About Daniel Wilson

I love making drinks for my friends and family, and, of course, sampling my concoctions myself! Finding and playing around with recipes is a favourite past time of mine and I hope to share that passion with all my readers.

Tennessee – Tennessee Tea

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. I’ve been looking forward to our stop in Tennessee for some time, hoping to enjoy good music, food and beverage, along with taking in the Volunteer State’s rich history. So, let’s eat, drink and be merry:

Motto: “Agriculture and Commerce” – At least Tennessee is telling things like they really are.

Food: An item I’ve fallen for as it’s reached my part of the world is recent years is Nashville Hot Chicken. The traditional serving features cayenne-spiced breaded chicken atop white bread with pickle slices. It was first served at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville and can now be found on the menu of chains such as KFC. Nashville hosts the Music City Hot Chicken Festival annually.

Drink: When discussing drinks in Tennessee, the conversation begins and ends with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, which operates out of Lynchburg. JD is best selling American whiskey in the world and its distillery is visited by an estimated 250,000 people each year. If liquor isn’t your thing, Mountain Dew was also created in Tennessee in 1940 by brothers Moses and Ally Hartman.

Jack Daniel's

Site to See: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in U.S. with 10 million guests each year. The mountains are named for the blueish natural fog that typically emanates from them, appearing like large plumes of smoke. Within the park, the Appalachian Trail can be found, which extends from Georgia to Maine.

Street: The Beale Street Historic District in Memphis was once voted the most iconic street in the U.S. by USA Today. The street is a major attraction thanks to its many blues clubs, along with outdoor concerts and festivals, such as the Beale Street Music Festival. The street has been mentioned in songs by artists like Joni Mitchell, Cab Calloway and Bette Midler.

TV Show: Nashville is a drama focused on the country music industry, particularly a rivalry between ‘Queen of Country Music’ Rayna James (Connie Britton) and rising young star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). The show ran for six seasons and 124 episodes and expanded into successful CD releases and music tours based on songs performed on the show.

Movie: The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, tells the true story of the Tuohy family of Oslo, adopting high school football player Michael Oher, to provide him with a better life and opportunity to play college football and later be drafted into the NFL. Bullock won a Best Actress Oscar (and Golden Globe) for her role in the film, which was nominated for Best Picture.

Sandra Bullock

Book/Author: While Quentin Tarantino – born in Knoxville – is best known as a director, he has also written each of his films. These include classic movies such as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and The Hateful Eight. My favourite Tarantino credit though, is his appearance as an Elvis Presley impersonator on a 1988 episode of The Golden Girls.

Fictional Character: Lt. Aldo Raine, commander of the Jewish-American unit The Basterds in the Tarantino film Inglorious Basterds, is from Maynardville. The Basterds’ mission is to strike fear in German soldiers during World War II, by executing and scalping the ones they capture. Other Nazis have swastikas carved into their foreheads so they can’t hide their affiliation.

Fictional City: Miley Stewart, otherwise known by her stage persona Hannah Montana, is from the fictional small town Crowley Corners. The setting is largely used for Hannah Montana: The Movie, where the teenager living the double life of normal girl/pop superstar returns home to reconnect with her roots… and save the town from an evil land developer.

Actor/Actress: Two Memphis-born thespians, Kathy Bates and Morgan Freeman, have enjoyed successful careers well into older age. Bates won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in horror film Misery. Meanwhile, Freeman earned critical acclaim for movies such as Driving Miss Daisy, Glory and The Shawshank Redemption. Both are still going strong, aged 72 and 83, respectively.

Tarantino

Song: Tennessee has 10 different State Songs, including My Tennessee, Tennessee Waltz, Rocky Top, The Pride of Tennessee, and Smoky Mountain Rain. Popular artists, such as Johnny Cash, Tim McGraw, Dolly Parton, Billy Ray Cyrus and others have also produced odes to the state, making it very difficult to narrow down a top choice for this category.

Band/Musician: A number of superstar musicians have hailed from Tennessee. This includes the ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Country’ Dolly Parton, the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ Tina Turner and ‘The Prince of Pop’ Justin Timberlake. That’s quite the lineup of music royalty, who have been making hits for decades and dominating the charts.

People: More on Dolly Parton, who was born in Pittman Center. Aside from being a popular musician, Parton is also known in the state for her Dollywood Parks and Resorts, which is the second most visited attraction in Tennessee. The resort includes an amusement park, water park, dinner shows and more. Also, the Dolly Parton Parkway leads to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Animal: Doug the Pug is a celebrity dog from Nashville. The pug has millions of followers on the various social media platforms, earning accolades such as a 2019 People’s Choice Award for Animal Star and being listed by Forbes as the #2 most influential pet of 2018. Doug has appeared in music videos and commercials and has his own line of merchandise.

Dolly Parton

Invention: Bristol has been recognized by the U.S. Congress as the Birthplace of Country Music. In 1927, producer Ralph Peer began amassing musical talents in the city and recorded 76 songs in a span of 10 days by artists such as the Carter Family (the First Family of Country Music) and Jimmie Rodgers, in their commercial debuts. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum can be found in Bristol.

Crime: On April 4, 1968, James Earl Ray assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, while a fugitive from prison. Ray plead guilty, avoiding a jury trial and possible death sentence, and was given 99 years in jail, where he died in 1998. The motel has since become the National Civil Rights Museum, including room 306, where MLK had been staying.

Law: The Scopes Monkey Trial occurred in 1925, when teacher John Scopes was fined $100 for teaching evolution at his school in Dayton. Scopes lost the staged trial, although the verdict was later overturned. While the trial garnered the national attention desired towards the new state law against teaching evolution, the subject didn’t return to Tennessee curriculums until the 1960’s.

Sports Team: The state is covered in three of the four ‘Big 4’ sports leagues with the Memphis Grizzlies (NBA), Nashville Predators (NHL), and Tennessee Titans (NFL), who play out of Nashville. Pro wrestling has also been a major draw in Tennessee, with promotions like the Continental Wrestling Association and Smoky Mountain Wrestling leaving lasting legacies.

Country Music

Athlete: Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White was born in Chattanooga. White played for three NFL teams over a 15-season career. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice, while being selected to 13 Pro Bowl games. White became a Super Bowl champion in 1997 with the Green Bay Packers. Sadly, White died in 2004, at the age of 43, due to cardiac arrhythmia.

Famous Home: Graceland, the Memphis mansion formerly owned by Elvis Presley, is the second most-visited home in the U.S., averaging 500,000 guests annually. It was opened as a museum in 1982, as the Presley family was in need of money to continue the property’s upkeep and pay taxes on it. Each year, Elvis Week celebrates the ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’.

Urban Legend: In Robertson County, the Bell Witch haunted the family of John Bell beginning in 1817. Incidents included tapping on windows and doors, sheets pulled from beds, strange animals seen on the farm and physical attacks on the children. Bell may have committed suicide to end the witch’s torment. The curse lives on today with some events occurring at the nearby Bell Witch Cave.

Museum: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is located along the Music Row district in Nashville. Established in 1961, the museum boasts one of the largest collections of music in the world, with 200,000 sound recordings. The museum also displays photographs, instruments, clothing worn by artists and even iconic vehicles of musicians.

Graceland

Firsts: The first atomic bombs, later dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were developed in Oak Ridge, as part of the Manhattan Project. The research and development operation was so secretive, many didn’t know Oak Ridge existed and those who lived there and worked on the project were kept in the dark about what exactly they were creating.

Company: What became Lay’s Potato Chips was founded in Nashville in 1932 by salesman Herman Lay, who sold the snack food across the southern states from the trunk of his car. The company has come a long way since those humble beginnings, merging with the Frito Company in 1961 and is now part of the PepsiCo corporation, holding a large share of the savoury snack market.

Events: Tennessee’s nickname, the Volunteer State, was earned through the participation of fighters from the state in the War of 1812. Tennessee has gone on to play major roles in wars since, being the last state to secede from the Union and first to be readmitted before and after the Civil War, as well as providing soldiers to both sides of the conflict (38 battles were fought on Tennessee land).

Miscellaneous: The Grand Ole Opry is not only a famous music venue in Tennessee, it is also the oldest running live radio program (originally the WSM Barn Dance) in the world, broadcast weekly on Friday and Saturday nights since 1925. The Grand Ole Opry House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is the Ryman Auditorium, which hosted the shows from 1943-1974.

Tennessee Tea

Tennessee Tea

  • 2 oz Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Cola
  • Splash of Sweet and Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

The obvious cocktail to do for Tennessee is the Lynchburg Lemonade, but since I’ve already profiled that drink before, I went with this beverage instead. I figure, as long as the recipe incorporates Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, you really can’t go wrong.

South Dakota – The President

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we head to South Dakota to find out why they call it the Mount Rushmore State… well, that was an easy mystery to solve. The Coyote State is also the home of the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, so let’s throw on some assless chaps and ride on through:

Motto: “Under God the people rule” – And what if these people are atheists?

Food: Chislic is lamb or beef kabob cubes grilled or deep fried. The dish is thought of as South Dakota’s unofficial State Food, having been enjoyed since well before the territory was even a state. My attention was piqued when I read chislic goes well with beer. Following your meal, why not try the State Dessert, Kuchen, a fruit and custard pie.

Drink: If the Sip Advisor ever gets to South Dakota, you can bet I’ll try to go through as many of the state’s iconic saloons as I possibly can. A highlight stop would be the rebuilt Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, where ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok was slain (more on that later). Also, the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis offers burlesque dancers, little person wrestling, a zip-line and body painting.

Saloons

Site to See: Mount Rushmore National Memorial features the carved faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum, the monument opened on October 31, 1941, after 14 years of work and at a cost of $1 million. The site is nicknamed the ‘Shrine of Democracy’. Over two million people visit Mount Rushmore each year.

Street: South Dakota has a number of popular scenic byways, allowing for views of Mount Rushmore (Iron Mountain Road), the Badlands (Badlands Loop Road), wildlife (Wildlife Loop Road) and other landmarks (Needles Highway/Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway). There’s also the Black Hills Run motorcycle ride, frequented by those attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

TV Show: Deadwood was a western drama, running for three seasons and 36 episodes of violent, curse-word filled entertainment. It starred Ian McShane and Timothy Olyphant, depicting real-life personalities from the lawless gold rush town. Years after the series was unceremoniously cancelled, a movie was produced, offering some closure to the show.

Movie: The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, takes place in the Dakota Territory. The film is about the real-life story of frontiersman Hugh Glass who looks to exact revenge on his companions after being attacked by a bear and left for dead. The movie was nominated for 12 Oscars, winning three, including Best Actor for DiCaprio.

Mount Rushmore

Book/Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family moved to De Smet in 1879. Their experiences inspired five of Wilder’s books from the Little House of the Prairie series (By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years). Wilder even met her future husband Almanzo Wilder in the city.

Fictional Character: While some Deadwood characters existed in real-life (saloon/brothel owner Al Swearengen, sheriff Seth Bullock, mayor E.B. Farnum, frontierswoman Calamity Jane, etc.) others were created for the TV series. This included prostitute Trixie, madam Joanie Stubbs, widower Alma Garrett, and Dr. Amos Cochran.

Fictional City: Rapid City, located in South Dakota, has been used by DC Comics in a few situations. Most notably, the Rapid City Monuments football team were among the many victims when the stadium of the Gotham City Rogues was bombed by Bane in The Dark Knight Rises movie. The scene, filmed at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, had the city’s mayor cameoing as a Monuments player.

Actor/Actress: January Jones (one of the best names in showbiz!) was born in Sioux Falls. She is best known for her role of repressed stay-at-home mom Betty Draper in the TV drama Mad Men, for which she was nominated for two Golden Globes and an Emmy. She also starred in the movie X-Men: First Class as telepathic supervillain Emma Frost.

Deadwood

Song: South Dakota Morning by the Bee Gees is a soft rock ballad that highlights the beauty of the state, particularly in the morning as the sun rises and shines down on the land. The song was released on the band’s 1973 Life in a Tin Can album, which sold poorly and didn’t chart very well, but was called Album of the Year by Record World magazine.

Band/Musician: Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin, best known for her 1997 hit Sunny Came Home, was born in Vermillion. The track earned Colvin 1998 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Colvin has also done voice work on The Simpsons, as musician Rachel Jordan, a romantic interest for religious do-gooder Ned Flanders.

People: A number of notable TV personalities hail from South Dakota. This includes The Price is Right host Bob Barker (raised on the Rosebud Indian Reservation), Entertainment Tonight presenter Mary Hart (born in Madison), Access Hollywood and The Insider host Pat O’Brien (born in Sioux Falls), and news anchor Tom Brokaw (born in Webster).

Animal: With the Badlands National Park providing such a rich fossil bed, it’s no surprise some famous dinosaurs have been discovered there. This includes Sue the Tyrannosaurs Rex fossil, one of the largest and most complete skeletons of its kind, found by paleontologist Sue Hendrickson. The fossil now resides at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

Bob Barker

Invention: The Cyclotron particle accelerator was invented by Ernest Lawrence of Canton between 1929-1930. The devices – more than 1,200 of which now exist – are used for nuclear physics experiments and nuclear medicine treatments for ailments such as cancer. For his efforts, Lawrence was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Crime: South Dakota’s most infamous murder happened in 1876, when folk hero ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok was shot in the back of the head, while playing poker in Deadwood. Hickok’s card hand when he was murdered, pairs of aces and eights, is now known as the dead man’s hand. Jack McCall, who had lost heavily to Hickok the day before, was hanged for the slaying.

Law: In South Dakota, hotels must be outfitted with two twin beds, two feet apart and it’s illegal to make love between the two beds. That’s very specific and it should be on every South Dakotan’s (and visitors to the state) bucket list to break this law.

Sports Team: South Dakota has no professional teams in the Big 4 sports leagues. For athletic action, there is the University of South Dakota Coyotes and South Dakota State University Jackrabbits NCAA programs, which have enjoyed an intrastate rivalry with one another. It should also be noted, South Dakota’s State Sport is Rodeo.

Twin Beds

Athlete: Brock Lesnar was born in Webster. He is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, as well as an eight-time WWE World Champion. Known as ‘The Beast’, Lesnar enjoyed a successful amateur wrestling career, winning a NCAA heavyweight championship, prior to becoming a pro wrestler. He also tried his hand at an NFL career, trying out for the Minnesota Vikings.

Famous Home: The Ingalls Home and Museum (aka The House that Pa Built) from many of the Little House on the Prairie books can be found in De Smet. It was built between 1887-1889. Around the town, visitors can also find the location of the Ingalls Store, the school Laura Ingalls Wilder attended and the graves of many of the Ingalls family members.

Urban Legend: In 1973, five teenagers from Sioux Falls were attacked by three brothers, while camping at the Gitchie Manitou State Preserve in Iowa. Four of the victims, males aged 14-18, were killed, while a 13-year-old female was raped. It’s said the spirits of the murdered boys haunt the area, extending into southeast South Dakota.

Museum: The National Presidential Wax Museum can be found in Keystone. There, the wax figures of all 45 U.S. presidents can be found, posed in a recreation of a major moment from their presidency. These include George Washington being presented the U.S. flag by Betsy Ross and Richard Nixon greeting the returning astronauts from the Apollo 11 moon mission.

Brock Lesnar

Firsts: The first World War II memorial in the country was erected in Pierre in 2001. It features six bronzed statues from various branches of the military, saluting as they have returned from the battlefield, forever changed. They face the Flaming Fountain Memorial, which is dedicated to South Dakota’s war veterans. Both sites are located along the Capitol Lake.

Company: Wall Drug Store in the town of Wall, is among the world’s largest drug stores. Over time, the collection of cowboy-themed stores, gift shops, restaurants and other attractions (art museum, chapel, etc.) became a popular tourist destination, bringing two million visitors to the area annually. The store offers free ice water and 5-cent coffee to guests.

Events: The 1874 Black Hills Gold Rush brought thousands of people to the Dakota Territory, creating legendary mining towns such as Deadwood. As a result, the U.S. government attempted to purchase the land, leading to the Black Hills War of 1876, between Native American tribes and U.S. forces. Black Hills Gold is the State Jewelry of South Dakota.

Miscellaneous: A little more on the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which lasts for 10 days in early August. The festival began in 1938, centered on racing and stunts. Today, the gathering brings 500,000 to 700,000 people to Sturgis, generating $800 million in tourism revenue. This year, the event came under fire for its lack of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President

The President

  • 2 oz Light Rum
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

I chose this cocktail as an homage to the Mount Rushmore monument. The recipe is similar to the El Presidente drink, with a couple alterations (OJ subbed in for Triple Sec and Lemon Juice rather than Dry Vermouth). A recipe similar to The President first appeared in the 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book.

South Carolina – Charleston Mule

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. South Carolina’s southern hospitality welcomes the Sip Advisor this week. The Palmetto State claims to be the birthplace of barbecue so let’s get the smoker fired up, pour a pitcher of sweet tea and find a nice spot of the porch to enjoy:

Motto: “While I breathe, I hope” and “Prepared in mind and resources” – The definition of preparedness means having two different mottos.

Food: South Carolina has their own variation of some fruits, including the Bradford Watermelon and Carolina Reaper Chili Pepper. The Bradford Watermelon was once thought to be extinct, but the sweet, flavourful melon is making a comeback in Sumter. The Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper on the Scoville scale, is grown in Rock Hill.

Drink: South Carolina is said to be the birthplace of Sweet Tea and that claim makes sense given the first tea plants in the country were cultivated in the state. Today, the Charleston Tea Plantation is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Summerville has a Sweet Tea Trail, featuring the World’s Largest Sweet Tea and a number of outlets serving the beverage.

Carolina Reaper

Site to See: Myrtle Beach has become a popular vacation destination with an estimated 14 million visitors coming to the area each year. Its Boardwalk and Promenade opened in 2010 and has since been ranked as one of the top boardwalks in the country. Attractions along the boardwalk include the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, beaches, golf courses and restaurants and clubs.

Street: Rainbow Row on East Bay Street in Charleston is known for the 13 historic houses painted in pastel colours. It is said to be one of Charleston’s most photographed areas. The rainbow began when one owner painted her home pink and neighbours joined in, but legends persist it was done to help drunk sailors find their accommodations.

TV Show: Vice Principals, starring Danny McBride, follows Vice Principal Neal Gamby and his efforts to become principal of North Jackson High School. The series aired for two seasons and 18 episodes and was filmed around the Park Circle neighbourhood of Charleston, with West Ashley High School doubling as the school setting.

Movie: The Notebook, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, takes place on Seabrook Island, as well as in Charleston. The film tells the story of a young couple who fall in love, despite being from different social classes. Other notable movies with South Carolina ties, include The Patriot, The Big Chill, The Birth of a Nation, Glory, Full Metal Jacket, and Radio.

The Notebook

Book/Author: Peggy Parish, best known for children’s book series Amelia Bedelia, was born in Manning. She attended the University of South Carolina, leading to a career as a teacher, prior to becoming an author. There is a statue of Amelia Bedelia outside the Manning public library, a tribute to the city’s most famous resident.

Fictional Character: Among Parks and Recreation’s many memorable characters was the entrepreneurial Tom Haverford, portrayed by Aziz Ansari, who was born in Columbia. Over the course of the series, Haverford goes from underachieving government employee to successful restauranteur, with a number of failed businesses along the way helping him finally get things right.

Fictional City: East Peck was the setting for TV show Trial & Error, which was a mockumentary style sitcom, following lawyer Josh Segal, as he represented clients accused of odd murders. Causing further complications is Segal’s on-and-off romantic relationship with the prosecutor. The series ended after two seasons and 23 episodes.

Actor/Actress: Actor and stand-up comedian Chris Rock was born in Andrews. The Saturday Night Live alum has starred in movies such as the Madagascar and Grown Ups franchises, as well as created the TV series Everybody Hates Chris, based on his childhood. Rock ranks among the top 10 on many greatest comedians of all-time lists.

tom-haverford

Song: South Carolina has two State Songs, Carolina and South Carolina on My Mind. Carolina, based on a Henry Timrod poem, was made the State Song in 1911. It was joined by South Carolina on My Mind, by Hank Martin and Buzz Arledge (both from South Carolina), in 1984. Both tunes will make you pine for the Palmetto State.

Band/Musician: The ‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown was born in Barnwell. Known for his energetic performances and hits such as I Got You (I Feel Good) and Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Brown was made a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013. Brown had 17 singles top the Billboard R&B charts.

People: TV personality Stephen Colbert was raised on James Island. Colbert parleyed his role on The Daily Show into his own spinoff The Colbert Report. The success of that show led to Colbert replacing David Letterman as host of The Late Show, a positioning he still holds today. Colbert has won Emmy, Grammy and Peabody Awards, along with being a bestselling author.

Animal: At the Myrtle Beach Alligator Adventure, visitors can view the largest crocodile in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. Utan, King of the Crocs, was brought to South Carolina in 2002. The croc was born in 1964 and measures 18 feet long, weighing 2,000 pounds. Utan is jokingly referred to as an ambassador of Thailand.

James Brown

Invention: Based out of Greenville, inventor Gerald Barber has created a number of objects to better the world… or at least entertain them. His most well-known invention is the free fall amusement ride, a version of which can be found in nearly every amusement park. He has also developed wind turbines and designer coral reef, among other patents.

Crime: On October 25, 1994, Susan Smith claimed to police a black man had carjacked her vehicle with her two young sons still inside. A nationwide search for the kids and suspect commenced, only to be halted a week later when Smith confessed she had allowed her car to roll into a lake, drowning her children. Smith was sentenced to life, with parole possible after 30 years.

Law: South Carolina looks like the fun police with a couple acts of legislation. First, a person must be 18 years old to play a pinball machine. Second, dance halls are prohibited from operating on Sundays. I’d hate to be a 17-year-old professional pinballer and dance enthusiast in the state on the Lord’s Day.

Sports Team: There are no professional teams in South Carolina, although the NFL’s Carolina Panthers (who play in Charlotte, North Carolina) have training facilities in the state. The Clemson University Tigers versus University of South Carolina Gamecocks football rivalry is known as the Battle of the Palmetto State. Also, actor Bill Murray owns and is the ‘Director of Fun’ for a minor league Charleston baseball team.

Bill Murray

Athlete: Baseball star ‘Shoeless Joe’ Jackson may or may not be the greatest athlete South Carolina has ever produced. His career was halted because of the 1919 Black Sox betting scandal, which saw participants banned from the sport, although many claim he was not involved. Jackson, born in Pickens County, would later play in other leagues, using aliases.

Famous Home: A major tourist attraction for South Carolina are the many plantations that are spread across the state. Two particularly notable estates are the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, one of the oldest plantations in all the south, and Drayton Hall, the only manor along the Ashley River to survive both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Urban Legend: Julia Legare, of the wealthy Legare family, was thought to have died of an illness and was buried in the family mausoleum. When another family member died years later, they found that Julia was not in her coffin. They theorized Julia had just been in a deep coma and perished trying to escape the crypt. Every door put on the mausoleum since won’t stay shut, as Julia won’t let it. Today, there is no door at all.

Museum: In Beaufort, you can find The Kazoo Museum, located in the Kazoobie Kazoos Factory. The museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of the instrument, as well as offers kazoo recordings and the history of kazoos, dating to the 1840s. The exhibition moved to South Carolina in 2010, following stops in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

Kazoo

Firsts: South Carolinians must have valued a good performance, as the state had the first symphony orchestra in the country and was the site of the first opera performed in America. Further appreciating entertainment and leisure, the state was home to the first public library, museum, theatre and golf club in the U.S.

Company: Restaurant chain Denny’s is headquartered in Spartanburg. The diner-style eatery is best known for being open 24/7 and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner items at all times of the day. Originally founded in 1953, as a coffee shop called Danny’s Donuts in Lakewood, California, there are now more than 1,700 Denny’s locations around the world.

Events: South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, so it’s no surprise the first battle of the Civil War occurred there, at Fort Sumter. Days after seceding in December 1860, Confederacy forces took Fort Sumter from U.S. troops. The fort wasn’t restored to U.S. order until February 21, 1865, when the American flag was raised again.

Miscellaneous: Tap Dancer Clayton ‘Peg Leg’ Bates was born in Fountain Inn. Bates gained fame for the finale of his act, the Jet Plane, which saw him leap across the stage, landing on his wooden leg (Bates lost a leg in a cotton gin accident at the age of 12), then do a series of backwards hops. Bates appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 22 times, the most of any guest.

Charleston Mule

Charleston Mule

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Tea Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale/Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

This cocktail comes from South Carolina’s Firefly Distillery and takes advantage of tea being the State Hospitality Beverage. I went with Ginger Ale over Ginger Beer, for a slightly different taste than you normally get with a Mule drink, as well as my nod to Blenheim Ginger Ale being a South Carolina institution.

Rhode Island – Rhode Island Red

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. I’m going into this stop with some apprehension, as Rhode Island isn’t even an island. If you lie about that, what else are you hiding? Anyway, let’s join high society in The Ocean State and have us a little fun:

Motto: “Hope” – While I like the simplistic nature of this motto, it feels like something is missing…

Food: Rhode Island is famous for their clam-based dishes, including Rhode Island Clam Chowder, using clear broth; Stuffies (quahog clams stuffed with chopped clam, breading, herbs, onions, celery, and chourico sausage), Clam Cakes (deep fried dough with chopped clam bits); and Clams Casino (clams topped with bacon and breadcrumbs).

Drink: The State Drink of Rhode Island is Coffee Milk, which is made by mixing milk with a coffee syrup. Autocrat Coffee Syrup is the preferred product to use, according to the state’s own government website. In 2013, Autocrat teamed up with the Narragansett Brewing Company (once known as “New England’s Beer”) to release a Coffee Milk Stout.

Clams

Site to See: The Newport Cliff Walk is one of Rhode Island’s top tourist attractions. The trail allows visitors to walk along Newport’s shoreline and take in sights such as Narragansett Bay and a number of the mansions that make up the city. The Cliff Walk was closed from October 2012 to June 2014, due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Street: As Rhode Island was once the playground of the rich and famous, there are a number of notable mansions found in the state. Bellevue Avenue, in particular, is teeming with luxurious estates, including Vernon Court, Belcourt Castle, Marble House, Chateau-sur-Mer, and The Breakers, among others. The route became a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

TV Show: Given its enduring popularity, animated sitcom Family Guy has to be mentioned here. Family Guy is entering its 19th season, which is quite a feat, given it was cancelled after its second and third seasons before being brought back. I also wanted to give a shout out to comedy Another Period, which was set in Newport during early 1900’s.

Movie: The Farrelly Brothers have set a number of their films in Rhode Island, including Sip Advisor favourites such as Dumb and Dumber (before they head out on their road trip) and Me, Myself & Irene. Other movies from the brothers that feature Rhode Island are Outside Providence, There’s Something About Mary and Hall Pass.

Newport Mansions

Book/Author: Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was born in Providence. His works became celebrated posthumously, most notably, The Call of Cthulhu, which created the Cthulhu Mythos. The character of Cthulhu has since appeared in countless movies, TV shows, games, songs, comics, and other works. The H.P. Lovecraft Memorial Square can now be found in his hometown.

Fictional Character: The many characters from Family Guy have delighted viewers for more than two decades. My favourites from the bunch include oaf Peter Griffin, maniacal baby Stewie Griffin, Mayor Adam West, newscaster Tom Tucker, and billionaire business mogul Carter Pewtershmidt. I’m also quite fond of Cleveland Brown, but he’ll get more ink when we visit Virginia.

Fictional City: Once again, we go back to the Family Guy universe, with the show being set in Quahog. A quahog is Rhode Island’s State Shell and is used in a number of the previously mentioned dishes the state is famous for. According to series creator Seth McFarlane (who attended the Rhode Island School of Design), Quahog is based on the city of Cranston.

Actor/Actress: Viola Davis, star of the TV show How to Get Away with Murder, as well as the movie Fences, was raised from a very young age in Central Falls. In 2017, Davis became the first black actor to complete the Triple Crown of Acting, winning an Emmy, Oscar and Tony. Rhode Island College, Davis’ alma mater, awarded her an honourary doctorate in 2002.

Family Guy

Song: While the song Rhode Island, It’s for Me is the State Song, the tune Rhode Island is Famous for You garners similar distinction in the state. Written by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, the track was performed as part of the Inside U.S.A. musical revue, with a collection of songs based of places from across the country.

Band/Musician: George M. Cohan is known as the father of the American musical comedy, thanks to his lengthy career in the entertainment industry. He wrote over 50 shows and 300 songs, including Over There, Give My Regards to Broadway, The Yankee Doodle Boy and You’re a Grand Old Flag. He was also called the man who owned Broadway, prior to World War I.

People: Journalist and TV personality Meredith Vieira was born in Providence. Vieira rose to fame due to her role as the original moderator of The View talk show. Vieira also hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire from 2002 to 2013. She left The View to join The Today Show in 2006 and later hosted her own talk show, The Meredith Vieira Show.

Animal: Because I can’t find anything else, this category goes to anthropomorphic dog Brian Griffin, from Family Guy. Although fictional and animated, Brian is one of the show’s most popular characters for merchandising and when he was killed off of the show, the reactions of fans saw him return only two episodes later. I like that he enjoys a good drink.

Brian Griffin

Invention: As a fan of these eateries, both for their menus and design, I have Rhode Island to thank for the creation of diners. The first one was located in Providence, operated by Walter Scott, whose horse-drawn lunch wagon serviced workers at the Providence Journal. While much has changed since Scott’s 1872 concept, a lot has remained the same, which is why diners are so beloved.

Crime: The most shocking detail about the murders committed in Warwick by Craig Price, was the fact he was 13 and 15 years old for them. His victims were all neighbours, with each stabbed numerous times. Being a minor, Price was due to be released from incarceration at the age of 21, but additional offences committed while in jail have kept him where he belongs.

Law: It should be noted, Rhode Island never ratified the prohibition amendment, turning a blind eye to bootleggers and rumrunners, who capitalized on the state’s location along the Atlantic Ocean. My kind of people!

Sports Team: While Rhode Island has no professional teams, two top level minor league franchises play in the state. The Pawtucket Red Sox are the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, while the Providence Bruins are the American Hockey League partner of the Boston Bruins. Also, America’s Cup yacht races were held in Newport from 1930 to 1983, while the inaugural X Games were hosted in the state.

X- Games

Athlete: Baseball Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie was born in Woonsocket. His career spanned 20 years, playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Naps (the team was named after him). For a handful of seasons with the Naps, Lajoie served as a player-manager. Lajoie still holds the modern day record for highest batting average in a season at .426.

Famous Home: One estate we have yet to cover is Hammersmith Farm, the childhood home of First Lady Jackie Kennedy, in Newport. The mansion and estate served as the reception site for the wedding of Jackie to John F. Kennedy and because of the time the two spent there while JFK was President, the place was referred to as the Summer White House.

Urban Legend: Inspiration for horror movie The Conjuring was the Perron family farmhouse in Harrisville. According to the family, ghosts were originally friendly, but things quickly turned, with spirits becoming more threatening, particularly suspected witch Bathsheba Sherman. The home experienced a number of suicides and tragic deaths prior to the Perron’s purchasing it.

Museum: The International Tennis Hall of Fame is housed in the former Newport Casino. The facility includes a museum, as well as a variety of styles of tennis courts. The Newport Casino is a good choice for the museum’s location, given the city was home to tennis’ first U.S. Open (then called the National Lawn Tennis Championship) in 1881.

Tennis

Firsts: In December 1790, the first cotton mill in the U.S. began operations in Pawtucket. The water-powered mill was invented by Samuel Slater, earning him the nickname ‘Father of the Industrial Revolution’. Rhode Island was also the first colony to abolish slavery and first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes (although it was reinstated for a time).

Company: Originally Hassenfeld Brothers, what’s now toy and game business Hasbro was founded in Providence in 1923. Their first toy was Mr. Potato Head and they were early licensees of Disney products. Today, the company is headquartered in Pawtucket, with products including Nerf, Monopoly, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Transformers, and My Little Pony lines.

Events: The first attack by a New England colony against the British occurred in Newport in 1772. Known as the Gaspée Affair, it involved the burning of British customs ship the HMS Gaspée. The rebellion is celebrated annually with Gaspée Days, including a festival and parade. Later, Rhode Island would be the first colony to declare its independence from England.

Miscellaneous: Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams, whose views regarding freedom of speech and religion led to him being banished from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Those ideals were later incorporated into the creation of The First Amendment. To honour Williams, many things around the state have been named after him, including a National Memorial, park, zoo and university.

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red

  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Top with Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Agave Syrup
  • Dash of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Raspberries

This cocktail was created by bartender Vincenzo Marianella, while working at Los Angeles bar the Providence. Rhode Island Red refers to the State Bird, which is a domestic chicken. The birds are loved so much, there’s a Rhode Island Red Monument in Adamsville. I hope they taste as good as they look!

Sip Trips #189: Celebratory September

I’ve decided to do monthly Sip Trips updates going forward and we’ll start with the last gasps of summer, moving into fall. It was a busy month, as Septembers always are, given the Sip Advisor, Pa Sip, Toddler Sip and others all have birthdays. With that in mind, let’s get right into things:

The month began with meeting a friend for dinner at Izba Bistro in Port Coquitlam. There, I had the Chicken Schnitzel Burger and a glass of Krombacher Pilsner. While the meal was quite good, my Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the NHL playoffs as we ate, but I can’t hold that against the restaurant… or can I!?

The next day, we celebrated Pa Sip’s birthday. As a massive Beatles fan and someone who was turning 64, we held a ‘When I’m 64’ party and going with the British theme, I picked up a bottle of Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin to serve up some G&Ts. As I grabbed the bottle, I also bought a tall can four-pack of Ravens Two to Tango Mango Jalapeno Gose, as well as a bottle of Captain Morgan Orange Vanilla Twist to gift to Pa Sip. Served at the party was bottles of Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale and cans of Old Speckled Hen Pale Ale, both of which added to the ambience.

64 Birthday

During that next week, we journeyed to White Rock to hit a couple of breweries there, which we had never visited before. We started with 3 Dogs Brewing, where we shared a flight (Dog Daze Haze IPA, Dingo 8 My Baby Aussie Ale, Blackie the Brown Dog Porter, Faux Paw Wet Hop Pale Ale), paired with two of their hotdogs, the Trailer Park Dog (crushed potato chips and queso sauce) and Downward Dog (avocado, sundried tomatoes, feta). The hotdogs were very good, as were the brews. Next up, was the neighbouring White Rock Beach Brewing, where we delved into another flight (West Beach Pale Ale, East Beach Brown Ale, Oxford Hill Hefeweizen, Russell Avenue Raspberry Honey Wit). After ordering tacos from a stand outside, we decided to pair our eats with a glass of the Hefeweizen.

With a week off from work on the schedule, we began the break with a trip out to the Abbotsford breweries. First stop was Field House Brewing, where I had a glass of their Citra Tettnang Galaxy XPA, while Mrs. Sip had the Mosaic Enigma Raspberry Hazy. Old Abbey Ales followed for a flight (Diehard Hazy Lager, Pineapple Express, Wit-ness Protection, Gimme S’more, Sippy Chai Aye) of their many creative creations. Last, was Loud Mouth Brewing for another flight (Peach Guava Sour, Pilsner, Hazy IPA, Raspberry Wheat) and an order of Churros. We’re glad we got to Loud Mouth when we did, as it may not be around much longer. The owner-operator said he’s shutting the doors soon to open a restaurant instead. If that food is anywhere near as good as the Churros were, I can’t wait to try the place.

A few days later, nearing Toddler Sip’s 100th brewery visited, we ventured to Port Coquitlam’s Taylight Brewing for two flights (Blossom Rose Lager, Piwo Grodziske Smokey Wheat Ale, Guava & Lychee, Rye Pale Ale, Graf Giraffe Cider & Beer, Jasmine Gruit, Slack Tide Hazy Pale Ale, BlackBerry Hibiscus Sour), before popping into the nearby Tin House Brewing to accomplish the milestone, all before she turned three later in the week. At Tin House, we ordered sleeves of the Let’s Get Take-Out Thai Wit and Run of the Mill Peppercorn Saison. I’ve enjoyed all the brews I’ve tried at this brewery, so we also took home a growler of their PB&J Stout.

Milestone Beer

For my own birthday, the day before Toddler Sip’s, I received bottles of Captain Morgan Jack-O Blast and Patrón Tequila, as well as a six-pack of Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. We spent much of my birthday decorating and preparing for Toddler Sip’s Disneyland-themed party, as we were supposed to be in Disneyland for the week, but COVID-19 kyboshed those plans. For the party, I served up a few original cocktails for guests, including the Meeska-Mouska Mocktail (Fruit Punch, Lemon-Lime Soda, Cream Soda), Dead Men Tell No Tales (Spiced Rum, Crystal Skull Vodka, Coconut Cream, Pineapple-Mango Juice), Elephants on Parade (Absolut Karnival Vodka, Pink Lemonade Vodka, Raspberry Lemonade, Lime Juice) and Into the Unknown (Orient Apple Vodka, Arctic Crowberry Frost Liqueur, Hawaiian Punch Berry Blast).

Later in the week, the kids each had doctor appointments in Vancouver, so we took the opportunity to have lunch at Craft Beer Market, which had sent me a $10 off email earlier in the month. Mrs. Sip and I split a tasty Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza, to go along with drink choices of Superflux Colour & Shape Hazy IPA for me and Twin Sails Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale for the missus. As we neared the end of our beers, Mrs. Sip had the great idea to combine them, which resulted in a delicious mix.

The next day, we had another small birthday party for Toddler Sip, joined by a couple of her little friends at a nearby playground. To provide the parents with some refreshments, I picked up the Red Truck 4×4 Pack, featuring four cans each of the Cherry Bomb Black Cherry Lager and The Defender Bourbon Ale.

Birthdays

On the way home, just when I thought we had survived the long week and could relax a little, Mrs. Sip surprised me with an evening out with a couple friends on Brewer’s Row in Port Moody. Us guys decided this was a great way to celebrate our birthdays and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. We only hit two of the five establishments on the row, as with lineups at all locations, it was best to hunker down for a bit where you could get in. At Twin Sails Brewing, I had pints of their Two Straws Apricot Milkshake IPA and Vacation Mode Peach & Passionfruit Pale Ale, followed by Moody Ales and their Huge Citrus Hazy Pale Ale and Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen.

Then, it was finally time to rest, feeling like we needed a vacation from the week of vacation. It’s all good, though, as Toddler Sip had an extended week of birthday fun and we did manage to get our own enjoyment in here and there. I can always chill out during the work week, right!?

Pennsylvania – Fish House Punch

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. The original capital of the country (Philadelphia) can be found in Pennsylvania, which was situated right in the middle of the new nation – six states below and six states above – earning it the nickname, the Keystone State. Let’s check out this important cog in America:

Motto: “Virtue, liberty, and independence” – That pretty much covers it all.

Food: Philly Cheesesteaks are known the world over. Created by Pat and Henry Olivieri at their hotdog stand, the original recipe called for a sandwich of beef, covered with cheese and onions. The meal proved so popular, the brothers opened Pat’s King of Steaks, which is still in business today. Visitors to Pennsylvania can’t leave the state without trying a cheesesteak.

Drink: Yuengling Brewing, founded in 1829, in Pottsville, is America’s oldest operating brewing company. Based on sales, it is one of the most successful breweries in the world today. It should also be noted that soda originated in Pennsylvania, in 1807, when druggist Townsend Speakman added fruit flavours to carbonated water, making it more drinkable.

Cheesesteak

Site to See: The Liberty Bell, located in Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park, is one of America’s most iconic symbols. It was originally used to gather legislators and make announcements to the public. Interestingly, the word Pennsylvania is misspelled ‘Pensylvania’ on the bell, as a decision on the official spelling of the state hadn’t been made yet.

Street: Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues intersect to make up the town square of Hershey. It is here, where The Hershey Company is headquartered, as well as the location of the Hersheypark amusement resort. Streetlamps along the routes are shaped like Hershey’s Kisses. Chocolate production in Pennsylvania has earned the state the nickname ‘Sweetest Place on Earth’.

TV Show: A few of my favourite shows take place in Pennsylvania, including The Goldbergs, The Office and Boy Meets World. Each contains numerous references to life in the state. I’ve also had It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on my ‘to watch’ list for some time, so hopefully it appears on a streaming service accessible in Canada one day.

Movie: Many of director M. Night Shyamalan’s films are set in Pennsylvania, including The Sixth Sense, Signs and The Eastrail 177 Trilogy (Unbreakable/Split/Glass). A majority of filming for each movie was done around the state, featuring notable landmarks. Shyamalan, the plot twist king, was born in India, but now resides in Penn Valley.

Liberty Bell

Book/Author: Husband and wife writer-illustrators Stan and Jan Berenstain were born in Philadelphia. Their Berenstain Bears series of children’s books is comprised of more than 300 releases, which have sold over 260 millions copies around the world, since debuting in 1962. Since their passings, the franchise has been continued by Stan and Jan’s son, Mike (also from Philly).

Fictional Character: Scrappy boxer Rocky Balboa (aka the Italian Stallion), is born and bred in Philadelphia. When the relatively unknown fighter is given a title shot against the World Heavyweight Champion, Apollo Creed, he is unable to win, but survives the 15-round battle at the Philadelphia Spectrum, making Balboa a true hometown hero.

Fictional City: One of my all-time favourite films is Slap Shot, about the fictional Charlestown Chiefs hockey team and their move to violence over skill, in order for the struggling franchise to win more games and draw more fans. Charlestown was based off real-life Johnstown, where the movie was filmed, and inspired by the Johnstown Jets hockey team.

Actor/Actress: A-listers of today, such as Will Smith and Bradley Cooper were born in Philadelphia. However, the nod for this category goes to James Stewart, star of such classics as It’s a Wonderful Life, Rear Window and Vertigo, who was born in Indiana. There, each Christmas, the suburb hosts an It’s a Wonderful Life celebration and film festival, in Stewart’s honour.

Berenstain Bears

Song: I’m going to go ahead and pick Amish Paradise by Weird Al Yankovic, given Pennsylvania’s massive Amish population (largest in the country). In the mid 1700’s, Amish immigrants settled in their new paradise and have remained since. I mean, there has to be a reason why they came to the state in droves… it’s not like they’re stubborn or anything like that!

Band/Musician: America’s Sweetheart, Taylor Swift, was born in West Reading. Starting her career as a country musician, Swift has transitioned successfully into the pop world and is one of the most popular artists in the world today. Some of her most recognized songs include Shake It Off, Blank Space, Bad Blood and Look What You Made Me Do.

People: For 33 years, Fred Rogers welcomed viewers into his home and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. There, the man born in Latrobe, taught children lessons of morality. Rogers was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy, as well as being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

Animal: Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the weather since 1887. When the famous groundhog emerges from his burrow each February 2nd, if he sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter can be expected. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is near. Phil’s accuracy is only about 40 per cent. The film Groundhog Day resulted in annual crowds increasing from 2,000 to a record 40,000 people in 2020.

Invention: As we suffer through the COVID-19 pandemic, I think anytime a vaccine for a disease is invented, that’s a fantastic achievement. In 1952, Jonas Salk and others at the University of Pittsburgh created the first successful polio vaccine. By 1955, children were being vaccinated across America, with reported cases of polio dropping drastically.

Crime: On Septmeber 24, 1982, former prison guard George Banks went on a killing spree, murdering seven children (including five of his own), along with their four mothers, a neighbour and the mother of his ex-girlfriend. The event is known as the 1982 Wilkes-Barre Shootings. Banks was sentenced to death for the slayings, but was found mentally incompetent for execution.

Law: In Pennsylvania, a man may not purchase alcohol without the written permission of his wife. Can you imagine how that would go over in the Sip Family household? I mean, I often discuss liquor purchases with the missus, but ain’t no one stopping me from getting my drink on!

Sports Team: Pennsylvania’s Big 4 sports teams are split between Philadelphia – Eagles (NFL), Flyers (NHL), Phillies (MLB) and 76ers (NBA) – and Pittsburgh – Steelers (NFL), Penguins (NHL) and Pirates (MLB). Also, the Little League World Series is played annually in South Williamsport, where the event debuted in 1947, as the National Little League Tournament.

Polio Vaccine

Athlete: Two NBA icons were born in Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain. Bryant won five NBA championships and is thought of as one of the best players ever. Sadly, Bryant died in a helicopter crash earlier this year. Chamberlain makes this list solely based on bedding 20,000 women. Oh yeah, he also won two NBA titles (including one with the 76ers) and is the only player to score 100 points in a game.

Famous Home: Fallingwater, designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, can be found in Mill Run. It was built on top of a waterfall for the Kaufmann family of Kaufmann’s Department Store fame. The estate is a National Historic Landmark and is on the Smithsonian’s Life List of 28 Places to See Before You Die. Tours are available of the site.

Urban Legend: The Congelier House, in Pittsburgh, was considered America’s most haunted house. Tragic events at the home, including Mrs. Congelier killing her husband and their maid upon discovering their affair; a doctor who experimented on murdered women and workers disappearing from the boarding house, led to paranormal activity… although the house’s history has been discredited.

Museum: Two Pennsylvania museums stand out to me. The Big Mac Museum, in North Huntington, celebrates the burger first released in Pittsburgh, before becoming one of McDonald’s most popular menu items. There’s also the Houdini Museum, in Scranton, where illusionist Harry Houdini performed a number of his death-defying stunts.

Big Mac

Firsts: Pennsylvania was home to a number of metropolitan firsts that are now commonplace around the country. This included the first automobile service station, zoo (Philadelphia Zoo), hospital, circulating library, multi-lane highway (Pennsylvania Turnpike), baseball stadium, daily newspaper, movie theatre, and department store (Wanamaker’s).

Company: Crayola, makers of items such as crayons, coloured pencils, markers, paints, and more, is headquartered in Forks Township. It was originally founded in 1885, as Binney and Smith, by cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. Today, Crayola is owned by Hallmark Cards. Crayola Crayons were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.

Events: With Philadelphia serving as the nation’s capital on a number of occasions, particularly during the birth of the country, the Declaration of Independence was signed and the U.S. Constitution written there. It’s central location, with regards to the 13 colonies, made it a perfect meeting spot for the revolutionary fighters and minds that shaped the republic.

Miscellaneous: Many notable historic moments have occurred throughout Pennsylvania, including President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (preceded by the Battle of Gettysburg) and the Crossing of the Delaware, by George Washington, during the American Revolutionary War. This event is now re-enacted every year in Pennsylvania on Christmas Day.

Fish House Punch

Fish House Punch

  • 1.5 oz Dark Rum
  • 0.75 oz Cognac
  • 0.5 oz Peach/Apricot brandy
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

The Fish House Punch is quite the concoction, so I found a single serving recipe perfect for my purposes. The drink was invented at Philadelphia’s Fish House fishing club, in 1732. George Washington was a fan of the beverage, once using it to make 13 toasts, one for each of the original states.

Oregon – Sloe Gin Fizz

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we visit Oregon, the…*checks notes*… um, Beaver State, where we will fully explore every nook and cranny and penetrate to the core of this amazing place. Things might get a little messy, so let’s put on our protective gear and get to it:

Motto: “She flies with her own wings” – She sounds kind of sexy!

Food: Tater Tots were created by Ore-Ida founders, the Grigg brothers, when they sought to do something with leftover potato slivers. Apparently, sales of Tater Tots only improved once the price was raised, giving the product value. A few other notable food manufacturing companies are also based in Oregon, including Voodoo Doughnuts, Tillamook Cheese and Kettle Brand Potato Chips.

Drink: Oregon is a drinker’s haven, with countless craft breweries (over 200, with Boneyard, Deschutes, Rogue and Breakside among my favourites from the state) and also the Willamette Valley Wine Region (aka Oregon Wine Country). Oregon is home to over 700 wineries. The Portland Beer and Wine Festival became a staple of Sip Family Easter long weekends for a few years before the event was discontinued.

Tater Tot

Site to See: Nestled in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains is Crater Lake National Park. Visitors can circuit the lake on the Rim Drive or explore one of the many trails in the area. Some other spectacular landscapes in the state include the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Silver Falls State Park, Hells Canyon, Oregon Dunes, and Oregon Caves National Monument.

Street: The Coast Highway 101 (aka U.S. Route 101) stretches from Washington, through Oregon, to California. Along the Oregon portion of the highway, the Pacific Ocean can be seen through almost the entire state, with only a few stretches taking drivers inland. It is also the main street in a number of Oregon’s coastal towns, sometimes causing traffic issues.

TV Show: While the show has gone to great lengths to protect its setting, the consensus is that The Simpsons takes place in Oregon. This theory comes largely from creator Matt Groening being an Oregonian and taking many aspects of the series from his early life in Portland. The show is the longest running American sitcom, airing 684 episodes over 31 seasons.

Movie: Tough choice here. I’ll have to go with childhood favourite, Short Circuit. Starring Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy, this film sees a robot (Johnny 5) become sentient and befriend those it meets. As the company who made the robot tries to get it back, Johnny 5’s new friends do what they can to protect it. Honourable mentions include Stand by Me, The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop.

Short Circuit

Book/Author: Beverly Cleary, born in McMinnville, is best known for The Ramona Collection children’s novels, featuring young troublemaker Ramona Quimby. The eight-book series is set in Portland, following the adventures of Ramona and her family and friends. Cleary won a National Book Award in 1981 for Ramona and Her Mother, the fifth book in the anthology.

Fictional Character: The extensive cast of characters from The Simpson has to highlight this category. While Homer Simpson is often cited as one of the greatest TV characters of all-time, other characters, such as Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Krusty the Clown, Principal Skinner, Chief Wiggum, and many others have entertained fans for over 30 years.

Fictional City: A number of projects have been set in invented Oregon locales. These include White Pine Bay (Bates Motel), Elk Cove (Overboard), Gravity Falls, Eureka, and Wayoutatown (Angry Beavers). It’s interesting that both Gravity Falls and Eureka center around mysterious towns. Add to that, Bates Motel is a Psycho prequel and one might be hesitant to visit Oregon.

Actor/Actress: Ty Burrell, of Modern Family fame, was born in Grants Pass. His work on Modern Family resulted in eight straight Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy nominations and two wins. Burrell has also appeared in movies such as Muppets Most Wanted, along with voicing characters in Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Finding Dory.

Homer Simpson

Song: Live Long in Oregon was originally written and performed by folk singer-songwriter Laura Gibson for the Cover Oregon Campaign, as part of the Affordable Health Care Act. Gibson was born in Coquille and her love for her home state is evident in lines like “I’ll sing for the place my heart has called home/Where the salt meets the air, meets the cold mountain snow.”

Band/Musician: The Kingsmen, best known for the rock classic, Louie Louie, were formed in Portland, in the early 1960’s. While Louie Louie peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart, the song has remained popular to this day. Part of the song’s notoriety came from it being banned in some places, due to supposed offensive lyrics.

People: The previously mentioned Matt Groening not only created The Simpsons, but has also been at the helm of animated comedies Futurama and Disenchantment. As a result of his career in TV, Groening has won 13 Emmy Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Returning to his roots, Groening appeared as himself in a 2015 episode of Portlandia.

Animal: Bobbie the Wonder Dog became a national sensation in 1924, when he found his way home to Silverton, after going missing while his family was visiting relatives in Wolcott, Indiana. Bobbie’s journey spanned an incredible 3,000 miles and took six months to complete. Bobbie is remembered each year with the Silverton children’s pet parade.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Invention: Without one Oregon creation, the work I do would not be possible. The computer mouse was developed by Douglas Engelbart, of Portland. Sadly, Engelbart never received any royalties for his creation, with the patent being filed by SRI International, where he worked. Engelbart also helped with advancements in hypertext, networked computers and the internet.

Crime: The 1971 highjacking of a plane between Portland and Seattle, by the mysterious D.B. Cooper, has fascinated folks since it occurred. When the $200,000 ransom was paid, Cooper released the plane’s passengers and had the pilots return to the air, where he jumped into the Washington wilderness. While it’s believed Cooper didn’t survive the jump, his remains were never found and only a portion of the money was ever recovered.

Law: In Oregon, weddings on ice rinks are prohibited. Could this be the result of state shame regarding disgraced Portland-born figure skater Tonya Harding?

Sports Team: The Portland Trailblazers (NBA) are the state’s only Big 4 professional team, but the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer also enjoy a rabid fan base. As for college athletics, the University of Oregon Ducks and Oregon State University Beavers are the talk of the state, with their rivalry known as the Civil War, which dates all the way back to 1894.

DB Cooper

Athlete: It’s one thing to be a dual-sport athlete, but try mastering 10 different disciplines. Ashton Eaton may not be a household name, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist (London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016) in the decathlon not only won those events, but broke world records while doing so. Eaton, born in Portland, is now retired from competition.

Famous Home: The home of the Walsh family, from the beloved 1985 movie, The Goonies, can be found in Astoria. Dubbed the Goonies House, the home’s current owner (since 2001) originally welcomed fans of the film visiting the site, but eventually grew tired of them, due to disrespectful behaviour from a minority. Much of the home is now covered by blue tarp and visitors are discouraged to be there.

Urban Legend: The Shanghai Tunnels (aka Old Portland Underground) are located underneath the Old Town and Chinatown areas of the city. The tunnels were used for close to 100 years, for such illicit activity as human trafficking and are said to be haunted by those who lost their lives in the secret passages. Tours are available, but may come with disembodied voices talking and screaming.

Museum: The Historic Carousel & Museum, in Albany, houses one of the world’s largest collections of carved and painted animal carousel pieces. Much of the work on display was done by the Dentzel family, the first makers of carousels in the U.S. Admission and tours are free, while riding the carousel will only set you back $2.

Carousel

Firsts: Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday (at least for federal workers), when they did so in 1887. They were joined shortly thereafter by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. What is now celebrated on the first Monday of each September, was originally set for the first Saturday of every June.

Company: Global sportswear giant Nike, is headquartered in Beaverton. It’s the world’s largest retailer of athletic shoes and apparel. Nike is known for their ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign and endorsement of top athletes, such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. The company’s iconic swoosh logo was designed by a Portland graphic design student, who was paid a mere $35, although she was later gifted stock in the company.

Events: From the mid 1830’s to the late 1860’s, the Oregon Trail was used by settlers searching for greener pastures in the Pacific Northwest. An estimated 400,000 people used the route before it was superseded by the First Transcontinental Railroad. The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, in Baker City, documents the expeditions these travellers made.

Miscellaneous: There have been a number of separation attempts made in Oregon. These include the State of Jefferson (joining of southern Oregon and northern California) and Cascadia (western region independence from the state). There’s also the 1975 Ernest Callenbach novel Ecotopia, which discussed a merging of Washington, Oregon and northern California.

Sloe Gin Fizz

Sloe Gin Fizz

  • 1.5 oz Sloe Gin
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

In Loretta Lynn’s song, Portland, Oregon, the Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail is mentioned. Therefore, the city and state adopted the drink as their own. The lyrics go: “Well, Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz/If that ain’t love, then tell me what is, uh huh, uh huh.” This was first experimentation with Sloe Gin and I look forward to more dabbling in the future.

Oklahoma – Sooner Spirit

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today we travel to Oklahoma, which received a ton of attention recently, as the place where the Tiger King saga largely took place. Let’s see if the Sooner State has more to offer than Joe Exotic and his cronies:

Motto: “Labor conquers all things” – No, I prefer to be lazy!

Food: Oklahoma has a State Meal, comprised of chicken fried steak, fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, black-eyed peas and pecan pie. While that feast sounds delicious, it has received criticism due to its high calorie count. One senator tried to have the meal repealed, but failed.

Drink: The Lunchbox cocktail (a shot of amaretto topped by orange juice and beer) was created at Edna’s, in Oklahoma City. I’ve featured this drink before and while Edna’s uses Coors Light in their concoction, I refuse to sink to such levels. At Edna’s you can even “Lunchbox up” an order of sweet potato fries, adding an amaretto-marshmallow sauce drizzle to the dish.

oklahoma-state-meal

Site to See: One of Oklahoma’s top tourist destinations is the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. The zoo is home to nearly 2,000 animals, and is among the oldest zoos in the country, opened in 1902. It offers up close experiences with flamingos, camels, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, sea lions, stingrays, and lorikeets, for additional costs.

Street: The much-loved Route 66 ran through Oklahoma, with the stretch known as Will Rogers Highway. Interstate 40 and State Highway 66 now occupy the path, but travellers can still find such highlights as the Coleman Theatre, Rock Café, Milk Bottle Grocery, many landmark gas stations, and the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, in Clinton.

TV Show: Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter, is set in Oklahoma City. The series ran for three seasons and 46 episodes and was about a hardened detective seeking to turn her life around with the help of her guardian angel. The show’s creator, Nancy Miller, was raised in Oklahoma City and many references about the state were incorporated into the series.

Movie: The Outsiders, starring one of the greatest young ensemble casts ever put together – with Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Ralph Macchio making up the Greasers gang) is set in Tulsa. Based on Oklahoman S.E. Hinton’s novel, the movie is about rival teenage gangs in the mid 1960’s and the fallout from their violence.

Outsiders

Book/Author: Speaking of Hinton, who was only a teenager herself when she wrote The Outsiders, each of her other young adult novels are set in Oklahoma. This includes That Was Then, This Is Now; Rumble Fish; Tex; and Taming the Star Runner. Only the last one hasn’t been adapted into a film. Hinton has been recognized as creating the young adult genre.

Fictional Character: Ponyboy, Sodapop, Darry, Dally, Two-Bit, Johnny… take your pick, The Outsiders are awesome. My favourite of the bunch is the wisecracking Two-Bit, played in the film by Emilio Estevez. A close second for me would be Darry, the leader of bunch, as you can’t go wrong with Patrick Swayze. Stays gold, Greasers.

Fictional City: Pyramid Corners is the setting of TV show The Torkelsons (later renamed Almost Home for its second season, which saw the family relocate to Seattle). The sitcom cast some notable actors in early roles, including Brittany Murphy and Alyson Hannigan, as well as guest appearances by Drew Carey, Ben Affleck and Jared Leto all before they were famous.

Actor/Actress: Perennial candidate for Sexiest Man Alive, Brad Pitt was born in Shawnee. His most notable roles include Fight Club, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for). Pitt has also garnered much attention for his personal life, due to relationships with Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.

Brad Pitt

Song: Oklahoma not only has a number of songs about the state, it has its own musical, Oklahoma! The title song from that Rodgers and Hammerstein production (this was their first collaboration) was made the State Song in 1953. It is played regularly at the University of Oklahoma, for Oklahoma Sooners games, as well as other events at the school.

Band/Musician: Country music is big in Oklahoma and no one personifies the genre better than Garth Brooks. Brooks, born in Tulsa, is one of the best-selling artists of all-time, while his concert tours have also broken world records. Brooks has won two Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012. Not bad for a guy with Friends in Low Places.

People: Will Rogers did it all. He was an actor, cowboy, newspaper columnist and politician. He was also called ‘Oklahoma’s Favourite Son’. In 1935, Rogers died in a plane crash. The Will Rogers Memorial can be found in Claremore and around the state, the Will Rogers World Airport, Will Rogers Turnpike and 13 schools are all named in his honour.

Animal: Boomer and Sooner are white ponies, who serve as the mascots for the University of Oklahoma Sooners football team. When the squad scores a touchdown, the ponies pull a Sooner Schooner wagon across the field in celebration. The current pony pair is the fifth set used by the team, since being introduced in 1964.

Low Places

Invention: The shopping cart (originally called folding basket carriers) was invented by Humpty Dumpty grocery chain owner, Sylvan Goldman, to allow his customers to buy more items per visit. Next, the electric guitar was created and first used by musician Bob Dunn. Finally, voice messaging was developed by Gordon Matthews, earning him the nickname the ‘Father of Voicemail’.

Crime: The Oklahoma City Bombing, perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh, on April 19, 1995, caused much devastation, including 168 dead – many of them children – and 680 injured. McVeigh, who committed the act of terrorism as revenge against the federal government, was executed in 2001. Today, the site is home to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Law: In Oklahoma, dogs must have a permit signed by the mayor in order to congregate in groups of three or more on private property. Finally, someone is cracking down on these dangerous gangs.

Sports Team: The University of Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State University Cowboys/Cowgirls rivalry – particularly seen in football, but also basketball and even wrestling – is known as the Bedlam Series. The state finally got a professional team when the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics relocated in 2008, becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Shopping Cart

Athlete: Baseball legend, Mickey Mantle, was born in Spavinaw. He played his entire career for the New York Yankees, recording 536 home runs as a switch-hitter. Mantle excelled in the playoffs, appearing in 12 World Series, winning seven titles. He holds World Series records for home runs, RBIs and runs. Mantle was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Famous Home: The Marland Mansion, dubbed the Palace on the Prairie, can be found in Ponca City. It was originally the home of oil tycoon E.W. Marland and consists of 55 rooms, including 10 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms and three kitchens. The estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977 and today, features a public museum.

Urban Legend: In Beaver Dunes State Park, there’s said to be a Shaman’s Portal, which has caused a number of disappearances, including Spanish conquistadors. Thus, it has been called Oklahoma’s Bermuda Triangle. The cause of the bizarre activity is thought to have come from a UFO crash or the site also being Native American burial grounds.

Museum: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, in Oklahoma City, contains more than 28,000 pieces of art and historic items, celebrating the cowboy lifestyle. One exhibit features more than 100 firearms from the old west period. The facility also includes the replica town, Prosperity Junction, which visitors can move throughout and experience.

Cowboys

Firsts: I’m not sure this is one to be proud of, but Oklahoma was home to the first parking meter. Installed in July 1935, the Park-O-Meter No. 1 cost a whopping 5-cents per hour and was met with great outrage by people who considered them un-American. Still, the meters spread like wildfire across the country, as businesses enjoyed the quick vehicle turnover they created.

Company: Sonic Drive-In was founded in Shawnee and is now headquartered in Oklahoma City. The fast food chain is known for its extensive menu, including various burgers and dogs, along with sides like fries and onion rings, and slushes and milkshakes for drinks. The chain was named Sonic, thanks to its original slogan, “service with the speed of sound”.

Events: The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 brought 50,000 people to the territory, looking for their slice of the land pie. People trying to cheat the noon start time, earned the nickname Sooners, which became the State Nickname. Of course, over-farming did lead to the Oklahoma dust bowl of the 1930’s, but that was after many years of successful production.

Miscellaneous: Oklahoma has the most tornados in America, including a record of five in one day. As a result, detection of the destructive natural disasters is vital, with the first tornado forecast/warning taking place in the state in March 1948. All that activity made Oklahoma the perfect setting for the 1996 film Twister.

Sooner Spirit

Sooner Spirit

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • Splash of Sweet and Sour Mix
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

This cocktail is certainly on the boozy side and kind of resembles a margarita, with vodka subbed in for tequila. The grenadine turns the drink a colour similar to that of the Oklahoma Sooners jersey colour. The drink can be enjoyed while prepping for a Sooners football game, or to simply show pride in the state.

Ohio – Boozy Buckeye

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we travel to Ohio, the Buckeye State, to see what trouble we can get into. Given the state gave out the first ever traffic ticket, though, we better tread carefully. Let’s do it:

Motto: “With God, all things are possible” – All things are always possible…

Food: For those with a sweet tooth, Ohio has a number of options. Most notably, Buckeyes (balls of peanut butter fudge dipped in chocolate) are popular throughout the state. With a portion of the peanut butter exposed, they resemble the nuts from buckeye trees, the State Tree of Ohio. Life Savers Candy and Chewing Gum were also invented there.

Drink: Gem Beverages has operated in Ohio since 1923. Their most popular brand is Ski, a citrus soda, which comes in regular, diet, cherry and tropical flavours. This category seems like a good place to also mention that the pop-top (pull-tab) drink can was invented in 1959, by Ohioan Ermal Fraze, as he looked for a better way to open beers.

Buckeyes

Site to See: Cedar Point amusement park, in Sandusky, is the second oldest amusement park in the U.S. The park has been called ‘America’s Roller Coaster’ and contains 71 rides. It is the most visited seasonal theme park in the country. Cedar Point was awarded ‘Best Amusement Park in the World’ 16 years in a row (1997-2013) by Amusement Today.

Street: Euclid Avenue in Cleveland gained attention in the late 1800s and early 1900s for the wealthy families living along the route. With residents like John Rockefeller, the area became known as Millionaires’ Row and the beauty of the street earned it another nickname: The Showplace of America. There’s also a really neat three-way bridge in Zanesville, called the Y-Bridge.

TV Show: A number of good sitcoms are set in Ohio, including The Drew Carey Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Family Ties. Hit musical dramedy Glee also took place in the state. Of them all, The Drew Carey Show was probably my favourite, thanks to characters like Lewis and Oswald. Also, John Lithgow did an amazing job on 3rd Rock, while we can thank Family Ties for Michael J. Fox.

Movie: Did you know one of the greatest characters of the horror genre haunts Ohio… even its resident’s dreams? The A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which sees Freddy Krueger stalk his victims in their sleep, was created by Wes Craven, who was born in Cleveland. There are nine Elm Street films, along with a TV series, novels, comic books and other media.

Freddy Krueger

Book/Author: As someone who grew up on this author’s work, I had to pick R.L. Stine for this category. His Goosebumps series introduced millions of kids to the concept of reading for fun, while his Fear Street series kept those kids, now as teenagers, interested in picking up a book. Stine’s countless novels have sold hundreds of millions of copies.

Fictional Character: The Hulk (real name Bruce Banner) is from Dayton. If I’m being honest, I was never really a fan of the character until Mark Ruffalo took over the role in The Avengers movies. The scene where he obliterates Loki by rag dolling him around is one of the best in any Marvel movie. Hulk SMASH, am I right!?

Fictional City: Coolsville is the hometown of Scooby-Doo and the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang. Sure, a lot of weird happenings occur in the town, but as long as the Mystery Machine is nearby, you know the case is about to be solved by some meddling kids and their dog. Interestingly, there is a real town in Ohio, named Coolville, after founder Simeon W. Cooley.

Actor/Actress: Paul Newman, star of movies such as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, and a Sip Advisor personal favourite Slap Shot, was born in Shaker Heights. Newman was nominated a number of times for the Best Actor Oscar, finally winning one for The Color of Money. His Newman’s Own food company donates all after-tax profits to charity.

Paul Newman

Song: Ohio by The Black Keys is an ode to the state, with the group being formed in Akron. It was a bonus track on their album Brothers and contains lyrics such as “Get me home; Before, before I lose my mind. I need some space to let my; My tape rewind.” It should also be noted, Ohio has a State Rock Song, Hang On, Sloopy by The McCoys.

Band/Musician: Dave Grohl, frontman of the Foo Fighters and drummer for Nirvana before that, was born in Warren. While many famous people have a street named after them in their hometown, Grohl has an alley. Visitors to the landmark can find paintings and a sculpture of Grohl, as well as the world’s largest drumsticks. Grohl is said to visit the site on occasion.

People: Ohio is a capital of aviation. The Wright Brothers (Orville and Wilbur) were from Dayton, before moving to North Carolina and making the first successful motor-operated airplane flight. Also, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and John Glenn, the first American to orbit earth, were born in Wapakoneta and Cambridge, respectively.

Animal: Smoky the Dog was a war dog, accompanying Corporal William A. Wynne, during World War II. Smoky’s efforts, running wires to help build an air base, saved about 250 soldiers from being exposed. After the war, Wynne and Smoky returned to Cleveland, where the dog became a national sensation, with her popularity reviving the Yorkshire Terrier breed.

Smoky the Dog

Invention: High school friends from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, co-created comic book superhero Superman, with the character debuting in the first issue of Action Comics, in 1938. The rights to the character were sold for a mere $130, which was standard business in the industry at that time. While they were paid well by DC Comics afterwards, the duo regretted selling the copyright.

Crime: Ohio has had two sets of serial killer brothers terrorize the state. First, Anthony and Nathaniel Cook were incarcerated for raping and murdering at least nine white victims in Toledo, in racially-motivated crimes. Next, Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon both received life sentences after committing 10 murders around the state, with robbery being their motive.

Law: It is illegal to get a fish drunk… but they make the best drinking buddies!

Sports Team: Ohio has many sports options spread across the state. Cleveland has three teams in the Indians (MLB), Browns (NFL) and Cavaliers (NBA), while Cincinnati has the Reds (MLB) and Bengals (NFL). Finally, there’s the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and the Ohio State University Buckeyes football program, which also plays out of Columbus.

Superman

Athlete: Ohio has a trio of GOATs (greatest of all-time). This includes golfer Jack Nicklaus, who won 117 tournaments, including a record 18 majors; MLB all-time hits leader Pete Rose, winner of three World Series; and basketball superstar LeBron James, with three NBA championships, each of which he was the Finals MVP for. Rose and James played most of their careers in their home state.

Famous Home: A Christmas Story House can be found in Cleveland. In 2004, entrepreneur Brian Jones purchased the home on eBay for $150,000 and restored it to how it looks in the film. Jones also bought the house across the street, turning it into a museum, featuring props from the movie, such as the family’s car and a Red Ryder BB gun. You can even book an overnight stay in the home.

Urban Legend: What was once known as Boston Township, is now dubbed Helltown, an area of Ohio rife with stories of paranormal activity, Satan worshippers, the supposed “end of the world” road and the mutant ‘Peninsula Python’. The legends resulted from Boston becoming a ghost town in the mid 1970’s, as government began creating the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Museum: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame can be found in Cleveland and Canton, respectively. How did they end up in Ohio? Well, Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed was the first to use the term rock and roll, while in 1920, Canton hosted a meeting between four Ohio-based football teams, founding what today is the NFL.

Pete Rose

Firsts: Ohio has a lot of interesting firsts, including the original professional fire department and ambulance service, as well as the first police force to use a vehicle. The state also had the first concrete street and is where the first automobile was created. Cleveland was the first city lit by electricity and later had the first traffic signal system. Lastly, the first pro baseball team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings.

Company: Fast food restaurant Wendy’s was founded by Dave Thomas, in Columbus, in 1969. The chain, named after one of Thomas’ daughters, is now headquartered in Dublin, with their office located on Dave Thomas Boulevard. The restaurant is the third largest hamburger fast food chain in the world. Ohioans claim to have invented dipping fries into Frosty milkshakes.

Events: The Kent State Shootings, where National Guard members opened fire on unarmed student protestors, shocked the country. Four people were killed and nine wounded during the anti-Vietnam War rally. Criminal cases resulted in no convictions, while civil cases eventually resulted in a $675,000 settlement paid by the state to plaintiffs.

Miscellaneous: Ohio is known as “The Mother of Presidents”, given seven Commander-in-Chiefs have come from the state. This includes Ulysses S. Grant (18th President), Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President), James A. Garfield (20th President), Benjamin Harrison (23rd President), William McKinley (25th President), William H. Taft (27th President), and Warren G. Harding (29th President).

Boozy Buckeye

Boozy Buckeye

  • 1 oz Irish Cream or Bourbon
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp of Melted Peanut Butter
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

This cocktail is meant to best replicate the Buckeyes dessert treats in liquid form. As for the debate between whether to use Irish Cream or Bourbon, I said to hell with it and used Peanut Butter Whiskey for even more of a peanut butter punch. A recipe variation I found uses two ounces of Coconut Rum and an ounce of Kahlua, instead. The beverage might be best enjoyed while tailgating before Ohio State Buckeyes football games.

Sip Trips #188: Sea to Sky

Taking the last week of August off to celebrate my and Mrs. Sip’s wedding anniversary and make a short getaway to Whistler with the Sip Family, was a perfect way to end the summer. We crammed a lot of stuff into a limited time, so let’s get right to the action:

Prior to our little vacation, we had a bit of activity that should be documented. A couple recent purchases included a six-pack of Spectrum Strawberry Ice Cream Pale Ale, which may be the best beer I’ve had all summer. It’s not too strong on the strawberry flavour, but just enough that you can enjoy it. I also picked up the Nude Vodka Soda Pride Pack for Mrs. Sip to try. It included six flavous (Cran Raspberry, Raspberry Lemon, Lime, Black Cherry, Mango, Peach), giving her a chance to sample a good variety of the brand’s offerings and decide if she wants to do more vodka soda products in the future.

Vodka Soda

We also dropped into Steamworks Brewing in Burnaby one evening. There, I had a delicious Imperial Red Ale, while Mrs. Sip ordered a flight, which included their Refresh Raspberry and Lemon Ale, Killer Cucumber Ale, Hazy Pale Ale and Black Angel IPA. We both particularly liked the Cucumber Ale, which I’ve had before, but never on tap.

The first portion of my week off was a night without kids, enjoying an overnight stay in Downtown Vancouver. We began with some happy hour snacks at 131 Water Kitchen & Bar. Our food included Crispy Chicken Bites and Veggie Spring Roll, which I paired with a 131 Lager. The beer went down like juice, while the food was good and enough to tide me over for our upcoming dinner.

To stock our hotel room, we picked up a tall can four-pack of Barkerville Sluice Juice Hazy Pale Ale, a bomber of Fuggles & Warlock Valkyrie Belgian Vineyard Ale and a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, our room’s fridge wasn’t really much of a cooling device, so we didn’t get to enjoy our treats as we had originally hoped.

Hotel Fridge

For dinner, we went to Lift Bar Grill View in Coal Harbour. Arriving just in time for a quick happy hour order, we each got a glass of house rosé, an appetizer of Humboldt Squid and an Oyster each (for aphrodisiacal reasons!). Mrs. Sip then went with the Halibut for dinner, while I elected to have the Burger. With my meal, I had a pint of Parkside Dusk Pale Ale. The restaurant also kindly gave us each a glass of dessert wines on the house, as a little anniversary delight.

The next morning, we had brunch at Bellaggio Cafe, where Mrs. Sip had Eggs Benedict and I went with the Chicken & Brussels Waffle. I also enjoyed a 3-ounce Caesar, which got the day off to a good start. Our activities while in the area, included the Dimensions Art Gallery, where visitors can become part of the art installations and solving a cold murder case with Vancouver Mysteries. I would recommend both to anyone looking for something to do in Vancouver.

After a brief respite, we were on the road to Whistler, which I hadn’t visited since New Year’s 2012-2013. On our way up, we stopped at the Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish for lunch. There, I ordered the Hopraiser West Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with the Alpine Traverse New World Tripel. To eat, we shared the Brewer’s Select Pizza, topped with pepperoni, bacon, and chorizo. We also received a taster of the Pamplemousse Pale Ale and grabbed tall cans of King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen and Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale to go.

Summer Vacation

Before leaving Squamish, we also went to A-Frame Brewing, which only had a few of their own beers on tap. We put together a flight of their Okanagan Lake Cream Ale, Sproat Lake Pale Ale, Shuswap Lake West Coast IPA and finished the set with guest tap House of Funk Atomic Jam. The brewery had a food truck onsite, which allowed us to get Toddler Sip a Churro treat for dessert.

Our dinner that night was at The Keg, since we desired a slice of Billy Miner Pie. Our food selections included Prime Rib Sliders for me and a Lobster Tail for Mrs. Sip. I paired my meal with a Chili Mango Margarita that really hit the spot. Of course, that decadent Billy Miner Pie capped the meal, which the restaurant generously comped since it was our anniversary.

Our main event for the night was checking out the Vallea Lumina Light Walk. Words and photos can’t really describe how neat of an attraction this is. Set on a dark mountainous trail, you travel through some amazing light and sound experiences that make you feel connected to the surrounding nature. I’d love to revisit in the winter, if possible.

The next day, we left the village to explore a couple nearby breweries. First up, was Whistler Brewing, where we put together a flight of their The Blonde Spruce Goose, Wayside Apricot Wit, Chestnut Ale and Black Tusk Ale. It was a solidly built flight, if I don’t say so myself. The Sunny Daze Yuzu IPA, which I had wanted to try, wasn’t on tap, so I grabbed a tall can of it for the road and really enjoyed as a breakfast beer the next day.

Coast Mountain Brewing was our second stop and we ordered two flights to be able to try eight of their 11 brews. Our boards consisted of the Day Dream IPA, The Surveyor IPA, Forecast Pale Ale, Green Run Session IPA, Vanilla Bean Stout, Woodnutt Brown Ale, Sunbreak Saison, and Drink the Rainbow (made with Skittles). I feel like doing flights is a great way to try as much as possible, but a full serving is the best way to truly appreciate a beer, as palate fatigue seems to set in when we go the flight route.

Day three was my negotiated “don’t have to drive anywhere day”, so we spent the day exploring the village. For lunch, we ate at the High Mountain BrewHouse, where between Mrs. Sip and I, we had pints of their Belgian Tripel, Belgian Wit, Alta Lake Ale and Grizzly Brown Ale. Food seemed like a good idea with all those drinks, so we ordered the Four Cheese Pizza.

Pizza

Sadly, our stay in Whistler came to an end, but we weren’t ready to go home yet. We journeyed to Pemberton to hit a couple breweries there, starting with The Beer Farmers. Following our flight, made up of the Locals Only Lager, Farmers Daughter Biere de Table, Cover Crop Hazy IPA and Dunkelweizen, we completed the farm’s sunflower maze, which was a lot of fun, particularly for Toddler Sip.

Next up, was Pemberton Brewing, for a quick flight (U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale, Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, Upside Down Brut IPA, Barb’s Nice Pear Rhubarb Pear Sour). We also brought home a bomber of Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, which will be a nice way to bring up memories of the journey, when we finally get around to enjoy it.

Road Trip

On our drive home, we stopped in Squamish again, to hit Backcountry Brewing. There, we had a fantastic Fig & Prosciutto Pizza (as well as an appetizer of Hushpuppies), to go along with a flight of beers. The flight included the Go Get Yourself Some Cheap Sunglasses IPA, Living in a Van Down By the River ISA, I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and Patches O’Houlihan Porter. To go, Mrs. Sip grabbed a tall can four-pack of I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and single tall can of Case of the Mondays Peach-Pineapple-Guava Sour.

Eight breweries over four days, completes to checklist for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. The expedition brought Toddler Sip’s number up to 96 breweries visited and Baby Sip up to 27. Parenting done right!