Where have you been? Where would you like to travel in the United States?
We’re curious to hear from our readers on these questions.
So, we’re highlighting places across the country to gauge our readers’ experiences and plans.
Let us know what you’ve seen and what you’re hoping to visit.
You can tell us by clicking on the “Ask Me a Question” button in our site’s Travel Center.
Have you ever been to the Route 66 Mother Road Museum in Barstow, California?
It’s full of memorabilia and artifacts from that famous highway that ran from Los Angeles to Chicago.
The roadway opened in 1926 and was a favorite route for travelers and truckers alike because it avoided the Rocky Mountains on its path from the Midwest to California.
Most of the highway has been replaced by freeways, in particular Interstate 40.
However, there are still stretches you can drive. The longest section is the 87 miles from Kingman, Arizona, to Seligman, Arizona.
Have you ever driven any part of the original Route 66?
On the other side of the country is Freeport, Maine.
The coastal town has been the headquarters of the L. L. Bean clothing company ever since Leon Leonwood Bean founded it in 1912.
The 220,000-square-foot flagship store has been here since 1917. It features a large sculpture of a hiking boot out front.
In a typical year, the store will get 3 million visitors.
The beaches along both coasts of Florida are popular, but have you ever been to St. Augustine, the oldest incorporated city in the United States?
Here are two places to visit.
One is the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The 15-acre park is touted as the likely landing spot of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. The Spring House lets you sip some of the water from the underground aquifer located there.
The other is the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. The 5,000 square foot facility contains 800 pirate artifacts, including the world’s oldest wanted posted, the only surviving real pirate’s chest and one of only three surviving Jolly Roger flags
The longest stretch of pavement in the country is actually U.S. Route 20, an east-west highway that stretches from Highway 101 in Newport, Oregon, to U.S. Route 2 in Boston, Massachusetts
It’s 3,365 miles, making it the longest road in the United States. U.S. 20 basically parallels Interstate 90, which is the longest interstate in the country at 3,020 miles.
Route 20 is still only two lanes, having never been widened. It was officially named a highway in 1926.
The roadway goes through 12 states. They are Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts
They built it and people did come.
The town of Dyersville, Iowa, with a population of 4,200, is the home of the baseball diamond in a corn field that was the location for the 1989 movie, “Field of Dreams.”
The baseball field was built on two farms just northeast of Dyersville. After filming, the two families ran separate tourist operations with souvenir stands.
In 2007, the Lansing family bought their neighbor’s property. In 2012, Go The Distance purchased the field.
In a typical year, as many as 100,000 visitors make the pilgrimage. The facility can hold 6,000 fans.
In the past, there have been “Ghost Teams” that entertained crowds on Sundays.
By the way, the corn grown on the field is used as feed for livestock.
Do you like chili? Have you ever eaten Cincinnati chili?
It’s a special recipe of spicy sauce poured over pasta and topped with kidney or refried beans as well as chopped onions, shredded cheddar cheese and crushed oyster crackers.
There are plenty of places to savor this dish in this Ohio city.
Cincinnati has more than 180 chili parlors. About 100 of those are Gold Star and Skyline Chili restaurants.
One of the more popular is the Camp Washington Chili parlor. It’s been open since 1940.
Every February 2, we read about Phil the groundhog making his predictions about how much longer winter will last.
Have you ever been to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the Groundhog Day tradition is spotlighted?
It’s about an hour and a half northeast of Pittsburgh in a part of western Pennsylvania known for its oil and coal industries.
Groundhog Day comes from a German tradition involving the burrowing animal and its shadow. It’s been celebrated in the United States since 1840 and in Punxsutawney since 1886.
Punxsutawney Phil was first introduced in 1961. He resides year-round in a burrow at the city’s library. You can view him from outside the library through a large glass window.
You can see other animals in the wild at the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
West Yellowstone, Montana, is the home of the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. The facility opened in 1993. It ‘s a wildlife park where visitors can look through windows to observe “nuisance bears” and orphaned cubs that live at the center.
There’s also three wolf packs with seven wolves.
Time is on your side in another town in Pennsylvania.
The village of Columbia is home to the National Watch and Clock Museum, one of the few museums in the world devoted to horology (the study of time). The displays here cover the history of time pieces from early sun dials and hour glasses to wrist watches to atomic clocks.
There are a total of 12,000 items in the museum.
Is the Wizard of Oz one your favorite movies?
If so, you might want to visit Wamego, Kansas.
It’s home to the Oz Museum, which contains 2,000 artifacts from the 1939 film as well as the original book and the musical “Wicked.”
The town of 4,000 people also has a number of Oz-themed businesses, including Toto’s TacOZ and the Oz Winery.
What toys have had the biggest impact on our society?
Some of our more famous playthings are showcased at the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York.
The display is in the The Strong’s National Museum of Play.
More than 70 toys have been inducted so far.
If you remember the “Little House on the Prairie” television show, you might want to put De Smet, South Dakota, on your road trip itinerary.
This is where Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the “Little House on the Prairie” books that the television program was based on, grew up.
The town of 1,000 residents has a Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, which provides tours of some of the historic spots in town. They include the Ingalls Home & Museum.
There’s also a Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant held in July. A presentation from one of Wilder’s books is part of the festivities.
Salem, Massachusetts, is known for its witch-related tourist attractions.
However, it also was the home of author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote “The House of the Seven Gables” and “The Scarlett Letter” while living here.
You can visit the house with its seven gables that was the setting for that novel.
It was originally built in 1668 for Captain John Turner.
If you visit Syracuse in upstate New York, you can see the Erie Canal Museum as well as the Salt Museum.
However, there is also an upside down traffic light. It’s located on Tipperary Hill at the intersection of Milton Avenue and Tompkins Street west of downtown.
The light is green on top and red on the bottom. It was installed in 1925.
Originally, it had red on top, but Irish youths from Syracuse reportedly didn’t like the British (red) being on top of the Irish (green).
So, they threw rocks and repeatedly broke the lights. City leaders agreed in 1928 to switch the lights to their current slots.
The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is an incredible vista you just have to see. Photographs don’t do it justice.
But there is also a small item there with a great love story behind it.
The item is Matrimony Rock, which is located not too far from the El Tovar hotel at the main parking lot on the canyon’s southern side.
The name comes from a heart-shaped rock in the middle of the stone wall that runs along the edge of the canyon.
The story goes that in 1934 a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps who was helping build the wall fell in love with one of the “Harvey Girls” waitresses at the El Tovar. Since the young women had to stay single under her contract, the construction crew member placed the heart-shaped stone in the wall where his love could see it from her room in Colter Hall.
Rumor has it that the couple eventually did get married. Whether that’s true or not, it hasn’t stopped the romanticism behind the “heart rock.”
If you were ever a Girl Scout, you might want to stop by a house in Savannah, Georgia.
The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace spotlights the life of the woman who founded the Girl Scouts in 1912.
Low was born in this home in 1860. The residence was built in 1821. Low’s grandparents purchased it in 1831.
The house is one of the most visited sites in Savannah, a city also known for its downtown parks, its majestic homes and the American Prohibition Museum.
Ohio has its place in the history of the U.S. space programs.
The state is the birthplace of two of the country’s most famous astronauts.
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, was born in Cambridge, Ohio. When he was 2, his family moved to New Concord, Ohio. There is a John & Annie Glenn Museum in his childhood home in New Concord.
Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, is also an Ohio native. He was born in Wapakoneta. There is a historical marker at his boyhood home there. In addition, the town is home to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum that spotlights Armstrong’s life as well as Ohio’s contributions to the nation’s aerospace industry.
If you’re ever in Mentor, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie, you might want to check out the James A. Garfield National Historic Site .
This is the home where Garfield conducted the nation’s first successful “front porch” presidential campaign in 1880. He stayed at home while voters and journalists traveled to Mentor to hear him. Garfield won that election by about 100,000 votes.
The Memorial Library built in the home by the family in 1885 became the first presidential library in the country. The site was designated as a National Historic Site in 1980.
Three other successful presidential candidates adopted Garfield’s front porch strategy. They were Benjamin Harrison in 1892, William McKinley in 1896 and Warren G. Harding in 1920.
There hasn’t been such a close-to-home presidential campaign since Harding, but during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 Democrat Joe Biden staged a lot of his successful campaign from the basement of his home in Delaware.
Who knows? With technological advances and the public’s comfortable attitude toward online viewing, we may see more at-home presidential campaigns in the future.
If you are a student of presidential history, then Springfield, Illinois, needs to be on your itinerary.
That city in central Illinois is where Abraham Lincoln set up his law practice as a young adult. He lived there the rest of his life and is buried in a cemetery near town.
Places you can visit include Lincoln’s old law office, the only home he ever owned and the train station where he gave an address before he rode off to Washington, D.C., to be sworn in as president.
While you’re in Springfield, you can also visit the Cozy Dog Drive In where the corn dog was invented in 1946 as well as the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop, which claims to have had the first drive-through service window.
Many people have been to Philadelphia, but there’s a place less than an hour away that is steeped in American Revolutionary War history.
Washington Crossing Historic Park sits on the Delaware River a little northeast of Philadelphia.
As the name implies, it’s the place where General George Washington crossed the river on December 25, 1776, to launch a surprise attack on troops supportive of the British cause.
The 500-acre Pennsylvania park has 13 historic buildings, including a barn that contains replicas of the Durham boats used by Washington and his soldiers.
There’s also a Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey on the other side of the Delaware River where Washington’s forces landed.
If you’re in Philadelphia, you only need to drive a half-hour to get to Valley Forge National Historic Park, the site of the winter encampment of 12,000 soldiers of the Continental Army under the command of General George Washington from Dec. 19, 1777, to June 19, 1778.
The 3,600-acre park preserves the historic site and provides an interpretation of the history of that winter encampment.
Visitors can see historic structures such as Washington’s headquarters as well as reconstructed buildings such as the log cabins the soldiers lived in and a display of cannons at Artillery Park.
If you’re visiting Mount Rushmore to see that famous presidential monument in South Dakota, you might want to make a stop at Wall, South Dakota.
The town of 800 is a little more than an hour east of the landmark along Interstate 90.
The community is a favorite stop for tourists because of the Wall Drug Store.
The pharmacy was purchased in 1931 by Ted Hustead. He and his wife, Dorothy, barely kept the store going for five years when in 1936 she came up with the idea of offering free ice water to motorists speeding along I-90 through the dusty Badlands territory.
The couple put up signs along the highway advertising the free water and people have been coming ever since.
Over the decades, small dining facilities, a soda fountain, a few bars and the Western Art Gallery Restaurant with 500 seats and 300 oil paintings have been added.
The drug store still offers free ice water and a 5-cent cups of coffee.
The store was featured prominently in the 2020 movie “Nomadland.”
In a typical year, the Wall Drug Store will get 2 million visitors.
If you stop in the town of Peru, Indiana, don’t forget to check out the International Circus Hall of Fame.
The community used to be the winter encampment of a number of circuses, including Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth.
The museum is on the site of those winter camps. It contains artifacts and memorabilia from the heyday of the traveling circuses.
If you can’t make it to New Orleans in February for Mardi Gras, there’s still a way to enjoy those festivities.
Mardi Gras World sits between the French Quarter and the city’s Garden District.
The 300,000-square-foot warehouse serves as a workplace for people who construct parade floats.
They supply these rolling extravaganzas for about 40 parades a year, including Mardi Gras.
The complex the largest float design facility in the world.
When the warehouse is open, one-hour tours are given for those who want to see the inner workings of the parade float business.
Detroit is known for its automobile manufacturing, but it’s also known as the home of Motown Records.
You can take in the history of Gordon Berry Jr.’s record company at the Motown Museum.
The museum is in the home where Berry and his family lived. It was established in 1985 by Gordy’s sister.
Besides the memorabilia, you can also stand in Studio A, where many Motown legends recorded their legendary songs.
An expansion project called “Hitsville USA” is under way.
For music lovers, there’s also the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.
One of the gems along Route 66 is in the town of Stroud in central Oklahoma.
If you’re fan of the Pixar movie “Cars,” then you’ll want to make this a stop along the way.
That’s because the main attraction in this community of 2,700 people is the Rock Café.
The restaurant opened in 1939. It was built from sandstone discarded during the construction of Route 66.
The café has had numerous owners over the years. Dawn Welch has been its proprietor since 1993 when she bought the café at the age of 23.
In 2001, some Pixar officials came through Stroud as they were researching the animated film. They not only liked the landscape, they also really liked Welch. In fact, they based the character of Radiator Springs hotel owner Sally Carrera on her.
Business tripled after the movie premiered.
The Rock Café has plenty of memorabilia from the movie hanging on its walls. They include posters autographed by Pixar executives. There are also cardboard cutouts of some of the “Cars” from the movie outside the restaurant.
Inside is a grill named “Betsy” that has been in use here for more than 75 years. It’s estimated that Betsy has cooked up 5 million burgers and chicken fried steaks in that time.
Finally, have you ever stood at the intersection of 2nd and Kinsley in Winslow, Arizona?
That corner is the location of a park that pays tribute to the 1972 Eagles’ song “Take It Easy.”
In that song, the Eagles sing “I’m a-standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see. There’s a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”
This town of 9,600 people in northeastern Arizona uses the classic song as a marketing tool.
The Standin’ on The Corner park in downtown Winslow includes a mural of a girl in a flat-bed Ford as well as a statue of a musician that looks a lot like singer Jackson Browne, who co-wrote the Eagles’ song.