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 just 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 tourist website and also Google the area to see what comes up. I also 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. 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, S.D. has branded itself “City of the Presidents” to build on the Mount Rushmore attraction. Downtown Rapid City has a wonderful life-sized statue of a President on every street corner representing every President 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. (see these photos and of more of the Presidents on my blog at https://thoughtsbykim.com/2018/10/01/2018-caravan-tour-south-dakota/).
• Plymouth, Mass. has 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.
• San Francisco, Calif. has an ongoing annual fundraiser called “Hearts of San Francisco” with large hearts painted by local artists that sell for enormous sums of money to benefit vulnerable residents through a fund associated with Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. The hearts have raised over $220 million to date and can be found throughout the city. One in particular caught my eye when I was there in 2017 that was painted by singer Tony Bennett and sold for about $3 million!
• Mobile, Ala. shows off their culture with large clam shell sculptures painted by local artists that can be found throughout the city.
• 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, S.D. 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, Iowa, 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.
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 the beautiful downtown benches painted locally and the wonderful murals downtown. Another fairly local example is the town of Chittenango, N.Y. – 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. (to read about my visit to Oz, click here: https://thoughtsbykim.com/2017/07/16/visit-to-the-land-of-oz-june-2017/)
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 my Blog at www.thoughtsbykim.com for more on these and other adventures I’ve enjoyed over the years – search with key words or just scroll through the posts and see where I might take you.