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.
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:
Albert Einstein Memorial
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Get your Christmas holiday season started with a trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, to see this magnificent estate decked out in dazzling holiday decor. This fun and fast timelapse video of the tree raising celebration demonstrates what it takes to get such a large tree set up and decorated in the huge Banquet Hall. Lots of people come to watch this amazing event. The Biltmore is the largest private home in the United States, built in the late 1800s by the Vanderbilt family, and Christmas time is the best time of year to visit this extraordinary mansion as it's beautifully decorated for the season.