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Philadelphia History Traditions and Sustainability

Your visit to the US Mid-Atlantic Region begins where America began, with a two-night three day stay.

Where History is Still Being Made among the many sights to take in when visiting the first capital of the United States: The Liberty Bell Center which houses the American Revolution’s defining symbol, the site of the meetings of Congress and the Constitutional Convention at the City Tavern in the Old City as well as Carpenters Hall. In Declaration House, visitors can see where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and Independence Hall where it was eventually signed.

laurel hill mansionPlaces to Visit a culturally rich and diverse city, Philadelphia is home to museums covering everything from natural sciences to African American history, science, archaeology and anthropology. Children will enjoy a day at the “Please Touch” Museum and the “Once upon a Nation” tour. Explore Christ Church Burial Ground; dating from 1695, the cemetery is the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin. For a sightseeing tour with a difference, take a cruise on the Delaware River. The city is also home to several wonderful gardens and arboretums. Also, the Battleship New Jersey and Valley Forge National Historic Park, site of the battle of 1777/78.

The Arts in 1805 an art collector, believing Philadelphia the best place for the encouragement of artistic taste, offered the city numerous paintings, sculptures, engravings and other art work. To accept the gift the city formed the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the United States. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was founded in 1876 to maintain the art exhibits from the Centennial Exposition. It holds over 225,000 pieces of artwork including work by van Gogh, Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp. Nearby is the Rodin Museum, founded in 1929, with the largest collection of Rodin works outside of France.

phila warterfrontPhiladelphia has more Public Art than any other American City

The inclusion of decorative art in city structures goes back to the 19th century. In 1872, the Fairmount Park Art Association became the first private association in the United States dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. With more murals than any other U.S. city, the Mural Arts Program has funded over 2,300 murals created by professional, staff and volunteer artists.

Culture Philadelphia’s history goes back to 1682 and the city’s founding by William Penn. Originally inhabited by the Lenape, Philadelphia was envisioned as a place where people could live without fear of persecution because of their religion; hence, many came to find refuge here. As Philadelphia grew into a major political and economic center, many religious and ethnic groups have contributed to the arts, music, television, architecture and food.
Fairs & Events the Mummers Parade’s first modern version was held in 1901 on New Year’s Day. Since 1993 every summer around the 4th of July, the multi-day Welcome America event celebrates Philadelphia as the nation’s birthplace. Three major annual shows in Philadelphia are the Flower Show, the Philadelphia International Auto Show and the Philadelphia Antiques Show. Festivals include the Folk Festival and Unity Day an event celebrating unity between people and families. Pride Fest events promote gay and lesbian rights. In September, the 16-day Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe feature experimental art, performances and exhibits.

old original levis hot dogsFood the city’s culinary tradition was shaped by several ethnic groups. Cheese stake and soft pretzels are well known icons of the city. The 1970s saw a restaurant renaissance that is continuing into the 21st century. Other Philadelphia food traditions include:

The hoagie a sandwich made of meat and cheese with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions

Pepper Pot, a soup of tripe, meat and vegetables dating from the Revolutionary War era

Snapper Soup a thick brown turtle soup served with sherry.

Markets towards the end of the 19th century the large number of Italian immigrants in South Philadelphia led to the creation of the Italian Market on 9th Street with numerous types of food vendors along with other shops. The Reading Terminal Market is popular with visitors.

Music the city is home to a vibrant and well-documented musical heritage, stretching back to colonial times. Innovations in classical, opera, R&B, jazz and soul have earned Philadelphia national and international renown. A diverse population has also given it a reputation for styles ranging from dancehall to Irish traditional music, as well as classical and folk music. The city has played an equally prominent role in developing popular music. In the early years of rock and roll, several South Philadelphia-born popular vocalists made Philadelphia and popular music virtually synonymous. This led to the airing of the popular rock and roll dance show American Bandstand, from Philadelphia in front of a national audience.

Performing-Arts the city’s most senior venue is the famed Academy of Music. Established in 1857, it is the longest continuously operating opera house in the United States and is home to many internationally recognized performance ensembles. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home of the internationally renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, opened in 2001. In addition, the Tower Theatre just outside of Philadelphia serves as a destination for many top touring acts.

Philadelphia SkylineSustainability In the city of Philadelphia, the waterfront is now a 6-mile walking and biking destination. Trail features include streetscape improvements along the entire waterfront trail, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, as well as benches, bike racks, decorative street pavers and innovative solar trail lighting. Center City offers a thriving culture and entertainment scene as well as contemporary arts museum with training programs and study tours for students, aspiring artists and family traveling.

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Philadelphia, Hershey, Harrisburg, Washington DC, Maryland Brandywine Valley

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North Platte Nebraska

railroad town river trails historical museum and buffalo bill ranch park

canteen platformNorth Platte is in southwestern Nebraska at the confluence of the North and South Platte Rivers. It was established in 1868 when the Union Pacific Railroad was extended to that point; it was named from the North Platte River.

The Platte River originates in the state of Nebraska and is about 310 miles – 500 km – long. The Platte is a tributary of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers which flows to the Gulf of Mexico.

platte river watershedRiver Valley Trails played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon and Bozeman Trails. The French were the first Europeans to reach the Platte. The North Platte River is navigable over most of its length at high water by canoes, kayaks and rafts.

Bailey Yard is the world’s largest. The Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center is an eight-story building which overlooks the expansive classification yard and engine facilities.

golden spike tower, north platteThe Lincoln County Historical Museum contains a display detailing the history of the North Platte Canteen, which greeted 6.5 million service personnel from Christmas Day 1941 through April 1, 1946. It also contains a Prairie Village with local landmark homes and a Pony Express station and pioneer church.

Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park is located near here, a Nebraska living history park about Buffalo Bill Cody. The park includes his actual house known as Scout’s Rest Ranch.

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Evansville Indiana

history industry and a 21st century economy

evansville viewEvansville is the largest city and the commercial, medical, and cultural hub of Southwestern Indiana and the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky tri-state area. Located along the banks of the Ohio River, it is often referred to as the Crescent Valley or River City.

Early History the area has been inhabited by indigenous cultures; archaeologists have identified several archaic and ancient sites in and near Evansville, with the most complex at Angel Mounds, built and occupied from about 900 A.D. to about 1600 A.D., just before the arrival of Europeans to North America. The European-American city was founded in 1812.  French hunters and trappers were among the first Europeans to come to the area, using Vincennes as a base of operations for fur trading. The land encompassing Evansville was formally relinquished by the Delaware in 1805 to General William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana Territory.

independence historic districtEvansville became a thriving commercial town with a river trade, and the town began to expand outside of its original footprint. The economy received a boost in the early 1830s when Indiana unveiled plans to build the longest canal in the world, a 400-mile ditch to connect the Great Lakes at Toledo, Ohio with the inland rivers at Evansville. The project was intended to open Indiana to commerce and improve transportation from New Orleans to New York City.

The main ethnic groups consisted of Protestant Scotch-Irish from the South, Catholic Irish coming for canal or railroad work, New England businessmen, Germans fleeing Europe after the 1848 revolutions, and freedmen from Western Kentucky.

The era of greatest growth occurred in the second half of the 19th century as a major stop for steamboats along the Ohio River, and the home port for companies engaged in the river trade. Railroads eventually became more important and in 1887 the L&N Railroad constructed a bridge across the Ohio River along with a major rail yard southwest of Evansville.

Automobile and Refrigeration Manufacturing Became Important Early in the 20th Century

In 1916, seeing the need for a dependable truck, the Graham brothers entered the truck chassis business. In 1921, after the death of both Dodge brothers, Graham Brothers started selling 1.5-ton pickups through Dodge dealers. These vehicles had Graham chassis and some Dodge parts. Dodge Brothers bought a controlling interest in Graham Brothers in 1925, picking up the rest in 1926.

riverside historic districtThe city saw exponential growth in the early twentieth century with the production of lumber and the manufacturing of furniture. By 1920, Evansville had more than two dozen furniture companies. In the decades of the 1920s and 1930s, city leaders attempted to improve Evansville’s transportation position and successfully lobbied to be on the Chicago-to-Miami Dixie Bee Highway – U.S. Highway 41.

During World War II, Evansville was a major center of industrial production which helped revive the regional economy after the Great Depression. A huge, 45-acre shipyard complex was constructed on the riverfront east of St. Joseph Avenue for the production of oceangoing LSTs (Landing Ship-Tanks).

After the war, Evansville’s manufacturing base of automobiles, household appliances, and farm equipment benefited from growing post-war demand.

barges on the ohio riverTourism the business district and riverfront feature riverboat gambling, restaurants, bars, and shops that attract tens of thousands of visitors each year and the city’s downtown district retains its early twentieth-century architectural style.

Evansville Has Thirteen Neighborhoods that Qualify as Historic Districts

A 21st Century Economy Evansville is the regional center for a large trade area in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. The largest industry sectors in size in Evansville are healthcare, finance, education, and manufacturing. Other major industries by employment are energy, warehousing, distribution, and retail.

Evansville’s strategic location on the Ohio River, strong rail and highway infrastructure, and its designation as a U.S. Customs Port of Entry, make it an ideal location for the transfer of cargo.

Tourism and Entertainment the business district and riverfront feature riverboat gambling, restaurants, bars, and shops that attract tens of thousands of visitors each year and the city’s downtown district retains its early twentieth-century architectural style.

Bosse Field Baseball Stadium built in 1915 is the third-oldest Operating Ballpark in the United States

bosse field lightsThe Victory Theatre is a vintage 1,950-seat venue that is home to the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. Each year, the orchestra presents a seven-concert classics series and special event concerts, as well as numerous educational and outreach performances. The theater also hosts local ballet and modern dance companies, theater companies, and touring productions.

The Evansville Civic Theatre is Southern Indiana’s longest-running community theater, dating from the 1920s when the community theater movement swept across the country.

Museums Angel Mounds State Historic Site is nationally recognized as one of the best preserved prehistoric Native American sites in the country. The Evansville African American Museum was established to continually develop a resource and cultural center to collect, preserve, and educate the public on the history and traditions of African American families, organizations, and communities.

trucking museumThe Evansville Museum Transportation Center features transportation in southern Indiana from the latter part of the nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century.

The Reitz Home Museum is Evansville’s only Victorian House Museum

Transportation the city boasts road, rail, water, and air transportation systems. Public transit includes the Metropolitan Evansville Transit System – METS – which provides bus transportation to all sections of the city. Evansville has several multi-use trails for bikes and pedestrians as well as on-road bike paths that help cyclists get around the city by bicycle.

Public and Private Port facilities receive year-round service from five major barge lines operating on the Ohio River. The river connects Evansville with all river markets in the central United States and on the Great Lakes and with international markets through the port of New Orleans.

willard libraryEvansville has been a U.S. Customs Port of Entry for more than 125 years

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Des Moines Iowa

prehistoric native Americans skyscrapers sky walks museums and botanical gardens

Des Moines traces its origins to May 1843 with the construction of a fort on the site where the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers merge. The fort was built to control the Sauk and Meskwaki Indians, whom the government had moved to the area from their traditional lands in eastern Iowa.

des moines east villageNative American Tribes did not fare well as the illegal whiskey trade and the destruction of traditional life led to severe problems for their society. At least three Late Prehistoric villages, dating from about AD 1300 to 1700, stood in or near what developed later as downtown Des Moines. In addition, 15 to 18 prehistoric American Indian mounds were observed in this area by early settlers. All have been destroyed during development of the city.

birthplace of des moinesArchaeological Excavations have shown many fort-related structures; soldiers stationed at Fort Des Moines opened the first coal mines in the area, mining coal from the riverbank for the fort’s blacksmith.

Present Day Des Moines changed from the 1970s to the1990s, as several new skyscrapers were built. In the 21st century, the city has had more major construction in the downtown area. The Principal Riverwalk features trails, pedestrian bridges across the river, a fountain and skating plaza, and a civic garden in front of the City Hall. Existing downtown buildings were converted to loft apartments.

des moines art centerA Cultural Center with Art and History Museums and Performing Arts Groups

The Metro Opera House has been a cultural resource in Des Moines since 1973. The Opera offers educational and outreach programs and is one of the largest performing arts organizations in the state.

The Des Moines Art Center presents art exhibitions and educational programs as well as studio art classes. The Center houses a collection from the 19th century to the present. An extension of the art center is downtown in an urban museum space, featuring several exhibitions a year.

The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a collection of 24 Sculptures

des moines botanical centerThe Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is an indoor conservatory of over 15,000 exotic plants. Developed by the city’s Asian community, the Gardens include a three-story Chinese pavilion, bonsai landscaping, and granite sculptures that highlight the importance of diversity and recognize Asian American contributions in Iowa.

The East Village begins at the river and extends about five blocks east to the State Capitol Building, offering a blend of historic buildings, eateries, boutiques, art galleries, and a wide variety of retail establishments and residences.

4th street downtown des moinesTransportation Des Moines has an extensive sky walk system within its downtown core. With over four miles of enclosed walkway, it is one of the largest of such systems in the United States. The public transit system consists entirely of buses, including regular in-city routes and express and commuter buses to outlying suburban areas.

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Washington DC Maryland and the Brandywine Valley

Your next stop on this itinerary is for three nights and four days. The Washington, DC area, both in the US capital city and its suburban communities, has a unique local economy driven by government spending that has also fueled the development of downtown and neighborhood construction. This in turn has spawned a demand for nightlife and weekend amenities for the educated and environmentally conscious local population as well as out of town visitors.

Washington, DC historic sites museums performing arts and music

Historic sites the National Mall is a large, open park area in the center of the city. Located in the center of the Mall are the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Pier. Also located on the mall are the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial at the east end of the Reflecting Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Directly south of the mall, the Tidal Basin features rows of Japanese Cherry Blossoms blossom trees that were presented as gifts from the nation of Japan. The FDR Memorial and Jefferson Memorial are located around the Tidal Basin.

The Pentagon ViewThe Smithsonian is an educational foundation chartered by Congress in 1846 that maintains most of the nation’s official museums and galleries in Washington, D.C. The U.S. government partially funds the Smithsonian, thus making its collections open to the public free of charge. The most visited of the Smithsonian museums in 2007 was the Museum of Natural History located on the National Mall. Other Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries located on the mall are: The Air and Space Museum; the Museum of African art; the Museum of American History; and the Smithsonian Institution Building, also known as “The Castle”, which serves as the institution’s headquarters.

There are many private art museums in the District of Columbia, which house major collections and exhibits open to the public such as: the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the largest private museum in Washington; and the Phillips Collection, the first museum of modern art in the United States. Other private museums in Washington include the Newseum, the International Spy Museum and the National Geographic Museum. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum located near the National Mall maintains exhibits, documentation, and artifacts related to The Holocaust.

Potomac River in Washington DCPerforming arts and music Washington, D.C. is a national center for the arts. The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Opera, and the Washington Ballet. Washington also has a local independent theater tradition. Institutions such as Arena Stage, and the Studio Theatre feature classic works and new American plays.

The U Street Corridor in Northwest D.C., known as “Washington’s Black Broadway”, is home to institutions like Bohemian Caverns and the Lincoln Theatre. Other jazz venues feature modern blues such as Madam’s Organ in Adams Morgan and Blues Alley in Georgetown. D.C.

Potomac River Trails

The Lower Potomac, Anacostia, Patuxent and Wicomico rivers are among the major waterways in the region, but hundreds of smaller streams, creeks and rivers abound providing numerous opportunities for recreational boating.

Chsapeake WatershedAnacostia River Watershed 176 square mile area of land encompasses most of the eastern half of the District of Columbia and large portions of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland. The Anacostia has 13 major tributary creeks and streams – many with their own sub-watershed citizen advocacy groups; it starts near Bladensburg, MD, and runs for 8.5 miles before meeting the Potomac River at Hains Point in Washington, DC.

Anacostia River Trails and Port Towns The word Anacostia is derived from the Nacotchtank Indian word anaquash; it means village trading center. In the 18th century the port at Bladensburg, Maryland, was 40 feet deep and served as a major center for colonial shipping fleets. Today, at Bladensburg Waterfront Park, site of the old port, the water often measures 3 feet deep or less. In the 18th century, the Anacostia River flowed through 2,500 acres of tidal wetlands. Today, less than 150 acres of wetland remain.

Annapolis, Maryland

Hammond-Harwood House an 18th Century Arts & Architecture Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. The gentleman planter Matthias Hammond began work in 1774 with renowned architect William Buckland on plans for a new, elegant townhouse in the most fashionable area of Annapolis.

hammond-harwood house museum front facade.jpegAn Anglo-Palladian mansion featuring some of the best woodcarving and plasterwork in America

Reading and Writing History Designed to give high school students a hands-on lesson about Colonial American history. The program is divided up into three mini-sessions each with its own goals: a colonial house tour, an introduction to history resources, and a session of hands-on group study. The program covers topics which include common and indentured laborers, slave life, the life of craftsmen, gentry activities and leisure time, decorative arts, and architecture. Other topics may be added on request.

Baltimore, Maryland

Chesapeake & Delaware Canal from Chesapeake CityHistoric Ships in Baltimore’s half-day programs provide an immersive hands-on historic experience with a twenty-first century applicability that encourages team-work, problem solving, and learning. Each program provides introductory ship tours, after which students focus on two areas of the ship and begin to develop a more specialized vocabulary and skill set.  At the end of their 2 ½-hour program, learning is reinforced in a written exercise and assessment.  Assessment results are forwarded to the teacher.  Each program provides a uniquely different approach toward reading, listening, development and reinforcement, involve hands-on activities and are fun, including a live-firing of one of the USS Constellation’s cannons.

The Brandywine Valley

On Day 8, your travel program concludes with a visit to the Brandywine Valley.

Development & Conservancy Issues In the 1960s, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in the historic Brandywine Valley, faced a possible massive industrial development that would impact a largely rural community.  Also, development plans in floodplain areas threatened to devastate water supplies for numerous communities in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. Residents bought endangered land and founded the Brandywine Conservancy in 1967.  The first conservation easements, protecting more than five and one-half miles along the Brandywine, were granted in 1969.

Barns Brinton HouseThese Experiences have placed the Brandywine Valley communities in the forefront of responsible land use, open space preservation and water protection with a focus on integrating conservation with economic development through land stewardship and local government assistance programs working with individuals, state, county and municipal governments and private organizations to permanently protect and conserve natural, cultural and scenic resources.

In 1971, the Conservancy opened a museum in the renovated Hoffman’s Mill, a former gristmill built in 1864, part of the Conservancy’s first preservation efforts.  It contains an unparalleled collection of American art with emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region, illustration, still life and landscape painting, and the work of the Wyeth family.

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Virtual Hotel Towns in US Historic Districts

economic development virtual hotel towns and diffused travel accommodations

An Economic Development model designed to offer quality stays that do not impinge on the local lifestyle while promoting year-round resilient growth that favors restructuring, preservation and local resources.

laclede landing.jpegVirtual Hotel Towns address the demand for sustainable, quality tourism in urban and rural areas by focusing on the interaction between visitors and locals as well as developing and promoting a community’s historic preservation efforts, traditions, values and architecture.

The Diffused Hotel is an innovative concept designed to revive small historic Italian communities by converting historic buildings into a virtual hotel village. Points of reference include:

Main Street Properties are managed by owners who also provide hospitality services

Travel Accommodations are derived from converted buildings in historic districts

A Central Reception provides Travel Related Services, including food and communications services.

Columbus Italian VillageCommunities with Guest and Host Interactions that Highlight Local Lifestyles

Local Businesses capable of managing incoming travel services benefit from a centralized marketing and sales program. Resources generated from inbound travel transactions are made available to Museums, Theaters and others on Main Street and in Historic Districts.

Local Projects integrate architecture with digital media and engage visitors through interaction with local citizens. Water resources and energy efficiency projects are also community attractors as domestic and international business and government visitors will come to study, learn and acquire knowledge and expertise in these fields.

Main Street GalenaA Virtual Hotel on Your Main Street and Historic District

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City Breaks along the US Gulf and South Atlantic Coast

New Orleans Mobile Savannah Charleston Asheville and Charlotte

streetcarThe original settlement of New Orleans and the oldest neighborhood in the city is Vieux Carre, better known as the French Quarter. Established by the French in 1718, the location continues to be a valuable site for trade to its strategic position along the Mississippi River. The district is a National Historic Landmark and is bordered by popular streets, such as Canal, Decatur and Rampart Streets and Esplanade Avenue. The French Quarter boasts cultural contributions from the French, Spanish, Italians, Africans, Irish and others as demonstrated by the development of New Orleans as a global port.

Downtown MobileMobile Alabama is located at the head of Mobile Bay and the Central Gulf Coast. Mobile was founded by the French in 1702. During its first 100 years, Mobile was a colony of France, Britain and Spain; it became a part of the United States of America in 1813.

 

Gingerbread House in SavannahSavannah was founded in 1733 on the Savannah River, it became the colonial capital and later the first state capital of Georgia. Its port was of strategic importance during both the American Revolution and the Civil War.

 

Pink house charlestonCharleston was founded in 1670, Charleston is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel pre-Civil-War-era houses, particularly in the bustling French Quarter and Battery areas. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a Federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.

Charlotte is named in honor of King George III of Britain’s consort. It is a city with 199 neighborhoods and many nicknames, including: the famed Hornet’s Nest derived from the American RevolutionThe QC, Crown Town, Home of NASCAR, Gem of the South, CLT, Bank Town, Char-Town and City of Trees.

 

Asheville Beer TourAsheville has a fascinating past; experience a walking itinerary that commemorates the city’s most significant cultural, educational, social and architecture stories; a museum without walls. Urban Farm and Mountain Trails Gourmet Cuisine Public Art Music Heritage and a Bohemian Culture.

City Breaks along the US Gulf and South Atlantic Coast

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