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Life Along the Bayou

By Linda Tancs

Ever wonder what life was like along the bayou in colonial days? You’ll find out at the Pitot House, the only Creole colonial country house that is open to the public in New Orleans. Located on historic Bayou St. John (accessible via the Carrollton Spur streetcar), the site is named for James Pitot, the first mayor of New Orleans after the city’s incorporation, who lived at the residence in the early 1800s. Guided tours are available from Wednesday through Saturday.

Putting Rockford on the Map

By Linda Tancs

Company executive Robert Hall Tinker wanted to build a home that would put Rockford, Illinois, on the map. He succeeded in stunning fashion with a Swiss cottage on the limestone bluff overlooking Kent Creek. Inspired by his tour of Europe in 1862, Tinker Swiss Cottage is surrounded by 27 acres of greenery and is one of only a handful of Swiss-style homes remaining in the United States. A time capsule of the Victorian era, the home and its furnishings now comprise a museum operated by the local park district. Today is one of several Donation Days when entry to the museum is free for Illinois residents. Guided tours are required due to the nature of the artifacts.

The Unearthed Charm of Croatia’s Capital

By Linda Tancs

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital and largest city, may have been no more than a layover thought on the way to the country’s seductive sandy shores. Well, no more. Located in the northwest of the country, along the Sava River, its cosmopolitan flair evokes the culture of eastern and western Europe. Zagreb’s most important medieval monument is the fortress of Medvedgrad, erected to protect the city from invasions. Climb Lotrščak Tower, another protective structure, for a sweeping 360-degree view of the city. Near the tower is a funicular railway, which connects the Lower and Upper Towns, where most of the restaurants, bars and tourist sights are located.

A Storied Place

By Linda Tancs

Located between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, the Newseum is—you guessed it—a museum about news and journalism. This interactive facility is loaded with exhibits, videos and archives of front pages. You’ll also find a part of the Berlin wall and a watch tower, a 9/11 area, a Boston marathon area, mini theaters with short shows and a huge FBI area. And don’t miss the sweeping vistas from the top floor. News junkies, rejoice!

African Meeting in America

By Linda Tancs

In Boston, Massachusetts, the African Meeting House is the oldest African edifice in America, and the adjacent Abiel Smith School is the first building in the nation constructed for the sole purpose of housing a black public school. Located on Beacon Hill, both structures were built in the 1800s and represent the crown jewels of the Museum of African American History. Once the heart of Boston’s 19th century free black community, the historic landmarks are a testament to courage, ingenuity and perseverance. You can discover the stories of courageous Americans on a guided walking tour of two trails highlighting black heritage and community. The museum’s branch in Nantucket hosts another meeting house and heritage trail.

The Birthplace of American Railroading

By Linda Tancs

The birthplace of American railroading is a 40-acre historic site in Baltimore, Maryland. It incorporates the place where the first stone of the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road was laid on July 4, 1828, by Charles Carroll, the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence. The B&O was the first common carrier railroad in the Western Hemisphere, and the B&O Railroad Museum preserves and interprets architecturally and historically significant buildings and structures. For instance, the Mt. Clare depot is the oldest surviving building on the museum’s campus, built in 1851 to provide improved passenger service for Baltimore’s southwest neighborhoods. But the most iconic structure is likely The Roundhouse, a passenger car repair shop built in 1884. Alongside it is the Annex, which serves as the museum’s main entrance.

Where History and High Society Meet

By Linda Tancs

Once Provence was annexed to France in 1481, Antibes became the outermost stonghold of the kingdom, a place where a young Napoleon Bonaparte settled his family before distinguishing himself during the siege of Toulon. Only such an ambitious general could part from an idyllic setting in the French Riviera. Centuries later it would become the summer resort of choice for the world’s elite in political, social and literary circles. In fact, the area is thought to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, Tender is the Night. You can bet that the glitterati stayed at Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc, one of the most legendary and luxurious resorts in the world set at the tip of the Cap d’Antibes peninsula. With no shortage of yachting harbors for the jet set, Port Vauban is the largest marina in Europe.

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