Learn the History of America’s Birthplace With This Philadelphia Walking Tour

Philadelphia is one of the United States’ oldest cities. Philadelphia was the birthplace of the country that we now know as the United States of America. If there is anything that you may know about the U.S., you will know that Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital. However, when the United States first started as a country, Philadelphia served as the nation’s capital.

The most important event that established the United States of America as a country took place in Philadelphia. That event is the Declaration of Independence which freed the country from British rule and established itself as an independent country with 13 states on July 4th, 1776. You can explore the history with the Philadelphia walking tour called “Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia”.

The Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia is hosted by Philadelphia Urban Adventures. This walking tour will stop at various historical sites that played a role in Philadelphia’s history as the birthplace of the United States of America. Let’s go over all of the places that you will stop at during this walking tour of Philadelphia.

Betsy Ross House

(Photo courtesy of Beyond My Ken via Wikipedia)

Your first stop will be at the Betsy Ross House. This is a charming house on Arch Street about a few blocks away from Independent Hall and the Liberty Bell. This is where the very first flag of the United States of America was created. The flag was created by Betsy Ross who once lived in this house.

This walking tour doesn’t include admission into the house itself. But, you can soak in the external details of the house as you pass along on the walking tour, including the U.S. flag that is neatly perched onto the house’s wall.

Elfreth’s Alley

Next, you will be walking around the narrow back alleys of Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, including Elfreth’s Alley. Elfreth’s Alley is the United States’ oldest residential street, having been dated to as far back as 1702 when the U.S. was still under British rule.

The houses located on Elfreth’s Alley are built in the colonial architecture style. These houses are built with brickwork and fronts the street that is made of cobblestones. The surrounding area is now home to trendy cafes, shops, and art galleries.

Christ Church

Your next stop on the walking tour will be the Christ Church. This is a historical Christian church where the nation’s founding fathers, like George Washington and Ben Franklin, once worshipped. The church also gave birth to the Episcopal Church in the country. At the time of the country’s founding, the church’s tower and steeple was the tallest structure in the country at 196 feet tall.

Depending on if the Christ Church is open and available for public tours at the time of your walking tour, you will be able to enter the church building as a part of this walking tour. Once the Christ Church stop-by is done, you will be heading to a nearby coffee shop for a short break.

This will be your opportunity to ask the guide any questions related to Philadelphia’s history. You can order snacks and/or drinks at the coffee shop if you like. Any snacks and/or drinks that you order there will be on your own expense.

Franklin Court

Once your break has ended, you will then be heading to Franklin Court. Franklin Court is a historical site that used to host the residence of Ben Franklin. Ben was one of the founding fathers of the United States. In addition to being a founding father, Ben was also a renowned inventor during the time of the country’s founding.

The residence itself is no longer there. However, the historical site hosts the archaeological and architectural remains of the residence that was once there. The location of Ben’s residence is traced with steel “ghost structures”. The site also house a museum that is dedicated to the life of Ben and his inventions.

You will be heading into the Franklin Court site as a part of the walking tour. There are two beautiful entrances to the site. One entrance is on a path made of cobblestones. The other entrance is through the original brick passageway.

President’s House

During the first decade of the United States’ existence as an independent country, Philadelphia served as the capital of the country. As a consequence of this, a residence had to be built specifically to house the President of the U.S.. This beautiful residence is known as the President’s House. The President’s House is the predecessor to the White House which is the current residence of the President of the U.S..

The President’s House was home to the first two presidents of the country. George Washington was the first resident. He lived there from November 1790 to March 1797. John Adam was the second president to live at the residence. He lived there from March 1797 to May 1800. Entrance into the President’s House is included as a part of this walking tour.

Dream Garden Glass Mosaic

The next stop on this walking tour of Philadelphia is the Dream Garden Glass Mosaic. The Dream Garden Glass Mosaic is a hidden gem that is tucked away into the lobby of an office building known as the Curtis Center. It is home to a beautiful glass mosaic mural known as the Dream Garden.

Unfortunately, the Dream Garden isn’t open during the weekends or holidays. So, if you want to enter the Dream Garden and soak in such a beautiful glass mosaic mural, I recommend that you book this walking tour on a non-holiday weekday.

Washington Square Park

You will head next to beautiful Washington Square Park. This is one of the oldest parks designed in the country. The park was built by William Penn in 1683. While you are here, you will be hearing stories about William Penn. He was the founder of Philadelphia. He found and planned Philadelphia in 1682, just under a century before the city became the birthplace of the U.S..

Tomb of the Unknown Solider of the American Revolution

The Tomb of the Unknown Solider is a graveyard located within Washington Square Park. The graveyard is the burial ground for all of the Americans who fought in the American Revolution war against British rule. There is a possibility that you will be heading into the graveyard as a part of the walking tour.

Independence National Historical Park

Your next stop on this walking tour is Independence National Historical Park. This is Philadelphia’s most notable park as this is where two of the most important events in the founding of the United States took place. Even though admission into the buildings themselves aren’t part of this walking tour, you will still get to soak in the beauty of these places from the outside.

The park contains a few places that are related to the founding of the country and to Philadelphia’s historical status as the nation’s capital.

Independence Hall

(Photo courtesy of Captain Albert E. Theberge via Wikipedia)

This is the most important building, not just in Philadelphia, but also in the United States. This is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed. The Declaration of Independence freed the country from British rule on July 4th, 1776. The U.S. Constitution was ratified on June 21st 1788 in order to serve as the supreme law that governs the United States.

Congress Hall

(Photo courtesy of tim eschaton via Wikipedia)

Congress Hall is where the U.S. Congress conducted its legislative business when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital. During that time, the U.S. Congress admitted three new states to the nation for a total of 16 states at that time. George Washington and John Adams were both inaugurated as presidents at Congress Hall. The Bill of Rights under the U.S. Constitution was ratified here as well.

Old City Hall

Old City Hall served as the United States Supreme Court during Philadelphia’s status as the nation’s capital. There were three chief justices on the bench during the time. These chief justices were John Jay, John Rutledge, and Oliver Ellsworth.

Old City Arts District

This is the last stop of this walking tour. You will be stopping at a local bar where you can enjoy a drink. The drinks will be paid for by the walking tour guide.

This concludes the Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia walking tour. This walking tour will last for about 2 hours overall. The price for this walking tour will be $39 per adult and about $34 per child aged 6 and up. Children under the age of 6 get to join for free.

The Two Best Parks in Chicago to Spend Time

There is a saying that Chicago is a “city in a garden”. That saying can be traced back to Daniel Burnham. He was a world-famous architect and urban planner who was responsible for the noted historical document called “Plan of Chicago” in the 1900s. The Chicago of today very much lives up to its proclamation as a “city in a garden”.

Even though there are numerous neatly designed parks in Chicago that are well worth the visit, there are two parks in particular that best captures the imagination when people think of Chicago. Grant Park and Lincoln Park are the two best parks in Chicago in which to spend time at.

Not only are these two parks expansive in size, but they are also packed with many attractions and features that allows you to get the most out of your time at the parks. These two parks also offers some of the best views of the Chicago skyline.

Grant Park

(Photo courtesy of ovenusa via Wikipedia)

Grant Park is a sweeping, scenic park located in between the central and south sections of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. Grant Park has been called Chicago’s “front yard”. Attractions and features found here include Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, Buckingham Fountain, and the Museum Campus.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is located in the northwest section of Grant Park. There are a few features here. The Cloud Gate is a giant shell-like sculpture that serves as a “mirror” that allows you to see reflections of Chicago’s skyline on the sculpture itself. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is an outdoors concert venue artistically designed as a place for you to catch concerts, listen to music or just to relax on the lawn under the artistic bandshell.

You can also hang around in the Crown Fountain where two giant LED screens will actually spit fountain water out of the mouths of human beings (yes, really). Another feature of Millennium Park is Lurie Garden where you can find your moment of peace among the stunning, colorful gardens found there.

Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is the newest addition to Grant Park, having only been built a few years ago. It is located just east of Millennium Park connected by the scenic BP Pedestrian Bridge. There are a variety of compelling features available at Maggie Daley Park for your enjoyment. You can hit a round at the park’s 18 hole mini golf course. There are picnic areas throughout the park for relaxation.

Those of you who want the thrill of skating, running on roller blades, and/or scooting can enjoy them at designated areas at Maggie Daley Park. If you wish to walk, run, or bike, you can do so on one of the paths that winds its way through the park. Children of all ages will find great joy in the park’s Play Garden where they will have an opportunity to play around.

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is located just south of Millennium Park. It is accessible from Michigan Avenue. The Art Institute of Chicago houses a large collection of artwork from across the world and spans over 5,000 years of artistic expressions. This is currently the second largest art museum in the United States of America.

Buckingham Fountain

The Buckingham Fountain is located in the east central section of Grant Park just west of Lake Shore Drive. This is a large, breathtaking fountain that is built in the style of a wedding cake. From April to October, there are regular water shows. During the evening, there are colorful fountain displays. The fountain is decorated with festival lights during the winter.

Museum Campus

The Museum Campus is located in the southeastern section of Grant Park right next to Lake Michigan. The Museum Campus is beautifully designed to bring together not just one or two, but three (!) beautiful museums together in one area for convenience.

These museums are the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. In addition to the three museums, there are a network of path for you to walk, run, or bike on while soaking in the beauty of the area.

Lincoln Park

(Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago)

Lincoln Park is a nature lover’s paradise in Chicago. The park, as a whole, technically extends from Ohio Street Beach in the Streeterville neighborhood all the way up to the Edgewater neighborhood where Lake Shore Drive ends.

However, it is the southern part of Lincoln Park north of the Gold Coast neighborhood and east of the Lincoln Park neighborhood that is the most packed as far as attractions and features are concerned.

Lincoln Park Zoo

By far the biggest attraction in Lincoln Park is the Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo is located to the northwest of the interchange of Lake Shore Drive and LaSalle Drive. Admission to the zoo is free. In fact, the zoo is one of the few free zoos in the United States.

The zoo is home to over 1,000 animals from more than 200 species. Perhaps the most compelling feature of this zoo is the Nature Boardwalk where you can go for a walk around a pond and get close and personal with native wildlife including birds, frogs, fish, turtles, insects, and more. At the same time, you can take in breathtaking views of the north section of the Chicago skyline.

Lincoln Park Conservatory

To the northwest of the Lincoln Park Zoo lies the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The conservatory is an artistic glass building built in the Victorian Era style. There are four rooms in the conservatory housing many different exotic plants from all over the world.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Look directly to the east of the Lincoln Park Conservatory and you can find the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. This scenic gem is home to a variety of native plantings throughout its garden and lily pool. The Fullerton Gate is your access point for visiting the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is across Fullerton Parkway from the Lincoln Park Conservatory. There, you can check out the wildlife from the Chicago region. One notable feature here is the butterfly house where you can observe the different butterflies that lives there.

Chicago History Museum

Lincoln Park is also the home of the Chicago History Museum. The museum is located south of the Lincoln Park Zoo on LaSalle Drive. Here, you can explore the history of Chicago and the United States.

These are the two best parks in Chicago for you to spend time at. While there are other scenic parks in Chicago for you to check out, these two parks in particular will give you the most comprehensive experiences that you can get. These parks speaks to the natural beauty that Chicago has to offer.

Chicago for Museums – CityPASS Is the Way to Go

Chicago is an excellent destination for many things. One of the things that Chicago is renowned for is its collection of world class museums available for you to experience. If your time in Chicago will involve multiple museums, then rejoice! For I have something exciting to share with you about this. There is a thing called the CityPASS. The CityPASS is your ticket to Chicago for museums.

In addition to visiting multiple museums, you can visit at least one tower observation deck with CityPASS. By buying the CityPASS, you can earn a saving of around 50 percent for these attractions. The CityPASS will also grant you express access to the attractions, which would allow you to avoid potentially long lines upon your arrival. There are a total of five attractions that you can go to using the CityPASS.

(Photo courtesy of CBS Chicago)

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium offers breathtaking encounters with all kind of animals from aquatic environments. These animals range from sea otters to penguins to alligators to monkeys. The permanent exhibits here include Waters of the World, Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef, and the Abbott Oceanarium.

With the CityPass, you get access to all the permanent exhibits, animal presentations, special exhibit, stingray touching (seasonal) and a 4-D experience. The Shedd Aquarium is located east of Lake Shore Drive directly to the northeast of the Field Museum of Natural History in a beautiful, landscaped area known as the Museum Campus.

Skydeck Chicago

(Photo courtesy of Ken Lund via Wikimedia)

Skydeck Chicago is a tower observation deck located at the top of the Willis Tower which was formerly known as the Sears Tower. The Willis Tower is currently the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. When you are at Skydeck Chicago, you will be treated to a sweeping 360 degree views of not only the immediate surroundings of The Loop, but also as far as four states.

You will be standing on a floor made of glass, known as The Ledge, which offers heart pounding but amazing views far down below your feet. The Willis Tower is located in The Loop on Wacker Drive.

Field Museum of Natural History

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikimedia)

The Field Museum of Natural History offers a massive amount of displays showcasing all the amazing wonders of nature. The Field Museum’s signature display is SUE, which is the largest, most completed, and best preserved T-Rex ever discovered.

The permanent exhibits here at the museum are Animal Halls, Evolving Planet, Inside Ancient Egypt, The Ancient Americas, Cultural Halls, Geology Halls, Underground Adventure, Working Laboratories, and SUE, the T-Rex. With the CityPASS, you get the All Access Pass which will grant you access to all the permanent and regular priced ticketed exhibits along with your choice of one 3-D movie screening.

As is the case with the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum is located in the Museum Campus just east of Lake Shore Drive. The Field Museum is the first museum that you encounter when entering the Museum Campus from Lake Shore Drive.

Choose One: Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago

Option 1 – Adler Planetarium

Here, you have two options to choose from for this attraction slot. The first option is the Adler Planetarium while the second is the Art Institute of Chicago. The first option, the Adler Planetarium, offers exciting hands on experiences and displays showcasing the amazing science behind the space and planets.

The list of permanent exhibits here are Mission Moon, Our Solar System, Community Design Lab, Planet Explorers, Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass, Clark Family Welcome Gallery, and Astronomy in Culture. With the CityPASS, you get admission to all the permanent exhibits, the Atwood Sphere, and your choice of two sky shows.

As with the other two museums previously mentioned here, The Adler Planetarium is located in the Museum Campus just east of Lake Shore Drive. The Adler Planetarium is the museum located to the furthest right in the Museum Campus.

Option 2 – Art Institute of Chicago

The second option, the Art Institute of Chicago, is home to the greatest impressionist collection of art outside of Paris. This museum houses the galleries of art from ancient Greece, Japan, Africa, and the Americas. With the CityPASS, you will get access to all the permanent collection of art, non-ticketed special exhibits, and an audio tour. The museum is located off of Michigan Avenue inside of Grant Park.

Choose One: Museum of Science and Industry or 360 Chicago Observation Deck

(Photo courtesy of Knarfol via Wikimedia)

Option 1 – Museum of Science and Industry

For this attraction slot, you also have two choices. The first choice is the Museum of Science and Industry and the second choice is the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. The Museum of Science and Industry houses a massive collection of showcases in the field of science and technology. This is the largest museum of this kind in the United States.

There are a ton of immersive permanent exhibits housed here. Science Storms, Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, and YOU The Experience are just a few of the many permanent exhibits here.

With the CityPASS, you get access to all the permanent exhibits along with one timed entry experience. The Museum of Science and Industry is located in Chicago’s Jackson Park overlooking a lagoon which is about 6.2 miles south of the Museum Campus on Lake Shore Drive.

Option 2 – 360 Chicago Observation Deck

The 360 Chicago Observation Deck is a tower observation deck in a tower that was once known as the John Hancock Center, high above the famed Magnificent Mile shopping district. It offers breathtaking 360 degree views of the area stretching as far as four states.

In addition to taking in the jaw-dropping views, there is a restaurant and bar along with an enclosed moving platform called TILT. The tower is located at the northern end of the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.

All of these attractions are packed into one package with the CityPASS. The price for the CityPASS is about $108 per adult and about $89 per child. This ticket is valid for up to nine days. So, there is no need to rush. Just take as much time as you want.

Tours of Denver – Take A Tour That Marries City and Nature

There is a misconception out there that Denver, Colorado is located within the Rocky Mountains. While it is true that Denver, Colorado is often associated with the Rocky Mountains, the city itself is technically located at the western end of the Great Plains section of the United States.

However, the city is only a few miles away from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In fact, the city is close enough to the Rocky Mountains that you will be able to view the mountain peaks from various vantages within the city. One of the tours of Denver being offered is a unique tour that offers a combination of city and mountain parks tour.

This combo tour is called Denver Mountain Parks and City Tour Combo. This tour is offered by Gray Line. This tour is split into two sections.

Mountain Parks Section

(Photo courtesy of daveynin via Flickr)

Red Rocks Park

Your first stop on this section of the tour is Red Rocks Park. Red Rocks Park is renowned for its red sandstone formations that inspires the name of this park. This park is also host to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre which is a world class outdoors venue that is used to host many concerts and other events.

Bear Creek Canyon Drive And Lookout Mountain

Next, you will head up the Bear Creek Canyon Drive (State Highway 74) which is a road that connects the two scenic towns of Morrison and Idledale. Along the route, you can spot wildlife such as elks, deer, and buffaloes. You will eventually arrive at Lookout Mountain Park where you will get to visit the Buffalo Bill Cody Grave Site and Museum.

Cherry Creek Shopping Center

The next stop will be at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center located in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver. This is a unique shopping district that houses many luxury stores such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co., and Neiman Marcus. This is the last stop for this section of the tour. So, this is your opportunity to eat lunch and go shopping before transitioning into the second section of the tour.

Denver Highlights Section

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia)

City Park

Your first stop on this section of the tour is the City Park. This is a large urban park that is located just east of downtown Denver.

There are a few attractions located within City Park. These attractions include the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Ferril and Duck Lakes, and a boathouse. There is also a golf course right across from City Park called the City Park Golf Course. However, this golf course is currently temporarily closed in order to undergo renovations.

Colorado State Capitol

Next, you will be heading to the Colorado State Capitol. This is a beautiful, domed building located just south of downtown Denver. The building is surrounded by breathtaking landscaping.

This is where the Colorado state legislature and governor’s office is located. The capitol is noted for its gold dome which is made of real gold leaf. The capitol is where Denver got its nickname, The Mile High City, due to the elevation measurement at the steps to the building.

Denver Mint

Up next on this section of the tour is the Denver Mint. This is a branch of the United States Mint. The Denver Mint is renowned for producing coins for circulation, mint sets, and commemorative coins. The coins produced at the Denver Mint bears the letter “D” on them.

Denver Art Museum

You will then be heading to the Denver Art Museum. The Denver Art Museum is a world class art museum located in the Civic Center area just south of downtown Denver. This art museum is especially noteable for its collection of American Indian art. This is one of the largest art museum between Chicago and the West Coast of the United States.

That concludes the combo tour called the Denver Mountain Park and City Tour Combo. By the time you have completed the combo tour, you will have gone through a mixture of city and natural attractions. This combo tour will last a total of nine hours. This combo tour is priced at $90.

Hotel Options in Denver

Are you looking for a place to lay your head at? If so, I have got your back. Even though there are plenty of hotels in the Denver area for you to choose from, I will be discussing two hotel options for you to book your stay at in Denver. I will be focusing on downtown Denver here.

Grand Hyatt Denver Downtown

The Grand Hyatt Denver Downtown is a hotel located in the heart of downtown Denver. The hotel is located just one block away from the charming 16th Street Mall which is the hub for shopping in downtown Denver. The hotel’s lobby warmly welcomes guest with its linear stacked sandstone fireplaces.

There is an outdoors running track and tennis court available for your use at this hotel. The hotel’s swimming pool is available indoors. There is also a fitness center that is available for you to use 24 hours per day. So, you can use the fitness center just about anytime.

There is an in-house restaurant at the hotel called “courier. kitchen” that is designed around the theme of a contemporary newsroom. This restaurant serves New American classics along with buffet-style and lunch dishes involving fresh regional ingredients and cage-free eggs. There are also two bars located in-house at the hotel called “courier.bar” and “Fireside The Bar”

If you are looking to order a sandwich and/or salad to go, you can do so at an in-house restaurant called “courier. market”. A branch of Starbucks Coffee is also available in-house at the hotel.

Each of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with a sweeping view of downtown Denver and is equipped with signature beds called the Hyatt Grand Beds. There is also in-room dining services available. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have WiFi available. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $127 to $547.

Crowne Plaza Denver

The Crowne Plaza Denver is a hotel located in the heart of downtown Denver about two blocks from the Colorado Convention Center. The hotel just recently completed a renovation project. There is a swimming pool located at the hotel’s rooftop offering a breathtaking view of downtown Denver’s skyscrapers. There is also a fitness center available to use 24 hours a day.

Pets are welcome at the hotel although there are fees applied for them. Laundry services is available here at the hotel. In addition to English, the hotel’s staff can speak French, Italian, and Spanish. A restaurant and bar is located in-house at the hotel. The restaurant and bar is called “The Lockwood Kitchen and Bar”. This restaurant and bar offers a menu of classic American fare.

There is WiFi available in each room in the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with a mini fridge for you to store your food and beverages in. In-room dining service is also offered in all the rooms here at the hotel. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $126 to $334.

Three Best Places to See the Fall Foliage 2019

September 23rd is the official start of the autumn season here in the United States. The autumn season means we get to see brilliant leaves, observe the spooks of Halloween, and eat a slice of the pumpkin pie. With the Autumn season officially underway, you may be wondering where would be the best places to see the fall foliage this autumn? This is where I step in and help you figure all that out.

Breckenridge, Colorado

(Photo courtesy of Jim Lawrence via Flickr)

Breckenridge, Colorado is a charming mountain town located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. During autumn, the Breckenridge area is brimming with the famous golden aspen trees that dots the rocky mountains during this time of the year. There are endless opportunities to take in the breathtaking golden aspens.

Hiking is one of the best methods for exploring the golden aspen foliage. For hiking, you will want to consider one of the trails in the Boreas Pass located just outside of Breckenridge.

The Boreas Pass area is a great place to hike as you will go through a canopy of aspen trees brimming with golden leaves while at the same time offering a sweeping view of the soaring peaks which, if you are lucky, will be capped with snow. You will also go high enough in the Boreas Pass area in order to be able to take in the spectacle views of the town of Breckenridge.

Hotel – Residence Inn Breckenridge

If you are in need of a place to lay your head overnight, here are a couple hotels I would encourage you to check out. The first is Residence Inn Breckenridge. This hotel is located on 600 South Ridge Street, just south of the downtown area of Breckenridge.

The Residence Inn offers complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, an outdoor pool and hot tub among its amenities offering. This hotel is welcoming to pets. So, if you are planning to take your pet with you, this is a great hotel for you. All rooms and suites here comes fully equipped with a kitchen/kitchenette, allowing you to cook your own food. The average rate for a standard room here ranges from $199 to $781.

Hotel – Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center

The second hotel is Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center. This is a full service resort style hotel. Beaver Run is located at 620 Village Road to the southwest of downtown Breckenridge. There are a lot of options here for rooms and suites to choose from.

There are a broad range of exciting amenities here including, but is not limited to, indoor and outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, an arcade room, multiple full service restaurants and bars, a clothing and accessory store, tennis courts, and a skiing school. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $134 to $429 here.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

(Photo courtesy of Mike Burton via Flickr)

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a scenic town located in the stunning Great Smoky Mountains National Park area. Even though the area is a beautiful place year round, it is especially beautiful during the autumn when the leaves turn into a vibrant mixture of reds, oranges, and yellows.

One of the best ways you can take in the breathtaking views is to go for a drive on U.S. Route 441 until you get to Clingsman Dome Road then head on that road which will lead you to the parking area. At this point, you will be at the highest elevation in the Smokies at around 6,643 feet high.

There will be a short, but steep hiking path that will lead you to the Clingsman Dome Observance Tower. For taking the drive and then making it to the observance tower, you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of the Smokies and the fall foliage that dominates the scenery.

Hotel – Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg

Should you need a place to stay overnight, here are two hotels you can book a night in. The first hotel is Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg. This hotel is located at 539 Parkway in the heart of Gatlinburg. It is a resort-style hotel that offers compelling amenities such as indoor and outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, a couple full service restaurants and bars, a massage spa.

There are a range of room and suite options including a special, secluded bungalow called Jimmy’s Hideway, all available for you to book. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $179 to $375.

Hotel – Gatlinburg Inn

The second hotel is Gatlinburg Inn. This is a historic hotel located at 755 Parkway in the heart of Gatlinburg. The amenities offered here includes an outdoors swimming pool, free breakfast and charming front porch rockers for enjoying the views. There are also many historical photos of Gatlinburg Inn inside the hotel for your viewing enjoyment too as well. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $145 to $236.

Bar Harbor, Maine

(Photo courtesy of Dana Moos via Flickr)

Bar Harbor, Maine is a picturesque seaside town located on Mount Desert Island right off the coast of Maine. The natural beauty of the area speaks for itself. I recommend going for a hike on one of the many winding trails in Acadia National Park which for the most part is located on Mount Desert Island.

You will want to aim for the summit of Cadillac Mountain which, at 1,527 feet high is the highest point on Mount Desert Island. You will be treated with stunning views of the mountain, rocky coastlines, charming towns like Bar Harbor, the ocean and of course the colorful fall foliage that dominates the scenery.

Hotel – Best Western Acadia Park Inn

If you are yearning for a place to stay overnight, may I suggest two of the area hotels for you to book a night? The first hotel is Best Western Acadia Park Inn. This hotel is located at 452 Maine Route 3 to the northwest of Bar Harbor.

There are plenty of worthwhile amenities at the hotel for your enjoyment, including a playground, a S’Mores fire pit, park-style BBQ and picnic tables, a badminton area, and more. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $180 to $255.

Hotel – Harborside Hotel, Spa and Marina

The second hotel I would suggest is Harborside Hotel, Spa and Marina. This is a oceanside hotel located at 55 West Street in downtown Bar Harbor. As the hotel name indicates, a massage spa and a marina are among the amenities that are offered here at this hotet and are worth checking out. The average rate for a standard room here ranges from $351 to $574.

These are the three best places to see the fall foliage this autumn season. I cannot predict with 100 percent precision as to the best time to see the fall foliage as this depends on a variety of weather factors. However, the best time to go and see the fall foliage is usually from late September through early November.

Consider One of the Hot Air Balloon Rides in Sedona for Amazing Bird’s Eye Views

Have you ever had a bird’s eye views of an area? If you have, then chances are that it came from looking down from a window on an airplane flying way, way high in the skies. But, what if you want a more close-up and personal bird’s eye views?

Then you will want to take in one of the hot air balloon rides in Sedona, Arizona in order to soak in the amazing views of scenic Sedona, in particular the huge reddish rock formations known as the Red Rocks mixed in with lush vegetation. Here are two options for which hot air balloon company to go with in order to take in the fun of riding a hot air balloon.

Red Rock Balloons

(Photo courtesy of Red Rock Balloons)

Red Rock Balloons flies seven days a week, weather permitting. The overall length of the experience is from three to four hours. The hot air balloon ride will take around one to one and a half hours depending on the wind condition and the discretion of the pilot flying the hot air balloon. Once the ride is over, there will be a picnic event. During that time, the pilot will tell stories about the history and competitive nature of ballooning.

The price for the ride is $225 per adult (including a free DVD) and $195 per child (12 years old and under). The bank cards accepted by Red Rock Balloons include MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover. Red Rock Balloons only flies at sunrise. So, you will want to be prepared to wake up early in the morning for the ride.

There is a shuttle service from and to a hotel provided by Red Rock Balloons. All passengers are required to be at least 48 inches tall in order to take part in the hot air balloon ride. A phone call is required in order to make a reservation with Red Rock Balloons as online booking is unfortunately not available. The number to call is 800-258-3754.

Northern Light Balloon Expeditions

(Photo courtesy of Northern Light)

Northern Light Balloon Expeditions flies seven days a week contigent on weather. The length of the flight is usually one hour long although it may be a little longer in order to find a spot to land on. There will be a picnic event after the flight is completed and will be served with champagne. Most of Northern Light’s hot air balloons can hold up to seven passengers on each, although there is also one that can hold up to twelve passengers on it.

The price for the hot air balloon ride is $225 per person. Northern Light accepts the MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discovery bank cards for payment. While making a reservation for the hot air balloon ride is not required, it is recommended that you do so. Making a reservation can only be done via a phone call as online booking is not available, unfortunately.

The reservation can be made by calling one of the following numbers, 1-800-230-6222 or 928-282-2274. Northern Light will provide a shuttle service back and forward between the hotel and the hot air balloon launch site. The hot air balloon ride will start at sunrise. So, it is best to prepare yourself to wake up early in the morning.

These are the two hot air balloon companies you can choose from in order to embark on an exciting hot air balloon ride that will reward you with stunning views of Sedona, Arizona. During your hot air balloon ride, you will be able to spot wildlife activity around the Red Rocks and the lush vegetation that helps to define Sedona.

The pilot of the hot air balloon will certainly be more than happy to point you towards the wildlife as you float around during your ride.

Need A Hotel to Stay Overnight in Sedona?

Are you in need of a hotel to stay overnight in Sedona for your hot air balloon ride? No problem, I have got you covered right here. Here are two hotels that I would suggest that you book an overnight stay at. Just make sure to tell the representative from one of the two hot air balloon companies in Sedona where you are staying so that they will know where to pick you up for the ride.

Desert Quail Inn Sedona

The Desert Quail Inn Sedona is a hotel located in Sedona’s scenic Red Rock Country. It is located about seven miles south of Sedona’s bustling uptown area. There is an outdoors swimming pool and hot tub available for your enjoyment at the hotel. If you have any clothing that needs to be washed, there are laundry services available at this hotel.

Even though there are no in-house restaurants or bars at the hotel, there are plenty of them available in the surrounding area. The staff at the hotel are multilingual. So, if you need to talk to them in a language other than English, then you will be able to do so at this hotel. This is a non-smoking hotel. So, if you want to smoke, you will need to find a location outside of the hotel’s property in order to do so.

Each room at the hotel comes with mini fridges and microwaves for you to prepare or store foods and beverages. There is WiFi available in each of the hotel rooms along with air-conditioning. The hotel’s suites comes equipped with a fireplace and whirlpool tub. The average rate for a standard room at this hotel ranges from $103 to $194.

Sky Ranch Lodge

Sky Ranch Lodge is a hotel located about 500 feet above Sedona at the edge of Airport Mesa. Regardless of which direction one looks at, breathtaking views of massive red rock formations surrounds this hotel. The hotel is renowned for its beautiful landscape on property. This includes gardens, shade trees, and ponds.

The hotel includes an outdoors, heated, saltwater swimming pool and hot tub. There is a wine bar located in-house at the hotel. For meals, you will want to head over to the Mesa Grill Restaurant which is located within a walking distance from the hotel. The restaurant serves all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). The hotel is surrounded by hiking trails. Laundry services are also available at this hotel.

Each of the hotel’s rooms comes with a kitchenette and a microwave. Certain rooms will come equipped with a fireplace for you to soak in the warmth. This hotel welcomes pets and offers pet-friendly rooms. WiFi and air conditioning are available in the rooms. The average rate for a standard room here at the hotel ranges from $122 to $334.


Hotels In The Grand Canyon – Which Hotel Should You Stay At?

When you are planning a vacation to the Grand Canyon National Park, one of the most important parts of planning a vacation is figuring out where you would lay and rest your head overnight after a long and exciting day exploring the stunning beauty of the Grand Canyon National Park? You may be wondering which of the hotels in the Grand Canyon area should you stay at?

Good Question. One of the most important factors when deciding on a hotel is location. You ideally want to be as close as possible to the Grand Canyon National Park so that you can spend extra time exploring the national park rather than commuting between the national park and the hotel. I will go over a few of the hotels located in the area.

Before I start, it is worth noting that there are two entrances to the Grand Canyon National Park: the South Rim and the North Rim. Due to the vast size of the national park and the ruggedness of the area, a trip by car from the South Rim to the North Rim can take approximately four and a half hours to complete. So, I will indicate which entrance each hotel is located at. Here we go.

El Tovar Hotel – South Rim

(Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park Service via Flickr)

The El Tovar Hotel is a scenic and historic hotel that is located right at the clifftop on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park which offers sweeping views of the national park. The hotel is more than 100 years old as it was built in the early 1900’s at the end of the railroad line. At the time of its grand opening, the hotel was considered among the most elegant hotels west of the Mississippi River.

The hotel is a large building that is made of log-related construction materials that brings in a deep sense of charm to the hotel. The hotel features a full service restaurant called The El Tovar Dining Room. The restaurant is highly regarded worldwide for their gourmet menu offerings.

There is also a lounge and a gift shop on site too as well. There are 78 non-smoking rooms available in standard, dulexe, and suite rooms. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $225 to $378.

Yavapai Lodge – South Rim

Yavapai Lodge is a hotel that is about a mile walk to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. The hotel is actually divided into two parts, Yavapai East and Yavapai West, that is separated by the main lobby in the center. This is an ideal hotel for families as there are books and board games available on site to enjoy.

This is also an excellent hotel for pet owners and pet lovers as not only are they allowed at the hotel, but there are also kennels offered for rent during your stay there. Bicycles are also allowed at the hotel too as well. It is worth noting that there are three electric chargers at the hotel for Tesla automobiles. So, if you are an owner of a Tesla automobile, then this hotel is for you.

The hotel includes a full service restaurant on site called Yavapai Lodge Restaurant. The restaurant offers southwest-inspired American comfort food and other chef-inspired foods on the menu. There is also a bar on site called Yavapai Tavern. Also on site is a coffee and ice cream shop called Yavapai Coffee and Ice Cream.

There are 358 non-smoking rooms at the hotel. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $119 to $309. Do be aware though that due to the cooler climate at the North Rim of the national park, this hotel is only open from May through October.

Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim

(Photo courtesy of www.grandcanyon.com)

This is the only hotel that is available at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. This hotel is tucked into a lush forest setting of ponderosa pine trees located at the top of a canyon, offering stunning views of the depths of the national park as well as the forest itself. This is a unique hotel for these who are seeking an opportunity to ride mules as these are available at the hotel to ride on.

There are a variety of cabin options available at the hotel for those of you who desire a more rustic experience. The are also the standard hotel rooms available for your comfort. There is a full service restaurant on site offering an array of regional and sustainable menu options.

A gift shop and convenience store are located on site as well. There are a total of 219 rooms at this hotel. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $209 to $317.

Maswik Lodge – South Rim

This is a hotel that is neatly tucked inside the scenic ponderosa pine forest. The Maswik Lodge’s main lodge building is the central hub of the hotel. The main lodge building houses the registration desk, Gift Shop, Maswik Food Court, and Pizza Pub. The hotel rooms are accessible from outside walkways and staircases (no elevators are available here).

There are about 280 rooms in total here at Maswik Lodge. The rooms are spread out in 12 two story buildings. The average rate for a standard room ranges from $140 to $395.

These are the hotels that you should consider when planning a vacation to the Grand Canyon National Park. Again, location is among the most important factors when considering a hotel to stay at overnight. And so these hotels listed here takes this into account.

It is worth noting that even though WiFi is available at the hotels in the Grand Canyon, due to the incredible remoteness of the national park, the internet speed can be slow. So, don’t expect to do anything more than checking your e-mail inbox during your vacation there. With that being said, you will most likely be too busy taking in all that the national park has to offer for you to be complaining about the poor WiFi there.

Plan A Trip to the Grand Canyon – 100 Year Anniversary Events

Have you ever wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, but haven’t had a chance to do so? It just so happens that this year is the 100th year anniversary of the Grand Canyon’s establishment as a national park of the United States of America. The national park has gone on to become one of the greatest wonders of the world.

There are events remaining this year for celebrating the 100th year anniversary. So, at least one of these events would be a great chance for you to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon this year. Here are the events that are happening at the national park during the remainder of the year.

About the Grand Canyon National Park

Before we move on to these events, let me first introduce you to the Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon National Park is a sweeping national park located in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Arizona. The central feature of the national park is the Grand Canyon which is a gorge of the Colorado River that snakes its way through the national park.

There are actually two entrances to the Grand Canyon National Park. These are the South Rim and the North Rim. Even though they are both well worth the visit, the South Rim is the most accessible way for a wide range of visitors to visit the Grand Canyon National Park. Due to the vast size of the national park and the ruggedness of the area, traveling between the two entrances takes approximately four and a half hours by car.

Grand Canyon Village is the main settlement at the national park. the settlement is located at the South Rim of the national park. This is where a concentration of hotels, restaurants, and stores are located.

So, now lets move on to the events happening during the remainder of this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon Lecture Series: Discovery, Exploration and the Grand Canyon

This is an event that will take place on September 13th, 2019 at 7pm at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library in Flagstaff, Arizona. This event will be presented by Craig Childs. He will be discussing ways that one can go about discovering and exploring the Grand Canyon. This event will be open and free to the public.

11th Annual Celebration of Art

This annual celebration of art will happen from September 7th to 15th, 2019 at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. This event is aimed at those of you who are interested in all pieces of art that are inspired by the Grand Canyon. You will also have an opportunity to meet with the artists who are responsible for those pieces of art. This event is also intended to serve as a fundraiser in order to benefit an art venue that is located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.

National Park Service Fee Free Day

This one is obivous. You will be able to visit the Grand Canyon National Park for free. That is provided that you are able and willing to visit on a specific date. This event will happen on September 28th, 2019. This is being done in celebration of National Public Lands Day. So, if you are able and willing to, head over and soak in the gorgeous beauty of the Grand Canyon National Park for free on September 28th, 2019!

Naturalization Day

This is the event in which United States citizenships are awarded to those who have applied and worked their way through the process of becoming a citizen of the United States of America. If you, yourself, have been awarded the citizenship or you simply want to participate in the cermony, then this event is for you.

This will happen on September 28th, 2019 at 10am at the Mather Point Amphitheater at the Grand Canyon National Park. This cermony is being hosted by the Phoenix field office of the United States Citizenship and Immigation Services. This cermony will be free and open to the public.

National Fossil Day

This is the event to be if you are interested in learning about and celebrating the paleontological resources that are found throughout the Grand Canyon. This will happen on September 28th, 2019 in various locations throughout Grand Canyon Village, Arizona. There will be family activites and much more during the event.

A Motivation to Plan A Trip

There they are. These are the events that are happening during the remainder of this year in celebration of the Grand Canyon’s 100th year anniversary as a national park of the United States of America. If you are looking for a reason to visit this year, then perhaps one or more of these events will motivate you to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon and soak in its gorgeous beauty.

How to Get to the Grand Canyon

If you are looking to reach the Grand Canyon by air, Phoenix and Las Vegas are the two closest major airports to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.

From Phoenix

If you are flying into Phoenix, take Interstate Highway 17 until you reach Interstate Highway 40 in Flagstaff, Arizona. Once you reach Interstate Highway 40, head west on Interstate Highway 40 until you reach State Highway 64 in Williams, Arizona. Then head north on State Highway 64 until you reach Grand Canyon Village. You will have reached the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.

From Las Vegas

For these of you who are planning to fly into Las Vegas, head south on U.S. Highway 93 and continue until you reach Interstate Highway 40 in Kingman, Arizona. Turn and head east on Interstate Highway 40 until you reach State Highway 64 in Williams, Arizona. Turn and head north on State Highway 64 until you eventually arrive in Grand Canyon Village. Once there, you will have reached the South Rim of the national park.

About Me

My name is Michael Pyle. I am the owner and author of The Michael Guide to America. I am from the small town of Harrisburg, Illinois in the United States where I have been living ever since. I am a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York in the United States where I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Service Management.

Regardless of whether you are a resident of the United States or you are visiting from abroad, it is my goal here at The Michael Guide to America to put your American vacation planning at ease by sharing with you insights into all that America has to offer as well as offering tips on planning your American vacation.