Articles

Michael Schuman has been writing freelance travel professionally for over 30 years. He has won 14 North American Travel Journalists Awards (NATJA) for excellence in travel journalism. He is also the author of 45 books; a total of 7 are travel guidebooks or destination profile books. You can learn more about Michael and his work on his website: www.michaelschuman.com.

There’s More to Las Vegas than Casinos…

Casinos?

Ca’seen them.

Yes, the megalith casinos keep getting bigger and bigger and they will likely always be the top draw for Vegas visitors. But when you are suffering from casino fatigue, and can’t take even one minute more of the atmosphere of smoke, sweat and desperation, take a look inside any of three museums that cry out “Vegas” but have nothing – okay, let’s say little – to do with casinos.

 

The Mob

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

There they are, on full display in front of you: George Washington’s legendary false teeth, looking more like Johnny Rotten’s. The uppers aren’t that worse for wear, but the lowers have gaps that one could drive a truck through. But they are not made of wood as many believe. The first president’s choppers were crafted from the combination of elephant ivory, human teeth, and cow teeth.

Despite the shoddy state of the stained dentures, Washington …

A Pilgrimage to Bob Dylan’s Minnesota

How does it feel?

A little breezy, actually. Standing on a modest hilltop overlooking the Hull-Rust open pit iron mine, where Bob Dylan, then Bob Zimmerman, used to ride his bicycle with his friends, it is easy to see how his youth in Hibbing, Minnesota influenced Dylan’s work. This endless iron mine pit is the largest in the world. Locals refer to it as the man-made Grand Canyon.

When it was determined about a century …

20 Years After Terror Attack, Oklahoma City Museum Undergoes Expansion

A lot has happened since the pictures of devastation from the usually quiet municipality of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA made headlines 20 years ago. Heart-wrenching images of a bombed office building and broken bodies, the kind we are used to seeing from the Middle East and not the American Midwest, were on television screens and in newspapers in parts of the world that never knew Oklahoma City existed. The date was April 19, 1995. The …

Happy 100th Birthday to San Diego’s Famed Balboa Park

A century ago, the world came to San Diego – an amazing feat, considering that much of the world did not know San Diego existed. The occasion was the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Its purpose was to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.

In 1915, San Diego, today the eighth largest city in the United States, was Lilliputian with a population of roughly 32,000. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles had a few hundred thousand …

Where the Mississippi River is Born

The Mississippi River. The blues and jazz and paddle wheelers, poker-faced riverboat gamblers, Tom Sawyer and the Big Mo, and music meccas New Orleans, Memphis and St. Louis.

Not here. Not in Minnesota, especially north-central Minnesota. The mighty Mississippi isn’t so mighty in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Up north, it’s pretty humble.

One can walk across the Headwaters of the Mississippi, where Lake Itasca morphs into the nascent river. It’s not exactly a trickle …

This is how to experience Niagara Falls

The worst thing one can do at Niagara Falls is to simply stop and look at the falls.

Niagara Falls might be an iconic North American destination, but there is so much to do here than stand and watch. The best way to experience Niagara Falls is to explore the scenery, to become part of it, to meet nature head on. If you don’t get wet here, you haven’t gotten your time or money’s worth …

What Makes New York New York?

The purists howled over a decade ago when New York City was accused of Disneyfying Times Square. The funk and grit were replaced by family fare, but with the changes came a friendlier New York. Cab drivers volunteered to be less abrasive. Visitors are less likely to encounter muggers. Signs warn of $350 fines for unnecessary car horn blowing.

For those of you who have never been to New York City, or who have not …