Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Archive for tourism

New Zealand’s Volcanic Wonderland

By Linda Tancs

Located in the Central North Island region, Tongariro is New Zealand’s oldest national park. Established in the late 1800s, it’s recognized as much for its volcanic landscape as for its religious and cultural heritage. At the heart of the park are its three active volcano mountains—Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu—part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. To the Maori people who have inhabited the land for centuries, it’s a sacred place. The park’s natural and cultural attributes have earned it two World Heritage designations. Ruapehu has two of the largest ski fields in the country, catering to everyone from beginner to advanced, making it a perfect destination for this winter season. If summertime is more to your liking, don’t fret. Scenic chairlift rides operate on Whakapapa (the larger of the two fields) throughout most of the year offering spectacular views over the region.

*************

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 Pilgrim’s Way

By Linda Tancs

Arguably one of the best known of England’s pilgrimage routes, Pilgrim’s Way is a journey from Winchester (or alternatively, Southwark) to Canterbury. It’s a well-trodden route, having been walked since 1172 to a shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered there two years earlier. A typical journey from Winchester Cathedral lasts about 12 days; the Southwark route is shorter. Medieval pilgrims would’ve borne a rough tunic, heavy cloak and a wooden staff along with safe-conduct, written permission from their local priest in an effort to secure safe travel. These days, modern pilgrims can avail themselves of a pilgrim passport from cathedrals on the way as well as from Canterbury Cathedral on receipt of a self-addressed, stamped envelope. As you progress along the route, get at least one stamp in each place you stay. Some churches also have special pilgrim stamps and post a notice telling you who in the locality will stamp your passport.

*************

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 English Spa

By Linda Tancs

Yorkshire’s Harrogate is England’s original spa town. Due to the discovery of its bath waters in 1571 (credited to William Slingsby), it became known as “the English Spa.” It didn’t take long for spa visits to catch on, transforming the town into a posh resort. In Victorian times, a pump room was built to shelter the affluent as they took the famous waters. Today the Royal Pump Room is a museum preserving the history of the local mineral springs. In fact, within 2 miles of the town center are 88 mineral springs rising to the surface. You can still take the waters today at the luxurious Turkish Baths, a Moorish-style health spa offering saunas, a spa pool and a toning plunge pool.

*************

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.

Three Sisters in Florida

By Linda Tancs

Three Sisters Springs is a natural freshwater spring system in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in western Florida. The springs provide a critical habitat for the endangered Florida manatee because the temperature remains constant at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, aiding in their survival. In fact, the refuge (one of 566 national wildlife refuges) is the only one created specifically for the protection of the beloved mammal. It’s also one of the few places where tourists can legally swim with the manatees. Crystal River is located about 90 miles north of Tampa.

*************

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.

Surf City in Rhode Island

By Linda Tancs

Surfers flock to the tony enclave of Point Judith in Narragansett, Rhode Island, a place with reputedly the best waves in New England. The lighthouse there (operated by the Coast Guard and closed to the public) was constructed to guide mariners past the rocky shoals that claimed many a ship, a consideration no less relevant to wave riders. In fact, the south side of the point is best navigated only on really big swells. Onlookers can watch the action from a park nearby the lighthouse that offers stunning coastal views.

*************

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 Other Brazilian Rainforest

By Linda Tancs

Although nearly adjacent to the Amazon, Brazil’s Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) is the lesser-known cousin. One of the five most diverse hotspots in the world, this tropical and subtropical rainforest once stretched along the Atlantic Coast of Brazil for a whopping 476,000 square miles. Today, its footprint is much smaller (at around 38,600 square miles) due to centuries of deforestation for timber, sugar cane, coffee, cattle ranching and urban sprawl. In fact, two of the world’s largest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, were both built over it. A small percentage of the land is protected, most notably in Chapada Diamantina National Park, where one of the country’s highest waterfalls (Cachoeira da Fumaca) is found. It’s so high that the water vaporizes before it hits the ground, earning it the name “Smoke Waterfall.”

*************

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 Fire-Breathing Bridge

By Linda Tancs

Stretching about 2,000 feet across the Hàn River in central Vietnam, the Dragon Bridge is more than just a speedy thoroughfare from the airport to Da Nang’s city center. In fact, it’s a tourist attraction, embedded with a gold-colored steel dragon above the six-lane roadway that spits smoke and fire. Day or night, it’s quite a sight, illuminated with over 2,000 color-changing LED lights for a spectacular night show.

*************

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.

Crossing the Arctic Circle

By Linda Tancs

One of the northernmost roads in Alaska is the Dalton Highway, the only road in the United States to cross the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle and Brooks Range. Named for James William Dalton, a North Slope engineer, it was closed to public traffic for years, having been developed as a haul road connecting the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Today it’s one of Alaska’s scenic byways and one of the remotest drives on earth. Some of the highlights along the way are signs of active gold mining in Livengood, mile marker 115 (where a sign indicates that you’ve crossed the Arctic Circle) and Atigun Pass, the highest in Alaska at 4,800 feet. The route begins in Livengood although the only place to rent a vehicle suitable for road conditions is Fairbanks. Over 400 miles long, the journey will take you to Prudhoe Bay, where you can overnight and rest before beginning the long trek back to Fairbanks. The highway is mostly a gravel road with several steep grades and no cell phone coverage. Extra supplies and spare tires are recommended. Due to weather and varying road conditions, the best time to travel is between June and August.

*************

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.

Simple Elegance in Albany

By Linda Tancs

Schuyler Mansion is a historic house at 32 Catherine Street in Albany, New York. It was home to Philip J. Schuyler, a Revolutionary War general, U.S. Senator and businessman. The Georgian brick mansion was once described as attractive in its simple elegance. Built on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River, the house was the site of military and political strategizing, entertaining and an active family life. In fact, the wedding of daughter Elizabeth Schuyler to Alexander Hamilton took place in the house in 1780. Today, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the mansion as well as an orientation exhibition in the Visitor Center focusing on Philip Schuyler’s life.

*************

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.

Exmoor’s Literary Landscape

By Linda Tancs

Exmoor is an enchanting landscape of moorland, woodland, coast and rivers in southwest England. It’s no wonder that it served as literary inspiration for R.D. Blackmore’s 1869 novel, Lorna Doone. A slice of this literary landscape, Lorna Doone Valley, is now preserved by the National Trust. On a short walk from Lorna Doone Farm you’ll experience the scenic views exactly as Blackmore described it all those years ago. And you’ll find plenty of camera-friendly sites along the way, like the ford at Malmsmead. Other waymarked walks will take you all the way to the coast.

*************

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.

%d bloggers like this: