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Over 500 miles of new bike trails are now open to cyclists in the US

By Sasha Brady
September 3, 2020
San Francisco Cycling
The US Bicycle Route System (USBRS) — the national interstate network that connects urban and rural communities on designated bike paths — has expanded its reach to 29 states, with over 500 miles of new routes added in California and Wisconsin.

Cycling has soared in popularity during the pandemic, prompting cities and towns to reconsider their streets. In California and Wisconsin, officials and local cycling communities have worked with the USBRS to utilize several off-road trails to connect Milwaukee to the Mississippi River at Bluff Siding, and linked Lake Tahoe with an existing bike path in Nevada to create a seamless route to the San Francisco Bay Area. The designation of these new routes will give cyclists more than 500 miles of safe, signed paths and expands the reach of USBRS to 29 states in total.

In California, the 233-mile USBR 50 path begins in South Lake Tahoe at the Nevada border. Cyclists will climb over mountain passes, following the Mormon Emigrant Trail before rolling through the scenic Sierra Nevada on the El Dorado Trail, the paved route in the state's historic Gold Rush country. From there, they'll enjoy over 30 miles of car-free cycling from Folsom to Sacramento, before traveling to Lagoon Valley Park and into San Francisco Bay.

GettyRF_480641071.jpg?mtime=20200903111610#asset:108991California's new bike route will start south of Lake Tahoe ©MariuszBlach/Getty Images

Not only does the new California bike path provide scenic recreational routes for cyclists, it also connects two of the largest communities in the El Dorado and Sacramento counties. "Long term, I hope we can improve USBR 50 to serve not only visitors to the county, but local residents cycling for recreation, biking to work, and running errands by bike," said Mike Bean, Friends of El Dorado Trail board member, who helped designate the new route.

In Wisconsin, cyclists will pass 269 miles of forests, vibrant urban areas and cut through the steep, rugged landscape of the Driftless Region. "Establishing this route has been years in the making and it’s a great accomplishment for the state," Craig Thompson, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) secretary-designee, said in a statement. "More than 70 communities in eleven counties worked together to create this great transportation corridor that will be enjoyed by local, regional and national bicyclists."

The USBRS boasts 14,598 miles of bike routes throughout the country, and connects cyclists to picturesque pathways in over 100 National Park sites, including Mammoth Cave National Park and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. At least 40 states are currently developing more routes and once complete, it will be the largest bike network in the world, providing cyclists of all ages and abilities a safe passage through the country.

If you want to hit the open road on two wheels this fall, you can access digital maps for all designated US Bicycle Routes for free here from the Adventure Cycling website, a nonprofit organization that provides national coordination for the USBRS.


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Inspiration

Socially distant adventures on the Carolina coast

It’s that time again. It’s been a week since you’ve left the house and it’s enough stir-crazy between your partner or your kids for a lifetime. Even the dog is sick of you. Here are ten things you can do in an expertly planned one day trip on South Carolina coast. Pack the day full, because even though it’s not a week in Cabo, it will make going home feel relaxing enough to mask the crazy. Kayaking at Sunrise in Charleston Plentiful waterways make up the iconic scenery of Charleston. What better way to enjoy what Charleston has to offer while remaining primarily secluded than kayaking at sunrise. Further out of town the top rated company Charleston Outdoor Adventures offers kayaking and paddleboarding to escape the city life. Make online reservations to plan ahead and stay distanced. As always, bring your own sanitizing wipes and sanitizer. ©f11photo/ShutterstockBreakfast Downtown Charleston Many of the restaurants in Charleston vary from dine-in to takeout only or closed all together. This is why we recommend heading downtown. This socially distanced option allows you to pick up whatever you want (we recommend Toast! a charleston breakfast hotspot) because there are several great outdoor picnic spots around. Just pick up your tasty treat and find yours. On a slower day mid week, you could even go to Joe Wiley Waterfront Park to find a picnic spot. This park offers a great look into historic Charleston. Cobblestone streets lead you to a scenic fountain and pier. The walk along the way is beautiful too. South Carolina Aquarium Get out of the heat, even though it’s morning, don’t doubt the East Coast humidity. The one indoor activity on here features the South Carolina Aquarium who takes social distancing very seriously. They believe “as a scientific organization, it is our duty to keep the health and safety of our guests and staff top priority.” Find more information on their FAQ page about safe visiting. The aquarium requires guests to purchase timed entries online to limit the capacity of visitors and to wear a face mask at all times. Beach Picnic in Hilton Head Take the day elsewhere by driving down to Hilton Head. Just two hours away travelers can make it for an afternoon picnic on the beach. On the main beach, many seafood restaurants offer outside seating or takeout. But who wouldn’t want to eat by the waves? All beach access and surrounding recreations restored to normal. For those searching for less crowds, you might have better luck finding a beach access point off of the main. Rent a Bike in Hilton Head Just like the Kayaks, make sure you bring hand sanitizing wipes. Even with sanitizing practices of their own, you can never be too careful. The options for rentals seem almost limitless. All across the island visitors can find beach cruisers. Biking around the beaches or the walk ways amongst the trees is a great way to spend the afternoon. You can do this alone or with a small group (we recommend nothing over six). When you get hot or tired, jump in the ocean. When it comes to getting out of the house, nothing beats a little bit of exercise to boost the seratonin. Golf in Hilton Head But if biking just isn’t your vibe, then try golfing. This is another outdoor, energy boosting activity with lots of walking and enjoyment (but none of the pedaling). Though, this is a little bit of a pricier option. Tee times run around $100 for the surrounding courses. The most expensive course looks out to the ocean. Golden Bear golf clubs hold one of the highest rating clubs in the area. This sport thrives through social distancing. As you know by now, it’s great as long as you bring some hand sanitizing wipes for the clubs and the cart. Sunset in Hilton Head, SC. Photo by Laura BrownWatch the sunset in Hilton HeadHilton Head has a plethora of fantastic places to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset. Our favorites are the Skull Creek Boathouse on the north side of the island, and the Sunset Grill on the Western side. The Sunset Grill is an upscale restaurant nestled in the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort, for the RV enthusiasts. Margs at the Park in Savannah Once you’ve finished the afternoon in Hilton Head, drive on down to Savannah. Another short drive away, Savannah brings in visitors all over the state for the simple fact of open carry alcohol. While bars start to open their doors to guests, the numbers are already growing for tourists. If you are really looking for a way to travel away from the crowds, the best option is to head over to Tequila Town, or any other bar, and grab an open cup margarita. Then find yourself a nice, lonely park bench to enjoy it on. The evenings start to cool down and what better way to cap off a day of fun. ©Sean Pavone/ShutterstockHorse Drawn Carriages in Savannah Traveling historic Savannah is the second best part to the city, so do it in style. You know, it also keeps you several feet above everyone else (probable a six foot distance if you know what I mean). Horse drawn carriages are back in business and taking riders in fewer quantities with more time in between. Beach Under the Stars at Tybee Island Tybee island is a local favorite for anyone in Savannah. The best times to go are for sunrise and the stars. Bring drinks, dessert and a blanket. You’ll find good company among some of the others who come out, but mostly with the crabs. There isn’t much light pollution in Savannah to begin with, but there is hardly any in Tybee. On a clear night, you can see everything and listen to the waves. Enjoy the Road Lastly it’s about enjoying the road trip. These days, just getting out of the house is an adventure, even if you spend most of your time in the car listening to your favorite songs driving from place to place. A trip from Charleston to Hilton Head to Savannah might not seem like a typical day trip, but why not rise to the challenge? Where else can you drive in a day? (P.s. we highly recommend the new Taylor Swift album Folklore for your road trip tunes.)Kylie Ruffino is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

Inspiration

Explore the Natchez Trace from Tennessee to Mississippi

Back in the 1800’s the way to travel across the southeast was to walk or ride your horse on this “trace”. Back then, if you were headed anywhere along the path between Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN, you used a worn down trail for your long days of travel. Two hundred years later, the Natchez Trace has preserved its history. Loveless Cafe Loveless Cafe was started in 1951 by Lon and Anne Loveless. They bought an old fashioned Tea Room as their home and converted the outdoor space to a restaurant, seating patrons at picnic tables. With their soon booming business, they renovated the rooms in their home, giving the restaurant a bigger menu and more accommodations. Now, you can eat fried chicken and any other sorts of southern cuisine safely at outdoor tables with masks (Due to COVID-19). Go back in time and start your day trip off with this old-fashioned nostalgic stop. With any luck, there will be live music too! Photo by: Anne Florence Brown The Natchez Trace Parkway Double Arched Bridge, mile-marker 430 This stop has the best view found on the trace. I highly recommend that if you are leaving from Nashville, pass this stop early in the day and hit it on the way back to town for a perfectly timed sunset picture. You won’t be sorry.The Gordon House, mile-marker 407 One of the best parts about the Natchez Trace Parkway is the historical aspects. Every few miles there are original historical sites that have been preserved from the 1800s. The Gordon House is one of these. Stop to read about the history behind it and then walk the secluded ten-minute nature walk to the Duck Riverside, where ferries used to make their journey through the south. Pro-tip: bring bug spray for this walk, the overgrown grass makes for an enchanted feel, but affluence of bugs!Baker Bluff Overlook, mile-marker 406 Take a mini-hike through fairy tale trees, babbling brooks, and log bridges to an overlook with a view of the valley from the old days. This hike is perfect for a timely little adventure. With the shade, any time of day is perfect for this hike through the forest.Jackson Falls, mile-marker 405 Jackson Falls is a picturesque waterfall on the trace. Walk a .75 mile trail down to the waterfall. Stop for a picnic in the water, or bring bathing suits to adventure through the Duck River. This stop is especially good for kids. ©Ed Gifford/Getty ImagesTobacco Farm, mile-marker 401 Take a stroll through time and trees to see farms from the 1800s that are still standing. Marked with signs that tell stories from times of old, this excursion is perfect for those who wondered what life was like back in history.Fall Hollow Falls, mile-marker 392 Walk Another short .3 miles to an overlook and then a downhill trek to the base of a beautiful waterfall. This place is perfect for pictures and sightseeing, but be careful. It’s not uncommon for hikers to fall down the steep trail. The safest option for children is to stop at the overlook or to keep them close to you on the trek down.Meriwether Lewis's Grave, mile-marker 378 This is the best historical stop on the trace. Take a historical nature walk through the 1800s, see the grave marker for Meriwether Lewis, who explored the American West with his partner William Clark, and even walk on the original trace that people walked hundreds of years ago. It even holds Meriwether Lewis's original home, where he died in the mid-1800s. Jacks Branch picnic spot, mile-marker 378 This spot is small but perfect for picnics. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and eat some lunch at the picnic tables among the trees and next to a creek at Jacks Branch.Laurel Hills Lake, mile-marker 373 Interested in a fishing excursion? Or a canoe trip? Laurel Hills Lake is a few miles off the trace but worth the trip. Perfect for the adventure goers and meanderers, the lake is an off the beaten path kind of spot. Anne Florence Brown is a Budget Travel intern for Summer 2020. She is a student at the University of Mississippi.

Inspiration

The world’s last Blockbuster is available to rent on Airbnb

If you fancy a night away somewhere unique and live local to Bend, Oregon, you could always try applying to stay at the world's last Blockbuster movie rental store. It will be listed on Airbnb for three individual, one-night reservations that will take place in September. You can enjoy a movie night during your stay © AirbnbThe stay will give guests the opportunity to experience a 90s-themed sleepover and relive the bygone Friday night tradition of movie night. The experience can be booked for $4 (€3.39) plus taxes and fees, which is great value when you consider that movie rentals cost $3.99 (€3.38). Store manager Sandi Harding is listing the store in appreciation of all the Bend community has done recently to support the last-of-its-kind store during these difficult times, and she will stock the shelves with all the movies guests desire before handing over the keys. Guests can stay overnight at the Blockbuster store in Bend © AirbnbWhile at the store, guests who book should adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines around wearing masks and social distancing in a public space. Interested guests should also note host rules that are in adherence with local guidelines, which include that those who request to book must be Bend residents and come from the same household to minimize risk. The store will be cleaned in advance of their arrival and prepared in accordance with CDC guidelines, consistent with the Airbnb enhanced cleaning protocol. You can watch movies for the evening © AirbnbThose who don't manage to score a one-night stay can check out the living room space during store hours for a limited time after the final guests check out. If you want to request to book a stay on 18, 19 and 20 September, you can do from 17 August at 1pm PST on this link. This story originally ran on our sister-site, Lonely Planet.

Inspiration

Celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage with these monuments

August 18, 2020 marks a century since the ratification of the 19th constitutional amendment granting the right to vote regardless of gender. Since far before and after 1920, women of all backgrounds across the U.S. have been championing civil rights and other issues of the day. While landmarks, monuments and memorials to suffragettes and female civil rights advocates might have limited hours or be inaccessible due to COVID-19 mandates, you could walk or drive past some of them. Here is where to begin: Alabama Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue is along the route of the bus that Rosa Parks would board and refuse to give up her seat to a white man in 1955; a life-size statue of Parks stands there. Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum and Library on Montgomery Street is dedicated to Parks’ action and the subsequent Montgomery Bus Boycott. California In San Diego’s Arts District Liberty Station, the Women’s Museum of California preserves her-story by teaching about various women’s experiences and contributions. Colorado In Denver’s Capitol Hill, the Molly Brown House Museum showcases the famous Titanic survivor who helped to organize the Conference of Great Women in 1914 in Newport, while the Center for Colorado Women’s History tells about this topic through exhibits and lectures. In Colorado Springs, a statue of entertainer and philanthropist Fannie Mae Duncan, who owned and integrated the city’s first jazz club, stands outside the Pikes Peak Center. Connecticut In Canterbury, the Prudence Crandall Museum honors Connecticut’s Official State Heroine who ran a higher education academy for African American women until mob violence forced her school to close. In Hartford, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is where the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” author and activist once lived. It now serves as a museum and a forum for social justice and change. Delaware The Old State House in Dover’s First State Heritage Park was where suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mary Ann Sorden Stuart addressed Delaware legislators in support of a state constitutional amendment in favor of women’s suffrage. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway crosses into Kent and New Castle counties in Delaware but comes from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and concludes in Philadelphia. It encompasses 45 sites linked to Tubman, who also supported women’s suffrage, plus others who sought freedom from enslavement. District of Columbia In Capitol Hill, the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument was the headquarters for the National Women’s Party; it’s named for Alice Paul, the party’s founder, and Alva Belmont, a major benefactor. In Lincoln Park, the Mary McLeod Bethune Statue is the first to honor an African American woman in a D.C. public park; her home, now the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, was the first location for the National Council of Negro Women. In Northwest D.C., the Mary Church Terrell House is for the founder and president of the National Association of Colored Women who successfully fought to integrate dining spots in D.C. Florida The Eleanor Collier McWilliams Monument on Tampa’s Riverwalk Historical Monument Trail highlights women's rights pioneer who has been credited with starting the women's suffrage movement in Florida. Illinois Now a private residence, in Chicago’s Douglas neighborhood, the Ida B. Wells-Barnett House was where civil rights advocate and journalist Ida B. Wells, and her husband, Ferdinand Lee Barnett, resided for almost 20 years. Wells led an anti-lynching crusade across the U.S. and fought for woman’s suffrage. Kentucky The SEEK Museum in Russellville has put on display a life-size bronze statue of civil rights pioneer Alice Allison Dunnigan – the first female African American admitted to the White House, Congressional and Supreme Court press corps – at a park adjacent to its Payne-Dunnigan house on East 6th Street. In Lexington, at Ashland, the estate of Henry Clay, a marker honors Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Clay’s great-granddaughter, social reformer and suffragist. Maryland Along the Harriet Tubman Byway, the Bucktown Village Store in Cambridge is where a young Tubman would defy an overseer’s order and was impacted by a resulting head injury. At Historic St. Mary’s City in Southern Maryland, learn about Margaret Brent, an 17th century woman asking the colony’s leaders for voting rights. In Baltimore, the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum was home to this predominant Civil Rights leader and president of the city’s NAACP branch. Massachusetts The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail encompass various neighborhoods and the women who lived in or are connected to them; their Women’s Suffrage Trail goes by stops such as the Boston Women’s Memorial. In Adams, the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum highlights what would influence this suffragist’s early life. Michigan In Battle Creek, where she lived out her final years, the Sojourner Truth Monument in Monument Park honors this abolitionist, suffragist and orator. Minnesota The Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden at the Capitol Mall in St. Paul has a 94-foot steel trellis with the names of 25 key Minnesota suffragists. A series of steel tablets shares the story of the fight for women’s suffrage in this state. New Jersey The New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail includes sites such as the Paulsdale, the childhood home of suffragette Alice Stokes Paul that’s now part of the Alice Paul Institute. New Mexico Now the staff offices for the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, the Alfred M. Bergere House was where Adelina (Nina) Otero Warren, a noted suffragist, author and business woman lived. She headed the New Mexico chapter of the Congressional Union (a precursor to the National Woman’s Party). New York In Seneca Falls, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park contains the Wesleyan Chapel, where the First Women’s Rights Convention met, and the home of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Harriet Tubman lived out the rest of her life in Auburn at Harriet Tubman National Historical Park. In Rochester, see the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House and take a selfie with “Let’s Have Tea,” the statue of Anthony with her friend Frederick Douglass in Anthony Square. The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park is the only one of its kind to a U.S. First Lady. Shirley Chisholm State Park in Brooklyn is named for first African American Congresswoman and the first woman and African American to run for president. Ohio An “Ohio Women in History” road itinerary lists eight stops including Oberlin College, which first granted undergrad degrees to women in a co-ed setting, and the Upton House and Women's Suffrage Museum in Warren, which recognizes Ohio suffragists. In Akron, a historical marker for Sojourner's Truth "Ain't I A Woman" speech commemorates where the church she spoke at once stood. Tennessee In Nashville, the Hermitage Hotel was used as a headquarters by suffragists to secure Tennessee’s ratification. Centennial Park is where the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument depicts five suffragists -- Carrie Chapman Catt, Sue Shelton White, J. Frankie Pierce, Anne Dallas Dudley and Abby Crawford Milton. Knoxville’s Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial depicts suffragists Lizzie Crozier French of Knoxville, Anne Dallas Dudley of Nashville, and Elizabeth Avery Meriwether of Memphis. Texas In downtown Dallas, Fair Park has a women’s history lesson where the 1893 State Fair featured a woman’s congress of over 300 women. During its 1913-1917 years, the fair’s Suffrage Day had local suffragists coming to promote women’s voting rights. Houston’s Barbara Jordan Park is named for this Civil Rights activist who was both the first African elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first Southern African-American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Christia Adair Park features a mural depicting Adair’s devotion to gaining equal rights for blacks and women. Virginia In downtown Richmond, at Broad and Adams streets, a statue of Maggie L. Walker honors this civil rights activist and entrepreneur. Nearby, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site represents more about accomplishments, including being the first woman to serve as president of a bank in the U.S. At the Virginia State Capital, the Virginia Women’s Monument features Walker and artist and suffragist Adele Clark among its 12 statues of women from across the Commonwealth. In Richmond’s Capitol Square, Virginia Civil Rights Memorial honors Barbara Johns, a Civil Rights activist led the first non-violent student demonstration in 1951. Wyoming In Laramie, the Wyoming House For Historic Women has an outdoor sculpture of Louisa Swain, who was the first woman to cast a ballot; it’s a block away from where she did that. Then, the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Pathway includes part of South Pass City; it’s home to Esther Morris, the first woman to serve in the office as Justice of the Peace.

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