If you were asked to recommend just one must-see destination in your home state to a visitor, what would it be? Any and all destinations apply, whether formed by Mother Nature or human hand.
My home state of Georgia is blessed with a vast canvas of natural beauty, from the Golden Isles on the Atlantic Coast to some of the last remnants of longleaf pine forest on the Coastal Plain to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the north. But the one destination that I’d recommend as a must-see for all is the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeast corner of the state. Encompassing nearly 700 square miles, it’s the largest freshwater swamp in North America. It’s a birder’s paradise, with more than 200 species as year-round or partial-year residents, including the Scarlet Ibis, Wood Stork, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, and Sandhill Crane. Mammalian species include the black bear, bobcat, river otter, and white-tailed deer. And one never forgets the experience of hearing a bull American alligator roar during the spring mating season—it’s Jurassic Park come alive!
So that’s my recommendation. What’s yours? I have my travel calendar out, and I’m ready to start setting destinations.
As discussed in a previous topic I do not consider Maine my home state (and you have to live here for generations, and I have only accrued 20 years), but rather Boston (and eastern Massachusetts). I grew up and lived in Philadelphia and suburbs for 24 years, but have few happy memories. Boston is where much of my life began, so it's my home state. But I will try to stick to what I think is the spirit of foxglove's great question, and answer for Maine.
The answer is actually pretty simple even though there are other places (like the Midcoast) that I love. Acadia National Park, the only national park in the Northeast. It is stunningly beautiful, with great views and hiking (just don't get too close to the edge of some of the cliffs in our extended winters, as too many have found out by mistake).
I didn't have a digital camera then but retrieved these from an old CD. (Old CD, but a much younger me in 2004.) But the photo I'm in shows how hardy even not-yet Mainers/Mainiacs are -- just a short leather jacket in freezing temps!
Well, I will start by saying I love my home state of Oklahoma, born and raised here and will more than likely be here for the rest of my years on this earth. There are so many wonderful things about Oklahoma that I love (and a few that I am not crazy about such as central location in US where the two major cross-country highways intersect, I-35 and I-40 and also am not partial to the weather). Oklahoma is a state of Agritourism due to so much flat farm land (lots of buffalo), American Indian Culture with many cities and towns being named after the 67 or so American Indian tribes from here, great Architectural design from Art Deco style to sprawling mansions of OK's past oil barons, World's largest Masonic Temple, over 100 Bed & Breakfasts, hiking and biking trails both urban around lakes as well as mountain trails in SE OK,
Casinos on every corner (back to American Indian culture), 200 or so fishing lakes, etc. etc. etc...
This is the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building downtown Oklahoma City. I think it is a great tribute to all who lost their lives in that tragic terrorist act on April 19, 1995. My favorite part of the memorial is probably The Field of Empty Chairs representing the 168 lives taken that day. The chairs stand in rows to represent each floor of the Murrah building, each bearing the name of someone who lost their life on that floor. There are also nineteen smaller ones representing the 19 children killed in the day care center there. There is also a reflecting pool, the Gates of Time marking the formal entrance to the memorial. The east gate is inscribed with 9:01, depicting the innocence of the city before the attack and the west gate is inscribed with 9:03, depicting the time our lives were all changed forever. There is a survivor wall, an actual wall of the building left standing after the bombing and more than 600 names are inscribed there. There is also The Survivor Tree, a lone elm that bore witness to the tragedy and still stands as a living symbol of resilience. And there is "The Fence", the first fence installed to protect the site but immediately people started leaving tokens of love and hope there. Over 60,000 items were collected and preserved in the memorial and people still leave tokens on the 200ft. fence area.
It is a very surreal experience visiting this memorial, even as it will be 20 years next April, 2015 since the tragedy occurred. We will never forget, nor will we ever forget the Twin Towers or the Trade Center or Pentagon attacks or unfortunately many other similar attacks on our sacred US soil. May God be with this nation and as is said so often on this site, thank you to all who served to protect it over the years and in the future.
madmax I was unaware of the memorial's existence. Thank you for sharing your lovely write-up.
I'm glad you were able to visit anadyr. Come on back sometime if you get a chance. We can meet up with Mrs. anadyr and Mr. madmax and I will screw the top off a bottle of wine...oh wait! That's not quite what you are used to. I may be able to find a bottle around here somewhere that has a cork
We were moved by the experience. Walking the grounds reminded me of the people with whom I had worked and who died that day in the Defense Investigative Service, with which I was associated at the time. Ironically I was meeting with the Service's deputy director that day here in Monterey; we canceled our meetings and worked the phones to get the latest news. It was my first direct experience with domestic terrorism, but not my last.
Like the 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan, this is a very emotional place for me to visit, and will be always. Thank you for not letting me forget that it is.
Hello and thanks for starting this discussion, which is a great one. I was born in Pennsylvania and have fond memories of most of the urban and exurbian parts of the state. The eastern part, Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, is more like tne rolling terrain of southern Germany or Austria than anywhere east of the Rockies, IMHO.
I lived in Washington DC for 20 years and wrote that off in terms of natural beauty, though it is Monumental (to misuse a phrase).
Moving to Monterey in 1987 opened my eyes to unimaginable beauty, starting at the far north of the Golden State and ending some 800 plus miles later at the Mexican Border. From the Redwoods, to Yosemite, to Anza Borrego and all points in between it is a natural wonder.
For my signature spot though, I choose Big Sur and CA Highway one leading to it. In 1540, Spanish explorer Jaun Cabrillo wrote that "There are mountains that seem to reach to the heavens here, and the sea beats on them."
Not more more can be added to Robert Louis Stevenson's comment, "This is the greatest meeting of land and water on earth."
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anadyr Beautiful photos! I love this--everyone gets to promote and show off their "neck of the woods!"
So beautiful. I just watched the Aerial Amercia California which was a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway. Just spectacular! Really enjoyed the YouTube
For my choice, it is difficult to decide between
Sequoia National Park
both National Parks being fairly proximal to one another. I think I would have to go with Sequoia National Park, where one can commune with some of the largest (by volume), tallest (over 300') and oldest (3500 years) living things on Earth. Additionally, it is home to Mount Whitney. At 14,505' above sea level, it is the highest point in the contiguous (lower 48) United States.
pluto77 The Sequoias have long been on my bucket list. I want to just stand and gawk. I've visited the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in NC, one of the last stands of never-cut-over, old-growth forest in the eastern U.S. The trees there--mostly yellow poplar, beech, and white oak--were enormous but would be dwarfed by the redwoods. Thanks for sharing.
I was so impressed with Sequoia Park when I saw it as a kid and could actually drive through one of the sequoia trees.I believe it was a fallen tree that they cut a tunnel in. That was most awesome! We also drove through the giant redwood (I believe) in Yosemite but I don't think you can anymore. Great place. Would love to visit again and again.
Go to any of the national parks and ask for one--if you are over 62 they will give you one for ten dollars.
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Great photo adds here. I've lived in California a long time so I consider it my home state. I haven't explored the national parks much, but there are exceptional coastal views in Northern and Southern California (hard to pick just one there though). There is also the picturesque Sonoma County and Napa Valley. The must see for me would be the Golden Gate Bridge. Of the major US landmarks, it is my favorite (especially if you walk across it).
I'm from Ohio and there are great caves and Native American spots, but probably the most iconic site there is The Horseshoe in Columbus. I'm more of a baseball stadium fan, but that stadium is a very special one with an unbelievable energy. It is also, for better or worse, one of the signature Ohio experiences (especially if the game is Michigan-Ohio State).
While I have been to 46 states [except Alaska, the Dakotas and Oregon] mostly thanks to a long-ago boyfriend who was a bus driver who loved to drive in his time off, I haven't had the chance to see the Grand Canyon. I would love to do so along with other major monuments, but I am tied to what my college and grants will pay for me to do -- which is Europe and the Middle East. (And there isn't much left in the bank account after that, especially consider how much of those trips aren't paid for.) So I will have to see these places through all of your eyes!
Will do the best I can! But I must warn you, I am having "Cataract Surgery" later this month, so you may get some "Blurred" images till then.
BTW, if and when you do go, pay for the "Plane ride" to The GC! I am so glad I did not drive! It's a wonderful "Hole in the ground", but for me after a few minutes, I was ready to go. I am no outdoorsman, so I don't want to offend anyone. I have made my trip, and now I move on to other places. BTW, that's how I feel about "Stonehenge" as well!
Hope you make it this way someday! nuhusker and me along with a few other MRI friends will show you the Mid-West, and how us "Fly-over people" survive!
jerrycoin my favorite country song is "Fly Over States" by Jason Aldean because it is so true. Alot of travel happens above cloud level in Oklahoma.
Having stayed at The FF in Spearfish, it was a very good stay. Love the area, and look forward to coming back. Drove that day from Cheyenne to Little Big Horn, then your area. Used to stay at the majestic "Alex Johnson Hotel" in Rapid City and always enjoyed their hospitality!
Thanks for "Reminding" me of some wonderful memories!
I don't know what I would suggest as must see in Ohio. I'll give it some thought, but in the meantime ...
I'll recommend Cuyahoga Valley National Park (the only National Park in the state). I visited it for the first time today aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Roughly a 3-hour round trip along the river and parts of the Ohio & Erie canal. Scenic any time of year, I'm sure, but with snow and ice still around it made wildlife spotting a bit easier. Had a great meal on the train (5 courses that lasted almost as long as the trip).
While there are many great places to visit in my home state, it's always fun to discover something new.
Glad you chimed in. I look forward to your "must-see" selection. I love scenic railroads; there's one in western North Carolina that was used for the train wreck scene in The Fugitive with Harrison Ford, and the scenic train ride crosses Fontana Lake on an extremely high trestle. Fontana Dam, which was the scene of Ford's dam jump, is the highest dam in the US east of the Mississippi. BTW, "Cuyahoga" is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs. After all, I am an Athens, G-A, (almost) native.
Come see the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota which has such gems as: Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, the Badlands, Deadwood, Custer State Park, the Mammoth Site at Hot Springs, Evans Plunge, the Mickelson Trail, the Sturgis Bike Rally, Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Needles Highway, Bear Butte, Sylvan Lake, the State Game Lodge, Blue Bell Lodge, Rapid City, and Spearfish Canyon!
looks like a great choice clebert and absolutely beautiful any time of the year.
Virginia certainly has its share of natural beauty from beaches, mountain views, waterfalls, rivers, caverns, space launches, and even wild horses (Chincoteague - home of Misty), but to me, especially at our adult age, the one must see among all in Virginia is the Arlington National Cemetery (across the Potomac River from Georgetown DC) . Walking the grounds creates a special feeling hard to experience elsewhere, certainly in the state, if not in the country. You can visit The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier like nuhusker is going to do this fall, see JFK's grave, or walk by heroes from wars past. I have had the honor of being there during funerals of WWII veterans (meaning men in their 90's who lead a full life, so whereas it was sad, not necessarily tragic) and it provides a perspective toward life that I cherish to this day.
Contiguous to the Cemetery is The US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), which besides being another moving spot of appreciation is a superb vantage point for the July 4th fireworks on the National Mall.