ALL POSTS IN [History]

Japanese Torii Gate

Japanese Torii Gate

by: Brian Leonard, Executive Producer

In July, I was lucky enough to travel to Hiroshima, Japan, from the Washington, DC, area for a shoot. I was working on an exciting new pilot for Travel Channel that looks at places where something big once occurred — either manmade or natural — that changed the place forever, and we find out what makes it different today. It’s a very inspiring project, and I wanted to feature cities that are not the “normal” vacation and tourist destinations. So Hiroshima was a great place to start. READ MORE

Mercedes House (Photo Courtesy of Neil R)

Overwhelmed by New York’s neon canyons? Wary of running with the tourist hordes? If you’re “Times Squared-out,” you can visit an authentic part of New York City just a short distance away. Explore Hell’s Kitchen, the area roughly bordered by Port Authority and 57th Street to the north and south, and 8th Avenue and the Hudson River to the east and west.

This once-raffish neighborhood was home to bad-boy Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain. Today, it thrives with restaurants, bars and opinionated, demanding locals. Parts of Hell’s Kitchen also offer peace and quiet — something visitors may think is unattainable in New York. Here are a few rough and refined recommendations on what not to miss in this hood: READ MORE

Fort McHenry

Photography By National Park Service

As Francis Scott Key watched the smoke clear and the sun rise above Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after witnessing its bombardment by British naval ships during the final months of the War of 1812, he had every expectation of seeing a white flag of surrender. To his surprise, he saw the tattered, but still flying, remains of an oversized American flag that had been commissioned just months earlier by the fort’s commander Major George Armistead.

Key was so moved by the by sight of the flag and by the Americans’ protection of their fort that he penned the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” That poem, eventually set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” became the national anthem of the United States of America. READ MORE

Photo Courtesy of Steve Gardner

The 9/11 Memorial Museum will finally open its doors to the general public tomorrow (Wed., May 21) after more than 10 years of debate on how to best remember the collapse of the World Trade Center and the thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001.
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Photo Courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of locals and visitors — from as far as China — converged on Washington, DC, to be the first to take a tour of the newly-reopened Washington Monument. The National Park Service closed the 130-year-old monument for almost 3 years to make repairs after damage caused by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast on August 23, 2011. Since then, the historic site has been closed to the public.
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Dock Street Theater in Charleston South Carolina

Historic Charleston offers a rich history around every corner. From Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor where the first shots of the Civil War rang out to Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, a former prison and one of the locations where the Declaration of Independence was read, and with over a hundred hotels, they too hold a rich history, steeped in secrets from the past.

Last night’s Hotel Secrets & Legends featured a story about 2 escaped slaves from Georgia – Ellen and William Craft – who stayed at the then Planter’s Hotel (now the Dock Street Theatre) for one night. READ MORE

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Photo: Getty Images)

The final countdown has begun to “Fat Tuesday” around the world. But only in New Orleans can you celebrate with the true flair of a party-ragin’ Cajun. There’s plenty to do during one of the biggest annual celebrations in America. And in a multilingual city with a rich French colonial history, there are myriad options for Carnival fun. It’s no coincidence that The Big Easy is sometimes referred to as the “most unique in the United States,” and this annual bead-begging bash shows exactly why.

A direct flight from New York to New Orleans is about 3 hours. From Los Angeles it’s just 1 hour more. And from Washington, DC, it’s only a 2 1/2 -hour jaunt, all of which makes it easy to jump right into the Mardi Gras mix. Once you arrive in New Orleans you’ll want a comfy place to rest up and energize from the day’s travels. Here are a few suggestions for enjoying Mardi Gras in New Orleans that will fit almost any budget. READ MORE

Photography by iStock

Tour Thomas Jefferson’s ancestral home just outside of Charlottesville, and discover more than just the history of a President.
Daily Escapes!

Photography by Andre Maceira – Photo Courtesy of Embratur

Of all the 12 cities hosting the 2014 World Cup, Porto Alegre is the southernmost city in Brazil. Travelers heading down to the state of Rio Grande do Sul are recommended to pack warm coats and extra layers because unlike northern Brazil, the winter weather in Porto Alegre is usually  between 44° and 55°F. Undoubtedly, the weather will not take away from the countless activities Porto Alegre has to offer both soccer fans and world travelers alike. Visitors should know that the citys offers  great urban parks, wine tasting tours, cultural centers, delicious food and exhibits that feature some of the most important pieces of art in Brazil.

Porto Alegre, The City with Multiculturalism.
In the 19th century, Porto Alegre had a large influx of immigrants; the majority of which came from Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Africa and Lebanon. The immigrants that settled helped the city flourish as a melting pot of cultures. As a result, Porto Alegre has grown to become a diverse cosmopolitan city with over 1.5 million inhabitants known as Porto-Alegrenses. The city’s gastronomy and architecture is a mixture of Brazilian traditions infused with influences from different countries.
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Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

The World Cup is a momentous occasion that sets the stage for the world’s greatest soccer athletes. Thousands of people will travel to  12 cities in Brazil to see their favorite teams play an international sport that will bring people together from all around the globe.  And there are several reasons why Fortaleza is the perfect  city to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup games.

Fortaleza, the City of “Fortalezenses”
Fortaleza is known for its people, “Fortalezenses.” Although the city on its own is aesthetically beautiful, it’s the good-humored nature of its people that automatically make it a charming destination. Fortalezenses are known for being helpful, hospitable and caring hosts to tourists. They stay active by walking around in urban parks or by the seafront.

The History of the Fortress
In case you didn’t know, Fortaleza in Portuguese translates to “fortress.” In 1649, the Dutch settled and built Fort Schoonemborch. A few years later, in 1655, the Portuguese seized the fort and renamed it Nossa Senhora da Assunção, after the patron saint of the city, the Lady of the Assumption. Visitors can visit  the beautiful fortress on Monte Marajaitiba for free. Today, the fortress is home to the Army Military Headquarters.

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