5 U.S. Town Names That Will Crack You Up

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Town Names That Will Crack You Up

Have you ever wondered why some towns don’t have more appealing names? For example, there’s a city named Bland in Missouri and one called No Name in Colorado.

That said, you’re probably grateful that you don’t live in Slickpoo, Idaho, for obvious reasons. Regardless of where you make your home, you won’t be able to help smiling when you learn the names of these five American towns.

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Two Egg, Florida

Two Egg, Florida

Credit: TARIK KIZILKAYA/ iStock

This city is certainly a good egg – two of them to be exact. Two Egg is actually an unincorporated area in Jackson County, Florida. It doesn’t have a city government, so no one pays taxes or has access to municipal services.

The area was developed in the early 20th century, and one of its first businesses was a sawmill built by the Allison Company. In honor of the company’s contribution to the region’s economic growth, the city was named Allison. However, the newly-birthed city didn’t keep the name for long.

When the Great Depression hit, jobs began to disappear and people started to barter for their daily needs. As legend goes, a mother often sent her sons to trade two eggs for sugar at the general store in town. Eventually, the store came to be known as a “two-egg store.” As time progressed, even visitors began calling the town Two Egg.

The name, however, testifies to the resilience of the American spirit. At a difficult time in history, it represented the rugged optimism exhibited by the Greatest Generation. Two Egg officially made its way to the map of Florida in 1940.

In terms of popular culture, the city also has other claims to fame. Actress Faye Dunaway is from the region, and the area is said to be the roaming grounds of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.

Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Intercourse, Pennsylvania

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The name of this town almost certainly gets laughs from everyone who hears it. While it may not be obvious from the name, this town sits in the heart of Amish Country in Pennsylvania. It’s surrounded by Amish farms, and the shops sell a variety of handmade Amish quilts, furniture, toys, and crafts. These attractions make it one of the top tourist destinations in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

However, none of the above explains how Intercourse got its name. Don’t fret; we’re getting to it. The town was originally known as Cross Keys. It didn’t get its more colorful moniker until 1814. There are three prevailing theories as to how Intercourse was named, although none are as racy as its name indicates:

Theory One: The town had an old racetrack named “Entercourse,” and in due time, the name evolved to “Intercourse.”

Theory Two: Intercourse may have been a reference to the town’s location at the intersection of Routes 340 and 772.

Theory Three: The city may have been named as a nod to the close fellowship enjoyed among its communities of faith. Such social cohesion was vital to the region and may have been reflected in the town’s name.

While the town of Intercourse is certainly worth a visit, you don’t need to go there to find out what it looks like. Instead, check it out in scenes from the 1985 movie “Witness,” starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis.

Humptulips, Washington

Humptulips, Washington

Credit: James Wheeler/ Shutterstock

This oddly-named town and its associated river is located near the Washington coast and gets a surprisingly high amount of traffic. Highway 101 passes through the town, taking tourists and travelers to Washington’s beaches or the Olympic National Forest. So, the odds are high that the name Humptulips has drawn many laughs from tourists over the years.

While the name combines two oddly-paired English words, its origins are not Anglo-Saxon. The name originated thousands of years ago and is actually a Salish word of the native Chehalis tribe. “Humptulips” actually translates to “hard to pole.” It was used to describe the Humptulips River, which was “hard to pole” or a challenge to navigate, due to downed timber in its waters. While this explanation makes sense, other sources claim the word really means “chilly region.”

So, if you ever find yourself in the city, let the name “Humptulips” remind you of the region’s proud native history — after you enjoy a good laugh, of course.

Hell, Michigan

Hell, Michigan

Credit: Sswonk/ CC BY-SA 3.0

It turns out that you can go to hell – you just have to plan a trip to Michigan to get there. Hell, Michigan, is actually located near Ann Arbor in the southeast region of the state.

The town was first settled in 1838; it only had a grist mill and general store then. The founder, George Reeves, was in the habit of paying farmers for grain with home-distilled whiskey. There are several legends about the name’s origin, however. The one embraced by locals is that farmers’ wives used to claim (tongue-in-cheek) their husbands had “gone to Hell again” when they visited Reeves during harvest time.

Meanwhile, others speculate that German visitors once described the town as “so schön hell,” which translates to “so beautifully bright.” Yet another theory involves Reeves, who allegedly said “I don’t know, you can name it Hell for all I care,” when asked what the town should be called. No matter the origin, the town officially became Hell, Michigan, in 1841.

Today, the town has fully embraced its notorious name and even leverages it as an important source of revenue. For example, anyone can pay to be the Mayor of Hell, Michigan, for one hour or one day.

Boogertown, North Carolina

Boogertown, North Carolina

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Sure, it’s a bit immature, but we’re willing to bet you couldn’t stifle a smile when you heard this one. While the name of this town sounds more like a playground taunt, it actually refers to the stories of boogeymen who haunted the forests of a North Carolina town.

No boogeymen ever existed, of course; it was just an invention of crafty bootleggers looking to keep townspeople and authorities out of the woods while they made moonshine.

So, where is this comically named town located? You’ll find it in Gaston County, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte. The vibrant area boasts plenty of exciting events and activities for visitors and residents alike. If you’re game, consider hunting for boogeymen yourself at night.

5 Creepiest Places in the United States

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Creepiest Places in the United States

It’s almost Halloween. If you need a little adrenaline rush for this spooky season, consider visiting one of the five creepiest places in the United States. Each will scare you more than an old horror movie.

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Mütter Museum (Philadelphia, PA)

Mütter Museum (Philadelphia, PA)

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If you’re a science nerd or love learning about the human body, you’ll feel right at home at Mütter Museum. But the average visitor will most likely be creeped out. Why? Because it’s the home of human skulls, preserved bodies, cross-sections of Albert Einstein’s brain, and so much more.

The mission of the Mütter Museum is to “help the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.” And while that does sound like a noble cause, this museum is still not for the faint of heart. That collection of 139 human skulls — they all belonged to one man. He was a Viennese anatomist named Joseph Hyrtl, who lived in the 1800s.

Trans–Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Westin, West Virginia)

Trans–Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Westin, West Virginia)

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There is nothing creepier than a shuttered insane asylum. And that’s precisely what the Trans–Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is. For $100, you can stay overnight. Seriously. This asylum operated in Westin, West Virginia, from 1864–1994. Perhaps the origins of the shelter were altruistic, providing a safe, comfortable home for those not able to function in normal society. But over the years, conditions became more and more horrific. At one point during the 1950s, over 2,400 people lived in this facility built to house only 250.

Sadly, hundreds of people died here over the years. And staff, guests, and hosts from your favorite paranormal reality TV shows say they’ve seen apparitions, heard bizarre noises, and experienced strange things. The asylum’s website says they’ll leave it to you to decide if the place is haunted.

Villisca Ax Murder House (Villisca, Iowa)

Villisca Ax Murder House (Villisca, Iowa)

Credit: Laura Bernhardt/ Flickr/ CC BY-ND 2.0

The Villisca Ax Murder House is the site of a brutal murder scene. This horrible event happened in 1912, but the murder remains unsolved. Of course, after they found bodies, this small Iowa town was in chaos and just wanted to be able to go to sleep without worrying for their lives. But despite private detectives, police investigations, and several suspects, the case was never solved.

We can rest assured whoever committed these heinous 1912 murders is no longer with us. But that still doesn’t explain the reported ghost sightings and other hauntings at the Villisca Ax Murder House. If you really want to go check it out yourself, you sure can. You can even stay there overnight.

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The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)

The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)

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“Redrum, redrum.” If you’ve seen The Shining, you know exactly what we’re talking about. A stay at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, inspired Stephen King to write the hit book. The movie wasn’t filmed at The Stanley, but guests, staff, and visitors often report paranormal experiences, including feeling the ghosts of past travelers.

And while The Stanley is an incredibly stunning hotel and on the National Register of Historic Places, they do lean into their reputation. They offer night tours that emphasize the paranormal. And around Halloween, they have lots of extra-creepy events such as a murder mystery dinner and a masquerade party in the ballroom that is supposedly the most haunted space in the whole venue.

Clinton Road (West Milford, New Jersey)

Clinton Road (West Milford, New Jersey)

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One of the myths of Clinton Road is that the ghost of a little boy haunts a particular bridge. Sometimes, if you throw him a coin, he will throw it back to you. Sounds silly enough, but how freaked out would you be if that happened to you? One legend has it that the boy was hit by a car while he was walking on the bridge when he bent over to pick up a quarter. So if you go there, see a coin on the ground, and try to pick it up, he will push you into the water to save you from being hit by a car too. So maybe he’s a friendly ghost.

China: Online residence registration for foreigners

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Online residence registration for foreigners

China International Import Expo

From Friday, foreigners arriving in Shanghai can register their residence online instead of going to the police in person.

The law requires people from overseas to register their residence on the Chinese mainland within 24 hours of arrival. Previously, apart from those staying in hotels, everyone had to go to a police station to register their temporary address.

Shanghai is the first city in China to introduce online residence registration. The system could benefit about 500,000 people a year, according to official estimates.

People can scan the following QR code with their mobile phone or log onto https://crjzndg.gaj.sh.gov.cn/24hr to register. So far, the only language options are English and Chinese.

Online residence registration for foreigners

To register, people need to sign up with their e-mail address, upload a picture of their passport page with personal data and picture, and give their address in Shanghai and their entry and exit dates.

An SMS message will confirm receipt of the digital registration form.

Jiang Lili, a French citizen who lives with her husband’s parents in the city, said online registration made the process much more convenient.

“While the police stations have working hours, the online registration doesn’t,” she said. “Also, previously I had to present proof of the authenticity and legality of my residence to the police, but this system doesn’t require that.”

Ye Jun, director of the foreigner administration division of the public security bureau’s exit-entry administration bureau, said online registration exempts foreigners from providing certain materials to make the process easier.

“We will have community police officers to come up to them at the registered address, and if any cheating in this regard is discovered, legal action will be taken,” he said.

More convenience at CIIE

Police said this was one of the exit-entry measures to help foreigners attending the second China International Import Expo.

“Last year, we found that a number of foreigners lived in residential communities during the expo because hotel rooms were not available, and some of them didn’t have enough time to register at police stations which are not always on their doorstep,” Ye said.

Last year, exit-entry police had a stand inside the venue which offered consultation and emergency services to foreigners attending the event. An office at the venue this year will allow foreigners to apply for or extend visas.

There is a photo booth and a visa application form printing machine. By scanning their passport and the bar code generated on their picture, applicants don’t need to fill out basic information about themselves by hand.

The office is on the first floor of the B0 office building, opposite Gate 13.

Cai Baodi, director of the foreigners’ exit-entry document administration division of the exit-entry administration bureau, said the office will likely be open during other large-scale events at the National Exhibition and Convention Center.

Online residence registration for foreigners

Shanghai police

A foreigner applies for a visa at the exit-entry police office at the expo venue, the National Exhibition and Convention Center, on Friday.

China: Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY  ‘SHINE’)

 

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Nine foreign writers, invited by the Shanghai Writers’ Association to stay in the city for two months, tour the Bund.

As one of the iconic landmarks of Shanghai, the Bund has attracted countless travelers from all over the world with the charm generated from its century-old history as a waterfront foreign street where East meets West through the cluster of Western-style buildings.

Yesterday, it received a new group of visitors, nine foreign writers, invited by the Shanghai Writers’ Association to stay in the city for two months to experience life here as part of the 2019 Shanghai Writing Program. They are from countries including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Russia and Mexico; some first-time visitors.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The foreign writers learn the history and stories about No.1 Waitanyuan, the former British Consulate in Shanghai, during their tour.

Three famous buildings were selected as their tour stops — the No. 1 Waitanyuan (former British Consulate in Shanghai), Fairmont Peace Hotel and its inner museum, and the Shanghai Customs House and its clock tower — so that they could have a better understanding of the area’s history.

At the No. 1 Waitanyuan, last in the line of 23 waterfront heritage buildings on the Bund, the writers enjoyed the elegant inner decoration of the place where the former consuls lived in olden times and the beautiful grand view of its yard.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The writers look at a photo album of celebrities who once lived in the Fairmont Peace Hotel at a small museum inside the hotel.

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, once the “tallest building in the Far East,” looks like a grand dame standing still on the Bund. The well-designed structure and stairs are like a glamorous dress, while the elaborate and ornate decorations are like jewelry, which kept the writers busy with their cameras. They also visited a small museum about things related to the hotel.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The foreign writers listen to Wei Yunsi (left), the bellman at the Shanghai Customs House, who provided historical details about the building and its clock tower.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Mexican writer Noe Morales Munoz points at something of interest in the clock tower of the Shanghai Customs House.

The Shanghai Customs House opened its clock tower to the writers, where the 91-year-old Shanghai Customs House clock was sleeping. It wakes up every quarter of an hour and sings the song “Dongfanghong,” or “The East is Red,” at different length — a quarter is the shortest and an hour is the longest. Inside the tower, writers learned the history of the building and the clock — and how it works. They also enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of the Bund from the tower.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The nine foreign writers talk about the differences between the architecture and culture in their hometowns and in Shanghai during the forum “Explore The Bund”.

In the afternoon, a forum “Explore the Bund” was held at the Shanghai Archives for the writers to discuss their thoughts on the tour, and the differences between the architecture and culture in their hometowns and in Shanghai.

“I really like Shanghai architecture. And in particular, I like the fusion of all traditional China and modern Shanghai,” said Viola Di Grado from Italy. “The reason why I like this mixture is because I feel like my psychological landscape is a bit like Shanghai because I have all these different things inside me. So I feel like I’m a bit of a Shanghai type of soul.”

British novelist Gerard Woodward told Shanghai Daily: “It’s been amazing. It has been so incredible to see the inside of these buildings, especially being up here, in the clock tower of the customs house. That’s all about the history of the city and the relationship between Shanghai and the outside world.”

Wang Wei, vice chairman of the writers’ association, revealed that the Shanghai Writing Program, an important cultural exchange activity in the city, has been running for 12 years.

“Literature is the easiest language in communication. Through this program, we bring foreign writers and discover how literature grows in their countries. Meanwhile, our literature goes overseas.”

The event was co-organized by the Bund Subdistrict, Huangpu District Culture and Tourism Bureau, and Shanghai Daily.

5 Cities With the Most Bridges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Cities With the Most Bridges

There is some dispute over which city in the United States can claim the nickname of the City of Bridges. Portland, Oregon, claims the name in honor of the 12 bridges in the city limits that span the Willamette River, according to Open Oregon. While Portland’s bridges are well-traveled, those 12 bridges pale in comparison with fellow contender Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania city disputes Portland’s claim to be the City of Bridges. They want the nickname for themselves, according to WBUR, because of the 446 bridges crisscrossing the Pittsburgh city limits. But are 446 bridges enough to earn them the claim to fame of having the most bridges in the world? Check out the five cities in the world with the most bridges.

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Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

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Number of Bridges: 391

According to Venezia Autentica, there are an incredible 391 bridges in the city of Venice. It’s no wonder Venetians need all those bridges. They’ll need them to cross the more than 150 canals within city limits. Bridges in Venice were originally built from wood and laid flat across the canals, making it easy for horses and carts to traverse the city. But when residents found that boats were a more efficient means of transporting goods in the watery city, it changed the way they built bridges. Builders altered bridge designs to include an archway to allow boats to pass underneath.

The most famous bridge in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. According to Best Venice Guides, the bridge was incredibly expensive to build. But determined wealthy merchants of the time wanted to create a stand-out piece of architecture. It’s been one of the hallmarks of the Grand Canal for more than 400 years since it was completed in 1591.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Credit: Konstantin L/ Shutterstock

Number of Bridges: 446

Pittsburgh might want to claim that it has the most bridges in the world, but it only comes in at number four on our list. Still, according to the BBC, it has an impressive 446 bridges. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spends more than $150 million each year keeping all those bridges in good condition. It’s no surprise that steel makes up those bridges, either, as Pittsburgh is often called “Steel City.” The name doesn’t come from the bridges, though. Rather, it’s due to the area’s history with the steel industry. That’s also why they named the local football team the Steelers.

According to Visit Pittsburgh, the most recognizable bridges in the city are the Three Sisters. Said to be the only trio of identical bridges in the United States, this set of bridges crosses the Allegheny River, connecting the two halves of the city.

New York City, New York, USA

New York City, New York, USA

Credit: FilippoBacci/ iStock

Number of Bridges: 789

The New York City Department of Transportation says they manage 789 bridges within the city. The actual number of bridges in NYC could be higher, though. There are many bridges in the city that aren’t under the department’s control. But 789 bridges is still an impressive number. Possibly the most famous bridge in the city is the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge opened in 1883, according to History.com, and cost more than $320 million to build (in today’s dollars).

While crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is a rite of passage for most visitors to the city, it isn’t the busiest bridge in the city. That honor goes to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, according to the NYC Department of Transportation. Also known as the 59th Street Bridge, it spans the East River and carries more than 170,000 vehicles each day. The bridge originally opened in 1909 and was renamed in honor of former mayor Ed Koch in 2010. Whether you call it the Queensboro Bridge, the 59th Street Bridge, or the Ed Koch Bridge, it’s an impressive cantilevered bridge that’s served the city for more than one hundred years.

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Credit: Veronika Galkina/ Shutterstock

Number of Bridges: 1281

Venice isn’t the only city with an impressive network of canals and bridges. The Venice of the North, Amsterdam, surpasses it in number of bridges. According to Amsterdam for Visitors, the city has 165 canals and an amazing 1281 bridges. That network developed because Amsterdam sits on what was originally swampland. As people moved into the city, they drained sections of the swamp to create dry land on which to build. The canals surrounded the new areas, allowing the residents to get around via small boats. They were also handy for defensive reasons, making it harder to attack the city.

There are a lot of beautiful bridges in Amsterdam, and the pedestrian-friendly city makes it easy to get around to see them all. Hopping on one of the canal tours may be the best way to see the bridges, though, as you can glide under them while a guide tells you about the history. If you are lucky, you’ll see a few of the most famous bridges, including the Torensluis Bridge. According to I Am Amsterdam, this bridge was built in 1648, making it the oldest bridge still standing in the city.

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

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Number of Bridges: More than 2300

Hamburg takes the number one spot on this list. The Telegraph reports that the German city has more than 2300 bridges. The bridges of both cities were born from a similar issue: too much water. Practically surrounded by water, Hamburg sits at a marshy fork in the Elbe. It’s thanks to that location that Hamburg is the second busiest port in Europe, according to Amusing Planet. Large container ships come in and out of the city every day. So while all that water helped to build a strong economy in Hamburg, it also meant those bridge builders had to get busy creating ways for vehicles and pedestrians to get around. And get busy they did, as the city has more bridges than all the other cities on our list combined.

Not only is the number impressive, but the architecture of the bridges themselves is pretty incredible, too. One of the most famous bridges in Hamburg is the Kolbrand Bridge, which was completed in 1974. The bridge carries more than 38,000 vehicles each day, according to Hamburg Port Authority. The bridge was never intended to handle that much traffic, though. So if you want to see this beautiful bridge, you’ll want to book your tickets to Hamburg soon. Authorities are in talks to start replacing the bridge in the next few years.

5 U.S. Cities Stuck in Time

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities Stuck in Time

Some cities are immune to change. These places make time travel feel possible, offering glimpses back into different eras. From historic cities with cobblestone streets to ghost towns that can’t seem to move forward, here are five U.S. cities stuck in time.

New Bedford, Massachusetts

Credit: Dan Logan/Shutterstock

In 1765, a Quaker merchant named Joseph Rotch identified New Bedford, Massachusetts, as a prime location for his business. Located along the Atlantic Coast, with a deep harbor and easy access to Boston and New York, he believed New Bedford to be the perfect candidate for a top-notch whaling port. Rotch was correct in his assertion — during the 19th century, this Massachusetts city became the whaling capital of the world. New Bedford is still known today as The Whaling City and its identity is entwined with the million-dollar industry that once profited from its shores.  From the mansions built by the captains of industry on County Street to the flagged bluestone sidewalks, much of the city is unchanged from when it was first built.

Inquisitive visitors should stop at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. And although whaling is no longer permitted, the citizens of New Bedford still make their living on the water, with commercial fishing as one of the top sources of income.

Pacifica, California

Credit: Spondylolithesis/iStock

Pacifica, California, is a mere 10 miles from San Francisco, yet it feels a world away. A beachside haven that has changed little since its incorporation, this foggy surf town is surrounded by two sections of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Pacifica was originally formed in 1957 when officials merged nine different communities to create one larger city. Although city planners envisioned growing Pacifica to 100,000 residents, these lofty plans never came to fruition. Much of the surrounding area became preserved land during the 1970s, which protected it from the rampant development happening elsewhere in the state. The result? Pacifica remains much the same as it was when it was incorporated, with stunning beaches perfect for surfing and acres of pristine public lands.

Some change, however, has found its way into this picturesque beach side community. In the past couple of years, new plans have been passed to turn Palmetto Avenue into a downtown area, making it more appealing to visitors and residents alike.

St. Augustine, Florida

Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The oldest continually occupied city in the U.S., St. Augustine, Florida, was first established by Spanish settlers in 1565. Today, remnants of Spanish culture remain untouched in this historical gem of a city. From Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a 330-year old fortress built by the Spanish, to the well-preserved Plaza de Constitucion, visiting St. Augustine is like stepping back into the well of history. The Colonial Quarter harkens back to the days when Spanish was spoken on the cobblestone streets, including live black smith and musket demonstrations.

St. Augustine’s most famous piece of architecture, however, is the Lightner Museum. Originally built as the Alcazar Hotel in 1888, the establishment closed during the Depression; it was later bought and renovated by Otto Lightner in 1948. Today, the restored museum includes memorabilia from the Gilded Age, in addition to rotating art exhibits.

Galena, Illinois

Credit: StelsONe/Shutterstock

Although it is commonly referred to as “The City That Time Forgot,” considering Galena a “city” is a bit of a stretch. For all intents and purposes, however, this well-preserved gem has rightfully earned its place on this list. Once the busiest port on the Mississippi River, Galena became a mining town in the mid-1800s when a lead ore mineral called “galena” was found in the surrounding area. The newly born city, named for the mineral that put it on the map, eventually became a political, industrial and cultural hub. Abraham Lincoln gave a speech from the second-floor balcony of a Galena hotel and even Ulysses S. Grant called it home for a spell.

Today, the town holds the magic of yesteryear, with its immaculate Victorian homes and brick architecture on Main Street. The city also draws scores of tourists looking to grasp onto the charms of days gone by, and with its working blacksmith shop and many historical sites, this feat is easily achieved.

Detroit, Michigan

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Detroit, Michigan, truly looks like a city frozen in time — but which time exactly? When Michigan Central Station opened in 1913, the train station was a shining example of Beaux-Arts Classical architecture and the tallest train station in the world. But when the station closed in 1988, it stood vacant for 30 years, a sad reminder of Motor City’s former glory. In an effort to move Detroit forward, Ford bought the train station last year, with plans to revitalize the building and bring the workforce back to the area. Still, the city is often referred to as a ghost town, with its fleeing population, abandoned homes and empty skyscrapers. In this sense, Detroit seems to be stuck in the early aughts, as it certainly hasn’t made any large strides since the collapse of the auto industry. With dreams of Detroit’s revival on the horizon, this is one city we hope isn’t stuck in time forever.

Why Are Seasons Reversed in the Southern Hemisphere?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Why Are Seasons Reversed in the Southern Hemisphere?

Have you ever talked on the phone with a friend who lives in the opposite hemisphere? It can be an eye-opening experience, particularly when they start complaining about the weather. While they’re experiencing icy winters and cold, bitter winds, you’re sweating it out in your t-shirt and shorts, trying to beat the summer heat.

But why do the northern and southern hemispheres have opposite seasons? To answer that, we should first take a step back and look at what causes seasonal weather shifts in the first place.

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A Primer on Seasons

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We’d explain the concept of seasons, but why not let National Geographic do it instead?

A season is a period of the year that is distinguished by special climate conditions. The four seasons — spring, summer, fall, and winter — follow one another regularly. Each has its own light, temperature, and weather patterns that repeat yearly.”

Of course, the classic four season framework applies only to regions at mid-latitudes between the equator and the poles. Seasons are largely dependent on the region’s location relative to the equator, and as you travel closer to or further from the equator, this pattern begins to shift.

Closer to the poles, temperatures are generally colder with fewer hours of daylight. (In Barrow, Alaska, it’s consistently dark throughout most of the winter — close to three months!) But nearer to the equator, it’s warm for most of the year, and daylight cycles stay consistent.

In other words, seasonal shifts are determined by two things:

  1. The region’s location on the globe
  2. The axis of the earth relative to the sun.

That first point is a factor in explaining how extreme seasonal weather shifts can be. But when explaining why seasons are opposite across northern and southern hemispheres, the axis makes all the difference.

The Axis of the Earth Is Key

Credit: sundown001 / iStockPhoto

Our earth has a tilted axis relative to the position of the sun, which is why seasons are opposite across hemispheres.

The Extremes: Summer and Winter

Credit: SUNG YOON JO / iStockPhoto

When Earth’s axis is tilted such that the northern hemisphere leans towards the sun, those regions receive more solar energy, and thus, feel hotter. At the same time, the southern hemisphere receives very little solar energy, producing cold weather. Six months later, the opposite occurs—the other hemisphere tilts towards the sun, and the cycle continues.

The Middle Ground: Autumn and Spring

Credit: SrdjanPav / iStockPhoto

So, winter and summer are opposite. But what about autumn and spring?

These are even easier to understand. Since Earth’s axis produces a tilt that creates opposite seasons across the equator, there’s a sort of “middle ground” that occurs as Earth spins towards its summer/winter extremes. This middle ground is, essentially, the autumn and spring seasons.

Seasons Aren’t so Different

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During these mild seasons, both hemispheres receive the same amount of solar radiation, producing similar weather conditions across the north and south. The key difference comes from each region’s starting point.

When a region moves into autumn, it’s moving from a period of high solar energy (summer) into a lower period. And conversely, regions moving from winter to spring slowly gain solar energy. In this way, autumn and spring are functionally the same thing. The only difference is where each region begins.

3 Experiences You can Only Have in Alaska

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Experiences You can Only Have in Alaska

Due to its remoteness and harsh environment, Alaska has long been known as the “last frontier.” Braving tough conditions was worth it to the fishermen, frontiersmen, loggers and miners eager to profit from the state’s natural bounty. Long after those excursions, there remains plenty of room to explore: Alaska is the largest U.S. state, equal in land area to about one-fifth that of the entire 48 contiguous states combined. The former Territory of Alaska gained statehood in 1959, making it the 49th state. Amidst its natural grandeur of forests, tundra, mountains and glaciers, Alaska’s largest centers of population include the capital, Juneau, as well as Anchorage and Fairbanks.  Finding some of Alaska’s most unique wonders requires trekking to more remote climes.

See Alpenglow at Midnight

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Alaska’s extreme northern latitude means that the sun doesn’t fully set for months on end, which is where it picked up the nickname “Land of the Midnight Sun.” As such, the optical phenomenon known as “alpenglow” — which is perceived by the human eye as a soft, shimmering glow off of mountainsides around sunset or before sunrise — occurs during a sizable portion of the year. The condition can only truly happen after the sun is over the horizon, meaning no direct sunlight reaches the colored cliffs. Alpenglow is reflected sunlight bouncing off of precipitation, ice crystals and airborne particulates back up onto the mountains above the horizon. With the sun setting well after midnight throughout the summer in a land full of stunning mountain scenery, Alaska is prime territory to take in one of nature’s free light shows.

Picnic in the Shadow of Denali

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Denali National Park and Preserve is six million acres of wild land in northern Alaska accessible by a single road though one park entrance. The 92-mile Denali Park Road is open to the public mid-May through mid-September, but only on the first 15 miles to Savage River. Beyond that, park-goers board buses for narrated tours to explore further. There are hiking trails near the road, mostly close to the park entrance, as much of the massive park is an actual animal preserve and off limits to tourism. The highlight of the park is its namesake mountain, known to indigenous people as Denali. Renamed after an American president from 1917 to 2015 before reverting to its original moniker, the snow-draped is the tallest peak in North America at 20,310 feet. While the National Park Service offers only campground accommodations within the park, area lodges on privately owned land within or near the park offer a great base camp for those who don’t want to totally rough it. They include Camp Denali & North Face Lodge, Kantishna Roadhouse, Denali Backcountry Lodge and Skyline Lodge.

Follow in the Steps of Klondike Gold Miners

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Commemorating the gold strikes and hard times alike, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is operated by the National Park Service in Skagway, in southwest Alaska. A popular tourist spot for cruise travelers who dock in the historic town, more than 20 of its boomtown buildings are part of the park experience. The rustic structures give the feel of a time when miners and ladies of the night would have mingled at saloons in the late 1890’s. Nearby, actually walk where miners and their mules trod the famous Chilkoot Trail. Hikes through the rugged terrain hint at what early explorers endured — and how the trail got its nickname of the “meanest 33 miles in history.” Another nearby attraction is rail excursions on the White Pass and Yukon Route, a Canadian and U.S. narrow-gauge railroad linking the port of Skagway with Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon, Canada. The line’s White Pass Summit Excursion provides a scenic, 40-mile round trip from Skagway up to the summit of White Pass at nearly 3,000 feet.

6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report reveals the U.S. cities with the cleanest air. According to data from 2015 to 2017, all of these cities had zero days when ozone and particle pollution reached unhealthy levels. If you want to enjoy some clean, crisp air on your next stateside vacation, consider one of these cities.

Bangor, Maine

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The city of Bangor in south-central Maine ranks 23rd for cleanest U.S. cities for year-round particle pollution and also had no days with unhealthy levels of ozone or short-term pollution.

Bangor’s success, unfortunately, isn’t replicated throughout the state, which has one of the highest rates of asthma in the country — approximately 10% among adults and 11% among children. Experts suspect that a critical factor affecting the state’s pollution levels is contaminants sweeping into the region on ocean and air currents from upstream urban areas.

In Bangor, however, you can breathe freely. Work your lungs with a hike through nearby Acadia National Park or take a more leisurely stroll along the city’s Penobscot River Walkway.

Lincoln–Beatrice, Nebraska

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Lincoln ties with Bangor at 23rd for year-round pollution with zero days of unhealthy ozone and short-term pollution.

If you find yourself in the Midwest, take advantage by visiting some of its many outdoor attractions. The Sunken Gardens, recognized by National Geographic as one of the 300 best gardens in North America, are full of vibrant year-round flora. Meanwhile, the Pioneers Park Nature Center boasts hiking trails with informative exhibits on the area’s ecology. You’ll also find information on the factors that contribute to the city’s fresh air.

If you’re in Beatrice, you’ll want to visit the pristine Homestead National Monument of America, where you can hike among the prairie grasses and browse the outdoor exhibits depicting the history of American homesteading.

Finally, the Lincoln–Lancaster County Health Department has monitors that provide air quality data to residents so those with respiratory conditions can stay safe and healthy.

Wilmington, North Carolina

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Wilmington, North Carolina, is another city to be congratulated for its air quality. Known as the Port City, Wilmington is recognized for everything from its nearby beaches to the country’s largest movie studios outside of California. The city is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Diligence vessel.

Wilmington’s residents have benefited from statewide environmental initiatives such as the 2002 North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act. The city’s air also got a boost when Duke Energy, the regional electricity provider, converted the energy source of its Wilmington–adjacent plant from coal to natural gas.

If you visit Wilmington, you’ll want to take advantage of its nearly two miles of Riverwalk along Cape Fear River. The pedestrian boardwalk also connects to the Sea Bikeway and East Coast Greenway.

Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

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Tied with Wilmington for the 13th lowest year-round pollution — and the same zero days of dangerous ozone or short-term pollution — is the metro area of Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville in central Florida.

The region is also known as the Space Coast, due to the presence of the John F. Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral. Anyone interested in the history of our solar system will enjoy visiting the Space Center with its interactive tours and exhibits. You’ll breathe easy knowing that all that rocket exhaust hasn’t overwhelmingly increased pollution in the region.

Meanwhile, enjoy more clean air at the renowned Cocoa Beach or browse the wildlife at Brevard Zoo. You can also explore the various downtown districts, each of with its own unique character and the same pollutant-free atmosphere.

Burlington, Vermont

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With no days of unhealthy ozone or particle pollution levels, the metro area of Burlington–South Burlington ranks 12th overall for year-round particle pollution and is another American city with the cleanest air in the country. As the largest city in the state, Burlington is home to the University of Vermont and is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful college towns in the country.

In 2015, Burlington became the first American city to run entirely on renewable electricity, which has undoubtedly played a role in its clean air success. Along with biomass, solar, and wind power, its largest energy source is hydro, thanks to its use of dams and its location on Lake Champlain.

Burlington also has an ongoing “Great Streets Initiative,” a municipal project aimed at enhancing the city’s sustainability. From a new City Hall Park to improved bike lanes, the various changes make Burlington a vibrant place to visit and explore — with the added bonus of pollutant-free air.

Honolulu, Hawaii

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Tied for the lowest year-round particle pollution, in addition to zero days of dangerous ozone or particle pollution levels, Honolulu has some of the cleanest air in the country. While the Hawaiian islands are known for their natural beauty, what is remarkable is that the state has managed to preserve its fresh and vibrant atmosphere even in its urban capital — and largest city — of approximately 350,000 people.

Despite its favorable ranking, however, Honolulu’s air quality has suffered dramatic swings thanks to the existence of “vog,” the island term for volcanic smog. When Kilauea erupted on the Big Island in 2018, winds spread the resulting sulfur dioxide to other islands in the archipelago, including Oahu, on which Honolulu is located. When vog levels are high, residents — and visitors — can experience symptoms ranging from eye/skin irritation to coughing, headaches, and fatigue.

However, when the winds are favorable, the islands do indeed have the best air in the country. The city’s outdoor attractions are also perfect for visitors who prize clean air and pristine environments. From outdoor gems like Waikiki Beach to the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, this beautiful Hawaiian city certainly offers plenty of value for all tourists.

3 Great Mexican Destinations Close to the Border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Great Mexican Destinations Close to the Border

Looking for a quick excursion over the border? Check out these great Mexican destinations that are just a quick passport check await—followed by a drive, train ride, boat trip, or river walk.

Boquillas del Carmen, Coahuila

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Set on a bend of the Rio Grande with the Sierra del Carmen mountains rising up in the distance is Boquillas del Carmen. If you want an authentic Mexican experience across the border from Texas, then this could be it. Boquillas is a great place to visit on a day trip from vacations in Big Bend National Park. Get your passport checked at the entry point and then follow a dirt track to the riverfront, where oarsmen wait eagerly to row you across the river; it’s walkable when water levels are low.

Then walk or jump on the back of a donkey for the short journey to the dusty village center. You’ll meet local kids keen to hawk trinkets and find handicraft shops selling animal sculptures, embroidered textiles, and quilts. Feast on enchiladas and sip on margaritas and ice-cold beers at the two lively restaurants. With enough time, you could paddle by kayak to the entrance of Boquillas Canyon and discover areas of the Maderas del Carmen biosphere reserve.

Find out what else there is to see and do in Boquillas del Carmen.

Mexicali, Baja California

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The vibrant capital of Baja California takes its name from the shortening of Mexico and California to create Mexicali, which honors the city’s founders from both sides of the border. Downtown Mexicali has varied attractions such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, House of Culture performing arts venue, and Plaza de Toros Calafia. The city is home to one of the biggest Chinese communities in Mexico and Asian fare is a big competitor to traditional Mexican dishes. You can even see the La Chinesca basement tunnels where the Chinese immigrants first lived. There’s also a burgeoning craft beer scene alongside the century-old Cervecería Mexicali brewery.

What lies outside of the city limits is often a big lure, too. Hike to hot springs and waterfalls in the Guadalupe Canyon, discover cave paintings and petroglyphs around the dry Laguna Salada, or try sand boarding and off-roading in the undulating Cuervitos Dunes.

Find out what else there is to see and do in Mexicali.

Tijuana, Baja California

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Some 350 million people legally cross the Mexico-United State border at Tijuana every year, with many coming to enjoy the city’s bars, beaches, and cultural attractions. Boisterous, gritty, and at times cliché, Tijuana is perhaps the ultimate in border-town experiences. Saunter down Avenida Revolution, where art galleries and craft shops line up alongside casual and stylish dining options, liquor stores, and nightclubs. Here, Asian and European cuisine rivals burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and other typical Mexican food.

Over in the Zona Río, Paseo de los Heroes has sculptures of luminaries such as Abraham Lincoln and Cuauhtémoc. The aptly named Plaza Fiesta is the epicenter of a hedonistic nightlife scene and an ever-growing microbrewery culture. Hit the beach at the Playa de Tijuana, a popular spot for surfing, kayaking and oyster shacks. Further south you’ll soon forget the mayhem of the city at the Playas de Rosarito.

Find out what else there is to see and do in Tijuana.

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