For singers, their song would be "Amazing grace…how sweet the sound".
For travelers, their song would be "Amazing place…how sweet the town".
Since I am an inveterate travel, I will sing you my song. So here I go…with my amazing places…some of the sweetest towns in the United States.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: "Beantown", as Boston is affectionately dubbed, is much more than Boston Baked Beans. It is ducks that will splash you into the waters of the Charles River and swan boats that will glide you atop the waters of the Lagoon in Boston's Public Garden. It is a 3-mile, red-painted Freedom Trail that connects Boston's historic Colonial and Revolutionary sights, and a Holocaust Memorial that towers along that trail.
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL PLAQUE SAYS ONE WORD: "REMEMBER"
It's a quacking good time when you board a Boston Duck Tour. Upon boarding, you will be greeted by a tour ConDUCKtor, who will narrate your tour. And just when you think you've seen it all, there's more. It's "Splashdown" as your ConDUCKtor splashes your DUCK into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines. "One big splash and the rest is history!"
For over 130 years, the Swan Boats have been a part of the Boston experience. As a welcome sign of spring, they grace the waters of the Boston Public Garden, the first botanical garden in the United States.
When in Boston, you must eat fresh seafood. Boston's bounty from the brine can best be tasted at Legal Sea Foods. Their iconic tagline says it all: "If it isn't Fresh, it isn't Legal."
And what would a trip to Boston be without downing a nip at Cheers? When you step inside the convivial Original Cheers on Beacon Hill (previously known as the Bull & Finch), you'll immediately know why everyone knows your name. In 2001, at Faneuil Hall, (rhymes with Daniel Hall) Kershaw recreated the bar as it appeared on the set of Cheers.
CHEERS...WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR NAME
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND: Newport, Rhode Island, called America's first Resort" is a city of firsts. In 1687, it was the first American city to pass a traffic ordinance. It had the first church steeple in the United States and the first (1763) Jewish synagogue dedicated in America. It was the site of the first of the thirteen colonies' Declaration of Independence in May of 1776 and home of the first permanent Quaker settlement in America; it operated the first ferry service in 1657 and had the first gas streetlights in 1803.
A TINY STATE DOES THINGS IN A BIG WAY!
Newport is also the Sailing Capital of the World. You can take to the water for a sunset sail on lovely Narragansett Bay, or watch one of the many annual regattas, races, and sailing festivals that take place off Newport.
Fresh seafood is found all along the New England coast, and Newport restaurants are some of the best. To work off those calories, you can play tennis on the legendary grass courts at The International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Newport Casino, a National Historic Landmark, built in 1880, is home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. It was designed as a social and sporting club for the Astors, Vanderbilts, and Newport society during the "Gilded Age". Known as Newport's "Sporting Mansion", this Stanford White structural masterpiece is one of the finest examples of Victorian shingle-style architecture in the world.
NEWPORT CASINO: HOME TO THE INTERNATIONAL TENNIS HALL OF FAME
You can stroll through history on Newport's dramatic 3.5 mile Cliff Walk that winds along the island's southeastern edge, bordered on one side by the massive summer cottages of America's turn-of-the-century elite and on the other side by granite cliffs and pounding surf of the Atlantic. Newport, Rhode Island is the ultimate "gilt trip".
NASHVILLE,TENNESSEE: Music City, U.S.A......that's where it's at. Nashville's heart beats to music. Folk music that crossed the Smokies with early settlers…toe-tapping fiddle and banjo music…mournful hill ballads…the music of America…tunes that grew into down home "hillbilly" music that filled the barns and the countryside.
Nashville, the progressive vital city with a colorful past and an exciting future, has something for everyone. From stately historical mansions and cultural landmarks to stark skyscrapers; from a mega-million dollar music industry to rolling hills and rambling horse farms; from Capitol Hill to 17 college campuses; from greens 'n hawg jawls to knishes, latkes, and filet mignon; from the Nashville Symphony and Ballet to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.
THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
"The Grand Ole Opry is as simple as sunshine," said George D. Hay, 'The Solemn Old Judge' and founder of the Grand Ole Opry. "It has a universal appeal because it is built upon good will, and with folk music expresses the heart-beat of a large percentage of Americans who labor for a living."
Several years later, 'The Solemn Old Judge' accidently gave the show its permanent name. He opened the WSM Country Music Show, which followed a program of classical music, with his now-famous ad-libbed words: "For the past hour you've been listening to Grand Opera. Now we will present Grand Ole Opry!" That was the beginning of the world's oldest continuing radio program in existence.
RYMAN AUDITORIUM, ORIGINAL GRAND OLE OPRY HOUSE
Opryland Hotel, creating an old Southern lodging, is an attraction in and of itself. The huge staircase, golden chandelier, and wood-burning twin fireplaces, welcome you to Tennessee hospitality at its finest.
Good music, good food, good shopping, good people, and good times are all in abundance in Music City, U.S.A. Y'all try it.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Chicago, "that toddling' town" is now fully grown into a sophisticated metropolitan area that rivals any major city in the world. Teeming with life, the vibrant "Windy City" exudes an excitement all its own. Twenty-nine miles of lakefront form the front lawn of what has become one of the world's greatest cities.
29-MILES OF LAKEFRONT FORM CHICAGO'S FRONT LAWN
One of the best introductions to Chicago's diverse architectural scene is on the official Chicago Architecture Foundation's (CAF) Chicago River Architecture Cruise. The Chicago River is the only river on earth that flows backwards. Reversed in 1900 for sanitary reasons, it is one of the 20thcentury's top engineering wonders.
With its unprecedented combination of architecture, monumental sculpture, and landscape design, the 24.5-acre Millennium Park is possibly the most glittering, jewel in Chicago's crown. Millennium Park was first conceived in 1998 to transform the unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots that had long dotted the lakefront.
CHICAGO BEAN IN MILLENNIUM PARK
Dining in Chicago runs the gamut from haute cuisine to hot dogs. With names like Mustard's Last Stand, The Wieners Circle, and Doggy Diner, there are over 2000 hot dog stands in the Chicago area. The classic Chicago hot dog consists of a hot dog and a bun loaded with mustard, bright green relish, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cucumbers, and hot peppers. Celery salt is optional, but about one thing there is no doubt. On a Chicago hot dog there is always NO CATSUP!
This "stormy, husky, brawling city of big shoulders", as Carl Sandburg called it in 1916, might well be the most apple pie city of all the country's major metropolises. But, take my word for it…it's a gourmet apple pie.
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer, and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio. She is the winner of 40 national Travel Writing Awards.