Happy Weekend
July 11, 2008, 7:55 am
Filed under: life in general

National landmarks
First you have to park. Then you have to pay. Then you have to stand around with a lot of other fat Americans and their stupid children and their mewling old folk. Do so.

I lived a childhood with parents who were too groovy to do those square tourist things (Gen X had not yet invented irony), and so I never knew just how important Mount Rushmore is. Or the mile-high statue of Crazy Horse carved into the other side of the hills. Or Devil’s Tower, in a hideous corner of Wyoming. Well, my son and I experienced those three magnificent places in 24 hours (with a stint at a Flintstones theme park along the way), and still had time to stop and burgle some doubtless-protected wildflowers for the water bottle in my lousy VW cupholder.

There’s a reason we protect certain places, a reason the Parks Service takes the trouble to put up bathrooms and water fountains and collect your toll: because these places are treasures, every one, and if you’re within an hour of one, you must really stop and see it. We’ve been to national parks up and down the Sierra Nevada; we’ve been to Niagara Falls. We’ve seen Arches in Utah, and Zion National Park. We’ve roamed the gilded halls of Breakers (the Vanderbilt family home) in Newport, R.I. We’ve been everywhere, man.

Plus, the Park Service could really use the dough.

-Rebecca Schoenkopf

My thoughts exactly. If there’s something amazing within a few hours drive of you, why not go see it this summer? The park service really could use the dough, and we all need to feel awe (and perspective!) every once in a while.

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