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  • If you build it they will come - Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania




    If there was one town in Pennsylvania that had my attention from the get-go... it had to be Jim Thorpe.


    Yep. Jim Thorpe is the name of the town.


    It's a small Victorian borough, comfortably set at the southern entry of the Pocono Mountains. It's very well maintained and is known for being a kind of an artsy community with museums, galleries, and music venues scattered throughout the old coal town.


    The town was originally settled under the name Mauch Chunk, meaning 'Bear Mountain' in the native Lenape language, as one of the mountains looked like a bear sleeping on its side. But in 1953, following the death of Olympic medal winner Jim Thorpe -- his widow and third wife, Patricia, became so upset with the government of Oklahoma (because they refused to build a monument to honor Jim) that she sought out the small PA borough, who was desperately seeking to attract new tourists, and made a deal with civic officials to create a roadside attraction of Jim's tomb.


    The unusual agreement also included the borough changing its name to Jim Thorpe -- not to mention, importing soil from Oklahoma and the Stockholm Stadium where Jim won his Olympic medals.


    As you can imagine, this event was not without controversy as Thorpe's children wanted him to be buried with his family on the reservation in Oklahoma and have filed numerous lawsuits to try and gain control of Jim's remains. (For more on this, check out NPR's story at the bottom of the page.)


    So it final came were my travels took me through Jim Thorpe, PA. I was stoked! 


    But, you know what? It was just a grave with a couple of nice statues that looked out of place. "The greatest athlete in the world" (according to King Gustov V of Sweden) is awkwardly laid to rest in a town that he never set foot in, nor is associated with in anyway, except that his burial was meant to take in cash from tourists...but that really didn't happen either.


    The funny thing about Mauch Chuck is that it really doesn't need Jim Thorpe there to make this place worth your while to visit. It has art and music and shopping and restaurants and outdoor recreation and a lot of Pennsylvania charm -- it really is one of the state's best locations. Of course, if you do get there, be sure to stop by Jim's memorial...and remember...just because you build it, doesn't mean they will come.

     

    {NPR's report: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/03/138524619/a-fight-for-jim-thorpes-body}

  • Mysterious Ringing Rocks

  • Ringing Rock Music & The Columcille Megalith Stones




    In June of 1890, Dr. JJ Ott went out to a sprawling, natural quarry field in northern Bucks County, PA to collect a bunch of rocks. When he arrived, he made sure to pick up a variety of rubble, enough to “play” a chromatic scale of  pitches. These rocks were special as they made a “ringing” sound (like a metal pipe) when struck by a mallet. Dr. Ott turned the stones into an instrument and at the Buckwampum meeting in Stony Garden, he had the Pleasant Valley Band accompany him, at what may have been the first ever “ROCK CONCERT”. {Wah, wah, waah -- cue the Muppet Show music}


    If you’re like me, a fan of Stonehenge or the giant heads on Easter Island, then eastern Pennsylvania is a must-see location you need to check out.


    There are two drastically unique rock gardens located approximately thirty miles apart from each other -- Ringing Rocks County Park and Columcille Megalith Park.



    Ringing Rocks is a natural deposit of oddly placed volcanic basalt. These boulders have small tubes running throughout the rock which, when struck, makes a ringing sound. Not all rocks in this river of boulders will chimb, but that’s part of the fun. You can spend hours just hiking around the area, trying to make your own rock music. Be sure to use a rubber mallet though, as metal hammers leave damage to these natural wonders. Also, the park is home to Bucks County’s largest waterfall (which stands alone in seeing). (More info: http://www.davidhanauer.com/buckscounty/ringingrocks/)


    Columcille Megalith Park is located a few miles north of Bangor, PA and is a collection of local rocks, boulders, and megaliths, put together to recreate the Isle of Iona (off the coast of Scotland). This outdoor sanctuary, made up of over 350 rocks, is the vision of a Celtic spiritualist, Bill Cohen Jr., who wanted to create a gateway to another world. St. Oran’s legend is promoted throughout the park, reminding the seeker that “the way you think it is may not be the way it is at all." (More info: http://www.columcille.org/index.html)


    Both parks are free and fun for the whole family and make for a mysteriously fanciful day trip.


    Happy exploring!

  • The tilted "O" in LOVE



    Happy Valentine's Day Here-A-Yearers!


    With today being a holiday in which 60% of Americans celebrate, it is only fitting that I post something that has to do with love -- and the first thing to pop into my mind was the LOVE Park sculpture! 


    So, I did a some digging and discovered a little-known secret about the well-known icon:

    Robert Indiana, the LOVE symbol’s creator, said the reason why the "O" is tilted is because love isn't perfect. (At the time, he was in his fourth marriage.)


    I hope your day is one full of love and that you're actively showing love to others too. 


    BTW... I'm very thankful for each one of you who takes time to read, enjoy, comment, and participate in the HAY adventure. I love what I do and I love having people to share in the journey.


    Valentine's Day cheers!


    {FYI--LOVE Park (officially JFK Plaza) in city center Philly is a popular spot for tourists to snap a cool pic. The iconic statue with the curved "O" has been featured in movies, t-shirts, and even on a postage stamp.}

  • WESTWARD, HO! Here A Year's next state is...


    This might surprise you, but the announcement of the next state in the Here A Year adventure is actually a little bittersweet for me.


    I have to leave a state I have genuinely fallen in love with.
    I will have to say goodbye to friends who have become family.
    I can’t move to all the states people wrote “lists of love” about.
    ~but~
    I will be closer to other good friends.
    My senses will have new experiences by switching environments.
    I will be able to tell new stories about life in a new state.


    I’m sure most of you can relate when it comes to moving someplace new. There’s a happy (sometimes nervous) energy that surrounds the unknown -- but overall -- I can’t wait for the new state! Adventure awaits!


    And the winner is...


    NEVADA!


    There were so many terrific “lists of love” that came my way that I almost changed the journey back to a cross-country trek visiting all the states again. But, after a lot of deliberation, and mental fatigue, I concluded that Nevada will be my next home.


    On top of it just feeling right, it also happened to be the state that had the most people asking for me to move there -- here’s a “small” sampling of a just some of their lists:


    --“Overall awesome state, friendly laws, and..VEGAS! Trust me, you won't regret it.”

    --“Because it is a great place to find love.”

    --“The weather may be really hot in the summer but it is a dry heat which makes it very tolerable. The rest of the seasons are just perfect too! Just a great place to live.”

    --“WE ROCK!”

    --“Low cost of living.”

    --“My entire family will be living there in 2013, along with other cousins and relatives, so I will find out how deep is my love for Nevada is very, very soon.”

    --“If you don't move here I'll eat your brains.”

    --“Because we are just a little more fabulous than all the other boring states.”

    --“Snow-capped mountains, plenty of sunshine, and all-you-can-eat buffets rolled into a one glorious state.”

    --“Feels right.”

    --“We have more mountain ranges than any other state!”

    --“Vegas. Graboids.”

    --“It is an economically sensible place to live.”

    --“The Gold Rush!”

    --“People who live in Nevada feel a little more fabulous! Most people think of the glitz and glam of Las Vegas when they hear Nevada, but there is so much more to this state than showgirls and strippers and Cirque du --Soleil. Take a chance on "the silver state." You won't be disappointed.”

    --“Lights, Dice, & Great friends.. Where else could one person want to be?”

    --“Burning Man...duh.”


    So, in just a few, short weeks. I’ll be packing up the Honda, and driving 2,400+ miles to my new home in the “Silver State”.


    Thank you to all who sent in your “list of love” -- I enjoyed reading each one and can’t wait to live in your state sometime soon.


    Cheers Here-A-Yearers!

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