Category Archive: United States

Udvar-Hazy Center Near Dulles Airport

If you find yourself with spare time while waiting for your connection at Dulles Airport, consider getting off property for a few hours at the  Steven F. Udvar- Hazy Center.  A part of The Smithsonian Institute, the Center is a companion facility to the National Air and Space Museum (map), and is located near Washington Dulles International Airport (map).  The two locations have the largest aviation and space collection in the world. Udvar-Hazy is the President and CEO of International Lease Finance Corp. (a major player in the commercial aircraft business), and the major donor to the Center.  The name honors his efforts to the funding side of the Center in addition to his career in aviation. The facility is immense, and full of displays, large and small, famous and relatively unknown.  Among the famous are:  the Enola Gay, the SR-71 […]

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President Warren G. Harding Home & Museum

Since it’s President’s Day, I thought a fitting theme for today’s post would be something about one of our Presidents.  There were some obvious presidential choices, but never being one to make the obvious choice, I looked at some that might typically get overlooked.  And that led me to President Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States. With a rousing speech from the front porch of his home in Marion, Ohio, Warren Gamaliel Harding launched his campaign for the presidency of the United States.  Historians may argue that Harding was one of the least effective Presidents, but he was certainly an interesting and colorful man, who, right up to his death, led an administration filled with scandal. The Harding Home, located at 380 Mt Vernon Avenue in Marion, Ohio (map) has been restored to its original Victorian […]

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Finding Gold at Sutter’s Mill

There’s gold in them thar hills, and in 1848 one of those hills was located in Coloma, California on the bank of the American River.  It was at this spot, while building a saw mill, that John Sutter and James Marshall found nuggets of gold.  This discovery launched the California Gold Rush, and the great western expansion, turning the hills of California into a bustling community of prospectors seeking their fortune. In the early days of discovery, nuggets of gold could be picked up along the river bed.  Picking up nuggets is pretty easy work, and those early visitors to the area made a good deal of easy money.  After the nuggets were gone came the much harder and more dangerous work of mining for gold. Today, Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park surrounds the location of the old Sutter’s […]

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REVIEW: Riviera Resort & Spa in Palm Springs

If you’re looking for a romantic spot for Valentine’s Day, the newly re-opened Riviera Resort & Spa offers several options that are worthy of your consideration. The Palm Springs resort covers 24 acres, and was once the playground for the famous and infamous.  Elvis Pressley and the Rat Pack spent time here, and back in the 60’s this was the largest and most famous of the Palm Springs resorts. Re-opened in 2009, the resort has a vibe reminiscent of its former glamour days.  Sleek line, bold graphics, abstract details and vivid colors combine with retro furnishings and mirrored walls to make this a hip place to see and be seen. I love the improvements that have been made, and the efforts to restore the Riviera to its rightful place in hotel lore.   You enter the resort through a bright […]

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20 Spots for Shopping Las Vegas-Style

Las Vegas is one of the most frequently visited cities in the United States, whether for business, a music or theater performance, dining, or recreational activity.  It’s also one of the top cities for shopping, an activity becoming increasingly popular with travelers.  In fact, Las Vegas is one of the top fashion cities in the world, meaning that you’ll find some good shopping spots in the city. When you get a break in your conference schedule, want to relax after a day full of meetings, or just want to get away from the hubbub that is often Las Vegas, here are 20 choices for your Las Vegas shopping pleasure: Appian Way at Caesars Palace – Quiet shopping arcade with a life-size replica of David. Bally’s Avenue Shoppes – Over 20 stores and boutiques at Bally’s Hotel. Bridge Avenue at California […]

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Celebrate Our Love Affair with the Car

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is one of the largest museums in the world dedicated to  chronicling the evolution of the car and exploring our love affair with them.  The museum was founded by Robert E. and Margie Petersen in 1994, and was originally located within the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.  It is now in its own permanent location along museum row in the Miracle Mile neighborhood. You’ll find over 100 vehicles on display, covering topics that include the history of the automobile and its impact on popular culture globally as well as on Los Angeles. Here’s a little bit about what you’ll find at at the museum: The first floor is an interactive presentation of the history of the car and its impact and influence on our popular culture. The second floor has permanent […]

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192 Countries in New York City: Visiting the United Nations Headquarters

Visiting the United Nations Headquarters is a little like visiting 192 countries all in one locations.  Located along the East River, at 760 United Nations Plaza, on First Avenue between 42nd & 48th in New York City, the  complex consists of the Secretariat Building, the domed General Assembly Building, the Conference Building and the Hammarskjold Library.  Although located well with the city limits, the complex is considered international territory, and, exception by agreement, is subject to the laws and jurisdiction of the United States, the state of New York, and local laws. Guided public tours of the complex are offered.  Visitors enter the headquarters building at First Avenue & 46th, and start the tour with a brief familiarization of the Organization and its structure.  A guide then takes you through a visit to the chambers of the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, and […]

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Making Money: Bureau of Engraving & Printing

It’s all about the money.  Always has been.  Apparently always will be. At least it is at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP). The BEP prints all the Federal Reserve notes (translation:  Money) at facilities in Washington DC and Ft Worth, Texas.  Coins are produced by the US Mint.  The BEP also prints other specialty items, including engraved White House invitations, and other security documents for various governmental agencies. Free tours are offered at both facilities, and provide an overview of the steps in the money making process.  I toured the Washington DC facility on a rainy mid-week afternoon.  There were no lines, and even though the tour group dawdled a bit, it still only took about an hour to watch stacks and stacks of large pieces of paper become ready-to-be-spent hundred dollar bills.  There is also a short […]

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The Holocaust Memorial: Love & Anguish in Miami Beach

When you hear the destination Miami Beach, what do you think of?  If you’re like me, you probably think about sun and sand, the beaches and swimming pools, lazy days and wild parties at night, and a pretty laid back, carefree attitude.  You aren’t far wrong if that’s what comes to mind. Situated among all the frivolity, however, is the Holocaust Memorial, a dramatic tribute to the six million Jewish Victims of World War II.  The site was designed by architect and sculptor Kenneth Treister, who was charged with interpreting the events of the Holocaust into a memorial that would honor the dead, comfort the survivors, and inform the world of this dark period of history. The Memorial opened to the public in February 1990, with a dedication by Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel. It is hard to […]

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Choosing the Right Hawaiian Island

A trip to Hawaii is a dream vacation for many, but choosing the islands for a vacation is only the beginning.  Although the Hawaiian Islands are made up of many islands and atolls, along with smaller islets, when it comes to vacation, you’re probably talking about visiting one of the six main islands. Depending on what you want out of your vacation, frenetic levels of activity, rocking nightlife, or peaceful sandy beaches, you’ll want to choose an island that fits your personal preferences.  While sharing the basics of beautiful sun, sand, and surf, each island has its own special ambiance, so be sure to make the right matchup and have a perfect vacation in paradise. Here’s a brief rundown to help with your preliminary research. Hawaii, the Big Island:  This is the largest of the islands, and also the youngest […]

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