Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for May, 2012

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.

A Sphere of Influence

By Linda Tancs

Water towers are fascinating objects, as some blogs will attest.  For residents of Union, New Jersey, its 211-foot water sphere has long been a prized possession, rising regally above the Kawameeh swamp to greet weary motorists and air travelers alike. Constructed in 1965, the tower became the tallest water sphere in the world. A different structure, a 220-foot colossus in Erwin, North Carolina, is technically a spheroid, so Union’s prize is still unmatched.

An Enchanting Tour

By Linda Tancs

The last installment of the Harry Potter film series may have passed, but the movie magic will never end.  You can experience the enchantment of Harry Potter’s world in London at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.  The self-guided, three-hour walking tour takes you behind the scenes of such sites as the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office (including the sword of Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat and the Hogwarts headmaster portraits), Diagon Alley and Hagrid’s hut.  The tour also reveals secrets on the execution of those special effects and animatronics.  Be sure to order your tickets in advance; there are no sales at the door.

A Ray of Light in Iceland

By Linda Tancs

Memorials to John Lennon abound throughout the world, but perhaps none is as spectacular as the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland.  Located on Viðey island near the capital of Reykjavík, a beam of light radiates from a white stone monument bearing the words “imagine peace” in 24 languages.  You can view it year round except for 8 December, the day he died.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

By Linda Tancs

Some recent news indicated that certain airlines will try matching passengers according to interests when assigning seats, a move no doubt calculated to make that long haul flight a bit more tolerable, not to mention social.  Well, for those who would prefer to take control of their own matchmaking, Air New Zealand’s Twin Seat option takes the worry out of bad neighbors.  For a reduced price, you can buy the seat next to you and enhance your personal space.   So which is more important to you:  your sociability quotient or your sanity?

Blueberry Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

The small, unassuming town of Hammonton, New Jersey is the blueberry capital of the world.  Just 29 miles southeast of Philadelphia, acres of blueberry farms dotting the landscape produce millions of berries, the official fruit of the State of New Jersey.  This prime export is celebrated each summer at the Red, White and Blueberry Festival, but this South Jersey hub and surrounding area is a year-round destination with local attractions like Batsto Village, as well as the Walt Whitman House, the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, and the Warren E. Fox Nature Center.

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