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The Most Beautiful Train Rides In America

America has some of the most beautiful scenery, and what better way to view it than a leisurely train ride. Why take the family on a vacation rushing from place to place, when the journey can be the vacation. Railway travel is the easiest, most pleasant,…

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America has some of the most beautiful scenery, and what better way to view it than a leisurely train ride. Why take the family on a vacation rushing from place to place, when the journey can be the vacation. Railway travel is the easiest, most pleasant, and surprisingly affordable way to enjoy some of the most magnificent scenery in the United States. Whether you want a quick jaunt through the countryside or a cross country odyssey, these train rides are the best rides in the nation. 

 

CASCADES

156 MILES – Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia

This ride through America’s Pacific Northwest does not disappoint. Traveling from Eugene to Seattle you will travel through magnificent evergreen forests. The train then travels along Puget sound, where on a clear day, passengers on the western facing side can view the majestic Olympic Mountains. 

 

CASS SCENIC RAILROAD

8 miles – Cass, West Virginia

They call West Virginia “almost heaven” because of it’s spectacular scenery. This quick trek is a fantastic way to soak it up. Original locomotives, once used to transport lumber to mining camps, now haul passengers up an 11% grade slope for an amazing view of the mountains below. At the top is the Whittaker Station, a restored logging camp. In October when the fall foliage is at it’s peak is the perfect time to visit.

 

CALIFORNIA ZEPHYR

2,438 miles – Chicago, Illinois to Emeryville, California 

Retrace the trail the pioneers took when they settled the American West on this 50 plus hour train ride. In Denver the train journeys through the towering Rocky Mountains, then into the red rocks of Utah, through Ruby Canyon, into the Sierra Mountains, through Donner Pass and then into San Francisco Bay.

 

 

WHITE PASS AND YUKON ROUTE

120 MILES – Skagway, Alaska

This round trip ride, on a narrow gauge railway built during the Klondike Gold Rush, will have you traveling along the side of sheer cliff drops. Departing from Skagway, you travel 3.000 feet up, past glaciers, mountain lakes and thunderous waterfalls. You can choose the original miner’s supply route to Carcross, Yukon stopping at a restored station house in Lake Bennett, or take the route past Bridal Veil Falls and Dead Horse Gulch to White Pass Summit.

 

CAPITOL CORRIDOR

168 miles – San Jose, California to Auburn, California

This train trip was designed to quickly transport Bay Area residents to the Capitol in Sacramento. This trip will have you speeding alongside the picturesque San Francisco Bay, through the industrial bays and waterways near Martinez, and into the majestic rolling hills of Northern California. 

 

CAPE COD CENTRAL RAILROAD

27 miles – Hyannis. Massachusetts to Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts

Ride through the cranberry bogs, salt marshes, oceanfront trails and adorable little towns of Massachusetts. There are two options for this train ride, the sightseeing tour with complete informational narration, or the dinner train where you will enjoy freshly prepared meals on board. Both options will have you journeying through areas of Cape Cod that can only be seen by train.

 

GRAND CANYON RAILWAY

 

130 miles – Williams, Arizona

 

On this round trip train ride you will fly right past all the vehicle traffic and travel directly to the Grand Canyon’s south rim. Departing from Williams you will enjoy dense pine forests, majestic desertscape and rich wildlife.

 

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS RAILROAD

32 or 44 miles – Bryson City, North Carolina

With your choice of two excursions, this train ride is an excellent way to take in some of America’s greatest wilderness. The Tuckasegee River Excursion takes passengers through 32 miles of lush green valleys, over historic bridges and into the quaint town of Dillsboro, where it stops for an hour and a half. The Nantahala Gorge Excursion journeys 44 miles along the Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers, over Fontana Lake and into the gorge. 

 

COAST STARLIGHT

1,377 miles – Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington

This train trips hits all the highlights of a classic American road trip, driving up the Pacific Coast. This ride let’s you enjoy the dramatic cliffs along the Pacific Coast Highway, Mount Shasta, San Francisco Bay, Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier and Puget Sound.

 

SUNSET LIMITED

1,995 miles – New Orleans, Louisiana to Los Angeles, California

Delight in the grand vistas of red rocks and cacti on one of the most scenic train routes in America. It begins in Louisiana’s bayou country and travels on through the expansive Southwestern deserts of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. During the peak season you will find National Park guides on board who will explain the history and geography of the region. 

 

STRASBURG RAIL ROAD

9 miles – Strasburg, Pennsylvania

Take a quick trip through Amish Country, enjoying the rolling hills and expansive countryside. Once used to transport goods from the heart of Pennsylvania to the coast, restored to being a passenger train in the 1960’s, the first class and president’s trains are outfitted to look like Gilded Age luxury. 

 

EMPIRE BUILDER

2,206 miles – Chicago, Illinois to Seattle, Washington

Enjoy this 46 hour ride as it travels through Lewis and Clark’s expedition route. From your comfortable seat in the observation lounge experience the Great Plains in all their splendor, ride through a seven mile tunnel cut through the Cascade Mountains and spend 8 hours marveling at the Glacier National Park. 

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Destinations

2017’s Newest Travel Trends Revealed

How exciting, a new year and 12 whole months of travel possibilities, I’m ready for the new travel trends. Where are we going to go and what the heck are we going to don once we get there?   We can say goodbye to eco-tourism as…

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How exciting, a new year and 12 whole months of travel possibilities, I’m ready for the new travel trends. Where are we going to go and what the heck are we going to don once we get there?   We can say goodbye to eco-tourism as the hottest trend on the travel block, 2017 has some interesting stuff in store for us.

 pantelleria

European Islands

It’s nice that the exotic, far-flung islands had their pinnacle in 2016, because those well-known hot spots are now over with. They aren’t over and done, they just aren’t the hottest spots anymore. If you want to go to Turks and Caicos, I won’t stop you, but you won’t be considered elite anymore. If you want that true baller experience in 2017, you will have to go to one of the small, unknown European islands, like Pantelleria or Naxos. Naxos is a Greek island, not Santorini or Mykonos, so its lesser known. Check it out if you are interested in divine local cuisine and a fresh take on island life. 

Meanwhile, also in the Mediterranean Sea, Pantelleria is in Italy, between Sicily and Tunisia. Made famous by Giorgio Armani who has a home there, this unknown island is going to be real hot this year. These future hot spots are favorable because of their anonymity and prestige.

 

bellmont farms 

Food Resorts

The clear-cut winner for travel trends this year is Food Resorts focusing on farm-to-table and ocean-to-plate menus. These resorts are hiring the best chefs, sourcing from the most local and fresh producers and satiating all their guests’ wildest cuisine dreams. This trend is following food trends all over the globe, where diners want the freshest and healthiest foods prepared by world-class chefs.

Check out Kittitian Hills in St. Kitts, for some top notch locally sourced cuisine. They have their own organic gardens, livestock and even use goats to cut their grass, talk about grass roots.

Another real winner at food resorts is Bellevue Hotel in Croatia, where the entire flat roof has been turned into a usable garden.

 sailing

I’m on a Boat

The comedy group Lonely Island said it best, “I’m on a boat, Bitch!” Everyone wants to go sailing or party on a yacht, but until now that kind of lifestyle has been unaffordable. Thanks to an adventure-travel company, Intrepid Travel, being on a boat is everyone’s business. They are offering affordable sailing adventures to amazing destinations for a fraction of the former price.   Live like the one percent with their weeklong sailing tours, through remote destinations like the Zanzibar archipelago.   Snorkel in exotic locals, sip champagne on yachts and ball out like Lebron James on your budget.  These trends are getting exciting and making me want to travel now.

 

finemerch 

Resorts simplified

Resorts are stripping down to the bare essentials and focusing more on relaxation and pampering instead of opulence and luxury. Gone are the clunky cluttered hotel rooms and instead rooms are adorned with just a huge comfortable bed. Expect restaurants to simplify their menus and only offer eth freshest and most delectable items. These new luxury standards should catch on and help with the enormous waste that these resorts create.

 

glacier 

Polar Excursions

People are tiring of the same old beach resort or mountain cabin; instead travelers in this New Year are opting for more extreme locals. Welcome the new polar adventures, where vacationers will face the harsher climates for a more rewarding excursion. Glaciers are a huge destination in 2017, as people realize that with global warming, many of these destinations won’t be around for long. Get those snow mobiles warmed up and make sure you have warm clothing, because 2017 just got interesting. Cruises are now setting course for the Arctic Circle, as adventurers want that polar ice cap experience.  Polar travel will include penguins, polar bears and the exquisite Northern Lights.

 

2017 is starting off with a bang, so set your travel destinations and make travel happen.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of bellemontfarms, wikiwand, intrepidTravel, finemerch, MontanaVacationBlog, starchop

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Destinations

Lesser Known Wine Regions that you Must Visit

Everyone knows that Napa Valley or Burgundy France are wine traveler’s destinations of choice, but there are plenty of other fantastic regions.   A true wine connoisseur will tell you that the soil and environment are just as important as the type of grape used to…

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Everyone knows that Napa Valley or Burgundy France are wine traveler’s destinations of choice, but there are plenty of other fantastic regions.   A true wine connoisseur will tell you that the soil and environment are just as important as the type of grape used to make wine. The world has embraced wine making and excellent booze is now being produced all over the map. Let’s explore and see where these hidden wine gems are located and what makes them so special.

Wine producers are spreading their wings and growing some superior grapes in some unexpected places.

npr 

Kakheti, Georgia

I’m not talking about Georgia in America; I’m talking about the one that straddles Europe and Asia. This former Soviet country has excelled in producing some really interesting and delicious varieties of grapes. Wine production is nothing new to this region as archeologists have found winemaking equipment dating as far back as 6,000 BC.

One unique thing that wine makers in Georgia do is they ferment their wine in clay jars instead of the standard wooden or steel barrels. The clay gives Georgian wine a distinct sweet taste and earthy after tones.

 

Douro Valley, Portugal

Known as the birthplace of port wine, the Northernmost region in Portugal is a wine lover’s heaven. With panoramic views of the rolling hills and beautiful vineyards, wine has been produced in this region for over 2,000 years.   The golden colored hills and the divine port produced here will make this a favorite among port snobs from around the globe.

 chilled magazine

Finger Lakes Region, New York

White wines flourish in this Northern New York region, specifically Rieslings. The expansive landscape is dotted with waterfalls, 11 glacial lakes and one great lake, giving the region miles and miles of beautiful coastlines. With well over a 100 wineries, the Finger Lakes region is the largest wine-producing region East of California in the USA.

 tenerife

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Grown in rich nutrient volcanic soil, Tenerife produces exquisite reds and whites. The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife features grape varieties that were completely wiped out of the European mainland in a mid-1800s epidemic. The rare varieties create distinct flavor profiles and memorable aftertastes. The island views and abundant sea life compliments the island’s white wine collections.

 

Healdsburg, California

Avoid the rush that happens in Napa and head just an hour North to Healdsburg wine region. Producing similar quality wines, Healdsburg is Napa’s red headed stepchild. Born out of the need t have more wine tasting locations, Healdsburg boasts over 200 wineries and multiple award winning varieties. California has some of the best weather and soil combinations in the world, so it’s no surprise that he wine here is fantastic.

 pinterest

Door County, Wisconsin

If you are a fan of fruit wines, Door County should be your next stop. Located in the Midwest, Door County has eight wineries and is famous for their tart cherry wine. Specializing in fruit wines, Door County has plenty of grape varieties as well, so a little something for everyone.

 

Franschhoek, South Africa

Nestled just 45 short minutes from Cape Town, Franschhoek was originally known as Elephant’s Corner for the huge elephant population that roamed here. Now known for their impressive wine, the area is the best in South Africa and possibly all of Africa. Enjoy a hop-on hop-off style tour that stops at every winery and you can get a real taste of the region.

 

Enjoy these of the beaten path wine regions and taste some of their specialties, to see what all the hype is about.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Schug, NPR, chilled, New York Times, pinterest

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Destinations

Discussing the Future of Travel and Leisure Industry

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Hold your horses! The future of travel and leisure activities may change. Hotels.Com is offering a glimpse of how an intergalactic vacation may look like.

The COVID-19 pandemic made a catastrophic impact all across the globe. Because massive lockdowns were put in place to help halt the rapid increase of transmission, travel and leisure activities were temporarily stopped.

Honoring the National Aerospace Week

To honor the National Aerospace Week, however, Hotels.Com announces its mission to lead intergalactic space travel bookings. Avid travellers can now visit their site to check out the different space destinations that may be offered in the future.

Space travel will have to wait, however. These space destinations have to be prepared and hotels there have to be built first. Nonetheless, earlier this summer, NASA and SpaceX sent astronauts outside the planet to begin their “Launch America” initiative. Virgin Galactic featured its new spaceship design, as well.

Possibility of Travel and Leisure in Space

Josh Belkin, VP of global brand at Hotels.Com says that the site is proud to showcase the top properties on Earth. Due to the current conditions, they are now thinking of ways to make space travel and leisure activities a possibility, however. “This announcement is our hope to encourage and move forward the concept of space tourism, while revving up excitement for that aspect of the travel industry that is sure to come sometime in the near future,” he shares.

While awaiting this venture to push through, the company decides to give travellers a glimpse of what space travel and leisure can be. The company created offers that depict how travelling in space could look like. Travellers are provided with space-themed vacations complete with implements including moon-boot slippers, spacesuit robes, space snacks, Martian martinis, and robot bellhops.

20 Lucky Winners

To further complete this future project, the site is providing 20 travellers the chance of a lifetime. Twenty travellers will be awarded $250 travel gift cards that they can use in the future. Note, though, that these destinations will be on Earth, for now.

The catch, though, is that this space travel and leisure contest is only open to anyone who is named after one of the 8 planets. So, contestants must have a first, middle, or last name that is synonymous to one of those 8 planet names. This could be a problem as not many people have planet names, although with the extreme diversity in today’s world, there may be a good number of visitors with names depicting the said astronomical objects.

Summary

Travel and leisure activities may have halted due to the on-going pandemic. However, travellers need to remember that this COVID-19 situation doesn’t have to stop future vacation plans entirely. Notwithstanding the fact that domestic and international travels are greatly reduced at the moment, future ventures are still possible. If you are dreaming of intergalactic travel in the near future and you have a planet first, middle, or last name, then join the said Hotels.Com contest. You may be one of the lucky 20 who gets to receive a $250 gift card to experience a future space-themed vacation.

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