U.S. Tour 2: Colorado – Illinois

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Horse and Buggy at Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado - Encircle Photos

1 Horse and Buggy at Wheeler Opera House 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, waiting to show tourists the local sites.

320 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
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Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado - Encircle Photos

2 Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado is nestled in the Rocky Mountain’s eastern slope at an elevation of 5,430 feet. The metro population of this affluent yet laidback community is over 300,000. The majority of residents are under 50 years old. Boulder’s epicenter is The Pearl Street Mall between 11th and 15th Streets. This pedestrian-only section of downtown features plenty of boutique shops plus restaurants and entertainment. The four-block street has come a long way since it was established in the mid-19th century to supply gold prospectors and hunters plus served as their winter camp.

Broadway & Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
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Grand View Overlook of Monoliths at Colorado National Monument, Colorado - Encircle Photos

3 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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Big Blue Bear Sculpture Peering into Convention Center in Denver, Colorado - Encircle Photos

4 Big Blue Bear Sculpture Peering into Convention Center in Denver, Colorado

“I See What You Mean” is the name of this 40 foot blue bear peeking through the window into the lobby of the Denver Convention Center in Colorado. After the steel and fiberglass structure by Lawrence Argent was installed in 2005, it quickly became iconic. This unique artwork is guaranteed to make you smile if not outright laugh.

700 14th St, Denver, CO 80202
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Bighorn Sheep Grazing in Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado - Encircle Photos

5 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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Introduction to Independence Pass, Colorado - Encircle Photos

6 Introduction to Independence Pass, Colorado

Independence Pass is a 32-mile Scenic and Historic Byway located less than 20 miles either side of Leadville in the east and Aspen in the west. Highway 82 winds among glacier-formed valleys and snow-capped mountains. You will drive by gorgeous scenes like this one near Leadville. This is Twin Lakes with Mount Elbert in the background (Colorado’s tallest peak at 14,400 feet). Between the San Isabell and White River National Forests is the 12,095 summit of Independence Pass. Here you will stand at the top of the Continental Divide. This fabulous road is typically open from Memorial Day through early November. However, check U. S. Forest Service bulletins before you go.

6285 Co Rd 10 Twin Lakes, CO 81251
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Old Malta Little Red Schoolhouse and Rocky Mountains near Leadville, Colorado - Encircle Photos

7 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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Gore Creek Running through Vail, Colorado - Encircle Photos

8 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. Vail 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 flowing through Vail.

S Frontage Rd E & Vail Valley Dr, Vail, CO 81657
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Downtown Hartford in Connecticut - Encircle Photos

9 Downtown Hartford in Connecticut

In 1873, Mark Twain moved to Hartford, Connecticut, at the age of 38. He remained a resident until he died in 1910. During this time, Hartford and the neighboring areas began emerging as the, “Insurance Capital of the World.” The companies financially protected people from Twain’s quote, “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” 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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Governor’s Victorian Guest House in Dover, Delaware - Encircle Photos

10 Governor’s Victorian Guest 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 has 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 these shadowy figures as you walk by this Victorian Guest House called Hall House. The property was built in 1887.

151 Kings Hwy SW, Dover, DE 19901
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Wilmington Public Library in Wilmington, Delaware - Encircle Photos

11 Wilmington Public Library in Wilmington, Delaware

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

10 E 10th St, Wilmington, DE 19801
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Little Hickory Island Beach Park in Bonita Springs, Florida - Encircle Photos

12 Little Hickory Island Beach Park in Bonita Springs, Florida

Little Hickory Island Beach Park is at the northern end of a very narrow key by the same name. On the west side of Hickory Boulevard is access to this popular sandy-white beach lined with condominiums … and people. You will find basic facilities here like restrooms and picnic tables. Just across the road are great views of the Broaduay Channel which is part of Estero Bay. And if you travel north along Estero Boulevard, also called SR 865, you will pass several small islands and state parks. It is a very scenic drive.

26000 Hickory Blvd Bonita Springs, FL 34134
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Marina along Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida - Encircle Photos

13 Marina along Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida

The Manatee River has always been an important part of Bradenton’s history. It started with the Native Americans before the arrival of Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. During the 1850s, it was a critical source for transporting sugarcane that was produced by local plantations. Its first pier, now called the Memorial Pier, was built in 1878. Today, this waterfront along the western edge of downtown is home to the Twin Dolphin Marina and perched seagulls.

1400 1st Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205
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Jungle Queen Riverboat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Encircle Photos

14 Jungle Queen Riverboat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Since 1935, the Jungle Queen Riverboat has delighted tourists with dinner and show cruises or a 90 minute sightseeing excursion along the New River. Other options to see Fort Lauderdale’s waterways are kayak tours and water taxis. As you would expect from an area whose nickname is “Venice of America,” you can also experience a ride in a gondola.

801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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Couple Walking in Times Square at Fort Myers Beach, Florida - Encircle Photos

15 Couple Walking in Times Square at Fort Myers Beach, Florida

This young couple was having a romantic afternoon walking hand-in-hand along the pedestrian-only area called Times Square at Fort Myers Beach, Florida. Now don’t go thinking about the NYC version. This district is only a few blocks long. But the promenade is packed with quaint shops, restaurants and a very active nightlife. You will probably also be entertained by street performers in strange outfits plus talented musicians. And if you get too warm, then head toward the surf. The beach is only a few steps away.

1021 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
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Key West Lighthouse in Key West, Florida - Encircle Photos

16 Key West Lighthouse in Key West, Florida

The first lighthouse at Key West was erected in 1825. A devastating hurricane destroyed it in 1846. Two years later, it was replaced by the current light and then extended to a height of 73 feet in 1894. The widow of the first keeper, Barbara Mabrity, maintained the light for 38 years. She was fired at the age of 82 for her outspoken opinions about the Civil War. Members of the Mabrity family worked here for over 85 years! The Key West Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1969 and is now a museum. Walking up the 88 steps provides a wonderful view of the historic district.

938 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
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Mango’s Cafe Sign at South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida - Encircle Photos

17 Mango’s Cafe Sign at South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida

Look up nightlife in the dictionary and you will see a picture of South Beach. Rumored to have the most female models per square mile, this famous Florida playground blisters with action day and night. Fancy cars cruise along Ocean Drive. Their drivers ogle the bikinis on the beach and admire the fancy clothes in front of the Art Deco buildings. After sunset, the music and dancing reach a feverish pitch in the bars and clubs. Your nightlife itinerary should include a stop at Mango’s Tropical Café. Munch on some chicken wings while soaking up the dance music and shows.

900 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
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The Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida - Encircle Photos

18 The Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida

The Metropolis Building was the home of The Miami News from 1925 through 1957. In 1962, the U.S. government converted the yellow high-rise into the Cuban Assistance Center. The facility provided aid and assistance for those seeking asylum from Fidel Castro’s regime. Freedom Flights flew refugees to Miami five days a week from 1965 until 1973. Over 100,000 Cubans were processed in this landmark called The Freedom Tower. Now it is an art museum on the Miami Dade College campus in downtown Miami.

600 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
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Man Fishing during Gulf Coast Sunset in Naples, Florida - Encircle Photos

19 Man Fishing during Gulf Coast Sunset in Naples, Florida

Naples has so many wonderful features including beautiful sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. This older gentleman was basking in its golden glow while fishing. When I asked him if he was having any luck he said, “If you mean fishing then no, I haven’t caught anything in days. But I am incredibly lucky to be living here.”

29 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida - Encircle Photos

20 Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida

Cinderella Castle is the Magic Kingdom’s most iconic building. Its Romanesque Revival design is modeled after the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. That famous schloss was built for Ludwig II in 1886. Author Charles Perrault’s late 17th century tale “Cendrillon” (or “The Little Glass Slipper”) laid the groundwork for Disney’s 1950 animated film “Cinderella.” The folktale is about a young girl who suffers forced servitude by her stepfamily until rescued by a handsome prince.

Castle Stage, Fantasyland, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier at Sunset in Florida - Encircle Photos

21 Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier at Sunset in Florida

Pensacola Beach, Florida, is on the long and narrow Santa Rosa Island facing the Gulf of Mexico. The pure, white sand is so fine that it drifts across the single road like a snow storm. Perhaps this makes winter vacationers less homesick. On Casino Beach along Fort Pickens Road you will find a beautiful fishing pier. The platform is almost 1,500 feet long. It was built in 1998 with concrete pilings to replace the old wooden one that was destroyed by a hurricane. This is a delightful place to fish, go for a walk, enjoy the marine life or, best of all, grab a bench and watch the sunset. Spectacular!

41 Fort Pickens Rd, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561
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Great Horned Owl in Punta Gorda, Florida - Encircle Photos

22 Great Horned Owl in Punta Gorda, Florida

Since 1978, the Peace River Wildlife Center has been a non-profit organization dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation in Punta Gorda. Each year the PRWC rescues and treats about 2,000 birds and animals. Most of them are returned to the wild. However, some become permanent residents like Annie, a common great horned owl. Admission to their facility at Ponce de Leon Park is free. The way this raptor stared at me with those enormous and acute yellow eyes was a real hoot.

3400 Ponce de Leon Pkwy, Punta Gorda, FL 33950
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Rear Façade of Ringling Mansion in Sarasota, Florida - Encircle Photos

23 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. John Ringling wanted his winter residence to look like a palazzo along the Grand Canal. The 1,000 foot building is beautifully appointed with Byzantine and Moorish elements and covered with terracotta 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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Ponce de León Hall at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida - Encircle Photos

24 Ponce de León Hall at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida

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

74 King St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
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Boy Fishing in North Yacht Basin in St. Petersburg, Florida - Encircle Photos

25 Boy Fishing in North Yacht Basin in St. Petersburg, Florida

This little boy is fishing from a concrete wall at the edge of the North Yacht Basin. The waterway is a harbor of Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. Behind him is the large, tree-lined and relaxing North Straub Park. The public greenspace stretches for almost a half mile. It is the perfect place to sit on a bench and watch the boats in the marina or enjoy a bagged lunch. If this itinerary is too subdued for you, then come back for their scheduled movies and live concerts.

400 Bay Shore Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee, Florida - Encircle Photos

26 Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee, Florida

Although inhabited since 12,000 BC, Florida’s recorded history began in 1513 with the arrival of Ponce de León. It had periods of Spanish and British rule before becoming a US territory in 1822, the 27th state on March 3, 1845, and a Confederate State between 1861 and 1868. These are among the historical events told inside the Historic Capitol. It was built in 1845 and expanded twice in 1902 and 1923 before becoming a 21 room museum in 1982. Its pristine white columns and Victorian architecture plus red and white awnings stand across a courtyard from the 22 story Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee.

400 S Monroe St, Tallahassee, FL 32399
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Tampa Riverwalk Near Downtown Tampa, Florida - Encircle Photos

27 Tampa Riverwalk Near Downtown Tampa, Florida

The Hillsborough River flows for almost 60 miles before emptying into Tampa Bay. The best way to see some of its prettiest scenery is to stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk. This pedestrian walkway will take you along downtown, through parts of the arts district and next to several parks. You will also see several statues and busts of local historic figures. Eventually this beautiful trail will extend about 2.5 miles. The two towers in the background are the Bank of America and Rivergate. The latter is commonly called the Beercan Building.

100 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
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International Space Station Mural at Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida - Encircle Photos

28 International Space Station Mural at Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida

In the 1960s, the space race had only two serious contenders. Now, the International Space Station is a cooperative effort among the U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and some European countries. When this marvel of technology was launch in 1998, it was assembled in outer space similar to a giant Erector Set. The satellite is expected to be operational until 2028. This mural is painted on the Exploration Space Building at Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida.

Kennedy Space Center, Visitor Complex, SR 405 Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
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Westin Peachtree Plaza and Street Clock in Atlanta, Georgia - Encircle Photos

29 Westin Peachtree Plaza and Street Clock in Atlanta, Georgia

When it opened in 1976, The Westin Peachtree Plaza was not only the tallest building in Atlanta but also the tallest hotel in the world at 73 stories. Although it lost both distinctions, it still is an impressive glass cylinder. On the right is 191 Peachtree Tower. Within a short distance of this clock are the headquarters of CNN, Coca Cola, UPS, AT&T, Delta, Rubbermaid and Home Depot.

127 Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
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Chart House Restaurant in the Historic Warehouse District of Savannah, Georgia - Encircle Photos

30 Chart House Restaurant in the Historic Warehouse District of Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia’s 22 squares feel like a walk through early America. Equally fun is the Historic Warehouse District. The area serves heaping portions of Southern hospitality, charm and cuisine all day. When the mood lights come on at night, it provides a romantic dinner setting overlooking the Savannah River. An example is the Chart House restaurant. This was a cotton and sugar warehouse when it opened in 1790.

202 W Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
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Boiling Pots in Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

31 Boiling Pots in Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Two neighboring volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, have taken turns sending hot, molten lava across the Island of Hawaii. At the Boiling Pots, the Wailuku River bubbles, churns and cascades over basalt lava beds, through ancient tubes and into layers of pools in a flurry of constant motion. They can be seen at the Wailuku River State Park near Hilo, Hawaii.

1766 Wailuku Dr, Hilo, HI 96720
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Pu’uhonua Park near Hōnaunau, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

32 Pu’uhonua Park near Hōnaunau, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau is a 180 acre national park on the leeward coast of the Big Island. The waterfront property once was the royal grounds for Hawaiian chiefs. Behind the coconut palm trees is the Great Wall. This former protection of the royal compound is 10 feet tall and 17 feet thick. The defense was built around 1550 without the use of mortar. In the foreground is Keone’ele Cove.

84 Honaunau Beach Rd, Captain Cook, HI 96704
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Wailua Falls with Rainbow near Lihue on Kaua’i, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

33 Wailua Falls with Rainbow near Lihue on Kaua’i, Hawaii

Remember in the Fantasy Island TV show when Tattoo would ring a bell and shout, “Da Plane! Da Plane!” Part of those opening credits featured Wailua Falls on the island of Kaua’i. These twin streams cascade 80 feet into a basin while creating splendid rainbows that dance among the rising mist. Ironically, after the show was cancelled, that plane was seized in a raid of cocaine smugglers.

Wailua Falls, Maalo Rd, Kapaa, HI 96746
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Waves at Ho’okipa Beach along Hāna Highway, Maui, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

34 Waves at Ho’okipa Beach along Hāna Highway, Maui, Hawaii

One look at Ho’okipa Beach and it is easy to see why the coastline of this 8.5 mile park is famous among windsurfers. The wind is often strong so the surf is almost always up. This is the site of many professional competitions. But almost every day you will see plenty of board action. If you are not experienced, it is best to remain on shore and watch. Under certain conditions these waves can be very treacherous.

Hookipa Park & Hana Hwy Haiku, HI 96708
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Woman Wading at D.T. Fleming Beach in Kapalua on Maui, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

35 Woman Wading at D.T. Fleming Beach in Kapalua on Maui, Hawaii

This woman is loving the aquamarine water along the 1,500 foot shore of D.T. Fleming Beach in Kapalua. This stretch of sand was rated as the Best Beach in America in 2006. Its namesake is David Fleming. He introduced growing pineapple in west Maui during the early 20th century. The adjacent park is equipped with restrooms, a picnic area and a lifeguard station.

5960 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761
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Elevated View of Hanauma Bay on O’ahu in Hawaii - Encircle Photos

36 Elevated View of Hanauma Bay on O’ahu in Hawaii

This elevated view of Hanauma Bay shows an ancient volcanic crater at the base of a sea cliff. It is filled with crystal clear water flowing over a bed of coral called a fringing reef. The name is derived from two Hawaiian words: hana means bay and uma translates to curved. This gorgeous seascape greets you at the park’s visitor center. The entrance fee is very reasonable.

101 Hanauma Bay Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825
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King Kamehameha Statue at Ali’iōlani Hale in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii - Encircle Photos

37 King Kamehameha Statue at Ali’iōlani Hale in Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawaii

Fans of Hawaii Five-O will immediately recognize this bronze, gilded statue of King Kamehameha from the TV show’s opening credits. The Kingdom of Hawaii’s first monarch stands in front of the Ali’iōlani Hale building in Honolulu. Soon after the sculpture was created by Thomas Gould, it was lost in a shipwreck near the Falkland Islands during transport. Although it was later recovered, the sculptor had already created this second version. The tribute was erected in 1883. The original is in the town of Kapā’au on the Island of Hawaii.

417 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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Rancher Herding Cattle near Arco, Idaho - Encircle Photos

38 Rancher Herding Cattle near Arco, Idaho

Herding cattle conjures up images of cowboys on horseback during dusty drives in the Wild West. Today, that rancher might be wearing suspenders and riding a four wheeler while coaching his cattle back behind a fence, like this one near Arco, Idaho.

3100 W, Arco, ID 83213
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Triangular, Postmodern Glass Building in Boise, Idaho - Encircle Photos

39 Triangular, Postmodern Glass Building in Boise, Idaho

Wells Fargo in Boise, Idaho, is only the fourth largest building among financial service companies. However, the flamboyant style creates the most exciting visual statement. Built in 1988 and standing 182 feet, it forms a glass triangle accented with horizontal strips. Together with the use of marble and decorative columns, the design is classified as Postmodernism.

Main & 8th Boise, ID 83702
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Idaho Falls on the Snake River in Idaho Falls, Idaho - Encircle Photos

40 Idaho Falls on the Snake River in Idaho Falls, Idaho

During the Snake River’s 1000+ mile journey through the Pacific Northwest, it passes through Idaho Falls, creating a waterfall by the same name. As part of a dam for a hydroelectric plant, the drop is only 20 feet. However, the 1,200 foot length of the falls is impressive. In the background is a 1942 Mormon temple dedicated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Memorial Dr. & W Broadway St, Idaho Falls, ID 83402
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Shoshone Falls Park Waterfall near Twin Falls, Idaho - Encircle Photos

41 Shoshone Falls Park Waterfall near Twin Falls, Idaho

Swirling rainbows arch above roaring water as the Snake River cascades 212 feet down a 900 foot wide, horseshoe ridge at Shoshone Falls Park near Twin Falls, Idaho. The widest torrent is Bridal Veil Falls. This spectacle of nature was formed 14,000 years ago during an outburst flooding from a melting glacier. A small fee per car is required to feel the mist as the water thunders 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls.

Shoshone Falls Park, Champlin Rd, Kimberly, ID 83341
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McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois - Encircle Photos

42 McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois

The McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois, is housed in this American Renaissance style building. The former courthouse was built in 1903. The museum contains over 18,000 items. The four galleries focus on the people, politics, work and farming of McLean County’s history. Among the displays are details of the political and legal activities of Abraham Lincoln. The interior is as charming as the exhibits are educational. This museum is well worth a walk through.

200 N Main St, Bloomington, IL 61701
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Downtown Reflection in Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois - Encircle Photos

43 Downtown Reflection in Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois

This concave reflection of downtown Chicago was generated by the Cloud Gate. This curiosity is an enormous (33 x 66 x 42 foot), stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor in the AT&T Plaza located in Millennium Park. Also called “The Bean” and inspired by liquid mercury, the artwork acts like a giant funhouse mirror. The shiny surface warps and distorts the images of delighted tourists and especially children since the installation in May of 2006.

55 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois
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Abe Lincoln Slept Here at William Fithian Home in Danville, Illinois - Encircle Photos

44 Abe Lincoln Slept Here at William Fithian Home in Danville, Illinois

Dr. William Fithian was a 19th century physician. He frequently hosted his friend, Abraham Lincoln, at his home in Danville, Illinois. This second floor bedroom remains virtually the same as it was in 1858. On September 21 of that year, Lincoln gave a U.S. Senate campaign speech from this room’s balcony window and then slept in this canopy bed. The women who provide tours of this home and the Vermillion County Museum next door are passionate, knowledgeable and welcoming.

116 N Gilbert St, Danville, IL 61832
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Grain Silos and Library in McLean, Illinois - Encircle Photos

45 Grain Silos and Library in McLean, Illinois

In the heart of Illinois is McLean. The town of 830 people resembles so many others in the Midwest with its grain elevators near the railroad tracks, a small aged library and bank plus a row of struggling shops facing a deserted town square.

1917 NE Spencer St, McLean, IL 61754
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Celebration Belle Riverboat in Moline, Illinois - Encircle Photos

46 Celebration Belle Riverboat in Moline, Illinois

Moline, Illinois, is one of the Quad Cities sharing the banks of the Mississippi River. The city of 43,000 people has worked hard to create a vibrant downtown. This delightful environment features restaurants, bars, entertainment, shops and frequent community events. Moline is home to John Deere & Company. Children love crawling on the giant agricultural equipment at the John Deere Commons and Pavilion. Adults favor taking a cruise on a riverboat like the Celebration Belle.

2501 River Dr, Moline, IL 61265
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Abraham Lincoln’s Burial Room Tomb in Springfield, Illinois - Encircle Photos

47 Abraham Lincoln’s Burial Room Tomb in Springfield, Illinois

This marble sarcophagus is part of the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Outside is a massive monument with bronze sculptures and a 117 foot obelisk. Inside is a beautiful rotunda with a replica of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The interior also includes symbolism of previous presidents plus the 36 states at the time of his death in 1865. An ornate corridor leads to the burial room. The chamber is decorated with eight Lincoln sculptures plus excerpts from his famous speeches. Lincoln rested in this cenotaph for two years. After a foiled attempt to steal his body, the former president was moved to a vault beneath the floor.

1500 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702
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