Sunday, July 5, 2015

Our Bucket List...So Far

My daughter Melody and I were sitting at Pub Dog yesterday (The Fourth) reminiscing about trips we've taken and things we've done, and we decided to produce a list of our "Bucket List" items that we've seen (so far).  Here are the things we wrote down:

  • Busch Gardens - Williamsburg, VA.  This is our favorite amusement/theme park, and one we visit just about every year.  It contains some of our favorite roller coasters, as well, including the iconic Loch Ness Monster, Apollo's Chariot, the Griffon, and Verbolten.
  • Coney Island - During a really cool trip to New York City, we stopped in Coney Island and rode the legendary Cyclone roller coaster, which is awesome!  We also ate Nathan's hot dogs right on the boardwalk.
  • Las Vegas, NV - Last year, during Spring Break, we flew into Las Vegas en route to Hollywood.  Melody loved it more than I expected, and it will be the focus of a future trip for us (when she's a little older).  We spent a few nights at the Excalibur while touring a few of the sites on the Strip, then stayed at MGM Grand before flying home on our return trip.  It is quite the spectacle.
  • Mount Rushmore - South Dakota's Black Hills region is a favorite of ours, and Mount Rushmore is really a highlight worth seeing.  Turning the corner and seeing those faces in the mountain is something we'll never forget.
  • Crazy Horse - Not too far from Mount Rushmore is another monument, this one to the Native American people in that region.  The Crazy Horse Memorial is incredibly large, so big that all of the faces of Mount Rushmore can fit in the head of Crazy Horse.  It is also the site of a really cool American Indian museum and cultural center.
  • Devil's Tower - Many of us have seen the movie CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, which features an incredible monument out in the middle of Nowhere, Wyoming:  Devil's Tower.  We hiked around the perimeter of the mountain when we visited several years ago and it was memorable.
  • Hollywood, CA - Last year, I asked my daughter where she wanted to go on our Spring Break vacation, and she said, "Hollywood!"  So we went to Hollywood and had a great time hobnobbing with television stars (okay, so it was one guy, and I went to high school with him), visiting a few of the studios, and seeing the sites.
  • Ocean City Boardwalk - Ocean City, MD, is a favorite Summer destination for me since I was youngster, and I'm happy to bring my daughter to the beach every few years.  The Boardwalk is a site to behold, with great food and iconic shops.  Breakfast at the Dough Roller, lunch at the Atlantic Stand, and Thrasher's Fries, along with a shake from Dumser's and a visit to the Kite Loft and the Ocean Gallery, and a walk on the beach make the trip complete.
  • Disney World - Though she was only three years old, Melody remembers well her first and only trip to Disney World.  Despite the crowds (in mid-January!), we had a great time!
  • Universal Studio (Orlando AND Hollywood) - We saw them both, and they are awesome!
  • Ben & Jerry's - The original factory in Waterbury, VT, is worth seeing.  From the humble beginnings of this small, upstart company to the thriving premium ice cream industry they've created, it's a neat little place.  Plus, they give you free samples!
  • The Strip District, Pittsburgh, PA - One of our new favorites is this area near downtown Pittsburgh where you can find some of the best food and best deals on just about everything.  It's also home to the original Primanti Bros.
  • Heinz Field or PNC Park - Homes of the mighty six-time Super Bowl winning Steelers professional football team and the hometown major league Pirates, sports are taken very seriously in Pittsburgh, and their ballparks are some of the best.
  • Chicago Deep Dish Pizza - You gotta go to Chicago for truly great deep-dish pizza.  Uno's, Giordano's, and Lou Malnati's top my list of favorites.
  • Willis (Sears) Tower - Once the tallest building in the world, the Willis Tower is still worth seeing.  Located in downtown Chicago.
  • Times Square - No trip to Manhattan is complete without a trip to Times Square.
  • The Empire State Building - No trip to Manhattan is complete without a trip to the Empire State Building.
  • Statue of Liberty - No trip to Manhattan is complete without... Oh, you get the idea...
  • Route 66 - While Melody has only seen pieces of Route 66 in California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois, I've driven the complete route, and it is so worth seeing for a truly unique tour of our great country.  It runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, and takes you OFF the interstate and into the culture of what makes our country so great.
  • Cedar Point - Sandusky, OH.  Home to the best and greatest roller coaster in America.
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain - Valencia, CA.  This is Walley World!
  • Kennywood - Pittsburgh's quaint, beautiful home to some wonderful old roller coasters.
  • Oatman, AZ - Way off the beaten path, this little one-horse, 40-mule village in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, on old Route 66, is worth a stop if only to see the 40 mules roaming the streets.
There's more to come!  

Have a great evening, everyone!

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