America offers plenty of hot vacation spots that see millions of visitors every year. There is a secondary level of America that many tourists never enjoy, but that can offer sweet victory over the inflated prices demanded at the tourist meccas to which so many travel. Take a look around this huge country and you will find a plethora of places to visit that take you off the beaten path and provide you with the simple pleasures of discovery.
Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum
You may not have given thought to Casey Jones since you were in elementary school and sang the song that praises him. Casey Jones was a mythic hero who died as a train engineer in the wreck of the Cannonball Express. The Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum in Jackson, Tennessee is a tribute to a time that has marched past. The house is a simple clapboard style with a wraparound porch. Inside the museum you will find a collection of railroad memorabilia while the other rooms provide entry into a time travel machine that shows what daily life was like for those who living around the turn of the last century. One of the latest additions to his tourist spot is for the little kids: a Thomas the Tank Engine display.
Bradbury Science Museum
Located in Los Alamos, the Bradbury Science Museum was built to extol the virtues of the Manhattan Project and the development of the bomb. The memorabilia on display includes the infamous letter sent to FDR from Albert Einstein that encouraged the development of the atomic bomb despite Einstein’s pacificism. The museum today is devoted more to the development of alternative energy than it is to the bomb. The history gallery contains media reports of the detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb. The defense gallery showcases the objects associated with the Manhattan Project and educates visitors on the subject of plutonium. The research gallery introduces visitors to research currently underway in fields like the human genome project, lasers and space science.
Visitors to Dickeyville, Wisconsin need to stop by this strange little off-the-beaten-track attraction known as the Dickeyville Grotto. These concrete structures were built by Father Mathias Wernerus between the years of 1925 and 1930. The main grotto serves as a small chapel and includes a statue of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. Sophisticated and intricate mosaic designs adorn the arches, columns and walls constructed by Wernerus. While it would certainly help to be at least a little religious to enjoy the Dickeyville Grotto, it is not a necessity. The architectural wonder of this curious little tourist spot is enough to capture your attention.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Green Bank, West Virginia is home to this interesting and offbeat tourist destination. The huge telescope is as wide across as a football field and is put to use studying a variety of extra-terrestrial signals that pulse across the universe courtesy of quasars and pulsars. The visitor center at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory is open every day except the really big holidays from 8:30 to sunset and admission is the most-affordable of all: free. Self-guided tours are available on these days and on the first Saturday in April and October, you can take advantage of guided tours.