The View From Absecon Lighthouse, Atlantic City, NJ
Towards the southern end of New Jersey you will find a hotbed of gambling called Atlantic City. Easily lost in the highrise casinos and hotels is the country's third tallest lighthouse. And that's part of the problem...
First lit in 1857, this 171 foot tall lighthouse uses a First Order Fresnel lens, the largest of its kind. The beam could shine 19.5 nautical miles out to sea, changing the local shoreline from one that had been particularly hazardous to one that could now be navigated with much greater safety. However, by the 1880's construction was beginning in Atlantic City with homes, shops, and a boardwalk. By 1933, with the addition of taller buildings which blocked the light, Absecon Lighthouse was decommissioned and the light extinguished.
Today, you can walk the 228 steps to the top and get a great panoramic view of Atlantic City. One additional thing to notice while at the bottom of the lighthouse is the acoustics. If people are talking at the top of the lighthouse, you can clearly hear them at the bottom. Basically, you are standing at the bottom of a giant megaphone, with the sound directed right at you.
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The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.
The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.
The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.
The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seatle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer.
Text by Steve Smith.