Tag - North America

Top Things to See and Do in Seattle

Seattle, Washington is probably best known as the birthplace of Starbucks Coffee and Grunge music and although true, this spectacular city is paving the way again as it makes its mark as one of America’s Greenest cities on its quest to redefine the American Metropolis living up to its ‘Emerald City’ nickname. Nestled below the watchful eye of Mt. Rainier and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Seattle is situated on the Puget Sound and surrounded by Elliot Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington making it one of the most beautiful places on earth. Visitors to this breathtaking city will have no problem finding things to do as they move through and around Seattle. Attractions are both manmade and natural elements, satisfying and stimulating all of the senses and leaving tourists wanting more.

The Space Needle

Space Needle at Night

Space Needle at Night

The Space Needle dominates Seattle’s skyline, not because it’s the largest building in the city but because its revolutionary architecture stands alone among American structures. Built to be the dominant structure in the 1962 World’s Fair, the space needle has been a popular attraction ever since. A great thing to do is dine at the SkyCity Restaurant that hovers 500 feet in the air and rotates 360 degrees as you experience some of Seattle’s finest cuisine. While in the area visit the Pacific Science Center that houses an IMAX theatre, planetarium and laser dome theater in addition to 6 acres of hands on fun with abundant things to do. Other nearby attractions include the Seattle Children’s Museum and the Seattle Center Monorail.

The Museums

EMP Museum, Seattle

EMP Museum, Seattle

A great way to explore Seattle and its rich history is by visiting one of its many museums. From traditional art and science museums to those chronicling the Asian Pacific American experience these local attractions allow visitors to walk through the North West culture which expands beyond its borders and into the world. Two of the most unique museums in Seattle are the Experience Music Project (EMP) and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM). These two museums are combined in one architecturally amazing location and bring two popular passions together through state-of-the-art exhibitions and hands-on interactive. This attraction provides many things to do and see as you learn about how the Seattle music scene has evolved and discover the basic building blocks of science fiction. The EMP|SFM is a leader in education to the Seattle community providing many programs and things to do for children and adults.

The Pike Place Market

Pikes market place

Pikes market place

One of Seattle’s most iconic attractions is the Pike Place Market, established in 1907. Filled with endless things to do, this market is one of the oldest continually operated public farmers’ markets in the U.S. Overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront, Pike Place Market covers over 9 acres and includes buildings, streets, walkways and alleys all dedicated to the people of Seattle and founded to bring farmers and consumers together. Filled with over 190 commercial businesses, 50 restaurants and take-out food shops, and 200 table spaces rented by the day, over 9 million people visit the market each year. The unique shops include: comic book sellers, antique dealers, specialty food shops and handmade clothing boutiques. If you can imagine it, someone is selling it at Pike Place Market. A great thing to do is to stop by Pike Place Fish and experience the extravagant sight of the Salmon tossing fishmongers or stroll along the cobblestones to hear some of the many street performers as varied and diverse as the market itself.

Pioneer Square and Underground Tour

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is known as the historic centre of Seattle and is where the first pioneers settled in the city. The Pioneer Square-Skid Road Historic District is also included within the National Register of Historic Places, thus making it a popular destination with tourists. Within the district, you will find an array of art galleries, cafes and even a portion of the Klondike Gold Rush National and Historic Park. Within Seattle, you can take an Underground Tour within Pioneer Square and discover what secrets lie beneath.

Music and Seattle

Music and Seattle seem to go hand in hand. Always going against the grain of the era, Seattle has been influential in the music industry since the 1920’s when it embraced the politically radical American Folk scene. Seattle native Jimi Hendrix and bands like Sound Garden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam have kept the music culture alive and diverse. Today Seattle is home to hundreds of celebrated music venues playing a wide variety of music every night of the week and is an attraction that stands alone as one of the most diverse venues hosting rock, electronic, indie, hip hop, world, alt-country, and DJ’s of all kinds. The music lover will not have a problem finding a venue to suit their taste. There are clubs of every kind scattered throughout Seattle with unending possibilities and things to do in the search for entertainment.

The Seattle Festivals

Festivals in Seattle

Festivals in Seattle

For a family friendly activity look no further than one of Seattle’s many festivals throughout the year. These attractions provide countless things to do for ‘kids’ of all ages. The Seattle International Children’s Festival is one of the largest performing arts festivals for families in the United States. Artists from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas perform in downtown Seattle providing a cultural education and experience for all. The Sea Fair has been an annual tradition for over 50 years, this festival last for about a month from the beginning of July until the first Sunday in August. It was voted in the Top 10 events in the country overflowing with activities and things to do including arts and crafts, live music, parades and triathlon. For movie lovers the Seattle International Film Festival gives cinema buffs 25 days of film viewing. More than 300 works are showcased from famous directors to independent filmmakers covering every genre. If travelers are looking to add a fitness adventure to their trip the Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon is sure to deliver. Held annually on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving this event is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Combining this event with your holiday shopping is a great thing to do as you enjoy Seattle during the holidays.

Outdoor Sightseeing

Seattle Boat tours

Seattle Boat tours

Because the North West is abundantly beautiful a great way to spend time is finding things to do in the great outdoors. Seattle has a wide variety of natural attractions for beginners and seasoned adventure travelers alike. Visitors to this incredible landscape will not have a problem finding activities like mountaineering, hiking, white water rafting, whale watching and even scuba diving. Seattle has done an amazing job keeping its natural resources pristine and their devotion to being a leader in the Green charge is apparent everywhere. There is also a wide range of attractions for the Green minded traveler. Enjoy a tour of one of the many Green buildings, visit ecological restoration sites, tour a state-of-the-art recycling center or sample alternative transportation options. The city also has a Free Ride Zone in downtown that allows visitors to get on and off as they sight see-for free.

Seattle has earned the reputation for being one of America’s top cities for the size of its carbon footprint and has been recognized for its commitment to protecting the environment. Placed among the top cities for walkability, Seattle’s attractions are easily accessible giving travelers an abundance of things to do and see that are low cost or free. Her neighborhoods are welcoming and whether you are enjoying a cup of coffee at a local café, taking in the view of the mountains or listening to a local band jam Seattle will leave you feeling refreshed.

Read More:

Seattle “The Emerald City”

Enjoy Walking Tours Seattle

Utah Shakespeare Festival: National Parks By Day, Bard By Night

What’s better than seeing a Shakespeare play? Seeing a Shakespeare play outdoors, on a beautiful evening, in a re-creation of the Globe Theatre. Travel Brigade takes you to the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival, where the location in Cedar City puts you a short drive from the natural wonders of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument, plus many other state parks and outdoor destinations. Enjoy the red rock country by day and the Bard by night! We’ll also learn about other Shakespeare festivals across America when we talk with the “Shakespeare on the Road” group visiting from England.

Utah Shakespeare Festival-1

Utah Shakespeare Festival-1

Utah Shakespeare Festival: 2

Utah Shakespeare Festival: 2

Enjoy the trip! Follow us on Twitter @ TravelBrigade.

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A Texas State Of Mind

Exploring a Capital City and Remembering the Alamo

“Alright, alright, alright,” as one famous and easy-on-the-eyes Texan drawled in the classic film Dazed and Confused. In fact, those were the first words the actor Matthew McConaughey said on screen. Visiting Austin, that phrase resounded often as I visited some of its iconic marvels. I am finally in the city I’ve longed to visit. Bring it on!

Austin is a creative, constantly evolving city. Everything you’ve heard about it is true. With vibrant entertainment and culture, inspiring cuisine and stunning outdoor settings, Austin lets you create a soundtrack all your own. After all, with more than 250 music venues, it is the Live Music Capital of the World. Another reason to like Austin: this town is sunny – very sunny – like 300 days of sun and blue skies smiling at you a year-sunny. (I smiled a lot while in Austin).

Gettin’ Stronger (and Larger) Every Day

Austin takes the top spot on Forbes’ annual list of America’s fastest growing cities for the 4th year in a row. “We’ve had 307 companies move here in the last 9 years,” says Dave Porter, Senior Vice President for Economic Development. And, not to be overlooked, the University of Texas churns out engineers and computer scientists into this five-county area at a record pace. Austin now boasts some 4,000 technology companies. Clearly, it’s hard for other cities to compete.

My first evening in Austin – play me some music! And the word on the street seemed to be

The Elephant Room, one of the famous music venues in town. If cool jazz is your melody of choice, this is the place – and it happens every night of the week. By the time I arrived the joint was jumpin’, the ambiance slammin’, and the setting was intimate, not to say slightly claustrophobic. A group called The Monster Band was doing its thing – loudly – horns blasting with five hundred pounds of furious, fully-blown big band horsepower making for a total wall of sound.

An Extraordinary Edifice

State Capitol in Austin

State Capitol in Austin

That would be the state capitol, a magnificent example of 19th century architecture and widely recognized as one of the nation’s most distinct state capitols. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, it was later designated a National Historic Landmark for its significant contribution to American history. The day I visited it was very warm but as the capitol is sited on one of Austin’s highest points, I enjoyed a refreshing breeze from a veranda as I gazed over sweeping views of the Colorado River. This regal, sunset-red granite edifice is the largest of all state capitols and second only in total size to the National Capitol in Washington. See… everything really is bigger in Texas!

Waiting in line to enter Franklin Barbecue? Of course, though even the wait lines in Texas are – you guessed it – bigger! Aaron and wife Stacy opened Franklin Barbecue in late 2009 in an East Austin parking lot. Word quickly got around that the Franklins were selling the best barbecue in town and soon the line of admirers snaked around the block – every single day. In less than two years, The Washington Post, Texas Monthly, and the Cooking Channel were among a growing chorus hailing Franklin among America’s BBQ elite. Before going there, I was told of one recent visitor to this local smokey meat mecca that jumped the line. He visited Franklin Barbecue and had the temerity to go to the front of the long line of customers waiting patiently to get in. Yes, that would be President Obama. Ending his speech at the LBJ Presidential Library, he said: “I love Austin, I love barbecue, and I will get some right after this.” Then, arriving at Franklin he said “I know this is a long line. I feel real bad, but—I’m gonna cut.” And so he did, but not before paying for the orders of two people that he cut in front of. Awwwww….

There’s a new restaurant in Austin that’s garnering lots of attention: LaV, pronounced La Vie.  An appropriate name as this recently-opened dining establishment is nothing if not full of life. When I walked in the door, I was awed by the lush French atmosphere and amazed by the animated and bubbly scene before me. Chef Allison Jenkins focuses on simple yet stylish Provencal cuisine and my salad with roasted shallot and walnut vinaigrette, followed by potato and celeriac soup and finally grilled whole daurade with fennel confit was pure Provencal – pure perfection.

Seeing LBJ in a Whole New Way

Replica of LBJ's Oval Office, LBJ Library

Replica of LBJ’s Oval Office, LBJ Library

Another president that would have had no problem cutting the BBQ line was LBJ himself, right? Visiting the LBJ Presidential Library was a rewarding experience. First off, the library is simply splendid, describing President Johnson’s legacy from the perspective of outstanding exhibits featuring his life and times throughout the turbulent 60s, Vietnam and Civil Rights. I found the November 22, 1963 section affecting and the replica of his Oval Office, duplicated in 7/ 8 scale, was imposing. It was a hoot to pick up one of the exhibit phones and hear LBJ’s conversations with various personages. When he laid into the late Adam Clayton Powell about something he was supposed to do but didn’t, surprise, the pompous, arrogant politician was left speechless. The conversation ended with Powell backing down and eating crow. Another conversation was with the late Katherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post. Known to be a notorious but innocent flirt, the President began the conversation with honeyed endearments, saying how much he misses her and if only he weren’t married…hilarious and somehow very sweet. Viewing his archives of historical papers, photos, film and recordings, I left feeling informed and enlightened and with great admiration for his accomplishments yet ultimately saddened for the man who felt a profound sense of defeat owing to the absurdity and futility of Vietnam.

There’s no doubt about it, Austin is one hip city. The slogan “Keep Austin Weird” initially came about by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin. Today it is the proud motto of the city, reaching far beyond a marketing campaign. The notion that weirdness is the central gist of life here is at the heart of this mantra. Liberal and progressive politically, socially, in the arts and in music, Austin, a city that revels in its eccentricity, intends to keep itself weird – and wonderful. To that end, there’s a Keep Austin Weird Festival held each summer. And coming up in October, the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, this year October 3-5 and October 10-12 with an outstanding lineup: Eminem, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Jimmy Cliff and many more.

In Austin, pride of place and pride in its people is an aura I keenly felt. It gave off a warm and happy – ok, weird – vibe that I quite liked. And to quote yet another president, George W. Bush: “Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called ‘walking’.” To that, I can only say Alright!

Deep in the Heart

River Walk, San Antonio

River Walk, San Antonio

An easy hop, skip and jump from Austin, this natural beauty -­ San Antonio – is just 75 miles and less than 90 minutes away; it’s known as one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S. Historic sites such as the Alamo abound and cultural highlights like the San Antonio River Walk flourish. A city of intriguing contrasts, this is a place where modern attractions are juxtaposed with celebrated monuments of Texas history. On my bucket list for eons, I was delighted that I was finally here. The city’s motto is “Deep. In the Heart.” and – after just a few days of gliding down the river, swooning over the exhibits at the Museum of Art, dining in this, the cradle of Tex-Mex, and getting to know some of its fine citizens – I got it. Yes, San Antonio is deeply captivating and yes, it stirs emotions that directly touch the heart.

Immense in Extent

First stop: The Alamo, of course. The most famous historic site in Texas, The Alamo played a critical role in this state’s revolution. A former mission, it was occupied and defended by a band of Texans, (including Jim Bowie and the frontiersman Davy Crockett) against an overwhelming Mexican army led by General Santa Anna. In unparalleled bravery, they held out for thirteen days and refused to surrender. Each, ultimately, met his death. The Alamo represents the heroic struggle for independence from Mexico and remains hallowed ground in the pursuit of Texas liberty. In 1835, one of the brave souls who gave his life, Daniel Cloud, soberly proclaimed:”If we succeed, the country is ours. It is immense in extent and fertile in its soil and will amply reward all our toil. If we fail, death in the cause of liberty and humanity is not reason for shuddering…” Walking through the Alamo, the heart is touched.

Lucky me – to be here just when the San Antonio Museum of Art was presenting a major exhibit of the work of Henri Matisse – a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore what is perhaps the world’s finest collection, drawn from the renowned Cone endowment at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The exhibit featured more than eighty paintings, sculptures and works on paper spanning six decades of the artist’s career. A few years ago, I had the chance to stand in this artist’s very studio in Vence, France where some of these works were painted, so this was, for me, a particularly meaningful encounter.

Sauntering down the river I came upon an ornate bridge that I traversed via antiquated stone steps that lead me to La Villita, an historic arts village and then on to the Arneson River Theater. The steps themselves were worth noting as they were inlaid with pretty Spanish tiles. Here is where Fiesta Noche del Rio, an interactive folkloric show of talented musicians, dancers and singers is presented. The audience sits on grass-covered steps in an outdoor setting; the theater put me in mind of the great amphitheater of Ephesus – on a considerably smaller scale, of course. For me, the star of the production was one Alejandro Antonio, Flamenco guitarist extraordinaire. His powerful and commanding strumming seemed to reach up to a sky studded with stars, moving me deeply and touching my heart – the San Antonio motto relevant once again.

Epicurean Enticements

Unending lines at Franklin BBQ

Unending lines at Franklin BBQ

One evening, remembering that this town is the birthplace of Tex-Mex, I made my way over to the Pearl Complex, an historic brewery on the banks of the river that’s been transformed into an urban village where one can eat, shop, live, work, and play. Oh and no small thing: it’s home to The Culinary Institute of America. I dined at Cured, a newish restaurant. While the architectural details of the restaurant were worthy of note, Chef Steven McHugh’s fare was flat-out fabulous. Then, on my last night in town, I decided to stay close by and had dinner at my Hotel Contessa’s restaurant, Las Ramblas. A wise choice. Charmingly sited on a terrace in a cozy corner of River Walk, it seemed like Chef Jordan Mackey was psychic as out came many of my food faves. Dinner: delectable; the River Walk parade of people: entertaining; my evening: a resounding success.

The One, The Only

Every great city has its noteworthy river. I mean, what would Paris be without the Seine or London without the Thames? However, there’s one city-defining body of water that takes the prize. Yes, that’s San Antonio and its famed River Walk. Dating from the 1940s, River Walk’s trail of cobblestone paths lined with sheltering trees, shops, gardens and restaurants meanders through the city and connects more than 2,000 acres of parkland. In fact, it is a living example of what a reclaimed city river can be. Teddy Roosevelt camped on its banks as he recruited his Rough Riders and the battle of the Alamo happened here. Julian Castro, past mayor of the city, has called the San Antonio River “the lifeblood of this community.” No argument there. San Antonio’s charms go deep, to the heart – and that’s just where my brilliant memories will stay.

If You Go: San Antonio:   www.visitsanantonio.com

To Do:                                                 To Eat:                                                To Stay:

San Antonio Museum of Art                 Cured                                                Hotel Contessa

samuseum.org                                        curedatpearl.com                          thehotelcontessa.com

The Alamo                                               Las Ramblas

thealamo.org                                           thehotelcontessa.com/las_ramblas

Fiesta Noche del Rio

fiestanochsa.com

If You Go: Austin :  www.austintexas.org

To Do:                                        To Eat:                                                To Stay:

Elephant Room                           Max’s Wine Dive                                    Courtyard & Residence Inn

elephantroom.com                    maxswinedive.com/austin                    marriott.com/ausrd

Austin Overtures Tour              LaV Restaurant

aotoursaustin.com                    lavaustin.com

Austin State Capitol

tspb.state.tx.us

LBJ Library

lbjlibrary.org

Three Destinations to Explore the Culture of America

The United States is impressively vast, ocean to ocean. There are mountain, plains, deserts, and various tropical destinations. All of these have formed some of the most diverse group of individuals well before settlers began arriving on the soil. The cultures formed well before modern times have continued to strive to this day; these places and culture harbor some of the best experiences for travelers.

imageThe following list is three of these destinations where you can explore new cultures and the wonderful locations that helped shape them to what they are today.

1: The French Side of Louisiana

Louisiana was once part of French control before being purchased but it gave the state enough time to instill French language and culture. In fact, there are distinct types of languages you may find in the area from French, Creole French, and Cajun French. Many have disregarded cities such as New Orleans but it’s one of the most prime locations in the United States to experience authentic French culture.

New Orleans is a little rough around the edges but you can expect:

·  Rides throughout the city via classic street cars

·  Explore the dark side by visiting a voodoo shop

·  Party hard during one of the many parades and events

·  Listen to the sounds of Jazz while chowing on Cajun/Creole food

Of course, Mardi Gras is the big attention getter for New Orleans but stopping in when it’s not happening is well worth the travel. Accommodations are easy to find, the food and people are great, and there is a real Southern, French vibe you can’t get anywhere else!

2: The Native Americans of the Chickasaw Nation

The Chickasaw Tribe lived in the Southeast (mainly around areas such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Kentucky) until they migrated to Oklahoma in 1832. The new land they found settlement on is now referred to as the Chickasaw Nation, which comprises a handful of counties toward the lower-middle region of the state.

Reasons for the destination:

·  Incredible views (from mountains, lakes, and waterfalls)

·  Thriving nightlife (from nightclubs and casinos)

·  Expansive dining (from high-end restaurants to basic bistros)

·  Community events (from dances to music)

The area has many different, fun activities for all ages. Its location is incredible for those who want to go off to the mountains on a hike and then come back to the city to experience real Native American culture.

3: The Latin Explosion that is Miami

Miami is a hot spot for play boys and play girls but really that’s only what most see on the surface having watched shows like Miami Vice. When you reach the city it is far different from what you can imagine. There is certainly the high rises and South Beach but beneath the media glitz is an expansive collection of Latin American cultures (all of which bring their unique flare you can’t find anywhere else).

Within South Florida (and especially in Miami) you’ll find:

·  Colombians

·  Cubans

·  Dominicans

·  Haitians

·  Hondurans

·  Nicaraguans

·  Puerto Ricans

Similar to how they say the United States is a melting pot – Miami is one that blends so many Latino cultures that you won’t have a lifetime to explore the various foods, traditions, and events what Miami has to offer (though it’s still worth the try!).

​Things to do in Sandpoint, ID in the summer

  • Drive up the Schweitzer Mountain road and visit the resort

About 12 miles from the city of Sandpoint, there is a gorgeous, windy mountain road. It is a 9 mile drive with drop offs and no guard rails, which makes you a bit anxious, but it is definitely a fun drive to the top. When you arrive, there is a resort with its village and the beautiful sceneries of the lake Pend Oreille.

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The village offers several boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Enjoy the beautiful sunny weather. Go for a hike up to the top. Relax, and have a drink or a coffee at the Coyote Ugly Cafe. There are also a few great restaurants for casual dining or fine dining in the village, such as The Chimney Rock Grill. The Coyote Ugly Cafe is a good place to have a coffee and some great sandwiches.

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You have the most spectacular views of Lake Pend Oreille from the top. If you are brave enough, you can ride down the mountain on a bike and climb back up. This usually opens for the summer around the 27th of June. Take the mechanical lift to the top and admire the beauty of the region for free if you get there for the opening day on the 27th of June 2014. Summer on the mountain is calmer without big crowds, and when night falls, it seems like you own your own resort. It is quiet, less populated, isolated, and lots of fun. If you come there for vacation, you will enjoy the laid back atmosphere with activities ranging from tennis, mountain biking, and hiking to taking lifts to the top of the mountain, having a hot tub in each room, and enjoying the gorgeous romantic nights.

  • Go to City Beach for a Swim

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The city beach is the place to be when you are in town, especially on a hot summer day. It’s a great place to go for a swim, sun tanning, and other activities (such as walking along the lake and playing tennis or beach ball). Kids have their own playground next to the beach with lifeguards on duty, so that you can enjoy a fun day at the beach. It is a laid back atmosphere with friendly people and great waters. The sceneries are spectacular. The portion of Lake Pend Oreille is so big that it feels like an ocean. This is the 3rd deepest lake in the Nation, with 111 miles of shorelines. The water is relatively warmer than other local places with a limited activity area for swimming. If you have rented a boat, go have fun at the lake. You can fish or simply enjoy going for a ride. The parking area can support 250 cars and has an area for trucks with trailers and RV parking. The great thing is that parking is free, and no dogs are allowed at the beach or park.

  •  Take a Cruise on the Lake

IMGP5317Cruises leave at the city beach, so that you can enjoy the 43 mile long lake with its breathtaking scenery on a Shawnodese chartering vessel. There are different types of cruises available, both private and public, including: daily lake cruises, river lunch cruises, eagle watching cruises, and more. Please check the website for further scheduling and pricing for the summer:

  •  Go for a Hike or bike ride

Park your car at city beach or by the Conaco gas station, and go for a long bridge walk, hike, or bike ride. The path is paved all the way across the bridge. The 2 mile long walkway is spectacular along Lake Pend Oreille and continues along the bridge next to the freeway 95. It is an easy walk with spectacular views of the lake. The only downside is that sometimes the traffic on 95 spoils the walk. Check out the video attached to this section for details. The beginning of the path is shaded, but that disappears as you reach the long bridge all the way to the other side. If you walk, it would be a 1.5 -2 hour walk back for the 4 mile round trip.

Other hiking trails include:

Evans Landing trail – 2 mile trail

Maiden Rock Trail – 2 mile steep

Mikeinnick Trail – 7 Mile round trip

The 3.7 mile Gold hill trail is the most popular among local bikers and hikers. It can be moderate to strenuous. Start the trailhead on Bottle bay road 8 miles south of Sandpoint.

Mineral Point Interpretive Trail contours along Lake Pend Oreille about 14 miles south of Sandpoint near Garfield Bay, with magnificent views across the lake to the Green Monarchs.

  •  Enjoy Downtown and the Restaurants

ffWalk the downtown area and enjoy this unique beach town atmosphere, with its small boutiques and festive streets. Go for a small walk, rent a bike, or get a great cup of coffee or a meal. Even Brothers Coffee Place is a great place to have a great cup of coffee and relax. There are a great deal of worthy restaurants in town, such as Trinity at City beach, or Joel’s for Mexican food. If you enjoy beers, there are two microbreweries you can find: The Laughing Dog Brewing in Ponderay at 1109 Fontaine Road, and Mikeduff’s Brewing Company in downtown Sandpoint at 312 N. 1st Ave.

  • Visit a Museum

There are two museums in town:

The Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center is open year round, with free admission. Its goal is to educate visitors about the historic contributions of aviators and innovators who have helped create modern technology, and to celebrate these individuals.

The Boner County Historical Museum is located at 611 Ella Street. Displays include Native American artifacts, an extensive collection of Ross Hall photos, a pioneer kitchen, and more. They offer free admission on the 1st Saturday of every month, and are open year round.

  •  Other

Other activities include golfing (there are 2 courses available), kayaking, rafting, and shopping.

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Sandpoint, Idaho is a great place to vacation for a fun summer, whether you are alone or with family. Lake Pend Oreille provides you with all the fun activities necessary to spend a fantastic summer with warm weather, nice food, and a friendly atmosphere.

Have a great summer!

Scottsdale’s Winter “Sun”derland

Travel Brigade visits Scottsdale, Arizona, for a sunny getaway. On this radio podcast, we’ll chat about great resorts, relaxing spas, championship golf courses and restaurants that give Southwestern fare a fun new twist. Click below for an Arizona adventure.

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Jack_Knife_angled

Taliesin West Night

5.0.2

Enjoy the trip! Follow us on Twitter @TravelBrigade.

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Explore the Rivieras of the World

Everyone has heard of the French Riviera and everyone has heard of the Italian Riviera, but did you know there are loads more Rivieras around the world. Why not hop in your yacht and explore the quieter Rivieras in the world. If you can’t afford your own yacht, why not think of a new career as a yacht crew man.

Join me as I go through some of the less well known Rivieras.

Santa Barbara – USA

USA-Santa_Barbara-View_from_County_Courthouse_Tower-3

The self-styled America Riviera, Santa Barbara is found in the state of California and one of the reasons that it takes the name Riviera is because its climate has been described as being very similar to the Mediterranean. The city has an approximate population of 88,000 as of the last census. The city is a vital part of Californian tourism and is an important power politically.

Santa Barbara is a centre for the arts in this part of California, which means you should pop in and have a look at what Santa Barbara has to offer, from the performing arts to museums, Santa Barbara has it all, however if the arts aren’t your bag, then why not enjoy a host of restaurants, a beautiful wharf, or even the zoo.

The Gold Coast – Australia

Gold_Coast_Convention_and_Exhibition_Centre

Okay, not exactly a hidden gem or a Riviera, most people have heard of the Gold Coast, but still, it’s one of the most picturesque places to take your shiny new yacht to. The Gold Coast is a coastal city in the southern eastern part of Queensland, which is on found on the east coast of Australia.

The Gold Coast attracts many surfers to its stunning beaches (if you want proof, they even named one of their beaches Surfer’s Paradise), however surfing isn’t the only thing the Gold Coast offers for its 10 million annual tourists. The city is famed for its music, including its orchestra and music festivals, it boasts a world class ballet company, film studios, and the city has a good foot in many sports.

Torbay – United Kingdom

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Maybe not as exotic as the previous two, but just as lovely. England has a quiet beauty to it, and you’ll love the quaint-ness of Torbay. The Torbay area consists of three towns: Torquay, Paignton, and Brixham.

Here’s a list of some famous people from the area:

There’s history in Torbay as well, as scientist found 4 human skeletons, which they deduced must be the oldest found modern humans in the whole of Europe. This has always been one of the main reasons that England has remained a popular tourist destination: the history.

Set Sail

If you owned or worked on a yacht there’s no end to where you can go. I’ve just gone through 3 suggestions, but there’s hundred and thousands of places to visit and like I said earlier, if you can’t afford a yacht, then consider working on one, if you want more information, check this site out: onboardonline.com as it has information for anyone looking to sail the seven seas.

Get on board and feel the wind in your hair. If you have you own boat then you owe it to yourself to get out there and see the world in all its glory. If you leave it sat in some marina gathering barnacles, it’s going to waste! Lift up that anchor and explore!

Santa Barbara: From the Mission to the Funk Zone

Visit Santa Barbara on this Travel Brigade podcast episode to enjoy beaches, boats and bikes in a town full of great dining and fun hotel options near the ocean. Click on the button below to go from the historic Mission overlooking the ocean to the Urban Wine Trail in the “Funk Zone,” to glamping in the beautiful hills of El Capitan Canyon to shopping on State Street, Santa Barbara is the perfect town to hang out and soak up the beautiful sunny weather. We’ll also tell you how you can enjoy all sorts of discounts on hotels, dining and activities by pledging to go “Car Free” in a town that’s easy to get around. Enjoy the trip! Follow us on Twitter @TravelBrigade.

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New Travel Podcasts with Travel Brigade on BlogTalkRadio

Top 5 Things To Do In San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

1. Watch Chocolate Being Made At Ghirardelli Square! 

In the wake of appreciating an outing at Aquatic Beach you can head up the mount to Ghirardelli Square. It’s a little move to the highest point of the knoll – your children will most likely gripe like mine did – however you can pay off them with a bit of free chocolate they are continually distributing at Ghirardelli Square right outside their store. Get your chocolate and rest and after that visit the cover of the dessert shop and watch chocolate being made. It simply makes me need to bounce in and begin drinking it! This is an exceptional spot to enjoy a reprieve and appreciate a few marvelous desserts additionally. 

2. Leave The San Francisco Municipal Pier. 

Adore the sea and you can truly get out over it without actually getting on a pontoon when you go out for a stroll on the wharf. Head off to the closure of Beach Street and after that head to the Bay and you will discover the San Francisco Municipal Pier. It’s made of bond of and extremely solid and safe. You can go out to the finish and get an incredible perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Prison. You will fundamentally be encompassed by water on three sides. Your children additionally may get a kick out of the chance to look in the plastic cans of locals crabbing off this dock. 

3. Take A Segway Tour. 

In the event that your children are twelve and more advanced in years this is truly enjoyable to do. It’s somewhat pricey however I think it was worth the cash for me. Offered by the San Francisco Electric Company complete with 45 minutes of security and preparing. You can figure out how to ride a Segway, research San Francisco history and take an extraordinary tour of the waterfront all in around the range of two to three hours. I cherished this tour since the workers they have are quite amicable and supportive and the tour was a completely distinctive approach to see the city. 

4. Watch Street Performers along Fishermen’s Wharf. 

You never know who will be there when you are going to the San Francisco waterfront yet this is truly one of my most loved San Francisco things to do. Assuming that your children are tired and would prefer not to cookout at Aquatic Beach then you can purchase them lunch and thud them before some road entertainers while they chomp away and overlook their sore legs. I have seen jazz players, break dance lovers, musical performers playing music to offer their CD’s and pantomimes. Your children will love it so don’t only stroll on by. Require some serious energy to stop and delight in their abilities and this neighborhood flavor. 

5. Take A Tour Of Alcatraz Prison.

This ought to be number one on your San Francisco things to do record. Anyone may as well ever leave San Francisco without going by Alcatraz. Where else in the United States would you be able to take your children to a past elected prison for a visit? Make a point to arrange far ahead of time by acquiring your tickets on-line. Simply Google Alcatraz Tours and purchase your tickets on-line, print them out and you will spare yourself a considerable measure of time and harass. That is the thing that I did when I took my Alcatraz tour.

Vacationing on the Beautiful Island of Maui, Hawaii

Welcome to Maui

Welcome to Maui

Sunrise at Haleakala Crater – A beautiful Paradise Island with flowers, good food, warm sunshine and beaches. Walking along the beach of Kanapalii in Maui is an unforgettable experience. My Dream Vacation Wow, what a beautiful view. I was finally here, my dream vacation to the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Maui.

As we approached the Kahalui Airport, the view out the window was breathtaking. My daughter had arranged for a shuttle to take me to the Kaanapali Alii Resort where they were waiting for me. Ka’anapali Alii Resort At Ka’anapali Alii you never have to leave the resort area; everything you need is within walking distance, including restaurants, shopping, swimming, walks on the beach. Whether you like to swim in the ocean or pool, it’s there waiting for you. Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing on the ocean, taking a cruise out whale watching, or just lying in the sun or building a castle in the sand, it’s all right there. If you venture to cross the Honoapi’ilani Highway, there is the Royal Ka’anapali Golf Course with a breathtaking view of the ocean, for those that enjoy the sport. There is fun for the whole family.

Hawaii 013Daily Walks Along the Beach I was showered and dressed ready for my morning walk along the beach by 7:00 am. How refreshing to get up early and take a walk while the dew is still on the ground. Walking along the trail by the beach is so relaxing. The beautiful hibiscus flowers along the way were red, yellow and pink. Stopping every now and then, I looked out over the ocean and watched the boats as the crew prepared for their day in the water. Later I took Isabel for a walk in her stroller. We walked along the path, stopping every now and then to look at a waterfall or to watch the birds walking around on the beach. Isabel and I went back to the condo to change to our swimwear and head to the pool and beach for the afternoon. While Isabel and her mom and dad prefer the pool, I prefer the beach and ocean. Isabel, Terra and Austin joined me later for some play time in the ocean. Isabel loves for them to take her in the deep water and pass her back and forth between them as she squeals with laughter. I enjoy just standing back and watching them enjoy the water. Fine Outdoor Dining The restaurants are superb. The first night there we walked down to Whalers Village where we dined outdoors, at the Leilani’s on the beach restaurant.

Hawaii 035The next morning we drove across the highway and up the hill to a quaint little village atmosphere where we had breakfast at a local diner. We also ate breakfast at the Cane & Taro restaurant which is located at the entrance to Whalers Village. The Hula Grill and Barefoot Bar and Grill is another great beach restaurant where you can dine outdoors barefoot with sand between your toes. There is nothing like relaxing and eating in the great outdoors on the beach with a marvelous view of the ocean and listening to the waves.

Hawaii 008(1)These are just a few of the great restaurants in the Ka’anapali area with fresh fish and delicious food. Whalers Village Shopping Before dining at one of the exquisite beach restaurants you can stroll around Whalers Village and do a little shopping. There are several unique gift shops, such as, Totally Hawaiian Gift Gallery with scented glycerin soaps, lava glass items and Abalone boxes among other Hawaiian gifts. Several kids clothing stores which include Blue Ginger Kids, Cinnamon Girl and Tommy Bahama, with boys’ aloha shirts and little girls’ beach dresses. I loved the Honolua Wahine store, with all the beautiful swimwear. Several booths are set up throughout the outdoor mall. You can even pick out your fresh pearl and have it set up as a ring, necklace or bracelet. These are only a few of the many stores in Whalers Village. Then if you get hungry and just need to grab a quick bite, walk down the steps to McDonald’s Express, Dragon Wall Express or Mr Sub/Mr Taco. Hawaiian Luau with Authentic Dances We attended a luau next door at the Weston Hotel. This was an experience I never dreamed of getting to participate in. It was wonderful and relaxing. The entertainment was awesome, with all the Hawaiian music, dances and fire. It’s amazing what they can do and the stories they tell with their hands and movements. Haleakala National Park and Seeing the Volcano at Sunrise You don’t want to go to Maui without venturing off the resort and doing some sightseeing. We ventured out of bed at 3:00 am to drive to Haleakala National Park to catch the sunrise at the Haleakala Crater at 6:37 am.

Road to Hana 021This was the most spectacular sunrise I had ever seen. It was very windy and cold, but well worth it to experience the beautiful view. Looking down into a dark volcano was kind of scary, but exhilarating just thinking of the magnitude of all this. On the way back down the mountain we stopped at the Kula Lodge for breakfast and shopping in the little general store located there. Shopping in Lahaina The day before we were scheduled to head back to San Francisco, California, we took a trip down the road to Lahaina.

This is a beautiful quaint little town by the ocean with unique dining, art and shopping. I bought my little granddaughter, Isabel, a beautiful little Hawaiian sundress and my grandson, Lincoln, an adorable little Hawaiian shorts and shirt, very reasonably priced. I also bought souvenirs for everyone, including myself. Experience of a Lifetime My week on the lovely island of Maui was wonderful. An experience of a lifetime. I could live here, it is so beautiful and the weather is perfect. So relaxing and refreshing. Maybe someday I will return and bring my husband with me. There is so much more I want to see that I did not have time to see on this trip, such as the waterfalls.

How Walkable Is Honolulu?

Honolulu

Honolulu

by Nik Donovic,

The state of Hawaii regularly ranks as one of the top ten tourist destinations in the United States. The island of Oahu, and more specifically, its capital city of Honolulu, is the go-to destination for millions of travelers who help bring $10 billion to the local economy every year.

With numbers like that, it’s easy to see how a mix of drivers who are unfamiliar with the area, especially in downtown Honolulu, could easily lead to a car or pedestrian accident, not to mention a trip to a personal injury attorney in Honolulu! Fortunately, though, Honolulu is considered to be a very ‘walkable’ city, so you can avoid all of the traffic congestion and pedestrian perils that you typically expect to encounter in a big city. Here are some sites to see in downtown Honolulu that are close enough to walk to, and are also considered to be must-sees for any vacationer.

Aloha Tower and Marketplace

Admission is free to this downtown Honolulu landmark. The Aloha Tower lighthouse was built in 1926 and remains one of downtown Honolulu’s most recognizable structures. The observation deck is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until sunset, and the surrounding marketplace features live music, shopping and restaurants galore.

Chinatown

Walk west and you’ll run into Chinatown. With its herbal shops, lei stands, and ethnic eateries, Honolulu’s Chinatown is a great way to spend a carefree (and car free) afternoon. Home to antique shops, art galleries, and theatres, Chinatown is one of the cultural highlights of downtown Honolulu. In fact, they’ve even coined a name for it – Art Walk in Chinatown. It’s also Honolulu’s hotspot for nightlife.

Lolani Palace and Barracks

Another site worth walking to in downtown Honolulu is the Lolani Palace, which is the United States’ only royal palace. Once home to two monarchs, Lolani Palace had telephones and electricity before the White House did! On the same property as the palace sits the barracks, which housed the royal guards. Built to look like a medieval castle, the Iolani Barracks is now the location of the palace gift shop, theatre, and ticket office. Iolani Palace itself is now a public museum that offers guided and self-guided tours Monday through Saturday.

Mission Houses Museum

For another peek into Hawaii’s history, walk over to the Mission Houses Museum where you’ll discover Hawaii’s oldest Western-style buildings. Built between 1821 and 1841 for Hawaii’s first Christian missionaries, the Mission Houses Museum displays much of the original clothing, books, furniture, and other items that belonged to the missionary families. The Printing Office houses the first printing press brought into the Pacific, which is highly significant to the history of Hawaii because the printing press allowed literacy to flourish in the island chain.

Kawaiaha’o Church and Mission Cemetery

One of Hawaii’s most historic churches, the Kawaiaha’o Church was designed by Hawaii’s first Christian missionary, Hiram Bingham, and was completed in 1842. The external design is grand, but if you’re lucky enough to get a look inside, you’ll see its true magnificence. The boxes where the royal family sat are still in the back of the church.

Downtown Honolulu offers so much to do and see in such a short distance that a car isn’t really necessary. Mind the street lights, stay in the crosswalk and enjoy your vacation. When you’re done, head down to the water. Yes, that’s within walking distance, too.

Niagara Falls, NY

A popular spot for getting wowed or soaked amid natural splendor, Niagara Falls attracts curious spectators from around the world. The splendid main attraction – more than six million feet of water cascading over a rocky crest – sits partially in the United States and partially in Canada.

The falls are spectacular, everyone should try to see  at least once. This is my first time here and its the end of fall. Its not very warm this time of the year. Definitely not as crowded. Some of the activities are not open.

Bridge connecting Canada

Bridge connecting Canada

Water going towards the Falls

Water going towards the Falls

queen of the steam

Maid of the Mist

The ride on the maid of the mist boat was an adventure experience. While there are upper and lower decks I would recommend  travelers to stay in the lower deck unless they love to get soak. I mean really soak 🙂

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

In my opinion the best view was from the Canada side. We spent time on both sides and even rode the boats to the falls and back.

Niagara Falls, Canadian side II

Niagara Falls, Canadian side II

More Niagara Falls, Canadian side

More Niagara Falls, Canadian side

Beautiful view of the Falls

Beautiful view of the Falls

American side of the Falls

American side of the Falls

American side of the Falls

American side of the Falls

Deep into the Falls

Deep into the Falls

 

 

On the Maid of the Mist

On the Maid of the Mist

US road trips for all the family

2Maui-Hawaii

2Maui-Hawaii

There are some places everyone should try and visit at some point in their lives. The USA is usually high of people’s lists of dream holiday vacations, and one of the cheapest and easiest ways to see the country is on one of the famous road trips.

The highways in Northern America are second to none, designed for easy driving and surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery. While the main highlights are located within the cities, some of the smaller towns that can be discovered on a road trip will provide the cherry on the cake for the vacation.

Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii is considered by many to be a paradise on earth, a truly laid back destination where people can truly discover themselves once more. However, not many people think of Hawaii as the best place for a road trip, though the Hana Highway is amongst America’s most iconic.

Only 68 miles, it’s ideal for those seeking adventure and something off the beaten tourist path. A thrilling ride, a waterfall pool is one of the stops along the way while the town of Hana gives visitors the chance to experience ‘old’ Hawaii.

Los Angeles to San Francisco

A longer trip at 400 miles, the scenery on the road here is second to none. Snaking along the coastline, the Pacific Coast Highway gives sun, sea and sand lovers the chance to experience the best beaches North America has to offer.

Malibu is the number one stop for celebrity spotting and surfing, while Santa Barbara is ideal for whale watching and wine tasting. San Francisco is a world away from Los Angeles, showing that a coastal city does not need to be beach-focussed, with art and food high on the list of activities in this iconic city. Like neighbouring Los Angeles, San Francisco suffers from extremely heavy rush hour traffic.

“San Francisco has a pretty comprehensive public transport network. When driving, trams, trolleybuses and buses get right of way, so make sure to stop for them. However, driving at any time except early mornings and evenings should be fine. Main tourist office is at 900 Market Street” according to Mike Callaghan Head of Argus Car Hire.

Planning the trip

Both of these trips are ideal for those travelling with children, despite the stigma attached with taking a road trip with a child. As long as the proper planning is taken, these trips will be amongst the best you’ll ever take with your family!

The longer highway trips offer a chance to explore the unknown and thrill children; there are also loads of photo opportunities giving them a chance to create unforgettable memories. Planning ahead with food will also save money, giving you a chance to indulge with the family every evening.

While the adults may be entertained by the scenery all day, children may become bored at some points. Rather than spending lots of money on expensive gadgets, simple paper games such as hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe can get the whole family involved and this booklet of games and puzzles might be useful especially for younger kids enjoying puzzles! You could have hours of fun trying to spot something you’ve never seen before!

Archers National Park, Moab UT

There pictures were taken during summer vacation in Moab, Located in the eastern Utah. The area attracts a lot of tourists every year. A must see is Archers national park.  The landscape is unbelievable. The rock formations are stunning. The area is famous for its outdoor activities such as Skydiving, Jeep Safari, Boat racing, hiking, biking, para gliding and more.

Rock formations in Archers Nat Park

Rock formations in Archers Nat Park

 

Beauty of the park

Beauty of the park

 

On top of the world, Jeep Safari

On top of the world, Jeep Safari

 

Famous Arche

Famous Arch

Sunset @ Archers Nat Park

Sunset @ Archers Nat Park

 

Rock looks like a fish to me!

Rock looks like a fish to me!

 

Rainbow over the hills

Rainbow over the hills

 

Arch and its surroundings

Arch and its surroundings

 

Stunning views of the park

Stunning views of the park

 

Beautiful view

Beautiful view

 

Rock formations

Rock formations

 

Tree at the park

Tree at the park

Exploring Alamosa

Sand Dunes National Park, Alamosa, CO

Sand Dunes National Park, Alamosa, CO

by Jamie Greeman,

The San Luis Valley is located in South Central Colorado on the border of New Mexico. It is one of the most scenic places in Colorado with the towering peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east and the San Juan Mountains to the west. There are eight fourteen thousand foot peaks close to Alamosa, just begging for a visit from  the avid hiker or just the causal day walker.

Alamosa is most famous for being home of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, a miracle of nature that is sure to take your breathe away. The dunes are the largest in North America, so big that they would completely cover Denver! People come from all over the world to camp, hike and play on the great dunes, a promising play ground for all abilities and ages. Alamosa is home to two historic passenger trains, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. There is a connection between the trains that creates the only place in North America where standard gauge passenger rail meets narrow gauge passenger rail. Both excursions offer incredible scenery, historic steam engines and comfortable passenger cars. The Nature Conservancy partners with the National Park Service to protect the entire dunes system and its biodiversity. The Conservancy manages over 1,000 bison on Conservancy-owned grasslands and wetlands within the national park.

Bison Tours are offered throughout the year, weather permitting, on Nature Conservancy lands. Led as a hayride, horseback ride, or 4WD vehicle tour, bison managers take you to parts of the park that few visitors get to see. www.zranch.org  Alamosa is in the heart of nature, with the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, Blanca Wetlands and the San Luis Lakes State Park all excellent for wildlife viewing, especially birding. Alamosa is rich in cultural heritage. The area was first settled by the Spanish, then built on the backbone of the railroad. The culture has changed very little to this day, with the heritage alive in the arts, foods and events in the area. An excellent tour of this heritage is along the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway. Cattails Golf Course has a great clubhouse, it houses an expanded pro shop, new restaurant/bar and a nice deck with fantastic views of the mountains. The golf course is a unique par 71 that winds through tall old cottonwood trees and cattail wetlands along the banks of the mighty Rio Grande River.  Alamosa is centrally located to several hot springs, including the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool with 150,000 gallons of natural hot springs. The facility also features a 24 person therapy pool, a fun kid’s water slide, and a snack bar listed in Colorado’s Best: The Essential Guide to Favorite Places by Bruce Caughey and Doug Whitehead. On-site greenhouses grow organic tomatoes and cucumbers you won’t want to miss.

More…About Great Sand Dunes National Park

Because the dunes and surrounding mountains are designated wilderness, this is a great place to enjoy unspoiled natural beauty in a variety of ways. You can play in Medano Creek, build a sand castle, slide down the dunes, go birdwatching in wetlands, or ascend a 14,000′ peak. Medano Creek, at the base of the dunes is world famous for its beach like fun at the base of 14,000 foot peaks. Visitors may do any non-motorized and non-mechanized activities in the creek, including splashing, surfing, wading, skimboarding, tubing, sand castle building, and sand sculpting.  The creek is one of the few and best places in the world to experience “surge flow”, where creek water comes in rhythmic waves. The water’s source is the deep snows that collect through the winter. Explore any part of the 30 square mile dunefield you wish; there are no designated trails in the sand. A dunes–accessible wheelchair is available for free loan at the Visitor Center. In summer months, plan to hike the dunes in morning or evening to avoid hot sand. There are forested hiking trails around the Dunes, these are gentler trails that offer outstanding views of the Dunes and towering mountain peaks. Alpine trails also originate from the Dunes, they access lush meadows and forests, alpine lakes and spectacular peak ascents.

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is powered by steam locomotives, including the newest addition, the LS&I-18, built by the American Locomotive Company at its Pittsburgh works in 1910.  This locomotive previously operated on the Grand Canyon Railroad and the Mount Hood Railroad.  The LS&I joins the SP-1744, a fully restored 2-6-0 Mogul that began service in 1901 for the Southern Pacific Railroad.The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad has added five newly-remodeled 1950s-era dome cars to its fleet in 2011, offering passengers comfortable seating and panoramic views of area wildlife, sweeping mountain meadows, cliffs and canyons not accessible from the highway.  In addition, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad includes a 1930s-era open-air observation car and 1950s-era Pullman Passenger coaches, fully restored for daily service with new windows, heating, air conditioning and other amenities. The popular High Altitude Summer Concert Series is an annual favorite with performances by Michael Martin Murphey (“America’s singing cowboy poet” and a New Mexico favorite) and other national recording acts. Alamosa is the commercial hub of the vast San Luis Valley, with 10 hotels and motels, 35 restaurants, great shopping and an eighteen hole golf course. Great lodging and dining are available at very affordable rates. Article provided by Jamie Greeman, Visitor Bureau Alamosa