Virginia Is For Lovers

It’s been a couple of weeks that I haven’t gone on a road trip so, when I got 6-day off from work, I packed my bag and headed out. It was a battle between New England states or the Carolinas. I posted it in my Facebook account on where to go and I have decided to go down south since there were more reasons to visit the places. The first stop on my 4-state road trip was in Virginia because Virginia is for lovers.va21

Virginia is a state located on the Atlantic coast of the United States of America and is part of both the Southern and Mid-Atlantic of the nation. Virginia has been nicknamed the ‘Old Dominion’ due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America, and was also labeled as ‘Mother of Presidents’ due to eight of U.S Presidents were born in the state. I was in the western part of Virginia. I made a quick stopover at Virginia Visitor Center and the lovely lady told me to visit some of their local sites. Thus, I had these attractions on my list and have visited these places;

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Virginia Visitor Center

Big Walker Lookout

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Big Walker Lookout

Big Walker Lookout is located in Wytheville, VA. It is a 100-foot observation tower located in the Wythe county. The tower is atop a peak near the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel and overlooking the East River Mountain Tunnel. The tower is accessed from the Big Walker general store. The lookout tower is open to the public and the cost to climb is US$6 for adults and US$4 for children.

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I Climbed the Tower ticket

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Big Walker Lookout Tower

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Big Walker Lookout Tower with the view of the hanging bridge

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The Swinging Bridge

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Big Walker Country Store

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Battle of Wytheville

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View atop of the tower

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View of Wytheville

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View of Wytheville

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View of Wytheville

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View of Wytheville

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View of Wytheville

The climb of the tower was a little shaky but it was worth the view on top. To purchase the ticket, just go to the country store since they offer it along with foods, souvenirs, and fun with other guests. I met other travelers and had fun walking the swinging bridge.

Shot Tower Historical State Park

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Shot Tower Historical State Park

Shot Tower Historical State Park is a state park located near the town of Austinville and is the centerpiece in the Jackson Ferry Shot Tower. The shot tower was used for the creation of ammunition. The tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.va04

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Other side of the Shot Tower

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Inside the Shot Tower

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The River Crossing

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The state park is wide. It has a biking and hiking trail. Just a tip: if you plan of visiting the park, just park your car at the foot of the hill or on the dirt path than on the state entrance. Parking fee cost US$5. I paid it and I found out that other visitors were just on the dirt path. But I am helping the state park generates some income so, it was a win-win situation.

The whole road trip in Virginia was a blast. It was unplanned but I did get some decent tourist attractions in the county I have visited. Those may not be as popular as Virginia Beach or the metropolis of Richmond but they were an eye catch for people like me who are nature and history lovers. Indeed, Virginia is for lovers.

Series of Dates

I’ve been out and about these past few months. During those travels, I met this amazing person and I wanted to get to know more of this individual. I wanted to woo this human being so, I’m seeing this person and we always went out. We had series of dates and now, he is someone dear to my heart.

We’ve been exploring most of the restaurants in Canton, Ohio. It’s been our gastronomic adventure together to try the dishes in every business establishment serving food and drinks.

These are the restaurants we’ve dined in:
1. Table Six Kitchen + Bar

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Table Six Kitchen + Bar

It is a gastropub where they serve traditional, made-from-scratch comfort food which are perfect for sharing. They also offer wide array of drinks from cocktails to spirits, beers and wines. Table Six Kitchen + Bar is an independent restaurant group with four locations and every location has its own unique personality and tradition good of taste.

I ordered fish + chips that is craft beer battered cod with fresh cut fries, house slaw, tarter and Sriracha ketchup for appetizer. For entrée, I chose Teriyaki Salmon which is a pan seared, Teriyaki glazed, Verlasso salmon with Asian sesame stir fry and a meal won’t be a meal without dessert. I got warm molten brownie which is a chocolate lover’s heaven with warm brownie, Amy’s chocolate icing and vanilla ice cream. The whole dining experience in Table Six Kitchen + Bar was 4/5. Foods were delicious, ambience was good and a little crowded but the space was a little bit small and congested.

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Fish + Chips

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Teriyaki Salmon

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Warm Molten Brownie

For menus and more information, check at www.table6canton.com/home or visit them at:
Table Six Kitchen + Bar
6113 Whipple Ave NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Phone No. 330-305-1666

2. Gervasi Vineyard Restaurant

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Gervasi Vineyard Restaurant

Gervasi Vineyard Restaurant is a premier winery and vineyard located in Canton, Ohio that provides guests with fine dining experience. It offers a memorable destination for wine lovers, diners, families, businesses, and tourists. The restaurant is designed for adults seeking an affordable, fresh and romantic dining experience, for families seeking outdoor beauty, fun and great food, and corporate team for business meetings. Gervasi Vineyard Restaurant has among the best wine varieties in Ohio which are produced by wine experts and hand selected seasonally by local farmers.

We went to Crush House since Gervasi Vineyard has more than one dining options. I started the ball rolling with an appetizer of pork wings which were marinated and glazed with red wine vinegar, blue cheese emulsion, scallions and crumbled blue cheese paired with a glass of zin zin, a zinfandel wine. I got shrimp and sausage linguini with sauteed zucchini and squash with vodka sauce paired with a glass of velluto, a pinot noir wine for my entrée while he ordered crush house steak which was the chef’s entrée feature of the day. To end the night, we both chose chocolate crème brulee with blackberry and raspberry and cream for dessert. Dining experience in Gervasi Vineyard Restaurant was 5/5. Everything was perfect.

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Pork Wings

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Shrimp and Sausage Linguini

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Crush House Steak

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Chocolate Crème Brulee

For more information, visit their site at www.gervasivineyard.com or visit them physically at:
Gervasi Vineyard Restaurant
1700 55th St NE
Canton, OH 44721
Phone No. 330-497-1000

3. Hog Heaven Open Blame BBQ

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Hog Heaven Open Flame BBQ

It is a fun laid back atmosphere restaurant that provides southern BBQ meals  and cold beers. Not only that the Hog Heaven also tries to help the community by fundraising and scholarship through motorcycle runs.

We both ordered full rack barbeque ribs which is a famous St. Louis style ribs, tender and tasty that falls right off the bone, basted with Hog Heaven southern style barbeque sauce. I chose the macaroni and cheese and baked beans as the 2 sides. My gastronomic experience is at 4/5. We’ve dined in the restaurant for 3 times and ordered the same ribs but the food was inconsistent.

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Full Rack BBQ Ribs with mac&cheese and baked beans

For additional information, check their site by clicking here or visit them at:
Hog Heaven
2730 Cleveland Avenue NW
Canton, OH 44709
Phone No. 330-458-0904

4. George’s Lounge

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George’s Lounge

George’s Lounge has been a favored establishment since 1959. It’s the best place to gather with friends and enjoy local grass-fed gourmet burgers, fresh-cut fries, and more. It has the best environment with open and live music with wide selections of drinks from cola products to hard liquors.

It appears that the special person’s hangout place is the George’s Lounge and knows everything in the menu. I got their Gorgeous George burger which has double burger with bacon, sautéed onion and mushroom, egg, kamikaze sauce on egg bun. The whole dining experience was at 4/5. The food may not be as great as other restaurants I’ve been to but the environment is magnificent and the service is amazing.

To contact them, check the website here or travel to:
George’s Lounge
229 Cleveland Ave NW
Canton, OH 44702
Phone No. 330-452-0029

5. Boathouse BBQ

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Boathouse BBQ of Marietta

It is one of my favorite restaurants in Marietta. When the special person visited me, we went to boathouse BBQ  and ordered grilled pork BBQ ribs. It was the best and I always chose that. It so happened that he loved it too. Dining experience is 3/5. Food is amazing but inconsistent, service is a little slow but ambience is great.

Visit them at Boathouse BBQ of Marietta at 218 Virginia St, Marietta, OH 45750 with phone no. 740-373-3006.

6. The Winking Lizard Tavern and Restaurant

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The Winking Lizard Tavern and Restaurant

We had dinner at this restaurant and we both ordered grilled pork BBQ ribs with mac&cheese and steak fries for my side dishes. Dining experience is at 3/5. I’ve been tasting and ordering BBQ ribs in every restaurants I’ve been to and the Winking Lizard Tavern and Restaurant’s BBQ ribs somehow fails it.

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Pork BBQ ribs with mac&cheese and steak fries

Check them at www.winkinglizard.com or visit them at this address:
The Winking Lizard Tavern and Restaurant
5710 Fulton Drive NW
Canton, OH 44718
Phone No. 330-497-1133

7. Scrambler Marie’s Restaurant

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Scrambler Marie’s Restaurant

We also had breakfast in Scrambler Marie’s Breakfast Bistro. I picked the American breakfast since I have weakness for sunnyside up eggs. It was one of the best breakfast meals I had. Dining experience meter is at 5/5. It was perfect.

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American Breakfast with Sausage, sunnyside up eggs, white toast, strawberry yogurt

For menus, check their website at scramblersrestaurants.com or visit them at:
Scrambler Marie’s Restaurant at Canton-Belden Village Mall
4345 Belden Village Mall
Canton, OH 44718
Phone No. 330-493-4800

I’ll also add the list of restaurants I have dined in. I’ve been to food tasting and I’ve been reviewing them for the last year. Here are the list:

8. Ruby Tuesday

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Ruby Tuesday

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Pork BBQ Ribs with mac&cheese and baked potato with sour cream and butter

9. Applebee’s

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Applebee’s Grill and Bar cr: Applebee’s

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Shrimp and Parmesan Sirloin Steak medium well with mac&cheese and french fries

10. Lori’s Family Restaurant

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Lori’s Family Restaurant cr: Tripadvisor

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American Breakfast with sausage patties, hash puppies, white toast, sunnyside up eggs

11. Outback Steakhouse

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Outback Steakhouse cr: Outback

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Alice Spring’s Chicken with mac&cheese

12. Tlaquepaque Mexican Restaurant

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Tlaquepaque Mexican Restaurant

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Mar Y Tierra with cajun rice, shrimps and steak

If you love food like me and my boo, better start exploring the nearest restaurants and see which serves the best meal and dishes. What better to do that with your special someone dear to your heart and have a series of dates. I had my fair share done, now, it’s your turn. Bon appetit! 😉

Where Learning Goes Underground

I was in Maryland when I got lost and drove aimlessly, little did I notice that I was already in Pennsylvania after my GPS from my car announced and welcomed me to the state from Maryland. Then, I saw the signage on the side of the road and it read Laurel Caverns. I was drawn to it and at that time, I have decided to come and see what’s in it for me. It was almost an hour and a half drive from Oakland, Maryland. I arrived at Laurel Caverns at 1430H. Parking is free and I went inside the visitor center and took one of the brochures and I got a little excited since I really didn’t know what to expect. I found out that Laurel Caverns is Pennsylvania’s largest cave. I went to find the staff and asked what they offer and told me about a tour in the cave. I automatically said, ‘sign me in for the tour where learning goes underground.’pa02

Laurel Caverns as I mentioned is Pennsylvania’s largest cave located in route 40 east of Uniontown. For travelers to get to Laurel Caverns, just put this address in GPS: 101 Skyline Drive, Farmington, PA 15437 that will get to the intersection of Skyline Drive and Route 40. It has Norman E. Cale Visitor’s Center which serves as a souvenir shop, tour meeting point, snack area, restrooms and changing rooms for caving gear.pa01

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Laurel Caverns Postcards

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Souvenir Shop

Laurel Caverns offers 4 tours, namely the traditional one hour tour, upper caving tours, lower caving tours and half-day and all-day educational tour. I chose the traditional one hour tour. Admission fee costs USD12 for adult. For more information about the cavern, visit this site at www.laurelcaverns.com.

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Cave Bats Entrance

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Hall of the Mountain King

I took the one hour tour for the reason that I don’t have the whole day to explore the cave and I’m not a certified cave explorer. Anyway, the traditional one hour tour is the most popular since it is suitable for all ages. It has a guide and tour starts every 20 minutes with the last tour of the day enters the cave at 1630H. This tour is not advisable though for schools and large groups wanting a private guide. That’s the reason they have the half-day and all-day educational programs which include rappelling classes, cave study excursions, BSA and GSA speleology, geology and forestry patches, badges and pins. But visitors need to call in ahead because this tour is only available every Saturday and other days by special arrangements.

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Tour with the guide

The traditional tour lasts about 55 minutes seeing Laurel Caverns as a natural cave which follows the natural slope of the mountain. The tour may be strenuous for some. The cave temperature is 52 degrees Fahrenheit year round so, a sweater or jacket should be worn. Non-slippery shoes are also important and never wear high heels to a cave. These are the photos I captured when I was down in the cave, spelunking.pa07pa08pa09pa10pa11pa12pa13pa14pa15pa16pa17pa19pa20The whole cave experience was amazing. I used to visit caves back in the Philippines and the Middle East but Laurel Caverns has been made accessible and more of a touristy vibe with the colorful lights. With the aid of the guide, cave explorers like me were able to navigate the different routes in the cave and were able to get important information and history as we go along with the tour. Indeed, Laurel Caverns is where learning goes underground.

Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland

It was a stressful day at work and when I got my days off, I definitely deserved a change of scenery. Thus, I have decided to do a road trip outside Ohio. I surfed the net and saw a natural wonder just a couple of hours drive, then, I drove all the way to that place. It is located in Maryland and since I really haven’t seen the state that well so, it was a plus. I got to my destination at 1145H in Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland.md01

Swallow Falls State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area located on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River which is in Oakland in Garrett County, Maryland. The state park has the highest free-falling waterfall. The park is known for its stand of old hemlock trees which are more than 300 years old and are the last stand of its kind in Maryland.md04md03

The park has a lot of events and activities that guests and visitors will surely love. Swallow Falls State Park is a great place to escape the busy city life.

One of the state park activities is hiking. The state park is famous for its tall hemlocks that dominate the silent woods. The 1 1/4 mile trail through S​wallow Falls guides hikers to witness some of the most breath-taking vista in Western Maryland. It is also a good location to hike under the shade of the old hemlock trees and pine trees.

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Hiking

Hikers won’t get lost due to presence of signs, maps and directions within the trail. The whole vicinity is not as massive as any other state parks. It is just enough for an hour or two walk in the park pace.

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Signage/ Directions

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Other activity is white water rafting. The Youghiogheny River flows along the park’s borders which passes through shaded rocky gorges and creating rippling rapids. With the Youghiogheny River and Muddy Creek which are white water rivers, the rivers contain severe natural hazards, such as waterfalls, violent rapids, swift currents, deep pools, underwater hydraulics, cold water, slippery rocks and rough terrain.

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Notice to Guests

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White water river

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White Water Rafting

Travelers can also do waterfalls sightseeing for the reason that it has 3 waterfalls, namely Upper and Lower Swallow Falls, Tolliver Falls and Muddy Creek Falls.

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Closer view of Upper Swallow Falls

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Upper Swallow Falls

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Lower Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls is the namesake of the state park. Youghiogheny River is the water source of this waterfall. There are two drops, each around 15 feet high. The upper drop is the more distinctive of the two.

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Tolliver Falls

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Closer View of Tolliver Falls

Tolliver Falls is just as interesting as its larger relatives. It is only a few feet tall and yet the location in the park is very scenic. It is on a side trail that is very accessible but have to wander around to find it.

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Muddy Creek Falls

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Closer view of Muddy Creek Falls

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On top of Muddy Creek Falls

Muddy Creek Falls is the highest crashing and free-falling waterfall at 53-foot tall which is a spectacular sight. The waterfall is even accessible by disabled individuals.  There is a boardwalk that leads to a good viewpoint of the falls.

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Boardwalk for Disabled

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Muddy Creek Falls viewpoint

In addition to that, tourists can do some sightseeing and find a really interesting spot or scenery within the state park. I got to see these breathtaking sights.md23md22

An individual can do some fishing too. The rapids maybe too forceful but the park is inhabited by rainbow trout. Fishing is perfect during the spring season and the rainbow trouts are stocked in the Muddy Creek and the river.

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Fishing in the Youghiogheny River

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Youghiogheny River

Then, there is camping. Swallow Falls State Park has campsites. In fact, it has 65 wooded campsites with a fire ring, picnic tables, and lantern post on a stabilised pad. Some sites have electric hook-ups and restrooms and shower facilities are nearby. They even have a program called OPERATION: CAMPOUT! where the state park can lend campers a gear free of charge that includes a tent, chairs, stove, lantern and more. This program though applies to military individuals and military families new to camping or experienced campers stationed or recovering in this area.md19

There are more to do in Swallow Falls State Park. Indeed, this mountain state park contains some of the state’s most breathtaking scenery. Travelers and guests can have fun all day and is also the perfect place to rest and relax.

 

Half A Day In Mississippi

Since I was already in the southern part of the United States, I might as well do some side trips to see other state. It brought me to look on the U.S state map and have decided to venture to the Magnolia state. I spent half a day in Mississippi since it was just near Tennessee.

I was searching for tourist destinations in MS but most of them were located far from the border state of Tennessee and I only have a half a day thus, I don’t want to spend it in the road and come back right after I got to the location. So, I came up with the idea to just visit the nearest tourist attractions. One tourist spot came up on the list was Tunica County River Park.

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Tunica River Park and Museum cr; tunicariverpark.com

Tunica County River Park is located in the town of Robinsonville, Tunica county in Mississippi. It is a perfect  for outings with family and kids and can also be a romantic destination for couples and lovers. It has the perfect view emphasizing the beauty  of the Mississippi River. Tunica River Park and Museum is rich with native wildlife and flora and the focal point of the park is the stunning architectural of the River Park Overlook that provides the breathtaking views of the America’s river. For more information, visit their site by clicking here.

After my visit in Tunica River Park, I was curious about these two cool-looking gate poles that looked like a castle. So I went through it and found out that it was a casino. It was the Fitzgeralds Tunica Casino and Hotel.

Fitz Tunica Casino and Hotel is just located few miles of Tunica River Park. If you have noticed when you get to Tunica, there are a lot of casinos and hotels and they aren’t just ordinary casinos, they are worldly known such as Hollywood, Gold Strike to name a few. Tunica might be named as the Vegas of Mississippi. It is like in the middle of nowhere and once you get there, it boomed with a surprise with ginormous casino buildings.

I was just seeing the vicinity out of curiosity and just went by passing. The building was indeed huge and looked like a castle but the location was just bland and dead. It was around 1000H. It might be a different story when you get inside the casino but it was never part of the itinerary to get inside a casino so, I left after I got satisfied with my curiosity. I, then, went to Southaven to do some shopping since they have this famous outlet. It was Tanger Outlet Mall.

Tanger Outlet Mall is located in Southaven. It is just outside of Memphis, TN. Tanger Outlets Southaven is the first outlet mall near the Memphis metro area. It is a nationally known outlet center brand.

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Tanger Outlets: Coach, Pandora, Guess, etc

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Tanger Outlets

That ended spending my half a day in Mississippi. It was spent most of the time in the mall but at least I got to see Mississippi even it was just in short period of time. If I get another opportunity to visit Mississippi, I would definitely give more time traveling down south since it has a lot to offer for a traveler like me.

Nature Perfect Arkansas

Arkansas is a southern U.S state bordering the Mississippi River. It’s known for its abundant parks and wilderness areas with terrain encompassing mountains, caves, rivers, and hot springs. Arkansas has been nicknamed as the Natural State and I didn’t doubt it. I visited the state and all I can say is indeed, it was a Nature Perfect Arkansas.

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Arkansas, the Natural State

Upon entering Arkansas from Memphis, TN route, all  I can see was wide vast fields and changed to valley, forests and some mountains. I was searching the net before I left for Arkansas and I saw this amazing view in the web that really caught my attention so I made sure to add it in my itinerary. The good thing about it was it was just few minutes away from the capital of the state. It was located in North Little Rock and it was called the Old Mill.

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The Old Mill

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Looks like a fairy tale land

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Just a lovely view

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The Garden

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Full bloom flowers

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Iron Grist Mill

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The Garden and the Stonebridge

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Stone Bridge

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Wild Duck

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The Old Mill is located at T.R Pugh Memorial Park. It was dedicated on August 6th, 1933 and is a replica of the abandoned water-powered grist mill that would have been used by the Arkansas pioneers in the 1800s. Although the Old Mill never operated as a mill, the iron grist mill on the first floor of the building is authentic and dates to 1828. It served the Cagle family of the Pope County for three generations. The developer who was Justin Matthews intended for the Old Mill to appear as the ruins of the bygone era supplanted by the modern methods. The Old Mill appeared in the opening credits of the 1939 movie, Gone With The Wind. The Old Mill was indeed like a fairy tale land. It was picture perfect with all the flowers in full bloom. The weather was also perfect when I got there. It was surely the highlight of my trip to Arkansas. But I was not then with my Arkansas trip yet.

The next destination was in the capital of the state, Little Rock. Little Rock was not as big of a city. By the name itself, it was pretty decent but it is a good thing. Little Rock was not as a hustling and bustling location. I got to see the Arkansas State Capitol.

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Arkansas State Capitol

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Arkansas State Capitol with the US and State flags

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The Capitol

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Street of Little Rock

Arkansas State Capitol is the main house of the government of the state. It is neoclassical architectural style with mixed classical revival. It has been added to the U.S National Register of Historic Places and as a scale replica of the US capitol. The capitol has frequently been used as a filming location. The exterior of the capitol is made of limestone which was quarried from Batesville, Arkansas. The front entrance doors are made of bronze. The state capitol is one of the nicest buildings within Little Rock.

After Arkansas State Capitol, I headed to a famous high school since it was mentioned in some of the sites to visit in Arkansas. I added it in my itinerary because I was already in Little Rock. I traveled and visited the Little Rock Central High School.

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Little Rock Central High School

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Front Entrance

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The Four Statues that represent Ambition, Personality, Opportunity, and Preparation

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Trees around the Little Rock Central High School

The Little Rock Central High School was built in 1927. It was known before as Little Rock Senior High School and was designed in the Gothic revival style. It was then hailed as the most expensive, most beautiful, and the largest high school in the nation. It has been listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and named as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. I was there on a Sunday and spring break so, it wasn’t that busy and the whole school was like a deserted place which was perfect for picture taking.

I only toured around the capital of Arkansas and North Little Rock. I didn’t have time to go to the northwestern part of the state coz if I have ample time, I could have visited the hot springs up there. But my travel experience in the state was marvelous. I had fun sightseeing even there were just few locations. It was amazing and it still proved that the state is a Nature Perfect Arkansas.img_6140