10 Most Popular St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the United States

Category: Boston,Chicago,New York,Savannah   Published by

Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s DayChicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s DayWhether you’re Irish or a leprachuan wanna-be… everyone loves a good St. Patrick’s Day Parade! You may have heard the expression “Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.” Though St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland, it is celebrated world wide… from North America to Argentina, Germany to Montserat, Mexico to Russia. Originally a religious celebration in observance of the death of Saint Patrick (circa 385 – 461), one of the Irish patron saints, it has now become more of a holiday to celebrate the Irish culture and it’s influences worldwide.

The United States has celebrated St. Patrick’s Day well before it’s independence from Great Britain. The first St. Patrick’s Day and parade in North America was held in Boston in 1737 followed by New York City in 1756. While St. Patrick’s Day originated in Ireland, the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade is held in Chicago with over 2 million spectators and participants. The US, with it’s large Irish ancestory, has parties, parades and events throughout the country. Are you planning to “Go Green” in March? The largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades are:

  1. Chicago, Illinois, since 1843 – Over 2 Million Spectators
  2. New York City, Since 1756 – Tied with Chicago
  3. Savannah, Georgia – Over 400,000
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Another pre-Declaration of Independence aged St. Patrick’s Day
  5. Kansas City, Missouri – 200,00 spectators
  6. Boston, Massachusetts
  7. San Francisco, California – Oldest and biggest west of the Mississippi
  8. Houston, Texas
  9. Cleveland, Ohio
  10. New London, Wisconsin

Amongst the Fishes at the Florida Aquarium

Category: Tampa   Published by

Okay, I’ll admit it…I drove past the Florida Aquarium four times before I saw it over my left shoulder. Sheesh! I was so annoyed that I had to sit down and breathe deeply. Once inside my tension melted away. Soon I was floating amongst the fish. Gliding along while filtered sunlight washed over me and cool blue light calmed my senses….no…really. The interior was so tranquil that I could have fallen asleep. It was wonderful.

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida is part of the “Tampa Bay’s Triplet”package. I enjoyed the tropical rainforest area, the coral reef viewing window and the penguin promenade show is fun.

You can swim with the fishes and dive with the sharks here but one of the most popular features is the “Explore a Shore,” 2 acre, outdoor waterpark geared towards young children. Parents can enjoy the Cantina while watching the kids have a blast. Everyone wins.

So…get excellent directions to the parking lot, buy your Tampa Bay’s Triplet ticket and enjoy the Florida Aquarium. More photos here.


San Diego Fires

Category: San Diego   Published by

Our best thoughts are with our extraordinary team at Old Town Trolley in San Diego, California. Battling the fires with the dry conditions and high winds is a tall order. Losing your home in the blink of an eye is devastating. Stay safe and let us know how we can all help.
To see how difficult this situation is go to Flickr photos here.

The Rock

Category: San Francisco   Published by

Say “Alcatraz” and most people know what you mean. This prison in the bay of San Francisco, California is well-known. Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and the Birdman were guests. They say no one ever escaped. I was lucky enough to take the evening tour.

The boat was eager with anticipation as we approached The Rock. After debarking, we took a narrated walk with a Ranger to the top of the island to explore.

The audio headset tour was excellent and included the sights and sounds of this historic prison. We had plenty of time to explore and the evening light made it even more creepy. This place is filled with history and atmosphere. A visit to Alcatraz is exciting and thankfully you can escape at the end.

Make your way to Monterey

Category: San Francisco   Published by

The Monterey Bay Aquarium south of San Francisco, California is one of the best Aquariums I have visited. The layout is beautiful and encourages you to explore. The views of Monterey Bay are spectacular and the outdoor and indoor spaces blend so well that you move easily from one to the other.

The exhibits are wonderful! (I’m a sucker for Jellyfish.) I enjoyed the Kelp Forest, the Splash Zone, Sharks and Rays and the Outer Bay. They have one of the best Kids areas I’ve seen with lots of chances to get close and touch sea creatures. You can spend a whole day exploring here. Lots of feedings and presentations, too.

The biggest challenge is parking. Be prepared to hunt for a spot and grab any space you see near Cannery Row. The walk is worth it. Check the website for parking suggestions to ease the search. They also run a free trolley during the summer.

The real attraction here is Monterey Bay itself and the great views from the decks at the Aquarium allow you to spot many local inhabitants. This Aquarium is a real delight. Don’t miss it.

Meet me at the Empire State Building

Category: New York   Published by

King Kong move over. Dangling 1050 feet above New York City at the top of the Empire State Building, I was King of the World. Astonishing views in every direction. Even though the thermometer was hovering around 6 degrees during my visit, I couldn’t feel the cold…much.

The ESB is such a New York City Icon that you must visit. Pick your times because it does get crowded. Since they are open from 8am until 2am, you have many choices but some of the least crowded times are 8am and between 3-5pm. Eveyone goes through security so be prepared. You can bypass the ticket line with advanced purchase but you will have to wait as needed. For an additional $15 you can visit the smaller enclosed 102 Floor observatory (tickets only on site) and gift shops and food are available upstairs.

Despite the cattle call feel at certain points, the experience is terrific and exciting. Bring a good camera and say hello to Kong for me! (If you like the view from above try the Top of the Rock , too.

The Heart of Philadelphia

Category: Philadelphia   Published by

The giant, walk-through heart at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia Pennsylvania is a blast! Where else can you explore massive aortas and walk around circulation systems?

This tribute to Benjamin Franklin includes many of his personal items and encourages hands-on science. Lots of buttons, levers and switches. While much of it is kid-friendly, there is plenty for adults and kids of all ages. They even have a very nice Food Cafe. Travelling exhibits and an IMAX Theater keep the museum fresh while old favorites, like the giant heart, still inspire.

The beautiful memorial statue of Ben Franklin in the rotunda is impressive and sets the tone for invention and exploration. One of my favorite areas is “Sir Isaacs Loft” on the third floor. Here you can discover scientific principles in action and really understand how things work in our world. There is so much to see and do at the Franklin Institute Science Museum that you don’t know where to start. Just dive right in. Ben would be pleased!

St. Augustine Map

Category: St. Augustine   Published by

Old Town Trolley St. Augustine

Stop Locator

  1. Old Jail
  2. Welcome Center
  3. Visitors Information Center
  4. Authentic Old Drugstore
  5. Oldest Wooden School House
  6. Colonial Quarter
  7. Matanzas Bayfront
  8. Hypolita & St. George Street

Hay Adams Hotel

Category: Washington DC   Published by

Just across 16th Street from St. John’s Church at the corner of H Street stands the Hay-Adams Hotel, a small, luxury, Italian Renaissance-style hotel built in 1927. Elegant, and with a distinguished address to match, it has spectacular views of the President’s House, Church of Presidents, and Lafayette Park.

The hotel is named for the men who resided in two massive adjoining Romanesque style homes designed by famed architect H. H. Richardson in 1885, which stood on this site until razed by the hotel developer.

The two men,  John Hay, the engaging Assistant Private Secretary to Abraham Lincoln and later Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt; and writer Henry Adams, descendant of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, were key players in the capital’s social scene in the late 1800s.  Soirees in their fine homes were attended by Washington’s elite – politicians, writers, and artists.

The salon legacy of the Hay and Adams homes continues to this day. The Hay Adams, within sight of the White House, continues to be a favorite of the political connected, literati and glitterati.

Telephone: 202-638-6600

Web: https://www.hayadams.com/

Address: 800 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Directions from Current Location

Decatur House

Category: Washington DC   Published by

Jackson Place, on the west side of Lafayette Park south of H Street is a charming street lined with several 19th century row houses, restored treasures from the capital’s early years. They add a delightful and historic quaintness to the monumental grandness of the President’s neighborhood and have colorful presidential connections.

The Decatur House is one of these. Located at 748 Jackson Place, it’s yet another of Henry Latrobe signature, flat front, elegantly restrained, Federal-style gems.

Built in 1818, it was the first private home on Lafayette Square – and the last. The first owner was Commodore Stephen Decatur, daring naval officer who served with distinction from 1798-1820.  He is best known for his rout of the Barbary pirates in Tripoli harbor in 1804, and for his untimely death by duel.

The last owner, Edward Fitzgerald Beale, from a prominent Washington naval family and a naval officer in his early years, purchased the townhouse in 1872. His service took him to California where he served several presidents as explorer, surveyor and Indian commissioner of the western frontier during the years of the gold rush and the building of the transcontinental railroad.

The residence remained in the Beale family until 1956, when Edward’s daughter-in-law bequeathed the house to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In the years between the Decatur and the Beale ownership, political figures and foreign diplomats lived in the townhouse.  Between 1827 and 1833, it was the residence of several Secretaries of State, including Martin Van Buren, Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson, and later 8th president of the United States.

Throughout its history, the Decatur House has undergone architectural changes, namely during the Beale’s renovation of 1876, the Gilded Age in America. They embellished the reserved Federal interior with ornate Victorian elements, in vogue at the time, and gave lavish parties in the newly added 2nd floor ballroom.  It was the place to be and be seen. Notably, President Ulysses Grant, their neighbor across the park, was a frequent guest.

The historic house is now museum open to the public Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am to 5pm.  The visitor’s entrance is at 1610 H Street.  The interior documents both periods: the Decatur Federal period on the 1st floor; the Beale high Victorian on the 2nd.

Telephone: 202-842-0915

Web: https://www.decaturhouse.org/

Address: 748 Jackson Pl NW, Washington, DC