Photo of the Day (8.22.10)

Photography isn’t just about clicking a shot based on what’s in your viewfinder. Elements like lighting, framing and timing all matter when you’re hoping to capture that perfect shot. Just take a look at Flickr user andykee’s image of these four lake houses in Delaware for proof. Andy turned what could have otherwise been a ho-hum shot at the beach into a photo loaded with atmosphere. The muted gray colors, blurry reflections and ample space at the top and bottom suggest the structures are floating on air – mysterious ghost houses shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

Have any great shots from your recent travels? Why not share them with us by adding them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Road trip: The best roadside attractions on the east and west coasts

Road trips are meant to be fun, meaningful, and inspire some reflection as you set out for the great open roads. When the driving gets a little dull, though, there’s plenty to see on the side of the road.

The eastern portion of the United States is home to many world-recognized sites, but many of these grandiose tourist destinations overshadow the lesser-known, roadside attractions that are just as worthy of your time. Here’s a round up of some of the best off-the-beaten path attractions along the east and west coasts that are worthy of a break on your next road trip:

East Coast

Museum of Bad Art – Dedham, Massachusetts

The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Massachusetts boasts a collection of art so bad, it’s good. Visitors to this museum can peruse the various galleries, which contains an impressive (or is it non-impressive?) 400 pieces as part of its permanent collection. Popular pieces include their “Mana Lisa” — a painting that looks like the he-version of da Vinci’s famous smiling woman, among others.

Lucy the Elephant – Margate, New Jersey
At over 120 years old, New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant boasts the title of America’s oldest roadside attraction. She’s constructed of entirely wood and tin, stands 65 feet tall and weighs in at a whopping 90 tons. For $4 a person ($2 kids), visitors can walk inside Lucy’s belly.

The Shoe House – York, Pennsylvania
Ever heard of the old lady who lived in a shoe? Turns out, that old tale may have actually been true. Located off the Hellam exit on U.S. 30 stands an actual, livable house in the shape of a shoe. It was constructed in 1948 by Colonel Mahlon N. Haines as part of an advertising gimmick.

Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard – South Burlington, Vermont
Every time a flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream gets the boot, it makes a final resting place in their Waterbury cemetery. Each flavor gets a proper headstone so that visitors can walk by and pay their respects (free of cost). May Hunka Burnin’ Fudge and Economic Crunch rest in piece.

World’s Largest Ax – (Nackawic) New Brunswick, New Jersey
If there’s one thing Nackawic, New Brunswick in New Jersey is known for, it’s the gigantic ax that rests along the banks of the Saint John River. The ax represents the small town’s major impact in the world of forestry.

Miles the Monster – Dover, Delaware

Towering above the Dover International Speedway in Delaware you can find Miles the Monster, the mascot with menacing red eyes who watches over the NASCAR track. With a race car clutched in one had and a giant, muscular figure made of stone, Miles can be quite intimidating.

Yankee Siege Trebuchet – Greenfield, New Hampshire
You don’t have to know a lot about medieval warfare to appreciate the Yankee Siege Trebuchet in Greenfield, New Hampshire. This giant, 25,000 pound trebuchet (a chucking device) is most famous for its ability to hurl pumpkins incredibly long distances. In fact, in 2009 it set a world record by throwing a pumpkin 2,034 feet.

Secret Caverns – Cobleskill, New York
The secret caverns just outside Albany, New York were discovered in the late 1920s when a few cows had an unfortunate fall into an 85 foot deep hole. Explorers decided to check out what was down the hole and happened upon a magnificent 100 foot waterfall. To check out this natural phenomenon yourself, Take I-88 to exit 22 and follow the hand-painted road signs.

West Coast

The Thing – Tuscon, Arizona
Located off exit 322 on Interstate 10 exists something that travelers refer to as, “The Thing.” So what is this thing, exactly? Supposedly, it’s a mummified mother with her dear child. If that weren’t enough, the museum also features a car rumored to be owned by Hitler himself and a stuffed Armadillo clutching a beer.

Trinity Site – Whites Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
On July 16, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated in New Mexico, an area now referred to as the Trinity Site. Tourists are able to visit the site twice a year — the first Saturday in April and October, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There, you can view the 12-foot obelisk that marks the explosions hypocenter and walk around the huge crater, which is still littered with green, glassy pieces formed by the explosion.

Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, Texas
This free roadside attraction is one of Texas’ most famous. It’s located in Amarillo along old Route 66 (Interstate 40) and was created in 1974 by artists who referred to themselves as Ant Farm. The art consists of 10 Cadillac cars halfway buried into the ground and covered in paint. Visitors can add to the artwork by painting their names or a picture.

World’s Tallest Thermometer – Death Valley, California
This 134-foot working thermometer is easily the world’s largest. It’s home is in Death Valley, California at 72155 Baker Blvd. Passers by can stop for pictures or simply determine what the current outside temperature is.

Giant Cabazan DinosaursCabazon, California
Nestled between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California, tourists and locals alike can walk –or drive– amongst the world’s largest dinosaur statues. These life-sized dinos are part of a museum that’s open year round (excluding holidays) to adults and children. Visit this Western roadside attraction and you may feel like you’re living in prehistoric times.

Metaphor: Tree of Utah – Wendover, Utah

If you’re already in Utah to visit the state’s famous salt flats, you may as well take a gander at this quirky tourist attraction. It’s nicknamed the “Tree of Utah,” and is a tree-like statue created in the early ’80s by Karl Momen, a Swedish artist. It’s located on the north side of I-80 approximately 95 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Antler Arches – Jackson, Wyoming

The Antler Arches of Jackson, Wyoming are precisely what they sound like: arches that is constructed out of dozens of antlers. The arches themselves are pretty massive and rest at each of the four corners of Jackon’s town square.

Shoe Tree – Shaniko, Oregon
If you have an old pair of shoes to spare, you may as well chuck them onto the famous shoe tree in Alfafa, Oregon. After all, the tree houses hundreds of random shoes, tied together and swung over branches. You can find this quirky tree on Highway 26, east of Mitchell, Oregon near mile marker 89.

TV Simpsons’ House Replica – Las Vegas, Nevada

Even if you’re not an avid fan of television’s The Simpson family, chances are you’re at least familiar with the long-running series. In 1997, a house was constructed to look exactly like the Simpsons’ humble abode in Las Vegas, Nevada right off exit 64 on Interstate 515. The house is 2,200 square feet and part of a new subdivision appropriately titled, “Springfield.”

Delaware museum exhibits copy of famous art

The Delaware Art Museum is proud to exhibit a copy of the Mona Lisa. So, if a trip to the Louvre is not in your budget this year, consider Wilmington. You can enjoy the lovely smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s Norwegian artist Tor Egil Hansen’s masterpiece without breaking the bank. Apparently, Hansen spent five months (in 2004 and 2005) to create this knockoff, committing around 400 hours to paint what had already been painted.

So, don your Folex watch, Prado shoes and Armanee suit, and head out to the Delaware Art Museum. Or, if you’re feeling bold, wait for this newer Mona Lisa to appear alongside pirated DVDs on Manhattan’s Canal Street.

It’s announcements like this one that make the financial crisis come to life. We’re celebrating knockoffs in Wilmington.

Jasmine Lounge

As some of you may remember I am on the road touring for HP. While I’m working very hard out here in the Northeast I’m making sure I grab every opportunity possible to stay far away from chain restaurants to try the local and new tasty flavors. I do this mainly because I love getting the word out on good food as well as bad food on menus less explored, but also because it gives something to serve you here on Gadling. (Yes, I know – everything I do, I do it for you.)

My latest stop for lunch was at the Jasmine Lounge found in Wilmington, Delaware. The Zagat rated restaurant serves Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines. When I drove by the first time all I spotted was Sushi so I had my mind set on a roll of Hamachi with scallion and some miso, although the Vietnamese dishes sounded extremely tempting too. Considering how I was on a late lunch break, the place was pretty quiet. There were a couple of patrons scattered throughout the large size restaurant and lounge. I soaked in the silence as I slurped down my miso soup. Something about the seaweed in this particular bowl was extra delicious. The Hamachi and scallion roll was equally tasty, though I’d have to say it didn’t knock my socks off. I also ended up ordering the house salad, which was okay, but the ginger dressing didn’t thrill me either. So my overall thoughts about the food – it’s good. There are tons of other items I’d love to come back and sample one day, but I don’t know what the chances of me spending time in Wilmington are like outside of work related reasons.

Anyhow, in the evening the restaurant turns into a lively lounge where people drop in for drinks, eats and after work gossip I’m sure. If you’re in Wilmington one day stop in to fill up and share your own thoughts.

Jasmine is located at 3618 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803. Ph. 302.479.5618.

One Hundred Very Angry U.S. Cities

Why this list of angry U.S. cities makes me laugh – I don’t know? Could it be that Orlando, the very home of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse ranks number one for some bizarre reason? Maybe it’s because my city (Tampa, FL) ranks 12 and the near by St. Petersburg, FL comes in second? So my first question is this – what’s up with all the anger Florida?

World Hum points readers to a fine piece from Men’s Health focusing on 100 very angry U.S. cities. The ranking was based off factors like percentage of men with high blood pressure, FBI rates of aggravated assaults, Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers on workplace deaths from assaults and other violence in addition to road rage. Whew! With all those ugly factors and Orlando placing tops on the anger totem, some of you may be a little afraid to see where your place of residence ranks. Others may not be so surprised.