Happenings: Road Trip Attractions

Alien Fresh Jerky, Baker, California. (Radly J. Phoenix, cropped) The Fremont Troll in Seattle, WA. (Kiernan Lynam, cropped) Wave Organ in San Francisco. (Karlis Dambrans, cropped) Marfa in west Texas. (Gray Malin) North Pole, Alaska. (Beeblebrox, cropped) Cadillac Ranch, Texas. (Ralf Kiepert) Baker, California, is a popular stop for weary travelers, and not just because it’s the halfway point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Alien Fresh Jerky is a shop in Baker that offers “alien jerky” for those with a taste for the supernatural. A UFO-themed hotel is also in the works to accommodate the shop’s 750,000 annual visitors. The Fremont Troll is an 18-foot sculpture located at Troll Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103. After being commissioned by the Fremont Arts Council, Seattle artists completed the troll that sits at the north end of the Aurora bridge in 190. Every Halloween, the city hosts an event at this year-round photo op. Want to put your ear to the world’s biggest conch shell? The Wave Organ is a series of over 20 pipes that feed into the water of the San Francisco Bay, sounding low notes with the high tide. Each pipe was engineered to play a different note, so if you’re lucky, the ocean might compose you a unique song! This art installation in the west Texas desert town of Marfa was created in 2005 to resemble a Prada store, and it has actual Prada shoes and purses inside. Marfa is an arts hub in the middle of nowhere. It is also “famous” for the unexplained Marfa lights phenomenon. Just 13 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, lies North...
Culinary Tours: A Taste of History

Culinary Tours: A Taste of History

There are two types of travelers—those who want to visit every historical sight and those who are just there for the food. It can be hard to satisfy both the history nerd and the foodie on a trip. But what if there was a way to combine eating delicious food and learning about history while on vacation? This is exactly what happens on a culinary tour. On culinary tours, travelers walk around a city with a guide who spouts obscure facts and stories about the city’s history. The best part? There are stops along the way where you can eat authentic food and experience the city in a more complete way. It’s even possible to schedule a tour during meal times. Gone are the days of wandering around unfamiliar sites with a rumbling stomach. Here are a few US culinary tours to consider next time you plan a vacation. —Hannah Nichols Sacramento, CA The capital of California has a lot to offer—both in food and history. On the Sutter District Tour, tourists stroll through one of Sacramento’s oldest neighborhoods—the Sutter District of Midtown. Along the way, you will pass historical landmarks and mission-style churches, and stop at local favorite restaurants. Samples include grilled pork spring rolls, banh mi chicken sandwiches, croque monsieur sandwiches, and chocolate crinkle cookies. localrootsfoodtours.com Kansas City, MO The KC Streetcar Food and Historical Walking Tour is a combination walking and streetcar tour in the heart of downtown Kansas City. There are six food stops on the tour, which include tastings of East-Coast style pizza, chocolate, macarons, and the city’s famed barbecue. This tour takes tourists through...
The Beatin’ Path

The Beatin’ Path

Some say that music has the power to move the soul. But in a more literal sense, music can move its listeners great distances—just consider the flocks of fans who travel many miles to see their favorite music artists. The stats don’t lie: according to Billboard, thirty-two million people attend at least one music festival yearly and travel an average of 903 miles to do so. With hundreds of music festivals scattered throughout the United States, cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Austin have become meccas of the music world, drawing in out-of-towners who make the pilgrimage in the name of their favorite music artists. Welcome to America, the great melting pot that makes for some top-notch music festivals that are well worth hitting the road for. The Windy City Beloved for its thriving music scene, Chicago has become a major hub for a smattering of all music genres. Take Lollapalooza, an annual music festival held at the end of July that features over 170 bands from all over the world in a musical smorgasbord of alternative, electronic dance, indie, and more. Despite its daily capacity of one hundred thousand rock ‘n rollers, the four-day festival consistently sells out. This festival promises to make it worth your while with a lineup that will “make hands wave, heads nod, and crowds holler.” Midwestern Gem Join the party on Lake Michigan’s shore at Summerfest, an eleven-day music festival that boasts over one thousand performances with some of the biggest names in the music industry, like the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and Bruno Mars. And in true Wisconsin fashion, you can sample...
Rite of Spring: Flower Festivals Around the World

Rite of Spring: Flower Festivals Around the World

“April showers bring May flowers”—and with them, flower festivals. These events are found in many different countries and cultures, so no matter where you are in the world, you’re certain to find a flower festival nearby and people with whom to celebrate the advent of spring. Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival The annual Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point, is held in Lehi, Utah, each April through May. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and admire the 250,000 tulips found in every color imaginable. Other festivities include swing dancing, yoga, concerts, and a photography contest. Hiroshima Flower Festival The Hiroshima Flower Festival takes place each May 3–5 in Japan. A tower stands at the entrance to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, completely covered with various types of flowers. Look out for oleanders in particular. This flower was the first to bloom after the atomic bomb, and it represents the hope that Hiroshima has for the future. There are song and dance performances held on over 30 stages. Flowery floats are exhibited during the parade while people dance yosakoi, a dance blending traditional dances with modern music. In the evening, there are candlelit events that represent the hope for peace. Feria de las Flores The Feria de las Flores, a Colombian festival, was first held on March 1, 1957, and is now held annually in August. Tourists come from all over the world to participate. Activities include folk concerts, a fireworks show, horse rides, orchid competitions, and car shows, all culminating in the parade of silleteros, or flower vendors. This parade acknowledges Colombia’s cultural heritage. In colonial times, slaves carried wealthy men and...
Polar Opposites

Polar Opposites

While we shiver in the northern hemisphere during our winter months, much of the southern hemisphere is a summery paradise. However, there is one temperature both hemispheres have in common: the heat of competition. Snow and sand art competitions are some of the biggest attractions worldwide, but be warned: These aren’t your typical sandbox creations. New Brighton, New Zealand he creators of the Annual NZ Sandcastle Competition want a “BIG, FUN, HAPPY DAY” for families. And they certainly create an atmosphere for their wish to come true. With competition categories for families and kids, the sand creations range from classic sandcastles to large, intricate sand sculptures. The competition includes bounce houses and food, drink, and entertainment stalls. Individuals and families are sure to leave the event with cherished memories. newzealandsandcastlecompetition.co.nz Surfers Paradise, Australia This historic Australian beach, located on the Gold Coast among many heritage sites, has become a sand sculpture paradise. A unique trait of the competition here is that some of the massive sand sculptures are set up in cities along the Gold Coast, so the sand art can be enjoyed as visitors travel to other cities in the area, like Robina and Helensvale. sandstormevents.com Mysore, India While not a competition, this sand attraction draws thousands of visitors each year. The Sand Museum features the art of Gowri, a talented Indian sand sculptor. These massive sculptures feature thousands of images, but, if closely examined, the detail the artist uses is truly breathtaking. facebook.com/pages/Mysore-Sand-Sculpture-Museum Hout Bay, South Africa If looking for a sandcastle competition with a heart, the annual sandcastle competition is a place for fun and service....
Autumn Storytelling Across America

Autumn Storytelling Across America

Storytelling is no longer limited to campfire circles or children’s reading time at the library. The oral tradition of storytelling lives on in festivals across America. Whether you’re looking for a humorous tall tale, a mystical folk story, or a musical travelogue, storytelling festivals will fill your niche and leave you yearning for more. You can even follow your favorite storytellers across the country. Professional storytellers—including Donald Davis, Clare Murphy, Bil Lepp, Carmen Deedy, Andy Offutt Irwin, and Kevin Kling—attend these storytelling events and often make repeat appearances at various festivals. The next time you’re traveling across the United States, consider making a sidestop at the local storytelling festival, and help preserve the oldest form of oral tradition.   Timpanogos Storytelling Festival Where: Orem, Utah When: September 3–5 This festival is one of the largest storytelling fesivals in the West. In addition to the festival, Timpanogos Storytelling sponsers several storytelling retreats and conferences. This festival grew at an incredible rate in only 25 years. timpfest.org Four Corners Storytelling Festival Where: Farmington, New Mexico When: October 9–10 This storytelling festival specializes in stories about the Old West. Four Corners Storytelling Festival is a great chance to experience the Navajo and Hispanic cultures while getting a glimpse of the past. infoway.org/storytelling/index.asp Athens Storytelling Festival Where: Athens, Alabama When: October 21–25 Storytelling invades downtown Athens, Alabama. Athens Storytelling Festival is located in the courthouse square. Visitors call easily appreciate the lost art of storytelling while exploring the differents shops just a block away. athensstorytellingfestival.com Storytelling Festival of Carolina Where: Laurinburg, North Carolina When: October 16–18 Performing and visual arts thrive in North...