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Archive for October, 2018

Eternal Rest in Sleepy Hollow

By Linda Tancs

When it comes to historic places on the national register, cemeteries don’t necessarily come to mind. That is, unless you’ve visited historic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in the village of Sleepy Hollow, New York. Listed on both the New York State and the National Register of Historic Places, numerous headstones and mausoleums boast the work of famous American sculptors and artists. You’ll see their work among William Rockefeller’s imposing mausoleum, Henry Villard’s exquisite sculpture, the Washington Irving Memorial Chapel and the stained glass windows in the Helmsley mausoleum. Over 85 acres in size amidst rolling hills and Hudson River views, the luminaries buried there include Brooke and Vincent Astor, Major Edward Bowes, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Samuel Gompers, Oswald Villard, Thomas Watson and, of course, author Washington Irving.

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Canoe Racing in Polynesia

By Linda Tancs

Hawaiki nui va’a is a major event in the cultural life of French Polynesia, an international festival of outrigger canoe racing, the national sport. Reputedly the toughest canoe race in the world, the three-day, 80-mile race begins in Huahine Bay towards Raiatea, Taha’a and Bora Bora. This year’s event takes place from October 31 to November 2.

Circus History in Wisconsin

By Linda Tancs

Ringling Brothers is synonymous with the circus. And it all started in the unassuming city of Baraboo, Wisconsin. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the locale hosts Circus World, a large museum complex devoted to circus-related history. In addition to the usual artifacts and exhibits (as well as daily circus shows during the summer), you can visit historic Ringlingville. A National Historic Landmark, it represents the site where the Ringling crew would return for the winter months to prepare for the next season. Of the 25 Ringling structures that once existed in Baraboo throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, 10 winter quarters buildings remain today, the largest grouping of circus structures in America.

An Icon of Ecuador

By Linda Tancs

Ecuador has nearly twice as many bird species as the U.S., numbering around 1,600 or so. Perhaps no winged creature is as emblematic of the country as the black-breasted puffleg hummingbird, found virtually nowhere else in the world. Its habitat is the Yanacocha Reserve, a retreat in the Andes created primarily to protect this critically endangered bird. The reserve is located about 45 minutes from Quito.

From Rail to Trail

By Linda Tancs

When the Rutland-Canadian Railroad laid tracks in Vermont in 1899 to connect the New England coast with the Great Lakes region it could hardly be imagined that out of the rail’s eventual demise would arise a bike and pedestrian path that’s among the most popular in the area. Officially beginning at the Oakledge Park trailhead in Burlington and ending in South Hero, the Island Line Rail Trail is a 14-mile path offering superb scenery. Perhaps its greatest asset is the causeway that runs across the open waters of Lake Champlain, giving cyclists the sensation of biking over water.

A Distinguished Cretan

By Linda Tancs

Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in Crete (the largest and most populous of the Greek islands), the painter popularly known as El Greco was in a class by himself, marrying Byzantine and Western traditions in a way that exposed his personal faith and vision. One of his early works, “Mount Sinai,” is exhibited in a specially designed hall of Heraklion’s Historical Museum. Elsewhere, Crete’s distinguished son is memorialized in a bust at El Greco Park. Although his fame was firmly established in Toledo, Spain, he never ceased to mention his Cretan roots by signing all his works “Made by Domenikos Theotokopoulos the Cretan.”

The House of Houdini

By Linda Tancs

Hungarian-born Harry Houdini is arguably the greatest magician and escape artist of all time. Born as Erik Weisz in Budapest, the House of Houdini there boasts one of the largest collections of the magician’s artifacts. The display includes handcuffs, straitjackets, movie posters and a replica of the cell he escaped from in his final show. The museum, which includes a theater for magic acts, is located at the foot of Buda Castle.

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