Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for April, 2022

Shrimping in Florida

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s Amelia Island is known for its stunning beaches and Civil War history, but its maritime history is equally significant. In fact, the locale is known as “the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry.” At the Shrimp Museum at the City Marina in downtown Fernandina Beach, you can learn about the families that brought modern shrimping to Florida and their descendants who keep alive the traditions. And this time of year (the first weekend in May), the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival attracts over 100,000 visitors to this barrier island in the northeast. The event features a pirate ship parade, fireworks, free concerts and, of course, shrimp vendors.

An Island in the Sky

By Linda Tancs

It’s no wonder why Alabama’s Cheaha State Park is called an island in the sky. Located at the state’s highest point on the southernmost tip of the Appalachian mountain chain, thousands of acres of granite boulders and ancient trees sit above the clouds at 2,407 feet above sea level, surrounded by 392,567 acres of the Talladega National Forest. The park’s name is derived from the word “chaha,” a Creek Nation term meaning “high place.” Despite its seemingly remote location, it’s only 30 minutes away from several historic downtowns like Oxford, Heflin, Anniston, Talladega, Lineville, Munford and Ashland. Get there via the Talladega Scenic Drive (Alabama Highway 281) or the Cheaha Road (County Road 42) from Munford, which winds its way through the Talladega National Forest. 

Quilt City USA

By Linda Tancs

Quilting is, indeed, a thing, especially if you visit Paducah, Kentucky. Affectionately known as Quilt City USA, the locale hosts the National Quilt Museum. It’s fair to say that the facility is a popular attraction, greeting over 100,000 visitors each year. You’ll find quilts from 1980 to the present, over 650 quilts representing 47 states and 12 countries. The smallest quilt measures 3.75 inches square; the largest quilt is 110 inches square. The collection even includes one quilt made entirely of wood. Join them this week for Quilt Week!

The Inca Trail

By Linda Tancs

The Inca Trail is a hiking trail in Peru that terminates at Machu Picchu. Lauded as one of the most iconic treks in the world, you’ll be following in the footsteps of the ancient Incas, who ultimately designed a network reaching 25,000 miles through their South American empire. The classic route to Machu Picchu is 26 miles from the trailhead known as Kilometre 82 to the ancient citadel, which is sprinkled with ruins and cloud-cloaked mountainsides. That trek generally takes four days and includes camping. A shorter trail from Kilometre 104 can be accomplished in a day. Whichever trek you choose, you’ll need a permit so it’s advisable to book several months in advance. The end of April or May is a good time to visit; the ground is drier and permits generally won’t sell out as fast as during the peak season from June to August.

The Redwoods of Micronesia

By Linda Tancs

Yela Ka Forest is a conservation area of “ka” trees (Terminalia carolinensis) on the island of Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia and represents the last stand of such trees in the world. The dense vegetation in the island’s interior, with almost no invasive species, is likely the reason for the trees’ preservation there. Their immense size strikes comparison with California’s redwoods, leading to the moniker “Redwoods of Micronesia.” Be sure to take an interpretative nature tour with an experienced guide. You can reach Kosrae via flights from Guam or Honolulu.

Missions to Maharajas

By Linda Tancs

Saint Hill Manor is reputedly the finest 18th-century sandstone building in Sussex, England. It also boasts quite the history, having served a variety of purposes ranging from a Christian mission to the home of a maharaja of Jaipur. Its notoriety continued when it was acquired by L. Ron Hubbard as a family home and became British headquarters for his Church of Scientology. Tours of the house are available by advance booking, but the grounds are open daily and include nearly 60 acres of landscaped gardens, woodlands and lakes. The estate is located on the outskirts of East Grinstead, an ancient market town.

America’s Kazoo Factory

By Linda Tancs

Beaufort, South Carolina, may be best known for its waterfront and period mansions, a place for quiet relaxation. You can break the silence, though, at the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory, the site of America’s only plastic kazoo factory. You can take a guided factory tour and make your own kazoo. The facility also includes a museum showcasing the history of this musical invention and boasts the largest collection of kazoos and related memorabilia available to the public.

A Flag, a Cup and a Horn

By Linda Tancs

Located on the Isle of Skye, Scotland’s Dunvegan Castle has been the seat of Clan MacLeod since the 13th century. As the country’s oldest, continuously inhabited castle, you might imagine that some family heirlooms have accumulated. Those include a flag, a cup and a horn. The Fairy Flag is a treasured clan possession, associated with a handful of tales concerning fairies and magical powers. Another relic is the Dunvegan Cup, a ceremonial cup gifted by the O’Neills of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of the clan’s most celebrated chiefs for support against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I. A third historic treasure is Sir Rory Mor’s Horn, a drinking horn allegedly derived from a bull killed by Rory to save a man’s life. Capable of holding over six cups of liquid, custom has it that each successive clan chief should fill it with wine and drink it in one sitting to prove his manhood. Explore the clan’s history and legends by taking a guided or self-guided tour of the castle.

The Wettest Place on Earth

By Linda Tancs

The Khasi Hills of the Indian State of Meghalaya boast the wettest place on earth, a title exchanged between the neighboring villages of Mawsynram and Cherrapunjee (now known as Sohra). Currently, Mawsynram’s annual rainfall is 11,871 millimeters compared with Sohra’s 11,777 millimeters. Don’t let the rainy weather discourage you from visiting. In particular, it’s worth donning the rain gear to experience Sohra’s living root bridges. Featuring a jaw-dropping entanglement of tree roots, the roots are trained by the Khasi tribe to grow in such a manner as to be in the form of bridges. One of the most popular attractions of the region, the most famous one is Umshiang, a double-decker bridge nearly 2 miles long and 2,400 feet high.

Women’s History in New York State

By Linda Tancs

Together with other activists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton became a leader in the women’s rights movement. She initiated the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, where the Declaration of Sentiments that she co-authored was signed by 68 women and 32 men. The Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls commemorates this historic occasion. It features Stanton’s home as well as Wesleyan Chapel, where the convention was held. The visitor center is next to the chapel and provides historical context to the event.

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