Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. Strength to Love, 1963.

National Park Service sites will have free admission for everyone on Monday, January 18, 2021, as the first fee free day of the year in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

The National Park Service offers opportunities across the country to honor this important person.

In Georgia, there is the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park. In this location, you can walk through his neighborhood of Atlanta where he had his birthplace, home, church, and burial site. 

In Alabama, there’s the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. Here you can retrace the steps of the 1965 Voting Rights March led by Dr. King on this 45-mile long trail.

In Alabama, there is also the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. At this national monument, you can visit places where Dr. King and his fellow activists coordinated for civil rights.

In Washington DC, there’s the Lincoln Memorial. Here you can stand where Dr. King gave his famous “I have a Dream” speech.

Also in Washington DC, you can visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The memorial honors Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice.

Since travel isn’t an option for many of us right now, you can also participate in a Zoom to get a virtual tour of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park on Monday, January 18, 2021 at 6pm. This program is free and open to the public. Click here for the Zoom information.

Take time on this Monday to honor and celebrate this great man. Educate yourself and act.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Letter from Birmingham, Alabama jail, April 16, 1963.

12 Year Old Me

When the box arrived from the shop, Books and Books @ The Studios of Key West, I couldn’t wait to open it!

Yes, it had books in it. But, not just any books.

I opened the box carefully. I’m pretty sure that I eeped or yelped a bit.

I took the books out. Three books looked back up at me. I ordered two books for my daughter and one for me.

I slowly opened the book for me first.

The little girl in me glowed after seeing this page! Growing up, I loved reading Judy Blume books! Her writing and topics created a movement. The characters stay with you over time. She has also inspired me as a writer.

I can’t wait to share that inspiration and these two books below with my daughter.

A great way to end 2020!

Thank you to Judy Blume and to Books and Books @ The Studios of Key West!

Muir Woods National Monument

Happy 113th anniversary to Muir Woods National Monument!

On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt created the Muir Woods National Monument in California named after conservationist John Muir. Muir Woods became the 7th National Monument and was the first one created from land donated by a private individual.

Did you know that the first movement to save Muir Woods was organized by women? Check out this link for a short video about it.

Muir Woods is a great place to see some amazing redwood trees, check out the history here, and take in a few hikes. I highly recommend that you check out Muir Woods National Monument!

Check out their website before heading there to see any restrictions and closures going on now.

Happy 113th!

Let’s Go!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see an island again. I dream about sandy beaches and waves coming in and out. I dream about the salty air. I dream about the clear, blue skies. I dream about the warm breeze.

Well, I decided to take this dream and go virtual! It’s not 2020 anymore, but we still can’t travel yet. So, here I go. Come with me! I’m traveling to the Virgin Islands National Park! Virtually!

Did you know that 2/3 of the St. John Island of the Virgin Islands is a national park? Virgin Islands National Park is more than just beautiful beaches. You can hike to plantation ruins to learn about a time when sugar dominated the island or visit the ancient petroglyphs carved by the Taino Indians. This area has a lot of interesting history here.

Click on this link and let’s check it out!

NPS Photo/Susanna Pershern

Enjoy your journey with me virtually to the Virgin Islands National Park! Hope it gave you a feeling of escape for a few minutes. I know that I needed it!

Happy New Year!

May your 2021 be as amazing as these places!

Crater Lake National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Sequoia National Park

As 2020 closes, I am very grateful for many things! In particular, I really appreciate your following this blog! Thank you!

Happy New Year! Cheers to 2021!

Nation’s Christmas Tree

President Calvin Coolidge designated the General Grant in Kings Canyon National Park as the Nation’s Christmas Tree on April 28, 1926 after a little girl exclaimed, “what a wonderful Christmas tree it would be!” back in 1924 while looking up at it.

Colonel John White, longtime Park Superintendent, expressed the feeling that brings people here year after year, “We are gathered here around a tree that is worthy of representing the spirit of America on Christmas Day. That spirit is best expressed in the plain things of life, the love of the family circle, the simple life of the out-of-doors. The tree is a pillar that is a testimony that things of the spirit transcend those of the flesh.”

May this special spirit be with you these holidays!

White House

Happy 228th anniversary to the White House!

Construction started on this iconic building back 228 years ago in Washington DC. Every President except George Washington has resided here since 1800. The White House stands about 55,000 square feet, six floors, and has 132 rooms.

At various times in history, the White House has been known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” and the “Executive Mansion.” President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.

“I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has.” ~Abraham Lincoln, August 22, 1864

Happy 228th!

Dinosaur National Monument

Happy 105th anniversary to Dinosaur National Monument!

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A few years ago, we planned a vacation to Colorado and we planned on driving from California to Colorado. At the time, our son loved dinosaurs! I mean really loved them and even talked about growing up to become a paleontologist! After some discussions and checking out the routes, we decided to stop by this national monument and check it out.

We really enjoyed this national monument! Our son loved seeing real dinosaur fossils!

From the Quarry Visitor Center, we took a shuttle up to the Quarry Exhibit Hall.

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In this hall, you can see approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones! There are even some places where you can touch them!

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Our future paleontologist loved this national monument! IMG_4997

Beyond the dinosaurs, there is much more to do in the monument. For example, you can check out carvings in the rocks, called petroglyphs, left by the Fremont people nearly 1,000 years ago. You can also take a hike, go camping, go fishing, or watch wildlife like elk or bighorn sheep there.

Definitely check out this national monument if you’re in the Utah or Colorado area.

To celebrate this anniversary or if you can’t wait to visit there, click here and check out their Junior Ranger activity book. 

National Trails System Act

The National Trails System Act created the National Trails System back today in 1968.  The Act created national trails to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of trails while encouraging greater public access.

The Act established four classes of trails: national scenic trails, national historic trails, national recreation trails, and side or connecting trails.

The first two national scenic trails established under the Act were the Appalachian and the Pacific Crest trails. These two trails cover almost 5,000 miles between the two trails and go through some of our nation’s most beautiful areas.

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Today, the system consists of 30 National Scenic and Historic Trails and over 1,000 National Recreation Trail and two connecting-and-side trails, with a total length of more than 50,000 miles.

I love maps, so had to share one! Click here for a map of all the trails in the system.

To celebrate this 52nd anniversary, go and get out on a trail today!

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Yosemite turns 130!

Happy 130th anniversary to Yosemite National Park!

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In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the legislation creating the nation’s third national park. The establishment of Yosemite National Park preserved over 1,500 square miles of land.

Yosemite National Park is located in central California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Yosemite ignites many images when you say its name. It’s hard not to picture the iconic Half Dome or Yosemite Falls. You can also find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.

This park has some cool history facts here too. For one, America’s first female park ranger in the National Park Service came from Yosemite National Park. I highlighted Clare Marie Hodges in this blog post here.

Yosemite has a long history with junior rangers. It had a Junior Nature School that was organized in June 1930 and went until 1954. Could you pass a 1933 junior ranger test?  The national park service has one on their website. Try it here.

Definitely put Yosemite National Park on your bucket list of places to visit and check out the cool landscapes and history at this national park! As of now, you need reservations to visit here, so make sure to check out their website.

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