Going on Faith

Summer 2017

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ summer 2017 ] 34 scene. "We haven't seen development like this in years," Goldmeier said. A good way to see the shoreline is by climbing aboard the American Rover, a three-masted topsail schooner that gives harbor and sunset tours. Equally relaxing is a visit to the Norfolk Botanical Garden, which blooms in every sea- son but comes ablaze with azaleas in the springtime. The 175-acre garden can be explored by foot, by tram or by boat. After dark, groups can settle in for performances by the state's symphony, opera and stage company. A final must-see is the Chrysler Museum of Art, Virginia's premier art museum; one of the best glass collections in the United States, it includes cel- ebrated Tiffany glass items. www.visitnorfolk.com NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND A centuries-old playground for the rich and famous, Newport, Rhode Island, is studded with well-preserved gems from the Colonial and Gilded ages. Picture-perfect mansions sit atop magnificent bluffs overlooking the sea. More than a dozen mansions built by nouveaux riches around the start of the 19th century are open to the public. "These mansions give a fascinating glimpse into Gilded Age extravagance," said Andrea McHugh, marketing communications manager at Discover Newport. "Detailed tours of these summer cottages — that's a most inappropriate name once you've seen them — show how opulently these families lived." The Breakers, an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo built by the Vanderbilts, is the grandest of them all. Rosecliff, a 1902 party mansion built by a silver heiress, houses Newport's largest ballroom. The Elms is interesting for its behind-the-scenes look at a wine cellar, a coal tunnel and servants' quarters. For a breathtaking view of all the mansions, visitors can take the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that runs along the coastline. Beyond the mansions are several treasures from centuries past. Fort Adams, the largest coastal fort in the United States, includes a maze of underground tunnels and quarters where officers and their families lived more than a century ago. Touro Synagogue, the oldest Jewish house of worship in the United States, dates to 1759. Because Newport has long been a bastion of world sailing and long-distance races, as well home to some of the most beautiful yachts in the world, the harbor has the largest fleet of retired 12-meter yachts available to the public. Visitors can choose from several top-rated sailing companies that offer every- thing from hands-on experiences to relaxing cruises where groups get to sit back and enjoy lobster and stuffed clams. www.discovernewport.org NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT Much of what makes New Haven, Connecticut, worth a visit is a result of Yale University and the arts and architecture that have developed within its footprint since 1701. The best way to begin a visit is with an official campus tour. "A student will guide you through campus and share their experiences, as well as Yale's unique history," said Barbara Malmberg, director of marketing and com- munications at Visit New Haven. "You're also going to see the most spectacular display of architecture, including the Louis Khan buildings, art galleries and the ice rink for the Yale hockey team, which is still in the shape of a whale." Campus tours are offered daily, but visitors should also be on the lookout for the architectural walking tour, Malmberg said. It sells out immediately. A visit should also include several hours in the Yale library and museums. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library contains 600,000 rare volumes preserved within a Modernist translucent marble cube. Inside, visitors get to peek at one of the only surviving Gutenberg bibles in the world, as well as original Audubon bird prints and changing exhibits. The Yale University Art Gallery, which contains an impres- sive collection and is open to the public for free, is also famous as a Modernist masterpiece designed by Kahn. The British art, musical instrument and natural history museums are also worth touring. For a panoramic cliffside view of New Haven and Long Island Sound, visitors can drive or hike to the top of East Rock Park. It's the most popular of New Haven's many parks and a great spot to watch the sunset. www.visitnewhaven.com PORTLAND, MAINE Maine's largest city has mastered an enchanting bal- ance; the old seaport of Portland has maintained its Old World charm and remained entirely cosmopolitan. Lobster lovers can attest that it has become the culinary mecca of northern New England. "We're authentic by nature," said Robert Witkowski, media relations director at the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We've kept out the chains and stayed true to our heritage." The best example of this balance is in the revitalized Old Port District. Brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets lead to an impressive collection of bookstores, boutiques and top- tier restaurants. Not far from the Old Port is the Portland Museum of Art. In addition to a strong European collection, the museum exhibits works by Maine's renowned artists John Singer Sargent, Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer. Beyond the Victorian homes of downtown, several of which are open for tours, are protected shorelines on both sides of the city. "We want you to feel like you're in the middle of nowhere within a few moments, in a good way," Witkowski said. After soaking up the shoreline, visitors should pay a visit to the Islands of Casco Bay, a collection of 365 islands sometimes called the Calendar Islands. Ferries run from Portland to seven of the main islands through- out the day. Within 20 miles of Portland are six historic lighthous- es, and the most famous is Portland Head Light, possibly the most-photographed lighthouse in the nation. George Washington commissioned the lighthouse in 1791, and it's still in use at the entrance of the shipping channel into Casco Bay. www.visitportland.com By Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld, courtesy GPCVB Portland Head Light

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