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New York’s World-Class Winter Sports Facilities at Lake Placid Shine During FISU World University Games

Skiers can continue to ski at Whiteface in Lake Placid during the FISU World University Games, going on through January 22. The winter sport destination, which hosted two Olympics, along with the state’s other Olympic Regional Development Authority venues, have benefited from $552 million in investment over the last six years to prime the venues for such world-class events and sustain a $16.1 billion winter tourism industry © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

This week, New York State’s Olympic facilities at Lake Placid are hosting the FISU World University Games, welcoming 1,443 collegiate-athletes plus coaches and fans from more than 540 universities and 46 nations.

The Lake Placid 2023 FISU Games, going on until January 22, feature competition in 12 winter sports and 85 events including skiing and snowboarding, curling, figure skating, ice hockey and speed skating in venues throughout the Adirondack North Country in Lake Placid as well as Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Potsdam, Canton and North Creek. (The competition schedule and tickets to the events are available here.)

The prestigious event is an opportunity to showcase for the world the state’s world-class Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) facilities, enhanced with a six-year, $552 million investment to help maintain the region’s standing as a world-class winter sport destination fitting for an Olympic-sized event, for the lasting benefit of New York’s $16.1 billion winter tourism industry.

“We made transformative investments to renovate the Lake Placid Olympic Center, revitalized our airports, improved our roads and bridges and grew our regional sports infrastructure to ensure that Lake Placid is well-positioned to host the games,” Governor Kathy Hochul said when she opened the games.

“The event will once again put Lake Placid on a global stage, drawing thousands of visitors to the region and inviting millions more to watch the games via ESPN in the United States, TSN in Canada and FISU TV. For many, it will be the first time they’ll see the bold and picturesque Adirondack Mountains, vibrant downtown Lake Placid and our world-class Olympic Regional Development Authority ski areas and venues. And these games offer a chance to showcase the New York’s thriving winter tourism industry.”

Special events like the games that spark additional travel generate even more spending in our restaurants, hotels and businesses, supporting jobs in a hospitality industry still rebuilding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. State-supported ORDA venues are open year-round for events, athlete training and recreation. Once the World University Games have finished, these same facilities will host this winter season the World Cup in Ski Jumping, NCAA Alpine and Cross-Country Skiing Championships, Synchronized Figure Skating World Championships. The Bobsled Skeleton World Championships will follow in February 2025, and IBU Biathlon Cups are planned in February and March 2026.

Last winter, New York welcomed 68.5 million visitors, generating more than $16.1 billion in direct visitor spending. ORDA’s economic impact for New York State was last measured at $273.6 million for 2019-2020, a 75 percent increase over the previous 2016-2017 measurement of $156 million.

New York State has made significant investments in the North Country totaling $552 million over the last six years in preparation for the World University Games, and ongoing support for the competitive sports infrastructure and regional tourism. Investments have helped to renovate facilities owned and operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, such as the $104 million renovation of the Lake Placid Olympic Center, and other host facilities like the nearly $7 million overhaul of the Saranac Lake Civic Center.

The improvements are a legacy that will be enjoyed by New York’s skiers and winter visitors for years to come.

ORDA has been steadily improving the snowmaking infrastructure throughout its ski areas, particularly over the last ten years. These upgrades have increased the efficiency of snowmaking operations, allowing for the mountains to open terrain faster, and earlier in the season when temperatures allow. The modernized systems, which utilize energy more effectively, also are a key part of ORDA’s award-winning sustainability initiatives: solar energy at the alpine venues, state of the art snowmaking equipment that significantly reduces water and energy use, EV charging stations, e-zambonis and hybrid grooming equipment, LED lighting.

Indeed, in conjunction with the FISU Games, a World Conference was convened to share information about the initiatives and actions they have implemented to mitigate climate change and save winter from global warming. From venue design and infrastructure to sustainably sourced items to the LED torch and flameless cauldron, the Host Partners and New York State set a new standard for a commitment to the environment for future events. 

Improved Winter Facilities at ORDA Venues 

This winter, New Yorkers and the rest of the world will enjoy upgrades, renovations, snowmaking improvements to Olympic Regional Development Authority-operated ski venues: Gore Mountain in North Creek, Belleayre Mount in Highmount, Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, and Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid.

Gore Mountain: New this season is Backwoods, an intermediate trail that begins at the top of Burnt Ridge Mountain and parallels the Barkeater Glades. The trail ends uphill of Roaring Brook Bridge and provides faster and more direct access to Little Gore Mountain and the North Creek Ski Bowl. Over 230 new high-efficiency snow guns have been installed on Backwoods, Showcase, Uncas, Paradox, Peaceful Valley, and Chatiemac. For the FISU Games, crews developed the sanctioned slopestyle and boardercross courses, enhanced snowmaking and widened the terrain. The FIS-certified race trail, Echo, was also bolstered with increased snowmaking capacity to accommodate the venue’s busy calendar of alpine events and recreational skiers and riders throughout the season.  (goremountain.comGore Mountain Snow Report)

Whiteface Mountain: New this season is the Ausable Run, a beginner trail off the Warhorse Quad lift, and Yellow Dot, an expert trail connecting the top of Victoria to Lower Skyward. Whiteface installed 35,000 feet of new pipe, 160 high-efficiency snow guns, and 245 new hydrants. Additionally, two new Pisten Bully groomers join the fleet. After hosting Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter World University Games alpine competitions,  Whiteface will host the NCAA Regionals and National Championship in Alpine, the Empire State Games and other regional races. The mountain will be open to the public during the event dates for skiing and riding, and spectators can view the events in the newly designed Andrew Weibrecht Finish Area. Additional improvements to the race area include enhancements to the Freeway lift, timing and radio systems, and power to the finish building. (whiteface.comWhiteface Mountain Snow Report)

Belleayre Mountain installed 60,000 additional feet of new pipe, a new snowmaking pump, and added 300 high-efficiency snow guns. A new retail space relocated upstairs on the main floor of Discovery Lodge provides guests with a renewed shopping experience with a view. (belleayre.com,  Belleayre Mountain Snow Report.

Mt. Van Hoevenberg: The Mt Van Hoevenberg transformation was completed in 2020, providing a world-class facility and 5 km of World Championship-rated cross-country skiing trails for training and racing. The trails carry tremendous snowmaking power, from the number of high-efficiency snow guns and hydrants to its reservoir capacity, providing state-of-the-art snowmaking for a Nordic Center. Thanks to the state’s investment ORDA will host multiple World Cup competitions. Recently, Mt Van Hoevenberg was awarded the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Cup for 2026. This is in addition to the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup in Bobsled and Skeleton taking place at the Mt Van Hoevenberg Sliding Center December 16-18, and at its sister venue, the Olympic Jumping Complex, the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup will return this winter, February 10-12, 2023. For non-competitive athletes, Mt. Van hoevenberg offers some of the most exciting opportunities to feel like an Olympian: a state-of-the-art combined skeleton and bobsled track and North America’s longest mountain coaster, The Cliffside Coaster. 50km of cross country skiing trails, you can even try your hand at the biathalon. There is also a new Mountain Pass Lodge. (mtvanhoevenberg.com, Mt Van Hoevenberg Snow Report)

The SKI3 Season Pass provides the greatest flexibility and savings for skiing and riding at Whiteface, Belleayre, and Gore. Single day tickets are also at the lowest prices of the season and should be purchased in advance to secure desired days this winter.

“Winter is always an amazing time to travel in New York, which has more ski areas than any other state in the nation,” said Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi. “ORDA’s world class ski facilities, along with scores of private ski areas across the state, make for an unparalleled ski experience. When paired with activities from snowmobiling and winter carnivals to ice wine tastings and spa getaways to the FISU World University Games, visitors can come be a part of the ultimate winter wonderland and find what they love in New York State.”

Information on skiing and other winter activities statewide is available at iloveny.com/winter and iskiny.com. Updated downhill and cross-country ski reports for all of New York State courtesy of Ski NY and Cross-Country Ski Areas of NY are available on 1-800-ILOVENY and linked on iloveny.com.

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Travel to the Ends – and Beginnings — of the Earth with GeoCultura

Washington Crossing.A GeoCultura tour that runs from Philadelphia, PA to western Massachusetts looks at American Revolutionary War locales where geology played a role in the outcome of events. Places such as Independence Hall, Valley Forge, the two Washington Crossings, the Dey Mansion, the Great Falls at Paterson, the Hamilton/Burr dueling grounds and the route of Cornwallis’s pursuit of Washington up the Palisades are in focus with stories and context offered by respected authors and experts in Revolutionary War history. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfaranadnear.com

If 2022 was the year of returning to travel, 2023 is the year of making those travel plans count.

To that end, London-based GeoCultura LTD is launching 19 tour departures in 2023 that will take curious and inquiring travelers to key destinations with spectacular cultural and geologic histories in small groups led by scientists and scholars  in the fields of geology and history. Travel that counts is travel that adds wisdom and experience to those who venture, and brings that much more understanding about the world we inhabit.

Itineraries take travelers through the deserts, prairies and forests of North America, to the rocky crags of Scotland, and to the hidden highlights of Southern England. Consider a tour that moves beyond the bounds of Outlander to revisit the amazing history and conflicts that shaped the DNA of the North West Scottish Highlands. The Highlands scenery provides a dramatic background for groups of 12 to 14 people to visit seminal sights in Scottish history and learn how geology influenced battles, castles and wars.

Or it may be travel that is focused on the influences at play in the shaping of what is now the United States. For instance, a GeoCultura tour that runs from Philadelphia, PA to western Massachusetts looks at American Revolutionary War locales where geology played a role in the outcome of events. Places such as Independence Hall, Valley Forge, the two Washington Crossings, the Dey Mansion, the Great Falls at Paterson, the Hamilton/Burr dueling grounds and the route of Cornwallis’s pursuit of Washington up the Palisades are in focus with stories and context offered by respected authors and experts in Revolutionary War history.

But the tides of history are also the stuff of art and culture. The geological and historical elements that played upon the land also influenced artists, especially the Hudson River School’s Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, and later Edward Hopper – all covered with visits to homes and museums on this tour.

A particularly poignant and timely journey for 2023 happens in May as the world witnesses the first coronation of a British sovereign in more than 70 years. “London, Stonehenge, Bath, and the Jurassic Coast: A geo-culture tour of Southern England begins just after King Charles III is crowned, travels to amazing English locations and returns to London. The tour links Victorian and Georgian history with the pre-history and landscapes of Southern England: Stonehenge, the Georgian splendor of Bath and the delights of such Jurassic Coast sites as Lulworth Cove and Chesil Beach. Guests immerse themselves in the rolling landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s novels while going on fossil hunts, visiting cathedrals and castles, and taking in the magical waters of Bath.

Then, there is the rich geology, culture and gastronomy of the Catalan Pyrenees that is explored through the presence of salt throughout and under the rolling terrain. Salt became a commodity of trade and prosperity and influenced culture throughout this eastern Spanish enclave – all expressed in the arts, architecture, cuisines, migrations and conflicts that shaped these ancient lands. It’s all wrapped into stunning stories told by connoisseurs of the culture in tours that run from Barcelona to Girona in Spain.

GeoCultura tours range from three nights and four days to eight nights and nine days, and every tour is steeped in eye-opening tales that show how the earth, the land, the people and the pervading influences of various eras connected to bring us to where we are today.

“The first germ of an idea for GeoCultura started when a group of friends got together to plan a trip. We wanted something that allowed us to visit spectacular landscapes and rocks while also enjoying the best the region had to offer. And GeoCultura was born,” said Rob Knipe, Chairperson at GeoCultura.

Tour managers work hand in hand with regional focus experts to assure that while groups and individuals are being looked after with care, no topic goes unexplained, no question goes unanswered. Thus, illuminating and often sea-changing experiences offer guests wisdom and understanding that lingers well beyond the bounds of the tour. GeoCultura tours bring a robust roster of science experts to the planning and execution of each tour, maintaining an “earth-first” focus for every itinerary to reveal how landscapes and “deep time” geology continue to shape the history and culture of our planet.

Tours start at around $2,000 per person (double), including meals, fees and transportation. A modicum of fitness is required, although walking distances are reasonable and terrains are clear and well maintained. A reading list for each tour is available for those whose interests extend beyond a surface glint. Accommodations are chosen for their historic significance or qualities that complement tour themes.

GeoCultura is an international tour company founded in 2020 to bring in a focused history of the earth and its geology as a starting point for travelers to fully understand the breadth and evolution of a destination’s past and present. The company was founded by and tours are guided by esteemed scientists in their field — fellows, academicians and board members of prestigious universities in the U.K, U.S. and Canada. GeoCultura offers four- to nine-night tours in Canada, the U.S., Greece, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and Caribbean. 

The founders include:

Rob Knipe, an Emeritus Professor of Structural Geology at the University of Leeds, and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, Knipe has won prestigious awards from the Geological Society. His work has included four decades of research in the geology of the Scottish Highlands. Currently, he is focused on global Energy Transition, and works with local and national groups promoting changes towards a carbon neutral society.

Neil Harbury,  a former senior lecturer at University of London and founder of Nautilus, a premier geological training organization working with over 80 companies world-wide, Harbury’s ongoing area of passion remains creating and leading geoscience tours.

Mark Hammond a visiting professor at Canterbury Christchurch University and a visiting Fellow at the University of Bath, Hammond was Chief Executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission for 5 years. He has an MA in history from Cambridge University and an honorary doctorate from Canterbury, and served as a diplomat in the British Embassy in Washington D.C., helping to negotiate the Climate Change policy.

More information can be found at www.geoculturaworld.com, +44 2081 451011.

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Overseas Adventure Travel Top 4 Travel Trends for 2023: Africa, Solo, Personalized, Regenerative

One of the top travel trends for 2023 is regenerative travel which sustains local economies while preserving local cultures and biodiversity, such as this weaver in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Sustainable, responsible travel benefits local people and allows destinations to improve, all while providing authentic, enriching, regenerative experiences to travelers. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

BOSTON — Optimism is the keyword for the 2023 travel landscape as travelers embrace more distant experiences compared to 2022. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.), the leader in personalized small group and solo travel for Americans ages 50 and older, announced its top 4 travel trends for 2023.

“Travelers are showing a high level enthusiasm for life-changing adventures far from home, often on their own,” said Brian FitzGerald, Chief Executive Officer of O.A.T.  “It’s a genuine priority for travelers to connect and engage with people from other cultures, and to find ways to give back to communities they visit.”

O.A.T. Top 4 Travel Themes for 2023:

1. Africa – Travel to Africa is seeing a resurgence. BotswanaMorocco, and Egypt top the list of popular 2023 trips at O.A.T. In 2022, travelers were more focused on Europe.

People who dream of visiting Africa — whether on safari on floating down the Nile — continue to make up for time lost due to the pandemic. These motivated travelers don’t want to put off visiting the continent any longer, and their sights are set on 2023.

2. Solos going strong – Women over 50, in particular, are heading out to see the world on their own. According to O.A.T., the number of solo travelers reserving for 2023 is up 24% compared to 2019. Overall, more than 60% of O.A.T. travelers are solos, and the majority are women.

“As a single traveler, you’re driving everything,” said O.A.T. solo traveler Muriel Forster. “That just gives you a great deal of flexibility. I overheard someone say, ‘a once in a lifetime experience.’ I thought, ‘I don’t want this to be once in a lifetime – I want this to be my lifetime!”

Solo travelers are drawn to trips with no single supplement, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. O.A.T. offers free single supplements on 92% of its single spaces in 2023.

3. Personalized travel – Travelers want the benefits of expert-led small group tours, but increasingly crave more than a one-size-fits all experience. 2023 will bring continued traveler demand to tailor trips with one’s individual preferencesFor example, many travelers prefer to arrive early at a destination before a tour starts so they feel acclimated.

At O.A.T., 87% of travelers personalize their trips by arriving early, staying later, adding a stopover at a popular international city, or combining trips. By comparison, just 75% requested personalization in 2018.

4. Regenerative travel – The idea that tourism should leave a destination better than it was before is gaining ground globally. In a nutshell, regenerative travel improves local economies while preserving local cultures and biodiversity. It benefits local people and allows destinations to improve, all while providing authentic experiences to travelers.

O.A.T., through its Grand Circle Foundationsupports projects focused on water, conservation, and renewable energy in the areas to which the company travels. The Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (W.A.S.H.) initiative helps improve the well-being of local people. Access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and proper hygiene education reduces illness and death, and increases socio-economic development leading to a reduction in poverty. The Foundation supports alternative energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. Some schools add solar panels as an alternate source of electricity and to reduce operating expenses. Solar lights from the Foundation replace kerosene, reducing illness from soot and smoke and enabling students to study at night, leading to a better education.

O.A.T. provides travelers over 50 with impactful, intercultural experiences that help change people’s lives. O.A.T. fosters an intimate and accessible experience, with groups limited to 16 travelers (average of 13) by land and 25 (average of 22) by sea.

Established in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.) is part of Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation’s family of travel companies, which also include Grand Circle Cruise Line and Grand Circle Travel.  In 1992, owners Alan and Harriet Lewis established the nonprofit Grand Circle Foundation to support communities in which Grand Circle works and travels, including some 300 humanitarian, cultural, and educational endeavors worldwide—among them, 100 schools, in 50 countries.  The Foundation is an entity of the Alnoba Lewis Family Foundation, which has pledged or donated more than $250 million since 1981.

To learn more about O.A.T., visit www.oattravel.com or call 1-800-955-1925.

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Are You Game for An Around-the-World Blind Date With Adventure: Join the 2023 Global Scavenger Hunt

Team Lazy Monday, Eric & Kathryn Verwillow of California, who would go on to win second place in the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt, dash out of Petra, Jordan on to their next challenge © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

LOS ANGELES –What are your 2023 travel resolutions:Swimming with baby elephants? Learning to cook from a Michelin-starred chef? Taking part in an archaeological dig? Lending a helping hand at a Tibetan refugee camp? Attending a gala opening of an international cultural event? Perhaps it is just taking a revenge makeup trip? No matter what it is, the best travel-related New Year’s resolution is simple: Go!The 2023 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt can scratch your travel itch and help you fulfill your wildest travel resolutions in one grand adventure. It is a mystery travel adventure that combines Indiana Jones daring with an Around the World in Eighty Days-like travel competition.
And the event turns creative travel in 2023, taking savvy travelers on A Blind Date with the World adventure to ten countries over three weeks. But which ten countries they will be going to—they are not telling! Call it: Destinations Unknown. And adding to the mystery adventure is the immersive focus of travelers having to trust strangers in strange lands—just another of the annual adventure’s transformational features.

Known internationally as the world travel championship, the 2023 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt will take place between the 14th of April and 6th of May 2023.  

The deadline to enter the 2023 edition of the travel world championship is February 1st, with only a few spots open for those wanting to compete for “The World’s Greatest Travelers” title and trophy—and a chance to earn a free trip around the world with their triumph. But, of course, serious travelers are a competitive breed, from: “How many countries have you been to?” and “We’ve been there, did you do…?” to watching travel shows saying, “I could do that!” Well, now they can with a trip, trophy, and title on the line.
   
“Sometimes travelers take trips, but our grand adventure takes travelers to mysterious unknown destinations,” says William D. Chalmers, the Event Director. “Our secret places serve as a fun playing field on which the event plays itself out. Being a passive participant is not an option when you don’t know where you are going on this authentic, challenging, and participatory international travel adventure. Simply transformative. It is life-changing for our travelers.”

And the winners earn a free trip around-the-world with The World’s Greatest Travelers title and crown after proving their mettle, testing their situational awareness, and challenging their Travel IQs. Traditionally, travel writers and bloggers, social media influencers and travel agents, along with some of the world’s “most traveled people” and Amazing Race wannabe’s, join the competition. But often, well-traveled curious people are the winners. This event is truly “the Amazing Race for real travelers.”

The 23-day around-the-world event is limited to 15 teams of two. The US$28,000 team entry fee includes: all international airfares, first-class hotels, 40% of meals, and special event-sponsored travel gear. Single travelers are welcome to apply, and all travelers will be interviewed for suitability. Contact GreatEscape Adventures at +1.310.281.7809 or apply online at GlobalScavengerHunt.com. (CST#2071053-40).   

See our coverage of the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt:

Capilano Suspension Bridge Among Vancouver BC’s Marvelous Attractions, First Leg of Global Scavenger Hunt

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 2: HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM: TRADITIONS SURVIVE IN MODERN CITY, AS DOES RECKONING WITH PAST

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3: MYANMAR, THE GOLDEN LAND, COMES FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3 IN MYANMAR CONTINUES: BAGAN, CITY OF TEMPLES, NEWLY NAMED UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3 CONTINUES: THE ENCHANTMENT OF INLE LAKE, MYANMAR

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 3: BACK IN YANGON, MYANMAR

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT 8-HOUR LAYOVER CHALLENGE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 5: DISCOVERING ABU DHABI

ANCIENT CITY OF PETRA IS A HIGHLIGHT OF GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT IN JORDAN

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: IN THE SCRAMBLE TO BE CROWNED ‘WORLD’S BEST TRAVELERS’

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT, LEG 7: 30 HOURS IN ATHENS

UNRAVELING MARRAKESH’S OLD CITY MAZE BEFORE TACKLING THE GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT 4-COUNTRY CHALLENGE

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: ENTRANCED BY THE MYSTIQUE OF FEZ, MOROCCO

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: A DASH THROUGH GIBRALTAR REVEALS A MODERN-DAY BRIGADOON

GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT: SEVILLE TO PORTO TO COMPLETE TOUGHEST LEG OF 23-DAY AROUND-THE-WORLD MYSTERY TOUR

FEELING LIKE A FOREIGNER IN MY HOMETOWN: GLOBAL SCAVENGER HUNT ENDS IN NEW YORK CITY

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Quark Expeditions Escape Sale Offers 45% Savings, High-Level perks, Waives Single Supplement on Polar Adventures

Quark Expeditions, a global leader in polar adventures, has kicked off the new year by launching a robust Escape Sale with polar voyages reduced by up to 45%—plus a variety of guest benefits. The sale is on through April 3, 2023. (Photo by David Merron)

Quark Expeditions, a global leader in polar adventures, has kicked off the new year by launching a robust Escape Sale with polar voyages reduced by up to 45%—plus a variety of guest benefits. The sale is on through April 3, 2023.

“We’re very excited about our recently-launched Escape Sale as it enables a cross-section of travelers to take advantage of deep savings that match their travel tastes,” said Thomas Lennartz, Vice President of Sales for Quark Expeditions. “The special offers—and perks—in our Escape Sale appeal to solo travelers, couples and groups.”

Lennartz emphasized that the itineraries featured in the Escape Sale include some of the more popular voyages within Quark Expeditions’ portfolio, including some of the more active trips in the Arctic such as the Greenland Adventure: Explore by Land, Sea and Air itinerary, as well as shorter voyages such as Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake.

In addition, Quark is also waiving the single supplement on multiple voyages 2023 voyages.

“We know from past promotions that a large number of travelers will appreciate the free transfer package offered on select Arctic 2023 voyages. This includes charter flights, hotel and ground transportation (between airport and hotel), as well as hotel accommodation,” said Lennartz.

“Polar travelers place high value on these extras. Factor in the additional 10% savings when guests pay in full, and our Escape Sale is even more appealing to travelers who’ve long wanted to explore the Arctic or Antarctic with the best expedition team in the Polar Regions.”

Highlights of the Escape Sale (January 4 to April 3, 2023):

  • Savings up to 45%
  • No single supplement on multiple voyages
  • Free transportation between airport and hotel, as well as overnight hotel accommodation on select Arctic 2023 voyages
  • An additional 10% savings when guests pay in full at time of booking. 

Departures featured in Quark Expeditions’ Escape Sale include:

  • Three Arctic Islands: Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland (Southbound). Departure: August 26, 2023
  • Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic. Departure: June 4 and 22, 2023
  • Canada and Greenland. Departure: September 11, 2023
  • Northwest Passage: In the Footsteps of Franklin. Departure: July 30, 2023

For a full list of eligible departures, visit Quark Expeditions’ Escape Sale

The technologically-advanced Ultramarine, the newest addition to the Quark Expeditions fleet, is a game-changer in polar exploration. Equipped with two twin-engine Airbus 145 helicopters, 20 quick-launching Zodiacs and the largest portfolio of off-ship adventure options in the industry, Ultramarine changes the way guests explore the Polar Regions. Other features include a spa, sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows, fitness centre, yoga space, spacious rooms and two restaurants plus a lounge and presentation theatre. Ultramarine has been designed with advanced sustainability systems that help preserve the pristine Polar Regions for the next generation of explorers. Ultramarine has an Ice Class rating of 1A+ and Polar Class rating of PC6, which contribute to the vessel’s superior standards of safety standard. The ship’s innovative sustainability features, which help reduce its environmental footprint, include a micro auto gasification system (MAGS), which is capable of converting onboard waste into energy, eliminating the need for the transportation of waste.

Specializing exclusively in expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic, Quark Expeditions® has been the leading innovator of polar adventure since the company took the first group of consumer travelers to the North Pole in 1991. With a diverse fleet of specially-equipped small expedition vessels and icebreakers—some of them equipped with helicopters—Quark Expeditions is able to take guests deeper into the Polar Regions than most other operators. Led by passionate and seasoned expedition teams, including scientists, wildlife experts and researchers, Quark Expeditions offers an onboard program that enriches the passenger experience. 

Quark Expeditions, 833 435 1900, www.quarkexpeditions.com

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From Forest Bathing to ‘Me Time’, Skyscanner Reveals Travel Forecast for 2023

According to Skyscanner survey of Americans, more travelers intend to travel in 2023 but look for value and experiences and will seek out travel companies like Alpaca Expeditions, which offers Inca Trail treks to Machu Picchu, Peru, a World Heritage Site, based on offering responsible, sustainable travel © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

  • Price led decision making will drive change in 2023: consumers will still travel but how they spend will differ  
  • Give us a break; 41% of consumers are planning more vacations in 2023 as 2022, and 46% are planning to do the same number of trips 
  • Savvy consumers are shopping around and pocket-friendly destinations are leading the way – Portugal rises in popularity and drops in price  
  • Swap sunbathing for forest bathing; getting amongst nature will be a priority – both for mental health and to avoid price peaks around beach destinations
  • ‘Me time’ set to make the mainstream next year; over half (53%) of travelers are considering a solo trip next year, with divorcees and singles over-indexing  
  • Sneaky searches: 64% will use a mobile device to plan or book their next trip, predominantly whilst at work 
  • Looking further into the future, Skyscanner predicts supersonic travel will redefine short-haul travel and one in three Americans (34%) expect to vacation among the stars in their lifetime

New research from global travel site Skyscanner reveals that US vacationers are expecting another strong year of travel despite economic uncertainty, but price-led decision making will drive change in 2023. With 86% of US travelers planning to spend the same if not more on travel abroad next year, how they are going to spend will differ. The extent of these changes is revealed in Skyscanner’s detailed Travel Trends 2023 report. 

Key trends to come out of the report show that US travelers don’t want the vacation to stop on a Monday morning, but to work where they could vacation and work too. US travelers are also craving experiences grounded in nature and wellbeing. A way to reset and feel normal again. Expect friends to ditch each other in favor of solo adventures, indulge in sneaky smartphone travel searches in the workplace and vacationers navigating the cost-of-living crisis to ensure their time away remains a priority.  

For travel in 2023, there’s a lot we want to do differently and some bold expectations on what future travel will entail. Future gazing sees one in three people expecting vacations amongst the stars to be a mainstream reality in their lifetime, while closer to home, advances in supersonic technology could re-define short-haul travel. 

“It is clear that we’re hungrier than ever to discover something new – even though we might have less in our pockets next year,” Naomi Hahn, Skyscanner’s VP of strategy, comments. “The aftermath of a pandemic has made travelers look for ways to make up for lost time and create new experiences and memories. 

“Consumers are putting value first, post pandemic. The squeeze on personal spending has shown that consumers will still prioritize getting away but are increasingly shopping around on metasearch platforms like Skyscanner. They are also employing simple travel hacks to ensure they get the most for their money, like being flexible in terms of dates and destination. The year looks set to be a year of new discoveries as emerging, pocket friendly destinations come to the fore.” 

Skyscanner commissioned its deep-dive research into consumer attitudes and behaviors, combined with proprietary search and booking insights, to reveal its travel predictions. Skyscanner’s report, Travel Trends 2023: The year of price-driven decisions analyzes survey data from 2,000 consumers in the US as well as extensive search and redirect data to provide unique insights into travel plans for 2023 and beyond.  

Key trends revealed:  

Travel remains a priority: Consumers today look to make better, more informed decisions about their discretionary spend, recent polling revealed: 46% of consumers are planning the same number of vacations in 2023 as 2022, and 41% are thinking of even going on more trips next year. Just 6% are planning to vacation less in 2023. The rising cost of living is still a concern, but 62% have decided to prioritize vacations next year over other big-ticket items.  

Shift in spending86% of US travelers are planning to spend the same if not more on travel abroad next year, while only 5% are planning to spend less. Travelers are increasingly demanding greater ticket transparency, as well as taking control of the value in their airfares, unbundling of price to build packaged airfares that suit their needs.   

Best value destinations for 2023: Skyscanner, which helps travelers compare pricing or choose travel based on budget, can also reveal the destinations that have seen the biggest price drops since pre-pandemic are: 

  1. Madeira, Portugal – 22% price drop   
  2. Sofia, Bulgaria – 18% price drop  
  3. Brussels, Belgium – 13% price drop 

Skyscanner’s 2023 hotlist: Travelers are increasingly on the hunt for less popular places that offer undiscovered experiences and unlock better value breaks. In fact, Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ search is regularly in the top searches post pandemic. Check out some of the destinations that have seen the biggest increase in searches: 

Family hot list: 

  • Jacksonville, USA (570% increase in searches)  
  • Izmir, Turkey (168% increase in searches)  
  • Madeira, Portugal (123% increase in searches)  

Couples’ hotlist:  

  • Minneapolis, USA (409% increase in searches)  
  • Preveza, Greece (316% increase in searches)  
  • Santiago de Compostela, Spain (289% increase in searches)  

Solo traveling is no longer a niche; over one half of travelers (54%) are looking to escape solo next year. Divorcees (78%) ranked among the highest in their readiness to embark on a solo vacation in 2023 and look set to form a new trend of travelers who are ‘solo and self-focused’.  With an increasing number of friendship apps launched and platonic versions of dating apps growing in popularity, there is also the opportunity to hook up with new travel friends and companions. 

Sustainability; Sustainable travel continues to grow in consideration for travelers’ decision making: for more than 1 in 4 (24%) it’s even more important now, than prior to the pandemic. With price-led decision making and sustainable travel both top of mind, 11% are considering new, alternative destinations for their next trip.

Nature first; Wildlife spotting appears in the top 3 travel activities planned for vacations, suggesting the pandemic’s emphasis on getting outside for walks and connecting with the local environment is now transferring as a key component of travel plans.  Interacting with the environment and watching animals has mood-boosting properties.  Skyscanner recommends getting amongst green nature and experiencing the meditative effects of Shinrin-yoku, a new wellness trend that literally means ‘forest bathing’ in 2023. 

Making work work for you (and your wallet): 45% of Americans surveyed plan to work while on vacation next year (“bleisure travel”), a strategic move for which the top reason is ‘it means I get more time in destination’ (59%). Cross-referencing the long list of countries that now offer digital nomad visas with their cities’ cost of living index unearths a selection of savvy options for 2023. All cheaper than London’s cost of living index, Skyscanner’s favorites include: 

  1. Mexico City, Mexico – Skyscanner has also seen a 591% increase in searches 
  2. Zagreb, Croatia – Skyscanner has also seen a 344% increase in searches 
  3. Madrid, Spain      

Sneaky smartphone searches & social media’s influence; 2 out of 3 US travelers now use a mobile device to plan or book their next trip, with the most popular moment being during work hours or lunch break. Celebs are the number one source of travel inspiration in the US with Instagram being the most FOMO inducing – 52% of travelers stated they’re more likely to book a trip if they’ve seen it on the platform.  

  • So, for those wanting to get ahead of the Insta trend, Skyscanner can reveal their top spot for 2023 is Amman, Jordan (based on least amount of Instagram hashtags cross referenced x 195% increase in Skyscanner searches). 

Future travel; 2053 will mark 150 years of the Wright Brothers first airplane flight, a lot has changed since then and travelers are expecting significant developments to be mainstream when hitting that milestone in 30 years’ time.  

  • One in three people (34%) expect to vacation amongst the stars in their lifetime, climbing aboard space craft for Earth sight-seeing day trips to the edge of space and longer trips beyond 
  • Advances in supersonic technology could re-define short-haul travel and Skyscanner’s report reveals 32% of travelers believe it will be a mainstream flight option in the future 

Skyscanner’s new consumer research also reveals hot new trends around destinations and embracing “me-time”. From solo to supersonic travel, working while wandering the globe and social media’s influence on vacation selection, check out these and other findings in the full Travel Trends 2023: The year of price-driven decisions report.

Founded in 2003, Skyscanner is a leading travel marketplace dedicated to putting travelers first. Skyscanner helps millions of people in 52 countries and over 30 languages find the best travel options for flights, hotels and car rental every month. Skyscanner is available on desktop, mobile web and its highly rated app has over 110 million downloads. Working with 1200 travel partners, Skyscanner’s mission is to lead the global transformation to modern and sustainable travel.   

According to Skyscanner’s executives, the most popular search is for “anywhere. Our mission is to inspire.”

Visit Skyscanner.com

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

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

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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