San Francisco

San Francisco is a great American city, with unique history, architecture and culture, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Chinatown, from the Fisherman’s Wharf to the great redwood trees.

Here are just a few of the sites everyone needs to see.

Downtown San Francisco viewed from Twin Peaks (StreetView)
Downtown San Francisco viewed from Twin Peaks


One of the most famous landmarks in the city, Alcatraz Island has a history that goes back long before the city was founded. The island has a long history with the native people who lived around the Bay area.

Alcatraz (Birds Eye)

A little more than a mile offshore, the island was once used as a military prison but is most famous for being the federal prison that handled the worst of the worst criminals, including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and other gangsters, before it was shut down in 1963. Tourists can visit the National Park and learn about the history, even beyond the stories of prison fights, attempted escapes and the like.

Prison cells in Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary (StreetView)
Prison cells in Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

Golden Gate Park

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world, and probably the most famous site in San Francisco. The one mile suspension bridge connects the city with Marin County, and has both pedestrian and vehicle access.

Golden Gate Bridge (Birds Eye)
Golden Gate Bridge

When construction of the bridge began, the city set aside 1,000 acres for a public space for the fast-growing community, and named it Golden Gate Park, even though the bridge is not visible from the park. Visitors can spend a peaceful afternoon in the park, enjoying lakes, botanical gardens, a conservatory of flowers, exhibits and museums, all in the midst of a great urban center.

Golden Gate Park (Google Maps)
Golden Gate Park

One of the most unique aspects of the park is the bison paddock, which has been a part of the park since the 1890s. It is currently home to about a dozen bison, or buffalo, and the public are able to view the animals.

Herd of Bison in Golden Gate Park (Birds Eye)
Herd of Bison in Golden Gate Park

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a neighborhood on the north end of San Francisco that is a popular tourist destination, with Ghiradelli Square, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, the Wax Museum, and plenty of seafood restaurants. It was established by Italian immigrants after the gold rush, some of whom became fish mongers and restaurant owners.

Fisherman's Wharf Sign (StreetView)
Fisherman's Wharf Sign


The Exploratorium is an educational museum that focuses on human behavior, physics and science, living systems and focuses on weather, environment and landscape.

Exploratorium (StreetView)

It is incredibly hands-on and dynamic, providing new and interactive exhibits and activities all the time.

Exploratorium (StreetView)

Wave Organ

Exhibits from the Exploratorium are spread throughout the city, including the Wage Organ. The Wage Organ is a permanent exhibit built on the bay made of granite and marble, PVC and concrete. The musical instrument is played by the water, as the tide comes in it “plays” the organ, pushing air through the pipes and making unique sounds for the audience.

Wave Organ (Birds Eye)
Wave Organ

Muir Woods

Muir Woods is a national monument, part of the National Park Service about ten miles north of the city. The park is full of old growth redwood trees, some of the oldest and largest living organisms on earth. The trees can be up to 1,800 years old, and grow to nearly 400 feet high. The area was set aside by President Theodore Roosevelt and named after John Muir, who helped to create the National Park system.

Muir Woods National Monument (StreetView)
Muir Woods National Monument

Ferry Building

For decades in the early years, the only way to reach the city was by ferry, so the Ferry Building became the main transportation point for nearly all those entering the city. After increased bridge traffic reduced the need for ferries, the building has been adapted to other uses, including a large and popular marketplace on the first floor. The marketplace has produce, bread and pastries, restaurants and coffee shops, as well as arts and crafts stores. It’s a wonderful place for locals and tourists to spend a Saturday morning.

San Francisco Ferry Building (Birds Eye)
San Francisco Ferry Building

Presidio Park

Presidio Park was originally a Spanish fort, and then Army base, until 1994, when it was turned into a National Park. It is a great natural space in the city, with dirt trails, wooded areas, educational centers and places for performing arts and historical preservation.

Presidio Park (Google Maps)
Presidio Park

Coit Tower

Lilian Hitchcock Coit was a benefactor of the city, donating a portion of her estate to beautify the city. Lilian Coit was a big personality in the early days of the city, including fighting fires before the city had a fire department, smoking cigars and wearing pants long before it was socially acceptable for women. The tower was constructed on the top of Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park in her honor, in the Art Deco style, and includes a famous mural by the artist Diego Rivera. It has since become a local favorite landmark, providing a great view of Lombard Street, Nob Hill and other city sites.

Coit Tower (Birds Eye)
Coit Tower

Lombard Street

Lombard Street is famous for its eight hairpin turns within one extremely steep block. The entire city is built on hills, and this hill was too steep for vehicle traffic, so it was designed with switchbacks to make it easier to traverse. Tourists love to see the hill, and drive down the one way street at the recommended 5 miles per hour.

Lombard Street - crookedest street in the US (Google Maps)
Lombard Street - crookedest street in the US

These are just a few of the many fun, interesting and unique things to do and see in San Francisco. Anyone visiting the city won’t have time to see everything from Alcatraz to Ghiradelli Square, from Muir Woods to the Presidio, but that’s just an excuse to come back for a second visit, or a third…


National Parks

August 25th is the National Parks Service’s birthday! Let’s take a look at some of the beautiful places maintained by the NPS!

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Among the most famous national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks are side by side in the California Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Sequoia National Park is named after the famous “giant” trees that are among the largest and oldest trees in the world. They reach over 200 feet, can be 25 feet in diameter, and some are estimated to be as much as 3,500-4,000 years old!

These trees are truly something to behold, but the two national parks also boast some excellent hiking, beautiful vistas, and wonderful opportunities to commune with nature.

Sequoia National Park (Google Maps)
Sequoia National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon in Utah is a unique canyon full of beautiful and breathtaking outcroppings, shaped rocks and valleys. Most unique are the “hoodoos”, colorful limestone rocks that are shaped by wind, rain, snow melt and erosion over thousands of years. These rock formations, ranging from a few feet to several stories tall, can be viewed on various hikes, ranger tours, scenic drives and even overnight backpacking excursions.

Be prepared for any weather–even in the summer the nights at the high elevation of Bryce Canyon can be frigid and even dangerous if you’re not dressed right!

Bryce Canyon (Google Maps)
Bryce Canyon

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island, a lesser-known park located in Maryland and Virginia, is full of beautiful seascapes, ocean views and most famously, wild horses that roam the island.

Visitors are able to bike, hike, camp, canoe and even drive on the beach in permitted areas.

Assateague Island National Seashore (Bing Maps)
Assateague Island National Seashore

Dry Tortugas National Park

One of the most remote parks in the National Park system, Dry Tortugas National Park is a series of islands off the coast of Key West, Florida accessible only by boat or seaplane.

It includes fun activities for everyone, including touring a lighthouse and an old military fort, camping, canoeing, snorkeling, hiking and relaxing on the beach. Keep in mind that since it is a remote national park, you’ll need to bring everything you need for your stay, including water, food, sunscreen and anything else for your stay on this remote island paradise park!

Dry Tortugas National Park (Google Maps)
Dry Tortugas National Park

Wherever you are, from the west to the east coast, from north to south across the United States, you are never far from one of the 58 national parks and 2017 is a great year to start visiting these national treasures!

Hawaii: Immense Tragedy in Paradise on Earth

Hawaii has been in the news this week, for tragic reasons. An out of control wildfire on Maui tore through the historic and wonderful town of Lahaina, causing as-yet untold damage, and leaving a wake of death and destruction.

As we mourn the loss of life and grieve for those survivors, let’s take a look at the beautiful islands that make up Hawaii, the chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean. And after reading this, hopefully some will take a moment and donate to the Red Cross or another reputable organization.

The terrible fires started on August 8, caused by drought conditions and strong winds from an offshore hurricane. By that afternoon, raging fires tore through Lahaina, as well as other areas on Maui. That night, the city was burned, and lives changed forever.

Waiola Church, Maui

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the Waiola Church in Lahaina is known as a final resting place for some of the royal family of the Kingdom of Hawaii. At one point Lahaina was the capital of the kingdom. The church was built by European missionaries in 1823, and burned down in 1894, and quickly rebuilt. Hopefully, it can be rebuilt once again.

Waiola Church (Birds Eye)
Waiola Church

Haleakala Crater, Maui

The Halekala volcano makes up a large majority of the island Maui. The volcano is also a national park, and provides visitors with a desert environment completely different than the tropical beaches and rain forests many dream of when planning vacations to the archipelago. Nonetheless, visitors love to hike the caldera to view the magnificent sunrise. Scientists are drawn to the area because its unique location and climate provides superior clarity for telescopes peering into the universe.

Haleakala Crater - Maui (Google Maps)
Haleakala Crater - Maui

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaii

Established in 1978, the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park was created to protect both the beautiful but fragile ecosystems of the Hawaiian sea, beach and mountain areas, as well as preserve and document the native Hawaiian culture. Visitors can SCUBA, snorkel, and do other water activities, as well as hike throughout the many trails.

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park (StreetView)
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park

Mauna Loa, Hawaii

Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on earth, and is constantly (in geological time), but slowly, erupting. Although it hasn’t had an eruption in more than 30 years, scientists are always observing it for potential eruptions, as there is significant volcanic activity inside the mountain. Tourists can hike or even take helicopter rides to view the volcano up close!

Mauna Loa volcano lava flow (Google Maps)
Mauna Loa volcano lava flow

Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Oahu is the third largest island, but is home to the most Hawaiians and the state’s capital, Honolulu. The big city is built right on the ocean, providing an amazing blend of relaxing beach life and fun nightlife.

Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world, known for beautiful vistas as well as elite surfing, and it is actually part of the city Honolulu. World surfing competitions are regularly held on the beach, which is suffering from massive and rapid erosion.

Waikiki Beach (Google Maps)
Waikiki Beach

Matsumoto Shave Ice, Oahu

Anyone who has been to Hawaii has had shave ice, and everyone knows that Matsumoto’s ice is possibly the best. Located on the North Shore of Oahu, it has grown from a tiny store to a major tourist destination. The ice is great, and worth the inevitable wait that comes with becoming an international sensation.

Matsumoto Shave Ice (StreetView)
Matsumoto Shave Ice

Diamond Head, Oahu

Volcanoes are an everyday sight in Hawaii, and Diamond Head in the suburbs of Honolulu is a really cool place to visit. It is a beach, a volcano, a tourist destination and a state monument.

Diamond Head State Monument (Google Maps)
Diamond Head State Monument

Diamond Head Lighthouse, Oahu

Diamond Head beach juts out at the bottom of the South Shore of the island, and a lighthouse on the beach helps direct ocean traffic and serves as a Coast Guard site, as well as serves as a cool sight to see for tourists.

Diamond Head Lighthouse (Birds Eye)
Diamond Head Lighthouse

Pearl Harbor, Oahu

Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu is a military base that was attacked on December 7, 1941, bringing the United States into World War II. The site of the attack has been turned into a memorial for those killed or wounded on that day. Visitors to Oahu should make a day trip to see the memorials and learn more about the attack and the aftermath.

Pearl Harbor (Google Maps)
Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona, Oahu

The USS Arizona was a battleship that sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and is one of the ships turned into a living memorial of the tragic day.

USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial (Birds Eye)
USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial

Waimea Canyon National Park, Kauai

Kauai is nicknamed the “Garden Island” and it is breathtaking. Mountains jut out of the ocean, and tropical vegetation thrives. Some areas of the island get more than 450 inches of rainfall a year, more than anywhere else! The rainfall contributes to the unique landscape, which includes Waimea Canyon, which is more than 3,000 feet deep, and visitors love to hike through the park’s trails and enjoy the matchless beauties of the island.

Visitors to Hawaii should be prepared to be blown away over and over, as they view sites unlike anything else in the other 49 states. Volcanoes, beaches, sunrises and sunsets, tropical forests, mountains, valleys and more make this last state perhaps the best.

Waimea Canyon State Park (StreetView)
Waimea Canyon State Park

Hawaii is such a beautiful paradise, but this month, it seems like anything but. If you can, please take a minute to text “REDCROSS” to 90999, which will donate $10 to the Red Cross. Or, go to the Red Cross website and donate there, or donate to a reputable charity of your choice, if you can. Any amount makes a difference.

LA Landmarks

Los Angeles is hands down one of the best places in the world to visit, with the beautiful sunshine, celebrities, famous sites and amazing houses.

If you’re planning a vacation to southern California, or just California dreaming, here is a list of amazing sites to see in and around Los Angeles.

Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign has been a cultural icon for decades, and is one of the most famous landmarks in the United States. The sign was erected in 1923 in Griffith Park to promote a local housing development, originally reading “Hollywoodland”. It has since been shortened to “Hollywood” to represent the entire region. Tourists can take buses or hike to the sign, or view it from many places around the city.

Hollywood Sign (Birds Eye)
Hollywood Sign


The happiest place on earth is in Anaheim, just outside Los Angeles, especially if you’re a kid or love rides, Disney characters and family fun. Disneyland opened in 1955, and has since become the most popular theme park in the world and one of the must-visit sites in LA.

Disneyland (Google Maps)

The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle can be visited by princes and princesses at Disneyland, and will look familiar to anyone who has seen a Disney movie, as it is also used as the logo for Disney films and other items.

Original Disneyland Sleeping Beauty's Castle (Birds Eye)
Original Disneyland Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Grauman’s Chinese Theater

The Chinese Theater has been an icon for Hollywood and the movies since it opened in 1927. After a movie star accidentally left her footprint in wet cement, it became a tradition for stars to imprint their hands or feet.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is close by, along Hollywood Boulevard, and is a fun place for tourists to visit and get close to celebrities they love and admire.

Grauman's Chinese Theater (Birds Eye)
Grauman's Chinese Theater

Venice Beach

For those who aren’t necessarily film buffs, Venice Beach is a vibrant, eclectic place for tourists and locals alike.  Millions of people visit the beach annually, to play handball, streetball, surf, work out at Muscle Beach, shop among the varied retail stalls, or just people watch.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre (StreetView)
Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive is a three block exclusive shopping district in the Beverly Hills district of Los Angeles. The  area has some of the most luxurious and exclusive name brands in the world, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Armani, to name a few. Even if you don’t have money to spend in the stores, the district is a fabulous destination for window shopping and observing the upper crust in their native environment.

Rodeo Drive Shopping District (Birds Eye)
Rodeo Drive Shopping District

Santa Monica Pier

After a long day of site seeing and people watching in Los Angeles, head over to the Santa Monica Pier. There is an amusement park, a Ferris wheel, an arcade, as well as a beach along the pier where you can blow off steam, relax and have a good time.

Santa Monica Pier (Birds Eye)
Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles is the land of dreams and fantasy for locals, Hollywood hopefuls and tourists alike. There are countless activities, sites and destinations, for every individual. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it in Los Angeles.



Where to See the NBA Playoffs

Hot on the heels of the NCAA March Madness, the NBA playoffs kicked off this week. For the next six weeks, we’ll have tons of high-stakes games with the biggest stars in the sport competing for a chance to win the Larry O’Brien championship trophy, and bragging rights for the next year.

Let’s take a look at some of the venues where teams will play in this year’s NBA playoffs. Arena, Los Angeles, California

Two of the leagues biggest teams happen to share one awesome arena, but not for much longer. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers have shared space at the Arena (formerly known as the Staples Center) since it opened in 1999.

The arena is unique in that it is the only stadium shared by two NBA teams, but it also houses the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and still finds time to host hundreds of other events, including the Grammys, each year.

In 2024, the Clippers are scheduled to move to their own arena, the Intuit Dome, which will be next to the SoFi Stadium, in Inglewood.

This spring, the Lakers, which made it into the playoffs via the play-in tournament, and the fifth-seed Clippers, will play the Grizzlies and Suns in the first round, keeping the grounds crews and all the arena employees very busy as they turn over the facility between the two series. Arena (Birds Eye) Arena

TD Arena, Boston, Massachusetts

TD Arena in Boston is one of the region’s gathering points for sports and entertainment, hosting both the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and the city’ NHL team, the Bruins. Like other stadiums, it hosts college events, other sporting events, and concerts and entertainment all year long.

This spring, the number-two seed Celtics will have home-court advantage, giving them an added boost as they play the Atlanta Hawks.

TD Garden (Birds Eye)
TD Garden

Kayesa Center, Miami, Florida

This spring, Kayesa Center in Miami will be hosting the Miami Heat in the 2023 playoffs. The recent naming history has been crazy, changing from the American Airlines Arena to FTX Arena in 2021. But when the crypto company went bankrupt in dramatic fashion last winter, the arena needed a new sponsor. Fortunately, the local software company Kayesa stepped up, and committed to a 17-year agreement for the building.

The eighth-seed Heat have their work cut out for them against the recent champions and current number one-seed Milwaukee Bucks. But the playoffs are crazy, and anything can happen in the first to four series!

Kaseya Center (Google Maps)
Kaseya Center

Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York

The New York Knicks play at Madison Square Garden in the heart of Manhattan, along with the New York Rangers of the NHL. The venue is possibly the most famous sports and entertainment arena in the US.

MSG was first founded in the 1800s, long before basketball or the Knicks even existed. The current venue was built in 1968, and is still known as one of the most expensive venues built. Unlike some other venues, it’s not just a sports facility, but has as many concerts and entertainment events as athletic ones. In fact, the unique concave roof is incredibly helpful for acoustics, making it an excellent place for musicians to perform.

Madison Square Garden (Google Maps)
Madison Square Garden

Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Nets moved back to New York from across the river in New Jersey in 2012, and to the Barclays Center. Interestingly, the Barclays bank, which paid at least $200 million for naming rights, doesn’t even have any banks in New York, or even the US!

Like Madison Square Garden, the venue also hosts an NHL team, the New York Islanders. It is also home to the WNBA team the New York Liberty. The Nets are playing the three-seed 76ers, and lost the first game, but hopefully they can pull out a win at the next game!

Barclays Center (Google Maps)
Barclays Center

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Massachusetts

There are at least a few players in the playoffs who will end up in the NBA hall of fame, which is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. Named after the sport’s inventor, James Naismith, the hall of fame is located in a $47 million venue.

It houses displays about the creation and history of basketball, as well as the best and most influential players in the sport. Players including Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Lauren Jackson, and Manu Ginóbili have been inducted into the hall of fame. It’s a pretty sure bet that LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be likely contenders after they retire.

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (StreetView)
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

There’s going to be a lot of action going on for the next few weeks, on TNT, NBA TV, and ESPN. So be sure to tune in to watch your favorite team, and cheer them on to victory in the championship.

Famous Gardens Around the World

Spring is in the air, and people are looking forward to spending more time outside. One of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful world as it comes alive after a cold winter is to spend time in the garden.

Lots of cities and communities have gardens and outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. Let’s look at some of the most famous, and most gorgeous community green spaces around the world.

United States Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.

In the nation’s capitol, the Botanic Garden is actually part of the Capitol complex and is managed by Congress and the Architect of the Capitol. Established in 1820, the main building has been in place at the foot of the Capitol complex since 1933.

The main conservatory has several rooms that each feature a habitat, ranging from rare and endangered plants, orchids, desert plants, and even a jungle room. Nearby are outdoor gardens that visitors can walk through and enjoy while spending time enjoying the nation’s capital. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the garden is that it’s free! All of these amazing, beautiful, and educational features are considered a national treasure, and available to everyone.

United States Botanic Garden (Google Maps)
United States Botanic Garden

Kew Gardens, London, UK

The Kew Gardens in London developed as gardens and landscaped areas for royal residences. Especially supported by the Princess of Wales in the 1750s, the expansive gardens are now considered to be the largest and most diverse collection of plants and fungi in the world, with more than 8.5 million specimen.

Kew Gardens (Google Maps)
Kew Gardens

In addition to the amazing collection of biodiversity, the Gardens have amazing and historically significant structures in which the plants are displayed. The Palm House, built from wrought iron and blown glass, is one of the most beautiful and important Victorian-era structures. There are also beautifully-landscaped areas, complete with walking paths and viewing areas, and even a few tours.

Palm House at Kew Gardens (Birds Eye)
Palm House at Kew Gardens

Gardens at Versailles, France

Just saying the name evokes feelings of opulence and grandeur, even more than 300 years after its heyday. Versailles was once a mere hunting lodge, but under French King Louis XIV, it became the center of the royal world. The massive gardens were as impressive and elaborate as the palace itself, and are considered as important as the buildings.

Palace of Versailles (Birds Eye)
Palace of Versailles

The Sun King spared no expense, and the gardens stretched out from the palace “as far as the eye could see”. Ponds, trees, and other plants were laid out in a formal style that later became known as the “French” garden. Further from the main residence, smaller structures for retreats and entertaining were constructed. These days, the palace and gardens are open to the public, and in 2024, the venue will be the site for the equestrian events for the 2024 Olympics.

Palace of Versailles (Birds Eye)
Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Claude Monet, Giverny, France

Just north of Versailles is one of the most beautiful and inspirational private gardens. Claude Monet, perhaps France’s most famous and beloved artist, was known for his impressionist paintings of nature, especially countryside and water scenes. After his death, the house and gardens fell into disrepair, but were restored in the 1970s, and opened to the public. The ponds on the site inspired the paintings of water lilies for which he’s best known today.

House and gardens of Claude Monet at Giverny (Google Maps)
House and gardens of Claude Monet at Giverny

Some of Monet’s Water Lilies series are on display in Paris’ famous L’Orangerie Museum, which has space designed specifically to display the massive works of art, some of which are longer than 40 feet!

Musée de l'Orangerie (Google Maps)
Musée de l'Orangerie

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Wealthy Canadian cement manufacturer Robert Butchart and his wife Jennie, followed a popular trend and created a Japanese garden on their property. Inspired by its beauty, Jennie then turned other areas of their home into rose, Italian, and other styles of gardens. They quickly became a popular destination, and continued to develop and expand.

On the 100th anniversary of the gardens, they were declared a national historic site. Entry fees are minimal, and the gardens see more than one million visitors a year!

The gardens also have bird houses, a large collection of statues, a carousel in the children’s pavilion, which is a perfect place to host birthday parties. The Gardens are also home to local entertainment including jazz and classical concert series in the summer, and an ice rink in the winter.

Butchart Gardens (Google Maps)
Butchart Gardens

Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands

Considered the “Garden of Europe” the Keukenhof in the Netherlands started out as a castle’s kitchen garden, (“Keukenhof” means :kitchen garden”) and has turned into one of the world’s largest flower gardens. The gardens were first opened to the public after World War II, and now receive around 1.5 million visitors a year.

Every fall, the staff of gardeners plant around seven million tulip bulbs. The tulip has special importance in the Netherlands, and it’s the national flower. The venue also has English gardens, walking paths, Japanese gardens, and pavilions with garden exhibits.

Keukenhof also hosts a Christmas fair, medieval festival, and other events throughout the year. It truly is a national treasure, and jewel of Europe.

Keukenhof (Google Maps)

Is there a better way to appreciate spring than to go outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer? Hopefully you can pop over to a local park or garden and enjoy the great outdoors. Happy Spring!

It’s National Doctor’s Day

Today is National Doctor Day in the United States.

There are nearly a million doctors in the US, which is pretty impressive! It takes years of extra schooling, hard work, long hours, dedication and commitment to earn the right to call yourself an MD.

In honor of these hard-working professionals, let’s take a look at some of the most famous doctors today.

Anthony Fauci

Love him or loathe him, Dr. Anthony Fauci had a long career in public service before Covid-19 made him internationally famous in 2020. He spent decades at the National Institutes of Health, where he spent years research a little-known illness that ended up becoming known as AIDS. He also researched SARS, swine flu, and Ebola. He finally retired in 2022, after being brought to the media forefront during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020.

Dr. Fauci lives in the same Washington, DC residence that he has called home since around 1977, and walks with his wife in the neighborhood almost every night. The gorgeous house adorned with red brick, is surrounded by beautiful trees, and the back yard is dominated by an oval swimming pool, great for outdoor exercise for the 82 year old and his wife.

Anthony Fauci's House (Google Maps)
Anthony Fauci's House

Sigmund Freud

Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, doctor of pop culture is the Austrian doctor Sigmund Freud. He was a neurologist who founded the study of psychoanalysis, with all the images of lying around on the couch talking about repressed memories. In reality, he was a serious doctor who wished to help patients heal from trauma, who came up with some interesting and sometimes salacious reasons for peoples’ behavior.

He and his wife and children resided in an apartment in downtown Vienna, Austria, until they fled Nazi persecution of Jews in 1938. The residence has now been turned into a museum about the doctor and the field of study he founded. Freud died in London in 1939, but his legacy, and reputation as a ground-breaking thinker live on.

Sigmund Freud Museum (Birds Eye)
Sigmund Freud Museum

Ken Jeong

Ken Jeong is famous, but not because of his medical skills. The Korean-American grew up in North Carolina, and was an exceptional student. He earned his medical degree, but was always interested in stand-up comedy. He even won major improv contests and was encouraged to pursue a career in comedy.

Eventually, he moved to Los Angeles to practice medicine, and pursue comedy on the side. He had a small role in Knocked Up and his breakout was in The Hangover series. He’s since appeared in movies, had a two-season television show, and lots of comedy specials.

He and his family live in a gorgeous, $4 million Calabasas mansion, which he bought in the fall of 2016. The Tudor-style home has four bedrooms, a home theater, a 3,000 bottle wine cellar, and of course, a lovely outdoor pool. Being a celebrity has really paid off, as Ken is worth about $14 million!

Ken Jeong's House (Google Maps)
Ken Jeong's House

Sanjay Gupta

Sanjay Gupta became a doctor at a young age, after participating in an accelerated education program. After a short career as a brain surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia, he began providing occasional expert reporting to Atlanta-based CNN. Eventually, he switched to reporting full-time, and has a reputation as an honest, educated journalist.

His medical-based news career has really worked out, with a net worth of $12 million. He and his family live in a gorgeous 7,300 square foot mansion in Atlanta. The house sits on about 3.5 acres, giving him all the privacy needed after being on television. The home is a well-earned retreat for the busy medical correspondent and his family.

Sanjay Gupta's House (Birds Eye)
Sanjay Gupta's House

Dr. Oz

Mehmet Oz was born in Ohio to Turkish immigrant parents, and raised with dual citizenship. Like his father, he became a heart surgeon. He was incredibly successful in this career, developing new techniques and devices to advance the field.

In 2009, Dr. Oz appeared on Oprah’s hit daytime television show, and became an instant celebrity medical expert. He soon started hosting his own television show, not always without controversy over health topics.

In 2022, he ran for Senate in Pennsylvania, and came close to winning. His main residence, however, has been in New Jersey for decades. This gorgeous home was built in 2000, and has amazing details like 12-foot ceilings, large windows, six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and a pool house large enough for a family to live in!

While he didn’t win election in Pennsylvania, he can’t be too sad, as he’s still got his gorgeous New Jersey home, a net worth of more than $100 million, and a lovely family to enjoy!

Dr. Oz's House (Mehmet Oz) (Birds Eye)
Dr. Oz's House (Mehmet Oz)

These are a few famous doctors, but most doctors aren’t on television or in the history books. They’re down the street, in the office or hospital, helping patients feel better one by one. So, if you see a doctor today, take a second and thank them for all they do! Thanks, Doc!


March Madness is in Full Swing!

After a long weekend of amazing upsets, buzzer-beating baskets, Cinderella stories, and lots of busted brackets, March Madness is in full swing.

Down from 64 teams, the remaining 16 have a few days to rest, before picking up the ball again this weekend to see who moves on in the single-elimination tournament of dreams. Let’s take a look at where the next rounds of games will be played.

Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY

Two of the Sweet Sixteen games and one Elite Eight will be played at one of the most famous venues in the US–Madison Square Garden in downtown New York City. This is actually the fourth building of the same name, and this one was built in 1968. It’s where the New York Knicks and Rangers play.

Pro wrestling, boxing, and other high-profile events take place here on a regular basis. Performances from the likes of Elton John, the Grateful Dead, Madonna, and U2 are common when the arena isn’t hosting the roughly 320 sporting events each year.

Michigan State will play Kansas State, and Tennessee will play Florida Atlantic University on March 23, and the winner of these games will play each other on March 25.

Madison Square Garden (Google Maps)
Madison Square Garden

T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

The T-Mobile Arena was completed in 2016, right on the Las Vegas Strip. Next to several famous hotels and casinos, its location is perfect for hosting big ticket shows and sporting events. The venue can hold around 20,000 spectators, and cost its investors around $350 million to complete.

The T-Mobile Arena is the home for the NHL Las Vegas Knights, several Ultimate Fighting Championship events, and it also hosts other sports events, concerts, beauty pageants year-round. It’s already hosted a Stanley Cup finals series, the Academy of Country Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and the Miss USA pageant.

This weekend, the University of Connecticut will play Arkansas and UCLA will play Gonzaga on Thursday, and the winner of the two games will play each other on Saturday, March 25.

T Mobile Arena (Google Maps)
T Mobile Arena

KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY

The KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, is deep in the heart of collegiate basketball. And this year, it will host the Sweet Sixteen games between Alabama and San Diego State, and Creighton and Princeton on Friday, March 24. The winners will play each other on Sunday, March 26.

The Center, which cost around $240 million and was completed in 2010, anchors the dynamic downtown area that also has the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Muhammad Ali Center, gorgeous parks, a lovely waterfront, and lots of great restaurants. It was designed to host University of Louisville sports events, as well as concerts for musicians, including Justin Bieber, Metallica, Kiss, Kenny Chesney, and Carrie Underwood.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, MO

Another arena sponsored by T-Mobile, the fourth round of Sweet Sixteen games will be hosted at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Formerly known as the Sprint Center, the Center has been an anchor downtown for nearly 20 years. The entire building is covered in a glass facade, with metal panels that give it an amazing, high-end feel.

The venue has been a location for NCAA tournaments regularly, and is constantly pursuing a professional hockey or basketball expansion team, to no avail so far. This year, Xavier will play University of Texas, and the University of Houston will play Florida’s University of Miami on Friday, and the winners will match up on Sunday, March 26.

'Sprint Center' by HOK (Birds Eye)
'Sprint Center' by HOK

NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

The Final Four and Championship games will be hosted this year at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Home to the NFL’s Houston Texans, it even hosted the 2017 Super Bowl. Completed in 2002, for about $350 million, the venue can hold up to 80,000 spectators, which is perfect for Texas, where everything is bigger.

When it’s not being used for professional football, it hosts soccer games, rodeos and bull-riding tours, and even some college and high school football games. Next year, it will be the home for the College Football Playoff Championship  game!

The two Final Four games will be played on Saturday, April 1. No matter who wins, it will be a night to remember for all four teams. The Championship game will be held on Monday, April 3, when all eyes will be tuned in to see the end of all the March Madness.

NRG Stadium (Google Maps)
NRG Stadium

It’s fun every year to see these teams work so hard, play with all their hearts, and leave it all out on the court. As we watch the final series of games, we will set aside our busted brackets, ousted home teams, and cheer for all the teams who are still in the game. Let the Madness continue!


Read Across America Celebrating Dr. Seuss

Today is National Read Across America Day, where children at schools from coast to coast celebrate reading, books, and storytelling. The tradition began in 1998, as a celebration of reading on Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Dr. Seuss is one of America’s best-loved children’s authors, so on this day, let’s take a look at his life, how he became a beloved author, and celebrate reading!

Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, Springfield, Massachusetts

Born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1904. His family, of German heritage, experienced harassment during and after World War I, but his family was very involved, and he developed a sense of patriotism that stayed with him through his life.

Dr. Seuss is Springfield’s hometown hero, and in 2002, the town unveiled a masterpiece sculpture garden dedicated to the author. It includes five large statues of some of Seuss’s most famous and well-loved characters, including the Cat in the Hat and the Lorax.

The entire exhibit is in the center of the Quadrangle, which is a cluster of museums, libraries, and community structures, including the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum.

Dr. Seuss National Memorial (Bing Maps)
Dr. Seuss National Memorial

Oxford University, Oxford, England

After graduating from Dartmouth College, he moved to Oxford, England, to earn a PhD in English Literature. And where better than the oldest university in the English-speaking world?

However, it was there that he met his future wife, who encouraged him to commit full-time to a career highlighting his creative drawings. So, he left school after two years and returned to the US, and the rest is for the storybooks.

Oxford University (Birds Eye)
Oxford University

Family Home, San Diego, California

Within a few years, Seuss had a solid career in writing, but it took a detour during World War II, when he used his talents to help the war effort through films and other animations.

After the war, he and his wife moved to La Jolla, in San Diego. The four-acre estate had a four-bedroom house, with pool, and beautiful landscaping. The home was donated to University of California at San Diego after the death of his second wife. A few years ago, the property was divided into four parcels and sold at auction for about $19 million total.

Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's house (former) (Birds Eye)
Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel's house (former)

University of California San Diego Geisel Library, San Diego, California

The main library of the university system was renamed in Theoror Geisel’s honor. He and his second wife had made several substantial contributions over the years to the university. The library is known for its bold and modern architecture called “Brutalist/Futurist”. The design is fitting for Seuss, as it looks like something that would be found in the pages of his books.

It has more than seven million books, including 8,500 items in the Dr. Seuss collection. This includes his early works, sketches, and manuscripts.

UCSD Geisel Library (StreetView)
UCSD Geisel Library

Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Of course, the OG library in the United States is the Library of Congress. The beautiful structure, which sits across the street from the US Capitol, is one of the largest libraries in the world. It actually has multiple buildings on Capitol Hill, as well as a few more buildings offsite.

It was burned by the British in the War of 1812, and lost much of its original collection. Thomas Jefferson donated his expansive collection of nearly 7,000 books. Sadly many of these were burned in a subsequent fire. Currently, the library has more than 160 million pieces! This amazing collection includes an original Gutenburg Bible, as well as items in more than 400 languages.

Library of Congress (StreetView)
Library of Congress

If you’re looking for some fun and interesting books to read with your little ones, here’s a wonderful list curated for variety and interest, which is sure to entertain all sorts of kids! Here’s to some happy reading. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss, and thanks for all the amazing adventures.

Coolest Bridges in the US

Sometimes, a bridge is just a way to get to where you’re going; but sometimes it’s an architectural feat worthy of regard and fame.

San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, New York City has the Brooklyn Bridge, but there are several other bridges just as breathtaking and interesting across the United States.

Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most recognizable bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is perched at the western edge of the country, spanning the San Francisco Bay as it opens into the Pacific Ocean. It connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County, California.

It was constructed in 1937, overcoming significant construction hurdles including the mile long span, constant fog, strong winds, gusty waves and deep water. For many years it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

The bridge has a dark side, too, being the second most used bridge for suicides in the world. The long fall and freezing water below make jumping or falling from the bridge very dangerous.

Golden Gate Bridge (Birds Eye)
Golden Gate Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

On the other coast, the Brooklyn Bridge is another landmark amid the New York City skyline. It connects the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan across the East River.

Construction started in 1869, and nearly thirty men, including the original lead architect, died building it before it was completed in 1883.

When it opened, P.T. Barnum led 21 elephants across the bridge to demonstrate it was safe and stable.

The neo-Gothic architecture makes for a beautiful photograph for the thousands of tourists that cross the bridge daily.

The Brooklyn Bridge (StreetView)
The Brooklyn Bridge

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, or CBBT, is one incredible feat of engineering, with four lanes of traffic spanning 20 miles, including two one mile spans under water! The tunnel portions allow for large ships to traverse the waterway to the ports of Norfolk and Hampton Roads Virginia, some of the most important and busiest shipping hubs in the United States. It is one of ten bridge-tunnel combinations, two more of which are in the Hampton Roads area!

Tourists are welcome to drive on the CBBT, and there are lookout points along the way, but be prepared to pay the toll, which is about $15!

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (StreetView)
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Ambassador Bridge

The Ambassador Bridge is a beautiful suspension bridge connecting Detroit Michigan to Windsor Toronto, Canada. When it was completed in 1929, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. But it’s more than just a beautiful bridge; it’s an economic lifeline between the two countries.

An estimated 25 percent of all merchandise trade between the US and Canada passes through the Ambassador Bridge, with over 10,000 commercial vehicles crossing the bridge every weekday.

Pedestrians and bicycles were permitted to cross the bridge until security concerns after September 11, 2001.

Ambassador Bridge (US-Canada) (Birds Eye)
Ambassador Bridge (US-Canada)

Royal Gorge Bridge

The highest suspension bridge in the United States, the Royal Gorge Bridge is part of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park tourist attraction near Canon City Colorado. It is nearly 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River, and is made of steel and covered with wooden planks.

Cars and light trucks are allowed to drive across the bridge during limited hours, but most traffic is by pedestrians who take in the breathtaking vistas and thrill of being so high above the river.

Tourists can even zip line across the gorge or take a gondola ride across for a more relaxed passage.

Royal Gorge Bridge (Google Maps)
Royal Gorge Bridge