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Sitting at the northernmost corner of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester offers visitors the chance to explore historical sites, museums, vineyards, farmers' markets, and tree-lined Old Town streets once wandered by the likes of George Washington and Stonewall Jackson. The fruitful fields of the surrounding Frederick County have earned the area the title "apple capital of the world," with the city hosting the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival annually for almost a century.
The former home of three of America's founding fathers, and the current home of the University of Virginia, the city of Charlottesville, Virginia is suffused with an appreciation of history and intellectual vigor. Take a tour of the university campus and walk through grassy malls and grand buildings designed by Thomas Jefferson, or peak into the dorm room once occupied by Edgar Allen Poe. The great homes of America's early presidents, Monroe, Jefferson and Madison, are also open to the public.
The city planners in Staunton, Virginia, were very careful to preserve the town's heritage, keeping power lines and cell towers out of view in the historic districts, allowing nothing to interrupt the charm of local restaurants and shops operating out of original Victorian storefronts. Staunton is also the home to the Frontier Culture Museum, The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and the American Shakespeare Center, staging plays at the world's only replica of the Blackfriars Playhouse.
Join the local ghosts in a walk through the historic district of Fredericksburg, Virginia, a city that claims to be one of the most haunted locales in the United States. With a long history dating back to pre-Colonial times, and a legacy of slavery and war, it is no wonder that so many unhappy phantoms wander the streets. Visit the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, marking the spot of four bloody Civil War battles or Ferry Farm, the boyhood home of George Washington.
Wineries are beginning to rival the sweet-tasting Walla Walla onion as the hallmark of this lovely town at the foot of the Blue Mountains. In fact, the combination of excellent wineries and appealing scenery has put Walla Walla on the map as one of the country's hottest new wine-touring regions. The town's rich history, starting with the Indian tribes who first settled here followed by the early pioneers, the establishment and subsequent tragic demise of a famous mission and then a gold rush, is also a tourist draw. Fascinating museums and historic attractions bring this past to life. Music and the arts are a vital part of this culturally conscious college town, which boasts one of the oldest symphony orchestras west of the Mississippi, frequent summertime blues and jazz concerts, arts festivals and at least 15 art galleries. A revitalized downtown features restored 19th-century buildings, restaurants, galleries and wine-tasting rooms. If you're itching for outdoor fun, head east for hiking, mountain biking and fishing in the Blue Mountains or take the relatively easy Stateline Loop bike trail to Oregon and back.
Sandy beaches, golden dunes, and coastal promenades make Southport a popular escape from the nearby cities of Liverpool and Manchester. Add in a fairground, a historic pier, and a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the west coast’s most exciting seaside resorts.
Old-world villages and story-book chateaux bedeck the Loire, once fought over by Gauls, Romans, Visigoths and even Attila the Hun. Hire bikes and roll through the lush valley, visiting fortresses in Amboise and Angers, UNESCO-designated Chartres Cathedral and the Gothic cathedral in Nantes. The Musée Jules Verne houses replicas of futuristic inventions designed by the author. Pay respects to other former residents: the Romans in Tours, the cave dwellers of Touraine, and the liberator of Orleans, Joan of Arc.
Modern Esbjerg is the country's largest port and the base of Denmark's oil industry. Central sights are easily explored on foot, and buses shuttle to the Fisheries and Maritime Museum, where Denmark's fishing history is celebrated. Visitors should explore the main streets: Skolegade is crammed with bars, and pedestrian-only Kongensgade bustles with 150 shops and restaurants. Home to the original Legoland, this city of 85,000 also offers fun daytrips to picturesque Fano, 12 minutes away by ferry.
While crowds of tourists fill Venice, Florence and Rome, Bologna remains relatively quiet in comparison. This mediaeval university town is charming, historic and fun to explore… and you'll find Bologna's local cuisine is light-years away from the American deli meat bearing the city's name.