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Beechworth Victoria: Food, wine and shopping in historic goldmining town

Beechworth has rich goldmining and bushranger history and a terrific food, wine and shopping scene

A long weekend in Beechworth on the edge of the Victorian high country really ticks all the boxes.  It has buckets of gold rush and Ned Kelly bushranger history, a charming small-town streetscape, boutiques and gift shops that rival the best big city offerings, fabulous restaurants, atmospheric accommodations, and even a craft boutique brewery. It is also a terrific stopover on a road trip between Melbourne and Canberra or Sydney.

I am struck by how wide the main street is, wide enough, I am told by local historian Michael Beattie, to turn around a stage-coach, laden with gold. It’s a boulevard, really, and it’s lined with Victorian shop fronts with awnings shading pedestrians much like they did in the 1870s.

I meet Michael outside the Beechworth Information Centre, located in the heart of the Historic and Cultural Precinct. Dressed in an Akubra hat and jaunty waistcoat with fob watch, the long bearded guide, or one of his colleagues, takes visitors on guided walks around town...

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Walk the Amalfi Coast

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A sunny day on the Amalfi coast…steep, craggy limestone hills rise like an ancient dragon from the indigo depths of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Alas, most visitors miss the magic, trapped as they are in a cacophony of honking horns and diesel fumes, kitschy limoncello souvenir shops, and serpentine traffic jams on the cliff-hugging roads.

Positano Walking Adventures

Enter the PositanoFrank Carpegna-Walking with the Gods…the perfect way to slow down and smell the rosemary, while marveling at a culture and a cuisine hewn from a landscape as harsh as it is breathtaking.  By walking on paths that have been used for centuries by monks and farmers you not only feel the majesty of place in your pounding heart but also carve a monstrous hole in your stomach.  All the better to be filled with mountains of made-this-morning fusilli tossed with everything fresh from the garden which goes down very easily with the Tears of Christ wine grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius...

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US National Constitution Center: the American Museum of Democracy

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A spotlight picks out an actor, arms outstretched.

I am sitting with my American-born, Australian-raised daughter in a theater-in-the-round at the fascinating US National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

We the People

“We the People… Who are we and what makes us a people?” She continues, “The American Revolution saw a home-grown army of shopkeepers and farmers take on the massed forces of the most powerful nation on earth.”

Rousing music fills the hall, dramatic images of 250 years of a revolutionary story are projected on the floor, on a screen around the perimeter, even on our faces.

More evocative words and images show how the definition of citizenship expanded to include women and African Americans and how the constitution has shaped the United States and other countries around the world.

“The most powerful vision of human freedom ever expressed and it begins with three words…We the people.”

The show ends as it began, with a question, “What will we do with the f...

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