A Floridian friend of mine is going to New York this weekend for her cousin's wedding, and once I shrugged off the envy I felt, what with The Strand in Manhattan, with its 18 miles of books, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum upstate in Hyde Park, I thought about all the states I must visit, mainly for the presidential libraries and museums they contain. It's quite a list:
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa
The Harry S. Truman Library & Museum in Independence, Missouri
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum in Abilene, Kansas
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston (I also want to try New England Clam Chowder in the New England region, and I read about the Union Oyster House, also in Boston. I want to go.)
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum in Austin, Texas (It'll be my first time in Texas since August 2003 when it took two days to drive through on our way to Southern California. I don't remember much of it, except the heat)
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, Michigan (I would like to see the Library, too, so I'll make time for that when I'm there)
The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta
The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas (I'll either spend a few days in Texas to cover the Johnson and Bush presidential libraries, or make separate trips. I just never imagined going back to Texas for anything, yet there'll I'll be for these)
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas (Especially important to me since I grew up during the Clinton Administration and want to see what I didn't pay a great deal of attention to then)
The George W. Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas (This will probably be open by the time I embark on any of these trips, and I've got a lot of thinking to do about Texas. Cover it all in one shot or separate trips? I first hope to earn enough money at my full-time job, and from freelance work I want to pursue after moving to Las Vegas, and I'll think about it further when I feel financially comfortable enough to start planning these trips)
And then there's others not run by the National Archives:
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio
The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton, Ohio
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton, Virginia
The Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum in Northampton, Massachusetts
I'm disappointed that there isn't a library for William Howard Taft, considering that he was President of the United States for one term, then eventually Chief Justice of the United States, and responsible for the Supreme Court building as it looks today. His life should be a museum as well.
And, of course, I want to travel throughout New Mexico, triggered by reading The Secret of Everything by Barbara O'Neal. I want to see the entire state, just like I want to with Nevada. And I also want to go to Washington, D.C. to see the White House, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives building. Seems appropriate.
For now, before these extensive travels, I'll have Las Vegas to settle into and get to know intimately, and ransack the Nevada history sections at my future local libraries. Nevada (not just the Las Vegas Valley) gives off the feeling that you can try anything, and you should. I intend to. I'll grow my roots, I'll do research for the books I want to write, I'll visit all the casinos, I'll experience the Smith Center, I'll drive through Henderson and Summerlin often and stop at the shops that interest me, I'll attend a few UNLV Rebels basketball games, I'll go often to the Pinball Hall of Fame on East Tropicana Avenue, and more. I'll finally physically live the way I do in my heart and mind. It'll start with the Las Vegas Valley and it'll eventually extend to the rest of the United States.