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Archive for February, 2019

Defying Gravity in North Carolina

By Linda Tancs

If space flight is beyond your budget, you can still experience a gravitational oddity or two on Earth. Just head for Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Billed as a natural gravitational anomaly, the “vortex room” features water and a ball moving uphill and folks standing at 45 degree angles. Guided tours leave every 10 minutes. May the force be with you.

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Delaware’s First State Capitol Building

By Linda Tancs

Just minutes from Wilmington, Delaware, historic New Castle presents a treasure trove of colonial history. For instance, the New Castle Court House, built in 1732, served as Delaware’s first court and state capitol building. At that site in 1776, New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties declared their independence from Pennsylvania and England, creating the State of Delaware. A National Historic Landmark and museum, the trials of abolitionists Thomas Garrett and John Hunn were held there. In 2003, the court house was designated as a National Historic Underground Railroad Site by the U.S. Government. Visitors to the museum learn about Delaware’s colonial and state history, early European settlements and the Delaware Underground Railroad.

America’s First Museum

By Linda Tancs

Founded in 1773, Charleston Museum is touted as “America’s First Museum.” It was established by the Charleston Library Society on the eve of the American Revolution and focuses on the South Carolina Lowcountry. The collections include natural history, historical material culture and both documentary and photographic resources. Among the permanent exhibitions a highlight is Kidstory, a series of interactive displays for children providing the opportunity to examine creatures under a microscope, hear stories of the Lowcountry and illuminate a lighthouse, among other things.

An Epic Mountain Trail in Lebanon

By Linda Tancs

The 292-mile-long Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) traverses the length of Lebanon. The country’s first long-distance hiking trail, it extends from Andqet in the north to Marjaayoun in the south. Both rugged and pastoral, the trail transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitudes ranging from 1,840 to 6,000 feet above sea level. Among the fields, orchards, forests, waters and fortresses the route traverses some of Lebanon’s best known natural areas, like Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve and the Qadisha Valley. LMT maps can be bought at some of the lodging facilities on the trail and at the LMTA office in Baabda.

The Bamboo Bridge

By Linda Tancs

Located three hours from Cambodia’s capital, Kampong Cham is arguably an overlooked city along the Mekong River. A bit understated with some French colonial architecture, one of its greatest charms is its bamboo bridge to Koh Pen. As you might suspect, it needs to be rebuilt after each rainy season, so its appearance is only seasonal. In the past, it did accommodate vehicles (bamboo does, after all, possess tremendous tensile strength), but that ceased when the new concrete and steel bridge was built downstream. Now it’s used by pedestrians and bicyclists. Let’s hope there’s enough foot traffic to keep the quaint bridge going.

Eye Kandy

By Linda Tancs

Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka, so famed for its sacred Buddhist sites that the entire metropolis is designated a Sacred City by UNESCO. The highlight is the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, housing a tooth of Buddha. From that hub springs a feast for the eyes, like man-made Kandy Lake and its breathtaking views from the walking and jogging paths. Also nearby are the Royal Palace, home to the monarch of the Kingdom of Kandy until the early 1800s, Udawattakele Forest Reserve and the famous orchid collection at Royal Botanical Gardens.

A Taste of Margaret River

By Linda Tancs

The Margaret River region in western Australia is known for its craft breweries, wine and beaches. But don’t neglect its natural wonders, like Cape Naturaliste at the northernmost point. In addition to  excellent walking trails, the area features Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse with breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Cape Naturaliste, Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and the beautiful Geographe Bay coastline. A fully-guided lighthouse tour will regale you with stories of shipwrecks and lighthouse keeping.

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