Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on September 9, 1979 · Page 41
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 41

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 9, 1979
Page 41
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DETROIT FREE PRESS 13C 7il? tip: Choo-choo through a galaxy of fa!! color in Ontario's north woods and Agawa Canyon the last week in September. The Algoma Central train makes daily round trips from Soo, Ont. Adults $17, kids $9. Call 1-705-254-4331, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Sunday, Sept. 0, 1379 FAR OUT 14 WATCH YOURSELF 15 HOROSCOPE 15 FASCINATING FACTS 18 II: C'IX J j it SI- i-!?H In: ;,'- , . r s id" I &&i- . :-u ,v-f ntw'l if . ! U : & : jij:,-Vx .fcf i R:' Ml d- I ! ip jvJiO n- f 5 - - , i J -rl?-,., .. If- : --a i-y"w ri"":ui" rn '""""lfe iMk -Lvy - -'"t" "" 'J"l ""' Ws?1 C "Tre8d carefully on th Fallasburg Bridge in Ksnt County. Mich. Sr. fL-JC ' ' Haupt's Bridge spans Durham Creak in Bucks County. Pa. - ',J 4 e cover-ups of the (last) century By RON SMITH Krighl-Ridder Newspapers Among connoisseurs of nostalgia, the covered bridge ranks right up there with the Tiffany lamp. There are travelers who spend their summer vacations seeking out and admiring those old wooden relics that span not just rivers but ttme. I Pennsylvania's rivers, streams and creeks hustle under more covered bridges than any other state's waters; altogether, there are about 300 bridges. ! Lancaster County alone has 34 of them, Including the often photographed Herr's Mills Bridge, built In 1844 and stJH straddling the Pequea Creek near Soudersburg. Chester County preserves 1 7, and in Bucks County charm oozes from every plank of the Twining Ford Covered Bridge, built of hemlock and 180 feet long, arching its wooden lattice across Neshaminy Creek inside Tyler State Park. (IN MICHIGAN, there are three covered bridges accessible to the public without a fee, according to the Michigan Travel Commission. There were four, but the bridge at Ada collapsed this spring. (The three are the Langley Bridge, spanning the St. Joseph River near Centreville in St. Joseph County; White's Bridge, across the Flat River at Smirna in Ionia County; and the Fallasburg Bridge, over the Flat River near Lowell In Kent County. Visitors to Greenfield Village in Dearborn and the Bay Valley resort near Bay City also can see covered bridges. (Indiana's Parke County Is unusually rich In covered bridges. There are 35, and the annual worship service is the Covered Bridge Festival this year Oct. 12-21 in which visitors tour the bridges and enjoy arts and crafts displays, a farmers' market and melodrama performances. Parke County is due east of Indianapolis.) No covered-bridge buff could ignore New England, which also has preserved many of its covered bridges, and in southern Vermont, especially in the town of Woodstock, they guard antique charm with determination. When the steel bridge that crosses the river in Woodstock went out a decade ago, the town fathers replaced it with a covered wooden bridge, the first built in the state since the turn of the century. In the 10 years since the bridge went up, enough cameras have been pointed at it to assure the Kodak company of an annual profit. FOR LOVERS of covered bridges, however, it is not New England that is mecca. It is New Brunswick. Canada's seaside, picture-postcard province has 88 covered bridges, including the longest one in the world. It is the Hartiand Bridge, and, much as bird watchers long to see a bald eagle on the wing, the covered-bridge addict has a deep passion to see the Hartiand as it hurls itself nearly a quarterof a mile an awesome 1,282 feet across-the St. John River. More than just the longest, the Hartiand is perhaps the most storied. Songs mention it, and poems proclaim it. It was built before the end of the last century, and the Hartiand locals raised serious questions about the need for a bridge at all, much less a covered one. Naturally, the operators of a ferry that moved goods and people back and forth across the river didn't like the idea. The main problem, though, was that a sizable portion of the See BRIDGES, Page17C yr Rich Sylvain J V;t travel notes Attention: Is there d David, H., aboard? :ONE WAY TO GET the cruise blues is to have a hurricane on;the passenger list. Just ask the cruisegoers who shelled out a couple thousand dollars to get topsy-turvied recently by'Hurrlcane David. .Modern cruise ships have stabilizers, but It can still get roller coastery. And they may have to skip that port you've always dreamed about, in which case the ship's master will shop for an alternate port or sail for calmer waters. 'It's situational," says Rob McCloud of Royal Caribbean Lines. "The master gets constant weather printouts and usually we can outrun a hurricane. .'But cruising is not 'Victory at Sea.' It's a vacation and we have to use our best judgment in the interests of all. There are a few complainers, but sometimes we'll open up the bars and have a hurricane party." Torget about refunds, by the way. Your cruise contract absolves the line in case of unforseen factors such as weather. So pack your seasick pills and all ahead full. You spent the weekend ivhcrc? Common question: What did you do last weekend? Uncommon answer: Oh, I went to Europe. The long weekend to someplace different. It's the latest Jet age eccentricity, sure to make the neighbors green with envy because it beats the hell out of taking down screens or making one more trek to the cottage. Flnnair offers Wednesday-to-Monday round-trip air fares to Helsinki for $299 or Amsterdam for $290, from New York. For $97 more, double, you get four nights at a top Helsinki hotel. Optional accommodations in Amsterdam are priced from $74, double, and include daily Dutch breakfast. Even better are the three-day Adventure Weekends from Icelandic Airlines. Leave Friday from Chicago, stay at a first class hotel, take several meals and enjoy a guided tour of Reykjavik all for $341. Four-, five- and six-day tours also are offered. Icelandic woolens, lava pottery and native Jewelry make great Christmas gifts. Travel agents have more details. No-cost travel hints Pick up on the latest freebies. The Southeast Michigan Travel and Tourist Association offers its outdoor guide to canoeing, camping, boating, hunting and fishing. Write to 350 American Center, 27777 Franklin Rd., Southfield, Mich. 48034. Lake-studded Minnesota gets an early lead on fall and there's a colorful map profiling 40 equally colorful driving tours. Also available is the 1979 Minnesota Camping Guide. Both are free by phoning the Minnesota Tourism Bureau at 1-800-328-1410, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. Ohio has published Its best-ever calendar of events, ideal for day-tripping or weekend travel from Michigan. Free copies are available from Travel Ohio, P.O. Box 1001, Columbus, 0. 43216, or by calling toll-free 1-800-848-1300, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. Indiana has Its fall-winter calendar, available from the Tourism Development Division, Room 336, State House, Indianapolis, Ind. 46204. f '. x J Workers are casting new ceiling medallions for the Bellevue-Stratford's facelifting. . 3 ' Si 6 t Ma.- Hi Wit 2 b if 9 ill; r it; The interior of the former Bellevue-Stratford hotel in Philadelphia was gutted to make way for the Fairmont Philadelphia, left. During demolition, the stained glass ceiling, above, was uncovered and is being restored. A cure for the Bellevue- Stratford? By RICK SYLVAIN Free Press Travel Editor PHILADELPHIA Her once-striking entranceway, which welcomed presidents and royalty, is blocked by chicken wire and plywood barriers. Scaffolding rudely rims her ornate sides along Broad and Walnut Streets. A T-crane juts from her roof. Men at work. Inside, construction crews are busily welding, plastering and sanding a new image for the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, hoping to erase the fallout from the Legionnaire's disease epidemic that boarded it up in 1976. THE BELLEVUE is being reborn as the Fairmont Hotel. It is scheduled to open on Sept. 26, six days past the building's 75th anniversary. It is major surgery for this grand old lady, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. There is construction glut everywhere and the dusty air is filled with ear-piercing sounds of power saws and drills as workmen, behind schedule, race to meet the opening date. This is the first East Coast venture and the riskiest for the Fairmont chain, which has luxury hotels in San Francisco, Dallas, Denver and New Orleans. Changing the Bellevue to the Fairmont is more than changing a name. Nearly $25 million is being spent to, essentially, put a new hotel within the walls of the old one. The interior has been gutted, but Fairmont denies any out-of-sight, out-of-mind scheming, insisting it is necessary to bring the hotel up to its standards. Each visit to the hotel, proclaims a brochure, "becomes an historic occasion." Indeed it was, in July 1976, when a mysterious illness felled delegates to a Pennsylvania American Legion convention. Twenty-nine persons died and 151 became ill. The hotel, once the hub of Philadelphia's social and political life, was forced to close four months later amid a flood of cancellations. "Prior to the Legionnaires' convention, the hotel was on the decline anyway," explained Judith Morse, a Fairmont spokesperson. "That virtually knocked it out completely." The pneumonia-like illness was traced to a small bacterium that some theorists believe alternates between active and dormant states. "Construction companies were told to report any illness among their workers that was questionable and lasted beyond a day," Ms. Morse said. "So far, there's been nothing unusual." THE BELLEVUE was some looker when she bowed in 1904 as Philadelphia's first luxury hotel. She had a facade de rigueur of carved limestone and terra cotta in the French Renaissance style. Guests waltzed through the ornate entrance way of wrought Iron and glass into a lobby of marble col umns and sweeping, circular stairways. There were hand-plastered moldings and sculptured or stained glass ceilings. The hotel's own power plant drove the 20-story elevators and lit the lights in the delicate fixtures designed by Thomas Edison. The Bellevue boasted its own artesian wells, its own ice-making plant, butcher shop and bakery. Messages were hand-delivered by concierges assigned to each floor. An ornate clock above the front desk ticked off the time in London, Hawaii and Sydney for the parade of f oreign'dignitaries. Presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Gerald Ford stayed here. WHEN IT CLOSED, "a part of Philadelphia died," recalled Ms. Morse. Street-level shops that radiated from the hotel suffered badly, even closed altogether. Some, including Mayor Frank Rizzo, called for the demolition of the building, she said. But a local developer, awestruck by the turn-of-the-century grandeur of the place and convinced there was still life at 75, led the revival effort. He was helped by a consortium of banks. - Fairmont has been understandably reticent about discussing the hotel's past. Its publicity stresses the renovation to "virtually a new hotel," including Installation of a "new air-conditioning, heating and ventilation system," which was implicated in the investigation of the disease. "At first, I thought the hotel's past might be a problem," admitted Herman Wiener, the Fairmont's general manager. "But our market research showed otherwise. Among hotels, ours will be one of those little jewel boxes. People are hungry for the quality rooms we will offer." GREAT CARE Is being taken to restore and preserve the architectural panache of the building. Stained glass that has been bricked up for years has been discovered, Ms. Morse says, and layers of ceiling are being peeled off to the charming, sculptured original. The marble columns shine again. And the international clock, one of the few relics from the Bellevue, proudly ticks away. Workers virtually started from scratch on the. 16 guest floors. Everything was hollowed out except the hallways. The 726 rooms of the Bellevue are becoming the 565 rooms of the Fairmont, each with customized furniture and carpeting, telephones and television speaker in the bathrooms, TWO pillows per person, etc. . There will be two ballrooms, 16 meeting rooms and four restaurants again, aU completely redesigned right down to the kitchen. Room rates will start at a slightly stiff $55, says Ms. Morse, and advance bookings are strong. "We already have some convention bookings Into 1930," she says. No word yet from the Legionnaires.

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