Editor's Letter

September 28, 2007

Some of you may recall our English friend, Alan White, from his description of a 26-mile hike up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru a couple of issues back.

Alan, headteacher at a school in Doncaster, England, appears to have the predilection for travel shared by many of his compatriots. So he and some colleagues jumped at an opportunity offered by the National College for School Leadership and the British Council for international study of education. Visions of far-off, "exotic" destinations such as India and Borneo (even the U.S.) danced through their heads.

Well, Alan and his group discovered they certainly were being sent to a far-off spot - Siberia! I suppose whether that falls under "exotic" depends upon your viewpoint.

Recovering from the shock, Alan prepared for his adventure in learning. Little did he and his colleagues know, however, that reaching Siberia would be an adventure in itself. That trip, which could be subtitled, "Misadventures in Moscow," is detailed in Alan's article in this month's Elegant Living. His actual Siberian experiences will appear in a future issue.


All this is our way of introducing you to a travel-themed fall issue of Elegant Living. Be assured, most of our destinations are not as remote as Russia. In fact, you'll recognize several of them as very close to home.

For a quiet day out, the C & O Canal National Historical Park provides walking, riding, boating and camping opportunities throughout Washington County. Writer Harry Nogle details some of its charms.

To cool off after a busy day, a visit to one of our area's ice cream establishments might be just the thing. Actually, Harry visited more than one, and confesses to having sampled some of their wares along the way.

Swinging at the Pen Mar Park Sunday dances has become a Washington County rite in recent years. Susie Sager Mason caught up with some of the Lindy-hoppers earlier this summer.

For years, the charming town of Mercersburg, Pa., contained a historic treasure that few persons outside of Civil War buffs and Mercersburg's small African-American community knew much about - the Zion Union Cemetery. It contains the graves of 38 African-American Civil War veterans, including 13 from the famed 54th Massachusetts depicted in the film, "Glory." I talked with a personable young man named Chris Frisby, who has ancestors buried in the cemetery and has been leading efforts to restore it. You'll find some details inside.

For Bob Epstein, a longtime outdoor and travel writer, fly-fishing for trout is about as good as it gets. He found the Savage River Lodge in western Maryland to be a great spot for fishing, or for just enjoying a relaxing weekend. Bob also reports from a far noisier venue, the Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, in this issue.

Farther from home, my wife and I journeyed to Chicago, site of my youth, with some friends during the summer. As always, I was surprised by the buzz of activity going on in this ever-changing city. There are some great new tourist sites, including the wonderful Millennium Park, to go along with the old reliables. Even the Cubs are winning this year, setting up everyone, I'm sure, for the annual letdown.

Another of our contributors, Cathy Van Gilder, joined Alan in going international as she took an extended trip to Ireland with her family. She describes some of the sights of that picturesque country in words and photographs.

Golf writer Jeff Yingling didn't have to go as far for a memorable summer trip. He attended the U.S. Open tourney at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh and found the fabled Oakmont course to be as tough as advertised.

Fall is coming, but there's still time for travel. If you're thinking about taking a picnic lunch along, our resident culinary writer, D. Barrett Brown, has a few tips for you.

All this and more as the Tri-State area's colorful fall season is almost upon us. If travel is in your plans, we wish you enjoyment and a safe journey.

Suggestions, criticisms or story ideas? Contact Director of Marketing and Magazine Publications Michele Wills at, Herald-Mail Company Publisher John League at, or me, at

David W. Thompson

Content Editor

Elegant Living

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