Lindblad Expeditions Introduces First Ever Voyages to Japan

Imperial Palace, Tokyo. Lindblad Expeditions will explore the fascinating region of Japan on two new adventurous itineraries in 2021, set aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion,inaugural voyages that mark Lindblad’s first foray into Japan and promise a wealth of exceptional experiences. (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK —  Lindblad Expeditions will explore the fascinating region of Japan on two new adventurous itineraries in 2021. Set aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion, these inaugural voyages mark Lindblad’s first foray into Japan and promise a wealth of exceptional experiences. 

This iconic island nation holds fast to age-old traditions while embracing today’s cutting-edge technologies. As they sail through 400+ years of history—from the influential Edo period and the Meiji era to WWII and beyond—guests will forge a deeper understanding of how these two worlds thrive in harmony. Roam shores brimming with temples, teahouses, and ancient traditions; discover a seldom-seen wild side on sub-tropical islands where azure waters meet verdant forests; plus, get a taste of Taiwan and Korea too.  Only 400 of Japan’s nearly 7,000 islands are inhabited, and Lindblad will take guests beyond the populous borders of Honshu into wilder realms.

With the state-of-the-art National Geographic Orion as base, plus the company of cultural specialists, historians, and a top expedition team, these two extraordinary adventures offer an incomparable way to discover a truly inspiring place.

Highlights of the two new voyages include:

Coastal Japan: Imperial Dynasties and Modern CultureStep back in time on a voyage into Japan’s riveting history, from the historic castle towns of the Edo period to the elegant shrines and merchant districts of the Meiji era, to the poignant sites of World War II. Trace the shores of Honshu and the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, venture into the homes of samurai and feudal lords and discover exquisite centuries-old gardens of Kenroku-en, Koraku-en, and Sengan-en. Get inspired on the art-filled island of Naoshima, and visit museums and studios dedicated to artists and traditional handicrafts in Matsue and on Shikoku. Take a detour to South Korea to spend a day exploring the rich cultural legacy of Korea’s Silla Dynasty among the incredible ancient ruins of ancient city of Gyeongju. 14 nights/16 days, departs September 15, 2021.  Rates begin at $20,800 per person based on double occupancy in a category one cabin.

Sailing the East China Sea: Japan, Okinawa, And Taiwan:  Island-hop your way from Japan to Taiwan, experiencing a wide array of natural wonders, historic sites, and cultural treasures along the way. Experience some of Japan’s most cherished sites, from Himeji Castle and the historic merchant towns of Ozu and Uchiko to the “floating” torii gate at Miyajima. Explore Naoshima, an island transformed by art and cutting-edge architecture, and visit the culinary hub of Shodoshima. Snorkel the coral reefs of Kerama Island and venture into the mangrove forests of the Yaeyama Islands by Zodiac or kayak. Hike among ancient cedar trees in Yakushima’s rainforest and marvel at the incredible hoodoo spires in Taiwan’s Yehliu Geopark. 13 nights/15 days, departs September 28, 2021.  Rates begin at $19,320 per person based on double occupancy in a category one cabin.

For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions’ voyages, visit www.expeditions.com, call 800-EXPEDITION (800-397-3348) or contact your travel advisor.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Etihad Makes History With First Commercial Passenger Flight from GCC Nation to Israel

Etihad also launches dedicated Hebrew website – a first for an Arab airline

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, will become the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel, to bring Israel’s top travel and tourism leaders to the UAE.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, will become the first GCC carrier to operate a commercial passenger flight to and from Israel, to bring Israel’s top travel and tourism leaders to the UAE.

The historic flight, flown in partnership with the Maman Group, will depart Tel Aviv on 19 October, operated by an Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the three-and-a-half-hour journey from Israel to the UAE. The return journey will depart Abu Dhabi on 21 October.

As a travel trade mission, the flight will bring a group of tourism industry leaders, key corporate decision makers, travel agents, and cargo agents, along with media to experience Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, at the invitation of Etihad Airways and representatives of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry.

This is the latest development in a growing cooperation between the two nations following the establishment of diplomatic ties, and the signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel in Washington D.C. on 15 September. It also follows Israeli national airline El Al’s first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on 31 August.

“Today’s flight is a historic opportunity for the development of strong partnerships here in the UAE, and in Israel, and Etihad as the national airline, is delighted to be leading the way,” His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman, Etihad Aviation Group, said. “We are just starting to explore the long-term potential of these newly forged relationships, which will be sure to greatly benefit the economies of both nations, particularly in the areas of trade and tourism, and ultimately the people who call this diverse and wonderful region home.”

As an important facilitator of trade, the flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi will also carry commercial cargo sourced from, and destined for, points across Etihad’s global network, in addition to commercial guests.

Coinciding with the first commercial flight and in celebration of the recent peace accords between the UAE and Israel, Etihad has become the first non-Israeli airline in the Middle East to launch a dedicated website for the Israeli market in Hebrew. Also available in English, the Israeli version of the airline’s official website contains digital content including extensive information on Etihad’s operations, product, services, and network. The site also includes an Abu Dhabi destination guide. The site can be viewed in Hebrew at www.etihad.com/he-il and in English at www.etihad.com/en-il.

As the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines, acclaimed for its unparalleled service, industry leading cabins, and genuine Arabian hospitality.

See also: Global Scavenger Hunt, Leg 5: Discovering Abu Dhabi

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Marriott Partners with Quintessentially on Collection of Exclusive Luxury Road Trips

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is featured on a Quintessentially’s “The Classic” curated luxury road trip of California’s coast.

Marriott International, through its portfolio of luxury brands including The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, The Luxury Collection, EDITION and W Hotels, has unveiled a collection of “one-of-a-kind” adventures curated in partnership with Quintessentially, a leading luxury concierge company. Available to book now, global travelers have access to distinct itineraries and immersive experiences available across Marriott International’s portfolio of luxury brand properties in the United States and Europe.

“During this time we know that many of our guests are choosing to travel in different ways. They might be staying closer to home, or seeking the personal space that driving between destinations affords,” said Tina Edmundson, Global Brand and Marketing Officer and Luxury Portfolio Leader, Marriott International. “With this series of exclusive road trips, and with the expertise of Quintessentially, we are thrilled to be able to offer our guests access to unparalleled, luxury focused experiences that meet the moment.”

“Whether you are traveling to Lake Tahoe, Bal Harbour or Venice, the bespoke itineraries promise an unforgettable escape marked by luxurious accommodations, flawless service, captivating landscapes and scenery, exceptional culinary offerings and outdoor adventures.”

Curated by Quintessentially, and available starting at $15,000 for two guests, each trip will include a selection of diversified, high-end experiences that are distinctive for the destination. Guests can enjoy a champagne toast in a private seaplane overlooking the San Francisco sunset, mountain biking with a local professional biker in Santa Barbara, surfing lessons with a world surfing competitor in Half Moon Bay, a private tour of the exclusive Palazzo Corsini or Sistine Chapel in Rome. Travelers also have the option to drive in style with access to vintage cars, such as a 1960s Ford Mustang Convertible.

Quintessentially is a leading luxury lifestyle group dedicated to connecting individuals and communities through life-affirming experiences by providing access and specialist lifestyle services and fostering global brand relationships.

“At Quintessentially, we are the authority on creating one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experiences. With this collection of road trips, we are excited to bring these different destinations to life in a unique way and can further tailor the packages to guests’ personal preferences,” said Annastasia Seebohm, CEO, Quintessentially. “Marriott International’s unparalleled luxury portfolio allows for a seamless experience as guests move between properties and explore at their own pace.”

The offer will run through the end of October. Itineraries include:

BEST OF THE SUNSHINE STATE: The Miami Beach EDITION, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, and The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

Journey deep into the Everglades aboard an airboat

Private seaplane experience from Miami to Key West

Tour of 3 fine art galleries in downtown Naples with local art expert

Sunset sail around Naples

Take a luxury yacht to explore the coast of Sarasota

Sunset electric bike tour of historical downtown Sarasota

THE CLASSIC: The St. Regis San Francisco, The Ritz-Carlton, Santa Barbara, and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Private sunset sailboat cruise around the Golden Gate Bridge

Champagne toast in private seaplane overlooking the San Francisco Bay

Mountain biking in Santa Barbara with local pro biker

Private kayaking in the Channel Islands

Surf the Laguna Niguel coast with a world competitor surfer

Explore the art community of Laguna Niguel and make your own masterpiece

THE ROCKIES: The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, and W Aspen

Drive a supercar down the canyons of Denver

Private hike through the Boulder Flatirons

Fly fishing in Vail Valley’s Eagle River

Hike the backcountry of Vail Valley with a llama

Mountaintop yoga in Aspen

Supper beneath the stars on Snowmass Mountain

COUNTRY TO COASTAL CALIFORNIA: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, and The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Dusk kayaking in Lake Tahoe with a private guide

Private boat trip and lunch on Lake Tahoe

Private city tour in San Francisco in your own cable car with a local guide

Champagne toast in a private seaplane overlooking San Francisco at sunset

Surfing lesson with a world competitor surfer in Half Moon Bay

Horseback riding and private photo-shoot session on the beach at Half Moon Bay

RANCHO MIRAGE TO THE SONORAN DESERT: The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale and The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Horseback riding along the historic Agua Caliente Indian Reservation

Mountain biking in Palm Springs

Behind the scenes of Scottsdale’s art and culinary scene

Experience a classic cattle drive in Scottsdale

Explore the Colossal Cave Park with a geologist

Graffiti tour and lesson with a local mural artist in Tucson

DEEP SOUTH TO MUSIC CITY: Perry Lane Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Savannah, The Ballantyne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte, and The Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Nashville

Kayak tour through Savannah’s Ebenezer Creek

Tea tasting trip to Charleston

Picnic at Charlotte’s Duke’s Mansion

Learn the slow methods barbecuing meat from a pitmaster

Build your own guitar in Nashville

Learn the story of Jack Daniels and his world famous whiskey

THE DOLOMITES TO LAKE GENEVA: Cristallo, Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cortina d’Ampezzo; Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Salzburg; and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva

Enjoy a private yoga lesson in the mountains

Hike the mountains with a private guide

Bike tour of Salzburg

Walking tour of Mozart’s Salzburg

Private boat ride on Lake Geneva

Visit to the Patek Philippe Museum with a private guide

CLASSIC ITALY: The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice; The St Regis Florence; and The St Regis Rome

Guided walking tour of classic Venice

Private boat trip on the Venice lagoon and visit to Murano glassblowing factories

Afterhours tour of Florence by river cruise

Tour of the exclusive Palazzo Corsini followed by a visit to the Villa Torrigiani, Europe’s largest private garden

Early morning, private visit to the Sistine Chapel

Guided baroque passeggiata in Rome

GASTRONOMY OF THE BASQUE REGION: Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel San Sebastian; and Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Elciego

Exclusive meal in one of San Sebastian’s members-only cooking clubs

Learn to cook traditional Basque dishes under the guidance of a private chef

Explore the Rioja wine region via bicycle

Tour Europe’s finest Rolls-Royce collection, housed in a medieval tower

For more information visit: https://quintessentially.com/marriott-experiences

Marriott International, Inc.,  based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,400 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 135 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, visit www.marriott.com, or connect on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Marriott Bonvoy Launches Marketing Partnership with National Park Foundation

Grand Canyon National Park, hiking the South Kaibab Trail. Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, has just formed a marketing partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The introduction of a dedicated travel planning website makes it simple for members to take advantage of discounted rates for stays at Marriott’s 406 properties located near national parks, as well as the option to redeem points for America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes and to donate points to the NPF. The website will also provide travel tips and inspiration from Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, offering trip planning guides from local experts. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

During these extraordinary times, more and more Americans are seeking to escape their homes and spend time in the great outdoors. Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, has just formed a marketing partnership with the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The introduction of a dedicated travel planning website makes it simple for members to take advantage of discounted rates for stays at Marriott’s 406 properties located near national parks, as well as the option to redeem points for America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes and to donate points to the NPF. The website will also provide travel tips and inspiration from Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, offering trip planning guides from local experts.

Drive-to vacations and getaways serve as a popular option for Americans looking to embark on local adventures. According to the National Park Foundation, most Americans live within 100 miles of a national park. With 419 national park sites in the United States–and at least one national park in every state–Marriott Bonvoy members can plan a national park road trip earning points for stays at Marriott properties throughout their journey toward free nights for future trips and qualifying nights toward elite status.

“In 1916, legislation creating the National Park Service was enacted. The noble vision behind the act has provided generations of Americans and visitors abroad the gift of experiencing our country’s greatest treasures,” said Brian King, Global Officer, Digital, Distribution, Revenue Strategy & Global Sales, Marriott International. “We are thrilled to offer Marriott Bonvoy members a convenient way to plan road trips and explore historical sites and national wonders with their friends and families with this one-of-a-kind travel partnership. The opportunity to experience breathtaking scenery in pristine wilderness settings while giving back to the National Park Foundation is invaluable and will help preserve parks for future adventure seekers.”

Examples of Marriott properties near national parks include Springhill Suites Springdale Zion National Park in Utah and Courtyard Gatlinburg Downtown and Fairfield Inn & Suites Gatlinburg Downtown near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Members can easily plan their national park getaways by visiting the website. From there, they can access travel-related articles from Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, book their desired property and receive the best member rates which start as low as $99 per night, redeem points for annual park passes and donate up to $500 worth of points to the National Park Foundation. Donations will help NPF in its mission to protect and enhance America’s national parks for current and future generations.

“National parks have something for everyone, and we can all play a role in helping to preserve them,” said Stefanie Mathew, Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation is thankful to Marriott Bonvoy for not only offering members a nearby place to rest their head after a day full of park adventures, but also the support to help ensure these treasured natural and cultural sites are protected now and into the future.”

America’s national parks offer endless opportunities for enjoyment for everyone from first time visitors to experienced park enthusiasts. For the best experience possible, travelers should #RecreateResponsibly and plan ahead by visiting the National Park Service website.

For travelers who are not members of Marriott Bonvoy but want to take advantage of the discounted member rates, Marriott Bonvoy is free and easy to join here.

Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, comprises the company’s portfolio of 30 hotel brands and home rental offering Homes & Villas by Marriott International. Members can earn and redeem points for stays and accelerate the points they earn with co-branded credit cards from JP Morgan Chase and American Express. The program offers exclusive member experiences and destination tours and adventures on Marriott Bonvoy Moments. When members book direct on Marriott.com they receive perks including free and enhanced Wi-Fi and exclusive member-only rates, and on the Marriott app they enjoy mobile check-in and checkout, Mobile Requests and, wherever available, Mobile Key.

Members earn points when staying at any of the more than 7,400 participating hotels globally. They can redeem points toward free nights at Marriott International brands ranging from The Ritz-Carlton, The St. Regis, W Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Westin to Aloft, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard and Residence Inn. In addition, members residing in the U.S. can accelerate the number of points they can earn and enjoy other benefits with co-branded credit cards from JPMorgan Chase and American Express. Members also achieve higher levels of elite status and benefits the more nights they stay at participating hotels. To learn more and enroll in Marriott Bonvoy, visit https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/member-benefits/member.mi.

To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit MarriottBonvoy.com. To download the Marriott app, go here. Travelers can also connect with Marriott Bonvoy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community.

To learn more about the National Park Foundation and Marriott Bonvoy marketing partnership visit https://hotel-deals.marriott.com/national-parks/.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Utah’s Moab Adventure Center Extends Healing Adventures in Red Rock Country Through Year’s End

Moab Adventure Center is continuing to offer its adventures into such extraordinary places as Arches National Park through the end of the year.

MOAB, UT – The hiss of deflating rafts will soon mingle with sighs of relief this fall in Moab, Utah, America’s red rock playground.
 
Why sighs of relief?

Because this recreational community that is vested in sharing outdoor recreation with people from around the world is so far emerging from pandemic 2020 intact and highly functioning.
 
“We (the community) were closed as of March 17 and into the start of our busiest time of year. But we’re bouncing back, slowly at the beginning, but now visitation has started to pick up,” reports Elaine Gizler, Moab Area Travel Council Executive Director. “We had a decent summer.” In early fall the Council began a marketing campaign to woo potential drive-market visitors from a 600-mile radius in Colorado and Utah. 
 
Brandon, Lake, CMO of the Moab Adventure Center, notes that their experience earlier this year mirrors that of the greater Moab community. Activities were shuttered for most of the spring and only resumed once safety protocols were in place in May. But despite a foreshortened season, this company reports a robust outcome. After re-opening its doors early summer, Moab Adventure Center has served over 20,000 avid adventurers on day trips and overnights.
 
“We feel so fortunate that our proactive plans, combined with the community efforts throughout Moab have allowed so many people to come and experience the breathtaking backcountry of south central Utah,” mentions Lake. “This summer has been extraordinary. I have never seen people so excited so share outdoor adventures. I believe it has been a healing process for many.”
 
Going forward into the fall, Moab Adventure Center’s staff is poised to offer small group, guided explorations of Arches National Park and surrounding areas through 2020 and beyond. Effective COVID protocols that have been in place since the spring will continue into the future as needed. While many will squeeze in one more float on the Colorado River before rafting trips wrap up at the end of October, the following adventures continue on through November and some even into December (weather pending).
 
Arches National Park offers the benefits of comfortable temperatures and often fewer crowds in the later months of fall. Tours run year-round. Other popular autumn tours that can be mixed and matched through November include: 

  • Ultimate Zip Line Adventure is a 2.5-hour outing departing mornings and afternoons. Guests glide over the sandstone fins and gaps above Moab with a series of zip line cables and bridges. The per person rate is $134.
  • Horseback Afternoon Trail Ride spans 1.5 hours packed with the sights and sounds of the West and surrounded by 2,000-foot towering red rock cliffs enroute to Castle Rock. The per person rate is $100.
  • Moab Canyoneering Adventure offers morning and afternoon departures spanning five hours for a canyoneering introduction, with two rappels: 90 feet into a hidden chasm, and 120 feet off a giant rock arch, all the while following a winding canyon stream out to the Colorado River. The per person rate is $107.
  • Moab Rock Climbing also has morning and afternoon departures for a five-hour program that’s perfect for beginning climbers, kids, or gym climbers. The per person rate is $107. 

Tried-and-true practices that were instituted for guests and staff when COVID 19 first hit will continue throughout the fall and beyond as needed. These measures include smaller groups, taking temperatures, conducting a questionnaire about health symptoms, requiring that guests and staff wear masks while in an enclosed vehicle and requesting that everyone social distance, among others. See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/covid-19
 
For information and reservations call 435-259-7019 or 866-904-1163 or visit: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/.
 
Moab Adventure Center is at the epicenter of nature-themed adventure, promising activities that include rafting, jet boating, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, mountain biking and hot air ballooning. Hummer safaris, rock climbing, canyoneering and horseback riding are popular. Many of these activities are conducted with guides, an arrangement that helps preclude the kind of damage to the land that can happen when uneducated visitors venture into areas where they shouldn’t be. Guides help people understand where they can move through back country with the least impact possible.
 
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. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Austin Adventures Adds Collection of Top Guest Ranches for 2021

In partnership with Best Ranches in the West, Austin Adventures has added 14 first- class guest ranches to its offerings for 2021.

BILLINGS, MT – Challenging times call for creative solutions. Looking to expand its award-winning portfolio of naturally self-distancing, nature-based, small group vacations for adults and families, Austin Adventures only needed to look to its own backyard for the perfect solution – the Western guest ranch vacation.
 
In partnership with Best Ranches in the West, Austin Adventures has added 14 first- class guest ranches to its offerings. Founder and President Dan Austin and his Montana-based team drew from their personal knowledge and regional experience having hosted and operated adventures throughout the West for the past 40 years. With careful vetting and personal experience, they have bestowed their highest mark of approval on each property in this exclusive group of all-inclusive guest ranches situated in some of the most spectacular settings in the West.
 
In 2020, many North American guest ranches saw a surge of bookings from families needing to come up with safe alternatives to their cancelled cruise and international vacation plans. Austin recognized this trend early and in January began the steps to include ranch vacations in its 2021 line-up. It was, “a long overdue addition” in Austin’s words.
 
Knowing safety will be top priority to today’s traveler, Austin emphasizes the natural and healthy style of this type of vacation alternative that also embraces carefully planned and recently enacted COVID-19 mitigation protocols:

  • All are in wilderness-adjacent locations that are isolated and remote
  • Chef-prepared, fresh and locally sourced foods and wines of the region
  • Opportunities to indulge in a variety of outdoor recreational activities
  • The natural social-distancing that horseback riding provides
  • Adhering to the highest standards of housekeeping, service and maintenance
  • A rare feeling of exclusivity with VIP pampering, service and experiences
  • The ability to combine a ranch stay with a road-trip to avoid flying 

Austin Adventures’ Guest Ranch Collection for 2021 will include these highly coveted ranch properties across the West: 

  1. Tanque Verde Ranch – Tucson, AZ
  2. White Stallion Ranch – Tucson, AZ
  3. Tombstone Monument Ranch – Tombstone, AZ 
  4. Rancho de la Osa – Sasabe, AZ
  5. Kay El Bar Ranch – Wickenburg, AZ
  6. Latigo Guest Ranch – Kremmling, CO
  7. Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch – Loveland CO
  8. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, ID
  9. Running Y Ranch Resort – Klamath Falls, OR
  10. Zion Mountain Ranch – Zion National Park, UT
  11. Spring Creek Ranch – Jackson, WY
  12. Brush Creek Luxury Ranch Collection – Saratoga, WY
  13. The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch – Shell, WY
  14. Paradise Guest Ranch – Buffalo, WY 

“We look forward in the months ahead to welcoming to our portfolio other outstanding properties that meet our criteria,” Austin adds. The Guest Ranch Collection is expected to grow with the addition of one or two new offerings a year.
 
Guest ranch vacation packages will be available for booking through the adventure specialists at Austin Adventures. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/guest-ranch-collection/. To research and reserve any of Austin Adventures offerings, call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of Austin Adventures’ 2021 trips, covering seven continents, visit http://www.austinadventures.com
 
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. With cruises and accommodations on seven continents, they have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee. Austin Adventures is a Virtuoso Preferred Tour Operator.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Ikon Pass Collaborates with American Forests to Plant 22,500 Trees

Copper Mountain, Colorado one of the iconic mountain destinations in the Ikon Pass network. Ikon Pass, from the Alterra Mountain Company, is joining forces with American Forests for Shred for Sustainability, a program that invites Ikon Pass holders to help create healthy and resilient forests throughout North America. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

DENVER, CO– Ikon Pass is joining forces with American Forests for Shred for Sustainability, a program that invites Ikon Pass holders to help create healthy and resilient forests throughout North America.

Ikon Pass holders are encouraged to rack up their skier days at Ikon Pass destinations throughout winter 20/21 and watch their stats climb on the Ikon Pass app Leaderboard. In April 2021, the top 10 Ikon Pass holders with the most ski days from the All Season Leaderboards from each North American resort will have the chance to have 50 trees each donated in their name, totaling 22,500 trees planted throughout six forest projects. Potential Shred for Sustainability volunteer planting events will be announced in spring 2021.

“Ikon Pass is proud to collaborate with an organization such as American Forests that shares our commitment to sustainability,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer, Alterra Mountain Company. “We revel in the opportunity to engage the Ikon Pass community in a way that gives back to the mountains we all love.”

“We are thrilled to have the support of Ikon Pass and its pass holders who recognize that taking care of our forests is essential to a healthy environment and high-quality recreation experiences,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “This commitment of support will help us reforest mountain landscapes beloved by skiers, snowboarders, and other recreationists, from Canada to California, using climate-informed tree planting techniques that will enable these forests to thrive for years to come.”

To participate, Ikon Pass holders must download the Ikon Pass app, create an account and turn on tracking each day on the mountain. The Ieaderboard tracks lifts, trails, distance, hours, vertical feet, max speed, altitude, and difficulty of trails skied themselves and against the entire Ikon Pass community. For official rules, visit www.ikonpass.com/shred-for-sustainability.

The Ikon Pass unlocks adventure with access to 44 iconic winter destinations across the Americas, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and is a collaboration of industry leaders – Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, RED Mountain, Taos Ski Valley, Windham Mountain, Zermatt, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Niseko United, Valle Nevado, and NZ Ski. Each demonstrates integrity, character and independence that is reflected in their mountains and guests.

The Ikon Pass is available now at www.ikonpass.com.

The Ikon Pass, from Alterra Mountain Company, gives skiers and riders access to mountain destinations across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. These include Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Big Sky Resort in Montana; Stratton, Sugarbush Resort, and Killington in Vermont; Windham Mountain in New York; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan; Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Mt. Bachelor in Oregon; Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada; SkiBig3 in Alberta, Canada; Revelstoke Mountain Resort, RED Mountain, and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Canada; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico; Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Alta Ski Area, and Snowbird in Utah; Zermatt in Switzerland; Thredbo and Mt Buller in Australia; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt in New Zealand; Niseko United in Japan, and Valle Nevado in Chile. Special offers are available at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, the world’s largest heli-skiing and heli-accessed hiking operation. For more information, visitwww.ikonpass.com.

American Forests has worked longer than any other national nonprofit conservation organization in the United States to conserve and restore the country’s forests. Since its founding in 1875, it has been a pathfinder for the forest conservation movement. In the early 1900s, for example, the organization rallied forest advocates to champion creation of the U.S. Forest Service. In 2018, it won a decade-long campaign persuading Congress to provide stable funding for preventing and fighting forest fires. Now it is focused on building a reforestation movement in America, from cities to large, rural landscapes. “We create healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water and wildlife. We advance our mission through forestry innovation, place-based partnerships to plant and restore forests, and movement building.”

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Gold Coast Film Festival Goes On With Virtual & Drive-In Films, Q&As With Filmmakers, Free Opening Night Virtual Gala

Actor Bruce Dern, in 2011, was honored as the first recipient of the Gold Coast International Film Festival’s Legend award. This year’s film festival features Dern starring with Lena Olin in The Artist’s Wife and features a Q&A with Director Tom Dolby © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

LONG ISLAND, NY – The 10th Annual Gold Coast International Film Festival, taking place on October 13-20, 2020, will host virtual screenings through a digital platform to engage with audiences within the community and beyond. This year’s lineup showcases more than 70 feature-length and short films with filmmaker Q&As, presented virtually and through a series of exciting drive-in events. The best way to experience the festival is to purchase an All-Access pass which lets you choose all the virtual films for one great price. Individual tickets are also available for both the virtual films and Drive-In events.

The hallmark of the Gold Coast International Film Festival, extraordinary opportunities to exchange questions and answers with the filmmakers, will still be a feature this year, even under the extraordinary conditions: exclusive pre-recorded filmmaker Q&As will be available for a select group of virtual films as part of the ticket purchase. The formidable lineup includes:

THE ARTIST’S WIFE – Once a promising painter herself, Claire (Lena Olin) gave up on her own career to stand by the side of her famed abstract artist husband Richard (Bruce Dern, GCIFF 2011 Legend Award Recipient) for over 20 years. When Richard is unexpectedly diagnosed with dementia, Claire takes up painting once again, and must decide whether to stay in the shadows or step into the spotlight. Q&A with Director Tom Dolby.

BEYOND MOVING – A captivating documentary about Siphe November, an exceptionally gifted ballet dancer from South Africa, that follows his journey, from being discovered, to his intensive training at Canada’s National Ballet School, to eventually stepping into the world of professional ballet. A magical ‘Billy Elliot’-like true story. Q&A with Director Vikram Dasgupta & Siphe November.

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN: MATISSE – Celebrate the giant of modern art in this intimate, behind-the-scenes documentary about one of the most successful exhibitions in the history of the Tate Modern. Also includes breathtaking, specially commissioned performances by Royal Ballet principal dancer Zenaida Yanowsky and jazz musician Courtney Pine. Acclaimed British actor Simon Russell Beale brings insight and emotion to the words of Henri Matisse himself, while actor Rupert Young narrates. Q&A with Director Phil Grabsky

THE DONUT KING – The unlikely fairy tale story of a Cambodian refugee arriving in America in 1975 and building a multi-million-dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. Winner of the SXSW Special Jury Award for Best Documentary. Q&A with Director Alice Gu.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY – FREE virtual event in honor of all essential workers!

All of our country’s biggest public health challenges—from COVID-19 to the opioid crisis to gun violence to behavioral health and lack of insurance—collide in emergency departments. This gripping documentary follows emergency nurses and their patients in seven unique settings across the U.S., shedding light on some of the biggest health care crises facing Americans today.

Q&A with Director Carolyn Jones, Glen Cove Hospital Executive Director, Kerri Anne Scanlon and Glen Cove Hospital Registered Nurse, Diane Paez.

THUNDER SOUL – A 10th anniversary screening of this remarkable, life affirming film, about a world-class powerhouse high school funk band, full to the brim with pure funk. Presented by Jamie Foxx. Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary.

Q&A with Director Mark Landsman

GCIFF will kick off the Festival with a free virtual fundraising gala celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Gold Coast Arts on October 13, at 7:30pm. The gala will highlight some of the most unforgettable moments featuring past honorees and award recipients as well as special performances by Broadway star Melissa Errico and award-winning violinist Colin Jacobson, just to name a few of the many surprises in store. It is free to see.

To RSVP for the 25th Anniversary Gala and for ways to help sponsor or support this important event, visit www.goldcoastarts.org/gala25.

For more information on ticket sales, film selection, and drive-in screenings, visit www.goldcoastfilmfestival.org

Gold Coast Arts is a 501(c)(3) multi-arts organization dedicated to promoting the arts through education, exhibition, performance, and outreach. For a quarter-century, it has brought the arts to tens of thousands of people throughout the Long Island region. Among the Center’s offerings are its School for the Arts, which holds year-round classes in visual and performing arts for students of all ages and abilities; a free public art gallery; a concert and lecture series; film screenings and discussions; the annual Gold Coast International Film Festival; and initiatives that focus on senior citizens and underserved communities. These initiatives include artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher-training workshops, and parent-child workshops. The Gold Coast Arts Center’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Gold Coast Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts “Partners in Education” program and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.goldcoastarts.org.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Black Monarch Hotel, One of Most Haunted Hotels, Opens Bela Lugosi-Dracula Themed Room

The Black Monarch Hotel in the historic mining town of Victor, Colorado, are thrilled to reveal its newest room: Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, a hotel room themed around the icon and cult phenomenon. (photo by Cait Falc)

After “one of the U.S.’s most haunted hotels” (The Metro UK) garnered international acclaim for its Victorian gothic aesthetic and serial-killer themed rooms, the owners of the Black Monarch Hotel in the historic mining town of Victor, Colorado, are thrilled to reveal its newest room: Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, a hotel room themed around the icon and cult phenomenon whose unique characterization of Count Dracula forever transformed pop culture’s portrayal of vampires. 

“We are very proud to be working directly with the Lugosi Estate and are excited to highlight Bela Lugosi’s legacy at the Black Monarch,” said owner and designer Adam Zimmerli.

Born in Hungary, Lugosi’s early version of Dracula, which he created on the Broadway stage in 1927, perfected the dark shadowy figure walking among us that now perpetuates vampire lore. The new Black Monarch room will feature a floor to ceiling 15-foot photorealistic mural of Bela Lugosi, as well as licensed Bela Lugosi as Dracula merchandise as decoration, prints of photos from the family archive, and a first-edition copy of the only family-authorized biography of Bela Lugosi as provided by Lynne Lugosi Sparks, Bela Lugosi’s granddaughter and CEO of LUGOSI LLC. The partnership between the Black Monarch and the Lugosi Estate also include plans for a collaborative merch line, and a screening of the 1931 film Dracula hosted by Lugosi Sparks at the Black Monarch in 2021.

Further cementing Bela Lugosi’s place in film history, in 1963, his son, Bela G. Lugosi, brought the landmark case against Universal Studios (Lugosi v Universal) for the unauthorized use of his father’s name and likeness on merchandise. This case paved the way for the California Celebrity Rights Act enacted in 1985, making the right to exploit the name and likeness of a celebrity a property right which survives his or her death. Bela G. Lugosi and the Lugosi Estate continue to protect the commercial use of Bela Lugosi’s name and likeness. 

“It is an honor to include the Bela Lugosi Dracula room at the Black Monarch under the official license of LUGOSI LLC,” Zimmerli says.

The Bela Lugosi room is part of an extensive list of renovations at the Black Monarch that include detailed painting of the elaborate exterior in a gothic motif, a 30′ x 50′ exterior mural of Nicola Tesla by nationally-recognized mural artist Chad Bolsinger, an atrium room, a restored antique claw foot bathtub, and more themed rooms. To support this one-of-a-kind project, visit the recently-launched Indiegogo campaign

The Black Monarch Hotel gained notoriety the moment it opened in May 2019 for its phenomenally dark story: this former brothel, casino and saloon from the Gold Rush era, allegedly haunted, was renovated to reflect its dark history. The building’s gorgeous character from 1899 was preserved while also painted black and gold to reflect an immersive stay in a decadent opium den. The rooms are themed after serial killers like H.H. Holmes and Elizabeth Bathory, and are brimming with taxidermy, naughty Victorian pop-up books, tomes on Satanism and other oddities and curiosities. The Black Monarch has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail, the Metro, the Guardian, Refinery29, Inked and more. The hotel recently hosted the Haunted Writer’s Retreat in February of 2020; writers attended horror writing workshops led by Josiah Hesse and Erin K. Barnes, experienced walks to the local cemetery, learned about the wild mining town history, and immersed themselves in literary isolation a la The Shining, all in the dead of winter.

In the late 1800s during the town of Victor’s heyday, what was then called the Monarch Hotel served miners and international travelers as the Gold Rush fueled their indiscretions. It played host to uproarious parties, accumulating a Wild West lore unrivaled in pulp novels.

The Monarch fell to tragedy in 1899 after a great fire, and the hotel was rebuilt. After its transformation, however, something was amiss. Those working the hotel bar reported strange sights that they could not explain: a woman’s silhouette in the window when no one was there, gazing upon Victor’s main street. The sounds of women laughing and men yelling in the middle of the night. Perhaps it was the ghost of the miner whose life was cut short. Perhaps it was the spirits of weary madams or ladies of the night who witnessed the vivid spectrum of humanity within its walls. Perhaps it was just the settling of a beautiful old Victorian building. Guests will ultimately judge for themselves.

With luxe bedding, a full kitchen, a shared bathroom and modern amenities, The Black Monarch Hotel is a delightful blend of unique and comfortable–with a twist. “There’s something for everyone at the Black Monarch, whether you’re looking for a quiet mountain getaway or an unconventional leap into another world.”

The Black Monarch Hotel, 301 Victor Ave,, Victor, CO 80860, blackmonarchhotel.com.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Tracks & Trails Booking 2021 RV Vacations to National Parks in Western U.S., Canada Thru Dec. 15, 2020

Roadbear RV Camper on Route US 89 Kaibab National Forest near Jacob Lake, Arizona. RV vacations are the hottest thing in travel today. Tracks & Trails is taking new bookings for 2021 packaged RV vacations to national parks in the Western US and Canada through Dec. 15, 2020.

GRAND JUNCTION, CO– It is no mystery why RV vacations are the hottest thing going in travel today. They offer the freedom and flexibility of touring the country in a fully equipped and self-contained unit that has everything needed for a perfect vacation. It’s a personal cabin on wheels that allows exploring scenic places where hotels often don’t exist.
 
This is the allure of RV travel, which is especially appealing during a pandemic, reports Dan Wulfman, Founder and President of Tracks & Trails, whose specialty is packaged RV vacations to national parks in the Western U.S. and Canada.
 
RV travel allows friends and families to be autonomous and as private as they please while enjoying the freedom of America’s open roads. Time for lunch? Just pull off at the next scenic turnout and open the fridge. Potty stop? Easy. End the day in the natural beauty of a rustic national park campsite.
 
Wulfman notes that the pandemic is turning millions of non-campers into aspiring RVers, and the trend is exploding. The RV Industry Association found that 20% of US residents surveyed are more interested in RV travel than in flying, tent camping, cruises, or rental stays amid coronavirus concerns.
 
“But getting in an RV and setting off without a plan can be daunting for a first-timer,” says Wulfman. The insider knowledge of experts can make or break the experience, and choosing your dates 6 to 12 months in advance is now essential. Due to the growing popularity of RV vacations, Tracks & Trails is already seeing shortages of campsites and RVs for 2021.
 
December 15, 2020 will be the cutoff date for new 2021 bookings.
 
For those savvy enough to lock in their dates for 2021 now with Tracks & Trails, the traveler’s work is done. The company’s team of expert planners handles all the arrangements that make it so challenging to organize a worry-free 7-14 day, multi-destination RV trip on your own. Travelers work with their T&T Trip Wizard to select one of the 20 carefully-crafted itineraries, decide on the right RV, and pick optional excursions that suit their tastes. The company takes care of the rest: reserving prime campsites, booking guided excursions with trusted outfitters, and preparing the comprehensive documentation which ensures things go smoothly on the road.
 
FEATURED 2021 ITINERARY:
 
Mighty 5: Utah & the Grand Canyon is a 13-night itinerary beginning and ending in Las Vegas that visits all 5 of Utah’s national parks – Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches – as well as the Grand Canyon. Each of these parks features fascinating geological formations and extensive hiking trails. Optional excursions include canyoneering, rafting, ATV riding, horseback riding, and Jeep tours. The base trip cost which includes up to 4 people ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 and is available from May 15 to October 15. See: https://tracks-trails.com/rv-trips/mighty-5-utah-and-the-grand-canyon/
 
Tracks & Trails created the concept of packaged national park RV vacations in 1996, providing personalized, self-drive RV trips to active couples and families from across the U.S. They help people spend quality time together outdoors while exploring North America’s most iconic National Parks and other natural wonders.
 
For information on availability, pricing, and itineraries for 2021 visit www.tracks-trails.com, email: inquiries@tracks-trails.com, or call 1-800-247-0970.

Follow Tracks & Trails on Social Media:
Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/TracksTrails/
Instagram:     https://www.instagram.com/trackstrails/
Twitter:          https://twitter.com/trackstrails

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures