Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of America's 50 State Capitals
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of Towns along the Baltimore Pike
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Blue Ridge Parkway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Coastal Highway US 17
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Dixie Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Dupont Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Jackson Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Liberty Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the New Jersey Turnpike
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along Pennsylvania Scenic Route 6
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Pennsylvania Turnpike
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along Route 66
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Old Spanish Auto Trail
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of Towns along the Susquehanna Trail
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of America's 50 State Capitals
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of America's 50 State Capitals

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There is no better way to learn about America than to explore its state capitals and there is no better time to visit our capital cities than now. After two decades of flush pockets that saw private investment rehabbing decaying buildings and public money spent to preserve and spruce up heritage structures, many towns have never looked finer. And likely won’t look this good for the foreseeable future with now cash-strapped cities unable to dole out the generous maintenance budgets of recent years. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for instance, $114 million was found to polish the state capitol that Teddy Roosevelt called “the handsomest building I ever saw.” But already there is mounting despair in Keystone State preservation circles about how to pay for restoring the capitol statuary that weren’t included in the project.

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of Towns along the Baltimore Pike
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of Towns along the Baltimore Pike

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By 1911 it was apparent the automobile was not going to be a passing fad. Henry Ford had sold his first Model T from an assembly line in 1908 and the price of the car targeted at the middle class was dropping every year. Enthusiastic motorists formed automobile clubs which promoted the building of roads and opportunistic promoters lobbied to bring those roads into their towns.

Many of these efforts took their cues from the Good Roads Movement that was founded in May of 1880 to improve the nations roadways for bicycles. In 1912 the Good Roads Movement inspired the Lincoln Highway Association determined to build a navigable road across the continental United States. Carl Fisher, who manufactured headlights and was a co-funder of the Indianapolis Speedway, was the leading cheerleader for the transcontinental road that eventually covered 3,389 miles and passed through more than 700 cities when it opened in 1913.

In the wake of the Lincoln Highway’s success other multi-state auto trails were created, often by giving a route a name and painting it on telephone poles along the road. Hundreds of auto trails were created in America, many that brought about road improvements and amenities that more or less matched the promises of colorful advertising brochures in the competition for tourist dollars. Others not so much. The era of the auto trail was short-lived. In the 1920s automobile registration tripled and in 1926 the federal government created the U.S. Highway system utilizing numbers. Today many of the roads that made up these historic auto trails can still be traveled by adventurous motorists. 

The Baltimore Pike has its roots in the stagecoach roads of the early 1800s. Heavy Conestoga wagons were following this route long before automobiles began puttering between Baltimore and Philadelphia. When the auto trail was developed it carried travelers from Maryland's Charm City directly into the heart of Philadelphia on Market Street. With the coming of the United States Numbered Highway System in the 1920s most of Baltimore Pike was usurped by the famous US 1, the country's longest north-south route that stretched from Fort Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida. When I-95 was dropped east of US 1 most of its importance waned but the road today still links Baltimore and Philadelphia and in places you can still get off and find the original Baltimore Pike. 

Tours Included: 

Baltimore - Downtown East
Baltimore - Downtown West
Havre de Grace
Port Deposit
Kennett Square
Media
Philadelphia - Old City
Philadelphia - Center City

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Blue Ridge Parkway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Begun as a Depression-era public works project, the Blue Ridge Parkway was America's first rural parkway. When ultimately completed it was also the nation's longest - 469 miles of uninterrupted mountain roads linking Shenandoah National Park in the north to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. The Blue Ridge Parkway is far and away the most popular destination in the National Park System - more than 19 million recreation visits per year. 

Designed for leisurely motoring, the speed limit never exceeds 45 mph on the Parkway and roadside parking is permitted on the shoulders the entire way. Much of the beautiful road is lined by low stone walls. At times the route shrinks to scarcely 25 yards in width. You will never see a billboard and scarcely any development.

Ground was broken on the Blue Ridge Parkway on September 11, 1935 at Cumberland Knob on the North Carolina-Virginia border, near the mid-point of the proposed route. By 1967 all but seven and one-half of its 469 miles were complete. The final section, around the rocky slopes of Grandfather Mountain, one of the world's oldest mountains, would not be finished until 1987. 

To finish the Parkway without massive cuts and fills on the fragile mountainside would call for the most complicated concrete bridge ever built - the serpentine Linn Viaduct. The 12 bridges of the Viaduct were constructed from the top down at an elevation of 4100 feet to eliminate the need for a pioneer road. In fact, the only trees cut down during the entire project were those directly beneath the roadbed. The only construction on the ground was the drilling of seven permanent piers upon which the Viaduct rests. Exposed rock was even covered to present staining from the concrete epoxy binding the precast sections. To further minimize the intrusion on the mountain, concrete mixes were tinted with iron oxide to blend with existing outcroppings.

The Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park links to the northern edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway and adds another 100 miles of road trip through the Appalachian mountains. There is no better way to see the towns of the Blue Ridge than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Front Royal
Harrisonburg
Staunton
Charlottesville
Lexington
Roanoke
Asheville
Asheville-Montford

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Coastal Highway US 17
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Coastal Highway US 17

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The Coastal Highway US 17 rises in the historic orchards of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and skedaddles through the Commonwealth to the Atlantic Coast where it continues to hug the ocean to Jacksonville before slicing through Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. It is an 1,189-mile adventure that motorists have been experiencing since 1926.

Interstate 95 parallels US 17 in many places but doesn't run as close to the beach as its ancestor. The Coastal Highway remains a viable road possible to follow today and serves up one of the country's best road trips packed with history, salt air and tradition.

There is no better way to see the towns of the Coastal Highway than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Winchester
Fredericksburg
Portsmouth
Norfolk
Edenton
New Bern
Wilmington
Georgetown
Charleston - Battery
Charleston - Walled City
Beaufort
Savannah
Jacksonville
Orlando

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Dixie Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Dixie Highway

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As automobiles began to crowd horses off America's roads in the early 1900s Carl Fisher was making battery-powered headlamps in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was always looking for a way to promote automobile use to sell more headlamps and he was one of the businessmen who raised money to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and launch the most famous auto race in the world. 

In 1910 Fisher invested in land in Florida and he now had reason to promote not only automobiles but a destination for all those new motorists as well. Fisher had been an energetic cheerleader for the Lincoln Highway that was the nation's first transcontinental road project and in 1915 he began spreading his ideas for an interstate highway between Chicago and Miami. More than 5,000 enthusiasts representing over 100 communities showed up for a meeting in Chattanooga where the Dixie Highway Association was formed. There was so much enthusiasm that two routes were mapped out and a series of connectors led to places like Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan and Ontario in Canada.

The construction of the Dixie Highway was mostly completed by 1926 and became the first auto road to link the rural south with the industrialized midwest. A;most four thousand miles of road had been upgraded to paved brick or concrete and designated as part of the Dixie Highway.

While east-west routes in America could easily claim a single United States route number, the slanted Dixie Highway had to make do with connecting routes. Much of the southern route was traveled along Route 41, in Kentucky and Tennessee it was Route 25 and in MIchigan it was Route 27 for instance.

Touring guides were printed for travelers along the Dixie Highway and some individual towns worked hard to entice motorists on the route. the interstate highway system began to eat away at Dixie Highway traffic in the 1950s and in 1977 Interstate 75 was completed between Sault Ste. Marie and Tampa, Florida. The historic tourist road faded into oblivion. Most is completely gone although some stretches, such as US 25 from the Ohio river in Covington, Kentucky to Greenville, South Carolina can still be traveled today.

Most of the Dixie Highway therefore must be traveled in spirit, following the general direction as America's earliest auto travelers a century ago. There is no better way to see the towns of the Dixie Highway than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Chicago
Indianapolis
Cincinnati
Lexington
Knoxville
Chattanooga
Asheville
Greenville
Augusta
Savannah
Jacksonville
St. Augustine
Miami

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Dupont Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Dupont Highway

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By 1911 it was apparent the automobile was not going to be a passing fad. Henry Ford had sold his first Model T from an assembly line in 1908 and the price of the car targeted at the middle class was dropping every year. Enthusiastic motorists formed automobile clubs which promoted the building of roads and opportunistic promoters lobbied to bring those roads into their towns.

Many of these efforts took their cues from the Good Roads Movement that was founded in May of 1880 to improve the nations roadways for bicycles. In 1912 the Good Roads Movement inspired the Lincoln Highway Association determined to build a navigable road across the continental United States. Carl Fisher, who manufactured headlights and was a co-funder of the Indianapolis Speedway, was the leading cheerleader for the transcontinental road that eventually covered 3,389 miles and passed through more than 700 cities when it opened in 1913.

In the wake of the Lincoln Highway’s success other multi-state auto trails were created, often by giving a route a name and painting it on telephone poles along the road. Hundreds of auto trails were created in America, many that brought about road improvements and amenities that more or less matched the promises of colorful advertising brochures in the competition for tourist dollars. Others not so much. The era of the auto trail was short-lived. In the 1920s automobile registration tripled and in 1926 the federal government created the U.S. Highway system utilizing numbers. Today many of the roads that made up these historic auto trails can still be traveled by adventurous motorists. 

Thomas Coleman du Pont, one of the three cousins who transformed the family gunpowder business into one of the world's great corporations in the early years of the 20th century, was one of the first to dream about great auto trails. In 1908 he sketched out a plan for a divided highway that would stretch the entire length of the state of Delaware with separate lanes for automobiles, trolley lines and horse-drawn vehicles. He poured a good chunk of his fortune into the project, declaring that rather than building a monument to the sky he was laying his on the ground. A two-lane ribbon of pavement covering 103.69 miles from the Pennsylvania border at Marcus Hook to the Maryland border at Delmar was ready for traffic in 1924. By that time the visions of trolleys and horse-drawn surreys had disappeared and replaced with plans for additional automobile lanes. In 1933 the Dupont Highway became the first divided highway in the world.

With the coming of the United States Numbered Highway System the Dupont Highway became US 13 and was known interchangeably as both by Delawareans for decades. Route 13 became a multi-state route when it was extended all the way down the Delmarva Peninsula through the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. As the Delaware beaches developed as resort destinations for motorists after World War II a Route 113 spur was developed and then a high-speed toll road, Delaware Route 1, that siphoned much of the traffic off the Dupont Highway. But the world's first divided highway can still be driven today, passing through the same towns that welcomed it a century ago. 

There is no better way to see the towns of the Dupont Highway and Route 13 than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Wilmington
New Castle
Middletown
Smyrna
Dover
Seaford
Laurel
Salisbury
Princess Anne
Pocomoke City

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Jackson Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Jackson Highway

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By 1911 it was apparent the automobile was not going to be a passing fad. Henry Ford had sold his first Model T from an assembly line in 1908 and the price of the car targeted at the middle class was dropping every year. Enthusiastic motorists formed automobile clubs which promoted the building of roads and opportunistic promoters lobbied to bring those roads into their towns.

Many of these efforts took their cues from the Good Roads Movement that was founded in May 0f 1880 to improve the nations roadways for bicycles. In 1912 the Good Roads Movement inspired the Lincoln Highway Association determined to build a navigable road across the continental United States. Carl Fisher, who manufactured headlights and was a co-funder of the Indianapolis Speedway, was the leading cheerleader for the transcontinental road that eventually covered 3,389 miles and passed through more than 700 cities when it opened in 1913.

In the wake of the Lincoln Highway’s success other multi-state auto trails were created, often by giving a route a name and painting it on telephone poles along the road. Hundreds of auto trails were created in America, many that brought about road improvements and amenities that more or less matched the promises of colorful advertising brochures in the competition for tourist dollars. Others not so much. The era of the auto trail was short-lived. In the 1920s automobile registration tripled and in 1926 the federal government created the U.S. Highway system utilizing numbers. Today many of the roads that made up these historic auto trails can still be traveled by adventurous motorists. 

Driving an automobile in 1911 was a rough business, starting with cranking the motor. A few car manufacturers made concessions for women drivers but they were few and far between as motoring was mostly a man's game. The Jackson Highway was one of the few auto trails conceived and promoted by a woman. She was Miss Alma Rittenberry as she was known around her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. And she was well known, with active memberships in the Birmingham Equal Suffrage Association, the Poetry Society of Alabama, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It was Alma Rittenberry's idea in 1911 to link Chicago with New Orleans with an easterly route through General and 7th United States President Andrew Jackson's old stomping grounds of Nashville, Tennessee.

Rittenberry organized the Jackson Highway Association and worked feverishly to shepherd it into existence. But by 1917 in-fighting within the organization over routing led her to resign. By 1923 when the federal government assumed control of interstate roads the Jackson Highway was already a footnote in American automobile history. Today U.S. Routes 31 and 231 approximate the route of the Jackson Highway that Alma Rittenberry envisioned. 

There is no better way to see the towns of the Jackson Highway than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Chicago
Indianapolis
Louisville
Nashville
Huntsville
Birmingham
Jackson
New Orleans

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Liberty Highway
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Liberty Highway

$4.99

By 1911 it was apparent the automobile was not going to be a passing fad. Henry Ford had sold his first Model T from an assembly line in 1908 and the price of the car targeted at the middle class was dropping every year. Enthusiastic motorists formed automobile clubs which promoted the building of roads and opportunistic promoters lobbied to bring those roads into their towns.

Many of these efforts took their cues from the Good Roads Movement that was founded in May 0f 1880 to improve the nations roadways for bicycles. In 1912 the Good Roads Movement inspired the Lincoln Highway Association determined to build a navigable road across the continental United States. Carl Fisher, who manufactured headlights and was a co-funder of the Indianapolis Speedway, was the leading cheerleader for the transcontinental road that eventually covered 3,389 miles and passed through more than 700 cities when it opened in 1913.

In the wake of the Lincoln Highway’s success other multi-state auto trails were created, often by giving a route a name and painting it on telephone poles along the road. Hundreds of auto trails were created in America, many that brought about road improvements and amenities that more or less matched the promises of colorful advertising brochures in the competition for tourist dollars. Others not so much.

The era of the auto trail was short-lived. In the 1920s automobile registration tripled and in 1926 the federal government created the U.S. Highway system utilizing numbers. Today many of the roads that made up these historic auto trails can still be traveled by adventurous motorists. The Liberty Highway auto trail linked New York City with Cleveland, Ohio, then the nation's fifth largest city. Most of the Liberty Highway became New York State Route 17 when roads were numbered. In the expressway era Route 17 was supplanted by interstate roads but today you can still get off the highway and follow large chunks of the Liberty Highway. You can even spot an occasional "Liberty Highway" sign while rumbling through the towns of the original Liberty Highway across New York's southern tier, especially in the eastern stretch. 

There is no better way to see the towns of the Liberty Highway than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Paterson
Binghamton
Elmira
Corning
Jamestown
Erie
Cleveland

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the New Jersey Turnpike
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the New Jersey Turnpike

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The New Jersey Turnpike first showed up on a highway engineer's drawing board in the 1930s as two untolled freeways to connect the Hudson River at the George Washington Bridge and the Delaware River in Philadelphia. Money was hard to scrape up in those days, however, and construction did not get underway until 1948 when the road became a single toll road under the authority of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

The southern terminus was linked tot he newly constructed Delaware Memorial Bridge and traffic started rolling on the New Jersey Turnpike in late 1951 and by the following year the original 118-mile roadway was open. An extension to its current 122.4-mile length was not completed until 1971.

The price tag was $255 million and while construction had been a simple matter through South Jersey the road approaching New York City through the New Jersey swamplands required the finest engineering thinking of the day. Viaducts were given high retaining walls to give the motorist the illusion of ground beneath the wheels. The Turnpike was designed for safe speeds of 75 mph with limited curves, long sightlines and 12-foot wide lanes that became the standard for the interstate highway system that followed.

New Jersey officials touted their new road as the finest highway ever constructed and many observers agreed. The New Jersey Turnpike has become a touchstone of American culture. Hollywood has visited many times and the Turnpike has made cameos in songs by Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Garfunkel, and others.

Today the New Jersey Turnpike is ranked as America's sixth busiest toll road. Its exits and corresponding towns are imprinted on millions of motorists' brains. There is no better way to see the towns of off the exits of the New Jersey Turnpike than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Exit 3 Woodbury
Exit 4 Camden
Exit 5 Burlington
Exit 5 Mt. Holly
Exit 7 Bordentown
Exit 7A Trenton
Exit 9 New Brunswick
Exit 13 Elizabeth
Exit 15 Newark
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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along Pennsylvania Scenic Route 6
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along Pennsylvania Scenic Route 6

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Pennsylvania Route 6 has been lauded as one of America’s best touring roads by just about every magazine that ranks such things. Its winds for 440 miles across the keystone State’s northern tier of 11 counties to link the Delaware River with Lake Erie.

Rolling from the eastern mountains Route 6 visits more than a dozen state parks and forests and slices through over a half million acres of the Allegheny National Forest. At one time or another the lands along Route 6 supplied America with most of its hard anthracite coal, timber for housebuilding, and was the scene for America’s first oil boom. 

Along the way Route 6 meanders into four Pennsylvania Heritage Areas and two National Heritage Areas. There is no better way to see the towns of Route 6 than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Milford
Honesdale
Carbondale
Scranton
Wellsboro
Titusville
Erie

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Pennsylvania Turnpike
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Pennsylvania Turnpike

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Pennsylvania was one of the first states in America to create a Highway Department and in the 1930s plans were undertaken for a new type of road to cross the Commonwealth - The Pennsylvania Turnpike. It was a revolutionary undertaking. Before the Turnpike roads had been built with flat curves to discourage speeding. Now the engineers were tasked with adapting the roadway for high-speed travel. There would be long, sweeping curves and a maximum grade of 3% or three feet of climb for every 100 feet of road. Before the coming of the Pennsylvania Turnpike it was not unusual to find mountain roads with grades of 12%. There would be no cross streets, no traffic signals, no railroad grade crossings. By contrast the Lincoln Highway (now Route 30) that was the main artery across Pennsylvania at the time sported 939 cross streets and 12 railroad crossings. it was expected that the new “superhighway” would cut travel time across the state. 

The first cars queued up to drive on the four-lane all concrete highway on October 1, 1940. The original roadway covered 160 miles from Carlisle, just west of Harrisburg, to Irwin, just east of Pittsburgh. To tackle the steep Allegheny Mountains in between seven tunnels were required. The Turnpike was an immediate success and in the coming years would be extended from border to border, eventually swallowing up 359 miles. Along that route are major cities and historic towns. 

There is no better way to see the towns of the Pennsylvania Turnpike than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Exit 2 New Castle

Exit 57 Pittsburgh - Cultural District
Pittsburgh - Financial District
Pittsburgh - Oakland

Exit 67 Greensburg

Exit 91 Ligonier

Exit 146 Johnston

Exit 226 Carlisle

Exit 247 Harrisburg

Exit 266 Lancaster

Exit 286 Reading

Exit 333 Norristown

Exit 358 - Bristol

Exit 359 Philadelphia - The Parkway
Philadelphia - Center City
Philadelphia - Old City
Philadelphia - Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia - Society Hill
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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along Route 66
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along Route 66

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There were long-distance American highways before Route 66 but none has endured longer in the country's psyche. John Steinbeck first dubbed Route 66 the “Mother Road” to describe the promise the highway held when thousands of poor Oklahoma and Arkansas families were blown off their farms by the Dust Bowl drought conditions of the 1930s and forced to head to California. The 2,400-mile, dog bowl-shaped roadway from Chicago to Los Angeles inspired popular songs, movies and an iconic television show that lured millions of travelers to it two lanes of concrete. Route 66 was done in by the interstate system - some of which was laid on top of the old road - and doesn’t appear on modern maps anymore but lives forever in the imaginations of any motorist with a hint of wanderlust.

Route 66 was never a static road, especially as paving was introduced. The original plan in the 1920s was to connect the main streets of rural and urban communities and over time the route shifted to eliminate sharp turns, bypass some smaller communities, eliminate railroad crossings, and to shift routings in major metropolitan areas to avoid traffic congestion. Nowhere is this more apparent than at its very start (if you’re heading west) in Chicago. Originally, Route 66 kicked off on Jackson Boulevard at Michigan Avenue and later moved to Jackson at Lake Shore Drive. Wherever you begin to follow the essence of Historic Route 66, look for the brown markers and get your odyssey rolling through Illinois. Route 66 tackled the Mississippi River in two places, one went directly into St. Louis and the other slid around the northern edge of the city. This Route 66 Bypass crossed on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, a private toll bridge built in 1929 at the cost of $3,000,000. The “chain of rocks” were a dangerous set of rocky shoals that were eliminated by dams and canals in the mid-20th century. The bridge itself was notable for a sharp 22-degree bend that slowed traffic and fostered pile-ups. For that reason the bridge was not used by the Interstate Highway System and was eventually closed in 1967. It sat decaying for 30 years, spared from demolition only by a crash in the market for scrap metal. In Missouri, “America’s Main Street,” ran through the wooded bluffs of the Meramec River valley. 
Route 66 was born in Oklahoma. Cyrus Avery, a Tulsa businessman and Oklahoma’s first highway commissioner, spearheaded the national committee that created the U.S. Highway System in 1926. He championed the Chicago-to-Los Angeles route (making sure it dropped south to his home state before turning west) and picked the now famous double sixes as the new road’s official number. Oklahoma has about 400 miles of Route 66 and more drivable miles of the old highway than any other state, although in a pastiche of new route numbers that requires its own guidebook. Historic Route 66 through Oklahoma is studded with the small towns and kitschy roadside buildings that came to define the Mother Road. 

Upon reaching Amarillo, Texas the road is ready to sprint west on one of the flattest crossings of the Rocky Mountains possible. For that reason most of the road was co-opted for the interstate highways. Entering California, the end of your journey on old Route 66 is in sight. The old road survives intact for most of its 315 miles through the state. There is no better way to see the towns of Route 66 than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Chicago
Springfield
St. Louis
Tulsa
Oklahoma City
Albuquerque
Los Angeles
Hollywood

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Old Spanish Auto Trail
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours along the Old Spanish Auto Trail

$4.99

The automobile was still sharing roads with horses when the gears started turning to create a coast-to-coast highway along the nation's southern tier. The plan was to connect the towns that had sprung from Spanish forts and missions dating back to the 1500s. The core of the route would link the towns of St. Augustine, New Orleans, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson and San Diego.

A conference was held in Mobile, Alabama on December 11, 1915 to lay the groundwork for a road to run from New Orleans to the Atlantic coast of Florida and subsequent conferences followed with San Antonio being designated the headquarters of the venture. Such a paved road would not only promote tourism and commerce from the new auto travelers but also aid the United States War Department in deploying troops and materiel for the nation's defense.

The first zero-mile stone for the Old Spanish Trail was placed in San Diego on November 17, 1923 with a message from President Calvin Coolidge read at the dedication. The following year a five-ton boulder of Texas granite said to be one million years old was placed in Military Plaza in the center of San Antonio as the marker from which all distances would be measured on the Trail. In April of 1929 a zero-mile stone was unveiled in St. Augustine, just in time to greet the first motorcade from San Diego to St. Augustine. The caravan motored back in October after assembling "the biggest motorcade ever staged." Torrential rains and severe flooding had reduced the travel party to just 15 cars by the time it rolled into New Mexico.

The Old Spanish Trail crossed through eight states and 67 counties in its 3,000-mile journey. It had eliminated 35 ferry crossings in creating the shortest American link between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, although bridge crossings of the Mississippi River and Berwick Bay in Morgan City, Louisiana were still several years away. Most of the Old Spanish Trail followed US 90 and US 80 across America's southern border.

In the 1950s the Old Spanish Trail Association saw the peril lurking in the planned interstate highway system and tagged itself "America's Highway of Romance!" to lure travelers back to the road. But romance could not compete with speed and convenience and shortly after the completion of I-10 the Old Spanish Trail had gone the way of the conquistadores. Parts of the roadway still exist in places and planning is already underway for the Centennial Motorcade in 2029. 

You don't have to wait until then to visit the towns of the Old Spanish Trail, which now include three of America's eight most populated communities...

So hit the road and look up, America! 

St. Augustine
Jacksonville
Tallahassee
Mobile
New Orleans
Houston
San Antonio
El Paso
Tucson
Phoenix
Yuma
San Diego

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Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of Towns along the Susquehanna Trail
       
     
Classic American Road Trips: Walking Tours of Towns along the Susquehanna Trail

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By 1911 it was apparent the automobile was not going to be a passing fad. Henry Ford had sold his first Model T from an assembly line in 1908 and the price of the car targeted at the middle class was dropping every year. Enthusiastic motorists formed automobile clubs which promoted the building of roads and opportunistic promoters lobbied to bring those roads into their towns.

Many of these efforts took their cues from the Good Roads Movement that was founded in May 0f 1880 to improve the nations roadways for bicycles. In 1912 the Good Roads Movement inspired the Lincoln Highway Association determined to build a navigable road across the continental United States. Carl Fisher, who manufactured headlights and was a co-funder of the Indianapolis Speedway, was the leading cheerleader for the transcontinental road that eventually covered 3,389 miles and passed through more than 700 cities when it opened in 1913.

In the wake of the Lincoln Highway’s success other multi-state auto trails were created, often by giving a route a name and painting it on telephone poles along the road. Hundreds of auto trails were created in America, many that brought about road improvements and amenities that more or less matched the promises of colorful advertising brochures in the competition for tourist dollars. Others not so much.

The era of the auto trail was short-lived. In the 1920s automobile registration tripled and in 1926 the federal government created the U.S. Highway system utilizing numbers. Today many of the roads that made up these historic auto trails can still be traveled by adventurous motorists. The Susquehanna Trail linked the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. with Buffalo, New York and extended a little ways further to Niagara Falls. Several U.S. highways, including Routes 1, 11 , and 15 pass through the towns that make up the backbone of the old Susquehanna Trail.

There is no better way to see the towns of the Susquehanna Trail than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are visiting a new town or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a walking tour is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes a mix of historical and architectural and ecclesiastical landmarks. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on America’s streets can be found at the end of the book.

So hit the road and look up, America! 

Washington DC
Laurel
Baltimore
York
Harrisburg
Lewisburg
Williamsport
Corning
Buffalo
North Tonawanda

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