Articles that feature road trips around the world, along with car museums and car-related attractions.

Visiting the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena

There are two Ferrari museums in Italy, one in Modena and one in Maranello, where the cars are actually built. The Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena is the perfect setting to combine food and auto touring in Italy. Although the town is full of ancient cobblestoned streets and old stone buildings, it’s known as the “Detroit of Italy” due to its automotive heritage. It’s set in the Motor Valley where Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini automobiles, along with Ducati motorcycles, are built. Located in the Emilia-Romagna region 250 miles north of Rome, visitors can tour factories and museums related to these legendary marques.

Modena is a city of contrasts. Two prominent buildings pierce the azure blue Italian sky; the 12th-century white marble cathedral and the sinewy, yellow curved roof of the Enzo Ferrari museum. (In Italian it’s the Museo Enzo Ferrari.) Modena may be the birthplace of Ferrari, the worldwide symbol of fast automobiles, but it is also the heart—or perhaps stomach—of Emilia-Romagna. Regional names such as Modena, Parma, Bologna and Reggio are all associated with famous foods.

Italians might make these famous foods slowly, but they like their cars to be fast. Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena 1898 and still leaves his mark on the city more than a century later. His bright red, road-hugging vehicles seem synonymous with the word “racecar.” Start your Motor Valley tour at the Ferrari Museum in Modena.

In the Footsteps of Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena Italy
Ferrari Museum in Italy

You’ll walk in the legendary carmaker’s footsteps at the original workshop and home of his father–Alfredo Ferrari. Enzo inherited the buildings at age 20, but sold them soon afterward to buy a sports car. Here you’ll get up close to the first road Ferrari ever built, a 1947 Ferrari 125 S with a 1500 cc V12 engine pushing out 118 horsepower for a maximum speed of 210 km/hour.

Museum of Engines

Since, besides good looks, Ferrari cars are also known for their engines, there are more than 30 high-performance engines on display, which is why this area is called the Museum of Engines. It’s a gearhead’s paradise.

 1994
The 1994 Ferrari F129B engine was their first road-worthy V8 engine with a five-valve cylinder head. It was developed through their Formula 1 research. It put out 380 hp and was first used in the F355 Berlinetta.
ferrari Museum Modena 1951 500 F2 Formula 1 champion
Behind the wheel of the 1951 Ferrari F2 that won the Formula 1 world championship in 1952 and 1953 with Alberto Ascari driving.

Adjacent to the workshop a newer building’s striking yellow roof curves skyward, mimicking the hood of a 1950s racing Ferrari. Inside, more than 20 Ferraris are displayed under glittery lights as if they were jewels in a crown, although these Italian creations are more expensive than most diamonds. A soaring Luciano Pavarotti (another local boy) soundtrack creates a sense of autos as art. For more information go to the Ferrari Museum in Modena.

Ferrari Museum in Modena
1948 Ferrari 166 Inter Aerlux at the Ferrari Museum in Modena
The 1948 Ferrari 166 Inter Aerlux was the first four-seater Ferrari. It featured an aluminum body and clear panoramic roof.

The Pavarotti music can get you in the mood for visiting the nearby Luciano Pavarotti House Museum. Even for non-opera buffs (like me) it’s a fascinating experience; sort of like Graceland with an Italian twist. The house where he lived for the final years of his life is set on a bucolic one-lane road outside his childhood hometown of Modena.

Modena Ferrari Museum

The Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Ferrari Museum Marinello

Ferrari moved production to nearby Maranello in the 1940s. After you’ve seen the Modena Ferrari Museum you should check out the Museo Ferrari in Maranello. It focuses more on performance with a dose of Ferrari heritage and style added. The visitor’s courses through Ferrari Formula 1 race cars up to the “One-Off” gallery that on this visit included rocker Eric Clapton’s SP12EC (shown below). Make sure to enjoy the museum; the only way to go on the Ferrari factory tour is to buy one. Ferrari Museum in Maranello

Eric Clapton's Ferrari

After viewing primo cars, Modena is a great place to reward yourself with a fine Italian meal: it’s the town that invented tortellini pasta and the eponymous balsamic vinegar di Modena.

Visiting Modena With a Discover Ferrari & Pavarotti Land Passport

With so much to see and do in Modena, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Fortunately there is a means of easily visiting many attractions within a few days. Discover Ferrari & Pavarotti Land is a shuttle service that whisks visitors to over a dozen sights related to food, wine, history and cars (including both Ferrari museums) with a stop thrown in at Pavarotti’s home. The price includes access to the attractions as well as the shuttle.

Interested in purchasing tickets? You can get them in advance here:

Tickets when traveling from Bologna: Ferrari & Pavarotti Land-Bologna Shuttle

Tickets when traveling from Modena: Ferrari & Pavarotti Land-Modena Shuttle

Changes in Longitude Larissa & Michael Milne at Arctic Circle

We’re Larissa and Michael, your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive updates and valuable travel tips subscribe to our travel newsletter here.

Introducing the updated and expanded 2019 Second Edition of the perfect tool for anyone who loves vintage and collector cars!

The 2nd edition of the Roadster Guide to America’s Classic Car Museums & Attractions is now available. The 400-page road warrior was published in April 2019 and is the ultimate travel guide for vintage car buffs

Hemmings Motor News–the bible of the collector car hobby–says “No car enthusiast should hit the road without this book,” while the Detroit Free Press called it “Vacation planning for car lovers.”

This guide is a valuable travel resource for anyone who wants to discover classic cars, from Model As to 280Zs. Organized geographically, it helps car buffs plan motor-themed road trips, or find a museum close to home.

There are more than 300 attractions featured in the book. The museums range from the well-known, like the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, to smaller ones like the Franklin Museum in Arizona and the Studebaker Museum in Indiana. Vintage car lovers will find many places they have never head of before featuring the Brass Era, Classic Cars, Tail Fins, Muscle Cars, racing, sprint cars, trucking and more.

There are also many auto-themed attractions like the Tucker Trail in Pennsylvania; along with oddities like Cadillac Ranch in Texas; Carhenge in Nebraska (think Stonehenge, but with 1950s sedans buried in the ground); and the world’s largest tire in Michigan, which was a Ferris wheel at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Bring this book along on your next road tip to discover fascinating car places.

There are 60+ black-and-white photos in the book. They’re not color because then the book would have to be printed in China (like so many other books are) to keep the price reasonable. But I wanted the books to be printed in the USA.

I greatly appreciate your interest in this exciting project that helps keep America’s auto legacy alive.

To order on Amazon: Roadster Guide

From guest writer Mark (an Indy native)~ Headed to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 or a conference? Looking for something else to do besides sit through another boring PowerPoint presentation? If you’re looking for other activities in town you’re in luck because there are many unique things to do in Indianapolis.

Newfields: Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gardens and More

Indianapolis Museum of Art, LOVE statue. Photo courtesy of Visit Indyphoto courtesy of Visit Indy

If you’re looking for a some culture, you can find a wide array of it at Newfields. This vast complex contains several terrific points of interest. The Indianapolis Museum of Art boasts a collection that spans the world and millennia and includes over 100 acres of nature park and estate gardens. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres is exactly what the name implies and Oldfields  Lilly House & Gardens is a historic 26-acre estate filled with gardens, fountains & statuary. You can spend a whole afternoon wandering the grounds without ever making it inside the museum.

Mark’s tip: Grab some barbecue from Hank’s Smoked Brisket down the road on MLK Drive and have an impromptu picnic. Best part is that general admission to the museum and the grounds is free.

See the “reel” life Hoosiers at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse

Hinkle Field House, Butler Universityphoto courtesy of Mark from The Time to Go is Now

Butler University is located near the Indianapolis Museum of Art and is a great place to wander around. Stop by the Holcomb Observatory & Planetarium and take a gander through their telescope. (Yes, we still say “gander” in Indiana 😉)

Go see a basketball game at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, home of the Butler University Bulldogs, decades of Indiana high school basketball history and the climactic scene of the movie Hoosiers. Hinkle Fieldhouse is to basketball what Lambeau Field is to football and Fenway Park is to baseball. Hyperbole? Not to Hoosier basketball fans.

Try a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Pork Tenderloin sandwich, Things to do in Indianapolisphoto courtesy of Mark from The Time to Go is Now

The word “tenderloin” is usually associated with beef except in Indiana where it refers to pork. (Okay, and San Francisco but that’s not food related.) Indiana has been one of the top pork producing states since the 19th-Century. While other places took their pork to the smoker, we took ours to the fryer. The Indiana pork tenderloin sandwich features a cut of pork tenderloin pounded thin, breaded and fried (think schnitzel) and then served on a bun. Darn near every restaurant, diner and bar has one on the menu but not all are created equal. I’m not offering any favorites because I’m not starting an argument here, but a Google search will help you find one.

Gangsters and Presidents at Crown Hill Cemetery

Crow Hill Cemetery-Things to do in Indianapolisphoto courtesy of Mark from The Time to Go is Now

Crown Hill Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the United States. Its elevated vantage point offers great views of downtown. The wooded grounds create a park-like setting to stroll or ride a bike on the twenty miles of roads. It is home to a who’s who of Indiana history including president Benjamin Harrison, Col. Eli Lilly (founder of the pharmaceutical company that bears his name), and Depression-era gangster John Dillinger.

Race Over to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indy 500 Trophy, photo courtesy Visit Indy

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a monument to fast cars. If you’ve never been to a big time race the Indianapolis 500 is the one to attend. It’s held every year over Memorial Day weekend, and tickets are available and affordable.

If you can’t make it to race weekend, check out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which is open all year. There you can see race cars from open-wheeled racing’s glory days when speed, safety and sanity were pushed to—and in many cases beyond—the limit. (photo courtesy of  Visit Indy)

Take a Hike at White River State Park & Canal Walk

White River Canal Park, Things to do in Indianapolisphoto courtesy of Visit Indy

On the west side of downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park offers several attractions in a very small area, many of which are connected via the strollable Canal Walk. For history and culture, check out The Indiana State MuseumThe Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and the Indiana Historical Society; all are accessible via the Canal Walk.

For more active pursuits, cross the pedestrian bridge over White River and visit the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens. Catch an Indianapolis Indians game at Victory Field, a wonderful stadium to watch AAA baseball. Interested in music? The Farm Bureau Lawn at White River Park hosts a summer concert series. Traveling on the cheap? Pack a picnic and find a spot outside. You may not see the band, but you’ll hear the whole show.

Beer Here

Black Acre Brew Pub-Things to do in Indianapolisphoto courtesy of Visit Indy

Indiana was once home to a thriving brewery industry (we are in the German Triangle after all) only to have it virtually wiped out by Prohibition. In the last twenty years Indianapolis has gone from having a couple of dedicated brew pubs to several brewers putting out many lines of quality beers. Sun King, Black Acre, Flat 12, Fountain Square, Bier, Broad Ripple Brewpub, Brugge Brasserie, Oaken Barrel, Triton, Planetary there are more, but that’s a good start.

Tour Monument Circle and War Memorials

Things to do in Indianapolis-War memorials and Monument Circle

Like a smaller version of Washington, D.C., Indianapolis loves its war memorials. The Soldiers & Sailors Monument on Monument Circle is right in the middle of the original city plan.  Dedicated in 1902 the monument houses a Civil War museum and observation desk that offers a nice view of downtown. If you’re feeling energetic you can climb the 331 stairs for free or pay $2.00 to take the elevator. A short walk north will take you to the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza and the American Legion Mall featuring more walkable green spaces with parks, fountains, monuments and memorials. photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Bike the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Six years in the works, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a network of bicycle and pedestrian paths that connect the various cultural districts of downtown Indianapolis allowing for quick and safe movement around the downtown area. It also features several installations of public art. Rent a bike for the day and explore downtown. Venture out to the Massachusetts Avenue & Fountain Square cultural districts. There are more than enough restaurants, bars and shops to keep you occupied.

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The American city of Indianapolis offers many interesting sight beyond the famous auto race.


Mark and Julie-The Time to Go is NowGuest writer
 Mark and his girlfriend Julie quit their jobs at the end of 2013 and embarked on a 12 month round-the-world backpacking trip. His blog, The Time to Go Is Now, documents their trip, and travels beyond.

 

 

 

Changes in Longitude Larissa & Michael Milne at Arctic Circle

Larissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free updates and valuable travel tips subscribe to our travel newsletter.

During the two years I spent driving around the country visiting car museums for my new book, the Roadster Guide to America’s Classic Car Museums & Attractions, I was pleased to see the high number of car museums in Pennsylvania, my home state. Here’s a review of a handful of these car museums in Pennsylvania, including the opportunity to see five rare Tuckers in one day.

Car Museums in Pennsylvania

Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Simeone foundation Museum Philadelphia

The Simeone is a hidden gem located in a former engine remanufacturing facility near the Philadelphia airport.  In 2014 it was awarded “Car of the Year” for its 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. The museum owes its existence to the passion of one man, neurosurgeon Fred Simeone. Over the course of a half-century he’s collected over 60 of the world’s greatest racing cars, all of which still run. Come for the popular twice-monthly “Demonstration Days,” when you can watch some of the cars get taken for a spin on the 3-acre back lot.

The oldest vehicle here is a 1909 American Underslung that raced in long-distance events. Other cars are displayed according to where they raced (Watkins Glen, Bonneville Salt Flats, Brooklands, and more) or by the races they entered. Among them are Le Mans, the Targa Florio in Sicily, and the Mille Miglia. With so many sleek Italian racing cars on display, the museum sometimes looks more like a modern sculpture gallery.

Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles

Mister Softee truck Boyertown vehicle museum

Founded in 1965, the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles includes gasoline-, steam-, and electric-propelled vehicles as well as toy cars, carriages, and sleighs. The main exhibit area occupies the former Boyertown Auto Body Works, where truck bodies were built from 1926 through 1990. A few of these trucks have returned home and are now on display. The focus is on Pennsylvania-built cars, reflecting the Keystone State’s importance in the early development of the automobile.

The 1872 Hill is one of the earliest autos in existence. Teenager James Hill built it in Fleetwood, PA. The 1913 SGV Touring Car, built 15 miles west of here in Reading, featured a push-button transmission. One of my favorite vehicles is a 1958 Ford Mister Softee Ice Cream Truck just like the one that blared the ubiquitous theme song around my neighborhood when I was a kid; they were all built in this building.

The museum also features roadside architecture, with a 1921 Sun Oil cottage-style service station and the 1938 Reading Diner.

William E. Swigart, Jr. Automobile Museum

Two Tuckers Swigart auto museum Pennsylvania

The William E. Swigart, Jr. Automobile Museum seems an unlikely place to spot not one, but two Tuckers, yet here they are. One of them might be considered the Tucker: the coveted 1947 Tucker ’48 Prototype Tin Goose—the very first Tucker made along with another Tucker 48, one of only 51 ever produced.

The rest of the museum features a rotating exhibit of 35 of the approximately 150 cars purchased by Swigart and his father, insurance tycoon W. Emmert Swigart.  There’s also the largest collection I’ve ever seen of international license plates and antique car logo badges. The photo below shows just a few of them.

antique car insignias Swigart Museum

Note: The Swigart Museum is open from Memorial Day weekend through October 31.

Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum

AACA Museum hershey Kissmobile

The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey, is the home of three Tuckers in the newly created Cammack Tucker Gallery. The vehicle made famous in the 1988 movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream is one of the classic cars most prized by collectors.  The gallery is filled with Tucker-related paraphernalia including engines, parts, and mechanical drawings. The newest exhibit at the AACA Museum is a tribute to driving along Route 66. It’s rare to see buses in museums and the AACA doesn’t disappoint: In the lower level is the Museum of Bus Transportation that contains a rare look at this form of transportation. Included in the collection is a 1959 GM Coach that made an appearance in Forrest Gump.

Rolls-Royce Foundation

In appropriately named Mechanicsburg is a salute to the pinnacle of automotive luxury. Tucked away on a winding, two-lane country road, luxury car aficionados will find the Rolls-Royce Foundation, a museum and library celebrating the coveted vehicles.

Rolls Royce car Museums in Pennsylvania

The main gallery holds about a dozen Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, the brand purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1931. A skeletal 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom, shown without a body, demonstrates just what a discriminating buyer got for all that money. Initially Rolls-Royce provided only the high-end engines and chassis, not the complete vehicles we see today. Customers took the engine to an independent coach builder to customize, which is why each early Rolls model was virtually unique.

Grice Clearfield Community Museum

Its not often you find a car museum where a wild turkey is lurking among the cars; the turkey in question here is a stuffed one that’s frozen in time alongside a tail-finned 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Lynn “Scoot” Grice, an avid hunter, founded this museum where more than 800 stuffed trophy game mounts share space with 75 automobiles.

Grice Clearfield car museum in Pennsylvania

One of the highlights of the collection is the display of seven Crosley cars; built by Cincinnati industrialist Powell Crosley, the quirky, compact-sized autos have a cult following. Another rarity here is a 1932 Rockne, a model produced for two years by Studebaker as a tribute to the legendary Notre Dame football coach who had died in an airplane crash the year before. Studebaker was headquartered in South Bend, Indiana, also the home of Notre Dame.

Eagles Mere Auto Museum

1947 Ford Sportster Woody wagon

In the bucolic town of Eagles Mere (located just north of Little League World Series setting Williamsport) the Eagles Mere Auto Museum and the Eagles Mere Air Museum offer glimpses into the bygone days of road and air transport.

Eagles Mere car museums Pennsylvania

Car museums Pennsylvania Eagles MereThe collection of 75+ cars offers a huge “wow” factor. The focus is on American-made cars and trucks from the 1950s and ’60s, including a “Class of ’69” section with ten Chevy Camaros sporting different styles and engine configurations that will have Muscle Car fans drooling. There’s a collection of six “woodie” station wagons with my favorite, a 1947 Ford Sportster Woodie Convertible. (Pictured above.)

At the Eagles Mere Air Museum, all of the vintage aircraft, including a 1917 “Jenny” biplane, are regularly taken out and flown. In addition to almost 30 planes, the museum sports a collection of reconstructed vintage engines, along with exhibits of rare artifacts celebrating early aviation pioneers.

Roadster Guide to America's Classic Car MuseumsThe second edition of my book, the Roadster Guide to America’s Classic Car Museums & Attractions, provides greater detail for each of these car museums in Pennsylvania, plus many more in the Keystone State. Pennsylvania offers a real bonanza for vintage car buffs.

 

 

Classic car museums in Pennsylvania|where to see antique cars in Pennsylvania|Car museums in Pennsylvania|Simeone museum|Swigart museum|AACA Museum Hershey PA|Eagles Mere car museum

28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free quarterly newsletter with updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

The windswept plains of Amarillo, Texas are world renowned for being the home of Cadillac Ranch, a series of tail-finned Cadillacs set into the earth like they crashed from outer space. But there are several more car sculptures of Texas nearby that can be easily visited in a two hour loop.

Visiting Cadillac Ranch and the outdoor car sculptures of Texas

Cadillac Ranch

The granddaddy of them all, this is the outdoor car sculpture that inspired all the others. It was installed in 1974 by a San Francisco-based art group called Ant Farm. Ten Cadillacs from a 1949 Club Sedan through a 1963 Sedan de Ville are tilted into the ground just so, creating an irresistible lure for budding graffiti artists.

Amarillo Cadillac Ranch total

Periodically the cars are whitewashed and then the spray painting starts all over again. Located on the southern side of I-40 on the western outskirts of Amarillo, Texas. Note: If you do plan on spray painting the cars, please take the leftover paint cans with you. Many people just use them and toss them on the ground creating a mess in the open field.

Amarillo Cadillac Ranch paint cans

Amarillo West RV Park

Just 3/4 of a mile east of Cadillac Ranch is this RV park which has taken on the ranch’s theme. Three vintage Cadillacs are angled on ramps out front but don’t try to spray paint these babies. They are in pristine condition. They’re also guarded by a giant “2nd Amendment Cowboy,” this is Texas after all.

Amarillo Cadillac Ranch rv Park

Combine City

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Cadillac Ranch can claim several admirers in the area. Started in 2002 by the wonderfully named Orville Ladehoff, Combine City is a series of 14 heavy combines planted in the ground as a tribute to the West Texas farmer.

Amarillo Combine City sculpture

It’s located just southeast of Amarillo on the northern side of Claude Highway/FM 1151/Business Loop 40 near the intersection of South Whitaker Road in Canyon, Texas. Don’t bring your itchy spray paint trigger fingers to this one, the combines are set up behind barbed wire. www.CombineCity.com

Amarillo Texas Combine City

Note: Combine City can be tough to find so here’s a handy map with directions from Cadillac Ranch.

VW Slug Bug Ranch

The automotive tributes continue with this array of Volkswagen Beetles stuck in the ground. To say the colorfully painted cars are mere shells of their former selves is an understatement, with some of them barely intact.

Texas Bug Ranch car sculpture

There’s also an abandoned service station adjacent to it which lends to the desolate Texas Panhandle atmosphere. It’s just south of I-40 at Exit 96 for Conway, Texas which is 30 miles east of Amarillo.

Texas Bug Racnh car scupture VW

Here are directions from Combine City to the VW Slug Bug Ranch:

 Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum

This museum is an outgrowth of Jack Sisemore Traveland, a large dealer of recreational vehicles in the Texas Panhandle and the oldest Winnebago dealer in the state of Texas. Sisemore started out in the early 1960s with a service station purchased with money borrowed from his grandmother.

Jack Sisemore RV museum sign

When he started taking trips in RVs he realized he should get into the business in which he’s been phenomenally successful. As a hobby he began collecting vintage RVs which he showcases in the free museum along with an impressive collection of motorcycles.

Jack Sisemore RV Museum Texas interior

The museum is well curated by Jack and his son Trent with the vintage campers set up in tableaux with period furnishings, games and food containers.  Visitors can step inside the campers and really feel what it was like to set out on a mid-century adventure. The oldest vehicle is a 1936 Alma Trailer with a wooden interior. Also check out the period avocado and harvest gold interior in the 1972 Winnebago along with avocado colored appliances that bring back childhood memories of watching The Brady Bunch.  Film buffs will recognize the 1948 Flxible Clipper Bus that was driven by Jeff Daniels in the Robin Williams movie RV.

Jack Sisemore RV Museum owner

Jack Sisemore is also a legend on the Grand National dirt-track racing circuit so there’s a fine collection of motorcycles stacked among the RVs. He is one of the coolest gentlemen we’ve met in our world travels. How often do you show up at a museum where the owner offers to take you to dinner?  Location: 4341 Canyon Drive, Amarillo, TX 79110. It’s only 5 miles south of where the old Route 66 runs right through downtown Amarillo.

The Texas Panhandle is definitely the place for car buffs and Amarillo is the heart of it all. If auto attractions get your motor running, then you should read our story about visiting Carhenge in Nebraska.


Like it? Share it . . . Pin it!The quirky car sculpture is a must-see stop for anyone taking a road trip along historic Route 66 through Texas

28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive quarterly updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

We’ve taken road trips all over the world but still love driving around America the most due to the wide variety of unusual roadside attractions in the United States. One of the more off-beat highlights of our autumn road trip across America was visiting Carhenge in Nebraska. Just north of downtown Alliance, it’s a faithful reproduction of the ancient site of Stonehenge in England. Carhenge was built in 1987 by Jim Reinders and his family as a memorial to his father and stands on his father’s farm. In keeping with the original Stonehenge’s reputed astronomical significance, it was dedicated during that year’s summer solstice.

visiting carhenge in nebraska

The cars are painted gray to resemble the original standing stones at Stonehenge. Surprisingly the wheels on the cars still spin.

carhenge nebraska

When the automotive sculpture was first erected the town elders of Alliance didn’t know what to make of it and wanted it torn down. But people started coming from all over the world to view the unique artwork so the locals now embrace it as a visitor attraction.

carhenge in america

Carhenge is definitely worth a trip. Considering the remote location in the far northwest corner of Nebraska I was surprised that there was a steady flow of people coming to see it on a blustery weekday in October.

Larissa Michael Carhenge Nebraska (800x666)

Right next to it is a “Car Art Reserve” with newer sculptures made out of cars and car parts. There’s even an “auto-graph” car people can write on. During the summer the appropriately named Pit Shop Gift Shop is open for souvenirs.

carhenge art reserve

For updated information go to: http://carhenge.com/. Admission is free. And be sure to stop a few miles north on Route 87 to see one of the more unusual rest stops we’ve come across.

Michael Nebraska straw rest stop recliner (800x636)

Visiting Carhenge in Nebraska

Visiting Carhenge in Nebraska is easy. It’s located on Highway 87, three miles north of downtown Alliance. Alliance is in the northwest section of the state that is sometimes referred to as the “Outback of Nebraska.” If you’re hitting all the top sights on a cross-country road trip, Carhenge is only a 2 1/2 hour drive south of Mount Rushmore. Which is really just a drop in the bucket for those of you who crave long drives. [youtube]http://youtu.be/CD-PKgrvXfk[/youtube]


28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free quarterly newsletter with updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

With guest writer Sofie ~ Los Angeles is chock full of  amusement parks, fancy restaurants and trendy night clubs. But these things all cost money. Visiting Los Angeles doesn’t have to be expensive, though. Here are a few hidden gems among the free things to do in Los Angeles. But to keep your day free, make sure to heed our warning below about the extremely aggressive parking ticket people in Los Angeles.

Free things to do in Los Angeles

1) Get taken for a ride at the Automobile Driving Museum

automobile driving museum LA model t

The Automobile Driving Museum in Segundo, five minutes southeast of Los Angeles International Airport, boasts that it is the only car museum in North America where you can actually ride in the vintage cars. Every Sunday they roll 4 or 5 cars off of the museum floor and take visitors for a spin around the block. On any given Sunday you might get taken for a ride in a 1947 Studebaker, a 1909 Model T or even a 1975 AMC Pacer. Check their website where they post the schedule of which cars will be taken for Sunday drives.

2). Walk the Walk of Fame

The Walk of Fame stretches over the public sidewalks on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood. It’ll be more calm checking out the stars on Vine Street, but to get the real Hollywood buzz you have to be at Hollywood Boulevard, where you’ll also find the TCL Chinese Theater where you can see where stars (both human and animal) have placed their footprints, paw prints and autographs in cement for posterity. If you believe your idol deserves a star on the Walk of Fame, you can submit a nomination with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Stars are voted in once a year in June and on average 20 new celebrities get a star on the Walk of Fame each year.

 

3) Gaze at another type of star at the Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is named after Griffith J. Griffith, a former wealthy local who donated both the Griffith Park and the Observatory to the City of Los Angeles. The Observatory is free to visit and has different exhibits on display. Located on Mount Hollywood, the terraces around the Observatory offer great views on the city and the famous Hollywood sign.

4) Rock on at the Fender Guitar Factory

fender guitar factory jam room

The list of legendary musicians who’ve played Fender guitars is almost endless: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dick Dale and Kurt Cobain are just a few. While there is an admission charge to tour the factory in Corona, the museum devoted to the history of Fender instruments is free. There is a Jam Room where all the guitars and amplifiers made here by Fender are on display. Best of all, anyone can stroll right in, take a guitar off the wall, plug it into one of the amps and wail away. How cool is that?

5) Hike through Runyon Canyon Park

Los Angeles Sophie canyon

Runyon Canyon Park is known as one of the places in Los Angeles to spot celebrities. Because it’s so close to the Hollywood Hills and some of Hollywood’s residential areas, you might just see some famous actor walk his dog. And even if you don’t spot Johnny Depp, Runyon Canyon still offers great views over Los Angeles. The wide paths go up and down, making a treadmill or any other machine you’d use at the gym look like a comfortable couch. Tip: go hiking in the morning, preferably before the sun is up, and bring enough water.

6) Stroll along Venice Beach

muscle beach venice

Sunbathing at the beach is an obvious free thing to do on vacation, but Venice Beach has much more to offer than just a strip of sand. There’s the famous Muscle Beach, where you can see bodybuilders and others train their muscles in the sun. They have to fight for attention with the many street artists doing tricks or selling their work along the Ocean Front Walk. Of course there are also the typical seaside shops, some with cool clothes, others with cheap souvenirs. More interesting is the beach skate bowl where youngsters on skateboards and inline skates dive in and jump back up against the background of a setting sun. And if you think you’ve seen it all, you can always follow the beach path or the Ocean Front Walk all the way until you reach Santa Monica.

7) Take a cultural trip to the Getty Center

gety museum

This one is free . . . and it’s not. You see, there’s no entrance fee to visit the Getty Center, but you do have to pay for parking ($15 per car during the day, $10 per car during the evenings in summer). The Getty Center cannot be missed, though. The different exhibition halls offer something for everyone: paintings, photography, decorative art, sculptures, manuscripts . . . It’s all there, presented in the modern buildings of the Center. It wouldn’t surprise me if the architecture of the Center is the main reason some people visit the Getty, built on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains, offering great views from the Central Garden.

8) Walk like an Egyptian

los angeles central library pyramid

The Los Angeles Central Public Library was built in the 1920s, when the Egyptian Revival design craze was sweeping America. That could explain why it’s topped off with a pyramid shaped tower. Stroll around and see how many sphinxes you can find. Travel geeks should make sure to visit the travelogue and vintage map collections on the lower level.

9) Climb the secret stairs

los angeles secret stairs

In the 1920s, before cars were everywhere in LA, outdoor staircases were built in neighborhoods with steep hills so people could access the trolley cars.  Some houses were built along them as they provided their only access to the outside world. Some of the staircases are in better condition than others. Try the 861 step Beachwood Canyon stair climb for a classic view of the Hollywood sign or the Pacific Palisades, where the houses are perched precariously as they hope to avoide the next mudslide, for spectacular and secluded ocean views. Find out more at: Secret Stairs-LA where you can also download walking maps.

10) Ascend City Hall

los angeles city hall observation deck

The building is recognizable since it is featured prominently on the badges of LAPD officers, but this free gem isn’t even known by most Angelenos. Sign in at security and ride the elevator to the top of City Hall for a 360 degree view of Los Angeles. From there you can gaze upon the Pacific Ocean, the Hollywood sign and more.

11)  Take a peek behind the Iron Curtain

wende museum cold war los angeles

The Wende Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of life in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War. They are building up an incredible collection of artifacts that portray what it was like living behind the Iron Curtain. From cast-iron Lenin statues to propagandist artwork to dairies of ordinary citizens, visitors get a sense of life under a totalitarian regime in the not-too-distant past.

12) Attend the Grammy Museum for free

grammy museum lecture series peter guralnick

The Grammy Museum offers a free evening lecture series where you can participate in interviews with award-winning artists and journalists. Recent shows included Placido Domingo, Elvis Presley biographer Peter Guralnick and the The Beatles are Coming: The Birth of Beatlemania in America. As an added bonus, the event takes place in a wing of the museum where you can view the latest special exhibition for free. Check out the list of upcoming programs at the Grammy Museum.

Bonus Pick: Take flight at the Flight Path Learning Center

flight path learning center Los Angeles

Hidden among the runways at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the Flight Path Learning Center, a museum dedicated to the history of commercial flight. The docents are retired flight attendants and are probably the cutest and most gracious anywhere. Exhibits include ephemera from the first century of commercial flight including racks of vintage stewardess uniforms and silver cutlery from flight’s Golden Age. But the real reason you come here is for the incredible runway level views of one of the most active airports in the world. A radio plays a live feed of the control tower so you can hear the pilot being guided in then watch the plane land. You can even walk out onto the runway, closely supervised of course, to board a DC-3. For airplane geeks the Flight Path Learning Center is a must see.

Do you know something that’s both free and fun to do in Los Angeles?

Travel warning for Los Angeles from editor:

Los Angeles has the most aggressive parking ticket enforcement we have seen anywhere. On several occasions we were ticketed as well as people we were traveling with. What made it particularly galling was that we had put an hour on the meter and only been gone for 55 minutes. The cost of a parking ticket in Los Angeles is a whopping $63. Now we know why the city makes over $134 million in parking fees per year. When parking in Los Angeles beware.

Co-Ala sofie pic (216x250)uthor Sofie is a Belgian, language lover and travel aficionada who combines a full-time job with a freelance writing career and a never-ending wanderlust. She uses her weekends, vacation days and public holidays to travel the world and share her experiences. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook or connect with her on Google+.

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We first noticed it on the drive from the airport. Buenos Aires is a city full of vintage cars. Not the pre-Castro cars that have become a moving historic landmark in Cuba, but solid American cars from the 60s and 70s, particularly Ford Falcons. They used to be built in Argentina and judging by what we saw, they were built to last. It’s not unusual to see people driving around cars that are 50 years old. Here are a few of our favorite vintage cars of Latin America:

Vintage cars of Latin America Buenos Aires ford falcon

 

Vintage cars Buenos Aires blue falcon Larissa

Larissa checks out her new ride.

Vintage cars Latin America Buenos Aires blue falcon dashboard

What’s on your dashboard?

Vintage cars Latin America Buenos Aires white Ford Taurus

 

Buenos Aires vintage car green falcon

A tango musician gets ready for the night’s gig.

Vintage cars Buenos Aires black Peugeot

 

Vintage cars Buenos Aires orange pickup truck (575x446)

 We thought all the old trucks were orange until we realized it was rust.

Vintage cars of Buenos Aires VW bus

 

Vintage cars Latin America Buenos Aires

 

Buenos Aires vintage graffiti car

Buenos Aires may be the world leader in graffiti. Apparently if a car is parked long enough it’ll become a canvas too.

Vintage cars of Uruguay

We took a ferry to Colonia Del Sacramento in Uruguay, a town even more known for the old cars still plying its streets.

Vintage Studebaker Uruguay

A Studebaker in primo condition. 

Vintage Austin grill

A vintage Austin grill still gleams.

Vintage car orange volkswagen Uruguay

There must be some excellent German mechanics in Uruguay and Argentina because there are old Volkswagen Beetles everywhere.

 Vintage car planter

If a car sits around look enough it makes a wonderful planter.

Vintage cars of Colombia

The most popular vintage car in Bogota appears to be the Volkswagen Beetle. One Sunday afternoon we saw all four of these vying for attention in one block:

Colombia Bogota vintage blue VW beetle

 Colombia Bogota vintage orange VW beetle_

Colombia Bogota white and orange vintage VW beetle

28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive our free quarterly newsletter with updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

Which is your favorite vintage car photo?