Raise a Glass, It’s National Beer Day

Today is National Beer Day in the United States! In honor of this great day, let’s look at some of the places around the world that help make beer so great, from the breweries to baseball fields.

Coors Brewery, Golden, Colorado

While you might think Golden, Colorado was named for the liquid gold it’s famous for, it was actually named after an early settler during the 1850s gold rush. These days, the city is world-famous for its brewery, which was founded in 1873. Now, the facility produces about 11 million barrels of beer a year!

The old brewery is the world’s largest single-site brewery, and still functions today. But, starting in 2024, major renovations will be made to the facility to increase production, reduce environmental waste, and be more efficient. So, if you want to see the brewery as it’s been since the 1950s, book your trip now.

Coors Brewery (Google Maps)
Coors Brewery

Busch Brewery, St. Louis, Missouri

America’s largest and most famous beer company was founded in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1800s. Anheuser-Busch has grown from a local company to the largest beer distributor in the country. The conglomerate makes and sells both Busch and Budweiser beers.

Busch Brewery (Birds Eye)
Busch Brewery

The original brewery in St. Louis is still open to the public, and still makes about 13 million barrels a year. The facility has been reworked to be an immersive “experience” for visitors, which includes historical beer making, interaction with some of the Clydesdale horses, and for those 21 and older, a free glass of beer at the end.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery (StreetView)
Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Budweiser Clydesdale Horses

In the United States, one of the most iconic images in advertising is the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, pulling sleighs and wagons, working on the farm, and even developing special relationships with dogs.

The horses became popular after Prohibition was repealed, and now, the horses are mainstays of the company’s annual advertising campaign, especially during the Super Bowl.

The horses can been seen around the US when they go on tours, but most are housed at Grant’s Farm outside St. Louis, Missouri. The farm is open to the public, and people can see the Clydesdale horses, as well as many other kinds of animals. It’s a great place for a family to visit!

Budweiser Clydesdales at Grant's Farm (StreetView)
Budweiser Clydesdales at Grant's Farm

Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

The Anheuser-Busch company is an important part of St. Louis. The local MLB team, the Cardinals, play in Busch Stadium. Back when the original stadium was built, the owner, August Busch, Jr., named it after himself.

The ballpark was rebuilt twice, most recently in 2006. The team has a loyal fanbase, and tickets are often sold out or near capacity. The stadium itself is a beautiful facility, and has a gorgeous city skyline view, with a gorgeous view of the famed St. Louis Arch.

Busch Stadium (Birds Eye)
Busch Stadium

Heineken Brewery, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

In downtown Amsterdam, the Heineken Brewery is a landmark and a reminder of the city’s impact on the world of beer, and the impact of the beer on the city. In fact, the brewery is an Anchor Point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage, which is a great tourist initiative across the continent.

Heineken Brewery (StreetView)
Heineken Brewery

Even though it’s no longer in use, the brewery is still an important landmark in the city. You can take the Heineken Experience tours to learn more about the beer, brewing, and even about the meaning behind the logo. And of course, you get a free beer (or two!) at the end of the tour.

Heineken Experience (StreetView)
Heineken Experience

Stella Artois Brewery, Leuven, Belgium

A beer from the Artois company, Stella Artois was first released in 1926, but quickly became a popular European, and then global, favorite. Now part of AB InBev, the same organization that owns Busch and Budweiser, Stella is produced around the world.

The main brewery in Leuven, Belgium, offers tours of the facility, featuring production, distribution, advertising, and more. Like any good beer tour, it ends with a drink of the beer, in its iconic chalice.

Stella Artois Brewery (StreetView)
Stella Artois Brewery

These are just a few of the cool places you can tour, check out, or visit to learn more about beer and celebrate the lagers, pilsners, stouts, ales, and everything people love about the brew.

Unique Outdoor Vacation Destinations

If you’re hoping to have a vacation but want to stay outside and be socially distant, consider visiting one or more of these unique, crazy or downright ridiculous sites across the United States.

Mount Rushmore

While this site is among the most famous US places to visit, it’s a really odd landmark. Busts of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are portrayed on the side of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Each bust is roughly 60 feet tall, and sit in stark contrast to the blue sky, grey granite rock and green vegetation.

Mount Rushmore has been a part of popular culture since it’s creation, including being the location of the climactic scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s famous film North by Northwest starting Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.

It was designed specifically to increase tourism to the area, and it has worked. Nearly three million tourists visit each year, mostly in the summer months. Visiting in the winter is less popular due to the rough winters of South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore (Birds Eye)
Mount Rushmore

Corn Palace

Not far from Mount Rushmore is the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Known as the world’s only corn palace, it is a multipurpose facility for the community as well as a tourist destination for roughly 300,000 people each year.

The town holds a corn harvest festival in August or September, as well as an annual rodeo and polka festival. The palace is decorated with crop art, with designs crafted out of corn kernels and other grains, with new designs each year.

Corn Palace (StreetView)
Corn Palace

Touchdown Jesus

This University of Notre Dame site is not to be confused with the oddball tourist destination of a large Christ holding his arms up in a lake outside a church in Monroe Ohio. While both are works of art nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus” the Monroe Ohio structure burned to the ground in 2010.

Giant Jesus Christ (Birds Eye)
Giant Jesus Christ

The Theodore Hesburgh Library on the campus of Notre Dame has a large mural called “The World of Life” but because of the large Christ with raised arms at the top, it has become known as Touchdown Jesus. Appropriately, the mural is visible from the football stadium on campus, making it appear that Christ is giving the signal for touchdowns when a team scores.

Touchdown Jesus (Birds Eye)
Touchdown Jesus

You’d have to be a huge Notre Dame fan, football fan or both to put this at the top of your list, but if you happen to be near South Bend Indiana, you should certainly stop by.

Area 51

You can’t actually visit the place known as Area 51 because it’s part of a remote, top secret military base in the desert of Nevada, but that’s what makes it so intriguing. Thousands of tourists each year visit the area famous for holding remains of alleged alien encounters, unexplained sightings and mysterious activities.

A short drive from Las Vegas, Area 51 has been used for military testing of top secret aircraft including the U2 and OXCART. However, many believe it is the site where the remains from an interesting incident in Roswell, New Mexico are stored, as well as objects from other potential extraterrestrial encounters.

You can drop by the area and enjoy small town chatter, swap UFO stories and tour a museum, visit a gift shop, and if you’re lucky, leave with a few phenomenal stories of your own.

Area 51 (Google Maps)
Area 51

Dinosaur Land

Established 150 million years ago, Dinosaur Land, as Vernal Utah has nicknamed itself, is home to Dinosaur National Monument, an area of over 200,000 acres of dinosaur fossils, paleontological sites, petroglyphs and other evidence of life before humans.

Vernal - Utah's Dinosaur Land (StreetView)
Vernal - Utah's Dinosaur Land

Real dinosaur fossils, footprints and other remains are still visible within the park area, and Vernal and the other communities in the rural area provide wonderful accommodations and educational experiences for visitors. Bring jackets because, even though it’s technically a dessert, it gets very cold at night all year round!

Dinoland
Photo Credit: Dinoland.com

Any one of these sites would make for an awesome tale back at home, so fill up the fuel tank, get your best road trip playlist going and set off on a grand American road tripping adventure!

March’s Deep Dive into History: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is one of the world’s most famous, and most influential, scientists. He was born on March 14, 1879, and within his lifetime has earned a worldwide reputation as a scientist. He is generally considered the greatest scientist of all time for his discoveries in physics, which have changed the world as we know it. On the anniversary of his birth, let’s take a look back on the life of one of the world’s best, and most famous, scientists.

Birthplace in Ulm, Germany

Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. While he only lived here a year, the city is proud of their native son, and have erected a monument in his honor. The minimalist structure is on the site where Einstein’s home once stood. This memorial is just one of many monuments to the scientist erected by the city of his birth.

'Albert Einstein Memorial' by Max Bill (Google Maps)
'Albert Einstein Memorial' by Max Bill

Boyhood Home in Munich, Germany

When Einstein was a baby the family moved to Munich. Here, he went to school and began to study science. He was was a late bloomer, only talking in complete sentences at age five. However, his intellectual capacity was soon clear; by age 12 he had surpassed the understanding of his math tutor, teaching himself algebra and geometry. In addition to math and science, he also thoroughly enjoyed philosophy and music.

Albert Einstein's Boyhood Home (Google Maps)
Albert Einstein's Boyhood Home

House and Museum in Bern, Switzerland

After living in Italy and going to school in Switzerland, Einstein eventually settled down in Bern, Switzerland. He was married and had two children, and took a job reviewing patents. He only lived in this home for two years, but they were some of the most productive and formative for his career. Here, he completed his PhD and began publishing works that drew international attention.

He and his family lived in a second floor apartment. The living quarters have been restored to reflect the life of the scientist and his family. Guests can tour the site to learn more about him and the scientific progress he made while living here.

Einstein House & Museum (StreetView)
Einstein House & Museum

Awarded a Nobel Prize

As Einstein earned credibility for his work, he moved around Europe to teach and research at increasingly prestigious institutions. By 1921, he had been so productive in the research of theoretical physics, especially in the study of light, that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics that year.

Each year, a Nobel Prize is awarded in categories that highlight scientific and cultural progress. The recipients are given their medal, and a significant cash award, at a ceremony at the Stockholm City Hall. However, Einstein was not able to receive his award in person.

Stockholm City Hall (Google Maps)
Stockholm City Hall

Home in Princeton, New Jersey

After the Nazis rose to power in Germany and persecuted the Jews in all facets of their lives, scientists like Einstein were forced to flee the country. Einstein renounced his German citizenship and eventually found a new professional home in at Princeton University. He even became a US citizen.

Albert Einstein House (StreetView)
Albert Einstein House

Princeton University

Einstein worked and taught at the university, and advocated for anti-war, anti-racism, and pro civil-rights causes.  He made a significant impact on the outcome of World War II when he personally met with US President Roosevelt and encouraged him to pursue the development of an atomic bomb to counter the work the Nazis were pursuing.

Albert Einstein died in Princeton, New Jersey when he was 76 years old, of natural causes. His ashes were scattered around the Institute for Advanced Study, which had been his professional home for more than a decade.

Princeton University (Google Maps)
Princeton University

He left a larger than life impact around the world. People around the world feel connected to the quirky, brilliant scientist, and they have undertaken measures to honor and remember his contributions to the world.

Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Outside the National Academy of Scientists in Washington, D.C. is a 12-foot high statue of Einstein sitting with manuscript papers in his hand. The statue is in the center of a 28-foot wide dais embedded with nearly 3,000 marks indicating astronomical features including the sun, the moon, planets, and galaxies.

It was unveiled on the one hundred year anniversary of his birth. Duplicates exist in Israel at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.

'Albert Einstein Memorial' by Robert Berks (StreetView)
'Albert Einstein Memorial' by Robert Berks

Seated Statue in Granada, Spain

In the Spanish city of Granada is the life-size statue of Einstein sitting on a bench at the entrance to the Park of the Sciences, which is full of interesting science exhibits for people to explore and learn about the world around them. The statue is meant to be inviting, and it’s a fun place to take a picture with the man who revealed so much about our world, and the entire universe, through hard work, and of course genius.

Albert Einstein Sculpture (StreetView)
Albert Einstein Sculpture

These are just a few of the memorials and monuments erected in honor of one of the world’s most brilliant minds. They serve as inspiration to us all to live life to its fullest, reach our potential, and especially encourage us to stop and look at the stars to think about the universe beyond our planet.

 

Celebrating Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. In honor of all the amazing women who have come before us, let’s take a look at a few interesting and influential women from history.

Isabella of Castile

School children all around the world know about Ferdinand and Isabella helping Christopher Columbus discover America. But most don’t realize that it was Isabella who pushed to fund Columbus. She was an independent woman way ahead of her time.

Isabella of Castile was born in 1451, and from an early age, demonstrated a keen political instinct. She chose her own husband, Ferdinand, and ruled her lands of Castile independently. She and her husband pushed the last of the Moors out of Spain, started the Spanish Inquisition, and funded Columbus’s discovery of America. She and Ferdinand were buried in royal fashion at the Royal Chapel of Granada.

Isabella is a great example of a strong, independent woman, who never backed down in the face of adversity and challenging social norms.

Granada Cathedral (Google Maps)
Granada Cathedral

Pocahontas

Pocahontas was a Native American born into the Powatan tribe around 1596 in what is now Virginia. As the daughter of the tribe’s leader, she had significant interaction with English explorers who settled Jamestown.

Her role in history is tied up in legend and lore, but she did marry an Englishman and establish several years of peace in the area. She eventually went to England to represent the “noble savage” to royalty and others. There, she passed away at age 21 while preparing to return to her homeland.

She was buried in Gravesend, but the exact location of her remains is not known. Nonetheless, a statue in her honor remains in the church, one of many memorials and honors for the young woman who bridged two cultures and gives pride to many indigenous girls around the world.

Burial place of Pocahontas, St. George's Church (Google Maps)
Burial place of Pocahontas, St. George's Church

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is revered as one of the strongest advocates of women’s rights in the United States. She, along with Susan B. Anthony, fought for years for women to be given the right to vote, as well for as the abolition of slavery and equality in general.

She was born in Johnstown, New York in a prominent family, and given a well-rounded education. From an early age, she was involved in abolitionist movements. Her husband, Henry Brewster Stanton, was an abolitionist, and at their wedding she did not pledge to “obey” her husband.

Her family lived in Seneca Falls, which is where the first American women’s rights convention was held. Now, both Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Seneca Falls hold special places in the history of women’s rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton reminds us that it’s important to fight for what you think is right, and to never give up.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton House (StreetView)
Elizabeth Cady Stanton House

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a scientist who gave her life in the pursuit of knowledge, and has left a legacy for women who wish to pursue a career in science. She was born in Warsaw, Poland, and while she moved to France to further her studies and research, she never forgot her Polish heritage.

Marie Curie's birthplace (StreetView)
Marie Curie's birthplace

When she gained momentum in her research into radioactivity, the University of Paris granted Marie Curie a laboratory where she and her husband could conduct their joint research. In her honor, the University created an Institute and has created several memorials to the great scientist.

She died an early death at 66 of causes directly related to the exposure she received while conducting her research. In fact, as her illness progressed, she even studied herself to document the effects of radiation on humans. She is a great example of a woman pursuing her dreams, not settling for a stereotype, and giving the world increased knowledge and understanding.

Musée Curie (Google Maps)
Musée Curie

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr was a woman who makes us think we can have it all. She was a gorgeous film actress, producer, and inventor who helped develop a system for torpedo guidance and increased airplane aerodynamics. In fact, her research into the frequency-hopping technology is now used in Bluetooth technology.

Lamarr was born in Hungary, fled an abusive marriage to France and eventually ended up in the United States, where she picked up on her acting career and starred in several popular films.

She was not formally trained as a scientist or inventor, but she constantly thought of inventions and ways to innovate. She’s an example that, no matter where you start from and what people expect from you, you can go your own way and do your own thing.

Hedy Lamarr's House (Former) (Birds Eye)
Hedy Lamarr's House (Former)

These are just a few awesome women that we can look to as role models, and remember that anyone can do great things, no matter where you’re born, what people expect of you, and what barriers you have to overcome.

 

 

Super Bowl LV

The 55th showdown of the best teams in professional football is this Sunday, February 7. For a record-setting tenth time, Tom Brady will make an appearance as starting quarterback, this time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the other side of the field will be defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs led by rising star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Let’s take a look at some of the players and some of the places tied into Sunday’s showdown.

Tom Brady’s New Home in Clearwater, Florida

At the end of last season, Tom Brady decided to leave New England after 20 amazing years. Brady seemed like he wanted to prove he could carry a team on his own, and after only one year, he’s proven he certainly can.

When you’re as wealthy and as famous as Tom and his wife Gisele Bundchen, not just any old house will do. The couple have been living in Florida for months, but only closed on a home in October 2020.

The oceanfront home has 8,400 square feet, and includes five bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, plus 3.5 more bathrooms, a sleek kitchen, epic home gym, movie theater, chandeliers that drip from the ceiling, and a personal boat launch.

Compared to other properties he’s owned, the $7.5 million price tag is pocket change. It’s not as big as their Massachusetts home, but hopefully it’s big enough to meet their needs, and more.

Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen's House (Google Maps)
Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen's House

Tom Brady’s Rental Home in Tampa, Florida

While the Brady family was looking for a home to buy, they rented a gorgeous 22,000 square foot mansion from fellow athlete superstar Derek Jeter. Brady was paying more than $40,000 per month to live in the waterfront property, but Jeter has since put it on the market for an astounding $29 million.

The house has eight bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a pool and spa, movie theater, game room, and more. It must have been a great place to rent, and whoever buys it will have every amenity they could imagine right at their fingertips.

Derek Jeter's House (Google Maps)
Derek Jeter's House

Tom Brady’s Mansion in Brookline, Massachusetts

Tom and Gisele lived in a massive, 12,000 square foot mansion outside Boston until they moved to Florida. The house was originally listed for about $39 million, but was sold for around $33 million, according to those who have information on the sale.

The house has five bedrooms, a wine room, gym and yoga studio, and a separate guest house.

Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen's House (Google Maps)
Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen's House

Antonio Brown’s Home in Hollywood, Florida

Suiting up alongside Tom Brady will be Antonio Brown, a wide receiver who’s played around the league and is playing for Tampa Bay on a one year contract. He missed the conference final, but he’s expected to play in the Super Bowl.

In 2016, Brown bought a $6.6 million home in Hollywood, Florida, near his hometown of Miami. The 12-bedroom home has one feature you won’t find in most homes: a built-in synagogue, which Brown likes because it brings a good spirit to the home.

The house also has Italian marble floors, imported light fixtures, a top-of-the-line outdoor kitchen, door handles made from precious metals, and a home theater.

Antonio Brown's House (Google Maps)
Antonio Brown's House

Patrick Mahomes’ Home in Kansas City, Missouri

Leading the Kansas City Chiefs will be Patrick Mahomes, a breakout star who deserves every word of praise given in his short career. The 25-year old signed with the Chiefs in 2017, and became the starting quarterback in 21018, and the very next year they were Super Bowl Champions.

Mahomes re-signed with the Chiefs with a 10-year contract guaranteeing $477 million, with additional performance bonuses! In spite of his millions, he and his fiance bought a relatively modest home in a nice Kansas City neighborhood for $1.9 million. The 3,800 square foot home has three bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen, and gorgeous open, mid-century floorplan. It’s got enough space to hold his 180 shoes–barely!

Patrick Mahome's House (Birds Eye)
Patrick Mahome's House

Tyreek Hill’s Home in Lee’s Summit, Missouri

A critical part of the Chiefs’ success is wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who has been playing for the team since 2016. He’s so fast his teammates call him “Cheetah” and in 2019 he signed a contract extension for three years and $54 million!

While some of his life off the field has been challenging, he also works as an assistant coach for a local high school team in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He has a four bedroom, four bathroom home complete with pool in the Kansas City suburb, and is adding onto the house as his family grows.

Tyreek Hill's house (Birds Eye)
Tyreek Hill's house

Raymond James Stadium

On February 9, 2021, the Super Bowl will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. This is the third Super Bowl that will be held at the stadium. It’s the first time that a team playing in the Super Bowl will be playing in their home stadium as the home team.

The stadium can hold up to 75,000 people, but because of Covid-19, the audience will be limited to 22,000. It was built in 1998, costing $169 million.

This year, the entertainment will be awesome. Recently-acclaimed poet Amanda Gorman will read an original poem, H.E.R. will sing “America the Beautiful” and Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan will do a duo for the “Star-Spangled Banner”.

Raymond James Stadium (Google Maps)
Raymond James Stadium

The Weeknd’s Home in Hidden Hills, California

The versatile Canadian singer The Weeknd will perform the halftime show. He is so pumped to make sure the show is memorable that he’s invested $7 million of his own money in the project.

When he’s not rocking out at the Super Bowl, The Weeknd has an amazing pad in Hidden Hills, north of Los Angeles. He earned $92 million in 2017, and spent $18.2 million of that on a massive pad.

The 13,500 square foot home has an eye-popping orange basketball court, vivid diamond patterned driveway, large main house, standalone guest house, and a barn with eight stalls. It also has some gorgeous outdoor landscaping and covered entertaining areas fit for the biggest star.

The Weeknd's House (Google Maps)
The Weeknd's House

No matter which team wins the game, it’s clear that the entire country will come out on top for being able to enjoy the game and forget the challenges of the last year, at least for a few hours.

January’s Deep Dive: Thomas Edison and the Light Bulb

On January 27, 1880, American inventor Thomas Edison filed a patent for an “electric lamp” that we now recognize as a light bulb.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this invention, as it brought light into the dark, allowing people to work after sunset, and most importantly, making the night safer by illuminating the world both outdoors and indoors, and by reducing the risk of fires from candles and other flames.

His invention has been one of the most important technological advances in the modern age. On this historic day, let’s take a look at the man behind the invention.

Birthplace, Milan, Ohio

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. He spent his first seven years here before his family moved to Michigan. His boyhood home was turned into a museum by his family members, and remains a well-kept legacy to the famed inventor.

The house has been restored to reflect the 19th-century time in which Edison lived in the home.

Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum (Google Maps)
Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum

Thomas Edison Depot Museum in Port Huron, Michigan

Edison spent his adolescence in Port Huron, Michigan. While he only attended a formal school for a few months, he was intensely curious. He worked and spent much of his time at the local train depot. He sold newspapers and candy until, after saving a boy from an oncoming train, he was trained and employed as a telegraph operator.

He also tinkered on the trains and learned as much as he could about how things worked whenever he could.

The depot is now a museum that focused on Edison’s early years and inventive curiosity. It has many interactive displays and even a room dedicated to experimentation for younger visitors.

Edison Depot Museum (Google Maps)
Edison Depot Museum

Statue in Port Huron, Michigan

Residents of Port Huron love their most famous resident. Outside the museum, they have erected a statue to the famed inventor depicting him as a young boy selling newspapers to people traveling through the depot.

Thomas Edison statue (StreetView)
Thomas Edison statue

The Edison Institute and Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan

Henry Ford, the automobile manufacturer, created a massive living museum complex near where he lived and worked in Dearborn, Michigan. He moved entire historical buildings and recreated important historical settings from American history. One of his biggest exhibits is the Edison Institute, which includes Edison’s laboratory moved from Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was here that Edison created what became the incandescent light bulb.

This museum, known as The Henry Ford, or Greenfield Village, is an amazing trove of the educational, historical, and fascinating. Interestingly, the museum includes a jar which is alleged to contain Edison’s last breath.

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village (Google Maps)
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Smith’s Creek Depot, at Greenfield Village

Greenfield Village includes many places from Edison’s life, including the Smith’s Creek Depot, where Edison spent much of his time as a young man earning a living selling newspapers, candy, and other items to travelers.

Ford had the depot moved to Greenfield Village to both represent 19th century travel and to contribute to the life story of Thomas Edison.

Smiths Creek Depot (StreetView)
Smiths Creek Depot

Home in West Orange, New Jersey

While Edison’s first major laboratory was in Menlo Park, Edison eventually moved to West Orange, where he lived with his second wife. The house he purchased for his new wife was known as Glenmont, and was where the couple lived for the rest of their lives.

Thomas Edison's House (former) (Birds Eye)
Thomas Edison's House (former)

National Historical Site, West Orange, New Jersey

Edison’s West Orange laboratory and home is now a National Historic Site and Museum. It is a fascinating place to visit, where you can learn about the personal life of one of the world’s best inventors, and experience much of the invention process as he would have. Visitors can learn in very hands-on ways about the science of sound, light, and other things that fascinated Edison.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park (Google Maps)
Thomas Edison National Historical Park

Winter Home in Fort Meyers, Florida

With his second wife, Mina, Edison bought a large property in Fort Meyers, Florida. The couple built a winter retreat they called “Seminole Lodge” which was built in Italianate and Queen Anne styles. The structure was pre-cut in New England and shipped down to Florida at great expense.  The couple spent many winters here, and Edison continued to invent and make discoveries.

Thomas Edison's House (Birds Eye)
Thomas Edison's House

Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Thomas Edison was a great inventor. Beyond the light bulb, he and a colleague invented a motion picture camera. His studio actually was involved in producing more than a thousand films. These short films were more educational or informative, not motion picture movies like we are familiar with today. Nonetheless, Hollywood owes its very existence to Edison and his colleagues. He was even given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Thomas Edison's Hollywood star (StreetView)
Thomas Edison's Hollywood star

Any day you turn on the lights is a great day to think of Thomas Edison and his wonderful inventions. But today, take a moment to reflect on how much the simple light bulb makes your life better, thanks to Thomas Edison.

 

Inauguration Day 2021: One for the History Books

It feels like it was a lifetime ago that voters went to the polls on November 3 to vote for president, but today, Joe Biden is going to be sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the 49th Vice President of the United States.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and recent security threats, the pomp associated with the inauguration has been scaled back significantly. This year, there will be a small inauguration outside the Capitol, broadcast across the country, but there will be no luncheon, no parade, and no in-person balls or parties. Instead, much of it will be virtual, and aired on multiple television channels across the country and around the world.

As you watch the proceedings on television, here are some background details you might find interesting.

Past Inaugurations

Typically, the sitting president and vice president meet with the incoming president and vice president at the White House the morning of the inauguration, and travel to the Capitol Building together.

The swearing in on the steps of the Capitol is often watched by half a million people who gather along the Capitol and the Mall, all the way to the Lincoln Memorial.

Later in the day, the new president reviews the troops, participates in a parade along the route to the White House, and officially enters the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to serve as president for the next four years.

Inaugural balls, parties, and other events go on all around Washington, DC, and parties are held across the United States as well.

2021 Inaugural Events

Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

The evening before the swearing in, there will be a memorial to the people who have died from Covid-19. This event will be held at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool on the National Mall, a fitting place to ponder those who have died, and what the country has suffered due to the virus.

Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument (Google Maps)
Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument

U.S. Capitol

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution states that each presidential term shall begin at noon on January 20. The oath can be administered anywhere, but  the ceremony is traditionally held at the U.S. Capitol. The inauguration involves all three branches of government. President Biden will be sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, with many members of Congress present to witness the peaceful transfer of power.

Traditionally, after the inauguration, the presidential parties, and members of the House and Senate, gather for a luncheon inside the Capitol. Due to social distancing issues, this will be skipped, with plans to celebrate in person during the Independence Day events on July 4.

US Capitol Building (Google Maps)
US Capitol Building

West Front of the Capitol

Since Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, presidents have held their inauguration on the West Front of the Capitol. This side has a beautiful view of the city and extends down to the Mall. Hundreds of thousands of people gather and witness the event, either in person or by watching large monitors set up for the occasion.

Joe Biden will continue with the tradition of being sworn into office on the West Front of the Capitol at noon, January 20, 2021. Although it will not be open to the general public, it will be broadcast on national television.

United States Capitol (StreetView)
United States Capitol

East Front of the Capitol

Up until Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, presidents chose to be sworn in on the East Front of the Capitol. This side is attractive and faces the Supreme Court, but doesn’t allow for the large public gathering.

This year, President Biden and Vice President Harris will review the troops, which includes a procession with members from every branch of military. This display will take place on the East Front shortly after the swearing in.

US Capitol (StreetView)
US Capitol

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

They will then travel to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. They, along with Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, along with their spouses, will lay a wreath at the Tomb.

Tomb of the Unknowns (Google Maps)
Tomb of the Unknowns

The White House

While the president and his wife would typically participate in a fun parade with participants from across the country, that has been called off due to social distancing restrictions. There will be a virtual parade that highlights places and people from across the United States. At the end, President Biden and his wife Jill will officially enter the White House, making it their official residence for the next four years.

The White House (StreetView)
The White House

Naval Observatory

Vice President Kamala Harris will take up residence in the official vice president’s house located about three miles away from the White House. The vice president long did not have an official residence, unlike the president at the White House.

However, in 1974, a large existing residence at the Naval Observatory was established as the official residence for the vice president. Over the years, substantial renovations and upgrades have been made, including making it handicap-accessible, adding a pool, putting green, and exercise room.

Number One Observatory Circle (Vice President's House) (Birds Eye)
Number One Observatory Circle (Vice President's House)

Mar-A-Lago

After the oath of office is administered by the Chief Justice, Donald Trump will become a private citizen again. Unlike nearly every other outgoing president, President Trump has declined the invitation to attend the inauguration. Whenever he leaves the White House, it has been expected that he will travel to Mar-A-Lago, his Florida residence.

The beachside resort has a private residence where the president and his family can stay. The 62,000 square foot mansion sits on 20 acres of prime real estate, which is worth more than $160 million.

Donald Trump's house (Mar-A-Lago) (Birds Eye)
Donald Trump's house (Mar-A-Lago)

Unlike the president, Vice President Pence will attend the inauguration. After, it’s not clear where Mike Pence will go; he was a congressman from Indiana before becoming that state’s governor. His most recent residence before living at the Naval Observatory was the governor’s mansion.

While things will not be as they usually are, the most important thing will be that the United States goes through yet another peaceful transition of power, maintaining her 240 year history of being a peaceful democracy that will continue for another 240 years, so help us God.

Remembering the King: Happy Birthday, Elvis

The King was born January 8, 1935, and in his short life, he changed the face of music, and the world. Elvis Presley brought rock and roll, with its African American influence, to the broader public, and the world has rewarded him with the reputation as the King.

In honor of his legacy, let’s take a look at Elvis’s life.

Birthplace, Tupelo, MS

Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and raised in a two-bedroom home with his parents. They moved after a few years because they struggled to make payments on the home. The small shotgun home has since been turned into a museum about the singer’s early life and rise to fame.

Elvis Presley's Birthplace (Birds Eye)
Elvis Presley's Birthplace

Sun Records, Memphis, TN

When Elvis was 13, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. It was there that the budding musician met Sam Phillips, who ran Sun Music. Elvis went to the studio as a teen in the hopes that he might be discovered, and the rest is history.

In addition to Elvis, Sam Phillips worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, and Johnny Cash. Phillips loved the style of music coming from the region, especially the African American influence, and worked to make it mainstream. He succeeded wildly, and changed the sound of music forever.

Sun Studio (StreetView)
Sun Studio

First Home in Memphis, TN

After his initial success, Elvis bought a home for his parents in his adopted hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. However, he was so successful and so famous that the home did not offer enough privacy for the new celebrity. Fans, reporters, and the like hounded him and his neighbors.

Elvis felt pressured to move his family to a bigger, more secluded home. His parents eventually settled on Graceland, and the rest is history.

Elvis Presley's First Memphis Home (Birds Eye)
Elvis Presley's First Memphis Home

Temporary Home in Killeen, TX

By his early 20s, Elvis was the most famous and popular musician in the United States. But still, he was drafted to fight in the Korean War, and he reported for a two-year tour of duty. He was stationed for a time at Fort Hood in Texas. During this time, he lived in a ranch-style home in Killeen, Texas.

Elvis Presley's house (former) (StreetView)
Elvis Presley's house (former)

Graceland, Memphis, TN

Quickly rising to international fame, a regular home was not sufficient for Elvis and his parents, so they picked out Graceland, located just outside Memphis. They lived there until Gladys, Elvis’ mother, died in 1958.

Eventually, Elvis lived there on his own, and then with his wife, Priscilla. Even after their divorce, he continued to live there. In fact, it was there that he passed away, after suffering a heart attack.

The estate has since been turned into a museum and National Historic Site. It is the second most visited home in the United States, behind only the White House.

Graceland (StreetView)
Graceland

Home in Beverly Hills, CA

While Graceland is Elvis’ most famous residence, it was not his only home. He also had a home in Beverly Hills, CA. This seven bedroom Tudor-style home was bought by Elvis in 1970, and Priscilla continued to live there after their divorce until she sold it in 1975. It sold in late 2020 for about $29 million.

Elvis Presley's House (former) (Birds Eye)
Elvis Presley's House (former)

Lisa Marie Presley’s Home, United Kingdom

After years in the spotlight, Elvis’s only child, Lisa Marie, moved far away from the media, all the way to England. The former singer, actress, and AIDS activist felt she was “living in a fish bowl” in Los Angeles, so she traded it all in for a 50-acre sheep farm in Rotherfield. She stayed here for about eight years before moving back to California.

The 15th century estate has 11 bedrooms, nine bedrooms, and an indoor swimming pool, spa, gym, and more. The home is a unique blend of 15th century design and modern amenities, but its unique design contributed to the estate staying on the market for several years before she found a buyer.

Lisa Marie Presley's House (Bing Maps)
Lisa Marie Presley's House

Priscilla Presley’s Home, Los Angeles

Priscilla Presley stayed in California after she and Elvis divorced. She starred in several films, the hit television show “Dallas”, and has devoted much of her time to charity.

She has lived for 45 years in the same Beverly Hills home with n more than an acre of land. The “private enclave” has lush gardens, seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a tennis court, and of course, a luxurious pool.

The home was put on the market in September 2020 for almost $16 million. It sold in early December for $13 million.

Priscilla Presley's House (Google Maps)
Priscilla Presley's House

Although he only lived to age 42, the King has left a legacy that is so strong that he is still one of the most famous celebrities in the world. Gone but not forgotten, his reign continues.

 

 

2020: So Long, and Farewell

Well, 2020 was a year to remember, to say the least. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the past, so we can put it behind us and really look forward to the future.

Australian Wildfires

The world should have known 2020 would be intense on January 1. Already on that date, Australia was in the middle of one of the worst fire seasons in the country’s history. No region was spared, with 80 percent of the population impacted, more than 500 million animals killed, and 34 people killed.

Fires even threatened urban centers such as Sydney and the capital, Canberra. The smoke was so bad in the capital city that residents were forced indoors and could not enjoy the summer weather at places like the famous Commonwealth Park.

Commonwealth Park (Google Maps)
Commonwealth Park

Impeachment of President Donald Trump

For much of 2019, the US news focused on the pending impeachment of President Trump. In December, the US House of Representatives voted to approve articles of impeachment against the President.

In January 2020, the trial began in the Senate. However, the President was acquitted of all charges, on a nearly party-line vote. Nonetheless, the indictment by the House will serve as a black mark on President Trump’s legacy, and will be one of the biggest stories of 2020.

US Capitol Building (Google Maps)
US Capitol Building

Kobe Bryant

On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant boarded a helicopter with his oldest daughter on their way to a basketball camp. Not long after takeoff, the helicopter crashed, killing all nine passengers on board. Bryant’s death shook the nation, as he was only 41, and was still very involved in basketball, charities, and most importantly, being a father to four girls.

Kobe and his family lived in the exclusive Pelican Crest community in Newport Coast. The custom-built house with views of the coast has nearly 16,000 square feet of living space spread out over four floors.

After his death, fans gathered outside the community’s gates and left flowers and other items in a makeshift memorial.

Kobe Bryant's House (Google Maps)
Kobe Bryant's House

Harvey Weinstein

After years of speculation and rumor, Harvey Weinstein was finally charged with committing sex crimes against women in 2018. The trial commenced in January 2020, and on February 24, he was convicted, and later sentenced to 23 years in prison.

For the next 23 years, Harvey Weinstein will call the Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York his home.

Wende Correctional Facility (Google Maps)
Wende Correctional Facility

Weinstein sold his house in the Hamptons in 2018 for $10 million, less than what he paid for it six years earlier. This is just one of many properties he sold following his arrest.

Harvey Weinstein's House (Former) (Google Maps)
Harvey Weinstein's House (Former)

Covid-19 Pandemic

The thing on everyone’s mind for most of the year has been the spread of Covid-19 throughout the world, causing a global pandemic.

While no one knows where the virus initially started, some of the earliest reported cases spread at or near a wet, or seafood, market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. It was first diagnosed in late winter 2019. Thousands quickly fell sick and many died, indicating the virus was extremely contagious, causing global concern.

Huanan Seafood Market (Google Maps)
Huanan Seafood Market

The virus came to the United States in early 2020, and hit metropolitan centers very hard. New York City was the epicenter of the initial outbreak. The city was so overwhelmed that they even prepared a makeshift hospital at the Javits Convention Center. Fortunately, it was only used for a short time before the first wave subsided in the area.

'Jacob K. Javits Convention Center' by I. M. Pei (Google Maps)
'Jacob K. Javits Convention Center' by I. M. Pei

Death of George Floyd

On May 25, George Floyd was killed while in police custody outside a convenience store in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He had allegedly passed a counterfeit bill.

Site where George Floyd was murdered (StreetView)
Site where George Floyd was murdered

The frustration with Floyd’s murder and continued police brutality and racial discrimination boiled over into massive protests, riots, and demonstrations across the country. Government leaders embraced the protests in many places, including Washington, D.C., where the city renamed the plaza outside the White House as Black Lives Matter Plaza.

"Black Lives Matter - Defund the police" on 16th. Street NW (Google Maps)
"Black Lives Matter - Defund the police" on 16th. Street NW

Beiruit Explosion

In the late afternoon of August 4, a large explosion occurred in downtown Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The blast was caused by improperly stored ammonium nitrate that had been stored at the city’s port for several years.

The blast was so strong it was felt in neighboring countries, killed at least 204 people, and wounded more than 6,500. It caused more than $15 billion in damage, and both the cleanup and investigations are still ongoing.

Building Explosion, Beirut, Lebanon (4 AUG 2020) (Google Maps)
Building Explosion, Beirut, Lebanon (4 AUG 2020)

Kamala Harris

On August 11, Kamala Harris made history. Joe Biden selected her as his running mate, making her the first African American, first Asian American, and third woman to be a part of a major party presidential ticket. She again made history on November 3, when she and Joe Biden were elected to lead the US for the next four years.

A current Senator for California, she maintains a home in the tony LA neighborhood of Brentwood, as her husband is a famous Hollywood attorney.

Kamala Harris' House (Google Maps)
Kamala Harris' House

West Coast Wildfires

It wasn’t enough that much of Australia was on fire earlier this year; the western US also experienced one of the worst fire seasons on record as well. More than 37 people were killed in fires that spread across California, Oregon, and Washington states.

Fires raged across the west for most of the summer and much of the fall. Fires destroyed thousands of homes, including in Shaver Lake, California, where movies such as Captain America had been filmed.

Shaver Lake ("Captain Marvel") (StreetView)
Shaver Lake ("Captain Marvel")

Alex Trebeck

American game show host Alex Trebek announced in 2018 that he had pancreatic cancer, and passed away on November 8, 2020 from the disease. The 80 year old had become a beloved American cultural icon as the host of Jeopardy! He hosted the show for 37 years.

Trebek and his wife had a 10,000 square foot mansion in Los Angeles, but his wealth and fame didn’t stop him from doing everyday things like taking out the trash, which he was seen doing on a regular basis, even when he was fighting cancer.

Trebek set an example for all to follow. In a pre-recorded show that aired after his death, Trebek gave words of encouragement for the world, saying “There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that’s a good thing.. Keep the faith. We’re going to get through all this and we are going to be a better society because of it.”

Alex Trebek's House (Google Maps)
Alex Trebek's House

Covid-19 Vaccines are Rolled Out

In what might be a sign that 2021 will be better than 2020, multiple vaccines for the Covid-19 virus were approved for use in the US and other countries in December.

On December 10th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave “emergency use authorization” to Pfizer’s vaccine, and on December 18th, they gave the same authorization to Moderna’s vaccine. These two vaccines will help people all over the world by giving them immunity to Covid-19.

The work at the FDA in 2020 has been a bright spot in what has otherwise been a difficult year for many.

Food and Drug Administration (Google Maps)
Food and Drug Administration

Here’s to hoping the vaccines will help and that Alex Trebek was right and that 2021 will be more rewarding, and less newsworthy, than 2020. Happy New Year!

 

December’s Deep Dive into History: The Wright Brothers’ First Flight

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright left the earth for the first successful flight of what we now know as an airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In the 122 years since they mastered flight, the world has changed dramatically. Travel has gone from long, arduous, and expensive to fast, easy and relatively cheap. The world feels smaller now that we can traverse the globe on a commercial plane in a day or less. Let’s look back at these remarkable brothers and their historic invention.

Family Home in Dayton, Ohio

Orville and Wilbur Wright were raised in the Midwest, moving around several times. Eventually, the family settled in Dayton, Ohio when the boys were teenagers. Neither brother ever married, and continued to live at the family home until at least 1912, when Wilbur passed away.

In 1937, Henry Ford purchased the entire home and had it moved to Dearborn, Michigan. It became part of a large living museum that includes homes of important Americans, buildings where historic events took place, as well as vehicles that played crucial roles in history, including the bus where Rosa Parks sat and the car where President Kennedy was assassinated.

Orville and Wilbur Wright Family Home (StreetView)
Orville and Wilbur Wright Family Home

Bicycle Shop in Dayton, Ohio

When running a bicycle shop in the 1890s, they became enamored with the idea of creating a flying machine. Building on the designs of other aviation pioneers, the Wright brothers worked for years in the bicycle shop designing airplanes and conducting research about other aspects of aviation.

While the shop they worked out of when they flew their first successful airplane was moved to Michigan by Henry Ford, this building, where they worked in the 1890s, still stands in Dayton, and is a National Historic Site.

Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop (Birds Eye)
Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop

National Memorial at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

While living and working Dayton, the brothers selected a location just outside the small town of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, for their flight testing. The area is now known as Kill Devil Hills, but people still commonly refer to the event occurring at Kitty Hawk.

The brothers selected the location because it had hills, a good breeze, and soft sand that would absorb the impact when they crash landed. At the site of the first flight is a 90-foot granite monument shaped to evoke feelings of reaching into the sky and leave the viewer with an impression of the genius and success of the brothers.

Wright Brothers National Memorial (Bing Maps)
Wright Brothers National Memorial

Visitor Center at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

At the bottom of the hill is a museum dedicated to the brothers and flight. It highlights the efforts made by the Wright brothers on their way to successfully flying their first airplane, as well as a life-size replica of the first flyer, called the Wright Flyer.

Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center (Birds Eye)
Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center

Wright Flyer, Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

The actual aircraft the brothers flew a total of four times that December day is now on display in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The aircraft was initially displayed elsewhere, but in 1948, the Smithsonian first displayed the aircraft. It has been on display for the public since.

Wright Flyer I (StreetView)
Wright Flyer I

Monument to Century of Flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

To commemorate the centennial, the city of Kitty Hawk and several other organizations unveiled a monument to the first 100 years of flight. It is a beautiful outdoor memorial with 14 stainless steel wing-shaped pylons emerging from the ground, as well as black granite panels to outline important developments in flight.

Monument to a Century of Flight (Birds Eye)
Monument to a Century of Flight

Wright Brothers Monument in Dayton, Ohio

While the first airplane was flown in North Carolina, the brothers did their research, construction, and experiments in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Therefore, Dayton is as important to the development of flight as Kitty Hawk.

There is a beautiful outdoor memorial to the brothers and aviation at the site where the brothers conducted smaller test flights and did other hands-on research.

Wright Brothers Monument (Birds Eye)
Wright Brothers Monument

These are just a few of the important places and memorials in the development of flight. Hopefully the next time you see or hear an airplane in the sky, you’ll think about the wonder of flight, and the hard work that went into making air travel possible.