Categories
massachusetts USA

Boston Museum Of Fine Arts

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Image : Kan Wu on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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The Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is one of the largest museums in the United States, home to over 450,000 works of art, making it one of the finest collections anywhere in the world.

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General Info

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Since opening in 1876 it has become renowned for its Impressionist paintings, multi continental collections and early American art.

The MFA has endured a tough time in recent years due to economic strains but it has continued to prosper. 

In 2011, the museum put eight paintings by different artists including Monet and Renoir on sale, earning a total of $21.6 million, $15 million of which was then used to pay for Man at His Bath by Gustave Caillebotte, showing that despite all obstacles it can still attract the finest art from around the globe.

The museum has various other attractions to coincide with their exhibitions including tours, lectures and classes in things such as drawing, film and music. Don’t forget to hire an audio guide for $6 to allow you to explore the wonder of the MFA at your own pace and to become immersed in the history of the art presented before you.

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Getting There

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From the South take I-93 North to exit 18 Mass. Avenue/Roxbury. Follow the signs along the exit ramp for Mass. Avenue, but continue straight on Melnea Cass Boulevard for 1.3 miles. Turn left onto Tremont Street, and at the second set of traffic lights turn right onto Ruggles Street. Continue on Ruggles Street, turning right onto The Fenway, and take the next immediate right onto Museum Road to the parking areas.

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Price

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Prices for adults are $25 while seniors (65+) and students (18+) can avail of a discounted rate of $23. Youths (7-17) can gain free admission if after 3pm or on weekends. Otherwise a $10 entry fee will apply.

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Opening Hours

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The museum is open seven days a week. Opening hours for Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday are 10am-4.45pm. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday opening hours are 10am-9.45pm.

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Categories
USA

The Old State House

OldStateHouse

General Info

The Old State House is a centuries old building brimming with history and is situated in the heart of Boston. Built in 1713, it was the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798, and is one of the oldest public buildings in the United States. The building is the oldest surviving public building in the city and now serves as a history museum operated by The Bostonian Society.

Occupied by the British during the Revolution, this Georgian building has served as a reminder of the political history of this great city throughout the last few centuries. On July 18, 1776, citizens gathered to hear the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in the state. The landmark housed the Royal Governor until 1775, and also served as the seat of the Massachusetts government until the new State House was built in 1798.

A number of tours are available at the site including interactive tours, guided tours and self-guided tours enabling visitors to see the revolution through the eyes of those who lived it. Some of the artifacts on view at the museum include John Hancock’s coat, a rich cloak belonging to a wealthy city merchant who would serve as Massachusetts first governor and real tea, salvaged from the infamous Boston Tea Party.

Getting There

Take I-93 north to exit 23 Gov’t Center. Off the ramp, turn left onto John Fitzgerald Surface Road before making a right onto State Street. The Old State House is located at the intersection of Washington and State Street, and it will come into view as you travel along State Street. Parking can be found nearby at 75 State Street or 275 Washington Street.

Price

Adult tickets cost $10, however senior citizens over 62 years old can avail of a reduced rate of $8.50, while youths aged between 6-18 go free.

Opening Hours

The Old State House opens everyday from 9am – 6pm from May 26 until September 1. Opening times outside of this period are 9am – 5pm with early closing hours of 3 pm on Christmas Eve. The Old State House is closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and the first work week in February.

Image used under CC License.

 

 

Categories
Florida USA

Clearwater Beach

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Image : rcgtrzz on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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Clearwater Beach is one of the most popular resorts in America and is located on the West Coast of central Florida. Famous for its white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, Clearwater was named as the best beach town in Florida in a 2013 USA Today poll.

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General Info

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Clearwater Beach stretches 2.5 miles along the Gulf of Mexico and has made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most consecutive days of sunshine in a single year with a staggering 361 days.

With a number of land and water based activities, with dolphin watching among the most popular attraction that can be seen in the Gulf, Clearwater Beach is sure to not disappoint. With plenty of activity both day and night Clearwater boasts something for every member of the family. Other popular activities include the Clearwater Jazz Festival (October) and the spring training of Major League Baseball team Philadelphia Phillies, at Bright House Networks Field.

A number of day trips can also be made from Clearwater with some of Florida’s finest theme parks located in nearby Tampa and Orlando, a two hour drive away.

The scenic views of Clearwater are breathtaking and continues to attract tourists back to this gem year after year.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Getting There

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Clearwater Beach is approximately 20 miles (30 km) from Tampa International Airport. From the airport follow George J Bean outbound parkway to FL-60W. Follow this route for 29 minutes before arriving at your destination.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Opening Hours

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Clearwater Beach remains a hub of activity year round with the spring and summer months the most popular with tourists.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Florida USA

Kennedy Space Center

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Image : David Wilson on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

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The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is one of Florida’s most popular attractions and offers an alternative to the theme park experience which explains why many flock to the sunshine State.

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General Info

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]The home of NASA has played a key role in some of the most defining moments in history. This includes the Apollo Moon Landing which was proposed by President Kennedy, which is how the Center coined its name following his assassination in 1963.

Since the end of the Apollo program in 1972, KSC has been used to launch every NASA human space flight, including unmanned rocket launch facilities at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The visitor Center boasts numerous attractions such as museums, simulators and exhibitions that illustrates the history of NASA. It also affords visitors the opportunity to get up, close and personal with the world’s largest space programme. A trip to KSC can also be completed by flying with an astronaut.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Getting There

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Kennedy Space Center visitor complex is located in central Florida, not far from the tourist hub of Orlando. From Orlando, travel east on SR 528 to the SR 407 exit to Kennedy Space Center and Titusville. Follow this route to the end at SR 405, merging right to SR 405 and follow the signs for Kennedy Space Center. Travel approximately six miles on SR 405 where you will reach your destination on the right.

If using a sat nav be sure to input “Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex” as your destination as Kennedy Space Center will lead you to the wrong location.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Price

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Prices to enter the visitor complex begin at $50 for adults and $40 for children.

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Opening Hours

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Kennedy Space Center visitor complex is open all year round, seven days per week, opening at 9 am and closes at 6 pm for most of the year. Closing times may vary in the winter season.

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Categories
Attractions in Spain Europe Spain

Alhambra

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Image : Nic McPhee on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0

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The palace and fortress that is Alhambra is an architectural gem which offers an alternative look at a side of Spanish history. Constructed in 889, the most iconic symbol of Islamic presence on the Iberian peninsula is located in the city of Granada in Andalusia.

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General Info

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]As time passed its significance diminished until a mid 11th century decision by the Emirate of Granada to renovate the ruins and build the current palatial structure which has now become one of Spain’s main tourist attractions.

The Islamic palace is nestled on the banks of the River Darro and was built to serve as the court of the last Muslim dynasty of Spain (Nasrid dynasty) before the Palace of Charles V was built in 1527, at the site. The area then fell into further decline before it would eventually come to be restored in the 19th century. The Alhambra represents Spain’s most well known Islamic architecture, together with a collection of 16th-century style decor. Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its glorious external architecture showing a brief insight into what lies behind its walls.

A number of educational tours are available at Alhambra both day and night, complete with a tour guide in many different languages, affording visitors an excellent opportunity to sample the majestic architecture on offer.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Getting There

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Alhambra De Granada is located ninety minutes north east of the popular tourist city of Malaga on Spain’s Costa Del Sol. If driving from Malaga join the A-45 heading north. Follow A-45, A-92M an A-92 to Ctra. Granada Malaga/A-92G. Take exit 230 from A-92 before joining the A-44 in Granada. Follow A-44 and A-395 to Santa Maria de la Alhambra. Follow this road to your destination.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Price

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]General admission is €14 with discounted rates of €9 for seniors while children under the age of 12 get free admission.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Opening Hours

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal” position=”center”][vc_column_text]Alhambra is open Monday to Sunday 9.30am – 6pm with additional opening hours of 8pm – 9.30pm on Friday and Saturday evenings (October 16 – March 15).

The opening hours vary from March 16 to October 15, with opening times of Monday to Sunday 8.30am – 8pm with additional opening hours every day from 10pm to 11.30pm (excluding Sunday and Monday).[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Italy Italy Attractions

Pompeii

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The ruins of Pompeii lie five miles from the foot of Mount Vesuvius in the western region of Campania. This ruined ancient roman city was destroyed on August 24th 79AD when the volcano erupted and brought destruction to the city, killing 3,000 citizens in the process. Today the site offers a throwback of yesteryear and serves as an excavation site encompassing numerous museums and relics and remains one of the most fascinating landmarks in all of Europe. Frozen in time, this ancient city which was reduced to rubble plays host to numerous individual sights including The Basilica, the Temple of Apollo and The Amphitheatre.

If you have some spare time on your hands the nearby town of Herculaneum also offers a fascinating insight into the day Vesuvius brought chaos to this corner of Italy. Herculaneum was also destroyed during the eruption but not to the same extent as Pompeii and to this date it has been rebuilt to resemble the ancient city of old. Pompeii serves as the ruins while Herculaneum shows us how the ancient Romans persevered to overcome the devastation caused by the eruption.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Price” title_align=”separator_align_left” border=”yes”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1434014615415{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”]Prices range from €5.50 to €11 while EU citizens under the age of 18 get free admission upon showing valid identification.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”How to get there” title_align=”separator_align_left” border=”no”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1434015057095{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”]The ruins of Pompeii are located 33.5km south of the city of Naples. Drive along the A56 until you reach SS162Dir. Follow this route and E45 to Via Plinio/SS18, where you will take the exit signposted Pompei from E45 to arrive in modern day Pompei (written with single I).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Opening Hours” title_align=”separator_align_left” border=”no”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1434015127245{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”]From the 1st of April until the 31st of October the site is open every day from 8.30 AM until 7.30 PM. For the rest of the year the site closes at 5.00 PM. Last entrance is always ninety minutes prior to closing time.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Image credit: Flickr[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_raw_html]JTNDZGl2JTIwY2xhc3MlM0QlMjJmYi1jb21tZW50cyUyMiUyMGRhdGEtaHJlZiUzRCUyMiUyMGh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZ3d3cudGhlYWEuaWUlMkZ0cmF2ZWxodWIlMkZwb21wZWlpJTJGJTIwJUUyJTgwJThFJTIyJTIwZGF0YS1udW1wb3N0cyUzRCUyMjUlMjIlMjBkYXRhLWNvbG9yc2NoZW1lJTNEJTIybGlnaHQlMjIlMjBkYXRhLXdpZHRoJTNEJTIyMTAwJTI1JTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGZGl2JTNF[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Wales

Caernarfon Castle

 

General info

A little known fact is that Wales is home to over 600 castles, making it the castle capital of the world, a remarkable feat for such a relatively small country. Among the most iconic castles of Wales or Cymru (Welsh) is Caernarfon Castle, the most expensive castle ever built by a King Of England.

A fortress not to be messed with, Caernarfon Castle has turned its back on traditional round towers opting instead for polygonal towers, with the Eagle Tower considered the most impressive in this structure which showed English dominance over a once subdued Welsh population.

Nestled on the banks of the River Siont, the site of the castle had previously played host to a Norman motte and bailey prior to the arrival of King Edward I of England.

The castle is fit for a prince as it was here that Edward’s son, the first English Prince of Wales, was born in 1284, one year after the castle was constructed. In 1969 it was also the location where one Charles Philip Arthur George was officially bestowed as the Prince of Wales, some 11 years after initially taking up such a role.

When finished taking in the art and aura of the castle don’t forget to visit the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, which is housed in two of the castle’s towers.

Price

Prices range from £5.10 to £6.75

Getting there

Caernarfon Castle is thirty four minutes south of Holyhead port, making it an ideal destination for any Irish passengers taking the car across the Irish Sea on the ferry from Dun Laoghaire. Upon arrival in Holyhead join the North Wales Expressway/A55 heading south before taking the A487 directly to Balaclava Road in Caernarfon. Continue on Balaclava Road for 0.6 miles until reaching Castle Ditch, home of the fortress.

Opening hours 

1 March – 30 June 9.30am – 5pm

1 July – 31 August 9.30am – 6pm

1 September – 31 October 9.30am – 5pm

1 November – 28 February 10am – 4pm (11am opening on Sundays)

Closed 24 – 26 December and 1 January.

Image credit: Velela. Used under CC License.