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Archive for road travel

Down on the Farm in Maryland

By Linda Tancs

The Mason-Dixon line is credited as the boundary line separating the North from the South in the United States. Its original purpose, however, was to establish boundaries of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia thanks to the efforts of surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. In Maryland, the Mason and Dixon Scenic Byway offers country vistas on a route running along the northern edge of Maryland near its border with Pennsylvania. The nostalgia of rural life is on full display at Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster as well as at Union Mills Homestead and its functioning grist mill. And you won’t want to miss Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge in Elkton (near the Fair Hill Nature and Environmental Center), one of only two remaining authentic covered bridges in Cecil County.

The Cajun Corridor

By Linda Tancs

A great way to experience Cajun heritage is to eat your way through it by driving Louisiana’s Cajun Corridor Byway. The route is 34 miles long, running between Gueydan and Delcambre. In addition to typical fare like shrimp, crawfish and oysters, you’ll find specialties you might be less familiar with, like turducken – a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. You can learn the recipe for this and other treats at a Cajun cooking class like the one offered in the city of Kaplan at Crawfish Haven. Throughout the route you’ll find amazing vistas encompassing “dual crop” farms (rice fields that are also home to thousands of crawfish) and sugar cane fields as well as allées (alleys of shade trees) and cheniers (coastal ridges covered with stands of oak trees). Enjoy the ride.

Indiana’s National Road

By Linda Tancs

Once a main transport path to the West for thousands of settlers, Indiana’s Historic National Road was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson and was completed in 1834. It was the country’s first federally-funded interstate highway, connecting the eastern seaboard (Maryland) to the western interior (Missouri). You’ll find interpretive panels throughout the 156-mile stretch in eight counties. Richmond is a good place to start. You’ll find the Old National Road Welcome Center there, along with the Madonna of the Trail Monument (one of only 12 such statues in the country), honoring pioneer women who trekked westward from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The highway is designated both a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road. 

The Highway that Goes to Sea

By Linda Tancs

In 1912 millionaire Henry Flagler built what became known as the Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad from Miami to Key West. An engineering marvel of its time, it fell into disuse after being badly damaged in a 1935 hurricane. It later served as the blueprint for the Overseas Highway, a span of U.S. Highway 1 from Key Largo to Key West boasting 42 bridges spanning the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. No wonder it’s dubbed “the highway that goes to sea.” The route is populated with coral and limestone islets comprising the Keys, locales that boast everything from yacht clubs to wildlife refuges. One of the best-loved spans of this idyllic road is its longest—the Seven Mile Bridge near Marathon, surrounded by water from start to finish. The highway was designated as Florida’s first and only All-American Road under the National Scenic Byways program, one of a short list of other roadways in the nation that have earned this prestigious title.

The Road to Hana

By Linda Tancs

Hawaii’s Hana Highway (Highway 36) is more than just a road; it’s the top tourist destination on the northeast coastline of Maui. That’s because the drive is filled with eye-popping scenes from waterfalls, lookouts and lush forest along with fruit trees, cane grass and verdant pastures. It’s a journey best taken in stages although you could blow through it in three hours from Wailea. If you choose to stop along the way, then consider the aptly-named Garden of Eden Arboreturm (mile marker 10), the lookout point with a beautiful view of Maui’s north coast at Kaumahina State Wayside Park (mile marker 12) and Kahanu Garden (mile marker 31), boasting a view of Pi’ilanihale Heiau, the largest temple in Hawaii. The road is often snarled in traffic; start before sunrise for the best experience.

The Gullah Geechee

By Linda Tancs

Gullah Geechee is a unique, Creole language spoken in the coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida by descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic Coast. Their culture is celebrated via the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a 12,000 square mile, federal National Heritage Area. From Pender County, North Carolina, to St. Johns County, Florida, the corridor comprises places of significance to the Gullah Geechee people both historically and culturally. Attractions include McLeod Plantation in South Carolina (the only plantation in the state to tell the story of slavery from the perspective of the enslaved), Harrington School on Georgia’s St. Simons Island (the main educational structure for three Gullah Geechee communities) and Fort Mose Historic State Park in St. Augustine, Florida, site of the first free black settlement in what is now the United States. 

Following the Carolina Coastline

By Linda Tancs

North Carolina’s Outer Banks National Scenic Byway follows the coastline as it juts into the Atlantic Ocean. Beginning at the northern end of the Outer Banks and ending in Harkers Island, you can drive its 138 miles without exploring the wild and scenic coastal landscape, but why would you? The area is home to two national seashores, four iconic lighthouses, two wildlife refuges and 21 coastal villages. Don’t miss the opportunity to soak up the heritage of these maritime towns. Enjoy the summertime “front porch talks” by villagers in Ocracoke at the David Williams House and the unique flared hulls of boats in Harkers Island.

The World’s Longest Yard Sale

By Linda Tancs

Spanning the states of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, Lookout Mountain Parkway is a 93-mile drive with an abundance of natural wonders and quaint towns. This time of year it’s best known for what’s dubbed “the world’s longest yard sale.” A sight to behold, you’ll find over 5,000 yard sale vendors lining the parkway as well as the US 127 corridor, offering a staggering 690 miles of bargains on just about anything. This year’s sale takes place from August 4 to August 7.

The Beartooth Highway

By Linda Tancs

The Beartooth Highway is an All-American Road ( a special designation conferred by the U.S. Department of Transportation for a scenic byway) on a section of U.S. Route 212 in Montana and Wyoming between Red Lodge, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Once dubbed “the most beautiful roadway in America,” it zigzags across the Montana-Wyoming border through a series of steep switchbacks along the Absaroka-Beartooth Range, rising from about 5,000 feet to 10,947 feet at the Beartooth Pass. The ecosystems on display range from pine forests to alpine tundra, with snow that often lingers through the summer months. The breathtaking scenery includes high alpine plateaus dotted with glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. It offers some of the best motorcycling in the country this time of year.

The Road in the Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Opened in 1989, Atlantic Road is Norway’s answer to Florida’s Ocean Highway. Dubbed “the road in the ocean,” the 22-mile scenic route hugs the Atlantic Ocean, connecting islet with islet over seven bridges. Along with great ocean views, the journey presents the fertile cultural landscape of the coast across moorland to windswept crags. You’ll find ample opportunity for sightseeing along well-marked trails and elevated paths. Eldhusøya is the largest rest area along the way and is located on a scenic spot at the ocean’s edge. The road runs from Kårvåg to Bud.

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