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Breaking Up in Hollywood

By Linda Tancs

Forget about tea and sympathy. Apparently a better way to get over a relationship is to create art about it at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Hollywood, California. Originally founded in Zagreb, in 2010 it won the EMYA Kenneth Hudson Award as the most innovative and daring museum project in Europe. Exhibits include everything from wedding dresses to an ax used to break an ex’s furniture, accompanied by the contributor’s personal yet anonymous story. Cathartic? Maybe. But remember the immortal words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson: ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The Residents of Green-Wood

By Linda Tancs

Composer Leonard Bernstein. Artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Politician Boss Tweed. Newspaper magnate Horace Greeley. They’re just some of over 500,000 permanent residents of Green-Wood, one of the first rural cemeteries in America. Founded in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, its 478 acres include hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths. In addition to its famous occupants, the site has Revolutionary War roots, the Battle of Long Island having been fought along what is now its grounds. It also boasts one of the largest outdoor collections of statuary and mausoleums. Located at 5th Avenue and 25th Street in Brooklyn, New York, admission is always free. Take the trolley or a guided or self-guided tour.

300 Years of Freemasonry

By Linda Tancs

Freemasonry began in medieval Europe as a guild for stonemasons who built the great castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages. Today it is one of the largest fraternal and charitable organizations in the world. The United Grand Lodge of England at Great Queen Street in London is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year. Their facilities include The Library and Museum of Freemasonry. Open to the public, it’s located on the first floor of Freemasons’ Hall, where guided tours of the Grand Temple and ceremonial areas are provided when the hall is not in use. The free museum displays one of the world’s largest collections associated with Freemasonry, including pottery and porcelain, glassware, silver, furniture, clocks, jewels, regalia and items belonging to famous Freemasons like Winston Churchill and King George IV (the first Royal Grand Master). The closest tube stations are Holborn, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

City of Dragons

By Linda Tancs

Bavaria’s Furth im Wald is the site of the Drachenstich (Slaying of the Dragon), the oldest traditional folk festival in Germany. Dating back 500 years, the spectacle includes a re-enactment of the slaying of a mythical dragon that threatened the town in the Middle Ages. And what a dragon it is. The four-legged walking robot measuring nearly 50 feet is the biggest in the world (recorded in the Guinness Book of Records), spewing fire and ambling amongst costumed locals, horses and medieval knights. The festival begins tomorrow and ends on August 20.

Candlelight in Bournemouth

By Linda Tancs

When Princess Eugenie of France visited Bournemouth in 1896, the Lower Gardens were lit with candles in her honor. That event sparked a tradition in this Victorian spa town on England’s south coast that continues to this day. Tonight is the annual Candlelight Procession, a candle-lit walk in the dusk from the Lower Gardens to Pier Approach. The lighting of thousands of candles in colored jars brings a magical touch to a garden adorned with floral displays that feature a range of colors, textures and scents.

Monuments to the Horse

By Linda Tancs

Two Clydesdales served as real life models for The Kelpies, a pair of steel behemoth equines honoring horses and their contribution to society. Presiding next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk, Scotland, the world’s largest equine sculptures represent an impressive feat of engineering completed in just 90 days in 2013. Nearly 100 feet high, each horse weighs 360 tons and is adorned with 928 unique stainless steel skin-plates. The best way to experience The Kelpies is by a 30-minute guided tour that takes you inside a structure. The site is accessible via road, bus, rail or boat with easy rail/bus transits from Edinburgh or Glasgow to Falkirk High.

The Washingtons of Fredericksburg

By Linda Tancs

The land registry of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is brimming with history about George Washington and his family. For instance, there’s the first president’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm, so named because people crossed the Rappahannock River on a ferry from the farm into town. Later, George Washington purchased a home in town for his mother Mary, a white frame house on the corner of Charles and Lewis streets. It’s within walking distance to Kenmore, a Georgian-style mansion that was the home of Mary’s daughter Betty Washington Lewis. Betty’s husband Fielding Lewis once owned land upon which St. James’ House was built, one of the few 18th century frame houses still standing in Fredericksburg. It was owned by James Mercer, a lawyer for Mary Washington. And then there’s the frame home built by George Washington’s youngest brother Charles around 1760. Now known as the Rising Sun Tavern, it became a tavern in 1792 when it was purchased by the Wallace family and operated for 35 years as a stopover for travelers.

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