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Tales From the Crypt

By Linda Tancs

New Haven, Connecticut was settled in 1638 by a group of Puritans.  In 1812, a church was built on the Green to house their remains and those of Revolutionary War veterans.  Built over part of the burying ground, Center Church on the Green sports a basement crypt with a who’s who of eternal occupants.  In peaceful repose lie Benedict Arnold’s first wife, President Rutherford Hayes’ family, Reverend James Pierpont (a founder of Yale College) and Sarah Rutherford Trowbridge (marked with a stone dated 1687, the oldest one in The Crypt).  Overall, The Crypt contains the  identified remains of about 137 people and the unidentified remains of over 1,000 souls and marks the last remaining evidence of the city’s early settlers.  Crypt tours take place April through October on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Crown of the Continent

By Linda Tancs

Its crowning achievement is the preservation of more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, peaks and glacial-carved valleys, 70 species of mammals and over 270 species of birds.  That’s reason enough why Montana’s Glacier National Park is aptly dubbed the Crown of the Continent.  Named for its prominent glacier-carved terrain and remnant glaciers descended from the ice ages, it’s nearly four times the size of rival Rocky Mountain National Park.  Take a ride on Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile drive through the park’s interior offering some of the best sights in northwest Montana.  Glacier is also a hiker’s paradise, offering 700 miles of trails, like the shutterbug-friendly Logan Pass.  Better act soon; some scientists predict that by the year 2030, Glacier National Park will not contain any glaciers.  In fact, the park has only 25 glaciers now, down from 150 in the 1800s.

Bienvenue à Shanghai

By Linda Tancs

Following China’s loss of the Opium Wars in 1842 and the opening of its port cities to international traffic, the government of Shanghai granted land comprising today’s Xuhui and Luwan districts to the French consulate.  Known as the French Concession, its cafes, boutiques and tree-lined avenues are possessed of a certain je ne sais quoi, an attractive respite from the otherwise bustling and futuristic-looking metropolis.  Bienvenue à Shanghai!

The End of the World

By Linda Tancs

On the west coast of Galicia, Spain is Cape Finisterre, the Spanish equivalent of Britain’s Land’s End.  The rocky peninsula was thought to be the end of the road, so to speak, in medieval times.  The area is rife with memorials and dedications, a place where pilgrims celebrating the end of their Camino burn their clothes and boots in the fire pit.  The area’s famed lighthouse sits atop Monte Facho, bearing witness daily to the ferocious Atlantic and its storied shipwrecks.

The Highs and Lows of South America

By Linda Tancs

In Argentina, you can truly experience the highs and lows of South America.  That’s because the highest and lowest points of the continent are found there.  Mount Aconcagua is the highest point at 22,837 feet.  Less than 10 miles from the Chilean border, the summit beckons via the northern route, a non-technical climb devoid of axes, ropes and pins.  The lowest point is the Valdes Peninsula at 131 feet below sea level.  This whale-watching destination in the South Atlantic, one of the largest mating grounds in the world, is renowned for its conservation of marine mammals.

 

The Largest Theatre in Paris

By Linda Tancs

Grand Rex is the largest theatre in Paris and one of the largest in Europe.  Boasting the city’s largest screen, the cinema’s outsized lines and Art Deco-style dome are out of sync with the hotels, bars and pubs along rue Poissonniere but nevertheless befitting a shrine to Parisian cinema.  Inaugurated in 1932, the Ministry of Culture has decreed it a national monument.  Discover its legend through an interactive, 50- minute long audio guided tour.

The First Veterans’ Monument

By Linda Tancs

The traumatic fate of nine colonists in 1676 is commemorated in a wooded area near the public library in Cumberland, Rhode Island.  Known as Nine Men’s Misery, the stone memorial there is reportedly the first veterans’ monument in the United States, a tribute to nine colonial militiamen slaughtered at the site by the Narragansett tribe during King Philip’s War.  The conflict, named for its Native American leader Metacomet (referred to as King Philip by the British), pitted tribes in New England against the British colonists and their allies as the Puritans increasingly encroached upon Native American settlements.  Despite the colonists’ eventual victory, the war ravaged the population and economy of the region.

Persian Pearls

By Linda Tancs

The ancient kingdom of Persia, now known as Iran, isn’t exactly a tourist magnet yet boasts 16 World Heritage sites worthy of distinction.  Some, like the pre-Christian monumental ruins of Persepolis, represent one of the greatest ancient sites outside the Holy Land.  Another top attraction is Isfahan’s Masjed-e Jāmé (“Friday mosque”), the oldest preserved edifice of its type in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia.  Created to exemplify Eden, the Persian Garden is a collection of nine gardens selected from various regions of Iran, maintaining an ancient geometric model and integrating cultural and social aspects of society in a manner intended to harmonize with natural surroundings.  Thankfully, many of its historic sites are far removed from the more problematic border zones around Iraq and Afghanistan, a plus for the many university groups seeking tours of Persia’s pearls.

All in the Family

By Linda Tancs

In Little Silver, New Jersey there’s an old house that predates the founding of the United States.  Known as the Parker Homestead, the unassuming white Colonial with green shutters dates to 1725 or so.  Descended from the earliest English settlers in New Jersey, the Parker family retained ownership of the home for over 300 years.  This National Historic Site also boasts a horse barn, livestock barn and wagon barn.  Together with the house, all four structures sit on land acquired by Joseph and Peter Parker under a land grant in 1665.

A Year of Homecoming

By Linda Tancs

Although national gathering festivals are nothing new, it’s easy to appreciate each country’s unique artistic, cultural and ancestral heritage.  This year, it’s Scotland’s turn to shine.  Dubbed the Year of Homecoming, the slate of events includes a whisky festival, a re-enactment of Britain’s battle with Robert the Bruce, a celebration of Forth Bridges’ 50th anniversary and the Highland Games, a tradition since 1867.

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