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Archive for U.S. travel

The Paper House

By Linda Tancs

You may be familiar with the expression about building a house on sand. But what about building one out of paper? The Paper House in Rockport, Massachusetts, is just that—a house made from paper. Built out of newspaper by mechanical engineer Elis Stenman, the unusual abode also contains a paper-based piano as well as a desk and chair. The house is open for tours every day from spring through autumn.

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A Landmark Ride in the West

By Linda Tancs

Sixty-four miles of Rocky Mountain splendor await you on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad running between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. A National Historic Landmark, the rails were originally constructed in 1880 as part of the Rio Grande’s narrow-gauge San Juan extension, which served the silver mining district of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. Almost lost to history when the last freight train crossed the Cumbres Pass in 1968, the historic route was bought and preserved by both states. Unlike other legacy routes, it features original coal fired, steam operated, narrow gauge locomotives and 19th century passenger cars. Scenic highlights include the Rockies, Chama Valley, Toltec Gorge, Cumbres Pass (the highest mountain pass reached by rail in the U.S.) and alpine meadows lined with wildlflowers, along with an array of wildlife like elk, deer and bears. It takes under seven hours to traverse the entire 64-mile line from Antonito to Chama or vice versa. The regular season runs this year to October 20. Buy your ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

Best Sunset in the Hudson Valley

By Linda Tancs

For many, the best sunset view in the Hudson Valley is the one from the fire tower at Ferncliff Forest in Rhinebeck, New York, a 200-acre, old-growth forest preserve. Standing high above the treetops at 80 feet, the tower provides visitors with an amazing sunset view over the Catskills and Hudson River. The tower is easily visible driving east across the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. Follow the East Tower Trail in the forest for the most direct path to the structure. As with any climb, consider any physical limitations you may have before attempting it.

The Heart of the Thousand Islands

By Linda Tancs

Alexandria Bay, New York, is a tourist village located on the St. Lawrence River in the heart of the Thousand Islands, an archipelago straddling the border between the U.S. and Canada. Its centerpiece on town-owned Heart Island is Boldt Castle, a full-size, Rhineland-style castle built by hotelier George Boldt for his wife. Accessible via boat tours (from May to October), a shuttle from the island also runs to the Boldt family’s yacht house on nearby Wellesley Island, featuring some of the original fleet, including an 1892 steam yacht.

Tulips in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

If you can’t fly to Holland, then you can drive there—Holland Ridge, that is. Located in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, it’s the site of a massive tulip bloom, just like the Dutch variety. In fact, the Holland Ridge Farms Tulip Festival is reportedly the largest on the East Coast. You’d expect nothing less from fourth-generation tulip growers from Holland. The flowers are in high bloom. Better hurry.

The Story of American Law Enforcement

By Linda Tancs

America’s first museum giving visitors a “walk in the shoes” experience of law enforcement opened late last year in Washington, D.C. Located in Judiciary Square, the National Law Enforcement Museum offers over 20,000 artifacts telling the story of American law enforcement since its beginnings. Seeking to encourage dialog between police and communities, the facility’s exhibits include a training simulator exploring the making of police decisions. The grounds also feature a memorial with the names of more than 21,000 officers who have been killed in the line of duty throughout U.S. history, dating back to the first known death in 1791.

All About Bones

By Linda Tancs

Located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Orlando, Florida, the Museum of Osteology is a unique museum focusing on the form and function of the skeletal system. The exhibits feature hundreds of real animal skeletons (no dinosaurs!) designed to foster an appreciation for the diversity of the animal kingdom existing today. America’s only skeleton museum, it’s family-owned and open year round.

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