Nature, History, and Storybook Villages Fill New York’s Hudson River Valley

Ever since the pilgrims’ arrival in 1620 America has dreamed of expanding westward. A Promised Land existed beyond the Appalachians, across the fertile Ohio Valley and on the other side of the Great Plains. America’s Manifest Destiny was to turn a continent into a country. But America’s first frontier was the Hudson Valley. The Hudson River may run north to south, but in concert with the 19th-century Erie Canal, it became the highway to the West, providing a detour past the natural obstacles that hampered expansion. During its turbulent history, the Hudson River Valley has experienced war, inspired great works of art, witnessed treachery and powered the growth of one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Some say the Mississippi River is more famous, but you’ll find no more history-rich river (and few more worth visiting) than the Hudson. Read More

Visits by Britain and France foreshadow the approaching anniversary of a Midnight Ride that Changed the World on Both Sides of the Atlantic

Last week, two old friends stopped by for a visit. French President Emmanuel Macron dropped into Washington, where he was greeted by a fife and drum corps garbed in colonial uniforms with tri-cornered hats. Some 430 miles to the north, the Prince and Princess of Wales (aka William and Kate) were in Boston discussing climate change with the descendants of colonialists who fought the American Revolution. It was only the third time that British royalty has visited the city. Unmentioned amid the pomp of the two diplomatic visits was the name Paul Revere. His midnight ride in 1775  initiated the armed struggle against the British and inspired a second revolution 14 years later in France. Yet Revere is not regarded as one of America’s founding fathers. His image has never appeared on U.S. currency and his story seldom is mentioned in European texts.

An Intricate Labyrinth of Tunnels Beneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall Reveals Clues to Ancient Biblical Life

By Mira Temkin Among Jewish people, Jerusalem’s Western Wall is the holiest place on earth. The “Kotel,” as it is called in Hebrew, evokes a mystical connection to history, Judaism, and personal prayer. People come to meditate at this sacred site and place notes with their personal prayers into the cracks between the stones. For…

Relics, Miracles, and Faith Light the Way Along Spain’s Camino de Santiago

It was pure good fortune that enabled me to arrive in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the feast day of Saint Dominic. I was hiking west along the Camino Frances, en route to Santiago de Compostela, when I saw people gathering in front of the cathedral for a procession that gradually wound its way through the old town on streets lined with spectators. Young men in medieval costumes performed traditional folk dances at points along the route. Young women in period dress marched together.  Men wearing red berets played traditional melodies on flutes. The music and the dances were little changed from medieval times.  I felt as if I were observing a cultural tableau dating back hundreds of years.

Costumed Actors Once Again Take the Field to Reenact Historic Battles

After two years of pandemic-induced inactivity, the War of 1812 erupts anew the first weekend in August when hundreds of historically costumed reenactors take the field to recreate the Siege of Fort Erie. The 210-year old battle, the bloodiest in Canada’s history, was one of a series of skirmishes along the Niagara River at the end of the War of 1812. America hoped that seizing the British fort might lead to the annexation of Upper Canada. Unfortunately, the US advance into Ontario coincided with Britain’s burning of Washington.

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.