’s a way to check to make sure you have a driver’s license and insurance and entrust a vehicle to your care.  Alamo and National apparently agree, and expect to have kiosks in 80 and 70 cities, respectively, by summertime. What about a return policy that’s […]

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Presidents Day at the Lincoln Memorial

February 19th is Presidents Day, a federal holiday here in the United States. Originally, the holiday was designated as Washington’s Birthday, and was celebrated on George Washington’s actual date of birth, February 22nd.  In 1971, however, as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, the holiday was moved to the third Monday in February.  The holiday has also been expanded to honor Abraham Lincoln (birthday February 12th).  Various states choose to observe the holiday on different days, under different titles, and even different presidents, but as far as federal holidays go, today is Presidents Day. I have already written about the Washington Monument and Washington’s estate home in Mount Vernon, but I haven’t written about Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial is at one end of Washington DC’s National Mall.  The building looks like a Greek Doric Temple, with huge columns, and […]

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Photo: UNLV Thomas & Mack Center

Details:  This past week has been NBA All-Star week in Las Vegas, Nevada, and it all comes to a head on Sunday, February 18th when the 2007 All-Star game is played in the Thomas & Mack Center.  (The game will be televised on TNT, for those not in Las Vegas.)  Thomas & Mack is also home to the UNLV Rebels. Photo credit:  flickr ___________________________________________________________

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Spa-ing it in Las Vegas

I think that Bugsy Siegel had the right concept about Las Vegas ““ it’s all about image ““ whether that image is about being a high roller, living the high life (even if for only a day), or the opportunity to be bigger than life.  Image seems to be what the commercials are selling as well, when they tout, “what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.”  Really ““ do that many people who visit Las Vegas have clandestine stories that need to be hidden away and never talked about?  Probably not.  It’s all about image. Vegas has tried to make itself over into a family friendly destination, and although I think it falls far short of that goal, the hotels and casinos are trying to provide lots to do and see for those non-gambling travelers.  Of course, that […]

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Philly Noir – An African American Culture Tour of Philadelphia

I have an upcoming trip planned to Philadelphia, and was going through my resources trying to get ideas about where to stay, what to do and see, and, of course, what and where to eat. I noticed that Sound About Philly has added a new walking and podcast tour, this one called Philly Noir.  It’s a walking tour that covers African American culture, history, and experiences (past and present), and includes food, the arts, history and sports.  There are 11 tour segments, and you can download, and then mix and match them based on your interests and time.  Here’s a sampling of some of the segments: Delilah’s/Geechee Girl Rice Café at 12th Street & Filbert.  Oprah named it the very best spot for macaroni and cheese (in photo).  I LOVE mac ‘n cheese! Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame at Spruce […]

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Travel Resources for Planning Your Next Trip

What do you do when you learn that you are going to a destination that you have never been to before? For me, it’s a multi-step process, involving some research, talking to friends and co-workers, a trip or two to the library, and maybe even a movie.  I like to gather data from a variety of sources, because I want both hard facts and opinions, and it’s rare that you can get top quality information like that from only one source. Here are some of the things I do, and places that I look, for information: Primary online research:  One of the first places I go to is the official tourism website for the state or country where I’ll be visiting.  (Smiley Cat has done a great job of organizing and linking to the various official state websites.)  From there, I […]

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Seattle's FareStart Restaurant

There are just some restaurants that make you feel good. FareStart in Seattle (1902 2nd Avenue) is one of them. Not just a restaurant, but also a comprehensive training approach that, for over 12 years, has helped homeless and disadvantaged men, women, and their families, create new opportunities for their future.  The training program combines 16-weeks of hands-on food service training with classroom instruction, individual case management, and job placement to allow graduates of the program to successfully reenter the community and create a new life.  After graduation, an additional 18 months of follow up services is provided, helping graduates get and keep jobs, and make a living wage. FareStart is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11 am to 2 pm, and is frequently referred to as one of the best lunch values in town.  The restaurant is known […]

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Kansas: The 34th State

Today is Admission Day for Kansas, our 34th state, admitted to the Union on January 29th, 1861. Kansas, a state that I’ve not yet visited, is smack dab in the middle of the country, and is, in fact, home to the geographical center of the contiguous United States.  Its capital city is Topeka, and its largest is Wichita. Kansas was originally home to large numbers of Native Americans who hunted buffalo on the prairies.  After the Civil War, scores of immigrants moved to Kansas, turning the prairies into farmland.  Large in geographical area (15th), but small in population (33rd), Kansas today leads the nation in wheat production, and is one of the most productive agriculture states. Because of diminishing populations in Kansas, referred to as Rural Flight, the state and federal government are offering programs of free land and tax […]

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Michigan: The 26th State

Today is Admission Day for Michigan, our 26th state, admitted to the union on January 26th, 1837. Michigan is bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, only Lake Ontario is missing, and has the longest freshwater shoreline of all the states.  Because of this unique geography, the state boasts more recreational watercraft than any other.  Not surprising since an individual is never more than six miles from a natural water source. Residents of Michigan reference their residency within the state claiming to be Uppers (also called “Yoopers”) or Lowers (also called “Trolls” because they live below the Mackinac Bridge), referring to the upper and lower peninsula.  Lansing is Michigan’s capital city, and Detroit the largest.  It’s a big state, ranking 8th in population and 11th in geographic area. When most people think of Michigan, they think of the Detroit […]

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