Lincoln, NE

As I confessed to my traveling companions on the road, in 5th grade, each student in my class was assigned a state. We spent months compiling information about the state, corresponding with a pen pal and making a topographical map out of homemade play dough. My state was NEBRASKA! Although I remember nothing of my rigorous 5th grade research and my pen pal, Tyler, and I never really bonded like pen pals should, I was eager to get here.

We drove into town on a bright, sunny, home game day. The city was packed, but only in the stadium and nearby bars. Strangely, game day was not a hopping day at the capital. The day before we had seen Kansas' statehouse under construction, and Nebraska's capitol had obviously gotten jealous of the face lift and also started a construction project.

The building reminds me of Louisiana's capitol - tall and skyscraper like - but with an exception... a ghost. Now this is nothing official, but I don't remember being so truly scared in the daylight in public before.

Entering a capital building, particularly on a weekend in a non touristy area, is very quiet. There were a couple people milling around or taking a tour, but you could hear everyone's foot steps and muffled voices. We took pictures of the beautiful interior and statutes and then when to the lower level to get back to the car. As we started to walk down the corridor, we heard a raspy sigh. Of course, we all looked at each other and questioned who was doing it - which was not any of of us. As we kept walking down the hall, the raspy sigh was still there. And again... and again... I was sufficiently spooked when several children accompanied by parents came down stairs. But we could still hear the raspy sigh... and it wasn't the children and it wasn't us.

The capitol in Lincoln could not possibly be haunted, but I've checked this off my list and I'm not eager to visit again now.


Topeka, KS

Hello, Kansas! Sadly the statehouse was under construction, but we made up for it with crazy enthusiasm.

I was joined by two O'Connells for a heartland adventure. Topeka was our first heartland stop after flying into Kansas City, Missouri. Three girls, watch out.

As we strolled around downtown to find a lunch spot, we noticed a few signs in the windows saying that guns were no allowed inside places like libraries, state police office, Board of Education. Wow, Kansas, wow. Way to limit those rights!

Regardless of our fears for personal safety, we had fun strolling around the capital and around town. We found a Mexican restaurant, that despite using oregano rather that cilantro, redeemed itself with its gratuitous use of crashed ice. 
Next stop for this blog on this middle American road trip... Lincoln, NE


Olympia, WA

Two years ago, my parents semi-retired to Bellingham, Washington. I finally got a chance to visit and, of course, squeezed in a tirp to the capital, Olympia. Mom and dad scooped me up from the airport, grabbed some lunch, and made our way south. I think I fell asleep in the car... and then, like an outdoorsy fairytale, I woke up in pretty town.

The entire state is beautiful! Olympia is gorgeous too! The main street is speckled with coffee shops and benches. It seems like every inch of the state is covered in green. The grounds were the nicest grounds I have seen. and the capitol has an unbelievable view of the water.

Behold the beauty of the legislative building
Well, now what?


Columbus, OH

I am back up to my old tricks again. This time, I brought myself (actually my sister drove) to Columbus, Ohio via a trip to Pittsburgh to visit my sister (aka driver). After a short, flat drive, we arrived in a very friendly and unexpectedly hip town.

Ohio has the MOST extensive museum in the basement I have ever seen...

It was quite a shock. I learned a little about Ohio government and the biographies of a few of its governors. I believe I have also since forgotten everything I learned. We skipped the gift shop and the formal tour and stomped around the grounds outside.

The state house is tucked in the middle of a business district and dwarfed by large high rises. My favorite view was of the tall mirror building reflecting the state house and McKinley.

Big tall building... little tiny reflection...

... and now off to Short North for shopping.


Augusta, ME

First, I heart Maine. Could it be more quaint with hardy folks? Augusta and its neighboring towns that I got lost in are super cute. Every toll booth worker (in Maine only) asked me how my day was and wished me a safe trip. Thanks, Maine, my heart pitter patters for you.

And then, there was the state house... According to the state website, Maine's capitol deteriorated with age and has been rehabbed over the years.

It's looks great. They must have done a ton of work. Although it is an old building modeled after Boston's capital, it seems pretty modern with the changes.

There is a capitol park across the street. To my surprise, I arrived on day when they were hosting a dog show in the park. Many, many dogs with lots of accessories and attentive owners were about. Oh my. I would have snapped some pictures, but I thought it best to keep my distance from these Mainers. I spook easily.

After hanging around Augusta for a bit, I drove an hour south to hike in Bradbury Mountain State Park. I had a lot of fun exploring Augusta and the park. If you haven't been to Maine yet, GO. It is a beautiful state.