Sunday, August 06, 2006

Thanks for the ideas, keep them coming

Wow! A lot of you have already posted great suggestions for my trip. Kim, Julie, Robert, Marjie, Susan, Maggie, Sonny ... great ideas! Sorry I can't answer each of you personally.

We'll include as many of your suggestions as we can. Beginning Aug. 13, readers will be able to go online here and at to vote each day on where I'll go. Keep those ideas coming!


Matt Owen said...


If you are passing through Nashville, I suggest stopping or staying at The Hermitage Hotel. It is one of the South's true hospitality jewels.

Margie at AMNH said...

Patti Culp with Alabama Travel, by way of Ginger Croce, passed along the news that you were planning a road trip across "the real" America and were looking for some interesting spots to stop off and visit.

Well, I'd like to personally invite you to come to Anniston, Alabama to visit Anniston Museum of Natural History. Anniston is located just off I-20 between Atlanta, GA and Birmingham, AL, so if you are thinking about coming up toward Birmingham from Miami, we would be right on your way!

Anniston Museum of Natural History in Anniston, Alabama is entering it's 76th year and going strong. One of only 2 Smithsonian Affiliate Museums in the State of Alabama, Anniston Museum features 7 permanent exhibit halls; scenic nature trails (including the Bird of Prey Trail, with aviaries which permanently house injured raptors and birds of prey); beautiful exterior gardens, including the Zoo Garden; and a brand new Tropical Conservatory, built to house exotic tropical plants year round.

In addition to our wonderful, world class permanent exhibits, we also
feature a Changing Exhibits Gallery. We opened our latest Changing
Exhibit Saturday, June 10th. The Magic Within: An Egg-straordinary
Journey is a family friendly exhibit which focuses on the egg. It show
the entire cycle of the egg-- from the mating of the parent birds,
through nest building, egg laying, egg development, hatching, and
finally the fledging of the chicks. With interesting and informative
text, appealing illustrations and 5 fun, hands-on activities, it is an
exhibition sure to appeal to children of all ages. Children are invited to climb up into a life sized eagle's nest, compare an egg to a space station, then help a mother ostrich create a nest for her eggs. And visitors will be able to view nests and eggs from the Museum's collection, many of which have never been displayed before! The Magic Within will run through the rest of 2006, closing December 31st.

Our summer programs are always a big hit with visitors. From 1:30-3:30
every Friday during June and July, there is an opportunity to meet some
of the Museum's live animals as you stroll through the exhibit halls. In
Animal Encounters, trained youth volunteers are available to answer
questions about habitat and behavior and let you touch the animals if
you dare! And in the latter part of July, Saturday the 22nd, from 11am
to 2 pm, one of our most anticipated annual events is set to take place.
Skins, Scales and Scholars is a program which focuses on the fascinating world of reptiles and amphibians. The event features lectures and presentations on indigenous as well as some exotic species, and of course, actual live snakes!

Oh, and did I mention, right next door is the Berman Museum of World
History? Yes, another great museum which features some remarkable
objects, including: Remington Bronzes; Chinese Ceramic and carved Jade; Spy Weapons (Yes! Real Spy Weapons!); and a host of other wonderful art and historical artifacts from around the world. The late Col. Farley Berman (a WWII Spy!) and his late wife Germaine (a member of the French Resistance!) together amassed an incredible collection of art and antiques which formed the core of the Berman Museum's ever expanding collection. When the original collection was housed in the private home
of Col. and Mrs. Berman, guests lucky enough to be invited over for a private tour would often get the shock of their lives when Col. Berman would fire off a blank from an antique gun! Now the collections are presented in a more traditional way, but sometimes during special Spy Weapons programs, the Collections Manager will do a "tip of the hat" to the Col. and fire off an unexpected blank round or two!

Anniston and the Calhoun County area are full of unique and interesting
things to see and do, including: touring the Wright's Dairy and sampling fresh milk and cheese; visiting Artworks Gallery, a co-operative art gallery; and seeing historic St. Michael and All Angels Church. And we are so close to Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama, that you'd never forgive yourself for missing out on a trip up its scenic drives!

I hope you will avail yourself of this invitation, and make Anniston a
stop on your trip. We look forward to seeing you.


Margie Conner
Marketing Manager, Museum Complex
Anniston Museum of Natural History
Berman Museum of World History

Bill Lang said...

A Birmingham, AL MUST - the new Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, located on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Opened last August, Ross Bridge looks like a Scottish castle, has a 4 diamond rating and is surrounded by the third longest golf course in the world at 8,191 yards from the tips. Take a golf lesson on the amazing course and see why the PGA Champions Tour raved about it.

Perhaps you could pamper yourself with a caviar facial and a rock star massage in the Ross Bridge Spa. However, make sure to be out in time for the bagpiper at sunset. Afterwards enjoy a great meal in Brock's and try Southern cuisine with a twist.

If you feel truly adventurous, try the Porsche Driving Experience. Ross Bridge is the host hotel for the Porsche Driving Experience, the only one in North America. The hotel's courtesy vehicle is a Porsche SUV. Now that is luxury.

Ross Bridge is ranked the #1 Renaissance hotel for style and is currently ranked #3 of 68 for overall guest satisfaction. Come see why for yourself. However be warned, the luxurious bedding and resort amenities will make it hard to leave, but we will be glad to extend your stay.

Visit for a preview of what to expect. We look forward to arrival.

The staff of Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

Bonnie Bastian said...


If you have a chance to stop in Colorado, there are some great places to visit. Try these outstanding restaurants and activities:

Dinner at Rioja: With a Mediterranean menu created by head chef, Jennifer Jasinski (who studied under the tutelage of Wolfgang Puck), the dishes are prepared with local and seasonal ingredients. Located in Larimer Square, Denver’s downtown historic district, now considered one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods.

(Summer) Ski Train: Take a day trip from downtown Denver to Winter Park Ski Resort and see scenery that’s only viewable from the train. Once at Winter Park, the ski lifts operate taking riders to the top of the mountain for mountain biking and hiking. Trips are Saturdays only, from July 15 – Aug. 26.

The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory: Located in Durango, this local mainstay is known for its extensive line of premium chocolate candies, including “The Bear,” a paw-sized concoction of chewy caramel, roasted nuts and a heavy coating of chocolate. The candies are sold around the United States.

Paragliding in Aspen: Surrounded by the White River National Forest, the mountain flying here has been recognized as one of the premier paragliding locations in the world.

Tom Adkinson said...


When you're coming up from Birmingham to Nashville, it's a Tennessee sacrilege not to pay homage to Jack Daniel and visit his distillery in Lunchburg. If you plan it right, you can have lunch at Miss Mary Bobo's (more food than you can shake a stick at).

In Nashville, there's a truly cross-cultural event if you get a barbeque sandwich at a dive called Hog Heaven and then hop the stone wall into Centennial Park to dine with a view of the Parthenon. (It's a full-scale replica of the one in Athens, and it's in much better shape.)

Other than having an affinity to Jack Daniel's single barrel product and to good barbeque, I have no ties to the distillery or Hog Heaven.

Rachel B said...


If you are passing through Colorado and/or Utah there are some spectacular sights to be seen! Three of my favorite national parks just happen to be there.

Mesa Verde National Park is one of my favorite places in Colorado. It is a spectacular reminder of the 1,000 year culture of the Ancestral Puebloans through the preservation of ancient cliff-dwellings the people of that area lived in. Whole villages were actually built and carved into the sides of the mountain cliffs. It is truly amazing!
The park is located in the Four Corners Area, which has one of the highest concentrations of archeological sites in the United States and borders the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation. It is beautiful out there! Plus, since you would already be in the area, you could make a quick stop at the Four Corners and be able to say that you have literally been in four places at once!

The other two parks I wanted to tell you about are in Utah--Zion Canyon National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. Both are absolutely breath-taking and worth the hike!
The locations and elevations of Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon give way to a variety of life zones within the parks which make them places of high biodiversity--a highly unusual trait for that region of the country.
The rock formations are unique to each canyon which makes a trip to both a tempting and amazing experience for any nature enthusiast. They are gorgeous and the experience made a lasting impression on me and my family.

I camped at each park for the experience, however all three parks have accomodations. Alternatives for hiking are available as well, such as driving routes and horseback riding, if you are short on time.

I highly recommend these three destinations. I know that my descriptions haven't done them justice in the least, but they are three of the reasons why this east coast girl fell in love with "the wild west".

michele said...

We just finished a 25 day road trip through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Considering your route, I would recommend the Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs, CO. Just good clean fun and a lot of belly laughs. The best cowboy musicians anywhere. Then take 24 west by Pikes Peak and into God's country. We stopped at a park near Wilkerson Pass, where the rangers knew about everything from wildlife to where to eat. The Gunsmoke Cafe in Buena Vista was a diamond in the rough (delicious, big mushroom, cheeseburger). My suggestion would be to take I-70 to I-15 then go north.

Just into Utah south of I-70 there is the most beautiful scenery we saw on the whole trip. Stay in Moab, Utah and take in Arches National Park. We hope it will be cooler for you than the 117 degrees we had!! There is a great Mexican restaurant in Moab, too.

Anonymous said...

Check out Huntsville, Alabama. It's halfway between Birmingham and Nashville. Huntsville is home of the *real* Rocket Scientists! The Von Braun team located here after World War II, and developed the technology that got us to the moon. Those folks in Canaveral and Houston are also-rans. Visit the Alabama Space and Rocket Center, tour the Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal, home of Army space, aviation and missiles.

Enjoy your visit!

Anonymous said...

After leaving St. Louis, you might want to stop at Herman, MO. This was settled by a large German community and has a delightful October Festival (fun German wines all the time). It is just west of St. Louis and picturesque – along the Missouri River.

Anonymous said...

While in St. Louis visit the restaurants in the Italian district - they are fabulous (I think they call the area “The Hill”. A tour of the Budweiser Brewery is a MUST! There is a Museum of Western Expansion located under the Arch and while in the mid-west it makes sense to visit their farmers market (the name starts with a “S”).

Anonymous said...

When you go to St. Louis, you MUST go to Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard on Route 66 (Watson Road) to get a concrete. It is essential, you cannot visit without doing this. The Missouri Bakery on The Hill is great, too; Spiro's, if you want authentic Greek food; Rigazzi's for the original toasted ravioli. I eat my way through whenever I visit. Bissinger's Chocolate is near the New Cathedral, which of course you must visit after the Old Cathedral downtown.

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