Domestic routes: Travels in familiar landscapes

There is no shortage of amazing places to visit, relax, and explore in our beautiful world. But ‘exotic’ travels are not necessarily geographically delimited by a national borders or legitimize by a stamp in a passport. While there is no ‘sticker’ for traversing state lines in the US, there is plenty of beauty and exoticism to be found in our own ‘backyards.’ Here is just the beginning of a few out-of-the-way and interesting places noteworthy of appeal in our domestic environs.

Hot Springs, Arkansas: Boyhood home of Bill Clinton, favorite southern hideaway of Al Capone

Deep in the endless hills of the Ozarks, is this hidden 1920s oasis of geothermal activity. Secret tunnels between hotels and bars distinguish the underground topography of this early 20th century gem of a town that doubled as a spa retreat and hideout for one of America’s most distinguished gangsters. Art deco hotels and bathouses line the main street of Hot Springs, AR, where Bill Clinton and the man Al Capone himself came for some R&R among the majestic healing waters bubbling out of the surface of the lush hills of central Arkansas. A city out of time, the architecture and mineral-rich landscape is well worth the detour on your southern routes. The mixture of old time saloons, restored (and neglected) 1920s art deco buildings and elaborately renovated bathouses (sadly out of commission), and heavy southern accents sweetly lull you into this domestic oasis. Find yourself some locals and get a taste of this folklore of times past.

 

Deep in the heart: Memphis, Tenessee

Along the banks of the muddy banks of the Missississippi, the blues well-up deep in the river, pouring down Beal Street into the sweet notes of a guitar dripping over the mummur of a hungry and lovesick crowd. Memphis is a magical and haunted place. Go down to the river and listen for her song.

 

Tomato pie! : Chicago, Illinois

Can’t say enough about the hometown. Wherever it is for you, hopefully you can indulge in all its good and bad whene you get your ramblin’ self back there. You may be surprised by what home has to offer. Sufficice it to say, if you find yourself in Chicago, get you some deep-dish pizza from Lou’s, Giordano’s, or Gino’s and you are good to go. The skyline is not to be missed (but is much better in the spring and fall than the dead of winter or heat of summer). Bring an appetite and your walking shoes.

Rolling green: Bowling Green, Kentucky

A little town between here and there that is quite a beautiful spot. Stop for a coffee or lunch and take in the verdent landscape and friendly lilt of the locals.

Missouri: Between here and there

Tornaodes tore through Joplin, MO last year, but ‘Missourah’ is still intact and quite a pleasant drive to make between destination 3 and 6. Sunsets are hard to beat en route west, and there is a Steak n’ Shake about every 10 miles.

 

Skycrapers on the prairie: Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Surprising but true, the only skyscraper designed by the prairie-house man himself, Frank Lloyd Wright, is the great state of Oklahoma. Perhaps not the first place one would think to find such architectural feats, yet this is quite the treat after a long drive west. Nested among the northeast territory of the Sooner state, the Price Tower is a great little spot to check into along your journey.

 

The only: New York, New York

As Dorothy says, clicking her red heels together, ‘there is no place like home.’ And we’re glad to call home New York City. Snow in October, Hurricanes in August, protests in Union Square, or dancing in Brooklyn. Some of the best places to be are right there in your face.

 

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~ by Em on January 17, 2012.

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