Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween across America

Attention all ghosts, ghouls, and goblins! The calendar’s spookiest holiday is only a few days away! To ensure that my readers know of all the best places to get a good scare, I have scoured the (spider’s) web and found some super creepy places to see and things to do this Halloween. Just promise me this – if you get lost in a corn maze, please do not call the police to help you find your way out.

8 of the Most Haunted Cities
Top Free Halloween Events
Top 13 Haunted Houses and Roads in America
8 of America’s Spookiest Places
America's Top 10 Haunted Hotels
8 Halloween Festivals Worth Traveling for
Corn Mazes
Top 10 Most Haunted Places

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Haunted Newport

Do you believe in ghosts? I totally do and am a complete sucker for a good ghost story. As a kid, I always loved the ghost stories Robert Stack would tell on Unsolved Mysteries - even though the theme song alone was enough to make me crap my pants. Needless to say, when I’m in a city with a rich history like Newport, RI, ghost tours are my favorite way to learn about some of the local legends.

The Ghosts of Newport tour started in the lobby of the Newport Marriot Hotel. After a short introduction, our tour guide took us to our first location right by the water. It was on the coast that the Princess Augusta ran aground on December 27, 1738. Under the command of Captain Andrew Brook, the ship had just returned from a voyage across the Atlantic and was carrying passengers from the area that would become Germany. A sickness broke out on ship, leaving passengers very ill with many dying before arrival in Rhode Island. Contrary to the popular legend and fueled by the poem, the Wreck of the Palatine by John Greenleaf Whittier, the ship did not burst into flames. Yet, on moonless nights between Christmas and New Years, a fiery vessel has been reported on the water, right around where the Princess Augusta met its tragic fate.

The harbor during daylight - far less spooky
Another stop on the tour is the aptly named Blood Alley. This spot was the site of an unspeakable tragedy involving a young drummer boy. The story says that two sailors noticed an opening in the shoreline during low tide. Thinking that it was manmade, they were convinced there was treasure to be found. Since they couldn’t fit through the opening, they sent in a young boy equipped with a drum. He was to walk down the alley, beating his drum rhythmically to indicate his path and frantically beat it only when he found treasure. The men followed the drumbeat to Blood Alley, where the sound suddenly stopped. They retraced there steps and were horrified to see that the tide had risen, trapping the boy in the flooding tunnel. Today, the sound of drumming can still be heard in Blood Alley.

Blood Alley = SCARY!

The White Horse Tavern is the oldest bar in America, so of course, there are reported hauntings there. The most seen specter is a man dressed in shabby clothes, hanging around the right side of the fireplace in one of the dining rooms. This ghost is reported to be a man who died in the 1720’s when Tavern owners Robert and Mary Nichols opened the White Horse to overnight guests. The story goes that two men slept at the White Horse after coming to Newport by ship.  When morning broke, one of the men was nowhere to be found and the other died during the night as he slept near the fireplace. Fearing the man died of smallpox, he was quickly buried in a pauper’s grave. His identity still remains a mystery.

After a few more stops and a bunch of scary stories, the tour ended in the Trinity Church cemetery. A pretty spooky place to be at night, especially when you realize that the picture you just took was filled with mysterious orbs!

Tickets can be purchased here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quirky Roadside Attractions, Part 4

OntheRoad reader, Rose recently pointed me to a posting highlighting some more quirky roadside attractions – and I am happy to report that some of them were ones I was unfamiliar with! 

Haines Shoe House, Hallam, PA

pic via
Built in 1948, the Shoe House measures 48 ft. in length, 17 ft. in width at the widest part and 25 ft. in height. The interior consists of five different levels and contains three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room. This place is actually close enough to possibly take a drive to…

The Paper House, Rockport, MA

pic via
Now, my family set up the 1st paper mill in America, so I think it’s a no brainer that I need to visit a house made entirely of paper.

The Oregon Vortex, Gold Hill, OR

pic via
The laws of physics just do not apply here - balls roll uphill, people's heights change, - and creepily enough, legend states that Native Americans avoided this area at all costs. Worth checking out? I think so.

Prada Marfa, Valentine, Texas

pic via wikipedia
Prada has a store on a lonely road in the West Texas desert? Not quite. This “store” located on US Route 90 looks like a real Prada store, but doesn't even have functional doors. Inside, six handbags and 14 unmatched shoes are displayed but not for sale.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And the winner is....

First off, thank you ALL for entering my 1st blog giveaway.  It was really fun to read all of your road trip comments :) 

As per random number generator, the winner of this contest is Jj!  Congratulations!! 

Please drop me an email at ontheroadtoall50 AT gmail DOT com and let me know where I should send your 2 OPI polishes to.

And stay tuned for future giveaways!  This one was really fun.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dearly Departed

I think it’s pretty clear that I am an organized-tour-kind-of-gal. City tours, historic homes, battleships – I’m down. But when I heard that there was a tour of Los Angeles that showcases the scenes of unspeakable crimes, my ears quickly perked up. Ya see, I have a morbid curiosity for stuff like this so there was no way I was going to leave Los Angeles without taking the Dearly Departed Tragical History tour.

Our tour guide, Brian led the 3.5 hour tour through the streets of Los Angeles, highlighting places where famous celebrities met their demise. We saw the house where Bela Lugosi died at the age of 73 and learned that he died so poor that Frank Sinatra quietly paid for his funeral. (He was buried in his Dracula cape!) We passed by the home where My Sister Sam actress, Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered by a crazed stalker in 1989 as well as the Beverly Hills home where gangster Bugsy Siegel was shot.  His murder still remains unsolved.

5620 Harold Way - where Bela Lugosi died
One of my favorite stops was the Beverly Hills home of the Menendez family – the place where Kyle and Lyle Menendez brutally murdered their parents in 1989. At this stop, our tour guide played the 911 call in which Lyle cried “someone killed my parents!” (I clearly was prepared with props for this stop on the tour.) Ironically enough, this house was once owned by friends of OJ and Nicole Brown Simpson and her baby shower for Sydney was held here.

722 North Elm Drive, Beverly Hills
There was a scheduled bathroom break on the tour, and it was a place that we recognized quite well – the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills - where George Michael was arrested in 1998 for public lewdness. Even though this happened in the men’s room and I am clearly a female, I still snuck in to snap a picture. (It was empty first! Dan checked. I’m not a creeper.)

9650 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills
Perhaps one of the most intriguing locations was the John Sowden house located in Los Feliz. Built by architecht Frank Lloyd Wright, this house is quite unusual and is believed by some to be where the Black Dahlia met her demise. For an interesting read on this murder mystery, I suggest picking up the Black Dahlia Avenger. The author makes some stunning revelations.

5121 Franklin Avenue, Los Feliz, Los Angeles
Other notable locations on the tour were the Beverly Hills area where Howard Hughes crashed his plane in 1946, the El Coyote restaurant where Sharon Tate had her last meal, the hotels where Janis Joplin and John Belushi died, the alley that Rebel without a Cause actor, Sal Mineo was stabbed, and the gates in front of the house where Michael Jackson died.

The former Landmark Hotel where Janis Joplin died - 7047 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood
Next time we visit Los Angeles, we plan on taking the Dearly Departed Helter Skelter tour. After reading the book, we both became pretty much obsessed with the Manson murders and seeing all of the locations in person is just something we need to do. For those not so much interested in hearing about horrific murders, Dearly Departed also offers a Hollywood Movie Tours tour that takes you around Los Angeles to famous movie sites.

Tickets are available here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Favorites: Waking up in Vegas

I've finally uploaded our Vegas Vacation pictures and wanted to share some of my favorites!  Vegas is a photographers dream and I hope I'm able to take you on a mini-getaway through my pictures.

Inside Caesars Palace
Bellagio lobby
The chandeliers of the Cosmopolitan
Parasols @ Wynn
Lots of wishes in the fountain
Fountain show @ the Bellagio
Some sparrows sunning
at Hoover Dam
Vegas Vic!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take it Easy

pic via wikipedia

You might have noticed that the little map to the right has an additional state colored in.  That's because we took a quick trip to the Hoover Dam while we were in Nevada and crossed the border into Arizona.  Visiting Arizona marks the 7th new state that we have visited this year.  Previous trips have included stops in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming & Nebraska.  We're a little more than halfway toward our goal of all 50! 

However, with our birthdays and the holidays coming up, big trips are coming to a halt until next year.  But that only gives us that much more time to plan our next big adventures.  The blog will still be updated with fun recaps and stories from past adventures, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello, Las Vegas!

It seems like we just got back from Denver and yet it's already time for another trip. Our bags are packed and we're hopping on a super early flight to Las Vegas tomorrow morning. The last time we went to Vegas, the Wynn wasn't even complete so we're looking forward to exploring all the new hotels and casinos that have been built. 

Besides relaxing and spending more money than we should be, our goal this time around is to experience some of the things that Vegas has to offer that we haven't gotten to do yet including:

A trip to Fremont Street:

pic via google images

Seeing a Vegas show:

pic via google images

Stuffing our faces at a buffet:

pic via google images

Possibly taking a trip to Red Rocks:

pic via google images

And FINALLY getting to snap a picture of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign:

pic via google images

And while we're out there, you KNOW we are making a stop at the N9NE Steakhouse for some of my favorite lobster mashed potatoes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Giveaway: OPI Touring America

Besides planning trips, taking trips and blogging about trips, my second favorite hobby is shopping. Yep, I’m a totally girly girl and cannot resist filling my closets with new clothes, shoes and of course, makeup. When I saw that OPI (one of my favorite brands) was launching a new nail polish line called Touring America, I thought it would be a perfect way to bring both my worlds together on the blog.

Up for grabs are two polishes from OPI’s Touring America collection – Road House Blues and A-Taupe the Space Needle.

To enter this contest: (THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.  A winner will be annouced on Wednesday.  Good luck to all those who have entered!!)

1. Comment telling me where you’d like to take your next road trip. (Please include your email address)
2. You must publicly follow my blog.
3. Must be a resident of the US.

Since this is my first giveaway, I am going to have a two week entry period.  Entries will be accepted until 12pm ET on Monday, October 17, 2011 and a winner will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Only one entry per person.  Multiple entries will be deleted.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: OPI is NOT sponsoring this giveaway. These polishes were bought with my own money. If you are having any trouble leaving a comment, please send me an email to ontheroadtoall50 AT gmail DOT com.