Captivated by one of Connecticut’s Lesser-Known Retreats: Harkness Memorial Park

The description promised “…panoramic views of Long Island Sound….seaside acres of sweeping lawns…stately trees and spectacular gardens.”  I’m a sucker for any place that promises sea, sand and cooling breezes in hottest summer.  Top that with a chance to stretch not only legs but my imagination, wondering while wandering what life was like in days …

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Building Castles in the Sky: Kykuit, an American dynasty’s Mount Olympus

Imagine this: you're enthroned on Mount Olympus, gazing down to observe the masses of scrambling humanity below, the world at your feet.  A dazzling picture greets you:   elegant gardens cradle rose patches, weeping cherry trees sway in the breeze; sparkling brooks flow past massive boulders, water  ripples, reflects in pools and splashes from fountains; sprawling, …

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Falling for the Highlands

A few years ago I fell head over heels in love with the highlands.  That is, the lochs (or lakes) -- Lomond and Ness, legends (Nessie), history (Rob Roy, William Wallace, a.k.a. “Brave Heart”, clans, ruins and castles ), snow-capped mountains (Ben Nevis) and Hairy-Coo-dotted Highlands of Scotland.  During a cold, windy and wet President’s …

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Rolling in the Sweet: Strudelmaking at Schönbrunn Palace

    Art, architecture, history, music, tempting cuisine and coffee houses galore –all aspects of Vienna that make it a cornucopia of delights in any kind of weather.  Take, for instance, a bleak and blustery November day, the kind ideal for touring Schönbrunn Palace, former summer home of emperors, now a museum and site for …

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Just another peaceful day in Alsace-Lorraine

It’s early April in Alsace-Lorraine.  Magnolias are flush with blooms, fruit trees in bud, yellow dandelions and tiny white daisies blanket meadows.  The vines on the hills are still naked, exposing their gnarled canes, months away from bearing grapes.  Some fields lay fallow while the soil of others is plowed, heaped in long rows and prepared …

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Special Delivery: Tripping through Strasbourg and Alsace-Lorraine in Search of Storks.

The thing to do, when you want a brother or sister, is to place a sugar cube on a windowsill for the stork.  That was a common story told to children back when I was growing up in Germany.  It's what our Mom told my sister, Elfriede, when she longed for a little sister.  Countless …

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