Ogalala, Nebraska color>
The "Shootout on Front Street" happens around 7:00 p.m. every night during the summer in Ogalala, Nebraska. This is a wonderful 1 1/2 to two hour comedy skit performed mostly by high school seniors and college students with audience participation. I can't remember when I laughed so much, so hard and had such a great time. In the finale, their voices blend so well, it sounds like what I would think angels sound like.I tell everyone I know that is traveling anywhere close to Ogalala that they must go and see this show.
Richmond, Virginia color>
One of my favorite diversions is a long quiet walk on the Canal Walk in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The long winding sidewalks that lead to hidden spots with benches along the James River and past old historic buildings create a perfect opportunity to be quiet with nature in the middle of a busy city.
The most wonderful destination I could think of this time of year is Camden, Maine. My wife and I recently stayed in a cozy bed and breakfast in this old harbor town and will most likely go back this year. There is no need to leave town for anything. You will find plenty of fine places to eat and pubs to crawl into for an afternoon drink. The town also offers some of the prettiest B&Bs I have ever seen, and there are plenty to choose from.
Hot Springs, Arkansas has a beautiful historic downtown filled with "Bath Row," a street dedicated to old world bathhouses where you can bathe in the natural hot mineral springs that abound in the area. The architecture of the city takes you back to a time that was. Be sure to take extra bottles for some of the best water in the world.
I live on semi-forgotten Wake Island, in the central Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Guam. Sunday is a day off for most every one of the 120 people who live on the island. Sunday mornings are nice and quiet. You can have a light breakfast at the dining hall, then go for a relaxing walk on the beach to look for glass ball floats that come from the Orient. You can snorkel or just lay out on the lagoon's beach. Play a litle tennis or go for a bike ride. Later in the day, you can go hiking around to see the old ruins of W.W. II and the years of Pan Am Pacific stop overs here. It's quiet and the fresh air make you think that there is life after a big city.
Our very favorite diversion is a 3-hour cruise on Washington state's tall ship ambassador, Lady Washington. The ship is an accurate replica of the original that sailed in this area circa 1780. She is a hands-on wonderful educational experience, and well worth the visit. She is currently traveling in Puget Sound, with stops scheduled through Sept. 10.
J. & D.D.
Mad River Valley, Vermont color>
The Vermont Festival of the Arts, from Aug. 11 through Aug. 27, features a number of events including artist's open studios, musical performances, plays, discussions, workshops in everything from candlemaking to printmaking, kids festivities, farmer's markets, street fairs and more. About 45 minutes southeast of Burlington, Vermont, the Mad River Valley is a collection of towns nestled among the Green Mountains, home to the Green Mountain National Forest. The area is truly beautiful and anyone interested in the arts would benefit from a trip to our little festival here in Vermont.
St. Louis, Missouricolor>
St. Louis is the mother lode of quirky sights: the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, the International Bowling Hall of Fame, the Dental Health Theater and Bigfoot 4x4 (that's right, the original Monster Truck).
In addition to these quirky choices, visitors looking for ways to offset high summer fuel prices can come to St. Louis and see many of our most popular attractions for free. The list includes the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, Budweiser Brewery, the historic Old Courthouse, the Museum of Westward Expansion, Grant's Farm and Purina Farms (it's a kick with its domestic animal theme). We have a long tradition here of keeping our cultural institutions open free to all.
Glen Rose, Texascolor>
Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas, about an hour south of Dallas, is in my opinion the most exquisite park in the great state of Texas. There are many sparkling, lightly flowing creeks lned by tiny wildflowers and sawgrass. Fossilized dinosaur foot prints are embedded in the limestone creek beds.
Round Top, Texascolor>
My favorite spot to visit is Round Top, Texas. There is a wonderful music institute there that hosts musicians from around the world. It is located in a beautiful setting and the music is wonderful. The architecture is unusual. It is well worth a visit.
On the last Saturday of September, the Idaho Historical Museum celebrates history with its annual "Museum Comes to Life" event. Located in beautiful Julia Davis Park on the Boise River, the Idaho State Historical Museum spills out into the park with exhibits ranging from Civil War cannon to Dutch oven cooking, Victorian croquet matches to World War II vehicles, steam engines to medieval sword and shield tournaments.
This is a celebration of all history, bringing together historical reinactors from all over the country and through all time.
One of my favorite diversions is the little town of Bigfork, Montana, set on beautiful Flathead Lake. It has your usual tourist-trappy things but also boasts delicious and diverse cuisine, art, literature and even theater. The air and water are clear and the merchants very friendly. It is an easy day's drive from Missoula and a great respite on your way to Glacier National Park.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
At the crossroads of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean, Astoria, Oregon is a jewel of hill town filled with "painted lady" Victorian houses, a colorful history (it's named after the town's first businessman, John Jacob Astor), and one of the best maritime museums in the United States. The views are breathtaking, especially from the Astor Column at the top of the highest hill. You see what Lewis and Clark saw the winter of 1806 they spent camped nearby.
The National Arboretum, Washington D.C.
The National Arboretum, a 446-acre oasis in Washington D.C., is hosting Dave Roger's Big Bugs. These are 14 giant otdoor sculptures created from a variety of native woods and found forest materials. Imagine an ant as long as a school bus, and a praying mantis taller than a two-story building! It's open to the public, free. They're BIG, they're fun, and I think this exhibition makes an outstanding diversion.
F.B., of Leslie, Michigan, has these recommendations for diversions in his home state:
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn.
Mackinac Island (pronounced "Mackinaw") near Mackinaw City.
Timber Charlie's in Newberry, where the "shagpoke" hamburgers weigh 5 pounds and are 16 inches in diameter.
Copper Harbor, the northernmost point in Michigan.
The Lake of the Clouds near White Pine.
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Grand Marais.
The Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, where more tonnage passes than via the Panama Canal.
Sleeping Bear Dunes near Glen Haven.
Hell, Michigan near Ann Arbor, and Paradise, near Whitefish Point.
The Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco is the oldest free summer concert series in the country. Each Sunday another group, from the San Francisco Symphony to salsa, performs in an exquisite eucalyptus grove.
A perfect day is Sunday Morning followed by Stern Grove!
M.M. & B.M.
Here are two suggestions for Sunday morning diversions in Shelburne,
Vermont, south of Burlington.
- The Childrens' Farmyard at Shelburne Farms, a nonprofit environmental education center, is a great place to see farm animals, some young at this time of year, in a beautiful pastoral setting.
- The Shelburne Museum carousel is a real operating carousel that attracts the young to another beautiful setting on museum grounds. Also there is the side wheeler Ticonderoga, which is mighty picturesque.
Our list of "favorite diversions" destinations is ever-increasing in length, but one that offers all forms of diversion is Chester County, Pennsylvania, located southwest of Philadelphia in the Brandywine Valley. It has numerous towns and sites but our favorites include Chadds Ford and the former duPont Estate with its Longwood Gardens. The area offers cultural, historical and family fun sites, and all levels of dining, lodging and shopping as well.
Hope you check it out and see why we have deemed it one of our favorite "Diversion" locations!
My suggestion is the Byrd Theater in Carytown in Richmond, Virginia. It's a National Historic Landmark.
I love talking to someone who hasn't been there to see a film at "the Byrd" because I am always pleased at their reaction to just walking into it and seeing the beautiful old chandelier which hangs in the center of the theater. It's worth the trip to see their delight!
I'd like to recommend a trip to Coquille, Oregon and a night of Sawdust Theater. From the ashes of their burned theater beginning to a terrific, fun, funny summer experience in the new building, the people of this small timber town draw sold-out performances all summer long. What a kick!
New Haven, Connecticut
An important event coming up soon is the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, based in New Haven, Connecticut, but this year including 16 days (June 16 - July 1, 2000) of artists and performers in three cities: New Haven, New London, and Stamford. Events include opera, theater, music, dance, exhibitions, free events, and wide-ranging discussions.
I would like to see you do a piece on The House On The Rock, located near Dodgeville, Wisconsin. It is a fascinating place to visit. I have been four times myself and will make more trips back.
Des Moines, Iowa
I'd like to suggest Living History Farms just outside Des Moines, Iowa. If Mystic Seaport embodies our connection to the sea, Living History Farms embodies our connection to the land and farming.
There are three working farms with resident farm families who live in the time period: a pioneer farm of the 1840s, a turn-of-the-century farm, and a farm of the future. There's also an 1880s town with a working newspaper, general store, church (you'll see some modern-day brides there), and doctor's office.
The best show at the Farms may be the visitors - the kids who come with grandma and grandpa. The kids love their first ride in a real hay wagon and the huge Belgian horses. The old-timers gather over the summer for special events such as the shucking contest (do you East Coasters know what I'm talking about?), fiddling contests, pulls (horse, not tractor), quilting bees, and haying.
Des Moines, Iowa
Hamilton, New Jersey
My Sunday Diversion is at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, just outside of West Trenton. Who would think you could find acres and acres of beauty in what seems to be an industrial park complex?
And there's one "scene" - it's like walking into the middle of a Seurat painting - but you're outside amid nature.
Los Angeles, California
Of course, my favorite Sunday destination is CBS for Sunday Morning, but my second favorite Sunday destination is the Heritage Square Museum just outside of Los Angeles proper (if there is a proper Los Angeles).
The Heritage Square Museum is a small Victorian village of eight buildings under restoration. It is open for tours by period-costumed volunteers every weekend and most major holidays.
There are five homes, a kitchen garden, a train depot, a carriage barn, and a magnificent steepled church. One of the homes, Hale House, has been used in countless commercials. The square itself has been seen as commercial and movie background, and each Christmas it becomes home to the Museum's Lamplight Tours.
Each of the buildings is in one of several stages of restoration and preservation, much of the grunt work being done by the volunteers who come early on weekend mornings to scrape paint or work in the kitchen garden.
La Canada Flintridge, California
I live in Pennsylvania and love a sweet little old river ferry that can carry four cars and passengers across the Susquehanna River just above Harrisburg. It's called the Millersburg Ferry and is just the sort of historical but whimsical thing you might love to do on a nice Sunday afternoon.
A favorite getaway for my family for many years, Door County, Wisconsin, is truly a special place. (If you picture a map of Wisconsin, Door County is the "thumb.")
Just a few reasons the peninsula of Door County is so great:
- Natural beauty (sand dunes, water - Green Bay on the west and Lake Michigan on the east - trees, islands, wildlife - truly four seasons of beauty!)
- The historic city of Sturgeon Bay, along with a string of villages, each with its own personality.
- Restaurants (at least 200, quaint cafes, fine dining, and more - check out Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay!)
- Gift shops and art galleries (at least 500).
- Friendly, creative people.
- Golf courses (at least nine).
- Orchards (cherries, strawberries), wineries, and fish boils.
- Lodging (a vast array from campgrounds to time-worn cottages to B&Bs to grand, brand-new resorts).
- Lighthouses, lookout tours, even a ferry from the tip of the peninsula over to Washington Island.
- Accessibility (a pleasant drive from all over Wisconsin and northern Illinois).
- Family activities like biking and mini-golf as well as a myriad of activities for singles, couples, and groups (fishing, golfing, boating, hiking).
Check it out!
Roger Welch has provided Post Cards from Nebraska on steam tractor shows in the Great Plains, but I'd like to recommend an equally charming event that takes place twice a year in Southern California, midway between the freeway sprawl of Los Angeles to the north and the slick tourist destinations of San Diego to the south. On the third and fourth weekends of June, and again in October each year, the California Early Days Gas Engine & Tractor Association hosts a gathering at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California.
On display are the most amazing mechanical solutions to the mundane problems of life in rural America in the late-1800s to early 1900s (with some '30s and '40s thrown in). The features include room fans powered by kerosene lanterns, gasoline-powered Maytag washing machines, and "free-range locomotives" capable of pulling wooden combine-harvesters the size of a small house. The most delightful are the tractors - great, steam-snorting monsters that live again to display the ingenuity of their creators.
Hope you can spread the word about this fine diversion from modern life.
Long Beach, Californa
The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, Nebraska, is a fabulous display devoted to the pioneers that opened the West. The attraction just opened in June.
Of Sunday Morning Diversions