Posted by: RasmaSandra | November 11, 2018

Exploring Bridgeport and New Haven


Bridgeport Connecticut is the fifth-largest city in New England.

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The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is an interactive, educational facility. The exhibits are hands-on and activity based so that visitors can learn through personal experience and interaction. This museum has three permanent galleries and features lessons and activities about electricity, sound, and space. Throughout the year there are three additional traveling exhibits.

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Within the museum territory, you’ll also find Adventure Park which is a zip line and climbing park. There are 11 treetop trails with nearly 200 platforms. Each of the platforms is installed at various heights all over the forest and connected by cables to trees. Visitors are safely harnessed and can slide along from platform to platform. Everyone receives orientation and safety training.

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Beardsley Zoo is the only zoo in Connecticut. It is divided into five sections. The Predator section gets you up close to leopards, lynx, and tigers. In the South American Rainforest section, you can see different species of monkey, boa constrictors, vampire bats, poison dart frogs and a lot more.

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Alligator Alley has water birds, bald eagles, American alligators, and gray foxes.

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The New England Farmyard has guinea hogs, snowy owls, Cotswold sheep, Nubian goats, and black swans. Hoofstock is home to bison, llamas, wolves, black-tailed prairie dogs, and other animals.

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The Housatonic Museum of Art is housed in the Housatonic Community College. Here you can see artwork by a number of artists. Permanent collections include 18th, 19th, and 20th-century artwork. The museum also exhibits visiting and rotating displays and a series of student work exhibitions.

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Captain’s Cove Seaport is close-by a boardwalk that surrounds Captain’s Cove Marina. It is a small, waterfront event and tourism center. Here you can find fish fry restaurants, shops, and lively bars. Throughout the year there are live music and other special events. Boat charters are available for sports fishing, and sunset cruises.

New Haven Connecticut

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Yale University Woodbridge Hall

New Haven is home to Yale University.

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The Yale University Art Gallery is an art museum that has found its home in several buildings on the Yale University campus. The art collection spans all periods and cultures particularly African sculptures, American decorative art and fine arts, Italian paintings, and modern art. It is the oldest university art museum in the western hemisphere founded in 1832.

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The New Haven Green is a historic park in downtown. This is a privately owned park. It was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark District. Many events take place in the park like the New Haven Jazz Festival.

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The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is housed in the Hewitt Quadrangle at Yale University. It is a literary archive and rare book library built in 1963. It is one of the world’s largest buildings dedicated exclusively to rare books and manuscripts. On display, you can find the library’s most prized possessions among them a copy of the Gutenberg Bible.

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The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History is a science museum founded in 1866 by philanthropist George Peabody. It is one of the world’s oldest and largest natural history museums. The popular Great Hall of Dinosaurs includes The Age of Reptiles, a 110-foot long mural, and a mounted Brontosaurus. The permanent exhibits include birds, minerals, and artifacts of the Native Americans of Connecticut. Egyptian artifacts, and wildlife dioramas. Its collection of fossils is one of the largest and most important in the U.S.

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The Carousel at Lighthouse Point Park dates back to the 1920s. The carousel building was constructed in 1916. It features two chariots and 70 figures which are all directed by a figure of George Washington holding a baton. Both the building and the carousel are on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | November 4, 2018

Amazing Mystic on the Mystic River


In our armchair travels, we have arrived in the U.S. state of Connecticut. This is a southern New England state that has a mix of coastal cities and rural areas with small towns.

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Our first stop is the lovely coastal town of Mystic.

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Mystic Seaport is a living museum of the maritime past of America. It lies along the banks of the Mystic River. Here you’ll find a recreation of a 19th century Connecticut coastal village, a shipyard, several exhibit halls, and more than 500 historic ships and other watercraft.

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A stroll through the village will transport you back to the mid-1800s and you’ll hear the stories about these times from historians, musicians, storytellers, and craftspeople. At the Henry B. du Pont Preservation Shipyard you can watch traditional shipbuilding techniques as the craftsmen go about restoring and maintaining the museum’s collection of watercraft.

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The highlight here is the Charles W. Morgan. This is a magnificent tall ship that was once part of the 2,700 vessel whaling fleet, launching from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841. The ship has sailed from Arctic waters to Cape Horn.

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At the Mystic Aquarium, it is exciting to see beluga whales from behind a 20 ft. long underwater window. You can also enjoy seeing African penguins, seals, sea lions, shark and ray touch pools, exhibits with jellyfish and Return to the Titanic and the Deep Sea 3D movie presentations.

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Bascule Bridge was built in 1922 with a mechanism that lets the bridge rise to let large ships pass by and lower to let traffic continue on its way. The machinery is exposed and it is quite impressive. The bridge stays open for about five minutes and opens and closed about 2,200 times a year.

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Charming Olde Mistick Village is a reconstruction of a charming, quaint village where you stroll along cobblestone streets. There are lots of shops to explore and the streets are lined with trees filled with flowering pots. Some of the best cafes and restaurants are here too.

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Stop to take a look at Historic Downtown Mystic which has over 80 shops including places to eat and souvenir shops. There is always some event happening here.

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Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is a lovely, lush green space where people can go hiking or watch wildlife. The center includes 350 acres of mixed woods, wetlands, and meadows all intersected by ten miles of hiking trails.

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You can spot bluebirds in the meadows or bullfrogs and painted turtles in the pond. In the summer lovely wildflower gardens bloom and the wood provides cool shade. Some birds like owls and hawks live in spacious outdoor enclosures.

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Denison Homestead and Pequotsepos Manor are big parts of Mystic history. The impressive manor was built on 160 acres of land that was granted to Captain George Denison in 1654. The house became a museum in 1946 and the rooms are full of period furniture. The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is located on the Homestead property.

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The idea of the Mystic Arts Center began with Impressionist painter Charles Harold Davis who settled in Mystic in 1891. With his presence, an art colony formed. The center’s Schuster Gallery has a permanent collection of over 250 works of art. There are three other galleries that exhibit the artwork of local and regional artists. Selected artist’s artworks are on sale and there are organized art classes, seminars and art camps for all ages.

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A great way to explore the area in and around the coastal village of Mystic is by water route. Taking the Argia Mystic Cruises you can see the scenic coastline, beaches, nearby islands, and other boats sailing by. The Argia 18 ft, schooner will take you on a water cruise and you can learn about the maritime history of the area. It accommodates 49 passengers and you are offered lemonade and snacks or you can bring your own food and drinks.

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Peace Nature Sanctuary is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled parks in Mystic. It stretches along River Road. At one time it belonged to explorer and writer Mary Jobe Akeley and was a summer nature camp for girls. After the death of the writer, it became a public park. A lovely time to visit is in May when the native pink slippers bloom. There are well-maintained trails for walks or hikes offering fantastic views of the river.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 30, 2018

New York City and New York State Off the Beaten Path


New York State has many amazing things to do and see. We have already traveled through many of them. This begins with one of the top attractions – New York City.

 New York City is known as The Big Apple and it consists of the five boroughs of Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx.

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The Statue of Liberty is the most iconic monument in the U.S. It brought hope to millions of immigrants my parents included on their way to Ellis Island. A ferry service lets tourist visit both from Battery Park. It runs a continuous loop all day. The first stop is The Statue of Liberty with awesome views of the New York City skyline. You’ll find a museum in the base of the statue and there are plenty of educational signs, statues, and historic markers.

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Ellis Island has a museum on the first floor of the main building. It is an impressive architectural masterpiece that served as the main processing center and hospital from 1892 to 1954. On the upper floor, you can see the quarantine wing and some of the original bunks and facilities. There are exhibits throughout with photos on the walls, documents, and personal stories.

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A spectacular area to visit in NYC is in Manhattan. It is Times Square. Right in the heart of it all at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue. There are massive screens everywhere announcing the latest movies and the shows on Broadway. The pedestrian area is full of artists, performers, and tourists. It is an exciting place and you can get refreshments from the food trucks lining the street.

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Also, make sure to see it when all the neon lights are shining.

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Have dinner at Sardi’s Restaurant

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and tour the Theater District. Take a look at Madam Tussaud’s which has a glass-walled viewing platform, protruding over the sidewalk.

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Later on head for The Empire State Building which is another NYC icon and within walking distance of Times Square. It offers breathtaking views of the city and is open until 2 AM.

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Take in the lush green of Central Park which offers so much with attractions, the surrounding Manhattan skyline, and peaceful gardens.

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Angel of the Waters Fountain at Bethesda Terrace

Created in the 1860s the Bethesda Terrace is an amazing arcade lined with Minton tiles. The Mall is wonderful a broad pathway lined with centuries-old American elms and begins at the terrace.

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Other spots to check out are The Big Lake where you can relax or even take a boat out on to the lake,

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the formal Conservatory Garden,

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the Shakespeare Garden

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and the popular Chess & Checker House.

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There is also the memorial to John Lennon Strawberry Fields.

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The Central Park Zoo is a wonderful place for both adults and children with sea lions, polar bears, penguins, lions, and other animals.

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Children enjoy the historic Carousel. You can even take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the entire park.

New York State Off the Beaten Path

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Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located midway between Buffalo and Rochester within the Atlantic Flyway. There are 10,818 acres of marsh, swamp, wet meadow and pasture which offer food, rest and protection for more than 200 species of birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. There are also 42 species of mammals, plus reptiles, fish amphibians, and insects.  By mid-April the peak of the spring season there may be as many as 40,000 Canadian geese feeding at a single time.

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The great blue heron nests here. The autumn is the best time to view ducks such as wood ducks, mallards, and blue-winged teal. Permanent residents include great horned owls and downy woodpeckers. Great vantage points can be found along the trails and overlooks.

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Griffith Sculpture Park in Ashford Hollow has a collection of 150 objective and nonobjective sculptures created from aluminum, bronze, steel, cast iron, and wood. These sculptures were made by several different artists.

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There are trails that crisscross the park’s 400 acres of meadows, ponds and lightly wooded slopes. Walking along you come upon the sculptures. A particularly striking sculpture is that of a woman striding across a field. Another sculpture is that of a bishop confronting a king and queen. Among the animal kingdom there are sculptures of a flight of giant geese, a life-size giraffe browsing for twigs at the edge of the woods, and within the woods, there is a huge, silvery crab with a gigantic rust colored mantis and a king cobra. At one pond you can see aluminum bathers. Altogether the park features over 250 large-scale sculptures dispersed through miles of hiking trails. The park is open from May through October.

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Rock City Park in Olean is found high in the Allegheny Mountains at an elevation of some 2,350 feet offering panoramic views. Here one can see gigantic boulders of dramatic shapes and formations. The rocks are estimated to be 500 million years old they’re known as puddingstone, a quartz conglomerate formed at the bottom of a prehistoric sea. During the uplifting of this mountain system, the rocks were exposed to the surface.

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The trail winding through Rock City starts and ends near Signal Rock which was once used by Indians for their signal fires. Walking single file one squeezes through narrow passageways, passes beneath great overhanging boulders, and descends into crevasse carved out by extinct waterfalls. In June, pink and white mountain laurel blooms in profusion and many other plants flower beneath the maples, hemlocks, pines, and oaks.

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Montour Falls – in the village of Montour Falls. These beautiful falls are almost as high as Niagara, they descend in three tiers. A sketch of the falls, made in 1820, by Louis Philippe, later King of France hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

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The falls were named She-qua-gah (Tumbling Waters) by the band of Seneca Indians brought here from Pennsylvania in the 1760s by their matriarch, Queen Catharine Montour. The white people who settled here after the exodus of the Indians called the community Mills Landing and Havana. It was later renamed in honor of the Indian queen. The village’s historic district is known for its Greek Revival buildings. Several of them are in the national registrar of historic places. At Havana Glen, a two-mile-long ravine on the edge of the village is a series of low waterfall cascades through the woods. Among the trees, one can find an inviting picnic and camping area.

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Lorenzo is in the village of Cazenovia. Dutch investors sent John Lincklaen to America in 1790. He purchased 120,000 acres of land by Lake Cazenovia and laid out the village of Cazenovia in 1793 building roads and mills.

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On a knoll overlooking the lake, Lincklaen built a Federal-style mansion in 1807 and named it Lorenzo. The Lincklaen family occupied the property for 160 years when it was purchased by the state of New York in 1968 as a historic site. Lorenzo is now a museum surrounded by formal gardens, groves of trees, walks and a carriage house containing a wonderful collection of 19th-century horse-drawn vehicles. Well worth seeing is also the village of Cazenovia with a charming main street.

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Frederic Remington Art Museum is housed in a white Victorian mansion in Ogdensburg. It was the home of David Parish an early developer of large tracts of land and is now a museum which contains a comprehensive collection of Remington’s work. Frederic Remington was born in Canton, New York in 1861 and spent most of his youth in Ogdensburg. He studied art at Yale University. The museum’s collection of 70 Remington oils includes “The Charge of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill” which depicts the famous battle in Cuba during the Spanish-American War when Remington was a war correspondent for the Hearst newspapers. There are also 14 bronzes, 140 watercolors, and many ink and pen sketches. Remington died in1909 in Ridgefield, Connecticut. After his death, this home became the residence of his wife Eva. She and her sister, Emma lived there from 1915 to 1918 and the museum was founded as the Remington Art Memorial in 1923. Remington’s last studio is reconstructed in the museum and here you can see many of his personal belongings. In addition to the Remington works a collection of period glass, china, silver, cameos and a group of 19th century American and European paintings and sculptures are shown.

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Huguenot Street – is located in New Paltz near the Wallkill River in the shadow of the Shawangunk Mountains. Many French Protestants known as Huguenots, exiled themselves, finding refuge in neighboring countries. In 1677 several Huguenot families from die Paltz (the Rhine-Palatinate) arrived in the Hudson Valley. The refugees were from what today is southern Belgium and northern France.  They bought land from the Indians, built log huts and named their settlement after their previous home. In the 1690s they replaced the huts with steep-roofed stone houses much like those of the Palatinate. Several of these quaint houses still remain on Huguenot Street, designated a national historic landmark with the claim of being “the oldest street in America with its original houses”. The houses were originally one-room structures and the large family kitchen with enormous fireplaces and cupboards displaying pottery and old pewter are especially appealing. The visitor center has a gallery of historic pictures and offers tours of the site.

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Sagamore Hill National Historic Site – located in Oyster Bay. Sagamore Hill was built in 1884 for Theodore Roosevelt, who in 1901 became the 26th president of the United States. The large house is surrounded by 155 acres and was the summer White House during Roosevelt’s presidency years. The house has 25 rooms including a big piazza facing west to view the sunset, a drawing room across the entire west end and a library with a bay window facing south. The piazza overlooks Oyster Bay and Long Island Sound. The North Room an imposing 30 by 40 ft. hall was added in 1905 and became the center of family activity. It is paneled in black walnut, swamp cypress, hazel, and mahogany. The hall contains Roosevelt’s many hunting trophies, paintings, books, and other treasures.

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Old Orchard, the Georgian brick home that Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt built on the grounds in 1937 is now a museum, exhibiting mementos of the president’s political and family life. The small library of books and pamphlets by and about Theodore Roosevelt is available to researchers by appointment.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 26, 2018

The Charming Catskills


The Catskills is an area in southeastern New York State about 100 miles from NYC and 40 miles from the capital Albany. Most of the Catskills are protected within the Catskill Park which is a 700,000-acre forest preserve.

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Slide Mountain at 4,180 feet is the highest mountain peak in the Catskills, Ulster County and all of New York State. It is located in the small town of Shandaken. The mountain is a popular hiking destination. The summit is rounded and forms a narrow ridge which turns into a wider space on the eastern end. The mountain has many trees like maples, beech, and yellow birch. The Boreal forests at higher altitudes mostly consist of balsam fir.

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The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a museum and performing arts center in Bethel. It is at the site of the legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival.

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The large outdoor amphitheater seats 15,000 people and a smaller indoor Event Gallery is for 400 guests. A Conservatory is used for arts education and the museum.

A 2,000-acre campus offers a variety of community and educational programs and performances like the annual Harvest Festival, concerts, lectures, and discussions.

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Town of Hunter

Hunter Mountain is the place for family fun all year round. It is part of the Great Northern Catskill Mountains.

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Here you’ll find a scenic Skyride chairlift to the summit of the mountain at 3.200 feet. There are guided serviced for fly fishing, exciting off-road rides, miles of hiking through dense forest and many more activities.

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Celtic Festival

You can join in the fun and attend the festivals hosted here like the Mountain Jam, the German Alps Festival, the TAP New York Craft Beer and Food Festival and many others. The Hudson Mountain Resort on the banks of the Dolans Lake offers great accommodations with condos that feature fireplaces and kitchens. The Resort has a ski school, gym, spa, three bars, two restaurants, and a food court.

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Minisink Battlefield County Park is on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in the Revolutionary War. It is the site of the Battle of Minisink. The park was built on the only Revolutionary War battlefield north of the Upper Delaware River.

This 57-acre park has picnic areas, a large pavilion, and restrooms. There are scenic trails to walk. At the interpretive center, visitors can learn about the Battle of Minisink and about the plant and animal life here.

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Windham Mountain in the Northern Catskills is a popular family resort in the lovely town of Windham. It offers great skiing with 54 trails over two peaks, six terrain parks, and 12 lifts. There is also year-round fun with an inn, alpine spa, night skiing, a golf course, adventure park, three restaurants and a mountain bike park reachable by chairlift.

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Falling Waters Preserve is 149 acres of undeveloped land. It has lovely scenery and peaceful places along the Hudson River. It was the former site of the Mulford Ice House. This was a massive structure holding over 10,000 tons of ice that had been harvested from the Hudson River in the wintertime.

It is a popular destination for hikers, those who love to fish and skiers. Two miles of trails offer tumbling waterfalls, vast meadows and beautiful stretches of the Hudson River.

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Plattekill Mountain in the town of Roxbury is a family resort offering skiing in winter and trails for mountain biking when spring comes. The mountain has a vertical drop of 1,100 feet and has 38 trails from beginner to challenging.

Two chairlifts take you up the mountain peak. There is a snow tubing park. In the summer there are free concerts called Music on the Mountain. You can also enjoy kayaking, guided hikes, fly fishing, and overnight camping.

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The Empire State Railway Museum reminds people of the times when trains traveled through high mountain passes. Back in 1899, the classic Phoenicia Junction Railroad Station connected the small upstate towns from Kingston Point on the Hudson to a shared station with the New York West Shore & Buffalo.

This little station has been restored and converted into a museum. The former baggage room is now a gallery exhibiting a collection of historic photographs and railroad artifacts. The former waiting room holds regular seminars and meetings. From May to October visitors can board a train and take a short and scenic ride through the Catskill Mountains.

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Fort Delaware Museum is a replica of the fort-settlement called Cushetunk that was built in 1755 by the Delaware Company Pioneers who settled in the Upper Delaware Valley. It was the first settlement of white people in the Delaware River Valley. The museum includes cabins, blockhouses, and gardens creating the life of an 18th-century settler. Costumed interpreters give guided tours and tell the story of the first Europeans who settled here. The tour includes demonstrations of blacksmithing, cabin keeping, farming, candle making, musketry drills and much more.

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Hanford Mills Museum is where you can see a water-and-steam-powered historic mill. It was founded in the 1840s and includes a gristmill, feed mill, a woodworking shop, and a hardware store.

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It is known for its innovative way of using tools such as waterwheels, water turbines, and gas engines.

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Visitors can tour some buildings on their own or join a guided tour. The site includes the Will Hanford House, the John and Lizzie Hanford Farmstead and the Walter J. Smith Hardware Store.

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Zoom Flume in East Durham is a popular family water park. The most unique attraction here is the Gravity Gorge Zipline, a one-of-a-kind waterpark zipline that rises over 100 feet above the park grounds. There are also many exciting waterslides. The park has space for birthday parties, family reunions, corporate events, and other gatherings. The park is open from late June to early September.

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Shadowland Theater is located in the lovely town of Ellenville. The town is located in a picturesque valley between the Catskill and Shawangunk Mountains. This is a renovated 1920 art-deco theater that has been home to the Shadowland Theater Company since 1984. It offers professionally produced musicals and contemporary plays. It is considered to be the leading professional non-profit theater company in the Hudson Valley.

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The Forestburgh Playhouse located about seven miles from Monticello. It is a small 292 seat theater, with a dinner Cabaret in the Forestburgh Tavern and original kid’s musicals several mornings a week. This is the oldest New York professional summer theater founded in 1947 in the old refurbished Klebs Farm and is one of the last small summer theaters left in the U.S.

The playhouse hires a new 50-person team every year from actors to directors and musicians and other professionals. Sometimes even great names from the stages of New York City. It has presented over 250 shows.

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The Belleayre Beach at Belleayre Mountain is a waterside adventure park in Pine Hill. The park has a spacious beach and visitors can rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boats, row boats and more. There are pavilions for large groups, barbecue grills, a basketball court, and a volleyball court.

You can enjoy swimming, fishing and paddling around the lake. There are biking trails around Belleayre Mountain. In the summer months, the park hosts family-friendly parties and special events.

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The Esopus Bend Nature Preserve is in the town of Saugerties. It stretches along the Esopus Creek.

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This is a protected ecosystem that is home to turkeys, deer, toads, dragonflies, and eagles at different times of the year. There are hiking trails and visitors can canoe or kayak.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 23, 2018

Exploring the Hudson Valley


The Hudson Valley in New York State offers the beauty of nature and many hundreds of years of history. It includes such lovely towns like New Paltz, Catskill. Hudson, Hyde Park and many more.

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It was artist Thomas Cole who put American art on the map of the world. He created a unique style of painting that was typically American. He laid the foundation of the Hudson River School of Art. His home Cedar Grove is located in the town of Catskill and became a museum in 2001 to celebrate his life.

About 150 of his paintings are on display at his home and it is a registered National Historic Site. It hosts exhibitions, lectures about the Hudson River School and other programs.

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The Vanderbilt Mansion also a National Historic Site is located in Hyde Park in a delightful setting among woodlands and gardens with great views of the Catskill Mountains and rivers. This 54-room mansion is a wonderful example of Beaux-Arts architecture.

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The terraced Italian Gardens are a delight to see. To visit you must book a guided tour.

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Teatown Lake Reservation in Westchester County has 1000 acres of beautiful nature reserve with lakes, rare native plants, wildlife and 15 miles of trails. Today it also includes Vernay Lake and Shadow Lake with waterfalls, hardwood swamps, meadows, mixed forests, hemlock forests, and laurel groves.

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Take in the beauty of Wildflower Island which is accessible on Open Gate Days and by guided tour.

The reservation has an Education Center that runs many different programs and offers outreach activities with the local community and schools. The Nature Center has an outdoor exhibit with 230 species of wildflowers, an outdoor classroom, a maple sugar house, the Wildflower Woods, a butterfly and bee garden, a sensory garden for the kids, and a raptor loop with owls, hawks, kestrels, and an eagle.

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Fall Views Park in Cohoes is home to the amazing Cohoes Falls. Here you can find four acres of falls, rivers and walking trails. Visitors can enjoy picnics or fishing trips. There are panels that inform visitors of the historical, educational and geological significance of the falls and park.

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For those who want some exercise, you can walk down a staircase to the bottom of the falls.

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The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art offers exhibitions and programs that promote the understanding of contemporary art. The center organizes temporary and long-term exhibits and installations that support both emerging and established artists.

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The center also provides space for artists to create and organizes lectures and discussions.

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SUNY Poly’s Children’s Museum of Science and Technology or CMOST in Troy is a children’s science museum where adults cannot enter unless accompanied by a child. The museum has a wide range of exhibits that include a digital planetarium and over 100 live animals.

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All of the exhibits are interactive and children can try their hand at construction, learn how machines work, build some homes, learn about Hudson River wildlife and so much more.

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Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack is the charming home of renowned American painter Edward Hopper. In 1971 it was turned into an art center.

Hopper’s birthplace has been preserved along with this memorabilia and documents. The center organizes various exhibits of art in all media, shows art-related movies and hosts popular concerts in the garden. Knowledgeable docents offer tours of the center.

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The Saugerties Lighthouse in Saugerties was built in 1835 to facilitate navigation on the Hudson River. Today it is a living museum. The lighthouse tower offers amazing views of the river and surroundings. The lighthouse has been converted into a renowned and charming bed and breakfast which is just perfect for a romantic getaway.

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The Hudson Beach Glass Gallery is a wonderful place to see beautiful glass objects in all different colors. The studio is fascination where you can see four artists who founded the studio in 1987 at work. You can also try making your own Christmas ornaments taking one of their courses and seeing the demonstrations. The studio is located in Beacon and housed in a former icehouse.

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The Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market is the place to be on a Saturday morning. You can smell fresh bread and food and take samples as you walk among the stalls and listen to live music. Here you’ll find more than 70 growers, bakers, chefs and artisans who display their wares.

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The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum is located in Hyde Park. Here you can see exhibits with memorabilia of the 32nd President of the U.S. and his family including models, prints, paintings, gifts to the state, gifts from the American people and family heirlooms. An interactive experience is offered to see what life was like at the Oval Office Desk.

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The Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site offers a tour of the Roosevelt country home, Top Cottage. This is where Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt retired to and where they entertained many famous guests from politicians to members of royalty. You will step back in time and see how the cottage was in the early 1800s and learn how early technology helped Roosevelt live with his disability and continue to serve as President.

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The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is Val-Kill and the only National Historic Site dedicated to a First Lady. This is where Eleanor moved after the death of her husband in 1945 and remained here until her death in 1962. In 1984 it was declared a Historic Site. You can tour the house and enjoy the gardens.

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The Storm King Art Center in New Windsor is recognized worldwide for its great art and sculpture set on a five-hundred-acre farm that consists of fields, hills, and woodlands.

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As you wander the trails you can see more than 100 sculptures surrounded by nature.

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If you wish you can also cycle the trails. In the Museum Building, you’ll find smaller sculptures and artwork.

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Innisfree Garden in Millbrook was founded by Walter Beck who had a fascination with Asian art. It is landscaped in Chinese and Japanese design.

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Here you’ll find gardens, streams, waterfalls, terraces, walls, rocks, and plants. The gardens are self-guided.

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The Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh is home to more than 500 motorcycles from 1897 to the present. Galleries include Harley-Davidson, Indian Timelines and many other motorcycles. There is also a tribute to performing motorcycles with displays like the Wall of Death from the Kamikaze Pit Lenger of Germany.

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The Wilderstein Historic Site features a 19th century Queen Anne style country house on the Hudson River in Rhinebeck. It sits on 40 acres of woodland bluff overlooking the river. The lovely flowers and gardens have been arranged in the American Romantic style with gazebos and garden seats.

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There are carriage drives, walks, and trails. You can tour the house with 15,000 cataloged objects, thousands of photographs, books and other items dating from 1540 to 1991.

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Opus 40 in Saugerties is a 6.5-acre sculpture park that was created by Harvey Fite in 1939. It was built on the site of s bluestone quarry and features lots of pieces of bluestone. Ramps and terraces rise up out of the ground and surround pools, trees, fountains, and sculptures. Visitors can head sixteen feet below to the epicenter of the main sculpture. It is open from Memorial Day through to the end of October and by appointment off season.

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The Trevor Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. that is located at a working high school. The students of Millbrook School are all encouraged to learn about and look after the animals.

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There are more than 180 exotic and indigenous animals. You can see red pandas, red wolves, and bobcats among other wildlife.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 18, 2018

Touring Albany

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Albany is the capital of the state of New York.

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In downtown Albany, you can enjoy relaxing at the Empire State Plaza which has reflecting pools, an art-filled underground shopping concourse and The Egg performing arts center. On both ends of the plaza, you’ll find the New York State Capitol and the New York State Museum.

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The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza is a complex of state government buildings. It is also known as the Empire State Plaza and at times South Mall. There are many different buildings that make up this complex among them the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower, the Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice, and the Swan Street Building.

The plaza also has shade trees, water fountains and a skating rink. It features many special events.

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An impressive building the New York State Capitol houses the New York State Legislature and sits prominently on the Empire State Plaza in Capitol Park. It was built between 1867 and 1899. The ground floor features the Classical Romanesque style, the second and third floors the Renaissance Classical style and the fourth and roof floors the Victorian Romanesque style.

The building is a National Historic Landmark and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. You can book a tour.

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Egg Performing Arts Center is part of the Empire State Plaza and among the top Albany attractions. It was named for its unusual shape and from a distance looks more like a sculpture than a building. It is home to two theaters the Kitty Carlisle Hart Theater for large musical productions and the Lewis A. Swyer Theater for smaller events.

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The Corning Tower on the plaza is a skyscraper and state office building with an observation deck on the 42nd floor. It is also known as the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower. Erastus was mayor of Albany from 1941 to 1983. At 589 feet in height, this is the tallest building in the state of New York outside of NYC.  The observation deck offers great views of the city and the Hudson River.

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Washington Park is a lovely park with over 100 species of trees like giant oaks and miniature bonsais. It is a great place for walking, picnics, jogging, biking, bird watching, and fishing. Every spring the popular Tulip Festival gathers people from all over the country. It is home to the unusual Lakehouse Amphitheater which hosts special events and concerts. All through the park are statues and monuments. You can enjoy a game of tennis and children can have fun on the playground.

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The New York State Museum offers collections, exhibitions, programs and publications in the fields of history, science, art, and anthropology. It has made its home in the Cultural Education Center. Here visitors can find four million scientific specimens and a whole lot more.

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The USS Slater is a destroyer escort historical museum ship that is moored in the Hudson River. It launched in 1944 and served in the US Navy and the Greek Navy. The ship counts as a Cannon-class destroyer escort ship that was named after Frank O. Slater, a sailor killed during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. It has been designated as a US National Historic Landmark. One hour guided tours are available and it also features youth group overnight camps.

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Historic Cherry Hill was built in 1787. It was home to Philip and Maria Van Rensselaer, a powerful and rich Albany family. Today this is one of the most important landmarks of this period in the history of the city and the history of this family. The home was bequeathed to the state of New York and opened as a museum in 1964. There are over 70,000 personal objects, art pieces, documents, decorative arts, furnishings, and photographs. A range of educational programs are offered and guided tours for visitors.

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Palace Theater

is a historic theater in the Clinton Avenue Historic District. It is known for its Austrian Baroque interior with murals on the walls, red marble staircases and the chandelier in the lobby. It is home of the Albany Symphony Orchestra. The theater offers more than 150 events each year among them a classic movie series, comedy acts, concerts, and plays.

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The Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center is an information center, museum, and planetarium. It has found its home in an old water pumping station. It offers exhibits on Albany’s history, the USS Albany Heritage Exhibit, and other exhibits and events.

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At the center, you’ll find the Henry Hudson Planetarium. It gives public planetarium shows once a month and private group shows can be arranged. The outdoor courtyard can be rented for special occasions like parties and meetings.

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The Albany Institute of History and Art is devoted to the art, culture, and history of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley area. It was founded in 1791 which makes it one of the oldest museums in the U.S. It is housed in three buildings.

The Rice Building is a late 19th-century Beaux-Arts mansion.

The main building is a 1920s Classical Revival structure.

The last is a modern glass building that connects the other two. Its collection includes more than 20,000 objects among them ceramics, drawings, furniture, historical artifacts, paintings, and sculptures.

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The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a nature preserve known for its rare inland pine-barren ecosystem.

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The terrain consists of pine-scrub oak barrens, sand dunes, hardwood swamps, and forests, ponds and deep ravines.

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Among the wildlife here are coyotes, deer, foxes, hawks, owls

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and an endangered butterfly known as the Karner blue butterfly. There are more than 18 miles of trails and activities here are biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, and horseback riding. The Discovery Center has interactive displays and indoor and outdoor classrooms.

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Schuyler Mansion is a historic museum house in Albany. It was built between 1761 and 1765 for Philip Schuyler, a Revolutionary War general, and a U.S. Senator. This is a Georgian-style brick mansion and a National Historic Landmark listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The two and a half story house faces the Hudson River. The interior has artifacts of family members, decorative arts, furniture and paintings all from the 18th century. The Visitors Center offer an orientation exhibit and guided tours are available.

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The Albany Distilling Company is a small locally-owned distillery. It was established in 2011 and is close to the original 18th-century distillery. It produces Ironweed Bourbon Whiskey made from water, New York State whole grain, and yeast then aged in oak barrels. Quakenbush Still House Original Albany Rum is made from water, wild yeast, and Caribbean cane. These are just some of the products produced here.

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Distilling company bar and bottle shop

Tours are available.

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Lark Street is a historic street and at times referred to as the “Greenwich Village” of the Albany Capital area. This is home to antique shops, art galleries, bars, coffee houses, restaurants, and ships. You can see 19th-century brownstone buildings and cobblestones. Local musicians perform on the street and several major festivals take place here every year.


Albany City Hall is a historic building and the seat of government for the city. It was built in 1883 in the Romanesque style. There is a 202-foot tall carillon tower which is one of the few municipal carillons in the U.S. It was built by the John Taylor Company from England and was added in 1927 as a memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives in WW I. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is home to the office of the mayor, city and traffic courts and other city service offices.

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The Ten Broeck Mansion is a historic house museum. Originally is was known as Prospect and built between 1797 and 1798 by General Abraham Ten Broeck. It overlooks the Hudson River and is surrounded by formal gardens. Originally built in Federal style it was renovated in the Greek Revival style. The house is a museum with decorations and furnishings from the mid-19th century. Tours are available.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 15, 2018

Amazing Niagara Falls


Niagara Falls is a well-known and amazing waterfall and one of the most impressive and best-known waterfalls in the world. Niagara Falls is located in the extreme north-west of New York State forming the U.S. – Canadian border. Masses of water from Lake Erie come tumbling down creating an almost 200-foot drop which then flows into Lake Ontario.

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There are three waterfalls – Bridal Veil Falls,

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American Falls and

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the widest, Horseshoe Falls. Visitors can view the falls from dry land or take a boat trip which puts them right into the spray of the falls.

Once you have visited and viewed Niagara Falls there is plenty to see and do in the lovely upstate town.

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Niagara Falls State Park is New York’s oldest state park. It opened in 1885 and is home to the three impressive waterfalls and five islands on the Niagara River. The park offers nature and bike trails, picnic facilities and enjoyable scenery.

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The park’s main attraction is the Observation Tower from which you can get panoramic views of all three waterfalls.

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Sightseeing tours are available on the Maid of the Mist. The visitor center has historical exhibits, a gift shop, many restaurants, and the Adventure Theater. At night the falls are lit up and there are fireworks lighting the sky.

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On Goat Island

From Prospect Point there is a path that crosses a bridge on to little Green Island. This is in the middle of the rapids just above the American Falls. Then over another bridge to Goat Island, between the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. On Goat Island at the foot of the American Falls, you’ll find the entrance to the Cave of the Winds from where boardwalks lead to just under the falls.

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Before descending the 175-feet into the gorge visitors are given ponchos and souvenir sandals. It was named the “hurricane deck” due to constantly being in stormy conditions. The wooden platform stands only 20 feet from the tumbling waters of Bridal Veil Falls. Visitors can also get access to Luna Island by gangway from the northern tip of Goat Island and various walkways.

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When the river changes course three miles below the American Falls a whirlpool forms and these rapids are some of the world’s most dangerous as 100,000 cubic feet of water move through the narrow Whirlpool Gorge each second.

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From the New York side, visitors can hike down a series of paths and stairs to an observation point. Whirlpool Rapids Bridge is a popular way to view the falls from above. It spans the Niagara River between the U.S. and Canada.

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The Aquarium of Niagara has over 200 species of aquatic animals and 30-educational exhibits. Here you can see a sea lion show, harbor seal presentations, and penguin feeding.

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Visitors can have an animal encounter with a behind-the-scenes look at the care, training and social lives of seals and Humboldt penguins. The aquarium is also an animal rescue center for injured wildlife.

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The Castellani Art Museum was founded by the Castellani Family in 1976. The permanent collection includes over 5,600 works in a wide range of media dating back to the 1850s to the present. The collection consists of paintings, drawings, photos, and sculpture.

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A large part of the collection is focused on artwork created since the 1970s and features contemporary artists. The museum is located on the Niagara University campus.

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French Castle

Old Fort Niagara is one of the most important forts of the 18th century. It was prominent for protection and to maintain control of access to the Great Lakes during colonial wars. The restored original buildings include exhibits and artifacts. During the summer, living history interpreters demonstrate what daily life was like. Guided tours are available and the fort also hosts special events.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 11, 2018

Beautiful Buffalo


You’ll find the second most populated city in New York State Buffalo at the east end of Lake Erie. It is a city with lovely historic buildings and is a good place to stay if you are visiting Niagara Falls which is close-by.

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Darwin D. Martin House is one of the must-see attractions in Buffalo. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house is located on the edge of Delaware Park. This complex includes six interconnected buildings and is a National Historic Landmark. A tour of this complex will introduce you to Frank Lloyd Wright’s innovative design concepts, defining his Prairie-style ideal.

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Delaware Park has wide open green spaces, tree-lined paths for walking or jogging and you can play tennis or golf. One of the main highlights here is the Buffalo Zoo.

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At the zoo, you can see a wide variety of animals from all over the world among them a

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gorilla troop, Indian rhinoceros, polar bears, tigers, and many other animals.

The New Delta Sonic Heritage Farm is a recreated 1850s farm with heritage breeds. You can get up close to the animals. There is also a collection of reptiles and amphibians. Altogether over 1,000 animals can be seen in their natural habitats.

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The Albright Knox Art Gallery is also located in Delaware Park. This is an impressive Greek Revival building. The gallery offers visitors a collection of modern and contemporary art.

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Canalside is a revitalized part of downtown which stretches along the canal. There are green spaces and places to relax. There is a lovely park with Adirondack chairs and benches that look out toward the canal. There is a walkway along the water’s edge and in the winter a large outdoor skating rink. In the summer there are a number of events held here.

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Alongside this area is Harborcenter with shops and restaurants. Behind it, you’ll find the KeyBank Center hockey arena.

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Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens – Olmsted’s 155-acre South Park was created in the late 1800s. It is home to over 2,000 plants and trees. In the park is an 1894 Victorian-style tri-domed glass conservatory building and is the centerpiece of the gardens. It was originally built for the 1900 Pan American Exposition. Its unusual glass, wood, and steel design was based on the famous Crystal Palace and Kew Gardens Palm House in England.

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The indoor gardens include a fully restored palm dome and a fern house. Among the year-round highlights are the orchid house, bromeliad house, herb collection, and waterfall. There are plants which are native to the area and those that are from tropical and subtropical regions all over the world.

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Forest Lawn is a large and very scenic cemetery that was founded in 1849. Even though tourists do not always prefer to visit cemeteries on vacation this one like many others that are worth the visit. This cemetery will make you feel like you are in a lovely park with its large trees, water features, and walking paths. It is especially beautiful in the autumn with the many changing colors.

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There is the amazing Blocher Memorial

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and the gravesite of the 13th President of the U.S. Millard Fillmore.

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Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is located along the canal in downtown Buffalo. It is home to the guided missile cruiser USS Little Rock, destroyer USS The Sullivans and the submarine USS Croaker. You can tour these ships. The museum also displays aircraft and other artifacts.


Coca-Cola Field is home to the Buffalo Bisons a minor league baseball team. It was built in 1988 and is one of the largest in the minor league. Visitors can tour the stadium and the tours include a free game ticket.

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Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site this is the spot where the 26th President of the U.S. Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office on September 14, 1901. The museum has displays that relate to the history of this moment and you can get a guided tour.

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Shea’s Performing Arts Center was built in 1926 in the Classic style with a neo-Spanish Baroque interior. Some of its most notable features are the ornate chandeliers and marble-lined grand lobby. It is now a National Historic Landmark. Tours are available. Among the great that have performed here are Frank Sinatra, the Marx Brothers and George Burns.

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St. Joseph’s Cathedral was built in the Gothic Revival style in the mid-1800s. It is home to a Hook and Hastings Organ, It is an impressive building.

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The Liberty Building was built in 1925 in the neo-Classical style. It is the largest office tower in Buffalo. On the rooftop are two huge statues which are based on the Statue of Liberty.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 5, 2018

Exploring Rochester

Welcome to New York Sign

Our armchair travels have taken us to the northeastern U.S. state of New York. Whenever New York is mentioned many people don’t associate it with the whole state but first of all think of the popular city New York City. However, that is not all that there is to New York and considering all there is to do, see, and explore it would practically take forever to relate it all to you therefore, I have chosen to write as much as I can about the state of New York including this amazing city and I can tell you it is well worth it to make up a list of all you would want to do and see in the entire state.

New York State has a diverse geography. It is bordered by the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island, east of Long Island as well as an international border with the Canadian province of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the northwest.

The Atlantic Coastal Play makes up the southern part of the state and this includes Long Island, several smaller islands, as well as New York City and the lower Hudson River Valley. The Upstate New York regions consist of several ranges of the Appalachian Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains. There are two major river valleys – the north-south Hudson River Valley and the east-west Mohawk River Valley. Western New York is part of the Great Lakes Region and it borders Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Niagara Falls. The central part of the state is dominated by the Finger Lakes region which is a popular tourist and vacation destination.

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We will begin taking a look at the city of Rochester, New York which offers visitors 140 awesome festivals, has 60 golf courses and more than 12,000 acres of parkland.

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The Strong or once known as The Strong Museum of Play is known to be one of the most exciting children’s museums in the world. Here you’ll find 150,000 square feet of exhibit space all dedicated to toys, board games, dolls, video games, books, a century-old carousel,  and New York’s only indoor butterfly garden. The museum is also home to research facilities and libraries that are dedicated to play. It offers a wonderful adventure for the entire family.

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The Rochester Museum & Science Center is the place to get your imagination going. There are over 200 interactive exhibits, fantastic shows, and original collections. You can uncover the natural wonders of the region, the world and beyond that. Altogether the museum has 1.2 million items in various collections. There are such exciting things like Science on a Sphere that shows our planet in 3D just floating before your eyes. The museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center inspire children to want to become scientists.

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The RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium puts on star shows with a star projector depicting the sun, planets and more than 8,000 stars as they would appear to the naked eye upon a clear night. They also have Saturday night laser shows with beams of light onto the indoor sky with music. There are hands-on space mission simulations, world exploration with films on giant screens and free public telescope viewing. It is open to the public, welcomes school visits and features shows for free as well as ticked events.

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The city of Rochester is the best place to stay when you want to explore the Finger Lakes Wine Country which produces some of the tastiest wines in the U.S. The Finger Lakes are eleven long, narrow, finger-like lakes in central New York. There are over 100 wineries in the region. Three well-organized wine trails help visitors see and be able to taste as much as possible. You can visit up to 35 wineries. The trails often also include wine and food pairing, barbecues, and festivals. The wine country also has great restaurants, markets, breweries, and distilleries.

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The George Eastman Museum is housed in an impressive Colonial Revival mansion once the home of George Eastman, the pioneer of modern photography. Upon his death, it was bequeathed to the University of Rochester. In turn, the university donated the mansion and property to the museum dedicated to the memory of Eastman and his work. It is the oldest museum of photography in the world and one of the oldest film archives.

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The original collection includes the historical collection of the Eastman Kodak Company, the Medicus collection of Alexander Gardner’s Civil War photos and the large Gabriel Cromer collection. The museum also has temporary exhibits and is home to the 500-seat Dryden Theater.

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Highland Park is spread over 150 acres consisting of valleys and hills. This world-class arboretum and landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. There are 1200 lilac shrubs, a collection of Japanese Maples, 35 kinds of magnolias, a collection of barberries, a rock garden with dwarf evergreens, over 700 varieties of azaleas and rhododendrons, Andromeda, mountain laurel, horse chestnuts, a profusion of spring bulbs and native wildflowers, and many exotic trees.

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Every year the park changes the pattern of the pansy bed with 10,000 plants.

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The park also includes such attractions as the Lamberton Conservatory,

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the Greater Rochester Vietnam Memorial,

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Warner Castle and the John Dunbar Memorial Pavilion.

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Seneca Park Zoo is an exciting place where you can see African elephants, white rhinos and Borneo orangutans.

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You can watch polar bears and sea lions swim. The zoo opened in 1893 and which time there was only an aviary with some birds and several species of deer.

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One of its latest exhibits opened in 1997. The Rocky Coasts is a state of the art habitat offering the zoo animals more spacious and natural homes.

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The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House pays tribute to Susan B. Anthony the legendary American civil rights leader who fought for equal rights for women and their right to vote. The museum is in the house in which Susan spend her most active years. The house has a collection of research materials, artifacts, and memorabilia from her life. She died here after giving her famous speech in Baltimore, Maryland “Failure is Impossible”. The museum is also a learning center to challenge and inspire future generations to make a difference in their communities through a range of programs.

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The Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester City was founded in 1913 and has a permanent collection of more than 12,000 different objects on display. Artwork from contemporary movements to 21st Century artwork from all over the world. It is located on a 14-acre campus and hosts temporary exhibits, lectures, tours, and concerts.

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Seabreeze is one of the oldest amusement parks and family entertainment center in upstate and central New York. It opened in the summer of 1879. It offers over 70 attractions for all ages. There are thrill rides like the Revolution 360

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and a water park that has a Wave Pool. You can also enjoy great food and a pleasant time by Lake Ontario.

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Ontario Beach Park is a 39-acre park with natural sandy beaches on the shores of Lake Ontario. You can enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating. Other activities include six volleyball courts, basketball courts, and softball fields. The park has food stalls, picnic shelters, a bathhouse, and a performance pavilion.

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Durand Eastman Park spreads out along the Lake Ontario waterfront. It is known for its steep wooded slopes, large valleys, small lakes and fantastic autumn foliage and beauty in the summertime.

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It is a great park in all seasons offering cross-country skiing, fishing, geocaching, hiking, golf, canoeing, snowshoeing and swimming. There are shelters for rent. If you enjoy walking or hiking there are three color marked trails that take you through rolling hills or along the lake shore.

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The High Falls Interpretive Center and Museum is an interactive museum that tells visitors about local history. It takes visitors through the pre-historic history of Rochester up to the 21st Century. There are multi-media displays and exhibits and photos and artwork. The museum also features special exhibits to promote new information.

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The Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse is the oldest active lighthouse on Lake Ontario. It was built in 1822 and restored in 2014. The tower is 40 feet high, with 12 feet for the height of the lantern room. There are 42 steps and an 11-step rung ladder that take you to the top of the tower. It is located in the former village of Charlotte in Rochester and offers tours and a membership for those interested in its history. It is open to the public but there are tower tours for those who want to get spectacular views. A lighthouse keeper’s house has a museum.

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Mount Hope Cemetery has guided walking tours and private guided walking tours for

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those who want to know its history. Self-guided tours are open to the public.

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The lovely grounds are popular and there are notable individuals buried here.

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Cobbs Hill Park offers lovely scenic trails. There are walking trails that provide some of the best views in the city. It is a popular destination for hikers.

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There is a large collection of lilacs and many large oak trees. There are tennis and basketball courts, a playground and a reservoir. You can fish and in the winter go cross-country skiing. Local softball leagues use the park for summer games and many people come to sunbathe. There are two cabins for rent for private use.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | October 1, 2018

New Jersey Off the Beaten Path

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High Point State Park in Sussex in the 1800s was a part of an elegant private resort. There was a carriage road leading up to High Point Inn. From there a short distance away was New Jersey’s highest peak from which guests could enjoy panoramic views of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Years later the inn was made into a smaller lodge and in the 1920s the property was given to the state of New Jersey and opened to the public.

The most prominent feature in the 14,000-acre park is the granite-faced obelisk that rises 220 ft. from the top of High Point. On the inside stairs lead up to the top of the monument from which you can see for some 40 miles. The park has forests, lakes, creeks, glens, swamps and old farm fields. Animals love the park there are white-tailed deer, some black bears and at times a bobcat may be sighted. Several species of hawks and other raptors fly about as well as bluebirds and the occasional wild turkey may be seen.

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Lake Marcia

Within the park are nine hiking trails and trail guides are available at the visitor center. The park’s day-use area has spring-fed Lake Marcia which has a beach for swimmers and tree-shaded picnic tables. At Sawmill Lake is a private retreat for campers. The lake is stocked with trout, bass, pickerel and on winter weekends one may come to enjoy ice fishing.

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Morristown National Historical Park – In the winter of 1779 General George Washington needed an encampment for the Continental Army from which a close eye could be kept on the British in New York City. This made Morristown a strategic location. Mrs. Jacob Ford, Jr. whose husband had died during one of the early campaigns offered the use of her home to General and Mrs. Washington. The Georgian style frame mansion is furnished about the same as it was in the general’s time. There are leaflets available for self-guiding tours through the rooms.

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About half an hour from the headquarters at the village of Jockey Hollow nearly 1,200 huts were constructed for the soldiers. Today this is a 1,800-acre park with woodlands, meadows, and brooks. The 26 miles of trails are used for hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Behind the Jockey Hollow visitor’s center, one can find open fields, an old apple orchard, a recreation of an 18th-century farm garden and the Wick farmhouse where General Arthur St. Clair was headquartered. There is a park library and museum as well.

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Clinton Historical Museum Village – The buildings comprising this picturesque community date from the mid-18th century to the early 1900s. The Old Red Mill would grind whatever was profitable at the time. The one built in the 1760s ground flaxseed to make linseed oil. In later years grain was ground and then limestone. The mill was finally closed in1920. Today it is a museum on whose top floor is a working model of a typical mill. The other three floors have displays showing early-day life in this area. Visitors can also see an old schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, a general store and post office, a log cabin and the stone crusher and kilns used to process limestone quarried from the cliffs.

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Sandy Hook Unit, Gateway National Recreation Area – For over 200 years this sandpit in lower New York Bay has been identified with military defense and the saving of lives at sea. In colonial times the shallows were known as a graveyard for ships. In 1764 a lighthouse was constructed that could cast a light visible for 15 miles. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, this light was of primary value to the British and the colonists tried to destroy it. However, the light was saved by the enemy. Now the lighthouse is maintained by the Coast Guard and is the oldest working lighthouse in the country. It has been designated as a national historic landmark. Located here is Fort Hancock built in the late 19th century and in operation until the 1970s. Now one can explore the barracks, mess halls, officers’ houses and the other buildings in this old army town.

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Sandy Hook also offers miles of ocean beach, dunes, and salt marsh home to egrets, ospreys and other protected birds. Trails lead through the dunes and to a unique holly forest on the bay side.

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Monmouth Battlefield State Park – The battle here during the American Revolution on June 28, 1778, enhanced the morale of the Continental Army. It was the first time that the colonials had engaged the British in open field combat and stood them off. At a critical point in the conflict Major General Charles Lee retreated instead of attacking as ordered, and the British, after a day of fighting, were able to move out under cover of darkness and safely make their way northward. General Lee was court-martialed. There is an illuminated diorama in the visitor center showing the sequence of the battle hour by hour. A reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth is an annual event at the park in late June.

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The center also provides information on historic Craig House and the Owl Haven Nature Center which can be reached by trails in the park. John Craig’s shingle and clapboard house on the battlefield has been restored. Craig was a paymaster for the local militia. The house which was built in 1710 has seven rooms, three fireplaces, a cold cellar and a sleeping area for slaves. The nature center displays live owls, reptiles, and amphibians as well as mounted birds and other nature-related specimens.

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Double Trouble State Park – There is a wilderness of woods and marsh in the Pine Barrens. The park’s history goes back to the late 18th century when a sawmill was built and a dam constructed for waterpower. When at the end of the 19th century there was a shortage of timber people started growing cranberries. The land was sold to the state in 1965 but the sawmill and cranberry operation are still in business.

Within the park’s 5,000 acres are a general store, cranberry packing house, one-room schoolhouse, migrants’ cottage, and other early day buildings. There is a self-guiding nature trail which crosses Cedar Creek. The water has a red tint which is caused by cedar bark and iron deposits. The air is filled with the scent of cedar and in season rhododendrons, mountain laurel, sweet bay, and fragrant honeysuckle bloom beneath sassafras trees, pitch pines and red maples. One can see great blue herons, egrets, pigeon hawks and quails. For fishing, there are pickerel and catfish. Cedar Creek is popular with canoeists and canoes can be rented here.

NJ wharton 2

Wharton State Forest – can be found on Rte. 542 of the Garden State Parkway. This large forest has mostly pines, with some cedar and mixed hardwoods. Within the forest are Batsto and Mullica rivers, Atsion Lake, several streams, nature trails, a long hiking trail and a number of campgrounds.

NJ batsto mansion

Mansion in Batsto

The major feature is the restored iron-making village of Batsto. The combination of iron ore from the local bogs and fuel from the dense forests led to the establishment of many small iron-producing centers in southern New Jersey in the late 18th century. Local forges made water pipes, stoves, firebacks, kettles, and other necessities during the Revolution and the War of 1812, they supplied firearms and ammunition. When coal from Pennsylvania became available, the wood-burning forges could not compete. In the mid-1800s glass factories were built but they also failed. Batsto may have disappeared as did similar villages if not for Joseph Wharton of Philadelphia. He bought the property and started redevelopment in 1976.

The 39 buildings include the ironmaster’s handsome mansion, the general store, the post office, sawmill, smithy, shops, barns, and ironworkers’ houses. During the summer various early American crafts are demonstrated in the village. Adjoining the village is a nature area and the 40-mile Batona Wilderness Trail.

NJ atsion

The Atsion Lake area is about a 20-minute drive from Batsto. There one can find a playground, picnic area, swimming beach, and canoes and boats for rent. The forest offers shelter for many birds and other wildlife. One can fish for pike, pickerel, perch, and bass. There are 500 miles of sandy roads in the forest for hiking, horseback riding, four-wheel drive vehicles, and snowmobiles in season.





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