Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for September, 2021

Shining in Berlin

By Linda Tancs

For 10 days each September the city of Berlin, Germany, becomes an artist’s canvas during the Festival of Lights. That’s when local and international light artists transform the monuments, buildings, streets, quarters and squares into massive art installations through light projections and video art. Participating landmarks, as you might expect, include Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral and the Funkturm. Most structures are illuminated daily from 7 p.m. until midnight. A guided tour goes by the name LightSeeing. The festival can also be easily explored by bus, boat, bike taxi, limousine or carriage. This year’s event runs from September 17 – 26.

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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.

Oldest City in the Azores

By Linda Tancs

Terceira is the third largest island in the Azores archipelago of Portugal. It’s also home to Angra do Heroísmo (Angra), the oldest city in the Azores, having received its charter in 1534. In the 1800s, Queen Maria II bestowed the name Heroísmo upon the town for the resistance it offered the troops of King Miguel in 1829 during his attempt to establish an absolutist monarchy. The centerpiece of the city is its cathedral, Sé Catedral, the largest church in the archipelago. It’s prized for its pau brasil and jacaranda wood in the sacristy. Other religious artifacts, along with an interesting historical account of the Azores, are located at Museu de Angra do Heroísmo, which is housed in a former monastery.

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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.

America’s Loneliest Road

By Linda Tancs

U.S. Route 50 is a transcontinental highway in the United States, stretching from California to Maryland. The Nevada portion crosses the center of the state and was named “The Loneliest Road in America” by Life magazine in 1986. The natives beg to differ. After all, the Nevada route features stops along the Pony Express, a horseback mail service in operation from 1860 to 1861. And where else will you find the Shoe Tree, a giant cottonwood adorned with hundreds of shoes dangling from its branches. The area’s silver mining history is hard to miss, especially at Stokes Castle, a stone structure built in the late 19th century for one of the region’s most eccentric silver mine investors. You get the point. You’ll hardly need “survival skills” as the vaunted magazine put it. But in any event you can get a copy of the Official Highway 50 Survival Guide and get it stamped at the seven largest towns (Austin, Dayton, Eureka, Ely, Fallon, Fernley and Baker) along the way.

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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.

What’s New in West Virginia

By Linda Tancs

You may be familiar with the expression, everything old is new again. That’s an apt way of looking at New River Gorge in West Virginia. The New River is one of the oldest in North America, its whitewater cascading through deep canyons. For years it’s been managed by the Park Service as a “national river.” That status received an upgrade last December when the area was designated a national park as well as a national preserve, the first such dual designation outside Alaska. The park has always been a mecca for whitewater rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing and other adventures. Located in southern West Virginia, it’s conveniently accessible from several interstate highways and local airports.

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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 Dismal Swamp

By Linda Tancs

Legend has it that New Jersey’s Dismal Swamp got its name from nearby Dismal Brook. That may be true, but don’t let the dreary name deceive you. It’s actually a wildlife preserve spanning parts of suburban Edison, Metuchen and South Plainfield, one of the last remaining wetlands in a highly urbanized environment. Designated a “priority wetland” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it also features upland deciduous forests with mature trees and more than 165 bird species like green herons, yellow-billed cuckoos, eastern phoebes and songbirds. That’s far from dismal, which is why the name of the preserve was recently changed to the Peter J. Barnes III Wildlife Preserve. It’s been renamed to honor an elected official who helped form the Dismal Swamp Preservation Commission to save the wetlands.

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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.

An Elizabethan Adventure

By Linda Tancs

Longleat House is a stately manor in Wiltshire, England. Ancestral home of the Marquesses of Bath, it’s one of the finest examples of high Elizabethan architecture in the country. As one might expect of such a dwelling, it’s filled with exquisite art, an extensive library, an ornate Great Hall and a soaring staircase. What you might not expect is a safari park. That’s right—the grounds include a drive-through safari featuring lions, tigers, monkeys, a rescued elephant and an African Village offering up-close access and walk-throughs. Additionally, you’ll find native deer, which have occupied the estate since the 16th century.

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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.

Guardian of the Flooded Village

By Linda Tancs

A 350-year-old Scots pine grows on the rocky headland of a reservoir called Vír in the Czech Republic. It’s known as “Guardian of the Flooded Village,” referring to the village of Chudobín, which was submerged after construction of the dam. The striking pose of this memento of the lost village earned it first place in Europe’s “Tree of the Year” contest. The contest is organized annually by a consortium of European environmental groups looking for trees with the most interesting stories.

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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 Zoo Down the Jersey Shore

By Linda Tancs

Visitors to Cape May County, New Jersey, flock to its famous shores. But there’s a different sort of flock worth seeing, like bison and bongo, oryx and ibis. These are just a few of the animals at Cape May County Park & Zoo at Cape May Court House, New Jersey. The grounds boast 85 acres hosting about 550 animals representing more than 250 species. Open year round except Christmas Day, entry is free. For some special, behind-the-scenes access, you can opt to pay for a camel, giraffe or reptile encounter or a private, guided tour of the facility.

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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.

Grandeur in Belfast

By Linda Tancs

Barnett Demesne is a historic estate-turned-public park in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It features a stunning Georgian mansion, Malone House, last owned by William Barnett, for whom the park is named. The estate grounds remain relatively unchanged since the 1820s and comprise marshland, meadows and woodland. Go now and you might catch some of the 70 species of wildflowers growing in the meadows. The grounds are popular with walkers and cyclists.

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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 City of Gnomes

By Linda Tancs

Garden gnomes are regarded as symbols of good luck. Produced in Germany in the early 1800s, they were commonly referred to in German fairy tales. Their popularity reportedly increased when they reached English gardens in the 1840s, where groundskeeping is an art form. No less popular today, they’re ubiquitous in gardens and lawns around the world. So it should come as no surprise that these ornaments have their own community. You’ll find it at Gnomesville in Australia’s Ferguson Valley. The precise location is off the roundabout linking Wellington Mill Road and Ferguson Road. No one knows why the city of gnomes appeared but, apparently, a custom has developed whereby gnome owners may leave one at the site provided that they indicate its place of origin. Currently, the site boasts over 5,000 ornaments hailing from places like New York, England, Ireland and Spain. Needless to say, it’s quite a tourist attraction and offers a picnic 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.

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