While we’re on the subject of Mark Twain, whose final resting place we visited last week, we also wanted to talk about how popular he was, well, everywhere. A real American legend, his time in the West cannot be understated. He spent a considerable amount of that time in Nevada, so it’s no surprise his image still lives on there to this day.
Enter the Mark Twain Casino & Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada. We discovered this place after our visit to the Republic of Molossia. Virginia City is an “Old West” town. Despite being a modern place where people live and go about their lives, it does an excellent job of preserving its heritage and historical image, complete with old-style boardwalks. The Twain Saloon is rich in historical relics, too; it’s a great place to settle down after a long day, have a drink, and enjoy the sunset. Coming into town late? That’s OK–it’s open 24 hours.
The Saloon does a great job of blending historical pieces and details–like an antique cash register and chandeliers–with modern amenities. The Old West of Americana lives on here!
Graves aren’t typically considered offbeat, but we like to make exceptions for great people who’ve solidified their places in history. We were honored to pay tribute to Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho a while back.
In a cozy little city called Elmira lies one of America’s greatest literary minds. Mark Twain–or Samuel Clemens, as he was legally known–led a life of adventure considered ambitious even by today’s standards. His writings certainly reflect that and more, including his brutal honesty about people and life in general.
Although he passed away in Redding, Connecticut, he had ties to Elmira, especially since it was where he married his wife, Olivia. It was her family that was from Elmira, and it is her family’s plot at Woodlawn Cemetery where they are both buried today.
Signage is available upon entering Woodlawn Cemetery that will direct you to his gravesite.
There’s Greek Food at Pike Place Market. Go West, Young Ones.
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We know, we know…Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a mainstream tourist attraction that everyone knows about. But we’re focusing on what’s right across the street from the famous flying fish at the Farmers Markets: Mr. D’s Greek Delicacies.
Greek food might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering eating options in Seattle, but trust us: this place is fantastic. Maybe it’s our East Coaster fondness of no sit-down, made to order street food that had us entranced, but it reminded us of home. This gyro sure tasted like the real thing. But should you desire to avoid the Market, complete with the famous gum wall, you’ll be missing out on some fantastic cuisine. And come one, it’s a staple of Seattle, you can’t not go! So treat yourself and enjoy the show. Flying fish below, for your entertainment.
Canals built America. They were the vital veins of commerce and trade before the railroads took over. New York’s Erie Canal comes to mind, but that was just one of many that helped to define a young United States in the early 1800s. Navigating these winding waterways were canal boats, which came in all shapes and sizes over the years. They were designed for long trips between ports and were pretty nifty for 19th century engineering–many of them complete with folding sails and a raisable keel.
Most canal boats from that era are long gone, but the Lois McClure shines new light on how these vessels worked and what life was like on board. Lois McClure is a perfect replica, built like the schooners of their day. Launched in Lake Champlain (Burlington, VT) in 2004, the McClure spends a good amount of time on the go, using the same canal systems its progenitors once did. Except it’s not a ship of commerce, but one of education, stopping at various ports to show the public just how intricate these vessels were.
Americans like to go to places that are geographically weird—for example, a road or bridge where you can be in more than one state at once. The Four Corners monument also comes to mind. It’s just a thing about us. Perhaps not as popular outside the United States, virtually every country on Earth that uses the metric system has a Kilometer (or Kilometre) Zero, a point from where distances to other parts of said country are measured. All roads lead to somewhere, but they have to start somewhere, right?
Since we spent so much time in Spain, it’s no wonder that we found the Spanish Kilometre Zero. Not surprisingly, it’s in Madrid, since these markers are usually in capital cities. It’s right in the middle of Puerta Del Sol, a public square. It’s not hard to find, but it’s actually fun to hunt for it without GPS and your smartphone, which is why we’re not including a map link to it. Go out and be adventurous, young reader!
Spain’s marker is fancier than most; the “origin of the radial highways”. It is also frequently, though inaccurately, referred to as the geographical center of Spain. But it’s close enough.