Archive for the ‘historical travel’ Category

Christmas Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg

December 6, 2016
christmas-colonial-williamsburg-e2-danielle-hendricks

Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg (photo by Danielle Hendricks)

Colonial Willamsburg takes on a special holiday flare, with handmade decorations lit by cressets throughout the Historic Area, and the scent of hot cider and ginger cakes filling the streets.

Williamsburg began as Middle Plantation, an outpost of Jamestown, in 1633 and served as Virginia’s capital from 1699 to 1780. When you discover Colonial Williamsburg, you become a citizen of the Revolutionary City, engaging with the local community and experiencing firsthand the daily struggles of wartime. Explore the art museums, unleash your kids’ inner colonists, tee off a game of golf, or relax and unwind at the Spa. Stay at one of the official Colonial Williamsburg hotels, with a variety of opportunities to shop and dine.

Among the attractions:

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, accessible via the Public Hospital of 1773 at 326 Francis St. West, are open to guests with Colonial Williamsburg or Art Museums admission. Seasonal exhibit highlights include perennial favorite dollhouse exhibit “The World Made Small” plus the return of “A Carolina Room Christmas” and the new “German Toys in America.”

Bassett Hall, the local home of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, is decorated for the holidays and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to guests with Colonial Williamsburg admission.

Information, admission and special program tickets are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations, online at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com or by calling 855-296-6627 (101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185, 866-987-6322).

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‘A Colonial Christmas’ in Jamestown

December 6, 2016
Christmas Music at Jamestown Settlement, Virginia (Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo)

Christmas Music at Jamestown Settlement, Virginia (Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo)

The Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown celebrate “A Colonial Christmas” through December 31. The month-long event explores 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions with interpretive programs and, December 26-31, festivities abound with musical entertainment of the period.

The two living-history museums tell the story of our nation’s beginnings throughout the year with gallery exhibits and historical interpretation in re-created outdoor settings – a Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement, and Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. 

Jamestown Settlement

“A Jamestown Christmas” holiday film and special interpretive programs compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of America’s first permanent English colony. In England, the holiday season – extending from December 25 to January 6 – was a time of merriment and feasting. While little is known about Christmases in early Jamestown, “A Colonial Christmas” activities reflect the cultural traditions recalled by English colonists.

Throughout the month, visitors to the outdoor living-history areas can learn about the Jamestown colony’s early years as well as the English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606, and the Powhatan Indian hospitality shown to Captain John Smith’s trading party in 1608 during a winter storm. In the re-created Powhatan Indian village, historical interpreters will present ongoing demonstrations on typical winter activities, including food preservation and hunting tools and techniques.

In the re-created fort, visitors can see wattle-and-daub buildings decorated with greenery and demonstrations of fancy cooking and, December 23-31, experience the 17th-century English tradition of the Lord of Misrule, “grand captain of all mischief.” 

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Hear accounts of Christmas and winter in military encampments during the American Revolution and glimpse holiday preparations on a Revolution-era farm. Visitors to the Continental Army encampment can learn about winter camp life and hear accounts of Christmas during the war, as well as assist the quartermaster in preparing military supplies and, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, observe artillery demonstrations.

At the clapboard farmhouse adorned with greenery, historical interpreters compare and contrast 18th-century holiday traditions with those of modern times and demonstrate a variety of holiday activities, including setting a farmhouse table for a holiday feast. Visitors can see open-hearth cooking in the farm kitchen and take part in periodic candle-dipping activities. 

Period Holiday Music & Entertainment

In Jamestown Settlement’s re-created fort church and at the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, visitors can enjoy a variety of 17th- and 18th-century holiday music December 26-31, including fiddler David Gardner, Barry and Lynn Trott and the Itinerant Band.  Musical performances will be at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Jamestown Settlement and at 12 and 2 p.m. at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Tickets & Private Tours

A value-priced combination ticket to both museums is $21.25 for adults and $10.75 for ages 6-12 Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12 and to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free.

A History is Fun combination ticket – available online only – offers seven days of unlimited admission to both museums at $21.25 for adults and $10.75 for ages 6-12 and includes coupon booklets for Williamsburg Premium Outlets and a Historic Yorktown Rewards Card.

Christmas-themed private tours are available for an additional fee with advance reservations for a party of 14 or fewer people. Reservations can be made online or by calling (757) 253-4939.

In time for holiday shopping, Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown  gift shops offer a selection of books, prints, museum reproductions, educational toys, games and souvenirs relating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Admission is not required to visit the museum gift shops, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Shop online at www.shophistoryisfun.com.

Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round, except for Christmas and New Year’s days. The museums are separated by a 25-minute drive along the Colonial Parkway, a National Scenic Byway. Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. Parking is free. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free, (757) 253-4838 or visit www.historyisfun.org/jamestown-settlement/a-colonial-christmas.

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Registration Opens for Parks & Trails New York’s 18th Annual 400-Mile Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour

January 7, 2016
NY-ErieCanal_071315_241e2(c) Karen Rubin-Medina

Cycle the Erie riders bike on the Medina section of the trail built over a rushing creek that drops into waterfalls, with an extraordinary angled turn that displays the engineering genius of the builders © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Registration is now open for Parks & Trails New York’s 18th annual Cycle the Erie Canal 400-mile, eight-day bike tour, an unparalleled opportunity to experience great cycling while taking in the rich history of the legendary canal that helped transform America.

The 2016 tour kicks off in Buffalo on July 10 and arrives in Albany on July 17. This year, the Cycle the Erie Canal tour offers:

2-day and 4-day Options: If you can’t take off a full week, consider joining us for half the tour or for a weekend. With 4-day options from Buffalo to Syracuse and Syracuse to Albany, you’re halfway to becoming an Erie Canalway Trail End-to-Ender. These shorter options are great for children, too.

Return Shuttle: Riders from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and points west will be happy to hear we’ll once again be offering our return shuttle from Albany to Buffalo at the end of the ride. Less driving means more time to discover the Erie Canal, and there is so much to discover.

Erie Canal Trailblazers: Interested in cycling the whole tour for only $100? Become a Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer and help PTNY promote the Erie Canalway Trail and bicycle tourism! Registration includes a free Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer jersey and guidebook and special recognition on the tour. Learn more.

Last year’s ride had more than 600 riders and was frankly amazing, with all the sights to see and special activities arranged, not to mention to comradery and the adventure of camping out. The trip – superbly organized – really touches on all pistons.

For more information about Cycle the Erie Canal, call Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583 or email eriecanaltour@ptny.org. Also, check out the new Cycle the Erie Canal website to learn more about all the Erie Canalway Trail has to offer.

See our series:

Cycle the Erie Canal 400-mile tour affords extraordinary view of ‘Real America’ and slideshow

Cycle the Erie 400-Mile Bike Tour: Lockport, a Town Birthed by the Erie Canal and slideshow

Cycle the Erie ride reaches Seneca Falls, Birthplace of Women’s Rights Movement and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: National Women’s Hall of Fame personifies struggle, achievement and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: Seneca Falls to Syracuse crossing half-way mark of 400-mile tour and slideshow

Syracuse’s Erie Canal Museum Highlights Day 5 on 400-Mile Cycle the Erie Tour and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: Fort Stanwix, Rome, Brings Revolutionary War Era to Life and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: Remington Gun Museum links history to current issues and slideshow

400 miles and 400 years of history, Cycle the Erie tour crosses finish at Albany and slideshow



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Candlelight Evenings and Holiday Craft Show At Old Bethpage Village Restoration

December 15, 2015
Candlelight Evenings at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Candlelight Evenings at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The most enchanting holiday event on Long Island are the Candlelight Evenings at Old Bethpage Village Restoration which will take place this year on December 17, 18, 19, and 20 from 5– 9:30 pm.

Candlelight Evenings at OBVR offer a Hallmark card setting of flickering candles inside the Village’s historic homes, along with 19th Century holiday decorations and entertainment, all set within the confines of a rural valley setting. Among the forms of 19th Century entertainment offered will be music, including a brass quartet and fiddlers playing popular seasonal tunes as well as performers by local schools and organizations, a traditional 1866 decorated Christmas Tree, stories of Christmases past; contra-dancing, and a traditional bonfire.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration, which is now operated by the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museum,  provides visitors with an exquisite opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th Century American village set on more than 200 acres. While you are there, you really forget what century it is.

Entrance fees are: $10 for adults, $7 for children (5 – 12), seniors and volunteer firefighters. Children under 5 are free.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage (Exit 48 of the Long Island Expressway).  It is closed after December 20 until April.

For more information, call 516-572-8401.

For more information about Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museum, call 516-572-0200, or visit the website at: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/parks.

 

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New York State Pays Homage on 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Death

April 15, 2015
An 1889 map illustrates the journey of Lincoln's funeral cortege; the National Park Service is replicating the "Lincoln Journey Home," starting April 18 in Washington DC and ending May 3 in Springfield, Illinois (National Park Service).

An 1889 map illustrates the journey of Lincoln’s funeral cortege; the National Park Service is replicating the “Lincoln Journey Home,” starting April 18 in Washington DC and ending May 3 in Springfield, Illinois (National Park Service).

by Karen Rubin

New York State is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of President Abraham Lincoln starting this month with numerous special events statewide, including a full day of free activities on Saturday, April 25 at the New York State Capitol. This is the date the Lincoln Funeral Train arrived in Albany in 1865 carrying the slain President’s body that then laid in state at the old Capitol on April 26.

But before the funeral cortege arrives in Albany, it will come to New York City, on Friday, April 24, where programs will be held at Federal Hall National Memorial11 a.m. & 1 pm

(Federal Hall National Memorial is at 26 Wall Street, near the corner of Wall Street and Nassau Street. (Called the Birthplace of American Government, it was here on Wall Street, where George Washington took the oath of office as the first President, and this site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. The current structure, a Customs House, later served as part of the US Sub-Treasury. Now, the building serves as a museum and memorial to the first President and the beginnings of the United States of America.)

A mask of Abraham Lincoln's visage was made just before his death © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A mask of Abraham Lincoln’s visage was made just before his death © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Lincoln guided our nation through one of its darkest times, and his commitment to unity and equality continues to inspire,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “As we recognize the 150th anniversary of his death, I encourage all New Yorkers to learn more about his life, his enduring legacy and his profound impact on our nation.”

The next day, the funeral train will come into Albany.

The East Gallery of the Capitol will feature an exhibit dedicated to Lincoln’s memory and the contributions New York made to the Union effort in the Civil War. Central to the exhibit is the flag that laid on the President’s coffin. In addition, numerous Lincoln-themed activities will take place at the Capitol including re-enactors, period music and more. To cap off the day, the National Parks Service is sponsoring a presentation by a noted actor who will portray Lincoln in the War Room of the Capitol at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. However, because of limited seating, reservations are required for the Lincoln portrayal and can be made at www.governor.ny.gov/lincolntribute.

Saturday, April 25 1 pm – 7 pm, New York State Capitol

1 p.m. – Civil War reenactors representing the 123rd New York Volunteers, the 125th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the 26th USCT, the 7th New York Heavy Artillery, and several other recreated Civil War units will gather in West Capitol Park near Swan Street and begin a ceremonial march down Washington Avenue to East Capitol Park where they will conduct a memorial service honoring President Lincoln.

Following the service, reenactors will remain outside taking questions, and conduct marching drills and Civil War military demonstrations. A period 12-pound Mountain Howitzer replica cannon that is part of the 7 th New York Heavy Artillery will also be on display throughout the day in East Capitol Park.

Hourly, from 2-6 p.m. – Free Capitol tours start at the base of the Senate staircase on the first floor.

Lincoln impersonator at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History The National Park Service program features accomplished Lincoln actor, Fritz Klein who will give voice Abraham Lincoln's commitment to the idea that the United States was "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Lincoln impersonator at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History The National Park Service program features accomplished Lincoln actor, Fritz Klein who will give voice Abraham Lincoln’s commitment to the idea that the United States was “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

3:30 pm and 6:30 p.m. (Online reservations required) – Musicians Anne and Ridley Enslow, dressed in 1860s costumes, will recapture the drama and pathos of the great American Civil War through songs and tunes. This will be followed by a first person interpretative program presented by noted Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein that focuses on Lincoln’s hopes and dreams for the country during his tenure as president. Seating is limited. The presentation will be approximately 90 minutes. Reservations can be made at www.governor.ny.gov/lincolntribute .

The train then continues on to Buffalo, and programs will be held on Sunday, April 26, at the Buffalo History Museum at 3 p.m. and then Monday, April 27, at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, at 9:30 a.m. and at the Central Library Auditorium12 p.m.

Visitors will be able to experience the Lincoln exhibit at the Capitol throughout the summer. In addition, New York’s Path Through History program will feature sites and events statewide that explore President Lincoln, the Civil War and their connection to the Empire State. Information is available at www.iloveny.com/Lincoln. More information on the National Parks Funeral Train events can be found here.

“Over the last four years, the National Park Service has commemorated the 150th anniversary of this country’s greatest national crisis, while exploring its enduring relevance in the 21st century using the guiding theme of Civil War to Civil Rights,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “As the sesquicentennial events come to a close, our commemorations of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train highlight the major cities, including three in New York State, that held funeral ceremonies along the route to Springfield, Illinois. These events in New York, Albany and Buffalo recognize the Empire State’s significant role in the Union war effort, both on the battlefields and on the home front.”

Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, said, “No state contributed more soldiers, more money, or more innovation to Lincoln’s war to preserve the Union and destroy slavery than did New York. And no state grieved at his assassination more publicly and more passionately. Lincoln earned unforgettably grand farewells in Manhattan, Albany, and Buffalo. But as this exhibit reveals, small tributes occurred in many towns and villages in between, from the Hudson Valley to the Southern Tier—and all along the tracks where his funeral train rode in its journey back to Springfield, Illinois. This is an amazing, virtually untold story of which all New Yorkers should be proud. And they should be equally proud of the successful effort to preserve the flag that once covered his coffin in Albany—and was supplied in 1865 by the Albany woman who helped our state obtain the priceless Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in Lincoln’s hand. As chair of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, I’m proud to have supported the flag preservation effort. As a Lincoln historian, I’m honored to have worked with Mark Schaming and the New York State Museum on its interpretation. And as a New Yorker, I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo for all he has done to encourage history education and exhibitions in the Capitol and throughout the state.”

For example, New York helped propel Abraham Lincoln onto the national stage, and his presidency and legacy have deep ties to the state. His speech at New York City’s Cooper Union transformed him into a compelling candidate for president. New Yorkers were leaders in America’s anti-slavery movement that set the stage for the Civil War, and the state provided more money and soldiers to the war than any other, including Lincoln’s General-in-Chief. The 1865 funeral train carrying Lincoln’s slain body brought out tens of thousands of mourners both for public viewings in New York City, Albany and Buffalo, and all along the train route as well.

150 years later, New York’s Path Through History takes visitors to sites pivotal to Lincoln and his times:

In addition, The New York-Historical Society has opened a new exhibit, Lincoln and the Jews, on view through June 7, 2015 (170 Central Park West (77th Street), New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org).

A Flag for the Ages Exhibit Highlights

President Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe hat © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Lincoln funeral train and Civil War exhibition will showcase the national flag placed around the bier, or platform, upon which the slain president’s casket rested as he laid in state in the Capitol in Albany, New York, on April 26, 1865. It also features additional funeral-related artifacts, chronicles Lincoln’s last day, tragic death, and the many ceremonies honoring Lincoln along the funeral train route that carried his body from Washington, D.C., through New York, to Springfield, Illinois. The exhibit will also highlight New York State’s contribution to the Civil War and related historical figures and artifacts.

The flag that draped the coffin was reportedly presented in 1861 by William H. Seward, Secretary of State and former New York State Governor and United States Senator, to Emily Weed Barnes, daughter of Thurlow Weed, a political adviser and close friend to Seward. When the casket bearing Lincoln’s body arrived at the Capitol, Mrs. Barnes wrapped the flag around the bier. The flag remained in the Barnes family and was donated to New York State Battle Flag Collection and accepted by Governor Franklin Roosevelt in 1930.

Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn M. Destito said, “As the caretaker of the New York State Capitol, OGS is pleased that Governor Cuomo has transformed this building into a place where citizens can not only see government at work, but also learn about our state. The Lincoln exhibit is a wonderful opportunity to go back in time and experience the rich history associated with Lincoln and his legacy.”

Empire State Development Division of Tourism Executive Director Gavin Landry said, “New York State helped propel Abraham Lincoln onto the national stage, and his presidency and legacy have deep ties to the Empire State. From the homes and final resting places of New Yorkers key to the Civil War and its lead up, like Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman; abolitionist John Brown; Lincoln’s Secretary of State and confidant William H. Seward; and Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant, to sites whose industry and technology played a vital role in the Civil War, like the Burden Iron Works, Brooklyn Navy Yard and West Point Foundry, New York’s Path Through History is ready to take visitors one hundred and fifty years back in time.”

State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Lincoln’s contribution to our country’s history and his connection to our great state will come to life this month as we commemorate the anniversary of his death. Through the numerous presentations and exhibits, New Yorkers will get a true sense of the Civil War era and understand better the events that framed our state’s storied past and how New York impacted the times. Lincoln was a monumental figure of his time and we look forward to seeing his legacy shared with thousands across our state.”

Path Through History highlights historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State. The program, introduced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, builds on New York’s already robust heritage tourism attractions. The initiative, which is overseen by Empire State Development’s Division of Tourism/I LOVE NEW YORK, is currently focused on 13 themes including: Arts & Culture, Natural History, U.S. Presidents, Women’s Rights, Canals & Transportation, Civil Rights, Colonial History, Immigration, Innovation & Commerce, The Revolutionary War, Native American Heritage, Sports History and the War of 1812. Important heritage sites and events across the state were selected with input from leading historians. For more information, visit www.iloveny.com/paththroughhistory .

In an effort to raise the profile of historic destinations, New York State hosts Path Through History Weekends, utilizing live events to celebrate New York’s history and highlight the tremendous efforts of the people and organizations committed to its preservation and promotion. In 2014, 383 events were held in 55 of New York State’s 62 counties, a 43 percent increase from the prior year. This year, Path Through History Weekend will take place June 20 – 21, 2015.

Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or use #LoveNYHistory to join us on the journey down New York’s Path Through History.
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First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Opening of Old Family Dining Room on White House Tour

February 10, 2015
First Lady Michelle Obama has opened the Old Family Dining Room to public tours of the White House © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

First Lady Michelle Obama has opened the Old Family Dining Room to public tours of the White House © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the Old Family Dining Room for public viewing for the first time in White House history. Through a joint effort by the First Lady and the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, and funded by a special donation from the White House Historical Association, the room has been refurbished and will serve as a showcase of 20th century art and design.  Adjacent to the State Dining Room, the Old Family Dining Room has a rich history that dates back to 1825.  Additional information on the history of the Old Family Dining room can be found HERE.

“It is my pleasure to help pull back the curtain on this special part of the White House,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Today and moving forward, the Old Family Dining room will reflect the history of our former First Families and represent the legacy and impact of modern American artists.”

As part of the room’s renovation, the several items have been added to the permanent White House collection for display in the Old Family Dining Room:

Resurrection by Alma Thomas (1891-1978), done in 1966. An educator and artist in Washington, D.C. for most of her career, Alma Thomas was one of the renowned members of the Washington Color School. This painting is the first artwork by an African-American woman featured in the White House.

Early Bloomer [Anagram (a Pun)] by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), done in 1998, An innovator in many mediums, Rauschenberg received the National Medal of the Arts in 1993.

Study for Homage to the Square: Asking by Josef Albers (1888-1976), done in 1963.

Homage to the Square by Josef Albers (1888-1976), done in 1966. German immigrant artist and color theorist Josef Albers began his “Squares” series in 1950, studying the effects of adjacent colors and the illusions created of squares advancing or receding in space.

Black, White, and Gray by Anni Albers (1899-1994), pictorial weaving adapted as a wool rug done in 1950. A pioneering abstract artist, Anni Albers was best known for her work in textiles.

These were gifts of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, in honor of Barack and Michelle Obama.

New York World’s Fair Tableware , 1939, ceramic plate, china, and glassware. Silver tea set manufactured by Graff, Washbourne, & Dunn. Received by the White House after the conclusion of the fair in 1940. The coffee and tea pots – spherical with triangular spouts – are suggestive of the Perisphere and Trylon, symbols of the 1939 fair.

White House Tours

Public tour requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress.  These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted).  Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible as a limited number of spaces are available. All White House tours are free of charge.  (Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.)

If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, you need to contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.

All guests 18 years of age or older will be required to present a valid, government-issued photo identification. All foreign nationals must present their passport.

Take a Virtual Tour:

As part of President and Mrs. Obama’s commitment to open the White House to as many Americans as possible, the White House has partnered with the Google Art Project and allowed their 360 Street View cameras to capture the rooms that are featured on the public tour. Now anyone, anywhere, can experience the history and art of the White House via their computer. Take the virtual tour.

For additional information about tours of the White House, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

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Castle that Highlights Wayfarers Walking Vacations’ New Hike ‘Stars’ in ‘Downton Abbey’ Episode

December 10, 2014
Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of "Downton Abbey," highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey,” highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

A new highlight of The Wayfarers Walking Vacations 2015 program is also set to star in a Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey” on PBS’s hugely popular Masterpiece Classic series.

Alnwick (pronounced ‘Annick’) Castle in England’s Northumberland, will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode as Brancaster Castle. No stranger to the cameras, Alnwick was also the setting for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

The cast and crew spent two weeks at the castle last summer, filming extensively in the spectacular State Rooms, as well as in the castle’s grounds and at the semi-ruined Hulne Abbey in the Duke of Northumberland’s parklands in Alnwick. 

Visitors to Alnwick Castle in 2015 can explore a brand new Downton Abbey exhibition, featuring photography, costumes, and props from the filming. It is rumoured that the episode, which will be screened on Christmas Day in the UK, is likely to air in the US at the end of season 5, which runs from Sunday, January 4 on Masterpiece on PBS.

The castle is a centerpiece of The Wayfarers’ new itinerary, ‘Northumbria – Land of Castles, Saints and Vikings’, based on the ancient kingdom of one of Britain’s most remote and beautiful landscapes.

It is one of three Walks new to the schedule. The others are in Italy’s Puglia region and a new take on the historic pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena in Tuscany.

A Wayfarers’ Downton Abbey vacation already includes a visit inside the ‘real’ Downton, Highclere Castle, in the south of England, other key locations and hiking amid classic English villages and countryside.

In festive spirit, the company, which has been providing all-inclusive hiking tours for more than 30 years, is offering ‘a walk in an envelope’ – Gift Certificates which can be redeemed by the recipient for a Wayfarers’ vacation in one of 20 countries across the globe.

The vouchers are available for values from $500, up to the full price of a Walk.

“Our Walk in Northumbria was designed before we knew Alnwick would be a location in Downton Abbey, because it is such a wonderful place, steeped in more than 700 years of history,” The Wayfarers’ founder Michael West said. “As on our Downton Abbey Walk, we aim to give our guests much more than just a sight-seeing stop – we really aim to get beneath the skin of a place and I guarantee that Northumbria will be unforgettable.”

“Meanwhile, our Gift Certificates are the chance for someone to give a truly wonderful gift of one of our Walks as a surprise on Christmas morning – or at any time of the year!”

Founded more than 30 years ago, The Wayfarers Walking Vacations was named by National Geographic Traveler as purveyor of one of the ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime,’ and by National Geographic Adventure as one of the ‘Best Hiking Companies,’ The Wayfarers offers an eco-sensitive walking vacation of both culture and fitness in 19 countries with 40+ itineraries.

Walks cover England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, New Zealand, Patagonia, Alaska, Colorado, Southwest USA, and a barging/walk combination in Burgundy, France.

Wayfarers Walks offer exclusive entrees into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks are from 6-13 days and are rated on a five-level challenge scale. Price per person is all-inclusive from Day One: including all transfers, hotel accommodation, full board plus twice daily snacks, wine with dinner, tips, entrance tickets, maps and postcards.

The Wayfarers is a member of Trusted Adventures, www.trustedadventures.com, dedicated to the highest standards of small-group travel and supporting local economies.

The Wayfarers Walk Away Guide explains the benefits and practicalities of walking vacations and is guaranteed to inspire new walkers. Available at http://www.thewayfarers.com/walkawayguide

The Wayfarers 2015 Brochure http://bit.ly/1t2wwkr

For more information on all the Wayfarers Walks or the Gift Certificates contact www.thewayfarers.com, 800-249-4620 or email walk-info@thewayfarers.com

Facebook The Wayfarers Walking Vacations; Twitter @wayfarers; Instagram Wayfarerswalks.

 

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Cape May’s Designer Show House Highlights Best of Victorian Seaside City

October 1, 2014
Victorian Cape May, New Jersey © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Victorian Cape May, New Jersey © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Cape May’s Designer Show House returns for its 9th year with an exciting project in 2014-15 that highlights the best of Cape May: the city’s Victorian architecture beautifully preserved, the creativity of those who come here, and the joy of celebrating holidays here.

The Ocean Victorian, 25 Ocean St., opens its doors to the public on Friday, Oct. 10 as the 2014-15 Cape May Designer Show House, with the theme “Celebrating Holidays,” presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) and sponsored by DesignNJ magazine.

Visitors will discover the joy of celebrating holidays in Cape May inside this seaside retreat with tours from Oct. 10 through June 14, 2015. Tours can also be combined with dining packages and special events.

This year’s Designer Show House is located within steps of Cape May’s beaches in a majestic row alongside some of Cape May’s most recognized historic structures. This 5,000 square foot home is being transformed with significant upgrades to the interior. Visitors will see how the region’s top designers creatively portray a different holiday in each of 12 rooms in this circa 1880 Cape May landmark, making the 2014-15 Designer Show House a must-see in Cape May.

This classic Mansard-style home was built soon after the great fire of 1878. The Mansard roof is crowned by ornamental wrought ironwork, and the house offers breathtaking ocean views. A private home before and after the great fire for nearly 100 years, the building was restored and operated as an award-winning bed and breakfast inn known as The Inn on Ocean for more than 25 years, before being converted as a retreat for family vacations for the past 10 years.

Visitors will discover the joy of celebrating holidays in Cape May inside this seaside retreat with tours from Oct. 10 through June 14, 2015. Tours can also be combined with dining packages and special events.

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New Walking Tour Explores Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace

July 24, 2014

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Vienna with Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace, a walk within the spectacular interiors of the Habsburgs’ summer residence and a close consideration of the interwoven history of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Built at the end of the 17th century by Emperor Leopold I, Schönbrunn Palace is situated within an expanse of glorious gardens, and home to almost 1500 exquisitely preserved rooms, many of which are open to the public. The palace provides a unique platform for understanding a complex history, and exploring the lives and loves of a long line of Habsburg monarchs. Each room is adorned with ancient artwork and fine furnishings that reveal an intricate and compelling storyline about those who lived there.

Gilded Ambition guides visitors through the lives of successive Habsburg monarchs, uncovering narratives and provoking discussion and consideration of this hugely influential family. Led by a local expert, the 2.5-hour walking seminar goes beyond standard show-and-tell tours, to instill a deeper understanding of the complex narratives and geopolitical influences revealed by the palace and its interior.

The tour also connects the past with the present, revealing how the Habsburgs’ legacy, as manifest in Schönbrunn Palace, continues to speak to modern day Vienna, its culture, its people and their outlook.

“Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most popular tourist attraction, yet we wanted to create a unique way to experience it.” says Natalie Holmes, Context’s Central Europe manager and co-creator of the tour. “The tour joins the dots between this magnificent monument, its complex historical significance, and its modern-day legacy.”

Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace lasts 2 1/2 hours and is available daily. Group walks cost €65 per person, plus €14.50 (adult), €8.50 (child 6-18) for palace entry. Private tours cost €280 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel, which is based in Philadelphia, is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-four (24) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit the website at: www.contexttravel.com.

See also:

On the Danube Bike Trail: Seeing Vienna by Bike and slideshow

Jewish Heritage Preserved in Vienna, Austria and slideshow

 

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New London Walking Tour Delves Into Legacy of England’s Legal System

June 30, 2014

Context, organizer of acclaimed walking tours, is expanding its programs on culture and history with an innovative tour delving into the development and eccentricities of the English legal system.

During the new walk, Of Inns and Wigs, Understanding Legal London, Context experts and former barristers take visitors through the Inns of Court; a labyrinth located just off the busy Strand dotted with secluded squares, alleyways and courtyards. This hidden area, where tourists would not normally wander on their own, has been home to the legal profession since the Middle Ages and is when students of law first came to study and live.

In addition to tracing the evolution of the legal system, the walk features many architectural gems of the heart of London including the 12th-century Temple Church (once the headquarters of the medieval Knights Templar and later remodelled by Sir Christopher Wren), the Tudor gateway at Lincoln’s Inn to the Georgian splendors of New Square and the Victorian grandeur of the Royal Courts of Justice.

“The English legal system and its codes have always fascinated foreigners,” notes Petulia Melideo, head of Context’s UK operations. “This walk grants a unique window into this secretive world, but also explores its quirks such as barristers’ ubiquitous horsehair wigs and the codes of court.”

Of Inns and Wigs, Understanding Legal London lasts three hours and is available Monday through Friday. Group walks cost £70 per person. Private tours cost £280 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-four (24) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. More information atwww.contexttravel.com.

 

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