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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

Best Architecture in the US by City

America is a country full of history and its cities show some serious architectural range. These 10 cities have awesome and unique architectural styles throughout them and have some pretty special buildings that should be visited. I compiled a list of cities in the US that have very unique architectural styles and interesting buildings.

 

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America is a country full of history and its cities show some serious architecture range. These 10 cities have awesome and unique architectural styles throughout them and have some pretty special buildings that should be visited. I compiled a list of cities in the US that have very unique architectural styles and interesting buildings.

 

Norfolk, VA

Norfolk Virginia is a port city that has been around since the 1600s. Neighborhoods with fancy and ornate plantation style estates are surrounded by dense city centers.   Very interesting row houses are typical here showing their rich history and beauty. Come for the near by Virginia Beach boardwalk and stay for the very inspiring Scope Arena. Hosting bands like the Grateful Dead and The Rolling Stones, the arena is stylish and futuristic looking.   Side note, the arena is built on a marsh and is slowly sinking at an average of 5 centimeters a year.

 

Las Vegas, NV

What is this “city” doing on this list? Well, Vegas is special because it has every style thrown together in a hodge-podge on the famous strip. Casinos are awesome and grandiose if they are anything. The newer buildings are so epic that even purists enjoy them.

 

Pittsburgh, PA

For a region that is so ruggedly beautiful the Steel city’s architecture actually matches the surrounding area pretty well. The downtown high-rises are spectacular and the Victorian homes on the North Side are eloquent. With tons of scenic vistas, the city has an excellent cityscape and skyline that’s pretty impressive.

 

Philadelphia, PA

The other side of the state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is known for eclectic styles and American history. From the Liberty Bell to Constitution Hall, Philly is full of Colonial American style. Check out Loews Hotel for an awesome architectural hotel.

 

New Orleans, LA

If it were up to just me, I’d put New Orleans at the top of the list. The Cajon city has so much rich history with French, Spanish, Creole, Caribbean and European influences. The French quarter may be the most popular among tourist but it’s the stereotypical shotgun homes Victorian mansions that really shine.

 

Charleston, SC

Populated by church steeples and classic row houses, Charleston is not your stereotypical architectural city. The downtown area is walk able and a dream for fans of cobblestone streets and a distinctly European feel.

 

Providence, RI

All you have to do is head to College Hill and hang around Brown University. The school has a rich history and beautiful buildings. With a mix of revolutionary war era homes to cape cod bungalows, Providence has plenty to look at.

 

Chicago, IL

After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago had to switch from wood to metal. Gone were the stereotypical wooden row houses and replaced by huge steel behemoths. Chicago has an impressive skyline with so many tall skyscrapers. The bridges that cross the Chicago River are the real stars. You have so many drawbridges in the downtown areas that bridge fans can spend weeks here.

 

Savannah, GA

Come to Savannah for the perfectly maintained and preserved downtown neighborhoods. Houses look exactly like they did 200 years ago and are restored with amazing accuracy.

 

Buffalo, NY

The number one city on our list is Buffalo New York. The birthplace of American Architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright, Buffalo is a dream. Filled with beautiful old school architecture mixed with incredible forward thinking modern designs.

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Destinations

New Banksy Hotel Opens in West Bank

International street artist and controversial figure Banksy has struck again, and this time it’s in the West Bank.   The Artist Banksy secretly opened up a nine-room Palestinian guesthouse/hotel in Bethlehem last weekend. The hotel has a catchy name too, The Walled Off Hotel.

The street art filled hotel is set to open on March 11, and is open to journalists now. Rooms are available for $30 a night, so it’s quite affordable. The hotel is situated right next to the West Bank separation barrier built by Israel to fend off Palestinian attacks. The views from the hotel are of the wall and that’s it.

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International street artist and controversial figure Banksy has struck again, and this time it’s in the West Bank.   The Artist Banksy secretly opened up a nine-room Palestinian guesthouse/hotel in Bethlehem last weekend. The hotel has a catchy name too, The Walled Off Hotel.

The street art filled hotel is set to open on March 11, and is open to journalists now. Rooms are available for $30 a night, so it’s quite affordable. The hotel is situated right next to the West Bank separation barrier built by Israel to fend off Palestinian attacks. The views from the hotel are of the wall and that’s it.

Each room features the stereotypical satirical artwork from acclaimed artist Banksy.

Reporters got a sneak peak this week and took pictures of the artwork. The stand out was from room ‘Three” called the Banksy Room, had a giant mural of a Palestinian and an Israeli having a pillow fight.

This isn’t Banksy’s first trip to the area, last year satirical artwork sprung up all over the Gaza Strip. Banksy claimed responsibility for these graffiti attacks. Politically charged art has fueled Banksy’s success and has turned street art into an expensive art form.

The small boutique style hotel has a presidential suite and a museum displaying many of the artist’s more politically charged work. The museum looks like an old gentleman’s club from colonial times. It has a life-sized statue of Arthur James Balfour in it who created the Balfour declaration, which led to the creation of an Israeli state.

The secret project took 14 months to complete and was supervised by the mysterious artist himself. This hotel is the artist’s biggest collection of work in years and has no end date as of yet.

Banksy has been putting up politically charged street art here and in the nearby Gaza Strip. Known for satirical stencil art, Banksy has long been a thorn in the status quo. From humble beginnings in London, Banksy has become a worldwide phenomenon.
So, who’s coming to Bethlehem with me to stay at the Walled Off Hotel and see this amazing street art in person? I’ll pay for the hotel, just saying, I think I can afford the $30 a night price tag.

Already accepting reservations, the hotel will surely book up fast; let’s just hope the conflict doesn’t take this hotel as a victim.

The artist has recently dropped pieces in the area on a two-story building that was destroyed in a battle between the Israeli forces and Palestinian people. Children are living through this never-ending conflict and at least now they have some attention brought to them that isn’t negative. I can’t even imagine growing up in these types of situations and I feel for any child who has to deal with that. Unfortunately these kids have no choice as to where they are raised but Banksy sees that and is making it’s a cause we can all get behind.

Check out this awesome art experiment and support artists like Banksy who see an issue and is doing something about it.

Keep fighting the good fight y’all.

 

 

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Destinations

Tourist Experiences Bad Luck, Returns Pompeii Artifacts

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A Canadian woman returned Pompeii artifacts, 15 years after they were stolen from the Pompeii site.

Prof. Massimo Ossana, the Archeological Park of Pompeii’s temporary director released a statement last Tuesday confirming the return of five stolen artifacts that were sent back via a travel agency. The said agency, then, contacted the Carabinieri police regarding the matter.

The artifacts, which were accompanied by a letter, were brought back to the archeological park. However, they cannot be returned to their specific, original spots within Pompeii’s old ruins. “Obviously they cannot be relocated because their precise origin is not known,” Osanna shared.

According to The Guardian and CNN, the Canadian tourist’s missive narrated her experiences of bad luck right after she took the Pompeii artifacts back in 2005. She mentioned that she went through financial and health problems because of them. “We are good people and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family,” the woman explained.

In relation to the incident, Ossana mentioned that stolen artifacts get frequently sent back to the archeological park that features the ruins of an ancient Roman city that got destroyed by the violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Many of these items are returned due to the same reason—that the artifacts are accompanied by a curse, bestowing ill luck to those who take them from their resting place.

“For several years, the Archaeological Park of Pompeii has been receiving letters from visitors who, on the occasion of their visit, had taken small objects (we are talking about mosaic tiles, small shards, stones, pieces of plaster, lapilli), of little value, but part of unique archaeological heritage, and that they decided after years to return, claiming to have derived only bad luck from that act,” the Archeological Park of Pompeii’s statement said.

Consequently, the statement also mentioned that the supposed curse that accompanies the artifacts found at the park serves as an effective deterrent for anyone who wishes to take or steal other Pompeii items in the future. “But we hope that an international civil awareness towards cultural heritage in general will increase, regardless of the fear of a bad luck that could affect those who make such gestures,” Osanna continued.

Stealing items from famous archaeological sites and tourist destinations is a rampant activity. However, visitors to these heritage areas must be aware of the necessity to preserve these artifacts because they serve as actual, historical objects that provide current and future generations with the means to understand how our ancestors lived in the past. Preserved artifacts are living testaments to the people who came before us, offering us a glimpse into their lives—how they lived, how they interacted with one another, and how they died.

Knowing what happened in the past—how people survived in the past—provides us with the necessary knowledge to improve our present lives and the lives of future generations. Hence, it is essential for everyone to preserve these archaeological and historical sites—and understand the significance of their continued presence in our modern existence.

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