Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ronald Reagan's Road to Washington

Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, was born on February 6, 1911. A former movie actor, he is the only president with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Other travel spots of interest include the Hilton Washington (left), where Reagan was shot by John Hinkley, Jr. in 1981, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, which includes Reagan's gravesite. For a complete list of spots related to Ronald Reagan, click here.

William Henry Harrison's Home

Ninth president William Henry "Tippecanoe" Harrison was born at Berkeley Plantation House in Charles City, Virginia on February 9, 1773. The estate was also the birthplace of his father, Benjamin Harrison V, a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Berkeley House Plantation is also the birthplace of several historic "firsts." The first Bourbon Whiskey was distilled at the plantation from 1621 to 1622, and the first Thanksgiving was celebrated here, two years before the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony. As if that weren't enough, the song "Taps" was composed here by two Civil War soldiers encamped on the grounds. To see our page on Berkeley Plantation House, click here.

Abraham Lincoln's Locales

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was born on February 2, 1809 on his father's farm in Hodgenville, Kentucky, which is now a National Historic Site. He grew up 10 miles away on Knob Creek Farm (left). Other travel spots include Gettysburg National Military Park, where he delivered the Gettysburg Address, and Ford's Theatre, where he was assassinated in 1865. For a complete list of travel spots related to Abraham Lincoln, click here.

George Washington Slept Here

Our first president was born on February 22, 1732 on his father's Virginia plantation, which you can visit today. Other interesting travel spots include Washington's boyhood home (sorry, no cherry tree stumps), the former site of America's first "White House" (near Independence Hall in Philadelphia), America's oldest existing presidential residence, and, of course, Mt. Vernon (left), where George and Martha lived, died, and were buried. We also show you the very spot on New York's Wall Street where Washington took the first oath of office (and where the Bill of Rights was adopted). For a complete list of travel spots related to George Washington, click here.

"Australia" Natural Backdrops

Many of the beautiful, sweeping scenes in the 2008 film Australia, which stars native Aussies Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, were filmed at Drysdale River National Park (left). With no nearby roads or landing strips, this park contains some of the least accessible portions of Australia's National Park system. Moore Park (right) in Sydney also served as a set for the film. For more info on these two spots, click here.

"Animal House" Haunts

2008 marked the 30-year-anniversary of the cult comedy classic Animal House, which starred the late John Belushi. Fenton Hall (bottom) at the University of Oregon in Eugene is the very spot where the movie's hilarious courtroom scene was filmed. Not far from the campus, the legendary Delta fraternity house once stood at 751 East 11th Avenue (top). At the time of filming, the house was, appropriately enough, a halfway house for recent prison releases. The structure was torn down in the 1980s, but a small plaque commemorates the location's role in the movie. For these and other spots related to Animal House, click here.

Magical "Harry Potter" Spots

Several spots in England are now known for their role in the Harry Potter films. The address of Harry's cruel aunt and uncle is given in the movie as 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, but the exterior scenes were actually filmed at 12 Picket Post Close in Martins Heron, Bracknell, Berkshire. Harry departs for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from London's real-life Kings Cross Station (right), where the city has playfully marked the location of the fictional Platform 9 3/4. Harry's arrival at Hogwarts is filmed at Goathland Station, North Yorkshire, while Alnwick Castle (left) in Northumberland is used to create the exterior shots of Hogwarts. For more info on these spots, including the locations where author J. K. Rowling and star Daniel Radcliffe grew up, click here.

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