Travel Thoughts by Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….Hunting For Treasures!
I admit, when I travel I do enjoy visiting the tourist spots – you know, those places that are famous (or infamous) that everyone wants to see at least once in their life. But, I also like to seek out what makes wherever I am stand out from any other place. I like to find the quirky little out of the way place you can only find there or someplace that tells a story of that town’s past or showcases local heroes, artists, or chefs.
So, I like to do my homework before I go. I like to visit the area’s tourism website and also Google the area to see what comes up. I visit sites like TripAdvisor to search for “Things To Do” in the area and use the website “Roadside America” to find the not-so-well known points of interest (I’ll always remember finding a “Gas Station Jesus” in Iowa on that site). If I have a car, I take time to just drive around town looking for murals, statues, and signs pointing me to points of interest that didn’t come up on any searches. If I don’t have a car, I try to do tours, such as hop-on-hop-off type bus tours or other ways to see the local attractions – my hotel usually will have lots of great suggestions, too.
I get especially excited when I find things like art walks or themes throughout a town or city. Here are just a few of the cool things I’ve found in my travels:
- Rapid City, SD has branded itself “City of the Presidents” to build on the Mount Rushmore attraction. Downtown Rapid City has a wonderful life-sized statue of every US President – one on every street corner – in a pose that showcases his personality. My two favorites were John F. Kennedy depicted walking with young John-John holding a toy airplane and Abraham Lincoln sitting in a chair with his young son kneeling beside him in a Civil War costume and Lincoln handing him a toy canon.
- Plymouth, MA: When I visited Plymouth, they had sculptures of huge lobsters hand painted by local artists scattered throughout their downtown area. There was one painted like a rock star holding a guitar above his head, one painted like a sea captain, and others with historic scenes on them. I hear they have something different, now, but I really enjoyed strolling around Plymouth looking for all the lobsters.
- In Louisville, KY, I found Cave Hill Cemetery – a gorgeous garden styled cemetery established in the mid-1800’s. It has rolling hills, lakes, streams, abundance of nature, and
lots of stunning statues and memorials – some of the most unusual memorials I’ve ever seen! It is where Muhammad Ali and Colonel Sanders of KFC fame are buried. I spent a couple hours driving through and looking at all the cool statues and memorials. It was quite a treat!
- Sioux Falls, SD has an amazing Sculpture Walk through their downtown area. Some sculptures depicted historical references of the area, some were quirky, some cultural, and some were even interactive. The sculptures line multiple streets in the downtown section of the city and is worth the stroll to see them all.
- In Dubuque, IA, I enjoyed a stroll along the city’s River Walk on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River looking at various sculptures created by local artists and loads of art scattered throughout the downtown area.
- Others: On Long Island, I saw an incredible crypt with a stone knight in full armor lying in rest on top, a big duck, and a flying pig. In the Azores off Portugal, I saw a pineapple plantation where they grow all their pineapples in green houses. In Savannah, GA, we got on a hop-on-hop-off bus and Forrest Gump hopped on to ask if we knew where Lt. Dan was. And so much more than I can possibly include in the space I have here.
These are just a few examples…I find wonderful treasures like these just about everywhere I go! Many cities and towns across the country love to showcase their local artists and history with murals, art walks, and themes. Even our own Albion has wonderful murals downtown, reminders of our very own Santa, and lots of examples of our local sandstone and cobblestone turned into stunning architecture. Another fairly local example is the town of Chittenango, NY – the birthplace of L. Frank Baum – author of the Wizard of Oz books. They have yellow brick sidewalks and loads of Oz themed shops and a wonderful Oz themed library – they even have an annual Oz-stravaganza festival the first weekend in June every year.
When traveling, be sure to look for the unique things that are local treasures found wherever you happen to be…near or far! You’re sure to enjoy what makes every place on earth “special” in some way!
Visit these blog links for more on some of the points of interests I mentioned in this article or just visit my blog and search using a key word or scroll around to see where I might take you: