Minggu, 22 Februari 2009

Top 10 Road Stops

It's the dreaded question on every road trip, the one that almost always brings a muted scream from parents -- "Are we there yet?"

Instead of jumping off the highway for a pit-stop at the rest stop, why not take a real break at an iconic American roadside attraction -- or an attraction that’s destined to become one? Here are ten picks sure to relieve boredom -- and gives you an interesting answer to the question of ‘are we there yet?’

Attraction: Kentucky Artisan Center
Location: Berea, KY
What To See: The staff jokes that it's got the cleanest restrooms along Interstate 75 -- and it sure does. But the Kentucky Artisan Center offers a lot more than spiffy bathrooms; it also boasts a restaurant, gallery space, and a shopping wonderland of true American-made treasures, from Appalachian crafts to quilts, art glass, oil paintings and pottery -- all the work of Kentuckians.

Attraction: Superman Museum
Location: Metropolis, IL
What To See: It’s a bird, it’s a plane -- no wait, it’s a museum! More than 20,000 objects of super-hero proportions are housed in this Metropolis museum dedicated to the man of steel, who according to the comic books, came from a town called Metropolis. Outside the museum, a huge and hulking monument to the Man of Steel is the perfect backdrop for a family photo -- you can even immortalize your visit by buying a brick in the pathway being constructed for the Lois Lane statue.

Attraction: Rock City Gardens
Location: Chattanooga, TN
What To See: Perhaps the most iconic of all roadside attractions, Rock City is where you can see seven states fro, the top of Lookout Mountain, search for gnomes in the gardens, squeeze through a crevice called the Needle’s Eye, and contemplate the state of your love life form the dramatic Lover's Leap.

Attraction: Five Rivers Center
Location: Mobile, AL
What To See: One of the newest attractions in Mobile, Five Rivers offers travelers a chance to jump off Interstate 10 and jump into a kayak for exploring the expansive wetlands of lower Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Take a guided tour or push off on your own – but keep an eye out for gators, too.

Attraction: Griffith Park
Location: Los Angeles, CA
What To See: Take a hike, a horseback ride or a stroll through the zoo at Griffith Park, an urban oasis in Los Angeles that is perhaps most famously known (and portrayed in movies) as home to the Griffith Observatory. But in addition to being home to the observatory, Los Angeles Zoo and the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage, the park is also home to the famous ‘Hollywood’ sign.

Attraction: Bronner’s
Location: Frankenmuth, MI
What To See: It’s Christmas year-round at Bronner’s the winter wonderland that’s full of zillions of holiday lights, ornaments, trees, stockings, yard art and just about anything one could need or want. There’s even a chapel for meditating, or perhaps escaping from the merry madness.

Attraction: Corn Palace
Location: Mitchell, SD
What To See: It’s never the same place twice -- literally. Each year since the turn of the last century, more than 275-thousand ears of corn and dozens of other crops are fashioned into an elaborate design on the exterior of the Corn Palace. It was the best way the local farmers could show off the fruits of their harvest -- rye, corn, wild oats and more. There’s also a doll museum, prehistoric Indian village and a history museum in Mitchell.

Attraction: Mall of America
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Details: It’s shopping nirvana for her, an amusement park for the kids, and Dad? Well, he just gets to pay for it all. Just kidding -- he can hang in the more than 14 sporting goods stores, the 20 sit-down restaurants or join the kiddies on the roller coaster. With 4.2 million square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment, boredom is impossible.

Attraction: Spam Museum
Location: Austin, MN
What To See: 16,500 square feet of SPAM, glorious SPAM, from SPAMburgers in the cafe to sculptures in the exhibit area. Learn fun facts – like the astonishing news that Hawaiians buy 6.7 million cans of the ham-and-whatever-it-is canned meat annually. Why? That’s one question that’s not answered at the museum.

Attraction: Golden Gate Bridge National Park
Location: San Francisco, CA
What To See: The views are astonishing, the bridge a marvel of engineering – and it’s a must-stop if you’re within 50 miles in any direction. There are beaches and hiking, the country’s most infamous prison-- Alcatraz. For the most rugged and least crowded experience, try the abandoned armories along the coastline. But The Rock isn't the only place worth visiting. Try the Muir Woods monument for a bit of peace and quiet among the redwoods trees; the historic Presidio for a step back into time (and through an amazing cemetary); and Land's End, the rocky headlands best for a bit of hiking.


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