Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

A Grand Prospect in Oregon

By Linda Tancs

Nestled between Seaside and Cannon Beach is Oregon’s Ecola State Park, a protected coastal area 9 miles long with scenic views so striking that explorer William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition described it as the “grandest and most pleasing prospect” he had ever surveyed. He was speaking of the view from the north slope of Tillamook Head, a high point on the trail between Seaside and Indian Beach, a popular surfing locale. Named for the Tillamook tribes in whose ancestral territory the headland is located, the trail follows the coastal exploration route used by Captain Clark in the winter of 1806. But the grand views begin at the entrance road itself, which follows an old growth Sitka spruce forest, eventually opening up to a grassy bluff offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean where the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse stands just offshore on a lone basalt rock. Take advantage of the numerous paved trails for panoramic views.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Hoodoos at the Four Corners

By Linda Tancs

Weathered sandstone often forms otherworldly rock formations known as hoodoos that take the shape of pinnacles, spires and cap rocks. You’ll find plenty of examples of this at the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (Bisti badlands), a 45,000-acre wilderness area in New Mexico. The badlands’ name is as unusual as its landscape. Taken from the Navajo language, “bisti” means “a large area of shale hills.” De-Na-Zin is taken from the Navajo words for “cranes.” Just south of Farmington, the area is one of the most extraordinary attractions in the Four Corners region, where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Cornish Caribbean

By Linda Tancs

About 30 miles off the coast of Cornwall, England, the Scilly Isles are a Cornish Caribbean, featuring azure seas, subtropical gardens and white, sandy beaches. It’s yours for the taking among the five inhabited islands—St. Mary’s, St. Martin’s, St. Agnes, Tresco and Bryher. St. Martin’s is the first island you’ll spot as you cross from the mainland. It offers an abundance of activities for an island just 2 miles long. You can relax on a remote bay with a colorful name like Bread and Cheese Cove. Or you might want to see the Day Mark (built in 1683), the earliest surviving dated example of a beacon in the British Isles. And then there’s the flower farm and vineyard and a dive school offering underwater adventures and snorkeling with seals. Everything is reachable on foot; you can also rent a kayak for a different perspective as well as a view of the surrounding islets. The island is a short flight away from Exeter, Newquay or Land’s End.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Medieval Meets Art Deco in London

By Linda Tancs

In London’s Royal Borough of Greenwich, medieval meets Art Deco at Eltham Palace and Gardens. Indeed, the manor house is a unique combination of ancient and contemporary. The oldest part of the dwelling is the Great Hall, the only remains of the medieval palace that served as the boyhood home of King Henry VIII. The rest is an Art Deco-style mansion built in the 1930s by millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, who saved Eltham Palace from ruin after years of neglect. Among the rooms of interest in the house are the map room where they planned their exotic world travels and the centrally-heated sleeping quarters designed for their pet lemur. The 19-acre garden is likewise not to be missed. The Rock Garden leads to the moat, crossed by London’s oldest working bridge. Closer to the palace, the terraced beds are awash in color now with primulas, pansies and tulips. The property is about a 15-minute stroll from Mottingham railway station, which is served by London Charing Cross and Cannon Street stations.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Prehistoric Europe in France

By Linda Tancs

Move over, Stonehenge. Impressive (and famous) as it is, England’s prehistoric monument is dwarfed by Carnac, the largest collection of megalithic standing stones in the world. Situated around the French village of Carnac in northwestern France, the Neolithic structures are believed to be funerary monuments. Comprising more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones cut from local rock, the site features stone alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany. Due to Brittany’s abundance of megalithic wonders, take advantage of the Megalithic Pass, which will give you reduced rates of entry to nearby attractions.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Tilting at Windmills in Spain

By Linda Tancs

The expression “tilting at windmills” means to attack imaginary enemies. It originated from the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, wherein Quixote mistakes windmill towers for giants and picks a fight with them. The iconic windmills of Consuegra in central Spain are attributed as the towers in question. Originally built to grind grain, the line of 12 Dutch-like towers is a tantalizing backdrop for the nearby medieval castle. Both the mills and the castle are a cultural historic site.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Wedded Bliss in Accettura

By Linda Tancs

Call it mat-TREE-mony—that is, a wedding of the arboreal kind. That’s right: a wedding of two trees, an oak and a holly. The unusual union is celebrated this time of year in southern Italy. Il Maggio di Accettura is an ancient pagan wedding festival celebrated in Accettura, a mountain village of about 2,000 people in the region of Basilicata. In case you were wondering, the oak is the groom and the holly is the bride. They’re cut, joined together (by the trunk of the oak and the top of the holly) and hoisted by a pulley over the main square of the town, followed by a procession of women wearing tiered headdresses made of candles and flowers. This centuries-old festival is undoubtedly one of the most unusual you’ll ever experience.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Exploring a Dome

By Linda Tancs

At 364 feet high, the dome of St Paul’s is the second largest cathedral dome in the world, an iconic part of the skyline of the City of London. At that height, you’ll find the dome’s Golden Gallery, a mere 528 steps from the cathedral floor. The smallest of three galleries in the dome, what it lacks in size it makes up for in sights. You’ll be treated to panoramic views of London that take in the River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Castle in a Cloud

By Linda Tancs

Hohenzollern Castle was the seat of one of the most prominent dynasties in European history, chiefly as the ruling house of Brandenburg-Prussia and of imperial Germany. It’s often referred to as “the castle in a cloud” because of the way it looks on a foggy day. Among its many charms are the art collections, including a significant picture gallery, valuable silver and china as well as the crown of Prussian kings. You can download a castle walking tour, in English, on your phone. Trains run from Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof to Hechingen, where a shuttle bus takes visitors directly from the station to the castle car park. For amazing views, walk the steep ascent to the castle from the car park; otherwise, take the bus.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Old Vines in New York

By Linda Tancs

Benmarl Winery is America’s oldest vineyard and the owner of the very first New York Farm Winery license. Located in Marlboro (about 70 miles north of New York City), the 37-acre estate overlooks the Hudson River. In 300 years, only four different families have owned the winery property; its first grapes were planted there in the 1700s. In addition to estate wines (including some of the country’s oldest vines of Baco Noir), they source from Seneca Lake and the north fork of Long Island. Enjoy the stunning views of the Hudson River Valley.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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