Top 5 Essential Tips to Consider When Purchasing Your Next Air Ticket

Air tickets are the most thrilling as well as nerve-racking purchases you can ever encounter. The excitement that comes with booking a trip to explore new sites and panoramic views from the sky is incomparable to any feeling. However, a slight mistake can result in you overpaying for the same ticket. Don’t worry; you can quell all your fears by ensuring you consider the tips stated below when buying your next air ticket. Continue Reading . . .

14 Traditional Pies from Around the World – Year 3

How about a slice of pie?  Are you looking for the perfect pie to make for the greatest math holiday?  It is 3.14 day or as its better know in math circles Pi Day.  Mostly it is an excuse for math geeks to get together and eat pie (or circular shaped items).  π is still one of the most interesting numbers in all of design and math.  It is used in many equations to solve the problems of the world.  Such as Einstein’s field equation of general relativity.

Here is Year 3 in 14 traditional pies from around the world to celebrate Pi day. You will find a little history on the pie as well as a link to the recipe to make pie.
Want more pies from around the world?  Check out Year 1 of 14 Traditional Pies from around the world.  

1. Pastelitos de Guayaba~ Argentina

Pastelitos de Guayaba is a popular dish in Argentina and Uruguay.  THe Pastelitos are a sweet fried pie filled with membrillo.  Membrillo is a paste made of quince. The dough was filled and then shaped like a flower and deep fried.

Here is a tradional recipie for Pastelitos de Guayaba.

Photo Credit – Kim

2. Cherry Pie ~ United States

Cherry Pie’s origins are unknown.  As cherries trees are native to Asia, North American and Europe.  I gave credit the USA for cherry pies because it is more commonly associated with US Independence Day on July 4.  Most cherry pies are made from tart cherries with a lattice top and a scoop of ice cream.

Here is a Cherry Pie recipe from Tastes Better from Scratch.

3. Erdbeerkuchen ~ Germany

Erdbeerkuchen originates from Germany.  The name loosely translates to strawberry cake.  The pie crust is made from shortcake and a strawberry filling is added to the top along with a layer of cream.

Here is a traditional Erdbeerkuchen recipe for the Java Cupcake.

4. Pie de Limon ~ Mexico

Pie de Limon is a classic Mexican dish.  The name translates to Lemon Pie.  It is made from a crust and filled with a lemon cream and covered in meringue.

Here is a Pie de Limon recipe in English.

5. Curry Puff ~ Southeast Asia

A curry puff is a small handheld pie from Southeast Asia.  It found thru out Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and India.  The pie is most likely filled with curry, chicken, and potatoes.  The pie is a great street food in the region and has many different filling options available.

Here is a vegetarian Curry Puff recipe called Karipap from Malaysia.

6. Torta Della Nonna ~ Italy

Torta Della Nonna is a famed dessert from Tuscany.  It was invented in either Arezzo or Florence depending on whose story you believe.  It is a sweet pie with sweet crust.  It is filled with a lemon and vanilla custard.  It is served topped with pine nuts and powdered sugar.

Here is a Torta Della Nonna recipe from Great Italian Chefs.

7. Boston Cream Pie ~ Massachusetts, United States

Boston Cream Pie is the official dessert of Massachusetts.  Today this pie would be called a cake but it name dates back to 1850’s in Boston and has always be called a pie.  It is said that the pie was created by chef Sanzian at the Parker House Hotel in Boston.  The pie is made from butter sponge cake filled with creme patisserie and a rum syrup covered with sliced almonds and chocolate fondant.

Here is a Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie recipe.

8. Fyrstekake Pie ~ Norway

Fyrstekake pie is an almond pie from Norway.  It is often called the Royalty Cake and is served on many Norwegian holidays. The pie is filled with an almond flour and spice mixture and covered with lattice topping.   Continue Reading . . .

The Best Outdoor Activities in Key West, Florida

Taking a trip to Key West is like going stepping back into the 1950’s road trip.  Key West, Florida is the southernmost city in the continental United States.  Much of the city’s attractions relate to its history, nightlife, and fun.  From visiting Ernest Hemingway’s home to President Truman’s Little Whitehouse to Sloppy Joe’s Bar, most tourists come to Key West to see these amazing places.  Key West is so much more than just a mecca for nightlife. The city is home to some top-notch top outdoor adventures.    Here are the best outdoor activities in Key West.

Traveling with kids?  Check out these Florida Keys kid-friendly activities.

SCUBA Dive the USNS Vandenberg

In 2002, Key West was jealous about the fact that Key Largo had sunk the 510-ft USS Spiegel Grove.  The sinking of Spiegel had given Key Largo the largest artificial reef in the world (at the time).  Key West decided they need their own artificial reef to compete with Spiegel. They were not content with just sinking another ship.  They found the 522-ft long USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg.  12 feet, they found a ship to sink that was 12 feet longer.  In 2009, The USNS Vandenberg was sunk 7 miles off the coast of Key West.  Today, the ship teams with marine life and is one of the popular dive sites in the Keys along with Spiegel.  The ship is so long that it takes multiple dives to really get a sense of size of the ship.  It is just over 2 football fields long.  Several holes where cut to allow light to light penetrations.

The Vandenberg sits in 140 ft of water.  The Eagles Nests sits in 40-50 feet of water.  An advanced open water dive certification is required.

Dry Tortugas National Park

A small island about 70-miles west of Key West is perfect for a day trip out of Key West.  Dry Tortugas National Park can be reached by plane or boat. The National Park is a series of small islands.  The largest island is home to Fort Jefferson. Fort Jefferson is a pre-Civil War fort that was held by the Yankees throughout the Civil War.  After the war, the fort was used as a prison.  It is said that the fort is now haunted.

In addition to exploring the fort, the park offers white sand beaches with a guarantee of small crowds.  Visitation is limited by the ferry and float planes.  There is plenty of space along the beaches to lay and enjoy the sunshine. There are plenty of snorkeling opportunities along the fort’s seawall and surrounding waters. Lobsters, eels and other fish can be found along the reefs. 150 hooks in the set help you to experience all the excitement of catching fish.

The best way to explore Dry Tortugas National Park is to spend 3-4 days camping. Camping allows visitors time to explore at their own pace and explore the islands after the small crowds (less than 150 people) brought it by the ferry. Check out my guide to camping in Dry Tortugas National Park

Click here to book your Yankee Freedom ferry ticket now.

Parasail above the sparkling waters

Fly above the crystal clear waters surrounding Key West in a parasail.  As a powerboat tows you around as a parachute holds you high in the sky.  All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.  The boat will take you along the sparkling beaches of Key West.  The ride will give you an epic view of the coral reefs hidden under the ocean.

Most tours depart from one of the Key West beaches.  You can fly either solo, tandem or triple (depends on weight).  The flights last about an hour. Book your Key West parasail tour today!

Kayaking or Stand-up Paddle Boarding in the Mangroves

The mangroves play an important role in the ecosystems in the Florida Keys.  Their roots protect the shorelines from erosion and provide a nursery for baby fishes and wildlife.  The birds of the Florida Keys will nest and roost in mangroves.  The mangroves provide flat water for easy paddling experience.  In addition to mangroves, the kayaking trails will meander thru creeks as well seagrass areas.  In the seagrass areas, you might see small rays, barracudas, or a cute little nurse shark. In other sections, you might see some conch and sea snails or other small fish.  In the mangroves look above for egrets, herons, or birds of prey.

Check out the mangroves with a kayaking tour of Geiger Key.  Click here to book.

Snorkeling the Coral Reefs

Check out the colorful life below the sea with a snorkeling tour of the Florida Keys coral reefs.  Most the coral reefs are just off the shore and the best way to explore them is to take a boat charter out to visit them.  Unless you are a super avid snorkeling, a 3-hour day trip is more than enough time to explore the reefs.  The reefs are teeming with fish from sergeant majors to yellow snappers.  It isn’t uncommon to see green see turtles or black reef tip sharks among the coral formations.

If you are willing to dive down and get a closer look without touching the coral, you might find some lobsters or eels.  If you should see any Lionfish please report these fish to your guide so he can report it.  Lionfish are an invasive species that are killing many native fish species.

Book your 3-hour snorkeling adventure here.

Sailing Around the Islands

Experience the power of the wind while sailing around Key West in a historical sailboat.  The sailing excursion will take show you some of the famed sight Key West sights from For Zachary Taylor, Mallory Square and Sunset Pier.  Experienced sailors will show you how to make a sailboat fly like the wind or an America Cups Race winner. The boat is a replica of the original America Cup winner.  The Schooner America 2.0 is 105-feet long with 3,6000 square feet of sail.

Depending on your mood, you can do a day sail or a sunset sail.  Find out how to schedule a Key West daya sail or Key West sunset sail.

Deep Sea Fishing

The waters around Key West are full of marine life.  If you are looking for the freshest saltwater fish, consider heading out on a deep sea fishing charter. Depending on the season, Key West has bountiful opportunities to catch marlin, mahi-mahi, grouper, kingfish, snapper, tarpon or tuna.  The charters can take you up to 90 miles from Key West looking for the best fishing grounds.  The day is spent enjoying the water, sunshine and with a little luck a bountiful catch.

The charters can provide rods, reels, and tackles so you don’t have to bring your own. The charter will also handle getting your fishing license.  The guides know the best sites to target your desired fish species.  If you don’t want to clean the fish, the charter will clean your fish for you.  Many restaurants will cook your fish for you.

Most tour operators offer private charters but here is one that will let you book as an individual.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park

Like Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park, Fort Zachary is a pre-Civil War era fort.  The fort was used during the Civil War by the north to prevent blockage running.  The fort also saw use during the Spanish-American War, World War I and II, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  There are daily tours of the fort.

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is more than just a historical fort.  The park is home to one of Key West’s favorite beaches.  The beach offers a chance to get in some swimming and snorkeling. A couple of years ago, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium and NOAA planted some coral in the swimming area.  This will help build up the reef in the area and add an underwater snorkeling trail.  As well, the park offers a short nature trail.

What are your favorite Outdoor Activities in Key West, Florida?

Continue Reading . . .

A US Road Trip celebrating the Heroic Suffragette Movement

March is a special month for women around the world. In the United States. March is women’s history month. Our school will share stories of amazing women who helped change and shape our country. March 8 is International Women’s Day. The holiday celebrates women’s accomplishments from around the world. Both celebrations, remind women that we have made great strides but our work isn’t done. Here is an epic road trip around the United States tracking the United States Suffragette Movement. I’m glad we’ve got a fairly new car for the journey so that we’ll at least have a comfortable ride! Not sure I would be quite as keen on the trip if my car was on its last legs, I’d probably look at car lease options, to be truly honest. The road will twist in turn thru various spots in the suffragette movement to make an epic road trip so make sure you go on the Good Sam site and ger warranties for your motor home.

If at some point during you travel you require roadside assistance, Towing less can help you out, visit their site to get a quote they are available 24/7.

Stop 1 ~ Chicago, Illinois

The road trip starts in Chicago with a visit Ida B. Wells-Barnett House. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a well know African American Activist while her primary focus was African American rights. She helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Her writing includes work on how lynching is used to control the African American population in the south. She worked to organize women and encouraged them to vote.

Stop 2 ~ Akron, Ohio

During the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, a former slave named Sojourner Truth gave a passionate speech about being a women and an African American. The speech has become known as “Ain’t I a Woman?.” This would be the first of many speeches Truth would give on the subject. Truth was an impressive speaker and my favorite story about her speeches was when she was accused of being a man. She bared her breast and proved she was a woman.

Stop 3 ~ Rochester, New York

Head over to Rochester, New York. Here we will pay our respects to Susan B. Anthony. Susan B. Anthony tirelessly worked for social reform and women’s rights. She along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the Women’s Loyal National League, American Equal Rights Association, and National Woman Suffrage Association. She led the National American Woman Suffrage Association when the NWSA combined with the American Woman Suffrage Association.

In 1872, she managed to vote in the 1872 presidential election by quoting the Fourteenth Amendment along with fourteen other women. Anthony was arrested at her home in Rochester. She was then tried and convicted of illegally voting and fined $100. She never paid and the case was not pursued further to prevent Anthony from taking the case to the Supreme Court. The house is now a museum dedicated to her life. Susan B. Anthony was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery. Her grave is often covered in “I voted” stickers after elections.
The last house to visit is the Seneca home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She lived in this house while planning the convention. She was one of the leading activists to support women’s right to vote.

Wesleyan Methodist Church

Wesleyan Methodist Church was selected by the ladies as the site of the first convention. It was selected for several reasons. The first was the Richard Hunt (of the Hunt house and husband of Jane Hunt) had financed the building of the church. The second was the chapel had regally hosted reform lectures such abolitionists (anti-slavery) speeches.

The convention lasted two days and about 300 men and women attended. The first day was for women only (except for young children with their mothers). About 40 men were allowed to attend if they remained silent. The Declaration of Sentiments was debated and changes were made by the women during the day. The second day both sexes were invited to speak and there was much debate about adding the line about women’s right to vote.

Famed African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke in support of women’s right to vote. He couldn’t accept the right to vote as a black man if women couldn’t also vote.

Stop 5 ~ Worcester, Massachusetts

The fifth stop takes us back to Massachusetts to visit the site of the first and second National Woman’s Right’s Convention in 1850 and 1851. The Conventions took place in Brinley Hall. The original building no longer stands but the original street is still there and the site can be found at 340 Main Street. Over 900 people attended from 11 states with a majority being men for the first convention. Many of the speeches were published afterward. Susan B. Anthony took up the cause after reading the speeches in a newspaper. There were regular conventions throughout the United States until the start of the Civil War.

Stop 6 ~ Boston, Massachusetts

The sixth stop is the Massachusetts General Court in Boston, Massachusetts. Angelina Grimké a prominent southern born abolitionist and suffragette was invited to speak before a legislative committee. In February 1838, Grimké spoke out against a variety of issues such as slavery and a women’s right to petition. Her speech was the first time a women had testify before a legislative body in the United States.

Stop 7 ~ Uxbridge, Massachusetts

The third stop on our women’s suffrage road trip is Uxbridge, Massachusetts. On October 30, 1756, a wealthy widow in Uxbridge became the first women to legally vote in America. Mrs. Lydia Chapin Taft was granted the right to vote due to recent personal tragedies in her life. With the sudden death of her eldest son and husband, she was left as a wealthy land and bond owner and her other son is a minor. The town was voting on providing support French and Indian War. This critical vote needed the support of all tax paying landowners. As such Uxbridge voted to give Lydia a vote as proxy for the estate.

Stop 8 ~ Washington D.C

Next stop is Washington D.C. The capital city of the United States saw a fair amount of action during the Suffragette Movement.

Pennsylvania Avenue

Just before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1913, Alica Paul of the National American Woman Suffrage Association organized a massive parade called the Woman Suffrage Procession. It featured 8,000 marchers, twenty-six floats, and nine bands. The marchers were harassed and over 200 people were injured. A group of boys from the Maryland Agricultural College formed a human barrier to protect the women.

An ugly side to the Women’s rights movement was seen here. Often African American women were excluded or segregated in their participation the women’s rights organizations. Many of the Southern Women’s right organization where only organizing for white women to gain the right to vote.

U.S Capitol Building

The Congress building saw several attempts to pass a bill that would grant women the right to vote. The measures failed many times. The first debates where held in 1884 and no vote was held. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin entered the House of Representatives as the first female member of the House of Representatives from the state of Montana.

Three years later, Congresswomen Rankin would open the debated for the Nineteenth Amendment which would grant women the right to vote. She would see the Amendment pass and head to the states for ratification.

White House

For almost two and half years starting in 1917, a group of women protesters camped outside the White House fence. They wanted to hold President Woodrow Wilson to his promise to support women’s rights. The women were called the Silent Sentinels. The peacefully stood in front of the White House with signs. The women were regularly arrested and harassed. Nearly 2,000 women would take part in the protest before the end. Over 200 would be arrested including organizers Alice Paul.

The protested ended with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution by Congress. All that was left was for 36 states to ratify the amendment. Carrie Chapman Catt of the National American Woman Suffrage Association would lead the charge for ratification.

Stop 9 ~ Lorton, Virginia

Lorton is home to the former Occoquan Workhouse. Occoquan was where most of the convicted Silent Sentinel women were sent for their prisons sentences. They were regularly beaten and abused and the whole workhouse was unsanitary. The women didn’t stop protesting even in jail. Alica Paul’s arrive brought about the start of hunger strikes. The Strikes led to force-feeding and further brutalizations. Eventually, after the horrific night of November 14, 1917, the newspapers got wind of the horror and the women were released.

Stop 10 ~ Nashville, TN

The last stop on the road to passing the Nineteenth Amendment was the Tennessee State Capitol building. Where on August 18, 1920, a short letter from a mother to her son fundamentally changed the United States. The Nineteenth Amendment had seen 35 states ratifying the amendment. It was one state short and the ratification period was running out.

Suddenly the state of Tennessee became the battleground for Women’s Right to Vote. A win in Tennessee would add that amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A loss didn’t mean the end of the amendment but the road to passage would be much more difficult. The time became known as the Tennessee ‘War of the Rose.’ Anti-Suffragists wore red roses while suffragette wore yellow roses.

Activists from all over the United States descend on Tennessee to count the rose of the legislators. Counting the roses the amendment would fail the vote 49-47.

Two votes short.

During the roll calls to table the resolution, Rep. Banks Turner yielded to party pressure and voted for the nineteenth amendment. This deadlocked the resolution and brought about a ratification vote.

As the ratification vote started, a 24-year-old first-term representative wearing a red rose was facing a choice. In his pocket was a seven-page letter from his mother.

Dear Son,

Hurray and vote for Suffrage and don’t keep them in doubt. I noticed Chandlers’ speech, it was very bitter. I’ve been waiting to see how you stood but have not seen anything yet…. Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt with her “Rats.” Is she the one that put rat in ratification, Ha! No more from mama this time.

With lots of love, Mama.

In a surprising move, Harry T. Burns was a good boy and voted for the Nineteenth Amendment. Mrs. Febb E. Burn raised the young man who placed the final vote to “free 17 million women from political slavery.”

This original letter can be seen in Knoxville Library upon appointment. I think it should either be seen to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park or be put on display in the Tennessee state capital.

Other stops to add to extend your Suffragette Movement road trip

Cheyenne, Wyoming – In 1869, the territory in Wyoming gave women the right to vote. It was a marketing ploy. Wyoming had a women problem. As a territory, it had an estimated 6 men per 1 women. This meant finding a wife to settle down with was hard.

“My heart is with all women who vote. They have gained it now, and they should not quarrel about the method of using it.”

~ Charlotte Woodward, the only signer of the Declaration of Sentiments to see the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, alas ill health prevented her from voting.

Continue Reading . . .

An Explanation on the United States National Parks System Nomenclature

Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wright Brothers National Memorial, San Juan National Historic Site, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Oregon National Historic Trail.  All of these sites are managed by the National Park Service.  All of them are part of the United States National Park System. The names are designed to help explain their purpose and level of protection.  Sometimes the names are confusing and sometimes don’t make sense.  To most visitors, the designation doesn’t matter but learning the national park system nomenclature can help understand the importance of these American Treasures.

Understanding these names can help when planning a visit to any of the national park service sites or developing a road trip. Personally, I love to visit a mix of history and nature.

What are the National Park Service Designations?

  • National Park
  • National Monument
  • National Preserve
  • National Historical Park
  • National Historic Site
  • International Historic Site
  • National Battlefield Park
  • National Military Park
  • National Battlefield
  • National Battlefield Site
  • National Memorial
  • National Recreation Area
  • National Seashore
  • National Lakeshore
  • National River
  • National Reserve
  • National Parkway
  • National Trail
  • Other

Confused yet?  The naming is important. Each name has a specific set of rules and regulations that the park will operate under.  These rules align with the purpose of the park.  We have so many designations because there are so many different parts of the National Parks system.  Battlefields need to be protected differently than national preserve.

We can group our national park nomenclature into four different sections.


  • National Park
  • National Monument
  • National Preserve
  • National Recreation Area

All four of the above nomenclature is designed to protect natural and geological of the United States.  They each protect natural resources while still allowing access to these ecosystems.  Each one protects the resources in a different way.

A national park is a large area of wilderness that is unique and breathtaking.  The national park designation has the strictest protection and the most restrictions for use. It’s been only 10 months since the park has prohibited the possession of AR-10 rifle kits when in the park. The park is designed to protect large areas of land and keep the nature wild.  Ignoring the recent addition of Gateway Arch.  All the 59 of the National Parks protect an amazing ecosystem and natural feature from the reefs for Dry Tortugas Park to deserts of Saguaro National Park to the Tundra in Alaska.  Not every state is going to have a land area worthy of National Park status.  These guys and gals are the crème de la crème.

National Monuments have similar to national parks.  Except, they are designed to be small and protect a specific feature.  The range in size but most are tiny. Take for example Devils Tower National Monument.  This 1,267 ft butte sands proudly over the plains of Wyoming.  The entire monument is only 2.1 sq miles.  The feature is protected without limiting the use of surrounding land.

National Preserves get interesting.  Many but not all national preserves surround another designation.  Such as Denali National Park and Preserve.  In the parts of Denali that falls under a National Park and activities such as hunting and fishing are banned or heavily restricted.  The land that is designated as Denali Preserve are managed such to allow hunting and fishing (within state seasons and with restrictions). Some preserves will allow for mining and oil/gas exploration while still focusing on protecting the natural resources of the area.

A National Recreation Area are protected areas of land near federal dams or combinations of local and state parks.  These areas have the fewest protections and are designed more to provide areas of fun.  They will allow greater access and activities such as mountain biking, jet skiing, hiking, climbing.  The goal is to manage the area without placing a lot of restrictions on the area’s use. Many of them also provide rv parks for those on road trips.


  • National Seashore
  • National Lakeshore
  • National River

All three of the designations could technically fall under nature. But I broke them out because they all specifically related to bodies of water and the attached shoreline. Most of the time the rules are similar a National Recreation Area. The real difference is these relate excursively to natural bodies of water.  The river are not blocked by dams and the lakes are not created via a dam.  The goal is to keep the area wild but still allow water sports to occur.


  • National Historical Park
  • National Battlefield Park
  • National Military Park
  • National Historic Site
  • International Historic Site
  • National Battlefield Site
  • National Battlefield
  • National Memorial

The history group is the most confusing group of titles.  Generally speaking, a park is used to refer to a group of historically related sites.   The parks tend to be made up of two or more places.  This can be seen with Colonial National Historical Park.  This Historical Park consists of several sites related to early American history spread out around Williamsburg, VA.

The sites are a specific place.  They might be someone’s home like Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site or it can be a battlefield like Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Site.  Every site is historically significant to the United States and our history.

As for National Battlefield’s I am not sure how they are different than a Battlefield Site.  They should just combine National Battlefield with Battlefield Site.

National Memorials are just that they are memorials.  They are not part of the history they celebrate or remember.  They are monuments to those events.  These include the memorials in Washington DC like the Thomas Jefferson Memorial or World War II Memorial.


  • National Parkway
  • National Trail
  • National Reserve
  • Other

National Parkway and National Trails are usually part of another protected area. A handful count as their own NPS unit.  The parkways are a designed for a leisurely drive thru a scenic area.  The National Trails are either scenic hiking trails like the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine or Historical Trail that follow history such as the Selma to Montgomery Historic Trail.

There are 11 other units that fall under NPS.  Pretty much all of them should fall into another one of the designations already listed.  I am not sure why they don’t.

Why is the national parks system nomenclature important?

While I fully agree that it some things could be simplified.  I don’t think nomenclature should be the same for history and nature.  The current system makes it clear what 95% of the sites are by just their name.  There is no confusion for someone who hasn’t done a lot of research on the sites.

One might wonder why I have gone off on a tangent here but it is because of February 22, 2018.  The United States went from 59 national parks to 60 national parks.  Normally as a National Park junkie, I would be really excited about this.  But I am not.

Jefferson Expansion National Monument was elevated to Gateway Arch National Park.  As state earlier, national parks are about protecting natural wonders.  This is the case in most countries in the world.  Gateway Arch is a man-made structure that was built in 1963.  While it is an engineering marvel, it is not a natural wonder.  As such it should not be a National Park.  I can agree with changing its name because almost no one called it the Jefferson Expansion National Monument but in reality, the site should be called the Gateway Arch National Historical Park or Gateway Arch National Monument.

I can make a similar argument for Hot Springs National Park but at least Hot Springs centers around nature.  The hot springs are naturally heated. Another park with a similar problem is Mesa Verde National Park but Mesa is kind of a combination of wow these Native Americans built these impressive structures on the edges of naturally occurring cliffs.  Plus the entire park is located on this impressive mesa that is worth protecting even without the cliffs dwellings.

National Parks are meant to be special places of natural wonder, not a concrete structures.

The park names are important to make it easy to identify the main purpose of the park. The names also express the grandeur one can expect in the park.  I expect to be impressed when visiting a national park while I expect to learn history at historical or military parks. All 417 national park service units deserve to be visited.  Each one is unique in their own right.

Check this blog for more information.

Have fun planning your next National Park Road Trip!

Continue Reading . . .

A twenty-something traveler out to see the world.