Eating Your Way Across America’s South

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Eating your way across America's South is a delicious way to spend a vacation. You can start your journey in Charleston, S.C., with Lowcountry shrimp boil at the Charleston Crab House. This dish is served with sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob. Crab and salmon are also on the menu here.

Then you can head southeast to Atlanta for some soul food at Paschal's Restaurant. Fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and a shrimp salad with greens are on the menu here. Sides include fried okra, collard greens, yams and black-eyed peas.

Keep going east to enjoy a Southern breakfast at Ted's Restaurant in Birmingham. You can have grits and gravy with your omelets here. Eggs are served with bacon, ham or sausage. French toast and pancakes are also on the menu.

Catfish, frog legs and quail are on the menu at Fat Baby's Catfish House in Cleveland in northeastern Mississippi. Turnip greens and fried okra are two of the sides.

Stop in New Orleans for po'boy sandwiches at Parasol's Bar & Restaurant and jambalaya at Coop's Place.

You can end your culinary road trip with ribs, pulled pork or beef at Spring Creek Barbeque in Katy, Texas.

Workin’ In A Coal Mine: Coal Inpsired Museums And Attractions

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No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford, PA is a restored anthracite underground coal mine that you can tour for free. You take a train ride into the mine with a tour guide and see the elevator, machinery, mine veins and a hospital. The museum also has a lot of mining equipment and interesting facts.

The National Coal Mining Museum in Overton, England is another free hour and a half underground tour with a retired miner as your tour guide. There is free parking, and the small deposit that you pay upon entering is refundable when you leave unless you want to give that for a donation. The surface displays include such items as numerous buildings, all with different themes, including one with big machines. Also see the stable yard with a horse, old winding house and old boiler room. For the children there is a play area indoors and a playground outdoors.

The Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenafon, Wales is yet another free hour-long underground tour. You feel like a miner as you go down 90 meters equipped with a helmet, battery pack and miner's lamp. Especially interesting are the underground stables where pit ponies stayed for 50 of a year's 52 weeks. Above ground there is machinery and a museum.

Big Things in Small Packages: Miniature Displays

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Crafting miniatures displays is a hobby that goes back for thousands of years. On your next road trip stop by and see some of these amazing miniatures displays.

Smithsonian Museum of American History, Washington D.C.
One of the most beloved displays at the Smithsonian is the Victorian dollhouse. This finely detailed house gets special holiday decorations added in late fall which makes it even more festive. This five story house is consistently one of the most visited displays in the museum.

Roadside America, Shartlesville, PA
The self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Indoor Miniature Village" has been delighting visitors since 1939. This 8,000 square foot mini village is fully landscaped with hundreds of buildings and is wired with electricity.

Miniland USA, Carlsbad, CA
Located inside Legoland, California, Miniland is a miniature display that should not be missed. Consisting of whole mini cities including NYC and San Francisco, this display is made totally of Lego bricks and has so much detail it can keep a visitor looking for hours. Watch for humorous touches from the designers such as aliens landing in the desert outside Las Vegas or vampires on Halloween.

World’s Largest Chair, World’s Largest Basket, World’s Largest…

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Planning a road trip is one of the fun things about a vacation. When you start planning your trip, choose some of the outstanding landmarks in the state you are visiting. Make sure to include some time to stop on the way to your destination so that you can take pictures and find out more about the landmarks. Do some research online about attractions that are in the path of you and the place you are visiting. The Statue of Liberty is one of the things that you should see if you are on the east coast, and the Grand Canyon is a popular sight in the middle of the country. If you are traveling on the west coast, try to take a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and see the bay area. Mount Rushmore is also a place that offers relaxation and history. Make a list of the things you want to see.

That Old Black Magic: Voodoo And More in Lousiana

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That Old Black Magic: Voodoo And More in Louisiana

Louisiana Voodoo or New Orleans Voodoo is not to be confused with Haitian Voodou or Hoodoo, though elements of the latter are sometimes involved. Voodoo did, however, originate in Africa, brought over via the slave trade. Voodoo is considered an ecstatic religion with an oral tradition. That is, it has no sacred canon or religious texts. But, just as in many other religions, personal beliefs vary. The word Voodoo comes from the word Vodoun from the Fon language, which means god. Although Voodoo is commonly associated with black magic, that is actually a confusion with Hoodoo. In reality, Voodoo has more similarity to earth religions such as Wicca. Superstitions and spells do play a large part in traditional Voodoo however. Most well-known of these is probably the Voodoo Doll, or gris-gris. It is essentially a form of talisman, which can bring bad luck or good luck, depending on how it's used. Voodoo Queens are also popular figures in Louisiana Voodoo. They are essentially priestesses or shamans, though they frequently act as oracles as well. Marie Laveau is a famous Voodoo Queen who lived in New Orleans in the 1830s. She is still a popular figure today.

Take a Walk Through America’s Gray Bar Hotels

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Breaking the law in America could land you in one of the many Gray Bar Hotels across the nation. Walking across the yard of the facility will be part of your daily routine, if you want to go outdoors and socialize. You are told what time you can eat your three daily meals. If you are lucky to find work inside the hotel, you can walk to commissary each week and purchase snacks, clothing, hygiene products and other necessities for your stay. The Gray Bar Hotels come with physician units, in case you are injured while staying at the hotel. Unless you are staying in a private facility where lodgers get the privilege to have a television in their rooms, you must share with hundreds of other guests.

You may be the nicest person who made a simple mistake, but that is not the case for all the other individuals walking through America's Gray Bar Hotels. Some people there have committed serious crimes, and as luck sometimes has it, they could end up sharing the same room with you, due to limited space that often causes the hotel to be overcrowded. The cleanliness of these hotels is not the best, but it's livable.Take a look here to learn more: Inflatable Hotel Rooms (UPDATE) - The Bubble Hotel Lets Guests Cleanly Enjoy the Great Outdoors (TrendHunter.com)

Stick ‘em Up! Ghost Towms Of The Old West

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Visiting some of the ghost towns in the old west can be an experience the whole family will enjoy and remember for years to come. These old remnants of towns long past offer insight to a different way of life in America. Hopefully they will still be there for future generations to visit with the proper preservation.

Some of the towns still have business operating out of the crumbling buildings. Boutiques, candy stores and gift shops line the streets of the downtown area. Sometimes tours are offer in some of the old mining areas or caves which may be in the area. They are usually hot and dusty in the summer and cold in the winter, although the weather can vary by state.

Most of the towns still have a few people living in them although they are called ghost towns. Historians classify a ghost town as one that was once was a boom town and now most of the inhabitants are gone. They can be found all over the west and usually offer a full day of fun and activity for the whole family. Plan you next vacation around visiting ghost towns in the western United States. Your family will have a history

Natural Wonders of the Southeast

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If your next trip is going to take you to the Southeast make sure you take time to plan a great route. Use maps you find on your Get.Wildblue.com internet and stop at some of the Southeast's best natural wonders. Here are a few of our favorites...
Natural Bridge: Nestled in the Blue Ridge of Virginia Natural Bridge is a centuries old arch formed by the erosion of rivers. You'll find George Washington's name carved among the many stones and get a cool down from the mist off the river.
Sliding Rock: Just outside of Brevard, NC you'll find Sliding Rock, a naturally occurring set of glass-smooth stones people slide down in the summers. This natural waterslide is somewhat terrifying for kids but it's a great relief from the summer sun.
Georgia Guidestones: It may not be naturally occurring but the guidestones were carved from some of Elberton's famous granite and no one knows exactly why. Think Stonehenge of the Southeast and eat at a great meat and three while you're in town.
Good luck on your road trip - and have fun!

What’s In That Hole? The Surpising Beauty of Caverns

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If you are traveling in North America this summer, caverns can provide a unique educational experience for the whole family. In addition to creating a cool underground diversion away from the summer sun, the beauty of caverns is both exquisite and amazing. Rock formations and living things that can be seen underground are unlike anything seen on the surface.

Exploring caverns can also provide much needed exercise for families who are embarking on long road trips. Guided tours and other amenities are available for nominal cost at many locations throughout the US. Often museums and gift shops are an added attraction.

Kazumura Cave in Hawaii is a volcanic lava tube and the deepest cavern in the US at 3,614 feet. Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southern New Mexico can claim the deepest cave in the continental US. Calrsbad's Lechuguilla cave is 1,604 feet deep. These large cave systems have lots to offer but caverns need not be big to be fascinating and spectacular.

The Carolinas, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia and other southern states provide beautiful caving expeditions in their legendary forested hills. The northern forests of the US and Canada also have some of the most spectacular caverns in North America. Western desert caverns can provide a history lesson about the various people who inhabited them. Cavern exploration has something to offer every family member.

Here Comes Santa Claus! Christmas Inspired Attractions

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Do you simply love Christmas? Is it your favorite holiday? Do you count down the days till the next yule tide and when you will have to put up all those decorations and plan out your baking routine? Christmas is not only for the end of the year but there are also many attractions you can see and visit to bring Christmas to you year round. If you are planning a road trip, a Christmas inspired vacation can be your one way to enjoy the season anytime of the year you want to.

There are several year round Christmas attractions available from coast to coast. Deerfield, MA is but one location that offers a Bavarian Village where Christmas is celebrated year round. If you are heading towards San Antonio, TX there is Ed Clark's Year Round Christmas House Or if you are going north towards Frankenmuth, MI there is Bonner's Christmas Wonderland. Even further north is North Pole, AL that offers year round Christmas decorations and a wonderful lively atmosphere.

No matter where you are going be sure to bring your friends and family for a day trip or even an extended road trip to several Christmas towns in America.
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