Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July!  Are you celebrating with fireworks or a parade?

This latest survey from U.S. News & World Report says that Switzerland is the best country in the world.  What’s your opinion?  Do you think the USA is the best?  Or another country?  Any plans to move?  We’re still the “most powerful” country in the world according to the survey, but we’re only ranked seventh overall.

The survey ‘polled more than 21,000 people described by organizers as “business leaders, informed elites and general citizens.”’

The Best Country in the World? Survey Says It’s Switzerland


42 thoughts on “Fourth of July

  1. We are visiting Charleston for a few days. We took a boat to Fort Sumter and the National Park Service had a special flag raising ceremony for the 4th. It was moving to stand there on the 4th as the flag was raised.

    It is hot, but Charleston is wonderful. My only regret is that I waited this long to visit. So much history, and so many original buildings and houses remain in downtown Charleston.

  2. Local fireworks mostly seem to now be held on the nearest weekend night to the Fourth, so, with DW’s parents, we went out on the lake after dinner, and later pulled up to the dock and boathouse of some people we met and befriended last year (their grandkids and my kids are similar ages). We watched the fireworks from their dock, then waited about a half hour for the boat traffic to clear up a little before leaving. With a $10 Navionics app on my iPhone, and a half moon, driving back in the dark was easy.

    Today’s just a day off. The kids want to go to the pool this afternoon.

  3. Lauren – when I lived there a decade ago, most NYers hadn’t even heard of Charleston. Now it’s swarming with them. And many are escaping taxes to retire there (often in mount Pleasant.)

  4. We are doing the usual parade, followed by dinner buffet and fireworks. The one thing that is different is that this year I am IN the parade, with the crossfit crew, so I get to help pull a truck. And then drink beer. Luckily, this morning’s workout was very light (I was wondering how I was going to do another killer holiday workout like Murph and then pull a truck, but he went easy on us). And I am currently doing the hard work of relaxing in my recliner to “recover” for the afternoon’s work. 😉

  5. Our neighborhood does a nice fireworks display which we will either attend or watch from our culdesac with neighbors. We grilled last night, so I am making pulled pork in the crock pot today and staying in the A/C.

    I don’t know that I would say the US is the singular best, but in my eyes certainly among the best. With the current political climate, I find myself feeling more passionate about our constitution, and more generally aware and concerned about all things political than I ever have before. I have days where I am feeling so much love for our way of life here that I could go outside wearing a US flag as a cape. I have no idea, with our diametrically opposed news sources, how Americans will resolve the rift between extreme right and left, but I do hope we can begin to recognize our significant common ground soon. Happy 4th!

  6. Milo, we just walked all along bay from entrance of Fort Sumter to Battery. Then up and down streets off King. One home is more beautiful than the next. The food, walkability, water, history, etc. Just a wonderful spot for a vacation- especially for adults. I can almost hear DD complaining about the walking and the heat, so I’m glad we visited without her.

    None of my friends have visited Charleston. It’s weird that it’s not on the radar of more NYers because it’s a short flight and there is great food. It’s my friend that doesn’t live far from you that kept pushing it. We’ve met lots of people from all over the south, but only one other person from the northeast.

    The heat kept us away from coming before, but I think my summers in DC were much nastier. There are some nice breezes here due to water. People are so friendly.

  7. My kids, who think the world revolves around NYC, were ready to move to Charleston after visiting. It certainly is appealing. But I also don’t think I know too many NYers who have visited.

    Everyone’s Fourth sounds wonderful. I’m very impressed with LFB’s participation in the parade! We have a picture-perfect day here. I’m hosting a few of my son’s friends for a cookout, and it happens that all of them are first-generation Americans whose parents came from China, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. I made a patriotic potato salad from red, white, and blue potatoes. :)

  8. My restaurant recs are standard: Penninsula Grill, Magnolia’s, Blossom, Husk, 82 Queen. (I never quite got Slightly North of Broad.)

    Those are all downtown in the traditional touristy section. However, the city has gentrified so rapidly over the last few years to the north that it boggles the mind. It wasn’t that long ago when there was no reason to venture north of Calhoun Street, but now that’s all changed, and that’s the trendy/younger area now.

    There are probably several dozen restaurants that have been on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives in the area, but the only one I can think of is the Tattoo’d Mouse which is now out in the country, but it’s on your way if you decide to visit the Tea Plantation, which is kind of cool. It was started a few years ago by some British master tea planter, and if you take the tour, you’ll learn everything there is to know about growing tea.

    If you have a car, get out of the city for an afternoon/evening and go to Folly Island/Beach. You can park at the southern end of the beach at a park for a fee, or near the park for free (as long as no tire is touching the pavement), or in any number of small lots with meters. Then go to Bowen’s Island Restaurant down the dirt road and on the salt marsh for seafood. It’s the screened in place with unfinished lumber, order at the counter, get a humongous paper plate of oysters or shrimp. The older, out-of-use crumbling house that’s falling into the water there was a filming location in The Notebook, iirc.

  9. This has been a good time for my audiobook of “Hamilton,” which I got from the library in preparation for someday seeing the musical. I have sadly forgotten most of the events it depicts, but the intense political divisions it describes makes our current atmosphere look tame. At least 21st century politicians aren’t challenging one another to duels. Yet.

  10. We saw fireworks on Saturday. Today we went to a local small waterpark and now we’re just hanging at home for the rest of the day.

  11. “Best” would be a relative term. If they mean best to live in, then the answer depends partially on who the respondents are.

  12. “At least 21st century politicians aren’t challenging one another to duels. Yet.”
    “Only” wrestling, and most find that out of line. Except, of course, for the hacks who feel they must toe the line set by a POTUS from their party.

    The way this country’s hypocrisy has been highlighted recently, such as banning the all-girls Iraqi robotics team from coming to a competition, I’m having difficulty celebrating like never ever before. Used to be I could at least enjoy the camp, but looking at the way that was used in the last election disgusts me. But I like fireworks.

    We are going to fireworks tonight. Most things around here are set up for crowds of thousands, on tourists’ schedules. We might Priceline a hotel downtown afterwards, as we did a couple years ago. Kiddo is sleeping now, because he’s been up late so much recently that we are completely off schedule.

  13. Well, I survived. Barely. It was VERY hot, and the last hill back to the gym was miserable (first time I’ve ever thought I was going to throw up after a workout). But it was fun, and we got a lot of cheers, especially one stretch when we had four women pulling at once with the guys following behind. Add in another 4 miles hiking to/from/to/from dinner/fireworks (long story), and I am whipped!

    On the plus side, everyone at the gym now thinks I have the coolest husband ever — we had an hour and a half to kill in the heat before the parade started, and I sort of jokingly texted that I’d be happy to pay whichever family member would bring us beer. And 10 mins later DH showed up on his bike with a backpack full of cold beers for the crew. Good way to make friends. 😉

  14. We got up at 2, took longer than expected to get out of our condo and then drove 2.5 hours to watch sunrise over Mt. Haleakala. TREMENDOUS (even though it was 49F and 25+mph winds). Just so cool. DW got a good video.

    Then we drove ~halfway down the mountain, had a nice breakfast, poked around a couple of towns on the way home, picked up some picnic stuff, and ate while sitting by the pool. Dinner will be beachfront and fireworks off the coast near us.

    Now just relaxing outside in the warmth and, for me, shade. Happy 4th all!

  15. Ris (answering from the Monday open thread):
    It’s 3 of us DW, DS3 (chosen instead of a HS grad party…and this destination because we got an almost too good to be true rate on the condo) and I.

    We actually got 2 holidays this trip. Because it’s $500pp less to fly out of Toronto than out of our local airport for us, we did that. Left home Saturday afternoon and so got to enjoy a little of Canada Day for its/their/your 150th. And then today.

  16. “he intense political divisions it describes makes our current atmosphere look tame.”

    That is one thing about reading a lot of American History (and listening to the Presidential podcasts which I enjoyed very much). The perspective is good! When people say “this is the most divided we have ever been” you can roll your eyes!

    We are away for a long weekend, and it has been great. We visited a new MLB park, saw some historic sites, tried some new breweries, and spent our 4th of July as G Washington intended – at a water park! DS had the time of his life going down all the slides as many times as possible and trying all different tricks off the diving boards. Dried off in our American flag towels from Costco. ;)

    I feel incredibly fortunate to be American. I do also really love Canada. There is just so much natural beauty, and some really fantastic multicultural cities. And I don’t mind hockey or cold winters. Or ketchup chips. ;) Germany felt like somewhere I could feel at home too. But I don’t know that I’d really want to be a long term expat. I know if get homesick. (Maybe not in Toronto – I don’t know)

  17. We finally put up our flag. Someone gave it to us a long time ago and this is the year, DH affixed it outside our front door.
    We did the local tourist thing and visited the college Steph Curry played basketball at.
    Since we can light our own fireworks and there was no rain tonight, we did that. The sound of fireworks is all around.
    Tough to go to work tomorrow !

  18. Holy cow NYC does a spectacular fireworks show! They have multiple (5?) separate barges spaced out up the East River all launching fireworks in choreography to the music.

    Good job, LfB.

  19. @Lauren – the beaches here are great. I think people from the Northeast just overlook this part of the coast and head straight to Florida. A good time to visit would be Memorial Day Weekend in late May, not so hot and the water is warm.

  20. Just catching up – Lauren, I’ll wave at you as I pass downtown this AM! There are so many hidden gem beaches between the awfulness of Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head. Isle of Palms, Edisto, Fripp – relaxing places dotted with sea turtle nests and ospreys overhead. If you like that sort of thing….

  21. Fred, how sweet that he chose a trip with his parents over a party! I hope he’s/you’re all savoring it.

    Laura, very cool that you have such a gym gang!

    Ivy, we don’t need to meet the challenge of going as low as at other points in our history. My impression is that past divisions were more between politicians, and a divided public, but that a president razzing and threatening non-politicians is new. But I’m not a student of US history. And there are those who say that, for example, the McArthy era was just as dangerous for non-politicians, but not announced openly the way this pres likes to openly dominate and threaten people.

  22. I want to try Beaufort soon. Charleston has become so crowded. You can barely even find parking.

  23. Per our conversation about retirement the other day. If every day could be like today then I might reconsider.

  24. Milo – thanks for restaurant info. We already went to two – Peninsula and Slightly North of Broad. The food in this town is great. We have friends in Kiawah so we are going there at the end of the week.

    Louise – I think the reason that northerners don’t spend as much time on the beaches in NC/SC is timing. Most people head to the beach during school vacation from June to Sept so it seems a lot easier to throw everything in a car and drive 1- 4 hours to go to most places from Maine to Maryland. When they go to the beach in the winter, it probably isn’t warm enough during a Dec or feb vacation to risk Carolina beaches. Even Florida can be risky in the winter, but it is generally warm enough. I used to go to Duck with friends when I was single. We would rent a house for a week and the beaches were great. I would love to take DD to the Outer Banks, but I know she wouldn’t be happy with that car ride.

    Fred – have a great time. Looks amazing.

  25. Switzerland? Switzerland??? Eeeuw. My least favorite western European country. Everything I dislike about Germans, distilled to a more concentrated level.

  26. Charleston has been popular as a chic, upscale southern vacation destination for as far back as I remember. It is a destination for the kind of people who wouldn’t be caught dead in Nashville. It mainly competes with Savannah as a destination. I guess Charleston has more foodie cred these days

  27. I managed to be overseas for both the Fourth of July and Canada Day this year, so I kind of forgot about it.

  28. Switzerland? Switzerland??? Eeeuw.

    Hehe ! LOL. Now I am tempted to travel there and check the place out myself.

  29. Switzerland? Switzerland??? Eeeuw.

    Isn’t it fairly close to our technocratic Utopian ideal?

  30. Everything I dislike about Germans, distilled to a more concentrated level.

    That’s Austria.

  31. The Swiss are just so full of themselves. And even more than Germans, they love picayune little rules. The French area around Lausanne and Geneva is not as bad.

  32. Fred – sounds lovely! How much longer do you have there?

    LfB – well done!!!

  33. Rhett, it sounds like you and Mooshi dislike different things about Switzerland/Germany. The thing that drives me craziest about the Swiss is the nationalism/xenophobia. They insist on one true Swiss identity and exclusion of others, even though they have four national languages.

  34. S&M said “The thing that drives me craziest about the Swiss is the nationalism/xenophobia.”

    That too. And the fact that they were one of the last countries to give women the vote.

  35. Mooshi, oh yeah. That too. In 1982, as a high school student, I couldn’t understand why having kids go home from school for a 1.5 hr lunch each day had anything to do with women’s ability to work outside the home. Now I get it.

    Rocky, chatting with someone else online, I came across a pic of what I think you could do with your living room. Doesn’t deal with weird couch behavior, but does give your people more choices in seating.

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