Sip Trips #191: November Notes

Thanks to another round of pandemic restrictions, November’s Sip Trips report is short on outings, relatively speaking. We did manage to squeeze in a few activities, though, as Mrs. Sip and I were both off on parental leaves for most of the month. Let’s get to the action:

To begin the month, we visited ABC Brewing, looking to try the company’s collaboration beers with Steel & Oak Brewing. These included the New West Coast Double IPA and WOW Small Hazy IPA. We also had a glass of the Achtung Berliner Weisse, an Île Sauvage Brewing guest tap, which was very good. For the road, we grabbed a bottle of the Aski Oci Saison to round out our stay.

Beer

That weekend, after a trying day where my vehicle broke down as I was trying to finally eat at Popeyes, Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip helped me finally cross the restaurant off my list, picking up an epic meal of delicious Popcorn Shrimp, Chicken Sandwiches (regular and spicy) and very good fries. The Popcorn Shrimp were a particular revelation for me.

The next day, to officially celebrate the start of my seven-month parental leave, we attended a show at the House of Comedy in New Westminster. The show was great and provided some comic relief from the current world situation. I had a pair of Yellow Dog High Five Hazy IPA tall cans while there, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.

That week, following a visit to Vancouver’s Science World, we took the kids for lunch at Brewhall. There, we took advantage of their $14 Burger and Beer deal, ordering the Crispy Chicken Burger for me and Cheeseburger for Mrs. Sip, along with sides of Curly Fries and Dirty Cheesy Fries. Our beer selections were glasses of the Brewhall Hall Pass IPA and Brewhall/Superflux Days Like This DIPA. Our server also slipped us a taster of the Brewhall/Egan’s Seven One Oh Nine Whisky Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, which was made using Egan’s whiskey barrels, which have now been returned for the Irish whiskey maker to produce a special whiskey with.

Curly Fries

We ended the month with a date night to celebrate the end of our joint time off on parental leave. During the summer, while participating in the weekly New Westminster Downtown Business Association scavenger hunts, I won a $50 gift card to Piva Modern Italian and Mrs. Sip and I decided this was the perfect time to finally cash the card in. We had a wonderful evening at the restaurant, arriving during happy hour and starting with sharing a plate of their Arancini. My beverages included the feature cocktail Whiskey Smash (Whiskey Mojito) and a pint of Steel & Oak Radiant Things Tropical Pale Ale, while Mrs. Sip had a trio of glasses of wine. For dinner, I went with the For Nonno Pizza, while Mrs. Sip had the Market Fish, which was a Seared Sable Fish. For dessert, we shared the Chocolate Lava Cake, while the server provided us with complimentary glasses of Rosé Bubbly.

Hopefully, the pandemic restrictions lighten sometime in December and definitely before Christmas, allowing families to get together for the holiday in some manner. This may be my only Christmas season off from work ever, so I hope we’re able to do some of the many annual activities the season usually offers.

Washington – Washington Apple

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 take a short jaunt over the border (if it wasn’t closed due to COVID) into Washington. The Evergreen State is the Sip Advisor’s most frequently visited in the country, so let’s see what we can learn together about it:

Motto: “By and by” – Alki, a Chinook saying, originally meant “I will see you by and by”, but has since been changed to meaning “into the future”. I hope the future includes being able to go back to Washington.

Food: Aplets & Cotlets are the unofficial State Candy of Washington (with competition from Almond Roca and the Mountain Bar). The gelatin-like confection, made with apples and apricots and a walnut center, are similar in style to Turkish Delight. The Aplets & Cotlets Candy Kitchen can be found in Cashmere, where the factory can be toured and samples had.

Drink: Coffee is Washington’s State Drink and it’s no wonder, given the world’s largest coffeehouse chain Starbucks is headquartered in Seattle. The first Starbucks was opened in Pike Place Market in 1971. The chain spread throughout the city, then opened locations in Vancouver, B.C., Canada and Chicago, Illinois. There are now over 30,000 Starbucks locations across the globe.

Starbucks

Site to See: The Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, is a major landmark and tourist attraction. Mrs. Sip and I once enjoyed beverages at its revolving restaurant SkyCity (previously known as the Eye of the Needle), which was the first revolving restaurant on the U.S. mainland. The Space Needle is used for Seattle’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration.

Street: Pike Street is anchored by the famous Pike Place Market, where Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed beers at Pike Brewing, as well as cheese curds from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, among other businesses. Another highlight of the area, albeit a disgusting one, is The Gum Wall, which is adorned by millions of pieces of used gum. The wall has become a popular photo spot.

TV Show: Frasier, starring Kelsey Grammer, sees psychiatrist Frasier Crane relocated from Boston to his hometown Seattle, to launch his own call-in radio show. The Cheers spinoff aired for 11 seasons and 264 episodes of high-brow comedy, earning the show and cast 37 Emmy Awards, including five straight for Outstanding Comedy Series. A potential revival has been discussed.

Movie: Tag, based on the real-life story of a group of friends who come together each year to play an ongoing game of tag, is set in Spokane. Starring Ed Helms, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, the comedy received mixed reviews, but was a financial success. The real-life tag group went to high school together in Spokane and used the game to stay close while going off to college and starting their adult lives.

Space Needle

Book/Author: Two divisive franchises were set in Washington, Twilight and Fifty Shades, with the latter originating as fan fiction for the former. Written by Stephenie Meyer and E.L. James, respectively, both series have been adapted into movies that have been critically panned (each winning multiple Golden Razzies), but massively successful at the box office.

Fictional Character: According to co-creator Justin Roiland, the animated series Rick and Morty is set in a suburb of Seattle. Therefore, I’ll pick mad scientist Rick Sanchez for this category. Sanchez is best known for his bizarre inventions and reckless behaviour, which usually make Morty’s life difficult. One of Rick’s most memorable experiments involved turning himself into a pickle and chaos ensuing.

Fictional City: Because of its Canadian connection, I have to choose the town of Hope here, where the original Rambo movie takes place, known as First Blood. The small town is based on Hope, British Columbia, Canada, where First Blood was filmed. Rambo largely destroys the city, but he has a good reason, following being harassed by its sheriff.

Actor/Actress: Legendary actor Adam West was born in Walla Walla. West’s most notable role was as Batman for the 1960’s campy version of the TV series. He enjoyed a renaissance of sorts when he was cast as Mayor Adam West on the animated TV comedy Family Guy, portraying an exaggerated version of himself who runs the town, despite being delusional.

Adam West

Song: A number of Washington’s notable musicians have referenced the state in their songs, but there’s no outstanding ode to the region. The State Song is Washington, My Home (originally America, My Home), written by Helen Davis and Stuart Churchill. There has been some attempts to have a new State Song selected, but those have failed to this point.

Band/Musician: Seattle’s grunge music scene revolutionized the industry in the early 1990s, with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and many others going mainstream. Jimi Hendrix must also be included in this category, as perhaps the greatest guitarist of all-time. Other notable acts from Washington include Sir Mix-A-Lot, Macklemore, Kenny Loggins and Heart.

People: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was born in Seattle. For many years, Gates was the world’s wealthiest person, but now sits at number two on the annual Forbes list. Gates has largely moved into a philanthropy role, running the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private charity in the world. He has also pledged to give half of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

Animal: Bobo the Gorilla was a major tourist attraction in Washington, between 1953 and 1968, during his time spent at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Bobo died at the age of 17, about half a gorilla’s normal lifespan. His stuffed skin was on display for many years at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, while his skeleton belongs to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Bill Gates

Invention: One of the most notable companies in Washington is Boeing, which was founded in Seattle in 1916. The corporation has been credited with a number of innovations in the aviation industry, including the passenger airline, jumbo jet and even flight attendants. Today, Boeing is instrumental in exploration outside earth’s atmosphere, having developed the Lunar Rover.

Crime: Gary Ridgway (aka the Green River Killer) was active in the 1980s and 1990s, killing teenage and young adult females in Washington. Ridgway was convicted of 49 murders, the second most confirmed slayings in U.S. history. Ridgway was finally caught due to his DNA being found on some of the victims. His plea bargain resulted in life in prison without parole.

Law: In Washington, it is illegal to harass Bigfoot/Sasquatches or other cryptid creatures. Washington does have the most Bigfoot/Sasquatch sightings, so perhaps officials are justified in their concerns.

Sports Team: Seattle is home to the Seahawks (NFL), Mariners (MLB) and NHL expansion franchise the Kraken, who are to hit the ice for the 2021-22 season. The city also had the SuperSonics (NBA), before the team relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, becoming the Thunder. The Seattle Sounders (MLS) has also enjoyed great success, winning the MLS Cup twice.

Boeing

Athlete: Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, spent his entire career with the Denver Broncos – after being traded by the Baltimore Colts, who drafted him, when he threatened to join the New York Yankees (who also drafted him) and play baseball instead – winning two Super Bowls and setting many records. Today, Elway is the general manager and president of football operations with the Broncos.

Famous Home: Thornewood Castle in Lakewood, was shipped brick-by-brick from England to Washington and built between 1909-1911. It was originally owned by Chester Thorne, one of the founders of the Port of Tacoma. The estate was used for the Stephen King TV miniseries Rose Red and is currently a bed and breakfast. The home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Urban Legend: The Maury Island Incident occurred in June 1947, when multiple reports of UFOs in the Mount Rainier area were filed. It was the first widely reported UFO case in the U.S., supported by the credibility of pilot Kenneth Arnold, who made one of the reports. Fred Crisman and Harold Dahl made corroborative claims, adding the element of a government coverup by ‘men in black’.

Museum: The Museum of Pop Culture (formerly the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame) can be found in Seattle, where it was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The museum is known for its massive sculpture made of different music instruments and extensive collection celebrating the Seattle music scene.

UFOs

Firsts: The first Father’s Day in the U.S. was celebrated in 1909, introduced by Spokane’s Sonora Dodd, who was looking to honour her father, a Civil War veteran who had raised six children as a single parent. The event didn’t reach national acceptance until the 1930’s, when Dodd partnered with industries such as tie and pipe makers, to help raise awareness for the celebration.

Company: Along with other major companies mentioned earlier (Starbucks, Boeing), Washington is also home to corporate giants such as Amazon (headquartered in Seattle), Microsoft (Redmond) and Costco (Issaquah). All three have had a significant impact on my life, as well as the lives of billions around the world. Products from each are all around us.

Events: In 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, resulting in 57 human deaths, thousands of animals killed and over a billion dollars worth of damage to the surrounding area. The eruption has been called the most disastrous in U.S. history. Today, the area is preserved by the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, allowing the environment to respond naturally to the disaster.

Miscellaneous: One more thing to salute Washington for is their involvement in the production of hops for beer. With an estimated 75 per cent of the country’s hops coming from Washington, it’s no wonder the state has such a booming craft beer industry, even in smaller locales like Bellingham, where the Sip Family has enjoyed a number of visits to their Tap Trail.

Washington Apple

Washington Apple

  • 1 oz Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sour Apple Schnapps
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

This cocktail honours the State Fruit of Washington, with the state being the largest apple producer in the U.S. Oddly, the recipe specifically calls for a Canadian Whiskey to be used, though I’m happy to oblige. Some drinkers add a splash of club soda to the martini, but I will go with the traditional serving.

Virginia – Lover’s Cocktail

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. This week, we enter federal government territory with our exploration of Virginia. The Old Dominion is home to the Pentagon, the CIA and other agencies, so we’ll have to keep things to a dull roar:

Motto: “Thus always to tyrants” – Apparently, this was said by John Wilkes Booth after shooting President Abraham Lincoln. You’d think that would necessitate a change in slogan.

Food: Smithfield Ham (aka Virginia Ham) has protected designation status, meaning only hams that come from Smithfield and are processed, treated, smoked and cured a specific way can be called Smithfield Hams. It was among the first exports of the U.S. There’s also Brunswick Stew and Peanut Soup to round out Virginia-based delicacies.

Drink: The State Spirit of Virginia is George Washington’s Rye Whiskey, which is produced at the first president’s reconstructed distillery at his Mount Vernon home (more on that later). The whiskey’s recipe was previously used by Washington in the late 1700’s and production made the distillery the largest in the country. The whiskey now sells in limited edition batches.

Smithfield Ham

Site to See: A somber, but popular attraction in Virginia is the Arlington National Cemetery, containing the remains of soldiers from wars America has been involved with, beginning with the Civil War. It’s here that visitors can find the graves of President John F. Kennedy, astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Street: Skyline Drive, which runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains for the entire length of Shenandoah National Park, is a 105-mile route offering spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont. It also allows access to hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. The road is a National Scenic Byway and National Historic Landmark.

TV Show: Two Seth McFarlane shows are set in Virginia, American Dad and The Cleveland Show. Anyone who truly gets the Sip Advisor knows both these series are among my all-time favourites, thanks to characters such as Roger Smith, Klaus Heisler, Cleveland Brown and his drinking buddies, Rallo Tubbs, and many others. Sadly, The Cleveland Show only lasted four seasons, but American Dad is still going strong with over 300 episodes.

Movie: So many movies have scenes that take place in Virginia, thanks to the federal government agencies located there. Two Disney movies completely set in the state are the animated Pocahontas, led by the voice work of Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson and David Ogden Stiers, and live action Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington.

Pocahontas

Book/Author: Ellen Glasgow was born in Richmond. She published 20 books over her lifetime, five of which ranked on best-seller lists. Her most notable work was In This Our Life, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1942. The same year, the book was adapted into a film, starring Hollywood leads Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland as the story’s sisters.

Fictional Character: I’ve always enjoyed Cleveland Brown, dating back to his early days on Family Guy. With his own show, Cleveland was expanded even further and came into his own, with his own zany adventures. Not even the cancellation of The Cleveland Show and a voice actor change can keep the man down, as he and the rest of the Brown-Tubbs family have relocated back to Family Guy.

Fictional City: For this category, we go back to American Dad and The Cleveland Show, which are set in Langley Falls and Stoolbend, respectively. Both places have their pros and cons, making it a tough choice if I had to pick one to live in. Langley Falls combines the communities of Langley and Great Falls, while Stoolbend was inspired by Richmond, where co-creator Mike Henry was raised.

Actor/Actress: ‘America’s Sweetheart’ Sandra Bullock was born in Arlington. She won a Best Actress Oscar for The Blind Side and has also starred in movies such as Speed, Gravity and Ocean’s 8. Bullock is one of the most bankable stars in the industry, with films grossing over $5.3 billion worldwide. As a result, she is also one of the most powerful women in entertainment.

Cleveland Brown

Song: Virginia Moon by the Foo Fighters is an ode to the state where frontman Dave Grohl was raised and still lives, his basement converted to a recording studio. Singer and pianist Norah Jones joined the band for the track, thanks to her background in jazz and ability to mesh with Grohl. The song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Band/Musician: A tough category to narrow down, with options such as Ella Fitzgerald, Missy Elliott, Pharrell Williams, June Carter Cash, the Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz, and Wayne Newton. Fitzgerald gets the edge as a result of the walls she had to breakdown during her career, earning her nicknames such as the First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz.

People: Political allies and friends George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were born in Popes Creek and Shadwell, respectively. Both were instrumental in separating from the British, with Washington would become the first President of the United States and Jefferson not far behind as the third President. Both men are carved into the Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Animal: Secretariat, one of the most popular and successful thoroughbred racehorses of all-time, was born in Virginia in 1970. Secretariat would go on to win the 1973 Triple Crown, setting speed records in each of the three races. Secretariat’s days as a stud produced daughters who would sire many notable champions. A 2010 Disney live action film about the horse was critically and financially successful.

George Washington

Invention: The Foil Electret Microphone, which is used in 90 percent of products, including telephones, video cameras, baby monitors, hearing aids and other devices, was invented by James Edward Maceo West. West, who was born in Farmville, holds many other patents related to microphones and is still going strong at age 89, developing a gadget to diagnose pneumonia in infants.

Crime: Virginia has been home to a number of mass murders, including the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the Virginia Tech massacre and the Virginia Beach shooting. The Pentagon attack killed 184 people (including 59 aboard the plane), while the shootings at Virginia Tech (the deadliest school shooting in the U.S.) and Virginia Beach resulted in 32 and 12 deaths, respectively.

Law: In Virginia, it is illegal to hunt wild animals on a Sunday, except for raccoons. I have no clue why they are so against the beloved trash panda.

Sports Team: Virginia has no professional teams, but the state has made a number of attempts to gain one, including a failed bid for an NHL expansion team and the unsuccessful relocation of MLB squads. For now, they settle for supporting nearby franchises, such as the Washington Football Team (NFL) and Washington Capitals (NHL), who have headquarters and practice facilities in the state, but play elsewhere.

Microphone

Athlete: Tennis player Arthur Ashe won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments over his career, the only black man to win each. Ashe’s career was marred with medical issues, including a heart attack at age 36 and later contracting HIV through blood transfusions. He died in 1993 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as having the US Open stadium named in his honour.

Famous Home: George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello can be found in Virginia and are among the nation’s most famous homes. Both are National Historic Landmarks, while Monticello is a United Nations World Heritage site. I’ve personally been to Monticello and can understand why the estate appeared on a 1956 postage stamp.

Urban Legend: The Bunny Man legend is about a man wearing a bunny costume and attacking people with an axe in Fairfax County. The tale is based on two reports, occurring 10 days apart, in October 1970, regarding a man threatening people for trespassing. Other sightings have occurred since and as the legend has grown, people now flock to the area, particularly near Halloween.

Museum: Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, transporting visitors back in time to the period of the American Revolution. Williamsburg was once the capital of Virginia and is where much activity in gaining independence from the British took place, involving patriotic icons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others.

Williamsburg

Firsts: Jamestown Settlement was the first permanent English settlement in North America, founded in 1607. 20 miles from Jamestown, the settlement of Berkeley Hundred is where the first Thanksgiving meal occurred in 1619 (two years before the Pilgrims held their own in Plymouth, Massachusetts). The first U.S. whiskey distillery was also established in Berkeley Hundred in 1621.

Company: Virginia is home to many federal government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It is also the headquarters for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Five Guys, a favourite restaurant of the Sip Family.

Events: The surrenders ending both the American Revolution and Civil War each took place in Virginia. The Civil War, in particular, was largely fought in the state, with more than 2,000 military events and many major battles, as Richmond was the Confederate capital. A number of those battlefields have been preserved, although there have been efforts to remove Confederate monuments.

Miscellaneous: Another nickname for Virginia is Mother of Presidents. This is because eight U.S. Presidents were born in the state, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson. Also, six U.S. First Lady’s hail from Virginia.

Lover’s Cocktail

Lover's Cocktail

  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Limoncello
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Bubbly
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This drink is a reference to Virginia’s tourism slogan ‘Virginia is for lovers’, which has been in use since 1969. The campaign was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009 and listed by Forbes as one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all-time.

Vermont – Old Vermont

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 venture to Vermont, where we’ll cozy up to the fire and watch the leaves change in awe. The more to the Green Mountain State than that, though, so let’s start exploring:

Motto: “Freedom and Unity” – I can’t hear the word ‘unity’ and not think about Dave Chappelle’s Rick James skit, all these years later.

Food: In Vermont, it’s all about Maple Syrup, given the state produces the most in the country. One popular way to serve it is called Sugar on Snow, which calls for Maple Syrup to be boiled and poured on fresh snow. This causes it to harden, so it can be eaten with a fork. Interestingly, it’s served with a donut and dill pickle on the side. The Vermont Maple Festival annually celebrates all things Maple Syrup.

Drink: Switchel (aka haymaker’s punch) is a mix of water, vinegar, ginger and a sweetener, with the additions of maple syrup and lemon juice in Vermont. While the drink is said to have originated in the Caribbean, it became a popular summer beverage in the American Colonies and Vermont’s own spin on the recipe kind of makes it their own.

Maple Syrup

Site to See: Vermont is home to a number of ski resorts, both for downhill and cross-country recreation. There’s also the Green Mountain National Forest, which is called the backbone of the state and is the source of its nickname. Among the forest’s attractions are three nationally designated trails, the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail and Robert Frost National Recreation Trail.

Street: Another top destination in the state is the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. The four-block pedestrian shopping and dining area was built between 1980-1981 and is host to some of the state’s annual festivals. Chain stores and local retailers make up the businesses along the route. Some of the buildings on Church Street have historic significance.

TV Show: Newhart, starring Bob Newhart as the owner of a rural Vermont inn, ran for eight seasons and 184 episodes. The show may be best remembered for its series finale, which had Newhart wake up on the set of his previous TV show, The Bob Newhart Show, describing his dream of being an innkeeper in Vermont, surrounded by odd characters, to his wife from that series.

Movie: Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams, is a drama about an English teacher who inspires his students through unconventional means at a fictional boy’s boarding school in Vermont. The film was nominated for Best Actor, Director and Picture Oscars, as well as winning for Best Original Screenplay. “O Captain! My Captain!”

Dead Poets Society

Book/Author: Children’s novel Pollyanna is set in the fictional Beldingsville. The story follows the ever-optimistic Pollyanna, an orphan who’s being sent to live with her unaffectionate aunt in an unfamiliar setting. The book was later adapted into a popular Disney live action film, starring Haley Mills, who won a Juvenile Oscar for portraying the young girl.

Fictional Character: I found some conflicting evidence, but a number of sources say Jack and Danny Torrance, the father and son from The Shining, both spent time living in Vermont. At the start of The Shining, the family is moving from Vermont to Colorado to be caretakers of the Overlook Hotel. Years later, in the sequel Doctor Sleep, Danny is middle-aged and back in Vermont.

Fictional City: I love both of the Super Troopers movies, which take place in the town of Spurbury. The movies star members of the Broken Lizard comedy group and while they may not be geared towards film critics, those like the Sip Advisor can enjoy a few beverages while watching and laughing so much it hurts. Hopefully these Vermont state troopers can return for a third assignment.

Actor/Actress: Damon Wayans Jr., star of TV shows such as New Girl and Happy Endings, as well as films including Let’s Be Cops and Big Hero 6, was born in Huntington. He is the son of Damon Wayans Sr. and nephew of Keenan Ivory Wayans, who created the sketch comedy show In Living Color, which featured many Wayans family members. Today, Wayans Jr. is still busy with projects.

Super Troopers

Song: Moonlight in Vermont was written by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf, and first recorded by Margaret Whiting in 1944. The most recognized version is by Frank Sinatra, which was popular with soldiers during World War II, reminding them of home. It is the unofficial state song of Vermont and is often played for the first dance at wedding receptions there.

Band/Musician: Phish was formed in Burlington in 1983. The rock band is best known for their improvisation and blending of musical styles in extended jams. They have a die-hard fan base, similar to the Grateful Dead, who inspired Phish. The band once performed in a hotdog-shaped float, which was donated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and hung in the museum’s lobby.

People: There are some interesting candidates for this category. First, political activist Jody Williams was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ban and clear landmines around the world. There’s also Bill Wilson (known as Bill W.), who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935, helping countless people overcome their alcohol addictions.

Animal: Since 2019, the town of Fair Haven has elected its mayor by allowing pets to run for the one-year term position. The first mayor was a goat named Lincoln, followed by therapy dog Murfee in 2020. The honourary position was started to raise money for school playground equipment, but it also encouraged kids – who are allowed to vote – to engage in local politics.

Phish

Invention: John Deere, founder of Deere & Company, was born in Rutland. In 1837, Deere, a blacksmith, revolutionized the farming industry, inventing the first commercially successful steel plow, known as ‘The Plow that Broke the Plains’. The achievement is noted on a marker in Middlebury, outside the shop Deere learned the blacksmith trade.

Crime: Israel Keyes murdered at least three people, with at least another eight possible victims, across the country. Two of his confirmed killings were in Vermont, where he broke into the home of Bill and Lorraine Currier, slaying both and sexually assaulting Lorraine. Their bodies were never found. Keyes committed suicide while in jail, awaiting trial for a murder in Alaska.

Law: In Vermont, it is illegal to strip naked in public, but if you leave your house already in the nude, that’s okay. You just have to be mindful of where the nudity originated!

Sports Team: With no professional teams in the state, Vermont’s greatest contribution to the sports landscape may have come from Jake Burton Carpenter, inventor of the snowboard. Improving on the Snurfer, a toy that allowed people to surf in the snow, Carpenter not only developed the snowboard, but also the sport and culture around it. Sadly, Carpenter passed away in 2019 from cancer.

Snowboarding

Athlete: Baseball catcher Carlton Fisk was born in Bellows Falls. At the time of his retirement, following 24 seasons of play, Fisk held the record for home runs by a catcher, with 351. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. Also deserving of mention is alpine skier Andrea Mead Lawrence, who at the 1952 Winter Olympics, won two gold medals.

Famous Home: Hildene, located in Manchester Center, was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln. The sprawling estate was home to descendants of the Lincoln family until 1975. Today, it can be toured, featuring spectacular gardens and a working observatory. The home also offers a museum, with items belonging to the Lincolns.

Urban Legend: The Bennington Triangle is an area of Vermont, where five people vanished between 1945-1950. Theories on the disappearances include a serial killer, extreme weather, UFO abductions and a sasquatch-like monster. Speaking of monsters, Lake Champlain is said to be inhabited by a sea serpent named Champ, a legend which has been embraced by Vermonters.

Museum: The Snowflake Bentley Museum can be found in Jericho, near the historic home of Wilson ‘Snowflake’ Bentley. Fascinated by snowflakes as a teen, Bentley developed a way to photograph them, amassing a collection of over 5,000 images… and no two are alike. The children’s book Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, was written about Bentley and his snowflakes.

Snowflakes

Firsts: Some big firsts have occurred in Vermont, including being the first state to abolish slavery, grant women partial voting rights and make same-sex ‘civil unions’ legal. Vermont also minted the first penny and created the first postage stamp in the country. Lastly, a Vermont resident received the first Social Security check, when Ida May Fuller retired in 1939. She lived to 100 years old and received $22,888.92.

Company: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is headquartered in South Burlington. Childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded the business in 1978, with their first store operating out of a renovated gas station. Today, Ben & Jerry’s products – and many interesting flavours – can be found around the world. The Ben & Jerry’s factory tour in Waterbury is a top tourist attraction, including its Flavor Graveyard.

Events: Rebel victories in Vermont at the outset of the Revolutionary War gained momentum for the movement, encouraging others to join and fight for independence from the British. When all was said and done, Vermont was the first state admitted to the United States after the original 13 colonies, becoming the 14th state in 1791.

Miscellaneous: I had never heard of a witch window, until doing my research for this article. They are so common in Vermont, they are even sometimes called Vermont windows. They are diagonal windows, designed with the theory that witches on brooms can’t fly through tilted windows. Another explanation is the windows helped with removing coffins from second floors.

Old Vermont

Old Vermont

  • 1.5 oz Gin
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Maple Syrup
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

This cocktail highlights Vermont’s mastery of maple syrup, with its inclusion in the recipe. The martini has unknown origins, but has become popular in recent times thanks to being featured on chef Bobby Flay’s TV show Brunch At Bobby’s.

Utah – Bee’s Knees

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 Utah, home to Mormons and polygamists. While that all sounds… fun, I’m a little hesitant entering the Beehive State, given its no fun reputation, but I’ve made good out of dry situations before:

Motto: “Industry” – Well, if that isn’t the most flowery slogan amongst all the states…

Food: As someone who’s always looking to up my condiment game, I have to give props to Utah for being the birthplace of Fry Sauce. Sometimes called the unofficial state condiment, Fry Sauce is a combination of equal parts mayo and ketchup. It was first introduced at Utah restaurant chain Arctic Circle by chef and founder Don Carlos Edwards.

Drink: Utah has a number of odd laws regarding alcohol service, including putting up Zion Curtains (walls and even some roofs, so patrons aren’t forced to watch a drink being made), fines to establishments for serving drinks to customers before they’ve ordered dinner, low alcohol beers and limited amounts of spirits in cocktails. It’s enough to make the Sip Advisor cry.

Fry Sauce

Site to See: The options are endless in Utah, with five national parks, eight national monuments, two national recreation areas and seven national forests, among other attractions. The many famous rock formations (Rainbow Bridge, Delicate Arch, etc.) in the state need to be seen to be believed. There’s also Four Corners, where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet.

Street: Highway 12 is among the most scenic routes in the country, designated an All-American Road/National Scenic Byway in 2002. The 122-mile stretch goes through or near the Dixie National Forest (Red Canyon), Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (Escalante River) and Capitol Reef National Park.

TV Show: Big Love, starring Bill Paxton, is about the patriarch of a polygamist Mormon family and his many wives and children. The HBO series ran for five seasons and 53 episodes, receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. If you want the reality TV version, there’s the TLC series Sister Wives, although I have to think Big Love might be the more realistic of the two.

Movie: 127 Hours, starring James Franco, tells the real-life story of hiker and climber Aron Ralston, who found himself alone and trapped between a rock and a hard place in Canyonlands National Park. He documents his struggle with a video camera, finally freeing himself by amputating his arm. The film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor Oscars.

127 Hours

Book/Author: Edward Abbey’s most notable works are set in Utah, the autobiographical Desert Solitaire, which documented his experiences as a park ranger in Arches National Park, and the fictional The Monkey Wrench Gang, about ecoterrorism in the southwest. Abbey’s celebration of life is something I’d hope for, as he requested: “a flood of beer and booze! Lots of singing, dancing, talking, hollering, laughing, and lovemaking.”

Fictional Character: A favourite character of the Sip Advisor, for our shared effort to lack-of-reward ratio, is Wile E. Coyote. The Looney Tunes creation is said to inhabit the deserts of Utah, constantly coming up short in his pursuit of the Road Runner, despite employing an array of Acme gadgets. Although technically a bad guy, it’s pretty easy to root for Wile E.

Fictional City: Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon, is set in Bomont. The town is said to be located somewhere in the Midwest, with many drawing comparisons to Elmore City, Oklahoma, due to that town’s ban on dancing, similar to the storyline in Footloose. However, the movie was filmed in Utah, with no attempts made to hide that fact, so that’s how I’m settling this category.

Actor/Actress: Roseanne Barr was born in Salt Lake City. The stand-up comedian rose to fame thanks to her popular TV series Roseanne (1988-1997), which followed the lives of the working class Connor family. Barr has also been embroiled in a couple controversies, most recently including a racist tweet that resulted in her being written out of the Roseanne revival.

Wile E Coyote

Song: Utah by The Osmonds is a tribute to the family’s home state, highlighting the fun that can be had there. The music video features the band riding motorcycles through the desert and snowmobiles in the forest. The Beach Boys also made an ode to Utah, with their song Salt Lake City, a place they performed often and where they enjoyed early success and popularity.

Band/Musician: The Osmonds, particularly Donny and Marie, are from Ogden. As a family band, the group consisted of five brothers performing as a barbershop quintet. Donny and Marie later teamed up for duets, while each enjoying solo success. The pair had a popular variety show in the late 1970’s and reunited for a daytime talk show from 1998-2000.

People: Businessman and electrical engineer Nolan Bushnell was born in Clearfield. He co-created Pong, one of the earliest arcade games, and the Atari home video game system. Looking for a way to further capitalize on people playing video games, Bushnell conceived the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain, where a young Sip Advisor first enjoyed cheese pizza and arcade classics.

Animal: The Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City has been home to a number of famous animals, including Princess Alice the Elephant (a frequent escape of the zoo), Shasta the Liger (the first liger born in the U.S.), Gorgeous the Gorilla (once the oldest female gorilla), Dari the Elephant (oldest African elephant ever), and Daphne the Giraffe (once the oldest giraffe).

Chuck E Cheese

Invention: Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the TV, was born in Beaver. I’ve enjoyed countless hours of entertainment thanks to Farnsworth, who was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1984, with his other patents leading to the development of radar, baby incubators and telescopes. Another notable Utah invention is the Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine.

Crime: Ted Bundy committed murders across the U.S., including Utah, where the killer was finally caught and incarcerated. Bundy would escape when transferred to Colorado and continue his murderous ways until caught again in Florida and later executed. In Utah, he slayed at a handful of women, while studying at the University of Utah Law School.

Law: In Utah, if a woman commits a crime with her husband present, he is technically responsible. I can see this law resulting in an interesting way for women to get revenge on an unfaithful/abusive husband.

Sports Team: Utah was without a professional sports team until the NBA’s New Orleans Jazz moved to Salt Lake City in 1979. The Jazz have never won a NBA Championship, having only appeared in two consecutive NBA Finals (1997 and 1998), led by superstars Karl Malone and John Stockton, but coming up against the Chicago Bulls dynasty both times.

Philo T Farnsworth

Athlete: NFL quarterback Steve Young was born in Salt Lake City, a great-great-great grandson of Brigham Young, founder of Salt Lake City and first governor of the Utah Territory. Young spent most of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, where he won three Super Bowls and was selected as the league’s MVP in 1992 and 1994. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Famous Home: Butch Cassidy’s Childhood Home in Circleville may not look like much, but it’s where the legendary outlaw spent the first few years of his life before going on to a career as a notorious train and bank robber. Cassidy, born Robert LeRoy Parker, was the leader of the Wild Bunch gang and his romanticized history has made the log cabin a tourist attraction.

Urban Legend: The 1956 movie The Conqueror, starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan, was filmed in Utah. This included the city of St. George, which was downwind of the Nevada National Security Site, where nuclear testing had occurred. By 1980, 91 of the 220 cast and crew members had been diagnosed with cancer, with 46 deaths. How much their participation in this film was to blame will always remain a question.

Museum: A major event in Utah’s history was hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, despite the games being marred by bribery scandals involving the organizing committee, as well as figure skating judges. The Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Cauldron Park, found on the campus of the University of Utah until February 2020, provided a remembrance of the competition. The cauldron is being refurbished and relocated.

Olympics

Firsts: The first department store in the U.S. was the Zions Co-operative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI), founded by Brigham Young in Salt Lake City in 1868. The chain even used the slogan “America’s First Department Store” for a time. In December 1999, ZCMI was sold to Macy’s Inc., ending 131 years of operation, although the name continued on in some locations.

Company: Ancestry.com is headquartered in Lehi. The genealogy company is the largest in the world, with 27 billion historical records and 100 million family trees as part of their network. They have even inadvertently aided in solving serious crimes, including the Golden State Killer. Recently, The Blackstone Group announced it was acquiring the company for $4.7 billion.

Events: On May 10, 1869, at promontory Summit, the Wedding of the Rails occurred, which marked the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The last spike, known as the Golden Spike, connected the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad lines. Today, the Golden Spike National Historical Park commemorates this event, including replicas of the two engines from the meet.

Miscellaneous: The Sundance Film Festival, established by actor Robert Redford (who portrayed the Sundance Kid) and others, is held annually in Park City. It has grown to become the largest independent film festival in the country. Countless films, directors and actors have gained notoriety thanks to the festival, which now has spinoffs in London and Hong Kong.

Bee’s Knees

Bee's Knees

  • 2 oz Gin
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Honey Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

Finding cocktails that originated in Utah was a tough task, given their antiquated views on liquor. Given it’s the Beehive State, I went with this honey-based drink. The recipe is simple enough, so let’s find out if it really is the bee’s knees.

Sip Trips 190: Halloween Haunts

Another month has come and gone and while this year’s Halloween season was very different from others before it, we still had a lot of fun with and without the kids. Let’s get right to the action and see what we got up to in October:

To start the month, Mrs. Sip made an online order with Granville Island Brewing, setting us up nice and proper. Our order included a 12-pack case of Lions Winter Ale and six-pack of Cranberry Orange Wheat Ale, as well as bombers of Granvillator Doppelback, Over and Under Galaxy Hazy IPA, Saison Sous le Pont Farmhouse Style Saison and Birra Obscura Black Pilsner. All that remains are half of the Winter Ale case and the Hazy IPA.

Beer Shopping

A few days later, I received my Jim Beam Bourbon National Talent Search pack, which I had saw advertised on Facebook. I figured, the cocktail making kit might come with a mini bottle and some kind of mixer, so imagine my surprise when I opened the box to discover a full bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon, a bottle of Fentimans Ginger Ale, a bottle of sweet and sour mixer and two t-shirts. I made the suggested cocktail a few times over the next days and enjoyed the servings.

Our next adventure took us to the newly-opened Smuggler’s Trail Brewing in Langley. There, I ordered a pint of the English Export Porter (a collaboration beer with Main Street Brewing), while Mrs. Sip had a flight of the Smuggler’s Trail flagship brews, including their Captain Stone Lager, Wedgehead Kolsch, Canoe Chase West Coast IPA and Flaskers Best Bitter. For eats, we had the Puller Pork Smoked Sliders and a side of Deep Fried Popcorn.

In the middle of the month, Mrs. Sip and I joined friends for the Maan Farms Haunted Corn Maze in Abbotsford. Needing a place for dinner beforehand (and to have a couple beverages for liquid courage), we visited Trading Post Brewing’s Abbotsford Eatery. Our meal began with shared appies of their Salt & Pepper Pork Rinds and Truffle Cheese Fries, with my main course being the TP Classic Burger with Fries. As we ate, I had servings of the Festbier and Best Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip selected the 10.4% Belgian Quad times two.

haunted-house

The next day, with Ma Sip hosting a small Oktoberfest gathering, the Sip Advisor did a fair bit of liquor store shopping, picking up the Spectrum Box of Chocolates case (White Chocolate Stout, Milk Chocolate Ale, Chocolate Orange Ale, Chocolate Mint Ale) and a six-pack of Spectrum’s delicious Pumpkin Spiced Latte Ale. I also grabbed a tall can four-pack of Whistler Black Cherry Marzen and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey, which has sadly been missing from my bar for far too long.

That week, I received my first BevTri delivery, which provides folks with mini liquor bottles to be tried and reviewed. My first assignment was Ezra Brooks Bourbon Whiskey, which came with a mini can of Coca-Cola. Later in the month, I received a second delivery of Hornitos Reposado Tequila. This is work I can really get behind!

On a recent Friday night, we decided to pack up the kids and go to the New West River Market for dinner and their scavenger hunt. We ate at Longtail Kitchen, enjoying servings of Pad Thai and Tamarind Chicken Wings. To drink, I had a tall can of Steel & Oak Radiant Things Hibiscus-Grapefruit Pale Ale, which made a perfect pairing with our food selections.

Pad Thai

To end the month, we attended a Halloween Trivia at Rendezvous Pub in Langley. The trivia was really fun, with it being not too easy and not too hard and with an interesting point system, where you could double whichever round you thought you’d do best at. For dinner, I enjoyed a Southwest Chicken Wrap and to drink, I had pints of Steel & Oak Red Pilsner and Driftwood Fat Tug IPA, which were both priced very nicely at $5.60.

I’m not sure November will live up to all the fun we had in October, but when there’s a will, there will be a way. I call our will Mrs. Sip! We are creeping into Christmas territory, so I’m sure the schedule will start filling up.

Texas – Texas Margarita

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 forewarned, don’t mess with Texas and today we explore the Lone Star State. Let’s see if, in fact, everything is bigger in Texas:

Motto: “Friendship” – Short and sweet… so much for everything being bigger!

Food: Texas is responsible for a number of culinary creations, highlighted by items such as Hamburgers, Corn Dogs, Fajitas and Sopapillas. Lesser known dishes, such as King Ranch Casserole (chicken, cream of mushroom and chicken soups, cheese and tortilla chips), Texas Caviar (black-eyed peas, corn, avocado and mango) and Chicken Fried Bacon also originated in the state.

Drink: A favourite mixer of the Sip Advisor, Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885 by pharmacist Charles Alderton. The drink gained national attention when it was exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The recipe for the soda is kept top secret, split in half and stored in two safety deposit boxes across two Dallas banks. Waco is home to the Dr Pepper Museum, inside a former bottling plant.

Dr Pepper

Site to See: Space Center Houston is among the top tourist attractions in Texas. Visitors can learn about the history and future of the NASA space program, through replicas of a space shuttle and space station, among other exhibits. The adjacent Johnson Space Center and Mission Control can also be toured, making for quite a day of space exploration inside earth’s atmosphere.

Street: Sixth Street in Austin is a historic district of the capital city. Formerly named Pecan Street, the Pecan Street Festival occurs every spring and fall, highlighting local food, art and music. The route is affectionately referred to as Dirty Sixth, thanks to its many entertainment options, including music and film festivals, as well as biker rallies.

TV Show: Two shows created by Mike Judge are set in Texas, King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-Head. I’m a fan of both shows, while Mrs. Sip can’t stand either. Of the two, I like King of the Hill better, thanks to its well-rounded cast of characters. King of the Hill aired for 13 seasons and 259 episodes, while Beavis and Butt-Head ran for eight seasons and 222 episodes.

Movie: Office Space (also from Mike Judge), starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston, is a fantastic movie and all the more enjoyable if you’ve ever worked in an office. The cult film sees programmer Peter Gibbons grow tired of his mundane job and life, pushing him into an embezzlement scheme against his employer. The movie made red staplers a must-have supply.

Office Space

Book/Author: The Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry consists of four western novels about a group of Texas Rangers during the formative years of the Republic of Texas. The books have been adapted into five TV miniseries and two TV series. Also, children’s novel Old Yeller by Fred Gipson is set in the fictional town of Salt Licks. It was adapted into a live-action Disney film.

Fictional Character: While I’d like to give this category to Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, I have to go with a character that will scare the hell out of most, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Face hidden by a mask made of the stitched together skin of his victims and wielding a constantly-revving chainsaw, is there a more intimidating horror baddie?

Fictional City: Once again, we go to Mike Judge’s two cartoon comedies, King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-Head, which are set in Arlen and Highland, respectively. Arlen is based on a combination of Dallas-Fort Worth towns, such as Garland, Arlington and Allen. Highland is thought to be located near the Texas-New Mexico border. Perhaps we’ll learn more in the upcoming series revival.

Actor/Actress: So many Hollywood A-listers are from Texas, making this a tough category to narrow down. These stars include Jamie Foxx, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, Tommy Lee Jones, Owen Wilson, Renée Zellweger, Jennifer Garner, Jim Parsons, Patrick Swayze, and Steve Martin. Many of them have worked with one another over their careers.

Leatherface

Song: Deep in the Heart of Texas was written by June Hershey and Don Swander has become an anthem for the state. When it was originally released, five recordings by different artists appeared on the Billboard charts. It was also the title song of the 1942 movie of the same name. The tune’s most memorable version may be by Gene Autry (the Singing Cowboy), who was a Texan.

Band/Musician: The Queen Bey, Beyoncé, headlines a list of popular performers, including Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Meat Loaf, Roy Orbison, Kenny Rogers, and Barry White. Beyoncé began her career in the girl group Destiny’s Child, before going solo. Now married to rapper Jay-Z, the two comprise one of the music industry’s most powerful couples.

People: Eccentric businessman Howard Hughes was born in Humble. Hughes dabbled in many industries, including aviation, Hollywood films, engineering and Las Vegas hotels and casinos. He was also known for his obsessive-compulsive disorder, which led to him being reclusive in his later years. Hughes’ life was documented in the 2004 movie The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Animal: Bevo the Texas Longhorn steer is the University of Texas at Austin live mascot. The team has had a steer as mascot since 1916 and is currently on the fifteenth version of Bevo. The steer’s head and horns has provided the school with a hand symbol and chant, known as Hook’em Horns. Bevo has been called “the toughest-looking animal mascot in sports”.

Beyonce

Invention: The temptation to select Silicone Breast Implants for this category is quite… titillating, but I will go with the Microchip, which has evolved to allow folks to have personal computers, smartphones and other devices. This was possible thanks to Texas Instruments electrical engineer Jack Kilby inventing the integrated circuit in 1958. In 2000, Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Crime: Among a long list of candidates, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was one of those moments where people remember where they were when they heard the news. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was shot in the head as his motorcade went through Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. His killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was also murdered two days later by Jack Ruby. Conspiracy theories persist to this day on the subject.

Law: In Texas, it’s illegal to graffiti another person’s cow… but with your own, go nuts! Sticking with cattle, if you steal any, it’s a hangable offense.

Sports Team: Texas is well-represented across the state, in each of the Big 4 sports leagues. Dallas is home to the Cowboys (NFL), Mavericks (NBA), Stars (NHL) and Texas Rangers (MLB), while Houston has the Texans (NFL), Rockets (NBA) and Astros (MLB). There’s also the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) to round things out. Texas is football mad, so college and even high school programs are well attended.

Football

Athlete: Texas seems to be a hotbed for professional wrestlers, including international superstars The Undertaker, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, and Booker T, as well as horde of famous grappling families such as the Guerreros, Von Erichs, Rhodes’ and Funks. Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling was a major promotion, peaking in the mid 1980’s.

Famous Home: Woodland, in Huntsville, was home to Sam Houston, a key figure in the Texas Revolution and first president of the Republic of Texas. The one-room log cabin can be found on the grounds of Sam Houston State University, with free tours available. The city of Houston (once the capital), the largest city in the state, is named after him.

Urban Legend: Given its proximity and history with Mexico, much of Latin culture is intertwined in Texas, including its legends. These include La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), El Muerto (Headless Horseman) and Chupacabra (Goat-Sucker). There’s also the mystery of what happened to Debbie from Debbie Does Dallas, but that’s a story for another day.

Museum: The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Waco. The Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement agency in North America, has been involved in thwarting assassination attempts and pursuing notorious outlaws, such as Bonnie and Clyde. Honourary Texas Rangers include John Wayne, Will Rogers, Chuck Norris and George H.W. Bush.

Chuck Norris

Firsts: A number of things that can now be found around the world, originated in Texas. This includes the first drive-in restaurant Kirby’s Pig Stand, serving up sandwiches and sides starting in 1921; shopping center (a group of stores with shared parking lot) Highland Park Village, established in 1930; and domed stadium the Astrodome, opened in 1965.

Company: Entertainment is important to Texans, with companies such as Dave & Buster’s, Chuck E. Cheese and Six Flags all headquartered in the state. While not affiliated, Dave & Buster’s and Chuck E. Cheese share many similarities, while being geared toward adult and child audiences, respectively. Six Flags was named for the six national flags that have flown over Texas.

Events: The Texas Revolution (October 1835-April 1836) against Mexico, led to the infamous Battle of the Alamo, where legendary figures such as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie perished in an outnumbered fight. Although a tactical loss, the event inspired many to take up arms for Texas independence. Today, the Alamo is a top tourist attraction in Texas and the country.

Miscellaneous: In 2005, the small town of Clark (population 201, as of the 2010 census) agreed to change its name to DISH, in honour of satellite TV provider Dish Network. Part of the deal saw every home receive 10 years of free basic TV service and a digital video recorder (DVR) from Dish Network. That’s an arrangement the Sip Advisor can get down with.

Texas Margarita

Texas Margarita

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The addition of Orange Juice is what turns a Margarita into a Texas Margarita. You could do this Margarita in a frozen blend, to salute the Frozen Margarita Machine being invented in Dallas in 1971 by Mariano Martinez. That early machine now sits in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

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.