USA Travel Videos

Mobile games can are a great ways to make air travel and days at sea just cruise by.  We decided to pick a few games that you should consider loading on your phone or ipad before your next trip.  

Roterra

A great new game released by Dig-iT! Games on the App store  has you wondering which way is up as you play.  The genre is a relaxing puzzle game, according to the developers, that was recently previewed at the MAGFest Indie Video Game showcase.  The fairytale environments have all the trimmings with a princess trying to regain her title as Queen of Roterra while her evil brother throws challenging puzzles and evil knights to block her path.  We got to play some levels and watch others at MAGFest and were amazed by the polish and progressive challenge in this game. This game is great for the whole family with a 4+ age rating on the App Store. If you liked Monument Valley and the Go series games (Lara Croft Go) then you will feel right at home with this new game from Dig-iT! Games.  Roterra is currently available on the AppStore and has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.  It is premium game where you pay once and there are not ads.

Top iOS Puzzle Games

 

Where Shadows Slumber

A puzzle game by Game Revenant on the App store and Google Play has you playing in the shadows to solve the puzzle to progress forward.  The graphics and unique use of shadows in the game caught our interest and game play provided a good balance of progression for the puzzle.  Our ony surprise in this game was the mild violence in the cut scenes.  You can be the judge on family use but the rating is 12+ on the App Store.  Where Shadows Slumber is available for sale on the App Store and Google Play with 4.4 out of 5 stars.  This is also a premium game.

where shadows slumber

 

Donut County

When Apple made this game of the year in 2018 it is is a pretty sure bet that everyone will be able to find some fun in this puzzle game.  Yes another puzzle game, but who doesn't like puzzles.  These are the perfect types of games for short escapes that are perfect for passing time - just think flight delayed.  In this game you play as an every growing hole in the ground where you consume characters and loot(trash) along the way.  Not sure about playing as a hole.  Well the reality is your are a Racoon that is controllig the hole.  This is a great game for anyone in the family.  Donut County is a premium title available on the App Store.

Donut County Game

Make your winter holiday visit to Washington D.C. special at the U.S. Botanic Garden exhibit.  The holiday season elevates this local attraction to a top thing to do in DC with it's amazing train and model exhibit.  This year it is all about train stations from around the country  vs the 2017 display features model trains traveling through an exhibit of roadside attratctions from around the country with each state represented.  Fair warning that this is a busy exhibit, typically with lines and parking in the area over the holidays is very limited.  This is a great family excursion exploring the 50 state road side attraction while trains whistle by and Thomas the tank engine chugs along its tracks.  

Plant Based Season Greetings

Tradtional Season's  Greetings includes pine trees and pine wreaths but get ready for something unique. Your visit to the Botanic Gardens will deliver you an architecutral experience of how plant materials are used to build the models of many of the Washington D.C. landmarks. There are twelve plant-based model in the 2017 exhibit that incorporate materials such as corriander seeds, willow sticks, pine cone scales and over 70 more plant materials.  It would be a great eye spy game to try and find each and every plant material used on the models.  This is painstaking work with U.S. Capitol builidng taking over 600 hours to construct but what an amazing sight.  Models on exhibit this year are include the following:

U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory

U.S. Supreme Court

Washington Monument

White House

Albert Einstein Memorial

U.S. Capitol

Jefferson Memorial 

Library of Congress

Lincoln Memorial

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of American Indian

Smithsonian Institiute Castle

Railroad Station Botanic Garden Exhibit 2018

The 2018 hoilday exhibit feature train stations from around the country which is so appropriate because there are trains.  You can read more about this years exhibit here.

Biltmore Depot North Carolina 1896
Cannondale Metro-North Railroad Station Connecticut 1852
Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal New Jersey 1889
Chattanooga Train Shed Tennesse 1859
Cincinnati Union Terminal Ohio 1933
Citrus Train and Citrus Groves Diorama Florida 1925
Dinosaur Depot -- --
East Glacier Park Station Montana 1912
Ellicott City Station Maryland 1830
Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station Pennsylvania 1859
Grain Elevator Minnesota --
Grain Fields Kansas --
Grand Canyon Depot Arizona 1910
Grand Central Terminal New York 1871
Kirkwood Missouri Pacific Station Missouri 1839
Lahaina Station Hawaii 1970
Los Angeles Union Station California 1939
Michigan Central Station Michigan 1913
North Bennington Depot Vermont 1880
North Pole Station -- --
Peanut Farms Alabama --
Pennsylvania Station (interior) New York 1910
Pikes Peak Cog Railway Colorado 1891
Point of Rocks Station Maryland 1860s
Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot Utah 1909
Santa Fe Depot California 1887
Santa Fe Depot Oklahoma 1928
Union Station Washington 1910
Union Station D.C. 1907
Viaduct Train Hotel Maryland 1873
Vicksburg Train Barge Mississippi 1907

 

 

50 State Roadside Botanic Exhibits in 2017

 There are more than 40 roadside exhibits at the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory this year expressing America's love for the automobile.  If you are a Route 66 enthusiast you will recognize many of the attractions.  But there is so much more like the first on the list below that honors one of the most destructive pest ever on U.S. soil.

Boll Weevil Monument Alabama
Cadillac Ranch Texas
Coffee Pot and Cup Water Towers Iowa  
Coney Island Hot Dog Stand Colorado
Corn Palace South Dakota
Dinosaur Park Dinosaurs South Dakota
Earn of Corn Water Tower Minnesota
Elwood, The World’s Tallest Concrete Gnome Iowa
Golden Driller Statue Oklahoma
Hollywood Sign California
Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue Georgia
Jolly Green Giant Statue Minnesota
Leaning Tower of Niles Illinois
Lucy the Elephant New Jersey
Mr. Potato Head Statue Rhode Island
Mt. Rushmore South Dakota
Niagara Falls and Maid of the Mist Boat New York
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Minnesota
Peachoid Water Tower South Carolina, Alabama
Pineapple Water Tower Hawaii
Randy’s Donuts California
Route 66 Diner New Mexico
Santa Monica Pier California
Sapp Bros. Coffee Pot Water Tower Nebraska
See Rock City Barn Tennessee
Spoonbridge and Cherry Minnesota
Teapot Dome Gas Station Washington
The Big Chair Washington, D.C.
The Big Duck New York
The Blue Whale Oklahoma
Twistee Treat Florida, Texas, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois
Volkswagen Beetle Spider Iowa, Alabama, California, Nevada, Idaho, Pennsylvania
Watermelon Water Tower Texas
Wawona Tree Tunneled Sequoia California
“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign Nevada
Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower) Illinois
World’s Largest Basket Ohio
World’s Largest Bat Kentucky
World’s Largest Chili Pepper New Mexico
World’s Largest Pecan Texas
World’s Largest Pistachio New Mexico

Austin Texas - Live Music Austin Texas - Live Music

Austin Texas is a perfect long weekend getaway with over 200 live music venues, awesome food, tons of entertainment, and many unique landmarks. This capital city in Texas is a top destination for music lovers, foodies and those looking for a fun and funky city for a getaway. Many compare it to Portland, Oregon, so if you are looking for that vibe, a trip to Austin might be a good choice for you. Four days is barely enough to scratch the surface of this live music capital of the world.  We tried cramming in as much as we could on a walking tour of the city in just four days, using an occasional Uber ride here and there to save time and our feet.  This video best captures the essence of what Austin is all about - live music.  

Garden of the Gods | American Photographic Garden of the Gods | American Photographic

Looking for an American West getaway, full of classic western scenery with red rocks, high deserts, Rocky Mountain peaks, with dozens of attractions and activities to enjoy nature, adventure, culture and much more?  Then Colorado Springs, Colorado, has it all; anything and everything you could possibly want to satisfy your wanderlust for a vacation in the western USA.  

Colorado Springs, situated at the base of America's famous mountain, Pikes Peak with the magnificent red rock formations of Garden of the Gods in its shadow, offers so many ways to enjoy the impressive landscape and experience the history of this region.  If all you have is a few days and want to escape to a stunning western location in one concentrated area with a huge variety of activities that will satisfy all your interests, then this is the place to go, right in the middle of the USA.  Here's a look at the best things to see over three days in Colorado Springs, although a week or a lifetime would be better.

There is only one - The Greenbrier There is only one - The Greenbrier

Vacation in grand style at The Greenbrier resort in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia.  This magnificent resort, also referred to as America's Resort, is a National Historic Landmark that has been welcoming guests since 1778.  Presidents, royalty, dignitaries and other luminaries have visited this resort over the years. It boasts 11,000 acres of luxurious accommodations and endless activities.  The video will give you a flavor of the grandeur of this huge white hotel, that at first glance looks like The White House.

Planning a trip to Bend, Oregon, should include a trip to the High Desert Museum.  What better way to spend a day after some great hikes in the local area over a few days?  Isn't it time to put up your feet for a bit and explore some early American culture.  The High Desert Museum in Bend is a great place to take the family to explore some history in 135 acres of high desert country.  Explore this travel video on this Oregon attraction created from photos we captured during our visit to help you decide if the museum should be part of your planned itinerary. 

Visit New York City At Christmas Duncan Currier/Flickr/CC-BY modified

New York City is a bustling place to be at Christmas for a truly dazzling, bright lights, and big city holiday experience.  Around every corner, along the wide avenues of skyscrapers as high as you can see, there are festive lights and holiday displays lighting up the Big Apple.  Here are a few must-see things when visiting this city at Christmas. 

Welcome to Mount Vernon Welcome to Mount Vernon

This very informative short video of Mount Vernon, George Washington's home situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, gives you a glimpse of the many things you can see and do at this estate.  You may be surprised at how much there is to see where you could easily spend an entire day there. 

Visit Mount Vernon Visit Mount Vernon

Explore beautiful Mount Vernon, Virginia, in this uplifting and delightful aerial tour of George Washington's estate and grounds.  This video takes you on a sweeping tour above and all around the stately mansion and its beautifully manicured gardens and grounds.  George Washington, the first president of the United States, lived in this home with his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis, in the late 18th century. 

Every year the city of Alexandria Virginia has a Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.  A sea of tartan colors, kilts, dogs, cars and fists full of candy await those willing to brave the cold weather and get out and see the parade.  This video captures some of the highlights of the parade.  Family clans participate in the parade making one wonder if they all got a along or were enemies in the past.   

Many of the Scottish clansmen parade with their bagpipes through Old Town Alexandria as well as more formal bands locally and from cities as far away as New York. This very family-friendly holiday event is a traditional favorite of the community and a great day for travelers to spend the day exploring the charming historic town.

So why a Scottish Christmas parade you ask?  In 1749, the city of Alexandria was officially established by three Scottish merchants. The city is also named after the founder John Alexander, who is of Scottish descent. Today, the city continues celebrating its heritage with a weekend of festivities including a tour of historic homes, a children’s tea party, a Celtic Concert and a Christmas Marketplace and Café.

Travelers to Washington D.C. in December should check their arriaval dates to see if this coincides with their planned trip.  The parade is in the morning followed by other holiday events that culminate with a parade of boats on the Potomac river.  Alexandria VA is accesible from Washington via subway (Metro) or a short cab or Uber ride.

Finally in case you were wondering, yes Santa does show up.  This year Darth Vader did as well...hmm