Category Archives: United States

Mark Twain Saloon: Icon from the Old West

Preserving Times Past

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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!

LINKS
Mark Twain Saloon & Casino
More Virginia City Saloons

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Mark Twain’s Final Resting Place

Nestled in New York State’s Southern Tier

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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.

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That Greek Place in Seattle

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.

LINKS
Mr. D’s Greek Delicacies–Yelp
Pike Place Market

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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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