Cool Places in America~ Grand Canyon Caverns and the Coolest Hotel Room

What a Cool hotel Room..

Its your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler,  once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

My parents had a gig near the Grand Canyon off of Route 66. If you sing that song I will give you your kicks, kicks in the pants (My father edited this..). Well they were working for a company that created a video game in which some hikers stumbled upon an ancient civilization of aliens that were hiding in the canyons. It was a very strange game.. Never less, I got to go exploring in the Grand Canyon Caverns.

In 1927 a cowboy named Walter Peck almost broke his neck falling in this hole on the way to a poker game. Later he came up with the idea to charge a quarter per person to lower them into the caverns. Now you can take a guided tour or go on your own through them. They run more than 63 miles, so bring lots of string.

The other cool thing about them is in one part is a hotel room. Imagine that a hotel room that is:

  • Largest. 200 feet by 400 feet with 70 foot ceiling
  • Oldest: Caverns and walls over 65 million years
  • Deepest: 220 feet below the surfaces, access via elevator
  • Darkest: absent of any light
  • Quietest: the only sound is your heart beating and your breath. You are the only living thing in the caverns… The only living thing
  • Driest: zero humidity, nothing lives in the caverns, not a fly, not bat, nothing!

It only costs $700 a night. So needless to say, we did not spend the night.

One other cool thing we did there was to watch the Goonies in the cave theater next to the room. It had seats donated from the American Film Institute and had amazing sound as the audio echoed through the cave. The best part of the film was when they were in One Eyed Willie’s cave at the end. Lights reflected in our cave just like in the movie. My father said the only thing better than this was a private screening of the Blues Brothers in the original Blues Brothers bar in Harvard Square with the house sound system.

Then like many places on Route 66 there was this Dino Statue outside of the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn. I know, dinos did not drag their tales, but it is an old statue.

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. It is now available in paperback at most bookstores. Ask for it by name. Keep checking back for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up being your best vacation you ever had!

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Horace Mann Laboratory School Closing and the Fate of their Tunnels

A School House Rocks now Closing

The Horace Mann Laboratory School is now closing. In the years past, this building had open access for children to walk from the school to the University to access their gym and cafeteria. Many fond memories, including first kisses, has been had in this tunnel of early love lined with asbestos.

I almost got this location to be filmed in the Flatliners remake when I gave a tour to movie scouts. It also almost made it into Robert Irvine’s new show on the Discovery Channel, but they did not grant permission in time… We did film the episode in Rockefeller’s tunnel instead.

So how will these tunnels be used by the new occupants of the building. Time will only tell? Maybe it will make it into a TV show or movie?

For more information on the tunnels read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other great booksellers like Wicked Good Books, Jolie Tea, The Witch House, and Remember Salem in town. Support local businesses!!! Also if you are a TV or movie scout looking for tunnel locations to film contact Chris Dowgin at the Salem Smugglers’ Tour.

Downing Block Tunnel added to Peabody Essex Museum

One of the Country’ Oldest Museums and it Smuggling Tunnels

Here are some of the pictures of the tunnels being connected to the Peabody Essex Museum during their 20016- extension project.

Chris Dowgin sneaking into tunnel leaving Downing Block Tunnel
Back of Downing Block Tunnel facing Charter Street
A tunnel leaving the Downing Block to Essex Street
Yet another tunnel leaving the Downing Block
Heat from the tunnel entrances like this one in front of the old Bernard’s Jewelry Store melt the snow on the sidewalk from the heaters in the basement

For more information on the tunnels read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other great booksellers like Wicked Good Books, Jolie Tea, The Witch House, and Remember Salem in town. Support local businesses!!!

H.P. LOVECRAFT AND SALEM

CTHULU WALKS HERE…

In 1923 and 1924 in the summers H.P. Lovecraft, horror writer, came to Salem and was inspired by many of the buildings in town. Those listed above are only a few. In his narratives Salem became known as Arkham; an epitaph borrowed by the Batman franchise. Other surrounding areas became Innsmouth (Ipswich) and Kingsport (Marblehead). Tales like Herbert West-Reanimator, Pickman’s Model, and The Thing on the Doorstep were set inside this fictional Arkham.  Also, institutions like Danvers State Hospital were transformed into Arkham Asylum and the Essex Institute into the Miskatonic University.

For more info read Sub Rosa to find out how Salem shaped America and your lives! Available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Salem House Press
http://www.salemhousepress.com

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Cool Places in America~ Mutter Museum Philadelphia

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Yuck. That is all I can say. Then again I always though that yuck was pretty cool! My parents were in Philly installing a new interactive display at the Franklin Institute in when I strolled down the street and found this other museum.

The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia is bizarre. The museum is housed in a two-tiered gallery, encased in the dark hardwood cabinets and wavy glass panes. It is the public display area of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, a school founded in 1787 to promote such noble goals as bioethics, the relevance of medical history to public policy, and the recognition that medicine is both an art and a science. The Mütter Museum is also a medical freak show of deformed bones, diseased organ specimens, instructional wax models of various pathologies, and things in jars that still give me the creeps.

Before I go on to talk about the truly disturbed things in this museum, let me take some time to mention the beautiful. The Benjamin Rush garden was wonderful. Benjamin rush was one of the many signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was filled with many herbs and medicinal plants. I got to sit here for a long time while I was trying to recoup from my strange visit in the museum.

Giant colons, Siamese twins, a horn growing out of a ladies head, the Soap Lady, giant feet, and a piece of tissue from the dead body of  John Wilkes Booth. I do not know about the tissue, my parents moved me to a town which said Booth survived and became one of the town’s favorite bartenders… The rest of it scared and disgusted the hell out of me. It was so cool! Thomas Dent Mutter was a real cool sick puppy.

 

Yuck, but Way Cool!

~Tyler

 

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!

Cool Places in America~Staten Island Stonehenge

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Yep, I lived here too. My parents got a contract working for F.A.O Schwarz making an interactive website for them for Christmas. We lived out on the shore. While taking a long hike I found this place. Staten Island Stonehenge is to be found just south of the Lemon Creek Pier in Mount Loretto State Park on Staten Island. The GPS location is 40.506552,-74.213588. The sculptures were built near the ruins of the old Raritan Bay clamming industry. I was amazed by them. They are best to be seen from a distance so you can appreciate it as a whole. Then again what was even cooler than the sculptures was meeting Doug, the guy who built it.

 

There, a lifelong Staten Islander, Doug Schwartz, has been creating rock sculptures on the beaches of Mount Loretto State Park for over a decade. Doug is the zookeeper at the Staten Island Zoo responsible forStaten Island Chuck, the famous groundhog. I met Chuck too..  I got to ride the bus to the zoo with both of them. It reminded me of my friends in Gibsonton FLA. In Gibsonton I got to walk down the street with a guru and rhino, but I never took a bus before with a groundhog. Me and chuck would read from various cool books from Salem House Press on the way to the zoo. I had spent a lot of time with Doug and Chuck on the beach and the zoo.

“It’s something inherently inside that you respond to that people long ago did, whether it’s the beauty of nature, wonderment of being alive.” – Doug Schwartz

Doug was a bit of a jester and a bit of a wizard with a sly wink. He showed me these rocks that were a million years old in which the local Indians used to paint themselves with. I used to go down there and paint my face red all the time running with a stick in my hand which I pretended was a tomahawk. Once, while I helped him build a new sculpture there was this guy playing the bagpipes in the distance which caused some teenagers to stop playing their guitars and listen. A little kid near by was making his own sculpture too. Doug loved it.

I asked him if he was related to the company my parents were working for and he only answered, “May the Schwartz be with you!”

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!

Cool Places in America: Grotto of Redemption, West Bend Iowa

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

I guess Iowa has more than corn to it? My parents dragged me here when they got this contract working for a large combine manufacturer. We went out for a hike and I got lost in a maze of maize; at any moment I thought the children of the corn were going to pop out and get me. Or even worse those strange kids from that Star Trek episode.  I was so scared that when I did find my way out I scared the bejeebers out of this couple as I ran out hitting my head with ears yelling “Corn, Corn, Corn!”.

Well I was so thankful I made it out alive I went to the Grotto of Redemption. Built by pastor Father Paul Dobberstein after his fight with pneumonia was the beginning of the grotto movement in the country! The grotto was built as a shrine to the Virgin Mary to thank her for healing him. The whole thing is built from agates, geodes and semiprecious stones, and it makes up the world’s largest collection of minerals and petrified material, with a geological value of $4 million. It’s a football field in length.The pastor took 50 years to build it. The grotto is thought as the largest in the world! I was so happy I made it out of the corn field alive, I had to come here. I just hanged with Jesus at different points during his life. I shared a chocolate milk with him in several places. We just hanged. It was cool.

So if you can get through Iowa without getting lost in the corn, you should come hang with the bearded guy and check out all of the cool stones here at the Grotto of the Redemption!

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!