It is no secret that Hollywood, the Los Angeles neighborhood synonymous with the motion picture industry, has faced tough times in recent years. Hollywood Boulevard, world-famous for the entertainment industry luminaries who are immortalized with stars embossed on its sidewalks, sadly became a haven for runaways, prostitutes and drug dealers over the last 30 years, while its seediness was reinforced by the large number of deserted storefronts. While Hollywood has not enjoyed the complete transformation that Times Square has, there are definite signs of progress.
Palm Springs gained its initial fame as a 1930s getaway for the rich and famous of the film world. Among the prominent streets in the area are Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers and Gene Autry Drives. Celebrities who arrived later to the area but have also been honored with major thoroughfares named after them are Frank Sinatra and Gerald Ford.
Long Beach, California has never received the glamor or due which its sister Southern California shore cities have. Because of the Pacific Ocean breaker walls installed by the US Navy in the 1940s which keep big waves from coming onto its shores, it was not immortalized in the Beach Boys’ 1963 tribute hit to Southern California beach paradises, “Surfin’ USA.” Its numerous oil derricks just offshore made its otherwise beautiful pristine sand not as visually appealing as say Santa Monica or Malibu.
Located 100 miles southeast of Phoenix is Arizona’s second largest city, Tucson. Tucson has experienced a population growth spurt just as Phoenix has but it has done a better job of maintaining an old-time western feel. There are very few tall buildings and the city’s downtown still has ample parking space and plenty of leafy recreation areas.
If you are looking for a long weekend destination that has not yet been overrun by tourists, Pennsylvania’s capital city makes for an ideal getaway. Harrisburg is marketing itself as “The Heart of Pennsylvania.” While that may not be 100% true based on Keystone State geography, the slogan makes sense because it is so accessible to more well known destinations. Lancaster (Pennsylvania Dutch Country), Gettysburg, Reading (home of the nation’s first manufacturer’s outlet mall) and Hershey are all within a half-hour car ride of Harrisburg. Lodging in Harrisburg is also less expensive than at comparable properties in the aforementioned places.
If your attitude towards Orlando is “been there, done that” because you visited all of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios then you are making a very big mistake because the city of Orlando and its neighboring areas offer many things besides monolithic theme parks for vacationers to enjoy. The best part is that most of these other attractions cost a fraction of what a day at Disney or Universal will.
Florida’s Emerald Coast region is the 60-mile section of the state’s panhandle section ranging from Fort Walton Beach on the west to Panama City Beach on the east. The emerald refers to the sparkling bright green waters of the neighboring Gulf of Mexico. Those waters, which are often even a more incredibly clear aquamarine color, combined with sugary white sand that is derived from pure quartz, have made these beaches arguably the most beautiful in the United States and rival those of the Caribbean.
During Super Bowl XXXVII, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were routing the Oakland Raiders, ABC announcer Al Michaels tried to make a distinction between Tampa the city vis-à-vis Tampa Bay. Michaels emphasized that Tampa Bay was a body of water but he failed to mention that the term really refers to the area surrounding Tampa, most notably its cross-bay rival, St. Petersburg.
Most state capital cities tend to be drab places (think of Albany and Trenton) but happily that is certainly not the situation with Wisconsin’s capital, Madison, which makes a strong case for being the hippest such town in America.
Shopping is always stressful. Even though the advent of the Internet has theoretically reduced the need to battle it out at the mall, the age-old question of what to get someone has not changed. Here are some conventional and some offbeat gift ideas.