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

Credit: Elysiumm/ iStock

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

Credit: Pgiam/ iStock

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.

13-year-old charged with two murders in North Carolina back in custody after escape

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

13-year-old charged with two murders in North Carolina back in custody after escape

The boy escaped authorities after a court appearance Tuesday. His mother turned him in Wednesday evening.

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

Credit: Luboslav Tiles/ Shutterstock

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

Credit: Katherine Welles/ Shutterstock

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

Credit: Gary C. Tognoni/ Shutterstock

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

Credit: TDKvisuals/ Shutterstock

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

Credit: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock

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

Credit: Izabela23/ Shutterstock

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.

4 Longest Roads in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Longest Roads in the U.S.

If you love cruising the open road with your car or motorcycle on adventurous road trips, you need to travel the longest roads in the United States. You don’t have to worry about exits, except to find some great places to eat, rest, and soak up local flare. The best part about traveling on one of the longest roads is you don’t have to worry about your navigation system kicking in and interrupting you while you rock out to your favorite music or listen to an inspiring podcast. Here are the four longest roads in the U.S., so you can plan your next exciting road trip:

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U.S. Route 30, New Jersey to Oregon

U.S. Route 30, New Jersey to Oregon

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The nation’s fourth longest road and third longest U.S. highway spans 3,072 miles starting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and ending in Astoria, Oregon. In addition to Oregon and New Jersey, U.S. 30 runs through nine more states, giving you plenty of exciting rest stops. One of the most gorgeous stretches of U.S. 30 is the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway, which runs through Idaho from Bliss through Twin Falls. This part of U.S. 30 meanders through the Snake River Canyon where you will find thousands of waterfalls, hot springs, and charming Idaho towns.

For more small towns and some historic immersion, you will find several worthwhile stops on U.S. 30 through Nebraska, called the Lincoln Highway Historical Byway. As you travel this route you will drive along the Oregon, Mormon, and California trails, as well as the transcontinental Pony Express route and Union Pacific Railroad. The largest city along U.S. Route 30 is Philadelphia, where you can visit several historical sites like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, The Betsy Ross House, and one of the oldest streets in the U.S., Elfreth’s Alley. If you spend some time in Philadelphia, don’t forget to enjoy a world-famous Philly cheesesteak.

Interstate 90, Massachusetts to Washington

Interstate 90, Massachusetts to Washington

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The nation’s third longest road and longest interstate runs from Boston to Seattle and spans a little more than 3,100 miles. If you drive it from end to end, it would take you about 46 hours, but with so many must-sees and must-dos along the way, it will surely take you longer. Traveling along I-90 brings you through 13 states, including Massachusetts and Washington. If it’s an urban getaway you crave, stop off in Cleveland, Ohio, to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or head to Chicago to visit the Navy Pier, The Art Institute of Chicago, or the Museum of Science and Industry.

If you crave a smaller town feel, spend some time in Madison, Wisconsin. Located on an isthmus formed by two lakes, this capital city offers cute pubs and restaurants in the downtown area, which is also home to the University of Wisconsin. Outdoor enthusiasts won’t miss the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park when traveling farther west on I-90. Although the park is about an hour away from Livingston, Montana, I-90 is the best route to visit the geologic wonders on its north side. As you continue to drive along I-90 through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, the scenery of the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Mountains is so breathtaking, you won’t want your trip to end.

U.S. Route 6, Massachusetts to California

U.S. Route 6, Massachusetts to California

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In comparison to the other longest roads in the United States, U.S. Route 6 lies the furthest south, primarily because the highway runs diagonally. On the east coast, U.S. 6 begins at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and goes all the way to Bishop, California. If you were to drive Route 6 from start to finish, you would visit 14 states, and it would take approximately 61 hours to travel its 3,207 miles. U.S. 6 was once the longest road in the country, but after the Department of Transportation renumbered highways during the ’60s, it moved down the list. Route 6 is formally known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, dedicated to the Union troops who fought during the Civil War.

Unlike the other longest roads in the United States, U.S. 6 travels primarily through medium cities, small towns, and charming rural areas. The largest urban areas you can enjoy from U.S. 6 include Denver, Des Moines, and Omaha. This gives you the opportunity to explore middle America. If you are traveling with children, make sure to spend a night or two in Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. Here you can enjoy the world-famous Cedar Point Amusement Park and ride some of the biggest rollercoasters in history.

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U.S. Route 20

U.S. Route 20

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Stretching for 3,237 miles from Boston to Newport, Oregon, U.S. Route 20 is the longest road in the United States. This beautiful route is packed with panoramic views and exciting attractions for those who love an epic road trip. It takes you through some of the nation’s must stunning national parks, such as Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Yellowstone in Wyoming, and Craters of the Moon National Monument, as it parallels I-90 for most of its length. U.S. 20 has not been converted to a four-lane highway in many areas, making this two-lane adventure the perfect opportunity to slowly meander across the United States.

On the eastern part of the route, you will find quaint and charming towns, providing a real taste of Americana with main streets that have looked the same for decades. In fact, the Massachusetts portion of Route 20 follows the old Boston Post Road used to carry mail between New York City and Boston in the 1600s and 1700s. Route 20 in New York travels through the Finger Lakes Region of the state and winds through remote areas filled with antique shops and charming bed and breakfasts. Likewise on the west coast, you will find enchanting bed and breakfasts throughout the vineyards of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

6 U.S. Cities With the Cleanest Air

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bangor, Maine

Bangor, Maine

Credit: Luboslav Tiles/ Shutterstock

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

Lincoln–Beatrice, Nebraska

Credit: Katherine Welles/ Shutterstock

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

Wilmington, North Carolina

Credit: Gary C. Tognoni/ Shutterstock

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.

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How many states does the Mississippi River touch?

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Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida

Credit: TDKvisuals/ Shutterstock

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

Burlington, Vermont

Credit: Sean Pavone/ Shutterstock

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

Honolulu, Hawaii

Credit: Izabela23/ Shutterstock

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.

4 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About North Carolina

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Things You Didn’t Know About North Carolina

When you think of the great state of North Carolina, chances are you think of its beautiful coastline, bustling cities, and the majestic Blue Ridge mountains.

But there’s even more to discover in this welcoming southern state, from iconic regional foods to incredible mansions and chilling historical mysteries.

Want to learn more? Here are four things you didn’t know about North Carolina.

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The Birthplace Of Both Pepsi And Krispy Kreme

Photo of the Pepsi logo on a building
Credit: FotograFFF/ Shutterstock.com

Did somebody say sugar rush? North Carolina is the birthplace of not one but two internationally beloved sugary treats: Pepsi-Cola and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Pepsi-Cola: In 1893, a drugstore owner named Caleb Davis Bradham created what he called “Brad’s Drink,” a mixture of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other flavorings. It became a local favorite. The drink was later rebranded “Pepsi-Cola” and went on to become an international sensation.

Krispy Kreme: In 1933, an entrepreneur named Vernon Rudolph purchased a top-secret doughnut recipe from a New Orleans chef and set out to make some dough (pun intended). He took his recipe on the road and opened the first Krispy Kreme in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1937.

The business grew, and automating processes allowed for greater production. The business expanded, first through the Carolinas, then throughout the United States. Today, they operate locations in a variety of different countries.

America’s Biggest Mansion

Photo of a large, elaborate mansion
Credit: ZakZeinert/ Shutterstock.com

Did you know that the largest home in the U.S. is located in North Carolina? Nestled in the green, mountainous region of Asheville, the regal Biltmore Estate was built in the 1800’s by George Vanderbilt II, an heir of the famous Vanderbilt railroad family.

The incredible estate boasts a gorgeous house with 255 rooms, grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (who also co-designed New York’s Central Park along with Calvert Vaux), and today, it even has a winery.

Today, the Biltmore Estate is no longer a private residence. It’s operated as a popular attraction, with guided tours, walking paths, restaurants, and regular events.

Its First Settlers Disappeared Mysteriously

Photo of hills leading to a beach next to the ocean
Credit: Hakan Ozturk/ Shutterstock.com

In 1587, the first English colony, Roanoke Island, was established just off the coast of what is today North Carolina. The original settlers included a group of 117 individuals, including men, women, and children.

Soon after it was established, the colony’s leader took a trip back to Britain for supplies. But what was supposed to be a short trip became extended when war broke out, and he didn’t return for three years.

When he did get back in August of 1590, things had taken a very creepy turn. All of the settlers were gone. There were no traces of the colony, its inhabitants, or what might have happened.

The only clue? The seemingly meaningless word “croatan” carved into a wooden post. To this day, this mystery has historians stumped.

The Tallest Brick Lighthouse in the United States

Photo of a black and white striped lighthouse
Credit: Stephen B. Goodwin/ Shutterstock.com

While North Carolina isn’t typically associated with tall structures, it is, in fact, home to America’s tallest brick lighthouse. Completed in the early 1800’s, the black and white Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is an iconic figure for the state and often appears on the cover of trip guides and on postcards.

What you can’t tell from photos, though, is just how massive the lighthouse is: It’s 210 feet (about 19 stories) tall and offers a range of 24 nautical miles.

Sweet Carolina!

Photo of a busy big city at night
Credit: ESB Professional/ Shutterstock.com

North Carolina is home to plenty of beautiful nature, interesting history, and a lot of cool areas to visit. With its iconic architecture, legendary snack foods, and even some historical mystery and intrigue, it’s well worth your time to visit the Tar Heel State to explore!

Droves of Blacktip Sharks Are Summering in Long Island for the First Time

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF LIVE SCIENCE)

 

Droves of Blacktip Sharks Are Summering in Long Island for the First Time

Thousands of blacktip sharks swarm near the shore of Palm Beach, Florida.

Thousands of blacktip sharks swarm near the shore of Palm Beach, Florida.
(Image: © Steve Kajiura, Florida Atlantic University)

 

Sharks making their annual northward migration from Florida have a new summer vacation destination: Long Island.

Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus), which range from 4 to 8 feet (1.2 to 2.4 meters) long, spend much of the year in Florida before heading north to cooler waters. In the past, the Carolinas were the sharks’ destination of choice. But not anymore. Because of climate change, the waters off North and South Carolina are no longer cool enough in the summer. So blacktips are seeking waters farther north — and Long Island fits the bill. And just like the New Yorkers eager to spend the last weeks of summer in the Hamptons, these finned beachgoers are traveling in droves.

“These blacktips are going way the heck up to Long Island in big numbers — not just a few, but 25, 30 percent of the population,” Stephen Kajiura, a shark expert at Florida Atlantic University, told Live Science. “It blows your mind when you see it.”

Related: On the Brink: A Gallery of Wild Sharks

Nearly every year since 2011, Kajiura has surveyed the coast of Florida in a plane to see these sharks make their great trek north. There are often so many sharks that, from the sky, it’s hard to distinguish the individual sharks. Thousands aggregate in dark clumps. “There are just so many of them,” Kajiura said.

Many of these sharks are tagged with devices that allow scientists to track their locations. But it wasn’t until 2016 that scientists noticed that many of the tagged sharks’ had new migration pattern. At first, it seemed like a fluke, but it’s happened every summer since then — including this one, Kajiura said. Kajiura was blown away by the change.

There are two possible reasons blacktips might choose the Hamptons over the Carolinas, according to Kajiura. It might be that the Carolina waters are getting too hot for them; most sharks, including blacktips, are ectotherms, so they can’t cool down their bodies like mammals can. Even a small change in ocean temperature can cause them to overheat. Or, it could be that it’s the fish the sharks eat, not the sharks themselves, that are moving due to warming waters —  and the sharks are simply following them, Kajiura said. Either way, there’s no question about this: Temperatures along the Atlantic Seaboard are changing rapidly. Since 1960, the temperatures of the waters between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and the Gulf of Maine have shot up by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), National Geographic reported.

“Whether they’re moving themselves, or whether they’re moving because their prey are moving, either way, it’s a temperature-driven phenomenon,” Kajiura said. “The end result is the same.”

For now, blacktip sharks may be adapting.There is no evidence that populations of this species are declining overall, according to Kajiura, just that they’re edging farther north during the summers. For humans (especially New York humans), the end result might not be as bright.

“You have the potential for more bites on humans than you ever had before,” Kajiura said.

Long Island is much more packed with humans than blacktips’ former habitat. That means more encounters between sharks and humans are probable, Kajiura said. Although blacktips don’t have the same reputation for aggression as their better-known cousins, great whites, these small sharks are responsible for the majority of bites in the US, Kajiura said. That’s because blacktips are shallow-water species; they hang out where people swim.

People don’t usually die from blacktip bites, Kajiura said. These encounters are typically exploratory “hit-and-runs” where the shark is just as surprised to get a mouthful of human as the human is to feel a shark chomping on their leg. But that doesn’t mean people walk away unscathed.

“You’re not going to lose a limb, but it’s nasty,” Kajiura said. “You’ll still have a mangled hand or foot.”

Most likely, it’s not just blacktips that are expanding their range, Kajiura said. It just so happens that scientists have the data for blacktips, and because they hug the coast more than other shark species do, people are more likely to notice them in places where they didn’t swim before.

“We can use blacktips as an indicator,” Kajiura said. “It’s a changing world. It’s exciting. But in a way, it’s terrifying.”

Originally published on Live Science.

5 Colonial-Era U.S. Landmarks That Are Still Standing

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Colonial-Era U.S. Landmarks That Are Still Standing

How much do you remember about colonial-era America? For many of us, it’s been a while since we studied U.S. history, and specifically the American Revolution. If you live outside of the original 13 colonies, you might not be exposed to constant reminders like historic landmarks that serve as living memories of this volatile time. But if you’re thinking of creating a historic road trip through the original states this summer, you’re going to want to include these five landmarks on your list.

Fraunces Tavern – New York City

Credit: OlegAlbinsky / iStock

New York City is full of locations where our Founding Fathers met, the nation’s first president was sworn into office, and which was an occupied territory under British rule. If your travels take you to lower Manhattan, you can see all of those places and get a history lesson at Fraunces Tavern. Fraunces Tavern is a real working pub that was originally intended to be the private home of the De Lancey family after the land was first acquired in 1719.

Eventually, the three-story building was transferred to Samuel Fraunces in 1762 and was named Sign of Queen Charlotte (The Queen’s Tavern). The property served as an inn for weary travelers, a place for hungry locals, and—at times—a safe haven for loyalists during the Revolution. As the war progressed, patronage shifted to Continentals and even housed George Washington when he was in the city. Since 1762, Fraunces Tavern has served as a bar and occasional boarding house. Today, you can visit the museum on the upper floors and enjoy a drink downstairs in the bar or grab a bite in one of the historically named rooms.

Old Tennent Presbyterian Church – Manalapan, New Jersey

Credit: imagesbybobbysax / Instagram

Everyone knows that historic battles occurred in fields all across the original colonies. But did you know that one church in a sleepy New Jersey town served as a field hospital after the Battle of Monmouth? In June 1778, the British and Continental armies faced off in a part of Monmouth county known today as Freehold. While the battle wasn’t a deciding point militarily, a historic landmark was made when the Old Tennent Presbyterian Church in present Manalapan became a triage center for the Continental Army.

Army doctors cared for wounded soldiers while the battle raged on around them. And to this day, you can find bullet holes and cannonballs in the church’s walls as well as see marks and blood stains on several church pews where wounded soldiers were treated.

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson – Winnabow, North Carolina

Credit: BTFA1726 / Wikimedia

Often when we focus on the Colonial Era in the U.S., we think about the Northeast almost exclusively. But the southern colonies were just as active throughout this period of history. Brunswick Town is a port town on Cape Fear River in North Carolina that was once central during the 18th and 19th centuries for sea merchants and businessmen who relied on exporting their goods. The settlement was established in 1729 and helped to drive economic growth in the region thanks to an infusion of wealthy landowners from South Carolina.

But the town is best known as an early site of Colonial rebellion during the Stamp Act of 1765—a law that required any legal documents or commercial publications to feature a stamp that had to be purchased from the Crown. Angry citizens formed an armed mob and prevented a British ship from unloading the stamps. While this temporarily halted trade in the region, the colonists’ persistent protest in Brunswick Town led to the eventual repeal of the Stamp Act.

Nathan Hale Homestead – Coventry, Connecticut

Credit: KenWiedermann / iStock

Who is Nathan Hale? If you’re not an American Revolution buff or a Connecticut resident, you might not know. But for the Constitution State, this young man is a local hero who was born in Coventry. Nathan Hale is considered by many to be an integral member of the Continental spy ring that provided vital information about British activities to the Continental Army and General George Washington specifically. However, the spy ring wasn’t well managed, and Hale wasn’t the best spy.

After infiltrating New York City and gathering critical information in 1776, he was discovered by British forces with drawings and detailed notes—outing him as a spy and condemning him to death. Nathan Hale is best known for his famous final words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” But these days you can visit the Nathan Hale Homestead, which has been expertly preserved from its humble origins when it was built in 1776.

George Washington’s Estate – Mount Vernon, Virginia

Credit: JacobH / iStock

And finally, if you’re going to create a trip focused on U.S. colonial history, you simply can’t skip Mount Vernon. This Virginia locale is the home of our nation’s first president, George Washington. Step back in time and see how Washington lived as you walk through the plantation’s palatial grounds. Mount Vernon serves as an immersive experience with guided tours and history lessons that help you understand more about the man who would lead a cluster of colonies to independence and what led him into this role. The estate was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

A North Carolina father of 6 died after being struck by a wave at the beach

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

A North Carolina father of 6 died after being struck by a wave at the beach

(CNN)A father of six has died after a wave struck him on a North Carolina beach and slammed him to the sand, breaking his neck, his wife said on Twitter.

Lee Dingle, 37, was playing on Oak Island’s beach with three of his kids Thursday when the wave knocked him to the ground, Shannon Dingle said. The force of the impact broke his neck and made his throat swell so much that his brain was deprived of oxygen for too long to recover, she said.
He died a day later despite the efforts of some heroes, including their kids, to try to save him, she said.
“My partner, my love, and my home died today after a freak accident,” Shannon Hope Dingle said Friday.
“We met when I was 18 and he was 19, and we’ve been together ever since. I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye at 37. I don’t know how to be a grown up without him, but I’ll learn. I just wish I didn’t have to,” she said.
Oak Island Water Rescue said on Facebook that it and other agencies provided emergency care to Dingle within minutes of the accident but he did not survive.
Dingle was the president of Atlas Engineering in Raleigh, North Carolina, a company that specializes in solving structural problems and repairing other damage at buildings, its website says. Atlas Engineering senior partner Tom Caldwell said Dingle had been promoted to president just two weeks before his death.
Caldwell praised Dingle’s “big heart” and said he and his wife were raising six children, including four who were adopted.
“Lee was calm, friendly, humble, and very, very capable. He always put others ahead of himself,” Caldwell said. “His kind do not come along often. We will miss him terribly.”
Another coworker, chief engineer and executive vice president Chris Coutu, lamented the tragic death.
“He was a dream employee and coworker, a good friend, a loving, dedicated father, and a wonderfully kind person,” Coutu said in an email.
“He was brave, calm, and reassuring; he was somebody one would want around when conditions were dangerous or chaotic. He will be greatly missed,” he added.
In addition, Dingle worked as a collapse rescue engineer with the the North Carolina Emergency Managment. He also was on the Urban Search and Rescue squad that goes into collapsed or burning buildings to rescue trapped people and recover those who had died, including at the recent gas explosions in Durham, Caldwell said.
Dingle had 15 years of experience and graduated from North Carolina State University in 2004 with a degree in civil engineering.
In 2016 the Dingle family was featured in a story by CNN affiliate WTVD that explored their efforts to modify a van to accommodate their daughter Zoe, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair. Although they qualified for state funding for vehicle modifications, they struggled to get the state to approve money to cover the bill, WTVD reported.
After their story was published, a local resident stepped up to provide the needed equipment, WTVD wrote.
GoFundMe page set up for the family had raised more than $110,000 by Sunday night.

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

10 U.S. States With the Largest Populations

America is home to more than 328 million people, but did you know that more than 53 percent live in just 10 states?

Naturally, these 10 states are home to the country’s biggest urban centers. The most popular states are, for the most part, located along the United States’ borders, giving rise to the term “flyover states” to refer to the more sparsely populated interior states.

The following population estimate numbers were obtained from the most recent count by the U.S. Census, which was completed in 2018.

10. Michigan

Credit: pawel.gaul / iStock

With 9,995,915 residents, Michigan beats out New Jersey by more than 900,000 people to slide into the tenth spot. The auto industry in Detroit has historically been linked to population growth in the Great Lakes State. While that industry has downsized considerably, cheap real estate has recently attracted home-hungry millennials to the state.

9. North Carolina

Credit: traveler1116 / iStock

About 10,383,620 people call the Tarheel State home. There are lots of reasons North Carolina has grown to be such a populous state, including its temperate climate, prestigious universities, and a relatively low cost of living. Perhaps chief among them is the favorable business climate, which has drawn many employers to the state and jobs to boot. Forbes named North Carolina the Best State for Business two years in a row (2017 and 2018).

8. Georgia

Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock

The Peach State is home to 10,519,475 people. Like North Carolina, its population blossomed between 2010 and 2018, growing a robust 8.57 percent. Close to half of the state residents, more than 5.8 million people, live in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area. The next biggest metro area, Augusta, is home to 600,000.

7. Ohio

Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

The perennial swing state of Ohio has 11,689,442 million residents. While many of its traditional Rust Belt cities like Cleveland, Dayton, and Akron have seen shrinking populations, the capital city of Columbus has boomed, growing more than 11 percent since 2010.

6. Illinois

Credit: Starcevic / iStock

Buoyed by Chicago, the country’s third-most populous city, The Land of Lincoln is home to 12,741,080 people. Of all the states in the top 10, Illinois is the only one that actually shrunk during the last eight years. The state shed 0.71 percent of its population, the equivalent of over 90,000 people.

5. Pennsylvania

Credit: ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

The Quaker State grew at a snail’s pace of 0.82 percent over the last eight years, but it was enough to take the fifth-place spot from Illinois. Pennsylvania is now home to an estimated 12,807,060 people.

4. New York

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

From the top of the Adirondacks to the hot dog stands of Coney Island, about 19,542,209 people call the Empire State home. A big chunk of them, about 44 percent of the state’s population, live in close proximity to each other in New York City.

3. Florida

Credit: Mia2you / Shutterstock.com

Florida is the second-fastest growing state on the list, boosting its population by 13.27 percent over the last eight years. That brings the state’s total population to about 21,299,325 people. A steady flood of retiring Baby Boomers has given a bump to the Sunshine State’s growth.

2. Texas

Credit: Art Wager / iStock

Everything is bigger in Texas, including population growth. The Lone Star State is the fastest-growing state in the country, expanding its population at a rate of 14.14 percent since the last census tally and is now home to 28,701,845 million people.

Texas’ growth is powered by its cities. Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas all have a spot in the top 10 most populous cities in the country. Austin is right behind in 11th place. All told, some 6 million Texans live in it four biggest cities.

1. California

Credit: Chones / Shutterstock.com

Apparently, everybody wants to move to California, and for good reason. Not only is the California economy the largest in the nation, but if California were a country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world.

The Golden State grew more than 6 percent from 2010 to 2018, reaching a population of 39,557,045 people. It is also the third-largest state by area, covering more than 163,000 square miles. That gives California even more room to grow.

Some people, however, think California should be broken up into three smaller states. Activists came close to getting a referendum to break up California on the ballot in 2018. Proponents argued that the proposal would allow all residents to obtain better infrastructure, better education, and lower taxes, according to venture capitalist Tim Draper who sponsored the failed measure. It would also give the people more representation in the U.S. Senate, giving the population within its boundaries six senators instead of just two.

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