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The Luckiest Fishing Village

By Linda Tancs

Destin, Florida, is known as the “world’s luckiest fishing village.” Situated along the closest access point to the 100-fathom curve in the Gulf of Mexico, anglers can quickly reach all depths of fishable water featuring 20 types of edible game fish. Snapper reigns supreme, including gray snapper, lane snapper, mutton snapper and red snapper. You’ll also find grouper and mahi-mahi. Not surprisingly, Destin Harbor has the largest charter fishing fleet in the country. But if you’d rather go solo, then try your hand at “sight-casting” off the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier.

Off the Grid in Thailand

By Linda Tancs

As tropical beaches go, there aren’t too many places in Thailand that one would consider to be off-the-grid, especially if it’s the fourth-largest island. Yet that’s the case for Ko Kut (Koh Kood), a beach lover’s haven where relaxation is the prime attraction and palms outnumber people unless you travel in-season (November to February), when a lively open-air music venue breaks the silence. You can get there via Trat Airport by ferry.

Golf’s Hall of Fame

By Linda Tancs

The World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida celebrates golf and preserves the legacies of those who made it great. The facility is the centerpiece of World Golf Village in St. Augustine, a vacation destination featuring two championship golf courses and luxury accommodations. Museum exhibits include the Challenge Hole, a 132-yard island green reminiscent of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. A complimentary shot is included with admission and additional shots can be purchased onsite, so bring your A game. And you better hurry; in late 2023, the museum will close as a result of a merger with the United States Golf Association. Many of the facililty’s assets will be relocated to a USGA museum that will open in Pinehurst in 2024.

Fort D

By Linda Tancs

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fort D is the last remaining fort of four that protected the city of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, against Confederate attack during the Civil War. Local militia helped build all of the forts under the leadership of Lt. John Wesley Powell, who would later gain fame as an explorer of the Grand Canyon. Among the events taking place there are battle reenactments and living history events. A self-guided tour features original earthworks and 10 display panels that explore the history of the fort and those who served there.

Oregon’s Oldest City

By Linda Tancs

Overlooking the Columbia River, Astoria is Oregon’s oldest city as well as the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. A port city near the Pacific, its fishing and maritime history is recounted at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. One of its highlights is the Lightship Columbia, a National Historic Landmark, that once guided ships to safety at the mouth of the Columbia River. You can jump aboard it. Other area history is depicted on murals at the Astoria Column, a towering monument on Coxcomb Hill. Climb its 164 steps for panoramic views.

House of Frankenstein

By Linda Tancs

In 1816, Mary Shelley wrote the world’s first science fiction novel, Frankenstein, in Bath, England. So the locale is an appropriate spot for an immersive experience known as Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein. Set in a Grade II historic property, the Halloween-worthy experience features four floors of frights, including the 8-foot monster that Shelley envisioned and Victor Frankenstein’s Escape Room, a puzzle-based escape game that lasts for one hour. The attraction is just minutes away from the city centre at 37 Gay Street.

Eagle Watch in Minnesota

By Linda Tancs

The Upper Mississippi River Valley is home to hundreds of bald eagles. It’s the perfect place for an interpretive center, which is what you’ll find along the banks in Wabasha, Minnesota. Home to non-releasable bald and golden eagles, the National Eagle Center gives visitors a close-up experience to the nation’s symbol of freedom along with lectures on their care. You can experience their migratory patterns through field trips and habitat tours as well, or check out their high-resolution webcam stream at any time.

Hunchback Bridge

By Linda Tancs

Nestled in Italy’s Trebbia Valley, Bobbio is a medieval village between Milan and Genoa. It’s often referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy; writer Ernest Hemingway even called it the most beautiful village in the world. Framed by the Apennines, one of its most popular attractions is the abbey founded in the 7th century by Saint Colombano, home today to the City Museum and the Abbey Museum. Another focal point is the Ponte del Gobbo (Hunchback Bridge), so named for the 11 unequal arches that give it an irregular shape. First documented in 1196, the 900-foot-long bridge is an entry point to this scenic locale. The best way to arrive is via car; otherwise, the nearest train station is in Piacenza, with regular bus service.

The City That Lit the World

By Linda Tancs

New Bedford, Massachusetts, was the 19th-century capital of the whaling industry. Most of the whale oil used in lamps derived from the locale, earning it the moniker “the city that lit the world.” Home to about 500 whaling ships during its heydey, the city also inspired Herman Melville’s classic, Moby-Dick. Its whaling heritage is preserved as part of New Bedford National Historical Park. One of its most impressive buildings is the U.S. Custom House, the oldest continuously operating custom house in the nation. Historically, whaling masters registered their ships and cargo at the two-storied, Greek Revival building; as the New Bedford office of the U.S. Customs Service, commercial fishing and cargo ships continue to log duties and tariffs there. The visitor center in the heart of the park provides orientation materials as well as information on city attractions.

The Lore of Fire Island

By Linda Tancs

New York’s Fire Island is a 30-mile-long barrier island separated from Long Island by the Great South Bay. Much of it is protected as Fire Island National Seashore, a United States National Seashore. It features a lighthouse, high dunes and ancient maritime forests. The most alluring aspect of the place, though, may be the supposed wreckage of the Bessie A. White, a Canadian schooner that struck a sandbar off the island 100 years ago. After Hurricane Sandy rolled through the area in 1912, a ship’s skeleton believed to be the schooner became visible in an area not far from Watch Hill, a popular visitor site within the National Seashore. As winds and waves shape the beach, the remains appear and disappear, so be patient.

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