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Archive for May, 2012

A Shard of Glass in London

By Linda Tancs

If you thought the views from the London Eye were amazing, wait until the viewing galleries for The Shard at London Bridge Quarter open next February.  Hailed as a vertical city, the glass pyramid undergoing final construction in London will offer 40 mile views across the city.  The Shard is the EU’s tallest building at 1017 feet.   You can pre-register now for updated visitor information.


Premier Art Collection Comes to Philadelphia

By Linda Tancs

Dr. Albert C. Barnes was a Philadelphia native and co-inventor of an antiseptic silver compound used in the prevention of infant blindness.  The product’s commercial success enabled Dr. Barnes to acquire a vast art collection comprising post-impressionist and early modern art.  Beginning on 19 May founding members of the Barnes will be the first to experience the collection at its new home in Philadelphia on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  Nestled on 4.5 acres of landscaped grounds, the new building features a light-filled indoor court, functional classrooms, and intimate galleries surrounded by a series of external garden spaces.  A special exhibition gallery will feature regular temporary exhibitions of past and contemporary art to complement the Barnes Foundation’s collection.  Nonmembers won’t feel left out of the action.  During the weekend of 26 May, 56 consecutive hours of free access and activities for all ages will feature some of Philadelphia’s finest cultural and performing arts organizations, such as Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, Relâche, Peter Tang’s Chinese Music Ensemble, and AfroTaino Productions.

California Dreamin’

By Linda Tancs

In the ultra luxe enclave of Belvedere Island, California, a one-square-mile suburb of San Francisco, stately homes command spectacular views of San Francisco, Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and Mt. Tamalpais.  One stunner is Locksley Hall, a 10,000-square-foot house that sits at the tip of Belvedere Island.  On offer for a mere $65 million in 2005, its wraparound veranda with Corinthian columns affords a 360-degree view of the above-named sights.  Belvedere is derived from the Italian expression for “beautiful view.”  Yes, indeed.

A Village for the Ages

By Linda Tancs

The Historic Village at Allaire in Farmingdale, New Jersey promotes the historical, aesthetic, and cultural significance of the Historic Howell Works, a mining and manufacturing company founded by industrialist James P. Allaire and one of the earliest examples of a company town.  Its Howell Iron Works Company Store, arguably the largest general store in the state when it was built, has been retailing goods for 175 years.  Other notable venues in the village include workers’ residences such as the row houses, the foreman’s cottage, the manager’s house, the gardener’s cottage and the mansion, a 1790 farm house that Allaire ultimately occupied.

Taking Off in London

By Linda Tancs

London, England is a treasure trove of cultural enrichment, architectural design and—airports?  That’s right.  As if Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and London City weren’t enough to service London and the surrounding area, you now have a sixth option:  Southend.  Located less than 40 miles east of Central London and less than 38 miles from Stratford, Southend is easily accessible to passengers by car, rail, coach, bus or taxi.  The airport officially opened on 5 March.  easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, celebrated its inaugural flight from Southend to Belfast on 2 April.  With flights to other popular European destinations like Barcelona, Amsterdam and Malaga, the seaside resort-turned-air hub may give the other contenders a run for their money.

Honest Burgers in London

By Linda Tancs

London offers a menu to suit any palate, but who would’ve known that Brixton’s old covered market area in the southwest area of the city would become a culinary hotspot?  Better get in line early for places like Honest Burgers, where the beef comes straight from happy cows on the Yorkshire Moors.  Served on a toasted glazed bun with hand cut, triple-cooked rosemary chips, this bit of comfort food is honestly delicious.

Forging Ahead in Millstone

By Linda Tancs

Blacksmithing was a crucial trade across countless centuries.  The blacksmith–literally, one who smites iron–fashioned accessories for the aristocracy, ploughs for the working class and weaponry for the militia, among many other things.  Industrialization may have vastly reduced their numbers, but the craftsmen behind this ancient art  (practiced in some form as early as the Iron Age) are still celebrated through demonstrations and well preserved shops.  In particular, Old Millstone Forge in Millstone, New Jersey is the oldest continuously operating blacksmith shop in the state.  Open every Sunday from 1 April through 24 June, the museum gives visitors a glimpse into the life of the blacksmith and his role in society over the millenia.

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