Take A Road Trip and Celebrate Great Women
With pleasant weather ahead, here’s a selection of sites throughout the United States—museums, parks and sites that honor women. And which you can get to without having to fly.
Driving is one of the safest ways to travel these days. We give a few examples of places to stay if you’re traveling in a recreational vehicle, but lists are available online for nearby overnight parking areas for all of these sites.
Check ahead, and enjoy celebrating American women, whether you walk, drive or fly—this month and throughout the year.
Statue of Liberty, New York, NY
A ferry departs from Battery Park to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty. The famed 305-foot statue was sculpted by French artist Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and gifted to the United States by France in 1875 to commemorate the countries’ alliance during the American Revolution.
In her right hand, Lady Liberty holds a torch above her head, and in her left hand, she carries a tablet inscribed with July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals. RVers can stay overnight at Liberty Harbor RV, with views of the Statue.
New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, New York, NY
The New-York Historical Society includes a Center for Women’s History. With the historic inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris, the exhibit “What Women Can Do for America—Geraldine Ferraro and the 1984 Presidential Campaign” is particularly relevant. In 1984, when Ferraro (1935–2011) became the first woman nominated for national office by a major political party —as Walter Mondale’s Vice President, she was one of just 24 women serving in Congress. Today, there are more than 100 female lawmakers.
The multimedia digital installation includes profiles of: Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice; Barbara McClintock, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist; Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S; Misty Copeland, a trailblazing dancer and principal ballerina; and Chien-Shiung Wu, the Manhattan Project physicist who was snubbed by the Nobel Prize committee.
Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls, NY
In July 1848, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first Women’s Rights Convention, with approximately 200 women in attendance at Wesleyan Chapel.
At the Park, you can “meet” the five women who organized the convention, and Sojourner Truth, a former slave who became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist.
The park includes Wesleyan Chapel, where the convention was held; the homes of three suffragists (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Hunt, and Mary Ann M’Clintock); and Declaration Park & Waterwall, which features the text and signers of the Declaration of Sentiments. The Declaration was written by Stanton to protest women’s inferior legal status and included 11 resolutions for equal rights.
The park’s website offers many ranger talks (conducted outdoors) about the pivotal events that happened on the park’s grounds. RVers can spend the night at Hejamada Campground & RV Park
The National Susan B. Anthony House & Museum, Rochester, NY
Susan B. Anthony dedicated 50 years to the women’s suffrage movement and was arrested for voting in the 1872 Presidential election in Rochester. After a two-day trial in 1873, she was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $100 and court costs.
The museum shares Anthony’s inspiring story and preserves her National Historic Landmark home, headquarters for the National American Woman Suffrage Association during her time as president of the organization.
She died at 86 in 1906 after giving her “Failure is Impossible” speech in Boston. RVers can spend the night at Southwoods RV Resort about 30 minutes from Rochester.
Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum, Washington, D.C.
Born 200 years ago in 1821, in 1881, at 59, she founded the American Red Cross, and led it for 23 years. Barton dedicated years to Civil War soldiers, collecting much-needed supplies, and traveling to the front to deliver them and provide assistance. She went to major battles to nurse wounded men, and was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.”
After the Civil War, Barton established the Missing Soldiers Office to locate Union soldiers who hadn’t returned home. She and her team initiated searches on behalf of the women who were looking for their lost husbands or sons.
Barton and her team wrote more than 100 letters a day to contacts in the U.S. Army, and family and friends of the missing. By December 1868, she and her team had located more than 22,000 missing soldiers.
You can visit the preserved rooms where Barton lived and worked during the Civil War and where she and her team spent thousands of hours in the Missing Soldiers Office. RVers can spend the night at Cherry Hill Park that offers full hook-up sites.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park, Church Creek, MD
Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery in Maryland and escaped to freedom in Philadelphia, is the Underground Railroad’s best-known conductor. She risked her life many times, returning to Maryland to rescue at least 70 enslaved people, including her parents, brothers, family members, and friends.
Follow the scenic, self-guided driving tour of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway that includes 45 sites. It winds 125 miles through Maryland’s Eastern Shore and continues for 98 miles through Delaware before ending in Philadelphia.A free map and audio guide are available on the Byway website.
On the Byway, don’t miss the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park in Church Creek, MD, to learn about Tubman’s life and how her upbringing equipped her with skills to lead dozens of people out of slavery. Fort Whaley Campground has a private pool, dog park, and catch-and-release lake.
Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
A number of pioneering women have been honored with a burial at the Cemetery. Lt. Ollie Bennett was the first female medical officer commissioned in the U.S. Army. During World War I when she joined the Army as a contract surgeon, she was told there were no uniforms for female surgeons, so she had to design one herself. (Section 10, Grave 10938-LH)
On February 14, 1870, Seraph Young, a teacher, became the U.S. first woman to vote. Two days earlier, Utah (then a U.S. territory) had passed legislation granting women the right to vote. (Section 13, Grave 89-A)
Major General Marcelite Jordan Harris retired in 1997 as the highest-ranking female officer in the Air Force and the highest ranking African American woman in the Department of Defense. She was commissioned in 1965, and become the first African American female Air Force brigadier general in 1991. Many of her assignments represented “firsts” for women in the Air Force. (Section 30, Grave 621)
Helen Keller Birthplace, Tuscumbia, AL
When Keller was 19 months, an illness left her blind and deaf. When Keller was six, Anne Mansfield Sullivan, 20-years old and a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, reached Keller through sign language.
At the pump, while water gushed over Keller’s hand, Sullivan spelled “water” into her other hand. Keller began touching elements around her, wanting to learn their names.
Keller dedicated her life to improving the conditions of blind and the deaf-blind, lecturing in more than 25 countries. Her home includes her library of Braille books, her Braille typewriter, plus mementos and gifts. Spend the night at Heritage Acres RV Park in Tuscumbia.
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Fort Worth, TX
This is the only museum to honor the women who helped shape the West. Hands-on activities for adults and children, along with computer-enhanced archival photographs, bring these trail-blazing women to life.
Through a hologram, sharpshooter Annie Oakley tells about the Wild West Shows that traveled the globe from the 1880s to the early 20th century.
The Hall of Fame honors modern-day cowgirl Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, along with the winningest female roper in the world, an American equestrian and Olympic show jumping medalist, a cowboy hat designer, and a country music superstar. Sandy Lake RV Resort offers a fitness center, swimming pool, and dog park.
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Atchison, KS
Earhart was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. She was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. During her flight to circumnavigate the globe, Earhart disappeared on July 2, 1937 somewhere over the Pacific. She was just 39.
Her childhood home sits on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. A portrait of the aviator was created in 1997 by Kansas artist Stan Herd, made from plantings, stone, and other natural materials. The one-acre portrait is on a hillside overlooking Warnock Lake. Basswood Resort is a secluded spot with modern amenities.
Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center, Salmon, ID Sacagawea was a bi-lingual Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition in 1805–1806. Sacagawea made the arduous exploration while caring for her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, who had been born just two months earlier.
The Interpretive Center is part of a 71-acre park that includes a bronze statue of Sacagawea holding Jean-Baptiste and two scenic walking trails. Elk Bend RV Park is famous for elk, eagles, bighorn sheep, deer, and mountain goats.
Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT
Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860–1961) started painting in her seventies—rural scenes that captured a bygone era.
The Bennington Museum has the largest public collection of paintings by Grandma Moses and artifacts, including an 18-century tilt-top painting table and her paint-stained apron; and also, the schoolhouse where she studied as a child. The museum reopens April 2.
Lea Lane is an award-winning writer and communicator, author of Places I Remember: Tales, Truths, Delights from 100 Countries, and Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks, available at Amazon as print and Kindle eBook. She writes for magazines, newspapers and on websites, including Forbes.com, The New York Times, Salon, and the Daily Beast.
Lea's travel podcast, Places I Remember with Lea Lane, is available wherever you listen to podcasts. She interviews passionate travelers and travel experts around the world.
She's authored eight books (including Solo Traveler, finalist for best travel book of the year from the North American Travel Journalists Association). She has contributed to dozens of other books, from encyclopedias to guidebooks. Lea wrote a column called "Going It Alone," for Gannett Newspapers, and was managing editor of "Travel Smart" newsletter. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers.
Visit her web site: https://placesirememberlealane.com/
Her travel blog is forbes.com/sites/lealane
Lea's travel podcast is Places I Remember: Travel Talk with Lea Lane is available wherever you listen to podcasts
Like and follow: facebook.com/placesirememberbylealane
Tweet her @lealane
Follow her at instagram.com/travelea