New from Off the Map Travel: Meet Santa Claus in an Adventure-filled Winter Holiday in Finland

A new seven-day, six-night Ultimate Christmas Invitation itinerary transports visitors to the Arctic Circle to meet Santa Claus in his home, deep in the Lapland forest (Inari Wilderness Hotel)

(Rovaniemi, FINLAND)   A new seven-day, six-night Ultimate Christmas Invitation itinerary transports visitors to the Arctic Circle to meet Santa Claus in his home, deep in the Lapland forest. The Finland-based program includes dog-sledding, a visit to a reindeer farm, and snowmobiling. 

The festive journey starts in Helsinki before heading to Lapland with a personalized, handwritten letter and photobook from Santa Claus, highlighting all the ways guests have been “nice” this year and requesting the traveler’s presence at a one-on-one meeting at Santa’s home in Lapland.

Designed to enthrall all ages, the Ultimate Christmas Invitation from specialist travel company Off the Map Travel, creates a personalized experience for each member of the traveling party. Perfect for pre-Christmas shopping and celebrating throughout the festive season, the program is offered from November to January and begins with an overnight in Helsinki in the art deco boutique hotel Lilla Roberts where guests receive a “golden ticket” for the “Polar Express” overnight night train from Finland’s capital city to Rovaniemi, above the Arctic Circle.

“The itinerary builds suspense and anticipation up to the moment of meeting Santa in person. With no queues and a location in the most festive place on earth, the trip is a dream for those who love Christmas and Santa Claus,” noted Jonny Cooper, Arctic travel expert and founder of Off the Map Travel.

Guests can also stargaze and search for the Northern Lights through huge skylight windows in exclusive Aurora loft rooms at Rovaniemi’s contemporary Arctic Light Hotel. The magical city, just above the Arctic Circle is perfect for an immersion into Christmas and for numerous shopping opportunities.

To complete the experience, the tour continues to Inari, a center of winter activities, the birthplace of Finnish Sami, and the home of Santa. There, with winter clothing provided, guests can choose from outdoor programs including dogsledding, a reindeer farm meet-up and sleigh ride, and snowmobiling through the brilliant Lappish landscape.

In Inari, at Santa’s workshop, participants have a personal meeting with Kris Kringle himself with plenty of time to chat about Santa’s feelings about this year’s holiday, his elves and, of course, you.  Since no Christmas holiday is complete without a gift, visitors receive something very special before embarking on a sleigh ride to the Wilderness Hotel Inari, an unusual “round” log cabin resort with comfortable beds, a personal sauna in each cabin, and views over Lake Inari or River Nukkumajoki. In the evening, the cabin’s open fire invites you to cozy up and search for the Northern Lights in the clear skies.

The seven-day, six-night Ultimate Christmas Invitation itinerary is priced from $3806 per person (at the time of this writing) including all activities, transfers, one night’s accommodations in Helsinki , one night’s accommodations in Rovaniemi, three nights’ full board accommodation in Inari, and the overnight train to Rovaniemi from Helsinki. Flights are additional. As with any itinerary from Off the Map Travel, this program can be tailor-made to fit the wishes and requirements of the guest.

The team at Off the Map Travel works with experiences and destinations that allow people to explore hidden wonders of our planet. Specializing in Soft Adventure OTMT creates tailor-made holiday itineraries offering authentic experiences not offered by many larger travel companies.  For more information on Off the Map Travel itineraries visit www.offthemap.travel; call 1-646-701-0041, email info@offthemap.travel.  

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‘The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’ Exhibit at New-York Historical Society Takes on New Relevance

Spectral evidence doomed those accused of witchcraft at the Salem Witch Trials, as shown in the exhibit ‘The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’ at the New-York Historical Society.

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

In an episode that has resonated through American culture from colonial times until today, more than 200 residents of Salem, Massachusetts, were accused of witchcraft in 1692-93. The trials led to the executions of 19 people, most of them women, and the deaths of at least six more. The last of the accused, Elizabeth Johnson Jr., was only officially exonerated this past summer.

In a new exhibit, “The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming,” the New-York Historical Society reexamines this defining moment in American history and considers from a contemporary viewpoint how mass panic can lead to fatal injustice. On view through January 22, 2023 in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, this is the final stop of this traveling exhibition, organized by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts, and coordinated at New-York Historical by its Center for Women’s History, which unearths the lives and legacies of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience.

“Countless scholars and authors from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Arthur Miller have kept alive the memory and meanings of the Salem witch trials—but this critical turning point in American history has never before been seen as it is in “’The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical Society © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“Countless scholars and authors from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Arthur Miller have kept alive the memory and meanings of the Salem witch trials—but this critical turning point in American history has never before been seen as it is in “’The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming’,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical Society. “We are proud to present this extraordinary exhibition through our Center for Women’s History, exemplifying the Center’s mission to rethink familiar chapters of the past and deepen our understanding of them. We hope our visitors will come away with a new perspective on these terrible events from more than 300 years ago and what they still mean for us now.”

Most spectacularly, the exhibit features actual artifacts and personal items from people involved in the Salem Witch Trials – the accused and the accusers – putting into context how personal, more than political, these accusations were, but how easy it was to prey upon the superstition and stereotypes of women.

The exhibit also features two contemporary artists – the acclaimed fashion designer Alexander McQueen and portrait photographer Frances F. Denny, both of whom are descendents of women who were put to death; Denny even has discovered an ancestor on the other branch of her family who was a central judge in the Salem Witch Trials. Both were drawn to their projects as a tribute to their ancestors and to redress the injustice.

The exhibition opens with historical artifacts, rare documents, and contemporaneous accounts, which include testimony about dreams, ghosts, and visions. Handwritten letters and petitions of innocence from the accused convey the human toll. Contextual materials such as furniture and other everyday items help to situate the Salem witch trials within the European tradition of witch hunts, which date back to the 14th century, while suggesting the crucial ways this episode diverged. Rare documents from New-York Historical’s collection, including one of the first written accounts of the trial from 1693, are also on view.

The artifacts and documents that are exhibited that were owned by people involved in the trials are windows into life at that time.

“What we hope people take away, what happened and why, that real people were involved, ensnared in the tragedy, and spark personal reflections of what you might do when confronted with such injustice,” Dan Lipcan, Peabody Essex Museum’s Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library, said at a press preview of the exhibit. “We want people to think about what we can do to create a more tolerant, compassionate society so that this doesn’t happen again.”

The exhibit feels so much more relevant and urgent in light of what is happening in Texas with SB8 which incentivizes vigilantes to hunt down women and girls for seeking reproductive health care, and anyone who might aid them; and when you see how Florida is requiring girl athletes to provide menstrual data. Quite literal persecution and terrorism.

“Witches were thought to make a pact with Satan, gaining the ability to unleash maleficia – harmful magic – causing sickness, misery and death. Accusations were overwhelmingly hurled at women, particularly those who were poor or older. Trials engaged the entire community as a form of popular entertainment and social control over women’s behavior, fertility, or knowledge.”

The exhibit begins by putting the Salem witch trials in context of the European witch hunts.

“Saducismus Triumphatus” a book dating from 1700 with intricate woodcuts, in which Joseph Glanvill provides point-by-point rebuttal if anyone doubted the existence of witchcraft © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
 

On view is a “best-selling treatise’ from the 1480s Europe on “how to find, identify, prosecute, torture and condemn women for witchcraft.”

Also on view is “Saducismus Triumphatus,” a book from 1700 with intricate woodcuts, in which Joseph Glanvill provides point-by-point rebuttal to any potential skepticism about the existence of witchcraft.

From 1450-1750, in Europe, witch hunts were rampant, some 110,000 trials held and an estimated 50,000 people – 80 percent of them women, were executed (https://www.gendercide.org/case_witchhunts.html). Imagine the daily terror that would have kept women very much in their place, unwilling to speak out with a remedy for sickness or to prevent a woman from dying in childbirth, for fear of being accused of witchcraft or making a pact with the devil.

A 1600s painting from Flanders, when witchhunts and executions were rampant in Europe, perpetuates the stereotype of witches as women, regularly accompanied by demons, dwarfs, skeletons and boiling pots.

Witch trials made their way into fiction and art, like a mid-1600s painting we see from Flanders, creating the stereotype of witches as women, regularly accompanied by demons, dwarfs, skeletons and boiling pots.

There were other witch hunts in colonial America, but Salem’s witch trials were more lethal and extreme. They also differed in how they featured spectral evidence- testimony from dreams, ghosts and visions – as legal proof. The afflicted were almost all female and initially were children, rather than men. Accusations started with ostracized women but quickly spread to include elite and powerful community members.

Salem’s witch hunts began with Tatuba, an enslaved woman in the Parris household. Tatuba came from Barbados where enslaved women would work over cauldrons to feed their family and heat their home. Girls accused her of making them unwell. Tatuba (likely beaten) confessed to survive.

“She testified that she had practiced magic under the direction of the other two women initially accused, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn, who, like Tituba, were disempowered in the community and easily scapegoated. Tituba also claimed that there were more witches at work in Salem. Her confession, combining puritanical, African and Caribbean lore, included signing the devil’s book, using animal familiars to hurt the girls, and riding a pole through the air. It ignited and legitimized the ever-growing hunt for those responsible for the girls’ and the community’s unexplainable hardships.”

By confessing, Tituba outlived the trials which ended 1693, after the court would no longer use spectral (“invisible”) evidence. Her trial was declared “ignoramus” (“We do not know”-that is, there was not enough evidence of her guilt).

Window from the Towne family home, 1692. A window was considered a spectral portal © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

One of the objects on view is an actual portion of a window from the Towne family home from 1692: three sisters who were of grandmother-age at the time, were accused; two were hanged, one survived.

“Such surviving objects are very rare – they are precious, fragile,” Paula Richter, the Peabody curator, said at the press preview. “This 17th century window came from a Towne descendent. A window was a luminal space – the space between outside/inside, look in/out, hear in/outside – site of fear. This type of ‘spectral’ evidence was admitted into court and accepted as fact. A window was considered a portal where spectral (bad, unreal) could enter the home and bewitch inhabitants.”

Salem’s witch trials were particularly more lethal and extreme and allowed spectral evidence – testimony from dreams, ghosts and visions – as legal proof.
 

There is also a tape loom belonging to Rebecca Putnam, decorated with both Christian and folk symbols. The Putnams were an influential and prominent landowning family that actively accused and testified against neighbors during the trials, including the three Towne Sisters (we see the window of the Towne home). Her cousin Ann Putnam Jr. was a principal accuser and one of the first girls to experience afflictions, and other relatives accused dozens of victims. Her uncle, Thomas Putnam Jr., served as a secretary for the trials while her father, John Putnam Jr., was a constable.

Personal objects from people ensnared in the Salem Witch Trials: sundial owned by John Proctor Sr., 1644. A sundial represented a rare luxury. It was a means to organize and regulate time and required an understanding of astronomy and mathematics. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There is a cane owned by Philip English, a wealthy man of high social status, who was nonetheless (or because of that) accused of witchcraft; along with an item belonging to a farmer.

And then there are the original documents. The transcript for Elizabeth How – Alexander McQueen’s ancestor – is most complete, from the accusation to the trial to the order of payment of restitution in 1712 to Elizabeth’s How’s daughters, Mary and Abigail, after her exoneration 20 years after her execution.

One of the first histories of Salem Witch Trials was produced by none other than father and son clergymen, Increase and Cotton Mather, expressing discomfort at using spectral evidence, but defending the court’s verdicts and executions because witches were “the embodiment of evil.” © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

We see a copy of one of the first histories of Salem Witch Trials, produced by none other than father and son clergymen, Increase and Cotton Mather. “Salem’s legal proceedings came to an abrupt halt in October 1692 as the mounting death toll alongside widespread chaos provoked a prevailing sense that the trials had gone too far,” the notes say. “The colony was in crisis – threatening the political authority of the Puritans. Father and son clergymen, Increase and Cotton Mather, were allies of the Massachusetts Bay colony’s new governor, Sir William Phips. A year after the trial, they provided contemporary justifications of the controversial trials, instructing their religious flocks on how to interpret the story and providing political cover, while acknowledging faults in the legal system. They attacked witches as the embodiment of evil, and defended the court’s verdicts and executions, but expressed discomfort with the court’s admission of spectral evidence. Only verifiable evidence or witnesses, Cotton Mather argued, should ‘turn the scale’ of justice in court going forward.”

(Notably, the Puritans who established Plymouth and dominated Massachusetts Colony, are extinct.)

In 1693, the Reverend Francis Dane Sr. wrote an apology, disturbed by how easily the community turned against one another. “One of the few courageous voices of resistance, the long-time Andover resident had been named as a possible witch, along with 28 of his family members-including Alexander McQueen’s ancestor, Elizabeth How, and Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Johnson  Jr.” In a statement, Dane expresses regret that the community was not more tolerant, more charitable and more forgiving “hence we so easily parted with our neighbors of honest & good report, and members in full Communion, hence we so easily parted with our Children…hence such strange breaches in families.”

Considering that the population of Salem and Salem Village was about 2000 in 1692, that would mean that 10 percent of the community was ensnared and prosecuted for witch craft, with 19 put to death.

Beginning in 1696, trial victims and family members petitioned the General Court to clear the records of those falsely accused – in order to get their property back, since descendents of a witch could not inherit the property. Many of the relatives fled to other communities to start life over.

In 1711, the Province issued a reversal nullifying all convictions, judgments and attainders against those on the list, but six of those executed were not on the list, presumably because no petitioners applied. Elizabeth Johnson Jr.’s name was only cleared in July 2022.

The irony is that there were no witches in Salem in 1692, but today, you can visit Salem and find a wicca community.

And as I go through the exhibit, it appears to me that the impetus for the Salem witch hunts was different than that of Europe’s.  In Europe, the motivation seemed to have been more clearly a desire for male religious leaders to retain their absolute control against “uppity” women who were healers and midwives and might challenge their divine authority. In Salem, it seems to have been spurred on more because of personal vendettas and outright opportunistic property theft. This may be a distinction without a difference.

“The Salem witch trials have become rhetorical shorthand in contemporary discourse, but the actual historical events are frequently overlooked,” said Dan Lipcan, Peabody Essex Museum’s Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“The Salem witch trials have become rhetorical shorthand in contemporary discourse, but the actual historical events are frequently overlooked,” said Dan Lipcan, PEM’s Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library, along with Curator Paula Richter and Associate Curator Lydia Gordon. “When we conceived of this exhibition, we set out to provide a framework for a modern-day audience to reckon with what this chapter of history meant for the development of this country, and what it says about the potential within each of us. We want visitors to feel the continuing impact of the Salem witch trials, to consider what it says about race and gender, and to think about how they themselves might react to similar moments of widespread injustice.”

Coming into the exhibit, I had the idea that the Salem Witch Trials factored into Thomas Jefferson’s call for Separation of Church and State, as well as the judicial due process that was embedded into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

But what was remarkable to me is to realize that the Salem Witch Trials apparently were not widely known through the rest of the colonies. This is before there would have been newspapers that were linked together by Ben Franklin (I believe the first actual syndicated columnist). The trials only lasted a year and were followed by community-wide shame over what occurred – both for the relatives of those accused, many of whom left Salem and by the accusers who realized they had gone too far.

Other places that had witch trials (Long Island and in Virginia) but these were more likely triggered by events in Europe than by what went on in Salem.

The Founders were more likely inspired to institute Separation of Church and State and judicial due process – 80 years later – by the Enlightenment which looked to science, reason and humanism, in place of the supernatural, Lipcan suggested to me.

So how did the Salem Witch Trials become so prominent in the American psyche?

I suspect it had a lot to do with American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and the publication of “The House of Seven Gables” in 1851, a follow-up to his hit, anti-Puritan “The Scarlet Letter” novel in 1850. (Hawthorne was so ashamed of his great-great-grandfather John Hathorne, one of the judges who oversaw the Salem witch trials that added the “w” to his surname when he was in his early twenties.) I suggest Hawthorne resurrected the Salem Witch Trials and brought widespread awareness, igniting imagination and intrigue.

Hawthorne’s friend, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, did his part to create the myths surrounding the Salem Witch Trials, depicting Tituba as an African (“Obi”) practitioner of magic, though there is no evidence she was either Black or a witch, aside from the confession she gave under duress and later retracted.

An illustration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem enshrined an image of Tituba.

The exhibit has a copy of a poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) written in her own hand, “Witchcraft was/ hung, in History, / but History / and I /Find all the / Witchcraft that /we need /Around us,/every Day—“

Also in the mid-1800s, a new train from Boston brought visitors to Salem who were taken around to sights by street car. Then around the bicentennial, 1892, the witch trials became commercialized – an industry of witch and related ephemera like buttons, even a souvenir witch spoon, developed, Paula Richter of the Peabody Essex Museum tells me.

The Salem Witch Trials became the center of a massive tourism economy that emerged in the 1950s, growing steadily until today. An annual event, Salem’s Haunted Happenings, has become so popular, it has expanded from Halloween weekend, to October weekends, to all October, with a score of perennial attractions that include the House of Seven Gables; Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop, recreating a trial based on actual transcripts; The Witch House, home of Judge Jonathan Corwin ( the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692; and Witch Dungeon Museum. It was not until 1992, the tercentenary of the Salem Witch Trials, that the Salem Witch Trials Memorial was dedicated – by Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

“Many people are introduced to the Salem Witch Trials through popular film and television. Fictionalized versions of the story and its legacy continue to captivate audiences to this day. Yet these depictions often rely on stereotypes that ignore the complex social and gendered circumstances that led to the events of 1692.”

A life-size painting that dates from 1869 of “The Salem Martyr” – the woman who posed as a condemned witch was a descendent of one of the hanged victims.
 

We see one of these in a life-size painting that dates from 1869 of “The Salem Martyr” – the woman who posed as a condemned witch was a descendent of one of the hanged victims.

Arthur Miller used the Salem Witch Trials as his metaphor for McCarthy’s “House on Unamerican Committee’s” witch hunts for Communists in Hollywood and government. (See “Why I Wrote “The Crucible”, New Yorker Magazine)

The exhibition also features two reclamation projects by contemporary artists who are descendants of the accused, including a dress and accompanying photographs from fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s fall/winter 2007 collection, “In Memory of Elizabeth How, 1692.” In creating this collection, which was based on research into the designer’s ancestor—one of the first women to be condemned and hanged as a witch—McQueen mined historical symbols of witchcraft, paganism, religious persecution, and magic. Documents show how Elizabeth How was accused and ultimately condemned in July 1692, adding to the gravity of the designer’s show.

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s fall/winter 2007 collection, “In Memory of Elizabeth How, 1692” was dedicated to his ancestor who was among the first women to be executed in Salem as a witch © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The exhibit features one of the dresses – a stunning and dramatic black velvet that shimmers with light –along with photos from the runway show and a painted red pentagram just as in the Paris show – juxtaposed with copies of the original transcripts from the trial.

Photographer Frances F. Denny went on a three-year odyssey to document people who today identify as witches. Thirteen from her series, “Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America” challenge the traditional notion of witchery by celebrating the spectrum of identities and spiritual practices of people who identify as witches today. Complementing the photographers are audio recordings so you can listen to their voices.

Photographer Frances F. Denny went on a three-year odyssey to document people who today identify as witches. Thirteen from her series, “Major Arcana: Portraits of Witches in America” challenge the traditional notion of witchery by celebrating the spectrum of identities and spiritual practices of people who identify as witches today © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There is also an immersive experience based on New-York Historical’s collection of tarot cards that prompts viewers to imagine what reclaiming witchcraft might mean.

The exhibition concludes with a display that connects the Salem witch trials to modern life and a warning and a challenge of sorts: what would you do when such profound injustice arises?

“The Salem Witch Trials: Reckoning and Reclaiming” is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts. It was co-curated by Dan Lipcan, the Ann c. Pingree Director of the Phillips library; Paula Richter, Curator; and Lydia Gordon, Associate Curator. At New-York Historical, it was coordinated by Anna Danziger Halperin, Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellow in women’s history and public history, Center for women’s History.

There is also various programming related to the exhibit, and a special exhibition guide for families.

The Salem Witch Trials exhibit is enhanced with tarot cards from the New-York Historical Society’s own collection© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

There’s so much to see and enjoy at the New-York Historical Society, a destination for history since 1804 and New York’s first museum. There is a world-class permanent exhibit of Tiffany; a relatively new (and fascinating exhibit) about journalist and historian Robert Caro’s process (looking at his notebooks and manuscripts is amazing); two sensational films, “We Rise” about the women’s movement, and “New York City”, plus changing exhibits. (There is also a lovely café.)

The Museum and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library convey the stories of the city and nation’s diverse populations, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we came to be. Ever-rising to the challenge of bringing little or unknown histories to light, New-York Historical will soon inaugurate a new annex housing its Academy for American Democracy as well as the American LGBTQ+ Museum. These latest efforts to help forge the future by documenting the past join New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum and Center for Women’s History. Digital exhibitions, apps, and its For the Ages podcast make it possible for visitors everywhere to dive more deeply into history.

The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400, nyhistory.org. Connect at @nyhistory on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Tumblr.

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Global Wellness Summit Unveils Packed, 3-Day Agenda, This Year’s Hot Topics, and Dozens of New Keynotes and Panels

Dan Buettner, who famously identified the Blue Zones–those five places around the world where people live significantly better, longer lives–will keynote the Global Wellness Summit convening in Tel Aviv from October 31 to November 3.

Global experts will tackle what’s ahead in medical-wellness innovation, longevity science, and health and wellness technology; how wellness will continue to transform travel and hospitality, real estate and beauty; and the future of everything from food and faith to wellness policy and wellness investment

Miami, FL – The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), one of the most prestigious conferences on the $4.4 trillion business of wellness, today unveiled the full, three-day agenda–and 30-plus new keynotes and panels–for its conference being held in Tel Aviv from October 31 to November 3.

This year’s Summit will bring together a historic number of luminaries from the wellness, medical, scientific, tech, academic and investment worlds to explore the dramatically different and bright future for wellness and preventative health that lies ahead after the shocks of the pandemic. The agenda clearly illustrates a wellness industry with unprecedented momentum, and with a future that is more serious and science-backed, as well as more innovative and authentic. 350-plus high-level entrepreneurs and leaders in wellness from 50 nations have already registered.

VIEW THE FULL AGENDA HERE.

REGISTER HERE.

“Third time’s the charm! This journey to bring the GWS to Tel Aviv began in 2020 but the world had other ideas. It took chutzpah to bring this Summit to life, and the caliber and variety of speakers, the soulfulness and creativity, and the sheer breadth of content, confirm that we have delivered a powerful agenda,” said Nancy Davis, GWS chief creative officer and executive director. “Getting to know the country, the people and the palpable energy that courses through Tel Aviv is something I want every delegate to feel. Producing a global gathering centered around wellness, at a time in the world when that’s needed more than ever, is an honor and a responsibility.”

Topics and Speakers Announced Today:

Future of Longevity:

Longevity science is the buzzed-about topic in both medicine and wellness, and keynotes include: Tzipora Strauss, MD, Sheba Medical Center-Israel, on the medical science for longevity; Shai Efrati, MD, associate professor, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, and co-founder of Aviv Clinics, on how unique protocols for hyperbaric oxygen therapy can actually reverse the biology of aging: Blue Zones discoverer, Dan Buettner, on how the world’s longest lived eat; Richard Carmona, MD, 17th US Surgeon Generalon the epigenetics of wellness; Naveen Jain, CEO, Viome, on making illness irrelevant; Anna Bjurstam, wellness pioneer, Six Senses, on curiosity’s role in longevity; and a panel on the future of functional medicine, including Bill Kapp, MD, CEO of Fountain Life, and Michael Roizen, MD, Emeritus Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

Future of Travel, Hospitality & Spa:

With wellness travel the big tourism gainer post-pandemic, travel leaders will predict the future, including: Neil Jacobs, CEO, Six Senses, on the future of hospitality; Tal Danai, founder of Artlink, on how to disrupt hospitality; Sue Harmsworth, MBE, founder of ESPA, on “Spa and Wellness Under Threat;” and Ömer Isvan, president, Servotel, on what customers want and what we’re not delivering.  A panel with top execs from Accor, Six Senses and Chiva-Som will explore the future of wellness travel, while another panel on the booming business of thermal parks features leaders from Peninsula Hot Springs, Danubius Hotel Group, Therme Group and Castle Hot Springs. Cathy Feliciano-Chon, founder of CatchOn  A Finn Partners Company, will present critical new research from the Mabrian Institute: the first big data study that identifies the wellness travel activities most in demand today, the wellness destinations with the most future potential, and emerging trends.

Future of health and wellness technology:

With Israel the global hotbed for health and wellness tech innovation, the conference has the biggest focus on digital health in its history, with Israeli disruptors on full display. Keynotes include: Noam Gabison, industry manager for digital health at Meta, on how the future of wellbeing is in the metaverse; Mickey Beyer-Clausen, co-founder, Timeshifter, on the future of circadian solutions; Ilan Samish, founder and CEO, Amai Proteins, on how they cracked the sugar code; Sharon Handelman-Gotlib of Sompo Digital Lab on how multi-national insurance giants are using tech to innovate wellness; Aradhana Khowala, founder, Aptamind Partners, and chair of the advisory board for Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project, on the future of femtech and wellness; and Varda Shalev, MD, co-founder of Alike.Health, on how crowdsourcing is the future of health and wellness. Amir Alroy, co-founder of Welltech Ventures, will present “From Start-Up to Scale-up: A Lightning Round of Israeli Innovation,” a panel of of high-profile founders of Israeli health and wellness startups, including Ben Enosh, co-founder of Antidote Health; Avishai Ben-Tovim, CEO and co-founder of MDI Health; Ziv Pereman, CEO of X-trodes; and Racheli Vizman, founder of Savor Eat. A Welltech Ventures-sponsored Tech Pavilion will immerse delegates in innovations from around the world.

Future of wellness real estate and communities:

Keynotes and panels include: Marian Herman, CEO of the global real estate developer HB Reavis Group, on “Wellness Real Estate: In Pursuit of Office Wellbeing;” Robbie Hammond, president of Therme Group US and co-founder of New York City’s High Line, on the future of public spaces in urban settings; and a high-powered panel on the evolving, explosive wellness real estate market, including Ricky Burdett, CBE, director, LSE Cities and Professor of Urban Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science, and John Fitzgerald, CEO and founder of Australia’s JLF Group.

Future of beauty and wellness:

Talks include: Zarina Kanji, TMall Business Development, Alibaba Group, on “Beauty and Wellness: Unpacking the Young Chinese Consumer’s Quest” and an expert-packed panel exploring why beauty doesn’t get the respect it deserves in the wellness industry, featuring Rupert Schmid, co-president and co-chairman, Biologique Recherche; Anna Bjurstam, Six Senses; Sarah Camilleri, editorial director, European Spa magazine; Chunxia Gao, Minor Hotel Group; and Jessica Smith, senior analyst at The Future Laboratory.

Future of wellness, governments and policy:

The Global Wellness Institute will release the first study to define wellness policy and argue for why it it’s so desperately needed at the government level–and how it can complement public health policy and happiness/well-being policy efforts. Using quantitative analysis, it’s the first research to provide answers to these questions: Does spending on wellness actually lead to better health and happiness outcomes and greater longevity?

Future of faith:

An extraordinary panel on how faith increasingly impacts business, moderated by Jean Sung, head of Philanthropy Centre, Asia, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, includes Brian Grim, founding president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in the US; Judith Richter, MD, founder of Medinol Ltd. and The NIR School of the Heart in Israel; and Isaac (Yitz) Applbaum, chair of The Western Wall (Kotel). Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, president of the India’s Divine Shakti Foundation, will keynote on From I to We: The Power of Spirituality in Moving from Illness to Wellness.”

Future of Sustainability:

Planetary wellness is a key topic, and keynotes include Itay Zetelny, groups leader of Innovation, Global Incentives & Cleantech at Ernst & Young, on the future of sustainability and Oded Rahav, Business & Strategy, Dead Sea Guardians, on their incredible sustainability project to save the Dead Sea.

Future of investment and the wellness economy:

With the wellness market estimated to grow from $4.4 trillion to $7 trillion by 2025, the conference will explore where investment and the wellness economy are headed. Thierry Malleret, global economist and founder of the Monthly Barometer, will analyze the triumphs and future challenges for the wellness economy. To provide a window into what global wellness investors are seeking today, the “Reverse Pitch” will have major investors–including Nichol Bradford, executive director and co-founder of Transformative Technology; Nimrod Cohen, managing partner of TAU Ventures of Tel Aviv University; Dr. Modi, founder and chairman of India’s Modi Holdings; Rick Stollmeyer, founder of Mindbody and CEO of Inspired Flight Technologies, Inc., David Stoup, chairman and CEO of Healthy Lifestyle Brands; Yoriko Soma, CEO, Conceptasia, Inc.; Amir Alroy, co-founder, Welltech Ventures; and Alejandro Weinstein, co-founder, WM Partners–pitching delegates on what they’re looking to invest in in wellness and why. A new feature, “What’s Bubbling Up in the Wellness Economy?”, will have delegates contributing the new ideas and trends they see emerging across every wellness sector.

Amazing networking and parties–and musical, cinematic and wellness experiences–every day:

The Summit is renowned not only for its future-focused content but for its networking opportunities, social events, and creative wellness experiences. Each day, delegates will be immersed in incredible music, film, art and wellness experiences. Myndstream is bringing stunning musical performances; Louie Schwartzberg, director of the blockbuster film Fantastic Fungi, will debut healing films, and BBC StoryWorks will premiere its groundbreaking, awe-inspiring new series, “In Pursuit of Wellness: The Art & Science of Living Well.” One night, delegates will dine at authentic restaurants in historic Jaffa, another evening they will dance the night away at the Gala.

About the Global Wellness Summit —The Global Wellness Summit is a premier organization that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.4 trillion global wellness economy. Its future-focused conference is held at a different global location each year and has traveled to the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy and Singapore. GWS also hosts other virtual and in-person gatherings, including Wellness Master Classes, Wellness Sector Spotlights, Investor “Reverse Pitch” events and Global Wellness Symposiums. The organization’s annual Global Wellness Trends Report offers expert-based predictions on the future of wellness. The 2022 Summit will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel from October 31 to November 3.

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New Adventure Cycling Short Routes Make Bike Travel More Accessible

Two- to Five-Day Itineraries from Major Metro Areas Available for Free in Digital Format

Biking the Shining Sea trail on Cape Cod. Among the new Short Routes for bike touring and bikepacking introduced by Adventure Cycling Association is 140.66 miles Boston-Cape Cod. The routes can be downloaded for free © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

MISSOULA, Mont. – Adventure Cycling Association is broadening its offerings and making them more accessible to all, releasing 12 new Short Routes from major metro areas across the United States. Known for its epic long-distance routes like the TransAmerica Trail and Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, the organization produced its Short Routes for those new to bike travel or those with less time. And the Short Routes are available for free in digital formats that can be loaded onto smartphones and GPS devices, or printed as paper maps and cue sheets. 

“Since the release of the TransAmerica Trail in 1976, we’ve mapped more than 50,000 miles of bike routes across the U.S. and into Canada – but recognizing that they aren’t for everyone, we’ve produced these new Short Routes,” said Nathan Taylor, Cartographer for Adventure Cycling. “While many of our epic routes can take weeks to ride in full, Short Routes are two- to five-day itineraries from cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Austin, Atlanta and Philadelphia. There are loops that start and end at the same point, out-and-back options and routes that can be combined with public transit like ferries, trains and buses. They’re a fun, accessible way to get out and explore at the pace of a pedal stroke. And, best of all, they’re free.”

The new Short Routes for bike touring and bikepacking include:

  • Los Angeles: Carpinteria to Refugio (37.28 miles)
  • Los Angeles: LA to Catalina Island (42.66 miles)
  • Los Angeles: Santa Monica Overnight (34.94 miles)
  • Seattle: Seattle to Fort Flagler (58.73 miles)
  • Seattle: Seattle to Kanasket-Palmer (77.89 miles)
  • Seattle: Seattle to Lopez Island (121.62 miles)
  • Minneapolis: Willow River Overnight (39.39 miles)
  • Austin: Central Texas Parks Loop (120.02 miles)
  • Atlanta: Panola Outing (19.47 miles)
  • Washington, DC: C&O and W&OD Loop (84.75 miles)
  • Philadelphia: Schuylkill and Wissahickon Trails (62.6 miles)
  • Boston: Cape Cod Weekend (140.66 miles)

Short Routes are available for free in digital formats from the Adventure Cycling website. They’re compatible with the RideWithGPS app for iPhone and Android, and can be exported for use in other apps and GPS devices. Maps and cue sheets can also be saved as PDF files or printed on paper.

As with all Adventure Cycling routes, Short Routes are more than lines on a map and turn-by-turn directions. Waypoints along each route include information on accommodations, grocery stores and restaurants, water sources, scenic stops and recreation sites, bike shops, public transit, and more.

And each route was produced with help from local cyclists familiar with the areas where they are located.

“The new Short Routes were developed in a slightly different way than our long-distance routes are – each was community submitted, and we worked in partnership with BIPOC, LGBTQ, women, and intersex bicyclists to gain a new perspective on these areas,” said Katie Harris, Adventure Cycling’s Director of Community Impact. “We are grateful to them for sharing, so that others can experience the joy of bike travel.”

To find out more about Adventure Cycling’s Short Routes, read their full descriptions, load them onto a device, or print them out, visit https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/short-routes/.

Adventure Cycling Association inspires, empowers, and connects people to travel by bike. It is the largest cycling membership organization in North America with more than 50,000 members. Adventure Cycling has produced over 50,000 miles of meticulously mapped bicycle routes for North America, organizes more than 100 tours annually, and publishes bike travel information including Adventure Cyclist magazine. Adventure Cycling Association has also provided dedicated staff support to the U.S. Bicycle Route System since 2005, including research support, meeting coordination and technical guidance for states developing routes.

More information at 800-755-BIKE (2453), https://www.adventurecycling.org/.

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‘Blue Zones’ Longevity Expert Dan Buettner to Keynote Global Wellness Summit in Tel Aviv, Oct 31-Nov 3

Dan Buettner, who famously identified the Blue Zones–those five places around the world where people live significantly better, longer lives–will keynote the Global Wellness Summit convening in Tel Aviv from October 31 to November 3.

The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), one of the most important conferences in the $4.4 trillion business of wellness, announced that Dan Buettner, who famously identified the Blue Zones–those five places around the world where people live significantly better, longer lives–will keynote at the conference being held in Tel Aviv, Israel from October 31 to November 3.

Buettner is an explorer, a National Geographic Fellow, an award-winning journalist and producer, and the author of four runaway bestsellers. His new book, Blue Zones American Kitchen, which uncovers the traditional roots of plant-forward cuisine in the US, will be released in December. A four-part documentary series on lessons from the Blue Zones will premiere in early 2023.

Since 2004, Buettner has been researching Blue Zone communities (in Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California) to understand what keeps people thriving and healthy to age 100. His discovery: their longevity has nothing to do with self-discipline, or complex health and fitness regimes. Instead, the source of lonvegity is these communities’ holistic ecosystems that make the healthy choice the easy one: Residents are naturally “nudged” toward daily movement, a plant-based diet, strong social connections and a sense of purpose.

New research on longevity diets: At the Summit, Buettner will present his latest research on what the world’s longest-lived people eat and the eye-opening impact that diet has on longevity. He will share surprising insights from his new Blue Zones American Kitchen, which uncovers the regions and cultures that have shaped America’s healthiest food landscapes. These include some of the most under-recognized plant-forward communities, from Hmong elders in Minnesota to Quakers in New England. Buettner will explore how a restoration of these specific, traditional healthy eating subcultures around the world could save us trillions of dollars a year in healthcare costs.

“Dan wowed delegates at the 2018 Summit and we’re thrilled to have him share his latest research this year. His work on how total environment and culture are the lynchpins of longevity is increasingly changing the way the world thinks about health, wellness, prevention and aging. And it’s also having a growing impact on public policy, wellness community design, and longevity science, all big topics at this year’s conference,” said Susie Ellis, GWS chair and CEO.

“The overwhelming finding from my years of research is that the path to a long and happy life is not about changing your habits, it’s about changing your surroundings. Leaders in public policy, architecture and design, wellness real estate, and hospitality that will gather at the conference now have the greatest opportunity to architect communities and environments so that people’s daily decisions are naturally the healthy ones,” said Buettner. “I’m so happy to return to the Summit. I’ve given thousands of speeches in the last decade and I rarely return to a conference, but I had more fun at the GWS in Italy than I’ve had at any conference ever.”

Longevity Science–A Key Summit Topic: The longevity science market is forecast to reach $600 billion by 2025, and new approaches that can bring unprecedented increases to the quality and length of human lifespans (“healthspans”) have become one of the buzzed-about topics in wellness and medicine. It will be a key focus at this year’s GWS, where Buettner will join medical experts such as Shai Efrati, MD, of Tel Aviv University, who is pioneering medical hyperbaric oxygen treatments shown to reverse the biology of aging, and Tzipora Strauss, MD, who is co-leading a new longevity medicine research center at Israel’s Sheba University.

The Global Wellness Summit brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.4 trillion global wellness economy. Its future-focused conference is held at a different global location each year and has traveled to the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy and Singapore. GWS also hosts other virtual and in-person gatherings, including Wellness Master Classes, Wellness Sector Spotlights, Investor “Reverse Pitch” events and Global Wellness Symposiums. The organization’s annual Global Wellness Trends Report offers expert-based predictions on the future of wellness. The 2022 Summit will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel from October 31 to November 3.

Registration for the 2022 Summit is open.

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Lindblad Expeditions Celebrates the Blessing of National Geographic Islander ll Before Inaugural Galapagos Voyage

Lindblad Expeditions celebrated the blessing of National Geographic Islander ll before its inaugural Galapagos voyage. Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, commended Lindblad Expeditions as a “great example of how to use tourism as a vehicle for conservation and development.”

NEW YORK, NY, AUGUST 3, 2022 — Lindblad Expeditions celebrated the official blessing of the newest addition to their award-winning fleet, National Geographic Islander ll in Salinas, Ecuador this past weekend.  Attendees included Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism, Niels Olsen, and Gustavo Manrique, Minister of the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, industry colleagues, local partners, and members of Lindblad’s beloved crew. The 26-suite best-in-class expedition vessel will make her inaugural Galápagos voyage on August 19, 2022, for year-round expeditions in the islands.   

The traditional blessing was administered by a local priest, followed by short speeches from the Ministries and a toast offered by Ana Esteves, Lindblad’s Vice President of Hotel Operations, and ship Captain Gonzalo Cifuentes. Both Ministers’ speeches highlighted Lindblad’s commitment to Galápagos and conservation. 

“Lindblad Expeditions is a great example of how to use tourism as a vehicle for conservation and development  how they are buying supplies from the local communities, employing people from Ecuador to connect with the local cultures, and introducing their guests to our amazing cuisine,” stated Minister Olsen.

Minister Manrique applauded “this kind of investment in Ecuador that is something between tourism, investigation, science, and education” and thanked Lindblad for “trusting in Ecuador.”

Guests enjoyed Ecuadorian cuisine, and tours of the 48-guest vessel that showcased her elegantly appointed suites, bridge, the Science Hub, the Global Gallery, new Marina, impressive Observation Deck, and ship wide enhancements that will elevate the Lindblad guest experience to an entirely new level.

The event was followed the next day by a special reception for members of the ship’s crew and officers, capped off by an exuberant welcome by dozens of small fishing boats in the area for the local Santa Rosa festivities. 

“We pioneered expedition travel in Galápagos, and National Geographic Islander ll is truly the best of both worlds,” stated Ana Esteves, Vice President of Hotel Operations.  “She’s gracious like a private yacht, offers space and comfort, a culinary program that highlights the regions of Ecuador with locally sourced ingredients, a spa and a 1-1 guest-to-crew ratio.  But she is also a world class expedition vessel designed for active exploration, with a fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, a glass-bottom Zodiac, snorkel gear for all guests, and a flotilla of Zodiacs. We are so ready to head to the Galápagos Islands and could not be more excited,”

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions voyages to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth, visit www.expeditions.com, call 1-800-EXPEDITION (1-800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

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Travel Planning Company Origin Recommends Alternatives to Overbooked Destinations

If sipping on wine surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards sounds like your kind of vacation, look no further than the Douro Valley of northern Portugal © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

After two long years of closed-down borders, quarantines, and restrictions, travel is coming back with a vengeance in the summer of 2022—if you can find a place to go that isn’t fully booked. Travelers trying to make plans for some of the most sought-after destinations, such as Italy, are finding limited flight options and no-vacancy hotels. 

If you were dreaming of making a last-minute trip through the Italian countryside or to some other in-demand destination, don’t fret. The travel curators at travel planning company Origin have compiled a list of the five countries they recommend for a phenomenal holiday that isn’t totally overbooked.

Instead of Tuscany, try the Douro Valley, Portugal

If sipping on wine surrounded by rolling hills of vineyards sounds like your kind of vacation, look no further than the Douro Valley of northern Portugal. The namesake river weaves through the mountains, making this not only one of Europe’s best wine regions but also one of its most picturesque.

Instead of the Dolomites, explore the Vestland, Norway

Summertime in the mountains means cooler temperatures, hiking to panoramic viewpoints, and flowing rivers for taking a dip, and you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere more breathtaking than Western Norway. 

Instead of Rome, go for Rio

Get big city vibes but without high season crowds and scorching temperatures in Rio de Janeiro. The months of June, July, and August are the middle of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but it never truly gets cold thanks to Brazil’s tropical climate and winter is also the dry season, so even laying out on the beach can be a part of your plan.

Instead of the Amalfi Coast, visit Costa del Sol, Spain

The Costa del Sol of southern Spain sets a high expectation with a name that translates to “Sunshine Coast,” although with about 320 days of sunny weather a year, it fits.

Instead of Sicily, travel to Crete

The stories of Greek mythology are tangible on Crete, where you can walk through the cave where Zeus was born or visit the ruins that housed the legendary Minotaur. Every beach is somehow more breathtaking than the last on over 600 miles of Mediterranean coastline but move inland and it becomes dramatic mountains and gorges.

Worried about the long lines at the airport?

Origin recommends traveling (super) light, keeping to carry-on only and if needed, we can help you ship your travel equipment or clothing to your next destination so you don’t have to worry about checking in or baggage drop. Booking with Origin this summer also means automatic VIP greeting on landing – meaning you’ll be greeted at the airplane door and assisted with customs by airport personnel via priority lanes, skipping the long lines altogether (this service depends on the destination).

How to Book a Journey with Origin

Download the Origin app (available on Apple Store), create a user profile and submit a trip request with your desired destination, itinerary, and preferred budget. An expert travel curator will then be in touch with you via the app’s chat to start planning your trip. Origin is a membership travel company that creates completely individual, personalized trips. Origin’s mission is to deepen the traveler’s experience through boundless personalization and unique connections. Origin uses the knowledge of human travel experts and then superpowers their trip curation with machine learning – all in one app.

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Stargazing Journeys throughout Latin America with Naya Traveler

If stargazing is your passion, travel company Naya Traveler can design the ultimate journey to see the stars throughout Latin America (photo by Joshua Earle)

Long before European explorers set foot in the South American continent and discovered a mysteriously different sky, the indigenous people of the region had already established a scientific understanding and deep spiritual connection with the heavens. For ancient civilizations like the Incas—who at the height of their time controlled the western expanse of the continent—their way of life was dictated by the motions of celestial bodies like the sun, moon and stars. The bright star-strewn constellations were indeed a map of time and spirituality, though their devotion went a step further, identifying and venerating the ‘dark constellations’—the shapes formed in the absence of the stars. 

In Latin America, North has always been South, and the constellations of the night sky map out a mysterious and exciting landscape. Blessed with a diverse range of remote and wide-open spaces, the South American continent enjoys some of the clearest skies on earth, making it the perfect destination for travelers looking to indulge in the bliss of isolation and wander amongst the stars. From the high-altitude desert plateau of Atacama in Chile and the mars-like salt flats of Uyuni in Bolivia, to the dramatic wind-swept terrain of Patagonia, the options to walk amongst the stars in South America are endless. If stargazing is your passion, let travel company Naya Traveler design the ultimate journey to see the stars throughout Latin America. Here are a few of their stargazing itineraries:

Atacama Desert, Chile

An astronomer’s paradise, Chile provides a clear view of the spectacular southern sky, which is largely invisible from countries north of the Equator. With more than 200 cloudless nights per year and a dry desert atmosphere with very low air pollution, the northern region of Atacama Desert—the highest non-polar place on earth—boasts ideal stargazing conditions. During the day, expect to find a surreal lunar landscape, complete with arid desert, infinite salt flats, shimmering lagoons, peering volcanoes and the fruits of geothermal activity. In fact, this is where planetary scientists tested the early prototypes of their Mars rovers. The alien quality of the terrain makes you feel as if you’re hiking on a forbidding yet magnificent planet orbiting a distant star.

Using the oasis of Nayara Alto Atacama as a base, venture out into the Valle de la Luna by day, and explore a series of star-strewn observatories by night. On Saturday, professional observatories open their doors to a select number of guests, offering tours and introductory astronomy lectures. During the visit, your guide will  help you identify planets, colorful nebulae and more mysterious celestial beings, as you peer through the telescope, uncovering a fantastical universe beyond what the naked eye can see. 

Naya Traveler curates tailor-made journeys to Chile starting at $700USD per person per day, based on itinerary specifics. Rates do not include international airfare or COVID-related travel expenses.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Bolivia is home to Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. Covering an area of over 10,000 square kilometers at an altitude of 3,600 meters, it’s one of Latin America’s most breathtaking natural wonders. And while a daytrip might be enough to fulfil the dream of what it might feel like to land on another planet, there’s now the option of spending the night under one of the clearest, unpolluted skies on Earth. A collection of six luxurious geodesic domes sitting at the foot of the Tunupa Volcano, Kachi Lodge offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dwell in the glittering white salt plains by day, and enjoy some of the most spectacular stargazing in the world by night.

Naya Traveler curates tailor-made journeys to Bolivia starting at $800USD per person per day, based on itinerary specifics. Rates do not include international airfare or COVID-related travel expenses.

Lago Titicaca, Peru

The Andean Altiplano might just be one of the best places for stargazing in the Southern Hemisphere. Geographical factors such as its isolation, high altitude and dry climate all come together to offer pristine clear skies, where one can revel in the wonder of the constellations even with a naked eye. Stargazing in Peru however, is not just an indulgence in the beauty of the cosmos, it’s also an experience that brings us closer to the heart of ancient Incan civilization. For the Incas—one of the most advanced civilisation in ancient times—had great faith in the stars and an unwavering devotion in the events of the astros. Lake Titicaca holds great spiritual significance for the ancient Inca and modern Quechua, hence a stargazing experience in Titicaca isn’t just about xx, but also, about spiritual connection. 

Naya Traveler curates tailor-made journeys to Peru starting at $900USD per person per day, based on itinerary specifics. Rates do not include international airfare or COVID-related travel expenses.

Patagonia, Argentina

The Patagonian Steppe might be known for its dramatic landscapes and temperamental weather conditions, yet on a cloudless winter night, nothing beats watching the Milky Way dance over the snow-capped peaks of the Andes and reflect on the icy glaciers. Settling into the cozy comforts of Eolo—a property built on the land where the first creole and European immigrants of the area initially set foot—one can’t help but sense the aura of adventure that the thousands of travelers who journeyed through this area have left behind. Trek the mesmerizing Perito Moreno glacier by day, and trek the other-worldly Southern constellations by night, guided by an astronomer that with unveil the mysteries that lie beyond our galaxy, just as they were seen by the first explorers who settled in the ‘Land of Giants’. 

Naya Traveler curates tailor-made journeys to Argentina starting at $1000USD per person per day, based on itinerary specifics. Rates do not include international airfare or COVID-related travel expenses.

Contact Naya Traveler, 301-358-5096,  info@nayatraveler.com, www.nayatraveler.com.

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First New Hotel Inside Grand Canyon National Park in Over 50 Years Opens to the Public

Xanterra’s $35 Million Maswik South Provides Modern Accommodations to
Travelers Looking to Experience One of the Natural Wonders of the World

After its $35 million reconstruction by Xanterra Travel Collection, Maswik South Lodge is the first new lodging inside the park in over 50-years and is just footsteps away from the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim (photo provided by Xanterra)

Travelers headed to Grand Canyon now have a new option for in-park accommodations. After its $35 million reconstruction by Xanterra Travel Collection, Maswik South Lodge is the first new lodging inside the park in over 50-years and is just footsteps away from the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. Booking is available now for stays. Constructed in 1971, the original 90 rooms have been replaced with 120 new lodging units across four new lodging structures in the same general location.

The 4.5-acre property features two types of accommodations: 90 standard rooms and 30 kitchenettes. The rooms now include private balconies, and the buildings have elevators and interior hallway entrances. Maswik South is in close proximity to Maswik Lodge where guests can access the Maswik Food Court, Pizza Pub, Transportation & Activities Desk, and the Village Loop (Blue) park shuttle line. The new units are approximately a ten-minute walk from both South Rim itself and the Hermit’s Rest/Village Loop Shuttle Bus Transfer Station.

“Maswik South aims to prepare Grand Canyon National Park for the next 100-years,” said Marc Ducharme, General Manager, Grand Canyon South Rim. “As stewards of the parks, Xanterra is proud to offer modernized lodging that will serve millions of visitors across its lifetime and enhance the national park experience.”

The architecture nods to the original lodge constructed in 1927 by the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad. The architects preserved the original stone pillars from the historic lodge buildings while the interiors offer modern furnishings. The rooms are decorated with textiles inspired by Native American artwork of the southwest. The interiors of Maswik South Lodge reflect the colors of the Grand Canyon: rusty red, sage green, tan, and ocher. Artwork in the guest rooms showcase studies of local fossils, after which each building is named, and a historic map of the Grand Canyon area.

Xanterra Travel Collection’s stewardship of national parks and long-standing commitment to conservation and sustainability informed the building’s design. Designed and constructed to the LEED Gold standard, the design includes the extensive use of sustainable building materials, high-efficiency lighting including outdoor solar lighting, efficient mechanical systems, and plumbing fixtures, use of reclaimed water (coming soon), water-efficient landscaping, and Dark Sky compliant lighting that ensures that the lodges do not interfere with the stunning view of the night sky at the Grand Canyon. Amenities include electric vehicle charging and water bottle filling stations.

Working closely with Xanterra and the NPS project teams, OZ Architecture is the architect of record for the project. Kinney Construction Services from Flagstaff, Arizona is the project’s General Contractor.

Advance reservations for the new lodging units are being taken. You can follow on Twitter and Facebook or visit the website for further updates on this project.

Xanterra operates lodges, restaurants, retail, and tours at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. To make reservations or for more information, visit grandcanyonlodges.com or call 1-888-29-PARKS (888-297-2757).

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From Mountains to Canyons, Valleys to BrooklynFour Great American Trains to Discover

America’s Highest Railroad
The “Grandest” Railway
A 150-Year Old Narrow Gauge Railroad
And One RR that runs in “A Hole in The Ground”


A Pikes Peak Cog Railway train approaching the summit at 14,115 feet in Colorado (photo provided by Xanterra)

There is just something about historic railroads. Unfortunately, many of the engines and trains that have been saved are static. Lifeless. But there are places in America where you can see a steam engine come alive and run at speed (go fast), where you can climb America’s only accessible 14,000-foot mountain, ride on a 150-year old railroad lost in time and coming back to life in the beautiful valleys of central Pennsylvania and ride on the original subway cars from 1916 and 1930’s to places such Coney Island in Brooklyn. This is where open windows, strap hangers and swaying cars are as fun as the rides found at Coney Island. Yes, there are great train rides this summer, and here’s a ticket to four of the most interesting.

THE BROADMOOR, MANITOU & PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY

 (Manitou, CO to the summit at Pikes Peak – 14,115 feet)

Climb every mountain. Well, there is only one 14-thousand-foot mountain in the US that you don’t have to climb. You can take the train. A unique train – a cog. At The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway reaches a height of 14,115 feet. This is where the words to the song “America the Beautiful” were composed. Completely rebuilt it’s back and better than ever climbing up America’s Mountain. This iconic railway is one of only two cog railways in the U.S.

Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences. A Ride & Stay package is also available via The Broadmoor, a luxury Forbes Five Star/AAA Five Diamond property, that includes accommodations and train tickets.

The Railway runs every day. For information and reservations hop onboard at www.cograilway.com

THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY

(Williams, AZ on Rt. 66 to steps from South Rim, Grand Canyon)

Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901 when it was built by the legendary Atkinson, Topeka and Santé Fee (ATSF). Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from Williams, AZ on historic Rt. 66 to within steps of the Grand Canyon South Rim and El Tovar. The pristine train, comprised of railcars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car, as well as vintage coaches with opening windows, departs at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:45 p.m. with a 2.5-hour layover at South Rim of Grand Canyon. The train rolls directly into Grand Canyon National Park, taking an estimated 70,000 cars off the road.

During most of the summer and into early fall, the Railway pulls the daily train once a month with a steam engine built in 1923 and that runs on waste vegetable oil.There is no extra charge for the steam engine pulled trains. It be believed Grand Canyon Railway is the last standard gauge passenger railroad in the US where steam engines are still scheduled to pull revenue trains.

You can save 30% on train tickets when you book in conjunction with any 1 or 2-night stay at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Visit thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE.-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724) for updated and current information on both the hotel and the train.

It is now also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments, such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit www.thetrain.com/charters.

The East Broad Top Railroad (Orbisonia, Central Pennsylvania)
A 150-year-old narrow-gauge railroad coming out of hibernation and to life in a big way.

It’s one of the true treasures in American railroading. The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA and nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state-started train rides and historic railroad shop tours this spring. The 150-year-old railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than “standard” railroads) and industrial complexes in the country.

It was already an antique when it was shut down in 1956; today is it a true treasure that far exceed the trains and tracks. The EBT still has six narrow-gauge steam locomotives, each awaiting their turn for restoration, one of which is expected soon. Initially, the railroad will offer one hour train rides in a vintage caboose, passenger car or even an open-air car on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic roundhouse and shops in Orbisonia to Colgate Grove and back. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children. 

Reservations are strongly suggested. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285.

The New York Transit Museum & Nostalgia Rides (New York City)

Yes, the New York subway is a railroad and a rather large one at that with 665 miles of mainline track and 472 stations that caters to more than a billion rides a year. It even has a museum in Brooklyn. Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block, and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.

However, what most people don’t know is that this is not just a static museum. It maintains and operates a wide variety of vintage train cars dating back to 1907. These historic subway trains are occasionally run on what’s called “Nostalgia Rides.” Some go to Yankee Stadium, other to Coney Island or the Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk, and some venture to historic cemeteries or decommissioned subway stations. We’re talking open windows, flickering light bulbs, hanging on to strap hangers and swaying cars. It’s a trip, and a trip back in time on the real things, right down to the rattan seats and car card (ads) that try to sell everything from bras and cookies, the ZIP code and baseball games at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and of course, Yankee Stadium. For information on the museum and Nostalgia Rides visit www.nytransitmuseum.org.

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