Category Archives: United States

A Perfect Replica of a Perfect Canal Boat: Welcome Aboard the Lois McClure!

Sailing the Canals Like its Ancestors

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.

A great summertime visit, check out Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s website to see if the boat is at its homeport or is heading to your neck of the woods.

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San Francisco’s Hotel Zephyr is a Playground for Adults

And it’s Awesome!

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We thought we saw it all when we walked into the micro hotel at London Gatwick Airport (which was really freaking cool!), but Hotel Zephyr captivated us in a different way. The rooms resemble staterooms on a cruise ship, complete with porthole windows and private balconies with spectacular views. The lobby and common areas have circular benches, murals with a modern twist (like Popeye the Sailor with tribal tattoo sleeves), games galore, and walls lined with the doors of old shipping containers—a fitting touch for the Bay Area.

But it wasn’t until we ventured out to the hotel’s courtyard that our flashback to childhood was complete. From the oversized game of Connect Four to a Ping-Pong table that’s not actually a table—but a giant pipe straight out of Super Mario World—to the periscope that provides guests with a view over the hotel’s fence, this is truly what Hotel Zephyr is all about (and markets itself as): a playground for adults! It’s a really great way to unwind after spending the day exploring this magnificent city.

Oh, and the food is great, too!

Located in San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, Hotel Zephyr is only a short walk to Pier 39, which we also found time to explore later on that evening.

LINKS
Hotel Zephyr
Pier 39

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Graffiti Time!

Got That New Paint Smell

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We heard about this before we even landed in Raleigh.

Originally built in 1939 to connect the North and Central campuses, the Free Expression Tunnel is now a university icon and revered for being a place to foster free speech. It’s promoted countless causes over the years and its content changes constantly.

People are welcome to paint in designated areas, as long as the content is kept clean.

LINKS
Campus Tunnel Marks 50 Years of Free Speech


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A Brewery, Dim Sum, Library, and Flower Shop All Rolled Into One

Open Spaces

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Our recent trip to Raleigh showed us just how much that city is growing—one of the fastest in the country, in fact. It’s not hard to see why: beautiful weather and cultured people, low cost of living, and a penchant for all things unique and creative. Also, awesome craft beer!

In search of some local cuisine and a good brew (but not necessarily in that order), we found Brewery Bhavana. The food: amazing! The people: awesome! The atmosphere: perfect! The beer: the best!

Breweries are popping up all over Raleigh as people continue to move there. But Bhavana’s creativity and harmonious all-in-one open space restaurant-shop concept made us instantly realize how unique this place really is.

Add to all that the other curiosities about Brewery Bhavana, and you’ve got a place we’ve never seen before and probably isn’t replicated anywhere else in the country. The skylight over the flower shop gave the open space concept at Bhavana a very nice touch. And during your stay, you can peep through their book selection.

LINKS
Brewery Bhavana Website


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A Fighter Jet Emerges from the Trees

Flying by in Minnesota

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Special thanks to the City of Proctor, MN for their assistance with this article.

Cruising through northern Minnesota on our way home from our three-month inaugural road trip a while back, we noticed this vintage fighter jet quickly emerging from over the tree line as we drove along U.S. Highway 2. Except it wasn’t flying towards us. Actually, it wasn’t flying at all.

The jet—a (real) retired Cold War era F-101 Voodoo—is a memorial to Captain Sherman L. Gonyea and Captain James L. Verville of the Minnesota Air National Guard, who perished when their own F-101 was lost on December 17, 1971. This memorial also honors “All National Guardsmen who have given their lives that this great privilege will remain forever secure.”

This F-101 has a permanent home on the grounds of the city’s golf course, which is open to the public. A fitting tribute from the hometown of these men, the golf course also hosts a tournament each year in their honor. They will not be forgotten.

Parking
The nearby Community Center (100 Pionk Drive) has plenty of parking located at the bottom of the hill from the golf course, plus additional spots are at the nearby museum.

LINKS
Things to do in Proctor, MN
Proctor Golf Course


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