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50 States Road Trip – Maine

Maine is the most north easternmost state in the province of New England and is well known for its rocky mountains and jagged coastline. With dense forests and awe-inspiring waterfalls, its natural beauty rivals that of countries such as Norway and Scandinavia. The state experiences a range of weathers, from cold and brisk in the winter to fairly warm and humid in the summer.current state

Puffins

There are a number of Puffin nesting places along the coast of Maine, as well as on various smaller islands just off the Maine Coastline, including Western Egg Rock and Seal Island. However by the early 1990’s, these  numbers had dwindled to just a single pair of puffins living south of the Canadian borders.

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Local lighthouse keepers made efforts to preserve these birds and now there are around 150 pairs of puffins living on the Matinicus Rock Island, and the number is still growing. Take a trip out to the coastline of Maine to catch a glimpse of these beautiful birds.

 

Eartha

Maine is also home to the world’s largest 3D scale model of our revolving earth. A massive 41.5 feet in diameter, it was given the title of the ‘World’s Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe’ by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999 and still holds the title to this day. It took two years to build and represents the Earth as we would see it from space.

Stephen King

The world famous horror, sci-fi and fantasy novelist Stephen King was born and grew up in Scarborough in Maine, and many of his horror novels and short stories revolve around various towns in the state. A special tour guide SK-tours will provide a tour around all the sites in and around the city of Bangor which feature in the author’s many horror stories.

Bangor is better known in the Stephen King world as its fictional name; Derry, and the tour visits up to 30 sites including places where Stephen King used to live and work, as well as various sights and informational spots that inspired him to create various stories. The tour lasts around 3 hours. Alternatively you can always hire a car in Bangor and make your own way around the various sites.

Next Stop

We head south in continuing our road trip to the state of Massachusetts, well known for Cape Cod and the city of Salem, known for its infamous Witch hunts.

50 States Road Trip – New Hampshire

Located in the New England region of the United States, New Hampshire was named after the southern English country of Hampshire and is the 5th smallest of the 50 states of America. As one of the 13 founding states of the original United States of America, New Hampshire’s history is vast and long. However for tourists visiting the state, New Hampshire is more famous for its large ski mountains and recreational activities.

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Winter Sports

New Hampshire is well known for its many different winter sports, including skiing, snowmobiling, hiking and mountaineering, as well as its beautiful sea coast. A number of hiking trails are available on its large ski mountains, and fans of snowboarding will find New Hampshire a great place to go to practise in the winter.

Isle of Shoals

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Hop aboard for a unique cruise around this cluster of 9 tiny islands located just off the New Hampshire coast. The tiny islands are just picturesque as you cruise around them on a guided tour, plus some of the larger islands such as Star island even have accommodation available for those wishing to live their own isolated paradise for a day or two.

Chutters Candy Store

Who doesn’t love sweets? With the world’s longest candy counter and a huge selection of both traditional sweets and the latest trending flavours, Chutters candy store in Littleton will have anyone feeling like a kid again.

With 112 feet of large glass jars with a huge range of flavours from everyday to   those exotic, limited edition flavours, you’ll find something for everyone in Chutters.

Whale Watching

whale-watch During the warmer months, visitors to New Hampshire and the locals get the exciting opportunity to be able to see various different species of whales as they migrate to the coast of New Hampshire and Maine in order to head out to the major feeding grounds along these coasts. Keep your wits about you as you try to identify Humpback whales, Finback and Minke whales swimming and playing about the water. You can try to see them from the coast or head out on a whale watching tour where you can get closer to the action.

Next Stop

We grab a hired car Maine to head slightly north onto the next state in our 50 states road trip, to the state of Maine, which is the home state of esteemed horror writer Stephen King, where many of his novels and short stories actually take place.

50 States Road Trip – Vermont

State number 9 on our Road Trip across the USA is Vermont, well known for producing that all important pancake topper; maple syrup.

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Maple Syrup

Syrup_grades_largeTowards the end of March 2014, Vermont is hosting a Maple Open House weekend, where you can take a tour of the state, visiting various Vermont sugar houses across the state to find out just how maple syrup is made. Some sugar houses even have small gift shops that allow you to purchase your very own jar of delicious syrup to take home! Used as a sweetener, as an ingredient in baking or to top oatmeal, French toast, porridge, waffles and a variety of other sweet snacks, maple syrup is essential to making a delicious, sweet meal! Book your tour today by having a look at which sugar houses are open around Vermont!

Vermont is a mountainous state, and is famous for a number of great hiking locations suitable for hikers of all levels, from beginner to expert. The central and southern Green Mountain range make up the oldest rocks in Vermont, formed over 1 billion years ago in the first ‘mountain building period’. The mountains produce a certain type of granite which has been used to build several buildings worldwide in places such as Germany and Hong Kong, making it a very popular form of granite.

Mount Snow

MtShasta_SnowCappedOr if you are a fan of snow sports, Mount Snow is one of Vermont’s largest major resorts that offer a range of activities including skiing, snowboarding and even hiking up the mountain trails. Plus as Mount Snow is located near the town of Dover, a mere seven minute drive by hired car will see you flying down the slopes or enjoying the view on one of Mount Snow’s three different ski lifts. There is also accommodation available on the resort, if Dover town is too far away for you! With a number of Bed and Breakfasts, traditional inns and classy hotels located throughout the Mount Snow Valley, you will be spoilt for choice.

Plus there are a number of different restaurants, cafes and bars in the valley, all which benefit from the stunning views of Mount Snow. Take a few hours out to relax in one of the first class restaurants around Mount Snow Valley, before taking a dive down one of the slopes on your snowboard or skis!

Next Stop

Named after the English county of Hampshire, New Hampshire was one of the first British North American colonies to break away from Great Britain in early 1776 and was one of the original 13 states that founded America. It is also home to a large number of granite formations and quarries.

Valentines Resort and Marina

It’s the 14th of February, and that means that it is Valentine’s day! One of the most celebrated and dreaded days of the modern year. Are you spending it with someone special, are you planning on confessing to someone today or are you just looking to spend a quiet day in alone? Whatever your plans for today, why not have a look at your next possible holiday destination!

Valentines Resort and Marina

Well known as being the most vibrant and engaging luxury resort in Harbour Island and also voted as ‘Best Island in the Caribbean’ by Travel and Leisure Magazine, the Resort boasts beautiful views, gorgeous beaches and huge luxury suites fit for a king. Plus because it is a smaller resort, there is no overcrowding that you would get at certain other resorts, and you’ll always have a place by the pool.

Facilities

The resort has a number of stunning restaurants including the Boat House restaurant which overlooks the bay, and a gift shop where you can buy a variety of snack, beverages and souvenirs for friends and family back home. Valentines Resort also boasts high speed wireless internet, as well as their own Dive shop, where you can purchase various packages in order to go diving in the beautiful reefs around the coast of Harbour Island.

Weddings

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Valentines Resort is the ideal place to host your wedding, and the resort even offers a number of wedding packages for prospective couples, as well as having their own private wedding consultant on hand for all the wedding packages.

With all the awful weather and rain occurring in the UK in the recent weeks, it is not surprising that many people have decided to take a sudden early 2014 holiday, and now with regular flights across the world, it is even easier to go on an impulse holiday. Valentines Resort is incredibly popular all year round due to the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful weather, so why not enjoy it while you wait for the rain to end?

Take a relaxing trip away to Valentines resort and marina and enjoy the beautiful sun and sea air while relaxing in one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts. Harbour Island can be reached by taking a taxi or a hired car from the North Eleuthera airport, and then taking a short, 5 minute ferryboat to the island. Before you travel to Harbour Island, ensure that your passport allows you to travel legally to the United States.

 

50 States Road Trip; New York

New York State is home to the infamous NYC, a landmark in itself, with its countless coffee shops, high rise buildings, stock market and the Statue of Liberty herself, but this iconic state has so much more to offer than its capital city. That is not to say that you shouldn’t check out some of the fantastic haunts located in New York City, but there are a couple of other stops along the way before we get there.

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Niagara Falls

Consisting of three giant overlapping waterfalls; the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls, the Niagara Falls are located along the Niagara river and are situated on the international border between Canada and the United States. They can be reached by a hired car in Niagara or by tour bus.

Niagara Falls

Formed at the end of the last ice age, Niagara Falls are a valuable source of hydroelectric power as over six million cubic feet of water falls over the edge of the Falls every minute. This stunning set of waterfalls is incredibly popular with tourists and receives thousands of visitors every year.

The Falls are even famous with daredevils, and several people have attempted the Falls in various flotation devices, while in June 2012, high wire performer Nik Wallenda actually tightroped over the horshoe falls, where he had to present his passport to officials on entering the Canadian side of the falls once he reached solid ground again.

Roosevelt Baths and Spa

Located at the Gideon Putnam Resort, Roosevelt Baths and Spa is a luxury spa house like no others. With a huge variety of different treatments on offer, this spa house has everything you could possibly want for an evening or even a weekend of pampering. Plus with on site accommodation at Gideon Putnam Resort, it is easy to book a holiday weekend there. Roosevelt Baths and Spa has been listed in the Top 10 New York State Green Destinations, and so is the perfect place for a spot of relaxation on a stressful and busy road trip.

New York City

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Home to Lady Liberty and the Empire State Building, New York City has huge skyscrapers that will rival the tallest buildings in many great global cities. Both the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building are open to the public and you can purchase tickets to go up onto special observation decks. Take a look out into New York City, but be careful not to get vertigo!

Next Stop

We take a look at a couple of America’s smaller states next time, dropping off in Vermont, the current leading producer of maple syrup in the United States.

 

50 States Road Trip – Michigan

With a population of around 9.9 million, Michigan is the 9th most populous of the 50 United States and has gained several nicknames over its lifetime, examples being ‘The Great Lakes State’ and ‘The Wolverine State’. One of Michigan’s most famous landmarks, and one of the most easily recognised, is the beautiful and vast Lake Michigan. It is one of five Great Lakes of North American and the only lake that is entirely located within the United States.

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Lake Michigan

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Thought to have been named from the Ojibwa word ‘mishigami’ which means ‘great water’, Lake Michigan borders a total of four different states, and is 307 miles at its maximum length and 118 miles at its maximum width.

The shores of Lake Michigan are home to over 12 million people, with a number of cities, towns and small villages setting up shop by its sandy waters. Seasonal residents may even have summer homes around the lake, with homes they can return to in the colder winter weather.

Mackinac Island

Said to be one of the top 10 islands in the world, Mackinac Island is an Island frozen in time, where you can spend a few relaxing nights taking in the sites, and engaging in calming activities such as carriage tours and walks along the beach. For the more adventurous out there you can also go horseback riding and hiking.

The use of automobiles is banned at Mackinac Island, excluding emergency vehicles, so the air feels fresher and cleaner, and it is a great way to get yourself out and enjoying the world at a leisurely pace, instead of trying to whizz past it from the seat of your car.

Grand Rapids

Heritage_Hill_2Between the cities of Chicago and Cleveland is a small urban city intermixed with a natural beauty. The Grand Rapids is built next to Lake Michigan and is known as ‘River City’ because of its location. It is home to a number of different theatres and stages, and is also the home of ‘Heritage Hill’ the country’s largest historic urban area, and contains over 1300 homes dating from 1848. Homes created from a variety of over 60 architectural styles, Heritage Hill is definitely a site to see.

Hire a Car for our Next Stop – NY or Bust

We travel way East to one of the most populous and famous states in America; New York. Famous for its landmarks and the bustling atmosphere of its token city, NYC, New York is a state that is steeped in its own traditional and cultural history.

National Corn Chip Day

Happy Cornchip day! A cornchip, otherwise known as tortilla chip, is a traditional Mexican food made from corn tortillas that are cut into triangle shaped wedges and then fried or baked, depending on the recipe. Made from vegetable oil, corn, salt and water, tortilla chips are used widely in nachos and as crisps, but they have always been considered a traditional Mexican food. Tortilla chips can come in several different colours, including red, blue and green, depending on the variety of corn used in the mix.

They were first created as a way of reusing the rejected, misshaped tortillas made by Ms Carranza and her husband in their Los Angeles tortilla factory. She found that by cutting the tortillas up and then frying them, they could be sold as a snack, and she made a great success out of selling them. Eventually tortilla chips were used in their own creative recipes, accompanied by salsa or guacamole dips, or slathered in cheese and called ‘nachos’. Nachos are an incredibly popular way to eat tortilla chips, and can be savoury or spicy. Nachos are generally a vegetarian dish, but chicken or mince can be chopped up and sprinkled over the tortilla chips to add flavour.

Nachos tend to be a pretty easy dish to make, but for such a simple recipe, many restaurateurs across the world have managed to add their own twist to the classic dish. We’ve compiled a short list of some of the more innovative ideas for nachos.

Steak Nachos

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Have your steak, and eat it! These nachos are a step away from the classic tortilla; salsa; cheese combo. These delicious nachos come peppered with slices of rich cooked steak, with a ranch style dressing drizzled over the top to complete the meal. Very American!

 

Popcorn Nachos

Sounds a little strange doesn’t it? Not to fear, for the recipe for popcorn nachos is exactly the same as your plain nacho recipe, just…substituting the tortilla chips for popcorn. It might make a healthier option, but then again, you wouldn’t be likely to make nachos in the first place if you wanted a healthy meal.

Dessert Nachos

dessert-nachosAnd now for some after dinner snacks. Dessert nachos are made with sugar and cinnamon in place of the salt content in the normal recipe. They work as like a deep fried crepe or pancake, and can be drizzled with chocolate, lemon, cream, various fruits or whatever sweet toppings you feel like adding that day.

Ham and Asparagus Nachos

Going down the healthy route, ham and asparagus is generally a very good combination. But added to tortilla chips with a sprinkling of low fat margarita cheese just doesn’t seem like the best way to eat it to us. Alternatively this could make an ice-breaking appetiser if you are planning on hosting a Mexican/Upper Class Britain themed party.

Ultimately it’s your nacho and your choice, but if you want a taste of the real thing, you can always head on over to Mexico to try traditional Nachos from the hilariously named Nacho Daddy Restaurant & Bar, located a short 6 minutes drive from Puerto Vallarta town centre.

50 States Road Trip – Wisconsin

Pack your travel bag, because Wisconsin is a relative treasure trove of hiking trails, adventure parks and fantastic locations ideal for fishing and camping holidays. Whether you love living in the great outdoors, or you just like visiting it on occasion, Wisconsin has so much to offer. Aside from the numerous hiking trails and camping locations, Wisconsin has a couple of other gems for those travellers looking for something a little different.

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Cave of the Mounds

One of the most famous caves of America, Cave of the Mounds is a National Natural Landmark, created over hundreds of thousands of years to become the natural wonder you can go and see today. It is referred to as the ‘jewel box of America’ out of the major natural caves, due to its intricate and unique formations.

cave-moundsGuided tours of the cave are available all year round, and because the interior of the cave is always warm, the cave is a popular destination to take the family in the winter. Guests can wander around the intricate butterfly and prairie gardens, as well as participating in their own fossil dig. The gift shop of Cave of the Mounds contains rock and fossil specimens from all over the world, making it an essential tour stop.

Cheese and Wine

Wisconsin is a state famous for its dairy produce, its cheese in particular. With over 100 cheese factories, visitors are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to eating delicious cheese. For a unique experience, try the Cedar Valley Cheese Store where you can sample some 300 varieties of Wisconsin cheese.

Hire a car and drive south for around 20 miles where you will find the Cedar Creek Winery, a historic mill built in the 1860’s. This mill creates several award winning wines, made with a variety of spices and fragrances, ideal as an accompaniment to the beautiful cheeses of the Cedar Valley Cheese store, or on its own.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee-Art-Museum

A giant art museum that holds over 30,000 stunning pieces of art. Located by Lake Michigan in Milwaukee this art museum is visited by over 350,000 people a year, and has a self states mission to ‘collect and preserve art, presenting it to the community as a vital source of inspiration and education’. The museum has also been praised for its extensive collection of individual architecture.

Various pieces of historical architecture include the 1957 War Memorial Centre by finnish-american architect Eero Saarinen and the Quadracci Pavilion created by Santiago Calatrava in 2001, a Spanish architect.

Next Stop…

Still heading East on our journey through the 50 states of America, we travel into Michigan next time, home to the largest crucifix in the world. Detroit, which is the state of Michigan’s most populous city, is also known as the car capital of the world.

50 States Road Trip – North Dakota

North Dakota is a state often forgotten by most of America and the rest of the modern world. Nothing particularly life-changing or significant seems to happen there, it didn’t birth any global geniuses, and it hasn’t suffered any huge tragedies like earthquakes or hurricanes. But North Dakota is a pretty awesome state. Why? We will tell you.

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Teddy Roosevelt

When studying at Harvard University, Theodore Roosevelt was a frail, weak young man and was told by his personal physician that he didn’t have long to live. He spent three years living in North Dakota, where he gained weight, became stronger and got a fabulous tan. Later he was reported as looking as ‘hearty and strong enough to drive oxen’. So don’t sweat North Dakota, because it’s awesome!  It helped heal a future President of The United States of America!

National Park

As well as a number of national parks, make sure to visit the Teddy Roosevelt national park, if just for the Painted Canyon Overlook. The view is intensely beautiful, showing a stunning vista of the plains and the badlands of North Dakota. In contrast, The Teddy Roosevelt national park is also home to Peaceful Valley, a gorgeous valley filled with native wildflowers and butterflies. Previously a horse ranch, it is now one of the most scenic spots in the National park.

Fairs and Festivals

North Dakota is also known for taking great pride in its many Fairs and Festivals. North Dakota is home to countless Festivals and Fairs, from fairs about kites and polka dots to Mardi Gras to a 3 day long barbeque. One of the biggest festivals in North Dakota is the Scandinavian Norsk Hostfest. Held annually in the autumn season (or fall in the USA) it is the largest Scandinavian festival in North America, attracting tens of thousands of people from all over the world every year.

swedish-food-festivalFounded in 1978, Norsk Hostfest provides a host of world class entertainment, Scandinavian cuisine, handcrafted merchandise and bric-a-brac for sale and on display, plus a selection of purchasable foods inspired by the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland among others.

The Festival occurs over 5 days from the 30th September to the 4th October 2014, and offers on site accommodation for those wishing to stay for more than one day or for the entire trip.  With a variety of accommodation to choose from, you can stay in a hotel, in a private house or even camp out for the full festival experience! The Norsk Hostfest is located along route 83, and is right next to Minot’s town centre.

Next on our 50 states road trip by hired car we will be visiting the state of Minnesota, humble home of the Green Giant, Scotch tape and masking tape! Ho ho ho!

50 States Road Trip – Montana

Heading into Montana, we see that there are a huge range of things to do including visiting national parks and plains, as well as having a look at some of the older nations of native America. Montana is a beautiful vast county full of natural beauties and it is also a cornerstone of ancient Native American history, with several traditional tribes dotted around the county in homage to ancient traditions.

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National and State Parks

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Choose from the Glacier National Park or the Yellowstone National Park, both of which are home to a stunning selection of natural beauty landmarks. For those who want a more scenic c vista, Glacier National park offers huge snow peaked mountains, waterfall studded hiking trails and fields of wildflowers, whereas Yellowstone National Park is host to a number or wolves, bison and bears (oh my!) as well as numerous hot springs and natural geysers. Yellowstone is also famous for being America’s first national park.

As well as the two national parks, the state of Montana is also home to 54 fantastic state parks where you can undergo a host of activities, including skiing, hiking, nature trails and camping, or simply relaxing in the great outdoors.

Sacred Lands

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The Indian nations of America are extremely proud of their heritage, and there are seven main tribal sites around Montana, many of which speak their own indigenous language. Some Indian nations, such as the Apsaalooke Crowe Tribe, have their own reservation area including herding grounds and places for tourists to stay. Many of the tribes still use the same farming and animal rearing techniques today as they did hundreds of years ago before America was colonised, and you can have a hand at living with the land yourself, if you want an idea of what life was like surviving out in the plains of Montana, for the native American tribes of old.

High Plains

A stretch of land untamed by human hands. Prairie’s, badlands, buttes, all home to a vast array of natural wonders, plants and wildlife. Be prepared for harsh, sweltering days and cold nights as the High Plains of Montana shows the raw, bleak yet beautiful aspect of pure nature.

Montana’s high plains are also home to the C.M Russell National Wildlife Refuge; a million acre size of land home to 45 different species of mammals plus over 200 different species of birds. Plus with abandoned homesteads, wagons and tepee rings, the National Wildlife Refuge also captures a piece of native history that goes beyond visiting a museum, leave your hired car behind as you can walk through the remnants of an old village, treading the same soil as American ancestors trod hundreds of years ago.

Pack Your Bags

Because we are heading east next week into the state of North Dakota, known for its Norwegian and Germanic inspired cuisine, and the largest Scandinavian festival held annually in America; the Norsk Hostfest.