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Archive for October, 2013

The Residents of Copp’s Hill

By Linda Tancs

Shoemaker William Copp once owned a spot of land in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts.  Now Boston’s second oldest burying ground, Copp’s Hill is the final resting place for ordinary Bostonians–merchants, artisans and craftspeople.   But how does one define ordinary?  Now there’s the rub, as these grounds harbor the remains of some extraordinary people, like Robert Newman, who placed the signal lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church on the eve of the Battle of Lexington and Concord; Shem Drowne, the weathervane maker who crafted the grasshopper atop Faneuil Hall; and Prince Hall, the anti-slavery activist and founder of the Black Masonic Order.

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A Fought-After Russian Fortress

By Linda Tancs

The Neva River is a storied attraction in Saint Petersburg, hosting its fair share of romantic walks along the granite embankment.  Only 46 miles long, the river flows from Lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland.  Perhaps even more storied is the Shlisselburg Fortress, located near the head of the river not far from this popular city.  The site has been fortified for over 800 years, hosting bloody battles between the Swedish and Novogorod Republic for possession.  Russia obviously won.  Nowadays the fortress plays host to an annual rock concert, but its gloomy past as a political prison is also on display at the political prisoners exhibition.

One of America’s Prettiest Towns

By Linda Tancs

In 2009, Forbes Traveler listed Portsmouth, New Hampshire as one of “America’s Prettiest Towns.”  It’s also one of the oldest.  Settled in 1623, it is reputedly the nation’s third oldest city.  The locals suggest that it even has the most restaurants per capita.  Whatever the homage, this relatively small city near the mouth of the Piscataqua River offers more than 70 points of scenic and historic significance along the Harbour Trail, including 10 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, 10 National Historic Landmarks and three historic homes.

The Oldest Vine in the World

By Linda Tancs

Do fine vines get better with age?  You can bet the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ in Maribor, Slovenia, home of the Old Vine.  Aged over 400 years, Old Vine is listed in Guinness World Records as the oldest vine in the world.  The still-producing vine is located on the frontage of Old Vine House along the Drava embankment.  Enjoy the exhibition and wine tasting room.

The Lure of Little France

By Linda Tancs

The romance of covered bridges and medieval flair of half-timbered houses are the charms of Petite-France in Strasbourg, the principal city in the Alsace region of France.  Located at the corner of the Grand Île (the Main Island) where the Île diverges into a number of canals, this historic neighborhood with a fairy tale feel offers visitors ample views of all its little nooks via a river cruise or on foot.

A Temple of Entertainment in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

Movie palaces arose during the early 20th century, ornate temples of entertainment that offered a respite from the trials and tribulations of everyday life, particularly during the Great Depression.  One of the those palaces is the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, New Jersey, which opened in 1929.  This landmark theatre is one of the last surviving movie palaces of a bygone era, having survived the threat of demolition thanks to a band of concerned citizens.  Now home of the annual Golden Door International Film Festival, the theatre has evolved into an arts center for stage and screen shows as well as private functions.

Germany’s Old Stone Bridge

By Linda Tancs

Germany’s oldest stone bridge, and its first to cross the Danube, is an icon of the Bavarian city of Regensburg.  Built in the 1100s, the 16-arch bridge was used by crusaders on their way to the Holy Land.  Nowadays the span’s southside bratwurst eatery is a go-to destination for sausage lovers.  And what goes well with brats?  Well, beer of course.  On the north side of the bridge is Spitalgarten, site of one of the oldest surviving hospital breweries where patrons enjoy a healthy stein or two.

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