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Archive for U.S. travel

Painted Hills

By Linda Tancs

Red, yellow, gold and black. Those represent the color palette at Painted Hills in Oregon. As the name implies, the hills are interspersed with hues stratifying the soil, revealing millions of years of the earth’s history in an otherworldly vista. Located in central Oregon, it’s part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Five trails mark the eight-square-mile site. For breathtaking panoramic views, take the Carroll Rim Trail. Beautiful at any time of day, the hills are best lit for photography in the late afternoon. Changing light and moisture levels (as well as seasonal variations) will affect the tones and hues visible in the hills.

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Finders Keepers in Oregon

By Linda Tancs

Finders Keepers is a beloved event in Lincoln City, Oregon. The year-round event gives treasure seekers the chance to hunt for glass art (floats) along the town’s seven miles of public beach from Roads End in the north to Siletz Bay in the south. Strategically placed throughout the day, you should look above the high tide line and below the beach embankment. In celebration of the event’s 20th year, they’ve been hiding 20 limited edition glass floats on the beach on the 20th of every month since last October. You still have a shot at finding one this month and next. Regardless when you hunt, be sure to register your find for a certificate of authenticity and information about the artist who crafted your float.

California’s Newest National Park

By Linda Tancs

Pinnacles National Park, California’s newest national park as of this writing (designated in 2013), is an old soul at heart. Its cliffs, crags and cave formations arise from volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago, sending volcanic matter 200 miles away to the park’s current location in the Salinas Valley. The towering, domed rock structures giving the park its name beckon rock climbers. Divided into an east and west side, climbing routes predominate on the west side of the park. Of course, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy, like bird watching for the park’s signature citizen, the California condor. Or maybe you’d like a hike that includes cave exploration. Camping is also available on the east side year round. You can’t drive through both sides of the park. The west side is accessible from Highway 101; the east entrance is off Highway 25.

The Living Dune

By Linda Tancs

Jockey’s Ridge is the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States. Located in Nags Head, North Carolina, the shifting winds that constantly reshape this remaining dune system on the Outer Banks have resulted in its moniker, “The Living Dune.” The sand (mostly quartz rock) comprising the 420 acres of Jockey’s Ridge is equal to about 6,000,000 dump truck loads! In addition to its distinctive dunes, the ecology of the park includes species like live oaks, persimmons, bayberry, sweet gum and pines and the Roanoke Sound Estuary, home to the blue crab as well as plant and bird life.

The Jersey Coast Trail

By Linda Tancs

New Jersey’s Coastal Heritage Trail is a vehicular route stretching nearly 300 miles along the state’s shore and bays. It’s divided into five regions: Sandy Hook, Barnegat Bay, Absecon, Cape May and Delsea. Of equal interest to hikers and bicyclists, the trail passes national wildlife refuges, lighthouses, a Civil War fort, migratory bird settlements and several other places including, of course, the Jersey Shore.

July 4th at Monticello

By Linda Tancs

With enviable views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is one of the most famous and popular of the presidential estates, a World Heritage Site, museum, research institute and presidential library. Author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia, Jefferson died at the estate in 1826 on July 4th, of all days. The Fourth of July remains an auspicious day at Monticello, where an annual Independence Day celebration and naturalization ceremony take place. The festivities include a speaker, an open house with free walk-through tours of the mansion’s first floor and plenty of patriotic music. The estate is located at 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway in Charlottesville, Virginia.

War and Peace in Staten Island

By Linda Tancs

With U.S. Independence Day fast approaching, it’s a good time to consider how differently things could’ve turned out if a peace accord had been struck in 1776. In September of that year, members of the Continental Congress met with a British envoy at the home of a wealthy colonel in Staten Island, New York, to discuss the prospect for peace. Needless to say, the talks failed; the British would have no treaty with independence and the colonists would have no treaty without it. Now known as Conference House, the Dutch-style, stone colonial in which the peace conference was held is a National Historic Landmark, the only remaining pre-Revolution manor house  in New York City. It’s open on weekends from April through December.

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