Deano’s Favorite Cities (and States)

I’ve visited 115 CITIES…So Far!!!

To qualify for this list, I had to stay in the city for at least a day and do an activity there (just driving or flying through doesn’t make it on the list).  Note: I like cities for the scenery and activities and not really the people and buildings (or even the food).  All that other stuff is fine too but less what I’m interested in.  The same goes for states, so if I find a state I enjoy I tend to wear out the whole place and visit a ton of places in that area!

This is just the list of places I’ve been to.  There are tons of places I’ve never been to…YET!!!  I might be missing a great state. I might need to see a city that is your favorite that isn’t even on my radar.  If you think my order is crazy tell me.  I might have a great city way down my list because I haven’t seen the coolest part of it.  Help a brother out!

Deano’s Top 10 Cities (force ranked)

1) Nashville, TN (visited 1972 – present) – Where I live!  I moved here from Springfield TN in 1991 (to go to college).  The only thing I don’t like about it is the traffic.  What I do like is the big city stuff with the southern, smaller city charm (although that is changing a bit as it explodes in size).  The things I like most are the parks/greenways that make me feel like I’m nowhere near a city of 1.5+ million people.  The other thing that makes the city fun is all the music.  With so many music people in town there are always great music-related things to see/do.  I am constantly amazed at some of the talent I’ve seen come through town.  The Ryman is legendary and I’ve seen some great shows there.  It really is Music City USA.

2) San Francisco, CA (visited 2009, 2014) – My favorite “big city”.  The main reason I like it is the scale of the scenery.  The ‘outdoor’ activities are many and there are all kinds of sights to see all over the beautiful city.  I went here on business in 2009 and didn’t get to see too much.  But in 2014 went back with the family and it was fun.  Alcatraz is an awesome experience, The Golden Gate Bridge, The Meir Woods, the Pier, the bay, trolley rides, graffiti and food in The Mission District, and a Giants game with garlic fries!  Fun!  I would never (and I mean ever) live there, but it is a fun visit.

3) Orlando, FL (visited 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) – This is the city I have probably been to more than any other city (other than where I live).  There is nothing too special about the city itself but there are so many fun activities to do while in town.  We’ve been to DisneyWorld a ton of times (starting in 2006).  We’ve more recently added in Universal Studios on our visits.  All that, plus my daughter lives there (since 2016) so there is that.

4) Cape San Blas, FL (visited 2000 – 2005) – I’m not even sure this is a city (pretty sure it isn’t) but it is still a favorite ‘place’.  I describe it as ‘that little finger that sticks off the bottom of the panhandle’.  We spent a ton of time there when the kids were growing up.  Deserted, beautiful, white sand beaches on one side and a saltwater bay on the other side.  30+ minute drive to the nearest restaurant.  My kind of place.

5) Austin, TX (visited 2019) – This city is a fun city and reminds me a little of Nashville.  It is a big city with a thriving downtown area that has great outdoor activities.  We hiked 10 miles one day while there and never left downtown (but felt very out in nature almost the entire time).  Halfway through our hike, we swam in a spring-fed swimming pool.  It was the perfect way to cool off before hiking back.  We were there during bat season which is a big thing.  We waited for hours but they never took off.  We also hit 6th Avenue during a street rally which was fun.  Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World.  We saw the best concert I’ve ever seen, Deadmau5, while there at the Moody Theater (where Austin City Limits is filmed).

6) Carmel By the Sea, CA (visited 2014) – This city has all the beauty of the California coast that other much larger cities have (heck probably more) but a ton less people.  Win/Win!  Sunsets on the steep sand beaches here are highly memorable.

7) Chattanooga, TN (visited 2003, 2010, 2018, 2019) – This little town in Tennessee is a favorite of mine.  Lookout Mountain, TN is nearby and I view it as one and the same.  There are fun activities to do all over the place (river, two aquariums, lookout mountain incline railroad, Ruby Falls, battlefields, ‘choo choo’ trains, etc.) many of them are outdoors related (which is a bonus for me).  My daughter is in school there (since 2018) so we make this short drive from Nashville often. A video about our travels to Chattanooga is HERE.

8) Seattle, WA (visited 2017) – We spent a few days in this city during the summer of 2017 (when it was not raining).  It was so beautiful with a variety of landscapes and there was a to do. The ocean, lakes, streams, waterfalls, mountains, seaplanes and boats are a ton to take in.  I hear the rainy season is not as fun to endure but I definitely want to go back and spend much more time in this city.

9) Gatlinburg, TN (visited 1998, 2006, 2014, 2016) – Okay, okay I admit Gatlinburg is actually not my favorite at all.  A lot of it is a tourist trap.  Nearby Pigeon Forge is even worse (and I almost view them as one and the same). So why are they on the list!?!?  Mainly because if their proximity to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  Gatlinburg has some nice places to stay that have decent access to the park.  Although the touristy stuff is not my favorite, there are tons of fun things to do in the two cities.  Go-karts, aquariums, Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, Ober Gatlinburg are all actually fun…but I’d rather be in the park.  We’ve done it all…often.  We usually stay in a cabin off the beaten path (but sometimes at the Park Vista hotel and the Buckhorn Inn).  Generally, however, we pile into a cabin with the family and then strike off on adventures from there.

10) Aspen, CO (visited 2011, 2015) – We’ve been here twice and never during the Winter.  This is obviously a ski town and I am not currently a skier (because I suck at stuff).  We go during the Summer and the little town (with its small-town feel) is nice, the ski mountain is right there (which makes for some great hiking) with mountain views only a quick gondola ride away.  The drives on the nearby mountain’s roads are spectacular as well.

Deano’s Top 5 States (force ranked)

1) Tennessee – A lot of people be dissing on my home state.  That is fine, stay away.  The hills of Tennessee are great!

2) California – This is really a toss-up between Washington and Oregon and really isn’t about California as much as it is the Pacific Coast.  I would never live in California but I understand why people do.  The coast is off the charts pretty!

3) Colorado – There are many towns in Colorado that I’ve visited that are beautiful and there are tons of outdoor things to do in most of them.  It is hard to force rank the towns I’ve visited in Colorado because they are all interesting and nice and filled with things I enjoy doing.  Some of the prettiest places I have seen in the US have been in CO.

4) New Mexico – I have several places I want to see in southern New Mexico but I’ve spent a ton of time in Northern New Mexico and it is so interesting and beautiful.  It is a cross between mountains and desert that is beautiful and very interesting.

5) Florida – I always think that I’d never want to live in Florida.  I’m not a huge beach person.  Florida, in general, is too flat, and hot, and crowded for me to live there (plus hurricanes).  But when I think of all the different cities, I’ve visited in that state I’m reminded of how interesting it is.  It is a great place to visit.  We’ve probably spent more time in Florida than any other state. 

Other Cities I’ve Been To (by state, force ranked)


1) Birmingham, AL (visited 1992, 2013, and 2015) – I went to my only Alabama Crimson Tide game here in 1992.  Home to great food and the best little Homecare company in all the land Bluebird Homecare (first office here since 2015)!

2) Tuscaloosa, AL (NEVER?!?!) – I have never been here but the greatest football team on earth plays here!  Roll Tide Roll!

3) Huntsville, AL (visited 1980s) – Space stuff!  I haven’t been there since I was a kid.

4) Talladega, AL (visited 2013) – Race stuff!  This might have ranked higher if the race we went to at ‘Dega ended better! 


1) San Francisco, CA (visited 2009, 2014) – One of my favorite California cities (see above).

2) Carmel By the Sea, CA (visited 2014) – One of my favorite California cities (see above).

3) Monterrey, CA (visited 2014) – A crazy good aquarium and along the same coastline as Carmel (the drive between them is phenomenal)!

4) Big Sur, CA (visited 2014) – The drive from Carmel down to Big Sur is awesome and the beaches at Big Sur are the coolest beaches I’ve ever been on.

5) La Jolla, CA (visited ????) – This is a very fancy area.  I liked the beaches that are tucked down inside the rocky cliffs. Torrey Pines is awesome and watching the people paraglide on the oceanside cliffs is very interesting.

6) San Diego, CA (visited ????) – The best zoo I have ever been to.  The aircraft carrier tour is awesome too!

7) Palo Alto, CA (visited 2009) – Visited here for work…is there any other reason anyone would go here.  I got to visit several of the big venture capital companies.  There’s a lot of money in them hills!


1. Aspen, CO (visited 2011, 2015) – One of my favorite Colorado cities (see above).

2. Breckenridge, CO (visited 2018) – If you like mountain biking and road biking this is the place for you!  Oh, and skiing too!?!

3. Ouray, CO (visited 2015) – The drive to it and through it is absolutely phenomenal.  The little town is cool too.  Good places to eat and there is a hot spring swimming pool!

4. Durango, CO / Silverton, CO (visited 2010) – This is as close to the old west as I have been to.  The old-timey steam train ride up and down the mountain to Silverton is so much fun. 

5. Golden, CO (visited ????) – Visiting the Coor’s facility here is the reason we went.  When we were there a very cool old car show was downtown and Emily says the best pizza she’s ever had was there too.

6. Colorado Springs, CO (visited 2004, 2011) – We’ve been here a few times but to me, the only reason to go there is to stay at the Broadmoor Hotel.  It is beautiful and if that is the only reason you go it is enough.  The pool is the best swimming pool on earth in my opinion (and I’m not a huge pool guy).  There is also the very cool Seven Falls, Pikes Peak, and Garden of The Gods in nearby Manitou Springs.

7. Canon City, CO (visited 2005, 2012) – In 2012 we visited the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park (near Canon City, CO) with the whole family.  Pop’s, Preston and I had been previously (on a little side trip in 2005).

8. Denver, CO (visited 2004, 2005, 2015) – We have not really spent a ton of time in Denver itself.  We’ve stayed there and been to the zoo (in 2005) and a Rockies game (in 2015).  The smaller cities around Denver rank higher for me.

9. Monarch, CO (visited 2004) – I’ve only been snow skiing once at Monarch Ski Resort.  I took a little mini-lesson.  I wasn’t able to translate my learning into a safe journey on the slopes.  I feel lucky to have ended my day with no broken bones and without a severe head injury.  I’ll give another go at some point, maybe.

10. Cortez, CO (visited 2010) – Visited Mesa Verde National Park which is near here.

11. Hooper, CO (visited 2011) – Visited Great Sand Dune National Park which is near here.


1. Orlando, FL (visited 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) – One of my favorite Florida cities (see above).

2. Cape San Blas, FL (visited 2000 – 2005) – One of my favorite Florida cities (see above).

3. Crystal River, FL (visited 1999) – I got open water scuba certified here in the winter of 1999 (with a friend from work).  We went to see the manatees and the caves around Crystal River.

4. Vero Beach, FL (visited 2006 – 2019) – We visit my in-laws (Mimi and Pops) here often.  It is not too crowded on the coastal island and there are plenty of places to eat.  You can ride bikes for miles on a sidewalk off the main roadway.  Plus, if you are lucky and about to have a great meal at the fantastic Ocean Grill you might see the final Space Shuttle launch ever!

5. Winter Park, FL (visited 2019) – If you are in Orlando and don’t want anything touristy this is the place.  No beach, few tourists, just nice walks, an old boat tour, and good places to eat. A video about our trip to Winter Park is HERE.

6. Boca Grande, FL (visited 2015) – This is a pretty laid-back little town with a nice little greenway through it for a slow bike ride.

7. St. Augustine, FL (visited 2013) – I think this is one of the oldest towns in Florida.  It is interesting for sure.  We spent an afternoon walking around the main area and enjoying lunch and the interesting old buildings.

8. Fort Pierce, FL (visited 2006 – 2019) – Sister city to Vero.  There isn’t really much to do here but it is the end destination from my Vero Beach bike rides and has a nice little park (a State Park) on the Fort Pierce Inlet. 

9. Cocoa Beach, FL (visited 2006) – This is an old school Florida town and a surfer area.  When Pops was looking for his house in Vero we visited here with him one time.  We ate at a very old school Florida restaurant that reminded me of the 1970s (in a good way).

10. St Petersburg/Tampa Bay FL (visited ????) – We flew out of there one time and spent a day in both. It was nice, we’ll probably go back and spend more time here at some point.

11. Destin, FL/Miramar Beach, FL (visited 2009, 2013) – They have beaches…nice beaches too.  But it is a little too built up and crowded for this skinny/fat, pale person.

12. Pensacola, FL (visited 2013) – Pretty cool aircraft museum here!

13. Panama City Beach, FL (visited 1992) – Not really my scene.  Too crowded. Too touristy.  But one family trip during Spring Break with Mom, Dad, and my sister has provided our family numerous laughs over the years.

14. Stuart, FL (visited 1996) – High rises!  Boo!  Emily’s grandparents used to live here. I didn’t explore too much we were busy chasing babies.


1. Savannah, GA (visited 2013) – We stayed in Savannah one afternoon/night on a road trip to Florida.  I had booked the hotel earlier and remember thinking “Savannah must really think a lot of their hotels”. We hit the town and it was bustling.  We tried to find a restaurant to eat at… nothing.  We had 4 little kids all about to starve to death and no restaurant would take us.  I kept thinking that people must be freaking crazy about this town.  Why was everything so busy!?!?  Come to find out we were in town on the night before the big annual St Patrick’s day parade (one of the biggest in the nation)!  Oops…bad plan!  We exited Savannah quickly the next morning.  What we saw was nice.  We’ll go back one day when it isn’t as busy.

2. Atlanta, GA (visited 2001, 2013, 2015) – Atlanta is the most plain, boring, vanilla, corporate, bland city in all of America!  There have been times I have been near the point of taking my own life rather than sit in another hour of Atlanta traffic.  I swear there was a period of 10 years that every single time we passed through that city we sat in bumper to bumper traffic for 4+ hours each way.  16 lanes wide and still backed up?!?!  Who made you this way Atlanta!?!?  The only thing I remotely care about in Atlanta is 1) Houston’s restaurant (because they closed the one we had in Nashville), 2) the Bluebird Homecare office, 3) The Varsity (“What’ll ya have… What’ll ya have?”), and 4) Stone Mountain (because I want to hike up it and haven’t yet).  In 2015 I was there a good bit to transition an office for our company.

3. Athens, GA (visited 1995) – We visited a friend while they were at UGA.  I remember there was a lot of alcohol in that town.  I don’t remember much else.


1. Cave-In-Rock, IL (visited 2003 – present) – Probably not a spot anyone is really too familiar with but they have 1) Emily’s Dad (Hogdaddy, 2) a ferry, 3) a cool cave, 4) a giant river, 5) cool rock formations, and 6) Hogrock River Rally (worker / not participant)!  In 2012 we actually explored “the” cave.

2. Chicago, IL (visited 1999) – The Windy City is an interesting big city.  Lots of big buildings, big water, and a Miracle Mile of shopping (which carries absolutely no weight for me…at all…at…all).

3. Harrisburg, IL (1995-1999) – This is a very forgettable town in southern IL but there was a little cabin in the woods with a lake that was awesome.  There is also Mackie’s Pizza which Emily loves (and most others tolerate).


1. Santa Claus, IN (visited 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011) – This town is weird (not just the name).  It is basically a theme park, a hotel, and a Subway.  The only reason it is even on the list is because of HolidayWorld! That place is so fun!  Their wooden roller coasters are awesome fun (and even a little scary)!  One even landed Emily in the HolidayWorld hospital after a wild ride and she had a minor panic attack.  As for the Subway and hotel…I’ve never been to one and the hotel owner must believe he is Walt Disney with the prices they charge for their hotel and restaurant.  I guess it is a captive audience in this locale!  HolidayWorld rockets this little town much higher on the list than it should be.

2. Bloomington, IN (visited 2017, 2018) – Emily’s brother lives there so we visit them and they show us a good time.  Indiana University is there and helps make the town all hip and cool.  There is a trail/greenway that runs through town that I’d love to get a bike on (and haven’t yet).  We also get out on Lake Monroe in the boat for some sunset boating.

3. Indianapolis, IN (visited 2004) – Went to a big race…that is all.

4. Evansville, IN (visited 2004) – My wife was born here and I’ve been there visiting her grandparents a few times.  I remember a condo and a buffet at a downtown hotel that was good.


1. Louisville, KY (visited 2019) – I’ve been to Louisville several times for work and once for fun.  It was more fun than I thought it was going to be!  We went to Kentucky Cavern where we ziplined…underground…in a cave!  This place was awesome.  It is an old underground limestone mine and they made part of it an underground zip line course.  Then we went to the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory which was very interesting.  There were several other things that looked interesting so we will need to go back and see more.

2. Grand River, KY (visited 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017) – We’ve been to Green Turtle Bay several times with my family. We rent a pontoon boat and get out on the lake. We eat giant pork chops at Patti’s.  I’ve ridden my bike across Kentucky Dam which is really interesting…dam interesting! 

3. Bardstown, KY (visited 1996) – We met some friends here many years ago and visited some sites. It is near the Kentucky Bourbon Trail so we visited the Maker’s Mark Distillery.  We also visited my old Kentucky Home.

4. Bowling Green, KY (visited 2013-2015) – This is pretty close to Nashville and my son went to school there for a few years (at WKU).  I like Corvettes so the museum and factory would seem like a perfect outing. I’ve never made it happen. This is strange. There is also an underground lake or something that I always asked Preston about but have never been to.  Also strange!  Also a dog race track.  Never been!  Again…weird!  I think the town is so close I always just say ‘one day soon’ we’ll see that stuff and then never do it.  C’mon Deano!?!

5. Cave City, KY (visited 2003) – Cave City is the little town that is near Mammoth Cave National Park.  It is a tourist trap mainly.  Think a much smaller Pigeon Forge.  It is a means to an end for me.

6. Paducah, KY (visited the 1980s) – For some weird reason I’ve been to this town a few times.  I think our band went there for retreats or something and stayed at The Executive Inn which was some kind of convention hotel or something.

7. Madisonville, KY (visited 1980s) – I know nothing of this town other than they have a fairground and an annual antique tractor parade.  Based on what I remember that is about it! 


1. Lafayette, LA (visited 2013) – Visited this city twice when we were doing ‘big-time business’ with a company down there.  They were looking at buying the company I was working for.  They knew they had to make a good impression (duh) so they flew us down to Lafayette on their private jet.  I’m big-time like that.  They knew it.  We went one other time and the second time we flew on a regular plane (?!?!) AND had to work (?!?!) a whole day AND drive from Baton Rouge.  The deal didn’t wind up working out.  That is why!  The other reason is that no one down there knew how to pronounce the name of their town (Nashville joke).


1. Boston, MA (visited 2015) – I’ve been to Boston one time for an overnight trip for business.  I wouldn’t even count it as a real visit except that right before I hit town the city got like 35 inches of snow.  It was the largest dumping of snow Boston had ever had.  Even for a northern city, they were struggling with dealing with that.  I remember riding from the airport to the hotel in the taxi.  The snowplows had cut through the snow and it was above my head as we drove down the interstate.  It was bizarre and a once in a lifetime experience…so…BOSTON!  We have this on our list to go to again and really explore.


1. Mackinaw Island, MI (visited 1989) – When I was in high school one of the church mission trips we went on with our choir was to Michigan.  We were not excited but it wound up being one of the more fun trips we ever went on.  We visited Mackinaw Island which is a very interesting place to visit (and kind of a trip back in time with the whole no car thing).


1. Minneapolis (visited 2009) – I took my very first business trip here in 2009.  I had somehow managed to never travel for work throughout my career up to that point (and was thankful for that).  I didn’t really see much of the town but it was different being that far north in late fall.  A week later I was out on the coast in San Fran (that’s what we in the business call it).  Pretty much a big-time business traveler now!  Try to keep up!


1. Saint Louis, MO (visited 1990, 2016) – I visited relatives while in high school with my family.  I was a Cardinal baseball fan at that time so I thought it was cool…oh, there was an Arch there too.  In 2016 I went back to start an office for our company (but didn’t get to do much exploring).


1. Las Vegas, NV (visited 2011, 2019) – I have very little use for this town.  I’ve been there for work once and never left the convention hotel we were in (Four Seasons).  I went again in 2019 for one night with family (flew out of Vegas).  The size of the strip is interesting, but outside of the main touristy area seemed almost scary.  Once in the hotels (even the very nicest ones) and it is just hotel and people…weird, wild people.  Not really my cup of tea.  I’d rather be at Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon if I’m in this vicinity.  Oh well, been there, done that…I guess.

New Mexico

1. Rociada, NM (visited in 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015) – I am probably one of the few who have this little town on the top of a list.  My father in law has a cabin in a little valley between two mountains here (on a little mountain golf course).  Pendaries Village is a beautiful place and we’ve spent many family vacations here (and launched many day trips from here).

2. Raton, NM (visited 2000, 2012) – The town of Raton is near a massive ranch that is owned by Ted Turner in northern New Mexico that we’ve been to twice, Vermejo Ranch.  The ranch is about 600,000 acres and is a hunting paradise.  We don’t hunt when we are there (for anything but a good time) but we have fun shooting and fishing.

3. Capulin, NM (visited 2005) – There is a volcano mountain here that rises out of the surrounding desert plains. It is a fun hike and a beautiful view.

4. Las Vegas, NM (visited 1995+ see Rociada) – As polar opposite to the other Las Vegas as you can get. There is a cute town square but the only reason this town is even on the list is 1) Hermit Peak Mountain is nearby, 2) it is where we get our groceries (and our Blake’s LottaBurger) when we are at Pendaries. 

5. Mora, NM (visited 1995+ see Rociada) – Mora itself is not really all that much but I know when I get there I’m close to some great views!  It sits down in a mountain valley and on the other side is the Kit Carson National Forest.  We’ve driven through it many, many times in our northern New Mexico adventures.  Beautiful!

6. Santa Fe, NM (visited 1999) – This is an old, old town.  We stay at The LaFonda when we are there which is one of the oldest continually operating hotels in the US.  The city is very arts-focused.  This is not really my deal but it is all interesting enough that I’ll bear it.  As long as I get to eat some of that great, local New Mexico food I’ll tolerate most anything.

7. Los Alamos, NM (visited 1999) – One path from Santa Fe back to the cabin takes you around the mountains on the north side near Los Alamos.  This town was part of the Manhattan Project and an interesting place.  We stopped through Los Alamos once and toured the cliff dwellings at Bandelier.  I think that was also the time we got lost and wound up in some rancher’s cow pasture.  When we saw cows walking up to our car we knew we had missed a turn somewhere. 

8. Chimayo, NM (visited 2001+ see Rociada) – Just about every time we are in New Mexico we hop in the car and drive several hours to Chimayo.  There is a small town with a chapel there…but also a restaurant.  Rancho de Chimayo!  It. Is. So. Good!  That is why I’m there.  We are usually with Cameron and Jayne and it is usually around their anniversary and National Margarita Day.  So that calls for celebration…doesn’t it?!?  By the time we get there and back it is time for dinner!  My kind of day!

9. Taos, NM (visited 1995 and 2015) – This is a ski town and we’ve been through it a few times.  We visited it on my very first trip to New Mexico in 1995.  2015 was the last time we visited the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge (near Taos).  We’ve crossed the bridge over the deep gorge several times over the years.  We visited the Taos Pueblo once and I was a bit let down about that (I thought it would be different).  Other than that there is shopping and food.  I like one and not the other so Taos isn’t my favorite.

10. Albuquerque, NM (visited 1995+ see Rociada) – We basically fly in and out of Albuquerque when we are in New Mexico. We have. I have not spent a lot of time there yet.  We have, however, found a very good restaurant where we eat great Mexican food before heading to the airport.  We want to ride the ‘worlds longest gondola’ and we also want to be in town during their annual hot air balloon festival.  All that might move it up this list.

New York

1. Niagara Falls, NY (visited 1990) – I’ve been to the US side of Niagara.  It is a pretty amazing place.  We did the Maid of the Mist boat tour and it was pretty crazy to look up and see those giant waterfalls.  I was in high school when we went on a band trip (late 80’s).  At one point I put on my Statute of Liberty foam hat and held my umbrella up with a funny look on my face for a laugh.  A bunch of Japanese tourists with cameras thought it was evidently the funniest thing they’d ever seen and I had to pose for them for several uncomfortable minutes while they “take a picture”…lots of pictures!  I bet I’m famous in Japan!  Bet!

2. New York, NY (visited 1990, 2014) – A lot of people are fascinated with New York City.  I am not one of those people.  The size of the city is pretty amazing to see.  I think Central Park is pretty neat, at least conceptually (never actually been in it).  I’ve been to Times Square, Broadway shows, Wall Street, and the Statue of Liberty, etc.  To me, it is just a ton of people and a ton of buildings.  Neither of those things really interest me at all.  I’ve had a good time while there but it is definitely not my favorite place.  Oh, by the way, New York people…your city seems really dirty!  Clean it up!

North Carolina

1. Asheville, NC (visited 2005) – We visited the Biltmore Mansion (and stayed on-site at the Inn there).  It was awesome, we ventured into town and it was fine but we were not blown away by it and wanted to go back to the mansion/inn.

2. Charlotte, NC (visited 2018, 2019) – I visited Charlotte twice to open (and reopen) and office for my company.  Both times a hurricane was rolling into town.  The first time I was hopping out of town real fast, the second I explored a little bit (and didn’t really find too much).


1. Tulsa, OK (visited 1999) – My friend I flew here to see an electronic band that was in the states from Europe.  Why they were in Tulsa is beyond me.  Why we were in Tulsa is also kinda beyond me.  The show was good and I don’t really remember anything else about Tulsa (except we rented an Oldsmobile Alero which the Wendy’s guy thought was really cool).


1. Astoria, OR (visited 2016, 2017) – We visited this town at the tail end of one trip and saw enough of it that we returned the next year to stay there for a couple of days.  We saw the Goonies house, towers, huge bridges, big boats, fascinating beaches, shipwrecks, and hills covered in blackberries.  We explored the whole town (and surrounding area).  It is such an interesting seaport town (at the end of the Columbia River, where the ocean is a nightmare and tons of ships sink constantly).  Emily and I hiked a trail basically in the middle of town where the hill was covered with blackberries.  I ate a million of them.

2. Cannon Beach, OR (visited 2016) – The beach is unlike any beach I’d ever been on before with all the giant logs and fog and towering rocks.  It was calm the day we were there but I imagined those giant tree trunks being tossed around like toothpicks in stormy weather.  The power of nature makes one feel small.

3. Hood River, OR (visited 2016) – We spent a few days here hiking and seeing waterfalls and the sights.  The water is big, the wind is strong and the kite surfers were taking advantage of all of that.

4. Tillamook, OR (visited 2016) – We stopped by here to see the cheese factory (and eat some factory fresh ice cream).  Mmmm!

5. Portland, OR (visited 2016) – I wasn’t impressed with Portland much at all.  Not my people…at all…especially all the ones laying on the sidewalks that I had to step over to get a Voodoo Donut.  I wouldn’t run a city the way these cats do…but each to his own?!?

South Carolina

1. Charleston, SC (visited 2016) – I was in Charleston for a conference with work. We were downtown and it is a very historic town.  Most everything feels like time has slowed to a crawl many decades ago. Every meal I had there was incredible.  Evidently, there is quite the food scene down there.  I want to take Emily back with me.  She and I enjoy the foods…a bunch! 

2. Myrtle Beach, SC (visit 1970s) – I think this was my first vacation memory.  I was small and I think we went in the family truck and went to the beach and stayed in the truck (in a truck bed camper topper).


1. Nashville, TN (visited 1972 – present) – One of my favorite Tennessee cities (see above).

2. Chattanooga, TN (visited 2003, 2010, 2018, 2019) – One of my favorite Tennessee cities (see above).

3. Gatlinburg, TN (visited 1998, 2006, 2014, 2016) – One of my favorite Tennessee cities (see above).

4. Lookout Mountain, TN (visited 2003, 2010, 2019) – Between this and Chattanooga a fun time can be had.  Ride the incline up, go to the battle site, see Ruby Falls, and of course Rock City.

5. Monteagle, TN (visited 2015) – I want to explore this area much more. There is a lot to do up on Monteagle Mountain.  I hiked the Fiery Gizzard Trail with my friend Michael which was wacky!

6. Memphis, TN (visited 1995, 2004, 2011, 2012) – Blues music and great barbecue can make up for a lot of the things I don’t like about this city (the fact that I feel like I’m going to robbed almost constantly while there).  The kids had fun wading in the scale Mississippi River when they were little.  Seeing the ducks walk at the Peabody Hotel and eating at The Rendezvous for some Memphis ribs is a great evening on any night.  Emily and I stayed in the Romeo And Juliet Suite at the Peabody Hotel one night on our honeymoon.  We spun up a new office for our company there in 2012 (I paid myself for the work in Memphis ribs).

7. Pigeon Forge, TN (visited 1998, 2006, 2014, 2016) – There are some fun things to do here for sure in this tourist trap.  I think it is the number one tourist trap of all time [said proudly]!  We usually hit the NASCAR go-kart track, Dollywood, and the Dixie Stampede.  The knife store, the Wonderworks place, and the Titanic exhibit are fun too.

8. Smithville, TN (2006, 2008, 2019) – I consider this to be the town near Center Hill Lake.  I’m not sure if that is right or not but I like Center Hill Lake and canoeing and kayaking on the Caney Fork River and so I like this city (even though they have nothing to do with the city).  In 2006 we rented a big houseboat and hit the open sea…quite the adventure!

9. Paris, TN (visited 2000, 2001) – Land Between the Lakes is up around this area (the Tennessee side anyway).  I like that, so I guess I like Paris.  We’ve stayed at Paris Landing when I was little…I think.

10. Bristol, TN (visited 2003, 2010, 2011, 2012) – The major thing in this place is the Speedway.  It is pretty amazing.  The best race I ever saw was there back when NASCAR was awesome.  My driver even won that day!  In 2010 I started working for a company that had an office there so I spent a good deal of time here for a few years.  I wound up really appreciating the rolling hills around this area. 

11. Johnson City, TN (visited 2010, 2011, 2012) – Whenever I was in Bristol I’d stay here.  I liked it and always thought there seemed to be lots of outdoors stuff to do there.  I was always working and never got to fully deploy on it but I liked the area.

12. Rugby, TN (visited 2005) – This isn’t really a place you can stay but it is an interesting place.  The community was built to be a modern Utopian society.  We stayed in a bed and breakfast near it on our route to another place.

13. Springfield, TN (visited 1972 – 1999) – My hometown!  We also lived here for a few years in our early marriage.  Springfield has a cute little downtown area with old houses.  We lived in a 100-year-old home that had been fully renovated on 5th Avenue and we loved it.  Both my grandparents had big farms here so we spent lots of time there growing up.

14. Clarksville, TN (visited 1980s and 2020) – This is near Fort Campbell home of the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles.  In my childhood, we would visit there to look at all the cool military stuff.  We were preparing ourselves for combat with Russia when the time came (and we knew it would come). In 2020 we hit the area twice while visiting area state parks. These visits moved the area up our list of TN cities. Read about our first visit HERE.

15. Adams, TN (visited 1980’s) – The annual Thresherman’s Show was where I spent many memorable weekends each Summer.  There is also the Bell Witch Cave (which I have never been to…but should have by now).

16. Franklin, TN (lived there 1995-1997) – Downtown Franklin is a cute/quaint little area that is nice for an evening stroll.  We lived here for a couple of years in our first real house with our first real baby (Preston).

17. Murfreesboro, TN (visited 2003, 2012) – Our first family dog, S’more, came from a breeder here.  That and Toot’s restaurant is all I know about it.

18. White’s Creek, TN (visited 2014) – Beaman Park is close to this and there is a good restaurant close by at Fontanelle (and trails, winery, etc).

19. Jackson, TN (visited 2011) – There is a good catfish restaurant here.  That is all.

20. Cookeville, TN (visited 2011) – They have the best Cracker Barrel restaurant I’ve ever been to. 

21. Columbia, TN (visited 2011) – We started a new office for our company here and I spent time here getting it up and running.

22. Knoxville, TN (visited 1992, 2011) – Home to the UT Vols.  That is enough reason to dislike this place.  I’ve been there several times and haven’t found anything too appealing ever.  Too much orange!


1. Austin, TX (visited 2019) – One of my favorite Texas cities (see above).

2. Fort Worth, TX (visited 2017) – I’ve only been in town for a few days and I was working the whole time so I didn’t get to sightsee too much.  I didn’t even get to see the cattle parade/cattle yard.  I liked that the downtown area still had an old town feel.  A lot of big cities are just filled with a ton of modern buildings that have no semblance of history but Fort Worth didn’t seem like that.


1. Bryce, UT (visited 2019) – Visited Bryce Canyon National Park…2 big thumbs up!  There is literally almost nothing else in this town, but what else do you need when you visit our favorite National Park (at that time).

2. Springdale, UT (visited 2019) – Zion National Park…2 big thumbs up!  We stayed at the entrance to the park at the city limits but ventured into town to eat a few times.  The surrounding area is very pretty but then you go to the park and realize it is nothing really.  Crazy big and beautiful!

3. Park City, UT (visited 2019) – A ski town.  I don’t ski yet so we went during the Summer.  We rode bikes, saw ski jumpers, did alpine slides, and zip lines.  The mountain biking is world-class…which is important to me because I am a very accomplished mountain biker.  Accomplished at wrecking! My post about our visit HERE

4. Salt Lake City, UT (visited 2019) – We flew through here and spent a day in and around the city.  It is a pretty city with the mountains in the background and some pretty dramatic buildings in the downtown area.  There was a hilltop park that we wanted to climb but didn’t have time.  We had to get around the mountain for some river tubing (which was awesome)!


1. Seattle, WA (visited 2017) – One of my favorite Washington cities (see above).

2. Port Angeles, WA (visited 2017) – We stayed in this town to catch the ferry over to Victoria Canada for a day trip.  While in Port Angeles we also drove into the north side of Olympic National Park to see the mountains and another day to see Crescent Lake which was absolutely picturesque and beautiful.

Other (Non-US, Territories, Etc)

I’m not much of an international traveler so far…may not ever be.  Once I see everything I want to see in the US we will venture out…if we still have ‘the abilities’…Ha!

1. Turks and Caicos (Providenciales) (visited 1999, 2000) – We’ve been here twice and I’ve never seen water like this anywhere else.  This place had me about ready to renounce my citizenship and take my chances with a boat and a prayer.  This guy is driving us around, serving us rum punch, picking Bob Marley tracks, and diving in from time to time to get us lobsters.  His life is way better than mine!  Then our boat captain told us about how the two islands used to be one island until a hurricane came through and now a few miles separate the two islands and is now 10 feet underwater. Check!  Back to the good old USA!

2. Victoria, Canada (visited 2017) – We caught a ferry over to Victoria Canada for a day trip (from Port Angeles, WA).  It was quite an adventure.  Passports for the whole family…customs…international ferry ride…there and back basically to eat lunch!  Ha!  Since the legal drinking age in Canada is 18 Emmaline got to drink because she ‘is grown.’  It was a very pretty city that wraps around the very busy seaside port. 

3. Aruba (visited 1998) – We stayed at a resort but did venture out on an island tour of the very rocky island.  The airport right on the coast was very interesting.

4. Washington, DC (visited 1990) – I started thinking about where DC fits in my list of favorite cities and I thought…”Deano, what would make you like it?”  Good question!  I think some of the buildings are cool and some of the monuments are interesting.  BUT…this whole city is all about the government.  I’m not a fan of anything having to do with that…none of it!  Libertarian here!  So, really most everything in this city is geared towards picking my pocket so some politicians can give it to someone else they deem who needs it more than me.  So I choose to place DC at the absolute bottom of my list (even behind Atlanta)!  I’m Joey Dean and I support this message.

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