Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for July, 2012

Ohio’s Crooked River

By Linda Tancs

The Cuyahoga River flows north and south, meandering along the way through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the only national park in Ohio.  The river’s trajectory prompted the Native Americans to name it Cuyahoga, or crooked river.  The 65-foot Brandywine Falls are a major attraction, but don’t forget about its other charms, like the visitor center at the canal lock, the Everett Road Covered Bridge (evocative of The Bridges of Madison County), the towpath trail, the grist mill, or Beaver Marsh.  That’s a lot of ground to cover.  If you’re short on time, take the scenic rail ride through the heart of the park.  Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates regular excursions and special excursions from Rockside Station in Independence to Akron Northside Station and from Canton Lincoln Highway Station to Akron Northside Station.  It’s one of the oldest, longest and most scenic train rides in the country.  Buy your tickets now for the 40th anniversary celebration on 8 September.

Asheboro’s Jurassic Park

By Linda Tancs

Dinosaur aficionados, take note.  The North Carolina Zoo is offering a full complement of animatronic dinosaurs as part of a special exhibit running through October 2012.  Now is your chance to experience Brachiosaurus, T-Rex, Dilophosaurus, Triceratops, Therizinosaurus and other amazing life-like dinosaurs in a deep forest full of ancient plants.  For the best value, get the Combo Pass, which also includes admission to the Dino 4-D Theatre.

Home On the Range

By Linda Tancs

This Saturday is National Day of the Cowboy, a day to celebrate pioneer heritage and cowboy culture.  What better place to observe the day than Wild West City, a western heritage theme park in Netcong, New Jersey about an hour’s drive from New York City.  The park’s faithful reproduction of period buildings circa 1880, along with the stagecoach and gold panning, will have you pining for the days of chuckwagons and the Pony Express.  Your American frontier awaits.

Linking Greensboro With the World

By Linda Tancs

It’s only been two years since the International Civil Rights Center & Museum opened in Greensboro, North Carolina, but ICRCM has already garnered a stellar reputation for promoting an understanding of the struggles for social justice and equality in the United States and around the world.  Visitors experience some of America’s landmark events, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma to Montgomery March, Freedom Summer, the Poor People’s Campaign and the March on Washington.  Even the original Woolworth lunch counter is on display, memorializing the six-month long effort that successfully integrated the lunch counter in Greensboro during 1960.  The counter retains its original footprint as the 1929 Woolworth building was preserved from demolition to act as an archival facility, housing the museum complex.

A Tour of the Universe

By Linda Tancs

Seventy-five miles east of Rapid City, South Dakota lies Badlands National Park, a treasure in the southwest part of the state consisting of 244,000 mixed acres of badlands formations and prairie.  The fossil beds are a big draw, a protected resource and the largest assemblage of known late Eocene and Oligocene mammal fossils.   But don’t spend all your time looking down at paleontologic wonders.  Now’s the time to look up.  During the summer from Friday to Monday nights, the park offers The Night Sky Program at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheater.  Join a park ranger for a Tour of the Universe, punctuated by telescopic viewings of more than 7,500 stars in the night sky, including the Milky Way, star clusters, nebulae, planets and moons.  Visitors are also treated to fly-overs by numerous satellites.  Your cosmos awaits.

Gateway to the Pines

By Linda Tancs

The small township of Tabernacle, New Jersey, bills itself as the Gateway to the Pines, referring to the Pine Barrens, an expanse of coastal plain in the southern part of the state. That said, there’s more to the Pine Barrens (or Pinelands) than pines (namely, Pitch Pine and Shortleaf Pine).  You’ll find Sassafras, Sour Gum, Atlantic White Cedar and Gray Birch, just to name a few. Did you know that wild orchids and carnivorous plants thrive there? The area offers bicycling, kayaking, walking, hiking camping, and ghost towns. Now through July 28 you can celebrate the magic of the Pinelands at the annual Pinelands Festival at Church of the Holy Eucharist. While you’re in the area, be sure to stop by the Pinelands Visitors Center in Southampton for maps and information on the people, life and culture of this ecological gem.

Vacation Deal of the Week

By Linda Tancs

Book two 2012 Summertime voyages back-to-back on American Queen Steamboat Co. and receive 50% off the second voyage of equal or lesser value.  The offer is good on all voyages now through August 30, 2012 when you book by July 31, 2012.  Contact me at Wanderful Cruises for suggestions on excursions!

Along the Delaware Bayshore

By Linda Tancs

Heislerville, New Jersey is a Cumberland County town along the Delaware Bayshore offering a wildlife refuge with scenic views of salt water impoundments, the Maurice River, and large mudflats that provide varied habitat for wading birds, shorebirds and waterfowl.  Located at Matts Landing Road, the eight-mile auto-trail driving loop offers something for every seasonal preference.  Summertime brings waders, shorebirds, and Black Skimmer to the impoundments. Look for roosting egrets in the trees on the islands as well as diamondback terrapins.  While you’re in the area, visit the East Point Lighthouse, built in 1849 at the mouth of the Maurice River.

History in the Upper Mississippi

By Linda Tancs

The Upper Mississippi River runs from the headwaters of Lake Itasca in Minnesota to Cairo, Illinois, a distance of about 1,250 miles.  Along that mighty trek, you’ll find Hannibal, Missouri, Samuel Clemens’ inspiration for St. Petersburg, the fictional hometown of his most famous character, Tom Sawyer.  Better known by his pen name Mark Twain, Clemens’ boyhood home in Hannibal was granted National Historic Landmark status in 1962.  Part of a city-owned array of museum properties (including Judge Clemens’ Justice of the Peace Office, Grant’s Drug Store/Pilaster House, and Tom and Huck Statue), the boyhood home on North Main Street is one of the oldest historic preservation projects in the country.

The Jungle of the Mirrors

By Linda Tancs

The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (2,080,000 hectares), the largest reserve in Peru, is located 183 kilometers from Iquitos and is home to numerous endangered species, like the charapa river turtle, the giant river otter, the black caiman, and the river dolphin.   Sometimes referred to as the jungle of the mirrors, the area is rife with activities for nature lovers, such as birdwatching, canoe rides, piranha fishing, and excursions to a watching tower to observe the birth of the Amazon at the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers.   Couple that with a stay at the Pacaya Samiria Amazon Lodge at the Marañón River’s bank and you’ve got an idyllic holiday.

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