The United States is a sprawling and diverse country. It’s characterized by epic deserts and sequoias out West and the humid Everglades and Appalachians to the East. The U.S. is also defined by its history and tradition. Exploring towns and cities that embrace this cultural heritage and American spirit is a fantastic way to get to know the country.
On the Trail to Freedom in Boston
The first stop along an Americana tour should undoubtedly bring you to Boston, the site of several pivotal events in the founding of the United States. Nowhere is this more evident than along the beautiful and historic Freedom Trail, which beckons the curious to follow its brick path on a visual tour of locations important to U.S. history.
Boston’s National Historical Park features sites integral to the American Revolution, including Dorchester Heights, a hilltop neighborhood George Washington defended against the British during the Siege of Boston, and the Battle of Bunker Hill monument.
The Home of Two Kings in Memphis
What place does Graceland have on a trip to culturally important locations in America? Graceland is second in tourist visits only to the White House and is the former Memphis, Tennessee, home of one of the most enduring American icons of all time: Elvis Presley. Elvis created a seismic shift in American cultural consciousness with his provocative dance, wild music, and freewheeling lifestyle.
Just up the road from Graceland is the site of another formative American event: Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The Lorraine Motel has been transformed into the focal point of the National Civil Rights Museum surrounding it. Visitors to the museum can embark on an interactive journey through the Civil Rights Movement, which was a watershed period in American history.
American Horsepower in the Midwest
The United States is a massive country spanning nearly 3,000 miles. It’s no wonder one of the most enduring American pastimes is seeing it from the comfort of a recreational vehicle. The RV/MH Hall of Fame is a weird and wonderful RV museum in Elkhart, Indiana, that provides visitors with a history of America’s famed motorhome, along with many display vehicles.
Another essential piece of Americana is the green tractor and golden deer logo of John Deere, known to nearly every American as a symbol of agricultural might. The John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois, takes visitors to the heart of the John Deere story with free displays of the famous tractor and interactive history lessons. The city of Moline itself is loaded with great food and accommodations, making it the perfect stay for visitors to the John Deere Pavilion.
As diverse as the culture in America appears to be, there is a common thread linking all these bits of Americana. It’s the singular path blazed by those who shaped the United States and contributed to its cultural heritage. That heritage is on display for those who want to learn from the great American trailblazers.
Ryan Tyson is a travel writer and mother. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the movies, and outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking.