Yorkshire – Inspiration for Dracula, the Brontës and All Creatures Great and Small

Yorkshire is the United Kingdom’s largest county–about 3.6 million acres—and boasts a turbulent history that rivals entire European nations. In the late Middle Ages, the city of York was second only to London in status and wealth. Today, Yorkshire’s rolling hills are dotted with great houses and the ruins of once-magnificent abbeys. The Transylvanian Count Dracula emerged from his coffin-ship on Yorkshire’s North Sea shore. No matter the political, economic, or religious tumult that rolled northward, Yorkshire retained its stunning natural beauty. Yorkshire’s dales and moors are inspiration for several of the English-speaking world’s greatest novels. Some far-flung parts of Yorkshire have earned the moniker “God’s Own Country” for their curiously enticing bleakness. Yorkshire began life as the seat of Roman operations in Britannia (71-400AD) and, for much of the 9th century, was home to Danish Vikings. That era collapsed with the arrival of the Normans, followed by the disastrous “Harrying of the North” by William the Conqueror’s troops. (The Danes lost, badly.) Norse heritage lives on in place names like Whitby, Sheffield, Scarborough, and, according to some recent scholarship, in the very physiognomy of Yorkshire’s people.

Cycling Ireland’s Backroads Past Churches, Castles, Sheep Farms and Pubs

Cycling the lightly traveled backroads of West Ireland affords time to intimately experience the country, its people and their history. Until recently, only experienced cyclists even attempted such a ride. Motorists would fly past as brightly colored cyclists peddled laboriously up hills, their bikes burdened with panniers filled with clothes and heavy equipment. Cycling seemed more exhausting than enjoyable. But with the advent of ebikes and specialized cycling tours, beautiful and fascinating areas now are accessible to nearly anyone. And one of the most bike-friendly places to take such a tour is along the west coast of Ireland.

What makes this type of tour so satisfying is the pace (avg. speed 11 mph) and proximity of being so close to the land and the people you meet along the way. You can stop whenever you like to appreciate an historic marker, a beautiful garden or scenic overlook when traveling on a bicycle. There’s something about the physical exertion necessary to get from place to place that connects a rider with the land more deeply than if he arrives by bus, train or car.

The Brothels Are Closed but the Whisky Still Flows in the Deadwood of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane

By Rich Grant “Wild Bill” Hickok, of Dakota’s most boisterous boomtown, was such a romantic figure that it is hard to believe he really existed. Of course, through dime novels, movies, HBO, television shows and merchandising for 155 years, his image has become a caricature of the real thing. Look back at what contemporaries wrote…

With the End of COVID-19 we’re Hitting the Road for Vacation. Will our History Still Be There?

Four of our greatest presidents. Or two slave owners, a racist and an Indian killer? Will a Minnesota beat cop’s act of brutality change America’s perception of its past? By Mark Orwoll There are countless paths across America. I’ve followed many of them. Route 66, with its tepee motels, trading posts, and homey cafés. The…