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Jasper Indiana

German Festivals Wood Capital and Historic Commercial Buildings

Jasper is strategically located one-hour northeast of Evansville, 2 1/2 hours southwest of Indianapolis,1 1/2 hours west of Louisville and 3 hours east of St. Louis, this community is consistently ranked among the best small towns to live in Indiana and the United States, start a business as well as one of the safest.  

The Wood Capital of the World is home to many furniture companies and the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame, which honors players and others associated with the national pastime who were born or lived in Indiana.

The Jasper post office has been in operation since 1832

The Jasper Strassenfest is a celebration between Jasper and its German sister-city Pfaffenweiler, a small village in southwest Germany; the four-day event is held annually during the first weekend in August. Visitors from Germany travel to Jasper around this time of year. The street festival encompasses the entire city square, complete with food stands, rides, a Biergarten and over 1,300 pounds of bratwurst. The Strassenfest culminates in a Sunday parade and evening fireworks. The festival also features a golf tournament, beauty pageant, box parade, fishing tournament, and a network of German Polka Masses at the three Roman Catholic parishes: St. Joseph’s, Holy Family, and Precious Blood.

Louis H. Sturm Hardware Store is a historic commercial building built about 1850; the three-story, three bay, Italianate style brick building houses the oldest continuously operated commercial retail business in Jasper.

Environment the 75-acre central park features two miles of trails, 25 acres of woods and wetlands utilized for nature studies as well as an indoor public event space, musical playground and four exercise pods.

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Lake Charles Louisiana

Creole and Cajun Traditions Mardi Gras and a Pirate Festival

Lake Charles, also known as Port of Jean Lafitte, River Lafitte and Charleston, was founded by merchants and tradesmen as an outpost. Located on a level plain about 30 miles (48 km) from the Gulf of Mexico with an elevation of 13 feet (4.0 m) on the banks of the Calcasieu River in Southwestern Louisiana, it borders Lake Charles, Prien Lake, Henderson, English and Contraband Bayou.

ryan street lake charles 1903Creole and Cajun Traditions the local culture includes the Lake Charles Symphony, founded in 1938, that hosts concerts at the Rosa Hart Theatre and the Lake Charles Little Theatre. The Imperial Calcasieu Museum features a permanent historical exhibit with artifacts, an art gallery and is home to the 400 years old Sallier oak tree. Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center hosts the Charlestown Farmers’ Market and the USS Orleck Naval Museum, located in North Lake Charles is a Veterans memorial and museum.

Historical Charpentier District is named for the carpenter-architects who built the mixed-style homes in the district. It features the Black Heritage Art Gallery, which is on the Louisiana African American Trail and the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu with the largest collection of Mardi Gras memorabilia in the South.

arts and culture centerThe Louisiana Pirate Festival is a twelve-day annual festival held during the first two weeks of May. The celebrations are filled with savory Cajun food, family fun, and live entertainment. Following the legend of piracy on the lake and Contraband Bayou, the festival begins with pirate Jean Lafitte and his crew capturing the city and forcing the mayor to walk the plank.

Ocean-going Ships Sail from the Gulf of Mexico via the Calcasieu Ship Channel

The Port of Lake Charles is the thirteenth-busiest in the United States, the fourth-largest liner service seaport in the U.S. Gulf, and a major West Gulf container load center. The Calcasieu Ship Channel provides direct access to the Gulf of Mexico 34 miles (55 km) downstream. The ship channel intersects the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway just north of Calcasieu Lake.

henderson bayouPublic Transportation Lake Charles Transit provides five bus routes throughout the city which is also served by an intercity bus station and Amtrak’s Sunset Limited train route.

Industry petrochemical plants, an oil refinery and facilities for LNG receipt, storage, and regasification are located along the Calcasieu Ship Channel. Local industry also includes companies which services airplanes and a facility which manufactures and exports parts for nuclear power plants.

Commerce Lake Charles serves as the shopping and retail hub for a five-parish area. The Cottage Shop District is home to a dozen small businesses and the L’Auberge du Lac Casino offers upscale boutiques.

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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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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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Jackson Mississippi

southern culture and history soul food and music literature architecture

The region that is now the city of Jackson was historically part of the large territory occupied by the Choctaw Nation and the historic culture of the Muskogean-speaking peoples that inhabited the area for thousands of years.

Pearl River barge transporting Saturn VLocated on the historic Natchez Trace trade route, created by Native Americans and used by European-American settlers, and on the Pearl River, the city’s first European-American settler was trader Louis Le Fleur. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, Jackson was a trading post connected to markets in Tennessee.

The City of Jackson sits on the Pearl River in the greater Jackson Prairie region of Mississippi. Founded in 1821, it is named after General Andrew Jackson. Following the nearby Battle of Vicksburg in 1863 Union forces lay siege and subsequently burned it.

Jackson siegePearl River shipping was only 750 tons in 1827; by 1904 it reached 19,869 tons. Dams, canals, levees and water control structures have had negative effects on wetlands and the ecological services they provide; these artificial structures are being removed to allow natural river activities to resume.

Southern Culture, Jackson is home to world-class painters, sculptors, dancers, actors, architects, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and artisans. or a small business meeting.

A Culinary Scene with Chefs and Mom and Pop Restaurants

Eudora Welty House MuseumLiterature Eudora Welty was a Jackson native who lived most of her life in the Belhaven section of the city. Her writings presented a picture of the city in the early 20th century. A Pulitzer Prize winner, the main Jackson public library is named in her honor, and her home has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Richard Wright, a highly acclaimed African-American author, lived in Jackson as an adolescent and young man in the 1910s and 1920s. He described the harsh and largely terror-filled life most African Americans experienced in the South and in Northern ghettos.

Amtrak Jackson, MS StationArchitecture in the early 20th century. Jackson had significant growth which produced dramatic changes in the city’s skyline. Union Station reflected the city’s service by multiple rail lines; as railroads were among the new work opportunities for African Americans, who moved into the city from rural areas for such industrial-type jobs. Nearby, the 18-story Standard Life Building, designed in 1929, was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world upon its completion.

The City with Soul – Blues Gospel Folk and Jazz Music

Soul foodGold Coast during Mississippi’s extended Prohibition era from the 1920s until the 1960s, illegal drinking and gambling casinos flourished on the east side of the Pearl River, just across from the city of Jackson. Those illegal casinos, bootleg liquor stores, and nightclubs operated for decades; although outside the law, the Gold Coast was a thriving center of nightlife and music, with many local blues musicians appearing regularly in the clubs. The Gold Coast declined after Mississippi’s prohibition laws were repealed in 1966. In addition, integration drew off business from establishments that earlier had catered to African Americans.

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The Geography of Food

Rice diversityAdaptable Rice is the basic food for nearly half of the world’s population, it can be kept for a very long time and in the case of famine, can be a lifesaving food source. In some cultures, it is as valuable as money or gold and is an essential commodity for those living in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

Cocoa Pre-Colombians have cultivated cacao for millennia playing a fundamental role in the Maya and Aztecs’ nutrition and culture. Whatever its use, food, drink or in exchange for other goods, it was the symbol of energy, fertility and life. Today it is the main ingredient of chocolate and it is grown in over two dozen developing economies.

Coffee from the land to the coffee cup via the greenhouse, transportation, and the coffee bar. One of the most important drinks in the world, it is a huge source of revenue and development to the many countries that have introduced this cultivation into their agricultural development plans providing work for hundreds of millions of people.

Essential to Our Diet

peaches and nectarinesFruits and Vegetables contain a large variety of plants with different shapes, scents and colors. Fruits and legumes have been consumed for centuries and are the symbols of myths, legends and traditions in many cultures. Cultivation began in the Mediterranean region, mainly due to it having the best climate to grow and cultivate fruits; the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were knowledgeable of these foods but it was only from the medieval period that improvements in fruit cultivation took hold. Later, immigrants brought fruit and legumes to the American continent, resulting in their widespread cultivation. Soya and beans were found in Central and Southern Asia and in Central America respectively.

Legumes are a main food source in many emerging countries ensuring food security. As a key part of the food chain and due to their vitamin and mineral content, they are used as a substitute for cereals in the agricultural rotation system, helping prevent land depletion. Their high calorie content plays a vital role in reducing poverty and generally improve health and nutrition across the world.

legumes varietiesSpice Routes have guided explorers in their search for these precious commodities; a journey through cultures and a unique sensorial experience. Their cultivation, preparation and use is also tied to medicine and for socio-cultural rituals, including magic. Spices and aromatic herbs have always inspired long journeys; emperors, kings, aristocrats and merchants considered them into the most luxurious product of the ancient commercial routes. In our time, spice production and trade have increased thanks to a trend in healthier eating habits.

The Seeds of Civilization Cereals have played a key role in bringing civilization and food to huge numbers of people and are the staple diet of the majority of the world’s population thanks to their nutritional properties, low cost and ability to satisfy hunger. With over 10,000 varieties of cereals and tubers, only a few have been cultivated. Farmers could address important global challenges such as sustainable growth and the fertility of marginal lands not suitable for cultivating maize, rice and wheat and help satisfy the ever-growing demand for food over the coming decades. Roots and tubers are now the second most important source of carbohydrates after cereals, containing many minerals and vitamins, and are a basic food for over a million people in emerging countries.

Cradle of Civilization the Mediterranean Sea connects Europe, Africa and Asia. Food traditions have played a vital role in helping to preserve the uniqueness of this area and local resources such as wheat, olives and grapes. Here, a meal is both the act of eating food and an essential aspect of social and cultural life. The Mediterranean diet implies taking the time to enjoy a meal around the table with several convivial rituals that have survived for generations still practiced today. Mediterranean people spend more time preparing and tasting their meals than anyone else. With a healthy diet that ensures the preservation of agricultural biodiversity,

The Mediterranean diet is fully sustainable

Protecting the Ecosystem the Pacific islands, the Western Indian Ocean and the islands of the Caribbean region are small, diverse and remote, resulting in native and self-reliant cultures and economies; unique island nations they share the same challenges. The rise in coastal flooding, the salt levels within the soil and changes in rainfall levels lead to contamination and greatly reduce production in cultivation. This lack of food security also applies to fishing activities.

chicory radicchioFood without Water the arid zones are quite different from one another. They differ in soil types, flora and fauna, water balance and levels of human activity. Another misconception is that these places are uninhabited when in fact a fifth of the world’s population live in arid zones and suffer from a distinct lack of water. What makes then similar is dryness, measured by weather temperature and rainfall. This index consists of three main categories: super dry, dry and semi-dry. For centuries, man has tried to promote and utilize different techniques in order to find one system for managing hydric sources, such as rainwater collection or water retention. Research has enabled farmers to measure their levels of rainfall locally and either use innovations suited to their conditions, or adapt their own traditional methods to ensure better water utilization levels. Still, the lack of water and the impact of climate change remain a matter of urgency.

Discover the Connection between Geography and Food

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