Travelrific® Travel Journal

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A Tiny Piece of NYC History

By Linda Tancs

Outside a cigar shop in Greenwich Village at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street is a small marker symbolizing a big dispute in the history of New York City. That’s where you’ll find a triangular mosaic set in the pavement in the 1920s, a memento of one family’s defiance of an order allowing for the seizing of property in the area in the early 1900s to widen the street for the Seventh Avenue subway line. Known as the Hess Triangle, it represents the Hess family’s refusal to sell to the city the one remaining piece of property erroneously omitted from the seizure order, a plot of land barely larger than a footprint. The family ultimately sold the parcel to the cigar shop, where the marker continues to be tramped on by passersby to this day.

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Celebrating an American Fruit

By Linda Tancs

It may be unfamiliar to many, but the pawpaw is North America’s largest edible native fruit. Its custard-like consistency, often referred to as a cross between a mango and a banana, was favored by George Washington. No doubt he would’ve appreciated a pawpaw festival in his day. One of the largest in our times is the Ohio Pawpaw Festival. Now in its 21st year, the three-day event celebrates our native fruit with events like competitions for the best pawpaw, best pawpaw-related work of art, a cook-off and the pawpaw-eating contest. Taking place at Lake Snowden near Albany, this year’s event is September 13-15.

Playing with Vegetables in Austria

By Linda Tancs

Your mother no doubt encouraged you to eat your veggies, not play with them. Turns out playing with them is a good idea. Just ask the members of Vienna’s Vegetable Orchestra. A unique Austrian ensemble, they’ve been creating sounds from vegetables since the 1990s, playing concerts around the globe. Now there’s some food for thought.

Bluegrass Cuisine

By Linda Tancs

You don’t have to wait until Derby season for a dive into Kentucky cuisine. Enjoy a taste of the Bluegrass State now through October 31 on the Culinary Trail across nine state parks. Each park on the trail is offering a regional meal, including favorites like goetta and burgoo. Pick up your culinary passport at your first stop, and start tasting your way through the state. Then mail your completed passport back to the Department of Tourism for a free gift!

A Towering View in York

By Linda Tancs

York boasts some of the finest medieval churches and buildings in England, so you’ll want one of the best vantage points to absorb the skyline. That would be Clifford’s Tower, where you’ll find unmatched views of the historical city as well as York Minster and even the North York Moors in the distance. The tower is all that remains of York Castle (built by William the Conqueror), a site which also served as a prison and a royal mint. Your self-guided tour features a tactile model in the courtyard, showing how the site once looked.

The World’s Highest Monastery

By Linda Tancs

Tibet’s Rongbuk monastery is the highest monastery in the world, located just miles from Mount Everest’s base camp. As you would expect, it’s the perfect locale to see eye to eye, as it were, with one of the highest mountains on earth. Along with its colorful flags and golden stupas you’ll find an observation deck there to take stunning photos. April, May, September and October are great months for a visit.

The Lace of Queens

By Linda Tancs

The lace of queens or the queen of laces. Anyway you label it, the Normandy commune of Alençon has long been celebrated for its lace-making traditions. Thanks to the French court in the 17th century, a large number of women entered the lace-making trade to supply nobility with elaborate designs. The craftsmanship of this local lace is recognized by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It takes seven to 10 years of training to master the Alençon form of needle lace-making.

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