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Archive for February, 2017

Bon Temps in Mobile

By Linda Tancs

Home to the first Mardi Gras in the U.S., Mobile, Alabama, has been letting the good times roll since 1703. That rich cultural history is on display at the Mobile Carnival Museum. Located on Government Street in a historic building, the facility features royal gowns, crowns and scepters amidst 14 gallery rooms, a pictorial hallway, theater and gathering space.

History and Design in Wilmington

By Linda Tancs

The Bellamy Mansion Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina, is one of the state’s most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture. Built by free and enslaved black artisans for physician and planter John Dillard Bellamy and his family before the outbreak of the Civil War, the 10,000-square-foot home now serves as a museum of history and the design arts. The home’s soaring main entrance and lushly recreated Victorian gardens are met with equally compelling slave quarters, one of very few preserved urban slave quarters in the country. Guided tours are given on the hour, and self-guided audio tours are available at other times.

Carnival Capital of Croatia

By Linda Tancs

There’s good reason why Rijeka is the carnival capital of Croatia. Held between mid-January and Ash Wednesday, Rijeka Carnival blends culture, folklore and mythology with good old-fashioned partying, including pageants, street dances, concerts, masked balls, exhibitions and a parade. The International Carnival Parade on Feb. 26 is the crown jewel in the festivities. Be on the lookout for men in oversized animal head masks who dance and ring loud bells to frighten off evil spirits.

A History of Immigration in Manhattan

By Linda Tancs

One of America’s foremost immigrant neighborhoods is Manhattan’s Lower East Side, in particular 97 Orchard Street. Built in 1863, this tenement apartment building was home to nearly 7,000 working-class immigrants. This ordinary building from which dreams were built forms the Tenement Museum. Accessible only via guided tours, visitors meander through restored apartments that recreate immigrant life in the 19th and 20th centuries. A testament to the lure of the American Dream, in 1992 the museum opened its first apartment, the 1878 home of the German-Jewish Gumpertz family. Since then, six more apartments have been restored, like the home of the Moores, Irish immigrants who lived at 97 Orchard in 1869. Tours start and end at 103 Orchard, site of the museum’s flagship visitors’ center.

Japan’s Big Wheel

By Linda Tancs

Ready for the high life in Japan? Then head to Osaka for the country’s tallest ferris wheel at Expocity. The Redhorse Osaka Wheel is nearly 404 feet high with 72 passenger cabins boasting glass floors for that walking-on-air kind of view. The fifth highest wheel in the world, the ride takes 18 minutes to complete.

The Seven Chairs

By Linda Tancs

The Roman colony of Emerita Augusta (now known as Mérida in Spain) was founded in 25 B.C. by the emperor Augustus to resettle emeritus soldiers discharged from the Roman army. Like any great city of its day, it needed a theatre, which was erected between 16 and 15 B.C. and is known today as the Roman Theatre of Mérida. Hosting 6,000 people, they were distributed from top to bottom according to their social status. By the 1800s, the ruins were called the Seven Chairs by the locals because only the upper tiers of seats were still visible above the sediment. Excavations and renovations have resulted in a venue prized for its artistic events. The Classical Theatre Festival, held every year since 1933, is the site’s most notable cultural event.

Superior Architecture in Wisconsin

By Linda Tancs

Fairlawn Mansion is an authentically restored 1890 Victorian house museum in Superior, Wisconsin. Built as the family home for lumber and mining baron Martin Pattison, the Queen Anne structure with its four-story turret is an iconic landmark. Among the jewels restored during extensive renovations are gilded murals on the ceilings and frieze, a grand entrance hall and open staircase, marble and tile fireplaces and original leaded and stained glass windows. The master bedroom suite on the second floor also includes period family furnishings. All tours depart at the top of the hour from the gift shop.

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