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September 27, 2016

Unit #45 / 413 - Appalachian National Scenic Trail 

It's almost by quirk of fortune that while driving through Maine this became my 45th National Park Service site.

- It isn't listed as one of Maine's park sites.

- There's no Passport to Your National Parks stamp within 427 miles.

- And there's not a NPS Visitor Center for it anywhere in the state.

Yet there I found myself, hiking to the summit of Mou...

September 19, 2016

Unit #44 / 413 - Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site 

Quick! Think of three famous sculptures or statues!

1.

2.

3.

What'd you come up with?

I'll share my three:

1. Mount Rushmore

2. Lincoln Memorial

3. The Statue of Liberty

Now, tell me who created each of yours.

Exactly.

How often do we stare at statues, sculptures, and monuments to important people, but have no idea who made them?

That's the goal of Saint-...

September 19, 2016

Unit #43 / 413 - Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

Can a house have a spirit? One that transcends families, centuries, and cultures?

If it's possible, it exists in Woodstock, Vermont, and it's spirit is conservationism.

The foundation of that spirit began with its first owner, George Perkins Marsh, whose family farm the house sits on. After a wave of settlers came to Vermont in t...

September 19, 2016

Unit #42 / 413 - Saratoga National Historical Park

Click here to read the Albany Times Union coverage of my visit with more great pictures!

For a long period of history, the sun never set on the British empire. Because basically, their military was unbeatable.

If I was comparing this to college football--and I'm going to 'cause it's the fall and I just watched Nebraska play from my iPhone in a Paner...

September 18, 2016

Unit #41 / 413 - Martin Van Buren National Historic Site

Jay-Z. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg.

Who do you think of when you hear "American Dream"?

Before these modern iterations, there was one OG, rags-to-riches, innovator who represented American dreamers:

Martin Van Buren.

Beginning in 1782, this small-town, inn-owner's son began his journey on that fabled path even before the Revolutionary War gave u...

September 14, 2016

Unit #39 / 413 - Fort Stanwix National Monument 

For many of us, we go about our daily business never wondering if our country will be overthrown that night.

As someone from the former Yugoslavia once told me, "The greatest thing about America is that you know when there's a transfer of power, the teachers will still get paid."

Aside from his comment, I hadn't really ever considered that my country...

September 14, 2016

Unit #39 / 413 - Women's Rights National Historical Park

"I love you guys but seriously... a young, white, able bodied dude saying he hopes his story can show people of color that the NPS represents their stories too??? Uh... how?!"

The National Park Foundation shared a Q&A they did with me before my trip launched, and this was one of the comments left by a reader.

In that interview, I spoke primari...

September 13, 2016

Unit #38 / 413 - Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

"How do we tell the story of a piece of history that only lasted a moment?" Stanton Hudson, Superintendent/Executive Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural NHS stated early into my visit.

"It's a question we grappled with hard, but one we think we've also done quite well solving."

Indeed Mr. Hudson had a point. Many national...

September 10, 2016

Unit #37 / 413 - James A. Garfield National Historic Site

While much of the National Park Service encompasses vistas and wild nature, as President Obama said during a 2015 site dedication, "Part of what we’re preserving here is also history. It’s also understanding that places that look ordinary are nothing but extraordinary. The places you live are extraordinary, which means you can be extraordin...

September 8, 2016

Unit #36 / 413 - Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial
 

"If _______ wins this election, I'm moving to Canada!"

It's a threat that's made by any part of the political spectrum, during every election since I can remember.

But I wonder in what time period that phrase became socially acceptable? Surely at one point in history it would've been blasphemous, perhaps even treason, to present suc...

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