Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Martin Luther King memorial in Washington, DC at night
Martin Luther King memorial in Washington, DC at night

Recently I was in Washington DC and spent some time at the Smithsonian in the Museum of American History, learning about Americans at war, the civil rights movement and American culture.

Last year, we spent the day at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, touring the battlefields and learning about how the Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War. If you go, make sure you pay the extra admission to see the Cyclorama, an amazing 360 degree oil painting of the battle that comes to life with music and digital effects.

75% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border. We share the largest undefended border in the world, yet every time I travel to the States I’m struck as much by the differences between our two great nations, as by the similarities that make us neighbours and friends.

One of the things I admire most about our neighbours to the south is their staunch belief in democracy, equality and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and their undying faith that theirs is one of the greatest nations in the world. As Canadians we are far more self-deprecating.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau once said about living next to our neighbours to the south, ““Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

I think the United States is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. This week, I thought I would share some of my favourite places in the U.S. We are always looking for suggestions for our next trip, so please share your favourites in the comments.

  • Most majestic city: Washington, DC
  • Best outlet shopping: Frankenmuth, Michigan
  • Favourite city: San Francisco, California
  • Best theatre: New York, New York
  • Best music city: Nashville, Tennessee (with New Orleans a close second)
  • Most beautiful mountain range: The Grand Tetons in Wyoming
  • Most spiritual area: Sedona, Arizona
  • Most precarious drive: Mount Washington, New Hampshire
  • Wackiest tourist attraction: The corn palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
  • Prettiest town: Woodstock, Vermont

This week’s #HappyAct is to visit our neighbours to the south and go on your own pursuit of happiness in the good ol’ US of A. If you live in the States, pick a region you haven’t explored yet, and spend time in your own backyard. Be sure to leave a comment about where I should explore next.

honky tonk sign

Main street Broadway in music city, Nashville, TN

Woman in front of New York skyline
Enjoying the New York city skyline at sunset at the top of the Rockefeller Centre