Grand Cayman

QUESTION:  What popular attraction in Grand Cayman has drawn people to its own Post Office?
A)  The Stingray Encounter
B)  Hell
C)  Untaxed International Banking
D)  Rum Point

The founding of Holiday Inn in Memphis, Tennessee was discussed in yesterday's blog. Today, our phillumeny collection takes us on a journey to a specific Holiday Inn located on Crighton Drive in Grand Cayman. The authors of the blog at the American Treasure Tour have been petitioning our Director to send us there to be able to actually review the hotel itself, but so far our requests have fallen on deaf ears. So instead, we will talk a little bit about the island itself. 

Three separate islands encompass the Cayman Islands, with Grand Cayman being the largest, as well as the location of their capital city, George Town. Located just south of Cuba, the first Europeans to see them was a guy named Christopher Columbus during his fourth and final voyage to the New World, in 1503.  Although he initially named the islands Los Tortugas after the large sea turtles he saw in the region, they took on the name Cayman after the tiny alligators.  It would be one hundred and fifty years after their discovery before humans began inhabiting the islands - pirates, refuges from the Spanish Inquisition, shipwrecked sailors and escaped slaves all found a home there. They became a dominion of the British Crown in 1670, and have remained so ever since. Now, their fame as a tropical paradise and as a hub of international finance and banking has brought both tourists and business people to the islands. We strongly suspect many of both have found a nice refuge during their visits at the Holiday Inn Resort.

ANSWER:  B)  Hell

Holiday Inn

QUESTION:  Not only is Holiday Inn the name of a globally-famous hotel chain, but it is also a popular film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  In what year was the film released?
A)  1932
B)  1940
C)  1942
D)  1950

As the American Treasure Tour blog continues to explore our phillumeny collection - better known as our matchbooks - we have discovered a destination perfect for the current season: Grand Cayman.  Notably, the Holiday Inn located in Grand Cayman. So today, we would like to examine the birth of one of the best known and most popular hotel chains in the world: Holiday Inn. It all began in the mind of a man named Kemmons Wilson. Born in Arkansas in 1913, Wilson's father died before his first birthday. His mother moved him to Memphis, Tennessee, and that's where he lived for the remainder of his life - ninety years. He did travel, of course. And he found great inconsistencies in the places where he and his own family stayed as they drove cross country. He developed something of a fear of motels, and decided he would start his own that guaranteed quality accommodations. The first Holiday Inn was built in Memphis in 1952, and jokingly named after the popular Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire movie.

Wilson partnered with a man named Wallace Johnson to develop more motels, building their first headquarters out of a modified plumbing shed, and spreading their motels across the country. Within seven years, there were fifty motels dotting the landscape. By 1972 - only twenty years after Wilson built his first Holiday Inn - there were 1,400 motels scattered across the world. There are currently just around 2,700 Holiday Inns of different shapes, sizes and designs available in which to find lodging internationally.

ANSWER:  C)  1942

Planet Hollywood

QUESTION:  Where is the headquarters for the famous restaurant chain Planet Hollywood located?
A)  Hollywood
B)  New York City
C)  Orlando
D)  Los Angeles

A little-known retired actor named Bryan Kestner can take credit for developing the idea for Planet Hollywood in 1991; however, it never would have become a reality if not for the famous men and women whose investments into the restaurant chain had not made it real. You've heard the names before:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Willis' wife at the time Demi Moore were the big names behind it.  The idea was simple: take the model created by Hard Rock Cafe of decorating the walls of each restaurant with memorabilia with movie props and photographs, instead of items connected to the music industry. A former CEO of Hard Rock took the reins of the new enterprise, and managed to win a lawsuit made by Hard Rock against them, before opening sites across the country and the world. In a short five years, over one hundred Planet Hollywoods opened.  They even opened sports-themed restaurants called Official All Star Cafe.

And then they started closing them.  Planet Hollywood has declared bankruptcy twice, and virtually every one of their sites has closed.  The last of the Official All Star Cafe's was located in Disney's Wide World of Sports.  That closed in 2007.  Now, there are only nine Planet Hollywood locations left, in Disneyland Paris, Las Vegas, London, New York, Niagara Falls, Orlando, Las Vegas and, of course, Goa.  Planet Hollywood Atlanta, honored on our matchbook wall, is no more.  

ANSWER:  C)  Orlando

Mt. Rainier

QUESTION:  Mount Rainier was welcomed into the National Park System in what year?
A)  Trick question. Mt. Rainier is not part of the NPS.
B)  1789
C)  1899
D)  1929

The American Treasure Tour blog is celebrating a new week with a new theme.  Okay, fine. An old theme revisited. Philumeny, the collecting of matchbooks. Today, we are going to honor a beautiful destination in the state of Washington:  Mount Rainier.  The matchbook itself is surprisingly well done, revealing the majesty of one of the most recognizable natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest.  It also happens to be considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. 

The International Association of Vulcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (or maybe more easily remembered as IAVCEI) regards sixteen volcanoes around the world as "Decade Volcanoes" - which basically means that should any of them erupt, the destruction in their path thanks to a number of different elements could be truly catastrophic.  Mounts Vesuvius and Etna in Italy are two of them, and Rainier is the only one in the United States. One of the primary dangers with Rainier is what is called lahars. Rainier is covered in glacial ice that, should the intense heat of an eruption melt it, will cover the entire region in a massive mud- or lava flow that would pretty much decimate everything in its path. To date, there has been no solid evidence that Rainier is preparing to erupt, so until then it should be considered a must-stop destination the next time you visit Washington.  Its beauty and majesty is truly something to behold. 

ANSWER:  C)  1899.  It was the fifth site in the United States given National Park status.

Melville Grille

QUESTION:  The Melville Grille was once located in Portsmouth, RI, tucked away within the East Passage Yachting Center.  What is the name of the restaurant that has replaced it?
A)  White Whale Watering Hole
B)  Herman's Hermit Crabs
C)  Lobster Pot
D)  Gulfstream

A few weeks ago, the blog began celebrating many of the newly-acquired matchbooks to the collection with a study of phillumeny (that's the act of collecting matchbooks). What we have discovered is that many of the restaurants celebrated in the collection displayed in our Toy Box have shut their doors. That said, we like to think we are honoring establishments scattered throughout the country that impacted the lives of American citizens. Because that's far more glamorous than just writing about places that advertised on matchbooks. Today, we honor the Melville Grille and Lagoon Bar, that was located within the East Passage Yachting Center of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Reviews of their seafood-strong menu were overall quite positive - with special accolades going to their Portuguese fish chowder and calamari. Their location, overlooking the yachting center, was described by diners as being rather secluded and peaceful, with a lovely deck.  Perhaps the seclusion was a bit of a problem for them ultimately, and they closed in 2010.

The yachting center, which is still very much in business, has available over 360 deep-water berths that can accommodate boats as large as 150 feet long. It is largely enclosed with a land-barrier from the bay, has some amenities including a pool, and is a great option if you happen to be in the Portsmouth area.  Okay, for the sake of full disclosure, we have never had the opportunity to dock any of our multiple yachts there, but are confident that, should the current bring us to Portsmouth, East Passage is the place where we would go!

ANSWER:  D)  Gulfstream.  Honestly, if you knew this, we will be amazingly impressed!