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Archive for July, 2017

The Washingtons of Fredericksburg

By Linda Tancs

The land registry of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is brimming with history about George Washington and his family. For instance, there’s the first president’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm, so named because people crossed the Rappahannock River on a ferry from the farm into town. Later, George Washington purchased a home in town for his mother Mary, a white frame house on the corner of Charles and Lewis streets. It’s within walking distance to Kenmore, a Georgian-style mansion that was the home of Mary’s daughter Betty Washington Lewis. Betty’s husband Fielding Lewis once owned land upon which St. James’ House was built, one of the few 18th century frame houses still standing in Fredericksburg. It was owned by James Mercer, a lawyer for Mary Washington. And then there’s the frame home built by George Washington’s youngest brother Charles around 1760. Now known as the Rising Sun Tavern, it became a tavern in 1792 when it was purchased by the Wallace family and operated for 35 years as a stopover for travelers.

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Antiguan Festival Celebrates Milestone

By Linda Tancs

Regarded by some as the best summer Caribbean festival, Antigua’s Carnival 2017 is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. The annual event is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the country held annually from the end of July to the beginning of August. Amid a flow of colorful costumes and festive music, the party includes competitions like the Party Monarch and Calypso Monarch competitions of Calypsonians, the Panorama steel band competition and the parade of bands to the Miss Antigua Pageant and the Caribbean Queen’s Competition. This year’s carnival begins tomorrow and ends on August 8.

Cuddy’s Corse

By Linda Tancs

Cuddy’s Corse is one of two heritage trails in Chester-le-Street, a historic market town in County Durham, England. The 7.5 mile walking trail starting at St. Mary’s and St. Cuthbert’s church follows in the footsteps of St. Cuthbert’s community on their final journey from Chester-le-Street to Durham Cathedral, carrying the uncorrupted body (corse) of Cuthbert (the patron saint of the North) and his book, the  Lindisfarne Gospels. It was at the parish church that the gospels were first translated into Saxon English, and one of only three facsimiles of them can be viewed there. The ancient town also traces its roots to a Roman fort; catch a glimpse of the site behind the parish center.

Norway’s Atlantis

By Linda Tancs

Lygnstøylsvatnet is an over 100-year-old flooded Norwegian farm area in Norangsdalen by Ørsta via County Road 655. The ruins of an entire town lie just beneath Lake Lygnstøylsvatnet, a place divers call “Norway’s Atlantis.” The old homestead at the bottom of the lake includes farm houses, rock fences, barren trees and paths built for horsedrawn carriages. This underwater wonder occurred as a result of a rockslide in 1908 that blocked the river there and flooded the town, forcing its residents to flee. The well-preserved time capsule is shallow enough for novice divers to explore.

Gateway to Galapagos

By Linda Tancs

Guayaquil is a port city in Ecuador, known as a gateway to the Galapagos Islands. More than a transit stop, this commercial city stretching along the Guayas River is enlivened by a riverfront promenade, Malecón 2000, featuring historic monuments (like La Rotonda, a statue depicting a famous meeting of South America’s two most prominent liberators), modern sculptures, museums, botanical gardens, fountains, bridges, children’s play areas, shopping outlets and restaurants. The northern end connects with Las Peñas, the oldest neighborhood in Guayaquil, boasting the largest concentration of colonial architecture and picturesque wooden houses. The founding of the city is celebrated with a festival tomorrow, preceded by today’s national celebration of the birthday of liberator Simón Bolívar.

Dressed Up in Faversham

By Linda Tancs

Just over an hour from London, Faversham was one of Kent’s leading ports. In the 17th century more wool was exported from Faversham than from any other British port, and when London began to expand in the same century, it was the main source of its crucial supplies of wheat and, later, bricks and cement. Nowadays the bustling market town celebrates its nautical heritage with the annual Faversham Nautical Festival. Taking place on July 22 and 23, traditional vessels will be moored in the upper regions of Faversham Creek, including Thames sailing barges, Dutch barges, tugs, smacks, gaffers and many other boats “dressed overall” (the stringing of maritime signal flags on a ship from stemhead to masthead, from masthead to masthead if the vessel has more than one mast and then down to the taffrail). Visitors shouldn’t miss the chance for a walk about this pre-Roman town boasting nearly 500 listed sites.

The Cotswold Way

By Linda Tancs

A walker’s delight, the Cotswold Way in England is a 102-mile National Trail running from Chipping Campden to Bath. It’s recognized as much for the picturesque views as for its biodiversity. The trail passes through many lovely villages and close to a significant number of historic sites, such as the Roman heritage at Bath, the Neolithic burial chamber at Belas Knap, Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe and Hailes Abbey. No two days alike, a hike through this region exposes landscapes as diverse as wildflower meadows and shaded beech woodlands. Seven days is optimal for a full hike. This time of year brings the best views of the woodlands and grasslands.

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