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Category: Interesting Places

Interesting Places

Not all who wander are lost, but a surprising amount of time I am lost. These are interesting places that I either gone to on purpose or more likely was lost and found them. Be it animal farms, temples, or historic sights I have a bad habit of riding or walking along and saying, “Hey I should check that out”.

You never know what you will find when you wander

Barre Historical Society

Barre Historical Society

Fire place at Barre Historical Society Barre

The town of Barre was were I grew up. It is a rural area that is not far from major urban areas. Despite being in a very different place now, it was a great place to grow up. Located in Worchester County it was incorporated in 1774 as Hutchinson after Thomas Hutchinson the Governor of the colony. However, in 1776 it was renamed Barre after Isaac Barre, a Parliament member that opposed the stamp tax. The Barre Historical Society is on the west side of the town common at 18 Common St. Barre Historical Society is open on Thursdays from 10 am until noon and on Sundays during the farmers market (summer mornings) and can be called at 978-355-4978.

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Luodong Forest Culture Park

Luodong Forest Culture Park

Wood at Luodong Forest Culture Park The last field trip

My first year and first job in Taiwan was coming to a close. My first field trip had been to a mountain, this one was too the Luodong Forest Culture Park.  It was not my first trip to the Forest Culture Park but it was my most memorable. When the rain was forcing us to take cover we played games and I showed the students how some of the old logging methods worked. The strange mix of history, art, nature and old wood made a strangely compelling mix.

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Renshan Botanical Garden

Renshan Botanical Garden

Renshan Botanical Garden Entrance Renshan

The first time I saw this mountain was on a field trip.  I had just started teaching a class of kindergartners and we were on our first field trip. It was probably my second or third week of being a teacher. Needless to say, my co-teacher was the real MVP. Who am I kidding she was always the MVP. Cars can not drive up to the top so we parked at the parking lot and started up the mountain.

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Sanqing Temple

Sanqing Temple

 Gate to Sanqing TempleSanqing Temple

Overlooking the beautiful Lake Meihua, Sanqing Temple is a major Taoist temple in Taiwan. The Temple is based on classical Northern Chinese Palace designs. Interestingly paper money is not burnt hear and offerings are instead made of incense, flowers, and fruit. Naturally, the temple is the busiest during holidays. In fact, they perform a special blessing during Chinese New Years.

In addition to being a religious site, Sanqing Temple is known for its beauty. The temples elevation and location gives it a good view of Meihua and the surrounding area. There is also are a few mountain trails around the temple. The temples plaza is a popular place to view the scenery at both day and night.

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Lake Meihua

Lake Meihua

Lake Meihua

Ducks at Lake MeihuaEntrance at Lake MeihuaMy first year in Taiwan had been spent living in Yilan County. I wish I had started this blog when living in the city of LuoDong. One place I biked to a lot that year was Lake Meihua. It is part of a loop that you can bike form LuoDong sports park, down to Dongshan and back.

Lake Meihua is located south of LuoDong and is a popular and easy trip. In addition to a 4km long bike path, there are many shops that have bikes and carts that you can rent. Lake Meihua is a popular tourist site in Dongshan Township, resulting in many cafes and shops around the north side of the lake. Located at No.1, Dapi Rd. and “open” (as in the stores and office is open) from 0900 to 1730.

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Marsh – Billings – Rockefeller Mansion

Marsh – Billings – Rockefeller Mansion

Woodstock

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion historic markerWoodstock Vermont is the type of place you drive through the center and think, “I wonder what a house hear costs”. The short answer is a lot. The Rockefeller and Billings families influenced the growth of the town. The Rockefeller’s were responsible for the creation of the Woodstock country club, where I tried to learn to golf. That family also paid to have all the power lines in town buried to make it look nicer. The Billings family also was wealthy and set up their own farm where they used experimental farming methods and conducted research. Naturally having a string of well-known wealthy families attracted more wealthy and well-known families to the area. The  Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion became a park in 1992 when it was transferred to the government.

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Hardwick Historical Society

Hardwick Historical Society

Hardwick

Hardwick is a small town next to the one I grew up in. Made up of the villages of Hardwick, Gilbertville, Wheelwright, and Old Furnace. The town of Hardwick was settled in 1737 and incorporated in 1739. The Hardwick Historical Society was founded in 1961 and bought its current building from the town for one dollar. The building was the site of a school until the 1930’s. Latter it was used for engineers working on the Quabbin reservoir before becoming a meeting place for boy scoots and polling.

Located on the east side of the town common, in a brick building.  The Hardwick Historical Society is open Sundays from 12 to 2 PM. In addition you can find them on Facebook.

 

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Taikai Horse Ranch

Taikai Horse Ranch

Taikai Horse Ranch

Taikai Horse Ranch signThis one is not a restaurant with animals, it’s a horse farm with animals. Taikai Horse Ranch has a few horses and from what I have heard offers horse riding lessons. That is not why the majority of people go. Instead, they want to see the animals. Located at

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Zi Nan Temple

Zi Nan Temple

Money, Money, Money, Money

Money is not everything, but it solves a lot of problems. Naturally, the money god, Tu-Di-Gong, is very popular in Taiwan. The most popular is Zi Nan Temple in Nantou County. It was our last stop on our trip to Nantou.

Religious affiliation is much more flexible in Taiwan than in the USA and you often see Buddist and Taoist beliefs mixed together. I had been to a few temples before but this was the busiest I have been too. Like everywhere in Nantou there were plenty of places that would charge for parking. We parked in the large free parking lot south west of the temple.

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Wangyou Forest

Wangyou Forest

Wangyou Forest

Walking up to Wangyou Forest Like most mountains in Taiwan, there was a shuttle, lots of shuttles. The trail up to Wangyou Forest (忘憂森林) is no different. After the Monster Villiage, it was a nice change to be out in nature. We heard “100 to the top” about a dozen times walking from the car to the road up the mountain. Instead up the mountain we went it was a nice steep walk that included switch backs and dodging the shuttles driving fast up and down the mountain.We had already avoided paying for parking by finding one of the few places you could pull a car off the side of the road.

Lots of entrepreneurs having the same idea to make money of a free thing. The entrepreneur I wanted to see, someone selling water bottles half way up the trail, was missing. At the end of the trail was a restaurant, a bathroom you have to pay to use, and someone selling water and ice tea.

 

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