Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States. It is home to the entire federal government, including the Congress, the Supreme Court and the President. There are numerous museums and national monuments scattered along the city that highlight the history and important people that helped shape this country into what we see today. Many of these museums and monuments are clustered in an area known as the National Mall - a 2 mile strip that extends from the State Capital building to the Lincoln Memorial. And it's all free.
Vermont is renowned for its skiing across the New England area. This should come as no surprise given that its name is derived from "mont vert" in French, which translates to green mountain. With over 30 alpine (downhill) and nordic (cross-country) ski centres, there are endless opportunities to enjoy the abundance of snow and mountainous terrain in this Green Mountain State. And hey, if skiing isn't your thing, Vermont is also famous for its cheese, maple syrup and ice cream.
The first thing that may to come to mind when you hear the word Adirondack might be Adirondack chairs - or as we Canadians like to call them - Muskoka chairs. Located in upstate New York, Adirondack Park spans over 6 million acres and is considered to be the largest park in the Lower 48. It was here in the thick of nature that inspired some dude to design and create the perfect cottage lounging Adirondack chairs.
Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana along the US-Canada border just south of Waterton Lakes National Park. Together these two parks formed the first ever International Peace Park to better preserve and protect the shared ecosystem along the Continental Divide. Spanning across a million acres, Glacier National Park is home to 25 active glaciers (although scientists estimate they will all disappear by 2030), 71 species of mammals (including the grizzly bear!), and 151 trails (totaling 1,200km). The Going-to-the-Sun Road, the park's only road that cuts through the park, offers exhilarating views as you're winding around, through, and over the mountainous terrain.
Philadelphia served as the capital of the United States for nearly a decade towards the end of the 18th century. It was here in the Philadelphia State House (more commonly known today as Independence Hall) where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were vigorously debated and ultimately drafted and signed by the founding forefathers of the United States. It was also here in that same State House where the Declaration of Independence was read out loud to the public for the first time on July 8th 1776. But that wasn't the only "first" for the city of Philadelphia. It is home to the first university, the first zoo, the first art institution, the first hospital, and the first public library in the United States.
New Hampshire is home to a network of over 150 mountains where the majority of which have an elevation greater than 3,000 ft. The White Mountains range alone covers around a quarter of New Hampshire where many of these high peak mountains are located. And while there are plenty of opportunities for downhill skiing in this area we decided upon cross-country skiing at the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, which boasts of being home to the best cross-country skiing area in New England.
Located along the eastern coast of Rhode Island, Newport was the place to vacation in the summer during the height of the Gilded Age in the late 1880s. Many of the most powerful and wealthy people - including the Vanderbilt - spent the summer vacationing in these insanely luxurious mansions. Some of these "summer cottages", complete with their original furnishings and decorations, have been preserved and (for a small fee) are open to the public to catch a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous from over a hundred years ago.
The first national park was established here in Yellowstone. Situated along much of northwestern Wyoming and parts of neighbouring Montana and Idaho, even over a hundred years ago there was a collective need to protect and preserve the abundant wildlife and many geothermal features surrounding the area. Today Yellowstone boasts of being one of the largest ecosystems in the Lower 48 to support a wide variety of animals - including many endangered species like the grizzly bear, gray wolf and American bison. Resting atop an active supervolcano, it is also home to half of the world's geothermal features.
The Shenandoah Valley stretches across 200 miles between the Blue Ridge Mountains in the east and the Appalachians in the west. The Shenandoah National Park encompasses around half of that stretch from Front Royal in the north to Rockfish Gap in the south. The Skyline Drive, the main road that winds through the park, offers sweeping views of rolling hills from the neighbouring mountain ranges in either direction.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the United States, but it sure has a big history for being a luxurious summer retreat for the the rich and powerful during the height of the Gilded Age. With its close proximity to the ocean (and of New York) many of the wealthy - including the Vanderbilts, spent the summer vacationing here during the late 1800s. Many of these elaborate Newport mansions, complete with their original furnishings and decoration, have been preserved and (for a small fee) are open to the public to catch a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and the famous from over a hundred years ago.