Some people visualize the perfect escape as a boot-wearin’, gun-slingin’, tabacco-spittin’, horse-ridin’ adventure in the Wild West. Although time travel isn’t an option (yet), taking a tour through the American Old West is, so why not entice your imagination, see new terrain and hear great stories with a trip rich in frontier heritage? Taking a vacation on your home turf helps you keep expenses in check, too.
From the Sonoran Desert to the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, plan to visit some of West’s historic landmarks this summer.
Arizona is full of Old West history and fun. Start in southern Arizona and visit Tombstone, where you can learn about the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral and decide for yourself who the true villains and heroes were. Hit the mining towns of Douglas and Bisbee as well, then head north to historic Wickenburg, Prescott and Jerome, which feature real-life ghost town stories and gorgeous scenery. Don’t miss Sedona and Flagstaff, and end your Arizona tour at one of the natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon. According to TravelGuard, a new study found that the ancient canyon may actually be 70 million years old, opposed to the previously assumed five to six million years.
The great plains of South Dakota housed some of the Wild West’s most memorable events. At the Wounded Knee Museum, you can see artifacts and hear personal accounts about the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre, the last “battle” of the American-Indian Wars. This is where more than 150 Lakota men, women and children were murdered by the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment in a conflict about land disputes.
North of Wounded Knee is Deadwood, home to a classic Old West landmark: the exact spot where Jack McCall killed Wild Bill Hickok. Although the original No. 10 Saloon was burned down, much of its original furniture is preserved in the new Saloon No. 10 where it exists as a museum, bar and gambling hall.
Yellowstone National Park affords visitors an up-close encounter to frontier life. Yellowstone is home to the world’s largest collection of geysers and probably the most famous, Old Faithful. Preserved since 1872 as America’s first national park, the protected grounds of Yellowstone house wild grizzly bear, bison, elk and wolves. Visit the lake area’s historic sites: the fishing bridge, lake village and fishing bridge museum. Explore the archeological sites in Mammoth and tour Fort Yellowstone. Whether you prefer hotel treatment at Old Faithful lodge or want to camp by RV or tent, Yellowstone is brimming with activities and attractions. Absorb yourself in the natural wonders and history of the park to get a feel for how frontier life used to be.
I know you remember being a little kid in school and finding rude names in the atlas and snickering. Well, now you can be like that little kid again. Gary Gale from London, England has put together an online map with as many places with vaguely rude names he could find in the world. Check out Vaguely Rude Place Names of the World and get your giggle on.
- 1287, St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuider Zee sea wall in the Netherlands collapses, killing over 50,000 people.
- 1503, Nostradamus, French astrologer (d. 1566) was born.
- 1542, Princess Mary Stuart becomes Mary, Queen of Scots.
- 1546, Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer & alchemist (d. 1601) was born.
- 1751, The Theresian Military Academy is founded as the first Military Academy in the world.
- 1782, The Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon lifts off on its first test flight.
- 1794, Erastus Corning, American businessman & politician (d. 1872) was born.
- 1799, George Washington, First President of the United States (b. 1732) died.
- 1812, The French invasion of Russia comes to an end as the remnants of the Grande Armee are expelled from Russia.
- 1819, Alabama becomes the 22nd US state.
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- 1294, Saint Celestine V resigns papacy after only 5 months; Celestine hoped to return to previous life as ascetic hermit
- 1545, Council of Trent begins.
- 1577, Sir Francis Drake sets out from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage.
- 1636, The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes 3 militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians.
- 1642, Abel Janszoon Tasman reaches New Zealand.
- 1643, English Civil War: The Battle of Alton takes place in Hampshire.
- 1769, Dartmouth College is founded by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, with a Royal Charter from King George III.
- 1809, Dr. Ephraim McDowell performed the first ovariotomy, removing a 22 pound tumor.
- 1816, Ernst Werner von Siemens, German engineer, inventor, & industrialist (d. 1892) was born.
- 1818, Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady of the United States (d. 1882) was born.
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- 884, Carloman, King of the West Franks died.
- 1408, The Order of the Dragon a monarchical chivalric order is created by Sigismund of Luxembourg, then King of Hungary.
- 1745, John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1829) was born.
- 1781, 2nd Battle of Ushant, Royal Navy commanded by Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt in HMS Victory defeats French fleet
- 1787, Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the US Constitution five days after Delaware became the first.
- 1862, Joseph Bruce Ismay, British ocean liner executive & Titanic survivor (d. 1937) was born.
- 1862, USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by an electrically detonated mine.
- 1863, Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter (d. 1944) was born.
- 1870, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina becomes the second black US congressman, the first one being Hiram Revels.
- 1894, Sir John Sparrow David Thompson, fourth Prime Minister of Canada (b. 1845) died.
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