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A Superior Wilderness Experience

By Linda Tancs

Surrounded by Lake Superior and near the border with Canada, Michigan’s Isle Royale is one of the least visited U.S. national parks. That’s to be expected, considering its remote location. All the better for you. Enjoy a car-free experience where the only approved modes of transportation include hiking, boating, canoeing and kayaking. Known for its wolves and moose populations, Craggy Scoville Point is a great spot for viewing some of the roughly 200 rocky islets that form the Isle Royale archipelago. Accessible by ferry, seaplane or private watercraft, there are two boats that service the island from Michigan—the Ranger III from Houghton and the Isle Royale Queen IV from Copper Harbor. The island closes from November 1 – April 15 annually.

Total Eclipse in the Park

By Linda Tancs

A total eclipse of the sun will sweep across the United States for three hours today beginning around noon. This is the first total solar eclipse to affect the continental U.S. since 1979, and 20 of Tennessee’s state parks fall in the “path of totality.” One of those is Frozen Head State Park, where you’ll get 34 seconds to view this singular event. Named for a 3,324-foot peak in the Cumberland Mountains (the top of which is often shrouded in ice or snow in the winter months), the park provides 50 miles of backpacking and day-hiking trails with extensive wildlife viewing opportunities. The state park system is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

America’s Oldest Synagogue

By Linda Tancs

In colonial times, Newport, Rhode Island, welcomed its first Jewish residents as early as 1658. A century later, the population had grown substantially with the rise of the mercantile trade, giving rise to the need for a place of worship that was named Congregation Jeshuat Israel (Salvation of Israel). It was later renamed Touro Synagogue after Newport natives Abraham and Judah Touro, who both provided bequests to see to the perpetual care and maintenance of the Congregation’s properties. Designated a National Historic Site in 1946, the synagogue boasts a connection to George Washington, who adopted many of the views on religious liberties and the separation of church and state that were espoused by the congregation’s president during his address to Washington at Newport. In fact, Washington’s written response to the congregation is an annual celebrated event, lauded and commemorated as possibly having the greatest impact on America and American Jewry. The next annual reading of George Washington’s historic letter “To the Hebrew Congregation at Newport” will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m.

A Ten-Year Wait in Baden

By Linda Tancs

The Swiss spa city of Baden hosts the largest municipal folk festival in the region known as Badenfahrt. It’s held once every 10 years and, judging by the 1 million or so visitors, worth the wait. This year’s festivities take place from Aug. 18–Aug. 27, featuring theater performances, concerts, parades and fireworks over the Stein Castle ruins. Every festival has a motto; this year’s theme is “Versus,” celebrating the many facets of city life embracing the old and the new.

An Old Wooden Lighthouse

By Linda Tancs

A Canadian province, Prince Edward Island’s oldest wooden lighthouse is located on Panmure Island. Open seasonally from June to October, Panmure Island Lighthouse offers enviable views of the white sand beach, one of PEI’s most popular. Later this month the area also hosts an annual pow wow, featuring drum bands, native crafts and a sweat lodge. Panmure Island is part of the Points East Coastal Drive touring region.

A Feast for the Eyes in Santa Fe

By Linda Tancs

This weekend marks the 96th annual Santa Fe Indian Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Begun in 1922, the market is the largest and most prestigious juried Native American arts show in the world. It attracts over 100,000 visitors from around the world who buy art directly from roughly 900 artists from over 200 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. and Canada. Items include pottery, sculpture, textiles, paintings, wooden carvings, bead work, baskets, drums and bows and arrows. The event is preceded by Indian Market Week, a series of events in Native film, literature, music, fashion and visual art.

An Old Goat in Ireland

By Linda Tancs

In Killorglin, County Kerry, Ireland, they’ve been celebrating a goat for over 400 years. Every year a wild goat gets crowned king and reigns o’er the town from August 10 to 12. Known as Puck Fair, it’s one of Ireland’s oldest festivals. A popular legend involving its origin is that a runaway he-goat (a “puck”) broke from a herd that was routed by a group of raiders, arriving in town to alert the inhabitants of Cill Orglain (Killorglin) of impending danger. A festival then arose to honor the goat’s service. In addition to the coronation ceremony, expect fireworks, parading, a horse fair, musical entertainment and family fun.

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