Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Unfinished Business in Natchez

By Linda Tancs

Located in Natchez, Mississippi, Longwood is an antebellum mansion built for wealthy planter Haller Nutt for himself, his wife and their eight children. As it was nearing completion, the Civil War began and the unfinished home was abandoned by its workmen, leaving the family to reside among the completed rooms in the basement. Now a popular tourist attraction, it is America’s largest octagonal house (at 30,000 square feet) and boasts a distinctive Byzantine onion-shaped dome. This listed home and national landmark is sometimes referred to as Nutt’s Folly, a reference to the mansion’s unfinished state because the fields and land owned by Nutt had been burned by Union soldiers during the Civil War.

A Fisherman’s Paradise

By Linda Tancs

With 34 lakes and reservoirs and more than 680 miles of rivers and streams, the administratively combined Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are a veritable paradise for fishermen. Encompassing two million acres of mountain country, it’s particularly prized for the vistas afforded by the Mogollon Rim extending two hundred miles from Flagstaff into western New Mexico. The Sitgreaves is named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850s. The Apache National Forest is named for the tribes that settled in the area and boasts the White Mountains, where skiing, tubing and sledding reign this time of year.

A Pan-Pacific Centennial

By Linda Tancs

There’s a celebration afoot as San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers remembers the centennial of the city’s 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition. The exhibition depicts the old fairgrounds, graced with model trains wending their way through graceful garden landscapes dotted with the fair’s most prized monuments such as the Tower of Jewels and Palace of Fine Arts. The historic world’s fair signaled the triumphant recovery of the city from the devastating 1906 earthquake. The special exhibit runs through April 10.

A Hotbed of Activity in Australia

By Linda Tancs

Though it may be like little more than a trickle in a rain bucket, a tiny speck of southern ocean in Australia’s remote southwest is a hotbed of activity every February and March. For reasons yet unknown, Bremer Canyon is one of the only places on earth this time of year where killer whales can be consistently observed in a mass congregation (even more than 100 at the same time). Daily tours capture all the action as pods of killer whales (along with sperm whales, sharks, giant squid, sunfish and schools of tuna) participate in an unparalleled feeding frenzy. This is one annual phenomenon you won’t want to miss.

North Carolina’s First Capitol

By Linda Tancs

North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol, Tryon Palace in New Bern is a complex of seven major buildings, three galleries and 14 acres of gardens. Home to Royal Governor William Tryon and his family, the Governor’s Palace was a Georgian-style structure completed in 1770. It was the site of the first sessions of the general assembly for the State of North Carolina following the revolution and housed the state governors until 1794. Destroyed by fire in 1798, today’s reproduction opened in 1959. Tours in the Governor’s Palace and historic houses are guided. Catch a free tour this Saturday, which is Free Day.

A Different Kind of Boneyard

By Linda Tancs

It’s an alien world in Roswell, New Mexico—in more ways than one. Famously cited as the area of a UFO landing decades ago, these days it’s the alien feel of an aircraft boneyard that garners the attention of aircraft enthusiasts. That’s because Roswell International Air Center is where old planes go to die. One of a number of such sites (the largest in the world being Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona), its otherworldly connection gives it a leg up on the competition.

London to Edinburgh

By Linda Tancs

The British Empire Exhibition of 1924 and 1925 made famous Flying Scotsman, the legendary London to Edinburgh rail service. In 1934 it was the first locomotive to clock 100 mph. The old-fashioned steam engine was retired by British Rail in 1963, only to change hands several times, including an attempt to resurrect mainline tours. But now, following a successful campaign, the “people’s engine” will once again steam proudly following a full restoration. Beginning this month a whole season of events and activities will mark the return of this locomotive legend as it readies itself for an inaugural run from London’s Kings Cross to York.

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