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Category: Historic Places & Landmarks

Chaco Canyon’s Main Attraction: Pueblo Bonito

November 17, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

Chaco Canyon’s Main Attraction: Pueblo Bonito

In my previous post, I outlined a recent visit we took (finally!) to visit Chaco Canyon, the center of trade, culture and civilization in the southwest United States during the years of 800-1100. While fascinated with this World Heritage Site, we came away with more questions than answers, such as why the entire population of the community packed up and moved on abruptly after 300 years. This question is even more perplexing when looking at the main attraction: the incredible Pueblo Bonito. Named Pueblo Bonito, or Beautiful Town, by Lt. James Simpson who discovered the site in 1849, the site also has Pueblo, Hopi and Navajo place names. The Hopi and Pueblo peoples of New Mexico see Pueblo Bonito as an important part of their ancestral homeland; a place where clans stopped and lived during their sacred migrations. Traditional stories from many of the pueblo tribes as well as the Navajo know Chaco Canyon as the home of the Great Gambler who came from the south, enslaved the pueblo people... [Read more...]

Good Times Happen in Kentucky

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Good Times Happen in Kentucky

Thousands of snowbirds pass through Kentucky every year and miss out on some of the most incredible natural wonders and cultural treasures anywhere. Kentucky Welcome Center, I-65, Exit 114 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved From horse racing and Bourbon Country, to the culture of Appalachia, Civil War significance, and Abraham Lincoln, Kentucky is a state enriched with deep traditions, important history, and authentic heritage. Every mile we’ve traveled along the highways and byways of the Bluegrass State has led us to new discoveries: National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Mammoth Cave National Park in Cave Country, Grand Ole Opry of Kentucky in Renfro Valley, Cumberland Gap, Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge, folk arts and crafts in Berea, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, horse farms, and Bourbon Country. Once an Indian hunting ground where Native American civilizations flourished as early as 13,000 years ago, Kentucky is bounded in the north by the great Ohio River and in the west... [Read more...]

The Mysteries of Chaco Canyon

November 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Mysteries of Chaco Canyon

In the past few posts, I have been outlining some places you may want add to your list of sites to visit next summer when you take to the road again. Chaco Canyon, NM is a place I had wanted to visit since almost the first time I set foot in New Mexico. One thing or another always seemed to get in the way of our making the trip. Our son Ryan’s visit this past August provided just the opportunity I had been waiting for. An Environmental Science major, with an avid interest in Anthropology, Ryan was only too happy to give us the purpose for making the trip. We set out early as it was a four hour drive to Chaco. The drive was uneventful, except that the last 13 miles of road, just before we reached the Chaco Culture National Historical Site, were the worst dirt and gravel road I have ever experienced. It was, essentially, a washboard with ditches. Our Dodge Durango was bouncing so wildly, I was sure my door would pop open. We finally arrived safely and were greeted by the exceptionally helpful... [Read more...]

Chief Plenty Coups State Park, Billings, MT…

November 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Chief Plenty Coups State Park, Billings, MT…

This past week our family went to the Chief Plenty Coups State Park in SE Montana.  Located just 40 minutes south of Billings on the Crow Indian Reservation, the park is a little known gem! Our group arrived shortly after lunch, and spent two and a half hours exploring the well done museum/visitor’s center, Chief Plenty Coups’ house, and the acreage that makes up the park. The first place that we checked out was the museum, which is a terrific balance of informational displays for adults and hands-on activities for the smaller bunch (and a few olders when they thought I wasn’t looking ). It was bright, clean, and concise; the whole museum is very well done; I was impressed (if you’ve been to MT, you can appreciate that comment – we don’t usually put a lot of money or effort into making our state parks/campgrounds desired destinations – maybe I should say didn’t – I would love to see that change)! Inside the museum were informative... [Read more...]

Stepping IntoThe Past

November 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Stepping IntoThe Past

La Hacienda de los Martinez is one of the few Northern New Mexican style late Spanish Colonial “great houses” remaining in the southwest.  It was mentioned in a recent post as the location of the annual Old Taos Trade Fair, but even if you are unable to attend the last weekend in September, the Hacienda is worth a visit in its own right. A truly exceptional example of traditional Spanish Colonial architecture, it is maintained by Taos Historic Museums as a local historic site. A view of the outside of the Hacienda compound Located alongside the Rio Pueblo, in what is now lower Ranchitos, this 21 room family home with two courtyards was built in 1804 by Severino Martinez. From a tract of land deemed unsuitable for farming, Martinez grew the hacienda by the work of his own hands into a fortified compound of living quarters, interior courtyards, storage areas and a walled corral area. Located at the northern end of the Camino Real route, the oldest road in North America which begins in... [Read more...]

A Glimpse of the Past

October 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A Glimpse of the Past

If you’re anything like me and my family, when the weather cools, kids and teachers are back in school and football is again the sport of choice, your thoughts turn to settling in for winter and making plans for places you want to visit during the next camping season. My next few posts will give you some ideas of some terrific places to put on your agenda for next year. On September 29th, Terry and I attended the 26th Annual Old Taos Trade Fair. Typically held the last weekend in September each year, the Fair is held at the La Hacienda de los Martinez, a landmark in its own right. Worth a visit any time of the year, and soon the subject of its own post, the Hacienda plays host during the trade fair to many groups of interesting participants. There is a Mountain Men encampment, complete with tents, tools and authentic items that illustrate the difficult conditions these men endured. They stay in their encampment throughout the weekend, in nearly every way living the lives of the mountain... [Read more...]

Western Heritage Center, Billings, MT…

October 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Western Heritage Center, Billings, MT…

A few weeks ago, our Tribe ventured in to Billings, MT to check out the Western Heritage Center.  Located in the old Billings Library, the building has some beautiful architecture.  The YWHC features local history, including the founding and subsequent boom of Billings. Since we were on a family outing, I was delighted to find the museum was geared towards children and adults alike.  The receptionist that met us was very cheerful and friendly.  She interacted with the kids and told them about all the different things there was for them to do. Ranching is ‘how the West was Won’, including right here in Billings.  A western theme prevails through much of the museum.  Just to the right of the entrance, there is a room dedicated to the history of weddings in the area.  There is a log cabin in this room that is full of fun things for kids to play with: old school desks complete with McGuffy Readers, tons of dress-up clothes, an old cook stove with tea kettle and other cooking... [Read more...]

2014 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

October 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

2014 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show Dates Announced

Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it! According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in recreational vehicles, converge on the sleepy little desert town of Quartzsite, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem, and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. “If you’re looking for anything related to RVs, you’ll find it at the RV show in Quartzsite,” says Kenny King, show promoter. There will be several hundred new and used RVs on display in 2014 and over a dozen service bays will be offering immediate installation, repairs, and service on many of the items that will be exhibited at the show. This phenomenon started over 30 years ago and is now billed as “The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World”. The inaugural Quartzsite RV Show opened January 28, 1984 at the corner of Highway 95 (now... [Read more...]

Best Road Trip Ever App

October 7, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Best Road Trip Ever App

We are a family that loves to explore around while we are going on vacation.   To be honest, while we will enjoy going to the beach for a few hours, I don’t think we could last a whole day sitting in the sand, playing in the water and so on.  Mind you it could be different with kids (we have never went to the beach with them yet…) but deep down I think it’s better to plan how much time you want to spend in the sun. As we are seriously considering next year as potentially the year of our road trip to Florida, I was pondering how I can make our future trips more fun and exciting.   Then it dawned on me… when traveling around, you always have offbeats attractions, folk art sites, sights and eateries to check out.   Thinking of that I remember visiting the Big Potato in OLeary (PE) ,the Big Violin in Matacquac (NB) and the Big Nickel in Sudbury (ON).   What other unconventional attractions can we find? So this morning I was checking out iTunes and discovered this app –... [Read more...]

Top 10 National Wildlife Refuges Scenic Drives

October 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Top 10 National Wildlife Refuges Scenic Drives

To really explore a national wildlife refuge, of course, you’ll want to get out of your vehicle. But when time is limited or you want to get the lay of the land before you set out on a trail, a scenic drive should be considered. For all us ‘let’s-check-it-out-first’ types, here’s a sampling of some super national wildlife refuge drives to whet your appetite for further exploration. 10. Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Michigan Photographers do a wonderful job at capturing the beauty of Seney National Wildlife Refuge. (Credit: fws.gov/Dawn Kopp) Seney National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is located in the east-central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, halfway between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. A seven-mile ride along Marshland Wildlife Drive leads past wetlands and open water and through deciduous and coniferous forests in the Great Manistique Swamp, an old lumbering... [Read more...]

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