Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for June, 2016

A Treat in Newark

By Linda Tancs

The Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, New Jersey, is named for Captain Robert Treat, a colonial leader who was the governor of Connecticut and also is known as the founder of Newark. The first hotel in the city listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, it was completed in 1916 and now celebrates 100 years. It’s also the first luxury hotel in Newark, no doubt the draw for the likes of four U.S. presidents, Martin Luther King Jr. and Albert Einstein. Thanks to premier area attractions like the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Newark Museum (the state’s largest museum) and the Prudential Center arena, the Park Place jewel is poised to remain a stalwart in the city’s ongoing development and revitalization.

The Birthplace of Los Angeles

By Linda Tancs

The oldest section in Los Angeles is the plaza area known as Olvera Street. Also known as El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Calle Olvera and La Placita Olvera, it’s located two blocks from Los Angeles City Hall. A popular attraction for both tourists and locals, it’s home to the oldest house (now a museum and visitors’ center), Avila Adobe, saved from demolition in the 1920s by Christine Sterling. She later realized her dream of creating a market plaza that would celebrate the area’s Spanish and Mexican heritage. Today, Olvera Street remains a bustling marketplace with music, food, crafts and folklore celebrations. Free guided tours of El Pueblo are conducted by volunteer docents, Las Angelitas del Pueblo, Tuesday through Saturday at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. The tours start at the Las Angelitas del Pueblo office, located next to the Old Plaza Firehouse.

The Pride of Norway

By Linda Tancs

One of Norway’s best loved attractions is just an hour’s drive north from Oslo. There you’ll find Skibladner, the world’s oldest paddle steamer, ploughing Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s largest inland lake. The pride of Norway, the oldest preserved paddle steamer in timetabled service is celebrating 160 years of sailing this year. Skibladner sails between the villages and towns around Lake Mjøsa as she has always done: Lillehammer, Moelv, Gjøvik, Hamar and Eidsvoll. Sailings began on June 22 and continue through August 14.

A Wild Dam

By Linda Tancs

Named for famed Wild West figure William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Shoshone River. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s located six miles west of Cody (founded by the man himself) on the Yellowstone Highway. When completed in 1910 it was the tallest dam in the world. Visitors may stroll to the top of the dam, view exhibits and a short movie in the visitor center or rent a self-guided audio tour. The site is open seasonally through September.

World’s Steepest Cogwheel Railway

By Linda Tancs

A feat of engineering, the cogwheel railway system was invented by Colonel Eduard Locher-Freuler in the 1880s. It enabled gradients of up to 48 percent and made possible the construction of a railway up Switzerland’s Mount Pilatus. Eliminating the need for a tiresome ascent on foot, the system started out in 1889 as a steam coach and was later electrified in 1937. From Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway gives visitors to Lucerne a bird’s-eye view of lush meadows carpeted with Alpine flowers, sparkling mountain streams and imposing rock faces.

Old Money in Morris County

By Linda Tancs

During The Gilded Age, a series of grandiose mansions owned by the wealthiest Americans found their place among pastoral settings in Morris County, New Jersey. One famous couple, in fact, built dueling mansions owing to their inability to warm up to one dwelling or the other. That duo was Marcellus Hartley Dodge (heir to the Phelps Dodge fortune) and Geraldine Rockefeller (niece of Standard Oil magnate John D. Rockefeller), the richest couple in the nation. Her property, Giralda Farms, was a private estate when she purchased it in 1916 and represents one of the largest remaining tracts of open space in southeastern Morris County. Once a corporate park, it’s now preserved for public use through funding as the new 136-acre Giralda Farms Preserve at Loantaka Brook Reservation. The site includes a 1.2 mile network of hiking and off-road biking trails, meadows and hardwood wetlands and uplands, carriage trails, specimen trees and a pond. This weekend brings a music and arts festival to the site on Sunday featuring the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Center of the Universe

By Linda Tancs

The center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology is the mythical Mount Meru (not to be confused with the active stratovolcano of the same name in Tanzania). It’s depicted at the base of a snow-white pagoda in Myanmar known as Hsinbyume in the form of circular terraces representing the mountain peaks. The imposing structure was commissioned centuries ago by Prince Bagyidaw to honor the memory of Princess Hsinbyume (literally, White Elephant), who died during childbirth. Climb the stairway to the top and you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the banks of the Irrawaddy River and its accompanying vistas north of Mandalay.

North Carolina’s First Park

By Linda Tancs

It’s a banner year for North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell State Park, its first state park created 100 years ago, marking the centennial of the state’s parks system that has grown to nearly 250,000 acres set aside for conservation, recreation and education. The locale also enjoys the distinction of hosting the highest point east of the Mississippi, the dramatic summit of Mount Mitchell. Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about the park.


By Linda Tancs

The liberation of black American slaves in Texas occurred on June 19, 1865, and an annual celebration of the end of slavery is held on the day. Known as Juneteenth, the first celebration in Texas came in 1867, and it became a state holiday in 1980. Like any Texas occasion, food is plentiful. A typical celebration includes barbecue, smothered chicken, collard greens and red desserts and beverages (such as red velvet cake and strawberry soda).

Endurance Racing in France

By Linda Tancs

The engines are getting ready to roar as the time nears for France’s annual endurance race, Le Mans. One of the oldest races, 24 Hours of Le Mans is taking place from June 18 to June 19 in Le Mans (less than an hour west of Paris). Over the course of the 24 hours, racers clock in with approximately 18 times the length of an average Formula 1 Grand Prix, so it’s easy to see why it’s considered the greatest endurance race in the world. This year will be the eighth time that the contest has fallen on this weekend. In 1932, this weekend saw Frenchwoman Odette Siko put her name in the record books with the best result for a female driver.

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