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  Winter is the prime time of the year for visiting Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge’s migrating birds. Built in 1939 along the Rio Grande, the refuge is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Bosque del Apache’s 57,331 acres include a scenic, 12-mile loop road, an observation blind and hiking trails. The terrain contains a variety…

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Cruise logistics to Rome

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in Italy on February 05, 2014

 
 

Since Rome does not lie directly on the coast, some time will be consumed by getting from the ship to Rome’s primary sightseeing and back. Since it is literally impossible to see Rome in just one day, the typical cruise traveler will choose is a shore excursion that is more of an introduction to the…

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Impressions of Rome

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in Italy on February 05, 2014

 
 

My favorite aspects Rome Prior to my recent trans-Atlantic cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Noordam, I decided to spend three nights in Rome to get a real “feel” for the “Eternal City” and take in as many of the city’s numerous sights as possible. Although I had spent a full week here back in the…

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Less than an hour’s drive from Charlotte, N.C., King Mountain National Military Park tells the story of an early Revolutionary War battle, and the first that I visited. The South Carolina battle site occurred after American patriots were on the run after several losses in 1780. After hearing of these losses, a force of rugged…

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Cowpens National Battlefields

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The South on November 22, 2013

 
 

Battle of Cowpens Monument Cowpens Battlefield is named for the land used by Colonial settlers here to pasture their cattle. The park offers visitors a 1.25-mile Battlefield Trail walking tour, a 3-mile Loop Road for motorized vehicles, and a 2-mile Cowpens Nature Trail.  Also on site is the log Robert Scruggs House, which dates from…

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Ninety Six National Historic Site

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The South on November 22, 2013

 
 

Having spent last winter and early spring based in Greenville, South Carolina, I took advantage of the opportunity to re-visit all of the state’s National Park Service units, including the sites of three important Revolutionary War battles. One of my favorite off-the-beaten path parks is Ninety Six National Historic Site. The beautiful site features a…

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Recently I attended a program by the fine Flint Symphony Orchestra, which performs in a concert hall located in the Flint Cultural Center. Those planning a visit to the popular, Bavarian-themed community of Frankenmuth nearby would be well advised to also consider making a stop at this excellent museum. The museum tells the story of…

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Public gardens in Halifax

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in Canada on October 18, 2013

 
 

If you are heading to Atlantic Canada, don’t even think about missing the Halifax Public Gardens, which in my humble opinion constitute one of the most beautiful small parks anywhere in the world. Open free of charge, these are among the best remaining Victorian Gardens in the Americas. The gardens are a comfortable walk from…

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Old Mission General Store

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The Midwest on October 18, 2013

 
 

On a recent trip to Michigan, I took an excellent scenic drive north of Traverse City past handsome wineries, cherry orchards, a lighthouse and palatial summer homes. For my money, the highlight of the entire trip was a stop at the Old Mission General Store, at 18250 Mission Road. Established as a trading post for…

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My Thumbs Up” Nominees”

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in Travel Thoughts on September 19, 2013

 
 

Bear Stew, McCleary, WA Bear Festival Last month I complained about there being so many cruise and travel industry awards being given these days that it is virtually impossible to determine who or what is really the “best.”  However, I also commented that there are certainly companies and places out there that are indeed worthy…