Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for March, 2021

Magic in Oxford

By Linda Tancs

They say that springtime is magical at Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum. Part of the University of Oxford, it’s the oldest botanic garden in Great Britain and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. With winter in the rear view, the gardens are coming alive with hellebores, crocuses and some early scilla as well as some early daffodils in the Lower Garden. The conservatory beckons with citrus and hyacinth as well as bougainvillea and primula. And it doesn’t stop there. The arboretum (part of Oxford Botanic Garden since 1963) is awash in Darjeeling flowers, a scent you can’t miss along the Serpentine Ride, the oldest part of the arboretum. Originally a physic garden, today’s complex contains over 5,000 different plant species, a year-round oasis of biodiversity.

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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.

Cherries in Brooklyn

By Linda Tancs

One of the highlights of Brooklyn Botanic Garden this time of year is the cherry blossom watch. Their flowering cherry collection sports dozens of species and cultivars. Among the earliest blooms are those along Cherry Walk, a meandering path east of Cherry Esplanade and its twin rows of towering blossoms. Another favored viewing area is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, where the weeping Higan cherry trees attract scores of shutterbugs. No one tree remains in flower for more than a week, and there is no moment when all are blooming at once. Because the different species and cultivars blossom in succession, you’ll find many opportunities to savor the season that generally lasts until mid-May.

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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.

Disgusting Food

By Linda Tancs

One man’s meat is another man’s poison, the saying goes. Keep that in mind when you visit Sweden’s Disgusting Food Museum in Malmö. Boasting 80 exhibits, you’ll find specimens like roasted guinea pig from Peru, maggot-infested cheese from Sardinia and pungent bean curd from China. You can smell and taste some of them. Bon appétit!

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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.

From the Indian to the Pacific

By Linda Tancs

You’ll find one of the world’s great transcontinental train journeys aboard Australia’s Indian Pacific. Named for the two oceans the train encounters on its journey, the Indian Pacific travels between Perth and Sydney on a spectacular 2,700 mile-long crossing. The locomotive itself is equally breathtaking, averaging 2,500 feet with 30 carriages. Sights along the route include the Blue Mountains of New South Wales (home to the steepest passenger railway in the world), the barren expanse of the Nullarbor (home to the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world), the mining town of Kalgoorlie and a ghost town named Cook.

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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 Jewel in the Black Forest

By Linda Tancs

Over 900 years’ strong, Freiburg is a medieval city in Germany nestled at the foot of the Black Forest. Billed as the sunniest city in the nation, it’s known for some unusual things, like a long, red sausage and walkable gutters. As for the wurst, it’s over 13 inches long. The red, skinless barbecue sausage is, not surprisingly, nicknamed “Queen of the Wursts.” The gutters are small water channels flowing throughout the streets in the Old Town, fed by the Dreisam River. Don’t be surprised to see some paper boats or rubber ducks floating by.

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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.

Outstanding Topiary in Maryland

By Linda Tancs

The Garden Club of America once described the clipped hemlocks at Ladew Topiary Gardens as “the most outstanding topiary garden in America.” That’s high praise, considering its architect, Harvey Ladew, had no professional training. The socialite-turned-gardening enthusiast purchased Pleasant Valley Farm in Monkton in the 1920s and carved 22 acres of gardens out of fields previously used for crops and livestock. He also transformed the old white farmhouse into the stately manor house enjoyed by visitors today. In addition to the formal, cultivated gardens, there’s a 1-mile nature walk including a short boardwalk through wetland forest and fresh water marsh. Just 30 minutes from Baltimore, it’s located in the heart of horse country.

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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.

Underground in the Lake District

By Linda Tancs

Honister Pass is among the highest navigable routes in England’s Lake District. As you can imagine, the views are stunning. There’s also a different sort of view at the summit of the pass, below the earth. That’s where the country’s last working slate mine sits, home of the iconic Westmorland green slate. Explore the mine’s history with a 90-minute tour of its underground tunnels and caverns. You can buy small slate items from the shop.

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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.

New Jersey’s Stairway to Heaven

By Linda Tancs

New Jersey’s Wawayanda State Park has 60 miles of hiking trails, including a 20-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. One of its most popular features is the Stairway to Heaven Trail. A moderately difficult hike, the route includes a boardwalk, cow pasture, suspension bridge, railroad tracks and woods. Then come the boulders, the so-called stairway to heaven, a steep ascent. Follow the blue spur trail to Pinwheel Vista where the view, as they say, is heavenly.

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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 Portals of Derwent

By Linda Tancs

Ladybower Reservoir was built in Derbyshire, England. Its most dramatic characteristic might be the two stone spillways (plug holes) opposite each other that keep water levels in check during heavy rains or flooding. Nearly 80 feet in diameter, it’s tempting to think of them as portals to another dimension, particularly when they’re flowing with water. When water levels are low, you might see ruins of Derwent and Ashopton, two villages drowned when the reservoir was created. For stunning viewpoints, take the circular walk (about 5 miles in length) around the reservoir, a favorite of hikers and dog walkers.

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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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