Have you ever seen the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die? I've thumbed through it, but didn't purchase because I'm a long way off from exploring the globe.
Tonight, however, I purchased 1,000 Places In the U.S.A. and Canada to See Before You Die. Thumbing through it has been interesting. Using a strict list of criteria (must have journalled about the place and been to the specific event referenced, if any), I highlighted 55 items out of 1,000. It could have been more if I'd tweaked some of the data--music in Grant Park? Well... I've been to Grant Park even if I didn't listen to music... didn't add that to my list. Charlottetown? Well... I went when I was 6. Didn't make the list. Neither did 'Richmond, Virginia' or other similar entries for places I just drove through.
It was an interesting exercise and gives me some ideas on places to 'hit' in my travels, as well as things to do and restaurants to try, but I certainly don't think this is the be all and end all of the top 1,000 places in the U.S.A. and Canada. A tiny sample of the things not included that would have made my list include:
-a specific spot on Chicago's Navy Pier, the view from which would leave you without any doubt that 'the place of stink grass' has the most beautiful skyline in the United States (been there twice, six years apart, so this is not just romantic memory talking);
-any mining community in northern Quebec: the arctic AND French-Canadian culture in a two-for-one package, plus fantastic vistas and a climate you'll never forget (visit in winter, of course);
-the Coronado bridge in San Diego, the most breath taking wrong exit I ever took;
-the Winnipeg Forks, a place of trade since before recorded history, with, as a bonus, St. Boniface, Winnipeg's French Quarter;
-southeast and central Wisconsin; rolling green hills, quaint villages, antiquing;
-the street in Minneapolis where the 'pavement' is red bricks and the line markings are pale yellow brick;
-Martinique Beach, the prettiest in the Halifax-Dartmouth area.
These types of books are fun to thumb through, but I know better than to try to check off everything in it. Sometimes you can miss something in one city (the Montreal Jazz festival, for example, because you're not a fan of Jazz), and never forget other things that didn't make the list and which are absolute 'musts'... like the Biodôme.
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."