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Travelocity Reveals Top Hometown Hot Spots

What was built in 1894, drops 58 feet and was named “The Crookedest Street in the World” by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”? If you guessed Lombard Street in San Francisco, guess again. The state of Iowa holds the answer to this stumper, but it’s certainly not the only state with little-known hidden gems to boast. For travelers looking to uncover local treasures, Travelocity(R) has released its list of Local Secrets, Big Finds(SM) for 2005. This online collection will send you straight to the heart of your destination, revealing insider spots across North America that are often overlooked by tourists and are the very places where the locals go.

Travelocity’s editorial team culled down more than 30,000 entries to develop this exclusive list of Local Secrets, Big Finds. From natural wonders like Canada’s disappearing lake in Jasper, Alberta, to one-of-a-kind events such as ostrich racing in Chandler, Ariz., these finds are sure to pique the interest of locals and visitors alike.

“Travel is very strong right now and no matter where travelers are headed, whether for business or leisure, these local secrets will come in handy,” says Amy Ziff, Travelocity’s editor-at-large and industry expert. “Who doesn’t want to do as the locals do? Our goal in compiling this list was to make exploration simple and fun by pointing travelers in the right direction to find authentic local flavor no matter where they go.”

Each of the 578 finds, including picks from every state, Washington D.C., and Canada, is highlighted on Travelocity’s site at Ziff also showcases 26 of the local hot spots as “Editor’s Top Picks for North America.”

Still wondering what street in Iowa championed over San Francisco’s Lombard Street as the most crooked in the world? Here’s the answer to that along with a few of Ziff’s other top picks:


—Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa—The folks in Burlington proudly note that “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” labeled Snake Alley “The Crookedest Street in the World”—take that Lombard Street in San Francisco! The Alley, which drops 58 feet, had both practical and aesthetic purposes. German immigrants in 1894 built it so horse-drawn carriages could get downtown without going down the steep inclines of other streets while appreciating the allure of a winding hillside, similar to the vineyards in France and Italy.

—The Big Jud in Ashton, Idaho—Idaho is known for big spuds, but what about Big Jud’s? This big-time diner in a small town is home to the one-pound burger, the Big Jud. If you finish this burger (about the size of the plate it is served on!), you get your picture on the wall. Say cheese!

—Swimming with Manatees in Crystal River, Fla.—Swim with the manatees or admire them from the shore at the 46-acre Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge along the Crystal River. Nearly 25 percent of the world’s endangered manatees reside here.

—Balloon Stampede and Winery Open Houses in Walla Walla, Wash.—Who says wine and hot air balloons don’t mix? On the second full weekend of May in Walla Walla, 80 to 100 colorful hot air balloons go up every morning and evening for three days. About 50 wineries are open for tasting, celebrating the release of some of their latest vintages.

—Mystery Lake in Jasper, Alberta, Canada—Located right outside of Jasper Park, this lake offers great fishing and winter sports, but only if you time it right. Named by Indians, Mystery Lake disappears in the fall and returns in the spring. The disappearing act takes place over a period of three weeks each winter.

More Details on Travelocity’s 2005 Local Secrets, Big Finds

After querying millions of Travelocity members to reveal the favorite quintessential finds in their area, Travelocity’s editorial team narrowed down more than 30,000 customer responses to unearth the best local spots in each state and is now sharing the list of Local Secrets, Big Finds with vacationers across the country. A total of 510 spots, that is 10 picks for every state, plus Washington, D.C., were compiled from around the United States. An additional 68 hot spots were chosen from Canada.