Patriotic Travel Destinations

Happy Fourth of July! Regardless of where you may be celebrating this Independence Day here’s hoping your festivities are safe and memorable. If you are one of the fearless ones you may be braving the crowds at some of the nation’s most popular historic attractions (think Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Mount Rushmore, etc.). However, if you are like me you will be spending your Fourth at home with a family cookout and backyard fireworks and making plans to visit some historic attractions when the holiday crowds dissipate.

If so, here are a few you might want to consider:

In a previous blog I told you about Jamestown’s big 400th anniversary. The historic site is celebrating with various events throughout the year. The massive celebration also helped revive interest in Virginia’s Indian tribes and their role in America’s founding. Now, the Virginia Indian Heritage Trail is using the opportunity to boost attendance there.

The Virginia Indian Heritage Trail has just released a new guide which contains photographs, a history of the eight state-recognized tribes, a listing of events such as the July 21-22 American Indian Intertribal Cultural Festival, and 24 places to visit. For example, the Pamunkey Indian Museum on the Pamunkey Reservation near Jamestown and the Monacan Indian Living History Village at Natural Bridge.

The trail is intended to dispel the notion that Virginia’s tribes began and ended with Jamestown.

The Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show in New York is billed as the nation’s biggest and there may be no better place to view the spectacular pyrotechnics than floating on the East River. Though, because of the record number of spectators that will be attending the festivities you may want to wait until after the celebrations to take advantage of the new sightseeing cruises which have just begun sailing the rivers around Manhattan. The newest specialty cruises focus on history and architecture.

The history cruise was developed with help from the New-York Historical Society and takes a “then and now” approach to four centuries of New York’s past. The tour takes you cruising past sites like Governors Island. Until recently it served as a Coast Guard post but it was once named Nut Island for the chestnut and walnut trees that grew there. The tour also takes you past Bowling Green, a park that played a role in Revolutionary War era events; and Chelsea Piers, located near where the Titanic was expected to dock–it is now an upscale recreation area.

The architecture cruise was developed in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects. It includes a ride to The Solaire, a “green building” in Battery Park City, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Battery Maritime Building, the New York Life Insurance Building, known for its gilded roof, and several buildings in Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Both cruises last about 90 minutes and include views of the Statue of Liberty as they cross New York Harbor, then up the East River along Manhattan’s East side to the United Nations before looping back to their starting point. The history cruise runs Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at noon through Oct. 26th. The architecture cruise runs Thursdays and Sundays at noon. Tickets are $23 for adults, children $13, seniors $19.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.