Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for July, 2020

Honoring the First Ladies

By Linda Tancs

Canton, Ohio, may seem like an unlikely destination for a site honoring America’s first ladies, but you can thank former Ohio Congressman Ralph Regula’s wife for spearheading an effort to establish a center for research and education on the subject. The First Ladies National Historic Site consists of two properties in downtown Canton: the home of First Lady Ida Saxton-McKinley and an education center, housed in the historic City National Bank building. Hardly shrinking violets, the nation’s first ladies enjoyed impactful careers of their own, ranging from professional dancing (Betty Ford) to newspaper writing and radio broadcasting (Eleanor Roosevelt). The term “first lady” derives from Martha Washington, who was given the name “Lady Washington” by the press. She was also the first presidential wife to be featured on a U.S. postage stamp. Tours of the Saxton-McKinley home are given at the top of every hour, beginning at the education center.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The English Neighborhood

By Linda Tancs

Ridgefield, New Jersey, was once the hub of an area known as “the English Neighborhood” due to the influx of English immigrants as early as 1603. The entire area covered about 10 square miles from the Hackensack River to the Hudson River and from what is now the Hudson County line north to Englewood. George Washington retreated with the Continental Army through there from New York City in 1776. In 1793, Ridgefield became the site for the English Neighborhood Reformed Church, once standing in nearby Leonia before it was burned down by the British Army. Needless to say, headstones in the cemetery date back to the Revolutionary War. The church’s historical past includes active participation in the underground railroad during the Civil War, and it’s likely one of the oldest churches in the area.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Mosaic of Habitats

By Linda Tancs

Biodiversity is the hallmark of Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario, Canada. A protected area of the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve (an ancient tree-lined ridge of limestone that stretches from Niagara Falls across Southern Ontario to the Bruce Peninsula), it marks the last unbroken stand of forest in the densely-populated Southern Ontario region. Draped with a rugged shoreline and clear, blue water, its diverse array of ecosystems like mixed forests, wetlands and lakes host an abundance of species. You’ll find black bears, red-shouldered hawks, owls and flying squirrels in the forests. In the park’s wetlands and lakes, the at-risk common snapping turtle shares turf with fish such as yellow perch and amphibians like salamanders and reptiles. Camping in the park is popular now, as is relaxing in the warm waters of Singing Sands Beach. The visitor center is located in the town of Tobermory.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Premier Art Museum in New York

By Linda Tancs

Part of the State University of New York system at Purchase College, Neuberger Museum of Art is one of the nation’s largest university museums. In the spirit of its founding patron, Roy Neuberger, the museum is committed to promoting the works of contemporary artists. The facility also offers education programs introducing visitors to American art of the 20th century, traditional African art and contemporary art through visitor-centered experiences. Admission is free on the first Saturday of every month.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Washington’s Council House

By Linda Tancs

Following the Civil War, a series of townhomes sprung up on Vermont Avenue in Washington, D.C. One of them eventually became the residence of Mary McLeod Bethune, a world-renowned educator, civil rights champion, leader of women and presidential adviser. Her last home in the nation’s capital, it served as the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women. The site was a rallying point for programs designed to address issues such as desegregation, inadequate housing, racial discrimination, health care, employment and the preservation of African American women’s history. Formerly known as the “Council House,” it was declared a National Historic Site in 1982 and subsequently renamed the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. Guided tours are given by park rangers on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Birthplace of the Dollar

By Linda Tancs

The U.S. dollar is the most widely used currency in the world. Do you know where it originated? The U.S. is obviously far too easy an answer. And wrong. To find its origin you’ll need to go to the unassuming Czech town of Jáchymov near the German border. Over 500 years ago the town minted the first Joachimsthaler coins, the predecessor of the U.S. dollar. Its high-purity silver content (derived from the mines in the region, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) made it a popular currency that spread across Europe and was renamed locally. The word “dollar” closely resembles the German thaler and the Dutch leeuwendaler. In fact, the Dutch colonists brought their coin to New Amsterdam (the colony at the southern tip of New York City), where it eventually became the nation’s official currency.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Stone Chamber Capital

By Linda Tancs

Dubbed the stone chamber capital of America, New York’s Putnam County is awash in root-cellar type structures that some say number in the hundreds. The stone chambers are typically located near water sources and are on or close to colonial farm sites. There’s very little else that anyone can agree on. Some historians believe that they were built by the Druids to celebrate the solstice and equinox; others claim that they were used by 18th-century farmers as storage facilities. Hike the trail at Mt. Nimham, where you’ll pass two stone chambers on your way up to the fire tower and its panoramic views.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Legend in Glen Echo

By Linda Tancs

The Clara Barton National Historic Site in Glen Echo, Maryland, is the site of the Clara Barton House, the home of the woman who founded the American Red Cross. Her home for the last 15 years of her life, it boasts an unusual Steamboat Gothic interior with railed galleries and a suspended captain’s room. Tucked at the end of a quiet road, it beckons visitors with stained-glass red crosses on an upper-story window. Lacking the crowds of other nearby historic sites, it’s an off-the-beaten-path gem for history buffs. Guided, interpretive tours of the house occur at the top of every hour on Fridays and Saturdays.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Spectacular Ruins in Israel

By Linda Tancs

Occupying a strategic location at the junction of the Jezreel and Jordan River valleys, the ancient city of Bet She’an was a leading city of the Decapolis in Roman times and a prosperous Christian city during the Byzantine era. Historically, the city was destroyed following the Earthquake of 749, and its ruins—some of the most spectacular Roman and Byzantine artifacts in the country—are now part of Bet She’an National Park.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Goa’s Favorite Market

By Linda Tancs

The Indian state of Goa is famous for its beaches. Many of them are easily accessible from Mapusa, which hosts a Friday market that’s a favorite among both tourists and locals. Pottery is a star attraction, along with other handiworks. But don’t miss the fresh bread, aromatic spices and fish. It may be monsoon season, but don’t let that stop you. You’ll experience lots of greenery—both in the landscape and in your wallet thanks to the monsoon discounts from hotels and resorts.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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