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
Honoring the Centennial of Titanic's Fateful Voyage
Last week, my husband, Dan, and I succumbed to the hype. On Thursday, we caught a late-night showing of Titanic, the Oscar-winning film that was recently re-released to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the fateful maiden voyage and tragic sinking of the movie's infamous namesake. Admittedly, I've long been a fan of James Cameron's opus, but no matter what you ultimately think of the film, it's hard to deny the power of watching an action-packed dramatization of the RMS Titanic's terrifying demise, from its unfortunate (and probably avoidable) collision with an iceberg, through the subsequent pandemonium of transferring shell-shocked passengers and crew members to a woefully inadequate number of lifeboats, to the ship's final plunge below the ocean's unforgiving surface – a headline-making tragedy that took less than three hours to unfold. In fact, after experiencing the pseudo 3-D version of the 1997 film, I found it difficult to dispel the lingering sadness that I've often felt over such unnecessary and overwhelming loss.
Erected by the firm of Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Ireland, the Titanic was considered the world's largest vessel when its service began in 1912. Leaving on April 10, 1912, from Southampton, England, the enormous ship carried roughly 1,300 passengers and 900 crew members across the Atlantic Ocean. It was ultimately bound for New York, but of course, it never reached its destination. On the night of April 14, it struck an iceberg, and by the wee hours of April 15, the sea had swallowed it whole. Sadly, little more than 700 people were rescued in the aftermath, meaning that around 1,500 others – millionaires, poor emigrants, and White Star Line employees alike – went down with the so-called “ship of dreams.” Not only was the demise of this “unsinkable” ocean liner a history-making tragedy, it also served to cast doubt upon the world's belief in the infallibility of technology.
Not surprisingly, most of last week's centennial events took place beyond America's borders, in places where the Titanic spent her short existence. For instance, a memorial service was held in Southampton, where the ill-fated voyage to New York began, while a heartbreaking Titanic Memorial Garden, featuring the names of 1,512 victims on bronze plaques, opened in Belfast, close to where the vessel was initially launched. If you weren't able to experience such events last week, don't despair. “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,” an engrossing collection of images and artifacts, is currently on display in various places across the country, including the Houston Museum of Natural Science (5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston, Texas, 713/639-4629, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Tues., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sun., $27 adults, $20 seniors and children 3-11, children under 3 free), the Luxor Hotel and Casino (3900 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada, 702/262-4400, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, $32 adults, $30 seniors, $29 local residents, $24 children 4-12, children under 4 free), and the San Diego Natural History Museum (1788 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, California, 619/232-3821, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., $27 adults, $24 seniors, $21 students and military personnel, $18 children 3-12, children under 3 free). Just bear in mind that these are temporary exhibits, and in the case of the Houston and San Diego museums, general admission fees will also apply.
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 / Text © 2012 Laura Martone