Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for December, 2018

New York’s First Capital

By Linda Tancs

Burned by the British on October 16, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga, Kingston is New York’s first capital city. About 59 miles south of Albany, the current capital, it’s situated at the point where the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River meet, in the shadows of the scenic Catskill Mountains. The locale is perfect for a ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad, a heritage railroad featuring day trips through scenic mountain and village terrain. The historic city boasts American architecture spanning four centuries from the early Dutch and English, including Federalist, Georgian, Greek Revival, Victorian, Romanesque, Italianate, Neo-Classical, Art Deco and Contemporary. You’ll also find almost two dozen original, pre-revolutionary stone houses, a lighthouse and a host of museums highlighting local history and heritage.

Art Without Walls

By Linda Tancs

Art without walls. That’s the moniker for the open-air gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Britain’s first sculpture park, it’s set in a beautiful landscaped garden laid out in the 18th century located 20 miles south of Leeds in West Yorkshire. Current exhibitions include Ai Weiwei’s 12 colossal Chinese zodiac heads and Giuseppe Penone’s bronze trees, the tallest of which (L’ombra del bronzo) is an imposing 52 feet high.

Sunshine City

By Linda Tancs

Considering that Florida is the Sunshine State, it might seem silly to call out any one locale as “Sunshine City.” But St. Petersburg makes a strong case for it, holding the title of “most consecutive days with sunshine” at 768 days! That’s good news for sun worshippers, but there’s so much more to do there. The city is home to the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum, housing the largest collection of his works outside Europe. It also hosts Mahaffey Theater, home of the Florida Orchestra, and a fine arts museum with a collection spanning 5,000 years.

America’s Only Royal Palace

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Iolani Palace is the only official royal residence in the United States. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, it was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua and was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. The mansion was ahead of its time, outfitted (even before the White House) with electricity (the first electric lights in Hawaii) and a telephone. A tour of the first floor consists of the public reception areas: the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, Blue Room and Throne Room. The second floor showcases the private suites, including the King and Queen’s suites, Music Room and the Imprisonment Room, where Queen Liliuokalani was sentenced to house arrest for eight months following a failed coup by royalists in 1895.

In Search of Santa Claus

By Linda Tancs

You’ll find a lot of interesting things in Uummannaq, Greenland. For starters, it’s one of the most glacier-rich areas in the world, featuring the world’s fastest moving glacier. Also, the Uummannaq district is dominated by a nearly 4,000-foot-high mountain, Hjertefjeldet (meaning “heartshaped mountain”), which changes color during the day like Australia’s Ayers Rock. And then there’s Santa Claus, whose summer residence is nestled at the foot of the mountain. Known locally as Juulimaaq, he’s pretty busy tonight!

South Carolina Military History

By Linda Tancs

The South Carolina Military Museum is one of the largest National Guard museums in the country. Boasting a vast array of artifacts ranging from period and authentic firearms, edged weapons, uniforms, artillery pieces, and armored fighting vehicles, the museum tells the story of the South Carolina militia and its evolution into the National Guard. Located in Columbia, admission is free.

The Joys of Commuting

By Linda Tancs

Mass transportation has its ups and downs. Just ask any commuter, especially in the New York metropolitan area. Maybe a trip down memory lane would lessen the pain, like the bit of nostalgia preserved at the New York Transit Museum. Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in downtown Brooklyn, the museum’s working platform level spans a full city block and is home to a rotating selection of 20 vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. You can learn about fare collection, the evolution of the subway and the history of buses and trolleys. It might foster an appreciation for the current system, however flawed it might be.

The Roof of Indochina

By Linda Tancs

A trekkers’ paradise, Sapa is a small, Vietnamese mountain town close to the Chinese border abounding in iconic rice paddies. It’s where you’ll find the nation’s largest mountain peak, Fansipan. At over 10,000 feet, it’s commonly referred to as the “roof of Indochina.” It’s easier than ever to reach the “roof” thanks to the cable car, but intrepid trekkers might enjoy the multiday tours from Hanoi anyway.

Celebrating Failure in Los Angeles

By Linda Tancs

Do you remember Colgate’s foray into frozen dinners? Maybe not, considering the venture was an epic flop. You can reminisce about that and other failed initiatives at the Museum of Failure in Los Angeles. The aim of the venue is to teach that failure is a part of life or, to put it more optimistically, success stories are often borne out of failures along the way. Like Thomas Edison so famously put it, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Celebrating the Sunset in Clearwater

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s Gulf Coast city of Clearwater may seem overshadowed at times by St. Petersburg (the area is, after all, frequently paired off in print as St. Petersburg/Clearwater), but that’s hardly the case at Clearwater Beach. A vibrant beach town, they’re big on sunsets—so much so that they celebrate it all year long. Sunsets at Pier 60 Daily Festival on the beach operates all year from two hours before until two hours after sunset, weather permitting. The nightly celebration features artisans, crafters, street performers and, of course, the sunset, previously voted the best sunset in America. See if you agree.

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