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Archive for U.S. travel

Delaware’s Tall Ship

By Linda Tancs

Kalmar Nyckel was one of America’s pioneering colonial ships, a gun-armed merchant vessel leading an expedition that founded the colony of New Sweden in the Delaware Valley. A world power in the 1600s, Sweden established Fort Christina in present-day Delaware, the first permanent European settlement in the valley. Kalmar Nyckel made four roundtrip crossings of the Atlantic between 1637 and 1645, more than any other vessel of its era. Later, it served as a warship for the Swedish navy. The faithful reproduction sailing today is the official tall ship of Delaware. From April to November she sails from her home port in Wilmington and visits ports-of-call along the eastern seaboard from Virginia to New England.

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A Wrinkle on Earth

By Linda Tancs

The Waterpocket Fold is a geologic wrinkle on the earth extending almost 100 miles. It formed between 50 and 70 million years ago when a major mountain building event in western North America (the Laramide orogeny) reactivated an ancient buried fault in the region, causing the west side to shift upwards relative to the east side. This geologic wonder is the centerpiece of Capitol Reef National Park in the heart of Utah’s red rock country. Abounding with cliffs, bridges, domes and canyons, the park is also a refuge of pristine dark night skies of the highest quality, garnering it “Gold Tier” status by the International Dark-Sky Association. The most scenic portion of the Waterpocket Fold, found near the Fremont River, is known as Capitol Reef: capitol for the white domes of Navajo sandstone that resemble state capitol building domes, and reef for the rocky cliffs which are a barrier to travel, like a coral reef.

Boating Artifacts in New York

By Linda Tancs

The Antique Boat Museum is a freshwater nautical museum in Clayton, New York, located on the St. Lawrence River along the northern edge of upstate New York. The location is ideal for showcasing over 300 unique and beautifully preserved boats and thousands of recreational boating artifacts ranging from the 19th century to the present. A premier attraction is the houseboat La Duchesse, built in 1903 for famed hotelier George Boldt. A guided walking tour of its luxurious interior is available for an additional fee.

Twin Lights

By Linda Tancs

Prior to the 1820s, the only permanent lighthouse in New Jersey’s Highlands was Sandy Hook Light. Thereafter, an increase in shipping led to the construction of an additional light in the area, Twin Lights, two lighthouses separated by 320 feet. The original design provided for one tower with a fixed light and the other with a rotating light so that mariners could easily differentiate between the single Sandy Hook Light and the dual lights of the new station. More than just another lighthouse, Twin Lights made history when the first Fresnel lenses in the United States were installed in the towers. The lights gained notoriety again in 1893 when the site was selected as the location for the first official reading of the Pledge of Allegiance as America’s national oath of loyalty. Another cutting-edge development occurred in 1935, when the U.S. Army began field-testing radar at the site. The radar experiments held at Twin Lights not only helped the Allies win World War II, but they also led directly to modern innovations that enable air traffic control.

Chicago’s Bridges

By Linda Tancs

Chicago, Illinois, may be better known for its deep dish pizza and skyscrapers, but it’s the bridges that really steal the show. Home primarily to the trunnion bascule-style bridge, the city purportedly sports more movable bridges than any other locale in North America. You can learn all about Chicago’s bridge-building history at the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum, located within the five-story bridgehouse of the iconic Michigan Avenue Bridge. For a real treat, watch the bridge lift from inside the facility. To accommodate sail boats and other tall vessels traveling between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, Chicago’s bridges open approximately 40 times a year from April to November.

Colonial Splendor in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Graeme Park is a 42-acre historic park featuring the Keith House, the only surviving residence of a colonial Pennsylvania governor, Sir William Keith. Originally called “Fountain Low” because of its many natural springs, the manor is distinctive for its stone construction and remains virtually intact since the late 18th century. It was renamed Graeme Park following its purchase by Dr. Thomas Graeme, a respected judge and doctor. Its location in Horsham affords visitors a quiet retreat amidst the property’s stream, pond and trails through the woods. Admission is charged for a tour of the mansion, but entrance to the grounds is free.

Moab Giants

By Linda Tancs

The scenery in Moab, Utah, is otherworldly enough, but the prehistoric wonder of Moab Giants adds to it. A dinosaur park, their state-of-the-art exhibits feature the dinosaurs that roamed the area in all their life-size glory. The attractions include a trail with over 100 replicas amidst views of Arches National Park, La Sal Mountains and Moab’s geologically famous red rocks. Below ground, a prehistoric aquarium affords encounters with deep-sea creatures like Megalodon, the biggest shark that ever lived. The facility is located approximately nine miles north of Moab, on the corner of Hwy 191 and SR 313 (the turnoff to Dead Horse Point).

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