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Archive for January, 2012

Go Fly a Kite

By Linda Tancs

The transition of the sun into the Northern Hemisphere has heads turning skyward in India on 14 January.  On that day, Indians celebrate this celestial occurrence with a festival called Makar Sankranti, the annual kite festival.  The kite flying event is particularly popular in Jaipur, where Air Force helicopters release kites resembling  wasps, stained glass windows and birds, among other things.  The three-day festival ends with the crowning of winners for the display kite and fighter kite competitions.

The Jewel of Milton

By Linda Tancs

Just eight miles from Boston, Massachusetts, Milton is a culturally rich bedroom community with the distinction of having the most privately and publicly conserved land within 20 miles of Boston.   Settled in 1640 by Puritans who began the settlement of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, it has retained several 19th century country houses and estates, like the imposing Greek Revival mansion of the Forbes family.  Known as the jewel of Milton, the Forbes House Museum is a National Historic Landmark housing the treasures of four generations of one of America’s greatest entrepreneurial families.  Located atop Milton Hill overlooking Boston’s skyline, the museum’s displays include 19th-century export porcelain, paintings, furniture, and other unique items brought back from China by Captain Robert Bennet Forbes.  Other exhibits in the permanent collection are Civil War and President Lincoln memorabilia and Forbes family holdings, including American and European paintings, furniture and artifacts.  The Museum offers tours on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1pm and 3pm. Admission is $8 per person for adults and $5 for seniors and students.  The Museum grounds are open to the public free of charge daily from dawn to dusk.

 

A Perfect Storm in Oregon

By Linda Tancs

Beachcombers, take note.  Oregon’s Cannon Beach, a popular town about 80 miles from Portland, offers unrivaled dramatic scenery in winter.  Thanks to the winds, waves and heavy rains this time of year, tide-pool viewing is just one of many delights offered by what many would probably perceive as an unlikely winter beach destination.  Fogless nights offer uncompromised views from iconic Haystack Rock and the Tillamook Lighthouse.  But perhaps best of all is the beauty of a frost-tinged beach and the excitement of waiting out a winter storm from the cozy comfort of your oceanfront suite, at a fraction of summer’s rates.

The Land Nearest Nowhere

By Linda Tancs

If you have a hankering for a trip to nowhere in particular, then the land nearest nowhere is as good a destination as any.  So where is nowhere?  Answer:  Cape Three Points in Ghana, West Africa, where zero latitude meets zero longitude at zero altitude.  You’ll avoid the rainy season this time of year although a weather phenomenon known as the harmattan, a dry northeast wind, blows almost continuously in January and February.  The drive from Takoradi, dotted with crop farms, rubber plantations and local fora and fauna is just as amazing as the panoramic views from the solar-powered 1925 lighthouse waiting for you at the Cape.  Now that sounds more like somewhere to me.

Caribbean’s Longest Running Resort

By Linda Tancs

If you’d expect a centuries old, longest running resort to be a bit stuffy, then you’d be pleasantly surprised in St. Croix.  The Buccaneer is the island’s (and Caribbean’s) longest-running resort, a legend that balances old-world charm with the wish list of today’s traveler, including spa treatments, a kids’ camp, and golf and tennis lessons.  Connections are widely available from San Juan, and U.S. residents can leave the passport home.  Book now for 20% off select rates this winter.

The Hawaii of Korea

By Linda Tancs

Hailed as the “Hawaii of Korea,” Jeju is Korea’s largest island, situated 64 kilometers or so south of the Korean Peninsula.  Like its sister in the U.S., it offers a temperate climate, breathtaking vistas, volcanoes and a traditional culture.  Unlike Hawaii, it does offer snow–sometimes lots of it.  All the better to enjoy the snow flowers of Mt. Halla, a must-see in winter.

Sri Lanka Requires ETA For Travel

By Linda Tancs

New year, new beginnings.  Sri Lanka now requires visitors (except for Singapore and Maldives travelers) to obtain an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) in advance of travel.  The ETA requirement applies to a holiday visit, a short business trip or a transit through Sri Lanka.  Applications may be made online or in person.

Craft Market Reopens in Bahamas

By Linda Tancs

After being gutted by fire in 2001, Nassau’s Straw Market in the Bahamas is open for business.  The Bay Street fixture offers local handiworks and is accessible by cab or jitney from Cable Beach.  Unless you’re a polar bear by nature, you likely won’t be swimming there in January, so why not shop till you drop!

 

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