Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for June, 2016

A View From the Top in Pittsburgh

By Linda Tancs

Voted one of the top 10 sites in the world for viewing a cityscape, the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is one of the few remaining inclines in the country. Opened to the public in 1877, it closely follows the tracks of an early coal hoist. The upper station houses a museum of Pittsburgh history, including information on inclines from around the world. Enjoy a spectacular panorama of Pittsburgh and its three rivers!

Helsinki’s Maritime Fortress

By Linda Tancs

One of the world’s largest maritime fortresses, Suomenlinna was built off the coast of Helsinki, Finland, in 1748. In addition to the homeland, this notable monument of military architecture has defended Sweden and Russia. Anything but staid, the bastion fortress is a living district inhabited by 850 city residents. Open year round, you’ll want to reserve at least a half day to explore its many turns and tunnels.

Cliff Notes

By Linda Tancs

Boasting dual status as a Natural Historic Landmark and National Natural Landmark, New Jersey’s Palisades is a park system on the western shore of the Hudson River in Bergen County. Twelve miles long and encompassing 2,500 acres of wild shorefront, uplands and cliffs, its Long Path and Shore Trail are National Recreation Trails that meet at the cliff top. In addition to hiking trails, there are ski trails, a boat launching ramp, a scenic riverside drive, a cliff-top parkway and overlooks, riverfront picnic areas and playgrounds, and a nature sanctuary — all just minutes from midtown Manhattan’s concrete jungle.

Home on the Grange

By Linda Tancs

Founding father Alexander Hamilton named his New York home “The Grange” to acknowledge his Scottish ancestry. Born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, Hamilton became a pivotal aide to George Washington as well as the first Secretary of the Treasury and was instrumental in creating the U.S. Constitution. Hamilton commissioned architect John McComb Jr. to design a Federal-style country home on a 32-acre estate in upper Manhattan. Completed in 1802, Hamilton was only able to enjoy Hamilton Grange for two years. On July 11, 1804, he was fatally wounded in a duel with his personal and political rival, Vice President Aaron Burr. Believed to be the only home Alexander Hamilton ever owned, its period rooms are best viewed with a ranger-guided tour.

A New York City Treasure

By Linda Tancs

On the east side of New York City’s Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets you’ll find an architectural gem, the Seagram Building. One of the finest examples of skyscrapers in the International Style, the building was the first with floor-to-ceiling windows. The interior is no less spectacular, particularly The Four Seasons Restaurant. Designed in 1959 by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, it is the only Manhattan restaurant designated an architectural (interior) landmark. Alas, its tenure at the Seagram will end on July 16, but the restaurant will re-open next year at a nearby location.

 

A Fort’s Family Heritage

By Linda Tancs

John Butterfield chose Fort Chadbourne as a major stop for his Overland Mail Company, a stagecoach mail service connecting the east and west coasts of the United States. The fort saw other action as part of the Old West, too, like the Fence Cutting Wars (disputes between farmers and cattlemen staking their claims in the area) and mustering on its grounds at the outbreak of the Civil War. Unlike other military posts, however, this fort has always been privately owned, becoming a ranching haven for eight generations of the Odom’s, Wylie’s and Richards’ families. Located in the vicinity of Bronte, Texas, its military, ranching, and Indian historical roots have been lovingly restored. The old frontier fort now has six restored buildings, stabilized ruins, and a new visitor center featuring over 300 antique guns, thousands of military and Native American artifacts, cannons and a research library.

Indiana’s Other Grand Prix

By Linda Tancs

Indiana has, you might say, a need for speed. Just as the engines are cooling down in Speedway, they’re revving up again in LaPorte. Only this time, the action is on the water. The Maple City Grand Prix is taking place from June 3 to June 5, a tunnel boat racing event on Stone Lake on Saturday and Sunday that attracts daredevils from across the country and Canada. The boat parade downtown on Friday promises lots of excitement for autograph seekers and boat enthusiasts. There’s also a fireworks display on Saturday. Best of all, the event is free, including parking and shuttle services.

The Castle on Peachtree

By Linda Tancs

An Atlanta landmark for decades, Georgia’s Rhodes Hall is affectionately known as “the castle on Peachtree.” The Romanesque Revival-style mansion was designed for one of the city’s wealthiest men, Rhodes Furniture founder Amos Rhodes. Thought to be inspired by his travels through the castles of the German Rhineland, it’s one of the few remaining mansions on Peachtree Street, the city’s most celebrated thoroughfare. Now a house museum and event venue, its massive exterior masonry is equally matched with superb interior appointments like its hallmark mahogany staircase and painted glass windows.

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