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This article by Nicole Plett was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July

22, 1998. All rights reserved.

A Lindbergh Travel Adventure

The world is a book, and he who does not travel, reads

only the first page," says Larry Weikel, quoting one of his

favorite

expressions. The retired teacher of 30 years has embarked on a second

career in which he has transformed travel — a lifelong avocation

— into a vocation. "The First Trial of the Century: The

Lindbergh

Kidnapping Case," is one of Weikel’s one-of-a-kind destination

tours that combines his duel interests in history and travel into

a business enterprise. The day and night tour of some of the sights

and sounds associated with the notorious kidnapping and murder of

20-month-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. departs New Hope Saturday, July

25, at 9:30 a.m.

"I guess you could say I inherited my wanderlust," says

Weikel,

now in his mid 50s. "Both my father and grandfather worked for

the Pennsylvania department of highways, and every Sunday the family

would get into the car and drive the highways my father and

grandfather

had helped build." Each of Weikel’s tours is based around a theme

and aimed at educators, researchers, culture and history buffs. Past

offerings include "Gothic Writers: The Haunted Lives of Edgar

Allan Poe and Bram Stoker" (to be repeated this fall), and

"The

Doan Trail Tour," focussing on the infamous Doan gang’s exploits

and hideouts. This year he’ll add "Titanic: Fortune and Fate,"

a trip to Newport News, Virginia (August 28 and 29), that takes in

the maritime museum and includes the identical meal served to the

Titanic’s first-class passengers on April 14, 1912.

Now in their third year, Weikel’s Lindbergh tours are enlivened by

the persistent doubts about Hauptmann’s guilt, rampant for 60 years

during which no Hauptmann accomplice or conspirator was ever named

or found. Led by historian Richard Sloan, this year’s first tour

begins

at the New Jersey State Police Museum with an introduction to the

Lindbergh case and an examination of the crucial — although

strictly

circumstantial — evidence that led to the immigrant carpenter’s

conviction. The day includes a private tour of "Highfields,"

the former Lindbergh estate and scene of the crime, and a stop at

the Carter Road location where, six weeks after his disappearance,

the baby’s decomposing body was discovered by a trucker who had

stepped

into the woods to relieve himself. The tour then proceeds to the

Hunterdon

County Courthouse, with a visit to Hauptmann’s holding cell, and the

courtroom where he was sentenced to death by electrocution. Dinner

is at the Union Hotel, the controversial spot where hundreds of

reporters

encamped and dined side-by-side with Hauptmann’s deliberating jurors.

The tour concludes with the dramatic trial reenactment by Harry and

Reva Kazman performed in the Hunterdon County Courthouse

If all this doesn’t satisfy the curious Lindbergh buff, Weikel offers

a second tour, "On the Trail of Bruno Richard Hauptmann,"

that takes place September 12. Also led by Sloan, this tour traces

the convicted kidnapper’s movements in New York and its environs,

with visits to the Hauptmann home; to the Fredericksen Bakery where

Anna Hauptmann worked and which her husband claimed as his alibi for

the night of the kidnapping; the Bronx County Courthouse, the scene

of Hauptmann’s extortion and extradition trials; the home of Dr. John

"Jafsie" Condon, the famous intermediary; and the cemetery

were the ransom money was paid.

A global traveler, Weikel says his favorite experiences to date

include

a transcontinental journey on the Orient Express, and trips to Machu

Picchu in Peru, safaris in Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, a Carnival

stay in Rio de Janeiro, and the Mozart festival in Salzburg Austria.

Already on his travel calendar for December, 1999, is a date with

a ship set to sail out of Auckland, New Zealand — this to enable

him to be among the first to "turn the page" and greet the

new millennium on the International Dateline.

— Nicole Plett

The First Trial of the Century: The Lindbergh Kidnapping

Case , Weikel Tours, New Hope, 215-257-1720. Reservations

required. $150 inclusive. Part of the proceeds benefit the Albert

Elias Rehabilitation Center at Highfields. Saturday, July 25, 9:30

a.m.

Lindbergh & Hauptmann: The Trial of the Century, Hunterdon

County Courthouse, Flemington, 908-782-2610. The reenactment continues

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, to August 16. $18.


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