Saturday, December 26, 2015

National Lands: Pennsylvania (Part 1)

Visitors Center at Valley Forge
Visitors Center at Valley Forge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pennsylvania has many national lands that honor the rich historical significance of the area. The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site is in Gallitzin. This site honors the engineering marvel that enabled canal boats to cross the mountains via the railroad. The area is just west of Altoona and Interstate 99. The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia provides information about the author and his career. Of special interest are the years he spent in that city. The closest interstates are Interstate 95 and Interstate 676. In Gettysburg is the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The President's home and farm are located near the Gettysburg Battlefield. Tours and displays are available. Gettysburg is west of Interstate 83 and just north of the Maryland border.

Friendship Hill National Historic Site in Point Marion was the country estate of Albert Gallatin, a former Secretary of State. The site honors the accomplishments of his career. The estate is located in the southeastern corner of the state near the West Virginia border. Interstate 79 is to the west. Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site, which is the state's oldest church, is in Philadelphia. Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Elverson is near Interstates 76 and 176. The site honors the industrialization of the nation. In Scranton is the Steamtown National Historic Site that celebrates trains and locomotives. Train rides are available.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Phil...
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia as seen from Spring Garden St. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Independence National Historic Park is located in Philadelphia. This is the place where visitors can see the Liberty Bell. Interstates 76, 95 and 676 surround the area. Valley Forge National Historical Park was the location of the encampment of the Continental Army for the winter. The park is to the northwest of Philadelphia near Interstate 76. The Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor has a visitor center in Easton which is on the Delaware River. Many activities are available in this five-county region, so travelers would be wise to check the National Park Service website to find what interests them. Interstate 78 goes through the area.

The Oil Region National Heritage Area is located in the northwestern corner of the state. It is east of Interstate 79 and north of Interstate 80. The site looks at the impact of oil on the nation's history. In Homestead is the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area which celebrates the significance of steel production on the area. Homestead is south of Interstate 376 on the Monongahela River. Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area in Pottstown is located in the southeastern corner of the state. The area is northwest of Philadelphia. Water sports and trails are some of the activities along the 128 mile river area.

Friday, December 18, 2015

National Lands: Rhode Island

Picture of the Slater Mill, on the Blackstone ...
Picture of the Slater Mill, on the Blackstone River, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rhode Island does not have a national park, but does have a rich historical background that is honored in federal lands. The Roger Williams National Memorial pays tribute to the man who founded Rhode Island. He came to the area to seek religious freedom. The memorial is located in Providence with Interstate 95 to the west and Interstate 195 to the south. Exhibits are available at the center and the park is available for walks. Touro Synagogue National Historical Site is in Newport, which is not near any interstate. The closest one to the area is Interstate 195. This site is the oldest synagogue in the United States and is known for its beautiful architecture.

English: Touro synagogue in Newport (Rhode Isl...
English: Touro synagogue in Newport (Rhode Island)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Blackstone River Valley has two designations. Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, which commemorates the success of Samuel Slater's spinning cotton mill, is east of Providence and Interstate 95 near the Massachusetts border. The area is also honored by the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. This section of Rhode Island has been called the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Biking and hiking as well as water sports are available. The Washington-Romchambeau National Historic Trail runs through nine states and DC. The trail runs east-west through the center of the state.

Friday, December 11, 2015

National Lands: South Carolina

Congaree National Park, a possible last strong...
Congaree National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
South Carolina is the home of Congaree National Park which is located to the southeast of Columbia. Interstate 26 is to the west of the park. Congaree offers more than 25 miles of trails for hiking. Kayaking and canoeing are also available activities, but the park does not provide boat rentals. From Wilmington, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida is the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. This area runs 425 miles along the Atlantic coast including the barrier islands. Signs are posted along the way. This area honors the culture of the captive Africans brought to the United States. The Ninety Six National Historic Site offers hiking and fishing in addition to providing information about the Revolutionary War battles fought at the site. The park has 1,022 acres to explore. The park is located near Greenwood in the western part of the state. Interstate 26 is the closest interstate.

English: Fort Sumter in South Carolina, USA.
English: Fort Sumter in South Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fort Sumter National Monument is located in Charleston Harbor. Interstate 26 provides excellent access to the area. This is where the Civil War began. The Visitor Education Center provides information and picnic opportunities. Fort Sumter access is available only by boat. In Chesnee is Cowpens National Battlefield. This Revolutionary War site is in the northwest section of the state near the North Carolina border. It is just to the east of Interstate 26. Kings Mountain National Military Park is in Blacksburg. The park is also located almost on the North Carolina border. west of Charlotte and east of Interstate 85. Museums and trails are available at this Revolutionary War site.

The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is located in Mt. Pleasant to the east of Charleston and Interstate 26. The park contains a remnant of his plantation.

Friday, December 4, 2015

National Lands: South Dakota

The Mount Rushmore Monument as seen from the v...
The Mount Rushmore Monument as seen from the viewing plaza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
South Dakota has two interstates. Interstate 29 runs along the eastern border of the state and Interstate 90 runs parallel to the southern border. Badlands National Park is in the southwestern corner of the state just south of Interstate 90 and east of Rapid City. This park has 244,000 acres of beautiful prairie and fossil beds. Camping, hiking and biking are available for visitors as well as auto tours. Wind Cave National Park has beautiful prairies, wildlife and many hiking trails. Under the prairie is Wind Cave which offers tours for visitors. The park is located directly south of Rapid City and Interstate 90. The Candlelight Cave Tour is an amazing experience and visitors can see how people used to explore caves. Jewel Cave National Monument is located in Custer to the southwest of Rapid City. Tennis shoes or hiking boots are needed for the guided tours.

Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located south of Rapid City and near Interstate 90. This popular attraction attracts millions of tourists every year. In addition to viewing the memorial, visitors can learn about the people who used to inhabit the area. The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail runs through eleven states. The trail runs north to south through the middle of South Dakota. The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site has three areas to visit along Interstate 90. The Visitors Center is at Exit 131 to the north. The Launch Control facility of Delta 01 is at Exit 127 to the north. The Launch Facility/ Missile Silo is at Exit 116 to the south. These are remnants of the Cold War. Finally, the Missouri National Recreation River offers camping, boating and fishing. The area is in the center of the southern section of the state near the Nebraska border.

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