Travelling The 50 States – Massachusetts

Over my 48 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 6th state to be added to the Union: Massachusetts

State: Massachusetts
Joined the Union: 1788
Visits: 6

The Bay State has been a more recent travel destination, with all six visits coming within the past five years.  In what I’m sure is completely unrelated news, Angelina has been attending Boston University since 2018.  This visit total would have been at least one trip larger, as I had plans to bring Michael in April of 2020, but the whole pandemic thing kind of put the kibosh on that.

My first visit to Massachusetts came in August of 2017, when I took a weekend trip to Boston to see the White Sox take on the Red Sox with Danny and Michael.  We arrived in Boston on Saturday morning, heading straight from the airport to the Museum of Science, where we spent most of the morning.  After a quick breakfast, we headed to our hotel, which was located in the medical district.  We checked in and relaxed for a bit, before deciding on going for ice cream prior to heading to Fenway Park.

The game went about as you would expect.  With James Shields on the mound, the White Sox did not put up much of a fight.  We were sitting down the left field line, with a good view of the Green Monster.  The seats, which may or may not date back to the stadium’s opening in 1912, were not really designed for people well over 6 feet tall, so there was a lot of uncomfortable shifting as our knees were smooshed into the seats in front of us.

The next morning, we went out in search of breakfast once again before gathering up our belongings and checking out of the hotel.  Our first stop was just down the street, at Harvard Medical School, where we posed for pictures.  From there, we headed to Skywalk Boston, their version of the observation deck at Sears Tower.  It was only on the 50th floor, so the effect was a little different, but we did get to see the majority of the area.  From there, over to the harbor to see the Boston Tea Party museum.  The two-hour experience took us through the town meeting where the “attack” was planned, on to the boat to throw the tea in to the harbor, and then through a movie and other artifacts from one of the most famous events in American history.  From there, it was off to the airport for the flight back home.

My next trip came the following year, when I returned to Boston in late October to celebrate birthdays with Angelina.  I arrived on the Tuesday before our birthday, enjoying a brief tour of BU and a nice dinner at Fogo de Chao with Angelina before heading over to the House of Blues to see Garbage.  The next day I took a tour of Fenway Park prior to Game Two of the World Series, before heading out to Cambridge to look around Harvard before heading home.

Just over a month later, I returned to Boston with my mom to see Angelina’s first synchro competition on Cape Cod and an ice show by the BU Figure Skating Club, seeing many of the same BU sites as my last visit.

In October of 2019, I once again travelled to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday dinner.  Unbeknownst to me, she had suffered a concussion the day before, so she was busy for most of the day.  After chilling in the hotel for a bit, I headed over to campus for a late lunch before waiting for her at a protest I happened across, trying to stop hate monger Ben Shapiro from coming to campus for a speech.  After dinner, she headed back to her dorm to rest, and I left early the next morning to return home.

After a two-year hiatus thanks to COVID, my next trip to Boston came this past May for Angelina’s graduation.  Danny, Michael, and I flew out on Friday and spent Saturday sightseeing around Boston with the family.  Graduation was Sunday morning, which we topped off with a dinner out on Sunday night before heading home on Monday.

My most recent visit came earlier this month, as birthday celebrations were finally allowed to restart.  I arrived late on Friday night, and then spent Saturday with Angelina and Emily, including a trip to the Museum of Science and a return visit to Fogo de Chao.  Sunday morning. they picked me up from the hotel and drove me to the airport, bringing my latest visit to an end.

Will I return?  I have to say yes.

Travelling The 50 States – Maryland

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 7th state to be added to the Union: Maryland.

State: Maryland
Joined the Union: 1788
Visits: 1

My first, and only, so far, visit to the Chesapeake Bay State came at the beginning of our family trip to Washington DC in 2019 to celebrate Michael’s graduation from junior high.

On a Sunday morning in the beginning of June, the family flew into Baltimore.  While the girls headed to the train to Washington, the boys went for a nice breakfast followed by a quick impromptu sight-seeing tour.  After seeing the grave of Edgar Allen Poe and a museum celebrating the birthplace of Babe Ruth, we found ourselves at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to see the Orioles battle their rival San Francisco Giants.

Things got a little hairy late in the game when we realized that the train we were planning to take to Washington didn’t run on weekends.  We left the game early and hoofed it to a bus depot, where we booked passage on a bus route headed to DC.

Will I return?  Maybe, for baseball reasons.  But outside of that, I don’t see what would draw me back.

Travelling The 50 States – Kentucky

Over my 48 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 15th state to be added to the Union: Kentucky.

State: Kentucky
Joined the Union: 1792
Visits: 7

Aside from driving through on my way to Florida, I’m pretty sure I’ve made seven distinct trips to Kentucky, although nearly all of them had nothing to do with Kentucky.  My first six stops came as part of trips to Ohio, specifically the town of Cincinnati.  The current home of the Reds, Great American Ballpark, is right on the Ohio River, which forms the border between Ohio and Kentucky.  When visiting my old friend Scott and attending a Reds game, we would drive over the bridge and find free street parking on the Kentucky side, walking across a pedestrian bridge to get to the park.  This trip occurred annually from 2003 through 2008.

My most recent foray into Kentucky came on the trip home from Universal in 2010.  For some reason, Angelina thought there would be nothing better than eating at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the great state of Kentucky.  And so we did.

Will I return?  Who can tell.  It has been 14 years since my last game at the Great American Ballpark and, frankly, I wouldn’t be able to do the walk now even if I wanted to.  Aside from that, there isn’t much driving me down to Kentucky.

Travelling The 50 States – Iowa

Over my now 48 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 30 states I have visited (60% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we start today with the 29th state to be added to the Union: Iowa.

State: Iowa
Joined the Union: 1846
Visits: 1

To the best of my knowledge, I’ve made a single trip to the Hawkeye State, coming in 2014 on the backend of a trip to Minneapolis with Danny and Michael to see the White Sox battle the Twins.  On the way up, we took the route through Wisconsin, so, to mix things up, we decided to come home through Iowa.  If I had it all to do over again, I would have made a different choice.

I’m sure there are things to do and/or see somewhere in Iowa, but we did not encounter any of them on the long drive back home.  When it came time to find something to eat, we eventually found an exit that contained a Steak ‘n Shake.  This is where things got a little more exciting.  The restaurant was next to a hotel that seemed to be holding a furry convention of some sort.  Some of the costumed folks had made their way over to the Steak ‘n Shake, which was very confusing for a young Mr. Michael, who had not yet reached his tenth birthday.  After some awkward questions, his curiosity seemed sated, we finished our meal, and then continued our long journey back to the loving arms of Illinois.

Will I return?  I’m sure there may be a reason to do so someday, but I have no current plans.

Travelling The 50 States – Indiana

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we start today with the 19th state to be added to the Union: Indiana.

State: Indiana
Joined the Union: 1816
Visits: 1100+

From the fall of 1992 through the spring of 1997, I matriculated at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Accounting for breaks, weekends home, and other holidays, I estimate I would have spent over 1100 days in the Hoosier State.

While it is possible that I visited the state of Indiana at some time during my youth, given its proximity to the Chicagoland area, the first confirmed visit would have been in the early 90s, when I made my campus visit to Purdue.  I can’t say that i have any particular memories from this trip, but I’m fairly sure it happened.  Starting in August of 1992, West Lafayette became my home away from home for the next five years.  In December of 1993, I made my first visit to Indianapolis for a double header of Purdue women’s and men’s basketball at Market Square Arena.

As I was stopped at a gas station before getting on I-65 on my way home after graduation, I said that I would never return to the state of Indiana again.  That pledge lasted a little more than two years, as I returned to campus in September of 1999 to see Purdue defeat Notre Dame at Ross-Ade Stadium.  I would return again in December of 2000 for the final game of the season, seeing Purdue defeat IU and earn their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1967.

My next trip to Indiana came in March of 2001, when I saw the Monkees at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.  In November of 2004, I returned once again to my old stomping grounds to see Purdue once again defeat Indiana at Ross-Ade Stadium.  I made two football trips the following year, watching Purdue fall to Notre Dame in October and defeating Illinois in November.  In 2006, I made my first visit to South Bend with friends from work to see Notre Dame once again defeat the Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium.

My next trip to Indiana came in November of 2008, when Purdue managed to defeat Michigan at Ross-Ade Stadium.  The following September, it was another loss against Notre Dame.  In October of 2011, there was another family clash as Purdue defeated Illinois by a touchdown.  Two months later, I spent New Year’s Eve of 2011 at Mackey Arena, watching Purdue defeat the Fighting Illini in my first basketball game back on campus since graduating in 1997.  I returned a little more than a year later on the second day of 2013 for another successful tilt against the Illini at Mackey Arena.

In 2013, I made the mistake of returning to Ross-Ade stadium in September with a work friend, as her husband’s alma mater, Northern Illinois, throttled Purdue.  In March of 2015, a trip to Mackey Arena saw the basketball team beat the Illini, but the football tilt that November went the other way. Continue reading →

Travelling The 50 States – Illinois

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 21st state to be added to the Union: Illinois.

State: Illinois
Joined the Union: 1818
Visits: 16,000+

How do you track how often you’ve been in the state you’ve lived in your entire life, save for your time away at college?  My first “visit” came nearly 48 years ago on the day I was born at Mercy Hospital on the south side of Chicago.

I’ve managed to do 18 of the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, published by the Chicago Tribune in 2018 to celebrate the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  Among the places I visited were Water Tower, Morton Arboretum, Route 66, United Center, Skydeck at Willis Tower, the former Arlington International Racecourse, Rialto Square Theatre, Lake Michigan, The Second City, Chicago Sports Museum, and the Superman statue in downstate Metropolis.

I’ve seen baseball games at Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park, and Guaranteed Rate Field.  I’ve seen football games at Soldier Field, Memorial Stadium, Ryan Field, and Wrigley Field.  I’ve seen basketball games at the United Center, Welsh-Ryan Arena, State Farm Center, and Allstate Arena.  I’ve seen hockey games at the United Center.  I’ve seen both the White Sox and the Cubs win the World Series.  I’ve seen the Bears win a Super Bowl.  I’ve seen the Bulls win 6 NBA Championships.  I’ve even seen the Blackhawks win a Stanley Cup or two.

I’ve seen concerts at Wrigley Field, City Winery, Ravinia, the Riviera Theatre, Abbey Pub, Metro, the Chicago Theatre, United Center, Charter One Pavilion, Allstate Arena, The Vic Theatre, House of Blues, World Music Theatre, Soldier Field, and Mabel’s,

Travelling The 50 States – Hawaii

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 30 states I have visited (60% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we start today with the 50th state to be added to the Union: Hawaii.

State: Hawaii
Joined the Union: 1959
Visits: 2

I’ve made two trips to the Hawaiian Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland, first in 2019 and then again earlier this year.

Way back in 2019, I made my first visit to the island of Oahu, arriving the first Saturday in February.  After a day of checking out my surroundings around the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort and down Waikiki Beach, I took a tour of the island of Oahu on Monday, with stops at Hanauma Bay, Nu’uanu Pali lookout, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Sunset Beach, Waimea Falls, and the Dole Plantation.  Tuesday, I took in a whale watching cruise, where we were able to see multiple whales surfacing during the excursion.  After a day of relaxation on Wednesday, I traveled to Pearl Harbor on Thursday to see all of the associated attractions and museums.  I enjoyed another day of relaxation on Friday before heading home on Saturday.

Following a long pandemic, and nearly two years of working from home, I decided to break out in a big way this past January.  Using airline vouchers left over from my cancelled trips of 2020, I booked a two-week trip, returning to the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort for the first week and staying in a lesser hotel for the second.  Not knowing how the pandemic would impact the local tourist offerings, I decided to play it safe and go for ultimate relaxation.  My days were spent reading by the pool, taking the occasional swim, both in the ocean and in the pool, and listening to music and podcasts.  It was heaven.

The second week I was working remotely, meaning my days usually started at 4AM local time.  This let me wrap up the workday around noon, when I would usually head back over to the resort, to enjoy some of the outdoor spaces, or the beach.  All told, I racked up seven books and two week’s worth of 10,000+ step days.

Will I return?  Absolutely, although I would like to check out some of the other islands on future trips.

Travelling The 50 States – Georgia

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 4th state to be added to the Union: Georgia.

State: Georgia
Joined the Union: 1788
Visits: 4

All four of my visits to the Peach State came as part of driving to Florida, either stopping for food or staying overnight in a hotel to break up the long drive.

The first two trips would have come during our family drives to Florida in 1988 and 1990.  The only clear memories I have are passing by the old Atlanta-Fulton Country Stadium and getting a California Raisin figurine from a restaurant, though I couldn’t tell you which one.  My two most recent visits came during my drive to and from Florida in 2021.  I stopped in Atlanta on the way down, spending the night in a local hotel after a long drive.  The next week, I stayed in the same hotel on the way home, but this time I had a more of a purpose.

The Braves were scheduled to battle the Yankees that night, so I made the early stop on the drive home ttro take in another stadium.  My hotel claimed to be within walking distance of Truist Park, which it was but they forgot to mention that it was uphill.  After I managed to drag myself to the park, I headed to the upper deck, which was the only seats still available.  After snagging a couple souvenir cups, I left the game a little early for the hike back to the hotel.  Thankfully, it was all downhill this time.  After a night’s sleep, I went to the local supercharger in the morning, topping off the batteries before heading out for the long drive home.

Will I return?  Maybe.  I would like to see more of the park when I’m not pressed for time, so I may follow a local team down at some point.

Travelling The 50 States – Florida

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we start today with the 27th state to be added to the Union: Florida.

State: Florida
Joined the Union: 1845
Visits: 10 (at least)

At some point in the mid-1980s, my grandparents bought a condo in Clearwater, Florida, which has helped make the Sunshine State one of my most visited states.  I’m fairly certain my first trip there would have been in the summer of 1988 and my most recent was last year, with a number of visits in-between.

From what I can recall, my first trip to Florida came the summer of 1988, following my eighth-grade graduation.  I’m pretty sure a collection of seven family members got in the car the day after Mike Tyson’s 91 second knockout of Michael Spinks for the two-day drive to Clearwater.  I’m not clear on exactly how long we were there, but I know there was a one-day excursion to Disney World.  Aside from that, we saw all of the tourist attractions that my grandparents thought were interesting.  Which means nothing that was really all that interesting.

We made another trip two summers later.  I don’t remember much of this trip, aside from the trip home where we came up through southern Illinois and listened to the White Sox somehow beating the Yankees 4-0 despite being no-hit by Andy Hawkins.

My sister and I made a return trip over Christmas break in 1991, our first time on an airplane.  Again, I don’t have many vivid memories of the events of this trip.

My fourth trip to Florida came during March of 1997.  I had an interview with GTE Data Services and turned it into a mini-vacation during spring break, staying with my grandparents.  The highlight of the trip, aside from nailing the interview and getting a solid job offer, was a trip to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota to watch a spring training tilt between the White Sox and the Twins. Continue reading →

Travelling The 50 States – District Of Columbia

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the, umm… well, it isn’t really a state, but rather the seat of our federal government.  Founded in 1791 to house our nation’s capital, we present the District of Columbia.

StateDistrict: Columbia
Recognized as a federal district: 1801
Visits: 1

My one trip to Washington, DC came in June of 2019 to celebrate Michael’s graduation from junior high.  After arriving on Sunday night after an afternoon in nearby Baltimore, the week in DC was spent taking in most, if not all, of the tourist and historical sites.

We started things off on Monday with a trip to the Smithsonian Zoo, after which we headed towards the White House to check out the sites.  We followed that up on Tuesday with trips to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Supreme Court Building, and the US Capitol, where we took a tour which led us out through the Library of Congress. We also spent some time on the National Mall, where we saw the Washington Monument

History and culture was put on hold on Wednesday in exchange for some Americana as we traveled to Nationals Park to see the hometown Nationals take on the White Sox.  A trip to the Newseum and the Jefferson Memorial, where we saw a half-dressed Big Bird in-between filming, returned us to the main thrust of the trip on Thursday.  Friday returned to the Mall, where we saw the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, before heading to the National Air and Space Museum and then taking a tour of the White House.  After that, the plan called for a “show” at Ford’s Theatre, but a fire alarm cut that short.  Before heading to the airport on Saturday, we took another trip to the Mall to check out the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam War Memorial.