Thursday, April 30, 2009

Places I've Got to See

The Outer Banks, North CarolinaThree years ago I wrote about Places I'm Dying to See where I listed exotic locales that I'm determined to see at some future date. But a funny thing has happened the older I get . . . while I still want to see Giza and Petra I'm more interested in ever before in my own country.

Andrew and I traveled a bit before we had children--goodness, our honeymoon alone involved nine separate plane rides--and we took our little red car and drove from Utah to California then back again and then from Utah to Washington D.C. then back again. A year later we went north and drove as far Winnipeg, Manitoba up through Montana and North Dakota then back south through South Dakota and Wyoming. A total of forty states, six countries and counting.

I guess I've finally grown an appreciation for some of the amazing sights America has to offer and I've been keeping a list of places I'm determined to visit. Here's the list I'm saving for when the kids leave home and I can tap Andrew on the shoulder and say, "Wanna go for a drive?"

1. The Outer Banks. I've never been to North Carolina but three years ago some friends of ours had a family reunion on the Outer Banks and listening to their description of the area was the only taste I needed to decide that I must see this place some time.

Beaches are my very favorite thing--mountains and lakes and valleys are great but something about the sound of the waves on the shore and the slightly decayed salty smell of low tide completely relaxes me. I can't get enough and if I had my choice I'd live on a beach somewhere. Anywhere. But this particular beach is appealing because I've never been to this part of the world and it seems spread out, airy and wide open rather than the narrow, crowded California beaches I'm used to. If you know differently please don't ruin my vision, I'm enjoying it way too much.

Death Valley, California2. Death Valley. Yup, you read that right. If I live in a place that boasts the highest point above sea level in North America then it makes sense that I'd like to visit the lowest point.

Actually, I'd like to go to Death Valley not just for the chance to say that I've been there and the fact that it has a menacing, uber-cool name I want to go for the wildflowers.

I've read that somehow the desert gets some years of heavier rainfall which produce amazing wildflower displays. This doesn't happen every year, just some times and when I read about the phenomenon several years ago they were saying that the heavy rainfall of 2005 produced wildflowers that you'd rarely ever see again. Sigh. I would have loved to have seen it.

Prince Edward Island3. Prince Edward Island. Okay I'm totally cheating here and I know this isn't even in America but I'm going to fudge just this once because I've wanted to visit ever since (you guessed it) I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables.

Since then I've seen pictures of the real Avonlea and the real island and it appears every bit as picturesque and beautiful as described in the famous book though I bet they get a lot of us dorky tourists all coming to see the places Anne lived as if she was a real person or something.

Ah well. It would be fun.

Nearby Nova Scotia too has always held a fascination--my father went there in the 90s and ran into former President George Bush (the elder) who was also enjoying some fishing. Small world huh? I found this site that lists the best camping places in Canada which probably deserves a post on its own.

4. Redwood National Forest. I've been to California a million times but mostly stuck to the southern part of the state. Something about being able to see a tree so big you can drive a car through it appeals to the kid in me I guess. It seems like I might have actually been to the forest when I was too young to remember but what good does that do me?

I was listening to NPR last week and there was a program where the host goes on these excursions and narrates his trips, describing everything he sees and hears and experiences. Last week he was in northwestern Australia in the middle of a jungle and was describing the bats that were coming out as dusk fell. I was driving in my car in Alaska during break up but in my mind I could see the bats overhead and feel the steamy heat of of the forest as if I was right there with him.

The only thing is, he described the trees he saw and it was completely beyond me to see them too. The description was so fantastic I just couldn't get it--he talked about tentacle-link roots descending to the forest floor and trunks and branches that looked like dragon tails and I haven't a clue what they look like. So that's another forest I'd like to see but that's hardly a qualifier for this week's list.

5. Charleston, South Carolina. I'm afraid my list is rather heavily based in the south because that's the part of the country I haven't seen much of. I've been all over Florida and to the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport (ditto Atlanta) but that hardly counts.

This city, however, has held my interest for years. My father went there for a business trip years ago and I still remember the gorgeous pictures he brought back of the Georgian mansions on the water and the wrought-iron work everywhere. So old and historic I couldn't help falling in love. The people I've known from Charleston have such a soft, gentile-sounding, aristocratic southern sound to their voices that it just reinforces my certainty that should I ever make it to this town I'd be helplessly in love.

Savannah, Georgia6. Savannah, Georgia. The same can be said for Savannah. Before Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil came along to make the city famous I was already longing to see it for myself.

To me most cities tend to be very much the same. Stick me in the middle of Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis or Atlanta and I doubt I could guess which city I was in. There are a few though that have such personality: Boston, New Orleans, Nashville, Washington D.C. . . . to see them isn't just big buildings and fancy restaurants it's a cultural event.

So I put Savannah on the list too. It's not that far from Charleston, relatively speaking--I'll make it there someday.

Chincoteague Shell7. Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Confession time: I've never read Misty of Chincoteague but . . . I have a daughter who did. Grace went through a huge horse-loving phase where she read every horse book she could get her hands on and I was forced by motherly love to live vicariously through her.

More than anything she wanted to visit Chincoteague Island where the wild horses live (though she informed me they're not really true wild horses but have turned feral). Apparently each June they have "Pony Penning Day" where some of the wild ponies are rounded up and sold at auction and Grace wanted to be there to get her own pony.

Now I'm not quite the sucker for horses that she is but after all the talk about the island and the plans she had to get there I would like to see it myself. My brother and sister in law were there and sent me a box of conch shells like you see here and so far that's the closest I've had to going.

8. Niagara Falls. I know this is probably cliche but I've heard that the falls are so much more impressive than can be imagined or photographed. One of those things that you have to see for yourself and though I've been to New York I never made it that far north.

When Andrew and I lived in Washington D.C. before we had kids we were scheduled to drive back west to Utah after our semester was over. Our money was gone, we needed to get on to the next task of earning more money to support ourselves so while our friends decided to take the leisurely drive back through upstate New York we opted for the more efficient way of straight through. I don't know how many times over the years we'd wished we'd taken our time and taken the detour with them.

Oh well. Woulda coulda shoulda. We'll just have to save Niagara for another time.

Sipapu9. The Grand Canyon. I've been around Arizona several times but have never seen the biggest natural tourist attraction ever.

And while I would never have turned down a trip to the canyon it wasn't until some friends of ours went on a hiking trip there last summer that I realized what I'd been missing. I lapped up the details of their trip and pictured myself hiking through Sedona and Red Rock and seeing the Painted Dessert and the Superstition Mountains (best name EVER) and it all just clicked. I wanted to go very badly.

I think what really did it was their description of the hike they took to the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers. They said that very close to where they camped is the Hopi Sipapu--or the place where the Hopi people believe that man emerged into the world. It's a natural spring covered by a dome of rock that has been shaped by the water over the millenia and the place is supposedly sacred to the Hopi even today as the birthplace of mankind.

Our friends tried to hike to the spot and find the spring themselves but the location is kept as a bit of a secret (the picture above is the only picture I could find and it's from a book--I don't know if it's even legitimate). It's so difficult to find they never got there.

Something about their narrative made me want to go backpacking along the river to see if I couldn't find it myself. What a trip it would be.

Mammoth Cave, Kentucky10. Mammoth National Park, Kentucky. I can't remember where I heard about this place, it must have been years ago, but I read that Kentucky has these underground caves and rivers that are really amazing. I've never been spelunking before--never been in a cave of any kind--and I find them fascinating.

I don't know if you've seen the series of BBC videos called Planet Earth but one of the discs is devoted entirely to caves and it's my favorite of the series. I've watched it four or five times now and every time I get this feeling that's a mixture of horror at being in a dark, damp, spooky place and excitement at the exploration of it all.

So a place with caves would definitely have to be on my list.

11. The Oregon Vortex. Okay you're going to think I'm just silly on this one but stick with me here. Supposedly there is this place in Oregon that claims there's some kind of a bubble or warp in the gravitational field of the area such that the laws of physics and gravity do not apply the way they do to the rest of us. It's become a roadside tourist attraction where the buildings on the site lean in odd ways, producing optical illusions.

I know this doesn't make much sense but as best I can deduce there are many places around the world where the slant or the line of the environment produces an illusion on the brain, forcing it to think that it's seeing something that it's not really seeing and I'd like to see it for myself.

For example, a road may appear to run uphill when in fact it's running downhill so that a car left in neutral will appear to roll uphill. Likewise will a tennis ball on the floor appear to roll uphill when it's in fact rolling downhill just as it should be. You can see a hoaky but fun video demonstration here.

I don't think that there are any laws of physics being broken here, no alien force fields, no warps in the space-time continuum--just a fun optical illusion and I'd like to see it. Shoot there are plenty of things I'd like to see in Oregon, starting with the coast, so I figure as long as I'm there I'd pay a visit to the Vortex and see if it's as the pictures make it out to be.

Probably not. It reminds me of how as a kid I wanted to see Madam Tousseau's Wax Museum when we went to London. Forget the cultural icons like the Tower of London or Parliament, I wanted to see the wax museum. Go figure.

12. Tennessee. I'm a little vague here because I'm not entirely sure which parts I want to visit, I just know that after studying the Civil War I want to see the plantations and mansions that I've heard are still standing. Tennessee sent more soldiers into the Civil War than any other state (so I've been told) hence the nickname "the Volunteer State" and I've heard it's just amazingly beautiful. Besides the mansions I'd also want to visit the Civil War battlefields--more battles took place in this state than in any other. Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Johnsonville--I'd love to tour the battlefields and make my way east to west across the state.

Whose with me?

Photos courtesy of National Geographic, Western Colorado Publishing, Prince Edward Island National Parks and Mammoth Cave National Park

Sponsored by Wedding Paper Divas for wedding invitations.


One Mom said...

Oh I feel so blessed! I've been to all but 3 on your list! When you get to Western New York (locals prefer that to upstate New York) give me a shout...We're just 10 minutes away from "The Falls" on a little island in the Niagara River that joins Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. And don't forget your'll want to zip across to see the Canadian side too!

branda50 said...

I too have a list..Some of yours are on mine...I went to the Grand Canyon just two weeks ago...It wasn't on my list but we were in AZ so we went and I am glad I did..
Also it was 24 degrees and snowing...My sisters I were in capris and sandals...

Chris said...

It's been years since I visited Cavendish, PEI. It is a bit touristy but not as bad as some places. It's really beautiful and the beaches are gorgeous. We went to a really charming restaurant the last time, The Kitchen Witch, I wonder if it's still there.

I'd love to take my girl soon. I'm thinking we might do it this summer.

jacjewelry said...

Lots of great places - you can do several destinations in one trip! Yes, I agree with One Mom regarding Niagara - most of the beauty is on the Canadian side!

Edi said...

Hey you mentioned my old home town! I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba - living there until I married and moved to the midwest 13 yrs ago.

My list also contains Prince Edward Island. Even though I grew up in Canada my family did not travel throughout the country at all - except to visit my grandparents in the province next to ours. So there are places in Canada and the USA that I'm still hoping to see...and then of course there is Europe...

MiaKatia said...

Living in Tennessee I can tell you that it is a treasure. I don't think most people know how truly beautiful it is. I have been to a couple of the plantations, and they are so historically interesting (and surprising because they are way smaller than I though they would be). Tennessee is a very horizontal state and you would have to have a 3 part vacation, East, Middle, and West Tennessee. Come, you will love it!

Joanna said...

My grandparents live less than an hour from Savannah, GA, and last time we were down there visiting, we just went to the Visitors Center and asked the people there- we have a few hours in your city, what should we do? The excited volunteers handed us a map and drew out a walking tour, and it was the most delightful afternoon. This really works with just about any city- and it's free!

Lucy said...

I must say, Death Valley is a must see. I was there in JULY and it was the most incredible heat I've ever felt ... and I live in Arizona. But the geology of the land is beautiful Nothing there, but it's absolutely beautiful. I'd like to go when wildflower season hits. Fascinating place.

Mag25_lawus said...

I just visited Superstition Mountains in February when visiting friends in Phoenix. Beautiful. When you get through some of the mountains there is a little restaurant/ice cream parlor in Tortilla Flats. It's totally worth the trip through the winding mountains but maybe not so if you get car sick easily.

My boyfriend grew up going there so it was a trip down memory lane for him. He was just excited to have his favorite ice cream - Prickly Pear. I have to admit - it was delicious even knowing we were eating a part of a cactus!

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

Though you obviously need little convincing, I'm just going to plug the Outer Banks. (Emerald Isle is a good one. It can be a little crowded in the summer, but nothing like CA beaches, I imagine.) It sounds like you seriously need a tour of the South.

BTW, Tennessee got the volunteer nickname from the War of 1812. I wouldn't be surprised if thy had the most Civil War volunteers (I assume this includes volunteers for the Confederacy), since they never actually seceded. If you wanted to fight for the South, you had to volunteer.

Shelly W said...

I love your list, even though I haven't been to that many of your dream locales. Charleston, SC, though, is one of my FAVORITE places--it is just so genteel and wonderfully Southern. We go there almost every year.

Now, about your Chicago comment. . . . I am about to change your mind. I'm working on a post for your guest travel series that will, hopefully, make you want to visit our wonderful, beautiful city. :)

karen said...

#8: Niagara Falls. I grew up near enough to go annually to the Falls ( or Goat Island or the Power Station or...) on school trips. We'd also go every time our family had out-of-town guests. By eighth grade, going to the Falls was about as exciting as going to math - really, do we have to? I avoided the Falls through most of high school and college and then moved away. Some years later (six? ten?) while visiting the area, someone suggested we go to the Falls. I sighed inwardly in boredom, but went and OH. WOW. My return was cathartic and unimaginably revealing; I finally understood all those school trips. Now, I drag my kids as often as possible, watching them each time for signs that they get it, signs that they have an inkling of the majesty before them. "Wonder of the World" really doesn't begin to cover it!

Sarah said...

Some lovely places here...

I also want to explore my own country before venturing out into the wild, wild world.

Hubby and I spent our honeymoon in Savannah, and boy, is it gorgeous.

Also, Niagara. Breathtaking, really.

Ooh, and Tennessee. I live here!

Elizabeth said...

I've been to a few of these. I lived in Tennessee for most of my life. It's absolutely beautiful. And you get every possible landscape you can imagine. The summers are pretty mild and so are the winters. Plus when you go thru Nashville (cause you have to) they have the Parthenon -->

I moved to Georgia after we got married. It's beautiful but it's not Tennessee. However, dh and I went to Savannah for our 10th anniversary. If you go to Savannah you have got to check out Tybee Island. It's the cutest little place. We stayed at a little house there for really cheap and you basically walked out the door onto a boardwalk to the beach. There's lots of historic stuff to explore (lighthouse & fort). Oh and plus Savannah is beautiful too.

We visited the Grand Canyon last month. We were driving to Phoenix and we stopped over in Flagstaff. My husband realized that we were less than 2 hours from The Canyon. So we drove there and loved it. It's indescribable. We took lots of photos if you'd like to see them.

Wow, sorry this is so long. Great list.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Savannah, and yes, you must go someday! It is such a beautiful, historic city. There is so much to do and see and experience. Just don't go in the summer - the heat and humidity are unbearable!

Annette Lyon said...

I'm with ya! Those sound so cool! Some day, I WILL get to PEI.

karen said...

The Oregon Vortex link takes you to great hiking in Canada - here's the real Vortex address:

Flea said...

I'm with ya! Especially on the Redwood forests, 9, 10 and 11! *sigh*

Growing up in the Deep South, I've had my fill of plantations, but I'd love to see the Grand Canyon.

So have you tried boiled peanutes yet? The second commenter on this site is from Fairbanks:

Allie in Tok said...

I was born and raised in Kentucky and went on many a field trip to Mammoth Cave. You'd love it, there are lots of tours and caverns to see, some that even require you to scoot on your belly or double over to get through. I love kentucky and if Grace loves horses, you should put the Kentucky horse park in Lexington on the list.

Marcy said...

I've seen a few of these places but the Grand Canyon was the only one that actually took my breath away. I was a teenager and tired of driving in the car with my dad and brother. When we finally got there, it was a sight to see. Really incredible.

Niagara Falls is the same thing. Beautiful...

Jennifer said...

Let me see if I can remember all my thoughts as I read this:

Charleston & Savannah - I've been to both places and instead of dashing your romantic notions, I'll just tell you to go in the cooler months. 'Nuf said.

Ok, I can't remember all the witty things I thought when I read this the first time at 6:45 am this morning. Maybe because they weren't all that witty? :)

Rachel C. said...

I agree with all your places (I've been to 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 12) except for Tennessee.

The Outer Banks is by far the best place on Earth! I would totally be there every summer if it weren't so dang expensive to travel nowadays!

Tennessee is nice, but if you really want to see Civil War history, North Carolina is the best! There's tons of plantations there. Plus, if you're already there for the Outer Banks it's that much more convenient!

Great-Granny Grandma said...

I had never heard of the Oregon Vortex before. It sounds fascinating. I would have liked to see the video clip you mentioned, but when I clicked on the link it took me to a list of camp sites in Canada instead. :-(

Aimee said...

Great list! Some of my favorites are on here :)

We used to live in NC, and the Outer Banks are fantastic for vacationing. We are looking forward to our return trip this summer.

But the mountains of NC are just as amazing, and if you keep goign west, you end up in Tennessee, which is also a wonderful state. We've only had the chance to explore the mountains of TN, but they were gorgeous.

And Charleston is hands down one of my favorite cities ever. I think the people are nicer there than anywhere I've ever gone in the US, and I have lived around some really nice people! :)

Hope you get to cross them all off of your list!

PS: PEI has always been a dream destination for me too, thanks to Anne-with-an-e :)

Scribbit said...

One Mom--how amazing, you make it sound so beautiful. My parents went to Niagara years ago and raved about it. Karen--isn't it funny how you don't appreciate what you grow up with? All these people coming to Alaska and it's only been the last few years where I can say "Wow, I live in an amazing place."

Oops on the vortex link--I think I've fixed it now.

And Jennifer? I hear that if I were to visit the south in the summer I'd melt into a puddle. Still--maybe in the winter?

Courtney said...

Wonderful list! And I am glad to see that you are interested in seeing places in our own beautiful country. Like One Mom, I am 10 minutes from the Falls as well. Maybe when you actually come out here we should have a Scribbit Tour of the Falls. And the Canadian side is more beautiful and has way more touristy things to do. But we must support our American Sided too. The legend of the Seneca Indians is a great story to explore.

MommyTime said...

I've been to nearly all the places on your list (not Death Valley or a couple of others), and I can say that you are in for some real treats if you go. I've wanted to visit PEI ever since falling in love with Anne too (I'm sure you're not surprised about that one). But I think that a lot of the places you HAVE gone, I haven't. Perhaps it's time to get out the photos of old trips?

Summer said...

I've been to two places on your list - Niagara Falls and Death Valley.

Niagara Falls is absolutely worth it. I'm trying to convince my husband we should go camping up that way this summer so he can see it.

Summer said...

Oh, but you must cross the Canadian border to get the really spectacular view. The American side is...meh, compared to the Canadian side

Scribbit said...


I'm trying to imagine how that would even taste.

Deprickled of course.

And Jordan? Thanks--all this useless information rattling around in my head gets mixed up obviously. 1812. Got it. Shows that I really need to visit the place and get my stories straight.

All these great comments, I'm having a hard time keeping up with them--thanks for the travel tips too, when I eventually get to these places I'm absolutely going to remember them and follow your advice.

J at said...

I'm with you! Sounds like heaven. Especially the beach in North Carolina...I, too, love the smell of the ocean. SO yummy. And I was a big fan of Misty, so would love to go to Chincoteague to watch Pony Penning Day, though I harbor no illusions that my condo is a step up in the world as a place for a pony to live.

I wonder if the NPR guy could have been talking about Banyan trees? At least for the roots. Here's a picture:

I've only seen them in Hawaii, but they're really cool looking.

Scribbit said...

Jellyjules--it's possible that's what he meant. I was driving and missed the name he gave them and he never repeated it. I guess banyans would make sense though the way he described them didn't make them jump to my mind. I meant to look them up and hadn't got around to it.

Scribbit said...

Okay jellyjules--you prompted me to go searching. I meant to look it up after I heard the piece and never did.

I think (think is the word here) that the trees he meant are the antarctic beech. Probably because while I never heard the name he kept using the word "buttressed" in referring to the roots and this one if you google those terms comes up. Then, also it's found in Lamington National Forest which is in western Australia about where he was (though I missed the name of the forest too).

So here's a picture:

linkYou can decide. Though I have to say, the picture is a little disappointing after the poetry he gave to the description.

karen said...

All while I was busy taking Niagara Falls for granted, I dreamed of going to Alaska. How funny to know now that someone in Alaska has the opposite dream!

mj said...

I'd love to visit some of those, too (Outer Banks and the Redwoods, especially). I've been to PEI, Grand Canyon, and Tennessee--all beautiful.

Kim said...

Oh my gosh! I can't believe you've got Savannah on your list, because whenever I mention how someday SOMEDAY I'm going to visit Savannah, people look at me sideways. Finally! Someone who understands the appeal of plantations and flowers and southern cooking and a way of life that is so very different from the Pacific Northwest.

Sharon said...

We lived in Charleston for 5 years. Now we live 10 minutes south of Tennessee in Huntsville, AL. Savannah is about 1 to 1 1/2 hours from Charleston. St. Paddy's day there is too crazy for me though, I won't do that again.

Mimi said...

What about NEW ENGLAND?!

Dawn said...

I loved it that you have my island home as a place to visit! Chincoteague is wonderful. We are protected from the Atlantic Ocean by Assateague Island (a beautiful barrier island with a beach without condos, boardwalks, and development of any kind). We still swim the wild ponies each year during the summer and our little island home becomes filled with many visitors. Misty of Chincoteague is our definite claim to fame!

Scribbit said...

True Mimi--New England is amazing and beautiful but the list is places I want to see not places I've already seen. We lived in D.C. and went up and down the east coast plus individual trips before I was married. So while there are still things I want to see there some of the other areas of the country are more tempting right now.

Hope that doesn't offend :)

The Dunns said...

Oregon is truly beautiful from east to west and north to south. I was born and raised there but I've never been to the Vortex. Sounds like a tourist trap to me. ;) Granted, it's a short drive from the Redwoods, so it might be worth a side trip. But there is so much more to see in Oregon, including the Willamette Valley wine country, a winter storm rolling in on the coast, year round skiing at Bachelor, hot springs in the desert, the Columbia River gorge and Multnomah Falls and much, much more. There are many places in the US I'd like to visit but I can't imagine eventually settling anywhere but Oregon!

Tom said...

California big trees are beyond huge - that's a definite keeper, a must-see. They'll make you feel reeeeally small.

Almost got to the Oregon Vortex once. Drove up to it, parked in the lot, saw that the admission was more than my budget allowed, and left. I'll take the kids next time and we'll do it for sure.

Great list!

miriama said...

I remember going to the Oregon Vortex as a kid. I had forgotten all about it until you mentioned it.

And the Redwoods are amazing. Awe-inspiring.

My place to go is Tahiti. My great-grandma was a Tahitian princess and I dream of seeing where she came from.

Michemily said...

I've also got to get to Prince Edward Island. You are so good at making the most interesting lists.

Courtney said...

Loved your list. I have been to the outer banks and it was fun. I thought the sand was rough and beach was rocky. But I am dying to go to Charleston and Savannah. I secretly want to be southern. but don't tell, since my very yankee family was shocked when I married a boy who was born in Kentucky :)

Kathryn said...

Definitely go to the Outer Banks. And then go again. (I grew up in NC.)
All of the other East Coast places you mentioned are either places I've been and loved or places that I've always intended to go. But I currently live too far away and am too poor :)
One word of advice, though: Don't drive across Tennessee all at once. It takes FOREVER.

LLG said...

P.E.I is amazing! I love it there, the red beaches and ocean are amazing. The Anne of Green Gables historical site they have is so much fun! If you love Anne of Green Gables you will love that. Niagra Fall is great too..I have only been to the Canadian side, but still so wonderful. Good luck in your journeys in visiting these wonderful places. Many on your list are ones I would also like to travel to.

RefreshMom said...

I'm with you on the being near water thing. In fact, I was just thinking about whether I can manage a weekly trip to someplace coastal during the summer.

I love the whole salt-water proximity thing so much that yesterday I bought a stuffed California Gull because it makes that screechy noise that only a gull can make. But the sound of waves and the spray of the water inspires me and I thought that maybe that screech would make it feel a little nearer.

Here's a plan for you--next spring you head south, hit the Oregon Vortex, the main redwood forest and then head down to the Santa Cruz mountains for the Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference. A conference with some of the greatest people you'd ever hope to meet at a conference center surrounded by redwoods! Nothing better, I tell ya.

And then you could keep going south if you wanted and head to Death Valley. You'd get three of your 10 crossed off in one glorious trip!

Anonymous said...

The oregon vortex site,is
not far from the Oregon Caves
National Monument, which isn't
far from the N. Calif. Redwoods
site. Three down right there, lol.
Enjoyed your list of travel

Roo said...

The first time I visted Niagara Falls I was disappointed. However, looking back on it, I think it was first because I was alone and second because it was the middle of February. I have since been back several times, have seen it in winter, spring and summer and I'm glad I've gone back. I have to admit I saw it a second time in a huge February ice storm and it was beautiful. It's definitely some place that you should visit, but spring is probably the ice and humidity is lower than summer. And yes, you will want to visit the Canadian side.

While you're in the area make sure to visit some of the other beautiful places in Western NY. Letchworth State Park, Finger Lakes Area, etc. I lived in the Rochester area for 18 months and am so glad I took the time to get out and see a few of the sights in the area. It' a lovely place to visit.

emily said...

A word of advice: if you actually do end up going to Cavendish, be prepared to spend a wallet-ful. My husband and I toured Prince Edward Island in 2001, thinking it would be the quaint, lovely place portrayed in Anne of Green Gables, and while the rest of the island really is still that lovely and quaint, Cavendish itself has been completely commercialized. You can't even go near the old green-gabled house without being charged for parking, admission, if it is some sort of theme park. It was really disappointing, and we chose to spend the afternoon on the red sandy beaches instead.

Sara said...

I've been to 5 of the places on your list. You will REALLY love the Outer Banks. It's one of my favorite places in the US, and I've lived in 7 states.

BTW, you don't need to go to the Oregon Vortex. Have you heard about the one in Anchorage? I think it's on upper O'Malley. I can't remember for sure. It's been 7 years since I lived there (which seems so crazy to me) and even longer since I was in high school and used to go do the "vortex". :)

Chrissy Johnson said...

Yay, Tennessee! I suggest East (Knoxville/Chattanooga...see civil war history as well as beautiful, BEAUTIFUL mountains). East TN was primarily UNION if you believe it. Especially Knoxville and into the Smokies...there are stories of folks hiding in their mountain caves instead of fighting the rich man's war. Fascinating stuff. Plus, it's a quick drive to Asheville or the Blue Ridge mountains, Biltmore Estate, etc.

Alice Wills Gold said...

I have experience with just three of these spots.

Death Valley is not that exciting, but understand why you want to visit.

The Grand Canyon is a MUST for any person that has been blessed to be born on the planet Earth....AMAZING...words cannot describe.

And, of course you are right when you say Tennessee is's breathtaking....if you ever plan a trip make sure it is in April/May or Oct/ time of the year....and make sure you get all the way East...we are the prettiest part of the state.

Oh and make sure you let me know if you are coming, so that I can meet you!

J at said...

Well, I didn't hear the description, but I thought the picture was beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

As a military wife, I've have the pleasure of passing through many of these places on my trips to our next tour. I lived in the south most of my life (although we are currently stationed in Kodiak, Alaska) and I can vouch that many of these places are just as beautiful as you are imagining. A bit of advice for your travels - yes, Outer Banks are one of the most gorgeous beaches out there. I grew up in Florida but the beaches of the Outer Banks do take my breath away. In fact, watching the movie "Nights in Rodanthe" gave me a little fix until my next trip. I can almost smell the ocean, sea the beautiful sand, and feel the warm but not humid breeze. Ahhhhh. Make sure you visit the light houses. One of the best is Cape Hatteras. Also, be sure to visit the Wright Brothers Museum sight and fly a kite on the dunes nearby. Oh, and stop at all the farmer's stands. The fruits and veggies of the area are so grand. Strawberries, tomatoes, and squash are some of the best I've ever had. Since we get such horrid produce here in Kodiak, I have to move on and not think about that! On to Savannah -yes, a very southern and quaint town. You also have to visit the small islands that are off the coast of Savannah as well. Jekyll Island is where we spent our honeymoon and it's just wonderful. You can bike ride the entire island in a few hours (on a bicycle built for two no less!) and see many pre-Civil War plantations. Also, some fabulous seafood places to eat! One place you may want to add to your list is St Augustine, Florida. The old fort, the old town that you walk through on cobblestone roads,the artsy feel, and the beautiful beaches make it another place you should so visit. Well, back to watching the snow melt. Pretty soon Kodiak will be full of its small fishing village charm. Once we turn green, it's some of the pretties scenery around.

Twinsmom said...

Some of these are on my list, and I've been to a few. We're actually going to the caves in Kentucky this summer. I'm hoping to get reservations at the tepee motel just down the road from them. I've been to Niagara Falls 3 times. I would have loved to have seen it before it became so commercialized, but if you stand there with your eyes closed and just's amazing. Don't miss driving north from the falls towards Niagara-on-the-Lake. The town itself is full of little specialty shops, but on the drive there (not long), there are several farmer markets that are more than worth stopping at. Charleston is just beautiful. I'm anxious to go back again. And I'm totally with you on seeing the redwoods and the Grand Canyon. Some day..... :-)

Wendy said...

I just have to add that if you do go to the Grand Canyon (or maybe in another trip) don't miss Canyon De Chelly. And don't miss Chaco Canyon, it's really off the beaten path but so so very cool. I thank you for some of the ideas for visiting the south east US, I am going through there this summer and making plans. I will have to do some research on these ideas.

Bill Kendrick said...

Just came across your Places I've Got to See posting and your reference to Prince Edward Island. Since we have the privilege of living here, I thought I'd invite you to fulfill your dream by coming to visit the Land of Anne. We run a bed & breakfast, Briarcliffe Inn and an experiential tourism business called Experience PEI. We have a honeymoon couple coming from Seattle next week and we have created a day for them in which Anne herself will show them through Green Gables...lead them through the Haunted Woods and take them on a carriage ride with Matthew. So, and don't let anyone tell you she's not real!

The LIbrary Lady said...

We spend a week every summer on Chincoteague. The Assateague Island beaches are wild, free and beautiful and I'd take them over the Outer Banks any day of the week--too many big ugly houses right on the beach and too many tourists! Chincoteague is MUCH quieter, except during Pony Penning and we always go in August when all the huhu is over.

Neither of my daughters has read Anne--I suspect my younger one may eventually since she's a girl like I used to be :D but one day I intend we'll get to PEI. Right now, there is beautiful Anne of Green Gables/PEI photo calendar on my office wall!

The LIbrary Lady said...

We spend a week every summer on Chincoteague. The Assateague Island beaches are wild, free and beautiful and I'd take them over the Outer Banks any day of the week--too many big ugly houses right on the beach and too many tourists! Chincoteague is MUCH quieter, except during Pony Penning and we always go in August when all the huhu is over.

Neither of my daughters has read Anne--I suspect my younger one may eventually since she's a girl like I used to be :D but one day I intend we'll get to PEI. Right now, there is beautiful Anne of Green Gables/PEI photo calendar on my office wall!

The LIbrary Lady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet said...

You can do Tennessee and Mammoth Cave on the same trip - and I will be more than happy to show you around!! I was raised in Nashville, went to college in Memphis, and have inlaws in Oak Ridge. And I'm 3 hours from Mammoth Cave. Just let me know!

Out of the rest of your list I've only been to the Outer Banks. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Nancy said...

You've inspired me to make a list of my top ten places in the states to see. I've traveled a lot and seen a great deal of the world, but have been concentrating on my own country since 2001. When you go to Niagra Falls, be sure to see them from both the U.S. side and the Canadian side. When we went over to the Canadian side we we outfitted with slickers and boots and went through a cave like opening to see the falls. The view of the U.S. side of the falls is absolutely breath taking.

Stephanie said...

ME! ME! I, too, have become more interested in traveling within my "home country" as I've gotten older. I'd love to just take off for a few months with my husband and my girls and travel across the country.

You listed some spots that I'd love to see. I would also add a few others to the list:
* Portland, Oregon
* Nashville, Tennessee
* Anywhere in North Carolina

And I, too, want to go to Prince Edward Island. Because of Anne of Green Gables. I'll join you as a "dorky tourist." :)

The Grand Canyon really is incredible. Being an Arizonan, I've been there quite a few times and it never fails to take my breath away.

Monkey's Momma said...

I have been to the Outer Banks. We have family in North Carolina and visited OBX about three years ago. It is simply amazing. We stayed for a week and had a great time!

Pamela said...

Niagara Falls is lovely (the Falls themselves, not so much the city). The Maid of the Mist takes you right up to the amazing! And you can walk behind the Falls on the Cave of the Winds tour. Very wet, but very worth it.

The best part? You can see the Falls from a number of places, and even walk to Canada to check out their view. I like the Canadian falls better. Not sure why.

I'm about an hour east of Niagara Falls. The commenter who mentioned Letchworth State Park and the Finger Lakes Region was spot on. And if you're heading that far east, you might as well visit the Adirondack Mountains.

New York is awesome.

Farmington, Utah said...

I would definitely go see Goblin Valley in Utah! It's one of the most unique places on the planet and is just so much fun for children (if you have them!)