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Muscatine Iowa

Pearl of the Mississippi Watermelon Capital Commerce and Industry

Muscatine is situated on a series of bluffs and hills at a west-south bend in the Mississippi River. The river-bend gives the city roughly 260 degrees of riverfront with two creeks flowing into the Mississippi in downtown Muscatine. From the bluffs there is a beautiful view of the town below and of the Mississippi for miles up and down.  Located 25 miles (40 km) from the Quad Cities, 38 miles (61 km) from Iowa City and 68 miles (109 km) from Cedar Rapids, Muscatine is part of a larger community whose residents commute for work.

Muscatine Island is home to working-class neighborhoods and industry

Transport Muscatine is located along two designated routes of Iowa’s Commercial-Industrial Network; Highway 61 serves as a major agricultural-industry route to the south from Burlington to Muscatine, where it becomes a heavy-industrial and major commuter route to the northeast between Muscatine and Davenport; highway 61 serves as a shortcut for traffic from northeastern Missouri and southeastern Iowa to the Quad Cities, Chicago, and points beyond. Iowa 92 provides access to the Avenue of the Saints to the west and western Illinois via the Norbert Beckey Bridge to the east.

History Muscatine began as a trading post.The name may have been derived from the Mascoutin Native American tribe who lived along the Mississippi in the 1700s. From the 1840s to the Civil War, Muscatine had Iowa’s largest black community; fugitive slaves who traveled the Mississippi from the South and free blacks who had migrated from the eastern states.

Mark Twain lived here during the summer of 1855 while working at the Muscatine Journal

Town Slogans include Pearl of the Mississippi and Pearl Button Capital of the World, referring to when pearl button manufacturing by the McKee Button Company was a significant economic contributor and Weber & Sons Button Co was the world’s largest producer of fancy freshwater pearl buttons harvested from the Mississippi River. Muscatine is also known as the Watermelon Capital of the World, reflecting the agricultural and rural nature of the area.

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Hershey Harrisburg and the Susquehanna River Valley

On Day 3 of your travel program, you transfer to the Hershey Harrisburg Region – 2 nights 3 Days.

The Susquehanna River is 464 miles (747 km) long and is the longest river on the US East Coast. With its watershed, it is the 16th-largest river in the United States, and the longest river in the continental United States without commercial boat traffic today. In the Canal Era, navigation improvements were made to enhance the river for barge shipping of bulk goods by water on the Pennsylvania Canal.

DCIM999GOPROHarrisburg, the Capital of Pennsylvania, was inhabited by Native Americans as early as 3000 BC. Known as Peixtin, the area was an important trading post for Native American traders, as trails leading from the Delaware to the Ohio Rivers, and from the Potomac to the Upper Susquehanna intersected there.

Hershey is a year-round, world class travel destination with an amusement park, exclusive resorts and family attractions. In 1906, Milton Hershey opened Hershey Park as a place where his chocolate factory’s workers and their families could relax and be entertained. Surrounded by some of America’s most productive dairy farms, the world’s first modern chocolate factory and model town is a real community.

City Island is a 63-acre tourism and recreational destination containing archeological treasures of the Susquehannocks and Iroquois tribes which established seasonal settlements here. The island was a stopping off-point for Union soldiers during the Civil War; they crossed over it by way of the Camelback Bridge to defend Harrisburg from the threat of invasion by the Confederate Army. Today, City Island is a tourist destination which is home to numerous businesses including the Harrisburg Senators Baseball Stadium, the City Islanders Soccer Stadium, the Pride of the Susquehanna, Island Breezes Gift Shop, Susquehanna Outfitters, H20 Miniature Golf, City Island Arcade/Batting Cages, City Island Railroad, and the City Island Stables.

Millersburg Borough nestled along the Susquehanna River, is quaint community radiating out from a Victorian Market Square Park featuring a Gazebo dating back to 1891. Millersburg evolved along with the introduction new forms of transportation; travel back to the 17th century and visit the Wiconisco Canal in MYO Park and a restored 1898 passenger rail station on West Center Street. The National Historic Register’s Millersburg Ferry System traces its roots to 1817.

DCIM107GOPROPreserving America’s Antique Automobiles

The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania opened its doors in June 2003, with over 100 cars, motorcycles plus memorabilia, collectibles, and special exhibits. Vehicles of all types 25 years or older are welcome in the AACA.  In 1993, the AACA started a nonprofit organization to further preserve these antique automobiles and educate the public.

Susquehanna Art Museum is the cultural anchor for the Central Pennsylvania community, providing innovative, relevant and engaging exhibitions and experiences for members and visitors of all ages that excite, inspire, and stimulate life-long learning.

Union Canal Tunnel Park was designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1970 and received its recognition as a National Landmark in 1994. Open dawn to dusk for hiking, bird watching, picnics, and recreation.

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) is the premier facility for historical research on U.S. Army history and is dedicated to “Telling the Army story…one Soldier at a time.” The expansive campus includes the Visitor and Education Center, the U.S. Army War College Library, the U.S. Army Military History Institute, and the Army Heritage Trail. Open to the public, key features of the USAHEC include interpretive and interactive exhibits, the research library and archive.

Army Heritage Trail the mile-long outdoor Army Heritage Trail allows visitors to experience history in a new way, through interactive and full-scale military exhibits. Exhibits include a Cobra helicopter, Civil War encampment cabins, WWI trench system and more highlighting the different eras of American military history. The trail is open from dawn to dusk.

The National Civil War Museum seeks to tell the whole story of this most troubled chapter in American history, focusing on the issues, the people and the lives that were affected. The causes and ramifications of this conflict that divided a Nation are investigated; both Northern and Southern viewpoints are presented; and military as well as civilian perspectives are highlighted.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania presents the State’s heritage from the Earth’s beginnings to the present. Archaeological artifacts, decorative arts, fine art galleries and industrial and technological innovations are on exhibit. The Civil War exhibit includes the 1870 painting “The Battle of Gettysburg: Pickett’s Charge”. Curiosity Connection is a hands-on learning environment for children. Other features: a Planetarium, Mammal Hall, Dino Lab and a restored Marshall’s Creek Mastodon Skeleton.

Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War has twelve exhibit galleries featuring artifacts, interactive displays and several films that will further immerse you in the Battle of Gettysburg and the larger context of American history and understanding its relevance in our lives today.

The Amish Village provides an authentic experience, beginning with a guided tour of an Amish farmhouse. Explore a 12-acre village, complete with a one-room schoolhouse, local crafts and treats, blacksmith barn, animals and more.

The Pennsylvania Capitol is a National Historic Landmark and Palace of Art. The dome is a 1/3 replica of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the grand staircase inside the main rotunda was inspired by the opera house in Paris.

Pride of the Susquehanna River Boat is one of the last remaining authentic paddle-wheel riverboats in America. Since her construction and launch in 1988, “The Pride” has carried almost a million passengers who have enjoyed themed cruises and River School Educational Trips.

San Francisco BridgeFood Wine and Craft Beer

Turkey Hill, located in nearby Lancaster County, features interactive exhibits allowing you to learn about dairy culture, how the company’s ice cream and iced tea flavors are selected and created, as well as a chance to create your own virtual ice cream flavor; free tastings!

The Millworks is a local and sustainable restaurant, bar with an outdoor biergarten, art galleries with 23 artist studios, & a live music venue located in the heart of Harrisburg’s Midtown District including the Broad Street Market; Susquehanna Museum of Art; and Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

The Wineries and Breweries of the Hershey Harrisburg Region invite guests to go beyond just tasting the wines. Learn more about the process and walk away with a deeper appreciation of winemaking and Pennsylvania’s agricultural heritage. Experience the rich tastes of each winery’s blends, ciders and specialty collections. The region is also home to many small batch brewers who are following their dreams and creating trendy, welcoming spaces for beer-lovers to appreciate their favorite brews.

Tucker AutomobileUS Mid-Atlantic Travel an eight-day program for Families Schools and Groups

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

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Lafayette Louisiana

history geography local culture and transport services

History the Attakapas Native Americans inhabited this area when French colonists founded the first European settlement, Petit Manchac, a trading post. In the late eighteenth century, numerous Acadian refugees settled here after being expelled from Canada; intermarriage led to the Cajun culture which fostered the French language and the Catholic religion. Vermilionville was renamed in 1884 for General Lafayette, the French aristocrat who aided the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The city and parish economy continued to be based on agriculture into the early 20th century. In the 1940s, after oil was discovered in the parish, oil and natural gas became dominant.

downtown lafayette, louisianaLafayette lies along the Vermilion River in southwestern Louisiana and is nicknamed The Hub City

Geography Lafayette is located on the Western rim of the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest wetland and swamp in the United States where, during the Quaternary Period, the Mississippi River cut a 325-foot-deep (99 m) valley between what is now Lafayette and Baton Rouge. The southwestern Louisiana Prairie Terrace does not suffer significant flooding, outside of local flash flooding.

hilliard art museumLocal Cultural Organizations include the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music, Chorale Acadienne, Lafayette Ballet Theatre and Dance Conservatory, The Lafayette Concert Band, and Performing Arts Society of Acadiana; as well as the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum and the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

Lafayette is the Center of Acadiana Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole Culture

Transport Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT) is located on the southeast side of the city with daily scheduled passenger airline services to Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, and Atlanta. Charter services depart Lafayette Regional as well as helicopter services and cargo jets.

cajun domeAmtrak’s Sunset Limited offers service three days a week from New Orleans and Los Angeles with selected stops in Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Intercity passenger bus service is via Greyhound that operates a Station Downtown and Lafayette Transit System provides bus service within Lafayette City Limits.

The Lafayette MPO Bicycle Subcommittee has developed long-term goals for bicycling and Bike Lafayette, the local bicycle advocacy organization, actively promotes bicycle awareness, safety, and education in Acadiana. TRAIL promotes bicycling, canoeing, and pedestrian activities.

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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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Water and Wine Trails

in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Water Trails in Philadelphia, the waterfront is now a walking and biking destination which covers 6 miles. Trail features include streetscape improvements along the entire waterfront trail, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that will collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, as well as benches and bike racks, decorative street pavers, and innovative solar trail lighting.

Phila waterfrontBrandywine Creek is a tributary of the Christina River in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. The 20.4-mile Lower Brandywine is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River with several tributary streams.

Development & Conservancy Issues In the 1960s, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in 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

Manayunk CanalWine Trails some of Pennsylvania’s vineyards are at the highest elevation east of the Rocky Mountains, while others are in the river valleys of the southeast corner of the state and is one of the top grape-growing states and consistently ranks in the top 10 for wine production, including:

o   Whites – Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Vidal Blanc

o   Reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chambourcin.

Philadelphia Wine Country the southeast corner of Pennsylvania is known as the Philadelphia Countryside Region. It stretches from Philadelphia to the north, west and southwest with scenery filled with rich, lush farmland and river valleys. Three wine trails can be found in this region:

  • Montgomery County – three wineries between Philadelphia and Allentown
  • Bucks County and its nine wineries
  • Brandywine – west and south of Philadelphia.

vines and gazeboEnvironment Tours that focus on declining water quality, diminishing water supplies, vanishing agricultural land, loss of historic character, wildlife habitat degradation, and threatened biological resources. Learn to:

Protect and conserve land and water, natural, cultural and scenic resources;

Create and strengthen local government efforts that support resource conservation;

Improve site planning and design to support resource conservation;

Plan and conserve of natural and cultural resources;

Enhance awareness and knowledge of conservation approaches.

Lock 60 Schuylkill Canal

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Georgetown Texas

victorian architecture economic development energy and the environment

georgetown downtownGeorgetown is located 30 miles from Austin on the northeastern edge of Texas Hill Country. Portions of the town are located on either side of the Balcones Escarpment, a fault line characterized by black, fertile soils of the Black land Prairie, with the west side consisting of hilly, limestone karst formations.

The North and Middle Forks of the San Gabriel River run through the city, providing over 30 miles of hike and bike trails, parks and recreation for residents and visitors.

Blue Hole park in Georgetown Texas (view 4)History the earliest known historical occupants of the county, the Tonkawas, were a flint-working, hunting people who followed buffalo on foot and periodically set fire to the prairie to aid them in their hunts. During the 18th century, they made the transition to a horse culture and used firearms. The town was named for George Washington Glasscock who donated the land for the new community; the early American and Swedish pioneers were attracted to the area’s abundance of timber and clear water.

Victorian Architecture in 1976, a local ordinance was passed t protect the historic central business district. Georgetown has three National Register Historic Districts: Williamson County Courthouse District, Belford National District and the University Avenue/Elm Street District.

m.b. lockett building, georgetown, txSouthwestern University the Oldest University in Texas is one-half Mile from the Historic Square

Economic Development Georgetown was an agrarian community for most of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Shawnee Trail, a cattle trail that led from Texas to the rail centers in Kansas and Missouri, crossed through Georgetown. The establishment of Southwestern University and construction of a railroad contributed to the town’s growth and importance. Cotton was the dominant crop in the area between the 1880s and the 1920s.

san gabrial villagePopulation growth and industrial expansion continued modestly in the 20th century until about 1960, when residential, commercial, and industrial development, due to major growth and urban expansion of nearby Austin, greatly accelerated. Currently, Georgetown is served by the appropriately named Georgetown Railroad, a short line railroad that connects with the Union Pacific Railroad at Round Rock and at Granger.

Energy and the Environment in March 2015, Georgetown announced that their municipal-owned utility, Georgetown Utility Systems, would buy 100% of its power for its customers from wind and solar farms, effectively making the city 100% green-powered.

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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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