Slovenia Promotes Sustainable, Responsible Tourism Experiences

The jaw-dropping Postojna Cave, the most extensive cave system in Slovenia, is a series of caverns, halls and passages some 24 km long and two million years old. Slovenia holds the distinction of being the world’s first country to be entirely declared a Green Destination of the World. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK, NY –In Slovenia, the diversity of natural landscapes stretches across the country, from the alpine peaks towering at 2,000 meters and the Adriatic Sea coastline, to the richness of thermal waters in the Pannonian region and the sunny hillsides where vineyards thrive.

One-third of Slovenian territory belongs to a protected area, with forest cover reaching nearly 60%. The rich biodiversity includes over 22,000 species of animals and plants, along with more than 13,000 underground karst caves.

Slovenia holds the distinction of being the world’s first country to be entirely declared a Green Destination of the World. It is also the third most forested country in Europe and one of the countries with the most water in the world, boasting 27,000 kilometers of waterways, around 300 waterfalls, and numerous natural lakes and crystal-clear streams.

Mindful of the responsibility for their natural and cultural heritage, Slovenians strive to preserve their environment through sustainable projects, educational policies, as well as by promoting sustainable tourism experiences.

Slovenia’s longstanding commitment to sustainable tourism positions the country as a significant player in the United Nations’ designation of 2027 as the International Year of Sustainable and Resilient Tourism, potentially serving as a model for global destinations.

Responsible Holidays with Green providers: The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, the seal that endorses commitment to the environment

The Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism was one of the first projects in Europe to promote sustainability in tourism and serves as a model for many other countries. The European Travel Commission (ETC) has adopted the Green Scheme as a basis for developing sustainable guidelines for European destinations.

The Slovenia Green label awarded environmentally conscious entities including tourist agencies, natural parks, accommodations, travel agencies, restaurants, and beaches. Divided into five distinct categories, the green label boasts a membership of over 300 establishments. Visitors to Slovenia can place their trust in providers bearing the SLOVENIA GREEN label, as they undergo rigorous international assessments ensuring both quality and sustainability.

Celebrating 100 years of preserving Triglav National Park

Nestled within the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2024, marking a century of conservation efforts since its establishment in 1924. The centennial celebrations highlight the importance of protection for ensuring the existence of natural and cultural assets for future generations. The slogan “Protection Ensures Existence” underscores the ongoing need to balance conservation with development while preserving the park’s pristine beauty and biodiversity.

Invaluable UNESCO’s World Heritage Treasures in Slovenia

The list of the World’s Natural and Cultural Heritage comprises two natural and three cultural sites. Additionally, Slovenia boasts seven distinct features of intangible cultural heritage included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, such as beekeeping, the breeding of elegant white Lipizzan horses, and the art of dry-stone walling, to name just a few.

Slovenia’s presence extends to other UNESCO programs as well, including the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the Global Network of Geoparks, and the UNESCO List of Written Cultural Heritage, known as the Memory of the World.

Among the two UNESCO natural sites, Slovenia boasts the enigmatic Škocjan Caves, home to the largest subterranean canyon in Europe, towering at 146 meters high, and the primal beech forests of the Carpathian Mountains and other European regions, which represent the most preserved remnants of beech forests.

While Idrija preserves the world heritage associated with mercury extraction, Slovenia safeguards the protected world heritage of prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps, with around 40 locations discovered in the Ljubljana Marshes. A significant discovery is a 5,200-year-old wheel, considered the oldest wooden wheel with an axle globally.

In Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, the works of architect Jože Plečnik have bestowed a distinctive visual identity upon the city. His architectural masterpieces, which grace the city’s skyline, have earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Green Mindset, Healthy Tourism and Gastronomic Fresh World-Class Cuisine

Slovenia promotes a healthy lifestyle by encouraging bicycle or train travel, self-care through connection with nature, and enjoyment of local, homemade, and authentic foods. Under the motto “from farm to table,” Slovenia stands out for its diverse range of fresh products and natural ingredients offered in world-class restaurants, local markets, and agritourism farms.

As part of its varied sustainable tourism offerings and connection with nature, visitors can enjoy activities such as biking among vineyards, hiking trails, kayaking on crystal-clear lakes, and more sophisticated experiences like going on a hike with an expert Alpinist to feed salt to the native Jezersko–Solčava sheep or outdoor gastronomic experiences such as picnics in nature or snacks at rural homesteads just to mention a few. 

For more information on Green Slovenia to celebrate Earth’s Day, follow this link.

Nestled in the heart of Europe, where the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Pannonian Plain and the Karst meet, Slovenia offers several year-round exciting experiences. This captivating country is deeply committed to sustainability and stands as a pioneer in sustainability and offers a tapestry of unique and unforgettable stories, which unfold either in pristine nature or in charming towns and include unforgettable outdoor adventures, spa pampering, getaways filled with rich culture, art and tradition, and last but not least, superb gastronomy crafted from local, fresh ingredients. Especially in recent years, Slovenia has risen in popularity among gourmands and foodies, also thanks to the prestigious Michelin Guide, which has solidified Slovenia’s global culinary presence. With an impressive number of 9 Michelin-starred restaurants, including one with three stars and another with two, along with seven one-star restaurants, Slovenia stands among the 146 countries with three-star recognition. Remarkably, only 8 of these restaurants are led by female chefs, and Ana Roš from Hiša Franko is among them.

See also:

BIKETOURS.COM 8-DAY GUIDED RIDE THROUGH SLOVENIA OFFERS SURPRISES

CAVES, CASTLE AMONG ASTONISHING SIGHTS VISITED ON GUIDED BIKE TOUR OF SLOVENIA

LIPIZANER HORSES, UNESCO NATURAL MONUMENT, MEDIEVAL CITY OF PIRAN COMPLETE THE GEMS OF 8-DAY ‘EMERALD’ BIKETOUR OF SLOVENIA

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Luxury Goes Green: 5 Ways Resorts Around the World Are Making Every Day Earth Day

Environmental responsibility is becoming an increasingly important factor for conscious travelers.  Luxury resorts are undergoing a green revolution, with Solmar Hotels & Resorts, Majestic Hotel & Spa and Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts leading the way. 

Environmental responsibility is becoming an increasingly important factor for conscious travelers.  Luxury resorts are undergoing a green revolution, with Solmar Hotels & ResortsMajestic Hotel & Spa, and Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts leading the way.  Forget the outdated image of luxury travel harming the environment – these resorts are proving you can have an unforgettable experience while minimizing your carbon footprint. Here are five ways these resorts are making every day Earth Day:

1.      Endangered Species Conservation:  Resorts are actively contributing to wildlife preservation.  For example, Solmar Hotels & Resorts in Baja California participate in sea turtle protection programs, while Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts in the Dominican Republic focuses on reforestation and native plant restoration. These efforts ensure a healthy environment for future generations.

2.      Waste Management and Reduction:  Responsible waste management is paramount.  Initiatives like recycling programs (including Solmar‘s unique Plastic Bottle Cap Bank that benefits children with cancer) and partnerships with certified waste disposal companies are becoming standard practice.  These programs demonstrate a commitment to minimizing environmental footprint.

3.      Third-Party Sustainability Certifications:  Luxury goes beyond aesthetics.  Resorts such as Barcelona’s Majestic Hotel & Spa hold certifications like ISO 14001, an internationally recognized standard for environmental management systems.  These certifications provide independent verification of a resort’s commitment to sustainability.

4.      Sustainable Operations Beyond Guest Areas:   Environmental responsibility extends beyond the immediate guest experience.  Solmar Golf Links’ Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program certification exemplifies how even golf courses can be eco-friendly.  This program ensures courses are designed and maintained with minimal environmental impact while offering exceptional playing conditions.

5.      Environmental Education and Community Engagement:  Spreading awareness is critical.  Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts‘ environmental education programs target guests, staff, and local communities.  These initiatives foster a culture of sustainability that has a lasting impact beyond the resort itself.

By prioritizing these key initiatives, luxury resorts can offer guests an exceptional experience while safeguarding the environment for the future.

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Passport to 12 Brandywine Valley Museums and Gardens on Sale

The Sunken Garden at the Nemours Estate, Wilmington, DE © Laurie Millman/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WILMINGTON, Delaware – Explore the history, culture and gardens of the Brandywine Valley for one low price with the Brandywine Valley Treasure Trail Passport. On sale now, the passport provides admission to 12 of the region’s top attractions and can be used any time between May 25 and October 31, 2024, enabling passport holders to explore the attractions at their own pace. 

The passport, provided by the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, can be purchased  at www.visitwilmingtonde.com/passport/ and at participating attractions. It is also available for sale at Bureau’s visitor center at 920 Justison Street on the Wilmington Riverfront. An individual passport is $49. A family passport, covering two adults and up to three children ages 17 and under, is $99. The passport is available in digital and print formats.  

Admission to the following 12 attractions is included with the passport: 

Mt. Cuba Center 

Recognized as the “Best Botanical Garden” in 2020 by USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Awards, Mt. Cuba Center is celebrated for its rare native plant collection.  

Nemours Estate 

This former du Pont mansion, modeled after Versailles, has the largest formal French gardens in North America.  

Brandywine Museum of Art 

This museum displays an impressive collection of American art including works by three generations of the Wyeth family, known as “America’s First Family of Art.”   

Delaware Art Museum 

It is known for having the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art outside of Britain, in addition to an extensive collection of American art and illustration.  

The Delaware Contemporary 

This cultural space showcases cutting-edge exhibitions, innovative installations, and thought-provoking multimedia art.  

Delaware History Museum 

This attraction showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, and interactive exhibits that bring the state’s history to life. It includes the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage. 

Delaware Museum of Nature and Science 

Visitors can explore dinosaurs, fossils, astronomy, environmental conservation, world ecosystems, and more.  

Hagley Museum and Library 

The story of the famed du Pont family begins here at the original DuPont gunpowder mills. “Nation of Inventors features one of the largest collections of patent models in the world. 

Longwood Gardens 

This impressive 1,100+-acre garden has topped many botanical “best of” lists over the years. The centerpiece is the magnificent four-acre Conservatory, showcasing an astonishing array of exotic plants. (Note: The passport is valid at Longwood Gardens through September 30, 2024). 

Read House and Gardens 

This National Historic Landmark is offering a brand-new interior tour that reveals aspects of the history hidden in the architecture and furnishings of this 14,000-square-foot mansion. 

Rockwood Park and Museum 

The Gothic Revival architecture of this historic mansion and its enchanting landscape were designed to reflect the beauty of an English country estate.  

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library 

This former du Pont family home boasts an unparalleled collection of American decorative arts and 1,000 acres of explorable grounds and gardens.  

Passports are valid for one use at each attraction. Blackout dates may apply. For more information on the Passport and to start planning a visit, go to www.VisitWilmingtonDE.com.  

The Greater Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley region of Delaware is in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic and less than a two-hour drive from both New York City and Washington. Steeped in American history and the legacy of the famed du Pont family, it is a destination marked by sharp contrasts – town and garden, past and present, historic and hip. Featuring renowned gardens, world-class museums, colonial towns, outdoor adventure, festivals, and an ever-growing restaurant scene, the region offers a vacation experience that is vibrant, unique and authentic.

Learn more at VisitWilmingtonDE.com. To see the beauty of the Brandywine Valley, watch: https://youtu.be/KyPWLnciO0E

See also: WILMINGTON/BRANDYWINE MANSIONS & GARDENS WELCOME MOBILITY-CHALLENGED VISITORS

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Global Travel Experiences Celebrating International Women’s Day

Embark on a transformative Women-only Icelandic Adventure with Naya Traveler

Celebrated globally this Friday on March 8th, International Women’s Day inspires people around the world to recognize the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women. As the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, the travel and hospitality industry is seeing an influx of female-focused experiences and trips, in addition to more hotels and destinations appealing to female travelers by making every woman feel encouraged and inspired while traveling. In honor of International Women’s Day, here’s some destinations encouraging women to go outside their comfort zone, intriguing new female-only trips, and destinations making a difference by investing in women.

Build Confidence and Learn a New Skill at Las Catalinas in Costa Rica

Travel encourages people to go beyond their comfort zone. Engaging in new experiences and pursuits builds confidence, independence, and opens new horizons. Located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, the car-free, seaside town of Las Catalinas is a destination that is ideal for female travelers whether traveling solo or with other women looking to embrace change, go beyond the ordinary and try something new. Access to Las Catalinas is easy with several non-stop, direct flights from cities including Miami, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Toronto and more. Once in town, the self-discovery begins in a welcoming, pedestrian-friendly hardscape that embraces nature – a place that is perfect for learning a new skill or activity with an array of pursuits and activities ideal for a restorative getaway. 

Beach Town Travel, the preferred travel agency in Las Catalinas, can curate an unforgettable stay focusing on soft to extreme adventure ideal for women looking to get outside of their comfort zone. For solo guests or two friends or family traveling together, the stylish boutique Santarena Hotel is in the heart of town offering a convenient base camp in the center of it all. For women traveling in a bigger group, Beach Town Travel can arrange villa accommodations in the Las Catalinas Collection with over 100 lodging accommodations across their three lodging types: BarandaBon Vivant and 229 Las Catalinas. Take advantage of the current 4th night free promotion at both Santarena Hotel and Las Catalinas Collection or any of their other special offers. For the adventurous at heart, guests can learn a new activity and take surfing lessons, horseback riding at La Estancia, scuba diving, mountain biking, paddle boarding or kayaking with Pura Vida Ride, trail running through the tropical dry forest and more. Gather with other like-minded women for meditations, visualizations, forest bathing or take a sound healing journey, yoga class, organic cooking class, ice bath therapy, cold plunge or other wellness-focused activities at Center of Joy, the town’s wellness center. 

The conscious town of Las Catalinas is Costa Rica’s newest desirable beach town inspired by New Urbanist philosophy. The car-free, highly walkable town includes several inns and intimate hotels, shops, restaurants, retail, day spas, pedestrian streets, parks, plazas, and recreational facilities, all located between two of Costa Rica’s loveliest Pacific beaches and 1,000 acres of protected tropical dry forest, which are interlaced with extensive hiking and biking trails. Within the town, the walkable public spaces are interwoven with nature, and the architecture emphasizes indoor-outdoor living and scenic views. Cars are refreshingly absent. For more information, visit www.lascatalinascr.com.

Women-only Icelandic Adventure with Naya Traveler

Embark on a transformative Women-only Icelandic Adventure with Naya Traveler, where curated experiences promise to immerse participants in the untamed beauty of the land of fire and ice. From savoring culinary delights in Reykjavik to rejuvenating at the Sky Lagoon, travelers delve into steaming hot springs and ancient glaciers, culminating in a journey of a lifetime. Guided explorations of Thingvellir National Park, black lava beaches, and private ice climbs reveal the mysteries of Iceland’s landscapes, while retreats at Umi Hotel offer spa experiences amidst breathtaking vistas. From steaming hot springs to ancient glaciers, this exclusive women-only adventure promises an immersive experience in the enchanting landscapes of Iceland.

Naya Traveler extends an invitation for women to experience the extraordinary, where every moment is curated for a lifetime of memories. With rates starting at $1200USD per person per day, inclusive of accommodations, private transfers, and personal local guides, this extraordinary adventure awaits, best experienced between September and early April for a chance to witness the captivating aurora borealis.

Founded in 2016, Naya Traveler offers tailor-made experiential journeys to a curated selection of destinations steeped in ancient traditions and customs. Rooted in first-hand expertise and intimate knowledge, Naya Traveler’s highly personalized itineraries focus on exclusive insider experiences that bring back purpose and value to travel and provide a unique space to discover a destination through the eyes and knowledge of those who know it best. Naya Traveler works with an exceptional group of local hosts and expert guides in each destination, ranging from historians and artists to ethnographers and chefs—all of whom will guide travelers through the threads of a destination’s rich cultural tapestry. For more information, visit www.nayatraveler.com. 

Ananda in the Himalayas empowers women through the Ananda Spa Foundation

The Ananda Spa Foundation (ASF) was created by award-winning, world-renowned wellness retreat, Ananda in the Himalayas in northern India. The foundation is committed to giving back to the community and promoting women’s empowerment through education and training. By providing women with the tools they need to succeed, the foundation can help create a more inclusive and diverse workforce and make a positive impact on society. ASF is committed to providing a better future for the underprivileged girls of India with the objective of empowering women from lower socio-economic groups. In Uttarakhand, women are the working members of the family and thus the financial backbone of their communities. In support of this cause, Ananda has established India’s first private not-for-profit academy providing fully sponsored training and education for underprivileged women in the field of spa therapy.

The mission of the foundation is to empower women from the community by providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to build successful careers in the spa industry. Students receive top-notch training and education in spa therapy, ensuring that they are well-equipped to succeed in this exciting field. Upon completion of the program, the students will be guaranteed job opportunities in reputable hotels and spas, giving them the chance to support their families and live fulfilling lives. Through this initiative, Ananda in the Himalayas has transformed the lives of many girls in the community. For more information, visit here.

Ananda in the Himalayas is a world-renowned holistic wellness retreat in the Himalayan foothills in North India, overlooking the spiritual town of Rishikesh and river Ganges. Located in the former Palace Estate of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, the retreat spans 100 acres of lush grounds and gardens and surrounded by forested hillside. As the birthplace of Ayurveda, Yoga, and meditation, this spiritual destination embodies and facilitates wellness and enlightenment. The philosophy of Ananda revolves around Ayurveda, holistic wellness, yoga, meditation, emotional healing, spiritual awareness, and healthy cuisine. The heart of Ananda lies in its 25,000 square foot wellness center, offering beautifully designed therapy rooms with nature views, open-air yoga and meditation pavilions, an outdoor pool, a physiotherapy center, gymnasium, and a comprehensive range of Ayurvedic and international therapies for holistic cleansing of the body, mind, and soul. For more information, visit www.anandaspa.com. 

Bettoja Hotels in Rome Offers Special Women’s Day Package

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2024, Bettoja Hotels is offering a special offer for all stays from March 8th – 10th, 2024 in the Eternal City for a minimum of two people. Book any type of room at the Hotel Mediterraneo or the Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio and guests will receive a 15% discount including breakfast.

For those who wish to taste our Chefs specialties (specializing in Piedmontese cuisine) at the Ristorante Massimo d’Azeglio, guests can enjoy a Mimosa Cocktail with a dedicated menu  created for International Women ‘s Day on March 8th.

Spanning five generations, family-owned and operated Bettoja Hotels’ hotels (Hotel Mediterraneo, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio, Hotel Atlantico) are located right in the heart of Rome. Within walking distance from historic landmarks including the Colosseum, Opera House, Forum, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, the three hotels are the ideal basecamp for embarking on the ultimate Roman holiday. The Stazione Termini, convenient for train excursions to Florence or Naples, is also just a few blocks away. For information, contact [email protected] or www.bettojahotels.it.

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6 Historic Places Where You Can Vacation Like a President This President’s Day

A U.S. National Historic Landmark, the Old Faithful Inn has been a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2012. This iconic holiday destination is located in the heart of Yellowstone National Park, specifically next to its legendary Old Faithful geyser. Among the illustrious guests: U.S. Presidents like Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge; First Lady Laura Bush stayed in 2002. Two earlier presidents, Chester A. Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt, had camped at the site back long before the Old Faithful Inn opened. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com 

In the spirit of honoring past leaders and indulging in a touch of luxury, what better way to celebrate President’s Day than by immersing oneself in the historic footsteps of former U.S. presidents? From the majestic views of the Grand Canyon to the quaint charm of the Sheridan Inn in Wyoming, and from the opulent Broadmoor in Colorado to the iconic Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, there’s a wealth of presidential vacation spots waiting to be explored. Imagine basking in the same ambiance that once hosted the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Bill Clinton. 

Uncover fascinating tales of presidential visits, cultural significance, and the timeless allure of these remarkable retreats. Join us on a journey through history and luxury, as you vacation like a president this President’s Day.

El Tovar, Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim

Widely considered the crown jewel of the Historic National Park Lodges, El Tovar is located directly on the Grand Canyon’s Rim and first opened its doors in 1905. The hotel was designed by Charles Whittlesey, Chief Architect for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.  The Chicago architect envisioned the hotel as a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian Villa. This was done to appeal to the tastes of the elite from that era, who at the time considered European culture the epitome of refinement. The hotel was built from local limestone and Oregon pine. It cost $250,000 to build, and many considered it the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi River. 

In 1987 the Hotel was designated a National Historic Landmark. In the past, the hotel has hosted such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Western author Zane Grey, Sir Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, and countless others. 

U.S. Presidents who have stayed at El Tovar include Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, and Bill Clinton.

The Sheridan Inn, Sheridan, Wyoming

Constructed in 1892 as part of a railway extension program, the Sheridan Inn was designed by Omaha architect Thomas R. Kimball. Drawing inspiration from Scottish hotels, the architect included the iconic wraparound porch and a bountiful number of dormered windows in his design. In a short six months, the Inn was constructed and upon completion was the first building in the area furnished with electrical power and bathtubs, giving adventurous travelers a taste of Eastern luxury in the West and was considered the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco.

Buffalo Bill Cody frequented the Sheridan Inn as part owner and soon turned the Sheridan Inn into the headquarters for his Wild West Show, from which he auditioned new members from the iconic front porch of the Inn. Local Sheridan cowboys and cowgirls were recruited, including George Gardner and Tode Bard, to join the show and travel to Europe with Buffalo Bill.

With a massive ballroom and a dining room table large enough to seat 165 people, the Sheridan Inn was the social hub for the area, hosting grand dances and dinners. The 64 hotel rooms hosted new residents of Sheridan who stayed at the Inn while their houses were being built and ranchers would spend their weekends at the Inn. Early prices at the Sheridan Inn were one dollar per night and fifty cents for lunch or dinner. Over the years, The Sheridan Inn drew notable guests from far and wide, such as Ernest Hemingway, President Hoover, Will Rogers, and Bob Hope.

Today guests can choose from one of the Inn’s 22 rooms, which have been uniquely designed and named after important figures in Buffalo Bill’s life. Reserving a room involves looking over a Room Menu and selecting from such options as the “Sitting Bull Room” or “Annie Oakley Room”. Each suite presents the times and individual histories of the person in the room’s overall finish and furnishings, artifacts, and exhibits.

THE BROADMOOR, Colorado Springs, CO

The Broadmoor has hosted many (actually, most) U.S. presidents in its 106-year history, including Dwight Eisenhower, who would visit the resort regularly to play golf and learn from pro-Ed Dudley. Fun fact: George W. Bush gave up drinking after a big 40th birthday celebration at the resort’s The Golden Bee gastropub. From the Obamas to the Roosevelts, The Broadmoor has had its share of presidential stays in this uniquely Western resort, which spans 5,000 acres and is a gateway to the Rocky Mountains.

One can roam the hallway between Broadmoor West and the West Tower to see The Broadmoor’s photo gallery. The gallery includes framed portraits of distinguished guests (including presidents) who have stayed at the resort over the decades, from Prince Harry to Bob Hope. 

The Oasis at Death Valley, Death Valley, California 

The Oasis at Death Valley was originally called Furnace Creek and is a true American oasis where 80,000 gallons of ancient water rise to the surface every day.  The Native Americans, prospectors, settlers, and 49ers all knew about the water there and the oasis. Eventually, the land was purchased by the Pacific Borax Company which mined and hauled borax out of the valley with the famed Borax 20 Mule Teams of the 1880s.  The mules and miners were based at Furnace Creek.

The resort was originally built by the Pacific Borax Company in the late 1920s and would become the getaway winter spot for Hollywood celebrities such as Clark Gable, and Ronald Reagan, and where George Lucas filmed scenes from the original Star Wars movies because of the stunning natural beauty in daylight. 

Over the years in addition to the Inn, the Ranch was expanded, and amenities and facilities were added for the enjoyment of travelers and vacationers including casual lodging, restaurants, a general store, a golf course, tennis courts, a gas station, official U.S Post Office (Zip Code 92328), RV parking and of course, a saloon.

Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, WY

A U.S. National Historic Landmark, the Old Faithful Inn has been a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2012. This iconic holiday destination is located in the heart of Yellowstone National Park, specifically next to its legendary Old Faithful geyser. The hotel itself was originally constructed upon the grounds of the former Upper Geyser Basin Hotel, which had collapsed during the 1890s. Its initial owner had been Jay Cooke, a prominent railroad tycoon who had long entertained the idea of preserving the area that now constitutes Yellowstone National Park. Cooke’s team at the Northern Pacific Railroad subsequently debuted the Upper Geyser Basin Hotel in 1883 and was thus obligated to construct a replacement when the former was destroyed a decade later. 

Opening in 1904, the newly created “Old Faithful Inn” immediately became one of Yellowstone’s most popular attractions. The hotel was soon hosting many influential people over the following decades, including U.S. Presidents like Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Two earlier presidents, Chester A. Arthur and Theodore Roosevelt, had camped at the site back long before the Old Faithful Inn opened. Lastly, First Lady Laura Bush stayed at this iconic inn in 2002. 

Cody and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 

Many presidents have been spotted in the state’s northwestern region known as Cody Yellowstone, which includes the town of Cody, as well as parts of Yellowstone National Park. To start, Chester A. Arthur visited Yellowstone National Park in 1883 with a large entourage and was intent on having an authentic Western experience. Arthur kept in touch with the outside world and engaged in presidential business with one daily mail courier on horseback who delivered and received Arthur’s messages.

President Calvin Coolidge visited Cody on July 4, 1927, for the opening of the Buffalo Bill Museum, the first of five museums that comprise the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Theodore Roosevelt was a big fan of the state, and he made several trips during his presidential tenure and returned to Wyoming to vacation after he left Washington. In 1903, during his final visit to the park for a two-week vacation, he visited the Norris Geyser Basin where he spent two nights at the Norris Hotel. During that trip, he laid the cornerstone for the park’s Roosevelt Arch. Although the arch is in the state of Montana at the northern entrance to Yellowstone, Wyoming celebrates the grand structure too, as most of the park is in Wyoming.

Years later, Theodore’s fifth cousin Franklin took office, and he also left his mark on Yellowstone Country. When he visited the park, he avoided the park hotels, many with multiple floors and no elevators, and instead was a guest of the lodge manager in his single-floor park home, which could better accommodate his wheelchair while at the same time keeping it from public view.

Some other notable names include President George H.W. Bush, President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and his family, First Lady Melania Trump, and President Jimmy Carter dined at the employee pub at the park’s Lake Lodge where he signed the wall of the pub, still visible to guests today. Lastly, President Warren Harding visited the park in 1923, shortly before he died, and the staff in the park named a geyser after him.

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Celebrate Canyonlands NP 60th Anniversary with Moab Adventure Center

For those who can only spare a few hours on the river, Colorado River Jet Boat Fun Run for $139 per person is a three-hour, 64-mile jet boat excursion with canopy-covered seating into spectacular river scenery bordering Canyonlands National Park.

MOAB, UT– In 1964, 257,640 acres of high desert in Utah were formally designated by President Lyndon B. Johnson as Canyonlands National Park. Some 10,000 years ago Native Americans lingered here long enough to signal their presence through drawings (petroglyphs) on rock walls. Only 2,000 years ago hunter-gatherer tribes created granaries to store their harvests. Many granaries still survive. Early European settlers gazed farther west, leaving this geologically challenging world as the hideout for a handful of outlaws.
 
Today, with its 60th anniversary upon us, Canyonlands National Park remains the least visited among Utah’s “Big 5” national parks despite offering some of the best rafting, hiking, jeep tours, mountain biking and canyoneering in the country. In 2024, Moab Adventure Center is making it easier than ever to access some or all of the vast park.
 
One of the most overlooked (and most breathtaking) districts of Canyonlands National Park is the River District. Carving its way through this unmatched landscape is the mighty Colorado River. Kam Wixom, Marketing Director for Moab Adventure Center, reports “a remarkable surge in popularity” with their 96-mile, 2-day Cataract Canyon Express raft trip (per person rate $955) or Cataract Canyon 4-Day Expedition (per person rate $1935) through class III-IV rapids in the heart of Canyonlands National Park.  Rates include transfers, hiking, camping, meals and whitewater rafting (plus scenic flight on 4-day trip).
 
For those who can only spare a few hours on the river, Colorado River Jet Boat Fun Run for $139 per person is a three-hour, 64-mile jet boat excursion with canopy-covered seating into spectacular river scenery bordering Canyonlands National Park. Snacks and drinks are served along with commentary by the guide/pilot. Keep an eye out for a petrified forest, fossil beds, spectacular rock cliffs, Indian ruins, petroglyphs and arches.  See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/jet-boat-colorado-river
 
To grasp the grandeur and enormity of all of Canyonlands, Moab Adventure Center can arrange a one-hour Canyonlands National Park Airplane Tour. The flights are year-round and scheduled to depart daily at 9 a.m. All guests have window views and headsets to enjoy the commentary of a professional pilot on a 125-mile flyover that includes regions inaccessible to hikers. The per-person rate is $249 ($187 ages 12-3). An 80-minute Arches and Canyonlands Airplane Tour also departs year-round daily. The per person rate is $329 ($247 ages 12-3). See https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-air-tours for details.
 
Moab Adventure Center also maps out 4×4 Jeep Rentals for up to five passengers (including driver) available for one-day or multi-day use. The vehicles are brand-new modified Jeep Rubicons, considered the best and most capable jeep to explore the trails. Jeep Rubicons feature an automatic transmission, a 3-inch lift kit, oversized tires, seat belts for 5, and free satellite radio.  A per-vehicle daily rate of $330 includes a book of trail maps, a cooler of water and ice, and 150 free miles daily. GPS signal monitors in every Jeep means you are never really lost in the backcountry surrounding Moab. Complimentary airport and in-town shuttles are included. See https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-jeep-rentals-rubicon
 
This National Park Service site https://www.nps.gov/cany/index.htm is a starting point for a pre-visit discovery of Canyonlands. It even includes time management touring tips for those with one hour or several days to spend in one or more of NPS’ designated regions – called sections – of Canyonlands. Please see https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/itineraries.htm
 
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please visit https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/ or call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.

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Explore the Cosmos at Death Valley Dark Sky Festival, March 1-3

Join scientists and park rangers to learn about the cosmos and how Death Valley National Park has been used as an analog for the exploration of distant worlds during the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival March 1-3, 2024. (Photo courtesy: Xanterra Travel Collection) 

There’s no better place to explore the wonders of space than from one of the darkest locations in the United States. Join scientists and park rangers to learn about the cosmos and how Death Valley National Park has been used as an analog for the exploration of distant worlds during the Death Valley Dark Sky Festival March 1-3, 2024.  
 
Death Valley National Park is one of only eight (8) designated “gold tier” International Dark Sky Parks in the country where stargazers can see the Milky Way with the naked eye (something that’s not possible from most people’s homes due to light pollution). The National Park Service, alongside the Oasis at Death Valley, has taken measures to greatly minimize light pollution in the area so no special telescopes are needed (though they are recommended for an otherworldly experience).
 
Accommodations and restaurants are extremely limited in the park. Not only does The Oasis at Death Valley offer two properties with modern luxury and family-friendly accommodations, but it’s also ideally positioned with clear nights the norm, a lack of settled land, and the exterior lights of the resort dim by design. Ideal for stargazing, yes, but also for travelers in search of astronomical sights – constellations, planets, deep-sky objects, celestial events like lunar eclipses and meteor showers, and even actual galaxies like the increasingly hard-to-spot Milky Way.
 
The Death Valley Dark Sky Festival is a collaboration between Death Valley National Park, non-profit Death Valley Natural History AssociationNASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center, SETI Institute and California Institute of Technology. All Death Valley Dark Sky Festival programs are free and open to the public. Some of the programs are specifically targeted for families with children. For a full list of programs and lodging options visit the park’s website at nps.gov/deva.
 
Located 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 295 miles northeast of Los Angeles, The Oasis at Death Valley is distant enough from the major cities in the Southwest to provide unobstructed views of the night’s sky, yet close enough for city dwellers to escape for the weekend. Guests can reserve a private stargazing party to create the ultimate night sky experience. In addition, Furnace Creek Stables on property offers a moonlight tour which is a unique way to stargaze.

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EF Go Ahead Tours Opens Bookings Through 2026 Giving Travelers Unprecedented Lead Time to Plan, Budget Future Travel at Today’s Prices

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon): EF Go Ahead Tours’ Highlights of Vietnam: Hanoi, Hạ Long Bay & Hô Chi Minh City are two new ways to see Asia through 2026. The company is offering 2025 and 2026 tours as today’s prices, with ability to pay in installments © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BOSTON — As guided group travel continues to soar in popularity, EF Go Ahead Tours (GAT), a premier provider of culturally immersive and education-based group tours, responds as the first operator to open bookings to all of its tour destinations through 2026. It is the largest and most diverse collection of itineraries to open 35 months in advance. By offering such generous lead time, travelers will realize incredible value by booking future travel at today’s prices. And for ultimate flexibility, EF Go Ahead offers a $99 down AutoPay with payments in manageable monthly installments, one of the few credit and interest-free payment plans in today’s economy.

2023 was an extraordinary year for guided group travel, with all indicators pointing to even stronger future demand through 2025. Based on sales in the last quarter, EF Go Ahead has seen bookings into late 2025 increase by almost 30% compared to 2024 bookings in the same time period last year.  Lead time isn’t the only benefit at EF Go Ahead Tours. The company is also expanding its tour offerings in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe, focusing on less-traveled, expertly-vetted gems aimed at embedding travelers into local culture, gastronomy, and traditions.

“It’s not just where people want to go, it’s how they want to travel that defines the future of our industry,” says Heidi Durflinger, President, EF Go Ahead Tours. “People want connection and meaning, so they are choosing guided group travel for these transformative moments. By launching more departure dates than ever before to all of our destinations through 2026 (at 2024 prices), we are enabling travelers to plan for the experiences they desire at a tremendous value.”

EF Go Ahead data supports emerging trends for 2024 travel and beyond:

  • Travelers Are Going Guided for Planning-Intensive Destinations: Based on EF Go Ahead Tours’ recent (November 2023) bookings, trips to both Asia and Africa – two highly desired but not easily accessed destinations—were up 70% in sales compared to November 2022. Looking at the first half of 2024, Thailand and Japan departures are both up 57% compared to the same time in 2023, further underscoring travelers want to access these destinations in a guided group experience. Highlights of Southern Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket & Krabi and Highlights of Vietnam: Hanoi, Hạ Long Bay & Hô Chi Minh City are two new ways to see Asia through 2026.
  • More Meaningful, Deeper Dives into Culture, Food, and History are on the Rise: In the last few months, bookings for longer tours continue to see a big increase compared to the same time last year, with a 110% increase in tours lasting more than 16 days. Itineraries with a longer “Grand Tour” lens showcase the many advantages of modern group travel with 12+ days of travel. While these tours are increasingly popular in Asia, Grand Tour of Costa Rica: From the Caribbean to the Pacific is an exciting new itinerary that strikes the perfect balance of gastronomy and adventure and The Greek Ionian Islands: Kefalonia & Corfu with Nafplio & the Athens Riviera Extension offers an insider’s look at the less traveled parts of the Greek Isles.
  • More Opportunities to Connect Through Travel Drives Social Tourism & Solo Tours:  The end of 2023 saw a soaring rate of 380% more solo travelers embarking on solo-only group tours than the previous fall.  EF Go Ahead continues to strengthen its commitment to the “travel solo, but never alone” style bringing its unparalleled collection of solo-only tours up to 18 offerings in 2023.
  • “Peak Season” is Now All Seasons: While “hot” seasons like summer will always be popular in Europe, other seasons are growing at a rapid rate—even to destinations like Italy! “Shoulder Season” and off-season—Oct-April—offers less crowds and temperate weather with more access to local charm. In Oct-Dec. of 2023, EF Go Ahead Tours departed 30% more travelers to Italy than during the same period for 2022. Future shoulder season travel to other parts of the world like Asia, Australia, Latin America & Africa are also on the rise.

Value Oriented: All Reward, No Risk.  
Booking future trips with EF Go Ahead is a win-win. Travelers lock in today’s costs for future travel and through EF Go Ahead’s AutoPay, travelers benefit from one of the few credit and interest-free payment plans available in the current economy. Flexible, fee-free options allow changes to dates and destinations up to the Tour Finalization Date.

Travelers can visit www.goaheadtours.com for more information and to see all available trips. Check out destinations on EF Go Ahead Tours’ Instagram and Facebook.

EF Go Ahead Tours offers more than 175 guided trips across six continents. Each carefully planned, expertly led tour makes it easy for curious travelers of all ages to get to the heart of a destination. With a maximum group size well below the industry average, each trip has the perfect balance of planned sightseeing and free time to explore. EF Go Ahead Tours is a part of EF Education First, the world’s largest international education company that was founded in 1965. With a mission of opening the world through education, EF Education First has 612 offices and schools in 50 countries.

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Priceline: The Costs of Traveling To Watch April’s Total Solar Eclipse

On April 8, 2024, North America will witness a spectacular celestial event — a total solar eclipse. Priceline is recommending booking travel arrangements well in advance in key locations in the path of totality to ensure the best experience. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

On April 8, 2024, North America will witness a spectacular celestial event — a total solar eclipse. This rare phenomenon occurs when the Moon completely obscures the Sun, casting a shadow over Earth and briefly turning day into twilight. 

To help you experience this awe-inspiring event, Priceline, an online travel agency, is providing information about traveling to key locations within the path of totality. Priceline gathered average hotel, flight, and rental car costs for the Eclipse weekend in various U.S. cities.

Priceline is recommending booking travel arrangements well in advance to ensure the best experience.

The Costs of Traveling To Watch The Total Solar Eclipse, According to Priceline:

Total Solar Eclipse Weekend (Saturday, April 6 – Tuesday, April 9)/ Booking Period: 11/19-1/19/2023

Airfare (Average Cost R/T)Hotel (Average Cost Per Night)Rental Car (Average Daily Rate) 
San Antonio, TX:$797$255$128
Austin, TX:$644$294$126
Dallas, TX:$408$216$116
Indianapolis, IN:$506$248$76
Cleveland, OH:$456$204$97
Buffalo, NY:$845$329$105
Shreveport, LA:$450$122$43

Insights from The Total Solar Eclipse 2024 Data, According to Priceline: 

  • Variability in Accommodation Costs: There’s a significant variation in hotel prices across different cities, with some like Buffalo ($329/night) and Austin ($294/night) on the higher end and others like Shreveport, LA ($122/night) more affordable. This indicates a diverse range of accommodation options for eclipse travelers.
    • Premium Pricing in Prime Viewing Locations: Cities like Buffalo, NY, and San Antonio, TX, which presumably offer prime viewing spots for the eclipse, have notably higher travel costs. This suggests a premium pricing trend in locations considered ideal for eclipse viewing.
    • Economic Opportunity for Varied Destinations: Cities like Dallas, TX, and Indianapolis, IN, with relatively lower costs, might emerge as popular alternatives for eclipse watchers, indicating an opportunity for these cities to attract tourists priced out of more expensive locations.
    • Surge in Road Travel to Eclipse Locations: The demand for rental cars, especially in cities with higher daily rates, suggests that many eclipse enthusiasts might be planning road trips,

Insights Comparing Travel Period 2024 To The Same Period in 2023, According to Priceline:  

  • Eclipse-Driven Demand Surge: The total solar eclipse is creating a significant spike in travel demand, evidenced by over 2000% more searches for flights to Indianapolis and 8000% more for Buffalo hotels compared to the same period in 2023.
    • Differential Pricing Trends: Cities like Austin are experiencing dramatic price fluctuations concerning the eclipse, with airfares more than doubling during the event but then decreasing by 30% afterward, indicating dynamic pricing strategies in response to event-driven demand.
    • Varied Travel Costs Across Cities: The eclipse impacts travel costs differently across cities, with some like San Antonio and Buffalo seeing high airfares and hotel rates, while others like Shreveport offer more budget-friendly options.
    • Rental Car Demand Peak: There’s a noticeable trend of increased rental car demand in eclipse viewing areas, with a 1500% increase in searches for rental cars in Cleveland, highlighting the preference for road travel to view the eclipse.

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Le Boat Expands Self-Piloting Boat Concept from Europe into Canada in 2024; Save 20% for Booking by Jan. 31

Piloting Le Boat on a canal in France, getting ready to go through a lock. Le Boat, a leader in self-piloted boat rental experiences in Europe and its newest destination, Canada, is offering “Let’s Go Boating in 2024” deals © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Palm Beach, Florida—Le Boat is inviting travelers to be the captains of their own ship in 2024. The company is announcing an array of updates and booking incentives, encouraging adventure seekers and travel enthusiasts to discover the world in an unconventional way as they invite everyone to go boating together in 2024.  

Boating Made Easy
Le Boat is committed to simplifying the boating experience with no boat license or prior boating experience required. The Le Boat team provides comprehensive onboard training at the time of check-in for all cruisers before they set sail. A dedicated base team provides guests comprehensive briefings and demonstrations, which allows them to confidently navigate their houseboat vacations. Le Boat cruises are custom designed with the first-time cruiser in mind by featuring simple controls plus bow and stern thrusters to make maneuvering the boat easy. This approach ensures that anyone capable of driving a car can confidently navigate their private boat rental.

Le Boat offers a plethora of destinations across nine countries, including Canada, France, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England, Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. From serene lakes and rivers to vibrant cities and tranquil countryside, each destination promises a unique and immersive experience.

Le Boat’s New Canadian Destinations and Bases
In the upcoming season, Le Boat adds the picturesque and historic, Trent-Severn Waterway in Ontario Canada to its roster of destinations. This addition allows travelers to navigate 240 miles of waterways while immersing themselves in the beauty of nature stretching from the Bay of Quinte in Eastern Ontario to the eastern tip of Lake Simcoe. 

The newly established base in Peterborough, Ontario, on the Otonabee River, ensures convenient access to the Trent-Severn Waterway. Peterborough is also home Lock 21, which is a National Historical Site and boasts to be the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world that lifts boats 65 ft. (19.8 meters) above the Trent Canal. The lift lock is considered an engineering marvel that opened to great fanfare in 1904 and is currently operated by Parks Canada. Lock 21 is also home to the new Canadian Canoe Museum, which is set to open in May 2024.

Rideau Canal, Canada
On this sailing, travelers can combine city adventure with lakes and scenic beauty on a Rideau Canal boating vacation in Canada. On this trip, travelers can explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site from Ottawa to Kingston while sailing on luxury houseboat. Guests can relax as they cruise through the natural landscape, picturesque towns, and lively cities. Rates start at $2,283 for a 7-night sailing.

Book before January 31, 2024 to save up to 10 percent on Canada boat rental vacations.

European Sailings
Le Boat is currently offering booking incentives through the end of the month for European boat rental experiences. Below are a few examples of European trips with Le Boat:

  • Lot, France
    Experience the natural beauty of the Lot River with its tree-lined shores, medieval hilltop towns, and vineyards. Guests can enjoy outdoor activities like cycling, swimming, and fishing, complemented by fine dining and historic châteaux sightseeing. Rates for a 7-night sailing starts at $999.
    • Burgundy Franche Comté, France
      Travelers can immerse themselves in the heart of Burgundy, which is known for its fine wines and gourmet cuisine as they sail across the Saône River while exploring lush vineyards and quiet villages. During this sailing, guests will be indulged in a world of sensory pleasures and soul-soothing experiences. Rates start at $919 for a 7-night sailing.
    • Aquitaine, France
      Discover the gastronomic delights of sunny Aquitaine, famous for its wines and cuisine. On this itinerary, travelers cruise along the Canal Latéral à la Garonne and the River Baïse as they pass through meadows, orchards, and medieval villages. Guests can relax as they sip wine in the warm sunshine with family and friends while soaking in the vistas that surround them. Rates start at $879 for a 7-nights sailing.
    • Shannon and Erne, Ireland
      Explore the unique character of central Ireland along the River Shannon. As guests sail along the river, they can enjoy fishing, golfing, and cycling on the towpath. In addition, travelers can visit villages, medieval churches, and pubs for a relaxing and immersive experience along the route. Rates for a 7-night sailing start at $569.

Book before January 31 and save up to 20 percent on European boat rental vacations.

For more details about Le Boat and 2024 offerings, visit http://www.leboat.com/.

Le Boat, a leader in boat rental holidays in Europe, has more than 55 years of experience in the industry. With 950 boats stationed at a network of over 33 different departure bases across eight European countries, Le Boat arrived in Canada in 2018 and now has a local fleet of 32 boats available for rental on Ontario’s UNESCO Rideau Canal. With no boat licence or previous boating experience required, Le Boat shows you how to captain your boat at your own pace on a flexible itinerary. Boats range in size from one to five cabins (sleeping up to 12 people), and travelers can choose a 3-6 night short boating break or a 7-10+ night holiday. Le Boat’s luxury Horizon Cruiser boat rentals come with bow and stern thrusters, fully equipped kitchens, fresh linens, and bedding, a top deck sun deck with lounge area, BBQ hot plate & much more! Le Boat is a Rainbow Registered company. For more information visit www.leboat.com or www.leboat.ca or call 1-800-734-5491.

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