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Archive for travel writing

Dino Snores

By Linda Tancs

Want to camp out amongst the dinosaurs in a museum? It’s not just for kids at London’s Natural History Museum. Their Dino Snores for Grown-ups program is offered periodically throughout the year, like tomorrow night. The sleepover includes a welcome drink, live music, a monster movie marathon, three-course dinner (edible insects are optional) and a hot breakfast. You’ll also have the chance to explore the galleries and current exhibitions after the daytime visitors have gone home. Sounds dino-mite to me.

The Legendary Pony Express

By Linda Tancs

Johnny Fry was the first rider for the Pony Express, the nation’s mail service connecting the eastern terminus of St. Joseph, Missouri, with Sacramento, California, in the west. Fry began the storied route on April 3, 1860, from historic Pikes Peak Stables in St. Joseph. Over 400 horses were purchased for the endeavor covering 2,000 miles, the riders enduring uncertain weather and rugged terrain to meet their appointed rounds until the service’s demise in October 1861. Their stories are told at the Pony Express National Museum on Penn Street.

A Model Home in Bismarck

By Linda Tancs

The former governors’ mansion in Bismarck, North Dakota, was the largest of its day in the city when it was built in 1884, hailed as a model building. In 1893 it was appropriated for use as the executive mansion. Twenty governors ultimately called the Victorian mansion their home until 1960. Thereafter it served as a mental health clinic (the first one in the nation to use talk therapy as a treatment for mental illness) until purchased by the State Historical Society in 1975. The house opened as a museum in 1984, its exterior being restored to its appearance in 1893. The interior of the house was not restored to reflect a particular time period. Instead, it was designed to present the overall life of the house, with exposed layers of historic wallpaper and paint samples showing the many changes that have taken place over the years.

Steel and Stone in Galveston

By Linda Tancs

Bishop’s Palace (also known as Gresham House) is a National Historic Landmark in the East End Historic District of Galveston, Texas. Acknowledged by architectural historians as one of the most significant Victorian residences in the country, its hint of French Revival combined with depressed Tudor arches, articulated carvings and sculptural chimneys renders it one of the “Broadway beauties” (owing to its location on Broadway). Constructed in 1892 of steel and stone for railroad magnate Walter Gresham, it survived the Great Storm of 1900 virtually unscathed. The “basement to attic” tour offers visitors access to the rarely seen third floor, including Mrs. Gresham’s studio and its panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Neoclassical Splendor in Charleston

By Linda Tancs

Located near High Battery in Charleston, South Carolina, the Nathaniel Russell House Museum is widely recognized as one of America’s most important Neoclassical dwellings. A wealthy merchant in the region (Charleston boasted a per capita of wealth nearly four times that of all the American colonies), the interior finishes and architectural details reflect Russell’s original home. The house is furnished with an outstanding collection of fine and decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries, the kinds of gems available for viewing at the annual Charleston Antiques Show.

The Super Natural in British Columbia

By Linda Tancs

Nature reigns supreme along the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. That’s where you’ll find Great Bear Rainforest, home to the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. It’s also the only place in the world where you can see the Kermode (spirit) bear, a sub-species of black bear noted for its white fur. Stretching for 250 miles, the diverse ecosystem teems with marine life, endless fjords and towering granite cliffs. Wildlife tours are plentiful along with hiking, kayaking, boating and fishing opportunities. The visitor center is located in the Copper Sun Art Gallery in downtown Bella Coola.

The House That Beer Built

By Linda Tancs

Tucked away in the northwest section of a popular public park in Dublin, Ireland, Farmleigh House is the manor that beer built—Guinness, to be precise. The Georgian home was purchased by Edward Cecil Guinness (great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, founder of the brewery) on the occasion of his marriage to his cousin. Although now an official State residence for visiting dignitaries, many of the sumptuous furnishings and artworks remain in the house courtesy of the Guinness family. The pastoral surroundings of the 78-acre gem (one of the best kept secrets in Dublin) include a sunken garden, a walled garden, a clock tower, a beautiful lake laden with water lilies and grazing cattle. Take city bus 37 to Castlerock Gate at Phoenix Park. Access to the house is by guided tour only.

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