From sea to shining sea—and all of the treasured national parks and big city lights in between—the United States of America is one giant tapestry of variety. Each of its 50 states represents its own identity, all the while waving high their shared flag of independence. So while the jazz musician of New Orleans differs greatly from the sommelier of Sonoma, just as the Montana Big Sky cowboy does from the New York City socialite, their differences are celebrated under a unifying belief in liberty, equality, and democracy. This is a freedom fiercely earned and sought the world over. It is also a significant driving force behind the United States’ superpower status in all things economics, politics, science, and culture. In its remarkably short lifespan, America’s pioneering spirit has led to some of the most significant worldwide exports and influences—the inventions of the telephone, the assembly line, and Facebook, not to be outshined by the glamour of Hollywood or the genius of Hemingway, Warhol, and Elvis.
The United States is also a melting pot of ancestral groups and one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations. In fact, nearly all 320 million Americans or their relatives settled or immigrated to the country within the past five centuries. Even Americans’ most beloved foods derive from the recipes of their forbearers: fried chicken, hamburgers, French fries, burritos, and pasta among them. This passionate love affair with food is a consistent theme throughout the country, with Manhattan bagels and lox, Texas smoked brisket, Colorado microbrews, and West Coast Asian fusion only a few examples of how far-reaching their menus go.
The diversity of the American people is almost as varied as the terrain on which they thrive. Almost every climate and landscape exists here. From East to West, the rocky coastal shores of Maine contrast with the bountiful Great Plains, while the towering Rocky Mountains neighbor the lush rainforests and Mediterranean-like beaches of the Pacific Coast. Unattached, but still integral to the American identity, is the arctic tundra of Alaska and the tropical breezes of Hawaii. With plenty of wide-open spaces and an extensive highway system to boot, America is perhaps best explored by car, something the locals romanticize as “The Great American Road Trip.” Witnessed by private vehicle or private plane, the wonders of the American landscape are unavoidable. At least 400 iconic geographical landmarks reside within the country’s 58 national parks and countless federally managed parks, forests, and wilderness areas. Whether you want to look down upon the Grand Canyon or stare up at the behemoth Sequoias and Red Woods of California, there is no better way to do so than on a luxury journey through “America the Beautiful” with Ker & Downey.