Travelrific® Travel Journal

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Life on the Straits

By Linda Tancs

The Strait of Belle Isle is a waterway in eastern Canada that separates the Labrador Peninsula from the island of Newfoundland. You’ll get panoramic views of it from Point Amour Lighthouse, the second tallest light in Canada. You’ll also see icebergs and the wreck of HMS Raleigh in the distance. By car, the site is about 30 minutes north of the nearest airport at Blanc-Sablon, Québec, and is located in L’Anse Amour, a small village on the coast of the Strait that boasts the oldest known burial mound in North America.

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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 Heart of Scotland

By Linda Tancs

Perth, Stirling, The Trossachs and Highland Perthshire represent the very heart of Scotland. You can experience all of it on the new touring route known as Heart 200. It’s a 200-mile road trip comprising six sections: the Wooded Western Edge, the Highland North, the Riverside East, Perth, the Historic South and Stirling. Gems abound throughout the route, like Loch Tay (the largest loch on the route) and the nation’s oldest tree in the Highland North and Loch Leven (where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned on Castle Island) in the Historic South. You’ll find a plethora of places to stay, too, from five-star hotels to campsites.

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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.

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