Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for short reads

On-Demand Wine in Florence

By Linda Tancs

The concept of “on-demand” has a long history. Really long. And it has nothing to do with media libraries. We’re talking about on-demand wine, a concept dating to the 16th century in Florence, where wealthy winemakers would earn some easy cash selling wine through a hole in the wall, literally. These wine windows (buchette del vino) were embedded in the doors or walls of Florentine palaces, only after a time to be lost to history and boarded over. But, as the saying goes, everything old is new again. The wine window is making a comeback, with Babae being the first restaurant to embrace the old tradition. You’ll find them in the city’s Santo Spirito neighborhood.

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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 Baths of Roman Africa

By Linda Tancs

The ancient Phoenician city of Carthage, a seaside suburb of Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, is known for its ancient archaeological sites. One of the most complex and imposing is the Park of the Antonine Baths, considered to be one of the largest of Roman Africa. Construction of the baths began under the reign of Hadrian and was completed under the reign of emperor Antoninus. Once three levels high and topped with cupolas, the vast complex is one of the largest built in the Roman Empire. One of its indoor pools was even as large as an Olympic pool. Ruins of the ground floor service area are all that remain today, amply signposted to guide your visit.

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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.

Denmark’s Most Beautiful Festival

By Linda Tancs

What better venue could there be for a giant music festival than among beech trees, some more than 200 years old. That’s the locale for Denmark’s second largest festival, Smukfest. The forest is Dyrehaven in Skanderborg, where more than 55,000 beautiful people (as they’re called) gather during the second week in August for an event that has come to be known as “Denmark’s most beautiful festival.” Like an ongoing Woodstock, it’s all about life, love and togetherness to the sound of music, featuring local and international artists in various genres.

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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.

A House Fit for a Duke

By Linda Tancs

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Duke Mansion is a North Carolina estate in Charlotte named for its most famous occupant, American industrialist James Buchanan Duke. He lived at the Colonial Revival-style dwelling during the last few years of his life. Following his death, the house saw additional owners and expanding uses, from a condominium complex to its current uses as a historic inn, meeting venue and leadership institute. The garden of the mansion is open to the public during daylight hours when the venue is not rented for a private function. However, if the gate on Ardsley Road is open, then feel free to enter for a stroll.

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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.

Honoring the First Ladies

By Linda Tancs

Canton, Ohio, may seem like an unlikely destination for a site honoring America’s first ladies, but you can thank former Ohio Congressman Ralph Regula’s wife for spearheading an effort to establish a center for research and education on the subject. The First Ladies National Historic Site consists of two properties in downtown Canton: the home of First Lady Ida Saxton-McKinley and an education center, housed in the historic City National Bank building. Hardly shrinking violets, the nation’s first ladies enjoyed impactful careers of their own, ranging from professional dancing (Betty Ford) to newspaper writing and radio broadcasting (Eleanor Roosevelt). The term “first lady” derives from Martha Washington, who was given the name “Lady Washington” by the press. She was also the first presidential wife to be featured on a U.S. postage stamp. Tours of the Saxton-McKinley home are given at the top of every hour, beginning at the education center.

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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 English Neighborhood

By Linda Tancs

Ridgefield, New Jersey, was once the hub of an area known as “the English Neighborhood” due to the influx of English immigrants as early as 1603. The entire area covered about 10 square miles from the Hackensack River to the Hudson River and from what is now the Hudson County line north to Englewood. George Washington retreated with the Continental Army through there from New York City in 1776. In 1793, Ridgefield became the site for the English Neighborhood Reformed Church, once standing in nearby Leonia before it was burned down by the British Army. Needless to say, headstones in the cemetery date back to the Revolutionary War. The church’s historical past includes active participation in the underground railroad during the Civil War, and it’s likely one of the oldest churches in the area.

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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.

A Mosaic of Habitats

By Linda Tancs

Biodiversity is the hallmark of Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario, Canada. A protected area of the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve (an ancient tree-lined ridge of limestone that stretches from Niagara Falls across Southern Ontario to the Bruce Peninsula), it marks the last unbroken stand of forest in the densely-populated Southern Ontario region. Draped with a rugged shoreline and clear, blue water, its diverse array of ecosystems like mixed forests, wetlands and lakes host an abundance of species. You’ll find black bears, red-shouldered hawks, owls and flying squirrels in the forests. In the park’s wetlands and lakes, the at-risk common snapping turtle shares turf with fish such as yellow perch and amphibians like salamanders and reptiles. Camping in the park is popular now, as is relaxing in the warm waters of Singing Sands Beach. The visitor center is located in the town of Tobermory.

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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.

A Premier Art Museum in New York

By Linda Tancs

Part of the State University of New York system at Purchase College, Neuberger Museum of Art is one of the nation’s largest university museums. In the spirit of its founding patron, Roy Neuberger, the museum is committed to promoting the works of contemporary artists. The facility also offers education programs introducing visitors to American art of the 20th century, traditional African art and contemporary art through visitor-centered experiences. Admission is free on the first Saturday of every month.

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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.

Washington’s Council House

By Linda Tancs

Following the Civil War, a series of townhomes sprung up on Vermont Avenue in Washington, D.C. One of them eventually became the residence of Mary McLeod Bethune, a world-renowned educator, civil rights champion, leader of women and presidential adviser. Her last home in the nation’s capital, it served as the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women. The site was a rallying point for programs designed to address issues such as desegregation, inadequate housing, racial discrimination, health care, employment and the preservation of African American women’s history. Formerly known as the “Council House,” it was declared a National Historic Site in 1982 and subsequently renamed the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. Guided tours are given by park rangers on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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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.

Birthplace of the Dollar

By Linda Tancs

The U.S. dollar is the most widely used currency in the world. Do you know where it originated? The U.S. is obviously far too easy an answer. And wrong. To find its origin you’ll need to go to the unassuming Czech town of Jáchymov near the German border. Over 500 years ago the town minted the first Joachimsthaler coins, the predecessor of the U.S. dollar. Its high-purity silver content (derived from the mines in the region, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) made it a popular currency that spread across Europe and was renamed locally. The word “dollar” closely resembles the German thaler and the Dutch leeuwendaler. In fact, the Dutch colonists brought their coin to New Amsterdam (the colony at the southern tip of New York City), where it eventually became the nation’s official currency.

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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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