Things You Should Be Proud Of Near Your Home

So, anyone ever have a conversation with friends/family/housepets that basically goes:

“You know, we live near some really cool stuff, but never actually visit it because we’re too lazy/jaded/antisocial/horrible people?”

$Wife and I have this often. We live near both Baltimore and Washington, DC and rarely visit either. We’re trying to change this a bit and have decided to see the DC ‘Spring’ sights like the cherry blossoms, but also to check out a traelign exhibit coming to the DC Air & Space Museum:

Any cool stuff you’re doing that makes you happy to live wherever you live?

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I live just outside of Boston. There are a myriad of historical attractions available.
Freedom Trail
Duckboat tours
Bunker Hill monument
New England Aquarium
Old North church (North End of Boston)
Lexington/Concord (Site of “The shot heard round the world”)
Museum of Science/Hayden Planetarium
Boston Childrens Museum

I had not seen a single one of these attractions.
Then my kids were born!
I glad to say I have taken my kids to all the above and more over the last 18 years.
I’m ashamed that I didn’t take the time to visit these sites on my own earlier!
Having kids just made me want to expose them to the wealth of historical culture available in the Boston area.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that has ignored the vast sources of history and information available in my own backyard until later in life.
I’m just happy I got the chance!!!

We’ve talked about a trip to Boston to see some friends of my wife and general tourism at some point… It’s not high on our list, but hopefully sometime. Probably do the touristy stuff.

The annoying thing for me about some of the ‘core’ DC stuff is it’s free even. The Smithsonians are all free to enter, so it’s not like they’re expensive. (Food is kinda nuts, and if you’ve got kids walking/metro to someplace else may not be a good option.)

I’ve enjoyed the chance to play tour guide when people come in to the area, in fact.

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is ranked best in the world off and on. And having seen some of the others in the top 10, it’s not a competition, we have an amazing facility. Our Zoo is also pretty damn good. And the Indy 500 of course.

I haven’t been to DC in years, need to arrange a trip in the next year or so.

The San Diego Zoo is one of the best in the world. The USS Midway museum is pretty cool. Balboa Park is a nice place to hang out on a summer day and has lots of museums including the Museum of Man (which you might remember from Anchorman when Ron Burgundy is out running and decides milk was a bad choice), the Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum, and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center among others. Scripps Aquarium is nice. We also have Sea World although they have become quite controversial in the past few years. The Del Mar racetrack is there if you’re into horse racing. Old Town San Diego is nice but a bit touristy. Great Mexican food though. And of course we have miles and miles of beaches and quality Mexican food on every corner.

So much yes.

We have a whole museum district down by the med center, but I never go. I think I’ve been to one Houston museum in the last 20 years, probably more.
I’ve been to Space Center Houston, but it was several years ago. If it was closer and cheaper, I’d probably go more often.
From what I’ve heard, we have a pretty good zoo, but I don’t remember the last time I visited. In fact, I’ve been to the Cincinnati and San Antonio zoos in the past 2 years, but not ours.
We have beaches, but they’re not as good as Hawaii or even Florida. Down-current or too close to the Mississippi River maybe?

On further analysis, I think maybe part of the cause is that I’m not a fan of big crowds of people. Hmmm… hordes of strangers… comfy sofa and Xbox. Ooh, that reminds me… on the bright side, thanks to Fallout 4, I’ve seen the Freedom Trail, duckboat, Bunker Hill, Old North church… lol

Before we moved into our current house, we lived a stone’s throw (and even now we’re not that far away) from Cumorah. Not so much “proud of” as “hey, here’s this thing of historical significance!”

Closer to that house, as in literally across the street, was the original ditch that was the Erie Canal. It’s since been moved about 100 yards north of that location, so still ridiculously close by.

Closer to my office:

  • The final resting places of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Bausch & Lomb (among others)
  • The home of Susan B. Anthony
  • The George Eastman (of Eastman & Kodak) mansion
  • The location where Metallica recorded Kill 'Em All (now a private home)
  • The home of the original Garbage Plate
  • The home of Genny Cream Ale
  • The original Erie Canal

Another previous residence:

  • The site of the first Womens’ Rights Convention (Susan B. Anthony again)
  • The inspiration for Bedford Falls (It’s A Wonderful Life)

Where I grew up:

  • The Erie Canal (yes, again)
  • The original General Electric plant/facility founded by Thomas Edison
  • One of the earliest Dutch settlements beyond New Amsterdam
  • The Westinghouse family burial plot
  • The Battle of Saratoga (kind of a big deal if you’re into the American Revolution)

If you’re willing to drive a bit:

  • Watkins Glen International
  • Some of the most gorgeous mountains you’ll find anywhere
  • The Thousand Islands

Can confirm. Have been to both. We visited the Louisville Zoo, thought that was pretty good. 2 days later went to Indy and holy crap, it blew Louisville away.

Good stuff! We can get it down here, sometimes, at like one store.

For the record, we did make it to the Air & Space museum. The Big White Room exhibit is interesting: It’s a recreation of a set from 2001: A Space Odyssey as a not-directly-related art project. The exhibit (It’s traveling, but appears to involve drywall) is controlled such that we got Two Minutes!!! in it. Pictures encouraged, but I got yelled at for touching what was a prop, but I thought was a scrapbook of the project. The two minute timer was odd: We’re in with booties on (to keep the white acrylic floor clean and unmarred) and there’s a guy yelling out 1 Minute!!! and such at us while watching with a stopwatch as we poke around this very white room.

I was a little disappointed in the lack of props or more direct movie-related stuff. Kubrick infamously destroyed most of the props to prevent seeing them pop up on other movies, so the only related stuff they had was a few art pieces like one used for the book cover for the novel.

I do love the A&S museum, though. There’s always something interesting. One interesting exhibit this time was a display of WW1 art of to kinds. One was stuff soldiers had carved in various underground tunnels used to house troops in France that was recently documented by a photographer; Some amazing work considering it was mostly just done by bored soldiers waiting for orders. Also some amazing and very dramatic scenes from AEF artists sent to Europe for WWI with charcoal, pastels, etc. to document things. Something I noticed is it managed to be powerful and emotional but avoided being gory.

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@balance, if you ever want to do a bit of a drive as we’re souther than you, I suggest Tank Day at the American in Wartime Museum open house. We’ve gone a couple times and it’s always great. It’s not huge as it is literally on some dude’s farm. Basically he asked his buddies who all have tanks and stuff to come down for a weekend. They fire stuff up and drive it around and the staff/owners usually let you get very up close to some of it. ie… You want to sit in a tank? Also, there’s usually a demonstration of a flame thrower.

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As I’m planning out my days for the next few months, and thinking of all the things I wish I could do when my family visits, I realize I have so many things to be thankful for and proud of around here. In 7min I can be at the top zoo in the nation. In 20min I can be at the science center. We have an amazing park system in town and each has a different theme. In an hour we can hike in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. I can take the kids to an NHL game and be home before bedtime it’s so close. We have baseball in the summer. We can go to real live major auto racing only 45 minutes away. We have an amazing arboretum within an hour’s drive. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!