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Archive for August, 2017

America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens

By Linda Tancs

Home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens, Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, the gardens were planned by Henry Middleton, a planter and public official whose son Arthur became a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Its 65 acres are ablaze year round with blooms: camellias in winter, azaleas in spring and a collection of kalmia, magnolias, crepe myrtles and roses in summer. A trained garden interpreter leads a discussion of the garden design, history and horticulture. Guided tours include the Middleton family home, where original portraits, furniture, silver, china and documents belonging to family members are on display.

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Flying Tomatoes in Spain

By Linda Tancs

Tomatina is a festival that takes place on the last Wednesday of August each year in Buñol, Spain. Revelers parlay pelting tomatoes into prize-fighting furor, complete with chants of “Tomato! Tomato!” The hour-long street battle attracts participants from around the world, who gather around six trucks offloading 160 tons of ripe, red tomatoes. Be sure to wear old clothes and goggles.

Jazz in Queens

By Linda Tancs

Jazz great Louis Armstrong was born in one of the poorest sections of New Orleans. He was rich and famous enough to live anywhere, yet, true to his roots, chose a modest house for himself and his wife for the remainder of their lives in Corona, Queens. No one else has lived there since. Now a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark, the Louis Armstrong House Museum is shown only through guided 40-minute historic house tours that start every hour on the hour. The tour offers glimpses into his life and legacy, including audio clips from Louis’s homemade recordings and snippets of him practicing his trumpet, enjoying a meal or talking with his friends. The museum is located in the northern part of Queens, New York City, close to LaGuardia Airport.

Queen of the North Sea

By Linda Tancs

Part of Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, Germany’s island of Sylt is the largest North Frisian island and the fourth largest island in the country. Referred to as the Queen of the North Sea, its popular holiday resorts (Morsum, Keitum, Rantum, Hörnum, Kampen and List) make it an attractive summer destination. Known for its tranquil beaches, a visit would be incomplete without a stop at the aquarium in Westerland, boasting a fabulous collection of North Sea and tropical fish. See more marine life in its natural habitat via a guided boat trip at the Wadden Sea, the largest unbroken area of mudflats in the world. The Hindenburg Causeway joins the island with the mainland.

An Invitation to the Palace

By Linda Tancs

A longtime papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo is a scenic, lofty little town overlooking the Alban Hills, roughly 15 miles southeast of Rome, Italy. Because Pope Francis has declined to stay at the pontifical villas there, they are now open to the public. So, too, is the Apostolic Palace, where an audio tour relates 500 years of papal history amidst paintings, relics, liturgical vestments, uniforms and other artifacts, including the sedan chair of Pope Pius IX and the BMW used by Pope John Paul II during his summer stays at Castel Gandolfo. Arrive in style via a special train running on Saturdays only that links the historic Vatican City railway station with the pontifical villas.

The Pinchot Trail

By Linda Tancs

Gifford Pinchot was a founding father of forest conservation, a childhood interest that netted him an appointment by President Theodore Roosevelt as the first chief of the then-U.S. Division of Forestry. Pennsylvania’s Pinchot State Forest is named in his honor, a vast forest land of over 45,000 acres across Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna and Wayne counties. The Pinchot Trail is the only developed hiking trail on the Thornhurst Tract, the largest tract in the system located on the Pocono Plateau. The 26-mile trail features red and black spruce, tamaracks and bogs.

A Superior Wilderness Experience

By Linda Tancs

Surrounded by Lake Superior and near the border with Canada, Michigan’s Isle Royale is one of the least visited U.S. national parks. That’s to be expected, considering its remote location. All the better for you. Enjoy a car-free experience where the only approved modes of transportation include hiking, boating, canoeing and kayaking. Known for its wolves and moose populations, Craggy Scoville Point is a great spot for viewing some of the roughly 200 rocky islets that form the Isle Royale archipelago. Accessible by ferry, seaplane or private watercraft, there are two boats that service the island from Michigan—the Ranger III from Houghton and the Isle Royale Queen IV from Copper Harbor. The island closes from November 1 – April 15 annually.

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