Travelers’ Intercom USA

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ITN is temporarily accepting brief write-ups about the US. Information on independent travel. cultural and traditional sites and sources of handmade crafts plus little-known natural wonders are welcome. Avoid touting commercial theme parks, casinos or highly publicized touristy sites.

Email editor@intltravelnews.com or write to Travelers’ Intercom USA, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818.


WEST VIRGINIA — ALMOST HEAVEN!

While West Virginia (WV) conjured up grimy coal mines, a spontaneous car trip there in October 2016 showed us the opposite: warm, welcoming locals, lively music, creative craft shops, amazing scenery and even a famous luxury resort.

Seal of the State of West Virginia, on the carpet of the governor's office in the capitol. Photos by Marv Feldman

In WV’s capital of Charleston, the fantastic West Virginia State Museum clearly explained the state’s unusual, contentious origin in 1863. In Huntington, the centerpiece of the world-class, small Huntington Museum of Art (well worth a visit with its Gropius/Bauhaus art studios) was an intricate Dale Chihuly glass “tower.” And in the former coal town of Beckley, the enormous cultural center Tamarack showcased “The Best of West Virginia” with fabulous artisans’ handicrafts.

A comfortable stern-wheeler boat ride on the Ohio River from the one-time oil/gas boomtown of Parkersburg to Blennerhassett Island State Park mansion — with its fascinating history of a wealthy British couple who were involved in an alleged plot against President Thomas Jefferson — was delightful and informative.

America’s Taj Mahal in WV? Outside Wheeling, WV’s former capital, a Hare Krishna complex (Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, in Moundsville) with inlaid marble and hand-carved teakwood, stained-glass windows and French crystal was among the surprises we found in hilly WV!

Carole in the Fiestaware shop.

At the tip of the Northern Panhandle, a large amount of industry surprised us, especially a visit in Newell to Homer Laughlin China Company, makers of Fiesta Dinnerware, with its dazzling endless array of colors. (We bought a set.)

Other surprises — a foreboding former “lunatic asylum” (Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, in Weston), with Nurse Ratched greeting us; million-dollar glass collections from the 1850s (in The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia, also in Weston); Carnegie Hall, seen during a tour of “cool town” Lewisburg, and White Sulphur Springs’ magnificent resort, where we spent a night, The Greenbrier, with its secret nuclear bunker.

West Virginia was worth taking the road less traveled!

MARV & CAROLE FELDMAN
Jacksonville, FL

 

 

WINDJAMMING OFF MAINE

As someone who has visited over 100 countries, I highly recommend taking a week-long windjammer cruise off the coast of Maine.

My wife and I have done this four times, the first trip around 30 years ago. It’s always a delightful experience, though it bears no resemblance to a traditional cruise. (The word “cruise” evokes certain experiences to seasoned travelers, but anyone expecting anything remotely similar to that will be disappointed.)

The scenery off the coast of Maine is spectacular, the area dotted with many scenic islands that have small, quaint villages. There is a nice balance of time between being out on the water and exploring the numerous interesting hamlets. There is no set itinerary, since the route depends upon which way the wind is blowing.

Sailing is smooth because most of the sailing is not done in the open ocean. If you google “Penobscot Bay, Maine,” you’ll see that the giant bay and others nearby are filled with islands that provide a buffer from the open ocean. The cruising grounds basically run from Rockland northeast to Bar Harbor.

About a dozen windjammers can be seen in the area, eight of which belong to the Maine Windjammer Association (sailmainecoast.com). Most ships are ported in either Camden or Rockland, on Penobscot Bay, and each is owned by its captain.

We have found the captains to be very friendly. One of these is Captain Barry King, owner of the schooner Mary Day (Camden, ME; 800/992-2218, schoonermaryday.com). We sailed with him and his wife, Jen, about 5½ years ago. Lovely people!

Although the ships have similarities, each is unique. On most, the deck measures roughly 90 feet, and it’s about 25 feet across the beam, so you don’t feel cramped. The majority carry from 20 to 40 passengers and a crew of four to seven, which can consist of captain, first mate, deckhands, cook and assistant cooks.

Cabins are snug, each with either a double bed or bunks and a sink with running water. Heads (toilets) and showers are available on all vessels. And, as they say in Maine, the food is “wicked good.”

Passengers are invited to help with the sailing — hoisting sails, etc. — as much or as little as they want.

Depending on the ship, the length of the cruise and the week selected, rates can range from $675 to $2,500 per person. The sailing season runs from late May to mid-October.

JOHN REEVES
Jackson, CA

 

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

ITN is temporarily accepting brief write-ups about the US. Information on independent travel. cultural and traditional sites and sources of handmade crafts plus little-known natural wonders are welcome. Avoid touting commercial theme parks, casinos or highly publicized touristy sites.

Email editor@intltravelnews.com or write to Travelers’ Intercom USA, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818.


WEST VIRGINIA — ALMOST HEAVEN!

While West Virginia (WV) conjured up grimy coal mines, a spontaneous car trip there in October 2016 showed us the opposite: warm, welcoming locals, lively music, creative craft shops, amazing scenery and even a famous luxury resort.

Seal of the State of West Virginia, on the carpet of the governor's office in the capitol. Photos by Marv Feldman

In WV’s capital of Charleston, the fantastic West Virginia State Museum clearly explained the state’s unusual, contentious origin in 1863. In Huntington, the centerpiece of the world-class, small Huntington Museum of Art (well worth a visit with its Gropius/Bauhaus art studios) was an intricate Dale Chihuly glass “tower.” And in the former coal town of Beckley, the enormous cultural center Tamarack showcased “The Best of West Virginia” with fabulous artisans’ handicrafts.

A comfortable stern-wheeler boat ride on the Ohio River from the one-time oil/gas boomtown of Parkersburg to Blennerhassett Island State Park mansion — with its fascinating history of a wealthy British couple who were involved in an alleged plot against President Thomas Jefferson — was delightful and informative.

America’s Taj Mahal in WV? Outside Wheeling, WV’s former capital, a Hare Krishna complex (Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, in Moundsville) with inlaid marble and hand-carved teakwood, stained-glass windows and French crystal was among the surprises we found in hilly WV!

Carole in the Fiestaware shop.

At the tip of the Northern Panhandle, a large amount of industry surprised us, especially a visit in Newell to Homer Laughlin China Company, makers of Fiesta Dinnerware, with its dazzling endless array of colors. (We bought a set.)

Other surprises — a foreboding former “lunatic asylum” (Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, in Weston), with Nurse Ratched greeting us; million-dollar glass collections from the 1850s (in The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia, also in Weston); Carnegie Hall, seen during a tour of “cool town” Lewisburg, and White Sulphur Springs’ magnificent resort, where we spent a night, The Greenbrier, with its secret nuclear bunker.

West Virginia was worth taking the road less traveled!

MARV & CAROLE FELDMAN
Jacksonville, FL

 

 

WINDJAMMING OFF MAINE

As someone who has visited over 100 countries, I highly recommend taking a week-long windjammer cruise off the coast of Maine.

My wife and I have done this four times, the first trip around 30 years ago. It’s always a delightful experience, though it bears no resemblance to a traditional cruise. (The word “cruise” evokes certain experiences to seasoned travelers, but anyone expecting anything remotely similar to that will be disappointed.)

The scenery off the coast of Maine is spectacular, the area dotted with many scenic islands that have small, quaint villages. There is a nice balance of time between being out on the water and exploring the numerous interesting hamlets. There is no set itinerary, since the route depends upon which way the wind is blowing.

Sailing is smooth because most of the sailing is not done in the open ocean. If you google “Penobscot Bay, Maine,” you’ll see that the giant bay and others nearby are filled with islands that provide a buffer from the open ocean. The cruising grounds basically run from Rockland northeast to Bar Harbor.

About a dozen windjammers can be seen in the area, eight of which belong to the Maine Windjammer Association (sailmainecoast.com). Most ships are ported in either Camden or Rockland, on Penobscot Bay, and each is owned by its captain.

We have found the captains to be very friendly. One of these is Captain Barry King, owner of the schooner Mary Day (Camden, ME; 800/992-2218, schoonermaryday.com). We sailed with him and his wife, Jen, about 5½ years ago. Lovely people!

Although the ships have similarities, each is unique. On most, the deck measures roughly 90 feet, and it’s about 25 feet across the beam, so you don’t feel cramped. The majority carry from 20 to 40 passengers and a crew of four to seven, which can consist of captain, first mate, deckhands, cook and assistant cooks.

Cabins are snug, each with either a double bed or bunks and a sink with running water. Heads (toilets) and showers are available on all vessels. And, as they say in Maine, the food is “wicked good.”

Passengers are invited to help with the sailing — hoisting sails, etc. — as much or as little as they want.

Depending on the ship, the length of the cruise and the week selected, rates can range from $675 to $2,500 per person. The sailing season runs from late May to mid-October.

JOHN REEVES
Jackson, CA