Thursday, December 31, 2015

Histocrats on the Road in 2015

              Where did your travels take you this year? How did you enjoy history on the road this year? We have had the opportunity to enjoy history throughout 2015.  Great books, museums, and historic sites have been part of our year. History has been both destination and inspiration. Check out a few of the great places we have enjoyed this year.  Happy History Travels!


(Clockwise from top left) Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Macon, Georgia; St. Petersburg, Florida


 (Clockwise from top left) Antigua; Martinique; St. Thomas; Grenada


 (Clockwise from top left) Chicago, Illinois; Louisville, Kentucky; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Marys, Georgia


(Clockwise from top left) Toronto, Canada; Greensboro, North Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; Niagara Falls, New York

Where will you go to enjoy history in 2016?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Enjoy History and More in Gettysburg

By: Traci Kerns

(Traci Kerns is a full time History Teacher, part time world traveler, aficionado of delicious food and good living.)

A view from the summit of Little Round Top
          Since hosting the largest battle in the Western Hemisphere from July 1-3, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania has become a magnet for amateur historians and Civil War enthusiasts.  An easy drive from Washington DC, Baltimore, or Philadelphia, Gettysburg makes for an educational and enjoyable destination for singles, couples or families.  Obviously, the draw for most driving through the rolling hills and farmland that abut the town is the battlefield itself.  Unless you are a Civil War historian, to attempt to take in thevast battlefield on your own is overwhelming and futile (and no, simply reading “The Killer Angels” does not prepare you).  Instead, visit the National Park Service website and arrange to take a tour of Gettysburg National Military Park with a licensed battlefield guide. For a very reasonable price, an expert will accompany you in your car to tour the battlefield, explaining the intricacies and hidden stories of the battle as you go (allow two hours minimum).  I recommend completing a battlefield tour with the guide early on your
Devil's Den
first day and then revisiting particular sites on day two or later the same day.  Make sure that you leave time for the superb museum and cyclorama, and to watch “A New Birth of Freedom” which will especially help younger visitors appreciate the significance of their visit.  For the more adventurous, you can also bike or horseback ride through the park!  For a different type of historical experience, visit the Eisenhower National Historic Site, located adjacent to the battlefield (there is a bus available from the visitor’s center).  At nearly 700 acres, this was the home Eisenhower retired to
after his presidency – after seeing his view, you will understand why!

Door to Jenny Wade House
            In addition to your visit to the park, a ghost tour is a delightful distraction to add to your itinerary.  There are plenty to choose from along Steinwehr Avenue, which is also where you will find most of your tourist shopping.  A favorite stop for ghost tours is the Jennie Wade House, home of the only civilian killed during the battle, as she kneaded dough in her kitchen for her family and wounded soldiers.  Another interesting battle artifact can be found at Mr. G’s Ice Cream parlor.  Here, you can sit at a “witness tree” table made from a sycamore that stood along Baltimore Street, which President Lincoln passed on his way to deliver his famous address.  Outside of the shop are two additional living witness trees. 
Dobbin House Tavern
            The Gettysburg area also has a rich culinary heritage and its local provisions are well worth your time.  To enjoy some history with your victuals, the Dobbin House Tavern is my preferred choice.  Built in 1776, the romantic, cozy tavern area is a casual place to dine after an exhaustive outing to the battlefield – an Adam’s Delight and a glass of local wine will refuel you for the remainder of your day.  Make sure you take time to visit the springs that run under the house and peek into the six charming colonial era dining rooms.  Leave enough time to visit Reid’s Winery & Cider House CafĂ© and Hauser Winery on the main square as you stroll amongst the antique shops (be on the lookout for plaques on homes that tell the stories of inhabitants who witnessed the battle).

            With a variety of places to stay, from dreamy bed and breakfasts, large family hotels with pools and the elegant Gettysburg Hotel on the square, Gettysburg is a popular four- season destination and is definitely on my list to return to in the future.  It is a quaint location, perfect for spending time wandering the battlefield, imbibing local ciders or driving the surrounding countryside, dotted with covered bridges and breathtaking vistas across wooded hills.  Although the small town of Gettysburg is best known for the tragic battle that made it infamous, there is much more to this charming, bygone region that is worth seeking out.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Visit Massachusetts: Spend the Day in Plymouth

By Jeff Burns

Plymouth Rock
Just a short drive from Boston, you’ll find Plymouth, the site where 102 Separatists and others disembarked from the Mayflower to establish the colony of Massachusetts.  After a hard winter and much assistance from the local Wampanoag people, the colonists survived and celebrated a Thanksgiving feast.  Today, tourists flock to Plymouth to enjoy a beautiful New England town and to soak up a lot of American history.
Mayflower II
You have to start from the beginning, with the Mayflower II, a full size replica of the original ship.  At just 106 feet long, it’s difficult to imagine that the voyage was possible, but knowing that it did happen, you’re left with a greater respect for the settlers.  Visitors can board and examine the entire ship. Costumed historic interpreters are on hand to answer questions and demonstrate life on board .  Nearby, you can see Plymouth Rock, the legendary landing spot.  It’s actually a part of the original boulder that was identified in 1715 as “the” rock, moved from its original location.  There are no contemporary mentions of a rock, and historians have long cast doubt on the story, but it’s without doubt a part of the story of Plymouth.  Across the street from the rock is the original burying ground, located on Coles Hill, where you’ll also find a statue of Massasoit, the Wampanoag chief who befriended the Pilgrims and encouraged Squanto and Samoset to help them. 
The Pilgrim Hall Museum is one of the oldest public museums in the U.S., founded in 1824.  It houses the largest collection of Pilgrim-era artifacts in the country. 

Just a couple of miles out of town is Plimoth Plantation. Step into life in the 17th century as you tour a Wampanoag Indian village and the adjacent English village.  Costumed interpreters demonstrate life and answer questions from visitors.  It’s a fully functional village, and the villagers go about their daily chores.  They welcome you into their homes which represent a spectrum of experiences. There are also non-costumed interpreters who share their expertise.  We had an interesting conversation with an herbalist who was preparing various remedies. You could easily spend a whole day here.

Aside from all the history, Plymouth is a beautiful seaside village, and it’s definitely on our list of places worthy of a return.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Visit Massachusetts: Day Trip to Lowell

By Jeff Burns

The state of Massachusetts has so much history you can virtually set out in any direction from Boston and embark on an adventure into the past.  While visiting Boston, my wife and I took a day trip to Lowell, a textile manufacturing center established in the early 19th century by Francis Cabot Lowell.  For a hundred years, Lowell represented the American industrial revolution.  “King Cotton” was shipped from the South to mills and factories in New England to be made into cloth for the country.  Lowell also represents the social history of the United States.  The first workers were Massachusetts farm girls recruited with the lure of a life off the farm.  As Irish and German immigrants arrived in large numbers in the 1840s, they found jobs in the factories.  In the late 1800s, the new immigrants arrived from southern and eastern Europe and then Portugal.  As the work force changed the character of the city changed as well, and Lowell became very diverse.  Then, the textile industry in Lowell came to an end in 1929 when the Great Depression turned Lowell into a ghost town.  In 1978, the Lowell National Historical Park was created for the purpose of rehabilitating over 100 downtown buildings and preserving the city’s unique past.  While the textile industry is no longer much of an employer, Lowell has bounced back, thanks to tourism and the universities and hospitals in the area.

We started at the Boott Cotton Mills, one of the original mill buildings that has 88 power looms in operation, and you get a slight sense of what work was like.  The auditory experience alone is incredible; the sound is deafening.  From there, the visitor goes through interesting interactive exhibits that explain the story of Lowell.  The introductory film is a must-see, one of the best museum films I’ve seen. It is a thorough and entertaining account of the disagreement between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton about the economic path the United States should take.  It’s a video I would love to use with my students, but it is not for sale unfortunately.  The exhibit’s docent was a retired teacher who was extremely knowledgeable and engaging.

A short walk away is the Mill Girls & Immigrants Exhibit.  There, you can see how the Lowell girls lived in their boardinghouses.  One of the really interesting displays is a representation of the typical meals prepared for the girls by the house mothers; the hard working girls consumed huge meals.  You can also see what the girls did in their leisure time.

From the mills, you may want to visit the American Textile History Museum and the New England Quilt Museum.  The latter was a must-see for my wife, a quilter.  The New England Quilt Museum had a couple of great exhibits for history lovers.  One was an exhibit of modern quilts inspired by Civil War quilts and fabrics.  The other exhibit was of authentic Civil War quilts.

Art lover?  James Whistler’s birthplace in Lowell is open to the public. His father was in charge of the mills’ railroad system at the time of his birth.  Literature buff?  Jack Kerouac was a Lowell native, and you can connect with the author of On the Road in the Kerouac Commemorative Park on Bridge Street.

Whatever your interests, there’s plenty to see in Lowell.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Traveling with History: Boston

By Jeff Burns

Even for the most avid history buff, there are places where there is a danger of a historo-sensory overload, and Boston is definitely one of those places.  Of course, history is relative, but for Americans, it’s difficult to go much farther back than Boston, established in 1630, in the history of European settlement.  A vacation in Boston is a history lover’s dream, but there’s so much to see and do that the experience can be overwhelming, and I strongly suggest that your trip is preceded by some planning, including planning a return trip in the future.

We took a fall break trip to Boston, and here are some suggestions to maximize your trip.  First, here are some suggestions for getting around.  We stayed in an Airbnb apartment in the Dorchester neighborhood.  It was our first Airbnb experience, and we were very happy.  It was a large, clean apartment, located in a nice working-class neighborhood, with easy access to public transportation.  That access is important because driving in Boston is crazy, and parking is impossible.  Do yourself a favor and get MBTA passes which allow you to use buses, subway, or commuter rail and use the system.  It works great and gets you where you want to be, but it can be extremely crowded during rush hour, and there are occasional glitches, like when our subway car’s doors failed to open at our stop once, and we couldn’t get off.

"Prince Hall" in front of the New State House

Once we arrived, checked into our apartment, and gotten back to the city, we started at Boston Common.  At the Visitors’ Center there, you can get your bearings, ask questions, and embark on a tour of the Freedom Trail, either self-guided or led by a costumed guide.  I highly recommend the guided tour.  Our guide was “Prince Hall,” actually Sam a professional comedian, who leads tours as Prince Hall, a noted black abolitionist of colonial Boston who founded Black Freemasonry in America.  Sam took us on a two hour walking tour of the major historic sites.  He was extremely informative and entertaining, and it’s a great way to get an overview, and you can also decide what sites you may want to go back to explore in more depth later.
Paul Revere's grave in Granary Burial Ground,
a stop on the tour which includes the graves of
John Hancock, Sam Adams, & victims of the Boston Massacre
The Freedom Trail guided tour ends at Faneuil Hall, built in 1742 as a public market and used by Samuel Adams for large anti-British meetings leading up the Revolution.  Today, Faneuil and the adjacent Quincy Market are home to souvenir shops, food vendors, and restaurants. Thee is also a museum inside Faneuil. The complex attracts 14 million visitors every year.  From there, take a walk to the North End, now Boston’s version of Little Italy, filled with Italian restaurants and bakers.  Have a meal or just pick up some cannoli as you see sites like the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church, the church spire from which Revere was signaled that night. 

You can also go back and spend more time at the Old State House, the seat of the British colonial government and site of the Boston Massacre (across the street), or the “New” State House (built in the 1790s).  In front of the New Stat House, you can see Robert Gould Shaw/ 54th Massachusetts Infantry Memorial created by Augustus St. Gaudens. In addition to the Freedom Trail tours, the National Park Service also conducts Black Heritage Trail tours which start from the Shaw Memorial.

For more recent history, go to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.  Some might say that the museum is much like the man himself, style over substance, but it’s a must see if you are interested in presidential history and presidential libraries.

For art lovers, there are two major museums that have to go on your list.  The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest museums in the country, and one afternoon is not nearly enough time.  There are fantastic examples of art from around the world, from ancient to modern.  We didn’t have time on this trip to see the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an Italian palazzo designed by Gardner to house her personal art collection of some 2,500 works of Renaissance and Old Masters artists. It’s regarded as a premier museum.

You can also take a trip to Cambridge and visit Harvard.  Check out Harvard Square and Museums like the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. 

After a few days in Boston, we were exhausted, and there was so much left for us to do, and for you to explore:  Fenway Park, Old Ironsides (the U.S.S. Constitution, Bunker Hill, the list goes on and on).  More visits are in order!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Communal Scrub-A-Dub

By Jeff Burns
Roman Baths by Giovanni Paolo Pannini
Communal bathing has been an important part of many cultures around the word for millennia.  The earliest public baths discovered by archaeologists were in the Indus River Valley city of Mohenjo-Daro, which was built in the third millennium BC.  The ancient Romans built bathhouses on the frontiers as they expanded their empire.   Communal bathing was and is a vital part of Japanese culture, and the sauna culture still thrives in Scandinavia. Not only did the practice meet a need for cleanliness and develop a reputation for having healing properties, but baths were also often an important part of rituals and religion, and they were an important part of building a spirit of community. 

(L)Ruins of an ancient Roman bath in Greece, showing the heated floor system. By Janmad (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons; (R) Virtual Historical Reconstruction of Roman Baths in Weisenberg Germany "Cyark Weissenburg Reconstruction" by CyArk - CyArk. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -
Over time, however, public bathing facilities diminished in western Europe and the United States  as private bathing facilities became more commonly available, and, in some cases, bathhouses came to be associated with brothels and other illicit behavior.  However, the modern spa boom could mean a welcome resurgence.

My first experience of a traditional bath house was in Baden-Baden Germany several years ago when I was traveling in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.  There is a communal bathing tradition in all those countries, but Baden-Baden literally meaning “bathing-bathing”, is legendary.  Roman troops once bathed in the warm mineral springs as early as the reign of Emperor Hadrian when the settlement was known as Aquae.  Later, royalty from across Europe took advantage of the supposedly curative waters.  Mark Twain visited on his famous European tour, immortalized in his works Innocents Abroad and “A Tramp Abroad.” In fact, the very spa he visited, Friedrichsbad , still operates, little changed from the days of his visit. Of Friedrichsbad, Twain wrote, Here at the Friedrichsbad you lose track of time within 10 minutes and track of the world within 20....”

Friedrichsbad stil practices the traditional bathing rules.  There is a 17 step ritual, with the steps consisting of baths and saunas of various temperatures, hot to cold, wraps, and a vigorous  body scrup with soap and a hard-bristled brush.  The bather is nude for all these steps, and men and women are segregated, except for a common pool which is optional.  All this takes place in the original structure, built in the late 1800s and beautifully decorated with tiles and frescoes, just as it was when Twain visited. 
(from website )
I’ve also enjoyed similar experiences in the U.S. a few times.  Hot Springs Arkansas was named for the springs first enjoyed by Native Americans.  As settlers moved west, they discovered the benefits and pleasures, and the town became a southern resort city, famous for horse racing, casinos, and gangsters in the 1920s.  The downtown business district was lined with luxurious bathhouses which thrived.  Business later fell off, however, and the downtown district is now a national historic district.  There are still several modern spas that use the springs in their treatment, but only one still in operation and doing it the traditional way, the Buckstaff BathHouse on Historic Bathhouse Row ( ).  Sexes are segregated here as well, and there are several steps in your visit.  The bather is greeted by an attendant who takes him through the experience, starting with a soak in a huge tub filled with spring water at about 100 degrees.  Then, the bather goes through a sitz bath, a cold shower, a sauna, and a wrap, with massage and other services optional.

(from )
My most recent experience was closer to home at Jeju Sauna in Duluth, Georgia ( ).  Jeju is a traditional Korean bath/spa experience, popular with Asians and non-Asians alike.  In the gender-segregated locker room bathing area, there are showers, sinks, a hot tub, medium tub, icy cold tub, wet sauna, dry sauna, infrared light drying area, and body scrub and acupressure massage tables.  From there, you can dress in the t-shirt and shorts provided and go into the common, mixed gender area. There, you will find a pool, a Korean restaurant, and large sauna huts and rooms.  Each of these saunas is constructed of a different material like gold and silver, jade, charcoal, salt, clay, and ice. Some are hot, some are not.  Each material is touted to have different therapeutic benefits from which to choose.  Foot reflexology and other services are also offered.  Admission is $25 (other services additional) and good for 24 hours, so some people actually opt to spend the night at Jeju instead of a hotel.

All images from  Salt room, Jade Room, Bath area, outside of Salt Room

Whether you’re traveling or you have an establishment in your hometown, consider trying this experience.  If you’re a little squeamish about the nudity, there are some facilities that allow or even require bathing suits.  However, once you dive in, pun intended, it really isn’t much of an issue.  Check out TripAdvisor or other travel and review sites and prepare for hours of relaxation, while enjoying an historic tradition as old as civilization itself.  I look forward to trying Russian and Turkish baths in future travels.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Finding History and Beer in Milwaukee

By David Duncan

Do you like Beer and History? How about combining the two in Milwaukee—the city that beer built! Recently, I was lucky enough to tour various Milwaukee breweries and get a taste of the city and its history, one pint glass at a time. So why choose Milwaukee for a series of brewery tours? Well, I am just a guy who loves beer—drinking it, as well as brewing it, so it was only natural to plan a vacation around visiting some great breweries in the city known for Beer!

By far the largest beer producer in the Milwaukee area is MillerCoors.  The Brewery is located in the heart of Miller Valley.  This is the one tour that is free and offers a great mix of information related to beer production and the history of the brewery.  The tour begins with visitors sitting through a video overview of the Miller Brewery History and then a walking tour of several of the beer production facilities, as well as the historic Miller Caves.  Throughout the tour visitors learn about the 150 years of brewing history. One of the tour highlights is visiting the underground caves where Frederick Miller cooled his early brew.  The MillerCoors brewery is the most modern facility in the area and the high-speed production lines produce some of the most popular beer (Miller Lite) in the U.S. Not only will you learn about the “Champagne of Beers” but you can taste it at the end of the tour in the historic, Bavarian-style Miller Inn.
At one time the Pabst Brewery employed more than 5000 workers at their Milwaukee location.  However, those days are long gone and the brewery was closed in 1996.  Nevertheless, the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Hall is still used and operates today as Best Place.  This was a unique brewery tour considering the brewery no longer operates.  Instead, visitors sit in the Beer Hall for an informative tour through the Pabst brewing history.  The tour does include your choice of beer, PBR or Schlitz tend to be the favorites.  Also, a tour highlight includes getting your picture made with Captain Pabst himself in the Captain's Courtyard.  
By far, the Milwaukee Brewing Company tour was where the beer production info is overshadowed by the sheer amount of beer that could be consumed.  This tour was more of a social event than any sort of history or beer production guide.  Visitors were allowed to drink at the bar before, during, and after the tour using the MKE pint glass that is part of the tour.  We enjoyed walking around the tour and talking to the various tour guides.  This tour was really a great one on one type of experience.   

According to Lakefront’s info—they believe people want to go on brewery tours for three main reasons:  drink beer, be entertained and see the place.  Lakefront certainly hit all three points.  We received a small tasting glass and four tokens in which to enjoy a cold brew.  Lakefront offers a very spacious Beer Hall, which we considered the best out of the breweries we visited.  The tour is very serious and offers a great informative overview of beer production.  The tour ends with a rousing rendition of the Laverne and Shirley theme song and reenactment of the Laverne’s glove riding through the bolting line.
We really were excited to embrace Milwaukee’s German heritage while touring the Sprecher Brewery.  They bill themselves as a brewing company with a modern twist on an old-world brewing tradition.  Like Pabst and Lakefront, Sprecher does offer a German style beer garden.  Although they began as a beer brewer, Sprecher’s sells far more of their gourmet sodas like Root Beer than beer.  This tour was also the one in which there were as many kids on the tour as adults.  Considering visitors got their choice of four beers or all you can drink sodas, this was by far the most family friendly tour.  Sprecher does offer a small Beer Garden, but visitors quickly fill up the garden making for a rather cramped good time.
They may not be serving up the beer Milwaukee is known for, but a tour of Great Lakes Distillery, Wisconsin’s first post-Prohibition distillery is a must for all fans of local craft liquor. The tour is small and intimate, offering a tasting of the small-batch distillery’s products.  During the tasting, the guide was able to help us learn the small details that each batch is known for.
Although Milwaukee might not be on everyone’s radar as a place to vacation, we find it the perfect mix for a beer enthusiast and historian.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Milwaukee and certainly sampled plenty of the beers Milwaukee has to offer.  Sadly, my wife does not drink beer.  However, that didn’t matter since every brewery offered Root Beer as an alternative.  So, if you enjoy beer and history, I would certainly recommend putting Milwaukee on your vacation to-do list.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Traveling Exhibit: Da Vinci and Michelangelo, Side by Side

By Jeff Burns

Do you dream of going to Italy and seeing works by Renaissance masters?  Or maybe you want to renew memories of a past visit?  Then, the creators of this exhibit are looking for you.  “Da Vinci and Michelangelo:  Side by Side” is one of those for-profit traveling exhibits that appear in shopping centers and commercial spaces for a few months before moving on to the next stop on the tour, like Bodies or the Titanic exhibit.  While it might seem like a new trend, popping up over the last decade or so, it’s really an idea as old as exhibitions and museums  The creator of modern exhibitionism and showmanship, P.T. Barnum, exhibited George Washington’s 120+ year-old nanny and other dubious “historical” objects throughout his careers.

This exhibit, in Atlanta at the time of this writing, is built on a great concept, focusing on the two greatest creative men of the Renaissance and arguably of all time.  There are reproductions of their most famous works  and lots of informative exhibits.  Several of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebook designs, foreshadowing inventions that wouldn’t be devised for hundreds of years, come to life as models, several of which are hands-on.  Da Vinci has always been my favorite personality in history, and his notebooks, which were never intended for anyone else to see, contain hundreds of designs ahead of their time that Leonardo never actually built.  Now, you can see them in action and get a sense of just how advanced he was as a thinker.

The exhibit offers free guided tours and has an excellent accompanying audio tour that you can do on your own.  There are also a couple of video stations in the exhibit and a couple of activity areas for kids.  There is a large gift shop of course, and the staff seemed to be enthusiastic. 

For more information and to see if the exhibit is coming to your area, check out the website .  Tip: If you want to see this exhibit or any similar exhibit, check out the discount sites like Groupon, Living Social, Travelzoo, etc.  Travelzoo offered a 2 for 1 deal on tickets in Atlanta.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tasty Tour: Tampa (Ybor City, actually)

By Jeff Burns

One hundred fifty years ago, there wasn’t much to Tampa Florida.  It consisted of a few hundred people looking to scratch out a living the best way they could.  However, in the late 1800s, things started coming together.  Henry Plant, an eastern railroad magnate saw the potential Tampa had:  a natural harbor and nice climate, so he built railroads connecting the region to the north.  Then, a visionary named Vincente Martinez-Ybor saw the potential and built the city on cigars.  That’s the story I learned from taking a history and food walking tour of Ybor City, the core of historic Tampa.  The tour is one of several tours offered by Ybor City Food Tours .

Vincente Martinez-Ybor was a Cuban cigar maker, born in Spain, who purchased swamp land and transformed it into the world’s largest cigar company  and a thriving community that may well have been the greatest example ever of an American melting pot.  Workers and came from around the world and lived, worked, and socialized in Ybor City. Many think of Ybor City as a Cuban enclave, but there were not only Cubans, but also Spaniards, Italians, Sicilians, Germans, Romanians, and Americans, black and white, among others who built the city.

Our tour was the Original Ybor City Food Tour, billed as a two-hour tour that lasted closer to three.  Along with learning the history of Ybor City, we enjoyed special treats in various restaurants along the route.  It’s kind of like a progressive dinner.  We started with chicken wings at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company, then a huge slice of cheese pizza at New York, New York Pizzeria, a Cuban sandwich (voted best Cuban from Miami to Tampa multiple times – and it has my vote), black beans and rice at Gaspar’s Grotto, and key lime pie from Green Iguana and Cuban coffee at Nicahabana Cigars, one of a dozen or so traditional hand-rolled cigar shops still operating in Ybor City.  Like most of the cigar shops, Nicahabana offers Cuban coffee and espressos.  (Unfortunately, their machine was out of order when we were there, so no coffee.) The food was fantastic at every stop, and we were all more than satisfied.