1. Life on the border: House up for sale where you can live in US and Canada at same time cost $109k but doesn't come with dual citizenship
A 1782 fixer-upper with thick granite walls, 1950s decor, and armed 24-hour security provided by both Canada and the United States of America is up for sale.
The almost 7,000-square-foot house, cut into five currently vacant apartments, is on a lot of less than a quarter-acre that, along with the building itself, straddles the border between Beebe Plain, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec.
Selling a home in two countries is proving to be a challenge for the couple who owns it.
The structure, which has an estimated rebuild cost of about $600,000, is on the market for $109,000.
It's structurally sound but needs lots of work. And then there's that international border.
'In the day, it was a normal and natural thing,' Brian DuMoulin, who grew up in the house and was accustomed to life literally on the border at a time when no one thought twice about crossing from one country to the other.
'Now it stresses everyone out.'
The home, known locally as the Old Stone Store, was built by a merchant so he could sell to farmers in both Vermont and Quebec. Brian and his wife, Joan DuMoulin, inherited it about 40 years ago.
The DuMoulin couple, who inherited the home in the late 70s, also have a home in nearby Morgan, VermontThey also have dual citizenship in both countries‹ SLIDE ME ›
Now the couple, in their 70s, who have dual US and Canadian citizenship and a home in nearby Morgan, Vermont, are hoping to sell it so they can move to Ontario to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Beebe Plain is a community in the Vermont town of Derby, which along with Stanstead, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of Montpelier, or 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Montreal, have become the cliché of security changes on the US-Canadian border brought on by the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
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2. A post office is the dividing line between two states
Texarkana's downtown street grid is interrupted by the north-south path of State Line Avenue, which separates Texas and Arkansas. The federal building occupies the sole site in the center of the street, and the structure, built in 1933, is unique in that no other federal building in the country is sited in two states.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
3. Border Wall Would Cut Across Land Sacred To Native Tribe
"Over my dead body will we build a wall," says Verlon Jose, vice chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation. "It's like me going into your home and saying 'You know what? I believe in order to protect your house we need some adjusting.' And you're going to say, 'Wait a minute, who are you to come into my house and tell me how to protect my home?' " he says.
The Tohono O'odham reservation straddles the U.S.-Mexico border about an hour south of Tucson. Tohono O'odham means people of the desert.
On a recent drive through the Sonoran desert — where rain has made the palo verde trees even greener and the saguaro stand a little taller — Jose points to a cactus plant. He says every living thing has a story and each story comes with a teaching.
"And I always tell people that every stick and stone is sacred. The rocks that you see along the road have meaning. Sometimes you refer to them as 'the grandfathers,' " he says.
The Tohono O'odham people believe their creator lives in the holiest of rocks, Baboquivari Peak; President Trump's wall would cut across this mountain range — as well as sacred burial ground.
Jose says they're not asking the Trump administration to get out. The tribe is asking them to collaborate.
"We're not your enemy. We're your ally. We want to work with you in protecting America," he says.
4. Little progress made in resolving Tahoe’s Cal Neva bankruptcy issues
Today, the lake-front property at the California/Nevada border on Tahoe's North Shore the remains fenced-off and vacant.
During a recent Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association meeting, Incline Village representative Kristina Hill said she gets many calls from people interested in finding out the status of the resort, and isn't sure what to tell them.
"I really don't have much to contribute to what is going on with the property," Hill said in an email to the Sierra Sun. "I know it is in bankruptcy court in Reno. Many potential buyers call me and ask me questions, but I don't know the status of ownership. I only hope someone buys it soon and completes the renovation."
Napa Valley-based real estate firm Criswell Radovan purchased the 10-story resort in 2013 and closed it shortly after for renovations.
Hill, who works as a land-use planner, had helped the firm acquire permits from Washoe County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to renovate the property.
Several grand opening dates in the years to follow were scheduled, but the resort was never re-opened. In 2015, construction workers reportedly walked off the job site because they hadn't been paid. Then, last June, Criswell-Radovan filed for bankruptcy.
The case was originally filed in a Santa Rosa, Calif. court, in the county where the real estate company is based. Several delays have occurred since, according to court documents, including a dispute over the attorney representing Criswell-Radovan and a lengthy motion to move the case from a court in Santa Rosa to one in Reno.
As of Monday afternoon, workers were at the job site pulling items from the resort's interior and loading them into storage containers.
On Tuesday, a notice was filed scheduling a hearing on May 2 for the approval of the creditors' joint disclosure statement.
Attempts to contact Criswell Radovan for this article, as well as the attorney handling the bankruptcy, were unsuccessful.
5. The farmer straddling both sides of the Irish border: "People don't want a return to violence"
Less than 10 minutes later he parks the vehicle on the edge of a muddy field, points across, and says: "See that fence there? That's the Republic of Ireland. All you have to do is walk through the gate.”
That's how David has been running his 300-acre farm for the past 20 years — freely dipping in and out of Irish territory as he pleases. He has no choice, really. Two hundred acres of his land lies on the south. The other 100, which includes his family home, is on the north of the border.
Since the Good Friday Agreement came into effect in 1999, the sinuous 300-mile Irish border between north and south has virtually evaporated. People like David have made the most of the newfound peace, significantly prospering in the process.
"Europe has been very good in terms of grants and subsidies," he says. "They brought the standards up, you are well paid for your stuff, and they won't allow anything from even America to come in."
But that could soon change. As Britain braces for a messy divorce with the Europe Union, residents of Derry — who overwhelmingly voted to remain— believe the split will have devastating consequences. "It will be disastrous for everyone," one local told me.
For David and his farm, big changes loom large once Northern Ireland leaves the EU. For one, toiling the Irish Republic side of his land will become significantly more difficult, as different regulations and a bevy of tariffs apply.
"Before we were part of the EU we would have to go to Dublin to get an export license... and then for an import license we would have to go down to London," he explains.
There is also the machinery. In a post-EU Northern Ireland, he expects he will no longer be able to drive his tractors from one side of the border to the other. The solution?
“I have been told I will have to move my entire business out there and buy new machinery. I will eventually have to split the farm and hand over the Irish side to my son.”
David (pictured below with his son) is a Protestant. The Troubles started when he was nine years old, and continued until he was in his 30s. For most of his childhood, division and conflict between the Catholic south and the Protestant north was all he knew. He still has vivid memories of a time when, as a young boy, he would have to lay low in the family’s kitchen while fierce gun battles between the British army and IRA militias were going on outside.
6. Hotel Arbez is unique- It straddles border between Switzerland and France
The Hotel Arbez, which lies in a quiet Alpine La Cure village, is a small and unique hotel – it’s the only hotel to straddle two countries.
It’s situated along the French-Swiss border, which means some of its customers will sleep both in France and in Switzerland. Isn’t that unique?
How good would it be to experience both Switzerland and France while staying at one place? Hotel Arbez promises much more than just Franco-Suisse experience.
Although this is not One of the Best Hotels in Switzerland, it does help you explore the Swiss and French culture in a unique way.
7. The North and South Korean border DMZ: A no-man's land of fear and fun parks
I did not expect a fun park, for example. Just before the main checkpoint to enter the demilitarised zone from the south, coloured steel girders lined with gaudy light bulbs rise above the treeline.
It's called Peace Land, and has a pirate ship ride and excited gaggles of school kids on excursion. At the upmarket mini-mall next door, there's a Popeyes fried chicken joint, a bagel takeaway, and a French bistro. There is a gift shop selling mini his-n-hers fatigues and DMZ caps. Climb four storeys to a viewing platform and drop coins into fixed binoculars to peer across the river into the edge of the North. Here: a strange capitalist carnival of franchise chicken and takeaway frappuccinos; there: midnight disappearances and a nuclear-armed failed Stalinist utopia. DMZ tourism is a weird beast.
The armistice that put an end to the Korean War in 1953 split the peninsula into North and South Korea, and there the 238 kilometre long, four kilometre wide border has divided the Korean people ever since. Six decades after more than 3 million died in the conflict, it's among the world's most heavily armed borders, which is perhaps not surprising given the war never technically ended, and the North Korean leadership has demonstrated itself to be right up there with the world's most paranoid and brutal regimes. At the heart of the DMZ, soldiers from the North and South eyeball each other through mirrored aviators over the concrete span of Panmunjom. It's silent, and hardly anything moves. The soldiers stand immobile in a taekwondo pose, dressed in chunky black boots with white laces, wide leg pants that crop inches above the ankle, mirror aviators, black salad-bowl helmets. They look like an army dressed by the Village People, about to break into some kind of awesome synchronised dance.
Sadly, this does not actually happen.
8. The world's largest energy collider sits on the border of Switzerland and France
CERN's site is open for tours if you are in the area, but as it is located on either side of the border, you might unknowingly cross it during your visit. Depending on your nationality, you may require a Schengen visa, which covers 26 countries (Schengen States) without border controls between them. (France and Spain are included that number.) Check with your consulate or embassy before taking the trip!