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PREM IERE ISSUE 2018

X A N T E R R A .C O M / E X P LO R E

ADVENTURE AWAITS DEATH VALLEY: Discover North America’s True Oasis

Alaska By land or sea, answer the call of the wild

Northern Europe Must-see spots in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Divine Coast Experience the Italian Riviera like never before

Safari Guide Plan your perfect African adventure


More ways to take your breath away.

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WELCOME

WELL-TRAVELED

A Message from the CEO: Celebrating a Diverse Portfolio

I

T’S LONG BEEN SAID THAT VARIETY IS the spice of life. Perhaps nowhere is this expression more evident than in travel. With that spirit in mind and in a tribute to the immense variety of intriguing destinations the world offers, we’re taking readers on a magnificent tour in our inaugural edition of Explore magazine. You’ll find a closer look at the 49th state in the story on the hidden gems of the Alaskan frontier. Thousands of miles away, we jump to some of the culinary delicacies of Southeast Asia. We then venture to the Mediterranean for a visit to the Italian coastline. There’s even a look back at the intrepid Harvey girls of the American West in the 1880s. The globe-trotting range of topics and destinations inside is deliberate; it is a testament to our own well-traveled guests who we’ve learned over our 140 years often tend to be delightfully diverse in their travel exploits. Travelers who enjoy bicycling adventures or trekking through the castles of Germany also enjoy the majesty of Yellowstone National Park. Guests who embark on a sailing cruise

to Tahiti also embrace a train trip to the Grand Canyon. Indeed, appreciation for the Rhône Valley and Death Valley can both be boundless. As we think about the full depth and breadth of immersive travel possibilities within our growing portfolio and how these unique travel operations help create momentous experiences, we’re unveiling an evolution of our name: the Xanterra Travel Collection. Both the name and our new magazine celebrate the sense of curiosity and novelty that can be found only when you leave the familiarity of home and travel down a new road (or rail line or ocean). So as you take in the variety of people and places in this issue, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating the variety of the Xanterra Travel Collection as well. We look forward to helping you discover more Beautiful Places on Earth® in 2018.

ANDREW N. TODD PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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X A N T E R R A . C O M / E X P LO R E


PREM IERE ISSUE 2018

X A N T E R R A .C O M / E X P LO R E

FEATURES

34

40

THE GOOD LIFE IN DEATH VALLEY

NINE ADVENTURE TRIPS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Explore a land of beautiful contrasts in this desert oasis. One of the world’s most dramatic landscapes sets the scene for adventure or relaxation; it’s up to you. BY JA MEN Y E ATON-M ASI

The siren song of seaside Italy is calling for you. Discover the Italian waterfront and savor the region’s famous flavors.

E X P LO R E B Y X A N T E R R A

44 NORTHERN EXPOSURE

48 LAND OF WONDER

Can’t-miss excursions to Northern Europe and the majestic Land of the Midnight Sun

America’s final frontier, Alaska is a rich and varied escape to a land that time forgot.

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52 WILD AT HEART From bison to wolves, the professionals share their knowledge on wildlife watching in Yellowstone National Park.

SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

16 DIVINE COAST

From Machu Picchu to New Zealand; French Polynesia to Panama, change your perspective on travel with these immersive trips. BY V ERONICA STODDA RT


More ways to be spellbound.

G LACIER NAT IONAL P AR K MONT ANA

Its 700 miles of trails span two countries, but the water dynamics that happen here affect an entire continent. Just one of the most Beautiful Places on EarthÂŽ you can experience more vividly with the Xanterra Travel Collection. GlacierNationalParkLodges.com


PREM IERE ISSUE 2018

X A N T E R R A .C O M / E X P LO R E

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31

Well-Traveled. 8 The top 8 places to visit in 2018

10 Setting sail on a

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culinary adventure

12 What not to do in a national park // Eating local in Iceland // Enjoying the suite life

55 WHO WERE THE

HARVEY GIRLS? A flock of intrepid young women answered the call of civility in America’s turn-of- the-century Wild West.

64 Departure

21 WHEN SMALLER

15 CHOOSE YOUR

E X P LO R E B Y X A N T E R R A

IS BETTER With customized itineraries, booking a small-group tour brings the ultimate experiences within reach.

32

22 FAMILY FIRST

Escape. OWN (AFRICAN) ADVENTURE From the grandeur of Victoria Falls to the intimacy of a Cape Town bistro, there are countless destinations to explore. How to choose? Ask the experts.

22

Engage.

Time away is the best way to bring multiple generations together. These four destinations offer something for everyone in your family.

Indulge.

24 READY FOR ROMANCE

Four island getaways that will make you fall in love all over again. We take you to Santorini, Bora Bora, Bequia and the Tuamotu Islands.

About Xanterra

29 IN YOUR DREAMS Three options for a “bucket-list” trip: ultimate adventures in Monaco, Zambia and Sri Lanka.

32 BAZAAR TASTES

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Visit the southeastern Asian markets, which offer a true taste of the local culture.

59 THE MOST

BEAUTIFUL PLACES ON EARTH® The Xanterra Travel Collection delivers once-in-alifetime experiences for every kind of traveler.


More ways to be mesmerized.

ZION NAT IONAL P ARK UT AH

A name that means refuge has never been more fitting. Just one of the most Beautiful Places on EarthÂŽ you can experience more vividly with the Xanterra Travel Collection. Z ionLodg e . com


The wo just a crld is lick away…

PRESIDENT & CEO

Andrew N. Todd CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

Betsy O’Rourke

EXPLORE ONLINE The world is waiting. Discover more online, anytime.

XANTERRA PARKS & RESORTS 6312 So. Fiddlers Green Circle Suite 600N Greenwood Village, CO 80111 303-600-3400 Xanterra.com

DO YOU LOVE TO TRAVEL? Are you curious about culture and cuisine around the world? Are you scheming your next great getaway? Check out Explore Magazine online, where you’ll find a trove of inspiring stories from around the world.

Exotic international destinations

Family travel

Unforgettable adventures near and far

Tropical Getaways

Romantic vacations

Published in partnership with:

Luxurious escapes Bucket-list worthy trip ideas

Visit Xanterra.com/Explore

hungryeyemedia.com 800-852-0857

PRESIDENT

Brendan Harrington EDITOR

EXPLORE IN PRINT Your key to travel.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes ART DIRECTORS

Xanterra Travel Collection includes a host of award-winning travel partners to guide your worldwide wanderlust. These four partners offer myriad ways to explore the featured destinations found inside. Just look for the stamp to learn more about a particular trip. Country Walkers CountryWalkers.com

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations Vbt.com

Holiday Vacations HolidayVacations.com

Windstar Cruises WindstarCruises.com

E X P LO R E B Y X A N T E R R A

Rebecca L. Olgeirson

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Lindsay Burke Alithea Cessna MARKETING OPERATIONS

Susan Humphrey PHOTOGRAPHY shutterstock


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

T

hree championship courses, including Seaside and Plantation. Site of the PGA TOUR’s RSM Classic, hosted by Davis Love III. Superb accommodations overlooking the Atlantic. The country’s finest Golf Performance Center. All served up with genuine, warm Southern hospitality. Come play where more than two dozen touring pros live and/or train. The Lodge at Sea Island, on the Georgia coast.

seaisland.com • 877-437-4214


WELL-TRAVELED

Eight for

2018

3

SICILY

Your next adventure awaits...

WARNING: Our list of dream-worthy destinations may cause an expansion of your travel plans for the year.

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ICELAND

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In this country founded by Vikings, Nordic music, literature, dance and cuisine form the basis of local culture. The nation’s geologic and volcanic activity lends the island much of its considerable natural beauty, with deep-cut fjords, vast glaciers, black sand beaches, shooting geysers and steaming lava fields offering an otherworldly landscape. Marvel at the dramatic waterfalls, plunging from great heights into crystal-clear ponds, or soak in soothing thermal pools. Sample Iceland’s bounty, fresh from the earth and sea, including organic lamb pastrami, wild salmon and lobster. CountryWalkers.com, WindstarCruises.com. See page 44

VIETNAM

With 2,140 miles of coastline, including the stunning spectacle of karst-dotted Halong Bay, Vietnam’s natural beauty and richly fascinating history and culture combine to nudge it to the top of many a traveler’s wish list. Explore the ancient streets of Old Hanoi, lined with paper lanterns, and spend the night on a private junk. Take in the atmospheric merchant houses, temples and cloth markets of Old Hoi An. Discover the legends that unfold through the country’s famous water puppetry, a mesmerizing tradition. Sample the fresh cuisine, including its renowned pho, as you bring the exotic country into focus. CountryWalkers.com, HolidayVacations.com, Vbt.com, WindstarCruises.com. See page 32

E XPLORE BY X ANTERR A

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A rugged island of sun-kissed coves, wildflower-dotted fields, family-run vineyards, and the ancient ruins of 12 civilizations, Sicily offers travelers the true soul of Italy. From the Grecian drama of Selinunte’s seaside temples to the quiet of Oasi Naturale di Vendicari’s secluded bird sanctuaries, it presents a cultural heritage and natural beauty as rich as Mount Etna’s volcanic soil. Delight in sumptuous meals scented with fresh jasmine, ripe tomatoes, rosemary, mint and basil, paired with robust wines of the region. CountryWalkers.com, WindstarCruises.com, Vbt.com. See page 18

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AUSTRALIA

If any nation knows the joys, rewards, and meditations of active adventure, it’s Australia. The walkabout was invented here, and you will soon understand why. Aussies are blessed with some of the most magnificent natural beauty in the world, the kind meant for long strolls and endless exploration. From the dramatic plateaus, cliffs, valleys and eucalypt forests of the Blue Mountains in Sydney’s backyard to the celebrated rocksculpted coast of the Great Ocean Walk outside Melbourne, Oz is an adventurer’s paradise. CountryWalkers.com, HolidayVacations.com. See page 43


5

PORTUGAL

From the secluded mountainsides of Minho and the scenic wine terraces of the Douro Valley, to the medieval trails and seaside cliff paths of Alentejo, Portugal boasts one of the most robust and fascinating histories in Europe. Visit to trace ancient shepherd trails, terraced farmland and traditional stone villages with breathtaking mountain vistas as your backdrop. Pause to sample local wines, visit with vintners, and savor the rustic farm cuisine and succulent seafood that have put Portugal on the gastronomic map. CountryWalkers.com, Vbt.com, WindstarCruises.com. See page 64

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CROATIA

6 7 ALASKA

See where mountains erupted from the tundra, and where glaciers clawed their way across the landscape, scratching deep fjords into the coast and scouring archipelagos from the sea. Wildlife and marine life flourish here in this land of extremes. Expect wondrous sheets of topaz ice, brown bears fishing for salmon and humpback whales breeching in the distance. Navigate narrow fjords where secret beauty is revealed to those who travel by small ships. Find your way to Russian cathedrals, Tsimshian villages, and a greater understanding of why they call Alaska the Great Land. HolidayVacations.com, WindstarCruises.com. See page 48

Croatia holds many secrets, a seductive blend of rich history and stunning beauty. Its Dalmatian Coast, the legendary home of history’s most itinerant traveler, Marco Polo, is heralded as one of the world’s most breathtaking coastal treasures. More than 1,000 islands are scattered through the region, providing snapshots of generations-old lives built on fishing, stonecutting, farming and wine-making. You’ll want to sample the fresh bounty of the sea, savoring plump oysters and octopus salad paired with the famed wines of the region. As you explore remarkably preserved Old Towns kissed by the Adriatic sun – Dubrovnik, Hvar, Brač and Korčula – you’ll appreciate how gently the passage of time has treated these rustic places. CountryWalkers.com, Vbt.com, WindstarCruises.com. See page 43

DEATH VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

The largest national park outside Alaska, Death Valley National Park in California spreads over 5,000 square miles of desert and mountains. It’s a landscape of striking contrasts, where snow lingers on peaks during winter, the occasional downpour brings forth a sea of wildflowers, and the dark sky offers stargazers a glittering treasure trove. Craft a perfect stay, filled with history and adventure, as you play golf below sea level or explore salt flats, ancient geological formations, chiseled canyons and the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, Badwater Basin. OasisAtDeathValley.com See page 34

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X A N T ERR A .COM/E XPLORE


WELL-TRAVELED

JAMES BEARD

FOUNDATION SETS SAIL Embark on the ultimate culinary adventure.

E X P LO R E B Y X A N T E R R A

Hugh Acheson’s Cod with Leeks, Chorizo and Pimenton INGREDIENTS 4 cod filet portions (5 ounces each, 1 inch thick is best) 1 teaspoon fine sea salt 2 large leeks 1/2 pound of Portuguese chorizo 4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter 2 cups dry fino sherry 1/2 teaspoon Spanish pimenton dulce 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced 4 cups chicken stock 2 bay leaves 2 tablespoons olive oil METHOD 1. Dry the cod well with paper towel and season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Place in fridge. 2. Cut the leeks down the middle lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry, discard the dark green of the leek and slice the white and pale green into ½-inch slices, against the grain. Cut the chorizo into ¼-inch thick rounds.

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3. In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter bubbles and froths, add the leek and the chorizo. Cook for 7 minutes and then add the sherry. Cook for 5 minutes more, and then add the smoked paprika and the minced garlic. Add the chicken stock and the bay leaves to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Season the poaching broth with the remaining salt. Lower heat to medium-low while you sear the fish. 4. To sear the fish, heat a separate large frypan (nonstick works well for this) over medium-high heat and remove the fish from the fridge. Dry the cod well again with paper towels. Add the olive oil to the pan and sear the fish for 3 minutes until one side is golden brown. Remove the seared fish and place into the poaching liquid, seared side up. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes on medium-low heat, or until the cod is done. 5. Serve simply. Remove a portion of the fish, place in bowls, and then spoon the broth, leeks and chorizo over the fish.

COURTESY OF HUGH ACHESON

B

ringing culinary educa­tion to the high seas, Windstar continues its partnership with the James Beard Foundation, offering several themed cruises in 2018. Created to recognize the nation’s best chefs and most innovative culinary talent, the James Beard Founda­tion is the nation’s authority on epicurean innovation and excellence. Pairing a renowned chef and beverage expert with the region’s cuisines, these themed cruises offer intimate discussions and demonstrations. Menus (and wine lists) will be handpicked for travelers using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. All Windstar guests — even those not booked on a culinary themed cruise — will get a taste of the partnership, as James Beard Foundation Signature recipes are served nightly on dinner menus. Bon voyage and bon appétit! WindstarCruises.com


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

Sailing on an elegant ship into a remote fishing village. Getting immersed in local, transcendent culture. Introducing Windstar Signature Expeditions, taking you closer and showing you more of the Alaskan wilderness, in a way bigger ships can’t. No one else goes so far to get travelers so close. Call your travel professional or Windstar Cruises at 844-485-5239. WindstarCruises.com


WELL-TRAVELED

THE LIST

National Park Camping Do Be flexible with dates: Flexibility increases your chances of snagging a prime campsite. Pack a first-aid kit: Bring a small kit of essentials, such as Band-Aids and Benadryl. Camp where permitted: Rogue campsites damage the natural areas; better to stick to the designated sites.

Iceland: Eat Local

Don’t

Bring your fourthgrader: Fourth-graders and their families are eligible for an “Every Kid in a Park” pass granting free access throughout the year. Be a follower: Consider traveling with a small group tour operator. With different types of trips available, expert guides can show you the best of the region.

Don’t engage the wildlife: No selfie is worth it. Don’t overschedule: Daily activities vary; leave time to wander a new trail or enjoy an outdoor art class. Don’t leave a mess: Pack in and pack out all your trash. Leave no trace and help preserve our most beautiful spaces.

Don’t lose your map: Cellphone coverage varies throughout the national parks, so you can’t depend on that GPS for navigation. Don’t buy supplies near the park: Everything gets more expensive closer to the gates. Purchase firewood and other camping necessities ahead of time.

From smoked to sushi, Icelanders love their fish. When exploring this island nation, make a point to try the local favorite in each small town. Reykjavík’s current hot spot, Dill, provides a seven-course tour of New Nordic cuisine. Or venture north to Akureyri for its famous lobster soup. The truly brave can opt for puffin heart carpaccio, the pride of Isafjordur.

TWO OF A KIND On the eve of milestone anniversaries, two iconic resorts embark on a bold future together.

T

he Broadmoor, in the mountains of Colorado, and Sea Island, on the coast of Georgia, are vastly different in environment. But the two resorts share an unrivaled commitment to service and excellence. Like beautiful sisters with unique personalities, they are bound by a common family and shared cultural service values. And each is facing a big birthday. The Broadmoor celebrates her 100th anniversary this year, and will do so in grand fashion. The storied resort hosts the 2018 U.S. Senior Open in June. And, after making improvements across the resort this winter, continues expanding with new wilderness properties perched high in the Rocky Mountains. The Broadmoor offers guests a true Colorado experience, with gold-medal fishing, hiking and even a zip line adventure course. Sea Island, rich in Southern heritage, celebrates her 90th anniversary this year

E X P LO R E B Y X A N T E R R A

and will mark the occasion with exciting additions to The Lodge at Sea Island, including new ocean-side cottages, a swimming pool, a new putting green and more. Also look for a redesign of the famed Plantation Course by longtime Sea Island resident Davis Love III, and a spectacular new 17,000-square-foot Golf Performance Center. Not resting on their laurels, these icons continue to improve with these enhancements. With such a broad range of activities, from golf to shooting to fishing to hiking, it’s easy to overlook the worldclass hospitality and dining that remain their trademarks. Through all the exciting improvements, these sister resorts remain true to their roots as family vacation destinations that leave everybody asking, “Can we go back next year?” Plan your vacation at Broadmoor.com and SeaIsland.com.

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THE BROADMOOR

SEA ISLAND


SUITE LIFE

A Room with a View

CRUISE CONTROL

Just because you’re on the water doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy prime real estate. On Windstar Cruises’ Star Class all-suite ships, opt for one of the Owner’s Suites for a oncein-a-lifetime experience. These two most forward cabins on the yacht each offer 575 square feet of understated luxury and comfort. Complete with private dining room, walk-in closets, personal Nespresso machines and even daily fresh flowers, this is the ultimate in discovering the world from a different perspective. WindstarCruises.com.

THESE VALUES ARE IN ALL OF US. Kindness, Love, Compassion, Perseverance, Courage… We all try to live by them, but sometimes we need to be reminded, to be inspired or to see things in the world that help us understand that they are in us, and that we can pass them on to others.

PRESIDENTIAL SUITE

Dial up the luxury during your visit to Yellowstone National Park and reserve Lake Yellowstone Hotel’s Presidential Suite. President Calvin Coolidge spent some time in this room, the crowning jewel in this park’s oldest standing lodge. A National Historic Landmark, Lake Yellowstone Hotel was built in 1891. More recently, the hotel — including the Presidential Suite — underwent a $28 million upgrade. During your presidential stay, enjoy traditional furnishings, a large formal living room and separate dining room, perfect for entertaining. YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com

Visit www.PassItOn.com to see amazing stories based on these values featuring Muhammad Ali, Shrek, Oprah, Nelson Mandela, Babe Ruth, The Wright Brothers, Abraham Lincoln, Grace Vanderwaal, Malala and many others. You’ll hear music from John Lennon, Black Eyed Peas, John Denver, Louis Armstrong and more. You’ll also see stories about everyday heroes too—like Sarah Greichen, a young woman who is making sure that her brother with autism and all those with mental or physical handicaps have friends. Or a 16 year-old named Josh Williams, who started a non-profit when he was only 5 and has fed over 300,000 homeless people. So, during your adventure take a moment and visit us online. Better yet, send us a picture from your trip! Let us know what Kindness or any other value looks like to you, through your camera lens. Post it #passiton or email it to us at Photos@PassItOn.com today. If we choose your picture we’ll post it on our site to inspire millions of viewers and we’ll send you a Pass It On care package!

Get inspired at


More ways to be awestruck.

CR AT E R LAKE NAT IONAL P AR K OR E G ON

The resplendent beauty left behind by a savage volcano thousands of years ago, it’s a testament to both geology and human perseverance. Just one of the most Beautiful Places on EarthŽ you can experience more vividly with the Xanterra Travel Collection. C ra t e r Lak e Lodge s . com


ESCAPE

CHOOSE YOUR OWN (AFRICAN) ADVENTURE From Zambia’s wild herds to Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, there are countless destinations to explore. How to choose? Ask the experts.

A

FRICA IS BIG. But building a strong itinerary for your African adventure can be nothing short of monumental. We can help. Instead of presenting a kitchen-sink collection of every elephant wallow and baobab tree, we’ve carefully curated a handful of experiences tailored to every taste. Which one is right for you depends on what you want to see.

SOUTH AFRICA. Perfect for: Families, foodies, garden fans, first-time travelers to Africa. The View: Sophisticated gardens and museums, genteel wine country and thrilling game drives. Wildlife Highlights: Lions, leopards and the rest of the Big Five witnessed in Kruger National Park. Go Deeper: Encounter the Cape’s distinct floral kingdom— unlike any other in the world—in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

VICTORIA FALLS. Perfect for: Thrill seekers, birders. The View: Victoria Falls, the world’s largest waterfall, sends a mountain of water tumbling 355 feet into a misty gorge.

ZAMBIA. Perfect for: Dedicated wilderness walkers, off-thebeaten-path explorers. The View: Lush floodplains alive with huge herds of game, remote camps and gorgeous hardwood forests.

Wildlife Highlights: Eagles soaring through nearby gorges on rising thermals. Go Deeper: Enjoy an optional sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River.

Wildlife Highlights: The rare Thornicroft’s giraffe, spotted while walking in the South Luangwa Valley. Go Deeper: Connect with local communities just outside the national park while visiting the village and schools of Mfuwe.

ZIMBABWE. Perfect for: Intrepid wildlife fans. The Experience: Hidden side canyons near Victoria Falls, undiscovered parks deep in the wilderness, canoeing between islands on the Zambezi River. Wildlife Highlights: Elephants in abundance guzzling water by Hwange’s water holes. Go Deeper: Discover the fascinating history of Africa’s Capeto-Cairo rail line as you ride it through Hwange’s backcountry.

ZAMBIA SAFARI Exclusive Camps & Bush Walks

SOUTH AFRICA SAFARI The Cape & Kruger National Park

ZIMBABWE SAFARI Victoria Falls & Undiscovered National Parks

COUNTRY WALKERS CountryWalkers.com / 800-844-5764

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X A N T ERR A .COM/E XPLORE


ESCAPE

ITALIAN RIVIERA What could be more heavenly than a string of five candy-colored fishing villages clinging to the serpentine coastline of Italy’s Riviera? Cinque Terre, or Five Lands, continue to beguile even the most jaded travelers. Accessible only by boat, rail and footpath, these seafront towns along the Ligurian Sea simply don’t seem real. Wind your way through the five — Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore — by following cliffside stairways and narrow trails through citrus and olive groves, and passing neatly terraced gardens, hillside grape arbors and medieval hand-cut stone walls.

E XPLORE BY X ANTERR A

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divine coast THE SIREN SONG OF SEASIDE ITALY IS CALLING FOR YOU

O

NE OF THE MOST CHARMING AND PICTURESQUE destinations in the world, Italy is synonymous with a passion for life, farm-grown cuisine, delicious wine and a remarkably rich history that changed the course of the world. It’s no wonder it continues to top the travel list for so many people. But the Italian coast, with its dramatic, rocky shores, colorful villages and peaceful harbors, will beckon you back time and again. »

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X A N T ERR A .COM/E XPLORE


ESCAPE

SICILIAN ESCAPADE Circumnavigate the legendary island of Sicily as the royals might, aboard a small luxury yacht. Begin in the fascinating town of Catania, home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visit Porto Empedocle with some of the best ancient ruins in the entire Mediterranean at Agrigento; the centuries-old city of Syracuse, which Cicero himself called “the most beautiful of all”; the ancient Phoenician salt marshes and gorgeous sea views at Trapani; and the timeless island of Lipari, reachable only by small ship and known for its pastel-colored seafront, Spanish castle and Baroque cathedral. Call on the Maltese capital of Valletta, known as “The Fortress City.” There you can feast on the paintings of Caravaggio in St. John’s Cathedral, the stately Palazzo Parisio, where Maltese knights once gathered. Stroll along shorelines that beg to be photographed. Finally, sail along the stunning Amalfi Coast and marvel at its postcard-perfect views of limestone cliffs and terraced villages spilling into the Mediterranean Sea. Before returning to Rome, spend a day exploring the towns of Amalfi, Positano, or Ravello and toast your good fortune with a glass of the region’s signature limoncello liqueur. Saluti!

PUGLIA PERFECTION Venture to the sun-drenched heel of Italy’s “boot” for whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and scenic stretches of Mediterranean coastline. Without the crowds of the more well-known regions, Puglian travelers can explore Monopoli and other nearby cities visiting 18th-century cathedrals and historic harbors, learning about the cultural footprints left by the conquerors of the past. Beyond the cities, Puglia shows off her original, earth-inspired finery. From the ancient Forest of Umbra to the fruitful Valle d’Itria and sunbaked Salento, you’ll find seas of 800-year-old olive groves, country roads and quaint villages. Discover the stone trulli dwellings of Alberobello, share a farmfresh lunch and enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystalline water at Porto Badisco.

E XPLORE BY X ANTERR A

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ON FOOT

COUNTRY WALKERS • Italy: Portofino & Cinque Terre • Italy: Sicily

ALLURING AMALFI

CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764 VBT Amalfi Coast & Capri Vbt.com 855-228-0016

BY SHIP

WINDSTAR CRUISES • Sicilian Splendors • Tuscany & the Tyrrhenian Sea WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239

BY BIKE

VBT Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast Vbt.com 855-228-0016

Savor traditional dishes at a familyrun trattoria and linger in the sidewalk cafes of terraced Ravello. Along the way, bathe in the aroma of cliffside lemon groves, rosemary and sweet jasmine. Ah, la dolce vita.”

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In a country of exceptional beauty, Italy’s Amalfi Coast — forming the southern edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula — stands out for its stunning scenery. Soaring rocky cliffs plunge into the sun-dappled Mediterranean Sea, and pastelcolored fishing villages laden with cascading flowers cling to the steep hillsides. Stroll along the Path of the Gods, named for its divine views of Capri and the islets of Sirenuse. The latter are famous for the mythical Sirens that attracted seafarers. Discover the scenic Alta via dei Monti Lattari trail, which winds through a lovely chestnut forest and wildflower field before ending amid dazzling vistas of the Gulf of Salerno. Off the trail, visit the ruins

of Pompeii and the storybook towns of Positano and Ravello. Ride the ferry to the enchanting Isle of Capri, to explore the cafés and chic boutiques of its bustling main square, or seek quieter pathways flanked by elegant villas and lush gardens. Walk to the Belvedere delle Noci for spectacular views of offshore rock formations, swim in the island’s aquamarine waters, or tour the cave-studded coastline. Learn the ancient art of paper-making at the Museo della Carta in Amalfi. Savor traditional Neapolitan dishes at a family-run trattoria and linger in the sidewalk cafes of terraced Ravello. Along the way, bathe in the aroma of cliffside lemon groves, rosemary and sweet jasmine. Ah, la dolce vita.

X A N T ERR A .COM/E XPLORE


Learn about world history as you cycle along the beaches of Normandy

Enjoy stunning views of hill towns and vineyards in Italy with your local Trip Leaders

Meet rural farmers as you ride through rice paddies in Vietnam

Experience Croatian home life up close as you dine with a local family in Dalmatia

Discover the celebrated technicolor tulip blooms as you pedal along flat bike paths in Holland

Europe • North America • New Zealand • Vietnam • Peru • Costa Rica • South Africa • Chile

vbt.com | 855-228-0016 The Leader in Active Vacations Since 1971 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 2017 ©2017 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 and Walking Vacations.


ENGAGE

WHEN SMALLER IS BETTER From expert guides to curated itineraries, small-group travel brings the ultimate touring experiences within reach.

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NSIDER ACCESS. EXPERT GUIDES. Compatible travel companions. When choosing a small-group tour, details like these mean the difference between traveling and traveling well. If you don’t want to tackle the challenges of planning a trip, but aren’t ready to give up control to a big tour operator, then a small-group travel experience could be right for you.

Convenience

Travelers typically visit a mind-numbing 38 websites before booking a vacation. Planning a complex trip to a far-flung destination requires days of research and leaves you wondering what you might have missed. Instead, select a tour itinerary carefully crafted by knowledgeable (and often local) experts. Relax because your transportation, accommodations, meals and activities are in experienced hands.

Unparalleled Expertise

Guides offer unique — even life-changing — experiences you never knew were possible. Passionate experts lead the way to the best hiking paths, secret viewing spots, tucked-away restaurants and local pubs. And, should the weather or circumstances shift, they have the perfect “Plan B” in their pocket.

Location, Location, Location

Why travel the world only to bed down at a typical American hotel? Where many larger tours must rely on bigger hotel chains, the more nimble small groups take advantage of charming local boutique hotels and even B&Bs. Take in these cozy, local establishments where character is their calling card.

Value

Finally, a small-group tour offers the benefit of a privately guided experience but at a more favorable price. By sharing the adventure with fellow travelers, you’ll also share in the savings. And who doesn’t appreciate that?

Access

The pace, flexibility and size of your group affords access and a deeper understanding of the local way of life. Meet resident farmers, artisans and small shopkeepers, on a leisurely — and flexible — time schedule.

Sharing the Road

Check out these smallgroup tour operators, offering unrivaled access to all corners of the globe:

One of the highlights of traveling with a small group is the ability to share the experience with fellow travelers who often become lifelong friends.

COUNTRY WALKERS

Great for Solos

VBT

With ready-made travel companions, concerns about dining or visiting a local pub alone will dissipate. Both men and women benefit from the comfort and security of a small group. Some trip operators encourage solo travelers by offering a low single-room supplement or even waiving single supplements.

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CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764

Vbt.com 855-228-0016 HOLIDAY VACATIONS HolidayVacations.com 800-826-2266

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ENGAGE

FAMILY FIRST Time away is the best way to bring multiple generations together.

SEA ISLAND RESORT Sea Island, Georgia

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T’S NO WONDER THAT MULTIGENERATIONAL VACATIONS continue to be ranked among the hottest trends in travel. Geographic diversity, multiple careers and busy school schedules make it a challenge to gather the clan for traditional holidays. So when grandparents, their adult children and grandkids convene in one destination, it’s a chance to make memories that matter. Sharing passions and adventures like a round of late-afternoon golf, horseback riding, hiking or floating down a lazy river combine to create an unforgettable trip. The key? Choose the right itinerary. Plan activities for all ages, as well as time apart for rest and relaxation. Here are four surefire family-friendly destinations.

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Part of Georgia’s Golden Isles, Sea Island Resort — a collection that includes The Cloister and The Lodge, both Mobil Five-Star rated, and the Beach Club and Cottages — is known for championship golf courses, an award-winning spa, as well as the kid-friendly dune-bordered beach and Camp Cloister activities for ages 3 to 14. The resort’s family reunion specialist can assist you with selecting the right combination of outings, adventures and experiences for your family. Choose from dock fishing, eco-tours, kayaking, biking, horseback riding and star gazing. Witness a sea turtle hatch on the beach, go sailing, or get away for an afternoon of clay shooting or pheasant hunting at Broadfield. Sea Island is an expansive property with the variety of activities to match. Crafted with Southern charm, you’ll want to consider the plantation suppers and Low Country boils where family games and music are on the menu. Visit SeaIsland.com/Family or call 877-437-3214.


“It’s a chance to make memories that matter.”

GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL Williams, Arizona

Soon after the sheriff wins a showdown with the town’s scoundrels, board the historic 1901 Grand Canyon Railway in Williams for the two-hour trip to the iconic Grand Canyon National Park. The train provides the luxury of relaxing instead of driving and the ability to enjoy the views of the Ponderosa pinewoods and sagebrush-dotted fields. Kids (and grownups) like the guitar-playing and singing cowboys who pause long enough to allow the faux train robbery by the dastardly Cataract Creek Gang to steal the show. Conveniently, the train pulls into the park aside the historic El Tovar Hotel, a legendary place for lunch and, remarkably, just steps from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Packages can include one night at the park’s Maswik Lodge North, which gives you a day to explore the canyon’s wonders on your own, and a return trip departing at 3:30 p.m. for another night in Williams. Visit TheTrain.com or call 844-843-8724.

THE OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY

THE BROADMOOR

Colorado Springs, Colorado Situated at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, The Broadmoor offers families unforgettable mountain adventures couched in the trappings of a luxurious, Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond resort. While the main campus features award-winning dining, amenities and activities, The Broadmoor goes far beyond the expected with three allinclusive mountain retreats. Perched 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor, Cloud Camp is the perfect place for families to reconnect away from the distractions of modern life. The Orvisendorsed Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp is set on a private five-mile stretch of river with dedicated guides, a beautiful main lodge and seven guest cabins. And The Ranch at Emerald Valley — chosen as the #1 resort in Colorado by the Condé Nast Readers Awards — provides endless opportunities for family fun with horseback riding, fishing, archery and hiking. Enjoy the tradition of cowboy coffee at sunrise or a glass of wine at sunset overlooking two mountain lakes. Visit Broadmoor.com or call 855-686-5538.

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Death Valley, California Prepare your extended family for a one-of-a-kind adventure. Truly an oasis in the desert, The Oasis at Death Valley offers an exhilarating landscape in one of America’s largest national parks. During the day, explore the vast mountainous landscape of the Death Valley National Park; be sure to tell the kids this is the desert that served as the setting for the original “Star Wars” films. Return to the resort in time to float in a spring-fed pool before enjoying dinner at one of the restaurants on the property. Fresh from a multimilliondollar 2017 renovation, the resort offers two properties: the historic AAA Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley and the more family-oriented Ranch at Death Valley. With the whole family staying on the property, enjoy activities for every age, including an 18-hole golf course; horseback riding; natural spring-fed pools; sport courts, the Borax Museum and an authentic Western saloon. The Oasis at Death Valley is two hours west of Las Vegas by car and a four-hour drive from Los Angeles. Visit OasisAtDeathValley.com or call 844-236-7916.

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ENGAGE

READY FOR Exotic island getaways that will make you fall in love all over again

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hether celebrating a special occasion or seeking to reconnect away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, there’s no better way to rekindle the flame than a romantic retreat to a remote island. These

fairy-tale destinations, some accessible only with exclusive cruise operators, offer luxury accommodations — perfect for couples — including cozy stilted bungalows, secret star-gazing decks and even private beaches where time seems to stop for only you two. »

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Bora Bora

The sand-fringed islets and blue-green waters make this French Polynesian island the ultimate destination for hopeless romantics. Surrounded by a coral reef that protects a pristine lagoon, Bora Bora extends an open invitation for adventurous couples to snorkel on top or dive deep to view blacktip sharks, rays and schools of colorful fish. Though mainly sought after for its aqua-centric landscape, couples will find unexpected beauty in breathtaking mountain views atop the remnants of the island’s extinct volcano.

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ENGAGE

Santorini

The rugged landscape, majestic blue waters, flourishing vineyards and picturesque white villages provide the perfect setting to reconnect with the one you love. This Greek island in the southern Aegean Sea is a geological caldera left from a volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island. Today, this postcard-perfect scene is one of the world’s most romantic island retreats.

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Bequia

Enjoy the slow pace of island life on Bequia, (pronounced “beck-way”). The largest of the Caribbean’s Grenadines islands, it’s still only 7 square miles. With pristine beaches and 28 dive sites off the coast, it’s also a scuba diver’s paradise, although this hidden gem offers couples time together above or below the waves. After exploring an underwater shipwreck, stroll the beach until you find your favorite beachfront bar and enjoy a rum punch (or two) with a million-dollar view. Since the port allows only yacht-size ships and daily ferries, you’ll never see those cruise-ship crowds on Bequia.

Widely recognized as a leader in romantic wedding and honeymoon destinations, the awardwinning Windstar Cruises has received numerous accolades for its intimate small-ship cruises, with fewer than 310 guests to off-the-beaten-path ports other cruise lines can’t reach. Visit WindstarCruises.com or call 844-485-5239.

Tuamotu Islands The serene natural beauty of this French Polynesian island chain seems designed for romance, featuring some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Located in the crystal-clear waters of the South Pacific, this 80-island chain is made up of tiny motu (islets) creating delicate lagoons with secret beaches. Whether the two of you venture into those magical turquoise lagoons or just luxuriate on the white-sand beaches, you’ll feel closer together being a world away.

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INDULGE

IN YOUR DREAMS Kick your imagination into overdrive.

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REAM TRIP. FANTASY VACATION. UNFORGETTABLE GETAWAY. While often tagged a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, a so-called bucket-list trip is more likely to stoke your curiosity, invigorate your passions and encourage more exotic travel in your future. It’s the start of something new, an experience to awaken your senses and revitalize your love of travel. These three adventures are sure to rev you up:

GRAND PRIX OF MONACO CRUISE Combine bucket-list experiences by land and by sea with the exclusive travel concept when you step aboard in a private yacht for a glamorous getaway. Your primo ports of call will include the finest on the French and Italian Riviera: Cannes, Portofino and Portovenere. The frosting on the cake? Getting the inside scoop with famed announcer Bob Varsha sailing on the cruise, Formula One time trials with Pit Pass access and the storied Grand Prix, with racers roaring through the streets of the tiny, independent city-state of Monaco. You might even spot a royal or two in this elegant, coastal principality adorned with palaces, opera houses and famed casinos. Explore with Windstar Cruises. WindstarCruises.com


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AFRICAN SAFARI IN ZAMBIA Zambia is home to one of the world’s best-known natural wonders — Victoria Falls — but its less-visited network of national parks is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. For off-the-grid, immersed-in-nature enchantment, few places on earth compare to South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia. Enjoy the perfect mix of comfort and immersion in nature at intimate, award-winning bush camps. Dine under the stars as elephants stride by. Sip sundowners to the sound of hippos squelching in their wallow. Hear the music of thousands of birds by day, and by night a serenade of mysterious forest sounds. Zambia’s abundant opportunities for slow-paced, close-tonature adventure — by foot or canoe — make this a uniquely appealing destination. This is the real Africa — with all the beauty, mystery and excitement that a safari promises. Explore with Country Walkers Zambia Safari and Exclusive Camps & Bush Walks; CountryWalkers.com

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TEA TRAILS OF SRI LANKA Today’s Sri Lanka was once known as Serendip, the land of happy accidents. A lush landscape that has inspired fables and folklore for centuries, Sri Lanka is a land few Westerners have experienced. Wander terraced fields and lotus ponds, follow cobbled lanes seemingly into the past, and watch the locals hand-harvest tea bushes. Take in the country by foot, by plane or by boat, but don’t miss the jungle-based rock formation, Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Finally, no visit is complete without an expertly guided tour of Anuradhapura, the UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with ancient temples and bell-shaped dagobas that transport visitors to another time. Explore with Country Walkers, CountryWalkers.com

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INDULGE

A New Breakfast Drink

A real treat while shopping was to pause in a stall for an “egg drop coffee.” Vietnam is known for its thick, dark, aromatic coffee — often served fresh to order with a mini drip filter right on top of your mug. In this beverage, a raw egg is dropped into the drink, which cooks it instantly. It’s then heavily sweetened with evaporated milk, butter, and cheese. The result is both delicious and quite filling…and so thick that your spoon can stand up in the middle.

BAZAAR TASTES

Across Southeast Asia, markets are a ritual part of daily life, and a true cultural experience. BY JAMEN YEATON-MASI

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F YOU’RE LOOKING for recommendations for things to do and places to see in Southeast Asia, most people will probably point you toward the sprawling ruins of Angkor Wat, the towering karsts of Ha Long Bay, the bustle of cities like Hanoi and Siem Reap, or the exceptional cuisine found throughout the subcontinent. However, there’s one special highlight that I love recommending to visitors, and it’s not one that shows up in most guidebooks: Go grocery shopping. Markets in Southeast Asia are an unforgettable experience. Often open-air, with hodge podge aisles of stalls carrying everything from produce and fresh spices to live chickens, these bustling bazaars are one of the best ways to experience local culture in the region. Need examples? Here are a few things I’ve discovered in Southeast Asian markets.

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The World’s Best Pho

At the morning market in Hanoi, people start their day with a hearty bowl of pho, a soup combining sprouts, rice noodles, and meat or fish with a fragrant broth. It was so interesting to see the mix of people stopping by — a mix that included everyone from businessmen in suits and ties to local farmers in town for the market. It’s clearly a beloved dish for locals of all economic means — and when I tasted it I could understand why.

Exotic Fruits

Dragon fruit, durian, rambutans, lychee, star fruit, papaya, pineapples: You name it and you’ll find it in a Southeast Asian market. It was so fascinating to discover and taste so many vibrant fruits I’d never heard of…and learn about their uses from vendors.

Bird’s Nests

At a market in Hoi An, I spotted what looked like small piles of lacy potato chips at one stall. As our guide explained, these were actually birds’ nests, made by swallows from their own spit. Believe it or not, they’re the basis of a


popular soup served on special occasions such as weddings throughout the region. One bird’s nest can cost the equivalent of several days’ (or even weeks’) wages…so I didn’t buy any.

Wasp Liqueur

Speaking of unique specialty items, our guide pointed out something that I never would have found on my own. Wasp liqueur is a drink made by (what else?) adding dead wasps to a bottle of highly potent alcohol along, with corn syrup or sugar cane for flavor. It comes in recycled plastic water bottles — a novel way to keep them from ending up in the landfills. It’s sold for…ahem…medicinal purposes throughout the region.

Live Chickens, Fish, Frogs, Eels, Ducks, Turtles… One thing that really amazed me in a number of markets were the live animals. Chatting with a vendor in one market, I got an explanation. He was shocked to find out that animals are sold already dead in American markets. “How can you tell whether it’s fresh?” he asked. It turns out that the best way to guarantee that your food is not past its sell-by date is to see it butchered in front of you or to take it home live.

pho made fresh onboard or hot cups of coffee. These floating markets also served as the owners’ homes, so it was great fun to interact with the children onboard.

Khmer Scarves

Of course, it’s not just food that you find in these markets. Along with vegetables and piles of spices, I spotted cell phones, T-shirts, lacquer boxes and much more. Something of Floating Food Stalls particular interest to me was Khmer scarves. One thing that surprised me wasn’t what I Traveling throughout the region, I noticed that found in a market, but rather where I found many men, including our guides, wore a parthe market itself. Specifically, we were in the ticular style of scarf. These colorful striped or midst of a boat trip across Ha Long Bay when checked items were worn in a variety of ways, tiny skiffs began chugging up to including folded into a makeshift us. Aboard each of them, vendors shoulder bag (our guide was happy Khmer scarves, sold everything from freshly caught to demonstrate the technique). I colorful accessories worn by men fish to locally grown produce and spotted some for sale at a market and women, are a snacks like nuts, chocolate and in Siem Reap — the perfect gift for perfect souvenir chips. Some even sold bowls of friends back home! of the region.

ON FOOT

COUNTRY WALKERS • Vietnam & Cambodia: Trails of Indochina • Sri Lanka: Ancient Temples and Tea Trails CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764

BY BIKE

VBT Journey Through Vietnam Vbt.com 855-228-0016

BY SHIP

WINDSTAR CRUISES Icons of Southeast Asia WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239

BY ROAD & RAIL

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HOLIDAY VACATIONS Vietnam and Hong Kong HolidayVacations.com 800-826-2266

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THE GOOD LIFE IN

Death Valley Exploring a land of beautiful contrasts

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O BEGIN WITH, THE NAME — Death Valley National Park — doesn’t immediately conjure visions of a lively holiday. And you’ve heard: It’s the lowest, driest, hottest place on earth. All true. But here, in one of the world’s most dramatic desert landscapes — a place of shifting sand dunes, multi-hued rock formations, and hidden canyons — you’ll wake before dawn to watch the rugged mountains turn pink with the sunrise. Then, come nightfall, you’ll marvel at star-filled skies as the desert wind rustles the palms. And you’ll wonder why it took so long to find your way here. »


Some of the world’s most dramatic desert landscapes are right here in North America. Make a point to take in the pink mountains of a Death Valley sunrise.

FULL OF LIFE Death Valley has earned its “dry” reputation thanks to an average annual precipitation of less than 2 inches. In fact, no rain fell at all in 1929 or 1953. Yet, Death Valley is full of life. From autumn into spring, the weather is positively heavenly. The occasional winter rainstorm ushers in vast fields of wildflowers. And a remarkable range of creatures, both great and small, have either adapted to summer’s harsh conditions or find refuge in the area’s diverse habitats. Not merely barren desert, the park also encompasses spring-fed natural oases, pinyon-juniper woodlands and even pine forests. With so much to see and do, the intrepid explorer should determine a base camp. Just a stone’s throw from the national park

visitor center, the Oasis at Death Valley, comprised of the historic Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley and The Ranch at Death Valley, provides a well-situated solution with unexpected luxury. It’s a true oasis-like setting, with modern accommodations, fine dining and spring-fed pools, a welcome contrast to a day spent exploring salt flats, mud hills and volcanic craters. Many Death Valley National Park visitors venture to this remote region 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas to marvel at the stark desert beauty and escape into the beautiful silence of the park’s vast expanses. But given that it is the land of stark contrast, why not create your own itinerary with a nod to the exotic landscape? Mix in a massage under the Oasis’s date palms with a summit of the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes. And pair a soak in the Inn’s healing

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waters with a mountain bike ride out Skidoo Road. Follow a jeep tour to a ghost town and enjoy a glass of fine wine, sipped al fresco on the terrace, as the sun sets in the valley below. You get the idea. Wondering where to begin?

tained turf to desert with low-water-use native plantings. But the improvements didn’t make the course any easier. So, should the top-rated links humble you, look forward to the smile-inducing, 19th-hole grill and bar, complete with a drive-through for golf carts.

GHOST TOWNS

SCOUT FOR WILDLIFE

After the 1848 discovery of gold in California, the valley experienced more than a century-long mining boom. Most pioneers set out on a quest for gold and silver but were met with a notable lack of success. The only long-term profitable ore to be found in the region was borax, which was transported out of Death Valley with the famous 20-mule teams. Today visitors can explore the once bustling towns of Chloride City, Gold Point, Panamint City and Ballarat, among others. Peer into abandoned mines, and step inside the old saloons, post offices and abandoned houses and imagine what life must have been like for these hearty Westerners.

Remarkably, more than 400 animal species are native to the park, including dozens of reptiles, 51 different mammals and even six kinds of fish. You never know what you’ll see, so keep your eyes open for roadrunners zooming across the highway and coyotes feeding on fallen fruit in the date palm groves of the Inn at Death Valley. Most of the park’s animals are nocturnal, so venturing out at dawn or near sunset when animals are active is your best bet. The park’s scattered water sources, including Darwin Falls, draw a wide range of animals. Carry a small pair of wide-angle binoculars. When possible, choose a spot that offers a wide view and stay put.

SWIM AND SOAK

TEE IT UP Bring your A-game (and your camera) to the lowest golf course in the world, at 214 feet below sea level. The hazards here include coyotes that like to fetch golf balls (you are allowed a free drop) and the perplexing fact that balls don’t travel as far below sea level. Recent renovations on Death Valley’s 18-hole, par-70 course addressed water conservation and transitioned 15 acres of mainE XPLORE BY X ANTERR A

Back at the Inn, built on the grounds of a natural spring in 1927, amillion gallons of fresh glacial water flow out of the ground daily. The naturally heated Travertine Spring water, a comfortable 84 degrees year-round, fills swimming pools at the resort and at the nearby Ranch at Furnace Creek. Because the water is continually replaced with fresh spring water, there’s no need to chemically treat the pools.

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How to Photograph Death Valley’s Night Sky Like a Pro DEATH VALLEY ATTRACTS PHOTOGRAPHY BUFFS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, BUT CAPTURING ITS CELESTIAL BEAUTY IS CHALLENGING. THESE PRO TIPS WILL TAKE YOUR PHOTOS TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

THE INN AT DEATH VALLEY

But here, in one of the world’s most dramatic desert landscapes — a place of shifting sand dunes, multi-hued rock formations and hidden canyons — you’ll wake before dawn to watch the rugged mountains turn pink with the sunrise.

USE A TRIPOD To photograph the night sky you need to use a long shutter speed, meaning that your camera or phone sensor will be exposed to faint starlight for a long time in order to record the stars. A tripod will keep your sensor still while it records light. Use glow-in-the-dark tape to mark tripod legs and lens caps.

CHOOSE YOUR LENS A wide-angle lens of at least 28 mm is a good choice for capturing the expanse of the Milky Way, and anything in the 15 mm to 24 mm range is ideal.

MANAGE YOUR SETTINGS For cameras that allow manual control, begin by setting your ISO (light sensitivity) to 800. Open your lens aperture

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(f-stop) to as wide as it can go (the smaller the number the larger the aperture), and set your shutter speed to 20 seconds. Play around with these three settings (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) until you get a satisfactory exposure.

CHECK YOUR FOCUS Autofocus lenses often will not be able to focus on the sky, so you’ll need to switch to manual focus. Typically, turning the lens until it stops at the infinity setting will render stars in focus, but some lenses can actually be out of focus when turned all the way. Take a shot, and then magnify the image to make sure your stars are pinpoints and not fuzzy dots.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Including a bit of landscape will add depth to your photos and make your Milky Way shots less generic. Plan where you want to shoot beforehand, and know how to get there and back safely in the dark. Without any artificial lighting, the landscape will mostly appear as silhouettes, but that will still add an interesting dimension to your photos.

LOOK UP Finally, don’t forget to stop fiddling with your camera for a moment to let yourself be starstruck by Death Valley’s pristine night sky. That alone is worth the stay at one of the most spectacular places on earth.

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EXPLORE BY JEEP Load up and learn about the local geological and mining history as you wind through Titus Canyon, a 27-mile-long gorge through the Grapevine Mountains. Expect door scraping narrows when you encounter rock walls — hundreds of feet tall and only 20 feet apart — before rising via ribbon-like switchbacks. Along the way you’ll see American Indian rock art and learn about the early miners, lured to the region by the prospect of riches.

The occasional winter rainstorm creates vast fields of wildflowers. And a remarkable range of creatures, both great and small, have either adapted to summer’s harsh conditions or find refuge in the area’s diverse habitats.

STRAP ON YOUR HIKING BOOTS Stop by the National Park Service visitors center to learn about hikes within the park, for any fitness level. We love the colorful Mosaic Canyon and Badwater Basin salt flats, the lowest place in North America. Other options include an easy (albeit sandy and rocky), 1-mile round-trip up a canyon to Natural Bridge, the largest of the park’s natural bridges. Consider a hike along the rim of a volcanic crater just over an hour northwest of your base camp. Six hundred feet deep and a half-mile across, Ubehebe Crater looks like something you might find on the moon. It formed around 2,100 years ago as magma flowing upward from deep within the earth met pockets of groundwater, setting off a powerful volcanic steam eruption. Be sure to practice safe hiking (bring plenty of water) in this rugged terrain. Ranger-led hikes, such as the 7-mile Death Valley Paleontology Tour that leads to Pleistocene-era fossils, are also available in season. E XPLORE BY X ANTERR A

EXPLORE ON TWO WHEELS With hundreds of miles of both paved and dirt roads, road and mountain biking are popular within Death Valley National Park during the winter months. Visitors can bring their own or rent mountain bikes at the Inn or the Ranch. Either way, resort staff members can suggest tried-and-true scenic rides and safety tips.

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TO STAY

The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort) sits in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, California —just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The resort includes two hotels: the historic Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley, with 66 newly refurbished rooms and 22 all-new casitas and the more family-oriented, 224room Ranch at Death Valley. OasisAtDeathValley.com 844-236-7916

MARVEL AT THE AMAZING NIGHT SKY

WONDER AT THE WILDFLOWERS

With its desert-clear air and miles-from-anywhere location, the expansive night sky at Death Valley is ablaze with stars. Because it has some of the darkest night skies in the country, it is designated a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, the highest level awarded. Don’t miss the ranger-led astronomy tours offered throughout winter.

The wildflower bloom demonstrates the life that springs forth from late fall and winter rains in this 3.3 million-acre park. Each year’s display varies with the intensity of the bloom and the timing of the flowers’ appearance. But it is not uncommon to see Desert Gold and Brown Eyed Evening Primrose or Notched Leaf Phacelia appear in mid-January or earlier. The full impact of the revitalization becomes most apparent between February and March but sometimes continues until June at higher elevations.

GO HOLLYWOOD It’s been said that Death Valley National Park is like a different planet. Apparently, George Lucas agreed. Rather than attempt to create a galaxy far, far away, he chose to film both “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” and “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” in the national park. Explore the other worldly terrain that helped to inspire these classic films when you head to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Desolation Canyon, Golden Canyon, Dante’s View and Artist’s Palette to stand where Luke Skywalker contemplated the Force in 1977.

Change doesn’t come quickly in Death Valley National Park. Geological time remains the standard, human impacts are minimal, and the landscape is seemingly eternal. The coyotes continue to howl on the flats, yet a resounding silence prevails. But change? Once nourished by the vast, unexpected beauty and the startling contrasts, the change within will be yours to define.

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Adventure travel is soul food. Immersing ourselves in the culture, traditions, natural beauty and history of a destination invigorates our being and renews our sense of wonder. Whether we choose trekking through the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu, island hopping in French Polynesia or cycling beneath the snowcapped Southern Alps of New Zealand, traveling off the beaten path and into the fabric of a far-off land alters our outlook. It’s time to say yes to the midnight kayak ride or the afternoon with a Chilean wine maker. It’s a thumbs up to pink sand and warm trade winds. It’s time to follow the sacred path of the Kumano Kodo. Because, if not now …when?

1 Adventure TRIPS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

BY VERONICA STODDART

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TREK TO MACHU PICCHU, PERU

As you follow the ancient pathways, you will learn of the countless mysteries that surround the ways of the Inca. Their ingenuity and architectural prowess is on display as you marvel at massive boulders, trimmed to fit perfectly, without a speck of mortar, and positioned to build the magical Machu Picchu. The only thing more breathtaking than what the Inca built is the setting in which they built it. Andean peaks soar to the heavens and some of the world’s most arable valleys dip and rise between slopes. It is a magnificent stage, rich in tradition and cultural significance. Share up-close encounters with local Peruvians at village markets and learn about their arts, crafts and religious traditions. Ride through the Sacred Valley by train, marveling at its archaeological sites and sprawling vistas. HolidayVacations.com, Vbt.com.


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WALK CHILE’S WINE COUNTRY & THE COAST

The “thin country” stretches some 2,600 miles from starkly beautiful desert landscapes and conical volcanoes in the north to pristine alpine vistas and spectacular, glacier-carved fjords in the south. Between, sweeping coastal beauty plays host to quaint seaside towns with European accents and undulating terrain. Learn about Charles Darwin’s walks as you follow in his footsteps in La Campana National Park. Admire Victorian architecture as you stroll the cobbled lanes of Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Savor fresh seafood, including Chilean sea bass, breaded hake and shrimp empanadas. Follow vineyard pathways and wooded trails that fan out from authentic winemaking bodegas, promising scenic routes through a breathtaking country. CountryWalkers.com, Vbt.com.

3

BIKE AND WALK NEW ZEALAND’S SOUTH ISLAND

Here, a rare blend of glacier, rainforest and sea combine to shape an astonishing wilderness. It’s a land where adventurers can cycle and trek from mountainside to seaside, taking in waterfalls, forests and the snow-capped Southern Alps along the way. Ride the TranzAlpine on a spectacular rail journey, enjoy a traditional meal at a Kiwi sheep ranch and sample wines at a vineyard. Follow the banks of glacial riverbeds, tracing the footsteps of ancient Maori settlers and colonial-era gold miners. Take a magical night time stroll through a rainforest with the stars of the Southern Cross glittering above. CountryWalkers.com, Vbt.com.

BECAUSE IF NOT NOW … WHEN?

4

EXPLORE THE TRAILS OF VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA

Any visit to this Southeast Asian region finds Cambodia’s Angkor Wat at its magnificent center. This sprawling ancient site, an intricate masterwork of Khmer ingenuity and engineering, is the largest temple complex in the world. Beyond this religious monument, you’ll walk through traditional enclaves — from evocative Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, to bustling Siem Reap, “the Great Gate to Angkor,” as well as historic Hoi An, a bustling Vietnamese port city. You’ll explore tiny villages, serene rice paddies, quiet beaches, and sail by private junk in the iconic waters of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. CountryWalkers.com, HolidayVacations.com, Vbt.com, WindstarCruises.com.

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5

EXPLORE TRADITIONAL JAPAN

Gain a rare insight into the Land of the Rising Sun, a country of contradictions. Within this small island nation, you’ll explore immaculately preserved temples and their serene Zen gardens. Follow the sacred path of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail through forests punctuated with ancient cha-ya teahouses. Learn about the little-known Shugendō faith from a yamabushi priest. Immerse yourself in the shogun splendor of a country castle. Stroll through the gardens, palaces, temples and traditional neighborhoods of Kyoto, Japan’s imperial capital for more than 1,000 years. And along the way, stay in ryokan lodgings, complete with tatami floors and hot spring baths. CountryWalkers.com, WindstarCruises.com.

6

7

SAIL THROUGH THE ISLANDS OF FRENCH POLYNESIA

It begins as you settle into the comfort and luxury of your four-masted sailing yacht. Soon, sails billow and your dream adventure gets underway. Like a box of crayons gone mad, the brilliant blue water, the lush greenery and fragrant native flowers offer a glorious invitation. You’ll relish the relaxation as impossibly pink sand massages your feet and soothing warm waters welcome you like an old friend. Snorkel or dive in Rangiroa’s huge lagoon filled with fanciful fish and stunning coral. Explore the rich ecosystem of Fakarava, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with brag-worthy diving. At day’s end, fall asleep cradled in the arms of gentle trade winds. WindstarCruises.com.

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DISCOVER TROPICAL TREASURES IN COSTA RICA & PANAMA

Capture a glimpse of the richest and most biologically diverse ecosystems in Costa Rica’s Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Río Frío, home to monkeys, iguanas, sloths and turtles. Visit butterfly gardens, steaming lakes, cloud forests and pulsing volcanoes. Experience the history and geographical wonder of the Panama Canal as you journey through the locks, lakes and rivers that make up this famous waterway. The culture, music and architecture, combined with the rich tropical diversity of the region, will mix to create memories for a lifetime. HolidayVacations.com, Vbt.com, WindstarCruises.com.


8

HIKE AUSTRALIA’S GREAT OCEAN WALK

Lace up your boots and visit the land that invented the walkabout. Be among the first to hike the remote and recently completed Great Ocean Walk in the southern Australian state of Victoria. Choose your own route from a path that splits between beach walks alongside crashing surf and hilly trails over sea cliffs. Trekking some of the most remote and remarkable terrain on earth, you’ll spot wild kangaroos, koalas, peregrine falcons, kookaburras and more as you wind through wildlife reserves in the Otway National Park. You’ll also thrill to scenic wonders like waterfalls, shipwrecks, the iconic Twelve Apostles sea stacks and some of the most spectacular ocean vistas in Australia. CountryWalkers.com.

9

STEP BACK IN TIME IN CROATIA

An understanding of Croatia’s culture and history begins on its islands: More than 1,000 line its picture-perfect coast. Today, they provide a snapshot of this rich culture built on fishing, stonecutting, farming and winemaking. Indeed, walking the well-trod trails of Brač, Hvar and Korčula, you might feel that time has forgotten these rustic places altogether. It’s true that history is very much a part of the present here. On Brač, some of the last remaining stonecutters in Europe still carve luminous white stone. On Hvar, often cited as the world’s most beautiful island, lavender roots mingle with vineyard soils that produce some of the region’s best red wine. On Korčula, birthplace of Marco Polo, the Old Town’s herringbone street grid harnesses Adriatic breezes, much as it was intended to do when it was built in the 13th century. And don’t miss Dubrovnik and its majestic city walls for a postcard-worthy view overlooking the Adriatic. CountryWalkers.com, Vbt.com, WindstarCruises.com.

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AROUND THE WORLD

NORTHERN

EXPOSURE From boat to ballet, seven ways to experience the majesty that is the “Land of the Midnight Sun”

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SUMMER IS THE MOST MAGICAL TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT NORTHERN EUROPE, the Land of the Midnight Sun. Whether you choose to cruise the Stockholm archipelago, savor the style of an Art Nouveau port or simply enjoy the splendor of Norway’s fjords, the wild beauty and rich cultural heritage of this unique region are unforgettable. Our collection of remarkable experiences in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia and Iceland demonstrate the breadth of this majestic realm.

APPRECIATE ÅLESUND

Surrounded by Norway’s natural beauty, the coastal town of Ålesund is an astonishing treasure of Art Nouveau architecture with storybook turrets, spires and lovely ornamentation. The town burned to the ground in 1904 and was rebuilt in this unique style and sprinkled with elements from Nordic mythology – a longboat here, a well-placed image of Thor there. Still very much a working fishing port, at the entrance of Geirangerfjord, Ålesund is built on several islands and surrounded by snowcapped mountains. A stroll through its artfully preserved streets confirms why it’s been voted Norway’s most beautiful town. »

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AROUND THE WORLD

DISCOVER GEIRANGERFJORD There is no shortage of fjords in Norway, but Geirangerfjord truly stands apart. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts countless dramatic waterfalls, with evocative nicknames like Seven Sisters, Bridal Veil and Suitor. The sheer cliffs, remote mountain farms and frolicking porpoises add to this fjord’s majesty.

ATTEND THE BALLET IN ST. PETERSBURG St. Petersburg, Russia, is heralded for its majestic architecture, the long “White Nights” of summer and as the home of classical ballet. Attending a ballet at the Theatre of Musical Comedy and exploring this architectural masterpiece from 1929 with a glass of champagne in hand is a delightful way to experience this historic Russian city.

EXPLORE THE VESTMANNA SEA CLIFFS

GEIRANGERFJORD

Just minutes from the bustle of downtown Helsinki resides a peaceful clutch of hundreds of islands.

The wild beauty of the Faroe Islands, a selfgoverning Danish archipelago, is on full display at the Vestmanna Sea Cliffs. Thousands of sea birds, including puffins and guillemots, inhabit the dramatic cliffs that rise 1,500 feet from the sea. Crashing waves and piercing spires of stone evoke the mythological battles of lore. Only yacht-style ships are small enough to navigate this area and its dramatic grottoes.

FLOAT IN ICELAND’S BLUE LAGOON Cited by National Geographic as one of the “25 Wonders of the World,” the geothermal seawater springs of the Blue Lagoon are not only UNESCO designated, but they also have proven therapeutic powers. Soak blissfully under a bright Icelandic sky followed by a session in a sauna, a steam room or an inwater massage.

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BLUE LAGOON

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Leave the bustle of Helsinki behind and take in this spectacular archipelago from the solitude of the sea.

ON FOOT

COUNTRY WALKERS Iceland: Reykjavík & National Parks CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764

BY SHIP

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GO SEA KAYAKING IN HELSINKI

VISIT THE POMPEII OF THE NORTH

One of the most remarkable ways to explore the beautiful archipelago of Helsinki is from the water, in a stable sea kayak. Just minutes from the bustle of downtown Helsinki resides a peaceful clutch of hundreds of islands teaming with remarkable bird life. Here, with the expertise of a seasoned guide schooled in archipelago history, the Finnish culture and landscape truly come to life.

When Eldfell volcano on Heimaey Island in Iceland erupted in 1973, it was a landmark in geological history. The power and the fury of the Eldfell explosions can be seen at the Eldheimar “Pompeii of the North” Museum, which opened in 2014 to showcase the history and aftermath of the eruptions that affected the island’s 5,300 residents.

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BY BIKE

VBT Cycling Scandinavia: Copenhagen to Stockholm Vbt.com 855-228-0016

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LAND OF

Wonder America’s final frontier, Alaska is a rich and varied escape to a land that time forgot. BY KITTY BEAN YANCEY

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It’s home to North America’s highest peak, glaciers the size of small countries and wildlife at every turn. ¶ Our sparsely populated but captivating 49th state continues to offer a resounding call to all those lured by epic scenery, spouting whales, vast expanses of tundra, sporting pursuits and the opportunity to sidle up to nature’s extremes. With few roads, and even fewer people, those who venture to America’s last frontier are rewarded with Mother Nature at her finest. ¶ But what is it, beyond breathtaking vistas and rugged wonder, that makes Alaska so unique? Well, here’s a start…

THE TAKU GLACIER NEAR JUNEAU

THE TOTEM POLES IN KETCHIKAN

The blue-tinged ice of Taku Glacier – the largest, most impressive and only advancing glacier on the Juneau Icefield — is recognized as the deepest and thickest alpine temperate glacier in the world. It is measured at 4,845 feet thick and about 36 miles long. After lift off from a heliport, the epic beauty of Alaska’s glacier landscape unfolds below. Along with the Taku Glacier, advancing, retreating, cascading and rare floating glaciers provide a mesmerizing landscape. With a guide, you can walk on and explore the ancient terrain, peer into a crevasse and savor the purity of glacial streams. Accessible only by helicopter, the time to visit Alaska’s shrinking glaciers is now. Visitors also can be ferried to the glacier’s edge, hike to nearby Nugget Falls and see exhibits at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, a wheelchair accessible possibility.

Sitting at the southern end of the Inside Passage, north of British Columbia, historyrich Ketchikan provides a warm welcome for travelers to Alaska. Its centerpiece is nearly 100 tall, carved indigenous artifacts displayed around and near town. Some are visible from the street on the tourist bureau’s Ketchikan Walking Tour, and many more are at the Totem Heritage Center. The center boasts what’s billed as the largest collection of unrestored 19th-century poles, as well as masks, ceremonial garb, baskets and historic photographs of villages where the poles were found. You’ll see a “mortuary pole” honoring a dead person and used to store cremated remains and a “story pole” detailing a clan’s historical narrative. Travel three miles south by shuttle or with a guide to see two dozen more totems at Saxman Native Village. Just north of the city, Totem Bight State Historical Park holds nearly 20 poles, including the imposing Eagle Grave Marker. Travel 10 miles north and see more at Potlatch Totem Park, where exhibits include five Native Alaskan clan houses.

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MISTY FJORDS NATIONAL MONUMENT It’s postcard Alaska: icy blue lakes, snowcapped peaks and vast glacial valleys, set within a 2.3 million acre preserve east of Ketchikan. Benefit from an eagle’s-eye view, paired with expert commentary from your pilot, when you explore the expansive wilderness area via float plane. Wonder at waterfalls plunging down steep granite cliffs and deep valleys carved long ago by flowing lava. Be on the lookout for soaring eagles, brown and black bears, and foraging moose. If you’re lucky, you’ll return with a photo of a whale breaching the surface of Rudyerd Bay. Many tours include lake landings that enable a stroll in a forest.

MUSH HUSKIES ON THE SNOW Hike! Gee! On by! Board a helicopter for a quick flight over ice fields before touching down to take part in one of Alaska’s iconic pastimes. Learn the language of mushers while exploring a glacier via dogsled. It’s not quite the famed Iditarod long-distance race, but it is colorful fodder for a tale to tell back home.

Board a zodiac or kayak to see playful otters, sea lions and porpoises — perhaps even a humpback whale. BEARS OUTSIDE SITKA A visit to Alaska wouldn’t be complete without seeing some bears. Bear sightings in a safe environment are guaranteed at the Fortress of the Bear, the largest nonprofit bear rescue facility in the U.S. Not at all like a zoo, Fortress provides a home for orphaned cubs and makes it possible for visitors to observe the bruins being fed and at play on nearly an acre of land. Sitka itself, with Russian heritage that includes an oniondomed cathedral, is worth a stroll.

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KENAI FJORDS NATIONAL PARK Nearly 40 glaciers flow over this pristine wilderness area, where only small boats can navigate. Board a zodiac or kayak to see playful otters, sea lions and porpoises — perhaps even a humpback whale.

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Windstar Cruises offers Signature Expeditions featuring a team of experts that take guests closer to the Great Land.

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More ways to be amazed.

YE LLOWST ONE NAT IONAL P A R K WYOMING

The country’s first National Park and how it earned that distinction is a tale worthy of the Old West. Just one of the most Beautiful Places on Earth® you can experience more vividly with the Xanterra Travel Collection. Y e l l ows to ne Nat ionalP ar k Lodge s . com


WILD

at heart

When it comes to wildlife watching in Yellowstone National Park, timing, location and a little luck all come into play. But, on any given day, at any time of year, it helps to be in the company of someone who knows where to look.

“M

Y GOAL IS TO HAVE a three-dog day — coyote, wolf and fox,“ Karoline Sleichter announces as she slides behind the wheel of one of Yellowstone National Park’s 1937 yellow touring buses. Sleichter is leading a Wake Up to Wildlife tour, and despite the early call — 6:30 a.m. — she is upbeat about potential sightings as her eager passengers climb into a classic 13-passenger rig. The restored vehicle boasts a new chassis and modern engine, but retains its historic character and original panoramic rolldown windows, high-riding seats and roof that can be retracted on warm, sunny days. Even before the vehicle exits Mammoth Hot Springs village near the park’s north entrance, Sleichter hits the brakes and directs attention to a female elk guiding her baby up a hill. Minutes later, “Coyote at nine o’clock!” Sleichter says. Heads turn in unison. “Oohs” and “aahs” follow. »

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A TREASURED WONDERLAND Yellowstone National Park, home to half the world’s active geysers, covers nearly 3,500 square miles in the northwest corner of Wyoming (3 percent of the park is in Montana, and 1 percent sits in Idaho). The wonderland forms the core of one of the largest, nearly intact temperate-zone ecosystems on earth. Here, abundant and diverse wildlife play their part in one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular shows. Today, our cheerful guide is piloting the vehicle toward the Lamar Valley, a wildlife-rich area in the park’s northeast corner. Expanding beyond the Lamar River, it is often called “America’s Serengeti” for its large and easy-toview populations of large animals. In these parts, bison are particularly plentiful, spurring a heads-up from Sleichter. “I am not going to stop for every bison we see,” she announces. “Some people get so excited when they spot their first one, and you have to tell them, ‘There’ll be, like, 80 more.’” Other large mammals, notably bear and moose, are high on most visitors’ wish lists. Wolves, which were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995 after a 70-year absence, are a huge draw. Close to 100 wolves in 10 packs live in the park. And Sleichter knows where to look for them. “Our priority is to go to this wolf den to see if we can spot anything. It’s supposed to have five pups in it,” she says, pulling off to the side of the road, where a cadre of serious wildlife watchers lean into high-powered spotting scopes. If the wolves are home, the regular spotters are not giving the high sign.

TWO STRATEGIES The bus moves out of the valley, climbing into spruce and fir forests. In the distance, the rugged peaks, still snowcapped in late spring, create an epic backdrop. As Sleichter maneuvers into a cliff-side viewing spot, she explains that there are two basic strategies for wildlife watching in America’s first national park. One is to drive until you see a clot of cars (otherwise known as a bear jam) pulled over to the side of the road — a sure sign there’s a sighting. Or you can find a pullout, get out of the car, linger, and be on the lookout. Here, she advises, gesturing outward, mountain goats are known to dwell. Trying to spot them from afar is a “Where’s Waldo?” exercise, but it doesn’t take long for Sleichter’s trained eye to zero in on a mother and baby, their dainty hooves moving deftly over the rocky terrain.

QUIET BEAUTY Come winter, Sleichter’s favorite season in Yellowstone, the full-time resident trades her yellow touring bus for a specially outfitted snowcoach, capable of shuttling visitors be-

Bison are plentiful in Yellowstone, seemingly posing in the most scenic spots, allowing even novice photographers a perfect shot.

“I am not going to stop for every bison we see,” Sleichter announces. “Some people get so excited when they spot their first one, and you have to tell them, ‘There’ll be, like, 80 more.’ ” tween the park’s Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. “I work summers so I can work winters,” she says. “I don’t think you can match the beauty.” Yes, the temperatures plummet. But so do the visitation levels. In winter, Yellowstone National Park morphs into a picturesque wonderland, complete with snowy woods, ice pellets of geyser rain, frozen waterfalls and abundant animals. The blanketed backdrop makes it easy to spot animal tracks as well as the animals themselves. Moreover, some of the best geyser-viewing opportunities are in the height of winter, when the spare landscape provides the sort of contrast that makes thermal features even more dramatic.

WINTER’S REWARDS Those visitors who brave the cold are rewarded with winter’s brand of experiential riches. While the bears hibernate, bison, elk, mule deer, moose, wolves and coyotes roam the park. Seeking refuge from the harsh winter conditions in the high country, animals move into the valleys and can be spotted foraging for food in the open meadows closer to the roads. The contrast between the wolves’ thick

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gray or black coats and the snow-covered meadows and hillsides make spotting wolves more possible. Bison, with icicles dangling from their thick coats, huddle near Old Faithful, obtaining warmth from the geysers, mud pots and steam vents. They seem to be intentionally posing for photographers. Nearby, trumpeter swans frequent the Firehole River, and bobcats may be spotted along the mighty Yellowstone or scrambling up a tree. The sharp-eyed observer may spot some of the park’s resident owl species in the woods of the northern range. On any given day, at any time of year, the wild beauty of Yellowstone is both thrilling and peaceful, a reassuring salve for residents of this timesensitive world. And no doubt Karoline Sleichter would agree with the words of naturalist Henry David Thoreau: “We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.” Visit YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com to book your stay. CountryWalkers.com, Vbt.com.

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Who were the

HARVEY GIRLS A flock of intrepid young women answered the call of civility in America’s turn-of-the-century Wild West BY JAYNE CLARK

THE NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT, CIRCA 1880, READ:

A BUDDING ENTREPRENEUR It was Frederick Henry Harvey who issued the bold offer of employment to these adventurous young women. His own journey began at age 15 when he made his way from Liverpool, England, to New York. After early stints in the restaurant business — experience that foreshadowed his future success — Harvey headed west to Leavenworth, Kansas. A budding entrepreneur and railroad company freight agent, Harvey smelled opportunity. He had spent enough time traveling via train in an era before dining cars to know that good food was hard to come by in Western parts. Roadhouses near the tracks offered limited fare of dubious quality. And the service ranged from indifferent to surly. Harvey was confident that tasty meals, served in pleasant surroundings with a touch of graciousness, would be a powerful combination. And might well pave the way for more civilized tourism. To that end, Harvey struck a deal with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to operate a system of eateries along its rail lines. In 1876, his first depot restaurant opened in Topeka, Kansas, and more soon followed. Always innovating, Harvey devised a way to stay in touch

Wanted: Single women, between the ages of 18 and 30. Must be of good moral character, well mannered, attractive and intelligent, with at least an eighth grade education. And, must be willing to move West. Thousands of courageous young women answered the call and would soon become known as Harvey Girls. Hired to bring civility and charm to the new frontier, they would work as waitresses in Harvey House restaurants, recently opened along the Santa Fe rail lines. In exchange, they received room, board, a monthly stipend and the promise of adventure. Little did these women know that their pioneering spirit would help transform travel in their own time and that they would eventually become the subject of a film starring Judy Garland as one of their own.

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Frederick Harvey helped shape Western hospitality across the rugged frontier with his vision and entrepreneurial spirit.

with the railroad workers by telegraph so that he could provide quality meals in a timely fashion. If the train was running late, each Harvey House would be alerted to prepare for extra-hungry travelers. The foundation for his hospitality empire had been laid.

REFINEMENT AND ROMANCE

To the frontier outposts of the West, where stampeding the exoticism of Indian culture in the Southwest. Images were buffalo herds were as printed on menus and brochures to promote the mystique of Indian common as attacking Indians, Country and, not incidentally, train robberies and horse Harvey’s tourist enterprises. The company also employed thieving, the Harvey Girls American Indians to demonstrate brought refinement rug weaving, pottery, jewelry making and other crafts at his Southwest hotels. and romance. The sales of those items in Harvey’s stores influenced the design of native arts. Taking the winning approach further, in 1926, the Harvey Company began offering “Indian Detours,” chauffeured interpretive tours in which guests at his Southwest hotels were ferried in comfortable Harvey Cars for one- to three-day excursions into Indian settlements in New Mexico and Arizona.

The Harvey Girls, outfitted for restaurant service in a long black dress (no more than 8 inches above the floor) overlaid with a starched white apron, black opaque stockings and black shoes, were a signature component of Harvey’s success and would become one of his most enduring legacies. Not only were they “reliable and effective employees,” providing stability during the early years of Harvey’s enterprise, but their good company was also often in demand. Young, single women were few and far between in a largely unsettled land. The “girls” signed yearlong contracts and lived next to or in the Harvey Houses, under the close supervision of a senior Harvey Girl. If they left before the year was up — most often to marry — they forfeited a portion of their base pay. To the frontier outposts of the West, where stampeding buffalo herds were as common as attacking Indians, train robberies and horse thieving, the Harvey Girls brought refinement and romance.

CHANGING TIMES In 1968, Xanterra acquired The Fred Harvey Company and applied the Harvey brand of hospitality to its own expanding portfolio of hotels and restaurants. Though most of the original Harvey Houses and hotels are gone, a few still survive today. Most notable are the El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. One of the jewels of the National Park Lodges, El Tovar opened as a Harvey House in 1905. The Fray Marcos Hotel in nearby Williams, Arizona, built as a Harvey House in 1908, now houses a gift shop, offices, and the train depot for the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel. To this day, Xanterra remains true to the legacy established by Fred Harvey and continues to set the standard for lodging, concessions and restaurants that complement the natural beauty of our national parks.

THE DAWNING OF CULTURAL TOURISM In addition to creating America’s first hotel and restaurant chain, Harvey was a pioneer of cultural tourism. In the early 1900s, the Fred Harvey Company created an “Indian Department,” which commissioned artists and photographers to document

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More ways to the unforgettable.

G R AND CANYON NAT IONAL PAR K AR IZONA

A mile deep and a geological marvel, it’s almost as colorful as the characters in its history. Just one of the most Beautiful Places on EarthŽ you can experience more vividly with the Xanterra Travel Collection. G ra n d Ca n y on L od ge s . com

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JUST LIKE YOU.

The Broadmoor offers a unique, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind experience for a special kind of guest. Our spectrum of distinctive Colorado activities and adventures begins with world-class golf and spa, but expands to exciting life experiences; from fly-fishing to falconry, from hiking to horseback rides, from a thrilling zip line to a mountainside zoo. The Broadmoor is a destination unto itself, inviting you to take a vacation custom-tailored to your preferences and passions. Visit broadmoor.com today and allow us to create one for you.

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Beautiful7 THE MOST

PLACES ON EARTH

®

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ANTERRA TRAVEL COLLECTION delivers once-in-a-lifetime experiences to the most beautiful places on earth®. Whether you yearn for a luxury sea adventure, a walking tour of Machu Picchu, or unrivaled access to our majestic national parks, our family of companies will bring your bucket list to life.

NATIONAL PARKS LODGING & CONCESSIONS

• Crater Lake National Park • 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

AVALANCHE LAKE, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

HOTELS & HISTORIC RAILROAD • Grand Hotel • Cedar Creek Lodge • Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

OHIO STATE PARKS LODGES & CONFERENCE CENTERS

• Deer Creek • Mohican • Punderson Manor • Salt Fork

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CRUISE OPERATOR • Windstar Cruises

TOUR OPERATORS • VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations • Country Walkers • Holiday Vacations

AFFILIATE PROPERTIES • American Railway Explorer • The Broadmoor • Sea Island

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ZION NATIONAL PARK

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

OLD FAITHFUL GEYSER, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

NATIONAL PARKS YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK LODGES

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK LODGES

With nine unique lodging options, including the renowned historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone National Park Lodges allows 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. YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com

Enhance your exploration of Crater Lake by staying in the historic Crater Lake Lodge, located on the south rim of the crater and recognized as one of the greatest icons of the National Park Service. Or stay in one of the peaceful cabins or campgrounds at Mazama Village. CraterLakeLodges.com

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ZION NATIONAL PARK LODGE

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

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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 lodgings within the park. Guests can enjoy in-park accommodations and famed Red Bus Tours from late spring to early fall, and year-round accommodations at Cedar Creek Lodge. GlacierNationalParkLodges.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. GlacierNationalParkLodges.com


ICEBERG LAKE HIKE, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

HAVASU FALLS, GRAND CANYON

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

NATIONAL & STATE PARKS THE OASIS AT DEATH VALLEY

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK LODGES

The Oasis at Death Valley is a lush sanctuary surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, California. 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 entire resort is undergoing a complete renaissance with a multi-million dollar renovation to be completed in the summer of 2018. 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. OasisAtDeathValley.com

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 District, or any of the professional tours by raft, rail or motorcoach. GrandCanyonLodges.com

THE GRAND HOTEL 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 desire. GrandCanyonGrandHotel.com

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OHIO STATE PARK LODGES

#OHTheSurprises you’ll discover at the at the Ohio State Park Lodges and Conference Centers. Open year-round, the four lakeside lodges (plus Geneva State Park Marina) feature a variety of accommodations, including standard and bunk/loft guest rooms, fully-furnished 2-bedroom cabins, 20’-40’ dock slips on Lake Erie, and even a former presidential hideaway. Get closer to nature and each other with indoor/outdoor pools, golf, boating, hiking, full-service dining, professional catering and event services (including teambuilding) and more. AtAPark.com

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ICELAND, COUNTRY WALKERS

WINDSTAR CRUISES

DOLOMITES, VBT BICYCLING AND WALKING VACATIONS

GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL

CRUISE, TOUR & RAIL WINDSTAR CRUISES Recognized by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler as one of the 2017 World’s Best Cruise Lines and by USA Today readers for Best Boutique Cruise Line, Windstar takes you beyond the reach of other ships, to smaller ports and local cultures, for more deeply immersive and authentic experiences. WindstarCruises.com

COUNTRY WALKERS For more than 38 years, Country Walkers has provided active, fully immersive and unforgettable travel experiences on five continents — including unforgettable safaris to Africa. Opt for scheduled, smallgroup “Guided Walking Adventures” or consider independent “Self-Guided Walking Adventures.” On tour, guests enjoy superb local cuisine, first-class guides, fine accommodations and authentic cultural encounters. CountryWalkers.com

E XPLORE BY X ANTERR A

VBT BICYCLING AND WALKING VACATIONS

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations is the value leader in active biking and walking vacations and has been rated among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” by the readers of Travel + Leisure seven times. VBT offers over 55 deluxe, small-group bicycling, walking and barge/sail vacations in 29 different countries and 10 U.S. states. Vbt.com

HOLIDAY VACATIONS Holiday Vacations is one of America’s most reputable tour companies, with more than 44 years of experience. Expert tour directors handle every detail, ensuring you a carefree and memorable vacation. As a nationwide provider of air, rail, motorcoach and cruise-guided vacations to more than 65 destinations worldwide, their packages are inclusive of all airfare, fine hotels, delightful meals and must-see attractions. HolidayVacations.com

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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 19thcentury bar. Packages with train travel and overnight stays in Grand Canyon National Park and Williams are available. TheTrain.com


SEA ISLAND

THE AMERICAN RAILWAY EXPLORER

THE BROADMOOR

AFFILIATE PROPERTIES THE AMERICAN RAILWAY EXPLORER

For an adventure that takes you back in time, The American Railway Explorer transports passengers to the golden age of train travel. Book passage on the three finest railcars in America — available for private charter only. All three well-appointed railcars offer luxurious furnishings; gleaming wood and come fully staffed for your every need. Whether for business or pleasure, take in the country’s most scenic vistas while enjoying fine cuisine from our on-board chefs. Routes include California excursions along the Pacific Coastline and the majestic Rocky Mountains, where you’ll take in majestic views only available to those who travel by train. AmericanRailwayExplorer.com

THE BROADMOOR

The gem of the Rockies, The Broadmoor, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the longest-running consecutive 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. Every need and interest can be attended to at The Broadmoor with their luxurious day spa as well as 20 restaurants and lounges (including the only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond restaurant in Colorado, Penrose Room), championship golf, zip lining, falconry, fly fishing outings and instruction, tennis, indoor/outdoor pools, distinctive retail shops, specialty tours, activities and programs for guests of all ages. The Broadmoor recently introduced The Broadmoor Wilderness Experience, blending the rugged adventure of the Colorado mountains with the luxury, elegance and superior service for which The Broadmoor is famous. Broadmoor.com

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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 nine consecutive years). Sea Island provides exceptional settings and service for conferences and executive retreats — even hosting the G-8 Summit of world leaders. Located on the coast of Georgia, Sea Island features five miles of private beach, a beach club, tennis and squash centers, yacht club, shooting school, camp cloister, 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. SeaIsland.com

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DEPARTURE

“Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space has ceased.” — JOHN STEINBECK

PORTUGAL

Wander hillside stone villages, stroll tiny coastal fishing hamlets and dine like the locals on rustic Portuguese cuisine, with these Xanterra Collection travel partners: COUNTRY WALKERS ON FOOT

CountryWalkers.com 800-844-5764

VBT BY BIKE

Vbt.com 855-228-0016

WINDSTAR CRUISES BY SHIP

E XPLORE BY X ANTERR A

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WindstarCruises.com 844-485-5239


Every trail tells a story. Discover amazing places and create lasting memories on a Country Walkers adventure. With over 38 years experience in active travel, we lead the way with off-the-beaten-path trips, expert local guides, immersive cultural moments, and boutique accommodations. Join us on the trail for a journey unlike any other.

Take the first step. Request our catalog today.. 800.844.5764 / countrywalkers.com


IN THE MIDDLE OF

NOWHERE

YOU’D RATHER BE.

N O R T H A M E R I C A’ S O N LY T R U E D E S E R T O A S I S .

You don’t come to Death Valley because abundant life flourishes here. Which is exactly why an oasis in the middle of it is so special. Join us to experience why our “nowhere” is truly better than anywhere else.

OasisAtDeathValley.com

Xanterra Premier Issue 2018  

ADVENTURE AWAITS Death Valley: Discover North America’s True Oasis Alaska: By land or sea, answer the call of the wild • Northern Europe: M...

Xanterra Premier Issue 2018  

ADVENTURE AWAITS Death Valley: Discover North America’s True Oasis Alaska: By land or sea, answer the call of the wild • Northern Europe: M...