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Archive for November, 2009

Christmas at Biltmore

By Linda Tancs

Biltmore House, that glorious French Renaissance chateau in Asheville, North Carolina, was opened to friends by George Washington Vanderbilt in 1895.  For those of you with champagne wishes and caviar dreams, you can experience the grandiosity of a Christmas at Biltmore by visiting the seasonal attraction, now in its 35th year.  Daytime tours include a walk about Biltmore House, seranaded all the while with music of the season.  The event also includes a tour of the Gardens, the Winery with complimentary wine tasting, River Bend Farm and Barnyard.  Of course, the illumination of the house and grounds is a must-see as well.  For the past 26 years, therefore, Biltmore has offered Candlelight Christmas Evenings, a separate ticketed event.  Guests tour through rooms lit by twinkling lights and firelight, reflected in thousands of ornaments.  Live entertainment inside Biltmore House is included.  New this year is the restoration and preservation of the magnificent Louis XV Suite in Biltmore House, the birthplace of two generations of the Vanderbilt family.  Buy your tickets online and print them at home.  Meet the season in high style!

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A Note of Thanks

Thanksgiving Day is an especially appropriate time to thank you, the reader, for being a part of the Travelrific family.  My hope is that you’ll continue to enjoy the blog and share your comments!

Warmly,

Linda Tancs, blog author

Biking the Columbia River Gorge

By Linda Tancs

Is there a bad time to bike the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon?  It all depends on your seasonal preferences.  Weather in summer east of the Cascades can top 100 degrees fahrenheit.  And be prepared for spring rains, icy winters or slippery fallen leaves in autumn.  So, pick your poison, as they say.  Whichever season you choose, be sure to take in the scenic delights offered by the Historic Columbia River Highway (a national scenic byway), the first scenic highway in the nation.  Three Highway State Trails are now open, and more are under construction.  Beginning at the city of Troutdale and traveling east, you’ll find Oregon’s most visited waterfall, Multnomah Falls.  Views of the Gorge include Portland Women’s Forum Scenic Viewpoint, Vista House at Crown Point and Rowena Crest.  Enjoy the view; just remember to share the road.

 

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Vampire Tales and Tourism

By Linda Tancs

Dracula is just so yesterday, as any adolescent movie goer today would likely tell you (think: “Twilight” and “New Moon”).  I wonder what they’d think of Grando, though.  Legend has it that Jure Grando,  a farmer in the tiny village of Kringa, Croatia, died in 1656 and came back to life in 1672 to wreak havoc on his former neighbors until a stake through the heart ended the bedlam.  Over 300 years later, however, the vampire mystique remains in full throttle in this hamlet of 400 souls in the Istrian peninsula, a Tuscany-inspired vacation destination.  In fact, there’s now a Caffe Bar Vampire in honor of its earlier inhabitant, one of the first bloodsuckers ever to be documented.  Point of interest on the vampire tourism trail to be sure.

 

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Art and Life

By Linda Tancs

You’ve heard the expression:  which came first, the chicken or the egg?  In a similar vein, does art imitate life or does life imitate art?  Well, at Monet’s home and gardens at Giverny in France, the line between art and life is more like a blur.  In fact, when you view the master impressionist’s abode in this village northwest of Paris, you’re likely to feel like you stumbled into one of his paintings.   You won’t find any of his originals on the premises; you’ll need to visit d’Orsay, Marmottan or de l’Orangerie to see those.  But you will find in his garden oasis the blooming water lillies he made so famous.  The house will reopen in April for tours.  From then until 1 November you can observe the changing cascade of color–from springlike pastels to the deep brilliant hues of autumn–that makes his artwork come to life.  Less than an hour away from Paris, buy a packaged tour, drive or take the train to Vernon and then a bus or taxi ride will have you there in 10 minutes or so.  No doubt the still beauty of the place will leave a lasting impression on you.

 

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Summer on the Coromandel

By Linda Tancs

They’re getting ready for summer in the Southern Hemisphere.  From 20 November to 6 December comes the Pohutukawa Festival in New Zealand, timed to coincide with the flowering of the Pohutukawa trees.  Taking place all around the Coromandel Peninsula (a mecca for vacationing New Zealanders), highlights include the Whangamata Jazz, Art and Blues Festival, celebrating the country’s jazz and blues musicians as well as contemporary artwork.  Also occurring throughout the festival calendar on weekends are dive-related activities for everyone from the novice to the experienced.  Better book now for the best accommodation.  If hotels are sold out, don’t despair.  You can always rent a camper.

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New Hampshire

By Linda Tancs

New Hampshire’s tourism website says you’re going to love it there.  Well, what’s not to love?  It’s a place for all seasons, and the shopping is tax free.  Learn more about the Granite State at Travelrific® Radio.

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