All posts by MoralCompass

Karen Rubin, Editor & Publisher, is a veteran travel writer and publisher, who is devoted to the mission of travel: to engender understanding – of self and others – and break down the barriers and borders dividing people, while creating the economic underpinnings to sustain environment, heritage and culture and a base for uplifting, fulfilling jobs.

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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REI Co-op Expands Domestic Adventure Travel Program

Hiking in Death Valley. REI Co-op’s adventure travel program includes Death Valley National Park trips for hiking and cycling. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SEATTLE – REI Co-op is expanding its domestic multiday adventure travel trips, guided day tours, rentals and adventure center locations as part of a continued multi-year strategy designed to get 3 million people outside each year. Consumer interest in the outdoors and related activities has soared across the country in recent years, and many have turned to spending time in nature for physical and mental well-being during the pandemic. REI has grown its experiences offerings by more than 60 percent in the last 12 months to meet the demand.

“The co-op was founded in 1938 by a group of 23 friends who loved to explore nature and share their passion and expertise with others. REI strives to build on this tradition and community through the expertise of our retail staff as well as our award-winning guides across the country,” said Mark Seidl, REI Experiences divisional vice president. “As the nation’s leading outdoor experience operator, we are working to expand our offering to new locations that will empower all to experience urban and iconic destinations in new and unforgettable ways.”

This month, REI opens the doors of a new Bay Area Adventure Center in Richmond, California with bike, paddling and camping gear rentals. The facility will be a home base for a 50-person guide team that leads day tours and multiday trips in the region. REI also hosts kayaking classes and day tours from the adjacent Richmond Marina and broader programing throughout the Bay Area.

To further complement REI’s regional ecosystem of experience offerings in the Bay Area, REI will soon launch bike and e-bike rentals in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf for urban cycling opportunities along San Francisco’s famed waterfront and minutes from the Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge. According to the San Francisco Travel Association, more than 75 percent of the city’s visitors include Fisherman’s Wharf during a planned trip. The location will open in early August.

In addition to the Bay Area facility, the co-op operates an Arizona Adventure Center in Scottsdale that offers gear rentals and day tours while serving as the base for the co-op’s multiday guide teams in the Southwest. REI also has seasonal rentals and programming through two boathouses in Bellevue, Washington and a winter snowshoe rental pop-up at Snoqualmie Pass outside Seattle, Washington.

Adventure travel done right

REI Experiences offers 124 multiday adventure travel trips led by professional local guides. Fully hosted small groups explore the country’s natural places as guests hike, backpack, cycle, paddle, climb, snowshoe and more. So far this year, 22 new trips have been added to REI’s active travel assortment, of which more than half are hiking and backpacking itineraries. REI now operates a new private signature camp adjacent to Bryce National Park that is featured in five itineraries. Other new trips include:

The co-op will continue to add more trips to meet continued demand especially for weekend adventurers, travelers 35 years and younger, women and families.

Day programming in 14 major cities

In addition to multiday adventure trips, REI continues to offer day tours and educational programming in 14 cities through a wide range of expertise for anyone to learn or sharpen their outdoor skillsets for camping, cycling, paddling, climbing and more. The co-op’s most popular classes are Wilderness Survival Skills, Map & Compass, as well as the Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder training courses from a decade-long partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The co-op is also a leader in teaching youth and adults how to ride a bike.

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Evening with Julian Fellowes at The Breakers, July 26; Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, Sept 16-18

The Preservation Society of Newport County is hosting a special evening with Julian Fellowes, the acclaimed writer, director, producer, novelist and actor who created “The Gilded Age” and “Downtown Abbey, at The Breakers (photo by Nick Briggs)

NEWPORT, R.I. – The Preservation Society of Newport County is proud to host a special evening with Julian Fellowes on July 26 at The Breakers. Oscar and Emmy winner Fellowes is the brilliant writer, director, producer, novelist and actor who created “The Gilded Age” and “Downton Abbey.”

This event will feature dinner and conversation with Lord Fellowes in the opulent setting of the Great Hall of The Breakers. The evening will begin with cocktails, followed by a sit-down dinner. Lord Fellowes will converse with an interviewer for roughly 30 minutes and will take questions before dessert is served. To learn more or purchase tickets, visit www.NewportMansions.org.

Lord Fellowes has also been named the 2022 recipient of the Antiquarian Award – the highest honor presented by the Preservation Society of Newport County – in recognition of the collective impact of his work. This award will be presented during the Preservation Society’s Annual Meeting on June 9 in the Rosecliff ballroom. Lord Fellowes will not be in attendance but has recorded remarks to be aired during the ceremony.

He will be presented in-person with the Antiquarian Award at The Breakers during the event on July 26.

“Lord Fellowes has made a lasting impact, not only on the Preservation Society, but on the city of Newport and the state of Rhode Island with ‘The Gilded Age,’ his new series on HBO,” Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe said. “We are honored to have this wonderful historical drama filmed in a number of our house museums, contributing to the authenticity of a series that beautifully showcases Newport and its Gilded Age legacy while also delivering an immense economic boost to the region. And we look forward to hosting Lord Fellowes for this special evening on July 26!”

The Gilded Age was a period of immense economic change, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of fierce rivalry between old money and new. Nowhere is that rivalry more apparent than on East 61st Street, where Marian Brook and her thoroughly old money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn and Ada Brook, live opposite the stupendously rich George and Bertha Russell. The Russells are both fiercely ambitious, he financially, she socially, and they are determined to reach the highest echelons of New York. Meanwhile in Brooklyn, Marian’s friend and confidant Peggy Scott forges her own path in the world of the Black elite. In this glittering world on the brink of the modern age, will the established rules of society prevail, or will the game change entirely? Filming for Season 2 of “The Gilded Age” is currently underway at various locations in Newport, including several Preservation Society mansions.

“I am tremendously honored, even overwhelmed, to be given the Antiquarian Award,” Julian Fellowes said. “I knew about Newport. I’ve read about Newport. But I hadn’t been there, hadn’t experienced it, until we started to make the program. I find it an extraordinary place. I’ve already called it a village of palaces, but that is what it is, grand, even awe-inspiring, but at the same time, beguiling.”

Julian Fellowes has had an extensive and distinguished career in film, television, publishing and the dramatic arts. He received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002 for “Gosford Park,” his first produced film, and he is the creator, sole writer and executive producer of the worldwide hit series “Downton Abbey,” which received 69 Emmy Award nominations, winning 15, over its six seasons. He also received a Golden Globe Award and special BAFTA Award for “Downton Abbey.” The “Downton Abbey” movie written and produced by Fellowes was released in 2019. Most recently, the feature film “Downton Abbey: A New Era” written and produced by Fellowes was released in Spring 2022.

His other work includes “Separate Lies” for which he received the National Board of Review Directorial Debut Award, “From Time to Time” which he wrote and directed which won Best Picture at the Chicago Children’s Film Festival and Best Picture at the Fiuggi Family Festival in Rome, “The Young Victoria,” “Vanity Fair,” his Emmy Award-winning “Little Lord Fauntleroy,” and the BAFTA nominated “The Prince and The Pauper;” and three novels – “Belgravia,” “Snobs,” and “Past Imperfect” – that were Sunday Times Best Sellers. He is responsible for the ‘book’ of the Broadway musicals, Mary Poppins and School of Rock – The Musical for which he received a Tony nomination. In January 2011, he was given a peerage and entered the House of Lords as the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford.

2022 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

In other news, The Preservation Society of Newport County announced J.P. Morgan Wealth Management as the presenting sponsor for the 2022 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, to be held September 16-18.


Returning for its 17th year, the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is one of most anticipated events of the summer. This world-class festival showcases unique wines, spirits and culinary events over three days in the spectacular setting of Rosecliff.

This year’s festival will build on the boutique vibe from the last two years, and will curate 24 wine and spirits seminars with an array of vintners, wineries, wine and culinary experts hosted in the Rosecliff salon and dining room, and on the terrace. Wine experts and luminaries will treat festival attendees to one-hour tasting journeys representing regions from all over the world.

An exciting addition to the festival experience this year is the Micro-Tasting Tent.  All seminar attendees will have exclusive access to this tent to taste and learn from unique world-class wine, spirits, and culinary vendors.

Special events will include a Vintner Dinner in the ballroom at Rosecliff on Friday night, September 16, and the “Newport After Dark” party will also return at a venue to be announced.

New this year, James Beard Award Winning Celebrity Chef Michael Solomonov will host the Sunday Brunch. Solomonov is an Israeli chef and restaurateur, known for his Philadelphia restaurant Zahav. He won the James Beard Foundation awards for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2011, Cookbook of the Year in 2016, and Outstanding Chef in 2017.

The Festival Restaurant Program, presented by BankNewport, promises creative culinary and wine lunches and dinners hosted by Newport’s award-winning restaurants.

Proceeds from the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival benefit The Preservation Society of Newport County, a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. Its 11 historic properties — seven of them National Historic Landmarks — span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

For more information, visit NewportMansions.org.

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Go Glamping Dude Ranch Style!

At Goosewing Ranch, Wyoming, glamping means staying in a custom, handcrafted wagon with a dedicated chef, wrangler, and event coordinator at your service.

Cody, WY – Some call it glamorous camping, others call it luxury camping, but what better way to experience the Wild West? Several guest (dude) ranches now offer the opportunity to get off the beaten path and truly get out into nature by sleeping under the stars. What really makes these glamping options special is that they are all all-inclusive –  meals, lodging, horseback riding, and other activities are all included.

Bar W Guest Ranch – Montana

Bar W Guest Ranch offers an unforgettable glamping experience right outside of Glacier National Park. Each of the four luxury canvas tents has a queen size bed, handcrafted log futon, private porch, refrigerator, and coffee maker. Don’t worry–your private, heated bathroom is located just a few feet from your tent. Grab your coffee, sit back, and relax while you watch the horses graze in the meadow from your own front porch.

C Lazy U Ranch – Colorado

Glamping at C Lazy U Ranch will no doubt top the list as your most memorable accommodation set-ups! A ranch hand will guide you to your Conestoga Wagon where the great outdoors (and a s’mores kit!) await you. After an evening around the fire, cozy up in your king-size bed made with luxurious linens and let the sounds of peace and serenity drift you to sleep.

Flat Creek Ranch – Wyoming

For the more adventurous glampers, visit Flat Creek Ranch! Ride into the backcountry by horseback and take in views of the Tetons and Wind River mountain ranges, Cache Peak, and the headwaters of Flat Creek. After a good night’s sleep in your cozy, canvas tent under the stars, you will wake up to coffee brought to your tent. A hardy breakfast will leave you well rested and ready for your ride back to the ranch!

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch – Arizona

Experience the best of the Southwest from a pioneer wagon at Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch. This wagon can comfortably sleep five with a king-size bed and three bunk beds and has electricity, air conditioning, and heat to ensure a relaxing stay under the stars. Private bathrooms and showers are provided nearby. These wagons are a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Greenhorn Ranch – California

Tucked away in a discrete part of Greenhorn Ranch, awaits a charming 1972 Airstream. This fully restored camper, located along a seasonal creek, takes glamping to a whole new level! The soothing white classic is complete with a queen bed, small fridge, and a streamlined bathroom. Sit under the stars on your private deck and enjoy California glamping at its finest.

Bull Hill Guest Ranch – Washington

Glamping at Bull Hill Guest Ranch brings back a tradition that began when the ranch first opened in 1995. Beautifully furnished with two comfy queen beds, these tents are ideal for young couples, families, or those seeking privacy with a romantic twist. Each glamping tent has its own private bathroom 100 feet away as well as power, heat, and fans to keep you cool in the summer.

Goosewing Ranch – Wyoming

Get away from the world and internet-and cell service for that matter-and truly unwind while glamping at Goosewing Ranch! Three of their custom, handcrafted wagons can sleep up to five guests, while the fourth wagon with a king-size bed will make for the perfect romantic getaway for a couple. This is glamping, not camping, so you will have a dedicated chef, wrangler, and event coordinator at your service!

Glamping at a dude ranch is the new favorite way to relax and unwind while on vacation. Which ranch do you want to visit? Need help narrowing down the options further? Contact the experts at the Dude Ranchers Association. 

See the full list of The Dude Ranchers’ Associations’ ranches using the Find a Ranch tool or choose a ranch by location.

Contact the Dude Ranchers Association, 1122 12th St., Cody, WY 82414, info@duderanch.org, 307-587-2339.

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