National Parks Of The US – Caves

National parks of the US are meant to showcase what is particularly unique about a piece of land in the country. Depending on what comes to your mind when you think of national parks in the country, you may not realize that three of the country’s national parks are dedicated to showcasing the breathtaking beauty of America’s caves. So, today, I would like to highlight the three national parks that are centered on caves.

Mammoth Cave National Park

(Photo courtesy of USGS via Wikipedia)

Mammoth Cave National Park is located in the central portion of the US state of Kentucky just northeast of Bowling Green. This national park is home to the longest known cave system in the world at 400-plus miles long. Not just that, but also more mileages continue to be added over time as the cave system continue to be explored. Mammoth Cave is noted for its limestone formations with luminous shapes.

The cave houses an underground river and shallow pools. Also located in the cave are grand, high-ceiling cave rooms located deep underground. The cave is known for being the home to a variety of bats. These include the Indiana bat, the gray bat, the little brown bat, the big brown bat, and the eastern pipistrelle bat. In addition to these bats, the cave is also home to eyeless cave-dwelling crayfishes and shrimps.

Mammoth Cave can only be explored as a part of a guided tour. There are a variety of cave tours available during the spring scheduling season which starts today and lasts until May 22nd, 2020. One such tour is the Frozen Niagara Tour. The centerpiece of this tour is the Frozen Niagara room. This is one of the must famous underground cave rooms in the cave.

The Frozen Niagara room is filled with natural decoration. This is an easy tour to take part in and only requires you to take on twelve steps. This tour travels for around one-fourth mile round trip. Another tour to mention is the River Styx Cave Tour. This cave tour travels along the cave’s underground river, River Styx.

This tour is aimed at geology buffs wanting a deeper look at how Mammoth Cave had taken form over millions of years. This tour is moderate in difficulty and requires a total of 600 stairs to climb. The distance is about 2 and a half miles for this tour. Each of the cave tours at Mammoth Cave require separate tickets in order to take part in them. The prices for the tickets varies by cave tours.

For example, the tickets for the Frozen Niagara Tour go for $14 for adults, $10 for youth, and $7 for special access. You can go here to check the cave tour schedule and make a reservation for a tour.

Hotel Suggestion: Holiday Inn University Plaza – Bowling Green

This hotel is located on Wilkinson Terrance in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There is an onsite restaurant at the hotel called The Hartland Cafe. Atrium Lounge is the hotel’s onsite bar while Seattle’s Best Coffee Shop is where you can order a cup of coffee onsite. The hotel houses an interior garden atrium for a serene environment. There is also an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

A fitness center is available for you to use during your stay. The hotel rooms come with WiFi and coffee makers while the suites also come with mini refrigerators, microwaves, wet bars, and separate bedrooms and living/dining areas. The average rate for a standard room range from $106 to $186. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

(Photo courtesy of Wing-Chi Poon via Wikivoyage)

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the southeastern area of the US state of New Mexico, near the state border with Texas. There are actually more than 119 caves within this national park, but Carlsbad Cavern is the most well-known cave and the focus cave for most tours. Carlsbad Cavern is renowned for its network of vast underground chambers.

Those vast underground chambers are up to 250 feet tall from the floor to the ceiling. They house stunning limestone formations of various colors and shapes. Many of the limestone formations are lit up with electric lights in order to make them more visible. Carlsbad Cavern is also noted for being the home to a group of bats called the Mexican free-tail bats. They take refuge in the cave from April to September.

There are two categories of tours available to explore Carlsbad Cavern. The first category of tours is the self-guided tour. This is where you can explore the cave on your own. There are rangers stationed along the way to answer any questions you may have as you explore. There are two self-guided tour routes available for you to explore the cave.

The first one is called the Big Room Trail. This is most certainly the easy route with mostly flat terrain along the way. The centerpiece of this self-guided tour is the Big Room. This is the largest underground chamber in this cave. The Big Room measures almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet tall. This self-guided route lasts for about 1.25 miles.

The second self-guided tour route in the cave, on the other hand, is the challenging one. It is called the Natural Entrance Trail. It is an extremely steep route, but one that also rewards you with stunning limestone formations including Devil’s Spring, the Whale’s Mouth, and Iceberg Rock. This route is about 1.25 miles long. The other category of tours for exploring Carlsbad Cavern is the guided tour.

There are four guided tours in this cave. They are King’s Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, and Hall of the White Giant. These guided tours will explore the other branches of the cave that aren’t available for self-guided tours. The entrance fee for Carlsbad Cavern is $15 for adults aged 16 and up. Those aged under 15 get free entrance. The entrance tickets are good for three days and can be used for self-guided tours.

The guided tours, however, will each require an additional ticket to take part in. You can view the guided tour schedule and make a reservation for one of them by going here.

Hotel Suggestion: Sleep Inn & Suites

This hotel is located on National Parks Highway in Carlsbad, New Mexico just northeast of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby options include Blue House Bakery and Cafe, The Trinity Hotel Restaurant, and YellowBrix Restaurant. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center available.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have WiFI, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $143 to $277. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Wind Cave National Park

(Photo courtesy of US National Park Service via Wikipedia)

Wind Cave National Park is located in the southwestern corner of the US state of South Dakota, near the state border with Montana and Wyoming. This is the first cave to be designed as a national park in the United States and the world. Wind Cave received its name because of barometric winds at its entrance. The cave is renowned for its boxwork formations.

Boxwork formations are rare anywhere else in the world. In fact, about 95 percent of the boxwork formations on Earth are found in Wind Cave. In addition to the rare boxwork formations, the cave is home to frostwork and popcorn formations. There are three guided cave tours that you can take part in. These are Garden of Eden Tour, Natural Entrance Tour, and Fairgrounds Tour.

In terms of hiking skill levels, the first two guided cave tours are moderate while the third one is challenging. The amount of stairs to climb range from 150 for Garden of Eden Tour t0 450 for Fairgrounds Tour. Each of these three tours will each require a ticket to participate. The first tour goes for $10 for adults and $5 for ages 6 to 16. The second and third tours will each go for $12 for adults and $6 for ages 6 to 16.

All of the three tours are free for those aged under 6. There are unfortunately no self-guided tours available at Wind Cave. You can head here to check the schedule for the guided tours.

Hotel Suggestion: Baymont by Wyndham Hot Springs

This hotel is located on South 6th Street in Hot Springs, South Dakota just south of Wind Cave National Park. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. For the hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Woolly’s Grill & Cellar, Big Time Pizza, and Dairy Queen. If you are looking to have a cookout, there are barbeque facilities available outdoors at the hotel for that.

The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms will have WiFi, coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $62 to $155. You can go here to view your booking options and/or browse some photos.

These are the national parks of the US that are dedicated to showcasing the beauty of the country’s caves. So, if you are itching to explore a cave, you will want to consider one of these caves.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced any of these caves before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Museums Of The US To Visit For Women’s History Month

We are well into the month of March now. As at least some of you may know, March is Women’s History Month in the United States. It is the time when we honor the women who have contributed to or shaped the US and the world at large one way or another. So, I would like to take the opportunity to suggest a few museums of the US that you can check out to celebrate women.

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

(Photo courtesy of Michael Barera via Wikipedia)

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is located on Gendy Street in Fort Worth, Texas. You may have heard about the cowboys, but have you heard about the cowgirls too? This is the museum where you can go and learn about them. This museum honors women who have contributed to or shaped the American West.

There are currently 238 women who are inducted into the hall of fame at this museum for the significant impact that they had on the American West. They come from a wide range of disciplines such as writers, artists, business women, ranchers, and rodeo cowgirls. Here are a few women I would like to note.

Sacagawea was a woman from the Lemhi Shoshone tribe who helped to guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition in their exploration of the previously uncharted American West in the early 19th century. Another woman to note is Georgia O’Keeffe. She was a renowned painter who lived much of her life in the western US state of New Mexico. She was known for her inspiring paintings of New Mexico landscapes.

Sandra Day O’Connor grew up on a large cattle ranch in the western state of Arizona who would go on to become the first woman to be appointed as a justice in the US Supreme Court. These are just a few women being honored in the hall of fame at this museum. In addition to the hall of fame, there are a few exhibits you can check out at the museum.

This includes a brand new exhibit called Kit Moncrief Galleries and It’s Never Just a Horse. This exhibit explores the special bonds formed between the horses, women, and the West. The admission rates for the museum are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, military members, and first responders, and $6 for children aged 4 to 12. Admission is free for those aged under 4.

Hotel Suggestion: Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Worth Downtown

This hotel is located on Commerce Street in downtown Fort Worth. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you are looking to dine out, a few options include The Capital Grille, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, and Bob’s Steak & Chop House. If you are looking to order alcoholic drinks, you can do so at the hotel’s lobby bar. There is an indoor heated swimming pool available to use.

There is also a fitness center available if you are looking for a workout. If you are looking to relax by the fire, you can go to the hotel’s outdoor fire pit. Some rooms and suites will offer breathtaking views of downtown Fort Worth. All of the hotel’s rooms will have WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators while the suites will also offer microwaves and wet bars.

The average rate for a standard room range from $146 to $331. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

(Photo courtesy of AgnosticPreachersKid via Wikipedia)

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located on New York Avenue NW in Washington, DC, the capital of the US. This museum celebrates women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This is the only major museum in the world for this purpose. This museum is home to a collection of more than 4,500 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative arts.

The collection spans multiple time periods from the 16th century to the present. There are nearly one thousand women artists represented at this museum. Among the historic women represented include Mary Cassatt, Lavinia Fontana, Clara Peeters, and Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun.

As for the modern and contemporary women represented at the museum, a few of them include Magdalena Abakanowicz, Chakaia Booker, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Joana Vasconcelos. There are four exhibits currently on display at the museum. They are Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico, Delita Martin: Calling Down the Spirits, New York Ave Sculpture Project, and Linda Nochlin: The Maverick She.

The admission prices for this museum are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Admission is free for youth aged 18 and under. You can buy your passes by going here.

Hotel Suggestion: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

This hotel is located on New Jersey Avenue NW in Washington, DC just a short walk north of the US Capitol. Article One – American Grill is the hotel’s onsite restaurant. The hotel’s onsite bar is called Article One Lounge. There is an indoor swimming pool on the hotels rooftop. Connected to the pool is the outdoor sundeck that offers breathtaking views of Washington, DC’s bustling streets.

StayFit is the name of the hotel’s fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have contemporary decor. Many of them will offer breathtaking views of the city’s vibrant streets. All of the rooms and suites at the hotel will have WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. All of the suites will have separate bedrooms and dining/living areas. At least one type of suite will offer full service kitchens.

The average rate for a standard room range from $191 to $713. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

National Women’s Hall of Fame

(Photo courtesy of DanielPenfield via Wikimedia)

The National Women’s Hall of Fame is located on Canal Street in Seneca Falls, New York which is located in New York State’s scenic Finger Lakes region. The hall of fame at this museum inducts women who have made significant contributions toward the social, economic, and cultural aspects of society in the US and the world at large.

Inductions into the hall of fame at the museum happen every odd-numbered year. The names of the women being inducted into the hall of fame are announced in the spring, usually in March which is Women’s History Month. The induction ceremonies will then happen during the fall of the same year.

A few of the women inducted into the hall of fame in 2019, the most recent year, are Gloria Allred, Angela Davis, and Sarah Deer. During your time at the museum, you can read biographies of women and learn about what makes each of their achievements so significant as far as efforts to improve society in the US and the world is concerned.

There are currently 276 women inducted into the hall of fame. The pricing for admission to the National Women’s Hall of Fame is currently listed as “TBD”. There is also a gift shop located onsite at the museum.

Hotel Suggestion: Hampton Inn Seneca Falls

This hotel is located on Balsley Road in Seneca Falls. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Penny’s Place, Woodys Bar & Grill, and Connie’s Diner. There is an indoor heated swimming pool at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offer WiFi, coffee/tea makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $103 to $281. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or browse some photos.

These are the museums of the US you will want to check out to honor women. All of these museums showcase women who have contributed to or shaped the country and the world in some form. Women’s History Month would be the ideal time to honor women by visiting these museums.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on visiting any of these women-related museums? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In El Paso, TX To Soak In The Desert Beauty

El Paso is located in the far western portion of Texas. One thing that makes the city stand out from the rest of the US state of Texas is its breathtaking desert landscapes. In fact, El Paso resembles the southwestern US states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada far more than it does the rest of Texas. If you are an outdoors person who is looking to take in the scenery that it has to offer, here are a few things to do in El Paso, TX.

(Photo courtesy of Ron Reiring via Flickr)

Franklin Mountains State Park

(Photo courtesy of Alex Derr via Flickr)

Franklin Mountains State Park covers a great deal of north central El Paso. This is the largest urban park in the United States at 24,247 acres. This urban park is home to El Paso’s highest mountain peak, North Franklin Peak, which stands at an elevation of 7,192 feet. If you are skilled at hiking, you can hike up to North Franklin Peak in order to have a sweeping view of El Paso.

The urban park contains over 100 miles of trails for hiking or mountain bicycling. The plants at the urban park are native to the north Chihuahuan Desert of which El Paso is located. These include lechuguilla, sotol, ocotillo, yuccas, and cacti. Franklin Mountains State Park is the only place in Texas where the southwestern barrel cactus plants can be found.

Wildlife observers with a pair of eagle eyes will want to be on the lookout for mule deer, squirrels, coyotes, and one of the elusive mountain lions. Bird watchers will want to head to the bird blind in the Tom Mays Unit section of the urban park. There, you can observe various species of birds including golden eagles, ash-throated flycatchers, calliope hummingbirds, and pyrrhuloxia.

There are a total of over 100 species of birds who live or visit the urban park. If you are seeking a scenic drive, you can go on Texas Route 375 which snakes its way through the urban park. This highway is also known as Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive. There is an entrance fee of $5 to the urban park for those who are aged 13 and above. Those aged under 13 can enter for free.

Also, if you would like to spend a night at the urban park, there are a total of 14 campsites located in the Tom Mays Unit section. Just be aware though that there are no water or electricity at any of the campsites.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

(Photo courtesy of Sgt. James Avery via Wikimedia)

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site is located on Hueco Tanks Road Number 1 in northeastern El Paso. This is a state park filled with impressive history. A long time ago for a few thousand year, people would flock to this site because of the rainwater that was pooled inside natural ruck basins known as huecos.

Today, the huecos are the signature natural features at this state park. They still trap rainwater into them and keep them there for a few days to a few months at a time. That turns the huecos into oases for water.

The state park contain impressive rock markings that were left by the ancient people who once came there for the trapped rainwater. The rock markings date back thousands of years. Rock climbers, in particular, will appreciate the state park because it provides ample opportunities for them to rock climb.

In fact, this state park is widely regarded as one of the best in the world for bouldering because of the granite-like igneous material that the climbing rocks are created from. Once you reach the top of the rocks, you will be treated to a variety of breathtaking views including the huecos, the low mountains, and the desert floor.

There are a couple things for you to be aware of. Three of the four section of this state park can only be visited with a tour guide. These sections are West Mountain, East Mountain, and East Spur. The only section that can be visited without a tour guide is North Mountain. Even in this section, only 70 people can be there at a time.

The reason for all of this is because the many rock markings located throughout the state park are fragile and can easily be damaged if not treated with care. I would suggest you to make a reservation to ensure that you can visit the state park when you arrive. In order to do so, you can go here. The entrance fee is $7 for adults and those aged 13 and up. Entrance is free for those aged 12 and under.

You can also visit the state park’s onsite interpretive center which is located inside a historic ranch house. You can learn about the park and its history there. A gift shop is also located onsite.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

(Photo courtesy of CarlCarlsonIV via Wikipedia)

If you are willing to drive around 1 hour and 45 minutes east of El Paso via US Highway 62, you will arrive at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The national park is home to the highest mountain peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak. The peak stand at an elevation of 8,749 feet. The national park is home to the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef.

There are over 80 miles of hiking trails in total at this national park. There are four main trails I would like to note here. The first trail is the Devil’s Hall Trail. This trail is about 3.8 miles long round-trip. The main highlights of this trail are the natural rock staircases and the hallway formed by steep canyon walls. The second trail to note is the Smith Spring Loop.

This trail is about 2.3 miles long round-trip and goes around in a loop. On this trail, you will hike through landscapes that change from desert scrub to riparian vegetation. The third trail is called the McKittrick Canyon Trail. The length of the trail varies depending on which branch of the trail you are looking to hike, but it ranges from as short as 1.1 miles to as long as 7.6 miles round-trip.

Overall, this trail will have you hiking through riparian vegetation, stream crossings, and along the bottom of the canyon before setting you on a climb to McKittrick Ridge. The fourth trail is the Guadalupe Peak Trail. This is the longest and most challenging trail. This trail is about 8.5 miles long round-trip and will have you hiking all the way to the top of Guadalupe Peak.

You will hike through a conifer forest on this trail. If you manage to make it all the way to the top of Guadalupe Peak, you will have mind-blowing views of the overall desert landscape stretching to the west and south. If you wish to spend a night at this national park, there are two campground to choose from. They are Pine Spring and Dog Canyon.

There is an entrance fee of $10 for those aged 16 and above. Those who are aged under 16 can enter the national park for free.

These are the things to do in El Paso, TX if you are into the outdoors. You will be able to take in the natural beauty of the desert during your time in El Paso.

The Hotels In El Paso

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your El Paso visit, I am happy to help you out with that. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest you to stay at.

Ramada by Wyndham El Paso

This hotel is located at the intersection of Gateway Boulevard East and Lomaland Drive in El Paso. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you are hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Julio’s Mexican Food, Teppanyaki Grill & Buffet, and Whataburger. There is an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. You can do your workout at the hotel’s fitness center.

All of the hotel’s suites come with WiFi and kitchenettes. The average rate for a standard room range from $66 to $85. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Hampton Inn & Suites El Paso/East

This hotel is located on Gateway Boulevard West in El Paso. There is complimentary breakfast and a snack bar at the hotel. For the hungry, a few nearby dining options include BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Five Guys, and Corner Bakery Cafe. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers. The suites also have wet bars in them. The average rate for a standard room range from $126 to $241. You can go here to book your stay and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of the parks in El Paso in the past? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Louisiana – Plantations Near New Orleans

If you are heading to Louisiana, chances are that you will head to New Orleans. But, if you are looking for something to do outside the city, one of the things to do in Louisiana you may want to consider is to visit the plantations. The state has a reputation for being home to many beautiful, grand plantations. Here, I will focus on a few of the plantations along the Mississippi River to the west of New Orleans.

Oak Alley Plantation

(Photo courtesy of kmoney56 via Flickr)

Oak Alley Plantation is located on State Highway 18 in Vacherie. This plantation is named for the famed quarter-mile entrance that is neatly lined up on both sides with oak trees that are over 300 years old. The plantation was built in 1837 by Jacques Telesphore Roman. The plantation was known for its production of pecans from the trees. The pecan production was mastered by noted slave, Antoine.

The plantation was also known to grow sugarcane. This plantation is designed in the Greek Revival architectural style. There are Doric columns on all four sides of the building. The number of Doric columns is the same as the number of 300-year-old oak trees at the plantation. The building’s exterior walls have a stucco finish to them are are painted white to make them look like marble.

High ceilings and large windows are also notable features of this plantation. There is also a formal garden which was designed in the 1920’s. During your time at the plantation, you can tour the inside of the main residential building which is known as the big house. There will be costumed guides on hand who will walk you through each room of the building and tell you of its history.

An exhibit known as The Slavery Exhibit will tell you the story about how slave labor was relied upon to keep the plantation going. The lives of the slaves who worked at the plantation are also documented in this exhibit. You can also visit the Sugarcane Exhibit & Theatre, located onsite, and learn the details of how sugarcane was grown and processed at this plantation.

You can learn about how the American civil war affected this plantation by heading to the Civil War Tent onsite. The Blacksmith Shop is where you can go and learn about the forging of metalwork that took place at the plantation. You can also wander through the oak trees, visit the 1920’s-era formal garden, and check out the wide pastures where a pecan grove once stood.

The ticket prices for this plantation are $25 for adults, $10 for youth aged 13 to 18, and $7 for those aged 6 to 12. Those who are aged 5 and under get free admission.

Whitney Plantation

(Photo courtesy of anthonyturducken via Flickr)

Whitney Plantation is located on State Highway 18 in Wallace. This plantation was built in the 1750’s by a Germany immigrant named Ambroise Haydel. Ambroise and his descendants owned the plantation until the 1860’s when Marie Azelie Haydel was the last descendant to own the plantation. Sugarcane and rice were the focus of cultivation at this plantation.

The plantation is designed in the raised Creole architectural style and is well known for its decorative wall paintings on both its exterior and interior. It is considered to be one of the best preserved Creole plantations in the area. The main residential building houses seven rooms on each floor along with a full length gallery in the front and open loggia in the rear.

In addition to the main house, there are many outbuildings at the plantation. These include a church, an original kitchen building, a saddle storage shed, a watering trough for mules, a mule barn and feed storage building, slave quarters, and more. During your time at the plantation, you will be learning all about the slaves that worked there and what their lives were like.

The slaves weren’t just limited to growing sugarcane and rice. They did many other things for the master and his/her family. They cleaned the main house. They cooked the meals. They built the outbuildings. They drove them around the plantation grounds. They served as midwives handling the births. These are just a few things that the slaves did for their master and his/her family.

Roles given to the slaves at this plantation were based on their gender. For example, the males would do the gardening while the females would do cooking. Also, each of the master’s children were given a personal female slave to meet their personal needs. There are three memorials at the plantation that honor the slaves who worked there.

The three memorials are The Field of Angels, The Wall of Honor, and Allees Gwendolyn Midlo Hall. The admission prices for this plantation are $25 for adults, $11 for children aged 6 to 18, $23 for students, seniors, and military members, and $15 for those of you who are residents of the parish where this plantation is located. Free admission is for those who are aged under 6. You can get your tickets here.

San Francisco Plantation

(Photo courtesy of Bill Badzo via Flickr)

San Francisco Plantation is located on State Highway 44 in Garyville. This plantation was built in 1856 by Edmond Marmillion. Even though the Marmillion family had success with growing sugarcane at the plantation, all was not well with the family.

During their ownership of the plantation, the Marmillion family was besieged by multiple family deaths of the wife and most of the children from a disease called tuberculosis. This plantation is built in the Steamboat Gothic architectural style. This plantation is known for its beautiful paintings of the ceilings and door panels. The exterior of the plantation also resembles a layer cake.

The plantation uses two different kind of columns. The first kind is the brick columns which are found on the first floor of the exterior. The second kind is the fluted wood columns with cast-iron Corinthian capitals found on the exterior second floor. In addition to the main house, there is also a 1830’s-era slave cabin and a 1840’s-era one-room schoolhouse. A gift shop is also located onsite.

The admission prices to this plantation are $20 for adults, $19 for AAA, $16 for military members, and $10 for students aged 6 to 17. Free admission is given to those aged 5 and under. You can buy the tickets by going here.

If you are looking for things to do in Louisiana just outside of New Orleans, you may want to consider venturing a little bit west of the city to check out these beautiful plantations. The grounds at all of these plantations are nice. These plantations are within around an hour drive west of the city.

The Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your visit to Louisiana, I am happy to help you out with this. These two hotels are located in the far west New Orleans suburb of LaPlace.

Hampton Inn LaPlace

This hotel is located on Main Street in LaPlace. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If you get hungry, a few of the restaurants nearby are Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar, El Paso, and Mabile’s Restaurant. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $103 to $234. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites LaPlace

This hotel is located on US Highway 51 in LaPlace. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you are looking to dine out, you may want to consider Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar, El Paso, and Mabile’s Restaurant. If you are looking to cook out, there are barbeque facilities available outdoors at the hotel. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, coffee makers, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $112 to $197. You can explore your booking options and/or check out some photos by going here.

So, what are your thoughts? Are you looking to check out any of these gorgeous plantations? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Nashville, Tennessee Attractions – Historic Mansions

If anything comes to mind when you think of Nashville, it will most likely be the music. That is because Nashville is most well known for its connection to the music, especially country music. But, did you know that the city is also home to some beautiful historic mansions?

At least a few of them served as plantations during the 19th century while others simply served as private homes of well known residents of Nashville. All of these historic mansions are Nashville, Tennessee attractions that you can actually visit.

Belle Meade Plantation

(Photo courtesy of Colin1769 via Wikipedia)

Belle Meade Plantation is located on Harding Pike in Nashville. This historic mansion was built in 1807 by John Harding who was a well known thoroughbred breeder. This mansion served as a plantation for breeding the thoroughbreds during the 19th century. In fact, it was widely regarded as the best thoroughbred stud farm in the United States at the time.

This mansion was once home to Iroquois who was the first American bred thoroughbred to win the Epsom Derby. Another notable thoroughbred, Bonnie Scotland, was also housed there. African American slave labor was used during the 19th century for thoroughbred breeding at the plantation. This mansion is of the Greek Revival architectural style.

Today, tours are offered for the mansion. There will be tour guides there who will show you around as you learn about and immerse yourself into its history as a plantation. In addition to the main building, you will be able to tour the outbuildings including a dairy, horse stable, carriage house, mausoleum, gardens, and a log cabin. A restaurant called Harding House is available onsite.

If you are looking for souvenirs, you can head to the onsite gift shop at the mansion. The admission prices for the weekdays are $24 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $13 for youth aged from 6 to 18. The weekend prices are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $13 for youth aged 6 to 18. Those aged 5 and under will get free admission. You can purchase the tickets to the mansion by going here.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

(Photo courtesy of Jim Bowen via Wikipedia)

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is located on Rachels Lane in Nashville. This was the presidential home of Andrew Jackson who was the seventh president of the US from 1829 to 1837. This is one of the largest presidential homes in the United States. This mansion functioned as a plantation where cotton was grown. As was the case with Belle Meade Plantation, African American slave labor was used at this plantation.

This mansion is built in the Greek Revival architectural style. This mansion is now open to the public for tours. You can check out every one of the rooms at the mansion and learn about the life of Andrew Jackson, his family, and the countless visitors that Andrew received at his mansion. You can also learn about the slave labor that was used to grow the cotton at the plantation.

I would suggest that you go with the VIP Tour option as it is the best way to experience this mansion. An experienced guide will walk you around the main residence building, the grounds, the gardens, and the tomb of Andrew Jackson. You can also check out hundreds of items that belonged to Andrew. Best of all, you will get to go on the balcony to soak in the gorgeous views.

The VIP Tour goes for $50 per person. You can purchase the VIP Tour tickets here.

Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion is located on the northern portion of the Belmont University campus in Nashville. This is the largest house museum in the state of Tennessee. This mansion was built in 1849 by Adelicia Acklen who was the widow of wealthy slave trader, Isaac Franklin. She decided to build Belmont Mansion following the death of Isaac in which she inherited his plantations in Louisiana.

After Adelicia built Belmont Mansion, she used it primarily as her summer residence. During her days at the mansion, she was the wealthiest woman in the state of Tennessee. During her days, the mansion included rose gardens, gazebos, and a large collection of animals. They even served as the first public park and zoo for Nashville which was open to the public six days of the week at that time.

Even though this mansion never functioned as a plantation, it still relied on a large number of African American slaves in order to maintain it. The mansion is designed in a mixture of Greek Revival and Italianate architectural styles. In the present day, Belmont Mansion is open for tours to the public.

You can tour the building itself and the grounds and explore the mansion’s history, the life of Adelicia Acklen, and the slave laborers who helped to maintain the mansion. The admission prices are $16 for adults, $15 for seniors, $14 for military members, $11 for college students, $7 for ages 13 to 18, and $5 for ages 6 to 12. Admission is free for these aged 5 and under. You can buy your tickets here.

Cheekwood

(Photo courtesy of Russ Glasson via Flickr)

Cheekwood is located on Forrest Park Drive in Nashville. This mansion once served as the primary residence for the Cheek family of prominent businesspeople who owned and operated C.T. Cheek & Sons and the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company. Both of these companies were based in Nashville. This mansion was built in 1932 and continued to be in use by the Cheek family until the 1950’s.

The mansion was very expansive. In fact, it was expansive enough that the Cheek family could ride around the grounds on their horses. This mansion is built in the Georgian architectural style and draw inspirations from the grand English manors of the 18th century.

Unlike the other mansions that I have listed here, slave labor was never used at this mansion given the fact that slavery was already abolished in the US by the time that the mansion was built by the Cheek family. It is possible, though, that the Cheek family hired housemaids to perform chores at the mansion. This mansion now functions as an art museum and botanical garden that is open to the public.

There is also an onsite restaurant called the Pineapple Room. The admission prices for the art museum and botanical garden are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $16 for college students, and $13 for those aged 3 to 17. Admission is free for those aged under 2. You can buy the admission tickets by going here.

These historic mansions are the Nashville, Tennessee attractions that aren’t only gorgeous, but also can be visited as well. Some of these mansions were plantations while others weren’t.

The Hotels

If you are seeking out a hotel to stay overnight at in Nashville, I am here to lend you a helping hand. These are the two hotels that I would suggest you to stay overnight at.

DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville-Downtown

This hotel is located on 4th Avenue North in downtown Nashville. There is an onsite restaurant and bar called 4th & U. There is an outdoor area at the hotel, known as Patio 315, with large lawn games, fire pits, and TVs. Starbucks Coffee is also located onsite. There is also an indoor heated pool at the hotel. You can use the hotel’s 24-hour fitness center for your workout needs.

All of the hotel rooms offer WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. The suites will also offer microwaves, stoves, living rooms and dining tables. All of the hotel rooms and suites will also offer breathtaking views of downtown Nashville. The average rate for a standard room range from $180 to $480. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Clarion Hotel Nashville Downtown – Stadium

This hotel is located on North 1st Street in Nashville’s downtown. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. There is an onsite restaurant and bar at the hotel. The hotel offers an indoor heated swimming pool. A fitness center is also available for you to use. Some of the hotel rooms will offer sweeping views of downtown Nashville’s skyline.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $113 to $320. You can book your stay and/or check out some photos by going here.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these gorgeous historic mansions before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Ft. Worth For Cowboys And Cowgirls At Heart

Do you consider yourself to be a cowboy or cowgirl inside? If your answer is yes, then you will want to head to a bustling city called Fort Worth. The city is located in the US state of Texas which is the second largest state in the country by both area and population. Ft. Worth has a storied history as a major center of cattle driving and ranching.

Ft. Worth has received the nickname of Cowtown. The city’s motto is “Crossroads of Cowboy & Culture”. Here are the things to do in Ft. Worth for Western enthusiasts.

Ft. Worth Stockyards

(Photo courtesy of Mark Fisher via Wikipedia)

The Ft. Worth Stockyards is a historic district located to the north of downtown Ft. Worth. This district became a major center for livestock during the mid 19th century after the arrival of railroads. Cattle, sheep, and hogs were bought, sold, and slaughtered from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century in a large complex known as the stockyards.

Today, the district preserves the Western feel to it. The buildings in the district are of the Mission and Spanish Revival architectural styles. This district has brick walkways and wooden corrals. The district is home to Western-style restaurants, shops, and saloons. The signature feature of the Ft. Worth Stockyards is the Ft. Worth Herd. This is the world’s only cattle drive that happens twice per day.

Cowtown Coliseum

(Photo courtesy of Shih-Pei Chang via Flickr)

The Cowtown Coliseum is located on East Exchange Road in the Ft. Worth Stockyards historic district. This is a 3,418-seat arena where the weekly rodeos play out. A few major rodeo events at the arena include the Stockyards Championship Rodeo, the Stockyards Pro Rodeo Series, and PBR Bull Riding. The rodeos at the arena happen every Friday and Saturday nights.

If you would like to see the schedule of rodeos and buy tickets for them, you can head here. The Cowtown Coliseum is a major breeding ground for some of the best athletes in the world of rodeo. The Cowtown Coliseum also houses the Bull Riding Hall of Fame where you can view and learn about the legendary bull riders and bulls who have made significant accomplishments in the rodeo sport of bull riding.

Stockyards Museum

(Photo courtesy of Steven Martin via Flickr)

The Stockyards Museum is located inside the historic Livestock Exchange building on East Exchange Avenue in the Ft. Worth Stockyards historic district. This is a museum that explores the history of the Ft. Worth Stockyards as a large marketplace for buying, selling, and slaughtering livestock.

This museum is home to an expanding collection of artifacts, photos, and exhibits that cover different areas of its history including the Chisholm Trail, the livestock market/stockyards, and the Swift and Armour packaging plants. During your visit to this museum, you will get a sense of how Ft. Worth got its nickname of Cowtown.

The museum also has a livestock auction center inside the building where you can see the cowboys (and cowgirls) checking out the animals on the monitors. The admission to this museum is $2 per person. Those who are aged 12 and under will get free admission into the museum.

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame

(Photo courtesy of Billy Hathorn via Wikipedia)

The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame is located on Rodeo Plaza in the Ft. Worth historic district. This museum showcases the men and women of Texas who have made significant achievements in competition, business, and support of rodeo. This museum also showcases what life is like for cowboys and cowgirls in Texas. There are currently over 140 hall of fame inductees at this museum.

Each of these inductees have their own booths for displaying personal memorabilia. The hall of fame inductees for 2020 are Charles & Kit Moncrief, Lari Dee Guy, The Priefert Family, R.H. Steve, and Aaron Watson. In addition to the hall of fame, other exhibits that you can check out at the museum include The Sterquell Wagon Collection, The John Justin Trail of Fame, and the 1933 Cadillac.

There is also a gift shop inside the museum called Western Gift Store. There is also a place within the museum called Jersey Lilly Photo Parlor. This is where you can have a Western-style photo of yourself taken with costumes and backgrounds resembling the Old West days. The admission price is $4 per person. These aged 4 and under get free admission. You can go here if you want to make a reservation.

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is located on Gendy Street in Ft. Worth. This museum is dedicated to honoring and documenting the impactful lives of cowgirls in the American West. There are currently over 200 inductees into the hall of fame at this museum. The hall of fame covers a variety of fields that cowgirls were a part of.

These fields include pioneers, artists, businesswomen, educators, ranchers, and rodeo cowgirls. This museum is home to over 5,000 objects that belonged to the hall of fame inductees. Examples of these objects include Annie Oakley’s wedding ring and gun, Dale Evans’s Bohlin saddle, and clothing and saddle designed by Nudie Cohn. There are currently two exhibits at the museum.

These two exhibits are Hard Twist: Western Ranch Women, and The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice. The museum also houses a few galleries with photos of the cowgirls who were inducted into the hall of fame. There is also an onsite gift shop called The Shop at The Cowgirl where you can purchase souvenirs.

The ticket prices for the museum are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, military members, and first responders, and $6 for children aged 4 to 12. The admission is free for children aged 3 and under.

These are the Western-related things to do in Ft. Worth. The city is worthy of its Western heritage as demonstrated by its storied history and these attractions.

The Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to book with during your Western inspired trip to Ft. Worth, I have your back. These are the two hotels that I would suggest you to book with.

Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Worth Downtown

This hotel is located on Commerce Street in downtown Ft. Worth. There is complimentary breakfast available at this hotel. If you are hungry, there are plenty of restaurants downtown to choose from. The Capital Grille, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, and Bob’s Steak & Chop House. There is an onsite bar at the hotel. The hotel houses a indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

The hotel’s rooms offers WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. Microwaves are available in the hotel’s suites. At least some of the hotel rooms and suites offer sweeping views of downtown Ft. Worth. The average rate for a standard room range from $123 to $331. If you are interested in booking a stay and/or checking out the photos, you can go here.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Worth Downtown

This hotel is located on Commerce Street in downtown Ft. Worth. There is complimentary breakfast offered at the hotel. There is also an onsite restaurant for the hungry called the Market Bistro. Thai Tina’s is the hotel’s onsite bar. If you are looking for free alcoholic beverages, you can find them at the Evening Reception every evening. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool.

A fitness center is also available for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s suites have a bedroom and a living room. At least some suites will offer sweeping views of downtown Ft. Worth. All of the suites at the hotel will offer WiFi, wet bars, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers.

The average rate for a standard room range from $155 to $325. Feel free to go here if you are interested in booking options and/or photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you feeling like a cowboy or cowgirl inside? Feel free to leave a comment here.

New Orleans Attractions For Kids

New Orleans is a unique city in the United States. The city is known for its beautiful French and Spanish Creole architecture. New Orleans is most known for its world class party and revelry atmosphere, especially in the city’s famed French Quarter. In fact, the French Quarter has an open carry policy in which alcoholic drinks can be taken out onto the streets to drink around, provided they are in plastic cups.

Also, nightlife establishments in the French Quarter are known for having their doors open. So, with the city’s reputation for partying and reveling, does this mean that the city isn’t inviting for families? Not at all. There is still plenty of things for families to do in New Orleans. Here are some New Orleans attractions for kids that you should check out.

National WWII Museum

(Photo courtesy of Nolabob via Wikipedia)

The National WWII Museum is located on Magazine Street in downtown New Orleans. This museum is dedicated to World War II and the role that the United States played in it. During your time at the museum, you will learn about why the famous war was fought, how it was won, and what it means today.

Items displayed at this museum include, but is not limited to, uniforms, weapons, and vehicles that were used during the war by the warring rivals, the Allied and the Axis. You can learn about the personal experiences of not just the leaders, but also the everyday people, during the war. A few of the exhibits you can check out include The Arsenal of Democracy, The D-Day Invasion of Normandy, and US Merchant Marine Gallery.

There are also two onsite restaurants at the museum. They are called The American Sector Restaurant & Bar and the Jeri Nims Soda Shop. The admission prices are $28.50 for adults, $24.50 for seniors, and $18 for military members, college students, and students from grades K to 12. Children who aren’t yet in school will get free admission. You can buy the tickets to this museum by going here.

Garden District

(Photo courtesy of sea turtle via Flickr)

The Garden District neighborhood of New Orleans is located approximately 4.6 miles to the southwest of the French Quarter via St. Charles Avenue which happens to have streetcars running on it. This is among the most beautiful neighborhoods in New Orleans. The Garden District is home to a large collection of historic mansions backed up by a scenic tree canopy of live oaks.

The Garden District was once home to New Orleans’s wealthiest residents during the 19th century. The entire neighborhood is now designated a landmark by the National Historic Landmark. The mansions in this neighborhood are built in the Greek Revival and Italianate architectural styles.

If you prefer to explore the Garden District as a part of a guided tour, I would suggest that you book the New Orleans Garden District and Mansion Walking Tour by Gray Line New Orleans. The price for this tour will be around $41 per adult. This tour will include exclusive access to one of the mansions, the Opera Guild Home, where you can tour inside. You can buy your tour passes here.

Jackson Square

(Photo courtesy of Bobak Ha’Eri via Wikimedia)

Jackson Square is located on Pere Antoine Alley in New Orlean’s French Quarter, just west of the Mississippi River. This beautiful park is designated a landmark by the National Historic Landmark and is also registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Jackson Square was designed after the famous Paris square, the Place des Vosges.

The park has Parisian-style landscaping, walkways, benches, and iron fences. There is a statue dedicated to Andrew Jackson who was the president of the United States in the early 19th century. There are also four other statues in the neoclassical style at the park. Each of these four statues represents the four seasons. Within the park are three historic buildings.

The most recognizable of the three buildings is the Saint Louis Cathedral. This is the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States, having been built in the early 18th century. The cathedral is renowned for its triple steeples that towers above the surrounding area. The other two buildings at the park are The Presbytere and The Cabildo.

These two buildings are located on opposite sides of the Saint Louis Cathedral. Both of these buildings are designed in the colonial Spanish architectural style with many elements of the neo-Renaissance architectural style. The two buildings were once home to the Louisiana Supreme Court from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century.

They are now museums as a part of the Louisiana State Museum network of museums.

Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World

(Photo courtesy of Paul Mannix via Wikipedia)

The event that New Orleans is most famous for is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is the time when there are different groups parading through New Orleans. Mardi Gras happens in the couple weeks leading onto Fat Tuesday every year. Mardi Gras World is located on Port of New Orleans Place facing the Mississippi River in the Lower Garden District area of New Orleans.

This attraction is basically a working warehouse where you can go behind the scenes of the preparation for Mardi Gras. You can get up and personal with the iconic parade floats and props that are used for Mardi Gras every year. You can observe as artists work to build and prepare these things. During your time at Mardi Gras World, you will also learn about the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

The admission prices for this attraction are $22 for adults, $14 for children, and $17 for seniors and students. You can purchase your admission tickets here.

These are some of the New Orleans attractions for kids that you can visit as a family. Just because New Orleans may be better suited for those aged 21 and up, doesn’t mean that families aren’t welcome in the city.

The Hotels

Are you seeking a place to stay overnight at while in New Orleans? If so, I am more than happy to help you out here. Here are two hotels that I would suggest you to book with.

Comfort Suites New Orleans

This hotel is located on Bullard Avenue just north of the interchange with Interstate 10 in the northeast part of New Orleans. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If you are looking for restaurants to dine at, a few nearby restaurants include Bullard Seafood & Grill, New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co, and Waffle House. There is a fitness center available for you to exercise in.

There is also an outdoor swimming pool available seasonally. All of the hotel’s suites have living rooms in them. WiFi, microwaves, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers are also available in all the suites. The average rate for a standard room range from $89 to $166. You can explore your booking options and/or view some photos here.

InterContinental New Orleans

This hotel is located on Saint Charles Avenue in downtown New Orleans. There are two onsite restaurants at this hotel. One is called Pete’s and the other is called Trenasse. There is also a rooftop swimming pool with stunning views of New Orleans. There is also a fitness center available at this hotel.

The rooms and suites at the hotel is designed with a mixture of classic and contemporary New Orleans decor with rich wood furnishings and artistic accents. Some rooms and suites will offer a balcony with breathtaking views outside. At the very least, there will be WiFi, Keurig coffee makers, and minibars in the rooms and suites at this hotel.

The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $122 to $688. You can go here to book your stay and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on taking a family vacation to New Orleans? Feel fr

Great Things To Do In Nashville For The Music Lover

If you are a fan of music, especially country music, you most likely have heard of Nashville, even if you have never been there before. That is because the music is at the heart of Nashville’s appeal as a destination. You may notice that Nashville is nicknamed the Music City. There are valid reasons for Nashville having the nickname.

The connection between Nashville and the music is strong. So, if you are a music fan, Nashville is a destination that should be on your go-to list. These are great things to do in Nashville that revolves around the music. This is aimed at helping you to get the most out of your time in Nashville.

(Photo courtesy of TheTexasNationalist99 via Wikipedia)

Grand Ole Opry House

(Photo courtesy of Adam Fagen via Flickr)

The Grand Ole Opry House is Nashville’s most iconic attraction. So, visiting this attraction should be the first thing that you do during your time in Nashville. This is the venue where the iconic country music performances, known as the Grand Ole Opry, takes place. The Grand Ole Opry is where country music got its first start and became famous around the world.

As a result, the Grand Ole Opry House is currently the most famous venue in the world of country music. This venue is located on Opryland Drive just west of State Highway 155 (Briley Parkway) in Nashville. Many established and rising country music stars are known to have performed there.

A few of them include Carrie Underwood, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, and Brad Paisley. The Grand Ole Opry country music performances normally happens on Tuesday, Fridays, and Saturdays from February through October at the Grand Ole Opry House. The ticket prices will vary depending on the seating chosen among other factors. You can check the schedule and buy tickets here.

Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium is located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Nashville’s downtown. This historic attraction was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry country music performances. As a result, the Ryman Auditorium was where country music was popularized.

Even though, for the most part, the Grand Ole Opry has since moved to its permanent home at the Grand Ole Opry House, they still perform at the Ryman Auditorium from November through January on Fridays and Saturdays. This attraction now functions as a museum while also continuing to function as a venue for music performances from various genres of the music.

During your time at the Ryman Auditorium, you will immerse yourself into a unique theater experience called the Soul of Nashville. This theater experience combines a variety of visual tools to tell the story of the history of this attraction and the impact that it had on American music in general in an exciting way.

These visual tools include holograms, special effects, multidimensional film images, and archival footage. Another notable feature of this attraction is Air Castle Studio. This is where you can go and learn about and then try your hand at recording a song. You can either choose from a menu of songs or you can create and bring your own songs with you.

In the Ryman Auditorium’s Hatch Show Print Gallery section, you can view the unique posters advertising the events that took place at this attraction These posters were crafted by hand. There are also exhibits showcasing the history of this attraction with artifacts and memorabilia.

As for visiting this attraction as museum, the prices of admission are $24.95 for adults and $16.95 for children aged 4 to 11. Those who are aged under 4 will get free admission to the museum. You can go here to buy your tour passes.

As for the Grand Ole Opry country music performances at the Ryman Auditorium, which is called Opry at the Ryman, the price for a ticket is the same as what I mentioned in the Grand Ole Opry House section of this post. If you are interested in any other music performances that take place at this venue, you can check here for the calendar to find out which music performance happens when.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

(Photo courtesy of Sean Russell via Wikipedia)

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is located on Fifth Avenue South in downtown Nashville. As the name of this museum indicates, this museum is all about country music. There is a gallery full of bronze plaques in the hall of fame section of this museum.

These show off all types of people, from musicians to broadcasters to songwriters, who have been recognized for the significant contributions they made to the world of country music. The hall of fame induction began in 1961 with the first inductees being Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, and Fred Rose. The most recent inductees, from the class of 2019, are Jerry Bradley, Brooks & Dunn, and Ray Stevens.

The museum section of this museum include more than 40 years worth of collections involving country music. These include, but is not limited to, sound recordings, country music books, periodicals, photographs, and fan club newsletters.

A few of the exhibits available at the museum include Brooks & Dunn: Kings of Neon, Kacey Musgraves: All of the Colors, and Still Rings True: The Enduring Voice of Keith Whitley. There are two souvenir stores located onsite. They are Circa The Museum Store and Hatch Show Print Store. Onsite dining options include 222: A Southern Eatery, Red Onion, and Bajo Sexto Taco.

The admission prices for this museum are $25.95 for adults and $15.95 for youth aged 6 to 12. Those who are aged under 6 will get free admission. You can buy your passes here.

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

(Photo courtesy of M via Wikipedia)

The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is located on Gay Street in downtown Nashville. This museum is dedicated to musicians of all genres. Unlike the Country Music Hall of Fame, the inductions into the hall of fame at this museum only began in 2007. That makes for a young hall of fame at this museum.

A few of the inductees at the 2019 hall of fame induction include Bob Taylor, Eddie Bayers, Paul Franklin, and Michael Rhodes. This museum is renowned for its large collection of instruments that had been used on hundreds of iconic songs. A few of the exhibits at the museum include Motown, American Studio, and Stax Recording Studio. You can also purchase souvenirs from the Museum Gift Shop located onsite.

The admission prices for this museum are $25 for adults and $15 for children aged 6 to 17. Those who are aged under 6 will get free admission. The admission also includes access to the museum’s GRAMMY Museum Gallery. You can buy your tickets here.

These are the great things to do in Nashville if you are a fan of the music. This list isn’t necessarily comprehensive, but it will provide you with the best that Nashville has to offer as far as the music is concerned.

The Hotel To Stay At

For the hotel to stay overnight at, here is the hotel that I would suggest you to stay at. As much as Nashville is renowned for the music, Nashville is renowned for this one hotel in particular.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

(Photo courtesy of NqcRz via Wikipedia)

This resort hotel is located on Opryland Drive just west of State Highway 155 (Briley Parkway) in Nashville. It is just north of the Grand Ole Opry House, making this the most convenient hotel for reaching Nashville’s most iconic attraction. This is a unique Nashville hotel. It is a large, beautiful hotel surrounded by 9 acres of indoor gardens, winding rivers, and waterfalls.

All of this is under the hotel’s iconic glass atrium which keeps the hotel’s temperature at a consistent 84 degree (F) year-round. One of the hotel’s biggest amenities is a combined indoor and outdoor water park called SoundWaves. One interesting thing about SoundWaves is that even when you’re indoors, you can still “sunbath”.

That is because the glass atrium was designed to allow the sun to shine indoors. It makes you feel like you are out in the sun without being outside. Another amenity worth mentioning is the golf course known as Gaylord Springs Golf Links. It is about five minutes away from the hotel, yet it is still a part of this hotel. You can arrive at the golf course via the hotel’s shuttle services if you wish to go golfing.

The golf course is a par-72, 18-hole course surrounded by breathtaking limestone bluffs and protected wetlands. There are a ton of onsite restaurants and bars to choose from at this hotel. Cascades American Cafe, Fuse Sports Bar, and Ravello are just a few of the options available at this hotel. A full service spa called Relache Spa is offered at this hotel.

In additional to the hotel’s water park, SoundWaves, there are three regular swimming pools. One is indoors and the other two are outdoors. They are all heated. There is also a fitness center available for your workout. Some of the hotel’s room and suites offer stunning views of the hotel’s indoor landscape of gardens, rivers, and waterfalls.

All of the rooms and suites will have at least WiFi, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $240 to $465. You can book your stay and/or view some additional photos by going here. Be aware though that there will also be surcharges in order to access certain amenities at the hotel.

So, what are your thoughts? Are you a fan of the music looking for a place to check out? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Great Things To Do In Nashville Beyond The Music

What comes to mind whenever you think of Nashville? If you answer with “the music”, that is understandable. In fact, Nashville is most notable for its strong connection to the music, especially country music. It is no wonder that Nashville is nicknamed “The Music City”. As a result, there are numerous world class attractions in Nashville that are related to the music.

So, does that mean that Nashville doesn’t have any compelling attractions that aren’t related to the music? The answer to this question, I can assure you, is a resounding no. Here are some great things to do in Nashville that are outside of the music.

The Parthenon

(Photo courtesy of Mayur Phadtare via Wikipedia)

The Parthenon is located inside of Nashville’s Centennial Park. It is on the United States National Register of Historic Places. This is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Parthenon is designed in the Greek classical architectural style. The Parthenon functions as an art museum. The signature feature at this art museum is the Athena Parthenos statue.

This is basically a statue of Athena, a goddess from the Greek mythology. The statue is made of a composite of gypsum cement and ground fiberglass. At the art museum, you can view a collection of over 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists. During the summer, there will be Greek performances playing out at the art museum such as Medea and Antigone.

The admission prices for this art museum are free for members, $6 per adults, and $4 for these aged 4 to 17 and these aged 62 and above.

Belle Meade Plantation

(Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell via Flickr)

The Belle Meade Plantation is located on Leake Avenue in Nashville. This beautiful attraction was a renowned thoroughbred stud farm for a century from 1807 until 1906. During that time, it was considered to be the best thoroughbred stud farm in the United States. This attraction once bred and housed renowned racing horses such as Iroquois, who became the first American-bred horse to win the Epsom Derby.

This attraction was also noted for its use of African American slave laborers during much of its history. This attraction is now a museum. It is built in the Greek revival architectural style. During your time at this museum, you can tour and learn about the history of this plantation and the African American slave laborers who played a role in the plantation’s operations.

The mansion itself as well as the cabin, dairy, carriage house, stable, and mausoleum outbuildings can be toured. There is also a winery, visitors center, and a ice cream and fudge store located on property. There is actually an onsite restaurant called The Harding House. However, this restaurant is currently undergoing renovation and is thus closed at this time.

This museum is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The weekday admission prices are $24 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $13 for youth aged 6 to 18. The weekend prices are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $13 for youth aged 6 to 18. Those who are aged under 6 will get free admission. You can go here to get your tickets.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage is located on Rachels Lane in Nashville. This breathtaking plantation was once the home of Andrew Jackson who was the seventh president of the United States from 1829 until 1837. This plantation was used to grow cotton. As was the case with the Belle Meade Plantation, this plantation was noted for its use of African American slave laborers during its history.

This plantation is now a museum. This museum is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. During your time at this museum, you can tour and learn about Andrew Jackson’s life and what life was like in the South part of the United States during the 19th century for everyone from aristocrats to enslaved persons.

The museum has original furnishings from the time that Andrew Jackson lived there. The admission price is about $50 per adult. That is for the VIP Tour as this is the best way to check out this museum. You can buy your tickets here.

Nashville Zoo

The Nashville Zoo is located on Nolensville Pike in Nashville. One attraction inside the zoo that is worth noting is the Grassmere Home. This gorgeous home was once a 300-acre slave holding farm owned by Michael and Elizabeth Dunn in the 19th century. As a part of admission to the zoo, you can tour this historic house and learn about its history.

At the zoo, there are over 6,230 animals from over 339 species. A few of these animals you can encounter at the zoo include spider monkeys, white rhinoceros, Masai giraffes, and clouded leopards. There are countless animal exhibits at the zoo for you to check out. These include Critter Encounters, Lorikeet Landing, Kangaroo Kickabout, and the new Tiger Crossroads.

You can also ride the Soaring Eagle zip line in order to get breathtaking views of the zoo. There will be animal performances for you to watch at the zoo as well. The admission prices at the zoo are $20 for adults and teens, $15 for children aged 2 to 12, and $18 for seniors. Those who are aged under 2 get free admission to the zoo. You can go here to purchase your tickets.

Lane Motor Museum

(Photo courtesy of Tttkusoialonis via Wikimedia)

This museum is located on Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville. If you are a fan of foreign cars and motorcycles, you will want to check out this museum. This museum contains the largest collection of beautiful European cars and motorcycles in the United States. There are over 500 cars and motorcycles in total with 150 of them being displayed each day.

Along with the European collection of cars and motorcycles, you can check out a collection of cars and motorcycles from North America, South America, and Asia. The ages of the cars and motorcycles range from the 1920’s to the present day. In addition to the cars and motorcycles themselves, you can also view art and memorabilia at the museum.

The admission prices to this museum as of 2019 are $12 for adults, $8 for these aged 65 and above, and $3 for these aged 6 to 17. Members as well as these aged under 6 get free admission to this museum.

These are some great things to do in Nashville that doesn’t have anything to do with the music at all. So, if you are looking for something more to do in Nashville than just the music or if you don’t want anything to do with the music at all, you will want to check these things out.

Hotels to Stay At

If you would like somewhere to stay overnight at in Nashville, I am more than happy to help you out here. Here are two hotels for you to book your stay with.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Nashville – Opryland

This hotel is located on McGavock Pike west of the interchange with State Highway 155 (Briley Parkway) in Nashville. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. As for the restaurants, a few nearby options include Old Hickory Steakhouse, Caney Fork, and The Nashville Palace. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and a 24-hour fitness center for you to use.

All of the rooms and suites at this hotel comes with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $159 to $245. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Hampton Inn & Suites Nashville at Opryland

This hotel is located on Rudy Circle northwest of the interchange of McGavock Pike and State Highway 155 (Briley Parkway). This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If you are hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Cascades American Cafe, Aquarium Restaurant, and Rudie’s Seafood & Sausage. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center available at this hotel.

All the hotel room and suites offer WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $147 to $238. You can book your stay and/or view some photos by going here.

So, what are your thoughts? Is there anything you are looking forward to checking out when you visit Nashville? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Eureka Springs, The Prettiest Town In Arkansas

Tucked away in the northwestern corner of the American state of Arkansas is Eureka Springs. Eureka Springs is a scenic, winding town located in the Ozark Mountains which covers the northwestern part of Arkansas as well as the southwestern part of the state of Missouri. The entire town is registered on National Register of Historic Places as the Eureka Springs Historic District.

The town’s founding was based on the Native American legend that the area’s springs housed healing powers to cure various ailments. That ended up attracting people hoping to find a cure to their illness from the springs. Here in this post, you will find at least a few things to do in Eureka Springs in order to have a great visit there.

Go For A Drive

One thing that Eureka Springs and its surrounding area is renowned for is its natural setting, being located in the Ozark Mountains. This is an opportunity for you to explore the area by road. There are a number of routes that you can drive on in the area. The best route you can drive on is The Pig Trail.

The Pig Trail runs on the same route as State Highway 23 for around 19 miles starting in Fayetteville and making its way through the Ozark Mountains. This offers a variety of majestic views including rivers, waterfalls, forests, and mountain views. You will also pass through the town of Eureka Springs and the Ozark National Forest on the journey.

Visit The Historic Downtown

(Photo courtesy of doug_wertman via Wikimedia)

Eureka Springs is home to a historic downtown. Downtown Eureka Springs is a hilly and winding area that runs along the Main and Spring streets. The best way to experience downtown Eureka Springs would be to go for a walk. That will offer you the chance to enjoy the steepness of downtown and marvel at the beautiful Victorian-style architecture in which buildings are made of stones.

While walking downtown, you can also soak in the views of the surrounding beauty of the Ozarks. Staircases are also a sight to behold downtown. So, be on the lookout for these. There are many unique shops, galleries, restaurants, and bars to be found in downtown Eureka Springs. So, stop by at any of these places at your leisure.

If you are looking for a place to relax in peace downtown, you can do so at the Basin Spring Park. This park is charmingly tucked into downtown Eureka Springs. The park was where one of the springs was located. It was the site on which Eureka Springs was founded in the mid 19th century.

(Photo courtesy of Phil Baker via Flickr)

The spring itself is technically still there, but it is located beneath the park now. There are a couple statues in the park worth checking out. The park is populated with benches for you to sit on. There are also live music performances going on in the park’s bandshell.

Blue Spring Heritage Center

(Photo courtesy of Mitchel23 via Wikipedia)

The Blue Spring Heritage Center is located on Country Road 210 about 15 minutes drive northwest from downtown Eureka Springs. This breathtaking natural attraction was a stopover for the Cherokee Indians during their journey westward during the 1830’s. Their journey was known as the Trail of Tears. One of the natural attraction’s highlights is the spring known as Blue Spring.

The spring pumps out over 38 million gallons of water daily and they flow as river and waterfall towards the trout lagoon. The water has a clear blue look to it. Another highlight at the Blue Spring Heritage Center is the Blue Spring Shelter. This is an area of giant bluff shelters. This area has historic significance for Native American tribes extending as far as 10,000 years ago.

Various Native American tribes still visit this area today and performs ceremonies during their visits there. The Blue Spring Heritage Center contains paths through gardens of native plants, woodlands of hardwood trees, meadows, and hillsides for you to hike on. There are also benches and gazeboes should you want somewhere to relax during your time there.

The admission prices here are as follows: $9.75 for adults, $6.50 for these aged 6 to 17, and free for these aged 5 and under.

Onyx Cave

The Onyx Cave is located on Onyx Cave Lane about a 15 minutes drive northeast of downtown Eureka Springs. This stunning cave is home to a variety of wildlife and rock formation. Over 20 different gemstones call this cave home and you can collect some gemstones during your time there and take them home. You will be given a special keepsake bag for you to store your gemstone collection in.

There is a new activity available in this cave called Axe Throwing. This fun activity is played in a similar manner to playing darts. It goes something like this: you are given an axe and then you try and throw the axe at a certain spot on the circle thing. You can use this activity to test out your skills or start up a game.

There is a gift shop located in this cave so that you can buy souvenirs. There is also a new booth serving snow cones. There is at least one outdoor deck in the cave offering gorgeous views of the surroundings. There are torchlights spread out through the cave to help light the area up. The temperature in the cave is 57 degree (F). This is always the case regardless of the temperature outside at the time.

The admission price is as follows: $10 for adults and $6 for these aged 4 to 13. These aged 4 and under get free admission.

These are just a few of the things to do in Eureka Springs in order to have a great experience there. Regardless of if this is your first time visiting Eureka Springs or if you are making a return visit, you are destined for a great visit to this pretty town in the Ozark Mountains of northwestern Arkansas.

Eureka Springs Hotels

Are you ready to find a hotel to stay overnight at during your Eureka Springs vacation? No problem at all, I am here to help you with your hotel options. Here are two hotels I would encourage you to book at.

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa

This hotel is located on Prospect Avenue just west of downtown Eureka Springs. This beautiful palatial hotel sits on an overlook high above the town of Eureka Springs. This hotel opened in 1886, having been open for more than a century. The hotel is surrounded by manicured gardens, making for a beautiful setting.

There are a few onsite restaurants. They are The Crystal Dining Room and Skybar Gourmet Pizza. A sweet treats shop called Crescent Confections is also located onsite. As the hotel’s name indicates, there is a spa called the New Moon Spa at the hotel. There is also an outdoors heated swimming pool and a hot tub available.

In addition to hotel rooms and suites, there are also cottages available for these of you who desires a more rustic experience at the hotel. All hotel rooms and suites include WiFi and a coffee maker while small refrigerator and microwave are also available in the hotel’s suites.

As for the cottages, all of them offer a full kitchen, a dining room, at least one bedroom, and WiFi. Certain cottages also offers a large deck for breathtaking views as well as a hot tub. The average rate for a standard room at this hotel ranges from $159 to $492. If you want to explore your booking options and/or view some photos, you can do so by going here.

Best Western Eureka Inn

This hotel is located on East Van Buren Street just south of downtown Eureka Springs. A restaurant called Gazebo Restaurant is located onsite. The hotel offers an outdoor heated swimming pool, which is currently the largest in Eureka Springs. A fitness center is also offered at this hotel for use. The hotel also allows pets to be inside it.

All hotel rooms offer coffee makers and mini refrigerator. WiFi is also available in every hotel room. The average rate for a standard room range from $87 to $135. You can go here to book your stay and/or check out some photos.

So, what are your thoughts? Have you found any charm in Eureka Springs? Feel free to drop a comment below.