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Archive for December, 2022

The History of Rutherfurd Hall

By Linda Tancs

The design and occupancy of New Jersey’s Rutherfurd Hall is quite the pedigreed affair. One of the last extant country estates in the state, it was designed between 1903 and 1905 by famed New York architect Whitney Warren, whose firm won the contract to design New York City’s Grand Central Station. The original landscape design was created by the Olmsted brothers, sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York City’s Central Park. The property takes its name from the Rutherfurd family, who owned large tracts of land in New York and New Jersey, beginning with Walter Rutherfurd in the 18th century. He married the wealthy sister of Lord Stirling, a Scottish-American major general during the American Revolutionary War. The New Jersey property was ultimately built for descendant Winthrop Rutherfurd. Registered on both the national and state registers of historic places, the Tudor-style mansion in Allamuchy is open to tours by appointment only.

Florida Art

By Linda Tancs

The Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach, Florida, includes the standalone Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art, a distinctive venue showcasing only Florida art. In fact, it’s home to the largest collection of Florida art in the world and features a rotating collection of 2,600 state-themed oil and watercolor paintings. The facility is named for billionaire Hyatt Brown and his wife Cici, two of Florida’s most generous philanthropists. The museum’s grand central gallery features its signature pieces, comprising the most significant paintings from the Brown’s own collection. Throughout the year the smaller galleries showcase rotating collections with Florida themes. 

Memorial to a Freedom Fighter

By Linda Tancs

Within walking distance of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial. Located on Pine Street, the national monument is the house where Kosciuszko, a Polish freedom fighter, lived. A military engineer, he fought in the Revolutionary War and designed fortifications that earned him the rank of colonel. Among his successes, his structures and use of topography are credited as contributions to the American victory at Saratoga. In addition to exhibits highlighting his military career in Poland and America you’ll see the room where he received notable visitors such as Chief Little Turtle and Thomas Jefferson.

The Whalebone Arch

By Linda Tancs

Constructed in 1933 from the jawbones of two blue whales to commemorate the centenary of continuous British administration in the Falkland Islands, the Whalebone Arch is a popular tourist attraction in Stanley. You’ll find it in front of Christ Church Cathedral, the southernmost Anglican church in the world. LATAM offers weekly flights to Mount Pleasant Airport on East Falkland, where bus service continues to Stanley. A number of cruise lines also travel there as part of a South American or Antarctic itinerary.

Arkansas’s First State Park

By Linda Tancs

Rising 1,120 feet above the Arkansas River Valley, it’s easy to understand why Petit Jean Mountain would provide the inspiration for creation of Arkansas’s first state park, Petit Jean. It hosts one of the largest bluff shelters in the state, a place that Native Americans called home over 1,000 years ago. The park is also a certified Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Site because tribes passed by Petit Jean Mountain in the 1800s during their forced migration to present-day Oklahoma. Don’t miss the park’s centerpiece, Mather Lodge, providing lodging, a meeting and function space and a restaurant for park visitors.

The Rain Shadow

By Linda Tancs

The Olympic Rain Shadow is a small region northwest of the city of Seattle, Washington, which experiences significantly dryer and brighter weather than surrounding locations. That region includes the San Juan Islands, the gateway to which is the charming town of Friday Harbor. If you’re eager to avoid winter’s chill, then you won’t be disappointed in the off-season, especially at Christmastime. The shops and galleries are open late for holiday shopping. Other festive activities are Santa’s boat parade, the festival of lights and an old-fashioned Christmas celebration at the San Juan Historical Museum. Best of all, everything is within walking distance from the ferry landing, so you won’t need a car. The direct ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor is just over an hour long. 

Experiencing Bob Dylan

By Linda Tancs

Hailed as one of America’s most influential artists, the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is dedicated to the study and appreciation of renowned singer/songwriter Boy Dylan and his cultural significance. The archival collection boasts over 100,000 items spanning his career, including handwritten lyrics and documents, video, film, memorabilia, personal effects, artwork, photos and unreleased recordings. Many of these items anchor the public exhibits; other parts of the collection are viewable by professional researchers by appointment. Located in Tulsa’s Arts District, the facility’s aim is to educate as well as inspire creativity by experiencing Dylan’s works in an immersive, multimedia environment.

The Grove of Titans

By Linda Tancs

Deep in the heart of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in northern California you’ll find the Grove of Titans, a collection of old-growth coast redwood trees named for their remarkable size. The trees may be ancient but their storied locale isn’t, having first been shared with the world in 1998. Notables there include the coast redwood with the widest branch (El Viejo del Norte) and three of the 10 largest coast redwoods at over 30,000 cubic feet. You’ll find the grove along Mill Creek Trail.

The Mountain Goat Trail

By Linda Tancs

Historically, the Mountain Goat Trail (one of the steepest railroad ascents in the world) carried coal and passengers between towns in Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. Now it serves as a path for walkers, hikers and cyclists, currently running between Monteagle and Sewanee (with more connections to come). It’s a highlight of a visit to Sewanee, home of the University of the South and some of the best dining in Middle Tennessee. The campus is renowned for its architecture, particularly the vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows at All Saints Chapel. You’ll also find a World War I memorial on the edge of a bluff on campus, a 60-foot-tall cross erected in 1922 to honor the residents who served their country during the war. Fifty miles from Chattanooga, it’s a great day trip.

Swiss Bliss in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Nestled in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania’s Jim Thorpe is affectionately called “the Switzerland of America” thanks to the picturesque views of its mountainous location and its Victorian architecture. Originally founded as Mauch Chunk in 1818, the borough was renamed Jim Thorpe in 1953 in honor of Olympic medal winner, James Francis Thorpe. The town is popular for its outdoor activities, including nature hiking, biking, whitewater rafting and skiing. And, since it’s nestled in the breathtaking Lehigh Gorge, take a ride on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in a vintage coach, which runs from downtown and parallels the Lehigh River north into Lehigh Gorge State Park.

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