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Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

  • 1.  Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

    Posted 10 days ago

    I'm getting ready to go on a long weekend camping/hiking trip to Shenandoah National Park! What National Parks have you been to and how do you incorporate historic preservation during your travels?

    Most of my trips have some sort of historic preservation angle – it's hard not to, some of the best sites to see while traveling are old places! This weekend, I'm excited to drive on the 100+ mile Skyline Drive, which first opened in 1934, and was added to the National Register in 1997. I also hope to see some of the historic structures in the park- more than 300 structures in Shenandoah are listed on the National Register. I did not know that – one of the reasons I love traveling so much!

    Thanks!
    Colleen



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    Colleen Danz
    Forum Marketing Manager
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
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  • 2.  RE: Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

    Posted 9 days ago
    My trip planning recommendations:

    -Whenever you see a building or place that catches your eye on Instagram (in an article, while reading Preservation magazine, etc.), switch apps and pin the place on google maps. Google allows you to categorize your pins based on topic, so you can have x-color be museums, y-colors historic sites, or another color be cool town. Having all these inspiration items organized in the app you most likely use as a gps is infinitely helpful.

    - Wikipedia is currently the best online collection of National Register for Historic Places designated sites. You can typically search by county or city. I will occasionally search these pages to add additional pins to my map once I have decided on a destination or search wiki when I end up in a town that wasn't initially on my route.

    -If I'm going to a city, I will likely reach out to someone I know on Instagram to see if they will meet up to chat preservation, show me around town, or provide recommendations. During a recent visit I met up with the lovely Carlos Carmonamedina from the 40 Under 40: People Saving Places list. Instagram made it easy for us to connect months ago, so it felt natural to connect in person. He gave me a great neighborhood tour! PS. If you are ever in Boston, reach out to Matthew Dickey, feel free to say I told you too. Check his instagram and find out why.

    - When planning a preservation road trip, it is also important to ditch the interstate! Google allows you to set restrictions on your route like "avoid highways." Compare the distance interstate vs back roads and you may be surprised to see it doesn't always add on a huge chunk of time, the lower speeds usually = better mileage, and you are then more likely to find a hidden treasure, a historic marker, or the most charming Main Street community. In addition to back roads, I recommend seeking scenic byways. These aren't always the easiest to find (depends on the state), but some of them will lead you on the best adventures. The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in California/Oregon is incredible!

    -Speaking of Main Street communities, check out state listings for Main Street communities and pin them on your map. You can also create customized maps for specific trips and then download the map offline, so that you can navigate without using any data. Here is an example of a custom map from a bike ride I led in Columbus, earlier this year. These are very simple to make and you can add additional information to points of interest ex: X-building is only open for tours from 9-5.

    -National Parks (and state park, national forests, bureau of land management sites) are a huge part of my trips, because camping is my preferred lodging and if you get a National Parks annual pass you can visit a large number of historic sites and beautiful natural areas on a budget (the pass will also occasionally give a discount on camp sites). I've been to more NPS sites than I can count easily, so I'll give you some of my favorites: Mesa Verde, Carlsbad Caverns, Crater Lake, Organ Pipe Cactus, Grand Canyon (if you ever get the chance... raft through it and enjoy the inner hikes that you cannot access from outside), and Sleeping Bear Dunes. In January, I'm excited to visit Jekyll Island for the first time and explore their NPS park + stay at the island's Historic Hotel of America.


    Hope some people find these tips useful! You can keep up with my trips on Instagram@sarahmarsom . Next up North Carolina, Northern Ohio, and then California for PastForward!



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    Sarah Marsom
    Heritage Resource Consultant
    Tiny Activist Project
    me@sarahmarsom.com
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  • 3.  RE: Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

    Posted 9 days ago
    In my younger days, I enjoyed going to the beach and hiking in the mountains, but now limited mobility draws me to cities where I can sample different cuisines, and visit museums, art galleries, and botanical gardens. And not just major destinations like New Orleans, Chicago, and San Francisco, Living in the geographical center of the eastern US, puts me in relatively easy driving distance of Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and all the hidden gems they have to offer. And now, once I get there, the TODs make getting around relatively painless, if you're careful about timing and avoiding major events. In spite of the major problems which threaten to overwhelm us, these are good times for someone like me, whose nostalgia for downtowns, what they once were, and what they might be again, keeps growing.

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    Jim Sparks
    Sparks Architecture
    Glasgow KY
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  • 4.  RE: Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

    Posted 8 days ago
    Ste. Genevieve MO is soon to be on the National Parks listing.  Legislation has passed!  Ste. Genevieve National Historic Park becomes a reality.  In addition, Ste. Genevieve has much to offer.  This is a small town that traces its roots to the mid 18th Century.  We still have structures that were constructed in the 1790s.  French vertical log houses are lived in by families.  And, some are museums showplaces for public viewing.  Only a short drive south from St. Louis.


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    Sara Menard
    President
    Foundation for Restoration Ste. Genevieve
    Ste. Genevieve MO
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  • 5.  RE: Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

    Posted 4 days ago
    Edited by Michelle Prior 4 days ago
    I love our National Park System and am lucky to have visited many. I also worked at one - Lowell National Historical Park in Lowell, Massachusetts!

    One thing many children and adults don't realize is that we have both natural and historical parks. I'm sure this audience knows that, but do spread the word! Both types of park are important to America's story. I personally like to add a bit of nature (hike, kayak, swim) and history (museum, guided tour, traditional cuisine) to all of my National Park trips - usually not very hard if you visit the surrounding area too!

    I can't pick a favorite park, but a few favorites are:

    • Acadia National Park (Maine) - Ocean, cliffs, and lobster rolls on hand - what more could you want? Oh, maybe some gorgeous fall foliage - they have that too!
    • Bryce Canyon (Utah) - Great family memories hiking around the hoodoos. Wear old sneakers to avoid orange dust stains!
    • Ellis Island (New York) - This is where my family's American story begins. Interpretation is great. It was one of the most powerful heritage sites I've ever visited, at home or abroad. 
    • Haleakalā National Park (Hawaii) - Visited both the Kīpahulu District  at the end of the Hāna Highway and the summit at sunrise. Each section of the park felt like a different world.
    • Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts) - The first national park designated based on its cultural significance. The park tells the story of immigration, capitalism, and the Industrial Revolution. Amazing how relevant the themes are to a modern audience.


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    Michelle Prior
    Coordinator, Publications and Programs
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
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  • 6.  RE: Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

    Posted 3 days ago
    My interest in historic preservation combined with my upper Midwest heritage (I was born in Fargo!) led me to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore back in 2000, where I've invested in the gateway community, Bayfield, WI, and spend vacation time every year.  The town has been on the National Register since the 1980s, and they have managed to control development to keep the small-town character intact.  The natural beauty of the area is stunning, and the history of the Ojibwe people who still live nearby in Red Cliff spans centuries.  The later arrival of fishing, quarrying, and logging industries led to the development of the historic built environment there, with many buildings still intact.  The community is very small - less than 500 full-time residents - so its very easy to immerse yourself in nature and the beauty of Lake Superior while also enjoying the amenities of small-town life.  Here's a pic of the historic sandstone NPS Visitor's Center, which previously was the county courthouse until the county seat moved in the 1890s....it was also used to house POWs during WWII.  I've also included a favorite church (Christ Episcopal) of mine, which has a stunning intact historic interior and  houses a beautiful organ.

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    Vicki Birenberg, AICP
    CLG Program & Planning Coordinator
    Kentucky Heritage Council
    Frankfort, KY
    vicki.birenberg@ky.gov
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  • 7.  RE: Wednesday Fun – National Parks/Vacations

    Posted 3 days ago
    ​Now I want to go on another trip! Thanks for all these -- love the suggestions, Sarah, esp. getting in touch w. people who live in those areas for a locals perspectives!
    Colleen

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    Colleen Danz
    Forum Marketing Manager
    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Washington DC
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