used to think “you either like roller coasters or you don’t,” said Christina Talcott in The Washington Post. But the rides at Ohio’s Cedar Point amusement park had even my fear-loving family quaking in our boots. The 364-acre, 138-year-old park sits on a peninsula that juts into Lake Erie, just an hour’s drive from Cleveland. Its 17 roller coasters are “the most of any amusement park in the world.” The lines for the biggest and most popular coasters can be long. But the wait will give you time to recover “before being hurled again around the loops and down the steep drops”—and also help you avoid nausea from cramming too many rides into too short a time. Cedar Point’s tallest coaster, the Top Thrill Dragster, “shoots riders 420 feet high and as fast as 120 mph” around a giant hairpin curve. Mean Streak is a “rattle-your-brains” wooden coaster, while the Wicked Twister follows “a giant U in the sky with 90-degree turns backward and forward.”
Tennessee’s third city
Locals call Knoxville, Tenn., “the couch” because “it’s too unassuming to shout about but too comfortable to leave,” said Allison Glock in The New York Times. Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the city is the state’s third largest after Nashville and Memphis. Not so much Old South as modern Appalachia, Knoxville is known for its “roots music, locavore food, folk art, and hillbilly pride.” Radio station WDVX-FM sponsors a free live music show every noon hour at its home on Gay Street. The Tomato Head, “the nexus for all things hip and happening in town,” is the place to go for epicurean pizza. For the best view of the city, head to the Sunsphere, a 600-ton, 266-foot steel truss structure that is “an architectural leftover from the 1982 World’s Fair.” Just outside of town, in Norris, the Museum of Appalachia is filled with “truckloads” of artifacts, folk art, and “actual cabins, churches, and outbuildings.”
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