Explore Ohiopyle State Park & the Great Allegheny Passage by Bike… Virtually!

Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle State Park, one of the many highlights of the bike tour along the Great Allegheny Passage. Wilderness Voyageurs is offering a virtual tour as well as a painting class online (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

If you can’t get out of your house right now, Wilderness Voyageurs has the solution for your cabin fever! Join Colleen from Wilderness Voyageurs Headquarters for a virtual tour of Ohiopyle and the Great Allegheny Passage by bike.  You’ll explore all the iconic spots in Ohiopyle State Park, ride on the GAP, a rail trail system that links Maryland and Pennsylvania, and check out some spring blooms.  You can also join her on Facebook or Instagram forlive painting of Cucumber Falls, a favorite Ohiopyle landmark, on April 24 at 4PM EST. Then send in a photo of your finished masterpiece and it will be posted on Instagram for the world to admire!

Wilderness Voyageurs has also partnered up with Mountain Khakis to say an extra special thank you!  Now through April 20, every person who purchases a Wilderness Voyageurs gift card will be automatically entered to win a $100 Mountain Khakis gift card.  Mountain Khakis is a small business with only 20 full-time office employees so they understand the importance of shopping small and local and they want to support their retailers.(Your chances of winning are looking good!)

The winner for the drawing will be randomly chosen at the end of the promotional period (April 20).

“We feel honored during these uncertain times to have such supportive customers and to work with brands that support small business, environmental stewardship, and a quality product,” writes Eric Martin, Wilderness Voyageurs owner. 

Support Small Business with Online Shopping – “During this difficult time we are offering 20% OFF site wide and free shipping on orders over $30! Even though our brick and mortar store is temporarily closed, you can still gear up for those future adventures in our online shop. Your support means the world to our small, family owned business.”

LIVE Painting of Cucumber Falls: 4/24
Savage River Releases: 7/5, 9/26
Stonycreek Rafting: 6/30, 7/14, 8/25 
Colorful Colorado Bike Tour: 9/20
Georgia Gold Coast Bike Tour: 10/6, 10/12, 10/18
Kentucky Bike and Bourbon: 10/5, 10/12, 10/18
Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bike Tour: 10/6, 10/11, 10/18

Wilderness Voyageurs started out as a rafting adventures company 50 years ago, but has developed into a wide-ranging outdoors company with an extensive catalog of biking, rafting, fishing and outdoor adventures throughout the US and even Cuba, many guided and self-guided bike itineraries built around rail trails like the Eric Canal in New York, Great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania, and Katy Trail in Missouri.

Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett St., Ohiopyle, PA 15470, 800-272-4141, bike@Wilderness-Voyageurs.com, Wilderness-Voyageurs.com

See our series on the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Sojourn on the Great Allegheny Passage, operated by Wilderness Voyageurs and our series on Wilderness Voyageurs six-day “Badlands and Mickelson Trail” bike tour of South Dakota at www.goingplacesfarandnear.com.

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Spend 4 Days in Arctic on Free Virtual Holiday, One Day at a Time, Beginning April 18

Experience a four-day Arctic adventure in Swedish Lapland from the comfort of your own home today for free. The holiday has been designed by Virtually Visiting to be experienced through your own computer, tablet or phone as if you are there, day by day, with the itinerary unfolding from Saturday, April 18 through Tuesday, April 21.

Experience a four-day Arctic adventure in Swedish Lapland from the comfort of your own home today for free. The holiday has been designed by Virtually Visiting to be experienced through your own computer, tablet or phone as if you are there, day by day, with the itinerary unfolding from Saturday, April 18 through Tuesday, April 21.

The Arctic adventure puts you right in the center of the holiday with new experiences released each day over a four-day complete trip.

The first holiday starts on Saturday April 18. It has been designed to take guests on a wintery tour of the Arctic region of Swedish Lapland.

“We wanted to put you right in the action, allowing you to experience tours as though you were there,” says Jonny Cooper, founder of Virtually Visiting. “This is about keeping the travel experience real; we meet some of the best local guides who walk us through local life to give guests the real-life experience – from their own homes.”

What’s more, this bucket-list four-day holiday is completely free for people to experience and will unfold one day at a time at https://virtuallyvisiting.com/360-journeys/.

Your Virtual Travel Itinerary

Guests will virtually arrive 144km north of the Arctic Circle into Kiruna. The first stop has been perfectly timed just as the ICEHOTEL closes the doors on ICEHOTEL 30 for the last time this year, before it is left to melt back into the river – and it is here that the adventure begins.

The first experience on Saturday April 18 sees our ICEHOTEL guide Matilda give a personal tour around four of the jaw-dropping, individually designed and carved ice rooms and explain how it all comes together – from the frozen water in the river flowing beside the hotel, to being transformed into these beautiful masterpieces you see before you.

The tour will not only allow you to hear from Matilda but also look around the amazing space created entirely from ice and snow – a breathtaking combination of an art-exhibition and a hotel in one.

The following day, on Sunday April 19, the tour heads south 250km to Lassbyn to meet local guide and founder of the Aurora Safari Camp, Fredrik Broman. Today Fredrik will be taking guests on a Snowmobile adventure through the stunning Swedish wilderness visiting two frozen lakes and learning about local wildlife and landmarks on the way.

Monday April 20 brings a more leisurely pace and a chance to join Kent Lindvall, the founder and visionary behind the world famous Treehotel. Today, Kent will take us on a personal tour of Treehotel where guests learn about the history of the hotel including a tour inside four of the seven amazing tree-top hotel rooms. Each room has its own theme which is showcased in the design of the exterior and interior.

The final day of the tour, Tuesday April 21, the adventure will take guests east 90km to the wilderness around Kroktask. Here we join Erik Hordijk from Yellow Snow Husky tours to learn how to harness a team of huskies in preparation for the journey across the frozen landscape, before setting of on our dogsled adventure.

Each day a new virtual experience and additional information will be released allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a journey through the region getting a real sense of the people and place as you travel through it.

The team behind Virtually Visiting will launch more experience and tours after this with the chance to visit Storforsen middle falls nature walk, join a tour of the new Arctic Bath, visit ICEHOTEL 365meet the Moose and Reindeer, learn about the Sami culture, go Kayaking, and explore the Aurora Safari Camp.

Virtually Visiting founder, Jonny Cooper, added, “As well as our new virtual holiday, we’re also working hard to add further capabilities allowing us to run live VR tours in the future, adding even more real-time interaction with guides.”

To join the free four-day Virtual Arctic adventure from Saturday April 18 – Tuesday April 21, visit https://virtuallyvisiting.com/360-journeys/ (and don’t worry, if you miss one of the days, the video can be accessed at the same link).

Virtually Visiting was set up by a group of travel and technology experts who believe in the power of travel and the good that it can bring to the world. Understanding the planet is an ever-changing place and that travel is not always accessible – we decided to combine advances in technology with our passion for travel. The result is real tours and experiences available online to everyone, everywhere. 

For more information on virtual travel experiences visit www.virtuallyvisiting.com or email info@virtuallyvisiting.com

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Lindblad Brings Daily Activities, Rhythms of Expedition on Virtual Exploration of World’s Most Remote Places

Lindblad Expeditions is bringing the world’s wild places through virtual expedition.

NEW YORK — During this time of social isolation Lindblad Expeditions is bridging the distance—bringing the world’s wild places and keeping moments of ahhh alive and well—through a Virtual Expedition to explore the world’s remote pristine reaches.  The small ship adventure travel company is taking guests on a virtual expedition, designed to offer the “tonic of wildness,” and the engaging and reassuring rhythms of life on board—from morning stretch classes, to exhilarating sights, photo ops and even evening Recap daily at 6 pm, complete with cocktail recipes from fleet menus. 

As the Virtual Expedition unfolds in the weeks ahead—and pulling from a renowned expedition team of naturalists and experts in isolation as well —there will be activities for kids led by Lindblad’s team of certified field educators; lectures with the line’s renowned naturalist team; live musical performances from around the world; artisan demonstrations; and cooking demos of sustainable shipboard bites. And a special evening recap will reveal the newest addition to their fleet, National Geographic Endurance, via a virtual ship tour led by the Captain and members of his team.

“We are all adjusting to our new ways of living.  Never have any of us experienced anything like this and we are all having to learn new tricks during a period of social distancing,” stated Sven Lindblad, CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.  “The main intent is to keep us connected, put a smile on your face, and provide a bit of inspiration.”  

Choreographed with all the hallmarks of a Lindblad expedition, the Daily Program will be posted daily to  Virtual Expedition. Flexible, spontaneous—who knows where you’ll go?—the expedition will feature new discoveries each day, using Facebook and Instagram for both video and live activities, including:

·       Today’s Activity: Video clips with Lindblad naturalists taking guests from temperate to tropical rainforests to the towering ice of Antarctica, guiding them into the sights & sounds.

·       AHHHHH Moment: The healing tonic of wildness, a tiny dose of bliss, or a bit of insight. What does it feel like to spend time, truly steep in wild remote places, stop, let it sink in, get captured by one moment or a string of them? Experience it now.

·       Photo Tips: Get info you can use to practice indoors or out. Learn from Lindblad certified photo instructors as they explore their own landscape in isolation. 

·       RECAP: It’s 6pm—grab a cocktail recipe & meet us in the Lounge, with demonstrations from virtual shipboard bartenders – and soon to be added lectures, presentations, and more.

·       Virtual Music Lounge: Choreographed by Lindblad’ ethnomusicologist, Jacob Edgar, enjoy a series of live musical performances from Ireland, Iceland, Trinidad, Rapa Nui, Scotland, and more. Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, a multi-award winning traditional singer and musician from Ireland, leads the lineup starting this week.

The invitation is open: Come aboard and join the expedition—see familiar faces, discover exhilarating places, observe wildlife, get photo tips, and experience a Virtual Expedition.

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), contact your travel advisor, or find us on FacebookTwitter, InstagramYouTube,  Pinterest and LinkedIn.  #VirtualLEXpedition

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15,000 Hotels Sign Up for ‘Hospitality for Hope’ to Provide Housing for Healthcare Workers During Coronavirus Pandemic

San Francisco, California hotels are among the 15,000 to sign up for American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) “Hospitality for Hope” provides temporary housing for emergency and healthcare workers as the COVID-19 public health crisis grows © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON – The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) announced that more than 15,000 hotels have signed up for its new initiative – “Hospitality for Hope” – which identifies hotel properties that have offered to provide temporary housing for emergency and healthcare workers as the COVID-19 public health crisis grows.  While the program will primarily focus on housing for the healthcare community, some hotels could potentially be used as “Alternative Care Sites” such as an emergency hospital or place for those quarantined to stay if needed.

AHLA’s “Hospitality for Hope Initiative” was created to boost collaboration between the hotel industry and local, state and federal governments to help employees, communities across the country, and the industry during this unprecedented health crisis. In the short time since the initiative was announced, participation has grown from nearly 6,000 hotels to more than 15,000 properties. Already, this initiative has identified a total combined

2.3 million rooms located in close proximity to established healthcare facilities.

To help match and streamline the process for willing hotel properties to connect with federal, state, and local governments, AHLA and its state association partners are working to create a national “Hospitality for Hope” database to assist the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local emergency management and public health agencies. AHLA has also provided a number of resources for members, which can be found here.

“It has been so impressive to see hotel after hotel join this important initiative as a way of giving back to the communities in which they operate,” Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO said. “As an industry of people taking care of people, the hotel industry is uniquely positioned to support our communities by caring for the first responders who are on the frontlines of this public health crisis. Hotels have always been an active member of our local communities, and this time is no different. We are proud to work to facilitate partnerships with federal, state and local governments to support the health community during this critical time.”

Local, state and federal government officials will be able to search willing properties based on geographic location. (Click here for a state by state breakdown of the number of hotels signed up).

Already, examples of hotels partnering with local and state officials offering housing to doctors, nurses, homeless families and quarantined individual are being reported across the country including in:

Chicago

California

New York

Dallas

Portland

New Orleans

“The number of hotels wanting to be part of the program is growing by the hour,” Michael Jacobson, CEO and president of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association said. “Our hotels are answering the call to action, and they want to be helpful to the city and the state.”

“‘Hospitality for Hope’ is just one of the many ways that our hotels are helping those in need in our communities during this time of crisis,” said Kim Sabow, President and CEO of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. “We look forward to working with all interested parties, including local and state officials, and the federal government to find innovative solutions to make it through this critical time together.”   

Hotels interested in joining AHLA’s “Hospitality for Hope” initiative can volunteer HERE.  

Given the unprecedented public health and economic crisis, hotels and the industry as a whole are coming together to support the community and their furloughed employees. 

In expanding “Hospitality for Hope Initiative”, the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation, AHLA’s charitable giving arm, rolled out free resources last week to help industry employees continue their education during this difficult time including free hospitality management online courses, professional development scholarships for AHLA certifications and continuing education online programs. 

Learn more about additional training and education efforts through AHLA’s “Hospitality for Hope” by visiting: AHLA.com/ahlas-hospitality-hope-initiative

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is a national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry which contributes nearly $660 billion to U.S. GDP. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA focuses on strategic advocacy, communications support and workforce development programs to move the industry forward. The industry supports 8.3 million jobs,—more than 1 in every 25 American jobs. Learn more at www.ahla.com.

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