One of my new UCF friends, Jeri, has reminded me with one of her recent posts of a topic that I wanted to expand on since that huge “about me” meme (see #39 on that): Which of the 50 US states I have visited so far. This list is bound to remain static for at least a couple of years, so now is as good time as any to elaborate.
First – a visual.
Alabama In January of 1997, Natasha, my brother Konstantin, and I went for several days to New Orleans on one of those “timeshare-presentation” deals. That one week-long trip added 4 states to my list, including Alabama, where a high-school friend of mine lived with her family at the time. We spent a short time in and around Mobile, and took in an early Mardi Gras parade at Dauphin Island. Curiously, my friend has since moved to Michigan and then to Tennessee, but we never visited them there, and those two states remain off my “been-to” list for now.
California Been to it many times and love it. Both Natasha and I have relatives in the greater Los Angeles area, so we visit quite often. Took a couple of trips to San Diego. Been on a handful of business trips to San Francisco. And in spring of 2006, we and the kids drove up the coast from LA to SF, with several stops along the way.
Connecticut Besides driving through it on the way to more northern destinations, we also visited friends who live in the Hartford area a couple of times.
Delaware Drove through it several times on the way to DC and Virginia. More likely than not, even stopped at a rest area for gas and utilities on a couple of occasions.
Florida Orlando and the Disneyworld, and Daytona Beach and the surrounding area. Twice. We own a timeshare at New Smyrna Beach (15 miles south of Daytona), which we only visited once in – what, 12? – years, preferring to let our friends and relatives use it through interval exchanges.
Georgia Airport transfer in Atlanta. Although, Natasha and Becky have actually been to Duluth for one of Becky’s synchronized skating competitions.
Illinois Visited Chicago many times on business and to see family and friends. My brother has been a proud resident of the greater Chicago for almost ten years.
Louisiana The primary destination on that trip in 1997 was New Orleans, where we spent several days enjoying jazz and doing sightseeing stuff. Among the strongest recollections: Not being able to finish a combination plate that included crocodile meat and frog legs (that portion was huge!); having to pretend that Natasha was pregnant, to spare her bladder a little from the two-drinks-a-person minimum for every set played by any band; and falling prey to the famous “Where you got your shoes?” con on Bourbon Street…
Maryland Similar to Delaware. But also, our very first trip to DC was by Greyhound, with a stop in Baltimore. For some reason, I have a recollection of seeing Camden Yards, which opened just a year prior, up close.
Massachusetts One short business trip to Boston (Natasha accompanied me – and actually had time to properly explore the city for a day). One week of holidays on Cape Cod.
Mississippi On the way from New Orleans to Alabama during the aforementioned trip of 1997, we chose to drive along the Gulf Coast scenic route. The best recollection of that is a fast-food joint stop somewhere in Biloxi or other, where the girl behind the counter was absolutely dumbstruck by Kostya and I conversing among ourselves in Russian.
Nevada A couple of visits to Vegas combined with Southern California trips…
New Hampshire On our skiing trip to Vermont in 2001, we found ourselves with limited options for a dinner one night, so we drove across the river to New Hampshire in search of a place to eat. No recollection where we ate in the end.
New Jersey It’s home.
New York Brooklyn was home for 8 years, and I studied and worked in New York City from 1991 to 2006. Besides the five boroughs, Long Island, Rockland and Westchester counties, and Niagara Falls are among the places that I’ve set foot in many times.
North Carolina Many, many, many business trips to Charlotte. Also, in 1992, I took Amtrak down there for a visit with an old friend who was on an exchange program at UNC in Chapel Hill. I remember that we spent a good part of a night lining up for tickets for a basketball game, and entertained all around us with our Russian pop repertoire.
Ohio The last – or, more accurately, the first – of the 4 states visited during the 1997 New Orleans trip. We had to change planes at Cincinnati on our way there.
Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Poconos, Amish Country…
Rhode Island One intraday business trip to Providence and a drive-through on the way to Cape Cod.
South Carolina On one of my business trips to Charlotte, I ended up invited to a corporate outing for a baseball game of the local minor league team, the Charlotte Knights. Their stadium is actually located across the border, in South Carolina.
Vermont One skiing trip with friends in 2001, to an Ascutney Mountain resort.
Virginia Colonial Williamsburg (and Busch Gardens) in 1997 (or 1998). Plus, our good friends live in Fairfax County, where we visited them several times over the years.
Wisconsin I’ve been forgetting this state in my recent counts, but on the last family trip to Chicago, we went to a Renaissance Fair that is held across the border in Wisconsin.
DC Although not a state, it gets a point for the purposes of this exercise. Only the aforementioned very first Greyhound-enabled trip was specifically to see the city (although, in fact, we were meeting up with an old friend there). Since then, we’ve come for a bit of sightseeing on every occasion that we had visiting our Virginia-based friends.
More than the half of the states remains to be explored, and here is the quick summary of how likely that is for each:
Alaska – Natasha is hatching plans to go on a cruise with friends; something that we long considered a must at some point in our lives.
Arizona – Grand Canyon, if nothing else, has been on our target list for quite a long time.
Arkansas – Not sure.
Colorado – I’m not much of a skier, which is a big reason why we have never gotten to Colorado (every single one of our skiing destinations so far has been within driving distance from where we live). I’m sure we’ll find reasons to go one day.
Hawaii – Only the long flying times have prevented us from going, thus far. To be rectified.
Idaho – Not sure.
Indiana – Not sure.
Iowa – Not sure.
Kansas – Not sure.
Kentucky – Not sure.
Maine – Heard a lot of good things from people who went on trips there. A likely trip one day.
Michigan – Not sure.
Minnesota – Our good friends have been there and are very effusive in praising it. Nonetheless, not sure.
Missouri – Not sure.
Montana – Not sure.
Nebraska – Not sure.
New Mexico – Not sure.
North Dakota – Not sure.
Oklahoma – Not sure.
Oregon – I am much more interested in man-made wonders than in natural ones, but I’ve heard a lot about Oregon’s nature, so this is somewhere on the list.
South Dakota – Mount Rushmore does not excite me very much, so not sure.
Tennessee – If our formerly-of-Alabama friends stick around, one day we may end up visiting them.
Texas – Certainly of interest, but unless we go on a cross-country road trip one day, I am not sure when I’ll have the chance.
Utah – The skiing excuse works here as well. There are quite a few things that I wouldn’t mind seeing in this state, though, so on the list.
Washington – I always considered Seattle as an interesting potential destination. One day.
West Virginia – Appalachian Mountains hold certain attraction. On the list.
Wyoming – Not sure.
Anybody has suggestions? It’s a bit early for us to plan anything, but we are very good at storing advice for future use…