Travelrific® Travel Journal

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

Archive for short reads

Flower of the Ocean

By Linda Tancs

The Colombian island of Providencia is affectionately known as “the flower of the ocean.” It’s an appropriate nickname, considering that it lies entirely within UNESCO’s Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, an oceanic archipelago with coral banks, small islands and islets forming part of atolls. Those are rare systems in the Caribbean, where this getaway rests between Central and South America. It was once a haven for pirates like Captain Morgan, whose memory is invoked by landmarks like Morgan’s Cave and and Morgan’s Head. The unspoiled island also became one of England’s first colonies, established in the 1600s by English Puritans. Now its Spanish heritage is infused with Creole and a distinct African-Caribbean vibe. You’ll get there via a flight from sister island San Andrés.

*************

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.

Chasing the Trace

By Linda Tancs

The Old Natchez Trace is a travel corridor used by American Indians and others, representing over 10,000 years of history. Today it’s known as Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. It’s so much more than a drive, though. It’s also a designated cycling route as well as a place for hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. You’ll have the opportunity to see prehistoric mound sites, gorgeous waterfalls, imprints of Old Natchez at places like Sunken Trace and the hills of Mississippi at Jeff Busby Little Mountain. You’ll even find The Meriwether Lewis monument, marking the burial site of famed explorer Meriwether Lewis, near present-day Hohenwald, Tennessee.

*************

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.

Take it Slow

By Linda Tancs

In an increasingly fast-paced world, it’s a luxury to slow down. That’s one reason why the slow travel movement is so appealing. Walking routes are a big part of the movement. In Britain, an ambitious plan is afoot (no pun intended) to establish a national network of walking routes connecting all of the nation’s towns, villages and cities. Known as Slow Ways, the idea is to use existing paths, ways, trails and roads to walk between settlements and combine them to create longer distance trips. Many existing footpaths follow ancient Roman and Anglo-Saxon treks, but there are thousands more paths and rights of way that risk being lost to history. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, those lesser-known routes are being documented and road-tested. As of this writing, there are over 7,000 Slow Ways stretching more than 62,000 miles.

*************

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.

Rosy in Hampshire

By Linda Tancs

Things are looking pretty rosy this time of year at Mottisfont, a historical priory, garden and country estate in Hampshire, England. In particular, its walled garden with 500 varieties of roses is in bloom. Created by Graham Stuart Thomas (an important figure in 20th-century British horticulture), the gardens were chosen to house many varieties that may otherwise have become extinct. The estate is set alongside the River Test, Hampshire’s longest river. Its beginnings as a priory in 1201 are revealed in the ancient stone behind panels. It later became the artistic retreat of British socialite Maud Russell in the 18th century. Get there soon before the thousands of blooms are spent.

*************

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.

Babylons of the White Sea

By Linda Tancs

One of the oldest nature reserves in Russia, Kandalaksha Nature Reserve is located in the Kola Peninsula on the White Sea coast. Although the nature reserve itself is off-limits to tourists, the area boasts other attractions, like ancient labyrinths known locally as “babylons” found on Big Zayatsky Island. That’s one of six islands comprising Solovetsky Islands, the main tourist attraction in the White Sea. This time of year is ideal for beluga whale and seal watching. The most accessible place for observing belugas in the wild is on Big Solovetsky Island. The bearded seal, harp seal and Arctic ringed seal are also native to the region. You can get to the islands (located about 100 miles from the Arctic Circle) by a ferry/train combination originating in Saint Petersburg or by plane from Arkhangelsk.

*************

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.

What a Deal

By Linda Tancs

The seaside town of Deal in the English county of Kent gives fresh meaning to the phrase “what a deal.” Located where the North Sea and the English Channel meet, this charming town is where pastel-colored dwellings set within winding streets meet with fishermen’s cottages and well-preserved Georgian townhouses. A former smuggling haunt, the seaside gem also boasts two castles commissioned by King Henry VIII. Along with a seaside walk, you’ll enjoy the arts and foodie scene that’s thriving there. Easily accessible via train, the station is a short walk from the seafront.

*************

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.

3D Art in New Jersey

By Linda Tancs

New Jersey’s American Dream entertainment complex in East Rutherford has a flagship art museum thanks to renowned urban artist Tracy Stum. The facility is named TiLT, an apt moniker for the illusionist exhibits created by Stacy and her 3D team. Best of all, it’s immersive, so you can participate in the mind-bending works of art. Imagine climbing a rope at the top of the Statue of Liberty, experiencing zero gravity in a space station, sitting in the mouth of a dog or soaring through the air on a flying hot dog. Don’t forget your camera.

*************

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.

Going to Fawr

By Linda Tancs

Pont Fawr (Big Bridge) is a steeply ramped, stone road bridge of three segmental arches that crosses the River Conwy in Llanrwst, North Wales. Picturesque as it is, its reputation may be enhanced by the legend that it was designed by one of England’s most famous architects, Inigo Jones. On the west bank of the river is another feast for the eyes, Tu Hwnt i’r Bont (Beyond the Bridge), a popular tearoom that began as a farmhouse in the 1400s and later served as a courthouse. It’s much older than the bridge and even more of a visual curiosity, being so laden with Virginia creeper that it looks like it sprouted from the ground. Do drop in for one of their scrumptious scones.

*************

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.

Canada’s Rainforest Islands

By Linda Tancs

Haida Gwaii is pristine, rugged and remote, a lush island chain off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Its southernmost reaches are preserved as Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. Haida refers to the Indigenous who have inhabited the area for thousands of years and continue to do so today. You’ll find their weathered totems, ancient villages and partially carved canoes throughout the lush rainforest islands of Gwaii Haanas. The term means “islands of beauty” in the Haida language. It’s been little more than a decade since the marine conservation area was established, a place where orcas pass through and humpback whales feed, often in vast pods numbering in the hundreds. Enjoy a wildlife adventure tour with one of the many operators offering excursions ranging from flight seeing and day trips by motor boat to longer sea kayak and sailing expeditions.

*************

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 Fruit Kingdom

By Linda Tancs

Wakayama is a city in Japan’s Kansai region. Since feudal times, local farms have cultivated premium fruit, the notoriety of which has bestowed upon this region its designation as “the fruit kingdom.” One of its most prized crops is sanbokan. Similar to a mandarin orange, it’s easily distinguished by its pronounced basal nipple and unusual taste. Its parentage is unknown, which gives rise to many legends, including one that attributes it to a single tree that grew inside Wakayama Castle. Whatever its origin, fruit connoisseurs are sure to love orchard picking among the many farms in the area.

*************

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.

%d bloggers like this: