Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Spots that Hit the Spot

Two surefire ways to get warm: 1) head south and 2) drink a bit of hot toddy. Central Tennessee offers both warmer climes and whiskey so distinctive it's known the world over as Tennessee Whiskey. Jack Daniel's Distillery is in Lynchberg, Tennessee, just a little ways south of Nashville. Though not officially founded until 1875, they've been making the same Old No. 7 on this very spot since before the American Civil War. George Dickel, manufactured just down the road in Cascade Hollow, Tennessee, is a unique brand of a smoother sour mash whiskey, the only one of its kind. To read more about Jack Daniel's, click here. To read more about George Dickel, click here.

Chilling in More Ways Than One

In December of 1846, seven cold and ragged people staggered down through this mountain pass into Sutter's Fort to alert rescuers about the stranded Donner Party. Investigation led to the discovery that surviving members of the party had consumed the bodies of less fortunate members in order to stay alive, the most famous incident of cannibalism in American history. Today there is a Donner Memorial State Park where the group was trapped, and a memorial at nearby Donner Summit and Donner Pass. For more information about these two spots, click here.

The Side-by-Side Winter Retreats of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford

In Fort Myers, Florida, the side-by-side winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are preserved together as museums dedicated to the lives and work of these technological pioneers. Edison and Ford lived on these estates during the winter months while working on some of their major innovations that have shaped modern society. Click here to read about the Thomas Edison Winter Retreat or here for more about Henry Ford's Winter Retreat.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Million Dollar Quartet

52 years ago yesterday, on December 4, 1956, a musical miracle occurred at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins were all coincidentally present to work on their own material. The group got together for an impromptu jam session, and a local photographer shot a picture of the now-famous event. The next day, when the photo was printed, the caption read "The Million Dollar Quartet." A few tracks from the session were released during the 1980s under the same name. For more information on the Million Dollar Quartet, click here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Origin of Species: Revisited

On this day 149 years ago, on November 24, 1859, English naturalist Charles Darwin’s book The Origin of Species was published. The now legendary work detailed Darwin’s forward-thinking theories of evolution and natural selection. For more information and spots related to Charles Darwin, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

New York’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn on Long Island at the narrows, opened to traffic 44 years ago on November 21, 1964. For more information on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, click here.

Thomas Edison's Phonograph

On November 21, 1877, technology pioneer Thomas Alva Edison announced his invention of the first phonograph, a device with the capability to record and replay sound. Over 131 years later, the phonograph is more commonly referred to as a record player or turntable. Edison’s inventions also include the light bulb, motion pictures, and the alkaline battery. For more information and spots related to Thomas Edison, click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Gettysburg Address Anniversary

Today marks 145 years since Abraham Lincoln famously gave “The Gettysburg Address” in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. From July 1-3, 1863, Union forces, under General George Meade, defeated the Confederate Army, under Robert E. Lee, in what is often considered the turning point of the Civil war. The Battle of Gettysburg stands as the single bloodiest battle in the Civil War. 97 Taneytown Road is now home to the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg along with veterans of all other major American wars and conflicts are buried. For more information and pictures of spots related to “The Gettysburg Address,” click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Kennedy Assassination

It's hard to believe, but this Saturday, November 22, 2008 marks 45 years since the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This is the famous photo of alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, which was taken in his backyard at 214 W. Neely Street. For more information on this and other spots related to the Kennedy assassination, complete with photos and addresses, click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Haunted Houses on

The Amityville Horror House

The 1979 movie The Amityville Horror, starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder, gave America a fright it hadn't had since The Exorcist six years before. Although based on a novel by Jay Anson, the story was allegedly based on true events that occurred in suburban Long Island. The house used in the movie (photo) became a horror film icon, with its two upper windows suggesting eyes. However, the house used in the movie was located in New Jersey, not Long Island. This private home is not open to the public, but if you're in the mood for a drive-by shiver, we'll give you the exact location click here.

The Bell Witch House

In 1817, the Bell family of Tennessee claimed to be plagued by paranormal activity, including ghostly sounds, the appearance of strange animals, and physical abuse. The ghost behind the mayhem, who identified herself as "Kate," became famous throughout America as "the Bell's Witch." It is even said that Andrew Jackson visited the home and witnessed paranormal activity. But the torment proved too much for family patriarch John Bell, who died in 1820. The events that allegedly occurred on this very spot have inspired three movies so far, including 2006's An American Haunting, starring Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. For more on the Bell Witch House, click here.

The Haunted Hospital

The problems all started in 1933, when a patient being wheeled to surgery in Alberta's Galt Hospital was accidentally dropped down an elevator shaft. Not surprisingly, his ghost stuck around to haunt the staff, and he was soon joined by the ghosts of two children from the pediatric ward. Then a whole host of strange sounds and sightings began, lasting all the way until the hospital closed in 1955. Today the building is the Galt Museum, covering all the history of southwestern Alberta. To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Atom Smashing

You probably saw the headlines earlier this month: Particle Accelerator Could Destroy the World! Apparently some scientists are worried that experiments conducted by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will create one or more black holes that would swallow the earth. That didn't happen during the initial tests, but then a glitch occurred and the whole thing had to be shut down for two months. Why such a long delay? Well, not only is CERN the world's largest particle physics laboratory, but its Large Hadron Collider is the largest cryogenic facility in the world, using 96 tons of liquid helium to cool the air to near absolute zero. It will take almost a month to warm the facility enough for technicians to make repairs, then another month to get the temperature back down. This isn't the first time CERN has made headlines: In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web here, bringing the world's first website online on August 6, 1991. Established in 1954, the laboratory is located below the suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. To see how you can visit CERN and learn more, please visit our website here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Passing of a legend

Stax Museum

The recent death of Issac Hayes reminds us of a Memphis landmark he helped make famous. From 1959 through 1975, Stax Records helped bring cutting edge rock, blues, and soul acts from Memphis, Tennessee to the world. This is the label that produced Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the Dock of Bay" and where Hayes recorded the musical theme for Shaft. Demolished, rebuilt, and now home to Stax Museum, preserving the memory of classic music recorded on this very spot. To learn more about Stax museum, click here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Changing of the Guard

In 2009, both of New York City's Major League ballparks, Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, will be torn down after long years of service. Yankee Stadium, home of the Bronx Bombers since 1923, has hosted World Series games on 37 occasions, with the Yankees winning 26 titles. Legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and countless others have called this field home. Meanwhile, Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets since 1964, has its own storied history. In addition to hosting four World Series, Shea played host to the Beatles for a 1965 concert, which shattered attendance records for that time. For more on Yankee Stadium, click here. For more on Shea Stadium, click here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jungle Girl

Bindi Irwin, daughter of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, starred with her famous father on her TV show, Bindi, The Jungle Girl. Following her father’s tragic death from a stingray attack in 2006, seven-year-old Bindi carried forward on her own. Now, two years later, she has proven her talents by winning the daytime Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series. The base of operations for both the Crocodile Hunter and his daughter is the Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia, owned and operated by the Irwin family. To see how you can visit this very spot, click here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Beach Spots for your Summer Vacation

Our June newsletter includes several historic beaches perfect for your summer vacation. Here are two examples:

Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida, served as a Union stronghold in the middle of Confederate territory throughout the Civil War. Later, Apache Indian Chief Geronimo was imprisoned in the fort for eighteen months following his capture. To learn more, click here.

The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach is one of the most luxurious hotels in a region known for upscale tourism. The quality of this resort has made it an ideal filming location for several movies, including the 1960 Jerry Lewis comedy The Bellboy, the 1963 James Bond thriller Goldfinger, Al Pacino’s Scarface, and The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. To learn more, click here.

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