backyard1 blades-thumb2 blades3 blades4 flowers5 footer6 fort_selden_wagon7 masthead8 masthead19
slider by WOWSlider.com v9.0

Our Newest Content

Fayette Historical State Park and Townsite   
Michigan Upper Peninsula Iron-Smelting Town

Tom Straka
Published 6-25-2022

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has lots of fascinating towns and museums to visit. Many of the museums are related to the region’s pioneering industries: copper, iron, and timber. The Upper Peninsula once had huge iron resources and over two-dozen iron blast furnaces, and many of the museums and historical attractions deal with the iron mining and smelting industries. The fuel for nearly all of the iron smelting furnaces was charcoal, and if you look hard you can even see some charcoal kilns that still remain to celebrate the iron industry history. Marquette was center of the iron activity and if you enter town from the east, you’ll see a huge, reconstructed charcoal kiln to welcome you to the city.  

Best Dining in the South

Kathleen Walls
Published 6-11-2022

I've been doing a lot of road trips lately and have discovered some of the best dining in the South. Here are a few must-dine places.

Some Gave All: Some Gave All

Kathleen Walls
Published 5-29-2022

Just back from a press trip to Henry County, Georgia, where I had the privilege of meeting many of the veterans who gave some. For Memorial Day, we honor those who gave all. Henry County recognizes both. Here's a little about those who gave some and those who gave all.

Transformative Travel in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Renée S. Gordon
Published 5-29-2022

Archaeological evidence exists attesting to the fact that Native Americans inhabited the Oklahoma region as early as 500 AD. The state’s documented history begins with the Spanish explorations of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1541, followed in 1682 by Robert de la Salle who claimed the land for France.

Colonial Williamsburg Where Past and Present Meet

Kathleen Walls
Published 5-19-2022

carriage in williamsburgWilliamsburg is one of those magic places where history is ever present. Williamsburg was founded between 1630 and 1633 when some Jamestown settlers moved there. Jamestown's capital building burned twice, the second time In 1698. The locals in Jamestown were tired of the unhealthy climagte and decided to permanently move the capital Williamsburg. The once small community grew and prospered until a later governor, Thomas Jefferson, moved the capital to Richmond. Williamsburg retuned to its early small village status.

Auburn, New York: The Spirit of Tubman

Renée S. Gordon
Published 5-18-2022

Harriet Tubman was born 200-years ago in Maryland and embarked on an extraordinary journey that continues to resonate throughout US history. Her story serves as an example of courage and perseverance against seemingly insurmountable odds. She employed her uncanny ability to conquer any situation  functioning as an Underground Railroad conductor, abolitionist, lecturer, suffragist field nurse, Union spy and scout, and in 1863, leader of a Union raid resulting in the destruction of Confederate supplies and the liberation of hundreds of the
enslaved.

Buffalo Soldiers In the Heart of America

Renée S. Gordon
Published 4-10-2022

buffalo soldier museumThere have been no American military engagements in which African Americans have not participated at some level. In the 1600s British colonies blacks were used to defend against Indian attacks. Massachusetts’ 1636 law was one of the earliest documented laws to state that “all able-bodied Negroes” had to report to serve in the militia. Enslaved and freedmen were among the 9,000 African Americans serving in the Continental Army as Patriots, largely in integrated units. During the War of 1812 it is estimated that 15% of the soldiers and sailors were of African descent and General Andrew Jackson called for “free colored inhabitants of Louisiana” to enlist in the US Army on Sept. 21, 1814 with the promise of equal pay. The Civil War witnessed Union enlistment of approximately 200,000 African Americans, an estimated 100,000 once enslaved, resulting in a death toll of nearly 40,000.

Experience Southeast Texas

Renee S. Gordon
Published 3-30-2022

janise Joplins carNative Americans settled along the shores of Sabine Lake in what was to become East Texas more than 1,500-years ago. In 1528 Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca and three of his men, including Estevanico an African, became the first Europeans to travel into the interior of Texas. They were followed, nearly 200-years later, by transient Spanish, French and Englishmen. In the 17th-century the lake became a draw for traders of legal and illegal goods, settlers and pirates like Jean Laffite.

The Not Too Little Zoo That Can

Kathleen Walls
Published 3-29-2022

keeper and macaw at gulf coast zooGulf Shores Zoo became a household word as "The Little Zoo That Could" when a prime-time documentary told how the zoo's saved its animals in 2004 before Hurricane Ivan struck Gulf Shores. It all began in 1989 when Joey Ward built a small, community zoo on his family's land just a mile from the beach. He named it Zooland Animal Park. By 2000 it had grown and was renamed The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.

Shelby: Land of Rythym and Roots

Kathleen Walls
published 3-34-3033

earl scruggs statureShelby in Cleveland County is just 45 minutes west of Charlotte but a completely different world. Creativity reigns here. Two music legends were born in Cleveland County, Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson. Art is all over Cleveland County. Museums are unique. Shopping and dining is laid back and individually owned not chains.

Virginia Beach: The First Resort

Renee S. Gordon
published 3-20-2022

sige about Virginia beachNative Americans, namely the Chesepians, inhabited the South Hampton Roads region of Virginia for thousands of years prior to first contact with English colonists on April 26, 1607. Three British Ships sent by the Virginia Company, sailed for 4 months, landed on Cape Henry and erected a wooden cross on the spot where they came ashore. Captain Christopher Newport, the first English tourist, was first to go ashore to reconnoiter and found “freshwaters, faire meadowes," and “goodly tall trees”. A second party built a small boat and visited the areas’ land and waterways. On May 14, the ships relocated to Jamestown and established the first permanent English settlement.

Norfolk, Virginia, Home of the Brave

Renee S. Gordon
Published 3-9-2022

battleshipNative Americans inhabited the Norfolk region, in a settlement known as Skicoak, for thousands
of years prior to the establishment of a European colony in
1636 and in 1682 Nicholas Wise sold 50 acres of riverfront
property to the Virginia General Assembly to found Norfolk.
Fifty years later it was the largest town in the colony. During
the American Revolution the busy port, shipbuilding industry and transportation of goods made Norfolk a prime target for a British attack and on January 1, 1776 they destroyed two-thirds of the city. Citizens torched what remained to prevent confiscation by the British. The city was rapidly rebuilt and again established prominence as a port linking transportation between North and South

Cape Henry Lighthouse's Unique Keeper

Kathleen Walls
Published 3-9-2022

old lighthouse at cape henryCape Henry Lighthouse, the 4th oldest lighthouse in the United States, was authorized by President George Washington in 1792. In 1881, the government constructed a second lighthouse 350 feet from the first. The lighthouses are a fun place to visit but there is something more in their story. Lighthouses are beacons of hope, and Cape Henry Lighthouse offers a story of one man's hopes. From May 10 to July 26, 1870. Willis Augustus Hodges served as the first African American lighthouse keeper at the Cape Henry Lighthouse.

Winston-Salem, Where Two Cultures Collide

Kathleen Walls
published 3-6-2022

bridge between salem and winstonCan you imagine a culture of socialistic church members in a society where the church controlled all aspects of life and owned all property in the settlement and smoking, drinking and partying was forbidden ever finding common ground with capitalistic tobacco manufactures?



Seek the Exceptional in Clearfield County, PA

Renée S. Gordon
Published 2-3-2022

foliage fall colorsWestern Pennsylvania’s Clearfield County is as close to a recreational paradise, replete with natural wonders, numerous outdoor activities, unique tasting trails and culinary delights, as any traveler can imagine. All season recreational offerings make any time opportune for a trip to the county’s wild side. More than 100,000-acres of State Forest and Game Lands allow sport hunting and game viewing. Those who prefer water-based experiences can choose from more than 250 lakes and rivers in which to fish, swim, boat or canoe.

Amelia Island:Like No Place Else on Earth

Kathleen Walls
Published 2-1-2022

ft clinchIt's no wonder Amelia Island is such an interesting place to visit. The blend of cultures that have created this special place differs from any other place on earth. It lived under eight flags. It was special to people from pre-Columbian Timucuans to pirates and con men, as well as hardworking settlers from many countries. Today, it's a wonderful vacation spot with fewer crowds than the better-known Florida beach towns. Here are just some of the best things to do on Amelia Island.

Discover Aiken, South Carolina

Renée S. Gordon
Published 1-30-2022

racing hall of fame in aikenThe city of Aiken, named after William Aiken, SC Railroad’s first president, was founded in 1835 after railroads entered the area in 1833 and the world’s longest line, 136-miles, connected the Savannah River with Charleston. In 1871 Aiken County was formed from portions of four existing counties.

 

 


Ball’s Bluff Battlefield

Story by Tom Straka
Photographs by Pat Straka
Published 1-6-2022

battlefieldThe Battle of Ball’s Bluff was a small one by Civil War standards, but a consequential one. It occurred early in the War on October 21,1861, by accident, just a couple of months after Bull Run (or First Manassas). The battlefield is on U.S. 15 in Leesburg, Virginia, just before the highway crosses into Maryland on to the Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields. We’ve passed it many times and recently had the time to visit. It turned out to be a well worth the stop; it is a small battlefield, but an interesting one that abuts the Potomac River. The 300-foot bluff is surprising, while being so close to the ocean, it contains 100-foot cliffs, is covered with outcroppings, and only a single steep trail led up to the top. Union troops had to cross the Potomac River twice to reach the battlefield, as Harrison Island stood in the middle of the river. Union pickets protected the island during the crossing, taking cover behind entrenchments for protection from hostile Confederate fire.   

 

Tampa Bay:The Place to Play

Kathleen Walls
Published 12-17-2021

beach at tampa Tampa Bay is one of Florida’s most popular playground areas. It has such a variety of attractions even a picky group will find something each party will enjoy.

Horne Creek Living Historical Farm

Story by Tom Straka
Photo by Pat Straka
published 12-16-2021

horne creek farm Horne Creek Farm is a living history farm, a North Carolina Historic Site, and the actual Hauser family farm (as opposed to many living history farms that are relocated farm buildings or rebuilt farm buildings). This is the real thing, allowing visitors to experience farm life in North Carolina’s northwestern Piedmont circa 1900. The site features the family’s original farmhouse (with original furnishings), a tobacco curing barn, a corn crib, adjacent fields under cultivation, and even a heritage apple orchard. The Site also offers programs ranging from old fashioned ice cream socials to an annual corn shucking frolic. There is a visitors' center with exhibits and a gift shop. This living history is a chance to learn about the rural past, a chance to see, smell, touch, and hear things once common in rural North Carolina.orne Creek Farm is a living history farm, a North Carolina Historic Site, and the actual Hauser family farm (as opposed to many living history farms that are relocated farm buildings or rebuilt farm buildings). This is the real thing, allowing visitors to experience farm life in North Carolina’s northwestern Piedmont circa 1900. The site features the family’s original farmhouse (with original furnishings), a tobacco curing barn, a corn crib, adjacent fields under cultivation, and even a heritage apple orchard. The Site also offers programs ranging from old fashioned ice cream socials to an annual corn shucking frolic. There is a visitors' center with exhibits and a gift shop. This living history is a chance to learn about the rural past, a chance to see, smell, touch, and hear things once common in rural North Carolina.

Fort Dobbs State Historic Site

Story by Tom Straka
Photo by Pat Straka
published 12-5-2021

 During the COVID-19 pandemic we have visited attractions that were primarily out-of-doors and generally not that far off the highway.Fort Dobbs State Historic Site meets those requirements, being nearly at the intersection of Interstates 40 and 77, just north of Statesville, North Carolina. Most forts in the South were associated with the Revolutionary or Civil Wars. Fort Dobbs is a French and Indian War fort. It is the only state historic site associated with that period in North Carolina. The site is similar to Oconee Station in South Carolina, visited last October and described in an ARGH article, in that it is mainly a blockhouse and it is situated on what was back then the frontier, the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Enjoy the Holidays on Jekyll Island with a Holly Jolly Christmas

Kathleen Walls
Published 11-29-2021jekyll clubhouse

For my friends who have never visited Jekyll Island, the
holiday season is the perfect time to visit. Take a ride on
Jekyll’s Holly Jolly Trolley to see over half a million lights
around the island. There are lights from the Historic District
to Beach Village. Trolley riders will enjoy festive holiday
beverages, and sing along to Jingle Bells and other carols. For older stories click here

See earlier stories


Public Disclosure-- Please Read        
 
The FTC has a law requiring web sites to let their readers know if any of the stories are  "sponsored" or compensated. We also are to let readers know if any of our links are ads. Most are not. They are just a way to direct you  to more information about the article where the link is placed. We have several ads on our pages.  They are clearly marked as ads. I think readers are smart enough to know an ad when they see one but to obey the letter of the law, I am putting this statement here to make sure everyone understands. American Roads and Global Highways may contain affiliate links or ads. Further, as their bios show, most of the feature writers are professional travel writers. As such we are frequently invited on press trips, also called fam trips. On these trips most of our lodging, dining, admissions fees and often plane fare are covered by the city or firm hosting the trip. It is an opportunity to visit places we might not otherwise be able to visit. However, no one tells us what to write about those places. All opinions are 100% those of the author of that feature column.  .  

 

 

 

Fort Smith, Wild, Wild West Arkansas-Part Two

Renée S. Gordon
Published 11-28-2021

fort smithCherokee Bill was born Crawford Goldsby in 1876 to a Buffalo Soldier and a mixed Cherokee and black mother. Bill’s father abandoned the family but at the age of 10 his mother managed to send him to Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Industrial School for two years. Stories differ but it is generally believed that he shot his first man at age 12 and soon after joined up with the Cook Brothers for a string of robberies and murders. During his brief career he both led his own gang and rode with other notorious felons such as Billy the Kid.

A North Carolina Grist Mill Tour

Story by Tom Straka
Photographs by Pat Straka
Published 11-28-2021

gristmill signGristmills were a commonplace in the eighteenth and nineteenth century South. Many gristmills still exist in North Carolina, including a few that still are commercial enterprises. We visited a historical gristmill which includes a surrounding historical district. Murray’s Mill Historic District is just ten minutes off Interstate 40 in eastern Catawba County. The mill is on the banks of Balls Creek, with a mill dam and large tranquil mill pond. It is a small historic district, not requiring a lot of walking. Of course, the highlight is an operating 28-foot waterwheel. The District qualifies as a National Register Historic Site. The tour starts at the General Store, which includes goodies, local and regular, and many general store items. There is a porch swing out front if you need to build up the energy for the tour.

 

Fort Smith, Wild, Wild West Arkansas-Part One

Renée S. Gordon
Published 11-14-2021

cowboy stature at fort smithPeople tend to forget that America’s frontier changed over time. The earliest European settlements were along the coast and gradually settlers and explorers, following Indian trails and waterways, moved inland. Early 18th-century events opened the Louisiana Territory and made western Arkansas the frontier, the last stop between “civilization” and Indian Territory and from 1817 until 1897 Fort Smith was the westerly outpost of law and order.

Ghost of Ybor City

Kathleen Walls

statue of Don YborMax Herman of Official Ybor City Ghost Tours introduced me to his “friend,” Don Vicente Martinez de Ybor, the cigar entrepreneur who founded Ybor City in 1886. Of course, the “friend” is just a bronze statue, but without him, Ybor City would not exist. Ybor City is like a city within a city. It has some of the most haunted building in America. It’s one of only three National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. Max led me on a terrific ghost tour of Ybor City. The Official Ybor City Ghost Tour is so good it’s ranked #1 ghost tour on US City Traveler. One thing that differentiates it from other tours is you go into some buildings, not just look from outside. In addition, my guide told a lot of authentic Ybor City history.



Maybellene's First Camping Trip

Kathleen Walls

camper vanMaybellene’s first camping trip went well as far as her performance. The rain both days dampened the trip some but it was a good test. She sprung no leaks. The drive there and back went smoothly. Just wish vans were quieter. Note: Maybellene turned out to have serious motor problems.Be wary of buying vehicles from Apex Auto in Jacksonville

For more about Maybellene's begiinings.

Chattanooga Dining

Kathleen Walls

chattanooga skyline from riverSure, you visit Chattanooga for the world famous attractions like Rock City, Ruby Falls, and Tennessee Aquarium. You do the less known ones like Naughty Cat Café, Incline Railway, and Bluff View Art District. You fed your soul with these interesting places, but your body needs nourishment too. Here are some choices near the attractions.

Amazing St. Augustine, Florida

Warren Resen

castillo san Marco in saint augustineThis is a city that continues to amaze, entertain, and educate visitors even those who have previously been here. As a frequent visitor to this old city, I can attest to the fact that there is always something new happening in America's oldest continuously occupied city. 

"Ain't it Grand!"

Kathleen Walls

I'll bet the first thing the early Rocky Mountain explorers said when they viewed Grand Lake near the headwaters of the majestic Colorado River with the backdrop of the Rockies framing it was, "Ain't it grand!" I had the good fortune to visit and get out on Grand Lake recently and absolutely agree. Native Americans considered it special long before that. They called it "Spirit Lake" because of an old legend. The Utes and Arapahos were going to war. They put their women and children on boats in the lake and a storm overturned the boats and they drowned. The Native Americans believe the spirits of those drowned people abide there.  

A Pennsylvania Pretzel Bakery Tour

Story by Tom Straka
Photographs by Pat Straka

The right factory tour can be a ton of fun and a great learning experience. One of the right ones is the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania. It isn't a long tour, at just under a half hour (tours are offered every half hour). However, the bakery is located in the middle of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, with plenty of other attractions to fill out a day. The claim is that in 1861 Julius Sturgis opened America's first commercial pretzel bakery in Lititz. More than 150 years later the Sturgis family continues to make pretzels, and the original bakery is now used to give visitors a unique view into the history of pretzel making in America.

Remember The Forgotten Coast

Kathleen Walls


It earned the name "The Forgotten Coast" when it was omitted from a map depicting the local businesses in Florida. Once you visit, you won't forget it. It's in the Big Bend area of Florida and has around 200 miles of uncrowded beaches and fantastic attractions. The food, especially the seafood, is heavenly and so fresh. The local oysters are the best in the world. What you won't find are crowds, traffic, and theme parks. This is REAL Florida.