U.S. Tour 1: Alabama thru Florida

These four U.S. Tour galleries feature 200 cities and locations from across 50 states. They are a sample of this country’s beautiful, historic and fun landmarks shown on Encircle Photos.

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1 Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama

The name Mobile, Alabama, is derived from its first settlers, the Mobila Indians. It was colonized by the French in 1702, followed by the British and then the Spanish before being seized by the United States during the War of 1812. Its prosperity has risen and fallen based on the heath of its cotton, ship building and paper industries. These trades leveraged the city’s position on the Mobile River where their Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center now stands.

1 S Water St, Mobile, AL 36602
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2 Hubbard Glacier Dam Site of Russell Fjord in Alaska

The dark rock on the right is the tip of Gilbert Point. Behind it is the mouth of the 35 mile long Russell Fjord. Twice during the last 30 years, the glacier blocked this opening and made the fiord into a giant lake. When the dam broke in 1986, the gushing water was equivalent to 35 Niagara Falls making it the largest lake outburst in history. Because Hubbard Glacier advances 80 feet a year, a new dam will form in the future. The narrow sheet of ice extending down the center of the photo is Valerie Glacier.

Disenchantment Bay, Alaska
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3 Nugget Falls Cascading into Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska

As the Nugget Glacier melts, forming Nugget Creek, the water rushes down a mountain within the Tongrass National Forest until it plummets 377 feet during two stages into Mendenhall Lake. The result is a spectacular roar of mist. From there, the fresh water joins with the runoff of Mendenhall Glacier and travel towards the Mendenhall River. This eventually empties into the Inside Passage of the Pacific Ocean.

Mendenhall Glacier Interpretive Visitor Center E Glacier Trail, Juneau, AK 99801
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4 Floatplane Taking Off at Sunrise in Ketchikan, Alaska

No roads lead to Ketchikan, Alaska …literally. The only ways in and out are by boat, ferry, commercial plane or a floatplane like this one taking off at sunrise. Most of these seaplanes are used for air tours over the Tongrass National Forest and for transporting fishermen and campers to ideal locations. Local residents also use these single prop taxis as the fastest means to get to neighboring islands.

1245 Tongass Ave Ketchikan, AK 99901
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5 New Eddystone Rock near Ketchikan, Alaska

New Eddystone Rock is a majestic, 237 foot basalt pillar. It was a volcanic vent five million years ago and then shaped by glaciers. The tree-covered tower stands in the Behm Canal between the Revillagigedo Island in the background and an entrance to the Misty Fjords National Monument. It has been a popular sight for visitors since European navigator George Vancouver documented his discovery in 1793.

New Eddystone Rock, Alaska 99901
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6 Malaspina Glacier on Saint Elias Mountains in Alaska

This view of the Malaspina Glacier is at the intersection of the Gulf of Alaska and the entrance to Yakutat Bay. It flows down from the Saint Elias Mountains which peaks at 18,000 feet. This piedmont glacier, which means it remains in a valley and does not reach the water, is the world’s largest. It covers 1,500 square miles and its depth can be 2,000 feet. When just 66 feet of that depth melted between 1980 and 2000, it raised the world’s sea level by a half a percent.

Yakutat Bay, Alaska
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7 Moose Close Up at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, Alaska

Approximately 200,000 moose live in Alaska. This male is in the care of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The AWCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation, education and care of wild animals. Their 200 acre refuge, which is about 50 miles south of Anchorage, provides natural habitat for several species of Alaskan wildlife. It also provides visitors with a close up look at these enormous antlers. The Alaska bull moose averages about 1,400 pounds.

Seward Highway & Portage Glacier Rd, Portage, AK 99587
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8 WP&YR Caboose Platform in Skagway, Alaska

Imagine reading a headline from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1897 that gold has been discovered in the Canadian Klondike. With dreams of riches, you board a steamer, arrive in the Port of Skagway and then learn you must carry at least a ton of supplies through 40 miles of a treacherous mountain pass before boarding another boat at Bennett, British Columbia, for a 70 mile ride down the Yukon River. If you survived your ordeal, you learn that most of the land had been claimed and the gold is gone. This hideous adventure was the inspiration for building the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad.

231 2nd Skagway, AK 99840
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9 Bicyclist with a Band-Aid Mural on Absolute Bikes by Lyle Motley in Flagstaff, Arizona

This mural of a bicyclist with a Band-Aid on his knee and a boy starring from a passing car was voted Best Public Art in the Editor’s Choice Awards by Flagstaff Live in Flagstaff, Arizona. This is a detail of a larger mural on the Absolute Bikes’ building. If you’re interested, it is fun to watch the time-lapse, on-line video of how Lyle Motely created it in 2007.

202 Historic Rte 66, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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10 The South Rim from Yavapai Point at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The word “grand” is inadequate to describe the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Arizona. Carved by the Colorado River and 1.7 billion years of erosion, it extends 277 miles. Although ten miles across, it requires a 250 mile drive around it. This view from Yavapai Point is the shallowest at 2,400 feet. The canyon is 7,800 feet deep at the North Rim. Nearby is the Yavapai Geology Museum where park rangers provide interesting facts using a scaled model of the canyon.

Yavapai Point Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
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11 Entry to the Upper Canyon of Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona

Enjoy a rugged ride across a desert in a four-wheeler driven by a Navajo Nation guide to the Upper Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona. Then, stand in awe at the entrance; it’s a majestic mouth to this Corkscrew Canyon that’s continually carved by wind and flash floods. Inside is a twisting path of narrow fissures where the changing light creates a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. It’s a photographers’ idealistic experience.

Indian Rte 222 and AZ-98, Page, AZ 86040
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12 Swimming Pool at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona

There is a good reason why Phoenix, Arizona, is part of the Valley of the Sun: it averages 85% sunny days and reaches above 100 degrees for over 100 days a year. Its record high is 122. When it’s that hot, a swimming pool is a great respite. That’s why I always stayed at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Hotel. It offers eight pools for cooling off.

11111 N 7th St Phoenix, AZ 85020
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13 Sheet Metal Horse Sculpture and Longhorn Sheep Skull in Scottsdale, Arizona

A consequence of affluent snowbirds flocking to Scottsdale, Arizona, for its warmth, golf, charm and nightlife is very expensive real estate. In Old Town, the streets, façades and art have a Western theme. So, if you’re looking for a horse sculpture or an animal skull with horns, you’ll find it here. The downtown is also filled with shops, bars, restaurants, entertainment and a high-end mall.

3925 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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14 Stagecoaches along Historic Allen Street in Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona’s motto is, “The Town Too Tough to Die.” However, many of its gunned-down, hung and lynched residents are buried in Boot Hill. Also gone forever are the 100 saloons, dozen gambling halls and the busy brothels that once served the pioneer townsfolk. Today, Tombstone replicates the silver boom years of 1879 through early 1880’s. The population of about 1,300 lets tourists experience the Wild Wild West. This includes the chance to ride a stagecoach down Allen Street at the core of the Historic District.

414 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ 85638
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15 Arizona Barrel Cactus Blooming in Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona

It seems logical that Arizona would name a national park after its state flower, the Saguaro Cactus Blossom. Located in Tucson, the 90,000 acre park protects various cactus species. One is the Arizona Barrel Cactus, which blooms with small yellow and orange flowers on the top in the spring. Cars are only allowed in an eight-mile loop. However, there are many hiking trails, assuming you can tolerate the heat.

Signal Hill Picnic Area, Signal Hill Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
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16 Old Pulaski County Courthouse and Stephens Buildings in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and home of the William Clinton Presidential Library. Among its mix of architecture is the 1889 Old Pulaski County Courthouse in a Romanesque Revival style. Attached is the “new” courthouse, built in 1914. Both are still in use. In the background is the Stevens building, a financial services firm.

400 W 2nd St, Little Rock, AR 72201
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17 Bugatti Parked at House of Bijan in Beverly Hills, California

When I first saw this Bugatti, which retails for well over $1 million, my immediate thought was that some people wear different colored shoes to match their outfits but apparently in Beverly Hills you drive a different sports car to match the color of where you shop. I later learned that this is one of several expensive cars that Bijan Pakzard always parked in front of his very, very expensive menswear boutique on Rodeo Drive. He was an Iranian fashion designer for some of the world’s richest and high-profile men.

420 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
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18 Fog along Cliffs, Road and Crashing Surf on Big Sur Coast, California

Big Sur was one of the most inaccessible coastlines in the U.S. until the 90 mile Carmel-San Simeon Highway was finished in 1937. Prisoners labored 18 years to construct this incredible seaside road. Today, you can enjoy its unspoiled natural beauty as California Route 1 twists and turns between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean.

Cabrillo Hwy & Plasket Ridge Rd, Big Sur, California
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19 Minnie Mouse as Stewardess at California Adventure in Anaheim, California

It seemed only fitting that my visit to Disneyland Resort started with a greeting from Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and ended with Minnie Mouse. Here she was singing and dancing in a show called Minnie’s Fly Girls at Candor Flats. Both of these lovable characters first appeared in “Steamboat Willie” that was released in 1928.

Condor Flats, Anaheim, CA 92802
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20 San Diego Skyline from Coronado Island in California

Across from San Diego, California, is Coronado Island. It technically is a peninsula. The locals, who pay a high price for their homes, call it The Strand. Visitors call its beaches beautiful. At Coronado Ferry Landing is an impressive view of the San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline.

1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118
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21 Bruce Willis Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California

Hollywood has always excelled at self-adoration, perhaps best demonstrated by the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It started in 1958 and now has over 2,500, five-pointed stars. Nearly half of the honorees are from motion pictures and only Gene Autry is in all five categories. Approximately ten million people a year walk along Hollywood Boulevard with their heads bowed, looking for their favorite stars. Bruce Willis, the movie action hero, had his pink terrazzo star added in 2006 at 6915 Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

6915 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
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22 La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California

Perhaps one of the finest beaches within San Diego is La Jolla Cove. Although it is small, the water is clear with up to thirty feet of visibility so this Pacific Coast shoreline is a favorite among snorkelers. At the top of the sandstone cliff is the grassy, tree-lined Scripps Park.

1160 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
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23 Angels Flight and Skyscrapers in Los Angeles, California

When the Angels Flight opened in 1901 it had the distinction of being the shortest railroad. Its two cars, Sinai and Olivert, traveled slowly up and down a 33% grade hill for 315 feet. The landmark funicular served for almost 70 years. It was moved a half block in 1996 but, after a series of accidents, it remains closed.

356 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
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24 McAbee Beach Along Monterey Bay in Monterey, California

There are several large and popular beaches in Monterey but I prefer to find the small gems like the sandy shore at McAbee Beach. It is only a quarter acre in size but it is the perfect place for scuba divers, kayakers, families or a solitary stroll. And if you get hungry, it is only a short walk to the restaurants along Cannery Row.

600 Cannery Row Monterey, CA 93940
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25 Clock Over Lionel J. Wilson Building in Oakland, California

The Lionel J. Wilson Building in Oakland, California caught my attention because I love wedge-shaped or triangular buildings. Some believe this style was inspired by the clothes iron (also called flatiron, hence the famous New York City building by that name). When this was built in 1907, it was the First National Bank Building. The clock above the door is exquisite and makes a perfect pigeon perch.

Broadway & 14th St. Oakland, CA 94612
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26 The Lone Cypress at Sunset on 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, California

The Lone Cypress on the 17-Mile Drive is not only a landmark but also the logo for nearby Pebble Beach Golf Links. For about 250 years, this single Monterey cypress has been perched on this granite promontory with a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean.

3220 17 Mile Dr Pebble Beach, CA 93953
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27 Sunset Burst Through Giant Redwoods along U.S. Route 101, Redwood Highway, California

Stretching from Los Angeles to California’s north border is U.S. Route 101. Along a 31 mile route of the old highway and through Redwood National Forest is the Avenue of Giants. Here you will find mammoth coast redwoods. They can be so thick that they drop the temperature and block the sun. Other times the sun peeks through the massive branches as gorgeous bursts of light.

US 101& Hwy 254, Garberville, CA 95542
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28 Gold Colored Tower Bridge and Bicyclist with Yellow Shirt in Sacramento, California

In 1935, California’s first vertical lift bridge was built across the Sacramento River. Originally a yellow color, it was repainted as gold in 2002. Sporting a matching shirt is this bicyclist, one of the many who walk, run and ride across it daily since the sidewalks were widened in 2007.

Tower Bridge Gateway, Sacramento, CA 95814
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29 Woman Surfer Riding A Wave in San Clemente, California

The waves along San Clemente’s beaches are so popular among surfers that the city has become a hub for several surfing publications and equipment manufactures. And as you’d expect, several famous surfers were raised riding these swells on the Pacific Ocean.

225 Avenida Califia, San Clemente, CA 92672
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30 California Bell Tower at Balboa Park in San Diego, California

The 200 foot California Bell Tower’s cupola and lantern is accented with a starburst tile design that is so exquisite that it has become an iconic symbol of San Diego. This three-tier, Spanish and Mexican tower welcomes visitors that enter Balboa park through the El Prado entrance. The California Building was created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and houses the anthropology Museum of Man.

1350 El Prado San Diego, CA 92101
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31 Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is unquestionably the most recognizable suspension bridge in the world. Since 1937, most people walked along Crissy Field near Fort Point in Presidio park to get this view. Or they drove, walked or rode a bike across the nearly 9,000 foot length. But in 2012 the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion opened. It offers a splendid observation area, bike and walking paths plus educational exhibits.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA 94129
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32 Bell Wall Next to Serra’s Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano in California

Serra’s Chapel on the left was constructed in 1782 making it California’s oldest building. The four bells, named the San Vicente, San Juan, San Antonio and San Rafael, used to hang from a campanile in the Great Stone Church until the tower was destroyed in an 1812 earthquake leaving the ruins on the right. The Bell Wall in the middle was built the following year to hold the bells but they were replaced in 2000 with reproductions created from the original molds.

31641 El Camino Real San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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33 Casa del Sol at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California

In the middle of the grand staircase in front of Casa del Sol is an elegant fountain that is capped with a reproduction of the David statue that was originally created by Italian sculptor Donatello circa 1440. This Spanish Revival guest house is named for its view of the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. There are eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms and three fireplaces within its 3,620 square feet.

Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452
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34 Walton Lighthouse on Breakwater in Santa Cruz, California

The Walton Lighthouse stands 60 feet above the waters of Monterey Bay at the mouth of the Small Craft Harbor in Santa Cruz. It was named after its major benefactor, Charles Walton. He donated the construction money in memory of his brother Derek who died at sea during WWII. This is the fourth light that has aided marine navigation at the Santa Cruz Harbor since 1964.

616 Atlantic Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062
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35 Horse and Buggy, Wheeler Opera House and Fountain in Aspen, Colorado

In 1879, one of the early partners of today’s Macy’s department store was Jerome Wheeler. Twenty years later, this Romanesque revival opera house was built in his honor in Aspen, Colorado. The fountain also bears his name because of his significant investments in the area during the late 19th century. The horse and buggy stands between the two landmarks.

320 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
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36 Old Buckingham Library Now University of Colorado Theater in Boulder, Colorado

A magazine ranked Boulder, Colorado, as the happiest U.S. city. One reason may be their annual naked pumpkin run and marijuana 4:20 events. The latter occurs on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. It is an excellent school with a gorgeous blend of modern and historic facilities. One example is the old Buckingham Library. When it opened in 1904, the facility had 30,000 volumes managed by librarian Alfred Whitaker. The building is now the University Theater.

261 UCB, Boulder, CO 80302
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37 Grand View Overlook of Monoliths at Colorado National Monument, Colorado

One spectacular panorama of Independence Monument is from the Grand View Overlook. Only the golden eagles and red-tail hawks have a better view of these towering monoliths. You have 801 people to thank for this scenic drive. The first was William Taft. The president leveraged the Antiquates Act in 1911 to make these 20,500 acres a national monument. The other 800 men created the Rim Rock Drive. The laborious project began during the Depression. It took 18 years to complete by 1950. Colorado National Monument is listed by the U. S. National Register of Historic Places.

Grand View, Rim Rock Dr, Grand Junction, CO 81507
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38 Denver City Cable Railway Chimney and 1800 Larimer Office Tower in Denver, Colorado

In 1889, the first electronic street railway was introduced in Colorado by Denver Tramway. Their main competitor, The Denver City Cable Railway, built a cable car power plant with its iconic chimney the same year. However, their old technology was no match and they went bankrupt within a few years. Behind it is the 22 story 1800 Larimer Office Tower, one of Denver’s newest high-rise buildings. It opened in 2010 and houses Xcel Energy.

1800 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202
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39 Bighorn Sheep Grazing in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado

The best way to sample the 415 square miles and 60 mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is by driving along the Trail Ridge Road (Highway 34). If you are adventurous, consider walking some of the 350 miles of trails. The lowlands are covered by lush grasslands and forests until they reach the tree line at 11,500 feet. The tallest mountain is Longs Peak at 14,259 feet. Along the way, you might see a herd of grazing bighorn sheep.

Trail Ridge Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517
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40 Old Malta Little Red Schoolhouse and Rocky Mountains near Leadville, Colorado

Leadville is noted for its high elevation (over 10,000 feet), the start of Colorado’s Silver Boom and the death of Buffalo Bill Cody. Just after leaving the “Two-Mile-High City’s” historic district and before reaching Malta, you are treated to this picturesque scene. In the background of this abandoned, little red school house is Mount Massive. At 14,428 feet, it is the Rocky Mountains’ second highest peak.

11234 US-24, Leadville, CO 80461
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41 Gore Creek Running through Vail, Colorado

Serious snow skiers eventually make a run to Vail, Colorado. It started as a village in 1996, four years after the Vail Ski Resort opened. It is now the largest ski area in North America. Also running through this town is Gore Creek. Its stony bed drains part of the Rocky Mountains and joins the Eagle River just after its trip through Vail.

S Frontage Rd E & Vail Valley Dr, Vail, CO 81657
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42 Downtown Hartford, Connecticut

At 38, Mark Twain moved to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1873 until he died in 1910. During this time, Hartford and the neighboring areas began emerging as the, “Insurance Capital of the World.” They financially protect people from Twain’s quote, “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” During my consulting career, I spent a lot of time visiting these companies. In the middle of this Main Street view of downtown is Center Church with its gorgeous steeple and columns. Also called First Church, it was built in 1807.

Atheneum Sq & Main St, Hartford, CT 06183
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43 Governor’s Victorian Guest House called Hall House in Dover, Delaware

Although built in 1790, Woodburn did not become the Delaware governor’s mansion in Dover until 1965. Residents include several ghosts, like Charles Hillyard, the original owner. He’s been seen drinking wine next to the fireplace. Other supernatural sightings have occurred outside, including a young girl and a slave keeper. So watch for them as you walk by this Victorian Guest House, which is called Hall House. It was built in 1887.

151 Kings Hwy SW, Dover, DE 19901
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44 Wilmington Public Library Built in 1922 in Wilmington, Delaware

Rodney Square is the historical center of Wilmington, Delaware. It was built in 1922 by three Du Pont cousins when they also purchased and reorganized the DuPont Company. A year later, the Wilmington Public Library was built in a Beaux-Arts style. I was intrigued to see the row of staring owls and terracotta, Egyptian-looking sphinx carvings of half woman and lion with wings that adorned the classic Greek Ionic columns.

10 E 10th St, Wilmington, DE 19801
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45 Museum of Art & History in Key West, Florida

This red brick building along Front Street was the Custom House when it was built in 1891. It also served as a post office and district courthouse. The U.S. Navy acquired the property in 1932 but later abandoned it for almost two decades. After a $9 million restoration of this Richardsonian Romanesque landmark, it reopened as the Key West Museum of Art & History.

281 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
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46 Downtown Miami Skyline View from Virginia Key, Florida

Miami’s tall buildings that stretch along Brickell Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard on the coast are a mix of commercial and residential, making it the third most populous downtown in the U.S. If you want tranquility, drive west on the Rickenbacker Causeway towards Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. The beaches and parks there are gorgeous, subdued and family oriented.

3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
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47 Mango’s Tropical Cafe South Beach Neon Sign in Miami Beach, Florida

Look up nightlife in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of South Beach, Florida. Rumored to have the most female models per square mile, it blisters with action day and night. Fancy cars cruise along Ocean Drive while watching the bikinis on the beach and the fancy clothes in front of the art deco buildings. At night, the music and dancing reach a feverish pitch in the bars and clubs. And your nightlife itinerary should include a stop at Mango’s Tropical Café for some chicken wings while soaking up the dance music and shows.

900 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
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48 Universal Orlando Resort Entrance Sign in Orlando, Florida

Orlando Florida became synonymous with theme parks in 1971 when Walt Disney World opened. Universal Entertainment and The Blackstone Group cemented this reputation by starting Universal Studios Florida in 1990 and Islands of Adventures nine years later. They made another splash by acquiring Wet ‘n Wild in 1998. There are also three hotels and the CityWalk in Universal Orlando Resort. The Universal name on a circling globe is their logo and the entrance to the Universal Studios Florida park.

Universal Studios Globe, 2 Plaza of the Stars, Orlando, FL 32819
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49 Rear Façade of Ringling Mansion in Sarasota, Florida

If this rear façade of the Ca’ d’Zan looks similar to the Ducal Palace in Venice, then you have a good eye for Veneto-Byzantine architecture because John Ringling wanted his winter residence to look just like a palazzo along the Grand Canal. Its 1,000 foot length is beautifully appointed with Byzantine and Moorish elements and covered with terra cotta and glazed titles. The terrace is a marble mosaic in an array of colors. It leads to the waterfront of Sarasota Bay where Mr. Ringling often docked his yacht, the Zalophus.

5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
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50 Ponce de León Hall at Flager College in St. Augustine, Florida

The Ponce de León Hotel was built for $2.5 million in 1887 by Henry Flager who was co-founder of Standard Oil. This 10,000 square foot courtyard and garden was the entry for the massive 4.5 acre building. It had 540 rooms with electricity constructed by Thomas Edison. It was the centerpiece of Flager’s vision to transform St. Augustine into a luxury resort area. His dream was never fully realized. But perhaps it has for the female students at Flager College who now use this magnificent building as a dormitory.

74 King St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
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