The United States doesn’t want for scenic summer destinations, and, with a waning Covid epidemic and difficult air travel, American families are taking to the roads. Some of this country’s favorite historic destinations also sponsor delightful special events during the summer; some of those special events have become historic destinations in themselves.
Here are a few widely varying and wildly fun places and events to seek out while the sun is shining and the open road beckons.
Castle Hill, a magnificent Gilded Age mansion overlooking the ocean in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is the ideal location for a grand party on the vast lawn. This event, which has become a great area favorite, is a true celebration of vintage culture. Attracting thousands of guests, many of whom dress up in Gatsby-esque apparel, this retro picnic features live music and dancing, performances, lawn games, vintage faire and more. The views of ocean, marshes and sand dunes from the perch above are worth the trip all by themselves.
The United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama has long been a great family destination; with the new images being revealed from the James Webb Space Telescope, it is one of this summer’s must-visit destinations. From Astronaut Chats every Thursday to Cocktails and Cosmos parties, there are activities for every age, and all are far out.
Prairie dogs are much maligned by farmers, but for nature lovers, they are delightful stout, burrowing ground squirrels named for the animal’s barking call.
Prairie dogs have been part of the Texas ecosystem for millions of years and are a reflection of healthy ecosystems. “Today, it is estimated that 98 percent of the population has been lost, and that only three hundred thousand prairie dogs remain in Texas,” states mammalogist Dr. David Schmidly.
Lubbock’s Prairie Dog Town was established in the early 1930’s by Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy N. Clapp. Within its first five years, Prairie Dog Town became world famous and a favorite tourist attraction with its own Goodwill Ambassador, Prairie Dog Pete. Stop to see them in Mackenzie Park off of 4th Street and Interstate 27, overlooking Meadowbrook Golf Course. It’s free and open to the public from dawn to dusk year round.
Do you ever wonder about the nomadic life of the inland northwest people known as the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce)? Here’s a chance to learn a bit: Every day, in front of the visitor center at the Spalding Site in Lapwai, Idaho, you can join ranger for the daily pitching of a traditional Nimiipuu Tipi on the front lawn. The tipi will go up around 8:30 am and will come down around 3:00 pm., and will be available throughout the day for viewing. The demonstration is weather permitting.
For garlic lovers everywhere, Gilroy, California is synonymous with their favorite fragrant vegetable. The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, which has run for 43 years, has experienced difficulties. The two-day event was canceled indefinitely in April, with city leaders citing revenue loss, pandemic uncertainties and prohibitive insurance requirements. The garlic-themed event usually attracted tens of thousands of garlic lovers each year.
Now scheduled to take place at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton, California, thefestival boasts its very own “Cali Garlic Alley,” which was a staple in Gilroy. Garlic fries, garlic pesto pasta, garlic mushrooms and garlic brown sugar ice cream are some of the dishes the festival offers.
The festival will also include a car show, interactive cooking demonstrations, monster truck rides, a petting zoo and a Miss California Garlic Festival Scholarship Pageant and Princess Program
The classic American late summer and early fall activity is to go to the fair: the state fair or the county fair, it is the undisputed place to see the prize winning zucchini or sheep, to eat funnel cakes and corn dogs, to ride the Ferris wheel, to taste the prize-winning pie and to try to score a stuffed animal on the midway.
There are approximately as many state and county fairs as there are states and counties. But the Iowa State Fair is famous as an internationally acclaimed event that is the single largest in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines is the state’s great celebration, a salute to the best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement.