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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Faint heart never won fair lady: Nemours, a testament to love

Declarations of love come in many ways.  Some are modest, wrapped in flowers, chocolate, cards and letters.  Others arrive in lavish trinkets of gold or diamonds.  And then there are  extravagant gestures.  These days, adoration can take the form of proposals made to the backdrop of a flash mob dancing, or showers of luxury gifts …

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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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