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Archive for May, 2017

A Chateau in North Dakota

By Linda Tancs

French nobleman and entrepreneur Marquis de Morès was a key player on the western edge of North Dakota. There he founded the town of Medora (named for his wife) in 1883 and pursued his legacy as a meat packing industry baron. In keeping with his station in life, he built a 26-room home just southwest of town. Now a museum, the Chateau de Morès State Historic Site contains many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the family. It’s open from May to September.

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The Last School Standing

By Linda Tancs

Fourth Ward School in Virginia City, Nevada, is the last Second Empire-style school building standing in the United States. Named for the ward in which it is situated, the school opened in 1876 to alleviate overcrowding in the heart of the Comstock Mining District. The distinctive four-story school with a mansard roof was a combination grammar and high school, designed to accommodate 1,025 students. It remained in use until a new school was completed in 1936. The Fourth Ward School Museum showcases the town’s history as one of the largest mining camps west of Denver. The venue is open from May through October.

Iceberg Alley

By Linda Tancs

Iceberg Alley is an area stretching from the coast of Labrador to the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland. From spring to September, the locale presents the most unusual of tourist attractions as icebergs break off in the Arctic and float down past the coast. The goliaths are most plentiful in April and May (in fact, over 600 have already appeared, with a seasonal average just under 700) but they may be locked up in sea ice, so late May and early June are best for viewing. Some of the more popular viewing locations (by land, kayak or boat tour) are St. Lewis, Battle Harbour, Red Bay, Point Amour, St. Anthony, La Scie, Twillingate, Fogo Island, Change Islands, Bonavista, St. John’s/Cape Spear, Bay Bulls/Witless Bay, Cape St. Mary’s and St. Vincent’s.

A Wetland of International Importance

By Linda Tancs

Located along the Delaware River estuary in Pennsville, New Jersey, Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is designated a Wetland of International Importance. Vastly comprising slightly brackish tidal marsh, this unique habitat contains a mixture of fresh and saltwater plants and wildlife and is an important resting and feeding area for waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife. In fact, it has been identified as the most important habitat for wintering American black ducks. Two foot trails through the refuge’s varied habitats provide excellent opportunities for wildlife observation. This time of year the Forest Habitat Trail offers choruses of spring peepers and southern leopard frogs.

London’s Secret Garden

By Linda Tancs

Founded in 1673, Chelsea Physic Garden is one of London’s oldest botanic gardens. It contains a unique living collection of around 5,000 different edible, useful, medicinal and historical plants within its sheltering walls tucked away beside the Thames. True to its roots (no pun intended) as a training ground for apprentices in the identification and use of medicinal plants, its medicinal plant display is one of the largest in the world. The theme for 2017 is Weaves and Leaves: Fabrics and the Plants That Make Them. The garden is located between Royal Hospital Road and the Thames Embankment, a 15-minute walk from Sloane Square.

A Celebration of Scottish History

By Linda Tancs

For over 150 years, Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland has been telling the story of Scotland from prehistoric times to the present day. It also follows the Scots whose ideas, innovations and leadership took them across the world. Likewise, world cultures are represented as is the history of the planet from meteorites to monsters of the deep. The multi-disciplinary venue on Chambers Street continues to grow, with 10 new Science and Technology and Art and Design galleries opening last year and new Ancient Egypt and East Asia galleries planned for 2018.

The Mercer Mile

By Linda Tancs

In the heart of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a tribute to archaeologist Henry Chapman Mercer. Known as the Mercer Mile in Doylestown, it’s an area comprising his three concrete landmarks: Fonthill Castle, Moravian Pottery & Tile Works and the Mercer Museum. Fonthill, a 44-room castle, was Mercer’s home, a National Historic Landmark with 32 stairwells, 18 fireplaces and 21 chimneys. An avid tile designer, he also founded Moravian Pottery & Tile Works, another historic landmark that functions as a “working history” museum and produces handmade tiles and mosaics in the same style as Mercer’s original designs. His love of early American craftworks is also evident at the Mercer Museum, housing artifacts representing 60 early American trades as well as large objects including a whale boat, stage coach and Conestoga wagon.

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