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American Revolutionary War Sites

Monday, Jul 1 2024 by

Independence Day is just around the corner, with fireworks and parades and celebrations in every town and city across the United States.

Amid all the hot dogs and hamburgers and apple pie, it’s important to remember why we can celebrate the Fourth of July.

Here are some sights from America’s fight for independence to remind us that Independence Day is about more than food and family and fireworks–it’s about freedom.

Boston, Massachusetts

Much of the early actions of the American Revolution began in Boston, including the riot of the Boston Tea Party and other uprisings that stirred the hearts of freedom lovers across the colonies.

Faneuil Hall was an indoor market in Boston that was also used as a location for meetings in the lead up to the Revolution. It was here that the plan for the Boston Tea Party was hatched, and where several revolutionary leaders gave rousing speeches to unite the city against the British.

Faneuil Hall (StreetView)
Faneuil Hall

The Battle of Bunker Hill, fought in 1775, was one of the early battles of the war, and while it’s outcome was largely considered a British victory, it was important for the Americans to see they were capable of standing up to the British in battle.

Bunker Hill Monument (Birds Eye)
Bunker Hill Monument

There’s even a museum for visitors walking the Freedom Trail through the city.

Bunker Hill Museum (StreetView)
Bunker Hill Museum

Every kid learns in history about Paul Revere’s night ride and the code “one if by land and two if by sea” to alert the towns around Boston of the British troop movements. It was at the Old North Church that the signal was sent starting Revere on his midnight ride.

Old North Church Boston (Google Maps)
Old North Church Boston

Philadelphia

Philadelphia was the nation’s first capital, and home of the Continental Congresses that directed much of the politics of the war as well as maintained support among the citizens of the colonies for the war.

Independence Hall is where the Continental Congresses met, and where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted. It is one of the most important buildings in America’s history, and is an awesome place to visit to learn more of how our country was established.

Independence Hall (StreetView)
Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell has a great sentimental meaning to Americans as a symbol of freedom and announcing the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It is still on display and draws a great deal of attention from visitors to the city.

Liberty Bell Center (Birds Eye)
Liberty Bell Center

Betsy Ross has become an icon in American history for designing and making the first American flags. While she did indeed convince George Washington to modify the design and sewed many flags for Pennsylvania, it cannot be proved that she made the very first flag. Nonetheless, her story is important to highlight the role of women and show how the entire community was involved in the Revolution.

Betsy Ross House (StreetView)
Betsy Ross House

Just outside Philadelphia lies Valley Forge, one of the most important and memorable encampments, where the soldiers suffered as they regrouped and trained during the winter and while waiting for decisions on where to move to next. The memory of the suffering and struggle of the soldiers at Valley Forge help us better appreciate our freedoms as Americans today.

Valley Forge (Google Maps)
Valley Forge

Washington, D.C.

While Washington, D.C. is now the nation’s capital, it wasn’t founded until after the Revolution. But those interested in Revolutionary War history will not be disappointed if they make a stop here. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution, as well as other important founding documents, are on display in the National Archives in downtown Washington, D.C.

National Archives (Google Maps)
National Archives

Just a few hours south of Washington, D.C. is the most important battle site of the war: Yorktown. It was here in southern Virginia where General George Washington accepted the surrender of Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis and his troops, effectively ending the war and leading to the founding of the United States.

Yorktown Surrender Field (Google Maps)
Yorktown Surrender Field

There are battlefields, encampments and other important sites from the Revolutionary War up and down the East Coast. Visiting them can be an educational and interesting experience even if history is not your thing, so make sure you take a look if you find yourself nearby!

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Let's All Go to the Movies!

Monday, Jun 24 2024 by

It’s the middle of summer, and  this year, there are several sequels to highly successful franchises coming to theaters.  Blockbusters are the perfect cure to a hot or boring afternoon, so let’s take a look at some of the really cool movies we can see this summer.

Deadpool and Wolverine comes out this July, and it will be a guaranteed success, merging two hit franchises known for their powerhouse main stars and action-packed plot lines.

Hugh Jackman, NYC Apartment

Bringing the Wolverine to the movie, few people in Hollywood have made being a superhero more successful than Hugh Jackman. The character was his breakout role way back, and has helped him develop a net worth of more than $150 million.

However, a year after separating from his wife of 27 years, Hugh Jackman’s private life has been a little up in the air. Way back in 2008, the couple bought this amazing West Village property for $21 million. It is situated across three floors, and has more than 11,000 square feet.

Just a few months before they filed for divorce, the couple bought a new penthouse in Chelsea, and put this triplex apartment on the market. It hasn’t sold in over a year, so maybe Hugh is using the place while he figures out where he’s going to live going forward.

Hugh Jackman's Apartment (StreetView)
Hugh Jackman's Apartment

Ryan Reynolds, Pound Ridge Estate

Ryan Reynolds has a smile that can take your breath away, but when you learn he’s parlayed his acting career into a net worth exceeding $350 million, you’ll really be speechless. And much of that financial success comes from the Deadpool franchise. Each of the previous films have broken all the records, and brought in nearly a billion dollars each!

When not portraying a sarcastic and feisty antihero on screen, Ryan likes to spend time with his wife Blake Lively and their four girls. They love to be away from Hollywood, and enjoy their Pound Ridge, New York home.

They paid $5.7 million for this property more than a decade ago. With nearly 9,000 square feet, the six of them can really stretch out; and if that’s not enough, they can really get comfortable running around the 11.5 acres the house is set on.

Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively's House (Google Maps)
Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively's House

Bad Boys: Ride or Die has been out a few weeks and already netted about $150 million! The fourth installment in the 20-year franchise proves why people love Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and can’t get enough when the two work together.

Will Smith’s Pad in Calabasas

The Fresh Prince has reigned over Hollywood for decades, outlasting all sorts of challenges and scandals, even those that were self-inflicted. He and his longtime wife Jada Pinkett Smith own an estate in Calabasas that’s so big, words like huge and enormous don’t do it justice.

The 150-acre compound in the highly sought-after area of Calabasas has a 25,000 square foot main house, and several other houses and structures on the property. It has an 11,000 square foot gym, and even an artificial lake!

Will’s net worth is pushing half a billion dollars, and this summer hit will bring him even closer, with rumors that he earned $25 million to reprise his Miami detective role.

Will Smith's House (Google Maps)
Will Smith's House

Despicable Me 4 comes out the day before the Fourth of July, and it’s sure to be a hit. The previous three films each made more than $3 billion dollars! Seeing evil Gru and the mischievous minions is practically a summer tradition at this point, so seeing the next movie is a must!

Steve Carell’s Mansion in Toluca Lake

Steve is known for being a hapless if not lovable character, even as an evil animated villain. But in real life, he’s a laid-back family man. This home in Toluca Lake was bought in 2010, only to be torn down and have a totally new mansion built in its place. The custom design has more than 7,000 square feet on the first floor alone, and rooms designed for his two kids, showing he’s a big softie at heart.

Steve Carell's House (Birds Eye)
Steve Carell's House

Pharrell Williams’ Florida Pad

Pharrell brought the original Despicable Me to life with his rendition of Happy and he’s back at it again for the newest film. Since the last film, he’s packed up from his estate in California and relocated to a 17,000 square foot estate in Coral Gables, Florida.

The stylish home was designed by a renowned architect, and has a sleek, minimalist design that helps it feel like part of the landscape, rather than apart from it. Inside, the home is very modern, and includes a massive video wall in the main bedroom!

The $30 million property also has a guest house with movie theater, infinity pool, an outdoor movie area, and a skate park!

Pharrell Williams' House (Google Maps)
Pharrell Williams' House

This summer, it’s obvious these celebs will be staying cool in their massive, gorgeous estates. But you can beat the heat too, just by going to the movies and enjoying an afternoon or evening of fun and entertainment. Don’t forget the popcorn!

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Viva Las Vegas! A Great Spring Break Destination

Saturday, Apr 20 2024 by

Whether you’re young and looking for an adventure, or traveling with a family, Las Vegas is a great Spring Break destination.

Let’s take a look at some of the places everyone should have on their list to see when they make a trip to Sin City.

Welcome to Last Vegas Sign

Perhaps the most recognized feature of Las Vegas, the flashing sign welcoming visitors to Las Vegas was funded in 1959, at perhaps the heyday of Vegas glamor and glitz. These days, it’s a familiar, retro greeting for everyone who tour the Strip, the area jam packed with casinos, restaurants, party venues, and entertainment for all ages. Day or night, the party’s going on, and it’s the perfect photo op to announce your arrival!

Las Vegas: The Strip - Google Earth (StreetView)
Las Vegas: The Strip - Google Earth

The Venetian Casino and Resort

If you want to see a great music concert, check out the Venetian! Christina Aguilera will be there for two weeks in April, followed by Kylie Minogue, who regularly performs at the resort.

The hotel and casino is just as amazing, often making lists of best resorts and casinos in the US. Its theme hearkens back to the height of the Venetian empire, with a recreation of the Rialto Bridge, the Doge’s Palace, and other famous landmarks from the powerful empire of the Middle Ages.

Doge's Palace at the Venetian Casino and Resort (Birds Eye)
Doge's Palace at the Venetian Casino and Resort

The Bellagio

The Bellagio is one of Vegas’s most famous luxury resorts, created in the style of an Italian village, complete with classical-styled sculpture and design, high-end art galleries, breathtaking botanical gardens, and more.

Bellagio Hotel & Casino (Birds Eye)
Bellagio Hotel & Casino

Perhaps the most famous attraction at the Bellagio are the impressive fountains, which perform free water shows choreographed with music and lighting to entertain the crowds. Designed as the focal point in an 8.5 acre man-made lake in the center of the Las Vegas desert, they are certainly impressive. In fact, they are considered one of the most talked-about attractions in the city by people around the world!

Bellagio Fountains (Birds Eye)
Bellagio Fountains

Eiffel Tower and Paris Hotel

The Paris Hotel is an awesome spectacle, and a lot more affordable! It was designed with the average, not high-end, visitor, in mind. But they did not skimp on awesome Parisian features. The biggest draw is the replica Eiffel Tower, which rises about 550 feet in the air. Only 1/3 as big as the original, it’s still impressive against the Las Vegas skyline.

Eiffel Tower in Paris Hotel (Birds Eye)
Eiffel Tower in Paris Hotel

Other replicas on the site include the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre museum, and Paris Opera House. It’s “almost” like going to France, without crossing an ocean or needing a passport.

'Arc de Triumph' (Birds Eye)
'Arc de Triumph'

Luxor Las Vegas

The Luxor Hotel goes all the way to another famous desert for its theme: the deserts of ancient Egypt, and the pyramids of Giza. Some years, the hotel hosts more visitors than the city on which it’s modeled! Its centerpiece is a massive pyramid, which is the actual hotel. At the top of the pyramid is a giant light called the Luxor Sky Beam, the most powerful man-made light in the world.

Like other hotels, it also has lots of entertainment, beyond cool hotel rooms and casinos. It is also known for the expansive and educational Titanic exhibit, that still impresses visitors with artifacts and historical details in a museum dedicated to the ocean, that seems a little out of place in the desert.

Luxor (Birds Eye)
Luxor

The Mob Museum

Branching out a bit from the Strip and resorts, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, better known as the Mob Museum, is a really cool museum dedicated to telling the story of organized crime, and the law enforcement agents who fight that crime.

Some people don’t know this, but Las Vegas has deep ties to organized crime and mob bosses, which makes sense with all the gambling and other activities you can do there. While the connections have eased up considerably over the years, the history is colorful, and the museum is a great place to learn about law enforcement over the years in the US, and see some really cool exhibits about the most famous, and notorious, characters, in organized crime.

National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (Google Maps)
National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement

Hoover Dam

If you’re looking to spend some time enjoying the region’s climate and scenery, you should check out Hoover Dam. The dam, blocking the Colorado River on the border between Las Vegas and Arizona, generates power for California, Nevada, and Arizona, for more than 1.25 million people.

It also generates water for crops and cities and towns in the area, coming off of Lake Mead, the man-made lake created as a result of the dam. Tourists can tour different parts of the dam, can check out the structure from the bridge at the top of the dam, or participate in water activities on Lake Mead. It’s less than an hour away from Sin City, but it feels like a completely different world.

Hoover Dam (Google Maps)
Hoover Dam

If you have the chance to tour Las Vegas, springtime is a great time to go; it’s not too hot, and there’s so much going on to keep you entertained. And if you can’t make it, this list will keep you almost as entertained.

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