- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 112 Hour
- Reading permission
This post was edited by Cicci at 2012-3-13 13:10|
Sure, you miss family, friends and ice cubes. But here are the things that make booking a U.S. trip really worthwhile
By Jordan Rane source from cnngo.com
Vast spaces, clean air, great hikes. The national parks, including North Cascades National Park shown here, are high on our list and offer free entry for a week in April.
The United States.
If you’ve heard of this place, or even seen it on a map, you’ll know that fitting a single attraction (let alone a dozen) into a visit can be a tall order -- especially if you’re in Maine and dying to stop by Six Flags Over Texas.
That means you've got work to do. Lucky for you, we've set up a dozen timely essentials to start checking off your list.
On your mark, get set …
1. Fenway Park turns 100
enway turns 100. Same old Sawx.
If you haven’t yet squeezed into Fenway Park, sacred home of the Boston Red Sox, this is the milestone season to do it.
Major League Baseball’s oldest remaining stadium has overcome World Series curses, narrowly dodged the wrecking ball and outlived all those other “immortal” fields like Comiskey Park and Tiger Stadium.
In 2012, the place turns 100.
The official birthday will be celebrated on April 20 in a game against the New York Yankees -- preceded by a Free Fenway Open House on April 19.
2. Washington, D.C. in centennial bloom
The quickest trip to Japan in the United States.
Washington, D.C.’s National Cherry Blossom Festival is rooted in a gift of more than 3,000 flowering cherry trees, presented by Japan in 1912.
A century later, the grand gesture has bloomed into one of D.C.’s most anticipated seasonal events.
This year’s five-week-long, centennial springtime celebration (March 20-April 27) will suffuse the city with art, concerts, street parades, fireworks displays and lots of very pink trees.
The free opening ceremony on March 25 (reserve tickets ahead) features a great lineup at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
3. Six Flags -- now with even more scream for your buck
The sky may be the limit, but if you reach for it this way, make sure the safety locks are on.
The world’s fastest and longest roller coasters may be in Abu Dhabi and Japan, but no one caters to scream machine fanatics across the theme parkscape like Six Flags -- home to steel game changers such as Kingda Ka (at 139 meters and 206 kph, the world’s highest and second-fastest roller coaster), X2 (the world’s first “Fourth-Dimension” coaster) and the aptly named Mind Eraser.
This year, the world’s largest regional theme park operator, with more than a dozen coaster-carpeted properties throughout the United States, is upping the ante with a new batch of cutting-edge thrill rides.
Among them: X-Flight, a groundbreaking wing coaster, at Six Flags Great America (outside Chicago); Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, the world’s tallest vertical-drop ride, at Six Flags Magic Mountain (near Los Angeles); and a pair of new SkyScreamer swing towers at Six Flags Great Adventure (New Jersey) and Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio)4. Music and mansions in Newport, Rhode Island
The Newport Music Festival blows through town July 13-29.
Back in the Gilded Age, Newport, Rhode Island was America’s ballroom and beach chair epicenter -- the exclusive summer colony of the Vanderbilts and other late 19th-century industrialist A-listers who erected some of the most opulent “cottages” (i.e. mega-mansions) on the country’s most exclusive patch of shore.
Today, New England’s legendary leisure coast is open to all beach-lazing, ice-cream-licking, bicycle-renting summer throngs, who can freely tromp through many of those hallowed homes, like Belcourt Castle, Marble House and The Breakers.
Several historic properties are in the hands of the Preservation Society of Newport County and open for “combo-ticket” tours.
Music fans will want to earmark three long-running festivals held here each summer.
The chamber music-oriented Newport Music Festival (July 13-29) stages concerts in Newport’s famous mansions.
The Newport Folk Festival (July 28-29) and Newport Jazz Festival (August 3-5) are held on picturesque outdoor stages at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park.
5. National Parks parade
Only a select few are privy to this gorgeous view at North Cascades National Park.
Yellowstone and Yosemite, Bryce and Big Bend, Mesa Verde and Mount Rainier -- hundreds of natural recreational stunners shelter under the auspices of the National Parks Service.
But, given a few days and a stout pair of boots, we'd head for North Cascades National Park in Washington state, right near the Canadian border.
More than 300 glaciers, some 127 lakes, dozens of thundering waterfalls and the highest number of recorded plant species in any national park make this one of the most beautiful parks in the system.
And, would you believe it, only around 70 people per day visit annually to tramp Cascades' 650-kilometer-long trail network.
The bulk of them come July through September, but even with those late summer "crowds," North Cascades is still one of the most overlooked wonders in the country.
Take a look at the NPS home page for further inspiration. All national parks and monuments are admission free during National Park Week (April 22-29). Several will be hosting events and activities to mark the occasion.
6. Highway 1 on either coast
"Was that bridge number 34 or 35? Oh, geez, guess we'd better start over."
Route 66. Highway 61. US-20. There's no shortage of long and winding nominees for the Great American Road Trip. But for an unparalleled, two-lane, coastal odyssey, there’s really just one route (or two, with the same name) to sink your gas pedal into.
Depending on which ocean you’re looking at, Highway 1 runs the length of Florida or California.
Our favorite 160 kilometers of each:
Florida: A tip-to-tail roll down the Overseas Highway -- the southernmost stretch of U.S. Route 1 -- flanked by swaying coconut palms, turquoise seas, azure skies and green mile marker posts skipping over 42 bridges (count 'em) between Key Largo and Key West.
California: A gaping, zigzagging, fog-attracting, life-affirming, white-knuckling ride along the central coast’s spectacular, cliff-lined edge, Big Sur.
7. West Virginia’s 21st annual RoadKill Cook-offAmerica’s epidemic of food festivals isn’t all about chili and apple pie.
Case in point: the annual WV RoadKill Cook-off (September 29).
Entering its 21st season in the old lumber town of Marlinton, West Virginia, this singular food fest -- now a Food Channel favorite -- stars moose, possum, snake, squirrel and other delicacies commonly found on the side of the highway.
If you’ve never tasted “Aunt Edna Lou’s Rancid Rabbit” or “Turkey Buzzard Vomit over Worms” (better than it sounds), there’s really no better time or place.