Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for March, 2017

The House That Beer Built

By Linda Tancs

Tucked away in the northwest section of a popular public park in Dublin, Ireland, Farmleigh House is the manor that beer built—Guinness, to be precise. The Georgian home was purchased by Edward Cecil Guinness (great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, founder of the brewery) on the occasion of his marriage to his cousin. Although now an official State residence for visiting dignitaries, many of the sumptuous furnishings and artworks remain in the house courtesy of the Guinness family. The pastoral surroundings of the 78-acre gem (one of the best kept secrets in Dublin) include a sunken garden, a walled garden, a clock tower, a beautiful lake laden with water lilies and grazing cattle. Take city bus 37 to Castlerock Gate at Phoenix Park. Access to the house is by guided tour only.

America’s First National Historical Park

By Linda Tancs

America’s first national historical park, Morristown National Historical Park commemorates the sites of General George Washington and the Continental Army’s winter encampment from December 1779 to June 1780. Two main areas of the park are Ford Mansion, Washington’s headquarters, and Jockey Hollow, where 10,000 soldiers camped during the most brutal winter ever recorded. The park has about 27 miles of designated hiking trails.

Rocket City

By Linda Tancs

Once coined the “Watercress Capital of the World,” Huntsville, Alabama, is now known as Rocket City. That’s because it’s the place where America’s space program was born—where the rockets were developed that put the first U.S. satellite into orbit and sent men to the moon. It’s where the power for today’s space shuttle was developed and where the modules for the International Space Station were designed and built. It’s also where America’s next great ship, the Space Launch System, is being designed. NASA’s Space Launch System will be the most powerful rocket ever built. When completed, SLS will enable astronauts to begin their journey to explore destinations far into the solar system. Since 1970 more than 16 million people have toured Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center. General admission to the center includes access to historic Shuttle Park, Rocket Park and all indoor exhibit areas such as the main museum atrium and the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.

Clear Comfort in Staten Island

By Linda Tancs

Alice Austen was one of the first women photographers in the U.S. to work outside the confines of a studio, a pioneer in the field of photojournalism. Her home in Staten Island, New York, was built in 1690 as a one-room Dutch farmhouse. Known as Clear Comfort, she lived there from the 1860s until 1945. Now a National Historic Landmark popularly known as Alice Austen House, it’s a house museum offering interpretation of her photographs, life and historic home. In celebration of International Women’s Day today, admission to the museum is free.

Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art

By Linda Tancs

Nineteen miles west of the port city of Santander in northern Spain is the prized prehistoric Altamira cave, a World Heritage Site. Over 900 feet long, archeological remains unearthed there are from two main Paleolithic occupations—the Solutrean (about 21,000 to 17,000 years ago) and the Magdalenian (about 17,000 to 11,000 years ago). Sometimes referred to as “the Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic art,” the cave’s chambers are a treasure trove of striking black-and-red prehistoric art depicting bison and other animals. In several instances, the artist exploited the natural contours of the rock to create a three dimensional appearance in the works.

The Longest Show Cave in Britain

By Linda Tancs

Located in Yorkshire Dales National Park, White Scar Cave is the longest show cave (tourist cave) in Britain. An informative guided tour takes 80 minutes over a one mile trek covered largely by a metal grid floor. The first feature to be discovered at the cave was the waterfall, which thunders delightfully after some wet weather. Other popular features include the Harry Potter-like Witch’s Fingers, the Devil’s Tongue (flowstone hanging from the cave roof), orange stalactites called The Carrots and Battlefield Cavern with The Face at the far end.

West Africa’s Largest Park

By Linda Tancs

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is a West African country with beach resorts, rainforests and a French colonial legacy. The world’s largest producer of cocoa beans, it’s also home to West Africa’s largest national park, Comoé National Park. A prized but imperiled World Heritage Site (due to civil unrest and other activities), it contains the country’s largest concentration of wildlife, including antelopes, hippos, lions, monkeys and other animals. Its habitats vary greatly from forests to a wide variety of savannas amongst its 4,440 square miles. The different waters of the Comoé River and its tributaries are the habitat for 60 species of fish and various reptiles, including the endangered dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis).

A Landscape With Capabilities

By Linda Tancs

Nestled in the heart of England’s South Downs National Park, Petworth has been settled since at least Norman times and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The dominant attraction is Petworth House, a fortified manor house from the 12th century that was completely rebuilt in 1688 by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, who transformed it into the magnificent Petworth House seen today. The majestic 700-acre park at Petworth (home to the largest herd of fallow deer in England) is one of the finest surviving and unspoiled examples of an English landscape designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, widely acclaimed as England’s greatest gardener. The stately mansion also has the distinction of housing the finest art collection in the care of the National Trust. Don’t miss the current exhibition of Britain’s greatest watercolors, on show until March 10. The site is accessible via Victoria station in London to Pulborough. Local buses there pass through the town center of Petworth.

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