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An Ancient Forest of the Northeast

By Linda Tancs

Located in western New York, Panama Rocks Scenic Park is an imposing world of towering rocks, deep crevices, dens and small caves. Its impressive geology extends over 300 million years. After the Ice Age a forest grew over the site, eventually producing the maple, beech, black ash and hemlock seen today. In fact, the forest at Panama Rocks is recognized and included in The Sierra Club’s Guide to the Ancient Forests of the Northeast, and its hemlocks are over 500 years old. Open from May through October, the park’s formations are easily hiked via a Class 1 trail.

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Bringing Art to Life

By Linda Tancs

You might feel like a million bucks (as the saying goes) in Portsea, Australia. That’s where you can see how the other half live along Millionaire’s Walk to Sorrento. But you can’t put a price tag on vistas, like the ones along Sorrento-Portsea Artists Trail. Following the cliff line between Portsea and Sorrento, it’s played the muse to many an artist. In fact, the route is lined with images of paintings positioned as closely as possible to the scenes depicted by the artists. Located 37 miles south of Melbourne, the tony destination also sports a labyrinth of 19th century tunnels and fortifications in Point Nepean National Park that were built to guard Port Phillip heads. Pay a visit to the historic Quarantine Station, established in the early 1800s as grazing land and repurposed as a haven for refugees.

Giant-Sized Fun in Barcelona

By Linda Tancs

In Spain, Barcelona’s biggest street party of the year is La Mercè Festival. Held near the end of September each year in honor of La Mare de Déu de la Mercè (Our Lady of Mercy, the patron saint of Barcelona), the event heralds the advent of autumn. A major highlight is the giants parade, where oversized effigies of kings, queens and nobles march through the streets to the delight of children. You also won’t want to miss the fire run, the human towers (like a cheerleading squad on steroids), the cathedral illumination and the projection of images on buildings at Plaça Sant Jaume. This year’s festival runs from September 21 through September 24.

Stone Skimming in Scotland

By Linda Tancs

Are you an ace stone skimmer? There’s a competition just for you on Easdale Island in Argyll, Scotland. The annual World Stone Skimming Championships is open to anyone of any age and any level of skill. To qualify, the stone (no more than 3 inches in diameter and formed naturally of Easdale slate) must hit the water three times and sink within the designated lane as marked by the buoys. The event takes place this year on September 23.

Glimpsing Pembrokeshire’s Past

By Linda Tancs

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales is Britain’s only coastal national park, a place full of archaeological icons. One of its most famous attractions is Pentre Ifan, a stone structure marking the entrance into the heart of a burial chamber dating back to the Neolithic Period. Other stone ramparts dating from the Bronze Age encircle the hilltop of Foel Drygarne, dominated by three massive and well-preserved cairns. Excavation at the heart of the park has also revealed Iron Age settlements, like those found at Carew Castle. Covering 240 square miles of spectacular landscape around Wales’ southwestern shore, you’ll find visitor centers in Tenby, Newport and Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St. Davids.

Mountain Majesty in Wyoming

By Linda Tancs

It’s easy to get lost in the mountain majesty of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. You can view the rugged spires from glacier-fed Jenny Lake or on a float along the Snake River. More magnificent views await at Lunch Tree Hill, an overlook at Jackson Lake Lodge that was used as a picnic stop by John D. Rockefeller Jr. during a Yellowstone vacation. The Teton Mountain Range borders Jackson Hole to the west. Like the valley (which was named for fur trader David Jackson), French fur trappers named the mountains Les Trois Tetons (the three breasts), now known as the Grand, Middle and South Tetons. Grand Teton is the highest peak although Mount Moran (named for landscape artist Thomas Moran) is immortalized in popular sketches and watercolors.

Confectionery Bliss in New York City

By Linda Tancs

Now appearing in New York City, the pop-up exhibition Candytopia is a bit of confectionery bliss in The Big Apple, featuring interactive art installations in over a dozen environments, from flying unicorn pigs to a marshmallow tsunami. Think of it as Pablo Picasso meets Willy Wonka, courtesy of Hollywood “candy queen” Jackie Sorkin and design expert Zac Hartog. Reservations are required; get your tickets before the show moves on after November 15.

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