Oregon’s a beautiful state. For those who’ve only been to the coast, we recommend driving through Eastern Oregon. The unrivaled views are amazing. And along the way, you’ll find some interesting curiosities, like this phone booth. We did a double take when we saw this one.
It’s one thing to occasionally find the ever-disappearing payphone these days, but it’s a completely different story to encounter an actual phone booth! Complete with windows, vintage phone sign, and, presumably, a working phone (although it was out of order when we visited). This was too good not to feature on UWanderings. These relics from the past are almost gone; we’re happy that ODOT preserved this one.
The crazy things we find on the road. Seriously.
This gem from the past is located at Boardman Rest Area in North Central Oregon, off of I-84. See map above for details. Happy travels!
This summer, forget the big beaches on the coasts. It’s the hidden gems, tucked away in the wilds and behind the forests, that really count. Enter Weirs Beach.
We visited Weirs Beach, right on Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia, NH, back in October. Even though it wasn’t prime swimming season, we really felt like we journeyed to a magical place. Weirs Beach comes with a retro arcade–no really, an actual arcade–right on the boardwalk, which was next to the train station, which was right across the street from the Victorian houses, which overlooked the spectacular lake, which had really ginormous houses on it, which you could see from the amazing boat tours, which…well, you get the point.
By the way, those cool Victorian houses we mentioned above, you can rent those, plus there’s plenty of other places to stay, including the Half Moon Motel and Cottages, which we’re happy to recommend. We enjoyed our time there. A nice slice of New England.
This is one of those articles where pictures say more than words. If you’re looking for a place off the beaten path to spend your summer, if you don’t want to contend with the major beach resort cities where you can’t even hear yourself think…if you’re looking for a little slice of Americana with a retro feel in a small lake town in New England…then Weirs Beach is for you!
We know we’ll be back.
OK, now pictures.
Lake Winnipesaukee is beautiful. Don’t believe us? Check out the time-lapse video we took while out boating
Then there’s the famous Vegas-like “Weirs Beach” sign, complete with a light show. We got a video.
Watch These Amazing Cars Get Restored in Real Time
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Carroll Shelby had a vision, and he worked hard to make that vision come true. The Shelby Cobra is a staple of American muscle car power and road prowess. Mr. Shelby’s numerous contributions to the American auto industry are numerous, so it’s only fitting that a museum exists to honor his life’s work.
Las Vegas is known for a lot of things, but it’s also a fitting home to this museum, just off the Strip. Officially known as The Shelby Heritage Center, this massive building not only houses vintage collectibles and phenomenal reproductions, but also an entire garage dedicated to restoring these amazing cars. You can watch them while they work.
Admission is free and guided tours are available on most days. No reservations required. You can learn more about tours here. The Center also has a store where you can buy official Shelby memorabilia.
Even if you’re not an avid car fan, this is a definite bucket list item that must be checked off. There’s more to a Shelby than just the car; there’s an amazing history of a man and a company whose impact reached far beyond the road. This is a must for any road trip through Nevada or a weekend getaway in America’s lovable Sin City.
[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”93″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_thumbnails” override_thumbnail_settings=”0″ thumbnail_width=”240″ thumbnail_height=”160″ thumbnail_crop=”1″ images_per_page=”20″ number_of_columns=”0″ ajax_pagination=”0″ show_all_in_lightbox=”0″ use_imagebrowser_effect=”0″ show_slideshow_link=”1″ slideshow_link_text=”View Slideshow” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]LINKS The Shelby Heritage Center, Las Vegas
How do we put this? Well…there’s an old silver mine in the back of a bar in Virginia City, Nevada.
Huh, that was easier than we thought.
Virginia City is a neat old town. Found in the hills of Northern Nevada, 45 minutes from Reno, this old mining town was critical to Nevada when it achieved statehood 150 years ago, helping to give it the name “The Silver State”.
Mining was and still is a HUGE industry in Nevada. But many mines run their course and then they’re sealed, forgotten or, in this case, turned into a museum with walk-through tours.
Enter The Best and Belcher Mine. It’s the location that got our attention. You see, the mine is literally in the back of the famous Ponderosa Saloon in Virginia City. And by “the back”, we mean that you walk in, buy a ticket for the tour, and you enter the mine through what looks like a cellar door at the back of the building. Just casually going to the bar, getting a bite to eat, check out the old mine. Just another day.
We got a real kick out of it. In historical context, it actually makes a lot of sense because the Ponderosa Saloon is in a building that once housed a bank. Virginia City has a lot of cool history like this.
The 25-minute tour is really cool. The mine is well preserved and full of old mining equipment from back in the day, plus some neon-colored…uh…rocks? See the last pic in the gallery below to figure that one out. You’ll get a feel for what it was like to work in such crazy conditions all those years ago, all in the name of the invincible dollar.
We included a couple photos, but we don’t want to spoil it for you. We promise it will be worth the trip.
A very special thank you to Seneca White Deer, Inc., the nonprofit that works tirelessly to preserve this piece of nature and wildlife, and who are responsible for organizing these white deer tours. The people working for Seneca White Deer were amazingly helpful to UWanderings as we got to know the history of the Seneca Army Depot and see the furry critters that call this place home.
Our recent trip to see this elusive white deer population was nothing short of amazing. This is the world’s largest population of white deer. They aren’t mutants, they aren’t albinos…they’re actually just white tailed deer. But they’ve been enclosed in a 10,000 acre compound for almost 80 years, relatively undisturbed, so they’ve had a chance to breed and pass on this rare, recessive gene that makes them primarily white in color without too much in the way of natural predators.
The site of the white deer is also of major historical significance. They live on what used to be the Seneca Army Depot, a munitions depot built by the U.S. Army in the summer of 1941—in anticipation of America’s likely looming involvement in World War II. Though useful for the war effort, the construction of this giant project came at a sad cost: over 100 families–many farmers–were given short notice to vacate. In other words, they were evicted and poorly compensated. The remains of some foundations are still visible today. However, the end of the Second World War didn’t mean the Depot was obsolete. The Cold War was just heating up, and this place was anything but redundant.
The Seneca Army Depot, or “the Depot”, as it was locally known, was a large repository of Cold War era weapons when it was still active. But the absolute secrecy of the place, coupled with the government barely acknowledging its existence in the first place, contributed to its mysterious nature and an uncomfortable level of anxiety by the community. It was Upstate New York’s Area 51.
Officially, the U.S. government kept a tight lid on the Depot’s inventory—and what went on there—by confirming nothing. But it was widely believed that aside from traditional munitions like bullets and artillery, the Depot was also home to a fairly large stockpile of nuclear weapons, ready to be deployed anywhere in the world at a moments’ notice. And because of the perceived nuclear inventory, it was also thought that the Seneca Army Depot was a top target on the Soviet hit list in the event of a nuclear exchange, so the site was not without controversy.
The secrecy and denial by Uncle Sam didn’t stop the countless anti-nuclear weapons protesters from demonstrating right outside its gates over the years, with many getting arrested for disrupting operations or even trying to break in by scaling the fence. There was even a well known group of anti-war women who continuously camped out adjacent to the Depot grounds so as to permanently remind the U.S. government that not everyone was comfortable with having nukes in their backyards.
Despite the mysteries that went on behind the fence, the white deer well known due to their occasional appearances at the border fence for passersby. The deer were protected by the soldiers that were based there, thanks to an early base commander who, in 1949, saw the first white deer on the Depot grounds and ordered all personnel to leave them alone. They were not to be hunted or bothered. The orders stood for the rest of the time the Depot operated. They even become an unofficial mascot of the Depot and the people who worked there. Now that the base is inactive, declassified, and in private hands, locals are flocking to see these white deer up close and, because it was forbidden for so long, the base itself.
This tour was awesome, not just because of the deer, but also because of all the other wildlife we saw. It’s a virtual nature preserve. Osprey, eagles, beavers, wild turkeys, turkey vultures…and so much more. And of course, there’s plenty of normal colored deer with fluffy white tails. They’re actually pretty cute.
Part of the fun with this tour is keeping a keen eye on the scenery to spot the white deer. Sometimes they’re obvious; other times, you have to intently look around as the bus moves through the terrain, so don’t be shy about shouting out “There’s one!”, at which point the bus will stop or back up so everyone can get a better view. You can really get into it. On the cold, overcast day we visited, the deer weren’t in the mood to come right up to our bus, as they sometimes do, but the sparse spring foliage made them easy to spot through the trees. But they moved fast, so our photography was a little shaky.
Although there are some small developments here and there, most of the former Depot is still either wild nature or nature that’s slowly reclaiming the land from manmade structures, which gives the whole base a sort of zombie apocalypse vibe. And since Zombies are cool right now, that definitely makes this tour much more interesting. For all the military buffs out there, there are over 500 weapons storage bunkers, otherwise known as igloos, that still stand to this day. Talk about Cold War relics. We even got to go inside one. It was pretty cool–check out the video above for more on that.
Seneca White Deer has been running these tours for about six months now, and they’re catching on fast. Since people from all over the world visit the Finger Lakes region for the wine, it’s only a matter of time before they come to see the deer, too. White deer simply don’t exist in such large numbers anywhere else in the world.
It’s human nature to explore things that are rare and unusual. Perfect for us, perfect for the curious travelers out there like you.
So we welcome you to join us as we discover the white deer of the Finger Lakes, and do be sure visit for yourself someday. The deer will be here to say “hi.”
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