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Place that touch your soul

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
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30
I imagine some people won't understand exactly what this thread is about, because a large portion of us grew up and live in cities that lack character and spirtuality. Please list and discuss places that have touched your soul. Early in my life I discovered "sense of place" and I can feel it. There have been times that I've wandered to places that just struck me with a feeling that is hard to explain. It's part beauty, part history, and part aura. Here are my top two places that I never get tired of visiting and can derive inspiration from.

1. Ely Cathedral, Ely, Norfolk, England.

I moved to Ely from the Phoenix in 1979 and the year I lived in Ely was like a dream, in part because of the presence of the Cathedral, which can be seen from 20 miles away, provided there is no fog. The village market, where we bought our produce lies adjacent to the Cathedral grounds, which has shrunk in recent years due to budget consideration by the C of E. I've wandered through the cathedral dozens of times and am always struck by it's beauty, history and the fact that people have been worshiping at the cathedarl continuously since the year 980. You can see Henry the VIII's handywork and Oliver Cromwell's home is a hundred yards away. Whenever I think about Ely, I recall a year of my childhood spent in the shadow of this amazing edifice built by hand before my country was discovered.

2. Aunt Betty's farm.

My Great aunt Betty has had a farm near Madison, Kansas for over 50 years. The Verdigris River runs through the farm and I've gone fishing there since I was 3 years old. We have held family reunions at the farm since 1980 and the original family farm established in 1870 lies 10 miles south. Within 10 miles there are 5 generations of my family buried. While I was in college I visited the farm every other week and it hadn't changed since I was a child. My children have been to Aunt Betty's farm every year since they were born (at least once every year for the last 10 years) and without being told, they have grasped the importance of the place to our family and it's history. Plus my Great Aunt is the greatest host that every lived. She goes to sleep after everyone has retired and she always has breakfast on before anyone wakes up. The doors are never locked and the walls are covered with family photos. It's nice to have a place you are always welcome, no matter what you've done or where you are in life.

Honorable mentions.

The Old North Bridge near Concord, Massachusetts.
Fenway Park
Castle Rising Castle, near Norwich, England
The Pit, near Lakenheath, England.
The Louve, Paris, France.
The Marquee Club, London
Victoria Station, London
The Bird and Hand, Mildenhall, England.
Castle Donington, England.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,777
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61
For me it is:
Sunrise at the Jersey beach - empty of people, the only noise is that of birds and crashing of the waves, just the other side of the dunes from the developed world, the sense of a new day and promise.

Others are:
Having 2 Great Aunts whose homes were back to back.
Yosemite National Park - particularly watching the sunset reflection on the face of Half Dome.
The Air Force Academy Chapel
 
Messages
7,649
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29
I always loved driving through dense old forests in Germany. The most spiritual "church" I have ever been to was an outdoor cathedral in Germany, shaded by trees and with a stone "stage" to speak from. Awesome.

I really fell in love with San Francisco when we first moved here. Davis also has a lovely feel to it. I think it is partly because they have some things in common with Europe that is rare in the U.S. So, for me, those two cities seem to reconcile my American blood and German blood and make it feel like I can happily co-exist with Me. :-D

My kids and I were actually quite fond of Ft. Irwin, in the Mojave Desert. The desert has a stark and dramatic beauty to it and the base seemed to sort of sit in a little basin. There were peaks in every direction -- small but nice. I never did find the time and energy to make photographs but just going to the grocery store was a pleasure for the experience of turning off of Perimeter road and onto some "main drag": The view from the beginning of that street was breathtaking.

I was also fond of Richland, Washington. Much of the housing stock was built in a very short period -- like 3 years, I think -- in the 1950's. It is hemmed in on 3 sides and, therefore, is prevented from doing much "sprawlling". This has helped it to retain a traditional small-town feel. We rented one of the old 1950's duplexes our first year there, and we were not far from the river. We were in walking distance of 3 parks and I used the walking trail along the river for my regular walks as part of my "heal from living in Kansas" campaign. We had to move because the decades-old home and the park across the street were causing me and my son to be ill with respiratory problems all the time. I really missed being able to walk to so much stuff after we moved. We had walked to school, I sometimes walked to a nearby grocery store, etc. We were very car-dependent after moving to a new apartment complex on the edge of town.

Augusta, Georgia is a town I am kind of fond of. I can't really say why though.

And everyone has already heard me speak of my fondness for Manhattan, Kansas. The zoo there was a really special experience. It had a certain feel to it from all the donated stuff. It was a small zoo and not "commercial": it was a place for the students at the college there to learn their craft, it was involved in saving endangered species, they were beginning to grow bamboo to feed the red pandas they had... it had very high ideals driving its agenda and it just had such a peaceful and grounded feel to it. Each bench seemed to have a donor's name on it and it just had "Labor of Love" written all over it. And there were just many thoughtful, small details that gave it a special quality.

We have done a lot of touristy stuff over the years -- we are perpetual tourists because of my husband's career -- and I rarely buy souvenirs. We spent over a hundred bucks at the souvenir shop at Mt. Rushmore and I came away feeling like a trip to Mt. Rushmore ought to be a required Pilgrimage of American Citizenship. I had the good fortune to visit Stone Mountain in Georgia a few weeks later. Borglund (I think that is the name) did the sculpture on Stone Mountain and it kind of became his "resume" for doing Mt. Rushmore. Stunning little factoid about American history that a lot of people seem to not know but the circumstances burned it into my brain. They are both inspiring places, embodying both art and important pieces of American history.

I suppose there may be others but ... I am all talked out. (Yes, Hell Hath Frozen Over. :-D )
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
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Moderator
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Budgie mentioned mine.....Fenway Park. There's no experience like it anywhere.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
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2,549
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25
There are a few for me:

New York City - No City has as much energy and excitement as New York. Just walking around Manhattan you feel this tremendous energy.

Waterton, Alberta Canada - This small town in Waterton Park (just north of Glacier National Park was really cool. You kind of have this feeling that you are in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains and lakes.

Wrigley Field/Lambeau Field/Fenway Park/Yankee Stadium - all of these sporting venues are truly special, although Yankee stadium has been so modified over the years that it doesn't have the same impact as Wrigley or Fenway. Tiger Stadium was the same before they replaced it with the new park.

Clearwater Beach, FL - I have been going there almost every year since I was born. When I was in college we went there on Spring Break. When I think of the beach, that is where my mind drifts to.

Savannah, GA - Must be the planning geek in me.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
my soul gets lost

I felt a feeling of peace in each of the two homes I have owned. This is how I knew which house my wife and I should buy.

Backpacking a couple miles into a conservation area near my childhood home. and 'roughing it' for 2 nights. The conservation area is relativley unspoiled, the only trails are deer paths. We often camped in an 40 ft diameter area that was strangely void of trees. It was coverd by low grasses and very circular, but surrounded on all sides by relatively dense forest. No stumps, no indication that trees had ever been in this area.
 
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In no particular order:

New York City and Washington D.C. - the vibe and energy that I felt from these cities is amazing to me.

Sandia Mountains, Albequerque, N.M. - I'm not a big nature person but being up on those mountains was an almost spiritual experience for me.

The Mississippi River - as dirty as it is, it's really fascinating to sit along the riverfront and watch the activites and commerce along the river.

Plantation homes - my grad school thesis was about promoting heritage tourism along the river road, with an emphasis on the plantation homes. Visiting these places really put into perspective how hard slaves worked in those fields under such deplorable conditions.

The Underground Railroad - through various walking tours and such, I was able to visit sites that were a part of the underground railroad. Once again, it really put things into perspective on the great lengths that slaves and abolitionists went to for the sake of freedom.
 

jestes

Cyburbian
Messages
230
Points
9
Two place primarily:

Brookhaven, Mississippi - the town that I grew up in. It is a small south Mississippi town, typical of most in that everyone knows everyone else. I grew up in an older, established neighborhood where we were free to roam around and play throughout the neighborhood. I really don't remember my parents ever locking the doors on our house unless we were away on an extended vacation. Even today when I go home to visit I get a real sense of calm as I drive into town.

The Mississippi River - I spent about five years living in Natchez, MS and my almost daily routine after getting off of work was to drive through downtown to the bluffs to sit and watch the sun set over the river and horizon (usually while drinking a cold beer) No open container law there....

Like most people I tend to be drawn to places that are situated on the water, there is something about being on/near the water whether a lake, river, or ocean that is very calming.
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
Laura Plantation - Vacherie, LA - I'll never forget my visit a few years ago. The sense of history that I felt was incredible. The plantation house is a raised structure, so one can walk underneath it. Well, on many of the stucture's wooden planks underneath, there were many various carved markings and etchings made by slaves. I learned that those carvings represented the number of days, months, and years that the slaves recorded to quantify the amount of their time in captivity; the names of many of the slaves' loved ones in Africa; and various stories. It was very touching and those carvings will always last with me.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada - I was captivated by how the city's very old-world character and architecture mixed well with its modern urban functionality. Toronto is a very beautiful city.

Los Angeles, CA - We took a family trip there in 1984 for the Summer Olympics. I was a young teen at the time and I will never forget the pagentry and excitement of the Olympics. I've been to L.A. since then, but each time I will return to that beautiful city, I will always remember my time at the Summer Olympics.

Denver, CO - Not only was the 2003 National APA Conference my first national one outside of New Orleans, but it was the first time Planderella and I took a trip together. We will always have fond memories of that trip. :)
 
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Budgie

Cyburbian
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5,270
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30
Michele Zone said:
And everyone has already heard me speak of my fondness for Manhattan, Kansas. The zoo there was a really special experience. It had a certain feel to it from all the donated stuff. It was a small zoo and not "commercial": it was a place for the students at the college there to learn their craft, it was involved in saving endangered species, they were beginning to grow bamboo to feed the red pandas they had... it had very high ideals driving its agenda and it just had such a peaceful and grounded feel to it. Each bench seemed to have a donor's name on it and it just had "Labor of Love" written all over it. And there were just many thoughtful, small details that gave it a special quality.
MZ, I didn't know about you fondness for the Little Apple, I know of a couple cyburbians who have lived there, including myself. Ah yes, the Sunset Zoo on top of the hill. When my son was a toddler, we took him there often. A distant cousin of mine, James Clinton Holland, designed the Riley County Courthouse in downtown Manhattan. He was the state architect of Kansas in the 1890's and designed most of the public buildings in Topeka that were built before 1920. He also designed over 13 courthouses in Kansas. I only mention this because I love his architecture and I love visiting buildings he designed. These are special places for me, because of the family connection.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Yosemite, Banff, Mendocino CA, Grand Canyon, Maui, Victoria BC.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
The depths of the Teton and Washakie Wildernesses, particularly in the Thorofare, Ferry Lake, and the Parting of the Waters.. Heart Lake in Yellowstone N.P.

The Canyonlands, particularly Upper Salt Creek and Ernie's Country.
 
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otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
1)Two Medicine Lake and Upper Two Medicine Lake, in Glacier National Park. The awe factor is incedible.

2) The White Cliffs section of the Missouri River. Same thing - major awe factor, plus the history.

3) Skagway, Alaska. My wife and I honeymooned there and it was a wonderful spot.

4) The Salmon River country
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
otterpop said:
1)Two Medicine Lake and Upper Two Medicine Lake, in Glacier National Park. The awe factor is incedible.
We hiked trails there last summer and I am in agreement. I wish it wasn't on fire when we were there because some of the non-smoky photos I saw were amazing.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
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24
Two places for me, for very different reasons:

1) Washington, DC -- there's just something about the formality of it, the monuments that honor and document the historic people and events that shaped this country. Actually, whenever I'm there I feel both pride and humility; proud of the sacrifices of those that are honored there, and humbled, when visiting other parts of the city, by the poor conditions of those living in the shadows of the monuments.

2) Banff and Jasper National Parks, Alberta/BC -- I've never seen anything so majestic in my life. The ice-capped peaks, the pristine blue of Lake Louise... the place let me know for sure that there is a God.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
Stonehendge at sunrise before all the busloads of tourists arrive

The top of Mount Haleakala, on Mauii, watching the sun rise through the clouds in 26 degree weather, knowing than it'll be 85 when you get back to sea level in 2 hours. :)

The Smokey Mountains
 
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7,649
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Budgie said:
MZ, I didn't know about you fondness for the Little Apple, I know of a couple cyburbians who have lived there, including myself. Ah yes, the Sunset Zoo on top of the hill. When my son was a toddler, we took him there often. A distant cousin of mine, James Clinton Holland, designed the Riley County Courthouse in downtown Manhattan. He was the state architect of Kansas in the 1890's and designed most of the public buildings in Topeka that were built before 1920. He also designed over 13 courthouses in Kansas. I only mention this because I love his architecture and I love visiting buildings he designed. These are special places for me, because of the family connection.
I think I still have the commemorative christmas ornaments from the mall that I bought each year that I lived there. I lived on Buttonwood -- we owned a house there -- and you could see the elementary school from our backyard. The sidewalk ended at the edge of our yard. We had one of the few unfenced yards in the subdivision and the schoolkids used our yard as a thoroughfare. A deadend street backed up to our backyard as well.

I loved that house. Deeply. I put all kinds of blood, sweat, and tears equity into it. I had no money to invest in it. When we left town, we could not sell it because housing prices were plummeting due to the rumor that the base would close. But the people on base are no fools: in the months before the inspection team came out, they invested millions in new housing, landscaping, etc. They elected to only downsize the base. I was glad that I was "forced" to keep the house. I was not ready to sell it. It would have ripped my heart out. The plummeting housing values dropped my taxes and they changed the law about what the mortgage company could withhold. Six months after we rented it out, I got a check for like $500 from our mortgage company. That was more than our house payment. We bought a new printer and all kinds of new software wth it.

At the most, I had $22 a month leftover from the rental income, after paying the carrying costs. I faithfully put it away and used it to pay for a new water heater when it blew.

I made about $13,000 or $14,000 on that house in the 7 years we owned it. And I was emotionally ready to let it go when it finally sold. I only got about $3000 out of it at the end, when it sold, because I brilliantly milked it for all I could while it was ours. That money made it much easier to remain a homemaker and not feel compelled to get a job working at Burger King, paying daycare and really only "profitting" by probably $2000 a year -- or less, when you consider take out meals because you are too tired to cook, etc.

Because I was able to remain a homemaker, I was able to virtuously fall on my sword and fly to Georgia from Washington state to care for my premature infant neice for a month until my sister's obligation at work ended. My help allowed her to make some money... and she bought me the equivalent of more than $1000 worth of Chantal cookware and bedding and such, for about 60% off at Tuesday Morning.

Gee.... this isn't the pm function. 8-! :p
 

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,238
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30
Some places that deeply affected me and the year that it took place.

Sevierville, TN (1974)
Broken Bow Lake, WI (1976)
Old Forge/Adirondacks, NY (1977)
Vermont (1977)
Sebego Lake, Me (1977)
Arcadia Nat'l Park, ME (1977)
Fontana/Cherokee Nat'l Forest, NC (1978)
Pohick Regional Park, Woodbridge, VA (1978)
Shenendoah Nat'l Park, VA (1979)
Marion/Troutdale, VA (1979)
Knotts Island, NC (1979)
Clarksville/Occoneechee State Park, VA (1979)
Jenny Wiley State Park, KY (1979)
Badlands Nat'l Park, SD (1981, 1996)
Maysville, KY (1985)
Chicago, IL (1988, 1989, 1991)
Ocean City, MD (1989)
Key West, FL (1991, 1993)
Relay, FL (1991)
Savannah, Georgia (1992, 1998)
Cape May, NJ (1995)
Hamilton, NV (1996)
Rita Blanca Nat'l Grassland, TX/OK (1996)
Redwood Nat'l Park, CA (1997)
Taughannock Falls, NY (1999)
Babcock S. P., WV (2000)
 
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Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
My old Provicence neighborhoods for better or for worse.

Boston, in general - the bigger, more exciting place every Rhode Islander looks up to.

Beavertail Park, Jamestown, RI - rocks + lighthouse + ocean

Provincetown, MA - no it didn't "touch" me in that way. ;-) The landscape and views are great

Spain - La Rambla in Barcelona, Old Towns of Seville and Madrid,

Portland, OR - although part of it was just the thrill of being on the west coast

Toronto to an extent - especially seeing it from the top of the Niagra Falls tower when I wasn't expecting it. For Americans, Toronto has that parrallel universe appeal.
 

GRID

Cyburbian
Messages
35
Points
2
Great idea for a post! I'm sitting here thinking.

Well, my hometown of Omaha, NE always puts something in my soul. As they say: "Home is where the heart is."

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA
Mt. Rainier, Washington, USA
Yellowstone/Grand Tetons, Wyoming, USA
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA
Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

I guess it is obvious that most places that touch my soul are natural. Places like great gothic cathedrals can also do that to me. I felt that way at "Westminster Abbey" in London. Also, mighty city skylines touch my soul.
 

plankton

Cyburbian
Messages
750
Points
21
Redwood country in NW CA (Jedediah Smith State Park, et al.).

Sun Valley, ID area.

The Grand Tetons.

Hamtramck, MI.
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
Points
31
The Upper Peninsula Of Michigan
At the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Marquette, Michigan
Lake Superior on a windy day
Crisp Point Lighthouse (more U.P., on Superior)
Keyhole Bar (Mackinaw City, Mich)
Glacier National Park
The coast of Oregon
Downtown Chicago
Toronto
My chair

Bear In The Chair
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
Points
31
oops, forgot a couple.....

Was in NYC in the mid-1970's, right next to the World Trade Center. We had an International Scout with a couple canoes tied on top (heading home from Maine) and a rusted can of camp stove heating fluid broke open. We had to pull over and empty the car and throw away some stuff that was ruined....and strong smelling and basically very dangerous to have in a car with a smoking wife. While we were doing that I kept looking at the WTC, thinking, even though they were plain glass boxes, they were soooooo tall and they looked "cool" side-by-side. It was a moving moment for a first-time-in-NYC person. I never forgot that image and it made the horror that followed nearly thirty (30) years later even more arresting.

The Cheat River (West VA canoe river, tough rapids, beautiful scenery)

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Northern Minnesota....three trips)

Bear
 

Gedunker

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41
Battleship Cove, Fall River, Mass.

Why, you ask? My dad was a radar operator in 1942-43 aboard "Big Mamie" and it is really odd to stand where he stood as a boy at war -- just 18/19 years old. (I guess I have issues |-) )
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
Steinhatchee FL, scalloping in July...floating in 4-6 feet of warm Gulf waters for hours on end, it's like one of those '70's "rebirthing" things I've read about. Talk about a laid-back, no-care place, old Florida and old rhythms of life...

The lake I grew up on, actually a chain in Winter Park FL, going full-tilt in a ski boat, sunny, windy, the lake flashing by below, then the slow passage thru the canal to the next lake, tropical foliage all around...the reason I hated my parents for selling the home I grew up in.

Any night, anywhere, camping out, no t.v., watching the stars, having a glass of wine and building up a good fire with friends all around (never near the gator-infested waters, of course...).
 

annie

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
After 2 XC bike trips, I've got a lot...
-Sunset in the Badlands
-Washington Pass, WA
-Missoula, MT
-realizing that there are white sand beaches in the UP
-miles of picket fences and green lawns in KY
-Seattle, WA
-Moab

and others:
-The Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis
-the Maine Coast
-New Haven, CT...it's walkability and fantastic food
-the view from the Denver Capitol
-The Boston skyline from Holt's Hill in Andover, MA

I could go on for days.
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
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23
This thread is just making me want to take off on a roadtrip even more, must be spring fever. The places I'd head back to in a heartbeat, and stay if I could, are:
Boston, MA. I stayed w/a friend for a while in Medford, and wandered all over the city. Absolutely loved all of the contrasts, plus the cheap bookstores.
NYC. Of course.
Manchester, UK. Such history, and yet such a vibrant, modern city. Plus I love all the rain, the Indian food, and the music.
Toronto. I"ve felt at home every time I've been there.
Collingwood, ON. Late November, it was snowing, a freezing wind was blowing off the lake, and yet everyone was strolling around, drinking their Tim Horton's coffee. A lovely, small, cozy town with gorgeous scenery.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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13,891
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56
1. Standing on the shore of Sulfur Island in Lake Huron's Thunder Bay with my brother looking back at the mainland on a beautiful late April day.

My brother and I had kayaked out to this small near off-shore island and I was looking back and realizing that Northern Michigan and the Great Lakes are the most beautiful things I know.

I know that there are many other amazingly beautiful places throughout the nation and the world, but I have this inseparable love with the Great Lakes region and particularly the northern portion of the region. (I think Bear knows how I feel)

2. hiking in the foothills outside of Florence/Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

3. walking the streets of Pompeii

(BTW: for the Canadians among us - What is the eastern side Lake Huron like? Particularly around Georgian Bay? I have always wanted to visit the other side of my beloved Lake.)
 
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Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
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mendelman said:
(BTW: for the Canadians among us - What is the eastern side Lake Huron like? Particularly around Georgian Bay? I have always wanted to visit the other side of my beloved Lake.)
Can't speak as a Canadian, but my parents and I used to go up to the Georgian Bay area regularly, and stay in Collingwood, drive around to Orillia and Owen Sound. It's beautiful up there. The sky is (when it's not snowing) incredibly blue, and the lake is seemingly endless, and everything seems so clean and bright, it almost sparkles. Plus there's Creemore, with great beer and a little bookstore, and a place just outside of Barrie with great breakfasts, including peameal bacon....
 

martini

Cyburbian
Messages
678
Points
19
Its hard to really narrow this down, but I'll attempt it...

Portland OR, My parents gave me a trip out there for my Highschool graduation. It was the first time I'd seen a place like it. I fell in love with the way it felt immediately. Must've been the plannign thing hitting me early...

Black Hills and Badlands of SD. In the Badlands, I've seen the most amazing sunrises/sunsets. Must be something in the air. As a child(I was 13) we took a family vacation there. Was the first time I saw mountains. I fell in love with mountains eating a bowl of Grape Nuts one morning watching a valley emergeinto blissfull sunlight. 23 years later, I went back again with my now wife. We fellin love on that trip, so they now hold a specail place in both our hearts.

Colorado Rockies. No, not the baseball team, the mountains. It was here that I learned and felt the spirituality that mountains posses. Tracing the countours of mountains on my mountain bike has given me so many blissful memories and sights that I can't begin to count them.

Da UP, MI has really given me new repect for the upper midwest. The beauty up there is astounding, and deserted. Its wonderful.

Driftless Area, WI. The deciduous forest, the hills, the countless trout streams(even though I don't fly fish...yet), the welcoming atmosphere, and the beer. And again, deserted. Sparsly populated, not often visited. Roads the are a blast to ride a bike on and drive in a car.

Other areas include, Asheville, NC; Paonia, CO; Olympia, WA; St. Louis, MO and the surrounding hillls off to the SW; Duluth, MN; and more that I can't think of now. Travel is a good thing.
 
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7,649
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29
pete-rock said:
1) Washington, DC -- there's just something about the formality of it, the monuments that honor and document the historic people and events that shaped this country.
It is also simply well-designed. I was there briefly, once, and was given a tour by the woman I was visiting (the executive director of the voluntary health and welfare organization I was working for -- ie "my boss"). I think she had lived in the DC area most of her life. She commented on how things were laid out. I am thinking (correct me if I am wrong) that the White House is on a hill such that you have to look up to it no matter what direction you approach it from. It gives it a certain Presence. And there is a good bit of greenery in the central downtown area, more than you "typically" seem to see in a large city. And many of the important buildings are in walking distance or sigh of each other, situated around a green area with several water features -- the reflecting pool and I can't remember the others.

It is simultaneously designed on an impressive overall scale and on a pedestrian-friendly human scale. If you are in good shape, you can walk to much of it and there are maps intended specifically for a walking tour. The fact that there is a huge area of greenery in the middle helps make it dense enough to be a compactly built, walkable city while preventing the sense of it being "a concrete jungle". Unlike Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and my impressions of Central Park in New York, the National Mall in D.C. is integrated into the flow of downtown D.C.: You can just walk across the lawn to another important building, so why take the car and possibly take longer? It is conducive to parking the car once and walking to whatever you need to do, within reasonable limits (of course).

Parks are far too often designed as a place to merely "goof off" and are cut off from the fabric of a town. They tend to be seen as "play grounds" designed to be "sheltered". The isolation makes them dangerous places at night (if you don't know first hand, then read "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" -- or whatever the exact title of Jane Jacobs most famous book is) and kind of boring places during the day. The National Mall is populated with tourists walking from monument to monument, joggers getting their exercise, business people on their way somewhere or enjoying the park at lunch time or some such, kids and old people and pets and vendors. It is a lively place, in a not too hectic sort of way, and a refreshing break from what is all too often unrelieved building facades in some downtowns. More parks should be designed as an integral part of a city and not an afterthought or separate space. They would be better parks and the city would be enriched as well.

The central location and integrated nature of the National Mall also allows for majestic views of many impressive buildings which is quite a feat: clustering so many important and distinctive buildings together threatens to dilute the effect of each. But you can have long views of the White House AND the Capitol Building AND the Lincoln Memorial and, to a lesser extent, the Jefferson Memorial. The fact that the National Mall is lined around much of the perimeter with trees helps to give other buildings their own presence, without distraction by all these other buildings, because your approach to them is sheltered and your view focused on that which you *can* see: the building you are approaching and not the many others that could make this particular building pale by comparison. It is kind of like sleight of hand: almost like "forced perspective" in movie special effects.

Thanks for reminding me of the splendor of D.C.
 

sisterceleste

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Now this is going to cause some introspection:
Vienna
Downtown Budapest on the river
Norris Lake in Tenn...spent my childhood on this lake.
Lake Rabun in NE Georgia...looks like an Alpine lake...cold too. treasured by my kids
Upstate Vermont
my parents home and my home in Florida and the descent into my parents place with the lush Tenn tree canopy
Rock Springs, north of Orlando
Alexander Springs, near Ocala, Fl.
the skyline of Paris
Rome during a garbage strike...made it look like a couple of 100 years ago
Driving through Spring Hammock everyday to work...actually saw snow in it but rain on either side in Dec. 89...real little microclimate
Delphi, Greece during a thunderstorm
 

Hceux

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What a great topic!

mendelman said:
(BTW: for the Canadians among us - What is the eastern side Lake Huron like? Particularly around Georgian Bay? I have always wanted to visit the other side of my beloved Lake.)
As a Canadian here, I've not been to the Georgian Bay. From what I've heard, it's a beautiful spot to be. With all of the fancy cottage development in the Muskokas, next to Georgian Bay, the area must be a beautiful place to keep attracting Torontonians in flocking up Hwy 400 every summer weekend and to keep increasing the size of the homes and the value of these cottages, which increasingly looks like a mansion. So what makes the Georgian Bay a great spot? 30,000 plus islands, thick ol' trees, craggy shoreline, with some good sandy beaches, and, as I would imagine, the great thunderstorms crashing in.

What are some of my "soul" places?

Number 1 goes to the Sandbanks Provincial Park, especially for its sand dunes. Hiking up and down on the tall sand dunes, surrounded by calm and shadow lake, blue skies, bright and warm sun, an all, does it all for me. It's located in Prince Edward County (or otherwise known as Quinte's Isle), south of Belleville, Ontario.

Number 2 goes to the Thousands Islands Parkway area. There's a small highway that was supposed to be where Highway 401 was to go, but thankfully, it didn't as the planners moved it away from this scenic area. Imagine the thousands plus islands, thick ol' trees, great smell of the water, water-dense air (dunno how to better describe this), all strung along this road strecthing that seems to go on forever. *sigh* It's between Kingston and Brockville, Ontario.

Number 3 goes to London, UK. Man, I love that city and I miss it. I wish I could somehow live there for a year or two. The energy, the vibrancy, the numerous districts, the juxtaposing architectural styles, and the urban life is all the attractions of the city. The best tourist visit in the "City" is just walking around in different sections of Central London! *sigh*.

Honourable mentionables are:
- Upper Ottawa Valley and the Madawaska Valley (between Ottawa and Algonquin Park)
- Highway 17 from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
- Highway 17 from Pembroke to North Bay, Ontario.
- Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
- Bow Falls park in Banff, Alberta.
- Prince Edward Island National Park, Cavendish, PEI.
- Old Quebec, Quebec.
- The Burren, Ireland.
- Delos and Mykonos, Greece.
- Honfleur, France.
- Herstmonceux Castle, Hailsham, East Sussex, England. (about 1.5 hr train ride SE of London, UK).
- Edinburgh, Scotland.
- I-77 from intersection of I-64 and I-77 in Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina. (Talk about ears poppin'!)
- Juno Beach in North Palm Beach, Florida.
- Burlington, Vermont.
- Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. (Near Halifax, Nova Scotia)
- Foymount, Ontario. (Between Ottawa and Algonquin Park)
- Pompeii, Italy
- Grampians Mountains, Loch Ness district, Isle of Skye, and Glencoe, all in the Scottish Highlands.

Here are a few places that I've been vying to visit as I think they will be my next soul places:
- Madison, WI
- the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran.
- US #101 highway in Western USA.
- On Top of the World highway in Yukon and Alaska.

Sigh, I'd love to get a car and just jump on the road and start roamin' around...
 
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For me it would be (in no particular order):

Savannah, GA (the layout, sense of place, its beauty)

New Orleans, LA (its urbanity, the streetcars, its rich history & the area's plantations)

Tampa, FL (that's where my family is from, the history of the local cigar industry)
 

Cardinal

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Some of mine have been mentioned. Glacier is a magical place. My family discoverd it on a trip out west in 1971 (I think) and we kept going back. I often think it would be a great 50th anniversary present for my siblings and me to take my parents back there.

Lake Superior is another spot. Backpack into Chapel Beach at Pictured Rocks and lie there at night during the Perseid meteor shower. It is amazing. The Canadians have some great spots, too, like a beautiful cove on the trail to the Devil's Chair in Lake Superior Provincial Park.

When it comes to Utah, if you think Moab or even Salt Creek Canyon are nice, there are better places! My favorite is the Escalante Canyon. The confluence of the Escalante and Sand Creek is the most sublime campsite on earth. Forget I said that.

It is sad to say that some of my great places have passed on. The cottage where I spent my summers is still there (though sold in the 80's), but the area around it has changed. The woods behind it have been developed, and it no longer feels like "country."

Madison is a special place. Sit on the Union Terrace on a cool summer evening. Hike the Arboretum or the Cherokee Marsh. Enjoy the great neighborhoods.
 
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As a small kid in the late 80s I marveled at the freeways, housing developments, the palm trees, etc of the LA region. Everything seemed newer in LA. The gas stations had this weird pay at the pump system; the grocery stores were huge; the freeways had these weird rumble strips. All the houses looked new. And skateboarders were in every neighborhood. It was a new experience for an east coast kid; this is what "cool" was.

Glendale seemed like this perfect little city just norht of LA. I had an aunt that lived in a Spanish-style home at the time. I thought it was really cool that we could walk to the mall (Glendale Galleria) from the house. All these shops and skyscrapers were just a few blocks from the quiet residential areas.

The Pomona Freeway, The Riverside Freeway, Castle Park (best miniature golf) in Riverside, Jack in the Box, In-N-Out.
--all good experiences that created my ideal childhood vision for a place to live.

My older cousin would drive us around LA, late 80s/early 90s heavy metal blasting on the stereo. I was too young to appreciate it then but that LA heavy metal scene (MCrue, Poison, etc) and the South Bay punk scene (Bad Rel, etc) was the soundtrack for my trips to LA and were a crucial part of my childhood experience.

I grew up right next to DC in an urban area, so suburbia as I experienced it in and around LA as a small kid seemed new and exciting. And today I still find LA a source of inspiration. But, I was an "east coast kid" who liked the city so LA's appeal was limited.
 

Maltodextrin

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The Black Hills of South Dakota made a huge impression on me. I decided to go on the spur of the moment and just packed my camping supplies. I drove from northwest Florida, and it was wonderful last minute road trip. I had never been to that part of the country, it is absolutely beautiful, and so different from anywhere I had ever been. I will never forget Buffalo passing me nonchalantly on my morning hike.
 

Dragon

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There are so many other places in the world I have yet to see. Here are a couple that came to mind though.

Key West, FL -- there was this little bar and grill I was at after some snorkeling where they had great food and drinks, and a guy singing Jimmy Buffet songs. A nice cool breeze was in the air, and blue skies only touched with clouds.

Oxford, MS -- I went to Ole Miss once on a college Quiz Bowl trip. During the fall with the leaves on the ground and browning leaves on the trees, and the rolling hills, it was beautiful.

New Orleans, LA -- Sitting in Café Dumont (sp?) admiring the French Quarter, and the rich History that is in N.O.

Grand Bay, AL -- I was there last weekend. Enjoying the peace and family that I don’t see much. Won at poker, fed some horses, good stuff.
 
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Zoning Goddess said:
Lakelander, are you from Ybor? Or whereabouts in Tampa?
I can't tell you an exact location within the city of Tampa, because I'm not for sure. For as long as I know, both sides of my family (mom's & dad's) have lived all over Hillsborough County, from Tampa, to Brandon, to Plant City, they're all over that region.

As far as the cigar industry goes, I spent about a year researching the history of the industry in Tampa for a school project back in college. Ever since then, there's something about it and the landscape that has been left behind that still intrigues me to this day.
 

JNA

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Any of you'se guys that were in Scouting ever experience Philmont, NM ?
 

cololi

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Hanalei
St. Helena, CA
Jackson Hole, pre 1990
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone
Wind Rivers
Red Lodge MT
Alta UT
Berthoud Pass, CO
LoDo district, Denver
Gaslight District, San Diego
 

Cardinal

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JNA said:
Any of you'se guys that were in Scouting ever experience Philmont, NM ?
Never did, but I drove past it last week. It is in the Sangre de Christo mountains of New Mexico, northeast of Santa Fe and not far from the NRA's big ranch.
 

Lee Nellis

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JNA: I was a Scout at Philmont in (this really dates me) 1966 and returned to work as a ranger in 1968. It got me started toward the mountains.

Many of my favorite places are mentioned here, too, including Red Lodge and the Oregon Coast (especially south of Florence, all the way to CA).

Its interesting. I've never been anyplace built by humans that reached more than so deep.
 
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A few of my soul places include:

the banks of the Missouri River in Omaha- My brother and I found this dirt road that leads to the shore. The road is probably owned by the Metropolitan Utilities District. One of their water filtration plants is nearby.

The Gwynns Falls Trail - Baltimore It's like getting away from the hustle and bustle without leaving the city.

Muholland Drive - Los Angeles I like to analyze the individual engineering marvels that keep hose multi-million dollar homes from falling down the hill onto the 101

The Pacific Ocean - very tranquil. Much calmer than the Atlantic Ocean.

South Haven, MI on the shore of Lake Michigan. About 45 minutes from the future in-laws in Portage. I guess its no coincidence that my soul places involve water.

125th Street - Harlem, Georgia Ave - Washington, So much history. If only the sidewalks could talk.

Mt. Oread (the KU campus) where the seeds of planning were planted in my perpetual sleepy head.
 

ChevyChaseDC

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190
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More DC spots

The Tidal Basin, Washington, DC. We've all seen the cherry blossoms in pictures, and many of us who've been to see them in person complain about the crowds. But this year, I went down there myself, and found a spot to sit on the edge of the water...The day was overcast but it seemed to make the blossoms brighter in contrast. I sat there for nearly an hour, relaxed.

Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC and Maryland. It doesn't feel like being in the city at all, but rather a deep woods trail in the Appalachian foothills. It's especially nice on weekends when a long stretch of Beach Drive is closed to cars.
 

michaelskis

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the "UP"???

Wow… I did not realize so many people have been to the Upper Peninsula! Growing up a few blocks from Lake Michigan in Escanaba and going to school in Marquette and living a few blocks from Lake Superior, I am fortunate. Many people think of these places as truly magical. But I can say that each day brings on a new aspect of the amazement for the area known as “superior land”. I have had the opportunity to sit on the beach on a warmer summer night and watch a harvest moon rise out of the black abyss of Lake Superior. It was as if the souls of the sailors who gave there lives where slowly rising out of the watery horizon. I have also experienced nature that is far beyond most post cards. Snow showing in Marquette county after a thick, wet, heavy snow puts a candy coating on the pine trees, weighting them down until enough snow melts off then they spring back to life in a furry of white and green.

For me though… Ellis Island In NYC. Standing in the same room as so many of my ancestors was almost a bit overwhelming for me.
 

ChevyChaseDC

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michaelskis said:
Wow… I did not realize so many people have been to the Upper Peninsula!
I've been there too, we would stay in a cottage a bit west of Munising and Pictured Rocks, right on Lake Superior.
 
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