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Archive for travel writing

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.

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.

At the Edge of the Clouds

By Linda Tancs

“At the edge of the clouds” is an appropriate translation for China’s Yuanduan skywalk, the world’s longest glass walkway. The horseshoe-shaped glass bridge in Chongqing extends nearly 88 feet from a cliff edge standing 2,350 feet above the valley floor. It edges out the Grand Canyon Skywalk in length but is likely its equal when it comes to chills and thrills. Don’t look down.

Celebrating the Sami

By Linda Tancs

The Sami are the indigenous who inhabit northern Scandinavia in a region called Sapmi, stretching across the high plains of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola Peninsula. They celebrate their own National Day on February 6 each year, marking that day in the year 1917 when they gathered for their first meeting in Norway to address common concerns. Nowadays around 40,000 Sami live in Norway, 20,000 in Sweden and some 7,000 in Finland. In addition there are an estimated 2,000 Sami in Russia. In the city of Tromsø, Norway, their culture is celebrated with a weeklong festival known as Sami Week. Taking place this year from January 31 to February 7, the celebration includes reindeer racing, lasso-throwing, food, art and language classes.

Bubbles in Grenoble

By Linda Tancs

Located in southeastern France, Grenoble is prized for its winter sports, especially skiing, considering that it sits in the middle of three mountain ranges. Not up to seeing the city via a downhill run? Spherical cable cars called “Les Bulles” (the bubbles) connect the town to the summit of La Bastille hill, named for the fortress on its slopes built to defend France against its great Alpine rival of the early 1800s, the Duchy of Savoy.

Old Florida

By Linda Tancs

The winter estates of inventor Thomas Edison and auto magnate Henry Ford are representative of a bygone era, tropical “old Florida.” Their historic homes are located in Fort Myers at Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Henry Ford purchased his home, The Mangoes, in 1916, providing him the opportunity to vacation with his good friend Thomas Edison. The porch, adjacent to the vintage garage, offers a spectacular riverfront view of the Caloosahatchee River. Edison’s Seminole Lodge contains the oldest structure at the Edison Ford complex, the caretaker’s cottage. Over the years Edison renovated and expanded his getaway to include more family bedroom suites in the main house, a guest house and pool complex. Besides their beautiful homes, the estate features over 20 acres of botanical gardens, nine historic buildings (including Edison’s botanic research laboratory) and the Edison Ford Museum, which contains an impressive collection of inventions, artifacts and special exhibit galleries sure to stir innovation and creativity among its visitors.

China’s Grand Canal

By Linda Tancs

Officially known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the route of China’s ancient thoroughfare (dating as far back as 495 B.C.) runs from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou in the south and is the longest man-made waterway in the world. Although much of the Grand Canal is no longer in use, various sections running through Suzhou can still be toured. In fact, canals are such a prominent part of this ancient city in eastern China that it’s been dubbed “Venice of the East.” More than 50 miles of scenery dot the waterway, including hundreds of old-world river dwellings, 10 ancient city gates, dozens of stone bridges and two of Suzhou’s crown jewels, Hanshan Temple and West Garden Temple.

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