Free travel Kindle books for 28 Feb 17

A Walking Tour of Vicksburg, Mississippi (Look Up, America!)

by Doug Gelbert

There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour from walkthetown.com is ready to explore when you are.

Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.

Newitt Vick was a Methodist minister from Virginia who established one of the first missions in Mississippi in 1814 on land he purchased from the government about six miles east of the the current townsite. While tending to converts Vick also had an eye for business, especially as the nation’s richest cotton-growing lands were being developed around him. He bought up land around the confluence of the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers and sketched out plans for a port city. An outbreak of yellow fever claimed both Vick and his wife in 1819 but a son-in-law, John Lane took the plans, sold lots to pay Vick debts and by 1825 had launched a thriving village that was named in the minister’s honor.

Vicksburg was very quickly a bustling port town. In addition to the trade arriving across the docks there were two soap factories, sawmills, carriage and wagon works, and a hospital in town in short order. By 1860 there were five churches, four fire companies and three newspapers in town. When the Civil War erupted Vicksburg was recognized on both sides as “the Gibraltar of the Confederacy.” it took more than a year of military operations and one of the greatest strategic campaigns in American military history, culminating in a six-week siege, to drive the rebels from their fortress of a town. The Vicksburg Campaign made the career of General Ulysses S. Grant and doomed the Confederacy when General John Clifford Pemberton surrendered the town on July 4, 1863.

When the war ended the Vicksburg economy was crippled and much of its building stock damaged or destroyed. Reconstruction in the years following the war did not bring immediate relief. Even the Mississippi River turned against Vicksburg when it cut a new channel and abandoned the waterfront in 1876.

Things began to turn around for Mississippi’s largest city in the 1880s. The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad arrived in 1884, steamboats filled the Mississippi River and a streetcar system was initiated. The Mississippi River was even brought back by the United States Corps of Engineers with a diversion canal in the Yazoo River.

The boom years subsided after 1910 with the disappearance of the steamboat trade. The population in Vicksburg has changed little in the past 100 years, even as the streetscape has been altered regularly. The town grew up around Main Street but after a fire in 1839 the commercial district shifted down to Washington Street, parallel to the water. Fires visited the downtown area regularly in 1846, 2885, 1910 and 1939, consuming entire blocks. A December 5, 1953 tornado crashed through the business district taking with it numerous long-standing properties in town.

In the 1970s Vicksburg was an active player in urban renewal, pulling down hundreds of buildings. Entire blocks were lost and many buildings left standing picked up unfortunate modern facelifts. Our walking tour to seek out what remains of the character of the historic river town will start, naturally, enough, down by the water…



College Road Trips A Parent’s Guide: How to organize your teen’s college visits without losing your mind

by Janice Caine

When you’re a parent with a college-bound teen, navigating the college search can be a whole new and confusing worldâ??especially if you’re a â??first-time’ parent and only too aware that your child’s entire future could hang on getting the college tours exactly right.

In â??College Road Trips, A Parent’s Guide: How to organize your teen’s college visits without losing your mind’, you’ll learn that with the right help and guidance, organizing college visits doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Indeed it can be enriching and informative. It can even be fun!

But as a busy family where on earth do you start? How do you help your teen narrow down college choices and decide which schools to visit? How can you be sure of getting the most out of every visit? How do you put together an itinerary that will allow every college visit to run like clockwork? What’s the best way to get a realistic sense of a college’s offerings, including those extracurricular activities and options that enrich the overall college experience?

This handbook, written by Janice Caine, CEO of Custom College Visits, offers families valuable tips to negotiate the daunting college tour maze. She brings her personal experiences as a parent together with her business skills as a college consultant and former meeting and travel planner to guide parents through the dizzying research and frenzy of planning college visitsâ??with the goal of helping you target and visit schools up close so you can provide your teen with the information needed to make informed decisions.

This essential, user-friendly guide shows you how to cut through all the hassle, headaches and time-wasting to create logical, straightforward itineraries and schedules. It provides a checklist of all those vital details that need to be attended to before you departâ??everything from arranging appointments with faculty members to determining your route and making travel arrangements.

The guidebook discusses those all-important interviews and why preparation is everything, including suggestions for conversation starters that can impress an interviewer and help your teen stand out.

Of course, being at college isn’t just about the academics, and the book touches upon what your teen might wish to look for outside the classroom. There are tips for finding out about extracurricular clubs and activities, talking with â??real life college students’ plus a host of other all-too-easily-overlooked aspects that can provide a crucial window into the wider college community.

Whether you and your teen decide to arrange your own college tours and on-campus visits, or you choose the services of a professional, the information contained in â??College Road Trips, A Parent’s Guide: How to organize your teen’s college visits without losing your mind’ will prove invaluable for the family who wants to be sure of getting the final decision exactly right.



A Walking Tour of Burlington, Vermont

by Doug Gelbert

There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a self-guided walking tour is ready to explore when you are.

Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. A quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on North American streets is included.

In early America there may not have been a better place to watch a sunset than Burlington, which was organized as a town in 1785. On the eastern shore of Lake Champlain one could sit on a wide sandy crescent and look across the water to the Adirondack Mountains. But these sylvan pleasures would surely be intruded on in short order.

After all the natural falls of the Winooski River were begging for mills to take advantage of the water power. And when the Champlain Canal opened in 1823 to access the Hudson River and then New York City and then the Atlantic Ocean by water, the die was cast for Burlington to become Vermont’s largest and most important city.

By the middle of the 1800s, when the railroads arrived in town, Burlington was the third largest lumber port in the United States. The waterfront was a beehive of wharves and railyards and the city energetically built up the shoreline with thousands upon thousands of cubic yards of fill from the surrounding hillsides.

Meanwhile the city grew on the plateaus above the waterfront and incorporated in 1865. The new buildings were not those seen in the typical New England towns. These were sophisticated structures built by big city architects and bankrolled by wealthy local citizens. The tonnage sent out onto Lake Champlain was growing more sophisticated as well – gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel were eventually shipped on barges to and from 83 above ground bulk storage tanks on the Burlington waterfront.

Those days seem a long way away today. The barges have stopped floating – the lake’s southern end has accumulated too much silt. The biggest employers in the city in the 21st century are the University of Vermont and the school’s medical center. Down on the waterfront the freight schooners have been replaced by pleasure craft and bicycles roll where passenger trains once rumbled. And those sunsets are still sublime. To see what vestiges of the history of the Queen City remain we will begin our explorations at…



A Walking Tour of Ottawa, Ontario (Look Up, Canada!)

by Doug Gelbert

There is no better way to see Canada than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour from walkthetown.com is ready to explore when you are.

Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on North American streets.

Imagine what John By would think if he saw Ottawa today, a metropolitan area of over one million residents. Back in 1826 By, an officer in the British Army Corps of Royal Engineers, received his orders to report to Upper Canada and build a canal to facilitate transportation between Lake On- tario and the Ottawa River. There were concerns about the unpredictable Americans looking to flex their new muscles in British North America.
When By arrived at the Chaudiere Falls he found a small settlement barely two decades old where the residents clawed out a living harvest elm and maples trees and shipping the timber to Montreal. By set about his work, which included laying out streets and carving out building lots for the work- ers he would need. The place was called Bytown. Six years later the job was complete. By was re- tired and sent home to England. There was no ceremony for the Rideau Canal, not commendation, no mention of the feat whatsoever. Just another mission checked off of a long to-do list in manag- ing the British empire. By died a few years later at the age of 55.
The Rideau Canal – it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved slackwater canal from the golden era of canal building in North America in the first half of the 19th century – kickstarted the lumber trade so acutely that Bytown was conferred as a city in 1854. It also took the name of the river, which appropriately enough, derived from the Algonquin word for “trade.” In 1857 Queen Victoria, partly because the Crown owned Bytown, designated Ottawa as the capital of the unified Province of Canada, ending a game of Parliamentary musical chairs between Quebec and Toronto.
The surprising choice of Ottawa for Dominion Capital did not go down well when word filtered back across the Atlantic Ocean. Was it the Queen’s choice or merely a recommendation debated local politicians. After all, in recent years there had been more than 200 votes on where to place a permanent capital since Upper and Lower Canada were welded in 1841. Bytown was typically the least popular of all the vote chasers in those referendums. A motion to ask the Queen to reconsider was quickly introduced. Political wrangling ensued and the Canadian Parliament finally reached a last vote to ratify the wishes of Queen Victoria in 1859. Ottawa won by a scant five votes.
So Ottawa became a government town. Although the city is the agricultural center of eastern On- tario a federal job is the most common occupation in the city. In 1950 Jacques Greber submitted an integrated plan of development designed to beautify the capital city and de-emphasize some of its industrial trappings like the railroads that chugged into the city’s core. The ramifications of the Greber Plan are still in evidence. Ottawa is one of the cleanest major cities in the world (#4 in one ranking) and more than seven million tourists come each year. The focal point for most visits is Parliament Hill and that is where we will begin our explorations…



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