Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for October, 2016

What’s Hot in Idaho

By Linda Tancs

Idaho is one hot destination, literally. Just head on over to Lava Hot Springs, a quaint resort town on the way to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. Its therapeutic hot springs attract visitors from around the world. In addition to public pools (including an indoor aquatic center), many hotels have private hot pools. Even the “coolest” hot pool is pretty hot. Can you stand the heat? If not, then maybe an onsite massage is in order.

Where the North Begins

By Linda Tancs

Portage, Wisconsin, dubs itself a city “where the North begins.” Located along the Fox/Wisconsin water route, it certainly was an important asset in the Northwest Territory, leading to the construction of a fort there (Fort Winnebago) in the 1800s. The location of the town at the split of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers is what gives the site its name “Portage,” which means carrying a boat or its cargo between two navigable waters. The third oldest settlement in the state, it also boasts the historic Indian Agency House, one of Wisconsin’s earliest houses. The Federal-style house served as the residence of the family of John Kinzie, the U.S. agent for the Winnebago Nation.

Steaming Through Cass

By Linda Tancs

Cass, West Virginia, is a charming old logging town founded in 1900 by a pulp and paper company. Its main attraction is Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, home of the railway line built in 1901 to haul lumber to the town mill. Lest you think it’s a quaint site riddled with old, rusty railroad cars, the astonishing fact is that Cass is home to the world’s largest fleet of geared Shay locomotives. Many of the passenger cars are old logging flat cars that have been refurbished for use as part of a popular train excursion, allowing visitors to relive an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of everyday life. For a taste of this bygone era, take the excursion to Whittaker Station, the location of an authentic logging camp recreated by the volunteers of the Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association. Just four miles up the track from Cass, the journey includes a stopover for breathtaking country views.

Aloha from Michigan

By Linda Tancs

The tropics beckon at Honolulu House in Marshall, Michigan. Yes, that’s right. In America’s Midwest, a sandstone mansion incorporates Polynesian (plus some Italianate and Gothic Revival) architecture. Its tropical influences include a raised veranda and observation platform. An inviting nine-bay porch spans the front, with its wide center bay serving as the base of its pagoda-topped tower. Built in 1860 for the first U.S. consul to the Sandwich Islands, it stands in the heart of Marshall’s National Historic Landmark District (at the corner of Mansion and Kalamazoo) and is listed on the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Home of Little Women

By Linda Tancs

Louisa May Alcott wrote her beloved classic Little Women at Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts. The grounds contained an orchard of 40 apple trees, giving the home its name. Largely unchanged since the Alcott occupancy in the mid-1800s, the premises even retain 80 percent of the family furnishings, making a visit to the property akin to walking through the pages of the novel. The house is shown by guided tour only.

The Essence of Creole

By Linda Tancs

Creole, a blend of western European, African and Native American influences, flourished in Louisiana before it joined the Union in 1803. You’ll find its essence alive and well at Laura, a Creole plantation in the heart of New Orleans Plantation Country. Originally called l’habitation Duparc (after Duparc, a French naval veteran of the American Revolution who acquired the property in 1804), it was renamed Laura Plantation after Laura Locoul, a descendant of the Duparc-Locoul families. At its largest size, it was approximately 12,000 acres, which included properties amassed over time. More than a house and garden tour, visitors are enriched in Creole culture through a 70-minute tour (in English and French) sharing the compelling, real-life accounts of multiple generations of the plantation’s Creole inhabitants—plantation owners, women, slaves and children who once called this centuries-old, sugar cane farm their home. The property is located on Highway 18 midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, only 35 miles from New Orleans International Airport.

Plantation Life in Maryland

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Sotterley Plantation is the only tidewater plantation in Maryland that is open to the public. Located in Hollywood in Southern Maryland, the Colonial-era site boasts a 1703 plantation house, a rare and restored slave cabin and an abundance of outbuildings set amidst nearly 95 acres overlooking the scenic Patuxent River. Older than George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon, visitors can also enjoy nature trails, bird watching and an array of archeological exhibits from excavations on the grounds.

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