10 National Historic Landmarks You Won't Believe Are Actually Landmarks
Of the 90,000-some sites on the National Register of Historic Places, a list determined by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, only about 2,500 are deemed to have enough historical and cultural significance to be recognized as National Historic Landmarks. Churches, forts, historic homes, banks, bridges, and even boats are a dime a dozen. Lesser known, however, are the mining sites, landfills, and zany statues. Here are a few of the more unlikely sites that have had an impact on our culture and influenced who we are as Americans.
1. Lynch Knife River Flint Quarry: Stanton, North Dakota
Several thousands of years before North Dakota’s oil mines triggered a Gold Rush-style blitz of industry, the Plains Indians in the area were mining flint, a resource so valuable to them that archaeologists insist that you can’t talk about the native culture without mentioning it. They mined over 150,000 pounds of the stuff to make arrowheads and other tools. One of the biggest quarries, the Lynch Quarry site, which spans over 690 acres, has, thanks to the efforts of local landowners, staved off development and infiltration by coal companies. It’s remained intact to the point that the anvils used to sharpen arrows and such are still there. Arguably the nation's most overlooked natural resource, it became a landmark in 2012.
2. Peavy-Hagline Experimental Concrete Grain Elevator: St. Lewis Park, Minnesota
Before there were skyscrapers and Space Needles or, for that matter, telephone poles, there were grain elevators. The Peavy-Hagline Experimental Concrete Grain Elevator, a rural tower that stretches 125 feet into the air, is the first of its kind in the United States and, it’s presumed, the world. Before it was built in 1900, elevators were made of wood, but this one was an architectural marvel of its time. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, it served as a model for future concrete structures built around the United States, satisfying the builders’ intention to prove that concrete could indeed be used in elevator construction. French architect LeCorbusier praised it as "the magnificent First Fruits of the new age."
3. Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill: Fresno, California
For the most part, we take garbage pickup for granted these days: You put it out on your curb and it disappears. But regional sanitation systems are part of a tremendous, complex industry, and it’s come a long, long way as cities have expanded and developed. The Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill is ground zero for innovation in the sanitation industry. The creators of the landfill, which operated from 1935 to 1989, at which point it spanned 145 acres, are known for pioneering trenching, compacting, and daily burial techniques to tamp down on rodent issues and other problems. Urban problem-solving at its finest.
4. Lucy the Elephant: Margate City, New Jersey
(Mary Katherine Wynn/Dreamstime)
Dumbo notwithstanding, Lucy, located five miles from Atlantic City, is easily the most famous elephant in the United States. The six-story, nine-ton quadruped, originally made of wood and tin sheeting (she was buttressed with steel in 1970), has appeared in movies, television dramas, comic strips, various History Channel and Travel Channel specials, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and more. She's been a restaurant, offices, and a tavern. And as a testament to her endurance, she was virtually unscathed during Hurricane Sandy. Tourists visit her to climb the spiral staircase inside her to a hodwah on her back that delivers 360-degree views of the Jersey Shore. The National Park Service, which declared her a landmark in 1976, notes her as being a prime example of novelty architecture, an oversize structure designed in an unorthodox shape.
5. Howard High School: Wilmington, Delaware
In 2005, when Howard High School in Wilmington, Delaware, became a National Historic Landmark, then state senator Joe Biden said in a statement, “The selection of Howard High School as a historic landmark is fitting because it encompasses both the struggles of our past and the promise of our future. Our hope is that this recognition will serve as a very visible and powerful reminder of just how far we have come and how much further we must still go." The school played a critical role in the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared it unconstitutional to segregate public schools. (The Brown case was actually a combination of five cases, including one that contested black students be bused to Howard, a black school, when a white high school was closer to their home.) Students here learn history not just from the books, but from their everyday surrounds.
6. American Flag Raising Site: Sitka, Alaska
Really? A flagpole? Rest assured, it’s not just any old flagpole. The flagpole that marks Castle Hill, which was later renamed Baranof Castle State Historic Site, is where, in 1867, the Russians relinquished Alaska to the United States and, soon after, where the 49-star American flag was raised to commemorate Alaska’s new statehood for the first time. The pole is perched on a rock ridge that’s nearly 60 feet in the air, a prime perch for observing Sitka's gorgeous and historic cityscape.
7. Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1: Arco, Idaho
Idaho is one of the 11 states that Lewis and Clark crossed during their epic expedition from 1804 to 1806, so, accordingly, the landscape is dotted with an assortment of landmarks marking their path. But there is one among them that has nothing to do with that dynamic duo: Declared a landmark in 1965, you might say the Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 is where nuclear energy was born. The desert-situated decommissioned reactor was the world’s first nuclear power plant to generate electricity when, in 1951, it illuminated four 200-watt bulbs. This relic of the past is commemorated as a harbinger of the atomic-energy-driven future.
8. Fireproof Building: Charleston, South Carolina
Many buildings are declared landmarks because they're where a historical person lived or died, a monumental event happened, or a company set up its manufacturing operation. There are loads of landmark banks, courts, jails, hotels, and churches. But only the grand Greek Revival-style County Records Building in Charleston carried the superlative classification of most fire-protected building when it was built in 1829, making it oldest fire-resistant building in all the land today. The structure is solid masonry and stucco, with iron shutters on triple windows, which allowed for more light, which meant less need for candles. These and other architectural features made it so sound that it survived the 1886 earthquake. In recent decades, it housed the South Carolina Historical Society, which renovated the building and opened it as a museum last summer.
9. Davis-Ferris Organ: Round Lake, New York
(Courtesy Grace Mayo/Wikimedia Commons)
The stately, massive Davis-Ferris Organ was built in 1847 for $2,500 and sat in Manhattan’s Calvary Episcopal Church until 1888, when it was purchased by a Methodist camp for $1,500 and moved to a town auditorium in Round Lake, a village in upstate New York that has been on the National Register of Historic Places itself since 1975. The instrument features pipes wide enough for a small child to crawl through, earned the approval of the National Parks Service in 2016. It’s said to be the oldest and largest organ of its type. (For any organ aficionados out there, that’s a three-manual organ, to be specific.)
10. Baltusrol Golf Club: Springfield, New Jersey
A.W. Tillinghast, who passed away in 1942, is the Frank Gehry of golf courses. He designed more than 265 of them throughout his prolific career, and the 36-hole golf course at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, which was completed in 1918, is often seen as one of his greatest achievements. In 1919, Golf Illustrated wrote, "What they are planning at Baltusrol is on a vaster scale than anything that has ever been attempted in American Golf.” It’s since played host to numerous professional tournaments, including seven U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships.
9 Beach Bars You Need Right Now
There are few things better than relaxing on a beach with a cocktail in hand, especially when the weather at home sinks below freezing. From party-forward day-drinking bars to hole-in-the-wall classics, let these nine amazing beach bars across the U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean serve as you bucket list for the whole of 2019. Now, what are you waiting for? Cheers! 1. TnT: Los Cabos, Mexico Tucked inside the ritzy Chileno Bay Resort & Residences sits the seaside cantina, TnT. They offer a selection of Mexican street-style tacos, and you can’t go wrong with the camarón, deep-fried shrimp doused in chipotle mayo, jicama and cilantro. Then dive into the real treat on the menu—premium tequilas, mezcals, and raicilla, a lesser known but no less terrific agave spirit. Don’t leave without sampling the Sonora Commercial, made with aged tequila, eucalyptus syrup, lime, and Mexican Tepache, a fermented beverage made from the peel and the rind of pineapples. Try to plan your visit after sunset, when the fire pits are lit and guests can sip under the stars. Reservations required a day in advance. (aubergeresorts.com/chilenobay) 2. The Rusty Nail: Cape May, New Jersey Blue and orange umbrellas dot outdoor boardwalk planks in front of what was once regarded as “the longest bar in all of Cape May.” The Rusty Nail, the Jersey Shore’s iconic surfer bar, has been well known along the Eastern Seaboard since the 1970s. A seaside haunt open May through December, it features an outdoor fire pit in the warm weather months and indoor fireplaces once the air chills. Order a cone of fried shrimp and wash it down with an Orange Crush, a classic Garden State beach cocktail made with Absolut Mandrin, orange, triple sec, and lemon-lime soda. If you’re on vacation with the family, this is an ideal spot to for the whole crew. The Nail is open to young, old, and the four-legged, complete with a full doggy menu. (caperesorts.com/restaurants/capemay/rustynail) 3. Mai Tai Bar: Honolulu, Hawaii Mad Men fans will immediately recognize the Royal Hawaiian, the iconic pink hotel where Don and Megan Draper honeymooned in the heart of Waikiki Beach, Oahu. Explore the basement of the property, an ode to the hotel’s decorated past, then head to the Mai Tai Bar. The hotel’s beach-side enclave, speckled with umbrellas and pink chairs, is known across the island for its variety of mai tais. Order the 96 Degrees in the Shade to cool down. A frozen mai tai with Captain Morgan, fresh pineapple-passionfruit purée, lime juice, orgeat, and mint, it's topped with a generous dark-rum floater. (royal-hawaiian.com/dining/mai-tai-bar) 4. Rick’s Cafe: Negril, Jamaica Rick’s Café, perched atop a 35-foot cliff on the west end of Negril, is known as the island’s best spot for watching the sunset. Patrons arriving at this vibrant multi-level watering hole before dusk are treated to another phenomenon: cliff diving. As island music plays, a soundtrack often provided by the in-house reggae band, locals and tourists alike head behind the bar to tiered jumping points of varying heights for a serious adrenaline rush. Not into cliff jumping? No problem. Order a rum punch and kick back at an indoor or outdoor table. If the plan is to see the sunset, arrive no later than 4PM, as seats fill up fast. And don’t forget a camera for an Instagram-worthy snap. (rickscafejamaica.com) 5. Navy Beach: Montauk, New York White picnic tables and navy blue umbrellas mark Navy Beach, a waterfront wonder set on a 200-foot private beach in Montauk, one of many seaside communities tucked within the Hamptons, New York’s coastal getaway. A casual bar and eatery, guests arrive by both land and sea. (There’s a dock for boaters to tie up on Fort Pond Bay.) Once inside, be sure to try out the classic Dark & Stormy, a blend of Gosling’s rum, ginger beer, and bitters. If you’re with an entourage, opt for a pitcher of Navy Grog, rum mixed with grapefruit, orange, and pineapple juices. When hunger strikes, order the buttermilk fried chicken with a side of truffled mac. And don’t be surprised when you see an added charge on your tab—from May to September, a donation of $1 is added to each check in support of the Navy SEAL Foundation. Helping out never tasted so good. (navybeach.com) 6. Flora-Bama: Perdido Key, Florida Flora-Bama, the self-proclaimed most famous beach bar in the country, gets its name from its unique coordinates straddling the Florida-Alabama state line. A landmark in the Gulf Shores community, this energetic watering hole offers live entertainment 365 days a year, with events that range from chili cook-offs and fishing rodeos to the Annual Mullet Toss and beachfront concerts. Flora-Bama is best known for its Bushwhacker, a milkshake-like concoction from a secret recipe involving five different types of liquor. The likes of Kenny Chesney have paid homage to the bar with lyrics like “I'm in the redneck riviera, It's getting crazy, getting hammered, sitting right here at the Flora-Bama.” (florabama.com) 7. Soggy Dollar Bar: Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands Accessible only by boat, the Soggy Dollar Bar has been serving its famous Painkiller cocktail on Jost Van Dyke since the 1970s. Made with a top-secret recipe of dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple, and orange juice and topped with freshly grated nutmeg from Grenada, the potent drink makes the trek to this salty saloon worth the effort. Devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Irma, Soggy Dollar’s owner and employees worked diligently to re-open in early 2018 for its rum-loving fans—and potential fans. Have a friend stopping by without you? The bar is famous for their “Drink Board,” an opportunity to buy a drink ahead of time for someone visiting. (soggydollar.com) 8. Pelican Brewing Company: Pacific City, Oregon A love of beer and the ocean brought Pelican Brewing company to life in 1996 on Cape Kiwanda, situated about 100 miles west of Portland in coastal Pacific City. Today it’s the only beachfront brewpub in the Pacific Northwest. Head straight for the bar and order a Kiwanda, a pre-Prohibition cream ale inspired by one of America’s 19th-century beer styles, marked by a floral aroma and clean finish. Pelican Brewing Company offers seven year-round beers, as well as seasonal specials and a small-batch series called Lone Pelican. For those that can't make the trip, a live brewery webcam allows for an instant beach-bar fantasy get-away. (pelicanbrewing.com) 9. Clayton’s Beach Bar: South Padre Island, Texas Everything's bigger in Texas, and the beach bars are no exception. To wit: Clayton’s Beach Bar. With a capacity for 5,000 guests, the venue features touring acts like Billy Currington and Nelly, and each March, it plays host to the largest free spring-break stage in Texas. Known for its frozen margaritas and Turbo Piña Coladas, this popular beachside bar is a partying hotspot and treats patrons to fireworks on the weekend. Whether heading to Clayton’s with friends or the kids (it’s family-friendly), be sure to have a designated driver or an Uber on speed dial—the bartenders are notoriously heavy handed. (claytonsbeachbar.com)
America's Best Beer Destinations, Ranked.
The craft beer revolution has been brewing for years. Throughout the U.S. independent breweries have been opening at an astonishing clip. As of this moment, there are more than 7,000 craft breweries, an exponential growth from the 1,511 that were active in 2007. Big beer has taken notice and started buying smaller operations. AB-InBev, owners of titans like Budweiser and Michelob, purchased Blue Point Brewing on Long Island for $24 million. MillerCoors, which owns the monoliths Miller and Coors, purchased a large stake in popular Terrapin Brewing Company in 2016. Anchor Brewing, the oldest craft brewery, which dates back to the 1890s, was sold to Sapporo, Japan’s fourth-largest beer brand, in 2017. The list goes on. Numbers Don't Lie A study released this month spells out just how much this already huge industry is growing and the economic impact in each state. Using research provided by the Brewers Association, C + R Research crunched the numbers to come up with a detailed map of how much who is producing in which states. The way we see it, the conclusions make an excellent guide for beer-lovers who are hitting the road. The state with the highest production isn’t where you might think. Sure, California’s coast is lined with breweries and Colorado has been a state that gets lots of attention for its breweries’ often being ahead of trend. Colorado is also the gathering point each fall for the Great American Beer Festival, which draws enthusiasts who come by the thousands to taste from hundreds of American beers. But it’s the quiet, modest state of Vermont that makes more beer per capita than anywhere else. There are 11.5 breweries per capita producing the equivalent of 151.2 pints per drinking-age residentd. The second-place state might also come as a bit of a surprise, but the land known for Glacier National Park and Yellowstone apparently has plenty of gorgeous landscape for brewers to work their craft. Montana clocks in with 9.6 breweries per capita, a tie with Maine. Oregon and Colorado follow suit 8.5 and 8.4 breweries respectively. Alaska (6.8 breweries per capita), Washington (6.7), and Wyoming (5.7) pull up behind them. Plenty of Pints All Along Beer Trails Most breweries around the country have tours and tasting rooms, but it’s always wise to call ahead, as organized tours might take place on particular days or times. Also, when you’re visiting a city, check to see if there are brewery trails of some sort. Denver, Massachusetts, San Diego and plenty of other cities and states have information and maps for self-guided tours, while cities like Anchorage and Asheville offer tours where experts lead you to different venues to meet local brewers and taste their wares.
9 California Food & Beverage Makers to Visit in 2019
We live in an era practically defined by entrepreneurship, and as we see it, some of the most exciting businesses are popping up in the food-and-beverage sector. While we love going to see where and how some of America's most iconic food brands are produced, we appreciate the personal touches that make independent creators so special, and California in particular is an embarrassment of riches. Here are some of our favorite destination-worthy small-batch producers in the state. 1. Lucero Olive Oil: Corning (Maya Stanton) In northern California, a straight shot south of Redding on I-5, you’ll find Corning, a small rural community where olives are the name of the game. The largest table-olive producer and the largest ripe-olive processor in the country, Bell-Carter Foods, is based here, but so is Lucero, a small, highly decorated operation turning out some of the best extra-virgin olive oil this side of the Mediterranean. Stop in for a look at the factory floor, and stay for a tasting and sample the wares (they import and flavor balsamic vinegars from Modena as well, traditional and fruit-flavored). You can choose from a basic introductory tour ($5), held twice daily; an hour-long Explorer Tour ($20; book in advance) that digs deeper into the olive-oil-making process and includes food pairings; and the two-hour Connoisseur Experience ($50; book in advance), which offers a peek at the olive mill as well as extensive pairing options. But no matter which you choose, hit the shop afterwards. With a wall of dispensers providing even more tastes of the merchandise, a selection of olive-wood tableware and accessories, and a plethora of carry-on-size bottles for purchase, you won’t be leaving empty-handed. 2120 Loleta Avenue, Corning; 877-330-2190; lucerooliveoil.com. 2. Journeyman Meat Co.: Healdsburg (Courtesy Richard Knapp) When Sonoma County winemaker Pete Seghesio gave up his vineyard and turned his attention to artisanal salumi, he wasn’t going in with his eyes closed. The grandson of 19th-century Italian immigrants, the meat business was in his blood: A great-grandfather was a butcher, and his father taught him to make fresh sausage and cured meats from the family’s farm-raised hogs at a young age. He got serious about the craft in 2012, spending time in Tuscany training under renowned butcher Dario Cecchini before opening Journeyman Meat Co. five years later. Today, you can buy Seghesio’s masterful finocchiona, soppressata, and chorizo online, but if you’re in the area, the butchery, salumeria, and wine tasting shop in Healdsburg is worth a visit. Set inside a retrofitted post office just north of the town’s main square, it features a rotating menu of wood-fired pizzas, house-made sausages and hot dogs, and, of course, an array of salumi boards, all paired with local Sonoma County wines. 404 Center Street, Healdsburg; 707-395-6328; journeymanmeat.com. 3. La Zamorana Candy Co.: Los Angeles Since 1957, the La Zamorana Candy Company has been turning out traditional Mexican candy using generations-old recipes in a small kitchen in East L.A. The family-owned-and-run business is known for its tarugos (sugar-coated tamarind-pulp candies), cocadas horneadas (baked macaroon-like coconut candies), milk fudge, and more. The candy is sold in Latin markets throughout the area, but to get a glimpse at traditional Mexican candy-making methods, visit the factory, which doubles as a shrine to old-time confectionery and clever modern-day resourcefulness. (A hand-operated slicer, for instance, was built with steel guitar strings that serve as blades.) Stop by and watch the magic happen. 7100 Wilson Ave, Los Angeles; 323-261-1817; zamoranacandy.com 4. Saltroot Café: San Francisco (Courtesy Saltroot Café) When John Goyert and Juliana Okada moved from Brazil to San Francisco a few years ago, they brought something delicious with them: a recipe for pão de queijo, that cheesy, chewy popover that could unofficially be considered the country’s national snack. The husband-and-wife team set up shop in the Outer Sunset neighborhood and opened their tiny cafe in 2017. In addition to stand-out pão de queijo in varieties both traditional (Parmesan) and non (guava), they serve a stellar selection of empanadas, green juices, coffee, and tea. Order a drink and watch them work while you wait; the production table and bread warmer are visible from the register, and the owners welcome the chance to talk about their craft. You’ll get a complimentary pão de queijo with your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, but they’re also available to purchase individually or by the bag, frozen, to take away and bake yourself. 2960 Clement Street, San Francisco; 415-663-6226; saltroot.com. 5. The Heart & Trotter: San Diego What began as two carnivorous friends’ Kickstarter campaign in 2013 has become a San Diego go-to for meats and a variety of gourmet provisions, primarily locally made food like jerky, mustard, and pickles and dairy items like cheese and butter. Since it opened in 2015, The Heart & Trotter has specialized in antibiotic- and hormone-free local meats and eggs. It’s a whole-animal butchery, so expect to find house-made sausages, paté, and rillettes alongside unconventional cuts (to wit, bavette, which is close to a hanger steak in terms of where it sits on the animal’s body, but less pricey). For lessons in how to put nose-to-tail practices into play, they offer demos and classes. Or just stop by for a generously stacked sandwich or charcuterie plate. Pro tip: the meat arrives from local farms in the morning, so if you get there early enough, you can catch the butchering in action. 2855 El Cajon Boulevard #1, San Diego; 619-564-8976; theheartandtrotter.com 6. California Cheese Trail: Compton to Crescent City (Courtesy Mike Larson/StepladdderCreamery.com) There are so many cheesemakers in California that it’d be impossible to pick just one—and luckily, you don’t have to. Discover the state’s dairy delights with the California Cheese Trail (cheesetrail.org), a self-guided tour created by Petaluma resident Vivien Straus, a cheese enthusiast who co-owns and manages a family dairy in Marshall. Choose from a suggested itinerary, or create your own, selecting a region and hitting the locations that are open for tours and tastings. In Marin County, Straus recommends Ramini Mozzarella (raminimozzarella.com), one of the only water-buffalo dairies in the country. The mozz is the draw, but animal-loving visitors can also get hands-on with the livestock: Water buffaloes, as it turns out, love to be groomed. “They literally curl their tails when brushed, then collapse in ecstasy,” Straus says. “It’s such a bizarre thing to see. Quite unique.” Further south, in Cambria on the Central Coast, Stepladder Creamery (stepladdercreamery.com) keeps a herd of LaMancha goats for its small-scale cheeses, alongside heritage pigs, black Angus cattle, and rows of Hass avocado trees on a third-generation family ranch. The creamery is open for tours by appointment, and not only are the cheeses available for purchase, you can also take home the farm’s honey, beef, pork, and avocados. “Delicious cheese!” says Straus. 7. Le Marcel Dog Bakery: San Francisco (Courtesy lemarceldogbakery.com) Canine travel companions deserve special treats, too! Established in 1998, dog bakery Le Marcel makes everything on its shelves from scratch—think pastries like “pupcakes” and “terrier-misu” and cookies shaped like cats and fetching sticks. If they've been especially good puppers, order ahead for a peanut butter special-occasion cake, and pick up a bag or two of packaged treats ("muttaroons," anyone?) for the road while you’re at it. Go ahead, throw that dog a bone. 2066 Union Street, San Francisco; 877-349-9199; lemarceldogbakery.com. 8. Chocovivo: Los Angeles (Courtesy Chocovivo) “Farm to table” and “grape to glass” have become part of the lingua franca for restaurants, food producers, and curious diners. Now “bean to bar” is becoming a more recognized term when it comes to chocolate-making. Choco Vivo, an airy, rustic-chic café with communal tables, features a chocolate-making facility specializing in bean-to-bar items, offering only dark-chocolate bars (no milk powder, soy lecithin, or any other additives or preservatives) and other simply made treats. Owner and chocolatier Patricia Tsai sources her beans directly from a particular grower in Mexico and roasts and stone-grinds them on an ancient Aztec stone grinder. At the shop, she sells chocolate sauce and hot-chocolate mix alongside her popular single-origin and blended chocolate bars. In 2014, she added hair and skin products to the lineup. There’s a calendar of events like chocolate tastings and tutorials in pairing chocolate with spirits or wine, so if you're in search of an education, options here are a sweet choice. 12469 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles; 310-845-6259; chocovivo.com. 9. Henry's House of Coffee: San Francisco Before Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks, and long before “third wave coffee” was a thing, there was Henry’s House of Coffee, a San Francisco institution. Since the 1960s, Henry Kalebjian, son of an Armenian immigrant who now runs the business with his son Hrag, has been micro-roasting mindfully sourced beans in what can now be considered a vintage twelve-kilogram San Franciscan brand roaster as patrons look on. As legend has it, sight and touch are his main means of measuring, which is little surprise considering he's been in the biz since childhood. Henry, the story goes, learned the craft from his father on old-world equipment that required tending a fire and hand-cranking a drum. Today, regulars are legion, visiting the shop as much to say hi to the Kalebjians as they do for the coffee—though, needless to say, tourists always get a warm welcome too. The space, which includes something of a gallery of artisanal provisions and coffee-making gizmos and cups, blends modern elements (blond wood accents, a sleek seating area, cold brew) with old world accents (that majestic roasting equipment, Henry himself.) Order a strong cup of their Armenian-style coffee, and you'll feel like a regular in no time. 1618 Noriega St, San Francisco; 415-681-9363; henryshouseofcoffee.com.
8 Great Hanukkah Celebrations Across America
From Atlanta to Los Angeles, from raucous to quirky, the U.S. is home to some truly exceptional Hanukkah bashes, including family favorites like dreidel spinning and menorah lighting and commemorations of the ancient Jewish rebellion led by Judah Maccabee around 200 BCE. Here, a look at some of the biggest festival of lights parties you can find in major American cities. 1. Atlanta: Grand Menorah Lightings and Hanukkah Celebrations December 2-9; free; locations throughout the city; (404) 898-0434; atlantajewishconnector.com With daily Hanukkah celebrations throughout the city, the simcha (party) never ends! Decatur Square hosts the first night, when the grand menorah is lit. Come hungry - there’s hot latkes, fresh donuts, plus music, dancing, dreidels, raffles, and prizes. Spread some Hanukkah cheer at the Menorah Car Parade on December 6, when cars decked out with menorahs go on a drive from the Beltline throughout Atlanta. 2. Boston: Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights December 5, 4:30 PM – 10:00 PM; free events with food at extra cost; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; (617) 267- 9300; mfa.org Art, music, and Jewish heritage come together at this celebration, held at one of the best museums in New England. Come for the community menorah lighting and stay for the family song and story time, scavenger hunt throughout the galleries, dreidel making, and face painting. Then nosh on latkes, rugelach, and Star of David cookies. Don’t forget to save room for the top-your-own donut bar. Be sure to check out “The Maccabees and the Hanukkah Story,” a special installation featuring three centuries of Jewish decorative arts and ritual objects from Hanukkah lamps to embroidered silk. 3. Chicago: “Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins” December 1 – January 5, 2019; $25 adults, $20 children; Strawdog Theatre Company; (773) 644-1380; strawdog.org Don’t miss this amazing stage production of the classic children’s book by Eric Kimmel about a weary traveler who stumbles upon a village taken over by a band of goblins who have ruined the town’s Hanukkah festivities. Live music tells the story as Herschel tries to defeat the wily fiends during the holiday’s eight nights. 4. Dallas: Hanukkah Hoopla December 2; 1:00 PM - 5:30 PM; free; Aaaron Family JCC of Dallas; (214) 739-2737; jccdallas.org Get your shop on at this holiday celebration and marketplace where more than 35 local vendors sell handmade art, glass and pottery, jewelry and Judaica, and yummy homemade treats perfect for gift-giving. Music and dancing plus storytelling, face painting, and a balloon artist entertain the kids while adults hit up the Latke Piano Lounge. L’chaim! (Cheers!) Menorah lighting begins around 5:30 at the Chabad of Dallas (6710 Levelland Rd). 5. Los Angeles: Hanukkah on the Canals Parade December 9, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM; free; Venice Canals, Venice Beach; (310) 821-1414; opentemple.org Rock the boat, Hanukkah-style as decorated canoes, kayaks, barges, paddle boats, and yachts take to the canals of Venice to celebrate the holiday. Bring the kids - there’s also menorah making and live music, plus the menorah lighting at sundown. Favorite local chef the Latke Lady serves up… you guessed it… her famous homemade potato pancakes just like your bubbe (grandma) used to make. 6. New Orleans: Latkes with a Twist December 6, 7:00 PM; $35; Press Street Station; (504) 828-6334; jcrs.org If you’re hoping this “twist” includes a lime, you’re in luck! This holiday event serves up a mean vodka latke punch, a bourbon Hanukkah highball, plus lots of other spirits from an open bar. Self-ordained Latke Master and local chef Adam Biderman slings his signature potato pancakes at the latke bar while the Joe Gelini Trio keeps the crowd dancing. Proceeds from the event help support local Jewish children with scholarships. 7. New York City: 10th Annual Latke Festival December 3; 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM, $75; Brooklyn Museum; latkefestival.com The classic Hanukkah dish gets a fun makeover by more than two dozen local chefs at this incredible tasting event. Forget your typical potato pancakes with apple sauce; past year’s dishes have included rueben latkes stuffed with corned beef and sauerkraut, duck confit latkes, and even bay scallop ceviche latkes. The creativity alone makes the entry fee well worth it, with proceeds benefitting the Sylvia Center, a local nonprofit dedicated to teaching healthy eating habits to children and their families. 8. San Francisco: Night at the Jewseum Shimmer December 6, 6:00 PM-9:00 PM; $8; the Contemporary Jewish Museum; (415) 655-7800; thecjm.org Light up the night at this meshuga (crazy) adults-only, museum-wide holiday celebration where a cosmic glow-in-the-dark fashion show is center stage as a DJ pumps up the jam with club music. Other off-beat activities include a scavenger hunt held in a gallery featuring the works of a Jewish tattoo artist, and a candid clergy Q and A session called “Ask a Rabbi.” Three-piece klezmer band the Yiddiots offers up holiday tunes as guests hit up the latke and brisket bar and sip special Hanukkah bourbon and gin cocktails.