Ben is right.  It’s also true that those who know at least a few tidbits of historical information about whatever they are seeing or doing, find that their vacation is more meaningful than it might have been otherwise.


Here in the ‘Fun Facts’ Category you will find information about History.

These blogs are each presented in a ‘bullet point’ style that is designed to give you just a few pieces of information about things that you will potentially see and do on a road trip in America.

Either these tidbits will:

help you get the most of your visits, (if you don’t need too much to be satisfied)


whet your appetite for more information (about the things that you find really interesting and want to know more about).

Either way, you’ll discover more about yourself and where your interests lie.



To help you easily find information for the area you are currently interested in, I have divided the country into 9 Regions.  (You may read a summary about each region here):

After you have identified the Region that you are visiting, scroll down until you find the blog for that Region.

Here are the states (and other areas) in each Region:



Maine * New Brunswick * Nova Scotia * Province of Québec


Virginia * New York * Massachusetts * Maryland / Washington D.C. * Rhode Island * Connecticut * New Hampshire * Delaware * North Carolina * South Carolina * New Jersey * Pennsylvania * Georgia * Vermont


Florida * Alabama* Mississippi Louisiana * Arkansas


Kentucky * Tennessee * Ohio * West Virginia


Oklahoma * Missouri * Nebraska * Kansas * Iowa


Michigan * Indiana * Wisconsin * Minnesota * Illinois


North Dakota * South Dakota * Wyoming * Montana * Colorado * Nevada


Washington * Oregon * Idaho * Northern California


Central & Southern California * Texas * Arizona * Utah * New Mexico



Click on the Blog, and enjoy the information found there. Remember that this is in no way an exhaustive compilation of facts or a complete picture of this Region’s history.  It’s just a few interesting things that are designed to help what you are seeing to come alive a bit and get you started.  The rest is up to you!






 I have sectioned off the U.S. into 9 different regions in order to be able to share stories from the road as well as tidbits of info to make your trip planning easier and more enjoyable.   Hopefully, you’ll find this is an easy way to locate information as you plan your trip and / or find yourself in a given region.

Just for fun I thought we’d take a very quick peek at each of our nine American regions and the landscapes and natural wonders that they offer the traveler. With an apology for the rather ‘advertising brochure’ approach (as well as not including Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands and American Samoa areas that you’d probably not take your trailer to anyway), I’ve summarized each region with an overview to give you little idea of what you could potentially see and some idea of what you can expect as you venture into a particular area of the country. In the following section you’ll find a little more detail on some of the main types of terrain that you might encounter in your travels. Nowhere else in the world can you see so much variety in one country than in America the Beautiful (and a little bit of Canada)!

Maine * Vermont
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Province of Québec

I like to call this area of the country ‘New Europe’ because the influence left by early European settlers is still felt there today. This area has been occupied by the British, the Scots, the Acadians and the French. Much of the architecture, art, food, language etc…reflects that ‘Old World’ feeling. Whenever I am really missing Europe, we can pack up the Little Guy and just head up to Québec City! This region also has so much to offer to nature lovers. Here you will find the world’s highest tides, incredible bays and islands, volcanoes, beautiful forests and my favorite thing ever: PUFFINS! (I actually designed a 22-day trip to this area just to see these adorable birds that resemble a cross between a parrot and a penguin!)  Truly a nature lover’s Paradise!    P1050249




Virginia * New York * Massachusetts * Maryland / Washington D.C.
Rhode Island * Connecticut * New Hampshire * Delaware * North Carolina
South Carolina * New Jersey * Pennsylvania * Georgia

I can only imagine what the first settlers thought when they initially arrived on the eastern shores of the New World. New England has some of the most beautiful autumns in the world but also some of the coldest and harshest winters in the country. New England has it all! Lovely and sometimes rocky coastlines, mountains and forests. New England is full of small states where you can see mountains and the ocean on the same day. You can also drive through several states on that same day. These states are home to our Founding Fathers and the world that was known to those who fought and died to create this new and free nation. Imagine their lives as they farmed the fertile grounds here, fought the rough winters, learned to share space with the Native Americans, fought to create a new type of government and enjoyed the beauty of this New World. There is so much to see and experience in this Region!

Florida * Alabama* Mississippi * Louisiana * Arkansas

Brought into the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, The Deep South has had its struggles with slavery, war and poverty. Left with the remnants of language and beliefs from the French and from the slave trade, the South welcomes visitors with its colorful history, a painter’s pallet during the fall foliage and a sea of color in the spring when the flowers are all in bloom. The South is also a fisherman’s paradise. She plays host to many different bodies of water, from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic, up the Mighty Mississippi and down endless other rivers, swamps, deltas and lakes. Here you’ll find the trees, flowers, birds and reptiles that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Here you can also find insects large enough to carry you away, so wear your repellent!

Kentucky * Tennessee * Ohio * West Virginia

Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge, Allegheny & Great Smoky Mountain Ranges, the Blue Grass Region is where mountain music and country music have their roots. Here you’ll find beautiful rolling hills, horse farms, mountains and plateaus with incredible scenic overviews. You’ll also find…well….blue grass!

Oklahoma * Missouri * Nebraska * Kansas * Iowa

With some help from the sequestered Native Americans, the Central Midwest Breadbasket region of the U.S. is home to some our largest food producing farms and ranches. The plains located here have a unique beauty all their own, and there’s lots of history to go along with them! Where else can you find the ‘Largest Ball of Twine’ museum, the museum of ‘Barbed Wire’ or ‘The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things’ museum but in Kansas?! The Breadbasket is also where you will find some of the country’s deepest and most stunning caves. Enjoy the plains, rolling hills, caves, oddities and history of the Breadbasket! While you’re there, stop at a local ‘mom & pop’ diner for some homemade bread and jam and a juicy steak!

Michigan * Indiana * Wisconsin * Minnesota * Illinois

It’s pretty obvious what you are going to find in the Great Lakes Region. Great Big Lakes! Even though they are all freshwater lakes, they have been referred to as inland seas because of their ocean-like characteristics. Here you’ll learn a little bit about each of the Great Lakes in addition to some general information about the surrounding geology, waterfalls and forests.

North Dakota * South Dakota * Wyoming * Montana * Colorado * Nevada

The Wild Wild West conjures up images of cowboys, gunfights, Indians, saloons and gold mines. Our minds wander onto the plains, up into the mountains and out into the deserts where bandits wait to jump the next stagecoach or train in search of loot! So much intriguing history awaits the traveler journeying into the Old West, but so does her magnificent mountain ranges, plains and deserts.

Washington * Oregon * Idaho * Northern California

It’s hard to believe that you can drive from the peaks of the Grand Tetons to the Washington State rainforest coastline in just 16 hours!
The Pacific Northwest is an area like no other. It is home to North America’s only true rain forest and is packed with national forests. There you’ll find giant cypress, spruce and redwood trees large enough to drive through! Washington’s northern coast boasts of some of the most beautiful seascapes in the country and Oregon’s coast offers gorgeous sunsets, the largest stretch of coastal sand dunes in North America, whale migration routes, many lighthouses and the world’s largest sea caves that you can actually go down into and hang out with hundreds of sea lions. Enjoy the Redwoods of Northern California and the fertile valleys of some of the world’s best wineries in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Central & Southern California * Texas * Arizona * Utah * New Mexico

The American Southwest sure does have its share of natural wonders and National Parks! Chocked full of mesas, caverns, deserts, arches, sand dunes, monuments and red rocks, the American southwest has always drawn in travelers for its unusual rock and sand formations, incredible distinctiveness and unusual scenery. Here you will also find the history of the people who first inhabited the area and can actually see their ancient dwelling places and rock art. Here are the roots of the Hispanic, Latino and American Indian cultures with lots of ruins and artifacts to discover and enjoy. You will also find lakes, craters, wilderness, mountains and forests making the American Southwest one of the most diverse areas of the world.

RELIGION: (First Folks) Fun Facts


Up until Approximately 500 A.D.

Religion in America obviously starts long before America was America, or North and South America were independent from each other.  In fact, the entire continent was thought of as one huge landmass with (what would become) the Isthmus of Panama narrowly connecting the two larger parts.

Since written records and documented history wouldn’t significantly show up until after the Europeans found their way to the Americas, learning about the religions of the early peoples on the American Continent is primarily limited to oral the traditions that have been handed down.  Needless to say, information is controversial and scarce, but we’ll do the best we can.  Here goes:


The first people to arrive on the American continent were from Asia.  These early, brave folks made their way on foot from Asia into Siberia, across the Bering Land Bridge into Alaska, and eventually down into the lower parts of the continent.  The land bridge that allowed travel by foot is now under the waters of the Bering Strait.

Here’s what we do seem to know about the earliest Americans dating up to around 500 A.D.:

         *The people brought with them a Stone Aged culture called ‘Clovis’ and have left behind artifacts and arrowheads (called ‘Clovis Points’).  The ‘Clovis’ title came from the site of the first artifacts discovered near Clovis, NM.

          *The Clovis people are often referred to as Paleo-Indians, although there is debate on the subject.

          *The Clovis culture spread into hundreds of different groups as the people spread out in pursuit of the giant mammals that they were hunting, including mastodons, caribou, bison, and mammoths.

           *Some of the splintered groups became gatherers as they adapted to different areas of the country.  Most groups existed on a combination of hunting, gathering, and fishing all depending on the areas that they had settled in.

          *The gathering groups eventually began planting and farming which evolved into the cultures that the early explorers from Europe encountered.

          *It appears that these groups had communication with each other and possibly did some trading.

          *Some of these groups became Mound Builders which were ceremonial mounds built to honor the sun god.

          *These people became extinct about 9,000 years ago, taking with them the secrets of their life.

          *Evidence has determined that the Clovis people are the direct descendants of the Native American Tribes.

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Well, maybe we don’t know a lot about the beliefs of America’s early ancestors, but it’s good to know how the cultures we have come to know got their start!

You can find the artifacts and sites of the Clovis People all over the Southwest as well as scattered throughout North America.  Next time you are on the road, check out the original people that have blazed the trails before you!

REGION 1: RELIGION (New Europe) Fun Facts


The area that we call ‘New Europe’, comprised of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick (with Canada’s outer islands), Vermont and Maine begins its religious contribution into the New World with Roman Catholic and Puritan roots. With the discovery of the rich and valuable forests and soils in the area however, the motives of its new inhabitants quickly turned to profit and monetary wealth.  Maine and Vermont are now the two states that have the fewest number of residents claiming a religious affiliation of any state in the Union, and the lowest populations of people who claim to pray daily.


Here are a few facts about the original belief system of the settlers of the American Continent’s Northeast section, and their effects on  religion in American :

1). General Information:

*The original Acadians who came largely from Central France were Roman Catholic with strong religious ties to the Holy Church.

*The re-settling of the area after the Revolutionary War divided the area into inland settlers and coastal inhabitants.r1r2

*Coastal communities fostered the more traditional Congregational and Puritanical practices which meant a strong respect for God and a submission to the political leaders who ruled in the name of God.  The Congregational Church eventually died out because it was too expensive, too burdensome, and too hierarchical.

*In order to be a British citizen, one had to be a member of the Anglican Church of England. The Puritans sought to reform the Church of England, often producing the same legalistic and restrictive practices and problems that they were protesting against.

*The inland settlers had a more pioneering approach and stressed simplicity of doctrine. They placed less importance on organizational leadership and de-emphasized classical learning. They encouraged spontaneous participation in corporate worship, blurring the separation between the preacher and the congregation.

*The division between the two groups eventually led to the area’s separation from the Puritan form of belief and led to the formation of revivalist sects.

*Maine, which began as a Massachusetts Province, broke away based partly on religious disagreement.  Maine began its petition for statehood began in 1785 and finally achieved statehood in 1820.


2). Specific Beliefs:

*Initially Roman Catholic, the Acadians – because of being in such a remote area – eventually accepted a service run by an elder when there was an absence of a priest.

*The Acadians had a strong belief in sorcery and the power of the devil.  This belief made the infusion with the Puritans pretty easy.

*The Acadians believed that a soul in Purgatory (the holding place of the souls of the deceased) could appear to the living.

*It didn’t take long until organized Catholic Church services only happened when there was a visiting missionary from Quebec.

*Inland settlers eventually brought in the age of revivals with their ‘revivalist’ beliefs that:

-All men are equal before God.r1r3

-People should be allowed freedom to participate in worship.

-People need to find their own path to heaven by good works.

-Parish priests should no longer have absolute authority above the congregation.

-Parish priests do not have special abilities to exorcise demons, heal the sick or stop forest fires with their prayers.


3). Arts & Medicines:r1r4

*The Acadians had a rich oral tradition that included songs, folktales, ballads and legends.  There were singers in every family.

*Acadians have a strong history in the use of natural, herbal medicines and remedies, many of which are still in use today.


The Revivalist ideology that developed in the Northeast between the late 1700’s and the mid 1800’s resulted in revivals and religious awakenings all over the Northeast.  This made way for new denominations including the Freewill Baptists, Methodists, Shakers, and Universalists.



4). Region 1 Religion today:

*Nova Scotia:  34% Catholic; 33% Protestant; 22% Unaffiliated; 2% Middle Eastern; 7% Other

*New Brunswick: 53% Catholic; 36% Protestant; 8% Unaffiliated; 1% Middle Eastern; 4% Other

*Maine: 14% Catholic; 4% Protestant; 77% Unaffiliated; 1% Middle Eastern; 4% Other

*Vermont: 22% Catholic; 4% Protestant; 71% Unaffiliated; 1% Middle Eastern; 2% Other

*Compared to other U.S. regions, the Northeast has the lowest regular religious service attendance and the fewest number of people for whom religion is an important part of their daily lives.

*The sexual abuse scandal of the Catholic Church has directly affected the number of people who have opted to continue valuing religious affiliation.

HISTORY: (First Folks) Fun Facts


Up until Approximately 500 A.D.

History in America obviously starts long before America was America, or North and South America were independent from each other.  In fact, the entire continent was thought of as one huge landmass with (what would become) the Isthmus of Panama narrowly connecting the two larger parts.

Since written records and documented history wouldn’t significantly show up until after the Europeans found their way to the Americas, learning about the history of the early peoples on the American Continent is primarily limited to oral the traditions that have been handed down.  Needless to say, information is controversial and scarce, but we’ll do the best we can.  Here goes:


The first people to arrive on the American continent were from Asia.  These early, brave folks made their way on foot from Asia into Siberia, across the Bering Land Bridge into Alaska, and eventually down into the lower parts of the continent.  The land bridge that allowed travel by foot is now under the waters of the Bering Strait.

Here’s what we do seem to know about the earliest Americans dating up to around 500 A.D.:

         *The people brought with them a Stone Aged culture called ‘Clovis’ and have left behind artifacts and arrowheads (called ‘Clovis Points’).  The ‘Clovis’ title came from the site of the first artifacts discovered near Clovis, NM.

          *The Clovis people are often referred to as Paleo-Indians, although there is debate on the subject.

          *The Clovis culture spread into hundreds of different groups as the people spread out in pursuit of the giant mammals that they were hunting, including mastodons, caribou, bison, and mammoths.

           *Some of the splintered groups became gatherers as they adapted to different areas of the country.  Most groups existed on a combination of hunting, gathering, and fishing all depending on the areas that they had settled in.

          *The gathering groups eventually began planting and farming which evolved into the cultures that the early explorers from Europe encountered.

          *It appears that these groups had communication with each other and possibly did some trading.

          *Some of these groups became Mound Builders which were ceremonial mounds built to honor the sun god.

          *These people became extinct about 9,000 years ago, taking with them the secrets of their life.

          *Evidence has determined that the Clovis people are the direct descendants of the Native American Tribes.

download (4)

Well, maybe we don’t know a lot about the history of America’s early ancestors, but it’s good to know how the cultures we have come to know got their start!

You can find the artifacts and sites of the Clovis People all over the Southwest as well as scattered throughout North America.  Next time you are on the road, check out the original people that have blazed the trails before you!

REGION 2: RELIGION (The Original 13) Fun Facts



The Region we refer to as ‘New England’ is made up of the 13 original British Colonies.  Although we’ve learned that the U.S. is originally comprised of native peoples from North America and a number of different waves of immigrants from other parts of the world, we tend to think of these Europeans as being the original settlers of the New World that later became the U.S.  The settlers in the New England colonies were the ones that spear-headed the Revolution that gave America its independence from Great Britain, and created this new country’s original governmental structure.



The first settlers however, did not come to the New World looking to separate from Great Britain, and each original colony had its own identity and reason for colonization.  The original 13 colonies were independent of each other and rarely got along.

r2 1

Here is a quick look at the original purpose for each colony:

*Virginia: Established in 1607 by the Virginia Company, this colony was an exploratory venture seeking to find what resources and riches were available in the New World.

* New York: Established in 1626 by the Dutch and surrendered to Great Britain in 1664. New York was originally involved in agriculture and the fur trade.

* Massachusetts: Established in 1630 by the Puritan Pilgrims who landed there in 1620.  These Puritans sought to reform the Church of England and create a colony that would be a place of holiness and a shining example to the church and all mankind.

* New Hampshire: Established in 1623, this colony was originally set us as a fishing colony.

* Maryland: Established in 1633, this colony served as a safe haven for Catholics who were currently under persecution in Great Britain from the Church of England.

* Rhode Island: Established in 1636, this colony became a safe haven for Indians (who they believed to be the rightful owners of the land).

* Connecticut: Established in 1636, this colony was originally made up of Dutch Puritans from the Massachusetts Bay Colony looking for freedom, and to set up fur trading posts.    

* Delaware: Established in 1638 as a Swedish colony.

* North Carolina: Established in 1653 by colonists from Virginia who were looking for gold. In exchange, this colony was given to 8 proprietors in 1663 who agreed to help King Charles retain his throne.

* South Carolina: Established in 1633 as part of the North Carolina Colony.  It became a separate colony in 1729.

* New Jersey: Established in 1664, this colony was originally settled by the Dutch, Swedes and Finns.

* Pennsylvania: Established in 1682, this colony was the safe haven for persecuted Quakers.

* Georgia: Established in 1732 by James Oglethorpe, Georgia harbored debtors and other criminals. Built on a grid system of independent ‘squares’ which could be easily duplicated as the city expanded, this colony was an experiment to create a Utopian society.


Denominational Roots:

For the most part, the American colonists were members of the Anglican Church of England who were dissatisfied with the church. Here’s a few tidbits of information about the faith of the early settlers in the New World:

*Most of the early colonists were ‘Puritans’.  A Puritan was someone who sought to ‘purify’ the Church of England.

*Puritans were loyal to the Church of England and did not tolerate other religions.

*Puritans disagreed with the way the Church of England worshiped.

*Puritans persecuted Quakers believing them to be heretics.r6

*Pilgrims were Puritans that separated themselves from the Church of England. They were the original ‘Separatists’.

*The Middle Colonies (Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware) were more tolerant and welcomed Lutherans, Jews, Quakers, Mennonites, Catholics, Moravians, Amish and Presbyterians.

*The Southern Colonies were home to the Anabaptists (those who re-baptized adults after a conversion experience) including Baptists.


Blue Laws:

blue laws

 ‘Blue Laws’ are regulations dating back to Puritan New England that forbade the breaking of the Sabbath.  Forbidden actions included missing church, working, buying or selling, quarreling, having sex, drinking, shopping, wearing flamboyant attire or anything that took away from keeping the Sabbath holy.

Although challengers have continued to argue – and win- against these laws, specifics vary from state to state.  Many conservatives believe that the repeal of these laws has contributed to the decline of church attendance and moral behavior.


The Great Awakening:

The Great Awakening was not a specific event, but a series of revivals that influenced changes in doctrine as well as social and political thought.  The Awakenings impacted the colonists and inspired the idea that they were not at the mercy of the Church of England, and eventually that they were not bound to the authority of the English monarchy. Ultimately, the Protestant movement inspired the doctrines and articles of faith that were established.  

The Awakenings spread the Protestant movement. They emphasized intimacy with God, freedom of worship, the encouragement of the personal study of Scripture, the empowerment and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, along with Protestant doctrines.

This common vision of freedom gave rise to the Declaration of Independence.

The biggest names of the Awakenings were preachers George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and Charles Wesley.

*The First Great Awakening: 1730-1740: Sparked notions of independence from the Church of England and the English monarchy, and from a stale, formal and distant relationship with God.

*The Second Great Awakening: 1800-1830: Did for the un-churched what the First Awakening did for church members.  It firmly established the need for a personal, saving and dependent relationship with Christ Jesus.

*The Third Great Awakening: 1860-1900: Although temporarily interrupted by the Civil War, this started the Social Gospel Movement and worldwide missionary work.

*The Fourth Great Awakening: 1960-1970: Gave rise to the megachurches and emphasized the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

          During these periods, many new Protestant denominations formed – usually over differing opinions of the interpretation of scripture.

             r7  r8


The Faith of the Protestants:

The faith of the ‘Protesters’ (those who protested and broke from the Catholic Church) included 5 basic beliefs that differed from the Catholic Church and remain the key Protestant doctrines today.  Many other issues are what divided the Protestants into different denominations.


1). Sola Christus (Christ only): Salvation is accomplished by Christ alone. No priests, traditions, sacraments, relics etc.. are needed for salvation in addition to Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

2). Sola Fide (Faith only): Salvation comes by faith alone and not by faith accompanied by works.

3). Sola Gratia (Grace only): It is only by the Grace of God that Christ went to the cross and man can become justified in the sight of God.  There is nothing redeeming in man that commends him to God, and God’s grace alone draws men to Himself.

4). Sola Scriptura (Scripture only): Scripture alone is complete and speaks with all authority to all believers, needing no human spokesmen or church counsel.

5). Soli Deo Gloria (To God only goes all glory): All glory goes to God alone for all physical and spiritual provision and blessing. No human or saint should be celebrated or elevated alongside of God.

REGION 1 HISTORY:(New Europe) Fun Facts

In the introduction to the ‘Fun Facts’ Category within this online planning manual, I detailed the importance of knowing some key things pertaining to the history that you will be exposed to on a trip to a particular area. I also presented the idea of dividing the U.S. into 9 Regions for the purpose of organizing those facts.  This is for the purpose of helping an area come alive to you as you learn a few facts in ‘bullet point’ style – but only a few facts so that you don’t get overwhelmed!R1H.jpg

Here are some interesting Historical facts about Region 1:


Maine * Vermont * New Brunswick * Nova Scotia 

If you are traveling to the Atlantic North East states (Region 1), you will find much of the history you’ll be hearing about has to do with the Border Disputes and the settlement of what is now North Eastern Canada and the U.S. state of Maine.  For this area’s ‘Focused Events’ (historical events that the area is most known for), we’ll be tackling the wars and disputes that this region saw as its borders fell into place between 1600 and 1860.

We’ll call this the BORDER DISPUTE PERIOD.


History Reg 1

              *North Eastern North America was initially called Acadia.  Acadia covered what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island and parts of present day Maine.

            *When Acadia was under French control, it was called Acadia, but under British control is was called Nova Scotia.

            *Acadians are descendants of the original French settlers.


*1604: Acadia was initially settled by France.

*1605: Champlain moves the colony to Port-Royal (present day Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia).

*1613: Virginians destroyed the town and scattered the inhabitants causing new colonies to spring up and the French occupation to grow.

*1621: Unsuccessful attempt by the British to colonize Eastern Acadia – which they renamed Nova Scotia – increases tension between the British and the French

*1632-1650: First French feudal war over Acadia between Charles de Menou Sieur d’Aulnay Charnisay and Charles La Tour.

*1654: La Tour is captured by the British, but then is released and allowed to become governor of Nova Scotia under British law.  La Tour was replaced by the first British governor of Nova Scotia.

*1670: Hubert de Grandfontaine takes Acadia back for the French.

*1689: War breaks out as Great Britain attacks and captures Port Royal.

*1697: Treaty of Ryswick brings King William’s War (which was fought between Louis XVI of France and Austria in Europe as allied forces tried to curtail the ambitions of King Louis)   to a close and leaves France in control.

*1702-1713: Queen Anne’s War between Britain and France for control of Acadia.

*1710: British and colonial forces join to capture Port Royal for the British and renames it Annapolis.

*1713: The Treaty of Utrecht recognizes British conquest.  France retains Cape Breton and Isle St Jean.  British take control of all of Nova Scotia (Acadia) and ‘Its Ancient Limits’.  This ends Queen Anne’s War.

*1713-1763: Constant disputes between Britain and France over the definition of ‘ancient limits’.

*1751: The building Fort Beauséjour on the Missagwask River, by the French confines the English to the peninsula for forty years.

*1755-1763: Due to tensions between Britain and France, 10,000 Acadians were deported to the 13 colonies, France and Britain.  Britain thought that they were a threat to the appropriation of the land.  This Deportation was called ‘The Great Upheaval’.

*1740-1764: King George’s War, The French and Indian Wars and the Seven Years War leaves Great Britain in control of all of Acadia, which passes away in favor of the establishment of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

*1763: Treaty of Paris ends the French and Indian War.

*1784: Province of New Brunswick is formed.

*1775-1783: The people of Nova Scotia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island decide not to join colonial forces against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War.

*1802: Altitude sickness correctly diagnosed as lack of oxygen.

*1802: Slavery divides American North and South.

*1867: Following several constitutional conferences, the 1867Constitution Act officially proclaimed the Canadian Confederation.  Initially there were four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.


Motto: ‘Dirigo’

histor reg 1a

*1604: First European colony in Maine established by France.

*1604-1605: French Map maker Samuel de Champlain explores and maps portions of the Maine coastline and the Penobscot River.

*1622: Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason are granted rights to the land which makes up what is now Maine and New Hampshire. Gorges became the first person to title the territory “Maine”.

*1623: First Sawmill in America.

*1652: Maine is annexed as a frontier territory by Massachusetts. The strategic importance of Maine is established as Massachusetts officials considered it the first line of defense against potential French and Indian invasions.

*1658: Massachusetts takes over Casco Bay, completing annexing of Maine lands.

*1775: First naval battle of the Revolutionary War occurs off the coast of Machias.

*1775: Benedict Arnold marches a band of revolutionaries through Maine in a failed attempt to capture British strongholds in Quebec City and Montreal.

*1819: Massachusetts agrees to allow The District of Maine to petition for statehood.

*1820: Maine becomes its own State

*1839: Governor Fairfield declares war on England over a boundary dispute between New Brunswick and northern Maine. This is the first and only time a state has declared war on a foreign power. The dispute was settled, however, before any blood was shed.

*1851: Maine is the first state to outlaw the sale of all alcoholic beverages.

*1851: Harriet Beecher Stowe begin writing the novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

 *1852: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1852 settles border dispute between Maine and New Brunswick establishing current borders.


Motto: ‘Freedom and Unity’


*Abenaki speaking Native American tribes inhabit the Vermont area for an estimated 10,000 years and were the original maple syrup producers.  Prior to British colonization, the area was primarily a thoroughfare between the French/Native-American settlements to the North and English settlements to the South.

*1535: James Cartier is the first European to explore present day Vermont.

*1609: French explorer Samuel Champlain claims Vermont for France and discovers Lake Champlain.

*1724: First British establishment at Ft Dummer in Dummerston.

*1731: French arrive in the Vermont territory.

*1734: The French establish Fort St. Frederic giving the French control of the Lake Champlain Valley.

*1761: The town of Windsor was established and became called the ‘Birthplace of Vermont’. The production of maple syrup becomes more refined.

*1763: France cedes Vermont to the Britain after the ‘Seven Years War’.

*1763-1777: Settlers from New Hampshire and New York who owned land grants disputed control of the area.

*1774: The Scottish-American Land Company bring the first Scottish settlers to Vermont.

*1776-1783: American Revolution

*1777: Disputing settlers come together establishing the Vermont Republic which lasted until 1791. The Republic was the first of any future U.S. state to partially abolish slavery.

*1780: Last Indian raid led by the British happens in Royalton.

*1791: Vermont joins the Union as the 14th State.

*1791: Vermont’s motto becomes: “Freedom & Unity”.

*Vermont is one of only 4 states (along with California, Hawaii and Texas) that were previously sovereign states.  A sovereign state is a geographic area or territory with a centralized government and is not dependent or subjected to any other power.


*1861-1864: American Civil War

*1863: Pres. Lincoln declares the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day

*1866: The Railroad Act permits appropriation of Native lands by railroad companies.

*1867: Canada becomes an Independent British Dominion (which means that it was a British founded colony that gained its own governing power).  That lasted until 1982 when the Constitution Act of 1982 gave Canada its full rights to govern without British approval.

*1869: 15th Amendment gives freed male slaves the vote.

*1873: Creation of the Royal Mounted Police in Canada

*1881: Start of migration to the U.S by nearly 400,000 Canadians.

*1885: Completion of Canadian transcontinental railroad.

*1914: Canada joins Australia and New Zealand on the Allied side of WW1.

*1917: U.S. joins WW1.

*1920: Women gain the vote in the U.S.

*1932: Commonwealth Conference, Ottawa, sets new tariffs to protect trade within the British Empire.

*1941-1945: WW2

*1964-1975: Vietnam Conflict

Well there you have just a few tidbits of historical information that will hopefully help you enjoy your road trip into the North Eastern corner of North America!

                                             HAPPY TRAVELS!!!

REGION 3: RELIGION (The Deep South) Fun Facts

Cove Methodist Church

Brought into the United States by the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the states of the Deep South, which include Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas have had their struggles with slavery, war and poverty.  Left here are the remnants of language and beliefs from the French and from the slave trade.  The faith of the locals have evolved into a mixture of Catholicism, Conservative Anabaptist doctrine, and a sprinkling of the religious practices of Africa.


*Because the area had been occupied by the French – who were mostly Catholic – most of the local people that had stayed on after the Louisiana Purchase remained Catholic.r31

 *Initially, the first American settlers to the new territory were colonists looking to take advantage of the agricultural opportunities of the Deep South.  They started planting crops such as cotton, sugar, rice, tobacco, indigo and watermelon.

*These large plantation crops created the need for slave labor and served to be a key issue of dissension between the states.

*Slaves were usually West Africans acquired largely by East Africans, Egyptians and Ethiopians as spoils of war and sold off.

*Many of the initial settlers were Catholic, as the Southern colonies had been much more tolerant than the Puritans of the Northern colonies, and many took safe haven in the South.



*76% of people residing in the Deep South are Christian, with the majority belonging to the Baptist denomination.

*The 2nd Great Awakening (1800-1830) was largely responsible for the Protestant Reformation in the Deep South.  Results from this event have been:

                -Establishment of reform movements that sought to alleviate sufferings including the Temperance, Suffrage and Abolitionist movements, as well as inspiring prison reform and help for the mentally ill.

               -Protestant Evangelicals including the Methodists, Mennonites, Baptists and Presbyterians became the fastest growing denominations in the Nation.

               -Greater public roles for women.r2h5

              -Larger groups of African-Americans than ever before joining the Christian faith.

              -Christians taking a more serious role in public policies.

              -Christians were called into a life of Holiness.

*Large revivals and traveling camp meetings drew in multitudes of people to hear the preaching of the leaders of the movement such as Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher, Lorenzo Dow, Barton Stone, Frances Asbury, James McGready, and Peter Cartwright.

*Large numbers of Christians began to worship freely and with more expressed emotion. They choose their place of church membership, and elected to be baptized as a profession of faith.

*The Deep South has been nicknamed, “The Bible Belt”.



The religious beliefs of the slaves – brought in mostly from West Africa- is a complex mixture of Islam, Christianity and the Voodoo traditions. This was tolerated by the Catholic Church in Africa.


*The original religion in West Africa was Vodun (or Voodoo).  The Vodun that is practiced in Haiti and the Caribbean is a combination of African, Catholic, and Native American beliefs.  Vodun is practiced differently in different parts of the world.

*Original Vodun (or Voodoo) basic beliefs and practices:

            -There is no scripture or world authority, and focuses on individual experience.

            -The Visible and Invisible worlds are intertwined.

            -Death is only a transition into the Invisible world, so our ancestors are still with us and look over us.

            -There are Lwa which are gods with human personalities that can reside locally (ie… Marie Laveau in New Orleans).

            -There are ordained clergy (priests & priestesses), that offer guidance, but Vodun teaches that each person is responsible for their own actions.

                –The Lwa have become likened to Catholic Saints and Hindu Deities and function similarly.

 *Vodun is often confused with Hoodoo which is a West African form of folk magic used to conjure spiritual power.r311

*Christianity arrived in Africa in the early 2nd century as a missionary endeavor.

*313 A.D.: The Emperor Constantine signed the edict of Milan and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, which made the spread and acceptance of Christianity fast and easy.

*Currently, about 80% of Africa’s population is Christian.

*Africa was the first continent into which Islam spread from its roots in Southwest Asia, early in the 7th century.  This migration happened as a result of persecution from the polytheistic (multi-god) inhabitants of Mecca.

r39*Currently, nearly 1/3rd of the world’s Muslim population lives on the African continent, and about 20% of the current population of Africa are Muslim.

*Islam in Africa has always been, and still is constantly being reshaped and influenced by traditional local beliefs and has developed doctrines and practices unique to the African Muslim.

*The religion practiced by the majority of the slaves brought in from the slave trade were largely Christian, but with influences of Islam and Voodoo.r310

*Some slaves also practiced the traditional Hoodoo folk magic, and although many were forced by their masters to become Christian, kept to their rituals.

*Currently, the bulk of the Vodun and Hoodoo practitioners in the U.S. are found in Louisiana – primarily in New Orleans.

*Between the end of the Civil War and the Civil rights movement, most Christians in the Deep South had become Protestant.  However, Black churches and white churches were segregated.

*The revivals during the 2nd Great Awakening affected the Black and Hispanic populations as much as the white, and the Southern Baptist Church flourished in all races.

r37*A less educated and deeply poor rural south found fundamentalism from the Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and older Baptists, greatly appealing.

*Currently nearly ½ of all residents of the Deep South attend church regularly as compared to the rest of the country, which is at about 23%.  (Utah is the exception at 47%). Of the church goers in the South, about 2/3rds are Protestant.



What a unique and diverse culture you’ll find in the Deep South!  Realize, too, that the faith of an area greatly influences its politics, policies, laws, and cultural norms. The Deep South is truly a world all its own!


REGION 2: HISTORY: (The Original 13) Fun Facts


Virginia * New York * Massachusetts * Maryland / Washington D.C. * Rhode Island * Connecticut * New Hampshire * Delaware * North Carolina * South Carolina * New Jersey * Pennsylvania * Georgia 

New England (Region 2) is one of my favorite areas to visit!  There is so much history to learn, and so much incredible scenery and so many Natural Wonders to enjoy – especially if you can get there in the fall!

 If you are traveling to the New England states (Region 2) to get a feeling for the history there, most of what you’ll find is historical information and sights dating from the early 1600’s to the early 1800’s.


As we said, there’s lots else to discover here, but for now we’ll focus on the history that New England is most known for.

Here are a few things to know about the original 13 colonies:

1). Not all the original 13 were referred to as part of ‘New England’.  Some were called Middle Colonies and some were the Lower Colonies.

2). Even though each colony was unique and independent, they all fell under the authority of the British Crown and all individuals were British subjects.

3). The original colonies all fell under 1 of the 3 organizational types of government:

          a). Royal Charter: these were initiated and governed by officials acting on behalf of the King of England

        b). Proprietary Colony: Proprietary colonies were ones granted by the English Crown to one or more proprietors who had full governing rights. A proprietor was a person granted governmental powers over a piece of land. These colonies were run under a colonial charter agreement, which was reviewed by the ruling King.

        c). Charter Colony: these were the Colonies with written contracts between the British King and the American colonists, defining the share each should have in the government, and were not to be changed without the consent of both parties.



-By 1750, North America was shared by Great Britain, France and Spain not to mention over 500 Native American tribes.

-Great Britain controlled the original 13 colonies as well as present-day Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

-France controlled what is now the Canadian province of Québec, all the areas around the Great Lakes and everything from the west edges of the original 13 colonies to the Mississippi River all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico.

-Spain controlled what is now Florida, all of present-day Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, Present-day Grenada, what we now know as West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Southern California’s Baja Peninsula, Southwest Colorado and South East Utah.



*1607: First English Colony: Jamestown, VA

*1619: House of Burgesses elected

*1620: Pilgrims arrive at Plymouth

*1621: The first Thanksgiving

*1628: New England Company established

*1640: The first book in North America is printed

*1647: The Constitution of Rhode Island is drafted separating church and state

*1732: Benjamin Franklin begins publishing the Poor Richard’s Almanac

*1735: Freedom of the Press is established

*1752: Begin work on the Liberty Bell

*1760: England takes possession of French lands in America

*1764-1767: Tax Acts by England enrage Colonists

*1765: First Steam Engine built

*1770: Boston Massacre

*1773: Boston Tea Party

*1774: Philadelphia becomes the 1st Capitol of the new republic

*1775: Paul Revere’s famous ride

*1775: Revolutionary War begins

*1776: American Declaration of Independence

*1777: Articles of Confederation completed

*1781: Britain surrenders at Yorktown

*1783: Americans win their independence and become the United States of America with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

*1787: Signing of the Constitution of the U.S.

*1789: George Washington becomes the 1st President

*1789: James Madison writes the Bill of Rights

*1791: A new constitution is penned

*1792: The Dollar is introduced as the currency of the U.S.

*1794: The Cotton Gin is patented

*1800: The U.S. Capitol moves to Washington D.C. John Adams is the 1st president to reside in Washington D.C.

*1800: Thomas Jefferson is elected 3rd president of the U.S.



 1).Virginia Motto: ‘Thus Always to Tyrants’

r2h3 Williamsburg, VA

*Established: 1607 as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies

*First town: Jamestown

*Funded by: the Virginia Company of London

*Purpose: Group of men sent to find gold and see what other treasures there might be.  Initially not intended to be a permanent settlement

*Religion: Anglican

*Became wealthy with the cultivation of Tobacco


2). New York:  

*First settled by the Dutch in 1624 as a Royal Colony in the Middle Colonies

*Initially called: New Amsterdam

*Taken by the English and renamed New York in 1664 after the Duke of York

*First Capitol of the United States: 1788

*Initial wealth came from: shipping, fur trade, mercantile and agriculture

*Initial Religion: Socially tolerant Protestants including Dutch Reform, Lutheran, German Reform and Quakers. Tolerant of Jews and Catholics


3). Massachusetts:  Motto: ‘By the Sword we seek Peace, but Peace only Under Liberty’

*Established as Plymouth Colony in 1620 as a Charter Colony in the New England Colonies

*Became Massachusetts Bay Colony: 1630

*Religion: Puritans (who believed that God was sending them to a place where they could practice their faith and live their lives according to the scriptures and therefore reform the Anglican Church)

*Economy: shipbuilding, fishing, fur, and lumber

*Known for: The Mayflower and the landing of Pilgrims

r2h4                                                                                                             Mayflower

4). Maryland: Motto: ‘Manly Deeds, Womanly Words’

*Established: 1633 as a Charter Colony in the Lower Colonies by Cecil Calvert (2nd lord of Baltimore)

*Initially named: Marie Land after the wife of the king then changed to Maryland

*Settled by: 200 Catholics arriving on the ships, Dove and Ark

*1649: Maryland Tolerance Act was passed guaranteeing religious freedom as long as it was Christian.

*1688: Catholicism was outlawed until after the Revolutionary War due to the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 in England which established the Protestant faith

*Early 1700’s: 40% of Maryland’s population were slaves and convicts

*Major income: Tobacco


5). Rhode Island:  Motto: ‘Hope’


*Established: 1636 as a Charter Colony in the New England Colonies

*Called Rhode Island because of a comparison made to the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea by an Italian explorer in 1524

*Founded by: Roger Williams (who was exiled from Massachusetts for his liberal religious   views) who guaranteed religious freedom                                                                                        and called it: Providence Plantation

*Founded on land sold to Williams by the Narragansett tribe

*Known for: making silverware, jewelry, textiles and other manufactured goods

*1776: First colony to renounce allegiance to King George III of England

*1777: Only colony to refuse participation in the creation of the U.S. Constitution and the last to ratify it


6). Connecticut:  Motto: ‘He who Transplanted Sustains’

r2h6*Established: 1636 as a Charter Colony in the New England Colonies by Puritans from the Massachusetts Bay Colony led by Thomas Hooker and John Haynes

*The Fundamental Orders 1639: The first constitution to be adopted by the American colonies assuring the right of free men to elect their public officials.

*Dominant Industries: Machine manufacturing, guns and other arms and textiles

*Nickname: ‘Land of Steady Habits’


7). New HampshireMotto: ‘Live Free or Die’

*Established: 1622 as a Royal Colony in the New England Colonies given to John Mason and Ferdinando Gorges as a land grant from England

*Primarily established for: Financial gain through the export of fish and wood

*1623: Settlers build forts and fish processing buildings

*1641: Massachusetts claims the territory and it becomes Upper Province

*1741: New Hampshire gains its independence and elects its own governor

*Initial religion: Puritans but the Congregational Church eventually grew out of the Puritan Church and was formally established in New Hampshire.


8). Delaware:  Motto:’Liberty and Independence’

*Established: 1638 as a Proprietary Colony in the Middle Colonies

*First settled by the Dutch in 1631 and then by the Swedes in 1637

*Established as a trading post at Fort Christina (now in Wilmington). The New Sweden Company intended to actually bring settlers to their outpost and begin a colony.

*1698-1699, the descendants of early Swedish colonists constructed Old Swedes Church (also known as Holy Trinity Church), which is one of the oldest houses of worship in America still in use.

*1787: Delaware becomes the 1st state to ratify the new Constitution of the United States, thus getting its nickname – ‘The First State’ r2h11


9). North Carolina:  Motto: ‘To Be rather than to Seem’

*1584-1587: Sir Walter Raleigh’s ‘Lost colony of Roanoke’ along with Virginia Dare (first child born of English descent in the New World) establishes and then disappears

*Established: 1653 as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies

*Settled by: Virginian Colonists as a haven for religiously discontented settlers

*1663: King Charles II grants a charter as establishes the borders of Northern Carolina

*Major exports: tobacco and cotton

*1712: North Carolina and South Carolina separate

*1776: North Carolina was the first colony that instructed its delegates to vote in favor of separation with England at the Continental Congress


 10). South Carolina:  Motto: ‘While I Breathe I Hope’

*Established: 1663 as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies by separation from North Carolina

*1670: First English settlement at Albemarle Point.  Many of the first settlers came from Barbados in the Caribbean

*Major exports: cotton and tobacco

*By 1730 2/3rds of South Carolina’s population was of African descent.

*Initial religion: French Huguenots, Anglicans

*1786: First Golf in the New World established on Harleston Green with shipment of golf balls and clubs from Scotland

*1861: South Carolina is the first state to succeed from the Union; first shots of the Civil War fired on Ft Sumter

*The only commercial tea plantation in the 48 states is on Wadmalaw Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

*The palmetto tree has been an important icon of South Carolina since the American Revolutionary War. The story goes that the British attacked a fort on Sullivan’s Island, (near Charleston) and the cannonballs bounced off the spongy palmetto logs used to build the fort’s exterior wall.


11). New Jersey:  Motto: ‘Liberty and Prosperity’

*Established: 1664 as a Royal Colony in the Middle Colonies

*Religion: Toleration for all faiths including Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, and Quakers.

*Main resources: agricultural land, timber, iron ore, coal, and furs.

*Main exports: livestock, rice, wheat, indigo, rice, grain and items made from iron ore such as: tools, kettles, nails, plows, and nails

*1664-1702 the New Jersey Colony was divided into East Jersey and West Jersey. Each had their own constitution and governing agents. The border was never very firmly established and was often in dispute.

*1702: East Jersey and West Jersey became a single royal colony

r2h7 New Jersey Congress


12). Pennsylvania:  Motto: ‘Virtue, Liberty and Independence’

*Established: 1681-1682 as a Proprietary Colony under a Charter in the Middle Colonies

*Founded by William Penn as a haven for Quakers

*Governed Delaware until 1703

*Main resources: big food producing region that included corn, wheat and livestock including beef and pork. Other industries included the production of iron ore, lumber, textiles, furs and shipbuilding

*1717-1790: Pennsylvania sees extensive immigration including Germans, Welsh, Scotch-Irish, French, Dutch, Swedes, Jews and Africa

*Site of the 1st and 2nd Continental Congresses in 1774 & 1775

*1790-1800: Philadelphia serves as the nation’s second capitolr2h9

*Home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell

*Site of the writing and signing of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S, Constitution

*1780: The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act was the first attempt to abolish slavery in the colonies.

*1863: Location of the town of Gettysburg – site of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War and Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address


13). Georgia:  Motto: ‘Wisdom, Justice and Moderation’

*Late 1500’s: Modest Spanish presence centering on Catholic mission work

*Established: 1732-1733 at Savannah as a Royal Colony in the Lower Colonies by social reformer James Oglethorpe, and the only colony to be governed remotely by a Board of Trustees in London for the first 20 years

*Boundaries initially included the present-day states of Alabama and Mississippi

*Initially conceived as a refuge for indebted prisoners and the poor, but ultimately established to protect South Carolina and other southern colonies from Spanish invasion through Florida.

*The only colony to prohibit slavery from the beginning – along with rum, lawyers and Roman Catholics

*Original producer of peanuts, pecans and peaches, and Vidalia onions

*Oglethorpe’s original Utopian plan for all of Georgia using Savannah as the model:  Oglethorpe laid out the city of Savannah around a series of squares and laid out the streets in a grid pattern. Each square had a small community of colonists living around it and had separate lots dedicated to community buildings as well as a park in the center. Each free man who came to Savannah was given 50 acres of land. This included a homestead lot in the city of Savannah, a five-acre garden lot outside of the city, and a 45-acre farm lot beyond the garden lots. The colonists generally lived on the city lot, so they could take advantage of the safety of the city, and they worked their garden and farm lots for food and other resources which were all shared equally.

*1864: During the Civil War, ‘Sherman’s March to the Sea’ from Atlanta to Savannah was a military campaign to intimidate Georgians into abandoning their cause



D). Here are a few of the significant and/or interesting events that have happened in New England since 1800:

*1812: War of 1812 Americans are victorious over the British as they attempt to control the U.S. Navy.

*1814: British army burns down the White House in Washingto

*1815: European trade reopens

*1817-1825: Erie Canal links New York to the Great Lake

*1818: Northern border of the U.S. and Canada is established

*1830: Congress passes the Indian Removal Act

*1851: Isaac Singer from NY invents the sewing machine

*1857: Elisha Otis installs the first passenger elevator in NY

*1858: First transatlantic cable from the U.S. to Britain is laid

*1861-1864: Civil War is fought as slave states cede from the Union

*1869: Transcontinental Union-Pacific completed in U.S.

*1877: Thomas Edison invents the first phonograph

*1882: In Boston, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe becomes the first electrically illuminated theatrical production in the country

*1883: Brooklyn Bridge is completed

*1885: The Statue of Liberty arrives in NY from France

*1886: Coca-Cola is produced in Georgia

*1888: George Eastman perfects the Kodak camera

*1892: Ellis Island Immigration Office opens in NY

*1897: Underground Railroad system opens in Boston

*1898: Boroughs in NY unite to form Greater New York

*1903: Flight of the Wright Bros at Kitty Hawk, NC

*1904: NY Subway opens

*1910: Thomas Edison demonstrates motion pictures

*1913: Federal Reserve Board founded in Washington D.C.

*1915: First U.S. transcontinental telephone link established between NY and San Francisco

*1917-1918: U.S. enters WW1

*1919: FBI established

*1920: U.S. Women granted the Vote

*1920: Prohibition introduced sparking rise of organized crime

*1920: World’s first radio program broadcast airs in    Pittsburgh

*1929: Wall Street Crash leads to global Depression

*1933: Prohibition repealed in Washington D.C.

*1941: U.S. enters WW2 after bombing of Pearl Harb

*1945: United Nations established in New York

*1945: Pres. Harry Truman drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan

*1957: First U.S. nuclear reactor opens in Pennsylvania

*1949: North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington

*1961: U.S. launches first man into Space, Alan Shepard

*1963/1965: Protestors of racial discrimination march on Washington

*1964: U.S. joins war in Vietnam

*1964: ‘Great Society’ Civil Rights Act forbids segregation in public U.S. places

*1969: U.S. lands on the moon

*1973: U.S. and USSR sign agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War in Washington D.C.

*1973: World Trade Center in NY becomes the highest building in the world at 1,349 feet high

*1974: Watergate scandal in Washington D.C.

*2002: Estimated worldwide internet users: 530 million

I hope that these bits of information will help you as you navigate your way through the massive amount of history to be learned here in the New England area!  The trick here is to try and learn a few things that you really find interesting and not let yourself slip into ‘information-overload coma!  Enjoy!!! 




REGION 3: HISTORY: (The Deep South) Fun Facts


Florida * Alabama * Mississippi * Louisiana * Arkansas

Did you know that in order for a soldier to serve during the Civil War, he had to have at least 6 opposing front teeth?  This was so that his ‘not-so-pearly’ whites could bite off the end a powder cartridge pouch while his hands were otherwise engaged.  This caused draftees (who could afford the high fee) to have their front teeth removed to avoid military service!

There is no end to the information that you could encounter on your trip into the Deep South, so take a deep breath and focus on what is most interesting to you!    

A visit to the Deep South (Region 3) is steeped in tradition, history and superstition.  The bulk of the history you’ll be exposed to pertains to the Louisiana Purchase, history of the slaves, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement.  For our ‘Focused Events’ in Region 3, we’ll concentrate on the years between 1750 and 1870.



*The crops that the early colonies became rich on were tobacco, cotton and rice – which required a huge labor force.

*Sumptuary Laws extended from the Middle Ages and regulated the dress, food, and luxury expenditures that one could enjoy depending on their social class.  These laws were meant to preserve the social class system and keep people from appearing ‘above their station’. This would eventually lead to the ‘Jim Crow’ laws that would enforce racial segregation. Jim Crow Laws

*1619: Slaves are brought to the Virginia Colony to help with work on the plantations.  Initially a slave could earn their freedom after 7 years of hard labor.

*1641: Slavery becomes legal in the Colonies.

*1660: King Charles II establishes the Royal African Trading Company for the transport of Africans to the Colonies.  These slaves were called ‘Black Gold’.

*1750: In 1750, Florida is in the hands of the Spanish and the majority of the Deep South states are thriving slave colonies.




*1731: Florida declares that slaves fleeing in from the Carolinas will not be sold or returned.

*1773: Slaves in Massachusetts are unsuccessful in petitioning the government for their freedom.

*1776: Declaration of Independence signed in Pennsylvania.

*1787: the Northwest Ordinance forbids slavery in the Northwest Territories.

*1788: U.S. Constitution is adopted and counts non-free persons as 3/5ths of a free person for congressional representation.

*1793: Eli Whitney invents to cotton gin.

*1794: Congress outlaws slave trade in the U.S. with foreign countries.

*1795-1820: In large numbers, slaves convert to Christianity during the ‘Second Great Awakening’ revival.

*1800: Congress prohibits the exportation of slaves.

*1803: Louisiana Purchase made by Thomas Jefferson adds the area from the Great Lakes to the Gulf coast, and the Mississippi River to the current U.S. state’s borders to the Union nearly doubling the size of the U.S.

*1804: The ‘Underground Railroad’ is established.  Underground Railroad

*1819: The U.S. annexes East Florida, which previously served as a refuge for runaway slaves.

*1819: Slave trading becomes a Capital Offence.

*1822: Liberia (a country in West Africa established and controlled by U.S. Colonists and ex-slaves) is founded as a colony for blacks fleeing America.

*1826: Pennsylvania passes an anti-kidnapping law to protect free blacks.

*1830: The slave population in the U.S. numbers more than two million, making the ratio of free to enslaved Americans approximately 5.5:1.

*1835: In the Second Seminole War, blacks again fight alongside Native Americans in opposition to U.S. forces.

*1836: Faced with a deluge of abolitionist petitions, the U.S. House of Representatives adopts a “gag rule” by which abolitionist materials are automatically tabled. The rule is renewed numerous times.  Gag Rule

*1847: Frederick Douglass breaks with William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist newspaper, THE LIBERATOR, to found a black abolitionist paper called THE NORTH STAR.

*1856: The Republican Party is formed out of the Free Soil Party.  Free Soil Party

*1857: Dred Scott decision by the Supreme court affects all blacks in the U.S. and turns back the clock concerning the rights of blacks. Dred Scott Decision

*1861: The Union of Confederate States is formed. Jefferson Davis is elected its president.  Davis was an advocate for a dentistry corps. Perhaps this is why the Confederate Army had a dental program, while a similar idea in the Union Army was rejected by the War department.

*1861: The Civil War begins.

*1862: Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation. Emancipation Proclamation

*1864: Ulysses S. Grant named General-in-chief of the Union Army

*1864: General Lee surrenders to General Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia ending the American Civil War.

*1864: Congress establishes the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (The Freedmen’s Bureau) to assist former slaves in the transition to freedom.

*1866: The Ku Klux Klan is founded. Ku Klux Klan

*1866-1870: Confederate States admitted back into the Union.

*1867: Blacks are given the right to vote with the 15th Amendment.





Understanding that there was So much more to the ‘War Between the States”, here are of the turning points:

*April 12, 1861: (Battery Point Charleston, SC): First shots fired by the Confederate Artillery on the Union garrison at Ft Sumter.  The battle lasted 34 straight hours and left the garrison in confederate hands until General W.T. Sherman regained control in 1865.

*July 21, 1861: THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN (Northern Virginia).  During the first formal battle of the Civil War, Gen. McDowell led 30,000 Union men against 22,000 Southern troops in an attempt to go “On to Richmond”.  The South scored a victory & McDowell was replaced by Gen. George McClellan.

*March 1862: THE MONITOR AND THE MERRIMAC (Hampton, VA):  First ironclad battle in history ends in a draw as the Merrimac withdraws after a daylong exchange of fire. Union blockade of the South is maintained.

*April 1862: SHILOH (Tennessee): Gen. Grant overcomes Southern forces with heavy losses for each side: 13,000 Union casualties and 11,000 for the South.

*August 1862: 2ND BATTLE OF BULL RUN (Northern Virginia): McClellan replaced by Gen. Pope for the Union forces. Gen. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson defeat Union troops again at Manassas and Pope is replaced by McClellan.

*September 1862: ANTIETAM (Maryland): Over 23,000 casualties (more than all previous American wars combined). Convinced England & France not to ally with the CSA (Confederate States Army) which Gave Lincoln confidence to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

*May 1863: CHANCELLORSVILLE (Northern Virginia): Gen. Hooker defeated by Lee, and Stonewall Jackson is mistakenly shot by his own men and killed.

*July 1863: VICKSBURG (Mississippi): After a long siege, Gen. Grant is able to take full Union control of the Mississippi River.

*July 1863: GETTYSBURG (Pennsylvania): The largest battle in the Western Hemisphere. Called the “Turning Point of the Civil War” because the Union defeated Lee’s army & the South never again invaded Northern soil. This kicked off the Northern “winning streak”.

*November  1863CHATTANOOGA  (Tennessee): Reinforced with troops from the East, Gen. Grant is able to push Southern troops back and prepare for assault on Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.

*March 1864: WASHINGTON D.C.: Gen. Grant was given full command of all Union troops.  Lincoln’s cabinet complains that Grant is a ‘drunk’ and seeks to interfere with his command, but Lincoln gives Grant is unconditional support and asks not to be notified of his plans.  Grant embraces ‘total war’, begins the siege of Richmond and then orders Sherman to take Georgia with his ‘March to the Sea’ Campaign.

*Sept-Dec 1864SHERMAN’S MARCH TO THE SEA’ (Georgia): Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman destroys Atlanta and then sends troops on a 300 mile destructive march from Atlanta to Savannah.  Railroads were torn up, crops were burned and towns were destroyed in an attempt to break the will of the South.  Victory in Atlanta gave Lincoln a boost in the election of 1864.

*April 9, 1865: APPOMATTOX COURT HOUSE (Virginia):

Battle at Appomattox ends with Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant formally ending America’s great Civil War.



1). FloridaMotto: ‘In God We Trust’

*1565: St Augustine is established as the oldest permanent settlement in the U.S.

*1763: Spain cedes Florida to England at the end of the French and Indian War

*1768: The colony of New Smyrna is established by Dr. Andrew Turnbull

*1783: Final naval battle of the American Revolution fought off Cape Canaveral under Capt. John Berry

*1783: After the Revolutionary War, England cedes Florida back to Spain

*1812: Republic of East Florida is established

*1817: First of the Seminole Wars – all fought as a result of the Seminole Indians providing safe harbor for runaway slaves and the fact that they didn’t want to give up their lands to be placed on Indian Territory

*1821: Spain cedes Florida to the United States

*1824: Florida builds its first lighthouse in St. Augustine

*1824: U.S. Army establishes Fort Brooke – later known as Tampa

*1835-1842: Second Seminole War

*1842: Armed Occupation Act provides for land grants in unsettled parts of Florida

*1845: Florida admitted to the Union as the 27th State

*1845-1866: Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West was controlled by Federal forces during the Civil War and used to deter supply ships from provisioning Confederate ports in the Gulf of Mexico.

*1855-1858: Third Seminole War

*1861: Florida secedes from the Union

*1868: Florida is re-admitted to the Union


2). Alabama:  Motto: ‘We dare to Defend (Maintain) our Rights’

*Early 1700’s:  Alabama first explored by Spain

*1756-1763: Seven Year’s War

*1790: Creek Indians negotiate the Treaty of New York gaining rights in Alabama and Georgia

*1799: Andrew Ellicott makes a survey that establishes U.S. claims for its southern boundary with Spanish West Florida at the 31st parallel. Ellicott’s Stone is placed north of Mobile in 1799 to mark the 31st parallel

*1798: Alabama is included in the newly organized Mississippi Territory

*1799: U.S. Army Lieutenant John McClary takes possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish, and the United States flag is raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama

*1811-1812: First schools established at St Stephens and Huntsville

*1813: Spanish surrender Mobile to U.S. forces

*1813-1814: Creek Indian War, a part of the War of 1812, fought largely within the boundaries of present-day Alabama. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee becomes a military hero as he leads U.S. forces against the “Red Stick” Creeks resulting in over 13 battles

*1814: Treaty of Ft Jackson ends with 23 million acres of Creek territory being ceded to the U.S.

*1817: Territory of Alabama created

*1819: Alabama becomes 22nd State

*1820-1840: 150,000 slaves brought into Alabama

*1830-1835: Indian Removal Bill signed

*1835: Meteor shower called the ‘Night the Stars Fell on Alabama’

*1835-1836: Alabama Gold Rush in east-central hill country

*1846: Montgomery selected as state capitol

*1861: Alabama secedes from the Union

*1861-1865: 194 land battles and 8 naval battles fought during the Civil War

*1868: Alabama readmitted into the Union


3). Mississippi:  Motto: ‘By Valor and Arms’

*1763: Mississippi, along with all other French territory east of the Mississippi river, passes into English control at the end of the French and Indian War.

*1779: Bernardo Galvez, governor of Spanish Louisiana, captures Natchez.

*1779-1798:  The Natchez region is governed by Spain. The slave trade is encouraged by offering land grant bonuses to settlers who transport slaves

*1781-1783: The Treaty of Paris gives the Spanish control of West Florida (which included the southern half of Mississippi). America gains possession of Northern Mississippi         

*1795-1810: The slave trade grows as cotton replaces tobacco as the main cash crop and more slave labor is needed         


*1795: America gains the territory along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River through the Pinckney Treaty with Spain.

*1798-1817: Mississippi becomes a Territory as the Spanish fully withdraw and the U.S. limits the slave trade

*1801-1802: The Natchez Trace become a major road and a mail route through a Treaty with the Natchez Indians

*1803: The Louisiana Purchase opens the Mississippi River for trade and commercial business

*1801-1837: Indian lands east of the Mississippi River are ceded to America and the Indians are removed creating a land rush and the need for more slaves

*1805: The Choctaw Indian sell 4.5 million acres of land the U.S. including south-central Mississippi.

*1812: The War of 1812 gives Mississippi control of the West Florida territory.

*1817: The western half of the Mississippi territory becomes the 20th State.

*1822: The State Capitol is moved to Jackson

*1826: Mississippi college is Established

*1850: The US Congress gives the state title to more than 3 million acres of swamp and overflow land. The Delta is drained, cleared, and becomes available for cultivation

*1861: Mississippi becomes the 2nd state to secede from the Union. More than 80,000 Mississippians served in the Confederate States Army.

*1861-1865: Civil War

*1868: Mississippi’s first biracial constitutional convention – the “Black and Tan” Convention” – drafts a constitution protecting the rights of freedmen (ex-slaves) and punishing ex-Confederates. It is rejected by the voters

*1869:  Mississippi ratifies a constitution and does not punish ex-Confederate soldiers

*1870: Mississippi is re-admitted into the Union

*1877: Jackson College, a private college for blacks, is established at Natchez.


4). Louisiana:  Motto: ‘Union, Justice and Confidence’ 

*After descending the Mississippi river, Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle claims the territory for Louis XIV of France and names it Louisiana

*1718: New Orleans is founded and named for Phillippe Duke of Orleans. The St Louis Cathedral is built. (It is the oldest cathedral in the U.S.)

*1717: John Law receives a charter for the development of Louisiana

*1719: Slaves and Germans arrive in Louisiana

*1723: New Orleans becomes capitol of Louisiana

*1727: Ursuline nuns arrive opening a girl’s school

*1731: Louisiana returns to Royal control

*1751: Sugarcane is introduced

*1762: France cedes all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi to Spain

*1771: First Spanish schools established

*1777: Louisiana joins the colonies in the Revolutionary War

*1795: Treaty of San Lorenzo gives Americans free navigation of the Mississippi River

*1795: Etienne de Bore develops a process for making sugar from Louisiana Cane

*1800: Spain cedes Louisiana back to France

*1803: Louisiana Purchase: U.S. purchases the Louisiana Territory for $15,000,000.

*1804: Louisiana is divided into the Territory of New Orleans and the District of Louisiana

*1812: Louisiana admitted to the Union as 18th state

*1812: First Steamboat navigating the Mississippi River arrives in New Orleans

*1815: Battle of New Orleans won by Gen. Andrew Jackson

*1838: First Mardi Gras held in New Orleans

*1849: Baton Rouge becomes Capitol

*1861: Louisiana secedes from the Union

*1861-1865: Civil War

*1868: Louisiana re-admitted into the Union


5). Arkansas:  Motto: ‘The People Rule’

*1686: Henri de Tonti founded Arkansas Post, the first settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley. It served as a trading post, a way-station for Mississippi River travel, and the home of a Jesuit mission

r3h8*1721: Arkansas Post abandoned as John Law’s plan to develop the Mississippi Valley collapses

*1762: France cedes the Louisiana Territory (including Arkansas) to Spain

*1803: Louisiana Purchase puts the Missouri Territory (which included Arkansas) in control of the U.S.

*1819: Arkansas becomes its own Territory

*1821: Capitol moves from Arkansas Post to Little Rock

*1836: Arkansas becomes 25th State in the Union

*1846: Legislators ratify a constitutional amendment barring any banking institution from being established in the state.

*1861:  Arkansas votes to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. 60,000 Arkansas residents initially join the confederate troops, but some 9,000 whites and more than 5,000 blacks fight on the Union side during the war.

*1861-1865: Civil War

*1864: A unionist convention abolishes slavery in Arkansas and adopts a new constitution for the state.

*1868: Arkansas becomes the 1st Breakaway state to be re-admitted into the Union



*1865: President Johnson establishes Reconstruction Plan which congress rejects.

*1868: Gen. William T. Sherman signs a peace treaty with the Oglala Sioux settling the conflict between them and the gold miners.

*1875: Congress passes the Civil Rights Act which congress overturns in 1883.

*1914: The ‘Great Migration’ of nearly 1 million blacks to the North begins.

*1948: Southern Democrats break the New Deal coalition, bolting the Democratic Party and forming the State’s Rights Democratic Party (the ‘Dixiecrats’).

*1954-1972: Civil Rights Era led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

*1954: U.S. Supreme Court rules that school segregation is unconstitutional.

*1955: Rosa Parks initiates desegregation of city buses in Montgomery, AL by refusing to give up her seat.

*1963: “I Have A Dream” speech by Rev. / Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.r3h2

*1964: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act making segregation and discrimination illegal.

*1968: Rev. / Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated.

*1969: First landing on the moon by the U.S.


Whatever your interests are, the Deep South has so much too offer!  Go there armed with some basic information, and stay for its history, its laid back, genteel and elegant pace, its culture, architecture and food, or just for the beauty that makes the South the Lovely Lady that she is!



REGION 4: RELIGION (Blue Grass Country) Fun Facts


Although in close proximity to the ‘Bible Belt’ region of the U.S., the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio have a religious distinction all their own.  Bluegrass music is the voice of the entire region, and Christianity is incorporated into the genre through Bluegrass Gospel music. Bluegrass is not simply about the music but also defines the culture.  It encompasses all ages, races and genders.  Music has defined the people of Appalachia and their lives – including their religion.



*Religious country gospel was the most prevalent music heard in the Appalachian area during the colonial period (1700’s).

*During the Colonial period, the press was controlled by clergy that had no interest in the spread of secular music, therefore, not much of the secular music survived in written form.

*There were three types of religious music: ballads, hymns, and revival spiritual songs. The spiritual types arose out of the African song tradition. These were popularized among the white inhabitants after the revivals started in Kentucky in 1800.

*African immigrants, now many of them Bible believing Christians, incorporated the songs of the Second Great Awakening with the old time sting band instruments to develop what was called Mountain Gospel Music which was the forerunner to Bluegrass Gospel music.

*This type of music was developed by Christians, but not from organized churches but rather from individuals who brought the music to the church.

*There are three styles of Gospel music that were developed. These styles where developed independently of each other because of racial and physical separation:

      -Mountain Gospel developed in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This music (also called “hillbilly music”) sprang forth from a people living deep in the hills. Bible believing and devoted, religious music formed a major part in the life of these rural peoples not only in their worship services, but as a part of their daily existence as well.

       – Black Gospel


       -Southern (White) Gospel.

*By the early 1900’s, Gospel music had become mainstream and saw the emergence of publishing companies, schools, musical periodicals and songbooks dedicated to this new genre of music.

The combination of lyrics about the Savior with the bluegrass string band produced what we now call Gospel Bluegrass Music. A music genre different from traditional bluegrass in that, while it maintains the snappy, upbeat style of the Old Time String Band, it leaves out the lyrics of misery while adding themes that can lift the soul and remind us that King Jesus is right here beside us helping us along the way. They also remind us that at the end of life’s journey there is a crown awaiting and entry into eternity with God.



*Missionaries in this region had begun activity as early as 1623.  Jesuit, Moravian and Methodist churches sprung up as the Native Americans were exposed to the Gospel.

*As these territories were gaining statehood between 1792 and 1863, people moved in because of the fertile soil and a common faith.

*People believed that the American society was too corrupt to be reformed, so they sought separate societies.

*Most of those flooding into the Blue Grass region were Protestants following the Anabaptist movement and the practice of Believer’s Baptism (baptism of adults upon profession of faith).  Many referred to the area as “Canaan’s Happy Land”.rbg5

*Early Protestant Christian faith focused on individual piety and an unsupervised clergy rather than well-developed structure and practices.

*As denominations organized, faith relying on biblical literalism, localized control, power of the Holy Spirit and the exercising of spiritual gifts cemented.

*The Great Revival of 1800 (that started in Kentucky) in the long-run created a greater degree of religious diversity.  The Cumberland Presbyterians and the Disciples of Christ emerged from this fragmentation.

*By 1900 there were more than 30 religiously affiliated colleges and universities in Ohio alone.

*By 1930 nearly all people in the region belonged to a church denomination.

*In the 1930’s, Tennessee became a leading publisher in religious literature headquartering in Nashville.  The Southern Baptist Convention also settled in Nashville.

*In 1957 the Evangelical Church and the Reformed Church merged to form the United Church of Christ.  The headquarters remains in Cleveland.

*During the Civil Rights Era, the Christian community in the region began to take a more active role in politics and social issues.

*The basic fundamental flavor of the region continues to be Protestant in nature and marked by a strongly Puritan code of ethics.



Although differing in some things such as the interpretation of scripture and specific practices, Christian Protestant denominations have these central beliefs in common:rbg6

 *God is the one and only creator.

*Jesus is the Son of God, equal to and the same as God Himself.

*The Holy Spirit is also equal to and the same as God Himself.

*Jesus Christ came to earth, was born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of sin for the world.  He rose again and ascended back into heaven.

*The Bible is God’s Word

*The Holy Spirit was given to mankind at Pentecost

*Salvation comes by a faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

*Jesus will return again

*Christians are called to go, share the Gospel and make disciples


*Primary leaders: John Wesley, Charles Wesleyrbg7

*Emphasis on Christian living, putting faith and love into action and being active with social issues.

*Largest number of Methodists initially settled in West Virginia.


*Primary leaders: John Smyth, Roger Williams

*Emphasis on Believer’s Baptism of professing adults

*Assertion that each local church should be self-governing and independent of other churches

*Leaders in the struggle for separation of church and state

*Usually ultra-conservative with lifestyle practices

*Largest Protestant denomination


*Primary leaders: John Calvin, John Knox

*More a part of the ‘Reformer Movement’ than Protestant

*Adheres to Calvinist theology (‘God is sovereign in all areas of life and predestines those for salvation)

*Governed by a system of elders and votes by ‘majority rules’.

*Have only 2 sacraments: Communion and Baptism


rbg9*Primary leaders: Jacob Amman, Menno Simons

*Originated in Germany, Austria & Switzerland as off shoots of the Anabaptist movement

*Practiced adult baptism

*Used literal interpretation of the Bible

*Practiced simple and plain living and were Pacifists

*Ohio has the world’s largest population of Amish and Mennonites


*Primary leaders: The Wardleys, Ann Lee

*Early settlers resided mostly in Ohio

*Original ‘charismatics’ known for their ecstatic style of worship

*Original Pacifists (ones who don’t fight or go to war)

*Did not marry and practiced celibacy

*Believed in complete gender equality

*They did not believe in or practice any sacraments as they believed that all things were sacred if committed to God

*Original group that the Quaker movement broke off from and who allowed marriage and childbirth

*Currently there is only one Shaker village left and that is in Maine.


*Primary leader: George Fox

*Originally called the Society of Friends 7 settled in Ohio

*Emphasis on ‘inner light’ or a guiding spirit with no trained clergy

*Active with the Underground Railroad and abolitionist movement, American Indian rights and prison reform


*Christianity played a significant role in acculturizing Africans to Americarbg8

*Baptists and Methodists had the most black converts due to their appeal to the poor

*The First Baptist Church in Nashville conducted workshops on non-violence

*In 1945 the Nashville Mason Temple became the largest meeting place for African Americans




*Primary leaders: Joseph Smith, Brigham Young

rbg11*The group first gathered in Ohio

*The book of Mormon was first printed in 1830

*After the death of Joseph Smith, the church split in half and the larger group followed Brigham Young to Utah

*Mormons equal the Book of Mormon written by Joseph Smith to the Bible



*Primary leader: Isaac M. Wise

*The first synagogue was built in Cincinnati in 1836

*The reformers of Judaism sought to adapt the religion to the modern American culture and de-emphasize the rituals

*Ohio initially had one of the largest Jewish populations in the U.S.

*Sally J. Priesand was the first female rabbi ordained in the world


*Primary leader: Muhammad

*In recent years, the Muslim population has increased in the Blue Grass region especially in Toledo and Cleveland

*Muslim religious centers have been established in Nashville and Memphis


Whatever your religious persuasion is, enjoy getting in touch with the roots of Protestantism as well as coming to know the personality of the Blue Grass Region.  And take in a Mountain Music while you’re there!RBG2



REGION 5: RELIGION (The Breadbasket) Fun Facts


Not just in the middle geographically, the Midwest states of:

Oklahoma * Missouri * Nebraska * Kansas * Iowa 

represent the American average in terms of faith, attitude, a belief system, and core values. This region’s religious personality matches that of the nation’s religious portrait more closely than any other region.  ‘Average’, rather than meaning ‘dull or mediocre’ indicates that most every religious group and religious issue are represented in this region.


            *The Constitution ratified in 1788 makes no mention of religion except that no religious test is allowed for office holders. However, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1791, has played a central role in defining the relationship of the federal government to the free exercise of religion, and to the prohibition establishment of an official church. Its policies were extended to cover state governments in the 1940’s. The government is not allowed to hinder the free exercise of religion, and is not allowed to sponsor any particular religion through taxation or favors.

*The Treaty of Tripoli was a treaty concluded between the US and Tripolitania (run by the Ottoman Empire) was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, and received ratification unanimously from the US Senate in 1797 and took effect as the law of the land. The treaty was a routine diplomatic agreement but has attracted later attention because the English version included this clause in Article 11 about religion in the United States:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Muslims, and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mohammedan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

The assurances in Article 11 were ‘intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced’. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.r3

This Treaty was broken in 1801 due to an attack by the Ottoman Empire on Tripoli, and a new Treaty was signed in 1805 that left out the “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” sentence.

America, did in fact, consider itself a Christian nation, but the Federal Government sought to stand strong in saying that a religion would not govern its laws nor would a state religion be established.r1


Religion in America, however, continued to be influenced by many factors.




            *In 2016, a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute estimated that 69% of Americans are Christians.

            *Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in the nation, claiming 20 states scattered mostly throughout the Midwest and South.

            *Catholicism is the largest single religious denomination in the Midwest, varying between 19 and 29% of the state populations.

            *Baptists compose up to 22 % in Missouri.

            *Pentecostal and charismatic denominations have few adherents in the Midwest, ranging between 1 and 7% (although the Assembly of God began in lower Missouri).

            *Judaism and Islam are each practiced by 1 percent or less of the population, with slightly higher concentrations in major urban areas.

            *Those with no religious affiliation make up 13-16 percent of the Midwest’s population.

            *Catholicism took on its own brand in the Midwest, becoming more innovative and ethnically diverse.r1

           Probably the most significant influence of the Midwest can be summed up by stating that the diversity within religious affiliations have been brought about by recent changes in immigration patterns, and the contrast between urban, suburban, and rural forms of religious expression.  This is true more so within the state of the Midwest.

So, regardless of your particular beliefs, you can thank the Midwest for it’s influence on America’s religious personality.  While your there, take in an old fashioned ‘hymn sing’!

We're from the bible belt

REGION 6: RELIGION (The Great Lakes) Fun Facts


Michigan * Indiana * Wisconsin * Minnesota * Illinois

Historically, the governing of this region was dependent on the social institutions that were more powerful, popular, and clearly defined than the other governing powers in the region. Other governing powers remained comparatively small, weak, and distrusted until World War 11.

The most powerful and influential of these institutions were religious denominations and congregations. The most centralized denominations were the Roman Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran Churches.  There was no alternative  because without state funding, congregations were forced to depend on the voluntary donations, activities, and tithes of their members. In most settlements, congregations formed the social infrastructure that supported parish and common township schools, local boards and commissions, and an increasingly vital social life.


Congregations and township politics eventually gave rise to voluntary organizations. Four kinds of these were especially significant to the region’s development: agricultural associations, voluntary self-help associations, ethnic and civil groups and political parties. These associations eventually evolved into agricultural coops, insurance companies, orphanages and hospitals. They also initiated labor unions and state educational systems.


            *Catholicism was the only organized religion in Michigan until the nineteenth century.

            *When Michigan gained statehood, the border of the Diocese of Detroit was redrawn to match that of the state.

            *The largest Protestant denomination was the United Methodist.

            *Scandinavian and German immigrants introduced the Lutheran denomination to Michigan, and it is the second largest denomination in Michigan.

            *The Calvinism doctrine was introduced by the Dutch who fled from the Netherlands in 1850 to avoid persecution.

            *The immigrants from the Near East brought Islam into the state during the twentieth century.

            *The SDA (Seventh Day Adventist Church) began in Michigan.  martin-luther-tweetsB). INDIANA:

            *The largest single religious denomination in Indiana is Roman Catholicism.

            *Protestantism makes up the largest religious group as a whole which is further subdivided into various forms of Protestantism including Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant and Black Protestant.

            *Other Christian denominations include Mormonism, Orthodox and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

            *The state is home to several headquarters and major offices of certain religious groups.

            * One of the two arch abbeys of the Catholic Church in the US is located in Indiana.

            *The Wesleyan Church, the Christian Church, and the Free Methodist Church are all headquartered in Indianapolis.


            *Christianity has the largest share of religious followers in the state of Wisconsin. Protestant Christians are the leading Christian group in the state.16725443_G

*Protestantism was introduced into Wisconsin by European settlers in the early 19th century. These settlers created the first institutions such as schools and churches in Wisconsin.


            *Catholics are the second largest Christian community in Wisconsin.

            *Catholicism was brought into Wisconsin by Jesuit Missionaries at the start of the 17th century.

            *Minority Christian communities in Wisconsin consist of Orthodox Christians, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, and other unidentified groups.

            *Wisconsin has embraced diverse religious communities living in the state, and is home to numerous religious centers created by various groups of people.

            *The state provides religious freedom for all its residents. Christianity is the dominant religion in the state, but minority religions are protected by state laws from discrimination.


            *Protestantism is adhered to by the majority of Minnesotans, while Roman Catholics form the largest single denomination of Christianity.  This is followed by the Lutherans.

            *German-Jewish pioneers formed Saint Paul’s first synagogue in 1856, and there are now appreciable numbers of adherents to Islam, Buddhism, and other traditions.

            *In 2006, Minnesota became the first state in the US to select a Muslim representative to Congress.


            *Before 1830, little religion of any sort was practiced in Illinois. Energetic Protestant missionaries set out to evangelize this un-Christian population and they largely succeeded.

            *By 1890, the majority of adults in Illinois were affiliated with evangelical denominations- mostly Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Baptist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian.

            *Most immigrants, belonged to liturgical denominations (chiefly Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal).

            *There are also over 11,000 Mennonites throughout the state.

            *Illinois has had episodes of religious persecution: at Carthage in 1844 the Mormon founder Joseph Smith was killed by a mob; strong but brief waves of anti-Catholicism developed in the 1850s (the “Know-Nothing” movement), and the 1920s saw the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

            *Robert Green Ingersoll, a self-proclaimed agnostic, was appointed attorney general of Illinois in 1867–69, but his identity as an agnostic prevented him from ever being elected into politics.
*Since then however, tolerance of religious diversity has been the norm for most of the rest of the state’s history.


Religion in the U.S. has always made its mark on Society.  From Education to Labor Unions, State Laws, Volunteer Organizations, Health Care Institutes, Agricultural Coops, Ethnic and Civil Organizations and much more, religion has left an unmistakable influence, and no more so than in the States of the Great Lakes Region.


REGION 4: HISTORY (Blue Grass Country) Fun Facts


Kentucky * Tennessee * Ohio * West Virginia

 When you think of ‘Blue Grass Country’ (Region 4), what things pop into your mind?  Bluegrass (or Mountain or Country) Music? Bourbon? Horse Racing? How about… well…blue grass?!  BG2

Is there really blue grass in Kentucky?  Well, no. And yes.  While grass is green in every state, bluegrass has bluish-purple seed heads, so in the spring there is a hue of blue cast over the expanses of grassland when seen from a distance.  The area earned its nickname after immigrants from Europe, Asia and North Africa brought these lush, dense, grass seeds with them, as bluegrass is not native to North America.

For our ‘Focused Events’ of the history of the Blue Grass States, we will center our attention on the Mountain/Country/Bluegrass Music that came from this area and has made such a major impact on the world’s music stage.  We’ll concentrate on the years between 1900 & 1970.



*The folks that migrated to this area in America during the 1600’s were from England, Ireland and Scotland.

*These immigrants brought with them a unique style of music that became the roots of the bluegrass music we know today.

*Most settlers in the area lived in remote areas and wrote songs about the farms and hills that were a part of their lives.  This is where the terms, ‘country or mountain’ music came from.

*The invention of the phonograph in the early 1900’s brought this type of music to all areas of the U.S.


*June 14, 1923: Ralph Peer records music from Fiddlin’ John Carson and creates the first “Hillbilly” record and it becomes a regional success.

*1920-1938: Bill Monroe and the Monroe Brothers from Kentucky becomes the most popular Mountain Music Group.

*September 17, 1923: Hank Williams becomes the superstar of the era, but dies at age 29.  Hank initially used the  pseudonym Luke the Drifter.

*November 28, 1925: The Grand Ole’ Opry begins as a radio show, called “Barn Dance” out of Nashville. It became an instant success.download (5)

*August 1927: The Carter family hits the scene.

*1938: Bill Monroe forms ‘Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys’ starting the ‘new’ form of ‘traditional’ Country Music.

*1940-1941: Roy Acuff heads the Grand Ole’ Opry traveling show going overseas to entertain WWII Servicemen.

*1946: Ralph Stanley & the Stanley Bros. make their debut.

*1940: Comedian Minnie Pearl joins the Opry.

*1954: Elvis Presley records his first country album.

*1954: Johnny Cash arrives on the Country Music scene.

*1958: Jerry Lee Lewis records, ‘Great Balls of Fire’.

*1961: Patsy Cline joins the Opry team.

*1961: The Country Music Hall of Fame is established.

*1962: Loretta Lynn becomes an Opry member.

*1966: Dolly Parton makes her music debut.

*1966: Charley Pride becomes the most successful black, country music singer.

*1968: Tammy Wynette records, ‘Stand by Your Man’.

*1975: Willie Nelson releases his bestselling album.

*1976: Loretta Lynn writes her biography.



1). KENTUCKY:  Motto: ‘Let Us Give Thanks to God’

*1739 – Capt. Charles de Longueuil discovers Big Bone Lick an interesting state park located in Boone County, showcasing some of America’s Ice Age land mammals.  A ‘lick’ is a place where salt is found on the surface of the earth.

*1763: France cedes the area to Britain.

*1774: First permanent settlement in Kentucky at Fort Harrod.

*1778: Thirteen-day siege of Fort Boonesborough in September was the longest siege in United States frontier history.

*1782: ‘Last battle of American Revolution’ fought at Blue Licks, near Mount Olivet.

*1792: Kentucky becomes the 15th state on June 1st.

*1797: Elijah Pepper establishes the first whiskey distillery called Woodford Reserve.

*1809: Abraham Lincoln was born.

*1840: The requirements for a whiskey to be called a bourbon become defined.

*1861: Kentucky declares itself neutral in the American Civil War.

*1862: The bloodiest Civil War Battle to be fought on Kentucky soil was the Battle of Perryville on Oct. 8th.

*1875: The first Kentucky Derby run at the newly built Churchill Downs.  There is now about 1 horse for every 12 people in Kentucky!

*1892 – The radio was invented by Kentuckian Nathan B. Stubblefield of Murray.

*1920-1940: Kentucky plays a major role in the evolution of Blue Grass, Mountain, and Country Music.

*1921: Law passed making it legal for women to serve on juries.

*1939: The last public hanging takes places on August 14th.

*1939: Gold depository established at Fort Knox.

*1966: Kentucky is the first Southern state to pass a comprehensive civil rights law.


We’ve all heard that “all Bourbon is Whiskey, but not all Whiskey is Bourbon”, right?  Well here’s the requirements for your backyard hooch to be called ‘Bourbon’:

1). It must be distilled in the U.S. (Not just in Kentucky – but only in the U.S.).

2). It must be at least 51% corn.

3). It must be aged in NEW oak charred barrels.

4). It can be no more than 160 Proof after distillation and must be      less than 125 Proof going into the barrel.

5). It can be no more than 80 Proof in the bottle.

6). There must be no flavorings, coloring or other additives.

And there you have it.

Well…I guess that debunks the myth that Bourbon has to be made with Kentucky River water – even though it is thought that the limestone water from Kentucky distinguishes it from all others.

bourb    bourb1





                Bottoms up!!



2). TENNESSEE:  Motto: ‘Agriculture and Commerce’

*1540: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is the first white man known to come to the area.

*1673:  James Needham and Gabriel Arthur of Britain explore the Tennessee River Valley.

*1754: French & Indian War

*1763: Treaty of Paris ends French & Indian War giving all lands to the east of the Mississippi River to the British.

*1769: William Bean becomes the first white settler in Tennessee building on the Watauga River.  Other settlers begin coming in.

*1772:  Settlers form their own government called the Watauga Association. They draw up one of the first written constitutions in North America.

*1775: Daniel Boone, working for the Transylvania Company blazes the ‘Wilderness Road’ and opens roads to the Tennessee settlements.bg6

*1779: Jonesborough becomes the first chartered town and creates the ‘Cumberland Contract’ which establishes government and creates a court system.

*1796: Tennessee becomes the 16th State to join the Union on Jun 1st.

*1800: Congress establishes a post route along the Natchez Trace.

*1812: The worst earthquake in U.S. history happens on Feb 7th in NW Tennessee.

*1812: War of 1812 happens leaving Andrew Jackson a hero.

*1829: Hometown boy, Andrew Jackson becomes President.

*1918: Worst train wreck in U.S. history happens in Nashville on July 9th leaving 101 dead and 117 injured.

*1955: The Grand Ole’ Opry makes a television debut.

*1968: James Earl Ray assassinates Martin Luther King, J

*1976: Alex Haley wins Pulitzer Prize for ‘Roots’.

*1982: World’s Fair is held in Knoxville.

*1982: Elvis’s Graceland Mansion opened to the public on Jun 7th.


3). OHIO:  Motto: ‘With God All Things Are Possible’

*1670: Rene-Robert Cavelier explores and claims the Ohio region for France.

*1750: The Ohio Company of Virginia claims the Ohio region for England.

*1787: Ohio becomes part of the Northwest Territory.

*1788: First permanent settlement in Ohio is named Marietta for France’s Queen Marie Antoinette.

*1800: Indian Territory created by the Division Act

*1803: On March 1st, Ohio becomes the Union’s 17th State.

*1811: Tecumseh defeated at the battle of Tippecanoe.

*1812: Fort Meigs constructed to protect Ohio from the British in the War of 1812.

*1832: Ohio and Erie Canals completed.

*1840: North Bend born William Henry Harrison becomes President

*1842: Last of the Indian tribes leave Ohio.

*1849: First Ohio State Fair opens.

*1861-1865: American Civil War

*1868: Ulysses S. Grant from Pleasant Point becomes President.

*1877: Rutherford B. Hayes becomes President.

*1879:  Cleveland became the world’s first city to be lighted

*1880: James Garfield, from Orange, is elected President.

*1897: William McKinley becomes President.

*1903: The Wright Brothers from Dayton, become the first in flight.

*1908: William Howard Taft, from Cincinnati, is elected President.

*1920: Warren G. Harding, from Corsica, becomes President.

*1978: The Central Bluegrass Association (COBA) formed in Columbus.bg7

*2001: Ohio is ranked in the top ten in the country for growing corn, oats, winter wheat, soybeans, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, strawberries; raising chickens, hogs and pigs; and producing maple syrup and many dairy products.


4). WEST VIRGINIA:  Motto: ‘Mountaineers Are Always Free’

*1670’s: Exploration of West Virginia under John Lederer.

*1719: Presbyterians founded the first church in West Virginia, Pocomoke Church at Shepherdstown.

*1725: Western Appalachians explored by fur traders.

*1731:  Morgan Morgan establishes first settlement in present West Virginia near Bunker Hill in Berkeley County.

*1732: Scotch-Irish, Welsh, and German pioneers settle the western portions of Virginia and Harper’s Ferry establishing the Appalachian Folk Music tradition. .

*1742: Coal Discovered on Coal River near Racine.  Coal Mines pop up all over.

*1744: Territory between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River ceded to the English by Indians of the Six Nations.bg7

*1749: First recorded settlement west of the Alleghenies made in Marlinton.

*1754-1763: French & Indian War.

*1771: First Natural gas discovery in West Virginia.

*1782: Only Revolutionary War battle fought at Wheeling.

*1830: Separation of western Virginia from eastern Virginia proposed by The Wheeling Gazette.

*1831: Virginia’s political division is enhanced by slavery debates.

*1836: First railroad reached state at Harpers Ferry.

*1847: First telegraph line reaches W.V at Wheeling.

*1857: Railroad reaches Parkersburg.

*1861-1865: American Civil War.  West Virginia contributes soldiers to both the Union and Confederate Armies.

*1863: West Virginia admitted to the Union as 35th state on June 2oth.

*1866: State constitution denies citizenship to all persons who had supported the Confederacy.

*1871: Black males get the vote.

*1885: The National Gas Company of West Virginia established.

*1897: Mary Harris “Mother” Jones sent into West Virginia to organize miners.


What fun it is to venture into the hills of the Blue Grass Region!  Be prepared for some fun, some music, some incredible scenery and some down-home everything!

Here is a area where you can relax, be comfortable, casual, and make some new friends! Just don’t help yourself to someone’s backyard moonshine or you might find a buckshot in yer breeches!

REGION 7: RELIGION (The Old West) Fun Facts


North Dakota * South Dakota * Wyoming * Montana * Colorado * Nevada

Because what we refer to as the ‘Old West’ was initially comprised of territories and large undefined areas of land, for this section of Religion in North America, we’ll look at some general information for the region as opposed to breaking down individual states.


It’s impossible to discuss honestly the settlement of the West without talking about religion, but historians sure have tried.

Credit has been given to trappers, explorers, miners, the military, homesteaders and even gunslingers – icons everyone knows – but few could name a single religious leader whose mark was made on the West.

Most western communities owe far more to these unrecognized preachers and missionaries than they do to the high-profile outlaws or icons.

Protestants rushed into the new territories seeing the area as untamed, immoral and lacking churches and religious teaching.

Catholicism was already there and had been since the Spanish started colonizing the West a century before England set up new colonies in the North East, but English Protestants despised and persecuted Catholics fearing that they were a threat to the nation. Initially in New England, the only colony safe for Catholics was Maryland.

Religious beliefs shaped how many Americans thought about the frontier and its possibilities. Some believed their religion would “civilize” the West, saving it from evil forces, and they ventured out into unknown areas to save souls. Others’ religion caused them to seek refuge in the West as they were forcibly chased from the “civilized” East. The West became a vast testing ground for how tolerant America would become. The effects of religion on the West can best be understood by describing the experiences of three groups: the Native Americans, the Protestants, and the Mormons.


John Wesley’s Methodist plan of multiple meeting places called ‘circuits’ required a group of traveling preachers. 

                   *A circuit was made up of two or more local churches.  A pastor would be appointed to the circuits by his bishop.

                   *During the course of a year he was expected to visit each church in the circuit at least once, and possibly start some new ones.

                   *At the end of a year the pastors met with the bishop at the annual conference, where they would often be appointed to new circuits.

The traveling preachers responsible for caring for these churches, became known as ‘circuit-riders’, or ‘saddlebag preachers’. 

            *They traveled light, carrying their belongings and books in their saddlebags.  Ranging far and wide through villages and wilderness, they preached daily or more often at any site available be it indoors or outdoors.download

            *Unlike the pastors of settled denominations, these traveling preachers were constantly on the move.  Their assignment was often so large it might take 5 or 6 weeks to cover their territory.



            *Many Native American groups identified themselves as “the real people,” who had a special relationship with their creator.

            *Native American religions were diverse and adaptable, and emphasized the interdependence of life. New traditions with more purposeful changes and adjustments were normal.

             *Some Native American belief systems were based on pantheism, or worship of all gods, but many added a Great Spirit as the most powerful of the many gods.

             *Many Native Americans believed that everything which exhibits power in action (such as wind, clouds or a rushing stream), or passive endurance (such as sticks and stones) has a spiritual essence which must be reverenced as a manifestation of the all-pervading mysterious power that fills the universe.

            *Others spoke of Wakanda, or Great Wakan, in the sense of a “supreme being.”

            *Nature spirits provided guidance for understanding the humans’ place in the natural world. For many Indian cultures, relations with nature were just as important as human relations. These Indians believed that parts of nature, from birds to fish to rocks, were in some sense ‘people’ or ancestors of the human race.

            *Despite the differences between the religious worlds of Europeans and Native Americans, there was no avoiding interaction. By the early nineteenth century, Native Americans had experienced the loss of and removal from their lands.

            *Native Americans began to feel that trade with whites and alcohol consumption were damaging their cultures.

            *Defeat in battle and the white encroachment also undercut many native groups’ confidence in the power of their traditional belief systems.

            *Disease proved one of the most devastating attacks on the Indians’ worldview. Indians struggled to explain the terrible loss of life and their changing circumstances.

            *The Indians’ response to Christianity, or what they called the “white man’s medicine,” was varied and often depended on local factors, such as how a certain tribe experienced disease, defeat, or removal.

            *Many groups initially seemed interested in the secrets of the Bible, or “Great Book,” and were willing to convert in order to learn about what they saw as a potential source of power when ancient ways seemed insufficient to deal with their changing situations.

            *If the expected benefits did not materialize, some rejected the missionaries and turned hostile.

            *Despite the Indians’ initial willingness to participate in Christian practices, they did not abandon their belief system. Some even reshaped Catholicism to suit their own traditions, developing a Christian war ethic that prescribed prayer before battle, forbade scalping and warfare on Sundays, and enlarged the meaning of charity to include killing in defense of the community.

            *While Native Americans adapted to the new ideas the whites brought, some aspects of the white man’s religion puzzled them, such as the perceived idea that it was ok to do bad things if they became sorry for those things, and the constant struggle and conflict among Christian groups on interpretation of Scripture and worship practices.

            *Whether or not Native Americans accepted or rejected Christianity, the march of westward expansion took away Indians’ ability to continue their traditions without acknowledging the impact of life with whites.V0006867 John Wesley preaching to native American Indians. Engraving.

            *After losing their land, livelihood and being confined to reservations, Native Americans sought new ways to cope with their dramatically changed lives. Many native religions began to be driven by the vision of a new Indian culture free of whites. In the early 1870s native prophets in California began preaching about the eventual restoration of Indian culture and the defeat of whites. These prophets claimed that if “true believers” danced, prayed, and received visions of their dead relatives, fire or flood would purge the earth of whites and Indians would be free to live as they wished. These dances were called “ghost dances.” The dances continued until the massacre at Wounded Knee marked the end of the Native’s hope for a life free of Whites.


            *Initially, missionaries set their sights on the conversion of the Indians, but after the massacres of many missionaries, the attempts lessened.

            *Many Tribes believed that the missionaries were responsible for the disease epidemics.

            *Westward expansion altered American society because new communities were often established without the social rules of the church to govern behavior.

            c354228ca66e383659ac1e5ca153f4bc*On the frontier, many Americans observed a decline in public morality and a rise in antisocial activities such as drinking, dueling, gambling, and prostitution. Some worried that if such practices were not curbed, the republic itself, based as it was on notions of responsible citizenship, was threatened with extinction.

            *Missionaries were not the only means of introducing religion to the newly formed communities of the West. Migrants carried their religious background with them to their new homes. This inspired churches to reach out to the West with evangelizing programs.

           *One of the greatest triggers for religious evangelization came with the discovery of gold in California in 1848. The gold rush caused a vast migration and the sudden emergence of a thrown together society exclusively devoted to ‘getting rich quick’, captured the attention of the nation.

            *Fearing that the corruption in California would infect the rest of the country, this new need for evangelism replaced the attempt of converting the Native Americans.


            *Indians were not the only inhabitants of America who were chased away from white settlements. Mormons also fled the persecution of the East.

            *The Mormon Church demanded that the Saints, (as the believers were called), display cleanliness, virtue, industry, and complete obedience to the church in return for assured salvation.

            *As the Mormon community grew and prospered, outsiders became envious and suspicious of them. Soon hostility toward Mormons grew to a fever pitch, and they were forced to migrate farther and farther west in search of a secluded area where they could practice their faith.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormons, originated in 1823 when a young Joseph Smith had a vision of God and Jesus. Later Smith claimed he had been visited three times by the angel Moroni, who told him of golden plates containing the lost history of the Americas. Smith translated the plates to write the scripture of the “true” church. After eighteen months of writing, Smith published The Book of Mormon in 1830.

            *The first gathering of the church took place in April 1830.

            *Smith claimed to have been endowed with divine power and declared that he had unquestionable authority to direct the Saints.

            *Opposition to this new religion grew as people outside the church learned of the church’s approval of polygamy (marriage to more than one person at the same time) and the union of religion and politics.

            *Critics charged that polygamy defiled the Christian family and that the blending of religion and politics sullied the ideals of the newly democratic nation.

            *Despite hostility from outsiders, the Mormon religion prospered.

            *Hostility toward Mormons grew in Missouri until 1838, when warfare broke out. Smith was arrested on charges of treason, and the governor of Missouri declared the Mormons a blight to be exterminated.

            *The Mormons fled to Illinois, where they secured a charter for their own city, which they called Nauvoo.

            *Illinois residents felt threatened by the growth of the town and felt jealous because they were shut out of Mormon commerce.

            *Increasingly frustrated, they worked up an anti-Mormon hysteria and began to harass the Mormons. Both Joseph Smith and his brother Hiram were shot dead in 1844 by a group that stormed the jail where the brothers were held.

            *Brigham Young succeeded Smith as the leader of the church.

            *In 1845 the Illinois legislature revoked the Nauvoo city charter.

       *Young gathered the Saints to travel more than a thousand miles to the Salt Lake Valleydownload (1) in present-day Utah along what is now called the ‘Mormon Trail’.

            *Of all the emigrants to travel the Mormon Trail, the handcart companies were the poorest and the most determined.

            *Handcarts were much like large wheelbarrows—wooden boxes on two large wheels with two long shafts for pulling. Followed by a supply wagon pulled by oxen, handcart emigrants pulled their belongings an average of 10 to 20 miles a day on dry, flat land and less when crossing rivers or trying to travel through sand or sticky mud.

            *The Mormons had found their Zion and were successfully increasing their numbers to stave off their opponents.

            * Almost a decade after Mormons reached Salt Lake and just as the first handcart companies were starting out from Iowa City, public outrage about Mormon polygamy and Brigham Young’s authority over his followers caused President James Buchanan to dispatch twenty-five hundred troops to destroy Salt Lake City.

            * Before the troops reached the city, Buchanan withdrew them and pardoned the Mormons. Instead of destruction, the army brought the Mormons monetary gain, as they bought supplies and provisions when they marched through the city.

            * At the end of the twentieth century, the Mormons remained centered in Salt Lake City and continued to grow as a community; the church counts more than nine million people as Saints.

Religion had a strong hand in shaping the West. It was a heavy force that strived to change native cultures, it stood in opposition of immorality in newly formed communities, and was rallying cry to believers seeking a safe haven from persecution. Many risked their lives to bring their religion to the frontier. In the end, the frontier struggles among those of both mainline Christianity and differing religious beliefs, helped secure the tradition of religious tolerance in America.



REGION 8: RELIGION (The Pacific Northwest) Fun Facts


Washington * Oregon * Idaho * Northern California


More so than anywhere else in the U.S., “none” is the most common response of those in the Pacific Northwest when asked about religious affiliation or identification.  This does not mean that North-westerners are without spiritual beliefs and commitments, however.

Currently there is a rise in the earth-based faiths such as “nature spirituality”, indigenous revitalization movements, and religious non-affiliates (now called religious ‘nones’) that Christian missionaries and immigrants first encountered when this region was new to being a part of the United States.  Even today there are no dominant denominations, and all religious groups need to work together to address current social, environmental and economic issues.

rr84It is impossible to understand this complex and fluid region without knowing a little about its original inhabitants and the interconnection between faith and natural surroundings.   The indigenous people groups of the Pacific Northwest each have their own history, culture and religious beliefs and traditions.  They have shared and saved their history through stories, songs and dances.  rr83Their beliefs were based in the natural world as it interacted with a supernatural one.  In most native cultures, shamans or medicine men served as spiritual intercessors.



*Religious beliefs and practices centered on a raven deity that displayed the characteristics of spirit, human and bird.rr85

*Shamans played a crucial role and were believed to have power to communicate with the spirits, and cure illnesses.

*Shamans wore masks and went into trances when performing healings.

*After the Europeans brought diseases that the Shamans could not cure, faith wavered and many incorporated Orthodox Christianity into their faiths.


*Well known for their fishing, hunting, trading and canoe building skills.

*Peaceful and prosperous.

*Believed in animal spirits – especially the blue jay and the coyote.

*Believed in guardian spirits.rr86

*Shamans communicated with the spirit world.

*Carved nature and animal imagery into their tools,

weapons, dance rattles, canoes and homes.


There were other Native tribes in the Pacific Northwest, including: Nisga’a, Haida, Tsimshian Gitxsan, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk and many, many others.  These tribes all shared beliefs in the supernatural world and the Shaman’s ability to communicate with it, along with their ability to heal illnesses.  They also all believed in the natural world and created deities of the animals and birds they saw.


 *The first people to immigrate to the Columbia River country specifically to establish permanent communities were Christian missionaries in the 1830s and 40s.

*Catholic and Protestant missionaries first tried to convince the Natives people to adopt Christian Rr81beliefs and European economic and cultural systems between 1800’s – early 1900’s.

*Missionaries also became involved in the issues revolving around European American settlement, treaties, and Indian rights.rr82

*Many Native tribes adopted Christianity (or forms of it) partly due to the Shaman’s inabilities to heal the new diseases introduced by the ‘White Man’.



rr811*People who don’t express any religious affiliation are called ‘Nones’.

*’Nones’ make up a larger percentage of the Northwest population than in any other part of the U.S.

*The ‘Nones’ express their beliefs as, “experiencing the natural world in a way the feels supernatural”.

*If counted as a religious group, the ‘Nones’ in the Northwest would outnumber the next largest group in the region, the Roman Catholics, by more than 2-1.

*’Nones’ are spiritually open even if they don’t identify with a religious tradition

Religious expression in the Pacific Northwest has been called,  (unlike most of the United States), “never a ‘Christian culture‘, but instead a diverse society of spiritualties including variations of New Age, neo-paganism, Gaia worship, channeling, metaphysics, holistic health, earth-based spiritualties, Nordic spiritualties, Wicca, meditation centers, astrologers, and westernized forms of Buddhism.


If you are looking for it…the Pacific Northwest has it all…including the most spiritually diverse beliefs in the country!  Regardless of your particular faith, it’s always worth it to learn about something new.  Travel here for the scenery, stay for the yoga class.

REGION 9: RELIGION (The Southwest) Fun Facts


Central & Southern California * Texas * Arizona * Utah * New Mexico

Mission Concepcion (8)

Religious and cultural differences were part of the landscape of America long before  European arrival and settlement. The native people of this land Europeans called the “new world” were separated by language, landscape, cultural myths, and ritual practices. When Europeans arrived in the Americas, most did not even consider that the peoples they encountered had cultural and religious traditions that were different from their own; in fact, most believed native communities had no culture or religion at all. As the migration got underway, Spanish and French Catholics were the first to arrive, beginning in the sixteenth century. Profit-minded Spanish conquistadors and French fur traders competed for land and wealth, while Spanish and French missionaries competed for the “saving of souls.” By the mid-century, the Spanish had established Catholic missions in present-day Florida, New Mexico, California and the (now) American Southwest. Meanwhile, the French were steadily settling the Great Lakes region, and later, Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta.

The history of religion in the American Southwest can be summed up in three general and very basic studies:

*Native Americans prior to the arrival of Spain.

*The Spanish influence in the American Southwest.

*The settlement of the Mormons in Utah


            *The Pueblo Indians were one of the oldest cultures in the nation.

*The Pueblos are believed to be the descendants of the Mogollon, Hohokam and Anasazi tribes with history that dates back some 7,000 years.

*Ancient Puebloans evolved from nomadic hunter-gatherers to a more sedentary culture, settling in the SW.

*Ancient Puebloans expanded into a farming culture, learning to cultivate maize, squash, beans and corn.  They also learn to raise turkeys.Aquivas Aqueducts (6)

*The ancient Puebloans developed a complex irrigation system.

*The ancient Puebloans also developed great skill in basket weaving and pottery making.

balcony house mesa verde (21) *The Ancient Puebloans are the first to create apartment-like dwellings in the cliffs, which were the forerunners of the later pueblos.

*They also built kivas which were the most sacred places in their communities.  Tbalcony house mesa verde (5)he kiva represented the hole in the earth from which they came and from where they could communicate with the mother and the gods.Ceremonies were held in the kivas when help was needed from the gods during the phases of the year.

            *The majority of Puebloan tribes lived in a clan-like system together with the Hopi, Zuni, Keres, and Jemez tribes.

*The women of the clans owned the houses and gardens and received more respect than in the more Northern tribes of the time.

*The Puebloans traditional enemies were the Apache, Comanche and Navajo tribes.

*The Pueblo’s way of life declined in the 1300’s most likely due to inter-tribal war and drought.

            *Around 1100 AD the Navajo, along with the Hopi, were the earliest of the modern Indian tribes began to develop in the Southwest.

*The main tribes of the Southwest are the Hopi, Zuni, Navajo, Apache and Pueblo.

*Most tribes of the SW are farmers and live in villages.RR96

*SW Indians make beautiful art.  They weave

baskets, make clothing and blankets and pottery.

* Because they are very spiritual tribes, RR92RR93

most of their art contains symbols and signs of their beliefs, dreams, and visions.

     *The Zuni and Hopi Southwest Indians carved dolls, called Kachina dolls, out of wood. The dolls were decorated with masks and costumes to represent the Kachina spirits. These dolls help children of the tribe learn tribal ceremonies.

*Turquoise is a much used stone used in Southwest Indian jewelry. RR94The Indians value the stone as they believe it promotes health, happiness, and good fortune.

*The naming of a newborn baby is such an important part of the Southwest Indian culture that it is not done by the parents, but instead by relatives and tribe leaders. Hopi babies are not named until 20 days after they are born.

*Indian babies spent the early years of their life strapped to their mothers in what is called a papoose. Young girls learn to help around the village, doing chores, making food, weaving baskets, and sewing. Young boys of the Southwest Indian tribes learn to hunt and make weapons.

*Despite the religious and cultural differences between the tribes of the SW, there are some basic commonalities among them.


RR98*The Great Spirit:

The Great Spirit was a supreme being that watched over everything including the other spirits of the world. There were different versions of the Great Spirit.


*Guardian Spirits:

The Native Americans of the Southwest believed that all living things were watched over by guardian spirits. This included animals, trees, people, and even some inanimate objects like the wind, storms, and water. Young boys would have to discover their own personal guardian spirit before they could become men. Each boy would venture off alone to commune with nature looking for a sign from his guardian spirit. Once found, this spirit would bestow a special characteristic or power on the boy and he would return to the tribe a man.

*Medicine Men and Women or Shamans:rr910

The spiritual leaders of the Native American Indians were the Shamans of the village or tribe. These men and women often used herbs to help heal sick people. They also called on the spirits to help the tribe asking for assistance in areas such as healing, good weather, and help in battle. Sometimes the Shaman was a respected elder who was known for being wise and who others went to for advice.

rr911*Vision Quests:

In order to get closer to the spirits, some men went on vision quests. They would go off into the wilderness alone. Usually they go without food and sometimes they would take drugs or inflict wounds on their bodies. In the end, they hoped to gain a vision from the spirits that would guide them or help them make an important life decision.

*Rites of Passage:rr912

One of the most important times in any Native American’s life was their coming of age. This was when they went from being considered a child to being an adult. Different tribes had different ways of celebrating this moment. In some tribes the boy or girl had to undergo an ordeal to prove they were worthy. Young men who passed the ritual would often be given a new name to indicate their status.


Indian tribes in the Southwest called their spirits kachinas. They made special decorated kachina dolls that represented the different spirits. They also made kachina masks that helped them to channel the spirits.

*Many tribes also had a ceremonial pipe they would smoke using tobacco and other herbs. They believed that the smoke provided a pathway to the spirit world.

*Unlike many cultures, Native American religion wasn’t overly concerned with the afterlife and death. They accepted death as a matter of fact and believed the afterlife was a happy place with sunny skies and bountiful hunting grounds.

*The traditional Native American religion was revived with the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dancers believed that the Great Spirit would remove the white men from their land.


            *The native people of the Americas are believed to have initially crossed the Bering Strait from the Asian Continent to North America.

            *Although France came to the ‘New World’ for furs, Spain came for gold and silver.

*Beginning with the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Caribbean in 1492, Spain began its conquest of the Southwest territories.  That conquest would last three centuries.

*By the 1500’s, Spain had taken over the (now) American SW as well as (now) Mexico, the Gulf Coast regions and the Caribbean.

*The colonies were called ‘New Spain’ and were important to the economy of Spain due to the precious metals found there.

*In the mid 1500’s, a small contingent of Franciscan friars came to the Southwest, and immediately set about building churches and missions. Moving slowly up the Rio Grande, theMission San Juan (10) missionaries met with relatively little resistance, and their efforts produced many converts. The number of new Catholics recorded, however, were misleading. Whereas the Jesuits accepted converts only after they had mastered the intricacies of Christian theology, the Franciscans were content to give the Indians only the barest outlines of their faith before immersing them in water. Indians who learned to sing hymns, who received a rudimentary education, who mastered Castilian Spanish, and who accepted the new Hispanic way of life were counted among the members of the new republic of Indians.

*Priests also challenged the powers of native healers and shamans and managed to persuade many natives that they and not the indigenous spiritualists had access to the wondrous powers of the heavens.

*The Spanish language still dominates the SW.

*Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1810, loosening Spain’s control of the SW.

*In the 1820’s, English speaking people from the east began settling in what would become Texas, and formed their own government.

*The U.S. annexed Texas, initiating the war with Mexico in 1846.


            *The main goal of the Spanish missions was to convert Native Americans into devoted Christians and Spanish citizens. Spain used mission work to influence the natives with cultural and religious instruction, and actually served as the primary means of integrating Indians into the political and economic structure of Spain.

*Spain established many missions – and the forts to protect those missions – throughout the Southwest.

*Missions introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, and industry into the Southwest.

*There were three major agencies employed by the Spanish crown to extend its borders and settle its colonial territories: The presidio (fort), pueblo (town), and the mission.

*Missions provided a safe home for Native Americans – especially the peace loving tribes who were vulnerable to attack and at risk.

*Living within the mission meant morning prayer and religious instruction followed by chores.

*Chores involved learning skills in everything from carpentry work, digging irrigation ditches, masonry, weapon making, farming, harvesting, blacksmithing, sewing, weaving, fishing, and medicine making.

*Children were allowed to play, learn to play musical instruments, and learned Spanish dances.

*Ultimately, the blending of the Spanish and Native American races resulted in a hybrid race initially called Hispanos.

*The Hispanic population is now the 2nd largest ethnic group in the U.S.



*1801: Brigham Young was born in Vermont

*1805: Joseph Smith was born in Vermont

*1820: Joseph Smith receives  ‘First Vision’, a pillar of light descending from heaven followed by an image of 2 personages (presumed to be God and Jesus Christ) warning Smith that all religions have strayed from the truth and he should not join any of them.

*1823: Smith receives a vision of the angel named Moroni, who speaks of a book written on gold plates and buried in a nearby hillside. According to Moroni, the book describes the people who used to inhabit America and contains “the fullness of the everlasting Gospel.”

*1827: Joseph Smith marries Emma Hale

*1827: Joseph Smith begins the task of translating the writing of the gold plates

*1829: Joseph Smith, who has completed the translation at Peter Whitmer’s farm in Fayette, New York, receives a copyright for The Book of Mormon.

*1830: The Book of Mormon is published.

*1830: Brigham Young, a practicing Methodist, reads the Book of Mormon shortly after publication and will be baptized as a Mormon two years later.  Followers would become known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

*1830: LDS missionaries taking The Book of Mormon’s message to the Indians in Ohio and Missouri have stopped in Kirtland, Ohio. A Baptist minister, Sidney Rigdon decides to join the LDS and brings his congregation with him. Soon afterward, a vision instructs Smith to move the new LDS community west to Kirtland. Other missionaries proceed to Missouri and settle in Independence.

*1831: Joseph Smith begins work on a (perceived) inspired translation of the Bible.

*1833: The first collection of Smith’s revelations is prepared for publication as The Book of Commandments.

*1833: Brigham Young, now a widower, arrives with his two young children in Kirtland.

*1835: 138 of Smith’s revelations are published in a book called Doctrine and Covenants. Included among these are the sixty-five revelations published in The Book of Commandments, plus seven “Lectures on Faith” prepared by Joseph Smith, which are not described as revelations.

*1838: Smith is arrested, charged with treason, and sentenced to death, his life only spared when the officer ordered to carry out the execution refuses. Smith instead will spend the next five months in jail.

*1839: While being moved from one trial location to another, Smith is allowed to escape and flees to Illinois. There he buys land for a new settlement named Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi River, about 200 miles from St. Louis.

*1839: Led by Brigham Young, the Missouri Mormons reach safety in Illinois.

*1840: Joseph Smith becomes both mayor and military leader of Nauvoo, which quickly grows and becomes nearly the size of Chicago within 4 years. The population includes an influx of Mormon converts from Europe.

*1843: Joseph Smith announces revelations about two new practices:

  • First, the dead can be baptized.

-Second, polygamy, or plural marriage, is not only permissible but in certain cases required. Joseph Smith will eventually have more than 25 wives, while Young will come to embrace the doctrine, take 20 wives, and father 57 children.

*1844: Joseph Smith declares that he will run for president of the United States, and announces in a sermon that those who obey God’s commands can become gods themselves, and orders the destruction of an opposition newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. The outcry that followed led to criminal charges, and after starting to flee, Smith changes his mind and surrenders to state authorities.  While in jail, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum are shot and killed by members of a mob. No one will ever be convicted of the crime.

*1846:  Facing further harassment, thousands of the Mormons, but not all, march west from Nauvoo.  Some settle in Michigan while others settle in other parts of the Midwest. Brigham Young, who is head of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, (a church leadership body) directs the exodus.

*1847: Brigham Young and those with him reach the valley of the Great Salt Lake, and SL-Temple2-620x370Brigham, who will be made church president later in the year, confirms that this is where the Mormons will settle.  His followers promptly mark off an acre that will be reserved for a temple and then begin laying out city streets and setting up irrigation systems.

*1850: Brigham Young is appointed governor of the Utah territory.

*1877: Brigham Young dies.

*1893: The Salt Lake City Temple is completed.


So regardless of your reason for visiting America’s Southwest – the National Parks, the incredible canyon lands, the red rocks, an ancient cliff dwelling or a handmade necklace for the turquoise love of your life – make sure to do a little digging into the religious past of this region.  Discover how the faith of Spain, the ancient beliefs of the Native Americans, and the practices of the LDS church has helped shape the religious personality of this corner of the country!

'Still haven't given up on your lawn, eh, Pertzborn?'

REGION 5: HISTORY (The Breadbasket) Fun Facts


Oklahoma * Missouri * Nebraska * Kansas * Iowa

Open plains, cattle and pioneers are all part of the History of the (Region 5) Breadbasket Region.  Here is where the Pioneers and Settlers came to farm and ranch.  This Region birthed the stories of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and the fun loving characters from the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This Region was home to the hardy, rugged and stalwart folks that homesteaded and cultivated those Midwestern plain states which eventually became some of the largest food producing areas of the U.S.

For our ‘Focused Events’ we’ll spend most of our time between the years 1850 and 1900.  We’ll call this the ‘Age of the Pioneer’.



*1680-1690: Most of the Midwest was explored initially by Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle of France.

*1803: The Louisiana Purchase opened up the land west of the Mississippi for exploration and eventual settlement.

*1804-1806: Lewis and Clark explore the new Territory.

*1829: The Indian Removal Act is signed into law by President Andrew Jackson relocating Native American Tribes to lands west of the Mississippi.

*1840: Nearly 1000 Pioneers head to the Northwest via the Oregon Trail leaving from Missouri.

*1848: Gold is discovered in California.

*1862: The Homestead Act signed into law by President Lincoln for the purpose of enticing settlers to move west and acquire land at little or no cost.

*1863-1869: The Trans-Continental Railroad connects the Atlantic and Pacific.



*Signed in 1862 by President Lincoln for the purpose of getting more settlers out to the Midwest.

*Under this new law a U.S. Citizen could:   r52

-get 160 acres of unoccupied land west of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies,

-keep the land permanently as long as they lived there for 5 years and made        improvements,

-if over the age of 21, acquire land even if they were former slaves, immigrants or single women,

-be disqualified if they had ever taken up arms against the U.S. government

-acquire the title to their land with only 6mos of residency and minimal improvements if they paid $1.25 per acre and met all other requirements.


How well did the Homestead act work?

Well… not so well.  Here were some of the problems:

*Most farmers, immigrants and laborers did not have the means to acquire the seeds, livestock and building materials necessary to make the needed improvements.

*Most people who took advantage of the Act came from surrounding areas, so it didn’t really help much to entice those from the eastern parts of the U.S.

*The Act was so loosely written that it invited fraud, and the more Congress tried to remedy the problems, the worse it got.

land rush mural

*Of the 500 million acres dispersed by the General Land Office between 1862 and 1904, only 80 million acres went to homesteaders.

*Most of the land went to railroads, miners, speculators and lumber mills.

*More land was acquired by homesteaders in the 20th century than in the 19th!



 1). OKLAHOMA:  Motto: ‘Labor Conquers All Things’

*1682: The Territory of Oklahoma is claimed by France.

*1803: Most of the Oklahoma Territory is acquired from France in the Louisiana Purchase.

*1804: Lewis & Clark and then Zebulon Pike explore Oklahoma.

*1830: Indian Removal Act signed into law by Andrew Jackson.

*1834: The area was set aside as ‘Indian Territory’.

*1832-1839: The ‘Five Tribes’ are relocated to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.  These Native American tribes were the: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole.

*1842: The last of the Seminole Tribe was relocated from Florida to Oklahoma after the Seminole War.

*1861-1865: American Civil War.  Oklahoma was mostly Indian Territory, but the Indians that fought sided with the Confederacy.

*1860s: Because the Indians had sided with the Confederacy, most of them lost their lands

*1870: Another 25 Native American Tribe were moved to the Oklahoma Federal Reservations.

*1872: Businesses began to open and operate as the Railroad pushed through Oklahoma.

*1889: A series of ‘horse races’ began as unoccupied lands were made available to settlers on a first-come-first-served basis.  Those who came early to stake their claims became known as ‘Sooners’.

*1890: The territory was split in half and the western half becomes the Oklahoma Territory.

*1907: The Indian Territory and the Oklahoma Territory join to become the 46th state and it is called Oklahoma.

*1930s: The Great Depression ruins most of Oklahoma’s farmers.

*1990: Oklahoma becomes the first state to limit the terms of a legislator.



2). MISSOURI:  Motto: ‘The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law’

*1540: Hernando De Soto discovers the Mississippi River.

*1682: French explorers Cavalier and La Salle claim the Mississippi Valley for France.

*1699: first capitol of the French Colonies is established.

*1724: Fort Orleans built on the North bank of the Mississippi River.

*1756: The French & Indian War ends with victory for Great Britain. France surrenders all French lands east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans, and the Spanish turn over east and west Florida to Great Britain in exchange for Cuba.

*1762: Spain gains control of the Louisiana Territory from France at the Treaty of Fontainebleau.

*1764: City of St. Louis founded.

*1769: City of St. Charles established as a trading post.

*1770: Spanish government officially takes control of the Louisiana Territory.

*1776-1783: American Revolution

*1800: Napoleon Bonaparte forces Spain to return the Louisiana Territory to the French at the Treaty of IIdefonso.

*1803: France sells the Louisiana Territory to the U.S. for 15 million dollars.

*1804: Lewis and Clark Expedition.

*1805: The Territory of Louisiana was established with the government seat at St. Louis.

*1812: A portion of the Territory of Louisiana became the Territory of Missouri.

*1817: The steamboat Zebulon M. Pike reaches St. Louis and is the first steamboat to navigate the Mississippi River above the Ohio River.

*1821: Missouri become the 24th state with the first capitol in St Charles.  It is nicknamed the ‘Show Me State’.

*1826: Jefferson City becomes the permanent state capitol.

*1857: Dred Scott case originates in St. Louis.

*1861: Missouri is claimed by both the Union and the Confederacy.

*1865: Missouri abolishes slavery.


3). NEBRASKA: Motto: ‘Equality before the Law’

*The Tribes of Nebraska were the: Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Comanche, Chippewa, Delaware, Fox, Omaha, Kansas, Iowa Oto, Missouri, Kiowa, Sauk and Pawnee.

*1541: Nebraska / Kansas area claimed for Spain.

*1682: Area claimed for France.

*1803: Louisiana Purchase makes the area a U.S. Territory.

*1819: 1st U.S. Army Fort established at Ft. Atkinson

*1833: U.S. purchases Pawnee lands south of the Platte River

*1840’s: The Oregon Trail goes across Nebraska bringing thousands of settlers.  Ft. Kearny is established.

*1854: Territory of Nebraska established.

*1854: The Kansas-Nebraska Act allows the territories to decide whether or not to allow slavery within their borders.  This act repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened the north to slavery.

*1867: Nebraska become the 37th state.

*1877: Famed Indian ‘Crazy Horse’ surrenders at Camp Robinson.

*1868: Lincoln becomes state capitol.

*1869: Completion of the Union Pacific Railroad brings more settlers to Nebraska.

*1870: Nebraska approves the 15th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race.

*1898: Omaha hosts the Mississippi International Exposition.

*1913: Gerald Ford, 38th President of the U.S. born in Omaha.

*1919: Nebraska become the 36th state to ratify prohibition.

*1939: Petroleum discovered in SE Nebraska.

*1942: Lake McConaughy is created as the Kingsley Dam is finished.

*2002: Grasshopper invasion caused by drought costs the state over 1 billion.

*2011: Controversial TransCanada pipeline is rerouted to avoid the Sand Hills and Ogallala aquifer.


4). KANSAS: Motto: ‘To the Stars through Adversity’r54

The Tribes of Kansas were the: Pawnee and Wichita.

*1541: Coronado of Spain explores Kansas.

*1724: Kansas area claimed for France.

*1762: France loses area to Spain.

*1803: Louisiana Purchase makes the area a U.S. Territory.

*1800’s: Conflicts between Native American Tribes and settlers.

*1812: American Fur Company is formed.

*1820’s: Kansas lands reserved as Indian Territory and closed to white settlers.

*1822: Santa Fe Trail is pioneered by Capt. W.H. Becknell.

*1823: Boundaries fixed between Kansas and Missouri.

*1827: Fort Leavenworth is established.

*1832: Kickapoo, Potawatomie, Kaskaskia, Peoria, Wea, and Piankeshaw Indian Reservations established.

*1840: Miami Tribe moved to Kansas.

*1850’s: Kansas lands start opening to white settlers.

*1854: The Kansas Territory is established.

*1855-1859: The Kansas-Nebraska Act creates fighting over slavery.  Kansas is called, ‘Bloody Kansas’.

*1859: John Brown leads raid on Harper’s Ferry which directly leads to the outbreak of the Civil War.

*1860: The Railroad reaches Kansas.

*1861: Kansas become the 34th state.

*1867: The first cattle drive heads over the Chisholm Trail.

*1894-1895: The state’s first oil and gas fields go into production.

*1930’s: ‘Dust Bowls’ destroy millions of acres of crops.

*1952: Landmark decision in Topeka makes segregation in public schools illegal.

*1961: World’s largest wheat elevator built in Hutchinson.

*2002: Maiden flight of Airborne Laser (designed to destroy missiles during early stage launch) takes off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita.


5). IOWA: Motto: ‘Our Liberties we prize and our Rights we will maintain’

*1682: Area is explored and claimed by France.

*1762: Area is transferred from France to Spain.

*1788: Julien Dubuque is the first white settler in Iowa.

*1800’s: Conflicts with the Native American Tribes push them further to the West.  The tribes in this area were the: Chippewa, Fox, Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Nez Perce, Pahodja, Pawnee, Winnebago, Missouri, Moingwenga, Omaha, Oto, Ottawa, Peroria, Ponca, Potawatomie and Sauk.

*1800: Spain transfers land back to France.

*1803: Louisiana Purchase from France makes this area part of the U.S.

*1804: The only death (Charles Floyd) on the Lewis and Clark expedition occurs in Iowa territory.

*1808: U.S. Army builds Fort Madison which is later burned.

*1811: The phase,

“Go West young man” is coined by Horace Greeley who was born on Feb. 3.

*1820: Missouri Compromise makes Iowa a non-slave territory.

*1832: “Black Hawk War”: Sauk leader, ‘Black Hawk’ waged war with the U.S. and ended up surrendering after a 15-week war.

*1833: Iowa Territory opens to settlers.

*1834: First Public hanging occurs in Iowa.

*1838: The Iowa Territory is established.

*1839: Iowa’s Supreme Court rules against slavery.

*1846: Iowa become the 29th State admitted to the Union.

*1846: Buffalo Bill is born on Feb. 26.

*1856: First train arrives from Chicago.

*1857: Des Moines becomes the Capitol.

*1867: First Railroad completed through Iowa.

Day 2 Chicago (4)
Adair, Iowa

*1907: Last lynching occurs in Iowa.

*1913: Keokuk Dam completed.

*1913: Largest single piece of coal produced by Martin Coal Co. weighing 2,445 lbs.

*1916: Prohibition closes breweries.

*1928: Herbert Hoover becomes the 31st U.S. President.

*1991: Riverboat gambling legalized.



What fun it is to take a trip through the Breadbasket!  Learn it’s history, savor the food, enjoy the slower pace of a Midwestern lifestyle, and don’t forget to wear your boots!

Day 1 NEB (11)


I loved living in Italy and I had wondered whether or not I’d ever want to return home.  Eventually I did return, but I left a good bit of myself behind in the northern part of this ‘art, architecture, wine, and good-life lovers’ paradise.  I get back as often as possible, but for this last trip it had been an excruciatingly long wait.


I had assumed that not much could change in a measly 12 years, but I was wrong.



This time my husband, Eddie was making his first ‘voyage across the pond’, and we were20180922_082001.jpg having a great time as we rode the rails through France, Belgium, Germany and Austria.  I’d saved Italy for last and we were exploring everything that time allowed from the Dolomite Mountains to Rome.

As we approached the Venetian Lagoon I was noticeably excited.  I had lived only 45 minutes from Venice and it’s a homecoming of sorts for me each time I return.  My anticipation bubbled as I described to Eddie what we were about to see.  Eddie usually drifts off when I go into ‘tour-guide mode’, but this time I realized the reason for his distraction.  Exiting the train I was dumbfounded.  I’d never seen so many people at the Santa Lucia Railway Station!  I stood frozen for a moment, my mind trying to accept what I was seeing. Four cruise ships had docked that morning, and with the normal amount of locals, day-trippers and those staying on the island, the crowd was overwhelming.

I ducked my head as I plowed forward toward the ticket booth to purchase our vaporetto tickets, and I chose to believe that things would be better at San Marco Square.  The vaporettos are the small boats that provide public transport around the Venetian Islands, and due to the weight of the massive number of tourists, they were sitting lower in the waters of the Grand Canal than I had ever seen before.  I was however, undeterred.

I think I left Eddie standing dazed on the train track, hesitant at the prospect of diving into that rushing river of humanity, but after a 45 minute wait for our tickets, I gathered him and we were off to stand in another line for the boat.

P1110253 (2)As we stepped onto our vaporetto, I bulldozed my way into the bow of the boat using my suitcase as both a shield and a battering ram, and secured a spot at the very front.  We needed to use our luggage as makeshift seats, but I was satisfied.  I nestled in with my camera tied to one wrist and my Rick Steves ‘Joyride thru the Grand Canal’ info in the other hand. I was determined to both photograph and learn the history of some of the more significant buildings and palaces of the Grand Canal.

My plan worked – but only for 2 stops.  The boat then dumped us all off to catch a connecting one on to San Marco.  Already full when we boarded, I found myself smashed between bodies, hanging on to Eddie and hoping that my camera wouldn’t be flung overboard.

“I hope you got some good shots”, I hollered at Eddie who was protecting his camera at the risk of losing an arm.

“I might have gotten one of the back of that guy’s head”, he sarcastically responded with a, ‘you’ve got be kidding’ sideways glance.  Needless to say, my ‘joyride’ was not going to happen.

We arrived at the San Marco stop near the Square, took one look at the expansive sea of tourists all frantically searching for the flag of their particular tour group, and promptly made a beeline for our hotel.  We managed to arrive at the hotel where we picked up the key to our apartment, with only minor scrapes, a few bruises and our luggage amazingly intact.venezia-crowds-high-season

“I don’t think I can go back out there Eddie”, I whispered fighting back tears.

Seeing the sympathetic but helpless face of my husband, the receptionist stepped out from behind the counter, gently put her arm around my shoulder, and with her best English said, “It be OK honey.  I tell you what to do.  You do what I tell to you.”

She then pulled out a map and highlighted a path (through the wonderful maze that is Venice) to the far side of the island.  She circled a great place to eat lunch, told us to go see the glass-blowing on Murano or just enjoy one of the outer islands. Then she told us to return to San Marco Square in the evening.

We followed her instructions to the letter.  We enjoyed the outer islands, the glass-blowing demonstration, and a long lunch that included good conversation with a lovely newly-engaged couple from Chicago.  On the expedition to the island’s far side we saw many things that we might never have seen otherwise, made plans to see some things the next day (during midday when the tourists were in full numbers), and adjusted not only our itinerary but our attitudes.

P1110280            P1110279






By the time we found ourselves back at San Marco Square in the evening enjoying the lovely crimson sunset light, the orchestras serenading those dancing amongst the pigeons, and the lack of tourists, we had realized that this was not only going to be the beautiful and special place that I had promised Eddie would be, but a place that we could still enjoy the history and culture in. All it takes is a little pre-planning and the ability to make adjustments on the fly.

Here are my 4 best tips for making the most of travel while dealing with the ‘new norm’ of massive crowds and visiting some of the world’s more popular tourist spots:

Venice-Rain1). Try to travel in off-season. 

Yes, next time we head to Europe it will probably be in March, April or November.  While it’s true that the crowds are likely exchanged for cold and rainy weather, I think it might be worth it.  If that isn’t right for you and you are still determined to sit in outdoor cafes with nice weather and enjoy sunny photos, then read on to #2.

2). Lay low in the middle of the day. hVbkJKY

Choose fewer ‘sites’ and schedule them (with pre-purchased and preferably timed tickets) for the moment they open and / or just before closing.  In the middle of the day venture off the beaten path and explore.  Enjoy some minor sights that you might not see otherwise, have a long lunch with some locals, drink wine or maybe simply escape the heat and take a nap!  Spend the evening at the tourist spots when there’s less people, prettier photos and a much more enjoyable time spent.

3). Understand that the ‘skip-the-line’ tickets that you pre-purchased from home are well, kind of a fib.CH09Spring_1500.JPG

Unless you’re on an organized tour, here’s how we discovered that these tickets work:

First, you’ll stand in line with the ‘vouchers’ that you printed and brought from home.  You’ll need to exchange them for actual tickets (your printed receipt will tell you if it’s a ticket or voucher). This can take 30-45 minutes.

            Second, you’ll take the tickets and proceed to the ‘skip-the-line’ line.  This can take another 30-45 minutes.

            Third, go through the security line.

            Fourth, follow the tourists to the entrance point, present your tickets to the validating person who stamps your ticket and allows you in.

            Finally…you’re off!

If you plan to visit your sites early or late in the day, this process goes rather quickly.  Just be early, prepared and have a good attitude!

4). Don’t play in the streets!

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Wanting to spend a day enjoying Lake Garda in Italy, I found a little town on the eastern shore that boasted a funicular that provided a great bird’s-eye view of the lake, and the ruins of a small castle.  That would be perfect place to enjoy the lake! At least I thought so until we discovered that thousands of other people thought so too.  Completely enveloping the little town of Malcesine were the now all-too-familiar droves of tourists.  The wait to ride the funicular up the hill was 3 hours long, and the restaurants were packed.  So we boarded a public transit ship, complete with top-side seating and ended up spending the day visiting with a lovely couple from Great Britain and seeing the lake by ship.  It was a hop-on-hop-off ship, so we stopped off for lunch, lemon grove viewing and anything else that looked interesting.  We saw the whole lake and never fought the crowds of tourists!  We made similar choices in Italy’s Cinque Terre and Germany’s Rhine Valley.  We learned that if there was water, we could see and enjoy what we came for from the water without dealing with crowds!

There you have my top 4 ways to manage the crowds at the world’s top tourist destinations. Above all, keep a great attitude. Anything can be overcome with the right frame of mind and a positive attitude!P1110267

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REGION 6: HISTORY (The Great Lakes) Fun Facts


Michigan * Indiana * Wisconsin * Minnesota * Illinois


When we think of the Great Lakes Region, images come to mind of huge ocean-like lakes, fascinating geology, forests, enormous waterfalls, shipwrecks and history dating back to before the landing of the Pilgrims.

What we probably don’t think about though, is the huge impact that this has region made on the forming of the new U.S. Government and its Constitution, inspiring it’s directives from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

We might also be somewhat unaware of the impact of the Great Lakes Region on economics and commerce during the Industrial Revolution.

For our ‘Focused Events’ we’ll spend most of our time between the years 1760-1840.

We’ll call this the ‘Age of Government and Industry.



*The original Native Americans living on the lands around the Great Lakes were primarily Iroquois, Algonquin and Winnebago.

*The St Lawrence River connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

*Early explorers to the Great Lakes region were searching for a Northwest Passage to East Asia in order to establish a shorter trade route to China.

*1450-1600: The Iroquois Confederacy was a league of 6 tribes that sought to unite the tribes with a contract of peace.  The articles of this Confederacy served as fore-runners for the Northwest Ordinance and then ultimately for the U.S. Constitution.

g6*1840’s: The Great lakes became a super-highway for the transportation of wheat, corn, lumber, coal and iron.

*The Logging Industry of the Great Lakes Region has provided well over 2 billion board feet of white pine alone! 

*The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on the shores of Lake Superior report that the Lakes have claimed more than 6,000 ships and over 30,000 lives.


*1781: Originally the Articles of Confederation was the 1st American Constitution. They were weak and vague.  Here’s what they tried to accomplish:

  1. Establish a Federal Government with most of the power remaining with the individual states and avoid ‘big central’ government.
  2. Provide Diplomacy
  3. Print money
  4. Resolve controversies between states
  5. Create and maintain the Continental Army

*The Articles had no way to accomplish these tasks, enforce anything or impose taxes.

*1787:The Articles were drafted into the U.S. Constitution

*1787: Congress Passed the Northwest Ordinance which provided rules for governing the Northwest Territory (the land north of the Ohio River and west of the Alleghenies) that had been acquired by the U.S. in 1783 at the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution.

*The Northwest Ordinance detailed the terms for gaining status as a territory and provided a Bill of Rights for the governing of a Territory.

*The Northwest Ordinance then detailed the requirements for becoming a state and guaranteed a new state’s equality with the original 13.

*Here were the steps to becoming a state:

  1. When a Territory was being settled, congress would appoint a governor, a secretary and 3 judges.
  2. Once the Territory reached 5,000 free men it could elect a legislature.
  3. When the territory reached 60,000 people, it could apply to become a state.

*The Northwest Ordinance also guaranteed:

  1. There would no slavery in the territory
  2. Freedom of Religion would be guaranteed
  3. Resident Indians would be treated decently
  4. Education would be provided




1: Lake Superior:

*Largest of the Great Lakes

*31,700 sq. miles of surface water

*2,726 miles of shoreline

*483’ deep on the average and 1,332’ at its deepest point

*Water visibility is up to 100’ in some areas

 2: Lake Huron:

*2nd largest of the Great Lakes

*23,000 sq. miles of surface water

*3,827 miles of shoreline

*195’ deep on the average and 751’ at its deepest point

*Home to 30,000 islands

 3: Lake Michigan:

*3rd largest of the Great Lakes

*22, 404 sq. miles of surface water

*1,640 miles of shoreline

*279’ deep on the average and 923’ at its deepest point

*Like the Bermuda, Lake Superior has a triangle that has caused strange disappearances

4: Lake Erie:

*4th largest of the Great Lakes

*9,940 sq. miles of surface water

*871 miles of shoreline

*62’ deep on the average and 210’ at its deepest point

*Lake Erie draws in the most income from recreation and fishing

5: Lake Ontario:

*Smallest of the Great Lakes

*7,340 sq. miles of surface water

*1,146 miles of shoreline

*283’ deep on the average and 801’ at its deepest point

*Waters are sometime white due to occasional calcium carbonate increase




1). MICHIGAN: Motto: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you”


*1620-1680: French explorers arrive in the region and set up European settlements

*1787: Michigan becomes part of the Northwest Territory.

*1805: Michigan Territory is created.

*1819:  Ojibwa, Ottawa, Potawatomi Indians cede over 6 million acres and begin migration to the south.

*1835: Toledo War grants entire Upper Peninsula to Michigan.

*1837: Michigan becomes 26th state admitted to the Union.

*1842: Copper mining begins near imagesm3 Point.

*1842: Last of the Indian lands ceded by treaty.

*1844: Iron Ore discovered in Upper Peninsula.

*1847: Lansing becomes the Capitol.

*1854: Republican Party organized in Jackson.

*1855: Soo Canal and Locks open connecting Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

*1861-1865: 90,000 Michigan Men serve in the Civil War.

*1881:  the ‘Great Thumb Fire’ becomes the first natural disaster served by the American Red Cross.

*1896: Charles King of Detroit tests his gas-powered automobile.

*1899: Ransom Olds builds first automobile factory in Detroit.

*1908: First Ford Model T manufactured.

*1913: Henry Ford’s Hyland Park plant opens.

*1928: Ford River Rouge Plant completed and becomes the largest factory complex in the world.

*1929: The Ambassador Bridge – longest bridge in the world – opens connecting Detroit to Windsor, ONT.

*1935: United Automobile Worker’s Union (UAW) formed in Detroit

*1957: Mackinac Bridge opens

*1963: New State Constitution ratified


When Michigan was a Territory, deer were so plentiful that deer skins were used as money.  A deer carcass was worth $1, so the dollar became known for what it was worth – a ‘buck’.


2). INDIANA: Motto: “The crossroads of America”

g9*1500-1700: French explore and claim the Indiana area for France.

*1702: Queen Anne’s War ends Spanish presence.

*1752-1753: Smallpox epidemic ravages local Indian population.

*1763: Britain gains control of the area.

*1763: Proclamation of 1763 forbids settlement west of Appalachian Mountains.

*1774: Britain passes the Quebec Act and Indiana becomes part of the province of Quebec.

*1778: Indiana becomes part of Virginia.
*1787: Indiana becomes part the Northwest Territory.

*1800: Indiana established as a Territory.

*1803: Indians cede Indiana land.

*1805-1809: Michigan Territory and Illinois Territory break from Indiana Territory.

*1811: Chief Tecumseh defeated at battle of Tippecanoe.

*1816: Indiana becomes 19th State admitted to the Union.

*1816: Abraham Lincoln moves to Indiana.

*1825: Indianapolis becomes state capitol.

*1835: Wabash and Erie Canal opens.

*1844: The University of Notre Dame receives its charter.

*1845: Johnny Appleseed dies.

*1851: State Constitution adopted.

*1858: The Studebaker Brothers start a company that would become the largest producer of farm wagons and carriages.

*1862: Richard Gatling patents the machine gun.

*1868: The ‘Great Train Robbery’ takes place at Marshfieldg10

*1880: Wabash becomes the first town completely illuminated with electric lighting.

*1911: First Indy 500 race run.

*1915: Workman’s Compensation Act established.

*1958: Michael Jackson born in Gary.


3). WISCONSIN: Motto: “Forward!”

*1634: First European arrives in Green Bay looking for the Northwest Passage.

*1754-1763: French and Indian War ending with the French giving over control of the area to Britain with the 1st Treaty of Paris.

*1679: Wisconsin area claimed for France.

*1764: ‘Pontiac’s Rebellion’ pits the Ottawa tribes and their allies against the British.

*1774: The Quebec Act makes Wisconsin part of Quebec.g12

*1781: Settlement established at Prairie du Chien.

*1783: U.S. takes control of the region with the 2nd Treaty of Paris.

*1836: Territory of Wisconsin established.

*1787: Wisconsin becomes part of the Northwest Territory.

*1822: mining begins in SW Wisconsin.

*1825: Native tribal boundaries are established.

*1832: Black Hawk War is the last Native American conflict in the area.

*1835: First Steamboat arrives in Milwaukee.

*1837: The ‘Panic of 1837’ results in failure of all territorial banks and the Winnebago tribes cede all land to U.S.

*1848: Wisconsin becomes the 30th state admitted to the Union.

*1851: First railroad opens between Milwaukee and Waukesha.

*1853: Capital punishment is abolished.

*1854: Wisconsin Supreme Court declared Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 unconstitutional.

*1864: First Cheese factory opens in Ladoga.

w2*1868: C.L. Sholes patents the typewriter.

*1889: Prayers and reading from the King James Bible becomes prohibited in public schools.

*1919: Wisconsin is the first state to ratify the nineteenth amendment (women’s suffrage), and deliver it to Congress.

*1932: Wisconsin is first state to pass unemployment legislation in the U.S.

*1965: Legislation passes banning housing discrimination.


4). MINNESOTA: Motto: “The star of the north”

*1659-1660: French Fur traders explore west end of Lake Superior.

*1683: First book written about Minnesota written by Catholic Missionary, Father Louis Hennepin.

*1763: Spain receives the Louisiana Territory.m2

*1787: Eastern Minnesota becomes part of the Northwest Territory.

*1787: First formal mapping of the Minnesota territory completed.

*1800: France acquires the Louisiana Territory from Spain.

*1800’s: Logging and Lumber industry begins in Minnesota.  Golden Era of Lumbering was 1890-1910 during which 2 billion board feet of white pine was lumbered.

*1803: Louisiana Purchase

*1805: First expedition through Minnesota led by Zebulon Pike.

*1815: First American Fur traders let into Minnesota.

*1818: North boundary of MN established at 49th parallel.

*1836: Wisconsin Territory including Minnesota established.

*1849: Minnesota Territory formed with present day boundaries.

*1850: Treaties with Dakota Indians for eastern lands result in wheat becoming major crop.

imagesm1*1858: Minnesota become the 32nd state admitted to the Union.

*1862: Railroad completed between Minneapolis & St Paul.

*1862: The Sioux Uprising results in 800 white settlers dead and 38 Sioux Indians hanged.

*1880: Telephone communication established between Minneapolis and St Paul.

*1927: Minnesota native, Charles Lindbergh, flew solo across Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris.

*1959: St Lawrence Seaway opens gaining access to the Atlantic Ocean from Duluth.


5). ILLINOIS: Motto: “State sovereignty, national union”

*1673: France explores the Illinois area.

*1699: Town of Cahokia established, oldest town in Illinois.

*1717: Illinois becomes part of the Louisiana Territory.

*1718: John Law is granted a French charter and colonizes the Mississippi Valley.

*1763: French and Indian War leaves Illinois ceding all lands to Britain.Illinois-River-Campingi2

*1769: Illinois Indians starved at Ft St Louis – which is now Starved Rock State Park.

*1800: Congress Creates the Indiana Territory which includes Illinois.

*1803: Kaskaskia Indians cede nearly all lands in Illinois.

*1804: Lewis & Clark explore Illinois.

*1809: Illinois established as a Territory.

*1811: First coal mine founded in Jackson County.

*1817: Veterans of War of 1812 receive 160-acre land warrants in Illinois ‘Military Tract’ between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.

*1818: Illinois becomes the 21st state admitted to the Union.

*1819-1829: Kickapoo, Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie Indians cede their lands.

*1837: Chicago incorporated as a town.

*1837: John Deere designs self-scouring steel plow.

*1839: Cherokee Indians pass through Illinois on the ‘Trail of Tears’ toward Oklahoma.

*1844: Mormon leaders, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, assassinated at Carthage.

*1846: Mormons leave Illinois for Utah.

*1848: Illinois and Michigan canal completed.imagesi1

*1856: 1st railroad bridge across the Mississippi completed.

*1868: Ulysses S. Grant elected President.

*1926: Charles Lindbergh begins daily mail delivery flights between Chicago & St. Louis.

*1929: Valentine’s Day Massacre between Chicago gangs.

*1954: First McDonald’s restaurant opens in Des Plaines.

*1970: Voters adopt New Constitution.


So, spend some time exploring the Great Lakes Region.  Wherever your interests lie, the Great Lakes Region has something for you to experience, learn about or just plain enjoy!



REGION 7: HISTORY (The Old West) Fun Facts


North Dakota * South Dakota * Wyoming * Montana * Colorado * Nevada


So much intriguing history awaits the traveler journeying into the Old West!  The Wild Wild West conjures up images of cowboys, gunfights, Indians, saloons, railroads and gold mines – often more romantic than realistic.  Our minds wander onto the plains, up into the mountains and out into the deserts where bandits wait to jump the next stagecoach or train in search of loot!  The culture that developed in this harsh and violent landscape however, led to a breakdown in law and order and made daily life a struggle for survival.  In this dangerous environment, people developed the philosophy that a person not only had the right to bear arms, but to defend to the death the property that they had claimed.  Even today, this ideology remains primarily unchanged.

 For our ‘Focused Events’ we’ll spend most of our time between the years 1865 and 1895.

We’ll call this the ‘Age of the Old West’:



So much was happening during the Westward Expansion!  Here are a few of the highlights of the Old West:


*The 1st American Gold Rush was in North Carolina in 1799. The 2nd was in Georgia in 1828, and the California Gold Rush started in 1849.

*The biggest Gold Rush lasted from 1849-1858 and was in California.WWW4

*The Gold Rush was the largest mass migration in the U.S.

*Over 300,000 people moved to California during the ‘Rush’ in search of fortune.  They were called ‘49ers.  Many of them arrived in ships, and early sections of San Francisco were built out those ships.

*More fortunes were made by merchants than by miners.

*The Gold Rush led to California establishment as an American state.

www5*Gold could be panned or mined.

*Between 1848 and 1858, $550 million in gold was extracted.

*By 1858, most of the surface gold had been extracted and more modern techniques were being used in mines.  Depleted resources and gold being discovered in Colorado led to the end of the Gold Rush.


*The word, ‘Cowboy’ first appeared in the English language around 1725.  It came from the Spanish word vaquero meaning ‘one who manages cattle on horseback’.  Initially, the term was used when referring to an outlaw, bandit or horse thief.

WWW3*Cowboys were an essential part of settling the West.  Ranching was a big industry, and the cowboys helped to run ranches, herd cattle, repaired fences, and cared for the horses.

*Cattle were in constant need of being transported.  Cattle drives required about 12 cowboys per 3000 head of cattle.

*Cowboys usually lived together in bunk houses.

*The cowboy’s gear was important.  The boot was essential gear as their design kept a cowboy’s feet in the stirrups, and prevented slipping to avoid being drug by a horse.  The hat protected them from sun and rain, and the chaps protected the legs from cacti, sharp bushes and rash.  The bandanna kept them from breathing in the dust kicked up by horses and cattle.www6

*Rodeos were created by the cowboys with the events centering around their daily lives.

*The average cowboy in the Old West made between $25 and $40 per month.


*1815: The first charter to build a Railroad was granted, and construction on the New Jersey Railroad Co began in 1832.

*1830: The first steam powered locomotives start passenger service from Charleston, SC.

*1840: The number of miles of railroad track hits 3,000.www9

*1860: The number of miles of track reaches 30,000.

*1860: The first locomotive vacuum brake is invented.

*1861: Central Pacific Railroad is created.

*1861-1865: Both the Union and the Confederacy used the railroads during the Civil War to move troops and supplies, but the superior network in the North contributed to the defeat of the Confederacy.

*1862: The Union Pacific Railroad is chartered.

*1862: President Lincoln signs the Pacific Railway Act which authorizes the construction of the first trans-continental railroad to be built by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad companies.

*1863: The first track is laid by the Central Pacific heading east from Sacramento.

*1864: The Pullman sleeping car is built

*1865: The Southern Pacific Railroad is founded.

*1868: Central Pacific buys the Southern Pacific.

*1869: The Golden Spike (or Last Spike) was driven on May 10th signaling the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the U.S. joining the Central Pacific and Union Pacific lines at Summit, Utah.

*1872: First automatic air brakes begin use,

*1877: The Royal Gorge Railroad War between the Denver & Rio Grande and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe begins in Colorado.

*1883: The Southern Pacific is completed from California to New Orleans.

*1885: The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe completed to San Diego.

*1885: The Southern Pacific and the Central Pacific merge creating the Southern Pacific Railroad.

www10*1886: The first refrigerated cars go into operation on the Southern Pacific.

*1888: The Northern Pacific is completed to the Puget Sound in Washington State.

*The ‘Golden Age of the Railroad’ was considered between 1880 and 1920.

*1930: The Railroads had reached their peak number of miles of track adding up to over 430,000.  Trucks and airplanes however, eventually have led to the decline of the railroads.


Life in the Old West was made up of long, hard days.  It was filled with lawlessness, sickness, death, hardships and strained relationships with the Native Americans.  It was also a time for great discovery, building and expanding.  Here are a few facts about life in the Wild West:


*Most settlers traveled to their new homes in covered wagon caravans.  It could take 3-6 months to travel the Oregon or California Trails.

*Pioneers had to carve their homes out of the wilderness.  The wilderness provided firewood and building material, as well as plants and animals for food and medicine.

*Pioneers had to learn to contend with wild animals.

*Pioneers had to learn to plant crops – much of which they learned from the Native Americans.

*Livelihoods included farming, ranching, mining, establishment ownership (saloons, stores, brothels etc…), and thievery.

*During the 30-or-so-year of the Old West’s heyday, there was roughly 1 woman to every 10 men.

*For both men and women, a day’s work went from sunup to sundown.

*Children went to work as soon as they were able.

*The Old West was pretty lawless.  Laws were enforced by mutual consent of the community, and many lawmen were corrupt.

*Fewer people died from gunfights and Indians than by disease.

*Lack of clean water killed thousands in the Old West.

*The average life expectancy was about 43 years.  Infant mortality rate was at about 20%.

* The Pony Express only ran for a short 19 months, but during this surprisingly short time, the riders carried nearly 35,000 pieces of mail over 650,000 miles. Only one bag of mail ever became lost or missing.  The average age of a Pony Express rider was nineteen, and his salary was less than $150 per month, plus room and board.



*During the time of the Westward expansion (1830-1860 approx.), the U.S. created a policy based on the ideology that Americans were destined by God or Nature to extend their nation across the continent, and that this belief was both inevitable and justifiable. Journalist John L. O’Sullivan coined the phrase ‘Manifest Destiny’ in 1845 while he was writing his editorials.

*The U.S. was committed to this policy and willing to go to war to achieve its goal.

*The U.S. was able to negotiate and secure from Great Britain the rights to the Oregon Territory including California and the Pacific harbors.

*1845: the Mexican-American War resulted in the annexing of over 500,000 square miles of Mexican lands including Texas.

*At its start, the Manifest Destiny ideology was both controversial and contested, andwww1 remains so today.

*1862: Congress passed the Homestead which gave away 160 acres to any family or individual that promised to make improves on the land for a minimum of 5 years.



*Jesse James: The most famous of the James-Younger gang, known for bank, stagecoach and train robberies.  Shot in the back of the head by a friend for the reward money in 1882.

*Tom Horn Jr.: Tracker, bounty hunter, lawman and detective for the Pinkerton Agency.  Tom was forced to resign due to his temper, and became a killer-for-hire committing at least 50 murders. He was executed in 1903.

*James ‘Killer’ Miller: Paid assassin and gunslinger.  Killed between 14 and 50 men.  Though known as ‘Deacon Jim’ because he regularly went to church and refused to smoke or drink, ‘Killer’ Miller was kidnapped from a jail in OK and hung in a barn.

*Wyatt Earp: One of the most feared and respected lawmen of his time, Earp is most known for his ‘Vendetta Ride’ leading a group of gunmen to murder 30 people associated with the killing of his brother.  He died in 1929 of a UTI.

*Henry ‘Billy the Kid’ McCarty: Although one of the most famous of cold-blooded killers, Billy was actually brave, loyal and funny.  He had entered a life of crime out of necessity, and was killed in 1881 at the age of 21.

*’Wild Bill’ Hickok: Actor, gambler, lawman and best shot of his time.  Participated in ‘Western-style quick draw’ duels.  Shot in the back of the head during a poker game in 1876.

*Henry ‘The Sundance Kid’ Longabaugh: Initially a horse-thief, he rode with Butch Cassidy in the ‘Wild Bunch’ and was responsible for the longest string of successful bank robberies in history.  Died in a shoot-out in 1908.

*Robert ‘Butch Cassidy’ Parker: Leader of the ‘Wild Bunch’ gang and responsible for countless bank robberies. Died of multiple gunshot wounds in 1908.

*Doc Holliday: Starting out as a dentist and contracting tuberculosis at 15, Doc turned to gambling and gun slinging.  Although he rode with Wyatt Earp in the ‘Vendetta Ride’ and killed at least 10 people, his other crimes are highly debated.  He died of tuberculosis in 1887.

*Sam Bass: Honest Cowboy turned bank robber, Bass was responsible for the largest ever robbery on the Union Pacific Railroad.  Killed by the Texas Rangers in 1878.

*William “Curly Bill” Brocius: Leader of the ‘Cowboys’ gang of cattle rustlers near Tombstone, Curly Bill was killed by Wyatt Earp for being tied to the murder of his brother.

*Tom ‘Black Jack’ Ketchum: Cowboy-turned-bank robber and leader of the Ketchum gang.  He is known for being the last man hanged for attempted train robbery after a botched hanging leaves him in pieces in 1901.

*Charles ‘Black Bart’ Boles: Notorious bank robber famous for apparently never having fired a shot and leaving behind poetic messages at the scenes of his crimes. Known for using aliases, Bart served time at San Quentin and then completely disappeared.



 1). NORTH DAKOTA: Motto: “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable”

*1610: Henry Hudson explores and claims the eastern Dakota area for England.

*1713: England gains northern Dakota from France.

*1787: First formal mapping of the Dakota area is completed.

*1801: First White settlement in Pembina.  Trading post established at Grand Forks.

*1803: Missouri Watershed returned from Spain to France.

*1804: Lewis and Clark explore the Dakota area.

*1818: Dakota becomes part of the Missouri Territory.

*1829-1831: Fur Trading Posts established at Ft Union and Ft Clark.

*1861: The Dakota Territory is established.

*1863: The Dakota Territory is opened for homesteading.

*1866: Ft Buford Military Post established.

*1872: Northern Pacific Railroad lays tracks from Red River to Jamestown. First telegraph line is run between Fargo and Winnipeg.

www3*1874: Gen. George Custer explores the Black Hills and discovers gold.

*1875: U.S. War Dept. allows white settlements on Indian lands creating conflict.

*1876: Custer defeated at Little Big Horn.

*1878: Ranching begins in Western Dakota.

*1879: Great Dakota land boom begins.

*1885: The first prison built in Bismarck. First hospital for the insane opens in Jamestown.

*1890: Sitting Bull is killed.

*1889: The North and South sections of the Dakota areas becomes separate territories.

*1889: North Dakota becomes the 39th state admitted to the Union.

*1901: Theodore Roosevelt becomes President.


2). SOUTH DAKOTA: Motto: “Under God the people rule”

**1610: Henry Hudson explores and claims the eastern Dakota area for England.

*1713: England gains northern Dakota from France.

*1760-1764: The Sioux and Arikara War.  www4

*1804: Lewis and Clark explore the Dakota area.

*1817: First fur trading post established at Ft Pierre.

*1831: First permanent white settlement at Ft Pierre. First steamboat arrives at Ft Pierre.

*1864: First military post established in the Dakota Prairie.

*1874: Deadwood becomes famous mining camp town.

*1878: Charles Ingalls settles in De Smet, the ‘Little Town on the Prairie.’ Later, the town becomes the setting for five of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

*1889: South Dakota becomes 40th state admitted to the Union.  Pierre is the initial capitol, but it takes 20 years to make that permanent.

*1890: Massacre at Wounded Knee leaves over 250 Lakota Indians dead at the hands of the 7th Cavalry.

*1927: Work begins for the Mt. Rushmore Natl Monument.

*1938: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally established.

*1939: Badlands become a Natl monument.

*1948: Work on the Crazy Horse Memorial begins.

*1960: first Native American elected to congress.

Did you know that:

*With so many lakes and rivers, South Dakota has more miles of shoreline than Florida?

*It is illegal to fall asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota?


3). WYOMING: Motto: “Equal rights”

*1742: Wyoming first explored by France.www5

*1807: John Coulter – mountain man from the Lewis and Clark expedition – discovers geysers in Wyoming.

*1811: First expedition into Wyoming.

*1822: With an ad in the St Louis Gazette, William Ashley recruits young men to develop his fur trading venture into the new frontier.  The roundups that he held at Green River, UT become annual and are called, the ‘Rendezvous’.

*1833: B.L. Bonneville discovers oil near Lander.

*1834: Ft Laramie becomes Wyoming’s first trading fort and eventual military post.  Most of the treaties with the Indians were signed here.

*1842: The Great Migration begins on the Oregon Trail.

*1849: U.S. purchases Ft Laramie

*1860: Pony Express started.

*1861: Transcontinental telegraph is completed and Pony Express service is discontinued.

*1866: Ft Kearney established.

*1867: The Union Pacific enters Wyoming.

*1868: Wyoming established as a Territory.

*1869: Wyoming women get the vote.

*1871: ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody begins guiding hunting parties through Yellowstone.

*1872: Yellowstone created as 1st National Park.

*1885: Chinese Massacre at Rock Springs.

*1888: Capitol building completed.

*1890: Wyoming is admitted as the 44th state in the Union.

*1897: Cheyenne Frontier Days begins.


4). MONTANA: Motto: “Gold and Silver”

*1803: U.S. acquires most of Montana in the Louisiana Purchase.

*1805-1806: Cherokee and Chickasaw cessions open up land to white settlement as Lewis and Clark explore Montana.

*1832: First steamboat arrives at Ft Union.

*1846: U.S. acquires the rest of Montana in the Oregon Treaty that established boundaries with Canada.

*1851: Laramie Treaty with U.S. Government and 7 local Indian Tribes.

*1862: Gold discovered at Grasshopper Creek near Butte.

*1863-1864: Gold strikes near Virginia City and Helena.

*1864: Montana declared a Territory.

*1866-1868: Red Cloud War between the U.S. Army and the Lakota Sioux Indians.

*1872: Congress establishes Yellowstone National Park.

Our Lady of the Rockies in Butte

*1875: Helena becomes Capitol replacing Virginia City.

*1876: Gen. Custer is defeated at the battle of Little Big Horn.

*1876: Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce Tribe escapes from Oregon into Yellowstone, but is forces to surrender in 1877.

*1877: Copper mining begins in Butte.

*1880: Utah and Northern Railroads enter Montana.

*1889: Montana admitted to the Union as the 41st State.

*1910: Congress creates Glacier National Park.

*1914: Montana gives women the right to vote.

*1919: Oil discovered in Cat Creek north of Billings.

*1935-1950: Series of Earthquakes hit Montana.

*1972: Current State Constitution is adopted.

*1980: Fallout from the Mt St Helen’s Volcano eruption blankets Montana.

*1988: Forest Fires sweep through Yellowstone Natl. Park.


5). COLORADO: Motto: “Nothing without the Deity”

*1541: Colorado explored by the Spanish.

*1682: Colorado explored by and claimed for France.

*1765: Spanish expedition in search of gold and silver.

*1803: U.S. acquires eastern Colorado as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

*1806: Pike’s Peak discovered by Zebulon Pike.

*1848: U.S. acquires western Colorado form Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago.

*1850: Current boundaries of Colorado are determined, carved from existing territories including the Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Utah territories.www11

*1851: First permanent settlement at San Luis.

*1858: Gold discovered in Colorado.

*1859: First Mail Stagecoach arrives from KS; Rocky Mountain News goes into publication, and oil and more gold is discovered.

*1861: Colorado is recognized as a Territory.

*1865: Ft Morgan established for protection against Indians.

*1867: Denver chosen as Capitol.

*1870: Railroad connects with the East Coast.

*1871: Colorado Springs founded by Gen. Wm. Palmer.

*1874: Photographer W.H. Jackson discovers ancient cliff dwellings near Mesa Verde.

*1876: Colorado admitted to the Union as the 38th state.

*1878: Leadville becomes world’s largest mining camp.

*1880: Denver & Rio Grande lay tracks through Royal Gorge to Leadville.

*1881: Ute Tribes moved to reservations.

*1886: Last public hanging (Andrew Green-for murder and robbery) in Denver.

*1888: Last Indian Raid into Colorado.

*1892: The Denver Post begins printing and the Brown Palace opens.

*1894: Capitol Building completed.

*1894: Colorado 2nd state to grant voting rights to women.

*1905: Due to a political squabble, Denver had 3 governors for one day in March.

*1906: The Denver mint begins production.


6). NEVADA: Motto: “All for our country”

*1519: Area explored and claimed for Spain.

*1819: The Adams-Onis Treaty defines Nevada’s northern border.

*1826: Jedidiah Smith becomes first white man to enter Nevada.

*1829: Fur trapping gets underway.www12

*1830: First pack train to cross from Santa Fe to Los Angeles through Nevada.

*1841: First organized immigrant party passes through Nevada.  Over 60,000 will cross through Nevada before 1849.

*1843-1844: Explorer John Fremont leads expedition through the Great Basin area.  They’re the first white men to see & name Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe.

*1848: U.S. acquires Nevada from Spain as a part of the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty.

*1849: Gold is discovered near Dayton.

*1851: Carson City is established as a trading post.

*1855: Mormons establish a mission under Brigham Young in the Las Vegas Valley.

*1855: Potosi quicksilver & zinc mine opens in L.V. Valley.

*1857: The Pioneer Stage Line begins stagecoach service through the Sierra Nevadas.

*1858: Gold is discovered in El Dorado.

*1859: The Comstock Lode produces silver, gold, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, barite and tungsten.

*1860: The Virginia City silver mine opens.

*1861: Territory of Nevada is established.

*1836: Nevada becomes the 28th State to join the Union.

*1864: The Nevada State constitution is sent from Carson City to Washington D.C. by Morse code telegram.  It was the longest and most expensive telegram in history.

*1884: First school in Nevada for Native Americans opens.

*1885: Lemann Caves discovered.  The site becomes a National Monument in 1922.

*1914: Women of Nevada granted the right to vote.

*1931: Nevada legalizes gambling.

*1941: Las Vegas Strip opens for business.


*The famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral wasn’t much of a shootout and didn’t take place at the O.K. Corral.  Although one of the more famous gunfights in history—the shootout between Wyatt Earp and 8 of his closest friends only lasted about 30 seconds. The shootout didn’t take place within the O.K. Corral, but rather all the shooting occurred near the intersection of Third and Fremont in Tombstone, Arizona, which is behind the corral itself. It was brutal, though as three of the lawmen were injured and three of the cowboys wound up dead.


*DID YOU KNOW? There were less than 10 true bank robberies between 1850 & 1890

 *DID YOU KNOW? There were strict gun-control laws in the towns of the Old West

* Failed bandit Elmer McCurdy’s corpse had a more interesting life than the man did.  In 1911, Elmer McCurdy, after making off with only $46 from a train robbery, was shot and killed by lawmen. McCurdy’s unclaimed body was then embalmed with an arsenic concoction, sold by the undertaker to a traveling carnival, and exhibited as a sideshow curiosity. For nearly 60 years, McCurdy’s body was bought and sold by various haunted houses and wax museums as a prop. His corpse finally wound up in an amusement park fun house in California, and during a filming there in 1976, a part of the ‘prop’ broke off, revealing human tissue. Testing by the Los Angeles coroner’s office revealed the prop was actually McCurdy. He was buried at the famous Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas, 66 years after his death.

*DID YOU KNOW? More bowler-type hats were worn by cowboys and outlaws than the Stetson we’ve come to know

 *DID YOU KNOW? A handful of the most notorious outlaws were women…including Belle Star, Etta Place, Pearl Hart, Della Rose, and Big Nose Kate.

* The Long Branch Saloon of “Gunsmoke” fame really did exist in Dodge City – and still does – sort of.  Anyone who watched the television show “Gunsmoke” growing up is familiar with Miss Kitty’s Long Branch Saloon of Dodge City, but who knew that it was a real place? No one knows exactly what year it was established, but the original saloon burned down in the great Front Street fire of 1885. The saloon was later rebuilt and now serves as a tourist attraction featuring a reproduction bar and live entertainment. According to the Boot Hill Museum, the original Long Branch Saloon served milk, tea, lemonade, sarsaparilla, alcohol and beer. www3

*DID YOU KNOW? The Old West six-shooter revolver only had a range of about 50′ 

*DID YOU KNOW? Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show traveled and ran for 30 years

* Feral camels once roamed the plains of Texas.  One of the crazier ideas in American history, the U.S. Camel Corps was established in 1856 at Camp Verde, Texas. Thinking that the arid southwest was a lot like the deserts of Egypt, the Army imported 66 camels from the Middle East. Despite the animals’ more objectionable qualities (they spat and regurgitated), the experiment was generally considered a success. As the Civil War broke out, exploration of the frontier was stalled and Confederates captured Camp Verde. After the war, most of the camels were sold (some to Ringling Brothers’ circus) and others escaped into the wild. The last reported sighting of a feral camel came out of Texas in 1941. It is presumed that no descendants are still alive today.www13

So whatever spot calls to you from the Old West, head on in armed with a little info and a great hat.

REGION 8: HISTORY: (The Pacific Northwest) Fun Facts


Washington * Oregon * Idaho * Northern California 

It’s hard to believe that you can drive from the peaks of the Grand Tetons to the Washington State rainforest coastline in just 16 hours!

Sol Duc Falls Cover

The Pacific Northwest is an area like no other. It is home to North America’s only true rain forest and is packed with national forests.  There you’ll find giant cypress, spruce and redwood trees large enough to drive through! Washington’s northern coast boasts of some of the most beautiful seascapes in the country and Oregon’s coast offers gorgeous sunsets, the largest stretch of coastal sand dunes in North America, whale migration routes, many lighthouses and the world’s largest sea caves that you can actually go down into and hang out with hundreds of sea lions. Enjoy the Redwoods of Northern California and the fertile valleys of some of the world’s best wineries in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

 This area is often referred to as ‘Cascadia’

For our ‘Focused Events’ we’ll spend most of our time between the years 1849 and 1950.

We’ll call this the: ‘Age of Migration and Resources.’



 *Migration was a key element in the history of the Pacific Northwest.

Initially, the Pacific NW Coast is inhabited by Native American Tribes. The Aboriginal population was estimated at over 300,000 with over 1,000 tribes speaking 60 languages.

*1540’s: Spanish immigrants begin settlements.

*1770’s: The Spanish establish Missions.

*1778: English merchants arrive.

*1790-1795: The Naturalization Act establishes a process for becoming a naturalized United States citizen. It is restricted to “free white persons who reside in the United States for five years and renounce their allegiance to their former country.”

*1798:  The Alien and Sedition Acts permit the President to deport any foreigner deemed to be dangerous. A revised Naturalization Act imposes a 14-year residency requirement for prospective citizens.  Congress reduced that requirement to 5 yrs in 1802.

*1804: Trappers, settlers and traders flood into the Pacific NW thanks to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

*1808: Importation of slaves into the U.S. becomes prohibited.

*1820’s: Chinese immigrants make their way into the U.S.

*1821: Mexico wins its independence from Spain and starts trade and immigration with the U.S.

*1840’s: Mass immigration from Ireland, Germany and Western Europe begins due to famine and failed revolutions.

*1846: The U.S. conquers California, Northern Mexico, New Mexico and Texas.

*1848: The California Gold Rush brings in many seeking better lives.

*1849: Chilean miners immigrate.

*1855: Blacks in California organize to campaign against disenfranchisement.

*1868: Japanese immigrants arrive in Hawaii.

*1880’s: Mass migration from Portugal, Spain, Greece and Russia.


*Aside from the obvious natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the inevitable tourism that has followed, this region is vital to the economy of the U.S. with some significant resource contributions:



*The Nez Pearce Tribe managed the forests and used lumber to create canoes and dwellings.  They also initiated controlled burns to encourage the growth of berries and other food.

*1828: The Hudson Bay Company opened the first mill at Ft. Vancouver in Washington sparking the ‘Timber Rush’ of the 1800’s.5

*Nearly 79 million hectares had been logged by 1970 devastating the forests and eradicating almost half of the local species of trees.

*1833: First lumber export is shipped to China.


*1908: The WFPA (Washington Forest Protection Agency) was founded, and is now managing the forests in a sustainable manner.

*About 2/3rds of all U.S. forested land is timberland, and 3.5-7 billion trees are cut down each year.



*1910: Seattle’s first airplane takes flight.

*1916: Timber baron, William Boeing incorporates Boeing Airplane Co. and bases it in Seattle.

*Washington now manufactures 90% of all commercial aircraft in the U.S.

*Boeing now employs over 135,000 people and includes over 1,400 companies in its supply chain.

*Boeing leads the U.S. in experimental flight, space exploration, and aviation biofuel.





*Early 1800’s: Salmon population was in the millions.  Now, the population is less than half that number.

*1866: First cannery opens in Oregon, and production of canned salmon, sturgeon and other fish begins.

*Late 1880’s: Commercial fishing reaches its sustainable peak, producing more than 42 million pounds of canned fish.

*The Columbia River is the largest river in the American west and contains the largest number and variety of salmon.  There is growing concern that the salmon have become genetically altered and might struggle to survive global climate changes.

*Fishing in the Northwest covers water stretching from the tropical Pacific to the Bering Sea, harvesting millions of tons of fish and shellfish each year.  Annual revenues are in the billions of dollars.

*The fishing industry employs more than 150,000 people in the Pacific Northwest.

Hydroelectric Power:

*1895: The first hydroelectric generator at Niagara Falls in NY produces alternating current from a design by Nikola Tesla.

*1908: The first electric generating plant is built on the Columbia River at Priest Rapids by Hanford Irrigation & Power Co.

*1920:  The Federal Water Power Act of 1920 authorizes the first Federal Power Commission, and began issuing licenses for hydroelectric projects.

*1930: States in the Pacific Northwest approve laws creating PUD (People’s Utilities District) which assures benefits to the citizens from the newly forming hydroelectric facilities.

*Between the early 1930’s and the early 1970’s there have been approximately 134 hydroelectric power plants built in the Pacific Northwest.

*Built in 1933-1942, the Grand Coulee Dam in WA has the capacity to provide more power than any other dam in North America, and employs over 6000 people alone. It was constructed with enough concrete to build a highway from Seattle to Miami.

*About 80% of the electric power in the Northwest comes from hydroelectric plants.  This type of power is a low cost form of energy and accounts for Northwest residents having the lowest energy bills in the country.10

*About 20% of the world’s electricity is generated by hydropower.

*The Columbia River Basin provides more than 40% of total U.S. hydroelectric generation.

*Hydropower is clean, renewable, low cost, and produces no harmful effects in the environment.

*The hydropower industry employs approximately 200,000-300,000 people.



*Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the Pacific Northwest.

*In Eastern Washington, family wheat farms have created over 25,000 jobs and create a trade surplus for the state.  Washington is also a leader in the production of apples, grapes, cranberries, barley and lentils.

11*Oregon has a $5 billion+ agricultural trade that ranks first in the nation in production of dozens of different types of produce, including berries, onions, nuts and Christmas trees.

*Idaho is known for its seed industry. The state is responsible for over 80% of the sweet corn seed grown worldwide.

*California is an agricultural superpower in the world market with an annual 2.66 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  It is responsible for over 12% of all of the agricultural production in the U.S. and generates an average of 48 billion in yearly revenue for the state.

*Early-Mid 1800’s: Settlers move into the Pacific Northwest realizing its beauty and suitability for farming and ranching.

*Early settlers did not understand that Native Indian Tribes had been conditioning the land with fire for centuries.

*Annually, Indians created low-intensity controlled burns that suppressed the underbrush and made the land suitable for hunting, gathering, and farming.

*Conflicts arose between the natives and the pioneers who sought to suppress the fires, and new ways of conditioning the land had to be introduced.  Without the fires, the land became depleted and eventually irrigation, fertilization, pest control and crop rotation was introduced.



1). WASHINGTON: Motto: “By and By”

*1543: Pacific Northwest claimed by Spain.

*1759: Washington coast claimed by Great Britain.

*1592: Strait of Juan de Fuca and Olympic Mtns. discovered.

*1775: Washington claimed for Spain.

*1778: British explorer James Cook explores and charts Pacific NW.

*1792: British explorer G. Vancouver names Puget Sound.

*1792: Spain establishes the first non-Indian settlement in Washington at Neah Bay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA*1803-1805: Lewis and Clark explore Washington.

*1807: Formal mapping of Columbia River completed.

*1824: War Dept. sets up Bureau of Indian Affairs.

*1831: Dept. of the Interior sets up Dept. of Indian Affairs.

*1851: First settlers arrive in Seattle.

*1853: Washington established as a Territory.

*1858: The first NW Railroad, the Cascade Railroad, begins operation in the Colombia River Gorge.

*1860’s: Gold and silver discovered in Okanogan.

*1883: The Northern Pacific completes service to Tacoma.

*1886: Roslyn coal mining town established.

*1889: Washington is the 42nd State to join the Union.

*1897-99: Klondike Gold Rush brings thousands to Seattle.

*1900: Logging begins in Western Washington.

*1909 – Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle to showcase the Northwest’s bounty of natural resources.

*1916: Boeing Company established near Seattle.

*1933: FDR introduces ‘New Deal’ programs and begins work on the Coulee Dam.

*1934: Indian Reorganization Act sets up Tribal Business Councils and promotes the return of communal ownership of reservation lands.

*1937: Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam completed.

*1957: Washington Public Power Supply System (WPSS) created to develop Washington’s energy resources.12

*1957: Microsoft founded.

*1980: Eruption of Mt St Helen’s volcano.



2). OREGON: Motto: “She flies with her own wings”

*1738: Under French leadership, Oregon is explored by the 1st Euro-American expedition into the area.

*1765: First know use of name Oregon or Ouragon.

*1778: First Oregon map published.

*1788: First person of African descent to set foot in Oregon.

*1792: Vancouver maps the northwest coast.

*1811: First permanent white settlement established by John J. Astor’s Fur Co at Fort Astoria.

P1070046*1818 & 1827: U.S. & Great Britain form Joint-Occupancy treaties.

*1822: William Ashley discovers central route to Pacific.

*1824: Russia cedes Northwest Territory to U.S. in a treaty.

*1828: Hudson Bay Co leads fur trapping expeditions into what they referred to as ‘Snake Country’.

*1829: First wagon trains take the Oregon Trail into the Rocky Mountains.

*1834-1837: Multiple missions established in Oregon.

*1844: Exclusion law passed that prevented blacks from living in the Oregon Territory but was repealed in 1845.

*1846: Applegate Trail blazed as alternative to Oregon Trail

*1849: Oregon established as a Territory.

*1849: A new exclusion law was passed that allowed blacks living in the Territory to remain, but new ones to be blocked.

*1850: Mail service established from San Francisco.

*1851: Jacob Vanderpool, a saloonkeeper from Salem, becomes the only person known to have been kicked out of the Oregon Territory because he was black.

*1854: Oregon’s Exclusion law is repealed.

*1859: Oregon become the 33rd state admitted to the Union, and the first with an exclusion law written into the state constitution that was not overturned until 1927.

*1869: Union and Pacific Railroads connect in Promontory.P1070079

*1870: Black men given the right to vote in Oregon.

*1911: Oregon becomes first state to hold primary elections.

*1937: Bonneville Dam completed on Columbia River.

*1939: Tillamook Burn destroyed 190,000 acres of forest

*1966: Astoria Bridge connects Washington and Oregon.


3). IDAHO: “Let it be perpetual”

*1743: Discovery of the Rocky Mountains near Yellowstone Park made while in search of a western sea.

*1805: Lewis and William Clark discover Idaho at Lemhi Pass, and cross into north Idaho over the Lolo Trail.

*1809: Northwest Fur Trading Co establishes first trading post near Lake Pend Oreille.

*1824: Russia cedes Northwest Territory to U.S. in a treaty.

*1839: Henry Spalding starts publishing the Bible in Lapwai on the earliest printing press in the Pacific Northwest.

*1839: Chief Timothy, first native Christian leader, baptized.

*1840: First Catholic missionary work begins in Idaho.

*1842: Jesuit Coeur d’ Alene Mission of the Sacred Heart near Saint Maries established and transferred in 1877 to Desmet where it stands today.

*1843: Oregon Trail blazed through Idaho.

*1848: Oregon Territory established.id1

*1862: Gold discovered near Warren.

*1863: Mining begins in the Owyhees.

*1865: Boise becomes the Capitol.

*1889: State constitution adopted.

*1890: Idaho become the 43rd state admitted to the Union.

*1890: Congress passes Federal Forest Reserve Act.

*1892: Timber and Stone Act passes Congress, paving way for commercial timber industry.

*1893: The “Panic of ’93” causes lead and silver prices to collapse.  Coeur d’Alene mines shut down.

*1894: Congress passes Carey Act, making possible the reclamation of Snake River Valley.

*1901: Swan Falls hydroelectric plant completed.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*1905: Milner Dam-first of Idaho’s 37 Dams, completed.

*1906: Largest saw mill in U.S. opens in Potlatch.

*1913: Public Utilities Commission established.

*1920: Idaho Wheat Growers Association formed.

*1934: Idaho becomes first in nation in silver production.

*1951: First Atomic power produced at EBR1 near Arco.

*1976: Teton Dam collapses forcing 300,000 to evacuate.


4). NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: “I have found it”

*1535-1542: Spanish are first Europeans on CA soil.

*1579: Sir Francis Drake claims land north of San Francisco for England.P1060665

*1769: First of many Spanish missions established.

*1769: Discovery of the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.

*1776: Presidio of San Francisco founded.

*1812: Russian fur traders establish Ft Ross in Sonoma Cty.

*1820: First settlers from the East Coast arrive.

*1821: California becomes part of Mexico.

*1846: U.S. invades Mexico reaching San Diego.

*1848: California is ceded by Mexico to the U.S.

*1849: California gold Rush begins at Coloma.

*1850: California becomes 31st state admitted to the Union.

*1860: Pony Express mail service established from MO.

*1869: The Railroad reaches San Francisco.

*1882: In the 1840s-1850s, California recruited Chinese workers for the mining, railroad and agricultural industries.  As the economy got shaky, the U.S. Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 that lasted 60 years.

*1892:  The Sierra Club is founded by 182 charter members. John Muir is elected president. In its first conservation effort, the Sierra Club leads a campaign to defeat a proposed reduction in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.

*1900: Oil discovered along Kern River.

*1901: Union Labor Party is established in San Francisco.

*1910: Angel Island established for immigration.

*1933: Alcatraz is established as a prison.13

*1936: San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge completed.

*1937: The Golden Gate Bridge is completed.

*1942: Japanese moved to U.S. internment camps.

*1968: Redwood National Park established.


Armed with a little information, any trip into the Pacific Northwest can be an experience you’ll never forget!



REGION 9 HISTORY:(The Southwest) Fun Facts


Central & Southern California * Texas * Arizona * Utah * New Mexico


The American Southwest sure does have its share of nature’s wonders and National Parks! Chocked full of mesas, caverns, deserts, arches, sand dunes, monuments and red rocks, the American Southwest has always drawn in travelers for its unusual rock and sand formations, incredible distinctiveness and one-of-a-kind scenery.  Here you will also find the history of the people who first inhabited the area and can actually see their ancient dwelling places and rock art. Here are the roots of the Hispanic, Latino and American Indian cultures with lots of ruins and artifacts to discover and enjoy.  You will also find lakes, craters, wilderness, mountains and forests making the American Southwest one of the most diverse areas of the world.

For our ‘Focused Events’ we’ll spend most of our time between the years 1845 and 1930.

We’ll call this the ‘Age of Acquisition and National Parks.’




*Adding the Southwestern areas of North America into the United States has been instrumental in forming both the Nation’s personality and its diversity.

*Human habitation in the Southwest dates to further back than recorded history.

*By A.D. 100 the most notable cultures that had emerged were the Hohokam, Mogollon, Anasazi and Hopi people groups.

*Mid 1500’s: Spain begins exploration of the American Southwest.

*1610-1800: Spain establishes forts, missions and towns at Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Trampas and Taos.

*1810: Mexico gains independence from Spain.

*1836: Texas gains independence from Mexico.

*1845: Texas in annexed to the U.S. setting off the Mexican-American War.

*1846-1848: Mexican-American War.

*1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago ends the War.

*1848: Mexico cedes Texas, California and all lands north of the Rio Grande (equaling 525,000 square miles) to the U.S. for 15 million dollars.


 *Formation of the National Parks System now helps protect and preserve the Nation’s incredible natural wonders for future generations.

r92  r93

  *Mid 1800’s: The idea of a National Park system was conceived by a few eloquent, outspoken and persuasive men who sought to preserve these national treasures, including writer Wallace Stegner and naturalist John Muir.

*During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln put Yosemite under the protection of California.

           *1872: President. U.S. Grant made Yellowstone the world’s first National Park.

*1901-1909: Pres. T. Roosevelt created 5 new parks, 18 national monuments, 51 bird sanctuaries, 4 national game refuges, and over 100 million acres of national forest.

*1916: The National Park Service was created, spearheaded by millionaire Stephen Mather.

*Today there are 392 national parks, monuments, battlefields, seashores, recreational and other protected areas.


           There are 58 National Parks in the U.S.  (You can find the list in the Fun Facts Category under Landscapes)



1). SOUTH/CENTRAL CALIFORNIA: Motto: “I have found it”

*1535-1542: Spanish are first Europeans on California soil.

*1579: Sir Francis Drake claims land north of San Francisco for England.

*1769: First of many Spanish missions established.

*1769: Discovery of the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.

*1776: Presidio of San Francisco founded.

*1812: Russian fur traders establish Ft Ross in Sonoma Cty.

*1820: First settlers from the East Coast arrive.

*1821: California becomes part of Mexico.

*1845: California missions sold at auction.

*1846: U.S. invades Mexico reaching San Diego.

*1848: California is ceded by Mexico to the U.S.

*1849: California gold Rush begins at Coloma.

*1850: California becomes 31st state admitted to the Union.

*1890: Sequoia National Park established.

*1892: The Sierra Club is founded by 182 charter members. John Muir is elected president. In its first conservation effort, the Sierra Club leads a campaign to defeat a proposed reduction in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.

*1909: John Muir was the leader of the movement to save the Hetch Hetchy Valley from despoliation at the hands of the City and County of San Francisco, which wanted the valley for a municipal water supply… Published in late 1909, outlines the preservationist’s cause, and was distributed by Muir acting as president of the Society for the Preservation of National Parks…

*1933, 1980, 1994: Death Valley, Channel Islands & Joshua Tree Natl Parks open (respectively).

                 r95      r96

California has 9 National Parks

(5 northern, 4 southern)




2). TEXAS: Motto: “Friendship”

*1519: Spain explores and maps the Texas coastline.

*1541: Coronado is the first white man to explore Texas.

*1685: Texas claimed for France.

*1700: Spain establishes Catholic missions in Texas.  By 1745, the missions at San Antonio are producing thousands of pounds of cotton annually.

*1817-1820: Galveston Island becomes a base for privateering and smuggling.

*1821: Mexico gains independence from Spain.

*1823: Stephen Austin is given permission to bring 300 families into the Bravos River region to start a colony.

*1830: Mexico bans immigration by U.S. citizens into Texas.

*1830: First German immigrants settle in Austin.

*1835: Revolution begins.

*1836: Texas declares independence from Mexico.

*1837: The republic of Texas is recognized by the U.S., France, Belgium, England and the Netherlands.

*1845: Texas accepts the U.S. proposal to annex.

*1845: Texas becomes the 28th state admitted to the Union.

*1846: Mexican American War establishes southern boundaries at the Rio Grande.

*1856: The U.S. Army imports fifty-three camels for an experiment using them for pack animals in the arid areas of the Southwest.

*1861: Texas secedes from the Union and is readmitted after the Civil War.

*1873: ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ are first posted to Texas.

*1944: Big Bend National Park established.

*1962: NASA opens the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.  It is renamed Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1973.

*1972: Guadalupe Mountains Natl. Park Established.



Texas has 2 National Parks





3). ARIZONA: Motto: “God enriches”

*1500’s: Arizona explored by the Spanish.

*1539: Area claimed for Spain.

*1512: First permanent settlement established at Tubac.

*1692: Jesuit priests arrive in Arizona.

*1776: Fort is built at Tucson.

*1821: Mexico takes control of Arizona while trappers and traders from the U.S. come in.

*1848: U.S. wins war with Mexico and gains Arizona north of Gila River in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

*1853: Gadsden Purchase makes the rest of Arizona part of the U.S.

*1854: Copper is discovered in Arizona.

*1862-1872: Ten year war with the Apache.

*1863: Arizona is established as a territory.

*1869: John Wesley Powell explores the Grand Canyon.

*1881: Famous ‘Gunfight at OK Corral’.

*1881: Railroad crosses the state.

*1886: Final Apache surrender.

*1906: Petrified Forest National Park established.

*1912: Arizona becomes the 48th state.

*1919: Grand Canyon National Park is established.

*1948: Indians gain the right to vote.

*1985: Central Arizona Water Project begins.  The Project is completed in 1991 and secures rights to water from the Colorado River.

*1994: Saguaro National Park established.


Arizona has 3 National Parks





4). UTAH: Motto: “Industry”

*700 A.D. Anasazi people build pueblos in the area.

*1600’s: Utah area is under the control of the Shoshone.

*1776: Spain explores Utah

*1821: Mexico breaks from Spain and claims Utah.

*1822: Discovery of a central route to the Pacific goes through Utah bringing in trappers and traders.

*1824: Jim (Old Gabe) Bridger discovers Great Salt Lake.

*1832: First trading post in Utah basin established.

*1843: John Fremont & Kit Carson explore the Great Basin.

*1846: Brigham Young leads first Mormon settlers into Utah

*1846-1866: Over 70,000 Mormons relocate into Utah to escape persecution.

*1848: U.S. win war with Mexico and Utah is ceded to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

*1850: Utah is established as a Territory.

*1857-1858: The ‘Utah War’ happens as Brigham Young is removed as governor by force by Pres. James Buchanan is favor of Alfred Cumming.

*1865: The Ute Blackhawk War is last major Indian conflict in Utah.

*1869: The world’s first transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met.

*1873: Polygamy is outlawed by Congress.

*1890: Mormon Church President issues Manifesto ending church-sanctioned polygamy.

*1896: Utah is admitted the Union as the 45th state.

*1919: Zion National Park is dedicated.

*1928: Bryce Canyon National Park is established.

*1929: Arches National Park established.

*1952: Uranium discovered near Moab.

*1965: Canyonlands National Park opens.

*1971: Capitol Reef National Park established.

r910 Utah has 5 National Parks


5). NEW MEXICO: Motto: “It grows as it goes”

*1540: Coronado discovers the Grand Canyon.

*1598: 1st Spanish capitol is established at San Juan de los Caballeros.

*1626: The Spanish Inquisition comes to New Mexico.

*1776: Franciscan Friars explore a new route from New Mexico to California.

*1807: Zebulon Pike leads first Anglo expedition into New Mexico.

*1821: Mexico gains independence from Spain.

*1821: The Santa Fe Trail opens between Missouri and New Mexico.

*1828: Gold is discovered in Ortiz.

*1835: Las Vegas is the last Spanish settlement established in North America.

*1841: Texans invade New Mexico and claim all lands east of the Rio Grande.

*1846: New Mexico is annexed to the U.S. during the Mexican-American War.

*1848: End of Mexican-American War.

*1850: New Mexico becomes a Territory.  This territory initially included Arizona, Southern Colorado, Southern Utah and southern Nevada.

*1854: The Gadsden Purchase adds 45,000 sq. miles to the territory.

*1861-1863: New Mexico is divided and the territories of Arizona and Colorado are created.

*1878: The railroad arrives in New Mexico.

*1881: Billy the Kid shot.

*1886: Geronimo surrenders ending the Indian hostilities in the SW.

*1912: New Mexico admitted to the Union as the 47th State.

*1930: Carlsbad Caverns National Park established.





New Mexico has one National Park


Well, we’re back!

The idea of spending 32 days away from home was initially a little daunting, and I was afraid Eddie would spend the last week away wishing that this trip was over. But a few trains, a couple of pictures and 2 blinks of the eye and we were on a plane from Iceland bound for home.

I can’t believe how fast this trip went!PA010937.JPG

Now that I’m home and recovering from a head cold, jet lag, and a bit of ‘let down’, I’m now having some time to look at our pictures, plan for the next trip, and reflect on this one. I want to share that reflection with you.

A Quick Summary of where we went looks like this:  Iceland, Paris, Belgium, Rhine Valley, Bavaria,  Alps, Italian Lake District, Verona, Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence, Assisi and Rome.

Whew!  Lots of ground, trains, cathedrals, art, history and Bread!  Each day stood as its own trip, and now that Eddie has had an ‘overview’ of Europe, we can decide where we’d like to return to and spend more time.

After having lived in Europe for years and enjoying 4 trips back since moving back to the states, I thought there would be very few surprises on this trip.

I was wrong.  And humbled.

What remains the same is my love for Europe and that feeling of ‘coming home’ eachP1110443 time I go back.  There is always some familiarity and a sense of belonging.  There is always the joy of eating outside at a café and enjoying being the ‘’temporary local’ that Rick Steves urges us to be.  There is always the serenity of Northern Belgium, the ‘time-travel’ that Germany’s castles offer, and the opulence of Paris.  The Alps will always take my breath away, and Italy’s Lake District will always embrace me and make me want to stay.  Verona continues to remind me why Shakespeare penned the words, “There is no world without Verona walls”, Venice will always show off her crazy gondoliers fighting for ‘paddling space’ and driving on Roman streets will never cease to be an adventure.

But it’s been years since I’d been back to Europe, and there were definitely more than a few surprises that awaited me!  Here are a few:

P9250623.JPGFirst and worst were the CROWDS!  Holy Cow! All the major areas, sites, and reasons to visit are crammed with tourists – much more so than I  remembered.  I had parked myself in the front of a vaporetto (public transit boat) in Venice with my Rick Steves ‘Joy Ride down the Grand Canal’ info in hand waiting to identify and photograph some significant buildings.  Instead, I viewed tourists from every angle who stepped into each of my photos and whacked me with their bags. By the time we reached San Marco Square, I was happy that I’d managed to hold on to my camera and NOT end up swimming the Grand Canal!  Eddie and I adjusted our itineraries to seeing a major site first thing as it opened and / or last thing before closing time.  We found interesting things to do in the middle of the day while the cruise ships were in port, waited until evening to go into the historic squares, and simply tried to stay away from the crowds.  This was emotionally hard.  Really hard.  If you’re not careful, tourists can ruin a trip.  Our next trip will probably be in off-season.

This trip was more spiritual than I had expected it to be.  P1110620.JPGEddie made a commitment to spend some time in prayer in each and every church, cathedral or monastery that we wandered into.  We also attended Mass at multiple places and in multiple languages.  Not being Catholic myself, I did find my eyes wandering to the beautiful art that adorns these places and wondering about their stories.  Eddie kept me in line, though as he is more familiar with the structure of the Mass.  We also enjoyed feeling more connected to God through learning some Church history and enjoying the art and architecture of the sacred places we visited.

P1100005 (2).jpgWe were definitely surprised at how much we enjoyed Belgium! I had lived in Mons (about 45 min from Brussels) and remember Belgium being mostly farmland with not too much to see or do, and I don’t remember thinking that Brussels was any big deal.  But we visited Brussels anyway, along with Ghent and Bruges.  What a pleasure!  Brussels was busy, but it P1090795was manageable and there is so much to see. It also has the most beautiful Grand Place Historic Center! Ghent and Bruges were small-town friendly, quaint and so lovely.  We are definitely going back.  Next time maybe we’ll stay with our new friends, Bernard and Amb (that’s Dutch for Ann) who live near Ghent.

The trains have become considerably more complicated! 0922181048_HDR.jpgNo more just hopping on a train and showing up at your destination.  Now there are so many trains and so many connections, as well as the schedules, rules and reservations that make your head spin and your pocketbook groan. Eddie (who remains the ultimate ‘car guy’) really didn’t love the trains and they stressed him out.  I continued to remind him that trying to drive around was not only considerably more expensive, but wayyyyy more stressful.  On the upside, trains in Europe are now non-smoking!

My knees are not what they used to be. We averaged 6-7 miles on foot each day of this trip.  I was disappointed (and baffled) that I didn’t lose weight, but I was reminded that walking was why Europeans can still eat so much bread!  I don’t remember struggling so much with all the stairs, and the uphill/downhill trekking that we did.  I returned with a new commitment to add more walking into my life!P9290794.JPG

Paying to use the restroom doesn’t guarantee that they are clean. Yep. In Europe you pay-to-tinkle in most all public places.  That used to mean that someone was cleaning up after you and making sure that there was toilet paper.  Not so much anymore.  You still pay, and there’s still attendants, but I think the massive amounts of tourists have worn these poor people down.  I don’t judge…I wouldn’t want that job.

So many people now speak English.  Eddie would visit with a stump.  And meeting new people is one of his favorite things about travel, so I was concerned that the language barrier would be a problem.  Not so.  Despite my efforts to brush up on what French, German and Italian that I knew, everywhere we went we connected with people that we could talk to – even if it was some work (and charades) to do so!  We met, had meals with, hiked with, and visited with people from all over the world.  It made us a little embarrassed to admit that we only speak one language…

I’ll never consider myself a tourist, but I must admit that I’m not the expert on European Travel that I thought I was.  Nope.  I’ll never think of myself as a tourist.  I am a traveler and there is a difference. I am however, humbled at how much technology and accessibility have impacted travel and how much there is to still learn!  It’s time for me to put ego aside, stop dwelling on how things ‘used to be’ and jump into the ‘here and now’ of overseas travel.  Some things are more difficult, but some things are better!  It’s all about perspective and having a ‘can-do’ attitude that makes it possible to adjust, work through challenges and keep on finding the reasons I love to travel.

So now we are back and back at our normal crazy life – which we love…

But we are sure looking forward to our next venture ‘Across the Pond’!


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It’s finally here!  The big, ‘Grand Tour of Europe’ that I have been planning for, praying about, refining, and highly anticipating for the last 10 years has finally arrived, and it’s time to go!  After a couple of ‘stopover’ days in Iceland, we fly to Paris and then it’s on to ‘riding the rails’ thru Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy over the next month.

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Whooo Hoooo!!

Eddie is trying to remain calm and cool, but as this is his first trip overseas, he is actually jumping around like a little kid with butterflies in his tummy.

And me?

I have been stressed. Seriously stressed.

Why, I’m not exactly sure.  I am, after all, a seasoned European traveler – or at least I tell myself that I am!  I have lived in both Belgium and Italy, and have railed through Europe 4 times since moving back to Colorado.  So what is my problem?

Maybe it’s trying to define the real purpose for this trip.  Eddie and I actually sat at lunch a while back, and over burritos and margaritas, went over my 20 Questions Before You Travel and ‘Traits of a Successful Travelerblogs (both of which you can find in the PLANNING/ITINERARIES Category on this website).  We talked and laughed and that helped, but I still found myself feeling stressed. europe 9

I have probably been over-thinking this whole thing, but here’s some of the things that I have been dealing with:

As a budding (and newly published!) travel writer, I assume I will be on a constant quest for story ideas.  But that wasn’t the intent for this trip when I started planning so long ago.  So, what is this trip really about?

“I want to make the most out of this trip for both of us”, I shared with Eddie as he turned a few shades of pale, hitting the computer’s ‘order now’ button and purchasing our plane tickets.  “Don’t worry”, he said nonchalantly.  “It’ll be great.”  I think he was mostly trying to wrap his head around the amount that just went on the credit card, and I was about to regret pushing this issue with him.

So I poured over our route, making sure to hit all the necessary places one needs to see on a first visit to Europe, and making sure to include a few ‘new-to-me’ spots in anticipation of some (hopefully) amazing new memories.  I seriously did my ‘due diligence’ with the itinerary, so no stress here, right?

Maybe this trip needs to be all about Romance!

Being this will be my first trip across the Pond without kiddos in tow, I am looking forward to a grown up vacation, and Eddie is always up for a little romance and ‘togetherness’.  So, I have researched each city on our journey for the most romanticEurope 3 spots, the best views, the finest points to see the sunsets, the cutest wineries, the best locations for a picnic-in-the-park, the perfect places for people watching, and the quaintest of town squares.  It doesn’t get more romantic than this!  But…

Maybe this trip needs to be a learning experience!

Let’s face it.  If you know nothing about the art, architecture or history of a place, you’re probably not going to get much out of visiting there.  So back to work I went!  I am prepared with information that could give the best tour guide a run for their money.  I can give you details about Louis IV, the French Revolution, the Unification of Italy, and the fundamental differences between the Baroque and europe6Renaissance styles.  By the time we get home, we’ll be able to share our favorite beaches along the Cinque Terre, the best hiking trails in the Italian Alps, why Michelangelo’s David in Florence has one hand larger than the other! Eddie, too will be able to tell you all about his favorite car in the largest antique car museum in Europe – the Brussels ‘Autoworld’.  Although I’m at the risk of putting Eddie into another information coma, I am prepared to answer any question.

Wait…maybe this trip is about not coming home to realize that we’d missed something we may never get to see again!

I remember that Eddie had once told me that he’d cringed at the schedules I’d kept on my trips through Europe with the kids, and that he wanted a lot more ‘down time’ on our trips.  So, on one of our first camping trips together I planned out a day in Grand Jct., CO hiking and seeing some local sights, but leaving plenty of ‘down time’.  By 3pm Eddie had a fire going in 80° heat and had met everyone in our campground.  After hearing him inquire as to whether or not I had ‘anything else planned?’ I realized that I had been duped.  ‘Down time’ was a lie.

“We are going to have some time to just sit at a café with a glass of wine and people watch, right? I’m really looking forward to enjoying the ‘European Experience’.” Eddie remarked casually at dinner one night.

Although I’d established that ‘down time’ was indeed a lie, I revisited the itinerary anyway wanting to make sure there was a balance between not missing the important things and also having time to enjoy the ‘European Experience’.europe 7

So.  Back to the research I went. As I planned out each day, I painstakingly prepared each detail, making sure not to miss anything significant, but still going at a relaxed pace.  I tried to avoid ‘bored time’ without sacrificing ‘visiting with new people’ time.  I selected a variety of daily events so that it wasn’t all churches and museums.  I researched the out-of-the-way, off-the-wall, not-usually-recommended-in-guide books things to do and see, without neglecting the main things that we’d chosen the particular destination for. I also left some ‘wiggle room’ for squeezing in any last minuet activities  that might make themselves known, or that I might hear about on a travel show.  Whew!

My ‘let’s just wing it’-type friends blackballed me for the next group excursion and someone managed to slip me the business card of a good counselor.  I was not, however going to be blamed for a lame trip!  Eddie carefully reminded me that he considered himself a grownup and that he was capable of taking responsibility for his own enjoyment.  I was actually relieved to hear that.

“I want to go to church on Sundays while we’re away”, Eddie said quietly one evening while I was rattling off the number of steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence, and wondering if my bad ankle really wanted to make the ascension…

europe 8Great. Not sure if I had actually left that much wiggle room in our already full (but not too full) itinerary, I made the now all too familiar trek up to my computer to see where we would be and what we would  be doing on each of the four Sundays we’d be away.  After some adjustments, deletions and re-scheduling I am happy to say that we are planning to: attend a Hillsong Church service in French, a Cathedral service in German, an Italian Mass in a Medieval Monastery, see the Chanting Monks in Florence and attend Mass at St. Peter’s in Vatican City. That should do it!

“I want us to keep God first as we take this trip”. He said.


Although I was admittedly at a breaking point, ready to throw my stacks of paperwork into the air and resign as the ‘tour guide / organizer / make-sure-that-this-is-the-perfect-trip planner’ that I had never actually been expected to be, I honestly could not argue with or be frustrated by that statement.

I quietly made my last trip up to the office, shut down my computer, put my Rick Steves books back into the bookcase, and took a deep breath.  I then went for a walk visualizing all that we were going to get to experience.  I allowed myself to see God’s creative nature in all of the magnificent art and architecture that we would be standing in awe of.  I saw His beauty as His hands sculpted the Alps, Italy’s Lake District, the forests of Bavaria and the rugged coastline of the Ligurian Sea.  I acknowledged His omniscience knowing He’s been guiding all of history to bring about His ultimate plan. I also considered how He has revealed Himself not only through creation but also through His people and His Church, and (more often than not) despite His people and His Church!

Maybe this won’t be so stressful after all.  It’s time now to relax and trust.  Time to anticipate and enjoy the ride.  Time to reconnect with my usual self who believes that everything happens just like it’s supposed to.  Ahhh….yes.  I’m ready.

“One last thing….” Eddie said, “I understand that tiny trailers are really big in Europe.  Don’t you think that we should check out European campgrounds as we visit different cities? That is mostly what your website is about, right?”

      Uh.  Is the plane here yet?

Europe 1

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Located on I-25 at exit 254, you will find Johnson’s Corner.  A truck stop that locals here in the Denver area know well, it is a destination not to be missed!  Opening in 1952 in what P1080117was once farmland, Johnson’s Corner has always P1080130remained open 24/7.  In 1998, Travel and Leisure Magazine declared its diner to have one of the “Ten best breakfasts in the world”, and in my opinion, the best cinnamon rolls anywhere!  In 2004, The Food Network claimed that it was the best Truck Stop in the Country.

You also might want to check out the Johnson’s Corner Chapel out back that is open 24/7.  Here you will find Pastor Bill, who will greet you with a handshake, a cup of fresh coffee and few encouraging words.P1080125 Here you can spend a few quiet moments and visit with a new friend.  You’ll discover that the little chapel started out as a candy store that actually predates the truck stop, and then became the dispatch center.  It has continuously operated as a chapel since 1997. The Chapel provides safety for those at risk and services on Sundays as well as regular Bible studies.P1080126



Whether you stop in for a rest, a meal, and encouraging word, a souvenir, a cinnamon roll or even a shower, Johnson’s Corner is a Colorado icon you’ll be glad to not have cinnamonrollmissed!

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Okay… so some stops in Colorado need a little more than 20 minutes, and this little stop off Exit 257 just north of Loveland is one of those.  You’ll need…say… 35 minutes.

Discover the Benson Sculpture Garden.P1080141

In addition to the restrooms, lush riverside park and P1080158covered picnic pavilion, you will find this delightful display of sculpture more than worth the extra time!

Take Exit 257 west off of I-25 and follow Eisenhower Blvd (going west) about 6 ½ miles (enjoy the edge of Lake Loveland) to North Taft Street and make a right hand turn.  Travel north to 29th Street and make another right hand turn onto 29th Street.  Benson Sculpture Garden will be on your left and there is a sign.


Benson Park is recognized as one of the most unique sculpture gardens in the country.  Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Loveland’s ‘Sculpture in the Park’ show, Benson Garden is now the largest juried sculpture show in the United States.

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Take a stroll along the path and enjoy the bronze sculptures.  Imagine what was in the mind of each artist as they forged their designs and followed their passions.  In the warm  P1080164time of the year, enjoy the lazy river and let your feet traipse barefooted through the lush green grass.  P1080150


I’m sure you’ll enjoy this little excursion, and if you have more time, Lake Loveland and North Lake Park is right across the street!


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Ah…Loveland.  Known for its art and outdoor sculpture, it draws in artists from all over the country for competitions, and often for a permanent change of address.  U.S. Art Magazine ranked it in the top 8 ‘great art destinations’.


The area also provides for a variety of stops as your passing through Northern Colorado.  There are parks, lakes, reservoirs and hiking opportunities, but if you are into African sculpture, then the Chapungu Sculpture Park is tailored just for you!

Located at CO I-25 Exit 257 (just North of Loveland), the Chapungu Sculpture Park is indeed a rare find.  It is located just behind the Promenade Shops at Centerra north of Hiwy 34 and east of I-25.  This park spans 26 acres and features more than 80 sculptures.  There are 3 walking trail loops to choose from, although the restrooms are located in the wetlands loop.0601181739                   0601181725   0601181736    0601181729   0601181725a

“Chapungu” is the African name for the Bateleur Eagle which the0601181728_HDR (2) Zimbabwean people revere for its great presence and extraordinary power of flight. They consider this bird as a spirit messenger, a protector and a good omen.  A calm and contemplative place, the Chapungu is the largest sculpture park in the U.S. devoted the Shona stone sculptors of Zimbabwe.

All these sculptures are hand carved and you are free to touch them, so take a ‘hands on’ walk through the park, stop for a rest or a quick lunch along the canal and learn a little about the Shona people of Zimbabwe!

To use the “20 min in Colorado” Category, read HERE

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