Summer is right around the corner and that means that thousands of eighth graders will be flocking to historical sites around the country. While you may have graduated from middle school, there is nothing holding you back from pursuing your own American History adventure. What’s better than visiting crucial sites in our nation’s history? Visiting those sites while not being trapped in the throngs of puberty
Once a sleepy farm town in rural Pennsylvania, now the site of the American Civil War’s bloodiest battle, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania has become a mecca for American History nerds and nerdettes. Unfortunately only less than half of the original 11,500 acres of the battlefield have been protected. However, locals have gone to great lengths to preserve the original sites–almost as great of lengths as our forefathers fought to preserve the Union…too soon?
The Freedom Trail, Massachusetts
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile brick path that winds its way through 16 historical sites in Boston. The sites are primarily free and feature the USS Constitution, Paul Revere’s home, the Old North Church, and several other revolutionary landmarks. Whether you’re interested in American history, or are looking for a scenic way to view one of America’s founding cities, the Freedom Trail will provide a uniquely historical path.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Although people have inhabited Yellowstone for over 11,000 years, it was not until 1872 that it became a National Park and since then sees about 3 million visitors each year. Although most people come for the otherworldly thermal features, Yellowstone has more amazing geological and biological wonders than you can imagine. Yellowstone Lake, one of the largest high-altitude lakes in in the United States, rests over the Yellowstone Caldera, a mega-volcano responsible for many of the famous geysers we see today. In fact, with thousands of species, geological features, and several ecosystems, it would be more accurate to describe the Yellowstone experience as PRE-historical.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The area we now know as Santa Fe was originally inhabited by Pueblo Indians around 1050 A.D. but was colonized by the Spanish in 1598. Today however, Santa Fe’s unique past is reflected in it’s vibrant and diverse culture. With authentic Mexican food, beautiful crafts, and jaw-dropping outdoor adventure, Santa Fe offers tourists a glimpse into the wild west.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Whether you’re exploring the historical French Quarter or ducking into one of New Orleans’ many voodoo shops there are plenty of things to do in the Big Easy. New Orleans has become synonymous with partying but there is also something for the history buff in all of us. With a unique blend of Caribbean, French, Creole, Cajun and American culture, New Orleans history is almost as wild as Mardi Gras. Explore one of the many haunting, above-ground cemeteries, take a boat ride up the Mississippi, or take the trolley down Charles St. for a taste of the historical.
If colonialism is your style, Jamestown is the place for you! Jamestown, England’s first permanent settlement in the New World, was founded in 1607. Despite a brief setback known as the Starving Time in the winter of 1609, Jamestown became a successful tobacco hub with the help of the natives and the introduction of slavery into the new British colony. Today Jamestown offers historical reenactments by colonists and natives alike. So come to Jamestown, bring a friend and recreate Pocahontas’s courageous rescue of John Smith.