Friday, February 26, 2016

National Lands: New Mexico

El Malpais NM Ventana Arch
El Malpais NM Ventana Arch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located on the border with Texas east of Interstate 25. The caverns consist of 119 caves. Cave tours are available, but visitors can also go on self-guided tours. During the summer people can watch the bats fly out of the caves. White Sands National Monument is exactly what the name says. The white sand dunes cover 275 square miles. The monument is located to the northeast of Las Cruces and east of Interstate 25. Travelers should check the National Park Service website before visiting the park because sometimes missile tests are going on in the area. In Albuquerque is the Petroglyph National Monument which preserves the area that is one of the largest sites of its kind in North America. This monument, which is in the northwest corner of the city, is west of Interstate 25 and north of Interstate 40. Further west on Interstate 40 is the Bandelier National Monument. Camping and hiking are available. In the northeast corner of the state is the Capulin Volcano National Monument which is located east of Raton and Interstate 25 near the Colorado border. Hiking trails are available and a great view awaits those who climb to the top.

El Malpais National Monument is located in Grants which is to the west of Albuquerque on Interstate 40. The park contains 350,000 acres with trails to hike over old lava flows and caves to explore. In the same area as El Malpais and Bandelier is El Morro National Monument. This area offered a refreshing pool of water for travelers on their journey west. Inscription Trail features the messages left over the centuries. The Aztec Ruins National Monument is located in the northwest corner of the state northeast of Farmington. No interstates are in this area. Visitors can explore the archeological site. To the south in this area is Chaco Culture National Historical Park. This area is to the west of Cuba and north of Interstate 40. More archeological sites are available in this park, but visitors should be aware that the roads are not paved. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument is in the southwest corner of the state near Silver City. Interstate 25 is to the east and Interstate 10 is to the south. Hiking, fishing and horseback riding are available. In the monsoon season afternoon thunderstorms can shut down sections of the park. East of Santa Fe is the Pecos National Historical Park which is located east of Interstate 25. This site features Indian pueblos and also a Civil War Battlefield trail.

English: Mexican (or Brazilian) Free-Tailed Ba...
English: Mexican (or Brazilian) Free-Tailed Bats, Tadarida brasiliensis, emerging from Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is near Mountaionair which is to the southeast of Albuquerque and east of Interstate 25. Three missions are available for touring. Check the National Park Service website for details. Fort Union National Monument is located to the west of Santa Fe and just west of Interstate 25. This area honors what remains of the largest military fort in the area. This fort is on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail which travels through five states. The trail is located in the northeast corner of the state. The Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area includes Albuquerque and areas north to the Colorado state line. Interstate 25 is the the closest interstate to this area which honors the many types of cultures that have inhabited it. The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail offers hiking trails and museums along the trail which closely follows Interstate 25. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail travels through six states. Some of the trails and exhibits are on privately owned land, so visitors would be wise to research the area.

Friday, February 19, 2016

National Lands: New York (Part 2)

English: Niagara Falls: Horseshoe Falls view. ...
English: Niagara Falls: Horseshoe Falls view. More pictures... Русский: Ниагарский водопад. Больше фотографий... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network has 170 parks. A myriad of water sport activities and hiking trails are in the area. Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has over 500 miles of activities. Interstate 90 parallels the canal from Buffalo to Albany and Interstate 87 continues the access to Whitehall. Travelers can visit the locks of the old canal system. From New York City to Albany is the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. The National Park Service website lists special events that are held in the area. Boating, fishing and hiking are just some of the activities. Interstate 87 is the closest interstate. On the border with Canada is the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area. Interstate 190 takes visitors to the area. The falls are to the northwest of Buffalo. The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River is on the New York - Pennsylvania border. Fishing, boating, tubing and hiking are favorite activities.

Fort Stanwix National Monument is located in Rome which is to the east of Syracuse just north of Interstate 90. Martin Van Buren National Historic Site is in the town of Kinderhooks. President Martin Van Buren's home is south of Albany and to the northeast of the Catskills. Interstate 87 is just to the west. In Mount Vernon is St. Paul's Church National Historic Site. This church, which was used as a Revolutionary War hospital, is located in the Bronx by Interstate 95. Saratoga National Historic Park is located south of the Adirondack Mountains and to the east of Interstate 87. Visitors can tour the battlefield and Schuyler House. At the Thomas Cole National Historic Site the artist is remembered for his work. The site is in Catskill which is on the Hudson River and Interstate 87. The Women's Rights National Historic Site is in Seneca Falls. This place celebrates the efforts of women to achieve equality to men. This area is to the southeast of Rochester on Interstate 90.

English: Battlefield of the Battle of Saratoga...
English: Battlefield of the Battle of Saratoga, now part of Saratoga National Historic Park, in Stillwater, New York, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Appalachian Trail travels through fourteen states. In New York the trail runs along the eastern side of the state and the southern portion. The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail honors the achievements of the man and his crews in mapping out the Bay area. Covering seven states is the North Country National Scenic Trail. In New York the trail runs northeast to southwest south of the Finger Lakes. The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail cuts across the southern corner of the state from northeast to southwest.

Friday, February 12, 2016

National Lands: New York (Part 1)

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Isl...
Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island, Manhattan, in New York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New York City is known for its many attractions and the National Park Service is in charge of some of those. The National Parks of New York Harbor offers a variety of experiences for visitors. In Lower Manhattan the African Burial Ground National Monument honors those Africans who were buried in a 6.6 acre burial ground in the 1700's. Castle Clinton National Monument, which is located in southern Manhattan, was constructed to defend against a British invasion. The Statue of Liberty National Monument, which was gift to this country from France, is a favorite tourist attraction. Ferry service to the statue is available from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Ellis Island is the location where millions of immigrants were admitted into the United States. Federal Hall National Memorial is located on Wall Street. George Washington took his oath as president and the first Congress, Executive Branch and Supreme Court had offices here.

English: Vanderbilt Mansion at the Vanderbilt ...
English: Vanderbilt Mansion at the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, in Hyde Park, New York.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gateway National Recreation Area has 27,000 acres in two states. In New York this land includes various areas in Jamaica Bay and Staten Island. Visitors should check the National Park Service website for more information. The largest mausoleum in North American is the General Grant National Memorial which is on Riverside Drive at West 122nd Street. Governors Island National Monument is accessible only by ferry in New York Harbor. Castle Williams and Fort Jay provide tours and hiking trails are available. Hamilton Grange National Memorial in Harlem preserves the home of Alexander Hamilton. It is located in St. Nicholas Park. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum National Historic Site highlights the cramped living conditions faced by the immigrants when they came to this country. To the east of New York City is Fire Island National Seashore. Interstate 495 takes visitors to the area. The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site honors the only president born in New York City.

Other places in the state of New York honor the Roosevelt family. The Sagamore Hill National Historic Site was the summer White House for President Theodore Roosevelt. The area is located on Long Island north of Interstate 495. In Buffalo is the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. Interstate 190 will take visitors to the downtown area. Three National Historic Sites are available in Hyde Park which is located between New York City and Albany near Interstate 87. Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site is located here. Roosevelt's home and the first U.S. Presidential Library are featured. The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is also in Hyde Park. This is the only national historic site dedicated to a First Lady.  Visitors can see her home of Val-Kill. The Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site offers an example of the fine architecture of the time.

Friday, February 5, 2016

National Lands: North Carolina

An aerial view of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse...
An aerial view of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse prior to its 1999 relocation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Off the coast of North Carolina is a line of barrier islands known as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This area has a different vibe and that is why it is so beloved by so many millions. Interstate 95 is the closest interstate, but it is still a good distance from Hatteras. This area obviously offers a myriad of water sports and hiking opportunities, but visitors can also climb giant sand dunes at Jockey Ridge. In this area is the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills. This memorial honors the Wright Brothers' achievements in the world of aviation. Cape Lookout National Seashore is directly south of Hatteras. Interstate 40 is the closest interstate, but will not get travelers very close to the area. Cape Lookout is undeveloped, so visitors need to take all their supplies on the boat over to the islands. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in the southwest corner of the state. The park is shared by Tennessee with Interstate 40 running to the east of the park. This park is so popular because many activities are available such as camping, hiking, biking and fishing.

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area honors the traditions of the people of the North Carolina mountains. Asheville is the largest city in this area with Interstates 20 and 40 as the closest interstates. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful road that connects the Shenandoah National Park with Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Interstates that lead to the area are Interstates 26, 40, 64, 77 and 81. Traveling through fourteen states is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. In North Carolina the trail is along the western section of the state with Interstate 40 as the closet interstate. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail is in four states. The trail, which is 330 miles long, is in the western section of the state and is crossed by Interstate 40. In nine states the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the relocation of the Cherokee people. The trail is located in the southeastern corner of the state close to Interstate 26.

English: Shining Rock Wilderness Area, Blue Ri...
English: Shining Rock Wilderness Area, Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie provides displays, picnic areas and hiking opportunities. This park is located to the west of Interstate 40 and to the northwest of Wilmington. The site celebrates the 1776 victory over the British. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro commemorates the Revolutionary War battle. The park is north of Interstate 40. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in Manteo is located on the the coast by one of the bridges to Cape Hatteras Seashore. The site features New World settlement displays. In Flat Rock is the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site which celebrates the poet's life. It is located to the west of Interstate 26 near the South Carolina border. In four states is the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor which extends from Wilmington to Jacksonville. This area along the coast features the cultural influences of the people from West Africa.