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Top of the Trace - The Natchez Trace Parkway from Tennessee through Alabama

April 15th, 2019

Top of the Trace - The Natchez Trace Parkway from Tennessee through Alabama

Travel back in time with a trip on the 444 mile long Natchez Trace Parkway. This All-American Road travels from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee and clips the northwestern corner of Alabama along the way.

The Parkway was a long time coming; it officially opened in 2005 after being under construction and planning for 67 years! President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Natchez Trace Parkway into law on May 18, 1938, establishing it as a unit of the National Park System, and officially protecting this historically significant highway of the Old Southwest. There are seven segments of the Old Trace that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This scenic drive closely follows and commemorates the historic Old Natchez Trace and is jam-packed with over 10,000 years of history! Along the way, you can hike preserved sections of the Old Trace, read historical markers telling the stories of the people back in the day, see historical buildings, Indian ceremonial, and burial mounds, breathtaking scenic overlooks; there are rivers, lakes, swamps, picnic areas, hiking trails, and campgrounds. It’s not a road you can drive in a day or even a week if you wish to see it all. This is a pleasant, leisurely drive through beautiful country with a maximum speed limit of 50mph. Relax, take your time, and enjoy the drive.


The complete post can be found at: www.susantregoning.com/blog/top-of-the-trace

Seven Bridges Road - The Best Short Drive on Minnesota's Lake Superior North Shore

February 21st, 2019

Seven Bridges Road - The Best Short Drive on Minnesota

Seven Bridges Road located in Duluth, Minnesota is one of the more beautiful drives within the city. This 4 mile stretch of road intertwines with Amity Creek, the western branch of the Lester River, as it winds its way through a pine, poplar and birch forest on its way out to Lake Superior. A beautiful stone arch bridge has been constructed at each location were the road intersects the creek. All matching, there are seven bridges to cross along the way.

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Take a Walk Through Minnesota's #1 Winter Wonderland - Bentleyville Tour of Lights

December 1st, 2018

 Take a Walk Through Minnesota

Whether it’s an over the top home display like in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation or the professional wonderland of Walt Disney World, nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit better than a good ole Christmas light display!

I grew up in the small town in southern Illinois that is known for Candy Cane Lane so a trip to “see the lights” is something I just HAVE to do at least once a year. Call it an addiction if you must, but I’ve gone as far as Niagara Falls, Canada not for that famous waterfall but to see the "Winter Festival of Lights".

So, when we pulled into Duluth, Minnesota back in late summer and I immediately began to see the requests on social media for volunteers to set up for the Bentleyville "Tour of Lights", my excitement started to build. Not only would I have a Christmas light display in town, but it was going to be in walking distance!

The Bentleyville "Tour of Lights" opened on November 17th, I was there opening night and twice just this week. I never expected anything as elaborate and beautifully done as this! It really is magical! With every visit, I'm in awe and manage to see something new.

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Waterfalls Abound at Amnicon Falls State Park

November 29th, 2018

 Waterfalls Abound at Amnicon Falls State Park

One of my favorite places to see waterfalls in northwest Wisconsin is Amnicon Falls State Park. Located 15 miles east of Superior, Wisconsin near Lake Superior, it is one of the easiest places to visit waterfalls on the Lake Superior Waterfall Tour.

This is a small park, with only 2.4 miles of hiking trails. The best part of the trail, a 1/4 mile easy loop, is right off the parking lot. This is where you will find four named waterfalls, three smaller unnamed falls and a historic bridge. None of these waterfalls are very large but they are all very picturesque. The park is small enough to see the highlights in under an hour; but, if you are a true waterfall lover, bring your lunch, you could easily spend most of a day.

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Visiting the New Orleans Garden District

November 29th, 2018

 Visiting the New Orleans Garden District

Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Americans started to arrive in New Orleans and wanted a neighborhood to call their own. It took thirty years to happen but in 1826 when Jacques Livaudais failed to show up for divorce court preceding he lost ownership of the family plantation to his wife. In 1832, she moved home to France and sold the property to a group of businessmen that saw this land as American’s answer to the French and Creole dominated Vieux Carre. They parceled it off into a grid of 80 city blocks and it became part of the Village of Lafayette.

Wealthy Americans flocked to build mansions here. With plenty of space each mansion was surrounded by huge lawns and gardens some spanning full city blocks which earned the area its nickname the “Garden District”. That nickname stuck and the Garden District became its official name when the neighborhood was annexed into New Orleans in 1852.

While the lawns are no longer as grand as they once were, the mansions are still just as impressive as they were the day they were built. A visit to the Garden District offers a chance to see an entire neighborhood of preserved mansions from the 1800s and displays a melting pot of architectural styles that were “new” for the time period in which they were built.

The Garden District was recognized for its architectural and cultural significance in 1972, when it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and then again in 1974, when it was declared a National Historic Landmark. Most recently, the Garden District was designated as a Historic District in June 2007 by the Historic District Landmarks Commission.

Whether you choose to take a guided walking tour from one of the many local tour companies or just do it yourself, a visit to New Orleans is incomplete without a visit to the Garden District.

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Autumn on the Bayfield Peninsula - The Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway

November 29th, 2018

 Autumn on the Bayfield Peninsula - The Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway

In 2018, Wisconsin designated the road through the Bayfield Peninsula as Wisconsin’s fourth scenic byway. Named the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway, this 70 mile segment of State Highway 13 winds its way around the South Shore of Lake Superior and provides sweeping scenic views of beautiful forests, pristine beaches and the “big lake” itself. Along the way you will visit quaint harbor towns full of historic architecture, historic fishing villages, small orchards and fruit farms and the home of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Bayfield, at the center of the byway, is the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness Area.

Known as a fantastic summer destination, I decided to visit in autumn to experience the Bayfield Peninsula in a way that so many visitors never get a chance to do. It is a much quieter time with most of the tourist destinations closed but it's a great time to "get back to nature" and the fall colors are off the wall!

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The Sordid Past of Cave-In-Rock

November 29th, 2018

 The Sordid Past of Cave-In-Rock

Sitting along the banks of the Ohio River in a quiet little town in southern Illinois is a cave called Cave-In-Rock. The first recorded history of Cave-In-Rock was in 1739 by French explorer M. DeLery who mapped the limestone cave and named it, “caverne dans Le Roc” which after being translated into English is still the name it bears today. Although, much of its history is unsubstantiated, the local folklore that surrounds this cave started almost immediately after its discovery and tells a story of river boat pirates, bandits, fugitives, and murderers.

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The Goddard Chapel's First 100 Years

November 29th, 2018

The Goddard Chapel

I have always loved this beautiful old chapel. As early as four or five years old, I can remember staring out the car window in excitement and maybe with just a touch of trepidation as I waited to get my first glimpse of it anytime my parents drove down Route 37. It became even more interesting to me when I discovered that it was built by an ancestor of mine and that the two most prominent tombstones on either side are ancestors too.

I have been planning this image for a long time. It could be called, "Memories of my Youth", for when cemeteries were scary places to visit. In my mind's eye as a five year old, this is what the Goddard Chapel looks like...

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The Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station

November 29th, 2018

 The Frank Lloyd Wright Gas Station

Only a 30 minute drive west of Duluth, Minnesota on the edge of the St. Louis River is a little logging town in the North Woods called Cloquet. This town began as a group of small settlements around three sawmills: Shaw Town, Nelson Town and Johnson Town and today it has a population of a little over 12,000 people.

Many people would be very surprised to learn that this quiet little town has a unique tie to America’s greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. This is the location of the only functioning gas station ever designed and built by Mr. Wright. It is also the only piece of Wright’s Broadacre city project ever to be constructed.

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Great Blue Herons a Common Sight at Crab Orchard

November 29th, 2018

Great Blue Herons a Common Sight at Crab Orchard

​This is the closest I have been to a blue heron…

With wildlife, I’m convinced that no matter how much you try to plan ahead it's really just dumb luck that you are in the right spot at the right time.

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