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Archive for travel writing

A Rock in a River

By Linda Tancs

On the Missouri side of the Mississippi River is a small, rocky limestone island known as Tower Rock. Located in Perry County, the iconic landmark is part of Tower Rock Natural Area, comprising about 32 acres of upland oak-pine and mixed hardwoods. The geologic formation stands sentinel in the middle of the river and is accessible by boat. Under drought conditions, the Mississippi River Chester Gauge may drop low enough to make it possible to walk out to the rock, a happy circumstance during last year’s lingering drought.

Copenhagen’s Round Tower

By Linda Tancs

Touted as the oldest functioning observatory in Europe, Copenhagen’s Round Tower was built by Christian IV in the early 17th century at a time when Denmark was famous for its astronomical achievements. You’ll access the observatory by walking up a wide spiral path to the top of the tower. This iconic tourist attraction offers, as you might expect, stunning views of the oldest parts of the city. It’s located in one of the busiest shopping areas, in the pedestrian zone between Nørreport station and Strøget.

The Birthplace of Dallas

By Linda Tancs

Dealey Plaza is a city park in the West End Historic District of downtown Dallas, Texas. It’s sometimes referred to as the “birthplace of Dallas” given its history as the site of the city’s founding by John Neely Bryan in the 1840s. Named for civic leader George Bannerman Dealey, it might be better known as the place where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Three decades after the Kennedy assassination, Dealey Plaza became a National Historic Landmark District. The Sixth Floor Museum, located within the former Texas School Book Depository building in the plaza, chronicles the life and legacy of the president.

A Little Cottage in the Berkshires

By Linda Tancs

A home with 44 rooms might not sound like much of a “cottage,” but that’s the way the owners of Naumkeag liked to think of it. It once was the family home of Joseph Choate, a prominent New York attorney and U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, and his family. Located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the 48-acre bucolic estate boasts 8 acres of formal gardens for your strolling pleasure. Depending on when you visit, part of the house may be open. The estate’s name is derived from the Algonkian word for “fish,” owing to its roots as a fishing settlement.

A Place for Notables in Trenton

By Linda Tancs

Trenton’s Riverview Cemetery is on a bluff overlooking the Delaware River. Founded in 1858, it’s filled with several prominent New Jerseyans of the 19th and early 20th centuries, including governors, senators and Civil War veterans. Famous families are also represented, like the Roebling clan. John Roebling designed New York’s Brooklyn Bridge; his nephew Washington went down with the Titanic in 1912. The cemetery is listed on both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places.

A Geology Lesson in Nebraska

By Linda Tancs

Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska has been of scientific interest since the late 1890s when the U.S. Geological Survey made the first formal geologic investigation of the area. Rising to 4,659 feet above sea level and 800 feet above the North Platte River, the geology of Scotts Bluff is significant from a natural resource standpoint because it affords a view of 740 feet of continuous geologic strata that spans a time period extending from 33 to 22 million years before the present. Boasting the most geologic history of any location in the state, you can learn the most about the monument’s unique geological features (like its buttes, plateaus, bluffs, mesas and pillars) by hiking the Saddle Rock Trail, a 1.6 mile trek featuring 435 feet of elevation change. You can also admire the views from the north and south overlooks, the Prairie View Trail and the Oregon Trail Pathway. There’s a trail for every ability level.

Plenty of Books in Norfolk

By Linda Tancs

One of the most impressive collections of books in England is at Blickling Estate in Norfolk. That’s where you’ll find the 18th-century Long Gallery, which contains over 12,500 volumes, including a handwritten manuscript from the 1100s containing the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the estate is also the alleged birthplace of Anne Boleyn, ill-fated wife of King Henry VIII. Be sure to stroll the gardens. There are two secret tunnels, a walled garden and a lake, as well as a formidable row of yew hedges flanking the driveway.

A Steam Train and a Riverboat

By Linda Tancs

Essex, Connecticut, is a quaint town on the west bank of the Connecticut River. At Essex Station, you can catch a ride on a steam train operating along the historic Valley Railroad line. The 12-mile, narrated journey passes through Deep River and Chester (together with Essex, referred to locally as the Tri-Town Area). But why stop there? You can combine the steam train journey with a riverboat cruise, which offers views of coves, inlets, marshes, wildlife, rocky shoreline and Gillette Castle. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat excursion is 2 1/2 hours long, operating round-trip from Essex Station between May and October. Advance booking is recommended.

Digging for Diamonds

By Linda Tancs

Located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the few places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds at their original volcanic source. Diamonds come in a variety of colors, but the three colors found at the park are white, brown and yellow. Amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, quartz and other rocks and minerals naturally occur there as well. Visitors to the park search a 37-acre field (the eroded surface of a volcanic crater), and any rocks, minerals or gemstones you find are yours to keep. Bring your own mining equipment or rent it from the park. Park staff provide complimentary identification of rocks and minerals as well as diamond mining demonstrations and other interpretive programs.

An Iconic Ferry in New York

By Linda Tancs

One of the last operating ferry systems in New York, the Staten Island Ferry has been transporting passengers between New York City and Staten Island long before bridges were introduced. Today it is the only non-vehicular mode of transport between Staten Island and Manhattan, transporting almost 70,000 passengers daily between the St. George and Whitehall (also known as South Ferry) terminals in Staten Island and Manhattan, respectively. The orange-colored icon offers scenic views of New York Harbor (including Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty) and is a free service provided by the City of New York.

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