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Archive for January, 2019

Minerals of New York

By Linda Tancs

Gems and minerals are just one of the many ongoing exhibitions at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York. Its collection includes specimens from several notable sites throughout the state, including 93 mineral species from the Balmat-Edwards mining district in St. Lawrence County (the only locale where tremolite is found), super garnets (the official state gemstone) from the Barton Mine in the Adirondack Mountains and Herkimer diamonds from Herkimer County, New York. In fact, the state museum has the world’s largest and most complete collection of New York minerals. Established in 1836, the facility also boasts the distinction of being the oldest and largest state museum in the country. Admission is free.

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A Revitalized River in California

By Linda Tancs

The Los Angeles River is a 51-mile waterway, meandering from the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach. For more than 20 years various groups have been working to transform this California treasure into a continuous 51-mile recreational zone. Two recreation zones, Elysian Valley River Recreation Zone and Sepulveda Basin River Recreation Zone, benefit nature lovers with flourishing wildlife and natural habitats. Any member of the public is welcome to walk, fish, canoe and kayak in the recreation zones free of charge. You do not need a permit unless you are part of an organized group. Private vendors also offer guided trips at each of the locations as well as kayaks for rental.

Georgia’s Civil War Capital

By Linda Tancs

The city of Milledgeville, Georgia, takes its name from John Milledge, governor of Georgia from 1802 to 1806. It’s one of five capitals in the history of the state, the others being Savannah, Augusta, Louisville and the present capital, Atlanta. Besides Washington, D.C., it’s the only city actually designed to be a capital city, a decision that was made in 1804. Beginning in 1839 and ending in 1868, the Old Governor’s Mansion served as home to 10 governors and their families, including during the tumultuous Civil War period. Other attractions include the Old Capital Museum, located in the building where Georgia legislators voted to secede from the Union, and Andalusia Farm, a former cotton plantation and the home of celebrated author Flannery O’Connor.

Moon River

By Linda Tancs

It’s as if the moon dropped into a river. That’s what the giant ice disk in the middle of the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine, looks like. Garnering worldwide attention, the rotating phenomenon is 300 feet in size, arguably the biggest ice disk on record. Take that, crop circles.

A Tribute to the Marines

By Linda Tancs

A public-private partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the National Museum of the Marine Corps is a tribute to U.S. Marines. Its purpose is to view the history of America through the eyes of the Marine Corps and to discover what it’s like to be a Marine. The facility houses approximately 1,000 artifacts that range in size from tactical attack aircraft to individual blouse buttons from the Civil War. Another highlight is the Legacy Walk, which provides a quick initiation into the rich and storied history of the Corps and connects the museum’s seven primary exhibit galleries. The museum is located in the town of Triangle, Virginia, just 36 miles south of Washington, D.C.

The Galápagos of North America

By Linda Tancs

Channel Islands National Park is just off the southern California mainland, but in many ways it’s worlds apart. Lightly tread by tourists, the isolation of this chain of five major island groups has resulted in a globally significant biodiverse environment that some refer to as “the Galápagos of North America.” Its paleontological record shows evidence of extinct species such as pygmy mammoth, flightless sea duck, vampire bat and giant deer mouse. Among the living are rare birds, over two dozen species of whales and the largest colonies of seabirds in southern California. Santa Cruz Island, the largest, sports sea caves like Painted Cave, one of the world’s largest and deepest caves. Although the mainland visitor center in Ventura is readily accessible by car or public transportation, the islands are only accessible by park concessionaire boats and planes or private boat. Advance planning is highly recommended.

The Door to Sicily

By Linda Tancs

The Greeks founded the Sicilian city of Messina and named it “Zancle,” a reference to its sickle-shaped natural harbor that provides a main point of entry for visitors. Just three miles across the Strait of Messina, its most famous attraction is likely the astronomical clock. Be there at noon for the movement that lasts about 12 minutes. The clock’s figures include a roaring lion and crowing rooster. Afterwards you can visit the tower for amazing views of the city.

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