U.S. Tour 3: Mass. thru North Dakota

Traveling the globe with camera in hand has been a wonderful experience. But the United States is still my favorite country. Let Encircle Photos help you plan what to see and do during your next road trip.

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1 Bradley Wharf, Motif #1 and Lobster Boats in Inner Harbor of Rockport, Massachusetts

Bearskin Neck in Rockport, Massachusetts, once thrived on fishing and now thrives on tourists. This small peninsula hosts quaint shops, artisans and restaurants. The red building with the lobster buoys is called Motif #1, an iconic symbol since 1884. If you want to treat your taste buds, go to Roy Moore Lobster Company on the pier, order a large lobster, watch them drop it into the boiling water, and then enjoy it on the back deck. Unbelievably good!

1-5 T-Wharf Rockport, MA 01966
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2 Fairy Door in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor is synonymous with the term “college town,” thanks to the large presence of the University of Michigan. The city is also known for its liberal politics, the decriminalization of marijuana and its fairy doors. Yup, fairy doors. These are tiny doors found in the baseboards inside and outside of retail buildings. The portals require you to get on your knees for a close inspection. The custom is to make a contribution of coins or other small objects. This one contains a “fairy gift store” inside it. Maps are available if you want to find them all.

210 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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3 Abe Lincoln Assassination Chair at Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan

At the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, are hundreds of exhibits chronicling early American life with historic artifacts. One of the most interesting is this rocking chair protected by a glass case. President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in it at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. The chair was purchased by Henry Ford in 1929 for $2,400. The museum also contains the limo where John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Henry Ford Museum, W Village Rd, Dearborn, MI 48124
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4 Hitsville USA Motown Museum in Detroit, Michigan

In 1959, Berry Gordy purchased 2648 West Grand Boulevard (left) in Detroit, Michigan. He formed a recording studio called “Hitsville U.S.A.” By the mid-1960s, Motown records occupied seven more houses, including the one on the right. Music stars he created included The Miracles, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Jackson 5, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips plus many others. It is now a museum offering tours of where so much wonderful music was produced for 13 years.

2650 W Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208
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5 Renaissance Center and General Motors Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

In 1970, Henry Ford II had a dream to renew downtown Detroit. He formed a private company to begin building what are now seven glass skyscrapers along the International Riverfront called the Renaissance Center. The five-and-a-half million square feet are home to General Motors headquarters and the 73 story, 1,300 rooms Detroit Marriott.

Renaissance Dr W & Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207
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6 Downtown Grand Rapids and Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Grand Rapids’ skyline on the east bank of the Grand River is dominated by the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (left) and the JW Marriott Grand Rapids (right). They are the city’s third and sixth tallest buildings. The city has a population of nearly 190,000 people. Among its native sons is former President Gerald Ford. Grand Rapids is nicknamed “Furniture City” for its historic lumbering and furniture manufacturing.

220 Front Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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7 Sunset on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, Minnesota

My mom always disliked lakes so I grew up disliking them too. Then, a new girlfriend declared if I wanted to see her during the summer, I had to go to her parent’s cabin on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, Minnesota. I’ve been married to that girl for 35 years and have loved her and this lake ever since. This splendid sunset over a covered pontoon promises a wonderful tomorrow.

9194 MN-24 Annandale, MN 55302
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8 Winter Ice Castle in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

When your winter is the second coldest in the lower 48 states, you learn to embrace it while wearing plenty of layers. One example of outdoor fun is the annual Ice Castle. In 2012, it was located in Miller Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. This winter wonderland was built on one acre with 30 million pounds of icicles. It was inspired by a castle Brent Christensen first created in the backyard for his children.

8250 Shoreline Dr, Eden Prairie, MN 55347
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9 Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, the architect who designed the Basilica of St. Mary, also created the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The two churches are co-cathedrals for the Roman Catholic diocese in the Twin Cities. This exquisite classic revival structure was built with white Vermont granite. It has twin bell towers reaching 116 feet and is topped by a copper dome. In 1926, it became the first basilica in the United States.

88 17th St N, Minneapolis, MN 55403
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10 St. Cloud Skyline from Lake George with Paddleboats in St. Cloud, Minnesota

There are 95 parks for the 65,000 people who live in St. Cloud, Minnesota. One of them is Eastman Park. Located near downtown, it offers regular community events or just a relaxing paddleboat ride around Lake George. On the right is the Cathedral of Saint Mary, a Catholic church built in 1920.

1101 17th St S, St Cloud, MN 56301
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11 Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota

One of the most recognized and photographed locations in Minnesota is the Split Rock Lighthouse. It was built along the coast of Lake Superior in 1910. Since it was decommissioned in 1969 it has become part of a 7.6 acre park. This State and National Historic Landmark stands on top of a dramatic, 130 foot cliff. It is always beautiful but especially in the autumn at sunset.

3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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12 Aluminum Door Panel at Mississippi War Memorial Building in Jackson, Mississippi

A fascinating, art deco war memorial stands near the old capitol building in Jackson, Mississippi. It honors its soldiers who died in battles prior to 1939. The WWI tributes are stone sculptures. Earlier conflicts are depicted in detailed reliefs over cast aluminum doors. The Battle of Ackia was part of the Chickasaw Campaign against the French in 1736. The Battle of Buena Vista was against the Mexicans in 1847.

War Memorial Building, 120 N State St, Jackson, MS 39201
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13 WWI Doughboy Soldier Statue and Threefoot Building in Meridian, Mississippi

Shortly after WWI, more than 150 copies of a pressed copper sculpture called the Spirit of the American Doughboy were erected throughout the U.S. The soldier is shown carrying his rifle and holding a grenade over his head. The backdrop of this statue in Meridian, Mississippi, is the Threefoot Building. In 1929, it was the town’s pride. Today, it stands in ruins but the exquisite art deco features can still be seen around the broken windows.

601 22nd Ave, Meridian, MS 39301
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Home Damaged by EF2 Tornado in 2012 in Branson, Missouri

On February 29, 2012, Branson, Missouri, was blasted by an EF-2 tornado. The estimated 113 – 157 mph winds damaged homes, theaters and blew out over 200 windows in the Hilton Convention Center. Notice the 2x4s and debris lodged into this siding. The home looks like it was hit by a giant shotgun blast.


14 Missouri State Capitol Rotunda Dome in Jefferson City, Missouri

The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City is adorned with exquisite, regionalism murals. The paintings by Thomas Benton portray early Midwestern life. They make even hardships seem romantic. Throughout the building is a treasure of carvings, statues, stained glass, flags, artifacts and other murals. Together they show you the history of the “Show Me State.”

201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101
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15 North Waiting Room of Kansas City Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri

Trains were the premier way to travel during the Golden Age of Railroading (1900 -1950). The Pullman company made elaborate sleeper, dining, parlor and passenger cars. This fifty year period also witnessed the building of grand-scale stations such as NYC’s Grand Central Terminal. In 1914, the country’s second largest opened with lots of marble, ornate detail and three chandeliers weighing 3,000 each: Kansas City Union Station. After WWII, railroading declined and so did the K.C. station until. It closed in 1985. After a $250 million renovation, the former Union Station now houses museums, theaters and restaurants. Locals use the polished floors as a walking track for exercise during inclement weather.

30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108
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16 Budweiser Delivery Truck in Clydesdale Stable at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri

Americans drink 20 gallons of beer per capita. The best-selling is pale lager and the top brewery is Anheuser-Busch. No wonder the Clydesdale horses became iconic. They began as a gift to the co-founder to celebrate the repeal of prohibition with the passage of the Twenty-first Amendment. Almost immediately after the new law was passed on December 5, 1933, the horses were hitched to a wagon and delivered free, legal beer to politicians in major cities. Now the team has grown to 250 horses. The Dalmatians were added in 1950. You can see these wonderful animals in their stables during a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri.

1200 Lynch St, St. Louis, MO 63118
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17 Spinning Steel Sculpture in Front of the Bozeman Building in Bozeman, Montana

Star Trek fans might remember the frequent references to Bozeman in the Next Generation, Voyager, Generations and First Contact. This is where the TV and movie producer, Brannon Braga, was born. The Montana city is also where warp drive is created in 2063. This invention leads to humanity’s first contact with the Vulcans. Until then, Bozeman is a college town in an area once called, “Valley of the Flowers” by the Native Americans.

S Rouse Ave. & E Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715
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18 Teton County Courthouse in Choteau, Montana

Teton County, Montana, is a cluster of small towns located where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains. They are encircled by barley and wheat fields. They also have plenty of livestock, probably more than the population density of three people per mile. In the middle of a grassy roundabout in Choteau is the county courthouse. This government building was constructed with sandstone in 1906.

1 Main Ave S, Choteau, MT 59422
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19 Grain Elevators Storing Malting Barley in Fairfield, Montana

The Golden Triangle is Montana’s premier grain area. Fairfield touts itself as the Malting Barley Capital of the World. Their biggest customer is Anheuser-Busch. The brewing company carefully manages the whole process. This includes selling the seed, providing agronomist advice, monitoring the fields, supervising the storage in these grain bins and testing each truckload.

Central Ave W & Park Way Fairfield, MT 59436
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20 Town Cafe Marquee in Gardiner, Montana

If you are leaving Wyoming through Yellowstone’s North Entrance and need a family pit stop, then visit Gardiner, Montana. It has wooden, Wild West façades and marquees for its bars and shops. Many of the storefronts provide rocking chairs for watching passing cars or the mule deer, elk, bison and other wildlife meandering through this small frontier town of 850 people.

118 E Park St, Gardiner, MT 59030
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Mare and Foal Wild Horses Resting in Meadow at Glacier National Park, Montana

This mare was nuzzling her foal in an open meadow. They looked so peaceful and content. Wild horses are one of about 15 types of large animals living in and around Glacier National Park in Montana. You might also be lucky enough to see a bighorn sheep, black bear, moose, elk, deer, lynx or mountain lion. There are 70 other species of smaller mammals residing within the one million acres of wilderness.


21 Old Milwaukee Passenger Train Depot Station in Great Falls, Montana

A logo atop the Milwaukee Depot Station’s tower in Great Falls, Montana, is a remnant of an aggressive, expensive and disastrous decision to “Go west, young man.” The Milwaukee Road started in 1847. During its first 50 years, the company laid tracks like a spider through the plains. Then they spent $46 billion in today’s dollars to reach Seattle. That decision would cost them several bankruptcies before being acquired in 1985. A side note about this sign is the missing word “Pacific.” This was added to their name after the western expansion was complete.

101 River Dr N, Great Falls, MT 59401
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22 Cathedral of Saint Helena Built in Helena, Montana

The Votive Church in Vienna (Votivekirche) has stunning neo-Gothic architecture and was the inspiration for building the Cathedral of Saint Helena, Montana in 1914. The church features double spires rising 230 feet and 59 stained glass windows from Bavaria, Germany. A major benefactor was Thomas Cruse. His funeral was the first one in the church before the project was finished. The cathedral was consecrated in 1924.

530 N Ewing St, Helena, MT 59601
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23 The Carnegie Library in Lewistown, Montana

When Andrew Carnegie sold his steel empire in 1901 for the equivalent of $6.2 billion, he wrote, “No idol is more debasing than the worship of money.” During his remaining 18 years, he became a generous philanthropist. It is estimated he gave away over 75% of his wealth. He strongly believed books, knowledge and hard work were the keys to success. This outlook motivated him to provide grants to build over 2,500 libraries. Almost 1,700 of them were constructed in small U.S. towns. This library in Lewistown, Montana, was built in 1905.

701 W Main St, Lewistown, MT 59457
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24 Pony Express Plaque at Ehmen Park Station in Gothenburg, Nebraska

Next time your email is slow, think of the Pony Express. For only 18 months in 1860 and 1861, 120 riders carried mail up to 75 miles a day in a mochila (pouch), together with water, a gun and a Bible. There were 184 stations along the 1,900 mile trail stretching from Missouri to California. Two of the original stations are in Gothenburg, Nebraska. This commemorative plaque is on the Ehmen Park Station.

Pony Express Station & Museum, 1500 Lake Ave, Gothenburg, NE 69138
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25 Nebraska State Capitol East Warner Chamber Doors in Lincoln, Nebraska

The Warner Legislative Chamber’s doors in the Nebraska State Capitol are a beautifully carved, symbolic tribute to Native Americans. These East Chamber doors feature a stalk of corn in the center with a Thunderbird (representing rain and life) on top. On the right is an Indian standing on an otter representing medicine. On the left is a woman above a turtle symbolizing fertility. The doors weigh 750 pounds each and took six months to carve.

1445 K St, Lincoln, NE 68508
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26 Buffalo Bill Cody’s House at Scout’s Rest Ranch in North Platte, Nebraska

Bill Cody had Buffalo added to his name after reportedly killing 4,200 bison in 18 months to feed railroad workers. The Medal of Honor winner is best known for his ten-year tour in Wild West shows. He performed with other celebrities such as Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane. In 1886, he purchased 4,000 acres in North Platte, Nebraska, and called it Scout’s Rest Ranch. You can tour his three-story, Victorian house to see many of his original furnishings and memorabilia. The property is part of a state historical park.

Scouts Rest Ranch Rd & Charlie Evans Dr, North Platte, NE 69101
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27 Joslyn Memorial Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska

The art deco exterior of the Joslyn Memorial Art Museum in Omaha is a tribute to the early settlers of the plains. The façade features sculptures and carvings of White and Native Americans plus stylized thunderbirds carved into the capitals of the Doric columns. The interior is covered with 38 different marbles. This provides an attractive setting for the 19th and 20th century art plus western and Indian works.

2200 Dodge St, Omaha, NE 68102
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28 Cactus Jack’s Casino Howdy Sign in Carson City, Nevada

This iconic neon marquee sign with its “Howdy” greeting on the money in his extended hand stands atop Cactus Jack’s Casino. Its 8,500 square feet offers 24 hours of fun on their 150 “liberal gaming machines” and two poker tables. This may sound small by Las Vegas standards. However, Carson City has ten casinos, ranking it as the fourth largest gaming center in Nevada.

420 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
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29 Blue Bicycle Artwork Against Blue Sky in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

The Great Lake Tahoe Bike Ride and America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride are two annual events encircling 72 miles around the lake. To honor these athletic cyclists, about a dozen bike sculptures adorn Lake Tahoe, Nevada. This one sits in a flower garden at MontBleu Resort on the Nevada and California border.

55 Highway 50 Lake, Stateline, Nevada 89449
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30 Veer Towers in CityCenter in Las Vegas, Nevada

These twin yellow towers in the heart of CityCenter lean five degrees towards each other and are appropriately called Veer Towers. Together the 480 foot high-rises contain nearly 675 condominiums. Studio condos start at about $280,000.

3722 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89103
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31 Omni Resort and Mount Washington in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

The Omni Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has the historic splendor and charm from 1902 blended with modern amenities after an $80 million renovation. In the background is Mount Washington. This snow-capped peak reaches an elevation of 6,288 feet, New England’s tallest. The view is beautiful and majestic yet it is notorious for extreme weather. The mountain experiences hurricane-force winds for a third of the year. The strongest gust was measured at 231 m.p.h. In January, 2004, the temperature plunged to a wind chill of 103° below zero.

310 Mount Washington Hotel Rd, Bretton Woods, NH 03575
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32 New Hampshire State Library in Concord, New Hampshire

100 years ago, a law passed requiring New Hampshire to be the first state to host the presidential primary every four years. Therefore, during the last 25 elections, Concord has been thrust into the national spotlight by a barrage of media and presidential hopefuls. At the State Library, which was built in 1895, stands a commemorative sign plus a granite pathway listing all of the winners of past primaries.

20 Park St, Concord, NH 03301
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33 Dartmouth College’s Baker Memorial Library in Hanover, New Hampshire

What started as a missionary school in 1755 emerged into Dartmouth College. This is the smallest of the eight Ivy League schools. Dartmouth is frequently ranked among the top ten undergraduate programs in the country. The campus is located in Hanover. The small New Hampshire town is frequently ranked as a great place to live. The Fisher Ames Baker Memorial Library was built in 1928. The design mimics Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

1929 N Main St, Hanover, NH 03755
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34 Old North Conway Railroad Station in North Conway, New Hampshire

Two attractions draw tourists to North Conway, New Hampshire: The White Mountain National Forest and, for some reason, over 30 outlet stores of famous retailers. During the Great Depression, the local mountains became extremely popular among skiers, most of whom arrived by the Portsmouth, Great Falls & Conway Railroad. This railroad station was built in 1874. It now offers short excursion trips under the Conway Scenic Railroad name.

38 Norcross Cir, North Conway, NH 03860
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35 Believe It or Not Museum and Atlantic Palace in Atlantic City, New Jersey

The 1934 Monopoly game was patterned after the streets of Atlantic City. The South Jersey resort area has seen booms and declines since first developed along the ocean shores in 1853. Plans for new, mega hotels and casinos were scrapped during the Great Recession. An eye-catching “Odditorium,” sandwiched between Resorts and Bally’s Casinos on the Boardwalk, is the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. Inside this wrecking ball building are over 400 exhibits of the weird and curious.

1441 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
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36 Bas-relief Sculpture on Alexander Hall at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

Many school buildings constructed during the 19th and 20th century used Collegiate Gothic architecture. Much of the Princeton University campus reflects this style. Among them at this Ivy League school is a standout, visual gem. The Richardsonian Romanesque style of Alexander Hall is outstanding. In the center is a large rose window made of Tiffany glass. Carved into its red granite walls is a bas-relief sculpture of figures representing learning in 36 fields of education.

Alexander Hall, 68 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ 08542
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37 Trenton War Memorial Now Patriots Theater in Trenton, New Jersey

Near the New Jersey state capitol is the Trenton War Memorial. This 1932, Italian Renaissance style building is a tribute to fallen World War I soldiers. It gradually suffered disrepair until receiving a renovation in 1999. The 1,800 seat hall is now Patriots Theater. The performing arts venue also hosts the symphony orchestra.

1 Memorial Dr, Trenton, NJ 08608
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Bank Clock in First National Bank Courtyard in Albuquerque, New Mexico

At night, several downtown buildings in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are illuminated in vibrant colors, such as green, blue and yellow. By day, a rainbow of colors can also be seen in the numerous wall murals decorating the city. In the center of the First National Bank Courtyard is this vintage Albuquerque National Bank clock.


38 Old Boarding House Mercantile in Madrid, New Mexico

Madrid, New Mexico, has not grown much since starting as a coal mining town in the 1850s. Many of its 150 citizens cater to tourists driving by. Route 14 is lined with artisans in historic buildings. An example is the Old Boarding House Mercantile. Among the novelties for sale are memorabilia from a biker movie filmed there in 2007. “Wild Hogs” stared John Travolta and Tim Allen.

2887 NM-14, Madrid, NM 87010
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39 Sergio Bustamante Art in Canyon Road Gallery Window in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was used during the Spanish period for carrying firewood on burros. In the early 1900s, it began to blossom into an art colony. Now there are over 100 galleries along its narrow, winding road. They feature western, Native American and contemporary art, sculptures and jewelry. The Meyer East Gallery displays works by Sergio Bustamante, an acclaimed Mexican artist. This resin crescent moon seen through a doorway is named, “Luna Flamenca.” The blue sky and cloud are real.

Meyer Gallery, 225 Canyon Rd Suite 15, Santa Fe, NM 87501
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40 The Egg Building from Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York

As its name suggests, the Egg in Albany, New York, is an architectural oddity. Completed in 1978, it is shaped more like a bowl sitting on a six-story pedestal in the Empire State Plaza across from the state capitol. Two theaters are housed in The Egg; one with a 1,000 seats and the other with 500.

Empire State Plz, Albany, NY 12223
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41 FDR Springwood Home at Franklin Roosevelt Library, Museum in Hyde Park, New York

On the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York, is the 32nd president’s home called Springwood. FDR was born on the second floor, lived here most of his life and is buried in the rose garden. Interred beside him are his wife and family dogs. The mansion remains furnished as it was when it served as the Summer White House. Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor, lived two miles away in a home called Val-Kill. Both of these fascinating homes are available for tour.

4097 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538
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42 New York Stock Exchange Building in New York City, New York

Stock ownership among Americans peaked at 65% in 2007. But when stock values on the NYSE and NASDAQ plummeted during the Great Recession, so did participation. In 2013, only 52% of adults owned stocks. However, the New York Stock Exchange is still the world’s largest. The exterior of the “Big Board” has a Greek and Roman feel with its six columns, Corinthian capitals and high-relief sculptures.

11 Wall St, New York, NY 10005
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43 Benjamin Duke Organ at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

After passing through the narthex and entering the nave of the Duke University Chapel in Durham, North Carolina, look up at the oak gallery and marvel at the 1976 Flentrop Pipe organ. It is beautiful! Also called the Benjamin Duke Memorial Organ, the musical instrument is 40 feet tall, contains over 5,000 pipes, is made from African mahogany and is gilded with gold. A brief concert is played on most weekdays at 12:30.

401 Chapel Dr, Durham, NC 27708
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44 Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo, North Carolina

In Shallowbag Bay in Manteo, North Carolina, is a 2004 reconstructed lighthouse called Roanoke Marshes Light. Similar to a dozen screwpile lighthouses from the late 1800s, this one has a square, cottage-style construction. This area is also known for the “Lost Colony.” They were a group of 100+ English colonists who landed here in 1587 but disappeared by 1590.

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Queen Elizabeth Ave, Manteo, NC 27954
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45 Museum of Natural Sciences and Downtown Skyline at Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, the English aristocrat, spy, explorer and advocate of tobacco smoking who was beheaded in 1618. Starting at the state capitol, Fayetteville Street runs through the heart of downtown. On the right is the NC State Museum of Natural Sciences. Its exhibits include dioramas of wildlife and pre-historic life such as dinosaurs.

11 W Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27601
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46 Art Deco Interior of North Dakota Capitol Building in Bismarck, North Dakota

In 1934, martial law was declared in order to complete North Dakota’s 19 story, state capitol building in Bismarck, which is called, “The Skyscraper of the Prairie.” Because it was built during the Great Depression, many of its exterior embellishments were eliminated. Inside, however, its art deco features include eclectic shapes and geometric forms with muted, earth-tone colors next to stark contrasts of black and white.

600 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND 58505
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