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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

The Best Beach Cities In Europe

If you’re looking to take a relaxing beach vacation while also experiencing Europe, then look no further than these great European beach cities!

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We don’t always think about beautiful beaches when we think about a European vacation. Usually, we think about Paris or London or Rome. But the beauty of many European countries most certainly extends to their beaches. And while you might have heard of some of the more popular European beaches, there are some smaller beach cities that you may not have heard of.

So if you’re looking to take a relaxing beach vacation while also experiencing Europe, then look no further than these great European beach cities!

BARCELONA, SPAIN

Of course Spain has great beach cities! Are you surprised? Barcelona is one of the world’s great cities and much of this is due to its wonderful beach scene. If you want to be where the cool kids are and take in all the various food and drink vendors, then look no further than it’s most popular beach, Barceloneta. But if you want a more quiet beach experience while in Barcelona, Nova Icaria and Bogatell are the beaches for you.

And, aside from the beaches, Barcelona is still a fascinating and lively city. Incredible architecture can be found throughout the city, and the nightlife is thriving. Not to mention the city is full of great food and plenty of worthwhile galleries and museums.

LISBON, PORTUGAL

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and a great vacation option. And while it’s commonly known for its historic architecture and the lovely tram system that runs through it, it also has some long and lovely beaches along its coastline. If you want a peaceful and relaxing beach experience, look no further than Praia de Carcavelos. And if you consider yourself an experienced surfer, just head a little north to find your brethren.

Lisbon is also known for its numerous independent bookstores. So you’re an avid reader this is a great vacation destination for you.

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN

San Sebastian is most famous for its amazing cuisine. They have one of the highest populations of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. So that alone is a great reason to visit this beautiful city. But we’re here to talk about the beaches! And San Sebastian’s friendly, chilled-out Playa de la Concha is a truly stunning one, to say the least. You’ll enjoy the view of Santa Clara Island just off the shore, and the view of the lush green mountains behind you when you look inland.

And if you’re looking for a more lively beach scene, head on over to nearby Playa de la Zurriola to hang with the surfing and partying crowd.

SPLIT, CROATIA

When it comes to Croatia beaches, it’s all about the Dalmatian Coast. The water is so crystal-clear that you won’t even believe it’s actually an ocean. The only problem is, many of the beaches are rocky and isolated to small coves. Thankfully, that’s not the case in the beautiful city of Split. The beach is perfect for sunbathing and rum drinking, while the city itself still provides many great restaurants and bars. It’s also a city rich in history, so be sure to take in Diocletian’s Palace while you’re there.

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN

Mallorca has become known as a holiday drunk-fest of a beach city, but specifically, Palma de Mallorca provides the perfect blend of relaxed beaches and fun city vibes. The long, sandy beaches provide plenty of great amenities like showers, toilets, lifeguards, and umbrellas and loungers for rent. While the city offers seemingly endless attractions like great restaurants and bars, a historic cathedral, and a beautiful old town.

NICE, FRANCE

Nice, France is one of the most underrated cities in the world. Maybe it’s because St. Tropez gets all the attention when it comes to French beach cities. But Nice is just as… nice (sorry). The beaches go on for miles and are constantly accompanied by a lovely promenade. And while the public beaches and beautiful and fun, you can also pay a little extra and enjoy one of their numerous private beaches for a more secluded beach vacation experience.

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Destinations

The Best Wedding Destinations For The Fall

We talked to our colleagues and compiled a list of our favorite wedding destinations, especially for weddings in the fall.

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Fall weddings are taking over and with the beautiful colors and mild temperatures it’s no wonder why. Getting hitched during this time of year will leave you with stunning photos and fantastic memories. But where are the best places to go when you’re looking for the perfect destination wedding that is unbelievably beautiful in the Fall?

We talked to our colleagues and compiled a list of our favorite wedding destinations that would be perfect to get married at any time of year but especially in the Autumn.

BILTMORE ESTATE

The Biltmore Estate is a French chateau in Asheville, North Carolina. You will be surrounded by tons of trees with leaves that have changed colors. The chateau has 250 rooms and is on 8,000 acres so you don’t have to try and edit down those wedding invitations that much. There is even a winery right in the Biltmore Estates so guests can get drunk before getting crunk on the dance floor.

ARUBA

If Fall foliage isn’t really your thing then head to Aruba for your destination wedding. Aruba is a fantastic spot to unite with the person that you love because the crowds that flock to Aruba in the Summer are gone but the weather is still warm. Now you can get married on a jet ski just like you always dreamed.

OMNI MOUNT WASHINGTON RESORT

A spectacular resort in a spectacular setting is what makes this place so special. If you decide to get married here you will definitely not regret it. There is a rich history of the Omni Mount Washington Resort since it has always been a favorite of many different politicians, writers, and celebrities. This is the type of place you won’t want to leave after the wedding. You can honeymoon right there.

NAPA VALLEY

Nothing spells a good time like a wedding in wine country. Let all your family and friends know you’re down to have a rocking good time amongst the vineyards by heading up to the legendary Napa Valley for your wedding. There are plenty of fantastic wineries that offer on-site weddings and they may even bring you a free bottle or two. Get married Sideways-style by heading to the Napa Valley in the Fall.

ALLEGHENY MOUNTAINS

If the Allegheny Mountains is good enough for 22 American presidents then it’s good enough for your wedding. The Omni Homestead is absolutely stunning in the fall and the hot springs around there guarantee some excellent relaxation before or after your big day.

HUDSON VALLEY

If you’re a New Yorker then you’re probably looking for a beautiful wedding that isn’t surrounded by trash, rats, and a rancid pee smell. Head 90 miles upstate to the Hudson Valley which is a popular place to go check out the leaves changing color. The Catskill Mountains are amazing to marvel at and your wedding guests will be thoroughly entertained, even if your wedding is extremely boring.

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Destinations

Float Through The Most Boat Friendly Cities

We did the research and asked our colleagues and found all the most boat-friendly cities in the world so you can sail away all day.

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Some people live in towns that are stuffed full of traffic. They spend day in and day out commuting to and from work. So when it comes time for vacation the last thing they ever want to see is a car. That’s understandable, but where can you travel to that will be relatively car-free? What other forms of transportation can add some wonder to your trip instead of dread?

Well, boats of course! Boats are relaxing to ride on and add a level of romanticism to wherever you visit. The only problem is most people have no idea what cities to go to if they want to spend more time on boats than in cars. Don’t worry, we did the research and asked our colleagues and found all the most boat-friendly cities in the world so you can sail away all day.

GIETHOORN, NETHERLANDS

Giethoorn was the first place we thought of because you can spend an entire vacation here only on boats. You may not see a car on your entire visit to this beautiful place. The waterways here run all throughout the town instead of roads which means you won’t even hear a dreaded car on your entire visit.

The serene quietness of the town around you will be very noticeable and not in a bad way. You will be able to relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery all while enjoying a utopian level of quietness that will really help you relax.

ANNECY, FRANCE

This town is known as the “Pearl of the French Alps” and when you enter Annecy it is very easy to see why. You will feel like your smack-dab in the middle of a fairy tale when you boat down the two canals that run through this town, just make sure to stop at a cafe or two along the way for a delicious cup of coffee.

The stunning surroundings of the canal will truly make this a trip to remember and you will wonder why more people aren’t talking about the unbelievable beauty that is the “Pearl of the French Alps.”

BANGKOK, THAILAND

Bangkok does have cars and tons of motorcycles, but if you want to get away from all that then hop on a boat in the tons of canals that run all throughout this giant city. The river has always been a great way to get around the city. While they may be a little bit dirty, that shouldn’t deter you. They’re still beautiful windows into the unbelievable past that makes up wonderful Bangkok.

FENGHUANG, CHINA

Head over to China’s Hunan Province to visit Fenghuang and marvel at how green the beautiful water is that this town is centered around. You can sit and stare at the beautiful water and travel it all by boat as well. If you’re feeling a little more daring and boats are starting to get boring then attempt to cross the river by foot as there is a bridge of stones that you can walk across, just make sure you can keep your balance.

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