Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for U.S. travel

The Pig Trail

By Linda Tancs

Arkansas boasts over 600 native wildflowers. Spring is a good time to watch them explode, especially along scenic byways like the Pig Trail. It’s a 19-mile stretch of State Highway 23 that passes through Ozark National Forest. The Pig Trail takes its name from fans of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, who traditionally used it as a shortcut through the mountains to “Hogs” games in Fayetteville. The razorback (feral hog) is not only the university’s mascot but also a wild animal found throughout the state.

Natural Wonders in Anchorage

By Linda Tancs

It goes without saying that there’s no shortage of natural wonders in Alaska, even just minutes from downtown Anchorage. That’s where you’ll meet the westernmost boundary of Chugach State Park. Located mostly within the Municipality of Anchorage, it’s one of the largest state parks in the United States. Named after the indigenous people of the Upper Cook Inlet region, it’s a must-see for shutterbugs and day hikers alike. One of the most popular trailheads is Glen Alps on the Anchorage Hillside. You’ll be rewarded with a three-volcano view, a profile of Denali and the Anchorage skyline, among many other things.

The Heart and Lungs of a City

By Linda Tancs

Griffith Park has been called “the heart and lungs of Los Angeles.” Covering over 4,500 acres, it’s one of the largest municipal parks in North America and is the largest historic landmark in Los Angeles, California. It’s also the go-to park for a hike to the Hollywood Sign. The easier trek is the Mt. Hollywood Trail, which has two starting points of different lengths in the park (6 miles or 3 miles). A more challenging route is the Brush Canyon Trail (also part of the park), which offers a side trip to the Bronson Caves, more popularly known as the Bat Cave from the Batman TV show of the 1960s. The journey ends behind the Hollywood Sign with panoramic views of the city.

Oasis on the Hudson

By Linda Tancs

New York City’s latest public park provides visitors with an urban oasis on the Hudson River. Known as Little Island, it’s a part of Hudson River Park designed to merge nature with art. In addition to seasonal performance art, the topography of the park is marked by undulating piles along the remains of the wooden piles of Pier 54 together with a maritime botanic garden with 35 species of trees, 65 species of shrubs and 270 varieties of grasses, perennials, vines and bulbs. The park is located in the Hudson River off of the West Side Highway with entrances at West 13th and 14th streets.

America’s First Scenic Byway

By Linda Tancs

Columbia River Highway is America’s first scenic byway and a National Historic Landmark. Dubbed the “King of Roads,” the 70-mile route extends between Troutdale and The Dalles. It was built through the Columbia River Gorge between 1913 and 1922 and offers scenes ranging from waterfalls galore to clifftop views above the river. Beginning at the city of Troutdale and traveling east, you’ll find Oregon’s most visited waterfall, Multnomah Falls. To travel the byway, follow the keystone signs from Troutdale east to Dodson and from Mosier east to The Dalles. Spring through fall is the best time to drive. Start now; during the spring, the gorge area erupts into magnificent wildflower displays, including many plants that only exist there.

A Famed Park in the Finger Lakes

By Linda Tancs

Watkins Glen State Park is arguably the most famous state park in New York’s Finger Lakes region. It’s prized for the Gorge Trail, a path nearly 2 miles long that boasts 19 waterfalls and over 800 stone steps. Proper footwear is essential, as is a camera. The park is located right on Main Street in Watkins Glen; metered parking is located opposite the entrance.

A Jewel in Central Park

By Linda Tancs

Located in the heart of New York’s Central Park, Bethesda Terrace is an architectural jewel and one of the first structures built in the iconic park. Its layout includes two staircases flanking an extraordinary interior walkway that links the tree-lined promenade known as the Mall to Bethesda Fountain and Central Park Lake. Known as Bethesda Terrace Arcade, its ceiling is the show-stopper, the only one in the world featuring encaustic or inlaid tiles which were more typically used as flooring. Manufactured by Britain’s Minton & Co. in the 1860s, 16,000 tiles are set in 49 panels to create a colorful, geometric pattern.

Shrimping in Florida

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s Amelia Island is known for its stunning beaches and Civil War history, but its maritime history is equally significant. In fact, the locale is known as “the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry.” At the Shrimp Museum at the City Marina in downtown Fernandina Beach, you can learn about the families that brought modern shrimping to Florida and their descendants who keep alive the traditions. And this time of year (the first weekend in May), the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival attracts over 100,000 visitors to this barrier island in the northeast. The event features a pirate ship parade, fireworks, free concerts and, of course, shrimp vendors.

An Island in the Sky

By Linda Tancs

It’s no wonder why Alabama’s Cheaha State Park is called an island in the sky. Located at the state’s highest point on the southernmost tip of the Appalachian mountain chain, thousands of acres of granite boulders and ancient trees sit above the clouds at 2,407 feet above sea level, surrounded by 392,567 acres of the Talladega National Forest. The park’s name is derived from the word “chaha,” a Creek Nation term meaning “high place.” Despite its seemingly remote location, it’s only 30 minutes away from several historic downtowns like Oxford, Heflin, Anniston, Talladega, Lineville, Munford and Ashland. Get there via the Talladega Scenic Drive (Alabama Highway 281) or the Cheaha Road (County Road 42) from Munford, which winds its way through the Talladega National Forest. 

Quilt City USA

By Linda Tancs

Quilting is, indeed, a thing, especially if you visit Paducah, Kentucky. Affectionately known as Quilt City USA, the locale hosts the National Quilt Museum. It’s fair to say that the facility is a popular attraction, greeting over 100,000 visitors each year. You’ll find quilts from 1980 to the present, over 650 quilts representing 47 states and 12 countries. The smallest quilt measures 3.75 inches square; the largest quilt is 110 inches square. The collection even includes one quilt made entirely of wood. Join them this week for Quilt Week!

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