Tennessee is fast becoming a top destination spot in the United States. And Nashville is the place to visit on any trip to the state. Whether you’re a fan of country music or just want to soak in the natural surroundings, there’s plenty for everyone in Nashville. Here are our picks for some of the top things to do in Nashville:
Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry has been a live radio staple since 1925, and has seen its share of country stars. This is one stop that you don’t want to miss. Take a tour to learn more about the history of the Grand Ole Opry and country music in general, and make sure that you get tickets for one of the daily live stage performances.
Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. If you are a nature or art lover, the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens will capture your heart. Meander through the 55-acre botanical gardens and its greenhouses, sculpture trail and chromatic flower displays. Then, visit the Cheek mansion for its impressive collection of 19th – and 20th-century American art and other artifacts from around the world.
The Hermitage. The home of President Andrew Jackson, the Hermitage is a National Historic Landmark that gives us a glimpse into this president’s home life. Built in the Greek Revival style, the mansion sits on a 1,000-acre estate. Guided tours will take you through various parts of the home, a log cabin on the grounds, Jackson’s tomb and the Old Hermitage Church. You’ll also learn the history of the 150 slaves that lived on the grounds from 1804 to 1865.
The Parthenon. Although we normally associate Nashville with country music, it also bears the nickname of the “Athens of the South”, due to the number of universities and places of higher education in the area. In fact, this was brought to life at the Centennial Exhibition of 1897 when a full-size replica of the Parthenon was built. Although it was meant to be temporary, the Parthenon in Nashville has endured – including down to replicas of the statues found in the original structure in Greece. Today, you can visit the Parthenon and Centennial Park for a walk along the trails, or indulge in an outdoor concert, movie or theater performance.
Nelson's Green Brier Distillery. Tennessee is known for its whiskey and bourbon, so take an opportunity to learn a bit of history from a distillery that has its roots in the 1800s. Charles Nelson began producing whiskey in the late 1800s in Greenbrier, Tennessee. In fact, his whiskey was so popular that he sold over 2 million bottles in 1885 alone! After he died, his wife carried on the tradition until Prohibition shut them down in 1909. In 2009, his great-great-great grandsons, Andy and Charlie Nelson, revived the business and brought it to Nashville. Today, you can take a tour of the distillery and tasting room and learn more about its history.
Historic RCA Studio B. Take a step back in time at the Historic RCA Studio B that launched the careers of many country music stars, including Elvis, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson. This is the studio that put country music on the map, and you can relive some of that nostalgia through its tours and educational programs. It continues to pay it forward by teaching students the technology of music and the science of sound.
Arrington Vineyards. If whiskey isn’t your favorite drink, then head out to Arrington Vineyards in Arrington, Tennessee. Founded by country music star Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, this beautiful vineyard is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the wine tasting experience. This is a great afternoon jaunt for if you’re on a Nashville Bachelorette party trip!
Belle Meade Plantation. Known as the “Queen of the Tennessee Plantations”, the Belle Meade Plantation was built in 1853 in the Greek Revival style. Here, you’ll get a taste of its history as guides dress in period costume and take you through this antebellum mansion (complete with bullet holes in the columns from the Civil War). It’s home to the country’s first thoroughbred breeding farms, and the Iroquois Steeplechase – the oldest in the US. Take a tour of the mansion, learn the history of the plantation’s slaves, or even take a Segway ride through the arboretum and grounds.
Broadway. The best place to get a taste of live country music in Nashville is the nightlife on Broadway, Nashville’s main thoroughfare. Whether it’s the iconic Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, or Robert’s Western World, there’s a honky-tonk for everyone to chill out and enjoy the Nashville music scene.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. No trip to Nashville would be complete without a stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Relive some of the great moments of country music walking through the exhibits and seeing the artifacts of the most well-known celebrities in the business.
Nashville is a great choice for your next vacation, and Luxury Destinations Concierge is ready to help you plan your trip. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
When you think of New Orleans, there are several things that come to mind: Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, music and food, and, if you’re a football fan, the New Orleans Saints. But there is so much more to New Orleans that we thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look.
Jackson Square. At the very center of New Orleans sits Jackson Square. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, this public square is just bursting with live performers and artists, and is surrounded by restaurants, art galleries and shops that will give you a small sampling of New Orleans.
St. Louis Cathedral. Proudly on display in Jackson Square is St. Louis Cathedral, the longest continually active Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Dating back to at least 1789, the church is named after Louis IX of France. The current Spanish colonial building was constructed in 1850, and an inside tour will reveal the beautiful stained glass windows and Rococo-styled gilded altar. As you walk around, you may notice that the floor has a slight tilt – the building is actually sinking.
City Park. Take a stroll through City Park – the 6th largest urban park in the U.S. Built on swampland in the early 19th century, it was originally knows as the “Dueling Oaks”, where many city disputes were settled. The park is home to some of the world’s oldest oak trees – some dating back 600 years.
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is New Orleans oldest cemetery and sits a block away from the French Quarter. Several famous historical figures are buried here, including the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and the aristocrat Bernard de Marigny. The cemetery is no longer open to the public, but you can take a guided tour of the cemetery, where you’ll learn more about those buried in the cemetery. You may even get a glimpse of the plot that Nicolas Cage has purchased.
French Quarter. You can’t visit New Orleans without at least walking through the French Quarter of the city. This is the heart and soul of New Orleans, and there is much that will attract your attention. To get the most out of your visit to the French Quarter, consider taking a walking tour.
Garden District. For a close look at how the upper class lived in New Orleans, visit the Garden District. Here, you’ll find Italianate and Greek Revival mansions such as the Goldsmith-Godchaux House, the Brevard-Rice House, The Manse and Colonel Short’s Villa. Take a guided tour of the district to hear more of the history and learn about some of the more famous residents.
Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. The plantations around New Orleans were known for their sugarcane, so it’s appropriate that the oldest premium rum distillery is located in New Orleans. Located in a 150-year old cotton warehouse, the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery produces rums and pre-mixed cocktails from Louisiana sugarcane molasses. There is a 45-minute tour of the facility, where you’ll learn how the molasses is fermented, distilled and aged to become rum, and, of course, taste some of the results.
Whitney Plantation. Founded in 1752, the current Spanish Creole house was built in 1803 as the plantation shifted from growing indigo to sugarcane. The plantation opened to the public in 2014, and is the only plantation in New Orleans that is dedicated to telling the story of the slaves living there. The 90-minute tour will take you through the slave cabins, the owner’s house and various outbuildings as well as a freedman’s church.
Oak Alley Plantation. On the west bank of the Mississippi lies this beautiful plantation, which is accessible down a 240-meter alley of live southern oaks. Take the tour of the grounds and learn more about the lives of the men, women and children who were kept at Oak Alley, including how one slave was the first person to figure out how to propagate individual pecan trees.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve protects six different locations around New Orleans and encompasses bayou, prairie, swamp and the site of the Battle of New Orleans (1815) at Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery. Each center allows you to experience New Orleans from a historical and geographical perspective.
New Orleans Jazz Museum. There is nothing more synonymous with New Orleans than jazz, so make sure that the New Orleans Jazz Museum is on your “must see” list. Here, you’ll see an amazing collection of notable jazz memorabilia including the first ever jazz recording from 1917, Louis Armstrong’s first coronet and other instruments played by jazz greats like Sidney Bechet, George Lewis and Dizzy Gillespie. Enjoy the thousands of jazz recordings and photos that document the earliest days of jazz. And, of course, if you’re lucky you’ll be treated to a live jazz concert or two.
Café du Monde. While there are many restaurants and eateries in New Orleans that will entice you with their unique regional dishes, the one place that makes any trip to New Orleans complete is Café du Monde. Originally opened in 1862, this coffee stand is famous the world over for its coffee blended with chicory, and its beignets. Once you try them, you’ll be hooked.
As you can see, there is a lot more to New Orleans than meets the eye. Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437, and we’ll help make your next trip to New Orleans memorable.
Hawaii has always been one of the top vacation destinations, and the good news is that Hawaii will be lifting its quarantine restrictions soon. That means it’s time to think about your next vacation to the Hawaiian Islands.
There are 137 islands that make up the state of Hawaii, there are 4 that people remember the most: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and the island of Hawaii. Here are the top things to do on each of these islands:
Kauai. Kauai is the fourth largest island, and truly earns it’s nickname of the “Garden Island”. Picturesque views, lush valleys, tropical rainforests and more form the backdrop for any trip to this island. There’s plenty to see here, including:
Oahu. Oahu, home of Hawaii’s capital Honolulu and most of its diverse population, is the third largest island. There is plenty to see and do on Oahu - here are just a few:
Maui. Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii and is nicknamed “The Valley Isle”. It has been voted the “Best Island in the US” by Conde Nast Traveler for readers for the last 20 years – and it’s no wonder. There is so much to do on Maui that it’s hard to narrow it down. Here’s what stands out:
The Island of Hawaii. Also known as the “Big Island”, the island of Hawaii is the largest island in Hawaii. In fact, it’s almost twice as big as all the other islands combined. Here are just a few things that you will want to see and do while on the Big Island:
Are you ready to start planning your trip to Hawaii? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’ll help you make the most of your island getaway.
There’s a lot to learn about the United States, and most of it isn’t taught in history books. Here is the last installment of our look at some of the little-known state facts:
Ohio. The Ohio state flag is the only state flag that isn’t a rectangle. It’s believed that the designer may have been inspired by the shape of a pennant carried by the U.S. Cavalry. There’s also quite a bit of symbolism in the flag. The red circle represents the buckeye, while the white ring around it is an “O” for “Ohio.” The triangles are meant to symbolize the state’s hills and valleys. The 17 stars remind us that Ohio was the 17th state to join the Union in 1803 (although due to an oversight it wasn’t made “official” until 1953 – retroactively of course!).
Oklahoma. Oklahoma is known as the Sooner state for good reason. In 1889, when the U.S. government had planned to open approximately 2 million acres of land for settlement, many people entered the land before the land’s run designated time. These people were dubbed “sooners.” In 1908, the year after Oklahoma officially became a state, the University of Oklahoma’s football team took “Sooners” as its nickname. The nickname became so popular that the state adopted it as its official nickname.
Oregon. The world’s smallest park is located in Portland, Oregon. Mill Ends Park is a only 2-square feet, and was the creation of Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan. In 1948 he claimed to have spotted a leprechaun digging in that spot, and after running out of his office and catching it, made a wish for his very own park. Many years and several creative musings on the two-foot circle later, the city designated it an official park in 1976. It’s also considered the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland!
Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is home to the first drive-in gas station in 1913. While there were many places to buy gas before this Gulf Oil station opened, it was the first one designed specifically to sell gas. And the rest is history.
Rhode Island. The oldest tavern in the U.S. is the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island, which originally opened its doors in 1673. At nearly 350 years old, the restaurant is still up and running today!
South Carolina. Morgan Island, also known as Monkey Island, is an uninhabited island that is home to the only free-ranging colony of rhesus macaque monkeys in the United States. There are over 4,000 monkeys on the island. The original colony arrived in South Carolina via a Puerto Rico research facility in the 1970s, and has been used by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ever since.
South Dakota. The Crazy Horse mountain carving now in progress will be the world’s largest sculpture (563′ high, 641′ long, carved in the round). It is the focal point of an educational and cultural memorial to and for the North American Indian.
Tennessee. Tennessee hosts America’s longest-running radio show, The Grand Ole Opry. The show went on the air as the “WSM Barn Dance” in 1925. It was later deemed “The Grand Ole Opry” by show host George Hay, and it’s still on the air 95 years later.
Texas. The King Ranch in South Texas is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. It covers 1,289 square miles, versus Rhode Island which is only 1,212 square miles. There's also a windmill farm that's about seven times the size of Manhattan.
Utah. We associate Kentucky Fried Chicken with Kentucky, but it was actually first sold in Utah! Utahans were the first to buy and get a taste of KFC. It was at the Harman Cafe in Salk Lake City that Colonel Sanders experienced his first success with the fried chicken recipe.
Vermont. Vermont produces an average of 1.2 million gallons of maple syrup every year. That makes it the largest producer of maple syrup in the country.
Virginia. The first woman-run bank in the U.S. started in Richmond, Virginia. Maggie Lena Walker was a successful African American businesswoman who chartered a bank, St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, in 1903. She was the bank’s first president and later chairman of the board of directors, providing black bank patrons a safe space to do business in the Jim Crow South. After a merger with two other banks, it survived as the oldest continuous black-run bank in the U.S. until 2009.
Washington. Washington is the biggest producer of apples, raspberries, and sweet cherries in America. In fact, 6 out of 10 apples consumed in America are from Washington.
West Virginia. The historic Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs has hosted more than half of all U.S. Presidents. During the Cold War, it was also the location of a secret bunker where Congress could operate for up to 40 days in the event of a nuclear strike – until the Washington Post exposed the facility in 1992.
Wisconsin. Wisconsin prohibited the sale and use of margarine from 1895 to 1967 to protect its dairy industry. Although the ban has since been lifted, there are still some restrictions that remain on margarine. Today, it is still illegal for restaurants to serve their customers margarine in place of butter unless the customer requests for it.
Wyoming. There are only two sets of escalators in the entire state of Wyoming. Both are located in the city of Casper, and no one is exactly sure of the reason behind the strange rarity. Outside of stairs, some think that it may be due to the cost effectiveness and efficiency of elevators.
That wraps up our fact-finding mission across all 50 states! One thing is certain – the United States is truly unique from coast to coast!
Thinking about planning a vacation? Luxury Destinations Concierge is happy to help! Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
The United States truly is a marvel, and each state has its own traditions, history and customs that make them stand out. Then again, there are some things that are downright strange. We continue our astonishing list of weird state facts:
Louisiana. Louisiana is home to the longest continuous bridge over a body of water in the world. The Second Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is nearly 24 miles long and connects the towns of Metairie (just outside New Orleans) and Mandeville. For eight of those miles, you can’t see land at all.
Maine. There is a “desert” in Maine – a 40-acre parcel of land in Freeport, Maine that is all sand and silt. The Desert of Maine is the result of ancient glacier residue and over-farming the land which caused the soil to erode. You can actually camp in the desert, which is surrounded by the more recognizable coniferous forests.
Maryland. Founded in 1727, the Maryland Gazette is the oldest continuously published newspaper still in existence in the U.S. In 1910, it merged with the newspaper The Capital and has been printed under that name ever since.
Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, burritos are not legally sandwiches. In 2006, Panera Bread took Qdoba Mexican Grill to court over a leasing dispute in Worcester, MA. Panera’s lease stated that there couldn’t be another sandwich shop in the strip mall. After hearing both sides (and testimony from food experts), the judge ruled that a sandwich is made of two pieces of bread as opposed to the one tortilla needed to make a burrito.
Michigan. Michigan is the only non-contiguous state in the lower 48. It is made up of two peninsulas, separated by the Straits of Mackinac. It also is the only state that borders four of the five Great Lakes, and has the longest shoreline in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
Minnesota. In Minneapolis, you can get around downtown without ever going outside, thanks to the Minneapolis Skyway System. The covered pedestrian walkways connect buildings over 80 blocks of shops, restaurants, and other businesses so you can stay warm during the cold winter months.
Mississippi. When you buy a pair of shoes, you can thank Mississippi for it. The first store to sell shoes in pairs was Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1884.
Missouri. St. Louis hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics. It also happens to be the weirdest Olympics ever held. Only 12 countries participated, and the games lasted over five months due to some confusion with the St. Louis State Fair. The oddest event was the marathon. One runner was chased out of the marathon by a pack of dogs, while the "winner" hitched a ride on a car for most of the race. It was also the first time that gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
Montana. Montana holds the record for the most dramatic temperature change to occur over a 24-hour period. In Loma, the temperature rose from -54˚F to 49˚F on January 15, 1972.
Nebraska. This is for those who are still truly kids at heart: Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, Nebraska, by Edwin Perkins in 1927, and the drink became the official state soft drink of Nebraska in 1998. There’s even an annual festival held there each August to honor the drink mix, called Kool-Aid Days.
Nevada. There is a self-proclaimed independent country located in the heart of Nevada. Founded in 1977 by Kevin Baugh, the Republic of Molossia is known as a micronation — complete with its own currency, a postal service, space program, and president. It’s population is 34 (30 people and 4 dogs), and you can visit it between April and October. While you don’t technically need a passport to enter, you might want to bring it to get stamped.
New Hampshire. For all those rebels who hate wearing seatbelts, you’ll be happy to know that New Hampshire is the only state that does not have a mandatory seat belt law. Even so, about 70% of adults still wear their seatbelts – though that is far below the national average of 90%.
New Jersey. New Jersey is the only place in the United States where it is illegal to pump your own gas. The Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act and Regulations was established in 1949 to protect the public from fire hazards sometimes associated with pumping fuel and has not been taken off the books.
New Mexico. Santa Fe is the nation’s highest capital. At 7,199 feet above sea level, it’s higher than Denver. Santa Fe is also the oldest state capital, dating back to 1610 – ten years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.
New York. New York was the first state to require license plates on cars, starting in 1901. There was a catch, however. The plates were not issued by the state but were made by the owner and were required to have the owner's initials. Plates were made of leather, felt, or metal, and no two were alike. This was inefficient and by 1909 the state started issuing its own license plates.
North Carolina. Pepsi was invented in New Bern, NC in 1893 by a drugstore clerk named Caleb Bradham. He originally named it “Brad’s Drink.” He was a doctor in training at the time and believed his syrupy concoction aided digestion. He re-named it “Pepsi-Cola” in 1898 after the word “dyspepsia.”
North Dakota. The geographic center of North America is located in Rugby, North Dakota. It's marked by a rock obelisk, about 15 feet tall, flanked by poles flying the US and Canadian flags. They even changed the town seal to an outline of North America!
Stay tuned for our last installment of little-known state facts, which are sure to amaze!
Thinking about planning a vacation? Luxury Destinations Concierge is happy to help! Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
Each state has its own quirks. Whether it’s how they like their pizza or the most common pastime, each state has a uniqueness all its own. Then again, there are some things that are just downright weird. Here’s our first installment of little known facts – one for each state – that will amaze you.
Alabama. Ever wonder what happens to all the unclaimed luggage at airports? Turns out that it goes to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, the only retailer of lost baggage in the U.S. All domestic airlines send their unclaimed baggage here for resale – they process up to 7,000 pieces of luggage a day!
Alaska. Things grow bigger and sweeter in Alaska! Due to the 20+ hours of sunlight during the summer, Alaska produce can grow abnormally large. In fact, Alaska holds several Guinness World Records for the size of their vegetables – a 138-pound cabbage, a 65-pound cantaloupe and a 2,051-pound pumpkin.
Arizona. The last post office in the U.S. to deliver mail entirely by mule train is located in Supai, Arizona. Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, the mules make the 16-mile round trip into the Grand Canyon six days a week.
Arkansas. The state is home to the largest diamonds ever found in the United States. The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas not only produced the 40.23 carat Uncle Sam diamond, it also allows visitors to keep whatever gems they may find!
California. California is home to the highest and lowest points in the contiguous states. Mt. Whitney has its peak at 14,494 feet, and, less than 100 miles away, Death Valley bottoms out at 282 feet below sea level.
Colorado. Aspen, Colorado has a law on the books that prohibits the launching of any kind of missile or projectile, which includes stones and – wait for it – snowballs! The idea behind the law was to protect local buildings from damage.
Connecticut. One of Connecticut’s claims to fame is the invention of the hamburger. Turns out that in 1900, a patron at Louis’ Lunch asked if the meat they had ordered could be “to go”, and the owner, Louis Lassen put his “ground steak trimmings” between two pieces of bread and the hamburger sandwich was born! You can still visit Louis’ Lunch and partake in the 120-year-old tradition.
Delaware. Delaware may be the 2nd smallest state in the Union, but it certainly has a lot of chickens. In fact, their chickens outnumber the humans 200-to-1!
Florida. Brevard County added the area code 321 in 1999 as a nod to Kennedy Space Center — and the rocket launch countdown sequence that happened there.
Georgia. The largest wild hog found ever discovered was found and killed in Alapaha, Georgia. Weighing in at 1,000 pounds and measuring 12 feet in length, the creature was nicknamed "Hogzilla".
Hawaii. Hawaii loves canned Spam so much that they have an annual food festival – the Spam Jam – dedicated to it. If it’s not already obvious, Hawaii consumes more Spam than anywhere else in the U.S. – about 7 million cans annually!
Idaho. Idaho’s has a lot of rivers and waterways. If you calculated the length of all of them together (over 107,000 miles), it would stretch across the U.S. 38 times.
Illinois. Illinois is home to the pumpkin capital of the world. Why? Because the Libby’s plant in Morton, Illinois produces 82% of the worlds canned pumpkin.
Indiana. In 1897 there was a bill introduced by the Indiana Legislature to round up the lengthy decimal value of pi (generally shortened to 3.14) to 3.2, after physician Edwin J. Goodwin discovered what he believed to be a new way of solving the old mathematical riddle of “squaring the circle,” which is impossible. Obviously, it never became law.
Iowa. Since 1900, Britt, Iowa hosts the National Hobo Convention. In addition to other activities, a King and Queen are nominated and their portraits are immortalized.
Kansas. Kansas has the distinction of being scientifically declared flatter than a pancake. Scientists bought a pancake from an IHOP and tested the topography against the flatness of the state. They measured “perfect flatness” on a scale of 1 with the IHOP pancake testing as 0.957 and Kansas scoring a 0.997.
Kentucky. In 1799, the first commercial winery in the United States was established near Lexington, Kentucky. You can still enjoy wine produced by the winery (now named "First Vineyard.") It's even maintained by a descendant of the original shareholders of the winery.
Next week we’ll indulge you with additional little-known state facts that will give you a different perspective on history and life in America.
Thinking about planning a vacation? Luxury Destinations Concierge is happy to help! Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
Williamsburg, Virginia is recognized worldwide as the leading center for preserving and interpreting colonial history in America. The significance of Williamsburg is seen in its 300+ year old history: it’s the home of the College of William and Mary - the second oldest institution of higher learning in America; established the first American hospital dedicated to the treatment and care of mental illness; and served as George Washington’s assembling point for the siege of nearby Yorktown that won the American Revolution. Today, much of Williamsburg is dedicated to this rich tradition. Here’s our list of must-see stops on your trip to Williamsburg:
Colonial Williamsburg. At the top of your list should be a stop at Colonial Williamsburg. This 301-acre historic area is a living museum dedicated to preserving the life and times of the area during the 1700s when it was the capitol of Virginia. Explore the over 100 original and reconstructed buildings, interact with the costumed interpreters, and witness the daily reenactments of militia drills, political meetings, and daily activities of the city. Make sure you check the daily schedule for special tours and activities that may be of interest as they change regularly.
Jamestown. Jamestown is the site of the first English colony in the Americas, and no trip to Williamsburg would be complete without visiting the Jamestown Settlement or Historic Jamestowne – both of which tell the history of the original English settlers to the area. Jamestown Settlement is a living museum that recreates the Jamestown Fort and the Powhatan Indian Village, both of which give you an interactive experience to how life during 1610-1614 would have been for the colonists and their relationship with the local Native American tribe. Down the street is Historic Jamestowne, the actual site of the original settlement. Here, you can explore the ruins and take part in one of the archaeological tours of the site to learn more about the history of the area.
Jamestown Glasshouse. One of the original trades to come out of the new colony was glassmaking, which started as a money-making venture in the New World. Unfortunately, it didn’t bring in the expected profits, and tobacco became the big economic commodity for the area. Nevertheless, the ruins of the original glasshouse are still visible. Today, you can see the remains of the original glasshouse and its furnaces, and see exactly how glassmakers make their creations using the same techniques they used over 400 years ago in the reconstructed glasshouse. You can also purchase the wine glasses, pitchers, vases and other items made here in the gift shop.
Great Hopes Plantation. When we think of plantations, we usually picture the sprawling estates of the rich landowners. While those existed in Williamsburg, most were middle-class farmers working their much smaller plantations. Great Hopes Plantation is a replica of one of these more common plantations. You’ll be able to interact with the interpreters and see what life was truly like on one of these small farms.
Governor’s Palace. Originally built in 1722, the Governor’s Palace was the center of social activity for Williamsburg. It was built to portray the opulence and power of the British and its Royal Governor, and was home to the first 7 Royal Governors and 2 elected Governors of Virginia before being burned down in 1781. In 1934, it was carefully reconstructed and you can see the opulence of the period through its ballroom and other beautifully appointed rooms. Explore the recreated formal gardens, or visit the original outer buildings – including the kitchen – where you can watch demonstration of cooking, brewing beer or even making chocolate.
Yorktown Battlefield. Come full circle in your visit to Williamsburg by visiting the last battlefield of the American Revolutionary War – Yorktown – and the end of British rule in this country. Start your visit by watching the orientation film and perusing the museum exhibits. Then, take your choice of either a self-guided driving tour of the battlefield or a guided walking tour of the battlefield and the town (or both!). You can also visit the Nelson House, which was British General Cornwallis’ headquarters, and the Moore House, where the actual negotiations for surrender took place in 1781.
There is so much more to see and do in and around Williamsburg that is fun for the whole family, and Luxury Destinations Concierge can be your guide. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re ready to help you create a memorable experience!
Known as The Ancient City, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the contiguous United States. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is brimming with historic landmarks while also embracing some unique attractions that will keep all visitors entertained throughout their time in this remarkable city.
Castillo de San Marcos. Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest and largest masonry fortress in the continental US. Built by the Spanish to protect against raids by pirates, it was ceded to the British and, in 1821, was purchased by the United States and was in use until 1899. Today, you can see parts of the original wall, participate in re-enactments and demonstrations of colonial life and enjoy the views of Matanzas Bay.
Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. No trip to St. Augustine would be complete without a visit to the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park! While it capitalizes on the story of Ponce de Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth, this park is the site of the original city of St. Augustine. Here, you can drink from the artisanal well, visit the Native Timucua Village of Seloy to learn how the local Native Americans lived, and explore the surrounding 15-acre waterfront park.
St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Florida is known for its alligators, so a stop at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is a must. Located on Anastasia Island, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is one of Florida's longest continuously running attractions, having first opened in 1893. It is the only crocodile farm in the world to have all 23 species of crocodilians recognized by biologists. It also includes other exotic reptiles, birds and animals. For a bit of fun, try the zip line over Crocodile Crossing.
Ximenez-Fatio House Museum. Originally built in 1798 by a Spanish merchant, the Ximenez House became “Miss Fatio’s” boarding house and was the place to stay during Florida’s first tourism boom from the 1830s through the 1850s. Each room has been meticulously restored to reflect these early visitors and their stories. If you are visiting over a weekend, plan to take part in the “Heist at the Museum”, a 90-minute adventure built around the premise that a rare 17th-century relic has been stolen and participants need to figure out who stole it, what they stashed it in and in which room it can be found (think life-size Clue game).
Colonial Quarter. Located in downtown St. Augustine, the Colonial Quarter is a living museum that walks you through three centuries of Spanish and British colonial occupation from its early beginnings in the 16th century as a trading port to becoming a fortified city and then through its beginnings as the 14th British colony in the 18th century. Immerse yourself in each time period with the live demonstrations, historic tours and authentic tastes of each period.
Lightner Museum. The Lightner Museum is housed in the former Hotel Alcazar in downtown St. Augustine. Built in 1888, it was the winter retreat for the wealthy during the Gilded Age of the 1890s. At the time, its amenities included the world’s largest indoor swimming pool, sulfur baths, casinos, a bowling alley and much more. The museum offers a glimpse into Victorian life, including a science and industry room, a music room, and a vast array of costumes, furnishings and glass works.
Fort Matanzas National Monument. Fort Matanzas was built in 1742 to defend St. Augustine from British attack. Today, you can explore the original fort and the surrounding 100 acres of salt marsh and barrier islands that protect the coast from hurricanes and other storms.
There is much more to see and do in St. Augustine and Luxury Destinations Concierge is happy to help you plan your trip. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437 to get started.
Founded in 1733, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, so it’s no wonder that a visit to Savannah is like a walk through history. From moss-covered trees to cobblestoned streets, Savannah is a beautiful example of Southern charm and hospitality at its finest. In fact, Savannah’s downtown area is one of the largest National Historic Landmarks in the United States. Here are our must-see stops that will make the most of your visit to Savannah:
Forsyth Park. Beautiful squares and parks abound in Savannah. It’s oldest and largest is Forsyth Park, named after John Forsyth, one of Georgia’s governors. The centerpiece for this 30-acre park is the Forsyth Fountain, which was installed in 1858. While there take some time to explore the Garden of Fragrance – a garden designed with plants whose texture and fragrance appeals to those with limited site.
Georgia State Railroad Museum. The Georgia State Railroad Museum is thought to be the oldest, most complete pre-Civil War railroad complex in the United States. Now a museum, it exhibits a collection of historic, restored railroad cars and engines. Take a tour to learn more about the history of railroading and the role it played in Georgia.
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. For all the current and former Girl Scouts, a tour of the home where Juliette Gordon Low, was born will be a highlight of their trip to Savannah. This home pays homage to the founder of the Girl Scouts, celebrating her belief in the potential every girl has in her and the lives she has changed in the 100-plus years since she founded it.
First African Baptist Church. While there are several churches of considerable note in Savannah, one that you don’t want to miss is the First African Baptist Church. Thought to be the oldest African-American congregation in the US, the church has its origins dating back to 1773. The church played an important role in the Underground Railroad, housing runaway slaves in a 4-foot space beneath the sanctuary floors – there are air holes visible in the floors. Now run as a museum, you can learn more about its place in the history of Georgia and our country.
Wormsloe Historic Site. Located just outside of Savannah proper, Wormsloe Historic Site is the former plantation of a carpenter named Noble Jones who came to Georgia with James Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah, in 1733. Upon arriving, the mile-long tunnel of oak trees will take your breath away. Then, you can explore the spectacular nature trails, visit the museum to learn more about the beginnings of Georgia, and visit the oldest standing structure in Savannah – the ruins of Noble Jones’ tabby house.
Fort McAllister State Park. Fort McAllister was one of three forts to protect Savannah and played a significant role in the Civil War. It was the last defense to fall to General Sherman on his famous March to the Sea. Today, the park has the best-preserved earthen-work fortifications of the Confederacy. You can still see cannons, barracks, palisades and more remnants of the Civil War on the grounds and in the museum. The park is also open for camping, fishing, boating and other outdoor activities.
Mercer-Williams House. For movie buffs, the Mercer-Williams House needs to be on your list of things to do in Savannah. Originally built in the 1860s, the house was eventually bought by Jim Williams in 1969 as part of his historic restoration projects throughout Savannah and the surrounding area. While the house itself and the eclectic furnishings throughout are incredible to see, the real draw is that it’s the site of the 1981 murder of Danny Hansford as covered in the book and movie, Midnight in Garden of Good and Evil.
The Forrest Gump Bench. If you’re a fan of the movie Forrest Gump, you’ll need to carve out time in your trip to visit two locations for the famous bench. The first is Chippewa Square where the bench was located and filmed during the movie. The second is the Savannah History Museum, the home of one of the prop benches used in the film.
As you can see, Savannah is brimming with the history of the South from its founding through modern times. There is much more to see in Savannah and the surrounding and Luxury Destinations Concierge is happy to help you plan your trip. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437 to get started.
As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Charleston’s beauty is steeped in a history dating back to its beginnings in 1670 when it was Charles Towne. Known as the “Holy City” for its over 400 churches, Charleston allows you to step back in time to explore its beginnings and how it has become a vibrant destination worldwide. Here are just some highlights of what you can expect to see when you visit Charleston:
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is at the top of the list for any trip to Charleston for a couple of reasons. Founded in 1676, it has witnessed the birth of the nation, saw the ravages of the Civil War and was able to change along with the times. The gardens are America’s oldest publicly accessed gardens, opening to visitors in 1870. It is also America’s largest (and last) romantic-style garden, where you can wander down seemingly overgrown paths and get lost in the beauty of it all (just watch out for alligators!). Take the guided tours of the main house where you’ll learn the history of the plantation, and the Magnolia Cabin Project tour which is dedicated to preserving and understanding the history of slavery and their struggle for freedom.
John’s Island and Angel Oak. John’s Island is the largest island in South Carolina and is the fourth largest island on the East Coast. Considered part of Charleston, it’s easy to get to from downtown. Make sure that you stop to see Angel Oak Tree – one of the nation’s oldest living trees and is thought to be over 400 years old. And if you are a fan of The Notebook, several places in and around John’s Island will look familiar.
Sullivan’s Island Beach. Charleston has some beautiful beaches to her name, and the one that stands out above the others is Sullivan’s Island. It has seen very little commercial development, making it a great getaway to enjoy a weekend in the sun. While there, make sure to visit the Sullivan Island’s Lighthouse, which is by far one of the more modern lighthouses in the country (it even has an elevator!). It was built as a replacement for the Morris Island Lighthouse which was in danger of being destroyed by erosion in the 1950s.
Fort Moultrie. Fort Moultrie is one of the oldest forts still standing on the East Coast. Located on Sullivan’s Island, American colonists began to build this fort as a defense against the British during the Revolutionary War. While it withstood the initial attack in 1776, it was eventually captured in 1780 before being returned at the end of the war. It played a role in the Civil War and was an active fort through 1960. Take the guided tour of the Fort to learn more about its storied past.
McLeod Plantation Historic Site. Established in 1851, the McLeod Plantation is an important Gullah/Geechee heritage site that has recognized its cultural and historical significance. Here you will learn the story of the slaves that worked the sea cotton plantation and their fight for freedom, justice and equality. The tour of the plantation will allow you to experience the lives of all people who shaped and influenced Charleston’s past and future.
Historic Charleston City Market. Opened in 1804, Charleston City Market is one of the oldest public markets in the United States, and is one of the most-visited places in Charleston. Initially housing meat, vegetable and fish vendors, today it is home to over 300 vendors selling a variety of unique items.
Fort Sumter. No trip to Charleston would be complete without stopping at Fort Sumter where the first battle of the Civil War began. Before taking the ferry out to the fort itself, spend some time in the Visitors’ Center to give you a little context to the history behind the fort and the surrounding area. As you walk around the fort, you’ll see remnants of its history from the Civil War until it was officially decommissioned in 1948, including cannonballs still lodged in the walls and the old cannons pointed out towards the sea in defense of the fort.
Are you ready to experience the charm and rich history of Charleston? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to help you plan your trip.
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