American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
In Celebration of Ronald Reagan's Centennial Birthday
Although I've already interrupted this week's “Middle Keys Escape” series with a post about Moon author Q&A's, I feel the strong urge to interrupt myself yet again. This Sunday, after all, would have marked the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), and I'd be somewhat remiss if I didn't acknowledge this commemorative occasion.
No matter where your political leanings lie, you'd likely find it hard to dismiss Reagan's impact on the United States – and the rest of the world. Born on February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, Reagan eventually became a radio broadcaster, a Hollywood movie star, the President of the Screen Actors Guild, the 33rd Governor of California (1967-1975), and the 40th President of the United States (1981-1989) – fairly impressive for a small-town kid from the Midwest. According to legend, though, it seems his father would have been little surprised. After all, when his second son was born, John Edward Reagan supposedly said, “He looks like a fat little Dutchman. But who knows, he might grow up to be president someday.”
Reagan's parents instilled within him a commitment to family, community, country, and God as well as values like tolerance, education, and hard work – traits that certainly influenced some of his decisions as President. To honor “The Great Communicator,” the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, Library, and Museum (40 Presidential Dr., Simi Valley, California, 805/577-4000 or 800/410-8354, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, $12 adults, $9 seniors 62 and over, $6 children 11-17, children under 11 free, parking free) will host part of the yearlong Centennial Celebration this weekend. While some events, such as Saturday's Concert for America and Sunday's official birthday celebration, will be private functions (broadcast live on the Internet), the public is welcome to attend the Ronald Reagan Museum Renovation Opening and Birthday Celebration, beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, February 7th.
So, if you plan to be in the Los Angeles area on Monday, consider heading to Simi Valley for a look at the newly renovated museum, which presents hundreds of artifacts and dozens of immersive displays that, among other activities, allow you to act in a movie with Reagan, set the table for a state dinner, and peruse the president's handwritten diary. Other exhibits here include a replica of the Oval Office, an “Inside the White House” exhibit, a section of the Berlin Wall, the Air Force One Pavilion, and Reagan's gravesite. As a bonus, birthday cake will be served all day (or as long as supplies last).
Although I was just a child during Reagan's presidential administration, I certainly remember watching him on television – and I recall, too, how excited I was to visit the White House, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. While he wasn't in sight on the day that I snapped the picture above, I'll never forget the thrill of visiting the place that had sheltered many presidents before him and would house several after him.
So, Happy Birthday, Mr. President!
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo of the White House / Text © 2011 Laura Martone