Explore Xanterra Travel Collection 2020

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XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION 2020 INDULGE YOUR Australia & New Zealand 15 must-see destinations you’ll want on your itinerary Desert Beauty Experience The Oasis at Death Valley like never before National Parks Guide Insider tips and tricks to help you plan the best vacation WANDERLUST

A World of Unforgettable Experiences

Zion. A name that means refuge has never been more fitting. Just one of the unique and unforgettable vacation experiences you’ll discover with The Xanterra Travel Collection. Discover more at zionlodge.com

ZION NATIONAL PARK UTAH

INDULGE YOUR WANDERLUST

A Message from the CEO: A Tradition of Transformative Travel

TRAVEL HAS A UNIQUE ability to connect us with others—and to ourselves. It can cultivate a sense of purpose and belonging, inspire gratitude, and empower us to push our limits and make positive changes in our lives.

This is at the heart of why we at Xanterra Travel Collection love traveling so much— and why we are committed to bringing you unforgettable travel experiences in incredible destinations around the world.

To get you excited to start planning your own transformative trips this year, we’re happy to bring you this 2020 issue of Explore magazine. Follow along as we take you on a virtual journey to so many of the places we go—from the country’s most beautiful national parks and California’s wine country to the best hidden gems in Europe and the secluded beaches of Southeast Asia.

The globe-trotting range of topics and destinations you’ll find in these pages is deliberate; it’s a tribute to our own well-traveled guests,

who have shown us how diverse their interests are when it comes to the type of exploring they like to do. Throughout the course of our 140-year history, we’ve learned that travelers who love walking through medieval villages in Italy or sailing through the narrow fjords of Alaska also enjoy the majesty of Yellowstone National Park and the old-school grandeur of the Grand Canyon Railway.

So as you take in the variety of destinations and experiences in this issue—as well as the writers’ stories of transformation along their way—we hope you’ll join us in celebrating the range of options Xanterra Travel Collection offers. We can’t wait to see where you go and would be honored to help you discover more Beautiful Places on Earth® in 2020 and beyond.

XANTERRA.COM | #XANTERRATRAVEL 1 WELCOME

FEATURES

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UNEXPECTED, UNTAMED, UNFILTERED ... UNBELIEVABLE

Take a trip that’ll inspire you to say “wow” at every turn.

42

GRANDEUR, REDEFINED

With a comfortable desert oasis as your home base, set out to explore Death Valley’s amazing, ever-changing landscapes.

BONJOUR, FRANCE!

An insider’s guide to seeing France like the French do.

2 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION XANTERRA.COM 2020
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TOWN OF VRBNIK, KRK ISLAND, CROATIA

A World of Unforgettable Experiences

Its 700 miles of trails span two countries, but the water dynamics that happen here affect an entire continent. Just one of the unique and unforgettable vacation experiences you’ll discover with The Xanterra Travel Collection. Discover more at glaciernationalparklodges.com .

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK MONTANA

Modern

Park It.

30 BEYOND TCHOTCHKES

These are our favorite souvenirs right now.

32 NATIONAL PARK KNOW-HOW

Play, stay, and eat at these national parks.

Great Escapes.

52 TAKE A NEW-YOU ADVENTURE

How to plan a trip that inspires a new outlook.

54 WALK THIS WAY

Take a walking vacation that’s right for you.

Departure.

64 PARTING SHOT

Discover Northern Ireland’s natural beauty.

About Xanterra

59

A WORLD OF UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES

The Xanterra Travel Collection delivers once-in-a-lifetime experiences for every kind of traveler.

4 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION
List. 08 YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST, REVISITED
sure these 10 hot spots are on your radar.
WELCOME TO THE LAND
UNDER A must-see itinerary for Australia and New Zealand.
.
SWIRL, SNIFF, SIP, SLURP
wine regions to delight your palate.
A CHAT WITH CHEF ANTHONY SASSO
world-famous
dishes about his collaboration with Windstar Cruises.
Bucket
Make
15
DOWN
Local
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Five
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The
chef
Traveler. 22 WIND DOWN, WISE UP Learning something new in one of these four destinations will add to your adventure.
clan
year.
26 TRAVEL WITH YOUR TRIBE Start a new vacation tradition with your friends or extended
this
where
the
power of
28 GO WITH THE FLOW Six sand-free places
you can experience
healing
water.
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POSITANO, AMALFI, ITALY VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA TWELVE APOSTLES SONOMA, CALIFORNIA
ON THE COVER NORMANDY, FRANCE
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE, VANCOUVER

A World of Unforgettable Experiences

A mile deep and a geological marvel, it’s almost as colorful as the characters in its history. Just one of the unique and unforgettable vacation experiences you’ll discover with The Xanterra Travel Collection. Discover more at grandcanyonlodges.com .

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK ARIZONA

PRESIDENT & CEO Andrew N. Todd

CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Betsy O’Rourke

EXPLORE WITH XANTERRA

One upscale small ship cruise line

One historic railroad

GCR GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL TheTrain.com

Three award-winning tour companies

Look

So. Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 600E

Four fine hotels

OAS THE OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY OasisAtDeathValley.com

GCR GRAND CANYON RAILWAY HOTEL TheTrain.com

GCGH THE GRAND HOTEL AT THE GRAND CANYON GrandCanyonGrandHotel.com

GNP CEDAR CREEK LODGE GlacierNationalParkLodges.com

Proud stewards of six national parks

GNP GLACIER NATIONAL PARK GlacierNationalParkLodges.com

GC GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK GrandCanyonLodges.com

MRNM MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL MtRushmoreNationalMemorial.com

RMNP ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK TrailRidgeGiftStore.com

YNP YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com

ZL ZION NATIONAL PARK ZionLodge.com

Harrington

Susan Humphrey

ART DIRECTOR Lindsay Burke EDITOR

Meghan Rabbitt

COPY EDITOR Julie Van Keuren PHOTOGRAPHY

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6312
Xanterra.com Published in partnership with: hungryeyemedia.com 800-852-0857
XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION
Greenwood Village, CO 80111 303-600-3400
PRESIDENT Brendan
PUBLISHER
Shutterstock, Alamy, estockphoto Chad Chisolm
Visit Xanterra.com CW COUNTRY WALKERS CountryWalkers.com VBT VBT BICYCLING VACATIONS vbt.com HV HOLIDAY VACATIONS HolidayVacations.com
WSC WINDSTAR CRUISES WindstarCruises.com
for these icons throughout the magazine to learn more about how you can travel to these destinations.amazing

Set out for adventure when you step aboard a fully restored, turn-of-the-century train to one of the most breathtaking destinations in the world. Experience living history through serenading musicians, knowledgeable attendants, and maybe – just maybe – an old-fashioned train robbery. To lose yourself in the timeless majesty of the Grand Canyon, call 1-800-THE-TRAIN or visit thetrain.com. MAKE A GRAND

THE
TRIP
GRANDEST.

YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST, REVISITED

Wondering where to go next?

Make sure these 10 hot spots are on your radar.

BUCKET
LIST
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TONEL BEACH, PORTUGAL

1. Alentejo, Portugal

Dubbed “New Tuscany” for its rolling hills and recent explosion of wineries, the Alentejo region of southcentral Portugal offers a less expensive, crowd-free alternative to the Italian original. Once you’ve had your fill of the region’s agricultural bounty, head west to the rarely crowded beaches, where you’ll find some of Europe’s best swells and sunbathers who have the sprawling sands all to themselves. CW VBT

2.

The Amalfi Coast, Italy

Greek ruins, olive and lemon orchards, and oceanside cliffs are just some of the sights to be seen in the 25 miles of Italy’s winding Amalfi coastline. Start in Sorrento, where the limoncello flows like it was invented here (as locals claim it was). Then move on to posh Positano and the sleepier towns of Praiano and Conca dei Marini, which both make for a quiet escape in more crowded months. CW VBT HV WSC

3. Williams, Arizona

Route 66—the famous highway that runs from Chicago to Santa Monica—once defined the American road trip with its iconic fill-up stations and souvenir shops. Today you can experience the same quirky roadside charm in Williams, Arizona, the very last town on Route 66 to be bypassed by the interstate system and the jumping-off point for The Grand Canyon Railway to Grand Canyon National Park. GCR

4. Iceland

Forged by volcanic fire and laced with ever-diminishing ice, the Snæfellsjökull glacier in western Iceland has inspired centuries of folklore for its commanding presence. From March to September, adventurers can trek to the top of the 4,700-foot-tall glacial peak— and on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded at the summit with a full view of waterfalls, lava fields, and glaciers. CW HV WSC

POSITANO, AMALFI, ITALY ROUTE 66, WILLIAMS, ARIZONA
XANTERRA.COM | #XANTERRATRAVEL 9
GODAFOSS WATERFALL, ICELAND

5.

The Galápagos Islands

Nearly 200 years after Charles Darwin’s historic visit, the Galápagos Islands remain one of the world’s best spots to see and study weird wildlife like the blue-footed booby, the famous finches, and the giant Galápagos tortoise (the largest in the world). The science-minded can get their bearings at the Darwin Research Station on Isla Santa Cruz, while those ready to literally dive right in to the tranquil, turquoise waters can snorkel at Las Bachas beach. HV

6. Croatia

Set astride the sapphire-blue Adriatic Sea, Croatia has a stunning 3,600-mile coastline with more than 1,100 islands. The island of Hvar, which used to be a sleepy fishing town, has exploded into a trendy resort destination. Back on the mainland, Dubrovnik—which doubled as King’s Landing in HBO’s Game of Thrones series— evokes the medieval era with the pedestrian-only Old Town, surrounded on all sides by stone walls built in the 16th century. CW VBT WSC

7.

Death Valley, California

One of the nicest places to visit in winter, Death Valley is easily accessed via the 100 miles of paved and dirt roads, though it’s worth getting out on two feet to see the sand dunes, salt flats, and dramatic canyons up close. Stay at The Oasis at Death Valley, a perfect jumping-off point for exploring the park and a luxurious spot to return to after your adventures. OAS

BUCKET LIST
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SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, GALÁPAGOS DUBROVNIK, CROATIA FURNACE CREEK GOLF COURSE, DEATH VALLEY

8. Vietnam

With more than 2,000 miles of coastline, Vietnam beckons beach-lovers with its tropical scenery. In Ha Long Bay, thousands of junglecovered limestone islands jut from the calm turquoise waters, housing hidden sandy beaches. Craving city energy? Hanoi, the capital, buzzes with cafés pouring the famous Vietnamese dark black coffee, while more populous Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has huge street markets with clothes and handcrafts. VBT HV

9. New England

The land of lighthouses and lobster rolls offers a window into the American past with both its historic sites and still-untouched wilderness areas. Walk the Freedom Trail in big-city Boston, enjoy tide-to-table food throughout the region, and hike or bike in one of the numerous national parks or on the large swath of Appalachian Trail that starts in Maine. CW VBT HV WSC

10.

Alaska

Ice meets the sea in dramatic fashion in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, where you’ll find more than 220 species of birds alongside the sea ice. Day cruises and kayak tours depart daily from the port city of Whittier, giving visitors a chance to see the glaciers and wildlife up close and personal. HV WSC

VBT VBT

vbt.com | 855-228-0016

HV HOLIDAY VACATIONS

HolidayVacations.com

800-826-2266

CW COUNTRY WALKERS

CountryWalkers.com

800-844-5764

WSC WINDSTAR CRUISES

WindstarCruises.com

844-485-5239

OAS OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY

OasisAtDeathValley.com

844-236-7916

GCR GRAND CANYON

RAILWAY & HOTEL

TheTrain.com | 844-843-8724

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BUCKET LIST
HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA CAPE ELIZABETH, MAINE

Explore Ireland

Explore Ireland

A IR , R AIL , C RUISE & M OTORCOACH G UIDED T OURS

IR , R AIL , C RUISE & M OTORCOACH G UIDED T OURS

Over 45 years of experience and dedication to personalized guest service allow us to offer you unparalleled journeys to unique and exciting destinations. Holiday Vacations is recognized as one of the leading group travel companies in the nation. Come discover the Holiday Advantage!

Over 45 years of experience and dedication to personalized guest service allow us to offer you unparalleled journeys to unique and exciting destinations. Holiday Vacations is recognized as one of the leading group travel companies in the nation. Come discover the Holiday Advantage!

800-826-2266

800-826-2266

holidayvacation s.com

holidayvacation s.com

Holiday Vacations is part of the Xanterra Travel Collection, which delivers once-in-a-lifetime experiences to the most Beautiful Places On Earth®. Whether you yearn for a luxury sea adventure, a biking or walking tour in breathtaking destinations, a ride in a fully restored historic train, or unrivaled access to our majestic national parks, the Xanterra Travel Collection’s family of companies will bring your bucket list to life.

Holiday Vacations is part of the Xanterra Travel Collection, which delivers once-in-a-lifetime experiences to the most Beautiful Places On Earth®. Whether you yearn for a luxury sea adventure, a biking or walking tour in breathtaking destinations, a ride in a fully restored historic train, or unrivaled access to our majestic national parks, the Xanterra Travel Collection’s family of companies will bring your bucket list to life.

HO L I DAY VAC A T I ONS
A
Travel+Leisure® and World’s Best Awards are trademarks of Time Inc. Affluent Media Group and are used under license. From Travel+Leisure Magazine, August 2018 ©2018 Time Inc. Affluent Media Group. Used under license. Travel+Leisure and Time Inc. Affluent Media Group are not affiliated with and do not endorse products or services of VBT Bicycling Vacations. How Do You Escape from Tourists? BY BIKE. Get going at vbt.com.

WELCOME TO THE LAND DOWN UNDER

XANTERRA.COM | #XANTERRATRAVEL 15 BUCKET LIST
the most of your trip to Australia and New Zealand by visiting these must-see destinations.
Make
GREAT OCEAN WALK KURANDA KOALA GARDENS VIEW FROM TRANZALPINE RAILWAY OVER WAIMAKARIRI RIVER GORGE

Take a Country Walkers tour along some of the most remote and remarkable terrain on earth, where you’ll see wild kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras, and more wildlife in Great Otway National Park, not to mention some of the most spectacular ocean vistas in Australia.

Part of the Gondwana

Rainforests and a UNESCO World Heritage site, this lush, ancient rainforest is home to prehistoric trees wand rugged mountain views. Insider tip: O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk, nearly 600 feet of suspension bridge among the treetops, offers a bird’s-eye view of the flora and fauna free of charge.

This idyllic swimming spot rose to Insta-fame in 2016, and ever since the cool cyan creek has topped bucket lists of world travelers and Aussies alike. A bit of a geological anomaly, its hypnotizing hue is the result of large amounts of dissolved minerals. Pack a picnic and don’t forget your camera.

The northern mountain village of Kuranda is famous for its bustling rainforest markets. Today the village is also home to Kuranda Koala Gardens, one of the few places in Australia where you can snag a selfie with a handful of marsupials: kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and koalas, who are always ready for their close-ups.

Want to explore the rich history of the world’s oldest living culture? Here, join descendants of Tjapukai people to sample traditional bush foods, learn to play the didgeridoo, throw and paint a boomerang, and marvel at live dance performances—all of which will give you insight into this beautiful, ancient culture.

16 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION BUCKET LIST
Australia
3 Kuranda Koala Gardens 5 Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park 4 Cardwell Spa Pool, Cardwell, Queensland 1 The Great Ocean Walk in the Southern Australia State of Victoria 2 Southern Queensland’s Lamington National Park
1 2 3 4 5
TJAPUKAI ABORIGINAL CULTURAL PARK AUCKLAND CARDWELL SPA POOL

New Zealand

1 “Tramping” in the South Island, starting at Abel Tasman National Park

Backpacking is a smorgasbord for the senses in the South Island of New Zealand, and trampers (a.k.a. hikers) particularly love the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Head north for intense climbing and bushwhacking.

2 TranzAlpine

The five-hour journey across New Zealand’s Southern Alps is revered as one of the most scenic train rides in the world, complete with turquoise rivers that funnel down from majestic mountain ranges and lush rainforest. Don’t miss the full-service café car, which serves up sweet treats, full meals, and locally sourced wine.

3 Milford Sound

Here, the most captivating views exist below the tide, where the mountains plunge to the fjord floor—more than 1,000 feet deep in places. A unique freshwater layer that exists atop saltwater filters light, allowing marine life that normally dwells in deep water to flourish just below the surface.

4 Matamata

Feed your imagination in this North Island rural town, where you’ll find Peter Jackson’s Hobbiton, which was created for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Walk around this rolling green sheep and beef farm that transformed into a movie set of epic proportions.

5 Auckland

New Zealand’s largest city is nicknamed the City of Sails because it’s straddled by two vast harbors dotted by super-yachts and sailboats and ripe for dolphin and whale watching. City streets are lined with adult accoutrements (coffee and spirits), and the city’s central business district is home to the iconic Sky Tower.

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VBT VBT vbt.com 855-228-0016 HV HOLIDAY VACATIONS HolidayVacations.com 800-826-2266 CW COUNTRY WALKERS CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764 WSC WINDSTAR CRUISES WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239 1 2 3 4 5
ABEL TASMAN COAST TRACK MILFORD SOUND HOBBITON

SWIRL, SNIFF, SIP, SLURP

Whether you prefer classic French Burgundy or organic wines from edgy young producers in Sonoma, these five wine regions have a style to suit your palate, plus delicious cuisine to complement every pairing.

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LOCAL
VINEYARD
oenophile /'ē·n ·fīl/. noun a person who enjoys wines, usually as a connoisseur.
CALIFORNIA

1 Chile

Patagonia’s mountain peaks have long overshadowed Chile’s impressive vineyards. But adventurous oenophiles are discovering the country’s full-bodied red varietals, like Carménère, and its crisp whites, particularly its Sauvignon Blanc. Sandwiched between the Coastal Mountain Range and the Andes, the Colchagua Valley has a unique terroir that’s put it on the global oenotourism map. CW VBT HV

2 France

Home to turreted châteaux, vine-covered hillsides, and legendary wine producers, France remains the bucket-list destination for oenophiles. Of the country’s four key wine regions, Burgundy stands out for its exceptional Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Explore the Routes des Grands Crus, a stretch of esteemed vineyards from Beaune to the historic capital of Dijon, which has UNESCO World Heritage status. You’ll feel as if you’re traveling back in time visiting winemaking villages such as Pommard and Puligny-Montrachet. VBT

3 Italy

While wine regions like Tuscany and Piedmont may be the most well-known, Sicily has become the wine darling of discerning drinkers. The best way to familiarize yourself with Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s “most important grape,” is to follow the Nero d’Avola wine route along the southeast coast of the island. Pair bold, inky reds with the region’s distinctive ricotta and Caciocavallo Ragusano cheeses and traditional dishes like pasta with sardines and pine nuts. CW

4 California

Most people think Napa when they consider visiting California’s wine country, but the Sonoma Valley is home to diverse grape varietals that set it apart. A barrel tasting at many of the wineries in the area is like a history lesson in New World winemaking. Spend an afternoon wandering the tasting rooms and shops of charming Healdsburg, or pick up a locavore lunch and a bottle of rosé and picnic among ancient redwoods in Jack London State Historic Park. VBT

5 Spain

Basque country is a global gastronomy mecca. The region’s fabled foodie city, San Sebastián, boasts more Michelin-star eateries per square foot than any other city in the world. For a taste of the region’s signature txakoli wines—a dry, effervescent white poured from dramatic heights—head to the pintxo bars of Old Town San Sebastián and Bilbao. In neighboring Rioja, you’ll find some of the best examples of the country’s spicy Tempranillo wines in centuries-old bodegas. And in the Navarre region, you can sip world-class rosé. CW VBT

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BUENA VISTA WINERY SONOMA, CALIFORNIA TXAKOLI VINEYARDS, GETARIA, SPAIN
HV HOLIDAY VACATIONS HolidayVacations.com 800-826-2266 CW COUNTRY WALKERS CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764 VBT VBT vbt.com 855-228-0016

FIRST TASTE

A CHAT WITH CHEF ANTHONY SASSO

He’s one of the youngest chefs to be recognized by the Michelin Guide and has been a guest chef at the James Beard House. He rose to stardom by making modern, inventive Spanish cuisine at the wildly popular New York City restaurant Casa Mono. Now Chef Anthony Sasso is partnering with Windstar Cruises, opening a new specialty restaurant, Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso , on Star Breeze , with two more restaurants set to open on sister ships Star Legend and Star Pride later in 2020. We sat down with Sasso to talk about his training, why he’s excited about this new restaurant, and where he eats when he’s in Spain.

I’d been working in the kitchen at Casa Mono for two years when I bought a one-way ticket to Spain. If I was going to cook Spanish food, I needed to cook in Spain for a while. My mom’s side of the family is from the Maresme region, along the Catalan coast, and when I got there my uncle Ramone brought me to his favorite restaurant and told the chef I needed to learn how to cook. I trailed the chef on a Friday and Saturday, and I think he liked my hustle. He offered me a job on Monday.

My first bite of pan con tomate was a revelation. I quickly realized I was in food heaven and went all in. I lived two blocks from the sea and rode my uncle’s old bike everywhere. There were all these amazing restaurants just minutes from where I was working. It was pure luck that my mom’s family was from this hot spot that was changing the way the world was looking at Spanish food. For a long time, Spanish cuisine was looked down on by the French and Italians. Then the world started noticing how amazing Catalan cuisine is, and the perception turned around.

Spain idolizes chefs. They are household names, and people go to their restaurants because they know their meal will be memorable. The great thing is that even at the highest-end, fanciest Spanish restaurants, it’s not so fancy or expensive.

When Windstar asked if I’d work with them, I was so excited. I wondered how we might be able to put a restaurant like Casa Mono on a cruise ship, and Windstar has been an incredible partner in making it happen. The restaurant—called Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, Spanish for the 44th frame of the ship, where it will live—is going to be very intimate and personal. When you look at the menu, you’ll see elements of the food I’m known for, what Spain is known for, and what Casa Mono is known for—like cod, which is king in Spain. And most of the food will be served family-style, meant to be shared.

WINDSTAR CRUISES

WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239

When I get off the ship, I head straight for the local bar. Some of the best food you’ll eat in Spain is at the bars, where you get free tapas when you order drinks. These bars have some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste, cooked to order. Octopus is a must. And eat as much jamón (ham) as you can. Every bar has 75 legs of ham hanging from the ceiling, so do yourself a favor and have some in every bar or restaurant you go to. It’s their caviar.

20 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION
LOCAL WSC
CUADRO 44

NO ONE ELSE GOES SO FAR TO GET TRAVELERS SO CLOSE.

Windstar Cruises’ small ships take you closer to hidden ports like Wrangell and Petersburg in Alaska. Closer with our Signature Expeditions – Zodiac and kayak tours launched directly from the ship deep in the heart of Kenai, College, Tracy Arm, and Misty Fjords, guided by our six onboard expedition leaders. Closer to the culture with a performance from the Naa Kahidi tribe and salmon caught by local fishermen. This is Alaska, 180 degrees from ordinary. Call your travel advisor or Windstar Cruises at 844-485-5239. WindstarCruises.com

ALASKA & U.S. WEST COAST � ASIA � AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND � CANADA & NEW ENGLAND � CARIBBEAN � CENTRAL AMERICA EUROPE � MEXICO � TAHITI & SOUTH PACIFIC

WIND DOWN, WISE UP

Yes, vacation is for relaxation. But at these four amazing destinations, learning something new will undoubtedly add to your adventure.

Hayley Watkins has her toes in the sand as the sun rises above the Georgia coast every morning. The 26-year-old wildlife biologist and aquatic scientist gets to work immediately, riding a golf cart along Sea Island’s five-mile stretch of white sand beach on the hunt for sea turtle nests.

On any given morning, Watkins will stop at one of the nests to collect a DNA sample. Then she’ll stop to see if she can move an ill-placed nest ever so gently to keep predators away. On a lucky day, she’ll measure the GPS coordinates of a nest and then get to watch as the loggerhead sea turtle eggs start to hatch. “That’s always a highlight,” she says.

The sea turtle research Watkins is collecting is state and federally funded—part of a conservation effort to save this

endangered species. But here’s the best part: Watkins and the team of marine biologists at the Sea Island Resort’s Nature Center take up to 10 guests with them on their research patrol every morning, giving vacationers a chance to learn about the work these scientists do and how it contributes to wildlife conservation as a whole.

“It’s so special to see guests of all ages—everyone from little kids to grandparents—watch us do this important research,” Watkins says. “When I overhear kids saying to their parents, ‘I’m going to be a marine biologist when I grow up,’ those moments are the real highlights.”

Of course, getting an education in sea turtle conservation isn’t the only kind of learning you can do on vacation. Here are four options to consider for your next great adventure.

22 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION MODERN TRAVELER

With its extraordinary beauty and abundant wildlife, Alaska is high on many travelers’ bucket lists—and a cruise is one of the best ways to visit our 50th state. If you want to witness the grandeur of Alaska’s scenery, one of Windstar Cruises’ kayak tours is a must. As part

LEARN TO… Love Heights in Canada

Conquer your fear of heights on the Capilano Suspension Bridge, high above towering evergreens and cedar-scented rainforest. You’ll be able to practice your newfound love of taking views in from the top as you walk across one (or more!) of the seven suspended footbridges, which

offer views from 110 feet above the forest floor. Don’t miss the new Cliffwalk, which follows a granite precipice along the Capilano River, with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs, and platforms—and only 16 anchor points in the cliff supporting the structure.

of its Signature Expeditions program, you’ll take off directly from the ship to explore Alaska’s wild coastlines at water level with guides who sail with the ship during the entire trip. This gives you a more intimate view, says Simon Hook, a naturalist and kayak guide with Windstar. “The places we go and scenery we

see from kayaks are the gems of your itinerary, and you can really soak in the grandeur of the glaciers and national parks when you’re kayaking,” Hook says. “The waterfalls are spectacular as they cascade down the mountains. And you’ll have a new appreciation of the wildlife—coastal mountain goats, seabirds, harbor

seals, and even the occasional bear—from your kayak.” You’ll learn to paddle with two expert guides as you navigate one iceberg and calving glacier after another. This program is available in the Kenai Fjords, Misty Fjords, College Fjord, or Tracy Arm/Endicott Arm Fjords on three different Alaska itineraries with Windstar.

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WSC WindstarCruises.com
HV HolidayVacations.com
LEARN TO… Kayak in Alaska

LEARN

Cook at The Broadmoor, Colorado

The Broadmoor is dining nirvana for foodies, with its outstanding restaurants and cafés (including Colorado’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Penrose Room). So it’s no surprise that guests flock to cooking classes led by the resort’s chefs. Executive Chef David Patterson loves seeing guests get so excited about his craft. “They are inquisitive about the process and where ingredients come from,” he says. “Years ago it was only about the finished product. Now it’s about the process.”

Chocoholics can indulge in a chocolate-making class with world-class chocolatier Adam Thomas at Café Julie’s. Thomas leads a hands-on class in making truffles or bonbons, while weaving in the history of chocolate and how it’s processed. Sushi lovers can learn the basics, such as how to cook rice, how to cut fish, and how to make sushi rolls. “And, yes, there’s plenty of tasting throughout,” Patterson says.

BR Broadmoor.com

Marine Biology at Sea Island, Georgia

Ever wish you knew more about the beautiful sea life you witness when scuba diving or snorkeling? Or are you excited about the prospect of going on a beach getaway where you can watch marine biologists work to collect DNA samples from sea turtle nests? It’s all possible at the Forbes Five Star Sea Island resort, which offers a robust education program at its Nature Center. In addition to learning about sea turtles, you can go birding, fishing, shelling, and even tour Sea Island on a bike to learn about the different ecosystems.

“When guests learn about the wildlife here and how important conservation efforts are to the well-being of these animals and ecosystems, they take those lessons home with them and start doing a little more to take care of the environment around them,” wildlife biologist Hayley Watkins says. “What you learn when you’re here may seem pretty specific—but it has the potential to have a much wider-reaching impact.”

SI SeaIsland.com

MODERN TRAVELER
TO…
LEARN ABOUT…

YOUR GATEWAY TO EXPERIENCING THE GREAT AMERICAN WEST.

When you think about The Broadmoor, what image comes to mind? Probably things like historic, elegant, and luxurious. What you probably don’t think of is adventurous.

Well, think again. Experience the ancient art of falconry, the scenic wonders of Seven Falls. Experience soaring on a breathtaking zip line adventure across pristine mountain canyons. Experience fl y fi shing, riding, hiking, biking and beautiful starlit mountain nights at our three all-inclusive enclaves of Broadmoor Wilderness Properties. Experience the “most unique resort in the world.” Visit Broadmoor.com to plan your adventure.

844.727.8729 BROADMOOR.COM 1 LAKE AVENUE, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80906

TRAVEL WITH YOUR TRIBE

Looking to start a new vacation tradition with your friends or extended clan? Planning a big event, like a wedding or family reunion? Here’s all the inspiration you need to make your perfect getaway happen this year.

That’s Just Grand

Are you ready for a trip that’ll inspire you to take the scenic route like never before? There’s something that’ll wow everyone in your clan on the Grand Canyon Railway! With multiple departures every day from historic Williams, Arizona, you can skip the traffic (and parking!) and Make a Grand Trip the Grandest on a day trip to this majestic park. Sip a cocktail as you watch the scenery change from high desert to prairie to pine, smiling as the kids listen to folklore and music that brings the Old West to life. And stay in the recently renovated Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel for a good night’s sleep after your grand adventure.

For a more private, upscale experience to help you celebrate a wedding, anniversary, retirement, family reunion, or other milestone moment, you can charter one of the newly refurbished Rail Baron trains: The open-air rear platform car (The Kansas) can accommodate 18 day passengers

or six overnight guests; a parlor and lounge car (The Utah) can entertain 26 guests and has an onboard kitchen and bar; and a sleeper car (The California) can accommodate 44 guests during the day or 16 overnight and also includes a second-story glass dome top with sofa seating for stargazing. Simply hire your car (or cars!) of choice, choose a steam or diesel locomotive, and take off for the canyon 30 minutes before or after the departure of a normally scheduled train. You can also go big with a completely private charter on your own schedule.

During the holidays, don’t miss Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express, a 90-minute ride to “the North Pole.” You’ll sip hot chocolate and listen to the timeless Christmas story as servers dance and sing along to the music before Santa gets on the train. It’s the perfect way to start the season—and start a family tradition you’ll all look forward to year after year. GCR TheTrain.com

26 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION MODERN TRAVELER
For a more private, upscale experience to help you celebrate a wedding, anniversary, retirement, family reunion, or other milestone moment, you can charter one of the newly refurbished Rail Baron trains...
GRAND CANYON RAILWAY RAIL BARON – THE CALIFORNIA POLAR EXPRESS

Ride, Retreat, Repeat

Active travel is important to many travelers—and that’s especially true for Sarah Pyper, who teaches Pilates, yoga, indoor cycling, strength, and stretch classes. That’s one of the reasons why VBT bike trips appealed to her from the start.

“I went on my first VBT bike trip and quickly learned that they really are for anyone at any age and any fitness level,” says Pyper. Case in point: Pyper recently took a VBT trip to France with her 85-year-old father and 22-year-old daughter.

After a few trips with family members, Pyper started taking advantage of VBT’s Group Travel Program. “I had a couple rough years and needed to reboot and reinvent myself,” she says. “And as I worked to get my feet back on the ground, many of my friends and students started confiding in me about the challenges and transitions happening in their lives, too. When she’d mention how life-changing her VBT trips had been, they were interested in joining. Which is how she started organizing trips of her own. Bonus: Pyper’s own trip is free if she has 11 people in her group; if that number goes up to 17 people, she gets two free trips—plus the vacation is exclusively for their group. On each trip, Pyper teaches a fitness class before breakfast (typically yoga, Pilates, or stretch) to anyone in her group who’d like to join.

“I keep a VBT catalog on my coffee table and often flip through it, bending the corners of the pages and marking my bucket list,” she says. “After group trips, I reach out to everyone and ask, ‘Where do you want to go next?’ while everyone is still experiencing post-trip bliss. Then we start planning next year’s trip!” VBT vbt.com

Love Is in the Air

When Kaci Jolson and her now-husband, Nick, started looking for a dream wedding location, Death Valley was an early front-runner. “The year we got engaged, Nick ran the Death Valley marathon and was excited about the possibility of us getting married in the desert,” says Jolson. And while Jolson admits she was a little skeptical of getting married in the desert at first, she was all in the moment she saw The Oasis at Death Valley and met with the team who’d help them plan their big day. “After that, I was hooked—we both were,” says Jolson. “We were so excited to have our wedding at this amazing resort, and we also couldn’t wait for all of our friends and family to experience The Oasis at Death Valley, too.”

Everything about the Jolsons’ ceremony and reception was personal. “We customized drinks for every location,” says Jolson. “We had special drinks during our cocktail hour on the Stargazing Deck and others for our reception in the Oasis Room. Nick even named each of them.” In the weeks leading up to their wedding, Nick made 1,000 colorful origami cranes that he hung from the Bell Tower in the Mission Gardens, where they had their wedding ceremony. “Seeing them hung just the way he wanted as I walked down the aisle was so beautiful,” she says. “It was just so special.”

After the wedding, the couple honeymooned at El Tovar in the Grand Canyon. “We had a suite with a big wraparound deck, from which we could see the park, and ordered room service all week, ate out on the deck, and strolled along the South Rim,” says Jolson. “It was the perfect way to relax and just be together as a happy, newly married couple.” OAS OasisAtDeathValley.com GC GrandCanyonLodges.com

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“We had our dream wedding at The Oasis at Death Valley.”
“I love taking active vacations. Now I organize group trips for my friends and students.”
THE OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY NEW ZEALAND

GO WITH THE FLOW

No beach? No problem. Here are six sand-free places where you can experience the healing power of water.

The boiling rapids rumbling in the distance had the full attention of our guides. Today was the day. We were a mile deep in the Grand Canyon, midway through a 10-day Colorado River rafting trip. For days, we had been hearing scraps of stories about adventurers who had run the route before us.

Preparation was key, we were told. We practiced our handholds, tested the relative stability of different seating positions in the boat as we slashed through smaller rapids, and perfected the fine art of tucking our toes into the fold of the missile-like tubes that formed the side flotation of our motorized raft. The guides would scout, and then steer. Our job was simply to stay in the boat. We wanted to be “ABC”—alive below Crystal.

While some of the “ABC” chatter was lighthearted and part of the trip’s adventure vibe, maneuvering through Crystal—one of the most respected rapids in the 280-mile journey through the canyon—is serious business. At river mile 98, Crystal is where two side creeks enter the main channel at the same point, creating churn and a challenge for even the most experienced river runner.

With our recon complete, our guides gave us the high sign, and we held on for one raucous ride. Our boat bucked, bowed, tilted, and plowed forward through towering waves as its passengers hooted and hollered; we were breathless from excitement and the effects of a fullbody drenching with cold river water.

On the other side, safe in calmer water, there were high-fives and ear-to-ear grins as the adrenaline rush was replaced with sighs of relief. We were ABC.

You don’t have to rocket through whitewater to enjoy all a river has to offer. Here are six ways to experience the soothing sounds, healing power, and shimmering beauty of nature’s natural brew: water.

THE COLORADO RIVER

The 1,450-mile-long Colorado River and its tributaries are known for colorful canyons, dramatic whitewater, plentiful wildlife, compelling history, and bountiful recreational opportunities. Observe from the rim or hike into the Grand Canyon, where you can spend the night at Phantom Ranch and learn how the river carved this geologic wonder.

Choose from day- or weeks-long adventures, during which raptors soar overhead, light dances on canyon walls, and the curious can explore side canyons where turquoise pools and waterfalls mesmerize visitors. HV

MIDDLE AND NORTH FORKS OF THE FLATHEAD RIVER

Deep pools, long shallow runs, and clear water beckon those who seek the solace offered in the northwestern corner of Montana. The North Fork of the Flathead flows directly south from Canada and forms the scenic western border of Glacier National Park. Stay at the new Cedar Creek Lodge, a perfect spot to start and finish your adventures as you explore the rivers and lakes—popular with fly-fishers, kayakers, and rafters—as well as the hiking trails, canyons, and peaks within the park. CW GNP

28 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION MODERN TRAVELER

ICELAND

Sparsely populated and blessed with raw natural beauty, Iceland’s glacial rivers course toward the sea against a backdrop of towering mountains and billowing volcanoes. In the remote corners of this Nordic nation, you’ll find enchanting waterfalls and ancient lava pillars. Marvel at the deep blue of Lake Mývatn and slip into geothermal pools for a healing soak. The steamy surroundings provide an otherworldly aura that’s ideal for deep relaxation.

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THE WATERS OF DEATH VALLEY

Admire the beautiful contrasts: In this expansive and diverse landscape, rare rainstorms manifest fields of wildflowers, and spring-fed creek waters harbor rare and tiny pupfish, creatures that have survived beyond the era when water covered Death Valley. Nearby, within a narrow gorge, a spring-fed waterfall flows year-round. You can explore the far reaches of the park before returning to the respite of your own oasis, where a vintage, Hollywoodstyle pool, brimming with 85-degree spring water, awaits. OAS

YELLOWSTONE COUNTRY

Undammed and untamed, the mighty Yellowstone is the last free-flowing river in the Lower 48 states— and a favorite among fishers, floaters, and wildlife lovers alike. The river flows through Yellowstone Lake in the heart of our first national park, where visitors revel in the snow and steam, cool streams, and bubbling hot springs that define the wild, volcanic landscape. CW HV VBT

NEW ZEALAND

Tramping—the Kiwi word for hiking or “taking long walks”— draws active travelers to a land where snow-capped peaks slope down into dense tropical woodlands, and unique fauna and flora flourish thanks to relative geographic isolation. Breathe in fresh alpine air as you trek the verdant hills of Nelson Lakes National Park, and discover hidden ocean inlets and freshwater pools while kekeno—New Zealand fur seals—frolic on nearby rocks.

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HOLIDAY VACATIONS

HolidayVacations.com

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WINDSTAR CRUISES

WindstarCruises.com

OAS

OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY

OasisAtDeath Valley.com

GNP

CEDAR CREEK LODGE

GlacierNationalPark Lodges.com

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YELLOWSTONE NEW ZEALAND ICELAND COLORADO RIVER

BEYOND TCHOTCHKES

Buh-bye, tiny keychains and plastic figurines. At Xanterra’s gift shops, you’ll find locally made and sustainably sourced crafts, jewelry, snacks, and more. Here are our favorite souvenirs right now.

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2 | Beanie there, done that

Buy a Lake Scenery Beanie at any of Yellowstone’s gift shops, and Local Outdoor— the locally inspired apparel company based in Vail, Colorado, that makes them—will let you choose a charity that will receive a free hat. $29.99

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After

It’s hard to leave a place like the Grand Canyon without a T-shirt, so here’s one you can feel good about owning. Buying one of Kastlfel’s Grand Canyon Centennial long-sleeve tees saves six plastic water bottles from landfills and nearly two gallons of water compared with a conventional poly-cotton dyed T-shirt. $32.99

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Made from real Aspen leaves sustainably harvested from Rocky Mountain National Park, this sterling silver necklace is a great way to remember the beauty of the park long after you’ve left. $18.99

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Each one-of-a-kind bag is made by a Colorado company that employs a handful of home sewers in small mountain towns. “The Kathleen” features a hand-cut leather fringe and converts to a backpack. Available at the El Tovar Hotel. $200

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These hand-thrown mugs are made by Deneen Pottery, a family business in St. Paul, Minnesota, and are sold at the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain national parks. With depictions of historic buildings, like the Old Faithful Inn, and iconic images from the parks, they’ve become a collector’s item with many guests. $24.99

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3 | Picture perfect At Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone and the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, you can buy artwork by DG House, a Bozeman, Montana, painter who is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama. $15–$1,000 | Bag it | Don’t leaf this behind | Tee it up | Drink big! | It’s a date At the Oasis General Store in Death Valley, don’t miss the delicious dates from China Ranch, a family-operated small working farm in the Death Valley area. $15–$50 5 | To a tea a hot day exploring the Grand Canyon, nothing tastes quite as refreshing as a Fred Harvey Desert Tea, made in Arizona and sold at all gift stores in the park. $7–$25 1 | Hot springs eternal This exclusive necklace is inspired by the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. It’s sold at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn, and El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon National Park. $450
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A World of Unforgettable Experiences

The country’s first national park and how it earned that distinction is a tale worthy of the Old West. Just one of the unique and unforgettable vacation experiences you’ll discover with The Xanterra Travel Collection. Discover more at yellowstonenationalparklodges.com .

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK WYOMING

NATIONAL PARK KNOW-HOW

Sure, you could day-trip through these amazing destinations. Or you could stay a few days and have an epic adventure you might miss if you were just driving through. Here’s where to play, stay, and eat at Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Glacier.

It’s taken nature 6 million years to create one of the world’s most breathtaking panoramas—one that overwhelms many first-time visitors as they behold this national park’s enormity. One great way to see it is Hermit Road, which is open to private vehicles for several months after peak summer season. You can drive seven miles west from the Historic Village to Hermits Rest and stop at eight overlooks on your way. Drive east from the village, and over the next 22 miles you’ll find seven more overlooks, the remnants of an 800-year-old Ancestral Puebloan village, and the historic 70-foot WatchTower with its stunning aerial view of the canyon’s east-west path.

WHERE TO PLAY

In addition to mule rides and the opportunity to hike beneath the rim, get a different perspective of the canyon via the Grand Canyon Railway, which departs in the morning from Williams (about 30 miles west of Flagstaff) and returns in the early

evening. Colorado River adventures are also on offer at numerous outfitters, where you’ll find everything from a “smooth water” float trip to whitewater rapid excitement.

WHERE TO STAY

Widely considered the crown jewel of

Historic National Park Lodges, El Tovar Hotel is teeming with elegant charm. Another wonderful option is Maswik South Lodging at South Rim, Grand Canyon, which is currently undergoing a $30 million renovation and is expected to open in fall 2020. For guests interested in a more luxe option, The Grand Hotel is the only AAA Three Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon, located just one mile from the South Rim entrance.

WHERE TO EAT

Make a reservation for the elegant dining room at El Tovar, where guests such as President Teddy Roosevelt, President Bill Clinton, and Sir Paul McCartney have all dined. Don’t miss the Prime Rib Hash at breakfast or the Salmon Tostada at dinner—classics that have been on the menu for decades.

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HV HolidayVacations.com GCGH GrandCanyonGrandHotel.com GCR TheTrain.com GC GrandCanyonLodges.com
IT
COLLECTION

When explorers entered what would become Yellowstone National Park and described a land where superheated rivers kicked out plumes of steam, trees were made of stone, and the ground bubbled up beneath their feet, no one believed them. Over time, explorers and geologists would realize that Yellowstone’s geysers, hot springs,

fumaroles, and mud pots were there to relieve the pent-up thermal pressure of a supervolcano called the Yellowstone Caldera. There are so many natural wonders to experience in the 3,500-square-mile park. Explore iconic Old Faithful, see waterfalls twice as tall as Niagara, and embark on a photo safari among the greatest concentration of free-roaming wildlife in the Lower 48.

WHERE TO PLAY

Hike to Bunsen Peak for epic views of Mammoth Hot Springs and the Yellowstone River Valley. Looking for more adventure? Saddle up and take a horseback ride in the Roosevelt area of the park, or paddle Yellowstone Lake in a canoe or kayak.

WHERE TO STAY

The century-old Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins, which completed a $30 million

renovation in August 2019, is an amazing spot to explore the Northern Range’s wildlife in warmer months and ski miles of groomed and backcountry ski trails during the winter.

WHERE TO EAT

The dining room at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel is a must-visit for upscale, unique dishes. The more laid-back Canyon Lodge M66 Grill serves up soups, salads, and burgers.

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DEATH VALLEY

WHERE TO PLAY

Climb the 2.3-mile Mosaic Canyon Road, where a quarter-mile in, the canyon narrows and the smooth marble walls of Noonday Dolomite take shape around you. Or head to Titus Canyon—accessible by 4x4—a deep, narrow gorge featuring limestone rock formations, petroglyphs, and native plants and wildlife.

WHERE TO STAY

The below-sea-level luxury at The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort) is truly noteworthy, with its recent $100 million renovation,

There’s hardly a more surreal landscape in America than Death Valley. Once the bottom of a prehistoric sea, its terrain is so unusual that several park locations were the backdrop for the Star Wars movies. As you explore, you’ll find everything from sculptural canyons and undulating sand dunes to abundant wildlife—all under a luminous sky.

spring-fed pools, and new casitas situated around the famed gardens. The Ranch at Death Valley is another great option—a former working ranch that offers family-friendly accommodations.

WHERE TO EAT

For a light lunch, head straight for the Inn Pool Café, where you can have a sandwich, wrap, or salad at a poolside perch. Other casual dining options include the 19th Hole at The Furnace Creek Golf Course and The Last Kind

Words Saloon. For a more upscale meal with stunning views of the desert salt pans and the majestic Panamint Range, make a reservation at The Inn Dining Room.

34 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION PARK IT
OAS OasisAtDeathValley.com C A L I F O R N I A
•NATIONAL PARK• ESTD. 1994 C A L I F O R N I A

With just seven residents per square mile, Montana has America’s third-lowest population density— which is one reason why so many flock to Glacier National Park in the northwestern part of the state. In this vast and beautiful landscape where the American and Canadian Rockies meet, you’ll find 762 lakes, 563 streams, and more than 25 named waterfalls—picture-perfect mountain waters that

you can canoe, kayak, paddleboard, and fish.

WHERE TO PLAY Drive, bike, or take the Red Bus Tour along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the magnificent 50-mile scenic route through the park. The views become increasingly spectacular as you travel up and over 6,646-foot Logan Pass, with alpine flowers and fir trees filling in the valleys and the triangular summit of Reynolds

Mountain piercing the blue sky. Looking for a little more action? Take a horseback ride or raft trip through the park, or hike along some of the 700 miles of trail.

from fly fishing to backcountry treks that leave right from the lodge.

WHERE TO EAT

WHERE TO STAY

In the town of Columbia Falls at the western entrance, Cedar Creek Lodge is a boutique hotel with a classic Western look. It’s the perfect landing pad after a day of exploring, and offers everything

Perfectly located at the edge of Swiftcurrent Lake—often referred to as the “Gem of the West”—the Many Glacier Hotel’s Ptarmigan Dining Room offers sweeping views and delicious food. For more casual sandwiches, salads, and pasta, head to the Many Glacier Hotel’s Swiss Lounge. CW

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CountryWalkers.com
GlacierNationalParkLodges.com
ADRIATIC ISLAND TOWN OF KRK, KVARNER BAY, CROATIA

UNEXPECTED, UNTAMED, UNFILTERED... UNBELIEVABLE

UNEXPECTED CROATIA

I was mid-bite, chewing a forkful of peka, a traditional Dalmatian dish of baked vegetables and lamb, when a horse walked into the dining room.

It meandered over to a corner table of the konobo, a ubiquitous Croatian taverna, and proceeded to nuzzle the elbow of an ancient-looking man as if it were a designer doodle cozying up to its owner in a pet-friendly New York café. Within minutes the scent of the hot air emanating from the open fireplace turned from smoky meat to stinky barnyard. Both staff and diners, with the exception of my table of American friends, seemed indifferent.

I ordered another bottle of Plavac Mali, the local red wine, as if that would help explain the odd encounter. Just as our waiter started to fill my glass, the horse bellowed a highpitched neigh. The old man, apparently the creature’s owner, carefully dabbed the corners of his mouth with his napkin, and then folded it neatly on the table before leading the horse through the kitchen and out a back entrance.

“Night, Fred. Night, Balky,” I heard the chef yell.

This, I learned, is the beauty of Croatia.

In an age when nearly every surprise is given away online, you still have eyebrow-raising moments here, daily. It’s not that Croatia is trapped in time. You’ll find Game of Thrones souvenir shops in Dubrovnik celebrating the city’s bragging rights of having been the main film location for King’s Landing. And there are plenty of boozy international yacht parties island-hopping around Split and Hvar.

But, if you go off the beaten tourist path to lesser-known villages like Krk and little-known islands in the archipelago of Kornati National Park, you come upon places refreshingly untarnished by globalization.

During my week of sailing throughout Croatia, I rarely heard English spoken. Not once did I see a Starbucks or McDonald’s. Strangers waved us into their yards for impromptu tastings of homemade olive oils and rakija, a fiery herbal spirit, and tiny island bars served grilled octopus, literally just plucked from the sea by a bartender.

UNTAMED ALASKA

From the passenger seat of my airplane, the Alaskan landscape below looks more like abstract art than wilderness. Intricate arteries of topaz blue water flow through deep cracks of centuries-old glacial ice, and vibrant purple fireweed carpets the grassy meadows. Looking down, scattered chunks of sparkling ice floating in inky water resemble a starry night, and Caribbean-blue pools ringed in by muddy sediment could be mistaken for Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.

The views seem otherworldly, but I haven’t left my own country—let alone this galaxy.

When I moved from New York City to Colorado five years ago, I thought I was in the “wild.” My home in Boulder is surrounded by mountains laced with trails. On morning hikes, I occasionally have a run-in with a family of deer or the occasional black bear. But here, in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, I have a new understanding of the word wild.

At 13.2 million acres, its size and scope are incomprehensibly vast. Walking along a glacial moraine, the vastness truly sinks in. They call it “the Alaska Factor.” Everything here is bigger, larger, greater and tougher. I feel humbled, thrilled, and slightly terrified.

“There’s a good chance no one has ever stepped foot where you’re standing,” says my guide, underscoring the remoteness of our location. I become keenly aware that my smartphone is irrelevant in Alaska. Siri and Google Maps cannot help me here. Primal instincts kick in. My senses heighten as we slowly walk along rocky debris. I jump when a dozen or so small boulders tumble down the slopes a few hundred feet from me, and then realize a herd of mountain goats is responsible for the slide.

Over the next few days I feel myself start to relax. I fall a bit further back from my guide’s footsteps and pause to marvel at glistening ice caves and soaring eagles. We spot a good-sized grizzly in the distance and crouch low in some tall brush to watch the animal. The hairs on my arms stand in alertness, yet a sense of calm washes over me as we observe the massive bear splashing around in the river.

Local life buzzed around us, not for us. To fall into step, we learned to relinquish our itinerary, embrace the slower pace, and allow our days to be dictated by serendipity. —Jen

One afternoon, I kayak alongside icebergs. The silence is pure, almost haunting. I feel a childlike wonder I didn’t know could still exist in adulthood. There is a sense of possibility here—a sense of freedom from the constraints of “civilization.” Being surrounded by so much untamed beauty ignites something inside of me I’d lost touch with.

I’ve never been as vulnerable, yet somehow, I’ve never felt as alive as I have in the Alaskan wild. —Jen Murphy HV WSC

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We’ve all taken that trip—the one that inspired us to say “wow” at every turn, the one where we pinch ourselves at the vast beauty surrounding us, the one where we experience a place and culture in a way we’d never expected and it transforms us forever. Rather than simply visiting far-flung places, the writers here searched for new ways to see the countryside, commune with nature, interact with locals, and feel like far more than a tourist. Here’s hoping their outward and inner journeys inspire your own, too.
ICE CAVE NEAR JUNEAU, ALASKA
GENOA, LIGURIA, ITALY

UNFILTERED ITALY

In the seaside town of Santa Margherita, a soft mist is falling as I wind my way through serpentine passageways, exploring the seductive nooks and crannies of this northern Italian town on the Ligurian coast. Ahead of me, I spy a foursome—two young girls, maybe 6 and 8 years old, are shepherded by two adults, their faces obscured by grey rain gear. I’m drawn into this sweet scene by the matching pink polka-dotted umbrellas carried by the children and their shiny purple rain boots worn stylishly in concert with pink rain jackets.

I snap a picture. Their cheery ensembles provide a colorful contrast to the drab tone of this morning’s weather.

As always, I am traveling with a trusty companion: my camera. For decades now, as I’ve explored six continents, my camera has served as my passport to adventure and a more intimate connection to each destination. It’s often the reason I go around the next bend, engage in one more conversation, or stay for the final moments of a multi-hued sunset. My camera gives my curiosity an extra layer of purpose.

Taking pictures has, in part, encouraged me to be a keen observer, unleashing all of my senses—certainly to see, but also to listen to scraps of conversation, smell the rich aroma seeping from the nearby espresso shop, or to appreciate the textures of fine fabrics or jagged exteriors of aging architecture. I’ve learned to focus on the exquisite details. And Italy is rich in detail.

On this particular rainy Italian day, I notice the triangular shape of the boat’s sail as it floats out of the harbor. I appreciate the deep green drizzle of pesto atop the carefully folded pasta on my square luncheon plate. I quietly observe a middle-aged woman, pious in prayer, kneeling before flickering candles in the back of a centuries-old church.

“Look for ways to capture the essence of the culture you are experiencing,” a well-traveled, professional photographer once told me. “And, be there for the golden hours. The early morning and late day light creates magic.”

This advice has roused me out of high thread count sheets to see the pride reflected in the eyes of bakers and growers showcasing their makings at dawn in the local farmer’s market, or to capture the warm glow of dusk in a vineyard. Those words have inspired me to seek out and photograph religious ceremonies, quirky festivals, and musical performances. I slow to capture images of children scampering around the town square’s fountain as craggy-faced elders watch from the park bench, and I’m aware of the shadows that fall on the pastelpainted homes that crawl up the Italian hillsides.

The more I observe, the more questions arise, and the deeper I go into all of the places I may have otherwise not explored. In late afternoon, I wander in search of a frothy cappuccino and notice colorful laundry basking in sunshine on makeshift racks and thin lines stretched high above the street. I have more questions. To whom do these items belong? How long will they linger for passersby like me to take note of the faded and the new, the child-sized and the oversized. I wonder what stories were made as the owners of these colorful clothes splashed though puddles and navigated the rain earlier in the day.

I realize that with my camera in hand, I’ve gone in search of these stories. Some unfold willingly. Others are elusive. Yet, with each image, captured or not, another line is written and the matrix of memories expands. And in the end, the collection of tales I’ve captured serves as my own travel keepsake, always accessible to rekindle the essence of a treasured experience. —Lynn

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VBT VBT vbt.com 855-228-0016 HV HOLIDAY VACATIONS HolidayVacations.com 800-826-2266 CW COUNTRY WALKERS CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764 WSC WINDSTAR CRUISES WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239

FRANCE!

ÎLE DE RÉ

Not many Americans know about this small Atlantic Coast island in Southwest France, a favored holiday spot of Parisians in July and August. You’ll pedal on a network of bike trails past pine forests and oyster beds during a two-night stop on a guided VBT biking tour. You might even see donkeys with striped pajama pants on their legs to ward off bugs. Sunbathe on the sands of multiple beaches or climb 19th-century Phare des Baleines lighthouse, and spoon some of the best artisanal ice cream you’ve ever tasted at family-owned La Martinière in St.-Martin-de-Ré. VBT

The best way to see the varied regions of France is, well, like the French do. Consider this your insider’s guide.
KITTY BEAN YANCEY FRANCE

SAINT-RAPHAËL

Avid travelers know Saint-Tropez, Nice, and Cannes along the fabled French Riviera, but SaintRaphaël is a gem less discovered by North Americans. Pack a picnic of succulent roast chicken and ratatouille at La Pouletisserie by the docks, and join Europeans on one of 30 area beaches. You can also hike a coastal path, tour the port’s Old Town, or visit the Prehistory and Maritime Archaeology Museum, housed in a 12th-century building. WSC

Cassis

This pretty Mediterranean fishing port, which can be visited via an excursion from Sanary-sur-Mer on Windstar Cruises, is a vacation spot known for historic, pastel-colored buildings and surrounding cliffs towering over narrow inlets called calanques. Sip a local white or rosé wine accompanied by platters of fresh-caught seafood at cafés and restaurants on a promenade overlooking the small harbor. Relax at an outdoor table at Le Grand Bleu, pick up handmade lavender soap at La Savonnerie de Cassis, or take a boat tour of the calanques. Locals keep up with televised soccer matches at Le Cendrillon brasserie or play bocce-like pétanque in a small public square. WSC

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Honfleur

This Normandy city is well worth exploring. For starters, it has a rich history. Claude Monet and others painted in this charming seaport, whose tall, narrow row houses and moored sailboats are now Instagram-worthy. Take a day trip to learn the stirring stories behind battles on the D-Day beaches. The northwest province of Normandy is also known for its cheeses, including Camembert, Pont L’Évêque, and Neufchâtel. And take home a bottle of calvados, aromatic brandy made from Norman apples or pears. WSC HV

AIX-EN-PROVENCE

This historic city north of Marseille is one of the more lovely and culture-loving destinations in France. Built over hot springs, it’s known for thermal fountains. Amble the Cours Mirabeau, filled with arching plane trees over a pedestrian zone, and visit Brasserie Les Deux Garçons, a local institution once patronized by artist Paul Cézanne. Then head to the charming Old Town to dine elbow-toelbow with residents at Le Bistrot on dishes such as braised beef stew and chocolate mousse. CW

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Saint

Malo

Home of explorer Jacques Cartier and once a pirate hangout, this walled city in the heart of Northwest France’s Brittany region is perfect for strolling, shopping, and savoring. Its treasures include a well-preserved Old Town, where chic French women snap up striped Breton sailor’s shirts. Local eats include moules-frites (mussels and french fries) and savory crepes filled with ham, cheese, fried eggs, and more. Wash them down with strong alcoholic cider, and then do as the French do and try a restorative thalassotherapy spa treatment incorporating seawater or seaweed.

BEAUNE

This walled city (pronounced “bone”) in Eastern France dates to medieval times and invites rambles on its ramparts and narrow streets. The Burgundy wine capital, whose November auctions attract connoisseurs from around the world, is the place to sample the best of Burgundy. After a day of pedaling on a VBT biking tour, reward yourself with a glass or two of Pommard, Meursault, Gevrey-Chambertin, or Puligny-Montrachet at cozy La Maison du Colombier, favored by local wine merchants, or tuck into a more substantial dinner at Le Jardin des Remparts, awarded one Michelin star. VBT

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GRANDEUR,

REDEFINED

With a comfortable desert oasis as your home base, set out to explore Death Valley’s amazing, ever-changing landscapes.

FROM THE HEIGHTS OF 4,956-FOOT TOWNE PASS, HIGHWAY 190 TWISTS ITS WAY DOWN INTO DEATH VALLEY. THE PANORAMA OPENS UP TO THE GOLDEN, UNDULATING MESQUITE FLAT DUNES ON THE VALLEY FLOOR, WITH THE RUDDY GRAPEVINE MOUNTAINS RISING TO THE EAST.

here’s something liberating about the vastness of Death Valley National Park—the enormous sky, the enveloping silence, the endless solitude. It’s the largest national park outside of Alaska, and from the dunes, I drive 30 minutes before reaching the historic Oasis at Death Valley and its two hotels: the AAA Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley, a favorite of celebrities since its opening in 1927, and The Ranch at Death Valley, a family destination.

Surprisingly, I feel a little anxious as I approach The Inn, a hotel I have long loved for the Old California romance it brings to one of the world’s most iconic desert places. I know I’m still letting down after a busy week, but I’m also apprehensive to discover what has changed here since the completion of the resort’s $100 million renovation project.

The Inn commands a low rise overlooking the valley, and a steep driveway climbs to the entrance. The old parking lot, always more convenient than picturesque, is gone, replaced by a garden that looks across to the Panamint Range, where the snow atop 11,049-foot Telescope Peak glows pink with the day’s dying light.

Inside the hotel, the lobby has retained its vintage Spanish character but feels fresher, thanks to new decorative Saltillo floor tile and the addition of a library. Behind the reception desk, a richly detailed map of Death Valley depicts the surrounding mountain ranges and a host of famous landmarks: Badwater (the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level), the mile-high overlook at Dante’s View, and Harmony Borax Works. At first I assume the map is an artifact from the hotel’s early days. But even though it looks like it has been here forever, the map is actually a contemporary piece added during the renovations. Based on these first impressions, I’m relieved. The hotel seems better than ever.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN

Built in several stages, The Inn definitely rambles: From the lobby, I go up and down a couple of staircases and follow long corridors before ascending a final stairway to reach Room 331. I’ve always wanted to stay in this room, located at the top of one of The Inn’s towers, because of its seclusion and the commanding views from windows along three walls. I leave the windows open a crack to draw in the

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cool night air and fall asleep to the desert wind rustling the palms, waking occasionally to the calls of a great horned owl and the yipping of coyotes.

Considering that Death Valley is notorious as both the hottest place on earth, thanks to a 134-degree day in July 1913, and the driest spot in North America (rainfall averages less than two inches annually), the morning arrives surprisingly blustery and wet. But with Zabriskie Point just five minutes away—the spot in Death Valley to watch the sunrise—I layer up and head out before first light. A few people already await at the overlook, a mix of serious photographers with pricey cameras on tripods and selfie-seeking tourists from around the world. Among the early risers is a familiar face: basketball Hall of Famer and analyst Bill Walton, a passionate Death Valley aficionado and regular Inn visitor.

“It’s such a healing, inspiring, and empowering place,” he tells me as the rising sun fights through the overcast. “This is a land of extremes, and there are countless, fantastic adventures and experiences. And you just keep going, because there is sadly never enough time. I’ll be out on my bike all day, then come back to The Inn and go in the pool. You just get healthy and feel so good.”

MAGIC IN THE DESERT

The badlands brighten to rich gold and stand out against an almost-indigo sky. Then the clouds break and I see something I never expected in Death Valley: a rainbow arcing across the misty horizon.

Over huevos rancheros and some house-baked date bread, I watch the remnants of the storm from a window table at The Inn Dining Room. I want to linger, but as Walton lamented, there’s never enough time in Death Valley. So I decide to drive north into the park, bound for some favorite places. Past the dunes, I continue to the trailhead for the Titus Canyon Narrows. While many visitors take on the rugged 27-mile road that travels the canyon’s length, I prefer the 2½-mile round-trip hike that leads directly to The Narrows, where the cliffs, hundreds of feet tall, close to just a few feet across. Though Death Valley is vast, it’s also

TAKE A HIKE

Four epic adventures in Death Valley

1Wake Up and Walk the Badlands…

A highlight of any Death Valley trip is sunrise at Zabriskie Point, the famed overlook about five minutes south of The Inn at Death Valley. Watch the starkly beautiful badlands turn violet, pink, and gold at dawn, and then explore dramatically eroded terrain below the point on the 2.7mile Badlands Loop.

2A Canyon with Polish…

The four-mile round-trip hike into Mosaic Canyon leads through areas of exposed breccia (the mosaic-like embedded rock fragments in breccia give the canyon its name) and marble. There’s no formal trail, but follow the footprints as the canyon narrows to areas of rock polished by gravel that courses through during flash floods.

3 Valley Low, Mountain High…

That prominent snowcapped summit you see from the resort is 11,049-foot Telescope Peak, the park’s highest point. The 14-mile-round-trip hike to the summit is a bucket list–worthy experience. The 3,000-foot climb is tough, but the payoffs are many: incomparable views, glimpses of ancient bristlecone pines (among the world’s oldest living things), and bragging rights.

4 No Mirage—a Desert Waterfall…

Although it’s 60 miles from the resort, Darwin Falls off State Highway 190 is worth the drive: There aren’t many places in the Mojave Desert with waterfalls. Fed by a spring, this modest cascade flows year-round, plunging down a mossy rock face and into a most un-desert-like grotto. The two-mile round-trip hike isn’t challenging but requires crossings of a shallow, narrow stream.

HIT THE ROAD

filled with secluded, intimate spots that feel cut off from the outside world.

The feeling is totally different 40 minutes north at Ubehebe Crater, an enormous 600-foot-deep gouge in the earth created by a volcanic steam eruption about 2,100 years ago. Walking the 1½-mile trail that follows the rim, I watch shadows of fast-moving clouds glide across the surrounding volcanic field. No one is around for miles, but along with the rim’s unmistakable “king of the world” perspective comes an emancipating sense of smallness. My day-to-day concerns fade to insignificance against this landscape of epic, timeless grandeur.

By the time I return to The Oasis, a good 60 miles from the crater, I’m dusty and hungry for dinner. Pulling into The Ranch at Death Valley, I’m stunned by its transformation. Mission-style buildings, inspired by The Inn’s architecture, have replaced the ranch’s older, more generic structures, and a palm-shaded zocalo provides a new gathering place for visitors. I stride through a set of swinging doors and into The Last Kind Words Saloon, the ranch’s new restaurant. Filled with artifacts—American Indian blankets, saddles from

OAS

THE OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY

OasisAtDeathValley.com

844-236-7916

the 1920s, and mining gear—displayed beneath wagon-wheel chandeliers and a ceiling of ornate stamped tin panels, the place recreates the atmosphere of an authentic Old West saloon. And after all, what’s an oasis without a watering hole?

With longhorn skulls peering down, I belly up to the cherrywood bar and plant my boots along the brass rail. First I savor a Dust Storm, a craft cocktail made with rum and sarsaparilla, and then dig into a memorable bison strip loin. Back at The Inn, I’m tempted to hang out in my tower-top redoubt. But the hotel’s pool, fed by a natural hot springs, beckons me for one last outing.

The temperature has plunged, probably into the low 40s. At first, it feels insane to swim on a winter night. But my doubts vanish as I dive into the positively balmy spring-fed pool. I lose all track of time, alternating between laps and lazily floating on my back so I can gaze up at the Milky Way, luminous in the cloudless desert sky.

I finally emerge and warm up by a fireplace along the deck as the logs crackle and pop. Sleep comes quickly. And if the owls are hooting and the coyotes baying, I never hear them before waking at dawn, rejuvenated and ready for more.

The Oasis at Death Valley in Furnace Creek is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast desert of Death Valley National Park, just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The entire resort recently completed a $100 million renovation and continues to invest more into the revitalization of the properties.

Golden Canyon and Red Cathedral

The three-mileround-trip hike explores gorgeous Golden Canyon (named for the rich color of its sedimentary rock) and leads to Red Cathedral, an elaborate rock face that gets its rusty cast from oxidized iron.

Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette

The one-way, ninemile Artist’s Drive weaves and dips through watercarved ravines in multihued badlands.

The highlight is Artist’s Palette—a true natural masterpiece and the park’s most vivid geological wonder.

Devil’s Golf Course

Devil’s Golf Course is a huge expanse of jagged, crystallized minerals along the valley floor. As hard as it is to envision, this area once sat at the bottom of a lake.

Natural Bridge

Carved by flash floods, Natural Bridge spans a narrow canyon. An easy—if sandy and rocky—onemile-round-trip hike leads to the formation—the largest and bestknown of the park’s natural bridges.

Badwater Basin

At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater is North America’s lowest spot. For perspective, a sign high on the cliffs above the parking lot marks sea level. Stroll the boardwalk and the salt flats and look west toward the Panamint Range to see Telescope Peak looming more than two miles above you.

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Badwater Road Golden Canyon & Red Cathedral
Head south from the resort on Badwater Road to see these Death Valley National Park highlights.
Natural Bridge Devil’s Golf Course Badwater Basin Oasis at Death Valley 190 190 190
Artist’s Palette

OasisAtDeathValley.com

You don’t come to Death Valley because abundant life flourishes here. Which is exactly why a 4-diamond resort in the middle of it is so special. Join us to experience two unique hotels in one amazing location: North America’s only authentic desert oasis.
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TAKE A NEW-YOU ADVENTURE

There’s nothing like an epic trip to inspire a new outlook, personal breakthroughs, and an overall sense of contentment. Here’s how to create a transformational trip.

Travel holds the potential to create meaningful and lasting change in all of us. It can help us cultivate a sense of belonging. It can expand our sense of purpose. It can make us feel immensely grateful for all we have, and inspired to go after what we don’t yet have but deeply want. Sure, there are times when you might travel to escape your monotonous or hectic day-to-day schedule, or other times when all you want to do is relax. But if you’re looking for a journey that has the potential to truly transform you, follow this advice.

52 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION GREAT ESCAPES
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Dare to fly solo. When most of us think about travel, we assume we’ll go with loved ones. Yet some of the most transformative adventures can happen when you travel on your own, says Phoebe Kittredge, tour designer for VBT Bicycling Vacations and Country Walkers. “VBT and Country Walkers trips are very welcoming for solo travelers,” she says. “It’s a safe, easy way to see how much fun taking a trip on your own can be.”

Say “yes” to the tough stuff.

Trips that prompt you to push yourself can inspire you to confront old, limiting beliefs. “Taking an extended trip that involves an activity you do only casually, like biking or hiking, can help you get a new sense of your own strength and capabilities,” says Kittredge. “Your group members become your team, cheering you on to do what you originally thought was impossible. It’s amazing to see this transformation— and watch people bring that sense of accomplishment home with them.”

Take lots of pictures and notes. Snapping plenty of selfies and posting about your journey on social media can be a great way to cement what you’re learning and serve as an online journal that you can refer to when your vacay high (and motivation) starts to fade, says Kittredge. “It can also remind you of various cultural practices—like morning meditations or afternoon tea—that you might want to recreate in your own way when you’re back home,” she adds.

Step out of your comfort zone.

Just as pushing yourself physically can help you transform, so can having new cultural experiences that invite you to shift your perspective of not only yourself and others, but also the world. “One of the most amazing things about traveling is that we begin to see we’re more alike than we are different,” says Kittredge. “And when you can expand your mind that way, you come back home with a sense that we’re not so separate after all.”

Listen for the sound of silence.

No matter what type of travel you’re doing, there will be quiet times—whether you’re cycling or walking to your next destination, traveling by bus or train, or simply wandering around a city or small town. While your first instinct might be to take out your phone and start posting to social media, staying in a quiet space can have big benefits. “It’s in these quiet stretches that your mind has the freedom to expand,” says Kittredge.

Reflect on your trip again and again.

Once you’re home and solidly back in your go-to routine, revisit your Instagram feed with all those epic pictures and notes about your trip. You might even whip out your journal and start writing about specific memories that stand out to you—times when you felt strong and empowered, or moments that sparked new insights. “Doing this can help you reconnect to the experience that triggered your transformation,” says Kittredge.

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VBT VBT vbt.com 855-228-0016 HV HOLIDAY VACATIONS HolidayVacations.com 800-826-2266 CW COUNTRY WALKERS CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764 WSC WINDSTAR CRUISES WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239 COSTA
BRAVA, SPAIN

WALK THIS WAY

Here’s

Istepped out of the open-air Land Rover simultaneously thrilled and terrified. Every crunch of dried leaves beneath my feet made my heart race a little faster; every birdcall and sound of brush rustling in the wind took my breath away. After a few days of game drives through South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, Africa, where it felt like we were on a mission to spot all the elephants, giraffes, and big cats we could find, our guide led us on a walk through the spectacular habitat. And in those first few steps, I quickly realized that the point wasn’t to see as much game as possible, but rather to experience the awe-inspiring surroundings of the bush in a raw, immediate way.

Strolling through the African bush isn’t the only way to have this kind of connection with the place you’re visiting. “There are so many different types of walking vacations in so many locations,” says Jamen Yeaton-Masi, vice president of travel and operations for Country Walkers and VBT Bicycling Tours. “Your choices are practically limitless.” To help you narrow down your options, YeatonMasi shares three simple steps that’ll help you book the right walking adventure for you.

how to plan a walking vacation that’s right for you.
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UMBRIA, ITALY

Assess your fitness level.

You don’t need to be very fit to go on a walking vacation, but you do need to be realistic about your current fitness level, says Yeaton-Masi. “We’ve got hiking trips for all levels,” she says. “You can sign up for a trip that’ll involve slow, meandering strolls—or you can hike for six hours a

day in Glacier National Park and in the Dolomites mountains in Italy.” The key is to be honest not only about how far you can realistically walk, but also how much you’d like to push yourself. Answering these questions will help you choose the walking vacation that’s best for you.

PRO TIP: Break in your walking shoes or hiking boots before your trip. It’s a great excuse to make sure you get some walks in before you take off, and to be certain all your equipment is dialed in before you’re in a location where finding a replacement might be tricky.

STEP 2

Decide where you want to go, and what you want to see.

Here’s where you get to dream big, says Yeaton-Masi. What are the destinations that have been on your bucket list? One important consideration is deciding whether you’d like to spend time in cities or in more rural settings. For example, do you want to explore museums,

restaurants, and other cultural spots in a place like the Czech Republic—or does the thought of spending hours hiking the Mont Blanc circuit with a naturalist sound more appealing? “Ask yourself, ‘What’s my dream vacation?’” Yeaton-Masi says.

PRO TIP: Be realistic about how much time you have. “If you have a week, you might want to focus on a walking vacation in the U.S. or Canada,” says Yeaton-Masi. “Have 10 days? A European trip is great. And if you can travel for two weeks or more, consider traveling to Africa or Asia, and keep in mind that all the Country Walkers trips offer pre- and post-trip extensions.”

STEP 3

Customize your walking vacation.

Interested in taking a walking vacation but don’t want to follow an itinerary to a tee or spend most of your time with a group? In addition to Guided and Self-Guided

tours, Country Walkers offers a new Flex-Guided option, which offers all the benefits of group travel but includes a bit more flexibility and free time.

PRO TIP: If you’re traveling on your own, the Flex-Guided options are a great choice, says Yeaton-Masi. “You’ll have as much support as you like, and there’s a good chance you’ll meet other like-minded people. So many of our solo travelers on Flex-Guided trips become fast friends.”

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STEP 1

WHAT’S NEW AT XANTERRA

SHE’S A STAR

Windstar Cruises—the leader in small-ship cruising—recently invested $250 million in renovations to three vessels: Star Breeze , Star Legend , and Star Pride . “This is the biggest investment and expansion in Windstar Cruises’ history,” says John Delaney, president of Windstar Cruises. “We will continue to offer the world’s best small ship experience but with more amenities that our guests have been asking us for, like a new pool deck with an infinity pool, new restaurants, and a world-class Spa and Fitness Center.” The total capacity of the expanded ships will be 312 guests, with additional staff hired to maintain the line’s impressive 1.5-to-1 guest-to-staff ratio. The ships’ new engines will also meet and exceed new global International Maritime Organization limits, supporting the company’s goal of traveling with a softer environmental footprint. There are also new, highly anticipated dining spaces and new dining concepts on board, including Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso. To learn more about authentic small-ship cruising with Windstar or to book a cruise, visit WindstarCruises.com.

A HISTORIC RENOVATION

After two decades of planning, the National Park Service recently completed an extensive rehabilitation of the historic Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. The $30 million renovation includes 79 renovated guest rooms (all with private baths), a new gift shop and ski shop, public meeting areas, and an elegant lounge in the updated Map Room. Architect Robert Reamer designed the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in the art moderne style of the 1930s and 1940s, which is characterized by streamlined, horizontal structures with flat roofs and rounded corners. Yellowstone and Xanterra Travel Collection partnered to preserve the historic look and feel of the hotel, making it one of the only few art moderne structures in the National Park Service. To book, visit YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com

56 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION UPGRADES
STAR BAR STAR PRIDE POOL DECK

New Ways We Work with Travel Agents

There are a number of new ways to work with the many brands that make up Xanterra Travel Collection. For starters, travel agents can earn commissions on the following brands: Windstar Cruises, Grand Canyon Railway, VBT Bicycling Vacations, Country Walkers, Holiday Vacations, Cedar Creek Lodge, and The Oasis at Death Valley. Also noteworthy: Many of the packages you’ll sell to your clients include meals, hotels, tours, and other excursions. What’s more, you can register with all of Xanterra’s brands on one website, making the process simple. “Travel agents really appreciate having a section on our website dedicated to the trade,” says Betsy O’Rourke, chief marketing officer for Xanterra Travel Collection. “Xanterra.com/partners launched in 2019 with the hopes of educating our travel agent partners on all of our brands. Our goal was to create brand ambassadors across the agent community so that they could assist their clients when planning their next bucket-list vacation.”

We’re Even Greener

Xanterra is already committed to numerous environmental initiatives–such as sourcing over 60 percent of food purchases through local and/ or certified sustainable suppliers. This year, new initiatives are taking sustainability efforts to the next level. In Yellowstone National Park, for example, Xanterra is partnering with NativeEnergy—a pioneering carbon offset provider—to work with ranchers to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. As part of what’s called the Montana Improved Grazing Project, ranchers receive training and funding to implement science-based regenerative management practices, notably high-intensity, rapid rotational grazing. The effect is to improve the soil’s ability to sequester carbon by mimicking the seasonal migrations of bison that foraged on and coevolved with these grasslands for tens of thousands of years.

WE’RE FLEXIBLE

YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY

If you’d like to take a cycling vacation but don’t want to follow an itinerary to a tee, there’s good news: VBT now offers a new Self-Guided option. After hopping on your bike or e-bike, you’ll follow your own schedule. And while you won’t ride with a guide, you can relax knowing you have access to ground support if and when you need it. To plan your Self-Guided biking adventure, visit vbt.com.

Whether you’re independent and spontaneous, love the camaraderie of a group adventure, or all of the above, there’s a new travel option for you on all Country Walkers trips: Flex-Guided. Now, in addition to Self-Guided or Fully-Guided adventures, Flex-Guided options offer all the upsides of group travel—like getting the inside scoop on your destination from your local travel guide and home-hosted meals with your group—but include a bit more free time. With about half of your activities and meals included in your experience and half on your own, it gives you built-in time for discovering a destination on your terms, whether that means exploring a local art museum or spending some time at your hotel’s spa. To plan your next expertly designed Flex-Guided walking adventure, visit CountryWalkers.com.

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A WORLD OF

EXPERIENCES

DISCERNING TRAVELERS have a kindred spirit in the Xanterra Travel Collection. Our returning guests gain access to exclusive offers from select Xanterra and affiliate brands. Look for the symbol and learn more by visiting Xanterra.com/Exclusive.

NATIONAL PARKS LODGING & CONCESSIONS

• Death Valley National Park

• Grand Canyon South Rim

• Zion National Park

• Yellowstone National Park

• Glacier National Park

• Mount Rushmore National Memorial

• Rocky Mountain National Park

CRUISE LINE

• Windstar Cruises

HOTELS & HISTORIC RAILROAD

• Grand Hotel at Grand Canyon

• Cedar Creek Lodge

• Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

TOUR COMPANIES

• VBT Bicycling Vacations

• Country Walkers

• Holiday Vacations

AFFILIATE PROPERTIES

• The Broadmoor

• Sea Island

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NATIONAL PARKS

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK LODGES

With nine unique lodging options, including the renowned historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone National Park Lodges provides the ultimate park experience. Staying in the park is the best way for visitors to experience everything. Once the day visitors leave, Yellowstone comes alive for the in-park overnight guests alone. Yellowstone National Park Lodges also offers tours and activities guided by accomplished guides, tailoring memorable and engaging experiences.

YNP YellowstoneNational ParkLodges.com

ZION NATIONAL PARK LODGE

Zion National Park Lodge is the only lodging inside Zion National Park. Enjoy spacious accommodation— including hotel rooms, suites, and cabins—plus a year-round restaurant. The lodge offers a wide variety of ways to keep you entertained during your visit to Zion National Park.

ZL ZionLodge.com

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK LODGES

In northwestern Montana, where the American and Canadian Rockies meet, sits one of the most breathtaking of all the national parks, Glacier National Park. Guests can plan a memorable vacation and stay in one of five historic lodges within the park. Enjoy in-park accommodations and famed Red Bus Tours from late spring to early fall, as well as year-round accommodations at Cedar Creek Lodge.

GNP GlacierNationalPark Lodges.com

CEDAR CREEK LODGE

Cedar Creek Lodge and Conference Center blends the comfort of a mountain lodge with modern style, conveniently located at the gateway to Glacier National Park. It’s the perfect home base for everything the region offers—hiking, biking, fishing, winter sports and more.

GNP GlacierNationalPark Lodges.com

THE OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY

The Oasis at Death Valley is a lush sanctuary surrounded by the vast desert of Death Valley National Park, California. It’s one resort with two hotels—the historic, AAA Four Diamond, 88-room Inn at Death Valley and the family-oriented, 224-room Ranch at Death Valley. The resort recently underwent a $100 million renovation, including new rooms and the addition of 22 private casitas at The Inn, and a revitalized Town Square, complete with shopping and a new saloon, at The Ranch at Death Valley. The property features natural spring-fed pools, an 18-hole golf course, horse and carriage rides, worldrenowned stargazing, and is surrounded by Death Valley National Park’s main attractions.

OAS OasisAtDeathValley.com

Exclusive Offer: 15% off the best available rate at The Inn at Death Valley.*

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK LODGES

Grand Canyon National Park Lodges offers six distinct historic lodges. From the El Tovar Hotel, long considered the crown jewel of national park hotels, to Phantom Ranch, the only lodging on the floor of the canyon, you’ll find accommodations to enhance your visit to the Grand Canyon. Don’t miss the Historic Village or guided tours via mule, motorcoach, rail, or raft.

GC GrandCanyon Lodges.com

GRAND HOTEL AT GRAND CANYON

The Grand Hotel is the only AAA Three Diamond hotel near the Grand Canyon, just one mile from the South Rim entrance. Located in Tusayan, Arizona, this rustic yet elegant location gives visitors easy access to the park and offers the comforts and amenities travelers want.

GCGH GrandCanyonGrand Hotel.com

*Special terms and conditions apply. Visit Xanterra.com/Exclusive.

60 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
HAVASU FALLS, GRAND CANYON
OLD FAITHFUL GEYSER, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK ZION NATIONAL PARK DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

CRUISE, TOUR & RAIL

WINDSTAR CRUISES

Hidden wonders. Tuckedaway ports. Secluded beaches. Windstar’s elegant, smaller ships carrying fewer than 350 guests bring these magical places within reach, in ways bigger ships can’t. Feel what it’s like to get close enough to see the narrow confines of the Corinth Canal or the delicate green-and-brown mantle of Iceland’s Surtsey Island. Find new perspectives that deepen your understanding of iconic destinations and enrich your experience of other cultures. This is travel that’s 180 degrees from ordinary, revealing worlds only a select few will ever see.

WSC WindstarCruises.com

Exclusive Offer: Save 5% off nationally published cruise fares.*

COUNTRY WALKERS

For more than 40 years, Country Walkers has provided active, fully immersive, and unforgettable travel experiences on five continents—including unforgettable safaris to Africa. Opt for scheduled, small-group “Fully-Guided Walking Adventures,” perfectly balanced “Flex-Guided Walking Adventures,” or independent “Self-Guided Walking Adventures.” On tour, guests enjoy superb local cuisine, first-class guides, fine accommodations, and authentic cultural encounters.

CW CountryWalkers.com

Exclusive Offer: Save 5% on any FullyGuided, Flex-Guided or Self-Guided Adventure.*

VBT BICYCLING VACATIONS

Founded in 1971, VBT Bicycling Vacations offers over 50 deluxe, small-group guided bicycling and guided bike and boat tours, as well as self-guided bicycling vacations throughout the world. Each trip includes all accommodations, some meals, unique facilitated cultural experiences, and biking support. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes round-trip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities and select Canadian cities for all international vacations. VBT has been rated among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” by the readers of Travel + Leisure for eight years. VBT vbt.com

Exclusive Offer: Save 5% on any VBT Bicycling Vacations.*

HOLIDAY VACATIONS

Holiday Vacations is one of America’s most reputable tour companies, with more than 47 years of experience. Expert tour directors handle every detail, ensuring you a carefree and memorable vacation. Holiday Vacations is a nationwide provider of air, rail, motorcoach, and cruise-guided vacations to destinations worldwide, with convenient packages that include all flights, hotels, guides, attractions, transportation, and many delightful meals.

HV HolidayVacations.com

Exclusive Offer: Save $100 on select tours.*

GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL

Travel more than 120 round-trip miles through beautiful northern Arizona while being entertained by cowboy characters and strolling musicians on the historic train to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon Railway has been departing daily from Williams, Arizona, since 1901. Spend a night in Williams next door to the train depot at the AAA Three Diamond Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Don’t miss Spenser’s Pub with its handcrafted 19th-century bar. Packages with train travel and overnight stays in Grand Canyon National Park and Williams are available.

GCR TheTrain.com

Exclusive Offer: Save 30% off upgraded class train fare.*

62 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION
WINDSTAR CRUISES VBT BICYCLING VACATIONS PROVENCE, COUNTRY WALKERS GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL

AFFILIATE PROPERTIES

THE BROADMOOR

The gem of the Rockies, The Broadmoor, located in Colorado Springs, is the longest-running winner of both the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards. The Broadmoor offers guests a unique way to experience the beauty of the American West, boasting a luxurious Forbes Five Star spa as well as 20 restaurants and lounges (including the only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Colorado, Penrose Room), championship golf, ziplining, falconry, fly fishing, tennis, pickleball, indoor/ outdoor pools, distinctive retail shops, tours, and activities for guests of all ages. The Broadmoor offers three award-winning, all-inclusive Wilderness Experiences—Cloud Camp, The Ranch at Emerald Valley, and the Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Camp—blending the rugged adventure of the Colorado mountains with the Broadmoor’s luxury, elegance, and superior service. BR Broadmoor.com

Exclusive Offer: Enjoy 10% off standard rack rates and a complimentary room upgrade.* Enjoy 15% off standard rack rates at your choice of Cloud Camp, The Ranch at Emerald Valley, or Fly Fishing Camp.*

SEA ISLAND

Since 1928, Sea Island has been known as an exceptional destination appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality. (And it’s the only resort in the world to have received four Forbes Five Star awards for 11 consecutive years.) Sea Island provides exceptional settings and service for conferences and executive retreats—and even hosted the G8 Summit of world leaders. Located off the Georgia coast, Sea Island features five miles of private beach; a beach club; tennis and squash centers; a yacht club; a shooting school; children’s activities; and three championship golf courses, including Seaside and Plantation, home of the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic. Guests may also enjoy nearby Broadfield, a Sea Island sporting club and lodge, offering a variety of seasonal hunting, fishing, sporting, and organic culinary opportunities.

SI SeaIsland.com

Exclusive Offer: Stay and receive a $200 resort credit per stay.*

*Special terms and conditions apply. Visit Xanterra.com/Exclusive.

XANTERRA.COM | #XANTERRATRAVEL 63
THE BROADMOOR AFRICAN SAFARI, HOLIDAY VACATIONS SEA ISLAND
64 EXPLORE BY XANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION DEPARTURE He who travels has the best stories to tell. — IRISH
DUNLUCE CASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND HV HOLIDAY VACATIONS HolidayVacations.com 800-826-2266 CW COUNTRY WALKERS CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764 VBT VBT vbt.com 855-228-0016 WSC WINDSTAR CRUISES WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239
PROVERB

The Lodge at Sea Island America’s Five-Star Golf Destination

Three championship courses and all the amenities of Sea Island await, including five miles of private beach and a Forbes Five-Star spa. And now, e Lodge is even better than before, with e Speedway, an 18-hole putting course, as well as seven oceanfront cottages, pool, pool house, and 17,000-square-foot Golf Performance Center. Capping off the enhancements is the redesigned Plantation Course, which serves along with Seaside as the site of the RSM Classic, a PGA TOUR FedEx Cup event. Come play where more pros live, train, or play than anywhere else.

seaisland.com

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A World of Unforgettable Experiences

Xanterra Travel Collection provides intimate access to a world of legendary destinations for adventurous travelers who want to satisfy their cravings for enriching experiences. Xanterra provides exclusive, unforgettable experiences while treading carefully with a softer footprint and being mindful of our responsibility to others and to the earth. Discover more at xanterra.com .

MACHU PICCHU WITH COUNTRY WALKERS OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL WINDSTAR CRUISES
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