Dead Bellhop At Your Service

MINERAL WELLS, Texas—What is it about bellhops that makes them such popular ghosts? Is it the pasty skin they
acquire running through lobbies at midnight? The heavy baggage they carry that trains them to clop loudly up stairs? Or is it that so many
of them mentioned in urban legends have died the most gruesome deaths?

The last is likely the case with the bellhop who haunts the Baker Hotel of Mineral Wells, Texas. Killed, the stories say, in the late 1940s
when a freak elevator accident chopped the poor teen in two, he is seen today wearing his dapper blue uniform, with legs conspicuously
absent beneath his waist.

The truncated bellhop is only one of the spirits said to inhabit the abandoned Baker, which looms above downtown on Hubbard
Street like a derelict, brown-brick castle. Others include that of a small boy who died of leukemia circa 1933 while seeking treatment from
the city’s miracle waters, a shaggy dog that bounds around after him, and cigar-smoking Theodore B. Baker—wealthy businessman and hotel magnate—who built the fourteen-floor, 450-room jewel that bears his name in 1929.

Those wispy residents and reportedly many more like them are about to welcome new, living company.

Daring Spirit. Historical Design. is the slogan being used to promote efforts to bring the hotel back from the dead. Baker Hotel Development Partners, LLC and affiliates —working in conjunction with the city of Mineral Wells—has set an ambitious goal to restore and reopen the Spanish Colonial-style tower by early 2026. It will fully renovate 165 guest suites, resurrect spas and ballrooms, and provide spaces for a restaurant, coffee shop, and retail stores. It’s a grand plan and a tall order: The hotel has been out of business for more than fifty years.

Built to pamper celebrities, cattle barons, and politicians, the Baker had a spotty record of operation. Opened two weeks after the great stock market crash, it struggled to find the relevance of plush accommodations during the Great Depression and World War II. It rebounded in the 1950s, struggled through the 1960s, then closed for good in 1972. In recent years, its crumbling plaster and forlorn
air has drawn curious eyes, and its reputation as a haunted hotel brought eerie business in the form of ghost tours. Coverage on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and similar shows increased its exposure, but tourists who came to town to feel tingly couldn’t book a room in a skeleton.

That will change as a restored Baker invites ghost chasers to stay with the specters they’ve heard about. The ghosts themselves are surely prepared to play host to any posh future the hotel envisions, especially the bellhop—who was trained for elite service—and particularly now: The discovery of an article in the archives of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram proves he really was once a fellow of flesh and blood a 16-year-old named Douglas Moore—who met his end much as the legends say, fatally injured “when he attempted to enter a service elevator after it had started up.” He died of a crushed torso in the local hospital.

The article makes no mention of Moore’s burial in uniform, but such an internment is implied by the apparition’s suit of dapper blue.
Some who have seen him say the ghost seems to take pride in his snappy dress, which hints at
an answer to the riddle we started with. Why do bellboys make such popular ghosts?
Because no one else would be caught dead wearing those creepy chinstrap hats.

Humpback Bridge & Alleghany Highlands Blueway

Built in 1857, Humpback Bridge has become one of the most cherished landmarks in Virginia as well as one of the most visited icons in the Alleghany Highlands. In addition to the region’s rich history, many people visit for great outdoor recreation on the rivers and lakes. Plan your next outdoor adventure to the Alleghany Highlands today!

 

Location:

Alleghany Highlands VA

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Falling Spring Falls in the Alleghan Highlands of Virginia

Photo of the Week brought to you by: Alleghany Highlands of Virginia

Falling Spring Falls is a breathtaking 80′ cascading waterfall that is one of the most visited and photographed spots in the Alleghany Highlands. The scenic waterfall is located on Route 220 in Alleghany County, just five miles north of Covington, Virginia. Plan your trip at: Alleghany Highlands of Virginia

 

Location

Hot Springs Rd

Covington, VA 24426

 

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Feelin’ Peachy in South Carolina’s Old 96 District

Did you know South Carolina produces more peaches than Georgia 

and is the nation’s second-largest producer of peaches behind California? In addition, the largest peach grower on the East Coast is Titan Farms, right here in Edgefield, SC, with 6,200+ acres of peaches in production! With 60 percent of South Carolina’s peaches grown in the Old 96 District — encompassing Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, and McCormick counties — it’s no wonder that we’re excited about peach season and all the delicious and fresh peachy treats available during the early summer months.

Celebrate the peach in the Old 96 District this summer! Here are some peachy events and spots you won’t want to miss. 

Visit the Johnston Peach Blossom Festival 

This year’s annual celebration will be held on May 6 in Johnston, SC, the Peach Capital of the World. The festival features a parade, arts and crafts, food vendors, live music and children’s rides and games. 

Visit the Ridge Peach Festival

Running the third weekend of June for over 50 years in Trenton, SC, this June 17 festival celebrates heritage and peaches in a nostalgic way that will make you feel like you came back home. Watch the morning parade and then browse through booths with arts and crafts, antiques, fresh peaches, peach ice cream, desserts and preserves.

Stop By a Farmer’s Market

Just-picked peaches, berries, vegetables and other goodies are waiting for you. Start with Jackie’s Market and Cook’s Roadside Market. Stop at Titan Farm’s roadside stand and Sara’s Fresh Market in Trenton for homemade peach ice cream. Order a Titan Farms’ Carolina Beauty Peach Giftbox – 13 gorgeous peaches – for a friend or family member. A farmer’s market visit is the perfect celebration of peaches in the Old 96 District!

Sip Tiger Creek Peach Wine At Three Star Vineyard And Orchard

Order a sweet, dry or wine slushy flight or purchase wine by the glass at this Johnston, SC, vineyard. Listen to live music from 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays from March through October. Come for Food Truck Friday Night and live music on the last Friday of the month.

Tour Carolina Moon Distillery

Find out how this downtown Edgefield distillery makes its moonshine with a free tour and tasting, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The peach-flavored moonshine, rum and whiskey are made with peaches from J.W. Yonce & Sons, Inc. Big Smile Peaches in Johnston.

And finally, surprise your friends and family with 10 Peachy Fun Facts you may not know

  1. All peaches are native to China, where the only wild peaches still grow today. 
  2. Documentation of the first cultivated peach was recorded by the Chinese in the 10th century. 
  3. The peach is closely related to almonds, cherries, and plums. 
  4. A peach tree can grow from 13 to 33 feet in height. 
  5. Flowers appear on the tree before leaves. They consist of 5 pink petals. 
  6. Peaches are a rich source of vitamin C, A, and E. 
  7. First fruit will appear on the peach tree after 3 years. The plant will usually live around 12 years. 
  8. All varieties of peaches can be divided into two groups: clingstone and freestone peaches. 
  9. It was early American Indian tribes who spread the peach tree across our country, planting seeds as they traveled. 
  10. Peaches have been an important commercial crop in South Carolina since the mid-1800s, around the introduction of the railroad. 

Feelin’ Peachy? Visit our website for more markets, fruit stands, sips and samples, recipes, and more ideas on how to enjoy our fresh, delicious local peaches on your next trip to South Carolina’s Old 96 District! 

Enjoy Life in an Historic Way in Springfield

This summer History Comes Alive returns for its 14th season as Abraham and Mary Lincoln lead a cast of characters for a trip back in time that you won’t want to miss. Meet the Lincolns at historic sites throughout the city, like the world-class Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, where you can learn about their lives in Springfield. Hear Lincoln deliver some of his most famous speeches or enjoy an ice cream social at Edwards Place, where the Lincolns would visit their friends, Benjamin and Helen Edwards. From June 2-August 6, seven day a week, you can make your own history and memories!

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POTTY WITH BON JOVI

Enjoy this great story from our current issue, then take a test drive to see how you can have full digital access for less than a cup of java! There’s something about the songs of rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi, with lyrics such as “freedom was a tank of gas…to drive, just drive,” that has always felt like a road trip set to music. And now there’s another reason to air guitar in your car—especially if your travel plans take you through New Jersey.

 

A Garden State Parkway rest area, at milepost 123 in South Amboy, has been renamed in Bon Jovi’s honor, thanks to a collaboration between the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Sayreville, New Jersey—The Jon Bon Jovi Service Area has all the conveniences of a typical rest stop—restaurants, bathrooms, gas—in a setting that feels like you’re visiting Jovi at home. There’s a framed platinum record from the artist’s personal collection, commemorating a million copies sold of Bon Jovi’s 1987 mega-smash album Slippery When Wet. There are also banners adorned with inspirational quotes, a gigantic lit-up guitar, and a life-size hologram of Bon Jovi himself that talks and answers big questions, such as whether it is etiquette in North or South Jersey to put ketchup or mustard on pork roll.

The plaza is one of nine Garden State Parkway rest stops to be named after Jersey’s famous sons and daughters. Others will soon include the Whitney Houston Service Area near Union, New Jersey; the Toni Morrison Service Area at Ocean View; and the Frank Sinatra Service Area in Galloway. (And, fun fact, Frank Sinatra was actually Bon Jovi’s great-uncle on his father’s side.)

The Jon Bon Jovi Service Center is two miles from Bon Jovi’s childhood home —16 Robinhood Drive in Sayreville— where the singer also lived as an adult while his band was recording its first three records. Between those walls, Jon Bon Jovi wrote his band’s first No. 1 hit song, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” which is featured on that same platinum record on display at his eponymous rest stop.

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy says she hopes the service area “inspires the next Jon Bon Jovi.” But even if it doesn’t set you down the road toward rock ’n’ roll stardom, it will allow you the chance to answer an over-tired kid, who’s asked for the hundredth time how much longer the road trip will be, by singing, “Ooooooh, we’re halfway there! Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear!”
—Eric Spitznagel

Jon Bon Jovi Service Area
Milepost 123, between exits 124 and 125

The rest stop is near Sayreville, the Jersey borough where the future rocker was born and raised

21st Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival

The International Route 66 Mother Road Festival brings classic car, street machines, muscle cars and hot rod enthusiasts to historic downtown Springfield for an incredible weekend of family entertainment.

Take a look at what you don’t want to miss!
Friday night Route 66 City Nights Cruise with up to 2,000 classic cars cruising into downtown Springfield
Enjoy live music from the Neverly Brothers Friday night
Burnout Competition Saturday at 3:00pm
The Miss Mother Road pageant takes place on Saturday sponsored by Springfield Vintage
One Foot In, The Groove Daddies & The Blooze Brothers hit the stage Saturday.
Old Capitol Farmers Market – Saturday morning
Admire the spectacular automotive eye candy in the “Monet of Cars” featuring cars from Dick Levi on Saturday & Sunday
East Bound and Down, RECON TECHS of Springfield presents the Ultimate Smokey & the Bandit tribute all weekend with finale on Sunday
Post your “selfie” at any Illinois Route 66 landmark to Facebook, or Instagram with hashtag #MyIL66 and #visitspringfield to be featured on Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway social media! Info at #MyIL66.
IL State Capitol Photo Op! Stage a photo of your car with the majestic Illinois State Capitol Building as your backdrop (4th & Capitol)
Grab the Explorer Passport and visit our Living Legends of Route 66 throughout Springfield, available at the Springfield Visitors Center
Register your ride for a chance to be awarded one of the top honors, show will be judged by CASI certified national judges

FESTIVAL HOURS: Registration Thursday, Sept. 22 11:30am-6pm, Friday, Sept 23, Registration 11am-8pm, Cruise Line-up 3pm, Cruise into Downtown 6pm, Show hours 6pm-10pm, Saturday, Sept. 24, Registration 8am-Noon, Show Hours 9am-10pm and Sunday, Sept 25, 9am-2pm, Awards Ceremony at Noon

Experience North of Normal in Fargo

I’m sure you’ve heard of Fargo, but it’s probably way different than you expect. It’s an unconventional place that you’d have to see to believe. Experience North of Normal in Fargo and discover the colorful prairie landscapes just miles from edgy and unexpected downtown streets, unpretentious restaurants with outstanding dishes, and events nearly every day all year around. For more information about Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo; please visit the website: fargomoorhead.org

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Historic Route 66, Visit Claremore

Cowboys, guns, oil, a big blue whale, the world’s largest totem pole, Will Rogers and the true nut house…experience Oklahoma hospitality, the legends of Claremore and Historic Route 66 and all her glory in beautiful northeast Oklahoma!

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