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Archive for June, 2017

Early Vermont Heritage

By Linda Tancs

Native American, French colonial and early Vermont heritage converge at Chimney Point on Lake Champlain in Vermont. One of the earliest, most intensely settled and most strategic sites in the Champlain Valley, human habitation dates back to Indian encampments over 9,000 years ago. In 1731, a French fort was built there, followed 10 years later by a French settlement to support the soldiers across the lake at Fort St. Frederic. When the British encroached, the story goes that everything was burned to the ground, leaving only chimneys (hence, the name). The original two-story tavern was built after the Revolutionary War. Now a museum open during the summer season, it offers archaeological discoveries, the earliest surviving tavern tap room on the lake and a 1905 post office. Visitors can cross the nearby Lake Champlain Bridge on foot and enjoy the interpretive trail on both sides.

A Glacial Feast

By Linda Tancs

The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, protects 4,200 square miles of glaciers, geothermal springs and lakes representing mostly untouched alpine wilderness. The park’s tiny hamlet of Jasper is connected to Lake Louise in nearby Banff National Park by the Icefields Parkway, a 140-mile-long stretch that parallels the Continental Divide. Considered one of the most scenic roads in the world, the parkway includes along its route the Athabasca Glacier (part of the Columbia Icefield), the most visited glacier on the North American continent. Its ice is in continuous motion, spilling from the icefield (a surviving remnant of the thick ice mass that once covered most of western Canada’s mountains) over three giant bedrock steps. The Discovery Centre (a visitor’s center opposite the icefield) is open seasonally between May and October.

The Pearl of Dorset

By Linda Tancs

At the heart of England’s Jurassic Coast is the historic town of Lyme Regis. Locally known as Lyme, the designation Regis owes to its first Royal Charter given by King Edward I in 1284. Founded during the Saxon period, the pretty seaside town boasts narrow streets and Georgian architecture to complement its pastel-colored beach huts and rental cottages. Affectionately known as the “Pearl of Dorset,” it’s the site of curiosities like Granny’s Teeth (the stone steps along the Cobb harbor wall) and an endurance walk stretching from Lyme to nearby Seaton marked by the Undercliffs. Created by a series of landslips, the Undercliffs are only accessible on foot and lead to a jungle-like area of thick vegetation, one of the great wilderness areas of southern England.

From the Bowels of the Earth

By Linda Tancs

Earth’s mantle is a layer between the crust and the outer core. Not the kind of thing one would have an opportunity to experience—unless, of course, you find yourself at Tablelands in Canada’s Gros Morne National Park. Situated in western Newfoundland, the exposed mantle represents a 450-million-year process of continental drift. Explore it on your own or with a guided hike available from mid-June to mid-September. Visit the Gros Morne Interpretation Centre to learn more about the area’s geology or to find out the timetable for guided tours along the Tablelands Trail.

Montana’s Birthplace

By Linda Tancs

A quaint river town, Fort Benton is known as the birthplace of Montana. It’s a National Historic Landmark, a monument to western expansion and once the world’s innermost port, a place where steamboats shuffled along the Missouri River for 30 years. It served as the terminus for the 642-mile-long Mullan Wagon Road, the first wagon road to cross the Rockies, binding together the navigable headwaters of the Missouri and Columbia rivers for easy movement of troops and supplies during periods of Indian hostilities. The town’s history is celebrated every year at this time at the weekend Summer Celebration, one of the state’s premier events.

Petrified in Arizona

By Linda Tancs

Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park is a prime source of—you guessed it—petrified wood. In a process beginning over 200 million years ago, logs washed into an ancient river system and combined with minerals that incorporated themselves into the porous wood, replacing the organic matter. The result is petrified wood found in the park and the surrounding region that is made up of almost solid quartz. The Jasper Forest vista point showcases one of the largest accumulations of petrified wood in the park.

Raising the Flag in Rosario

By Linda Tancs

The National Flag Memorial in Rosario, Argentina, is a monumental complex built near the shore of the Paraná River. The Tower commemorates the May Revolution of 1810, which started Argentina’s War of Independence. An eternal flame burns in honor of the war dead. Unlike other cities, the Argentine port supported the war, and it was there in 1812 that Gen. Manuel Belgrano hoisted the first Argentine flag. The memorial was inaugurated on June 20, 1957, the anniversary of Belgrano’s death.

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