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New Adventure Cycling Short Routes Make Bike Travel More Accessible

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

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

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

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

The new Short Routes for bike touring and bikepacking include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Sonoma County Tourism Celebrates Earth Day with New Sustainability Initiatives

Sonoma County Tourism (SCT), as part of its continued commitment to fostering sustainable practices within its destination, is unveiling several stewardship initiatives in recognition of Earth Day. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (April 22, 2022)—Sonoma County Tourism (SCT), as part of its continued commitment to fostering sustainable practices within its destination, is unveiling several stewardship initiatives in recognition of Earth Day.

“Commemorating Earth Day through the launch of these initiatives is just another step in building Sonoma County as a sustainable tourism destination,” said Claudia Vecchio, CEO, Sonoma County Tourism.  “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Sonoma County Regional Parks and Leave No Trace as well as introduce new programs that help ensure Sonoma County is a pristine destination for generations to come.”

Leave No Trace Partnership Elevated

Sonoma County Tourism and Sonoma County Regional Parks announce today its joint Sonoma County Leave No Trace Coalition Toolkit. The toolkit, developed in collaboration with the national Leave No Trace organization, contains physical and digital assets for land managers and hospitality businesses to promote practices designed to prevent environmental impacts in parks, preserves, and other outdoor recreation locations. Additionally, Sonoma County Tourism and Sonoma County Regional Parks have released its Leave No Trace Five Year Stewardship Action Framework. The framework describes the imperatives of the initiative and outlines the activities required to achieve key priorities, along with a set of outcomes to monitor progress.

Sonoma County Tourism, which entered its partnership with Sonoma County Regional Parks and Leave No Trace early last year, is extending its license with Leave No Trace to the neighboring counties of Marin and Mendocino. This new three-county group will work with Leave No Trace to address coastal trash and litter – developing shared goals and a uniform message to apply along the Northern California coastline. 

Rewards For Rubbish Launched

Sonoma County Tourism announced the launch of a litter collection program in cooperation with the Russian River Confluence. The program, titled “Rewards for Rubbish” incentivizes volunteers to collect litter in exchange for treats and prizes. Participating businesses issue volunteers supplies to collect litter. Volunteers then pick up trash, returning the filled bags to the business in exchange for a small reward. Sonoma County Tourism provides all materials and incentives. Businesses interested in joining the Rewards for Rubbish program are encouraged to email communityengagement@sonomacounty.com.

Adopt-A-Road County-wide Adoption

Sonoma County Tourism’s commitment to litter reduction extends to its adoption of five one mile stretches of road throughout Sonoma County. Its three-year agreement with Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works sees SCT hold a minimum of 10 roadside cleanups a year spanning all five supervisorial districts. An Earth Day roadside cleanup will be held at SCT’s adopted road in Penngrove.

Carbon Offset Calculator Now Available

To contribute to the vital work of global climate action, SCT is inviting visitors to help the destination reach carbon neutrality by offsetting carbon emissions from their Sonoma County experience. Sonoma County Tourism has partnered with Sustainable Travel International (STI) to integrate its new carbon calculator on sonomacounty.com. After determining the carbon emissions from their trip, visitors can easily acquire carbon offsets from Sustainable Travel International. Doing so provides visitors with a personalized certificate verifying the amount of CO2 offset, with their dollars going towards meaningful climate projects that meet the most rigorous standards for carbon offsetting.

 Upcoming Projects

Sonoma County Tourism’s involvement with Sustainable Travel International extends to an upcoming documentary series in association with Sublime magazine and Zinc Media Group. Filming this spring, Sonoma County will be featured in “Sustainable Travel: Where Next?” an immersive documentary series that investigates the real impact that tourism has on the destinations and communities people visit, showcasing stories of conservation, regeneration, and empowerment. The series will make its debut on World Tourism Day in September 2022.

As previously reported, Sonoma County Tourism recently joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC®). Membership with GSTC® provides Sonoma County Tourism with valuable resources as it moves through its destination master plan. Sonoma County is currently undergoing an extensive assessment from GSTC, the results of which will help Sonoma County on its path to become a certified sustainable destination.

Stewardship and Sustainability remain at the forefront of everything Sonoma County Tourism does. As the nation’s first Destination Stewardship Organization, located in the most sustainable wine region in the world, SCT strives to create and adopt best practices aimed at protecting and preserving our destination for generations to come. To learn more about SCT’s commitment to sustainability, visit sonomacounty.com/sustainable.

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EF Go Ahead Tours Designed to Travel with More Meaning: Itineraries Promote Animal Welfare, Local Communities and the Planet

EF Go Ahead Tours’ trip to India: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur hits the “Golden Triangle” and include must-sees like the Taj Mahal © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

EF Go Ahead Tours believes travel is a powerful way to foster understanding and respect for the people, cultures, and places of the world. From protecting and promoting animal welfare to more sustainable tourism practices and support for local communities, EF Responsible Tourism Initiatives work toward a more sustainable world and fulfill its mission of opening the world through education.

  1. South Africa: Cultural Cities & Wildlife Safaris (NEWLY OPENED): A 17-day tour of spectacular scenery, cities, and amazing wildlife sightings are a given. This tour integrates education via living history walking tours of apartheid to world animal protection initiatives within some of the world’s most endangered populations. There’s learning in pleasure too! After a long day of touring, let the unique ecology of the region and its botanicals, tease your palate with a Gin workshop and tasting. Who knew flora played such a critical role in creating fine gin! 
  2. Costa Rica: Rainforests, Volcanoes & WildlifeA 9-day tour of this majestic land that is leading the world on sustainable travel practices with meaningful education highlights that encompass all aspects of land and sea. Visit and eat on a carbon neutral ranch, work with endangered toucans and owls and see first hand how sea turtles bear the brunt of environmental challenges. 
  3. Thailand Adventure: Bangkok, Chiang Mai & the Islands and Thailand: The Golden Kingdom: Two ways to see Thailand through the eyes of its most beloved treasures — elephants and ancient farming practices. A pioneer in World Animal Protection, the Changchill Elephant Sanctuary allows visitors to prepare medicine and food for the elephants and chat with the mahouts, or elephant caretakers, and enjoy an included vegetarian meal overlooking the elephants’ natural bathing spot. These itineraries also include a visit to the Thai Organic Farm & The Sampram Model Movementwhich originally started an organic farm to grow produce for hotel and restaurant guests. They saw the impact that organic produce had on their family and guest’s overall wellness and wanted to extend those benefits to the entire community. In 2010, they gathered local organic farmers and created The Sampran Model Movement, which connects farmers with the same values and encourages them to grow organically, which then provides consumers with more organic produce at a fair market price.  
  4. Greece, the Balkans & CroatiaFrom Athens to Dubrovnik, spend 17 days exploring mountains to sea and the rich history of Greek and Adriatic nations. Visit Lake Ohrid, Europe’s oldest and most biodiverse lake for an expert-led talk on conservation efforts there to preserve the local biodiversity, threatened by unregulated development and poor waste facilities in the region, and preservation of archaeological sites like the Bay of Bones. Tease your palate with farm-to-table experiences in North Macedonia, Albania and Croatia; then compare notes later. From vegetables, to honey, to wine to oyster farms, learn how this part of the world is pioneering sustainable food practices through tourism. 
  5. India: Delhi, Agra & JaipurNot only does this trip hit the “Golden Triangle” and include must-sees like the Taj Mahal, living history via the Gandhi Museum, and Qutub Minar, an early Islamic tower; but you will start one morning off with the time-honored ritual of yoga. Finally, one whole day is spent with the Dhonk Craft workshop, to learn about socially responsible enterprise and anti-poaching initiatives aimed to protect tigers. 
  6. A Week in Belize: Ruins, Reefs & Rainforests: 9 days in Belize is like a mini trip around the world and equally beckons beachgoers, history buffs and nature lovers! Home to the world’s healthiest barrier reefs, archaeological sites once at the center of Mayan civilization and a lush rainforest. Go Ahead Tours’ travelers snorkel side-by-side with a marine biologist who will explain the Mesoamerican — the Western Hemisphere’s longest reef — ecosystem. Swim among beautiful animals and learn how to protect them better in Belize and at home. 
  7. Ireland: A Feast of Culinary Flavors & Local Traditions: Start in Dublin, go clockwise through lush Irish scenery and culture ending in Galway. A country steeped in tradition, the Irish food scene has evolved significantly from Granny’s pot roast and potatoes. Whisky distilleries, pints of good beer are requisite, of course. Timeless, yet current? Work on a farm to learn how one modern family is implementing ancient farming techniques so that all animals, plants and water on the farm work together for a truly sustainable practice. 
  8. Israel: Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea & JerusalemHoly Land for three world religions and home of the infamous Dead Sea are what you’d expect in a tour to Israel. EF Go Ahead’s tour digs deep into the exploding food scene in Israel with memorable meals. Also, eat lunch with a Kibbutz and then spend a day with an Olive Oil farm, Sindyanna of Galilee, a female-led non-profit, which is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. A large part of their mission is to connect Arab farmers with the Israeli market, specifically by introducing modernization techniques like climate resistance crops and forming cooperative relationships between Jewish and Arab producers. 
  9. Grand Tour of Peru: Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca: From city to sacred mountains to indiginous floating islands on a lake, this tour marries ancient footsteps with modern wonders. Sink into Spain’s colonial influences in Lima, then travel back to ancient Inca learnings in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. New for 2021, travelers will meet members of the Inka Roots Experiential Tourism Association for a walk to Raqchi Village. Inka Roots is a tourism cooperative intended for a balance between environmental care, income generation for locals, and fostering respect for local traditions. 
  10. Tanzania Wildlife Safari: Sure, you’d expect to see the “Big 5” on Safari in Tanzania. And you will: 12 days exploring the Tarangire, the legendary Serengeti and the “Garden of Eden ” at Ngorongoro Crater. However, this tour goes beyond the obvious! After visiting the Nunqwi village, you will visit the Mnari Aquarium, which is a sea turtle conservatory run by a community group. 
  11. In addition, a brand new tour from EF called Ghana: A Cultural Adventure is designed to promote animal welfare, support and give back to local communities, and sustain the planet.This brand-new tour is rich with cultural immersion, education, history and sustainability. Highlights include learning about how Ghana started the wave of independence across Africa, visiting Trashy Bags, a factory that pays locals to collect and wash single-use plastics to be turned into resalable products, and a visit to Global Mamas, a wholesale seller of fair-trade products produced across Ghana helping Ghanaian women gain economic independence by connecting them to global markets.
  12. www.goaheadtours.com,800-590-1161 

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With New Zealand Reopening Borders in May, Active Adventures Predicts Boom in Adventure Travel

Active Adventures offers 11 all-inclusive small group trips across New Zealand’s North and South Islands, including their popular “Rimu,” “Kauri,” and “Takahe” trips. Each trip offers a range of activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking.

QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand– After two long years with borders closed, New Zealand is ready to open its doors to international travel again. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s March 16th announcement not only fast-tracked re-opening but assured the world that New Zealand is safe for travelers and ready to welcome the world “with open arms.”
 
Queenstown-based Active Adventures has weathered the pandemic storm and is poised for a high-season boom, beginning with their first departure of the company’s most popular “Rimu” trip on September 19th. But well before that, the small-group adventure tour operator is ready to show off New Zealand’s winter to international travelers this May through September.
 
“After two challenging and uncertain years, there’s finally a buzz of excitement,” Active Adventures CEO Wendy van Lieshout states. “We’ve used the time wisely, improving nearly every aspect of our company to hit the ground running when the first international guests arrive. We’re prepared and are confident and excited to welcome thousands of travelers over the next year.”
 
The small-group adventure travel company kept their skills sharp throughout the pandemic, running their internationally popular New Zealand adventure tours for Kiwis and have expanded their portfolio by merging with Montana-based Austin Adventures.  
 
With the high season beginning in September and pent-up demand higher than ever, the tour operator urges travelers to book as soon as possible. Many guests have had to reschedule trips for the past two years but would like to assure travelers there is space for those who are ready for a real New Zealand adventure.
 
Active Adventures offers 11 all-inclusive small group trips across New Zealand’s North and South Islands, including their popular “Rimu,” “Kauri,” and “Takahe” trips. Each trip offers a range of activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and more, with comfortable accommodations to help guests recharge each night. In addition to New Zealand, the company operates in the Himalayas (opening in August), Europe, South America, Africa, and Australia. To view all trips and see full itineraries, head to activeadventures.com.
 
“To echo our Prime Minister’s words, we’re ready to welcome the world,” says van Lieshout. “But most importantly, we’re ready to explore and experience the joy of adventure New Zealand has to offer with guests from around the globe.”

With over 60 years of combined experience, Active Adventures and Austin Adventures set the standard for inspiring, all-inclusive, small-group adventures in the most breath-taking regions of the world. Their teams across New Zealand, North America, Peru, Nepal and the Netherlands ensure every detail is looked after. Hand-picked guides with a wealth of experience and local knowledge lead the way as guests enjoy exclusive accommodations, top-notch dining and unique activities showcasing the best of each region. Each of their 100+ trips are crafted to encourage and enable guests to not only challenge themselves physically but also to take a deep dive in the local way of life in every destination.

For more information, visit  activeadventures.com and austinadventures.com.

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Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Resolution to Explore Arctic Svalbard Earlier than Ever, Adds 2 Departures

Lindblad Expeditions will venture to the Arctic earlier in the season than ever before when they bring their newest polar vessel, the 126-guest National Geographic Resolution, to Svalbard on two newly added departures (photo courtesy Lindblad Expeditions)

NEW YORK — Lindblad Expeditions announced that this April the small-ship expeditionary cruise line, will venture to the Arctic earlier in the season than ever before when they bring their newest polar vessel, the 126-guest National Geographic Resolution, to Svalbard on two newly added departures.

The expeditions will take place during the Arctic’s spring awakening—a true Arctic refuge, covered in snow and surrounded by sea ice—illuminated by the astonishing light that provides “magic hour” most of the day.  It is an experience few have witnessed, and National Geographic Resolution’s ice class and technology, with the experience of Lindblad’s polar captains, was built for these exact conditions. 

Set against stunning icescapes and snow-covered mountains, the expedition will voyage deep into and around the Svalbard Archipelago in search of walrus, seals with their pups, and polar bears returning to their spring hunting grounds on the pack ice. Guests will have the opportunity to walk on the frozen sea ice, an adventure only possible in early spring. Photographers will be blown away by the lights and landscapes, and novices and experts alike can capture it all with expert photographers onboard to help bring their skills to the next level.

Sven Lindblad, founder of Lindblad Expeditions, will be joining the April 18th departure.  Sven led a small reconnaissance team in Svalbard to determine whether early spring would be a good time of year to explore this extraordinary region for their guests. “It was without a doubt the most magical Arctic experience any of us had ever had. It was stunningly beautiful, and we validated every premise that we imagined. Unique and wondrous, we were alone in one of the world’s wildest places,” he remarked.

The 11-day Svalbard in Spring: Polar Bears, Arctic Light & Epic Ice voyages are set for April 18 and April 25, 2022. Rates begin at $11,990 per person, based on double occupancy in a category one cabin.

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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US Tour Operators Mark World Wildlife Day

US Tour Operators Association marked World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2022 by spotlighting programs from its tour operator members that focus on wildlife education and appreciation. Here, Gullfoss Waterfall, visited on Great Value Vacations’ Iceland Escape: Golden Circle and Whale Watching tour © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK – The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) marked World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2022 by spotlighting programs from its tour operator members that focus on wildlife education and appreciation. From observing endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda to trekking through the rainforest of Bako National Park in Malaysia, each tour program offers up-close-and-personal experiences with abundant opportunities for natural and cultural immersion in each destination. 

“As USTOA turns 50 this year, our tour operator members are looking ’50 years forward’ to provide sustainable and responsible travel experiences,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO. “World Wildlife Day is an ideal way to raise awareness of the fragile flora and fauna that populates our planet, and that our members take great care to preserve and protect.”

Here’s just a sample of programs to inspire travelers in 2022:

Tauck offers a thirteen-day Kenya & Tanzania: A Classic Safari 2022 tour to those yearning for outdoor adventure. This itinerary takes a group of no more than 30 Tauck travelers to visit Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and the Willian Holden Wildlife Education Center to observe the flora and fauna of Kenya and Tanzania.  Travelers will end their trip activities by floating in a hot air balloon over Masai Mara. Departures are available between May and December 2022 with prices starting at $10,890 for two people. www.tauck.com

Travelers will enjoy excursions to Thingvellir National Park, the mesmerizing Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Geysir geothermal area on a four-to-six-day Iceland Escape: Golden Circle and Whale Watching tour with Great Value Vacations. This itinerary includes traveling to Reykjavik, the northernmost capital of the world, to go whale watching, observe sea birds and other sea life, climb the famous Hallgrímskirkja Church, and more. Departures are available between April 2022 and December 2022 with prices starting at $1,153 per person. www.greatvaluevacations.com   

Travelers will have the opportunity to explore one of the last truly wild places on the planet on a ten-day Wild Sarawak tour with Intrepid Travel. The itinerary includes exploring Southeast Asia’s labyrinthian caves in Mulu National Park, searching for monkeys through the rainforest and jungle stream of Bako National Park, trekking through the jungle of Labuan Island and more. Departures are available between April and December 2022 with prices starting at $1,620 per person. www.intrepidtravel.com   

Abercrombie & Kent offers a five-day Tailor Made Uganda: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest itinerary jam-packed with mountain hikes through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, trekking through the park’s dense vegetation to observe the endangered mountain gorilla, and more. Departures are available between March and October 2022 with prices starting at $3,995 per person. www.abercrombiekent.com  

Find all itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at https://ustoa.travelstride.com/trip-list/wildlife

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value, and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for 50 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents. 

For more information, visit www.ustoa.com.   

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