The Longest Yard Sale in the World Celebrates 32 Years — and Other Travel Ideas

If you were wondering about some places to visit and things to do for the remainder of the summer of 2019 within the United States which are just slightly out of the ordinary, this article contains some different ideas about where you might want to consider traveling.

The Longest Yard Sale in the World Celebrates 32 Years — and Other Travel Ideas

From the Michigan town of Grayling south through Ohio and Kentucky to Chattanooga in Tennessee, United States Highway 127 stretches approximately 758 miles — and since 1987, the highway is the focus of what is dubbed the longest yard sale in the world: the 127 Yard Sale.

This year, the yard sale — which comprises of greater than 2,200 vendors and extends for approximately 690 miles — will occur from Thursday, August 1, 2019 through Sunday, August 4, 2019 on much of United States Highway 127 starting in the town of Addison in Michigan through its terminus in Chattanooga; but then, the yard sale continues further south on a patchwork of state and county highways known as Lookout Mountain Parkway through the northwest corner of Georgia into Alabama, where it ends in the town of Gadsden.

A forum where people can discuss all aspects of the yard sale exists.

The route of the yard sale itself is supposed to be quite scenic and may be worthy of a few days.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tennessee Aquarium Chattanooga

Photograph ©2006 by Brian Cohen.

Chattanooga is one of the most underrated cities in the United States, in my opinion. Between Ruby Falls, white water rafting, Lookout Mountain with its incline railway, Rock City, the Tennessee Aquarium, plenty of dining options, staying at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel which is comprised of train cars, miles of hiking trails, and even a scenic walk along the Tennessee River or visiting its downtown area with great choices for dining, you can easily spend four full days in this city which is approximately the size of Hartford in Connecticut — not too big and not too small — and still not do everything. Perhaps I will write an article with more details and information — as well as photographs — pertaining to Chattanooga.

The cities of Atlanta, Nashville and Knoxville are within two hours away from Chattanooga; and you can drive slightly greater than one hour to visit the famous Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama — which I have visited and intend to review my experience in a future article. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also within driving distance at approximately 150 miles away, if you want to spend a few days there.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge — Broad Channel, New York

Wait a minute — the only wildlife refuge in the entire National Park Service of the United States is located within the city limits of New York?

Yep.

Extending from Breezy Point to the west to Floyd Bennett Field and Canarsie Pier to the north to — get this — the western edge of John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is an oasis of greater than 19,000 acres of land, bay, and ocean waters in Brooklyn and Queens where you can do everything from fishing to horseback riding to bird watching to spending a day at a beach on the Atlantic Ocean, away from the hustle and bustle of the city within the city.

You can look carefully over the tall grasses of the marshes among the egrets and see the skyline of Manhattan peering off in the distance. It’s as surreal as it gets.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a part of the 27,000 acres of Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes Staten Island and Sandy Hook in New Jersey. There is so much to do at the fourth most visited National Park Service unit in the United States — with more than 9.2 million annual visitors — that all of the activities are impossible to list here. You literally can plan an entire vacation just at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge with all of the activities available if you wanted to do so.

Best of all, you pay no entrance fees to enjoy Gateway National Recreation Area — yes, admission is free of charge — although beach parking and select other activities may incur a charge.

Shirley Chisholm State Park — Brooklyn, New York

Not far from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is the newest and largest state park within the city of New York which recently opened. Located on 407 acres of land which once occupied two landfills — both of which closed 36 years ago — therefore explains why the highest point of Shirley Chisholm State Park is 130 feet in elevation, affording “spectacular panoramic views of the Empire State Building to the northwest, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and New York Harbor to the west, and Jamaica Bay to the south.” Once traversed by sanitation trucks and hungry sea gulls, this site has never been open to the public — until now.

Shirley Chisholm State Park is now open 365 days per year from 9:00 in the morning until dusk; and it offers:

  • Ten miles of biking and hiking trails
  • Shirley Chisholm State Park Bike Library, with loaner bikes for park patrons of all ages
  • Gorgeous waterfront access on Penn Pier, Hendrix Creek Patio
  • Picnicking
  • Environmental education — including fishing, guided bird walks and nature in your neighborhood

Free Kayaking in the East River — Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Reality Tour

Photograph ©2011 by Brian Cohen.

If you are going to be in Brooklyn already, consider crossing the entire borough from Shirley Chisholm State Park in the southeast to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse in the northwest, where you can go kayaking in the East River in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge — for free. You read that correctly: free of charge.

Weather permitting, you can either go kayaking June through August every Thursday from 5:30 in the afternoon to 6:45 in the evening, and every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 in the morning to 2:00 in the afternoon at Pier 2; or you can play kayak polo every Sunday at the Pier 4 beach.

Again: all events are free of charge.

Tubin’ Down the “Hootch” — Helen, Georgia

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

One inexpensive way people cooled off for decades from the heat of the intense Georgia sun is to float down the cold waters of the Chattahoochee River while relaxing in a tube under the continuous canopies of trees along the route. You can read about my experience of tubin’ down the “Hootch” in this article.

You can also visit the pseudo-“Alpine” village of Helen, which is located approximately 87 miles — or 90 minutes — north of Atlanta. Don’t get me wrong — there is plenty to do in Helen; and the surrounding areas are scenic. I just find aspects of the village itself as little more than a tourist trap.

Run Five Kilometers on the Fifth Runway at Airport — Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta airport

Photograph ©2010 by Brian Cohen.

Whether you are a runner or a walker, if you have ever wanted to be on the fifth runway without being aboard an airplane at the international airport which serves the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, this is your opportunity: the fifth annual Mayor’s 5K on the 5th Runway hosted by Keisha Lance Bottoms — who is the current mayor of the city of Atlanta — returns on the morning of Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 6:30 in the morning Eastern Daylight Time. Get ready to lace up your shoes and run or walk the fifth runway at the airport to experience this special opportunity to race on one of the flattest — and fastest — courses in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.

This five kilometer course is certified by USA Track & Field; and it is also a qualifier for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race.

The proceeds from the race will benefit the Mayor’s Youth Scholarship Program, United Way of Greater Atlanta and College Bound.

Yasgur Road Reunion: 50th Woodstock Anniversary Celebration — Bethel, New York

If you missed the Woodstock Music & Art Fair festival 50 years ago this year, an attempt to revive it with a collection of unknown acts is scheduled for August 15, 2019 through August 18, 2019 on the original homestead of Max Yasgur, only one mile away from where the legendary original music festival occurred.

Ticket prices for the Yasgur Road Reunion start at $169.94 for a weekend pass if you wanna be a part of the scene, man. Groovy.

Woodstock 50 — Watkins Glen, New York…?!?

This other Woodstock festival was supposed to be the real thing: if you missed musical artists such as Santana, Melanie, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful, John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, surviving members of Canned Heat, Dead & Company featuring some of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, and David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young back in 1969 at the original Woodstock music festival, they were all scheduled to return this year mixed with a slew of contemporary acts from August 16, 2019 through August 18, 2019…

…but a late check at the official Internet web site of the event does not look very promising. Still, this event is being listed here just in case it actually becomes a reality.

The event was originally listed to take place in Watkins Glen, New York — but if it occurs, the location may instead be 120 miles northeast in Vernon, New York. Either way, both towns are approximately 135 miles northwest of Bethel, New York, which is where the original Woodstock music festival was located.

Summary

I have never been to the 127 Yard Sale nor do I know exactly what items are sold; but I thought I would feature it in this article as an idea for something different to do this summer…

…but I have been to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Reserve multiple times — and I enjoyed it every single time.

If you have an item which you believe should be added to this list, please post it in the Comments section below. Thank you in advance.

All photographs ©2006, ©2010, ©2011 and ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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