SURVEY SAYS: What's Your Favorite Landmark?

June 2, 2011 ( – With the summer vacation now upon us, this week I asked readers to share the most favorite landmark that they had ever seen/visited in person – and what was still on their “bucket list.”


Well, as you might expect, we got a nice, long list – in both categories.  But we’ll start by listing the places listed by fewer than five respondents:

Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor

Berlin Wall – I lived within it for 4 years.

California Redwoods – beautiful!


Church on the Spilled Blood in St Petersburg, Russia

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Diamond Head in Honolulu – the view is fantastic

Edinburgh Castle

Gettysburg battlefield

Grand Teton mountains

Great Pyramids

Iguazu Falls (Brazil/Argentina border)



Little Haiwatha in Ironwood Michigan

Machu Picchu

Mt. Vernon

National Cathedral in Washington DC

Niagara Falls

Reclining Budha, in Thailand

Red Square

St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall

St. Peter's in Rome



The Tower of London

Tom O'Sullivan's big tree marking the unnamed boreen (road - if you can call it that) to my new cottage in West Minard, Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland. I'll never find my way if he cuts it down.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Waikiki Beach

Washington Monument

Westminster Abbey


The next grouping was cited by more than five – but not enough to make it into the top four:

Boundary Waters Canoe and Wilderness Area

Devil's Tower in Wyoming

Eiffel Tower

Empire State Building

Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. - it made me cry to see all the names, but it is so beatuiful in its simplicity.

Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem

World Trade Center buildings - before 9/11

And then there was our top four...


# 4

Statue of Liberty



Yellowstone Park



Mount Rushmore



The Grand Canyon


Of course, I also asked readers to share with us their landmark “bucket list” (as in things to see before you “kick the bucket”).  Once again, there was the list that was mentioned by five or fewer respondents:

Angor Wat, Abu Simbel and Terracotta Warriors in China

Blarney Stone in Ireland....

Carlsbad Caverns

Easter Island

Golden Gate Bridge - somehow, I've never been to San Francisco

Inner Passage - Alaska

largest ball of twine in the world

Monticello; Jefferson was such a clever individual

Normandy - D-Day landings

Notre Dame Cathedral and The Parthenon

Old North Church.

Sahara at sunset.

Sequoia National Forest, then Yellowstone

Smithsonian Museums


US Capitol Mall/Smithsonian

Westminster Cathedral in England

White House & Capitol in Wash. D.C.

Yellowstone National Park 

And the list that loomed "larger", but not enough to make it into the top five:

Machu Picchu

Statue of Liberty

Coliseum in Rome

Eiffel Tower

Old Faithful

Taj Mahal


And then our top five…



The Great Wall of China



Niagara Falls



The Pyramids (Egypt)



Mount Rushmore


....and the #1

The Grand Canyon! 

Yes, that’s right!  The top two choices in both lists were the same!









There were some great reader verbatims to go along with these choices, including:

Everything in Washington, DC is amazing.

"I remember JFK's audacious promise to put an American on the moon and bring him home safely in that decade. He couldn't say that about Red Square.

I am determined to see the Great Wall and Michelangelo's David and Temple Mount."

Visit Gettysburg key spots at dusk when almost everyone is gone - particularly stand on the Confederate lines and contemplate how far away the 'high water mark' is.

On a family trip one summer we stopped for 4th of July festivities at Mount Rushmore.  What a wonderful, beautiful place!  Now, I need to kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland...and my Irish Uncle says...I might need a refill by this time in my life!

DC is full of fantastic landmarks that every American should see at least once.  The Lincoln Memorial is especially moving.


Old Faithful, because I know I'll never have the chance to see the Pyramids, Great Wall of China, Great Barrier Reef or even Diamond least Old Faithful is close enough that I might be able to make it.  Just got to see the Grand Canyon last summer.

The Boundary Waters doesn't get a lot of press, but it is such an amazing place. I try to go every year for a week. No phones, no watch, no electronics other than a camera and a flashlight. It is so liberating and beautiful.

It is so hard to choose my favorite landmark -- some have exquisite natural beauty, some are historically significant, some remind me of my favorite vacations and some generate strong emotional feelings.  I have tried to pick one that rates high in all these criteria.

I couldn't call it a "favorite" but the Lorraine Motel in Memphis was the most emotionally moving historic site I've ever visited.

Mile Marker 0 on A1A - for obvious reasons including all the fun activities on Duval Street in Key West

It's a very close race between between Machu Picchu and the Temple of Karnac in Luxor, but Machu Picchu wins. As a world traveler it's hard to pick a favorite. When you see natural landmarks like the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier reef, and manmade ones like the Pyramids, Coliseum and St. Basil's Cathedral, each one is your favorite at the time.

I still get that tingling feeling whenever I go to Washington, D.C., and I've been dozens of times.  Our nation's monuments are a source of great significance and pride.

My favorite was a visit to Yellowstone Park when I was a kid.  Our car had a flat tire and a herd of buffalo came up to look at us while Dad was changing it .  My sister left her glasses on top of the car while we scrambled back in.  Have you ever noticed that the most memorable occasions are due to something going not-quite-so-right?


Having just gotten back from a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, I realize how important National Parks, State Parks, and other landmarks are.  We also went to DC last fall and again, was impressed that there are so many places that are historic and are available to visit and tour.  Last night I visited a friend whose art piece has just been requested for the permanent collection of the Smithsonian.  The Smithsonian is another jewel in the crown.  How lucky we are in this country to have such a wealth of nature and human achievements that are available to all.  We must protect them for both our present and our future.

It was tough picking just one favorite.  I'd have to say it was really a tie between Mount Rushmore and Falling Water.  I am 59 and had wanted to tour Falling Water since I first read about it when I was in high school, I finally got to go last year.  I decided to settle on Mount Rushmore as I had wanted to visit Mount Rushmore since grammar school.  Both are spectacular in their own ways and more than lived up to my expectations.

I was really lucky as a kid that my family lived in both Europe and the Middle East and my folks believed in seeing everything!  I've seen castles and towers and palaces and ruins, mountains and deserts, cathedrals and cottages.  All of which were worth experiencing.  But, as far as I am concerned, nothing can compare with all that the USA has to offer.  We may not be as old as those other places, but our land is gorgeous and varied and we have the freedom to visit it all!  I also want to see Alaska and Glacier National Park and the Grand Tetons, hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, take my family to visit New Mexico (where I spent my High School years).  I think an RV and a huge gas budget are called for.

I've seen and loved ancient buildings such as the Roman Colosseum, the Parthenon etc., but the Grand Canyon gives you an insight into how old the Earth is and how it was built up in layers (and washed away) over eons.


If you are forty years of age and have a long bucket list, take a year off and explore. It's hard to leave your job, but it can be done - even with children. It was the greatest adventure and exceptional learning adventure for me and my four children. When they graduate from college, our big adventure will be a safari. We've been saving since our last adventure to Europe. Now get your passport and GO!

The grounds of the Biltmore Estate designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in Asheville, NC are simply amazing.  Do a little research before you visit.  It will open your eyes to things you take for granted.

The cemetery in Normandy is one of the most moving places I have ever been, even more so than Arlington.

In Berlin, from 1974 to 1978, I lived within the famous wall, having to drive through English/French/American and Russian checkpoints to drive through the corridor to Western Germany. I wasn't there to see the wall come down, but a friend sent me a chunk of it as a memory.


My favorites were:

My bucket list overfloweth - unfortunately, I have more things on my bucket list than I have the time or money to do!

A bucket list is way more fun than a "honey-do" list.

Do not wait until you retire to go!

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted, “Can't miss DC. The monuments, museums, libraries, historical records...oh, and there's a circus in town nearly every day.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!  And thanks (from all of us) for the suggestions!