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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.

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Body Art in Austria

By Linda Tancs

Special effects bodypainting is just one of the championship categories at the annual World Bodypainting Festival in Klagenfurt, Austria. Taking place this year from July 8 to July 14, the earlier dates comprise 50 workshops in bodypainting, facepainting, make-up and special effects. The main days from the 12th to the 14th feature art, street food, judging and music. Now in its 21st season, prepare to be awed.

Cuddle with Cuttles

By Linda Tancs

Similar to their squid and octopus relatives, cuttlefish have a large, elongated body with tentacles surrounding their mouths. Despite its name, it’s a mollusc with the visually striking ability to change patterns and colors. This time of year they congregate by the thousands for their breeding season, especially at Stony Point in Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park near Whyalla in South Australia. There is easy access via a boardwalk to shallow water for viewing. Cuttlefish are active day and night, but the best time for snorkeling with them is normally in the morning before the winds pick up in the afternoon.

A Mound of Chocolate in the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

Located on the island of Bohol in the Philippines, the Chocolate Hills are a series of more than 1,268 cone-shaped hills spread over an area of 19 square miles and varying in size from 98 feet to 393 feet in height. A popular legend attributes their formation to a clash between mythic titans. Geologists, however, chalk it up to thousands of years of weathering of marine limestone—or at least that’s the most commonly accepted theory for this anomaly. The chocolate designation arises from their color during the dry season. Whether verdant in the wet season or brown in the dry season, a good viewing point for this natural wonder is from the observation deck in Carmen despite the steep stair climb to get there.

Britain’s Oldest Cliff Lift

By Linda Tancs

A fashionable resort in Victorian times, Saltburn-by-the-Sea in North Yorkshire has everything one might expect of a seaside destination: sweeping beaches, cliffs, big skies, surf and seabirds. Yet one thing distinguishes it from other beachy hangouts—the Cliff Lift, Britain’s oldest working water-balanced cliff tramway. Linking the town with the pier 120 feet below, each of two trams runs on a parallel track and is fitted underneath with a water tank that performs the operation of balance and gravity as the car makes its way down the incline. The trip takes 55 seconds. The tram is open on weekends from March to October and daily during peak season.

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).

Spain’s Mighty Wine Fight

By Linda Tancs

What Tuscany is to Italy, so La Rioja is to Spain. Below the Cantabrian Mountains, vineyards occupy the Ebro valley and surround the old town of Haro. The town residents are so proud of their wine-producing heritage that they host a Wine Fight each June 29 during a multi-day celebration of St. Peter. As you might suspect, the weapon of choice in this battle is wine—red, red wine. Combatants don white shirts and red scarfs, making their way to the highest hilltop in town where a blizzard of wine is aimed at each other from buckets, wineskin, sprayers and other useful tools. Drinking the spoils of war is highly encouraged. After the battle subsides, the warriors head back downtown for a feast and a bull run.

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