Harry D. Butler
A recent article in this paper relates to University of Alabama research on vacations. I hope you have read that interesting work.
It began this way: “Endless summer surfers, Elvis in the movies, the Go-Gos, Jack Johnson and Jimmy Buffett would probably agree with this premise: beach people live the sunniest lives.
But it turns out it’s the road ahead that brings the most joy, according to a study by a pair of University of Alabama researchers. Yes, beaches were named the most frequently desired destinations in the survey of 1,040 travelers from across the United States, but it’s the journey itself, the escape from routine, that creates joy.”
On this, my family and I agree. Travel, get away from the routine – as my father often said: “Go somewhere you haven’t been and learn something new”.
Over the years, we’ve seen much of the eastern United States, on trips ranging from the white sands of Pensacola Beach and Daytona Beach and our nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, all in Florida; in the camp and waters of Virginia Beach, Virginia; at the Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC; in Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain in Maine; to New York City and many other destinations.
Road tripping off the interstate at high speed is what we’ve found to be more fun and many times more economical. And in the early days, taking our tents—later, a camper—to campgrounds full of vacationers was a great way to meet people from all over the United States.
“The traveler can climb mountains, sail on cruise ships or walk in parks,” wrote Jay Waters, a UA instructor in advertising and public relations, who created the study with Jameson Hayes, an associate professor and director of the Lab. of Public Opinion of UA.
Yes! Waters and Hayes completed an extraordinary study. There are many people of Etowah County who fully agree with the results of their work. Their exploits are vividly displayed on Facebook and other websites.
Q: Do you know about the Teardrop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey? The ones I’ve asked say “no”. True, it is not as well-known as the rebuilt Twin Towers of lower Manhattan in New York. The eldest of our clan, during a trip to the Jersey Shore, suggested we visit him; I’m so glad she did. It was a wonderful visit to this historic place.
To fight against world terrorism, also called the Teardrop Memorial, stands at the end of the former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne. It’s the first thing you see as you approach New York by boat from the Atlantic, long before the Statue of Liberty comes into view. It’s just across the Hudson River from the Twin Towers
According to Wikipedia, the sculpture includes a 100-foot, bronze-clad tower divided by a jagged opening in the middle, from which hangs a 40-foot-tall nickel-plated teardrop.
As reported, UA researchers found that “it’s the journey itself, the escape from the routine, that creates joy.” When you travel the highways and byways of this country, you will find that many other people feel the same way.
Crawling underground in Mammoth Cave is an incredible experience, not unlike seeing and touching the Giant Sequoia trees of California, the tallest tree in the world, reaching more than 379 feet, with a base of 23 feet and living up to in 2200 years. (Note: you can buy a seedling for $9.)
Branson, Missouri, home to dozens of star-studded musical acts and the Bigfoot Museum; Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Loretto Chapel and its mysterious staircase; Grand Canyon; boating on Lake Mead behind the Hoover Dam – these have been other great places for our trips over the past six decades. We hope for many more places to visit.
My editor is fond of trips to Savannah, Georgia; others have also enjoyed visits to Charleston, South Carolina; and some friends have just returned from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to see the herds of wild horses.
But let me suggest Alabama as a great getaway. To tell that story would take pages to adequately describe. That work is in progress.
Where have you been my reader and where do you plan to go on your next vacation?
Before I leave, I must tell you that one of our best vacations was the days spent at Camp Sumatanga, a 1,700-acre United Methodist Church-owned, open-to-the-public facility that stretches across the valley in st. against Mount Chandler near Gallant. The hiking and fishing, plus the long climb to Creel’s Chapel, were adventures to always remember.
Now, where’s my road map?
Harry D. Butler, a former broadcaster, is a motivational speaker and author of “Alabama’s First Radio Stations, 1920-1960.”