Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for June, 2016

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.

Juneteenth

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.

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.

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