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Archive for April, 2012

Paris on the Half Shell

By Linda Tancs

The City of Light conjures up dozens of gastronomic delights: snails, frogs’ legs, bouillabaisse, pot au feu, boeuf bourguignon and….oysters?  Mais oui.  France is Europe’s number one grower, exporter and consumer of the bivalve extraordinaire.   King Louis XIV even had fresh oys­ters deliv­ered from Can­cale to Ver­sailles every day, or so the story goes.  So where is the best place for half shell cuisine in Paris?  The favorite appears to be Huîtrerie Régis.  Do you agree?

Charting Checked Bag Fees

By Linda Tancs

Ever wish you could have a handy reference for each major U.S. airline’s checked bag fees?  Your wish is granted.  Airfare Watchdog has published an updated list of checked bag fees for first and second bags, additional bags, overweight bags and oversized bags.  With all those fees, you’d be tempted to make do with a carry-on.  Not so fast.  Airlines impose weight limits on carry-on bags, too.  Maybe that checked bag charge for your overweight carry-on will give you a lump in your throat.  But that’s better than a lump on the head from an overhead bin, isn’t it?

The Flying Duchess

By Linda Tancs

Woburn Abbey has been the home of the Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years.  As with any historical manor, the stories of its occupants over the centuries are what bring it to life for contemporary guests.  In the case of Woburn, the ladies of the house are just as compelling as their male counterparts.  Take, for example, Mary Russell, wife of the 11th Duke.  In the spirit of our modern era Amelia Earhart, she embraced aviation and flew record-breaking flights from Kent to India and later Cape Town.  An ill-fated flight in 1937 resulted in her plane washing ashore near Great Yarmouth; her body was never recovered.  Her adventurous spirit is reflected in the Flying Duchess’ Room at the Abbey.

A Fortress in Manhattan

By Linda Tancs

At the foot of Manhattan in New York City lies a fortress, a national monument that celebrated its 200th anniversary last year.  Known as Castle Clinton (named after Governor Dewitt Clinton of New York State), the structure was one of the New York Harbor forts built just before the War of 1812 with Great Britain.  Over the last two centuries, the fort has also served as an entertainment center, an immigration landing depot and an aquarium.  Saved from demolition in 1946, the Castle was restored to its original design by the National Park Service and today houses the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty, welcoming over 3 million visitors annually.

Celebrating the Bard

By Linda Tancs

The biggest celebration of Shakespeare ever staged begins today in the UK. The World Shakespeare Festival is the first ever collaboration between Tate Modern, the British Museum, National Theatre, British Council and the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Considering that over 64 million children worldwide study Shakespeare, part of the event’s focus is its collaboration with teachers. An education conference in September will bring together education professionals, international artists and academics to investigate learning through Shakespeare and the arts. Another highlight of this months-long event is the staging of Shakespeare-inspired productions with 7200 amateur theatre makers in 260 groups across the UK. Overall, thousands of artists from around the world will take part in almost 70 productions, events and exhibitions in locations including London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle/Gateshead, Birmingham, Wales and Scotland. Can’t travel? No worries. An exciting digital platform called My Shakespeare will give you a chance to create your own visualization and release your own works onto the site. Over a million tickets will be sold for the festival, which runs through November.

A Little Piece of France

By Linda Tancs

A little joie de vivre awaits you just south of the Canadian province of Newfoundland.  There you’ll find Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, France’s smallest and oldest remaining overseas territory.  Once a mecca for cod fishing, the area is now prized for its ancient trails drawing hikers and birdwatchers.  Every spring, whales migrating towards Greenland are spotted off the coast of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon as well.  You can reach the territory by air, ferry (at Fortune, Newfoundland) or set sail on your own.  Bon voyage!

A Beehive of Activity in London

By Linda Tancs

With the Olympics fast approaching, you can well imagine the beehive of activity in the great city of London.  But the beehive of which I speak today is of a different variety: 40 colonies, to be exact.  That’s how many families of bees are tucked away in secret locations in London’s Regent’s Park, producing some of the tastiest honey in Britain under the watchful eye of bee farmer Toby Mason.  Did you know that a queen bee can lay as many as 2000 eggs per day?  With that kind of production, there’s plenty of need for more beekeepers and farmers.  You can take beekeeping classes in Regent’s Park and grow your own dynasty.

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