Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for U.S. travel

Old Vines in New York

By Linda Tancs

Benmarl Winery is America’s oldest vineyard and the owner of the very first New York Farm Winery license. Located in Marlboro (about 70 miles north of New York City), the 37-acre estate overlooks the Hudson River. In 300 years, only four different families have owned the winery property; its first grapes were planted there in the 1700s. In addition to estate wines (including some of the country’s oldest vines of Baco Noir), they source from Seneca Lake and the north fork of Long Island. Enjoy the stunning views of the Hudson River Valley.

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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.

Stewards of Mount Rainier

By Linda Tancs

Washington’s Mount Rainier stands sentinel over the landscape at 14,410 feet. It’s not only an active volcano but also the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., spawning five major rivers. The Cowlitz, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin Island and Yakama people are the original stewards of the land, with archaeological evidence tracing Native use of the area back 9,000 years. Now a bustling national park, 97% of its area has been designated as wilderness by Congress. Stretching for 378 square miles, the park has five developed areas, with three visitor centers, a museum and several wilderness and climbing centers and ranger stations. Its features include subalpine meadows, the temperate rainforest environment at Carbon River and Mowich Lake, the largest and deepest lake in the park. Wherever you roam, take advantage of the numerous day hikes offered along 260 miles of maintained trails.

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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.

Buggy Capital of the South

By Linda Tancs

Barnesville, Georgia, was once known as the “Buggy Capital of the South.” And, no, that has nothing to do with those pesky mosquitoes arriving around now. The buggy in this case refers to the horse and buggy, and Barnesville produced more buggies than any other location south of Cincinnati, Ohio. By 1900, nearly 9,000 were produced there annually. The locals celebrate their commercial heritage with a festival in September. The city is about 50 miles from Atlanta.

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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.

Whale Heritage in California

By Linda Tancs

Dana Point may have some of the best beaches in Southern California, but that’s not the only reason you’ll have a whale of a time there. In January the locale became the first Whale Heritage Site in the country. Established by the World Cetacean Alliance (the largest marine conservation partnership), whale heritage sites recognize outstanding destinations for responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching. Dana Point bills itself as the whale watching and dolphin capital of the world, with more wild dolphin per square mile than anywhere else. And whales are viewable year round. This time of year you may see gray whales on their round-trip migration between Alaska and the warm waters of Mexico. Head to Dana Point Harbor for a watching tour.

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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.

America’s Largest Glacial System

By Linda Tancs

America’s largest glacial system exists within park boundaries of Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Covering 35 percent of the parklands, glaciers are the headwaters for many of the river systems that flow through the park. One of the most stunning features of this area is Bagley Icefield. Touted as the largest nonpolar icefield in North America, it encompasses multiple glaciers and is 127 miles long, 6 miles wide and up to 3,000 feet thick in some places. In fact, it feeds many glaciers, including the Bering Glacier, the largest in North America. Both public and private lands exist in the park. Public lands are open year round; enjoy snowmobiling this time of year provided there’s adequate snow cover (at least one foot) and frozen ground.

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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.

Maine’s Tallest Mountain

By Linda Tancs

Maine’s highest point (at 5,270 feet), Mount Katahdin is also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Named by the Penobscot Nation, the mountain’s moniker means “the greatest mountain.” You’ll find little quarrel with that amongst hikers, who regard it as one of the most difficult treks in the northeast. That’s especially true along Knife Edge Trail, a ridge with passageways as narrow as three feet in some places and steep drop-offs on both sides. Your diligence will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views across the Katahdin massif and down into the South Basin. Katahdin is the centerpiece of Baxter State Park.

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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.

America’s Oldest Attraction

By Linda Tancs

First opening on August 8, 1861, the Auto Road is America’s oldest man-made attraction. It’s a steep, narrow mountain road without guardrails that leads to the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Called Agiocochook by some Native American tribes, Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern United States at 6,288 feet. You can drive up the road yourself (in season) or take a guided tour with a “stage driver” for some history and insight into the area. The Auto Road tour company refers to their vans as stages because the first visitors to the road (known then as Carriage Road) traveled in horse-drawn stages. The mountain is notorious for having some of the strongest winds in the world; check for weather updates before you venture out.

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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.

Cherries in Brooklyn

By Linda Tancs

One of the highlights of Brooklyn Botanic Garden this time of year is the cherry blossom watch. Their flowering cherry collection sports dozens of species and cultivars. Among the earliest blooms are those along Cherry Walk, a meandering path east of Cherry Esplanade and its twin rows of towering blossoms. Another favored viewing area is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, where the weeping Higan cherry trees attract scores of shutterbugs. No one tree remains in flower for more than a week, and there is no moment when all are blooming at once. Because the different species and cultivars blossom in succession, you’ll find many opportunities to savor the season that generally lasts until mid-May.

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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.

Outstanding Topiary in Maryland

By Linda Tancs

The Garden Club of America once described the clipped hemlocks at Ladew Topiary Gardens as “the most outstanding topiary garden in America.” That’s high praise, considering its architect, Harvey Ladew, had no professional training. The socialite-turned-gardening enthusiast purchased Pleasant Valley Farm in Monkton in the 1920s and carved 22 acres of gardens out of fields previously used for crops and livestock. He also transformed the old white farmhouse into the stately manor house enjoyed by visitors today. In addition to the formal, cultivated gardens, there’s a 1-mile nature walk including a short boardwalk through wetland forest and fresh water marsh. Just 30 minutes from Baltimore, it’s located in the heart of horse country.

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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.

New Jersey’s Stairway to Heaven

By Linda Tancs

New Jersey’s Wawayanda State Park has 60 miles of hiking trails, including a 20-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. One of its most popular features is the Stairway to Heaven Trail. A moderately difficult hike, the route includes a boardwalk, cow pasture, suspension bridge, railroad tracks and woods. Then come the boulders, the so-called stairway to heaven, a steep ascent. Follow the blue spur trail to Pinwheel Vista where the view, as they say, is heavenly.

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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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