10 Ways to Explore Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York City

A gift of friendship from France in 1886, the National Park Service has protected and maintained the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island for the public since 1933, welcoming an average of 12,000 visitors each day, with 25,000 people visiting in peak summer season.  Liberty Island is open 364 days a year, with seasonal hours (check here). The Statue of Liberty is one of 11 locations that are a part of the National Parks of New York Harbor.

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Kykuit in Sleepy Hollow, New York

Kykuit is a Dutch word meaning “lookout.” John D. Rockefeller appropriately used it as the namesake for the 1908 mansion he built 500 feet above sea level on the banks of the Hudson River. “JDR” Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and widely considered one of the richest men in history, originally purchased 400 acres at the start of the twentieth century.

Kykuit was home to four generations of Rockefellers until JDR’s grandson Nelson, upon his death in 1979, left Kykuit to the National Trust for Historic Preservation instead of his own children. Now, the Historic Hudson Valley nonprofit coordinates public tours and the house remains as it was in 1979. We’ve been members of the HHV for a couple of years and enjoy exploring their properties and program. One of our most favorite fall traditions is the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor. You can read about our adventures at the Blaze here.

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Eataly in Downtown New York City

Eataly is the mecca for Italian food lovers. The first U.S. store opened in the Flatiron District in New York in 2010 as a marketplace for Italian food and cooking and now has over 40 locations throughout the world. I’ve been wanting to visit for years and on a recent trip to New York celebrate a family member’s milestone birthday, I decided to incorporate a visit to Eataly Downtown, located inside the Westfield World Trade Center Mall, on the third floor of Tower 4.

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The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee

My family received most of their country music education when we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on a recent trip to Nashville. However, no education would be complete without a trip to the Grand Ole Opry. The backstage tour gave us an insider’s perspective to what it’s like for one of the 64 living, active cast members who perform at the Opry. Since its inception, the Opry has invited (invitation is a must) 215 musicians to become members, 74 of whom are women.

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Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Tennessee

Andrew Johnson, the 17th American President hails from Tennessee and there are several spots in the Greeneville, Tennessee area, approximately 90 minutes from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to learn about his life. Johnson started as the alderman of Greeneville, then became mayor, state representative, Tennessee senator, governor, vice president (to Abraham Lincoln) and ultimately, the 17th president.  Several sites related to Johnson’s life are overseen by the National Parks Service, which provides many ways to explore the area, including a self guided cell phone tour. While we only had limited time in the area (we were traveling from Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park), we were able to learn all about Johnson’s life and infamous impeachment.

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