Wild At Heart
Wild At Heart
Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog
Wild At Heart
Just recently got back up North after driving my parents back from Florida. Not the best way to spent a vacation but one does what one needs to do for their parents. I did manage to get some free time for myself so here are some cool places to stop at if driving between Florida and New York/Michigan. The fun of course started in the airport. I have noticed more cool stuff in airports in recent flying. Flint, MI has an old car and some area museum displays while Phoenix has various art displays. Rochester, NY has a couple of old planes and a tree made of brass worth $100, 000 and Orlando has Disney displays, etc like the picture below.
In Florida, I found myself basically around the pool despite being a little chilly though I did get a chance to go to my favorite shopping area, Old Town. It is basically a strip mall area with shops on both sides of a brick street. They have everything from an arcade, nostalgia stores and specialty shops. They also have good restaurants and various rides like a zip line and bungee cords. Every weekend they have some nice old cars that come through and I got a few pictures. It is a really cool place to hang out and one of my favorite unique shopping areas I have been to in my travels around the US.
Upon leaving Florida, the first two nights were spent in areas with nothing really close by to see though it was some nice driving on route 441 through Dublin, GA and later route 77 to Lincolnton, NC (which has a cool used book store next to the City Hall). By the time we reached Staunton, VA via route 81 my father was feeling a bit better as we ate in a cool diner called Ms Rowe's which specializes in great home cooking and some awesome desserts. The pies are made fresh daily and are heavenly. Staunton is also the birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson so I had to stop by his birthplace and museum. The red house is where he was born and spent the first year of his life before his parents moved to Atlanta. He was born in the first floor room on your left.
They are currently showing a great exhibit dedicated to the WWII in the basement exhibit and I enjoyed seeing his 1919 Pierce Arrow. Wilson was the first president to join AAA and another cool fact is he is the only President to actually earn a PHD (not one of those honorary ones most Presidents get, he actually did the work). What is it that makes old houses seem even cooler when a famous person, esp a President, has lived there?
They also have a Frontier Culture Museum which is interesting if you have kids. I was a bit bored walking though and I was going though overly quick due to time constraints. I would have liked to have spent more time taking my time on the grounds which would have probably made it more fun. The school kids seemed to really being enjoying themselves as they were walking around the grounds. They have a bunch of old homesteads from the different parts of the world including homes brought over from Ireland (like the blacksmith shop pictured below with the guy making actual nails),
England and Germany. They have a mock up of an African village and are building an Native American village to open this year. They also have some nice old American homesteads. Each house has someone to talk about the history of the house you are visiting (as well as some native livestock ranging from cows to chickens) and the last house I went through had the guys hanging out playing some period music.
Downtown Staunton also has a a antique fire truck on display at the firehouse, a small old car collection open weekends, a camera museum and some nice dining. Don't forget the many trains that run past the town and the hotel we stayed at.
From Staunton, we went North on route 15 and stayed in Williamsport, PA, home to the Little League Worlds Series. It is a nice town to visit though not many rooms due to all the workers from the frakking business in the area. If you stay in the town be prepared to spend a bit more for a room if staying in the town. While there, I did check out a cool art exhibit on the Penn College campus dedicated to digital space art. I would recommend it but the show ended the day after I was there. I also checked out the Thomas T Taber Museum which focuses on the history of the town looking at the logging industry, Native Americans, a war memorial for town veterans, etc.
It is a nice place to browse but make sure you give yourself at least 2 hours to do it justice. One thing I have noticed in most museums in this country is that they almost always have a piece of Michigan in them. Most area historical museums whether in Syracuse, NY or anyplace else usually have at least 1 vintage car and that car is almost always a Ford from Detroit like this 1919 beauty.
The real gem of the museum is in the basement for the Shempp Toy Train Collection which is very impressive. The collection houses over 300 of his trains with a number of rare or one of a kind. I have seen many train collections over the years including the Lionel Museum in Detroit and this is perhaps the finest I have set my eyes on. It is worth the visit to the museum all by itself.
That is a brief overview of some of the fun things I saw on the trip and if I was traveling by myself, you know I would have stopped at many more area attractions. After all, I'm the guy you drove from Detroit to Mackinaw in 11 hours after all my stops. Most of these things I came up with on the spur of the moment from the hotel lobbies but there are some great things to see across this country (as well as many rip offs) but I think the journey is very important. One should make time to find unique restaurants like Ship II Shore in Douglas, GA or Ms Rowe's in Staunton instead of the popular chain restaurants. I can eat at Applebees or Fridays here in NY or back in Detroit so give me something different while on the road. And give me something interesting and maybe educational like a Presidents house (everyone should visit at least one), an old time village (the Henry Ford Museum is the best) or a local history museum (there are so many cool smalltime museums of this type around (they don't all have to be the Smithsonian). Heck even seeing something like the oldest steel bridge in VA can be mildly entertaining.
So get out and do a road trip somewhere even if just around the Detroit area whether it be the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI, Stones and Bones Museum in Sarnia, ON, the many on-campus museums at Michigan University in Ann Arbor or even just the ice cream parlor in Hell, MI. Just get out and do something fun this summer.
If you want something this week, check out a few cool concerts:
Wednesday (4/25) - Johnny Winter @ the Ark, Acid Mother's Temple @ Magic Stick
Thursday (4/26) - Leon Redbone @ Cliff Bell's
Friday (4/27) - 21st Annual Detroit Music Awards with Amy Gore & Her Valentines w/Gorvette and Suzi Quatro @ Fillmore
Sunday (4/29) - Ronny Cox @ Green Wood Coffee House (Ann Arbor)
Monday (4/30) - School Of Seven Bells @ Magic Stick