As we pull into the sanctuary we are greeted by Tukta, Mr. Pop’s wife, cooking away in a small open kitchen area. The best Pad Thai lunch you will ever have is included in your day at the sanctuary. Walking around the corner, you are surrounded by rice paddies, a river, and beautiful mountains — the sanctuary lies on 18 acres of lush land. Everywhere you turn it’s green, full of life, and as open as if you were standing on top of your own mountain. And then there they are, three immense, wrinkly elephants roaming freely in this serene atmosphere. There are two adults and one baby elephant.
Designated a National Historical Landmark in 1960, the home built by Alexander Hamilton in 1802 has had an interesting history. The Grange was the country home of the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and originally sat on 32 acres in upper Manhattan. Named after his grandfather’s estate in Scotland, The Grange was Hamilton’s home for only two years. He was shot and killed in a duel with the Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804. The Grange remained in Hamilton’s family for 30 years. It later fell into foreclosure and was set for demolition when St. Luke’s Episcopal Church acquired the property and moved it to 287 Convent Avenue where it was used for services.
Formally named Mercado Municipal São Paulo, this architectural delight spans over 135,000 square feet and houses row after row of retailers boasting everything from fresh produce to cured meats to handmade Brazilian jewelry. Wandering through the aisles of boldly-colored foods, the building is abuzz with chatter, laughter, and bartering. Locals will greet you with a smile as they proudly show off their wares. After sampling exotic fruits and fresh cheeses, make your way up to the second-floor mezzanine where the real, can’t miss gem awaits.
The heritage ghost town at 3 Valley Gap displays years of effort by the Bell family. It contains 25 historic buildings from all over British Columbia. On a daily tour, you’ll see Hotel Bellevue, the Golden Wheel Saloon, a blacksmith shop complete with artifacts, a barbershop, and a jail, among others.
There’s a lot of walking involved, of course, but at a comfortable pace. There’s a lot of standing around, too, as you listen and learn. You won’t get much exercise on these walking tours, but that’s not the point. You also won’t spend a lot of time at one venue. So if you want to see the inside of the cathedral in Valencia, for example, come back later.