Vermont: The 14th State

Today is Admission Day for Vermont, our 14th state, admitted to the Union on March 4th, 1791. Vermont is located in the northeastern part of the United States, an area typically referred to as New England.  With a colorful, independent-thinking history, Vermont was once an independent nation known as the Republic of Vermont.  Today, Vermont is a small state, both is total area, 45th of 50, and population, 49th of 50 (only Wyoming has less people). Vermont is frequently called the Green Mountain State, although it is unclear where the name comes from.  One theory is that it is called that because the state is more heavily forested than neighboring states.  Another theory is that the name came about because of the existence of green-hued shale.  Whatever the official explanation, fall brings about beautiful panoply of color.  The state capital […]

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Florida: The 27th State

Today is Admission Day for Florida, our 27th state, admitted to the Union on March 3rd, 1845. Florida is located in the southeastern part of the country, with the Atlantic Ocean flanking one side, and the Gulf of Mexico the other.  Ponce de Leon named it, and many believe that it was in Florida that he claimed to have found his fountain of youth. Before the formal declaration of Civil War, Florida seceded from the Union, and became a founding member of the Confederate States of America.  Full representation was restored in 1868. For much of its existence, Florida was the least populated southern state.  By the mid-20th century, however, many residents were leaving the frigid weather of the northeastern US, looking for the temperate climes found in Florida.  Today, Florida is the second most populated of the southern states […]

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Ohio: The 17th State

Today is Admission Day for Ohio, our 17th State, admitted to the union on March 1st, 1803.  The date of admission was actually determined retroactively, because no formal date of statehood was set by the original legislation.  It wasn’t until 1953 that the date of admission was set as March 1st, 1803, the date that Ohio’s first legislature convened.  (Photo above of Ohio Statehouse) Back in 1835, Ohio fought a war with Michigan, known as the Toledo War.  Somehow, my US History class missed this important battle, but as a result of it, Michigan got the western part of its Upper Peninsula as part of its state boundaries, and Ohio got the Toledo Strip.  Located in the Midwestern United States, and part of the Great Lakes region, Ohio is a heavily populated state (ranked 7th in population).  Its largest city is […]

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Nebraska: The 37th State

Today is Admission Day for Nebraska, our 37th state, admitted to the union on March 1st, 1867. Located in the middle of the United States, on the Great Plains, Nebraska has a history deeply rooted in farming.  In the 1860’s homesteaders arrived in Nebraska, claiming free land granted by the federal government.  These first settlers staked out their plot of land, and turned the Nebraska prairie into a land of ranches and farms. The state’s largest city is Omaha, followed by the capital city of Lincoln, but small cities and town’s dominate the landscape. I’ve not been to Nebraska, and must confess that prior to doing a little research about it, didn’t know much about the state other than it was located in the middle of the U.S., in an area called Tornado Alley.  I would guess, that unless you […]

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Photo: Napa Valley

Location:  Napa Valley Vineyard. One of my most enjoyable weekend trips is to spend time wine tasting in the Napa Valley (California).  While several large, major wineries are located in Napa, I’ve found that some of the most fun are the smaller, limited production, family wineries. Photo:  Aaron Logan ____________________________________________________________

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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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