The Power of Road Trips

Units #59 – 64 / 413 - Adams National Historical Park - Cape Cod National Seashore - New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park - Roger Williams National Memorial - Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park - Springfield Armory National Historic Site “As I barreled down the interstate, hands tightly wrapped around the wheel, I noticed something other than the posted speed limits. I was slowly being overtaken by the transformative power of travel.” From The Road to Everywhere: Why You Can’t Put Off That Trip Any Longer In March 2005, I planned my first independent road trip. After 19 years living in the Midwest, I was itching to get out and see the world. And after years of family ro

How to Visit 3 Boston National Parks in One Day

Units #56, 57 and 58 / 413 - Frederick Law Olmstead National Historic Site - John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site - Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site “Andy, can you quickly Google how tall Vanny is, please?” I asked while approaching a “Low-Clearance” warning on Boston’s Storrow Drive. For years I have seen this meme on Facebook and inwardly chuckled. Having grown up in the Midwest, where many a city was built on a square grid, I’d recall with warmth the roads of my youth and the 90-degree turns that took me from home to school. But now, as I’m living out of a high-roof cargo van for the next 3 years of this trip, driving has taken a turn I never exp

Salem: More Than Just Witches!

Unit #55 / 413 – Salem Maritime National Historic Site How does a building nation prove its worth versus the most powerful empire in the world? It’s a question the early American colonialists had to answer often in their quest for independence and beyond. One of the ways they did it was by establishing themselves as an economic force to be reckoned with. Through the utilization of America’s vast, undeveloped resources, the colonialists were able to insert themselves into the global conversation with the establishment of shipping ports such as that in Salem, Massachusetts. This early port began shipping cod in the 1630s and by the 1700s had become one of the leading ports in the new world; re

How to Fund Your Own Colony or National Parks Project

Unit # 54 / 413 – Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site Before this trip, I never truly understood the unique circumstances that brought colonialists to what is now the United States. Sure I learned about the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the Anabaptists, etc. and remembered their names long enough for a multiple choice test, but I never really felt their stories the way I have on this trip. Take, for example, the Puritans who moved to present day Massachusetts in search of a place to freely practice their religion. While that sounds great on paper, as Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site eloquently describes in their Visitor Center video, it takes more than just a will to do something. As

3 Ways to See Boston's National Parks

Units #51, 52 & 53 / 413 - Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area - Boston African American National Historic Site - Boston National Historical Park One city with so much history. Overflowing with exposed brick buildings, cobblestone streets, and New England charm from centuries of settlers, Boston provides a glimpse into the world that created America. Prominent on that journey to the past is the Boston National Historical Park and the famous Freedom Trail that crosses through Boston's downtown. Beginning at the Boston Common city park, it takes walkers on a 2.5-mile trail past houses of worship, sites of demonstration, markets, and homes that all helped birth the American Revolutio

How a Few Boston Suburbs Kept Americans from Being British

Unit #50 / 413 - Minute Man National Historical Park How often do we learn about Revolutionary War battles and the concept is difficult to comprehend compared to 21st-century tactics? With historical sites often represented by fields of grass allowed to return to their natural state, like at Saratoga National Historical Park, it can be difficult to imagine the happenings of 18th-century America even while standing in the same spot. However, at Minute Man National Historical Park in suburban Boston, guests can walk the same path that a day-long Revolutionary War battle took place, even entering some of the 11 original houses that witnessed the fight. Click here to read the Wicked Local covera

America's Venice and National Park Site

After five months traveling around the Upper Midwest and Northeast United States, I've noticed 3 things you'll likely find in any American shopping mall: An Auntie Anne's pretzel shop. A Dairy Queen/Orange Julius. And clothes made from every corner of the world. In our age of "fast-fashion" and globalization, it's hard to imagine a time when clothes weren't available at the click of a button. Yet for those who lived in the 19th-century, getting a new shirt could mean up to six months of making that garment yourself. As with many products of the time, the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s brought an opportunity to solve that. Upon witnessing--and memorizing--the tightly concealed technologie

Why You Can't Judge a National Park by its Name

Unit #48 / 413 - Acadia National Park When you hear the title "National Monument," you probably think of a granite statue to some dead white guy. So learning that the National Park Service currently has 84 National Monuments, you might be preparing to visit effigies of every middle school subject you ever studied. But what if you stumbled upon these? Would you think you made a wrong turn? One of the peculiarities I'm learning about the National Park Service on this trip to all 400+ of their sites is that, like many things, it can often be politics above precision. Take, for example, the above Buck Island Reef, Canyon De Chelly, and White Sands National Monuments. Doesn't look much like any d

French People Exist in the U.S. Because of this National Park

Unit #47 / 413 - Saint Croix Island International Historic Site Sometimes this 3+ year journey to all 413 national parks makes me feel like an explorer. But then I learn about the people who lived in America thousands of years ago, or settled here from across oceans, or surveyed an unknown land, and I feel pretty comfortable given my GPS and van's cruise control. Using those modern travel luxuries, I made my way across the northern woods of Maine to the easternmost tip of Calais (pronounced like the thing you don't want on your foot). This border town across the river from New Brunswick is a fitting place to anchor the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site (the only International Hi

America's Newest, Most Controversial National Park Site

Unit #46 / 413 - Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument 14 Sept 2016 Sitting out a shower after hiking to the top of Barnard Mt. I'm a local so I won't comment on the politics of the National Monument. It's done, and I'll look on the bright side. I'm not happy that I can no longer cruise the roads and explore every side turnoff; (used to hunt between Whetstone and Barnard Mt.). But maybe the restricted access will somehow make things better. Best wishes everyone. Registered Maine Guide (From a group notepad left for hikers in a lean-to on the International Appalachian Trail, which crosses through Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument) Going into my 3 year journey to all 400+ U.S.
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Professional Speaker - Motivational Speaker - Travel Show Host - Travel TV Host - Gay Speaker - Best College Speaker - Best High School Speaker - Best Corporate Speaker - Travel Expert - Road Trip Expert - Gay Travel - Travel Influencer - Influencer - Travel Show - Best Motivational Speaker