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Archive for July, 2022

Ireland’s Holy Mountain

By Linda Tancs

An important site of pilgrimage in County Mayo, Croagh Patrick is Ireland’s Holy Mountain. Known locally as “The Reek,” it’s over 2,500 feet high, overlooking the village of Murrisk. According to tradition, in A.D. 441, St. Patrick spent 40 days praying and fasting on the mountaintop as part of his effort to convert Ireland to Christianity. It’s still climbed today, particularly on the last Sunday of July (Reek Sunday), an annual day of pilgrimage.

The Charm of Suriname

By Linda Tancs

Arguably one of the best-kept secrets in South America, Suriname is a small country on the northeastern coast of the continent. Once a Dutch colony, its capital Paramaribo reflects the integration of the European culture of the Netherlands and the indigenous cultures and environment of South America in the years of intensive colonization of this region in the 16th and 17th centuries. This fusion is what garnered the historic Inner City its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting attractions like a wooden cathedral, presidential palace and a palm tree landscape garden. Fusion extends to gastronomy as well, particularly in Blauwgrond, an ethnically mixed district known for its Javanese restaurants called warungs. Take a walk along the waterfront for local handicrafts and delicacies.

Fortified in Corsica

By Linda Tancs

The fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, Corsica is a territorial collectivity of France sandwiched between France and Italy. Among its many charms is the 16-century fortified tower at Pointe de la Parata. It survives a series of defensive towers built between 1530 and 1620 by the Genoese (who once controlled the territory) to protect the island against Barbary pirates sailing from North Africa. Take advantage of direct flights from cities including Marseilles, Nice, Paris and Toulouse throughout the year.

To the Top in St. Kitts

By Linda Tancs

Mount Liamuiga is a 3,792-foot-high stratovolcano forming the western part of the island of Saint Kitts. As the highest point in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis and the entire British Leeward Islands, it’s a favorite trek for hikers who will be rewarded with panoramic views. A bit arduous, the climb is not for the faint of heart. But along the way you’ll see waterfalls, a tropical rainforest and the cloud forest at higher elevations. Consider a guided rain forest tour for an opportunity to explore and spot colorful hummingbirds, lizards, mongooses and monkeys indigenous to the island.

Vintage Cars in Grapevine

By Linda Tancs

Located in the heart of historic downtown Grapevine, Texas, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad offers an authentic experience aboard 1920s-era Victorian coaches. The excursion moves through six different cities in Tarrant County before ending in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. Once there, riders will have the opportunity to explore the stockyards before re-boarding to return to Grapevine. The standard excursion runs from April to November. Specialty rides occur at other times of the year.

A Crooked House in Poland

By Linda Tancs

As wonky as a funhouse mirror, Krzywy Domek is Poland’s crooked house. Located in Sopot, its warped shape was inspired by Polish fairy-tale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg. Built in 2004, it’s part of the Rezydent shopping center and a go-to site for tourists and photographers. You’ll find it near the corner of Monte Cassino and Morska streets.

A Beacon in Ohio

By Linda Tancs

First lit in 1822, Ohio’s 50-foot limestone tower on the eastern end of Marblehead Peninsula is the oldest, continuously operating lighthouse on the U.S. shores of the Great Lakes. A Lake Erie attraction, it’s one of its best known and most photographed landmarks and the centerpiece of Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. At this time of year (until Labor Day), you can climb 77 steps to the top of the tower for a nominal fee, where you’ll be rewarded with extraordinary views of Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, Kelleys Island, South Bass Island and Cedar Point. The park grounds are open year round.

A Most Unusual Lighthouse

By Linda Tancs

One of the last lighthouses built in New England, New London Ledge Lighthouse in Connecticut isn’t what you’d expect. Far from the usual conical variety, it was built in 1909 in the Second Empire style, featuring red brick, a mansard roof and granite detailing. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house-like structure was intended to mimic the grand style of homes on the coast, at the insistence of their wealthy owners. Located at the mouth of New London Harbor, it can be reached via boat tours offered in July by Custom House Maritime Museum. Tours depart from New London Waterfront Park.

At the Mouth of the Delaware Bay

By Linda Tancs

Delaware’s Cape Henlopen State Park sits at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. With over 6 miles of coastal habitat, it offers dunes, maritime forests and wetlands. Strategically, its point (where the bay meets the Atlantic Ocean) led to the creation of Fort Miles during World War II. Military history buffs will love the artillery collection at the site, which includes one of the deck guns from USS Missouri. The Point Overlook is a great place to view birds, seals and dolphins, particularly those that congregate around the East End and Harbor of Refuge lighthouses.

The Mighty Wheel of Man

By Linda Tancs

Sometimes called The Lady Isabella, the Isle of Man’s Laxey Wheel is a feat of Victorian engineering. It’s the world’s largest working waterwheel and pumped floodwater out of the Laxey mines for 70 years. Today it produces enviable views across the Laxey valley. The wheel is just a short walk away from the terminus of the mine railway, a restored railway running along the surface section of the tramway which once carried lead and zinc ores from deep inside the mine. Both sites are open seasonally but for different periods; coordinate your visit so you get the best of both worlds.

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