TravelWorld Adventure Travel March 2011

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11.1 MARCH


Adventure TRAVEL issue



Tiger Leaping







Kick Back on

Guanaja Island in HONDURAS

European trek:






Adventure TRAVEL issue


11.1 MARCH

FEATURES 8 HIKING THE VIA ALPINA: MORE THAN CHEESE AND GNOMES One couple’s adventure of a long walking holiday across the Alps Mountains STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON WILSON

14 GUANAJA: LOST IN A TROPICAL TIME WARP This Caribbean island in Honduras is so off the beaten track, you may feel like you’re at the end of the world STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JILL K. ROBINSON

20 HIKING ON THE EDGE Trekking China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge proves to be a more adventurous challenge than anticipated STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DONNA M. AIROLDI

28 GORGING ON ADVENTURE White-water rafting, helicopter rides and ATV excursions fill an adrenalinpacked West Virginia weekend getaway BY KARIN LEPERI

34 FOR WILDLIFE ADVENTURE, FOLLOW THE HERD A trip to game reserves in Kenya and Tanzania more than fulfills this writer’s lifelong dreams to experience an African safari STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NANCY SCHRETTER

42 BEHIND BARS IN BOISE Sordid stories of Idaho inmates and present-day hauntings STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KARIN LEPERI

48 FINDING YOUR TROPICAL CHI The remote One Foot Island in the South Pacific is just the place for low-key adventure STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DALE SANDERS





Q&A with Linda Ballou



Rejuvenation Vacation at Rancho La Puerta /



Arctic Adventure /





Two Wings, Many Prayers for Wright Brothers /

73 74




Or Just Stay Home! “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” — James Michener This year is racing by so fast, my mind and spirit are scrambling to figure out my summer travel plans. I want to experience some of the fantastic adventures that our writers have. I want to see new customs, religions and people. I don’t want to stay home! The stories in this issue offer fantastic inspiration and make me want to explore Africa, China, Europe, Guanaja, the South Pacific and, yes, even West Virginia and Boise! I am in awe of the writers and photographers in this issue. They really know how to travel and find the unusual adventures. One writer in particular really inspires me. She travels so much and gives so much to the craft of writing that I don’t know if she really knows what continent she is on on any given Wednesday. Donna Airoldi is someone I would term an “uber-traveler.” She has also decided to take on the new adventure of being our editor-in-chief. Donna is well qualified to take us on since she has been covering the travel industry for more than 10 years. First, she was a business journalist for Nielsen Business Media, then became the founding editorial director for the award-winning travel-planning website Donna currently calls New York home, but her train never stays in the station for very long. Travel rules her life. During the past 18 months, she’s visited India, Thailand, Singapore, Mexico (three times), Spain, Morocco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Cooperstown, Coastal Alabama, and spent a month in China. Her favorite adventures occur when she’s on an extended solo journey, slowly exploring a destination’s culture and cuisine for a few months. As you can read in her feature entitled “Hiking On The Edge,” she not only has a gift as a talented writer, she has the passion to take on any journey and follow her dreams. We welcome Donna with open hearts and hands and are thrilled that she has no desire to just “Stay Home!”

Jerri Jerri Hemsworth Publisher E: B: TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR




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Submission? Submit story and photography pitches to Do not submit images unless requested.

The new editor-inchief of TWI takes her job and Saharan camel-riding very




A belated welcome to 2011 and to TravelWorld International’s Adventure and Offbeat Travel issue! This issue marks my first as editor, and adventure is one of my favorite types of travel as it helps individuals push physical as well as mental boundaries. I share one such personal experience hiking China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge (p. 20). Of course, adventure travel is inherently subjective: One traveler may define taking a walking tour as adventurous, while for another nothing less than a rugged multi-day trek across mountainous terrain qualifies. In between there are myriad soft adventure activities such as zip-lining, voluntourism and camping. The benchmark study Adventure Tourism Market Report, conducted in late 2009 by George Washington University in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Xola Consulting, found that travelers spent more than $89 billion (excluding airfare/gear/clothing) on adventure travel in 2009, with nearly 150 million adventure trips taken every year. Those are impressive numbers—and the market is growing, with a 140 percent increase in the percentage of respondents planning to take a hard-adventure trip for their next vacation, and a 20 percent increase for those planning upcoming soft-adventure activities. In this issue, our NATJA writers share a broad range of stellar adventure and offbeat experiences that we hope readers will find inspirational: Brandon Wilson’s feature (p. 8) covers his 111-day hike across the Alps. Returning NATJA writers Nancy Schretter vividly describes her African safari wildlife sightings (p. 34); Karin Leperi covers both adventure and offbeat with her exhilarating physical activities in West Virginia via raft, helicopter and ATV (p. 28), and the paranormal in Boise, Idaho (p. 42); and travel photographer Dale Sanders shares his South Pacific escape to One Foot Island (p. 48). Newcomer Jill K. Robinson takes us on an exploration of her second home, the Honduran island of Guanaja (p. 14). And don’t miss our spa, arts, history and senior columns! Returning readers won’t find too many changes to the magazine yet, but one I’d like to draw attention to is Travelogue (p. 60), a new column profiling travel writers. Kicking off the section is Linda Ballou, an adventure writer whose latest book was selected last month as Third Place Winner for Travel Book or Guide in NATJA’s 2010 Awards Competition. Check out p. 65 for the complete list of award winners. I hope you enjoy the issue and find new adventures in 2011… Safe travels!


Donna M. Airoldi, Editor-in-Chief TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

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Hiking More Than


ong ago, as refuge from a world moving all too fast at times, my wife, Cheryl, and I discovered something we call “slow, deliberate travel.” It’s a simple notion, born out on the wild and woolly steppes of Tibet as we independently hiked nearly 685 miles from Lhasa to Kathmandu, Nepal. The process is as “slow” as your feet alone can carry you. It’s “deliberate” in the sense that you travel with purpose, exploring and wallowing in the minutiae of everyday life, living as locals do, wherever you are— out on the windswept Tibetan plains or in modern-day western cities.


the Via Alpina: Cheese and Gnomes One couple’s adventure of a long walking holiday across the Alps Mountains STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON WILSON

Our Rivendell had fifteen waterfalls, near Meiringen, Switzerland.

In Slovenia, it’s a good idea to always watch where you step.

Now to be honest, it’s often far from easy but more satisfying than the fastfood smorgasbord of travel I’d tasted up until then. Over the years, slow travel has become my passion. Like a beguiled lover, I make every excuse I can to chase it whenever I can. One year it meant hiking the famed Camino de Santiago across Spain. After that, it was a trek from Canterbury to Rome on the Via Francigena. Next came Norway’s St. Olav’s Way. Another year, it was re-creating the route of the First Crusades on a peace walk from France to Jerusalem. Finally,

ture, nature, ecology, history and cuisine in whatever region people choose for as long as they can get away. As for me, I wasn’t satisfied with hiking only one small portion for a few weeks. No. I wanted to be among the first to hike the Via Alpina’s entire length across eight countries: Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Monaco— hoping to arrive at the Mediterranean before snow hid the trails. Besides, I figured it’d be great fodder for a new book. In my mind’s (or stomach’s) eye, I envisioned it as a European Appalachian

Alpine flowers brighten even the foggiest days.

in 2009, it was a journey that would put Cheryl and me to our supreme physical and mental test. The Via Alpina. Its name melted like Italian gelato on my tongue. It all began innocently enough. We heard about new trails established across the Alps. The Via Alpina consists of five trails stretching from Trieste, Italy, on the Adriatic to Monte Carlo in Monaco. Combining a network of preexisting, long-distance routes, the trails traverse the continent tracing the backbone of the Alps for more than 3,000 miles. As a European cultural itinerary, these new byways encourage travelers to discover Alpine beauty, cul-

Hiking the Via Alpina “schnitzel,” I coaxed my desk-jockey wife into leaving our cozy Hawaiian home to join me on this new quest. Together we’d prove the Alps are much more than cheese and gnomes. Before leaving, there was a laundry list of details to face. At first, realizing it’d take five months to hike this trail, we knew we had to apply for visas. With the Schengen Agreement, Americans are allowed to stay in European Union (EU) treaty countries for up to

Steinbok may become your surprise companion.

Trail—but with far better food and wine. I knew the route was bound to be far more difficult than others I had trekked. One look at topographic maps showed that each and every day I’d have to climb 3,000 feet from valley to mountain hut, where I’d sleep. As much as I enjoy camping, if I’m out in the wild for months, I prefer having a bed, an occasional shower, and something better to eat than chili and peanut butter. This was a holiday, after all. Not an episode of Survivor. Still, the Via Alpina sounded perfect—except for the continual “Valder-EE, Val-der-AH” mountain goat aspect. So faster than you can say

90 days total at a time, not per country, so we applied for elective residency visas in Italy. These would allow us enough time to complete the trek and then remain behind to write a book about our experiences. On the downside, it meant we would have to leave our life in the islands, eliminate many of our possessions, and become Euro-nomads. (There are worse fates.) We left for Trieste in June 2009, and set-off on what was to become a 111-day hike across the Alps. Unlike our historic trek across Tibet, we wouldn’t dodge bullets. But given the heart-pounding climbs, we’d sure 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Another scree scramble, Bundalp, Switzerland.

miss Sadhu, our equine Sherpa. Just like Tibet, from the very start, ours was an expedition of highs and lows. For example, even though we had 30 maps covering most of the route, searching for trail markers became a daily routine across Slovenia, a country that’s as bewildering as it is beautiful. When we found them, often they were on half-buried posts, mown down by avalanches or snowfall. In Austria, we faced inclement weather. The Alps are as unpredictable as love. At 6,900 feet, it can be sunny, raining, snowing and fog-laden—all on the same summer day. Then came the pelting rain, horizontal at times. And how could we forget those dry Föhn winds. Blowing long and hard, they’re known to drive folks crazy. (Though as a long-distance trekker, you’re already halfway there.) The terrain itself was always a supreme challenge, even for light-hikers like us, carrying just 15 pounds each. Early on, even in the comparatively gentle Julian Alps in Slovenia and northern Italy, the trails were slow going. Often ice fields blocked our paths across otherwise narrow, slippery scree in June. Let me tell you, it’s a long way to the bottom of those valleys. You may have heard of Ötzi, the 5,000-year-old hunter recently discovered in northern Italy buried beneath a receding glacier. We didn’t want to end up like him, no matter how tempting it is to remain ageless. Still, even though we took it slow and steady, within that first week Cheryl found herself dangling precariously over an abyss, anchored to an ice flow by only one slender Nordic pole. Although she survived, in the process she badly injured her knee, which threatened to end her Alpinist days then and there. But no, we continued. For the record, over the next three-and-a-half months we ascended and descended almost 700,000 feet total—the equiv-

alent of climbing Mt. Everest from sea level 12 times. However, it was far from pain and peril as we hiked in the shadows of legendary mountains like Mt. Blanc and the Eiger. Little could compare with the rarefied beauty and wildlife we discovered one-step-at-a-time. Steinbok, chamois, ermine and rolypoly marmots appeared when we least expected them. We reveled in legends, such as the one told by a grand old lady who managed a hut in the French Alps. She regaled us with the tale of Mt. Jolly and the jilted shepherd whose tears froze to form the glacier at the base of Mt. Blanc. As usual, there were the eccentric folks such as one hiker, an Irish wolfhound of a fellow, who insisted on stripping down to his skivvies to bathe in fancy Lac de Tigne resort’s glacial lake. Or the welcoming dairyman who helped us escape a hailstorm to “schlafen in stroh” (sleep in straw) in his barn above the donk-a-donk cacophony of 80 bell-toting cows. And how could we forget the food and wine, as varied as the people. One of my fondest memories is of a certain blustery night at another shepherd’s hut. First, the grizzled fellow fixed a lip smacking Niçoise socca, a thin, panfried chickpea meal crepe, served with cool rosé wine. He followed that with wild nettle and potato soup, roast lamb with herbed onions, and four kinds of fresh handmade cheese for dessert. It was a magical affair—a culinary Brigadoon—savored in a mountain cabin by firelight. These journeys are always introspective. We learned to face fears, appreciate simplicity, revel in nature, rediscover balance, and disconnect from the distractions of the world. For folks seeking peace in difficult

Hiking the Via Alpina times, there’s no better getaway. Hiking the Via Alpina is unforgettable; but you don’t have to walk the entire route. In fact, it’s better that way. Trekking end to end as we did is too big a bite for most people. Like Gorgonzola, it’s better savored in small, delicious bites. Concentrate on one region for a week or two and match the route to your own physical condition. Revel in the head-clearing scents and rarefied air; celebrate the lung-wheezing exhilaration of reaching a lofty summit; surrender to the relief in reaching the coziness of a mountain hut at sunset. It’s an empowering and enlightening journey. Incidentally, there’s no better weight-loss plan! Each night I chronicled our adventures, the victories and “agony of de feet.” I hope our tale will help open this trail to other European travelers who naively think they’ve already “been there, done that.” Brandon Wilson is the author of the Lowell Thomas Gold Award-winning book Along the Templar Trail (Pilgrim’s Tales, 2008) and Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith (Pilgrim’s Tales, 2005). His adventures on the Via Alpina are chronicled in his new book, Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps, published in October 2010, also by Pilgrim’s Tales available at:

Nothing beats reaching a summit, Mt. Blanc from Col de Brévent, France.


Guanaja: Lost in a Tropical Time Warp This Caribbean island in Honduras is so off the beaten track, you may feel like you’re at the end of the world STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JILL K. ROBINSON

On a nearby cay, Graham's Place is a quiet island getaway.



lenty of Caribbean islands have been labeled with that daydream-inducing word: paradise. But when your definition of the word includes no crowds, empty beaches and not having to dress for dinner, look no further than

Guanaja, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. These islands give visitors a taste of what the Caribbean was like before development in the region surged: a laid-back getaway with turquoise water, tropical vegetation and an easy integration


The warm, clear water surrounding Guanaja makes kayaking a pleasurable mode of transportation.

into island life with no high-rises, no traffic and no stress. The Mesoamerican reef system that rings the islands like a jeweled necklace is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef. Pirates and buccaneers, including Captain Henry Morgan, once took ruminfluenced breathers here. WESTERN CARIBBEAN GETAWAY Of the three main islands (Roatán, Utila and Guanaja), it’s Guanaja that’s the least developed and the most pristine. Located just 40 miles off the north coast of Honduras, locals tell me it’s what Roatán and Utila looked like 25 years ago. With only one paved road, most transportation is by foot, bicycle, or boat. Here, it’s easy to pretend you’re at the end of the world, although opportunities for wildlife viewing and sport abound: hiking to crystal-clear waterfalls to view parrots, agouti and TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

iguana; diving or snorkeling among Crayola-colored fish; kayaking in the warm water; bone fishing in the shallows; or just wandering miles of unspoiled beaches. I started coming here in 1997, just one year before Hurricane Mitch ripped every piece of green from the island’s trees and hillsides. More than 10 years later, all the flora has roared back, but not much else has changed. And that, in the Caribbean, is rare. CLOSE TO CULTURE With few tourists, it’s easy to interact with locals on Guanaja, especially since the native language of the Bay Islands is English. Wandering the streets of the three main towns— Mangrove Bight, Savannah Bight and Bonacca (“the Cay”)—visitors can stop in at any of a handful of bars, restaurants or markets. Islanders are friendly, outgoing and proud of their culture,

The aquarium at Graham's Place lets visitors get up close to sea turtles and reef fish.

Early morning fishing often provides

End the day with a Caribbean

the lunchtime meal at island resorts.

sunset at Michael Rock.


Outdoor markets are showcases for the Guanaja's abundance.

and they enjoy visitors taking an interest in Guanaja. Honduras mainlanders often refer to Bay Islanders as caracols, or conchs—a shellfish found in local waters. Islanders consider the label a reference to their relaxed lifestyle. Guanaja is definitely a mañana culture: businesses close for siesta, posted schedules sometimes mean nothing and nobody rushes around. If you’re a Type-A person, you have no choice but to chill out. Local fishermen fishing from canoes bring seafood to all resorts, and with only a little encouragement, you can hear some of their tall tales. The daily catch can include anything from lobster to snapper; on good days, it includes conch that restaurants use to make fritters or sopa de caracol (conch soup). One of the best ways to enjoy an island-style meal is to visit the Shade Tree Restaurant, run by chef Daniel TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

Ebanks. Tucked between the hills of Mangrove Bight, the outdoor restaurant is set in a lush garden of fruit trees. A two-day notice is required, so Ebanks can find the best ingredients on the island for your meal. On my most recent visit, I enjoyed a lunch of conch ceviche, starfruit and green salad, grilled lobster with fried plantains, brownies and tamarind tea. NATURE PURSUITS The north side has the majority of the island’s dive sites and the longest stretches of powdery beaches. The south side is more populated and includes Bonacca, Guanaja’s largest town, which straddles two nearby cays. Whether you prefer hiking the many trails, swimming in the turquoise water, or just rocking gently in a hammock stirred by the trade winds and hearing kids chatter with native yellow-

naped parrots—this remote island feels lost in a pleasantly tropical time warp. Guanaja’s fringing reef is a protected marine reserve—an ideal spot for diving and snorkeling. Top dive sites include pinnacles, vertical walls, lava tunnels and wrecks. There are plenty of snorkeling spots here too; some are accessible right from the beach. It’s not necessary to be an expert paddler to take a weeklong kayak excursion on Guanaja. The trips, offered by Half Moon Bay Kayak Company, have a comfortable mix of kayak touring, snorkeling, hiking and relaxing beach time. (Full disclosure: my husband and I own the kayak company.) Whether you come for diving, kayaking, fishing, or simply have beach time on your mind, be sure to include a jungle hike to the waterfall in Big Gully. The trail starts from the beach on the north side of the island, near Bo Bush’s

Island House, and climbs through the jungle to a refreshing waterfall. Linger to cool off before you make your way back through the emerald forest. RESORT LIFE Since Guanaja’s north side has the richest dive sites, it’s no surprise that a few dive resorts make their homes in that part of the island. Two of the best are G&G’s Clearwater Paradise and Bo Bush’s Island House. You don’t have to be a diver to stay at either spot—nondive rates are offered as well. G&G’s Clearwater Paradise is a boutique dive resort perched on a hillside near Mangrove Bight, but its views are of a vast lagoon and the Caribbean Sea.

A refreshing waterfall

Spend your days diving with an instructor trainer for Professional Diving Instructors Corporation (PDIC), eat expertly cooked meals and relax on the huge deck. Those up for some schooling can get diving certification here. An island family-run resort, Bo Bush’s Island House is a casual beach spot with a bar and restaurant over the water. The location is a great starting point for a variety of island hikes as well, so families have a rich mix of activities. On the south side, stay on a privately owned cay across the water from the main island. Graham’s Place has bungalows on the beach, an open-air bar and grill, and gorgeous views of Guanaja. Walking along the dock has an

added bonus—an aquarium with turtles, barracuda, grouper and trunkfish. Big city fans and luxury travelers may not feel at home on Guanaja— where the laid-back lifestyle is king. But when you’ve been searching for that perfect, offbeat island where you can get away from nearly everything, it certainly feels like paradise. Jill K. Robinson is a freelance writer and photographer who divides her time writing about travel, running a kayak business, building a house on Guanaja and trying to wring aweinspiring adventure out of every day. Her articles have been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Journey, World Hum, Frommer’s, AOL Travel, Tonic and more.


shower surrounded by lush vegetation awaits trekkers in Big Gully.

WHERE TO STAY G&G’s Clearwater Paradise Tel. +011-504-3303-7444, Bo Bush’s Island House Tel. +011-504-9963-8551, Graham’s Place Tel. +011-504-3368-5495, WHERE TO EAT Shade Tree Restaurant Tel. +011-504-9850-9607, MORE INFORMATION Institute of Honduras Tourism Tel. 305-461-0601, Honduras Tips Published twice a year, this “Official Travel Guide of Honduras” is updated more frequently than guidebooks. Find it online before your trip or in shops and resorts once you arrive in Honduras. Half Moon Bay Kayak Company Tel. 650-773-6101,



h i k i ng

n he dge ot e Trekking China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge proves to be a more adventurous challenge than anticipated STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY

B “Are you lookin’ at me?” Mountain goats rule the Tiger Leaping Gorge trail.


y the time we reached the top of the “28 Bends”—a nearly 2,000-foot accent of sharp and rocky switchbacks—the burn in my thigh muscles was more than palpable. I could have sworn I saw steam emanating through my pants, but with streams of sweat blurring my vision, I was lucky I could see anything. My friend Maggie and I were not even three hours into what was supposed to be a relatively easy two-day hike through China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province, Easy, that is, compared to the twoweek Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal I

A Naxi shepherd watches over his goat herd grazing on the trail below.

completed 10 years prior. I quickly realized, however, that the memory of my physically fit self then in no way matched the heavier, slower, out-of-breath, middle-aged body I possessed now. Still, I was determined that I would complete this journey, if for no other reason than to prove that I could. THE TIGER’S TRAIL The bends (some say there are 28, others 24—I was not about to count) are arguably the most difficult part of the trail that follows the Yangtze River between the Haba and Jade Dragon Snow mountains through Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world. The gorge gets its name from a legend claiming that a tiger trying to escape a hunter jumped across the river. Tiger Leaping Gorge is part of the Three Parallel Rivers UNESCO World TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

Young goat on his lunch break.

Heritage Site and is located about 40 miles north of Lijiang in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. The well-worn trail has long been a backpacker and independent traveler

route, with the less adventurous opting to see the roaring rapids of the gorge via tourist bus. But those who prefer slow travel will be rewarded with spectacular vistas, warm hospi-

One of multiple waterfalls that flow over the trail.

View over the river and valley not far from the beginning of the trail in Qiaotou.

tality and a good workout. The main section of the gorge runs for about 11 miles between the towns of Qiaotou and Walnut Garden and can easily be traversed in two days,

though three allows for more time to relax and meet fellow travelers. The total assent for the trail is about 6,500 feet, reaching roughly 8,500 feet above sea level.

We started out in Qiaotou, at the southwest end of the trail, which is reachable by public bus from both Lijiang and Shangri-la. There are two paths—the older “High Route” and the newer, paved “Low Road,” which is more prone to landslides and requires sharing space with tour buses and other motorized vehicles. We chose the higher path. We were in Buddhist China after all. After paying the nominal 50 yuan entrance fee (about $7.50), we bypassed men renting donkeys and followed the road along the river looking for signs that pointed the way to the start of the trail. For the next two hours the sun-drenched path gently rose through terraced farmland, rice padis, flowered fields and Naxi villages. The Naxi are the ethnic group that inhabit this region of China. We shared the trail with a few locals 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

on horseback and a lone Chinese hiker from Shanghai, and walked through a friendly looking herd of goats munching on the trailside grass while their shepherd sat nearby on a rocky outcrop. A young couple sold Snickers, water and other snacks at the turn where you could look out into the valley now spread out below and follow the gently winding Jinshu River, the name of this section of the Yangtze. About two hours in and a 15-minute hike up a thick muddy, rocky path from the main trail is the friendly Naxi Family Guesthouse, a clean place to stop for a meal or to spend the night if you’ve started out hiking in the afternoon. There’s also a computer with free Internet connection. Lunch consisted of eggplant, chicken with cabbage, rice and bitter gourd, a green melon with a bumpy exterior that is, well, quite bitter. The instant coffee here is not-surprisingly weak, but fresh mint in the tea is a nice touch. And if you’ve forgotten your high-tech aluminum trekking poles, this is the place to pick up “organic” ones carved from found branches for a couple of dollars. NATURE’S CHALLENGES Not far from Naxi begins the climb up the 28 bends, where those poles come in handy. I’ll take the uphill workout any day over risking a fall down the steep and rocky twists, which are doubly tricky and slippery during rainy season. I’m grateful that Maggie, an athlete 14 years my junior, didn’t mind taking breaks and waiting for me to catch up—often. During one such rest an engaging Chinese man on horseback heading toward us stopped to chat (Maggie’s fluent in Mandarin) and, it turns out, to flirt, with him asking her to be his girlfriend, proving that even in the remotest of places there are opportunities for a travel romance. TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

Naxi village.

Pretty, but bitter Chinese gourds.

Decor at the Tea-Horse Guesthouse.

Viewing platforms over the rapids.

Naxi woman collecting yuan for access to a lookout point.

Basic rest-stop along the trail.

Double room at the Tea-Horse Guesthouse.

Only three more hours at our moderate pace until we’d reach our stop for the night. With the bends behind us, the trail leveled off to a moderate slope, and we could recuperate and relax while taking in the scenery that began to shift from verdant hills into majestic snow-capped mountains. There’s a ledge monitored by an elderly Naxi woman and worth the few yuan she charges to climb out onto it for spectacular views of the surrounding gorge. It’s not for those afraid of heights. The river is now far, far below with increasingly treacherous drop-offs between the trail and the water. Hikers shouldn’t have any worry about falling, however, provided they’re able to navigate through herds of goats, sheep and cattle blocking the path. In two days we were delayed three separate times by untended flocks, with nothing but steep cliffs and ravines as potential graves off to the side. Some animals looked harmless, others less so. At one curve, mountain goats lazed across the trail, soaking up the warm afternoon sun. They did not look especially pleased to see us and were much larger and had longer horns than the group we passed that morning. One in particular, standing guard atop a rock at the turn, looked to be the leader as his minions bleated at us, showing their yellowed teeth. He glared and grunted. We stood for a while trying to figure out how to get through or around this blockade without falling or getting butted off the mountain. Would they understand “Easy boy” or “Just relax” in English? Probably not. Maggie tried Mandarin, but whatever sounds she emitted didn’t seem to make much difference. These hairy goats were not moving. We waited a while longer until I couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m going through,” I said. While I certainly didn’t want to die, the surroundings of forested hills jutting up to snow11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

The middle rapids is where the river is at its narrowist and the water is at its strongest.

capped mountain peaks offered a more beautiful final resting place than, say, crashing in a taxicab on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The bleating continued, but none of the creatures moved, save for their tails swatting at flies. I kept my eyes on the leader, who kept his big brown ones on me and continued to simply stare as I dashed around the corner. Maggie quickly followed. I breathed a sigh of relief, only to realize that next up was the section where multiple waterfalls flow over the trail. It was the tail end of the rainy season, and we lucked out—no precipitation for more than a week before our hike, so the falls were not in full flow and mostly easy to navigate over. But there remained one that was tricky. It washes over the trail just before another turn, and the water is deeper TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

and the rocks more slippery than previous crossings. Slow and steady and all should be OK. We ended up nearly crawling over, and once past practically jogged the rest of the 45 minutes to our chosen guesthouse for dinner. ROARING RAPIDS Day two started with the mountains shrouded in mist at sunrise and was a breeze for two hours until we began the descent to Tina’s Guesthouse, located at the viewpoint for the rapids. By now it was raining and the path was slick—so slick I fell twice, bruising my knee and twisting my ankle in the process. It was a mild sprain, so I limped the rest of the trail to Tina’s, then down multiple staircases to the observation decks that line the edge of the river. It is here, at the middle rapids, where the gorge is at its narrowest and the roar-

ing waters are at their strongest. You won’t see rafters or any other small vessels trying to navigate the waters as they’re much too rough, slam into rocks and thunderously rush over steep drops, crashing below to form swirling whirlpools before continuing their run downstream. On the other side of the river is a bridge leading to an outcrop of rock where a stone Tiger Leaping statue sits, poised for its mythical leap across the water. Tour-bus visitors now in our midst armed with cameras and videos clicked away. It was also here that I learned of a rather amusing Asian practice, which is for individuals to ask Western strangers to pose with them in photos so they can then show them off to their Asian friends and family back home. It was hard to say no, especially since the

thought of tired, dirty and sweaty me surrounded by grinning, well-dressed Chinese and Korean tourists couldn’t help but put a smile on my face. WHERE TO STAY Along the trail there are about half a dozen guesthouses with double rooms for between 50 to 120 yuan ($8 to $18) per night. Dorm rooms are significantly cheaper. Lodgings are clean but rustic, with simple wooden beds, thin mattresses and a clothesline. Most offer shared showers and bathroom facilities, but a few have en suite baths. We stayed at the family-run TeaHorse Guesthouse, which has excellent views, an extensive menu with several organic and vegetarian options, and good coffee. We sat around a stone fire-pit with about half a dozen other trekkers from around the globe drinking Chinese beer and baijiu—a fierce local white spirit that replaced my usual whiskey preference. The busy Halfway Lodge, another

popular option, is about another 90 minutes down the trail from Tea-Horse. Next to the rapids is Tina’s, mentioned above, where most trekkers stop for a bite and drink if they’re not staying there. Sean’s Guesthouse in Walnut Gardens, about 45 minutes farther, is one of the oldest on the trail— which wasn’t opened to tourists until 1993. His website is an excellent resource for planning a visit. RETURN TO QIAOTOU Rather than make the return hike, we paired up with two other trekkers and hitched a ride back in a truck. It took all of 45 minutes. There isn’t too much to recommend In Qiaotou if you plan to spend the night there, other than Jane’s Guesthouse, which offers luggage storage. A new guesthouse, Hiker’s, opened in June 2010. Upon our arrival two days prior, we had met up with Margo Carter, an Australian who ran the Gorged Tiger

Café and offered luggage storage for backpacks. After picking up our bags we had lunch and told Margo of our experiences—stories she must have heard hundreds of times during the 15 years she had been a fixture in Tiger Leaping Gorge. Little did we know that that would be one of the last times anyone would share their tales with her. About a month after we completed the hike, Margo went off on a more dangerous trek in the region and met her untimely death. Her body was found at the bottom of a ravine, and mystery still surrounds exactly what happened to her. Margo’s demise is rare and in no way reflects the typical experience most people have trekking in China, and in particular Tiger Leaping Gorge. Still, it made me even more grateful that the worst I experienced were sore muscles and a strained ankle—a small price to pay for two days of bonding with nature and memories to last a lifetime.

IF YOU GO... Be sure to check in at guesthouses and cafés in Lijiang, Shangri-la and Qiaotou for news about the weather and trail conditions before starting out. Pick up a detailed map of the gorge while you’re there. It’s always best not to trek alone, but if you must, be extra cautious, and as with any long hike, bring plenty of water, sunscreen, lip balm, a hat and a flashlight. Majestic mountains along

RESOURCES: Sean’s Guesthouse, Walnut Garden one of the oldest on the trail, well-researched information.

Tiger Leaping Gorge.

China National Tourist Office


gorgingon a White-water rafting, helicopter rides and ATV excursions fill an adrenalin-packed West Virginia weekend getaway BY KARIN LEPERI


n admitted adventure junkie, I needed a quick adrenalin fix but had only a few days to spare. The solution, however, was easy. I set out for an action-packed weekend in the wilds outside of Fayetteville, with a plan to white-water raft in West Virginia, helicopter above the area’s scenic gorge and ride an ATV in the Appalachian Mountains. I pack my bags for water, dirt and wind, then head to River Expeditions outfitters in the heart of the New River Gorge, just 4 miles south of the world-famous bridge with the same name. A family-owned operation, River Expeditions is proud of its river heritage and values. “We’re not shy about proclaiming that our culture is based on the joy of adventure,” says owner Heather Johnson. “We’re equally



White-water rafting on the New River. PHOTO COURTESY OF RIVER EXPEDITIONS


fanatical about sharing this passion with our guests.” With lifejacket, helmet and paddle in hand, I board a bus for a full-day trip of white-water rafting down the Lower New River. This excursion is River Expeditions’ signature trip and includes continental breakfast before launch and lunch on the riverbank. It’s best to wear non-cotton clothing for faster drying, waterproof windbreaker for inclement weather and closed-toe water sandals. Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are advisable as well. T.J. is our expert river guide, a veteran of 16 years who, in a past life, taught special-needs children. (I muse silently TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

that this is good because he will have patience with me.) I am told he knows every rock, nook and cranny in the river, and will ensure a safe ride but a thrilling rapid rush for those who dare. WHIRLY WHIRLPOOLS As we alternate between calm pools of water meant for lazy swimming to exhilarating rapids, churning waves and hydraulic holes meant to be navigated by experienced river guides only, I feel the camaraderie level amongst those of us in our shared plastic raft go up several notches. Everyone feels like a longtime friend. Maybe it’s the country charm of T.J.,

who is able to narrate rich local history even as he deftly navigates the West Virginia white-water rapids while delivering us from harm. Maybe it’s his confident, self-deprecating humor that engages all ages while departing words of wisdom in his wake. Or maybe it’s because he honors his mother through his stories and actions—admittedly a winning combination for me. As for me, whatever the reason, I know I will always request T.J. whenever I come back to the river. Suddenly, a blast of white water punches me backwards into the raft— water dousing my face while drenching my body. T.J. instructs everyone to

A helicopter tour over the New River Gorge.

Riding ATVs on the Hatfield-McCoy trail.


give two swift paddle strokes. We have entered the treacherous section known as the meat grinder—a Class V whitewater sieve that can live up to its name when dealing with unwary or unseasoned paddlers. (Class V white water is extremely difficult to navigate through and is defined by large waves, large volume with possibility of large drops, unstable eddies, irregular currents, and possibility of large rocks and hazards.) Everyone heeds our guide as we ride our rollercoaster drop to the eddy below. Adrenalin rush kicks in for me: I am officially stoked. More adrenalin and more spills as some of us abandon the raft, with the


permission of T.J. of course, to swim and conquer “Thread the Needle”—an eddy line where a slow and fast moving current meet to create a whirlpool between two rocks—and later “Ride the Elevator”—a swimmer’s rapid where two currents converge behind an underwater rock, essentially sucking in the swimmer and then spitting them out on the other side. Amazingly, time zips by and the West Virginia rafting trip is almost over. We approach the New River Gorge Bridge, a steel-arch bridge that at a height of 876 feet is the highest vehicular bridge in the Americas. (The bridge also graces the back of the

state’s quarter.) This is where we disembark, but not before T.J. asks if anyone wants to “ride the bull” through Fayette Station. There’s room only for two, and a couple of younger participants jumped at the opportunity. The volunteers are instructed to sit at the helm, hold onto a strap and to lean backwards as T.J. navigates this last stretch. They hang on dearly as they are riveted from side to side, much like riding a mechanical bull. With no spills by the end of the course, the hardy souls proudly claim to have conquered the bull. After exchanging wet clothes for dry, everyone heads for the Red Dog 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

gorging Saloon. Here we sip beverages while watching videos of our day’s escapades. Photos and DVD are available for purchase. TWIRLY TOUR OF THE GORGE Our day, however, is not yet done. I head to Fayette Airport (only five minutes from River Expeditions) for a 10-

if you go: Fayetteville Convention & Visitors Bureau River Expeditions 800-463-9873 Almost Heaven Helicopter Tours 800-277-7727 Happy Trails Outdoor Adventures (ATV) (Minimum age is 16.) 304-732-6096

headset allows Justin to narrate the scenery below. I think I’m in heaven! ATV’N THE HATFIELD-MCCOY TRAIL I save the next morning for a bucket-list item: a three- to four-hour guided ATV adventure riding through the Appalachian Mountains. Clad in sunglasses, long pants and closed-toe shoes, I am ready to conquer one of the largest off-highway vehicle trail systems in the world—the award-winning Hatfield-

WHERE TO EAT: Pies N Pints Pizza and beer. WHERE TO STAY: Packages from River Expeditions include lodging options.

beautiful Wyoming County, home of the Hatfield-McCoy ATV Trail System. (Return transportation is included.) An hour later, I arrive at Happy Trails Outdoor Adventures in Pineville. After signing the requisite liability waivers, I choose a snack and drink from the store, included in the activity price. Now fortified for the road, our group leaves single-file, with a guide leading the pack. For the next few hours we endure dust, mud, dirt and rain in the pursuit of happiness—all hallmarks of any true ATV challenge. ALMOST HEAVEN—WEST VIRGINIA Though my weekend adventure comes to a close much too soon, I am fully alive from my “not-so-ordinary” adventures. My action-packed, adrenalin-filled weekend managed to assault and exalt all five senses. So this must

The Red Dog River Saloon—where everyone meets after rafting to view videos and stills of the thrills on the water. PHOTO BY KARIN LEPERI

minute helicopter tour of the New River Gorge. As a naval flight engineer on a VC-131H in a previous life, I am delirious with anticipation about riding a twirly bird—especially one that offers an unobstructed view of the river we just rafted. Since the Bell 47G2 Chopper sports a huge bubble window and has no side doors, photo opportunities are limitless. Justin introduces himself as my pilot and asks that I remove my camera lens cap prior to take-off. I then snugly buckle the two-person lap belt on our wooden bench seat. For the next 10 minutes we soar with the eagles as our pilot proudly showcases the New River Gorge in all its beauty. Because helicopters can be a tad noisy inside, a TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

McCoy Trail. Featuring hundreds of miles of trails with switchbacks, scenic mountain trails, lush emerald forests and open meadows, this is home to some of the most beautiful and varied terrain when it comes to ATV riding.

be the adventure adrenalin-rush! From a rapid rush on the river, an air rush in a plastic bubble over the gorge, to dirt-in-the-teeth smiles from conquering the Hatfield-McCoy ATV trails, I was a happy, though tired, soul.

TIME TO GET DIRTY Pick-up time is early. I am told to be at River Expeditions for a 7 a.m. transit to

Karin Leperi is an award-winning writer and photographer who specializes in travel, adventure, nature and culture.

For Wildlife Adventures

Follow The A trip to game reserves in Kenya and Tanzania more than fulfills this writer’s lifelong dreams to experience an African safari STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NANCY SCHRETTER


t was just a few moments after dawn and my heart was already pounding. We were racing toward the Mara River in Tanzania in an open-air safari vehicle, hoping to witness the magnificent spectacle that I’d waited a lifetime to see. I dreamed of this safari for decades. As a child, I was captivated by Africa and its extraordinary wildlife migration. At the library, I gobbled up any books I could find on Africa, its animals, and the captivating Masai and Samburu cultures. Now, my husband and I were alone in the Northern Serengeti with no other vehicles in sight, hoping my childhood dreams would materialize before our eyes. THE CROSSINGS MAN Our Sayari Camp guide, Albert Lucas, scanned the banks on the other side of the river and spotted a huge cavalcade of animals stampeding down the hill. “They’re crossing!” he yelled as he hit the gas. In fewer than 10 minutes, we were in front-row seats on the banks of the river watching head-on as herds of wildebeest, zebras and an occasional topi swam and scampered across the muddy waters. During the next three hours, Albert estimated more than 200,000 animals had crossed the Mara River. Some leaped dramatically into the air before swimming across the water while others were more careful, pausing to strategically plot their path to safety. The air was filled with the sounds of wildebeest bleating, hooves pounding against the hard dirt and the splashing of water. Luckily, it was too early for crocodiles to be out TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

Wildebeest crossing the Mara River near Sayari Camp in the northern Serengeti, Tanzania.



Tree-climbing lion in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya.

looking for a kill. We’d already seen the remnants of that on a previous outing the day before with Lucas, and I was in no mood to relive the drama. I simply wanted to bask in the heartwarming miracle of childhood dreams come true. Dubbed “The Crossings Man” because of his uncanny ability to predict these events, Lucas fulfilled my every dream during our days at the Sayari Camp. We witnessed four crossings, watched half a million grazing animals part like the Red Sea as we crossed the plains, observed multiple lions mating and females caring for their tiny cubs, saw lurking crocodiles open their jaws and wrap wildebeest in a fearsome dance of death, and took hundreds of pictures of four of the Big Five animals—lions, leopards, African elephants and Cape buffalo. The rhinoceros eluded us—on this outing.

A TRIP OF A LIFETIME Timing and luck were with me on this trip, along with some of the best safari planning and guides available. We experienced everything that I had hoped for on this journey—and a few beyond my wildest imagination. Thanks to our travel planner Kent Redding of Africa Adventure Consultants, with whom we booked this African safari tour, this truly was the vacation of a lifetime. Our adventure started “Out of Nairobi” at the foot of the Ngong Hills. Our Express Travel Group guides whisked us from our lodging at the Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi (formerly the Holiday Inn Mayfair) to the Daphne Sheldrick Animal Orphanage, part of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. More than 80 African elephant orphans and several black rhino babies have been

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE, LEFT: Female cheetah in the Mara, Kenya. Kenya Masai warriors. Lioness with her cubs in Samburu.

nursed back to health here. Tourists can become foster parents, receiving special visitation privileges that are well worth the cost. It was then on to Giraffe Manor to kiss and feed Rothschild giraffes, followed by a moving tour of author Karen Blixen’s home. The next morning, we were the only passengers on our tiny SafariLink plane leaving behind bustling Nairobi for the serenity and arid hills of Samburu National Park. Smiling Samburu warriors greeted our plane and took us on our first game drive to see herds of elephants, tiny dik-diks and packs of baboons. Tall, stately reticulated giraffes 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

A lone lioness takes down a zebra in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

African Bull Elephant, Northern Serengeti, Tanzania.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: A black rhino poses in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Sayari Camp game drive on the vast Serengeti plains, Tanzania. Hot air balloon floats over the Masai Mara, Kenya.

posed for our lenses. We became one with the animals as they graciously allowed us to enter their world. At Heritage Hotels’ Samburu Intrepids, a family-friendly luxury tented camp, we learned more about the ways of the wildlife and people of this region. Samburu is a smaller game reserve than others, and the animals are more concentrated here. We quickly spotted the Samburu Five (reticulated giraffe, oryx, gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra and Samburu ostrich) and were rewarded with multiple sightings of lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants and Cape buffalo. Big cats prowled in trees over our heads, mated and hunted for game just a few feet from our open Land Rover. When a lioness adopted an orphaned baby oryx in 2002, Samburu National Park’s motto became “Where Nature Defies Itself.” It almost appeared as if that welcome was

being extended to us, as wildlife often came within a foot or two of our open vehicle. Being surrounded by three inquisitive lionesses caused us to reexamine that thought, however. While our guide was quite confident, we weren’t sure that adoption was quite what they had in mind. THE MAGNIFICENT MASAI MARA, KILLS INCLUDED Our adventure continued in Kenya’s famed Masai Mara National Reserve, one of the best-known and most-visited reserves in Africa. Our tent at Mara Intrepids Camp was situated above the Talek River, where the sounds of bellowing hippos and roaring lions serenaded us each night. The camp is ideally located in the center of the Mara’s primary game-viewing area, providing us with some extraordinary wildlife sightings, including lioness and cheetah kills. While kills are a common staple of Africa nature shows, seeing one from start to finish is relatively uncommon in the wild. It comes down to timing, great guides and luck—and we had all three. Driving through the Mara late one afternoon, our guide saw a lone

lioness surveying a large herd of zebras from afar. His instincts told him to stop and wait as she plotted her next move. Over the next 10 minutes, we watched as the lioness slunk low against the ground, moved behind some brush, and carefully stalked the unsuspecting herd. Then, with an amazing burst of speed, she made her move. Panic gripped the zebra herd as the lioness exploded out of the underbrush and zeroed in on one of her targets, a large male easily three times her size. She grabbed his hindquarters with her huge paws and dug in her claws. The zebra tried to run, but the weight of the big cat quickly toppled it on its back. Shrieking and squealing, the zebra kicked and tried to right itself, but the lioness sank her claws and fangs deeper, methodically gnawing at one of its legs until it was broken. She then moved on to feast hungrily and the zebra’s intermittent cries eventually stopped. I thought the kill would be quick, but this one seemed to last a lifetime. The heartrending sound of the zebra’s screams will stay with me forever. The only thing that made it bearable was the knowledge that this lioness was a ne w mother with three tiny cubs to feed. In a span of minutes, “the circle of life” took on deeper meaning for me as it moved from catchy Disney tune to gritty reality. The shadow of death quickly gives way to the beauty of life in Africa, as it did the next morning. Lifting off in a hot-air balloon for a sunrise flight over the savannah is one of the most magnificent ways to view wildlife and scenery in this area, followed by a formal breakfast straight Out of Africa. COMPLETING THE BIG FIVE AND WILDLIFE WALKS In Tanzania’s wildlife parks, we had some of our most thrilling experiences. In addition to the animal crossings at the Mara River, we descended into a TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

Mating lions on the northern Serengeti plains, Tanzania.

spectacular site at Ngorongoro Crater, where a huge black rhino meandered out of brush like an armored tank and careened its way toward our safari vehicle—thus completing our Big Five sightings in the wild. After surviving that encounter and the narrow bumpy roads, we decompressed and celebrated with a toast over a luscious dinner at Gibb’s Farm. Not surprisingly, the best was saved for last. If you’re looking for adventure in Africa, walking safaris are the name of the game—and Tarangire’s Oliver’s Camp is the place. Stripped from the protection of the safari vehicle, walkers experience an exhilarating sense of freedom and connection with wildlife. Accompanied by an armed guard and our experienced naturalist guide, Alex, we felt safe in exploring the world around us on foot. We were able to get relatively close to large mammals including elephants, giraffes and even two lions—much to our heartpounding amazement. With 14 years of experience leading walking safaris, Alex knew how to safely allow us to have an intensely private experience and enjoy the unparalleled luxury of being one with nature.

danced and sang as they welcomed us to their village. In a particularly moving gesture, several gave us intricate beaded bracelets and necklaces and enveloped us with hugs. We later donated schoolbooks and helped find a new water pump for their village. At a Masai village in the Mara, warriors jumped to impossible heights and I learned to jump right along with them. And at Tanzania’s lovely Rivertrees Country Inn, Martina immersed me in Bahati, a project to improve the lives of the country’s women. We came away transformed. Safari is the Swahili word for journey—a fitting term for a trip to Africa. Be prepared to leave a piece of your heart there. For those who are willing, an Africa safari becomes a voyage of self-discovery and an adventure for both the body and soul. Nancy Schretter is an award-winning travel writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in travel journalism and publishing. She is founder and managing editor of the Family Travel Network and founder of Together for Good, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting giving back as part of the travel experience. She has been a family travel expert guest on The Today Show, CNN,

CULTURAL EXCHANGE We came to Africa for the wildlife, but the people won our hearts. At Samburu, colorfully clad women

NBC News and numerous other television and radio programs. Her work and insights have been featured in national newspapers, magazines, and a variety of trade publications.

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Sordid stories of Idaho inmates and present-day hauntings STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KARIN LEPERI

Only minutes from downtown Boise lies the Old Idaho Territorial Penitentiary—a holding place for some of Idaho’s most notorious criminals and a final resting place for many a death-row convict awaiting the hands of justice. Surrounded by a high sandstone wall quarried by confined convicts, it served duty until 1973. Today, it is a haven and holding cell for alleged paranormal activity. Because past inmates included infamous serial killers, legendary bank robbers and ruthless murderers, many believe that their ghosts remain earthbound—trapped within the walls of “Old Pen.”

As I pass through the Romanesque stone arch of the penitentiary, I am greeted by two young women, Kate and Ashley, wearing prison-guard shirts. Though their smiles are bright and wide, I nevertheless feel enveloped by an eerie, heavy presence. They tell me that a 90-minute guided journey includes a solitary confinement stop (also known as “Siberia”), then proceeds to death row and finally to the gallows, where Ray Snowden was fitted with a noose in 1957—the last execution to take place at the State Penitentiary and the last hanging in Idaho. Guests also can tour the women’s ward where Idaho’s “Black Widow” husband-killer was confined. Another stop is the beautiful but haunted rose garden, once lovingly maintained by convicts. A self-guided option also is available. TERRITORIAL PRISON TO STATE PENITENTIARY In 1870, a single cell-house was built to serve as a territorial prison in Idaho. By 1890, however, when Idaho gained statehood, the territorial prison became the state penitentiary. The initial one-room soon proved to be inadequate for the growing inmate population, so prisoners were tasked over the years to build just about everything else that would restrict their freedom, including the maximum security building. (The second floor housed the gallows and trap door.) This was the last constructed building at the facility. The local quarried sandstone—used extensively in the building of the prison—proved to be a poor insulator from the climate. Prisoners thus sufTRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

fered greatly from oppressive heat in the summer and insufferable cold in the winter. Overcrowding and long stints in solitary confinement put many over the top. The intolerable living conditions resulted in several prison riots over the years. Before the penitentiary finally closed its doors on December 3, 1973, more than 13,000 convicts—including 215 women—would call it home, and about 110 prisoners would die while behind bars. Of those deaths, 10 were from hanging—the choice of execution in those days. Shortly after it ceased operations, “Old Pen” was added to the National Registry of Historical Places. DEPRAVED CRIMINALS & PRISON GHOSTS The bars of Boise witnessed the dark depths of depravity, from bank robber Henry “Bub” Meeks of Butch Cassidy’s legendary Wild Bunch Gang to serialkiller Lyda Southard, the “Black Widow” accused of poisoning four husbands for insurance proceeds. Meeks went insane and later died in an asylum, while Southard perfected her soup and apple pie recipe with arsenic boiled from flypaper. Harry Orchard, charged with assassinating a former Idaho governor, would serve 46 years in prison, the longest term at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Offered parole in later years, he reportedly declined, opting to live out his remaining years behind bars. Today, many claim that the Old Idaho State Penitentiary is haunted with ghosts of past prisoners. Some visitors claim to hear disembodied voices; others reportedly see apparitions and shadowy figures, or hear heavy footsteps on the catwalks when nobody is around. A few report being shoved or tapped on the shoulder by an unknown presence. Many claim that an overwhelming sense of sorrow

surrounds those areas marked by extreme suffering and pain. One thing is clear: the buildings and grounds host a potpourri of paranormal activity. “In general people claim they ‘sense’ the most eerie feelings in Siberia (solitary confinement) and 5 House/Maximum Security [which houses Death Row and the Gallows],” says Amber Beierle, an interpretive specialist at the penitentiary. “Two docents have claimed to have locked the door to the Gallows only to come back some time later [to find it] wide open. “No one can deny the heaviness of emotions the Old Idaho Penitentiary evokes,” Beierle adds. “For some this is easily explained by the years of suffering, death and destruction this unique site witnessed and [that] remains within its sandstone walls. Still, others claim to have real, tangible experiences with inmates and guards long gone from this place. Regardless of what you believe, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is a place that holds invaluable history and offers us a glimpse

The chosen site for six hangings, the rose garden at “Old Pen� is considered haunted.

Many visitors to Old Idaho Territorial Penitentiary have experienced eerie feelings, especially in Siberia and 5 House/Maximum Security.

of highway robbery. Subsequently sentenced to serve seven years at the State Penitentiary for his crime, Hamilton volunteered his talents to design and supervise the building of the prison dining hall. He was rewarded for his dedication by being granted a pardon three years later. Unfortunately, it was conditioned on the premise he leave Idaho. So heartsick was he, that he supposedly committed suicide in nearby Nampa. Another place of pronounced paranormal encounters is the prison’s rose garden. This was the chosen site for six hangings before 5 House was built. According to Beierle, “Visitors have claimed to experience headaches and/or heard voices in the distance while walking through the Rose Garden.” Some even claim to have glimpsed the image of an inmate tending the delicate flowers. Karin Leperi is an award-winning writer and photographer who specializes in travel, adventure, nature and culture.


The stone arch entrance to “Old Pen.”

into a time and place that might otherwise be forgotten.” Raymond Snowden may have been the last hanging in the gallows, but some say that his ghost still remains in the so-called 5 House. Having brutally stabbed his girlfriend and reputedly breaking her spinal cord TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

intentionally as a last act of devilish dominance, Snowden never repented of his heinous crimes. Rather, he was fond of openly bragging of his dastardly deeds. Beware as he is said to frequent the gallows. Then there is the specter of George Hamilton, who was convicted in 1895

The Old Idaho State Penitentiary (208) 334-2844 Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day, from noon to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. Admission: $5, adults; $4 seniors; $3 children aged 6-12. Special rates for AAA members.

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finding your

Tropica The remote One Foot Island in the South Pacific is just the place for low-key adventure STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DALE SANDERS

Shipwrecked!! The mere thought of such an occurrence conjures fear in most minds. Being stranded and alone on a remote island has long been a fear of even adventurous seagoing sailors. Yet, in our modern world, the idea of finding a pristine, untouched place on our cluttered sphere is magnetic to those seeking tropical beauty and solitude. Deep within the Pacific Basin, amongst the backdrop of the Cook Islands, Tapuaetai, a tiny motu islet more commonly known as One Foot Island, exemplifies just such a place. TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

al Chi A visitor to One Foot Island takes a serene walk on its powder sand beach.

Moorish idols and other tropical fish flit about the coral reef off Aroa Beach, Roratonga.

A sand spit of massive proportions forms a land bridge into the turquoise waters off Honeymoon Island.

Giant Tridacna clams dwarf a free diver on an underwater reef near One Foot Island.

Although originally inhabited by early Polynesian explorers, the Cook Islands came to light for the rest of the world during the early voyages of Captain William Bligh on the H.M.S Bounty. Soon after his discovery in 1789 of Aitutaki, the atoll of which One Foot is a part, his mutinous crew set him adrift. Once saved and returned to England, Bligh’s accounts of this group of islands noted their extreme splendor amongst a vast turquoise lagoon. Today, a visit to these coral atoll islands that hang much like a pearl necklace from the main island of Aitutaki is a step back in time to “old Polynesia.” Perhaps this authentic Polynesian feeling was what influenced producers to select these islands to be the backdrop for the TV series Survivor in 2006. Those that watched this show may remember the location where all the challenges were filmed … this being One Foot Island. BEAUTY ABOVE AND BELOW SEA LEVEL The most common way to experience this near pristine motu is to book an excursion via Bishops Tours, available as an excursion on our Paul Gauguin cruise. During this well-organized tour, one will encounter tropical magnificence on One Foot as well as other adjacent islets. Additionally, eco-trekkers should expect to experience some of the best snorkeling that the South Pacific has to offer. 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Even though much of the windward side of the island’s beach has been eroded from a recent tropical cyclone, the stark beauty of this island still pervades.

A view of the picturesque beach upon our approach to this mystical island.

A hearty island lunch awaits those that visit One Foot Island.

On Bishop’s first stop, visitors will gaze upon a powderwhite sand bank that stretches for well over a half mile to Honeymoon Island. This vast expanse of pristine sand, sculpted by vivid shades of blue, creates a mesmerizing vista. Close to this massive sand bar, the excursion makes a second stop to offer a look at the underwater beauty found in Aitutaki’s Lagoon. Large coral heads stipple this area with multi-colored corals and tropical fish swimming about. The most incredible part of this snorkel, however, is looking upon the giant sea clams whose fluorescing mantles dazzle your eyes. Many of these clams are quite old and have grown to several feet in length. To view stands of these Tridacna clams in such a pristine environment is truly a rare site and possible thanks to the good judgment and environmentally conscious Polynesian chiefs that knew certain areas needed to be protected to sustain these as well as other species. WHAT’S IN A NAME? Legend has it that during a tribal festival, two of the tribe members (a father and son) snuck away, choosing to disobey a decree by their chief that forbade harvesting 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

any sea life from an area close to what is now called One Foot Island. After being spotted in this preserve, a warring party was sent by the chief to capture these dissidents. Attempting to escape, the father rowed to the closest island where he then walked in his son’s footprints until they reached a tree and he had the child climb and hide. The father then ran to the other side of the island where he was ultimately captured. Later being questioned, he confirmed he was the only one who was on the island thus protecting his son. The single “one-foot” print impressions confirmed his story, and from that day on the tribe referred to the motu as “One Foot” Island. EXPLORING ONE FOOT As our excursion vessel approached One Foot Island for our final stop, it became clear why an early Polynesian chief might have chosen this location to protect—the sheer beauty of this island. Water in rarely seen shades of turquoise encompass its chalky-white sand beach. Palm trees in rich hues of green and yellow jut out from shore then turn abruptly for the cobalt blue sky and wispy clouds above. Visiting such a place is not so much a “to do” as it is “to be.” Oneness with such a place can take on many forms— whether it be to loll on the beach, laze in a hammock or take a leisurely dip in the lagoon, finding your tropical chi is not only possible here, it’s probable. During our trip, we bonded with a Polynesian cat that adopted us as much as we temporarily adopted it. Our new momentary friend appeared to be the guardian of one of the beach cottages, which are available for rent to those wishing more than a day of solitude. The aroma of fresh grilled tuna and chicken beckoned us to lunch, served in a roofed, open-air dining area, where we enjoyed some of this TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

Polynesian dancers entertain guests aboard the Paul Gauguin cruise ship.

region’s best native fare. Following lunch we considered having our passport stamped at what could be the world’s smallest post office. Knowing that we had just a couple hours left on the island, it was time to go into exploratory mode and circumnavigate this tiny island before our departure. It’s difficult to capture the beauty of One Foot Island in words. Every portion of this island’s shoreline

was distinct and more beautiful than what we had already viewed. Having made our way back around the island, and after a final dip in the lagoon, it was now time to board for our trip back to the main island of Aitutaki. SNORKELING AND DIVING ADVENTURES On our way back, we approached the low rolling hills of the island flanked

If you go Cook Islands Department of Tourism Bishops Cruises Paul Gauguin Cruises Air New Zealand The Dive Center, Rarotonga McBirney House—For those who want more than a day on One Foot Island, this two-story house is available for rental.

A catamaran style excursion vessel operated by Bishop Cruises offers a comfortable platform for exploring the lagoon and motus of Aitutaki.

A Polynesian cat nuzzles during a beach break on One Foot Island.

by banana plantations and coconut groves. Aitutaki is often referred to as the “Bora Bora of the Cook Islands” as it geologically mimics this well-known destination. Wide ranges of accommodations are available here, from the upscale Aitutaki Pacific Resort to the Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas to the less expensive yet comfortable motels and B&B’s around the island. Aitutaki’s sister island of Roratonga

also offers a wealth of tropical properties as well as very dramatic dive and snorkeling options. Perhaps one of the most spectacular Cook Island shore dives or snorkels is available directly across the street from The Dive Centre at Aroa Beach on the southwest side of the island. Here, nearly every imaginable species of Pacific tropical fish swim amongst the vividly colored corals, all just a short swim from the beach. On a

dive just beyond the reef, eagle rays congregate at a cleaning station, which creates an underwater landing strip of sorts. Topside, getting to this remote destination is best accomplished by flights from Los Angeles to Roratonga, such as on Air New Zealand or U.S. Airways. Various cruise lines also visit these islands such as the Paul Gauguin, which has a variety of itineraries out of Tahiti. Regardless of how you get here, whether by plane, cruise line or even being washed ashore, it’s not so much about the “do” as it is about the “be,” and most importantly, finding your tropical chi. As an award-winning travel and outdoor photojournalist, Dale Sanders has ventured to more than 100 islands and coastal destinations around the globe. He is the associate editor for, travel editor for Antique Bottle & Glass Collector, and national travel examiner for Dale is the current NATJA first-place winner of the travel photojournalism award in sports and recreation. His numerous credits and outlets can be found at 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL



Riviera Maya and

ALL THAT JAZZ The Yucatan Peninsula is host to the sizzling Riviera Maya Jazz Festival each year during Thanksgiving week By Lisa Codianne Fowler • Photography By Patrick Fowler and Judy Eberspaechen

Every evening was electric. My husband and I were front and center, bare toes buried in the cool sands of Mexico’s shores. There’s an unstoppable energy in the air, not unlike that found walking the streets of Manhattan. Only take that throttle and kick it up a notch. Wrap it up in star-lit oceanfront nights. Toss in family-, pooch- and picnicfriendly, along with a pulsating backdrop of the world’s most cutting edge music and mind-boggling special effects. Now we’re jammin’.


OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: The music of the waves; Al Jareau, a living legend; Pat Martino wows the crowds; locally produced souvenirs.

Each November, 14,000 “jazzophiles” make a pilgrimage to Playa del Carmen—the heart of the Riviera Maya, located just south of Cancun, Mexico—for the explosive concerts at the world-renowned Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. Living legends wow the crowds with musical performances ranging from old-school swing to hip hop and fusion. During our visit, the festival once again featured greats from across the globe as well as several nationally known Mexican bands, among them, Narima, Malo Agua and The Royal Band, one of the country’s most popular. All are wildly creative and formidable contenders for the most sought after sounds in the international jazz scene. But the major draw for us was being able to get up close and personal with some of our own jazz heroes: Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Sergio Mendes and Spyro Gyra. We were privileged to be among the 60 journalists from around the world permitted in the roped-off press area near the stage to photograph and videotape one minute (only) from each performance, capturing some of the best na-


tional and international jazz acts of all times. Al Jarreau opened to deafening cheers with his rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song,” ended with his classic “Take Five,” and playfully engaged the crowd throughout his set. Sergio Mendes brought down the house with an updated, hip hop version of “Mas Que Nada,” a 40-year-old mega hit reborn in a recent collaboration with Black Eyed Peas. Pat Martino’s riffs were spot on, despite serious health issues and memory loss that forced him to re-learn the guitar mid-career. Spyro Gyra rocked with funky, urban sounds, and Herbie Hancock gave us delicious tastes of the many musical phases he’s moved through over the years.

WHAT TO EXPECT The Riviera Maya Jazz Festival takes place outside on the beach at Mamita’s Beach Club. “Doors” open at 6 p.m.; the first concert begins at 7; the last usually ends at midnight. Entrance is absolutely free, and though the festival typically draws a crowd of 10 to 14,000, people are friendly and respectful of each other and the grounds. Bring a blanket, towel or chair to sit on the beach; alternately, if you arrive early enough, you can claim a table at one of two restaurants with al fresco dining. We varied our viewing venues nightly. Since the stage is built to include a super sound-system, multiple mega-screens and strategic lighting, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

MI CASA ES SU CASA The evenings were magical, but so too were the days, as we simply luxuriated at Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, an all-inclusive resort located 30 miles south of Cancun. A complimentary 40-minute



shuttle ride brings guests to and from Playa del Carmen for the festival. Most afternoons we sampled Secrets’ restaurants, shopping venues and, of course, aqueous amenities, such as the meandering pools and sun-splashed beach. Mornings began with a breakfast buffet that included everything from tamales and pancakes to green health juice and Bloody Mary cocktails. What a grand and unconventional way to spend Thanksgiving. “Welcome Home!” We heard it a lot. The staff at the resort greeted us this way each time we entered the lobby from an off-property excursion. It always made us smile. Though one can’t help but smile,

ABOVE: Herbie Hancock, “Prince of Peace.” ABOVE, RIGHT: The Royal Band, a Mexican favorite.

OPPOSITE, TOP: Secrets Maroma Beach Resort. OPPOSITE, BOTTOM: Colorful Playa del Carmen.

gush even, at the lavishness of this sprawling adultonly, all-suite resort. The property certainly lives up to its moniker, “Unlimited Luxury,” featuring seven restaurants, eight bars and lounges, a fitness center, spa, tennis courts, shopping areas, an expansive waiter-attended infinity pool and 12 smaller plunge pools throughout the resort. There are themed parties, live entertainment nightly and big screen movies on the beach. Nestled between more than 500 acres of unspoiled coastal strands and lush rain forests, it retains a feeling of intimacy as well as exclusivity. Some of the ground floor suites are “swim-out”— step from your room into the refreshing pools that wind around the grounds. Our balcony suite was slathered in marble and featured a whirlpool tub for


two; net-draped, four-poster, king-sized bed; stepdown sitting area; and all the amenities you would expect from a first-class resort. We were members of the VIP club, which means we had access to the concierge room with its endless array of gourmet snacks and full bar. But you don’t have to be a VIP to find food and drink at every turn, even if it’s delivered via 24/7 room service. There’s nothing like sipping champagne on a balcony overlooking manicured gardens, lighted fountains, a white sand beach and turquoise waters. Late at night, all you hear are crashing waves. During the day, songbirds serenade.

IF YOU GO Riviera Maya Jazz Festival Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Maya information Visit Mexico

BEYOND THE FESTIVAL Few places on earth cause as much amazement as Riviera Maya. What makes the area so different from other coastlines around the world is that here you can completely escape from the outside world. It’s

filled with natural wonders: ecological reserves; an emerald-green jungle, a turquoise-blue sea hugged by miles of sparkling beaches and countless lost cities of the ancient Mayan civilization. Riviera Maya is located within the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The terrain is flat and covered by low tropical jungle. Lying hidden amid the intense green is a habitat rich with indigenous flora and fauna and geological formations not found anywhere else in the world. Facing the coast is one of the largest coral reefs in the world, with colorful tropical fish and various types of coral, making the Great Mayan Reef ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. Our visit came to an end all too soon. My only complaint about the experience is the weight I gained, courtesy of all-inclusive Secrets Maroma Beach. Still, on a “scale” of one to five, this was a six-star stay, awash in exotic beauty, gracious people, pampered luxury, and, oh yes—all that jazz. Lisa Codianne Fowler is a veteran travel journalist, travel video host and travel radio co-host. She resides in sunny Sarasota, Fla., with her chef-husband and two adorable dogs.



Q&A With

LINDA BALLOU The TravelWorld International Adventure Issue marks the debut of Travelogue, a new column that profiles travel writers and their specialty. The first features Linda Ballou, an avid adventurer who published her first travel article 10 years ago. She’s also penned two books: Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i: Her Epic Journey (Star Publish LLC, 2008) and Lost Angel Walkabout: One Traveler’s Tales (CreateSpace, 2010), which was recently selected as the Third Place Winner in the NATJA 2010 Awards Competition in the category of Travel Book or Guide.

Travel writer Linda Ballou’s newest book.

How do you define adventure? Any time you step out of your normal frame of reference, it is an adventure. Being from Alaska, my baseline for adventure is a bit higher than the average person. My pioneering parents gave me wonderful outdoor experiences in the most pristine wilderness area in North America. A genetic adventure-lust gives me a tremendous appetite for exciting ways to explore our planet. Which among your myriad travel experiences do you consider the most intense? Cross-country jumping a fine Irish Hunter on the wild-west coast of Ireland was by far my most challenging and dangerous adventure. After pulling that off without getting badly bent, I was high as a kite for weeks. It was the pinnacle of my riding career and probably the most insane thing I have ever done!


Which has been the most cherished? Rafting the 140-mile run on Tatshenshini River from the Yukon Territory to the Gulf of Alaska through the largest road-less wilderness area in North America was a great privilege. Before this trip I appreciated nature, but after witnessing the majesty of the Fairweather Range and the ice rivers carving the earth, I determined to join the fight to preserve our remaining wilderness areas. However, one of the most exciting incidents in my life took place in the Sea of Cortez. I was kayaking up a deep, narrow channel when a pod of at least 100 dolphins came up behind me and swam all around. The chuffing air puffing rhythmically from their blowholes as they arced with powerful grace in synchronicity [surrounding] me for about fifteen minutes was incredible. For a few fleeting moments, I was a part of the pod…and I will always cherish that incident. What made you decide to become a travel writer, and how did you get your start? I have a degree in English Lit and have been writing in one form or another all my life. I was thoroughly immersed in the horse world when a herniated disc in my lower back stopped me from being able to ride full-time. While mending from this injury, I had time to re-think things. I decided to use my writing to get me to places I wanted to go before the show was over.

Did you make a decision to focus writing about adventure travel, or did you eventually find yourself gravitating toward it? I thought about who I am and what I have to offer. Combining the things that I love the most—writing, horseback riding and the great outdoors—I put together a platform that I hoped would entice outfitters. I queried a high-end ranch in Telluride attaching a couple of articles I had previously published in Equus magazine and Horse Illustrated. They responded immediately with a “Howdy” and “Come on up.” I wrote a piece [titled] “To Ride Among the Clouds” that was published in Equus. I got paid good money for the article and had an incredible time. I’ve been hooked on travel writing ever since. What adventures are next on your “must do” list? A rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Hiking the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. Canoeing in the Okavango Delta in Botswana combined with a safari in South Africa. Hiking in Tasmania is rising

to the top of my list, but Patagonia and the Lake District of Chile are also places I want to experience in this lifetime. My list is ever growing! What would you never do, in terms of adventure travel experiences, if any? I would love to explore underwater realms, but I can’t skin dive. I get claustrophobic at about ten feet, become hysterical and suck in water. Not fun, so I stick to horseback riding, river rafting, hiking and kayaking as my favorite ways to get out into it. Any tips for aspiring adventure travel writers? Ask yourself, who am I? What do I have to offer that is unique? How do I want to get to where I want to go? The answers to these questions will give you direction, help you find your niche and give you the tools to build a platform that will appeal to the types of travel experiences you crave. This works for any kind of travel writing, not just adventure travel. If you go to, you will find a free download How to Make Travel Writing Work for You.

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Rejuvenation Vacation at

RANCHO LA PUERTA This Baja health spa proved to be the perfect place for the author to relax, recuperate and reinvigorate her creativity Story and Photography By Donna Mantone-Adinolfi

When it was time for my annual destination spa adventure, I decided to return to Rancho la Puerta, in Tecate, Mexico, about an hour southeast of San Diego. My overall fitness had recently

The new Reflexology Path outside the Spa at Rancho la Puerta.

lapsed due to a back injury and the spa, founded in 1940 by Edward and Deborah Szekely, is known for being “the original destination fitness resort and spa.” Rancho la Puerta provides a spacious natural setting (more than 3,000 acres), hiking, fitness classes, wellness lectures and vegetarian meals, all of which would give me the extra push I needed to get back on track and create the balance and inner-peace that I often advocate.


Although my injury would keep me from doing some of the more intense activities, Rancho la Puerta offers more than 50 options to accommodate guests of varying physical levels, so I knew once I stepped through the spa’s door—its puerta—there would still be plenty of viable options to keep me active. I was all set for my week to focus on physical activity, vegetarian meals, creativity and an overall Zen experience. ACTIVITIES AND CLASSES As a writer who sits for long stretches, movement was required for this nearly 50-year-old body, and that was easy as I walked nearly two miles per day around the property getting to and from the dining room, which was always a welcome site. The founders of “the Ranch,” as it’s called by fellow devotees, call this “incidental fitness”—activities that you don’t necessarily consider exercise. In addition to my daily incidental fitness, I also enjoyed Rancho la Puerta’s abundance of scheduled activities, which are offered every hour, beginning with early-morning hikes and ending with evening lectures on topics that range from sexuality to the arts. The new Fitness Navigator Program—which includes a free 30-minute consultation with a fitness expert after arrival—helps guests select the classes that will best help them achieve their goals for the week. As for some of my classes, Postural Therapy was helpful as it helped with balance and coordination, which was a challenge due to my muscle imbalance; Release and Mobilize helped with stiffness and range of motion. Aqua-based classes were plentiful and quite enjoyable at the spa’s new pool. Yoga and Pilates classes are highly regarded here as they’re progres-

sive and suited for the beginner or advanced student. Rancho la Puerta’s schedule also includes nutrition classes and ones focused on the inner self, such as the popular Crystal Bowl: Sound Healing, offered three times during my week. Crystal bowls emit pure sound waves that resonate throughout our body’s tissues and organs. The vibrations affect brain-wave activity, which can cause the release of neurohormones that suppress pain and produce deep relaxation. The spa’s Writing Workshop was another reason I chose Rancho la Puerta, and it helped in re-engaging my creativity through the numerous sessions we experienced during the week. There were about 15 others engaged in this event, and we discussed everything from working with a literary agent to writing a book and getting published. All too often we get caught up in our day-to-day tasks, and this event helped me to reconnect to my muse, get back on track with writing my book and regain the confidence to move forward. COOKING SCHOOL The main highlight of my week, however, was the hands-on cooking class with Tanya Holland from Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, Calif. She was Rancho La Puerta’s La Cocina Que Canta’s visiting teacher/chef. Walking through the garden I couldn’t help but wonder how I would create the same dishes at home without the variety of fresh ingredients hand-picked from the garden— tomatoes from the vine burst with flavor. Our feast of healthy and delicious creations included Spicy Popovers with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs, and a simple Romaine Salad with Cucumbers, garden-picked tomatoes and a Chive and Cayenne Buttermilk Dressing. The cooking school at Rancho la Puerta offers a simple way for everyone to learn how to cook healthy at home. Fresh and in-season ingredients are key, and while I have a good repertoire of healthy meal ideas, since returning from the spa, I now prepare more fresh dressings, like the buttermilk one

we had during our class, and use an expanded eclectic array of fresh home-grown herbs. (I also now know how to properly chop chives). ACCOMMODATIONS AND SPA TREATMENTS There are several room options available at Rancho la Puerta including the Ranchera, which is about 470 square feet and can accommodate one or two guests. Several are set aside in a cluster for women travel11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL



Organic just-picked ingredients were used for our colorful farm to table La Cocina que Canta experience.

Many paths lead to fitness and healthy living activities.

A favorite of many Rancho la Puerta devotees—vegetarian enchiladas.

IF YOU GO Rancho la Puerta Tecate, Mexico 800-443-7565 San Diego is the closest airport. Transfers are provided for the Saturday to Saturday stay.

ing alone. I was in a Hacienda during my week, which is the second-tier of accommodations and larger than the Ranchera. It had a sizeable patio area, fireplace and large sitting area. The Junior Villas and Villa Studios are set farther back and measure about 900 square feet; the Villa Suite is the largest on property at 1,140 square feet. Each space is uniquely decorated with Mexican folkart and includes amenities expected from a contemporary upscale property. All rooms also have reverse-osmosis-filtered drinking water. Spa services at Rancho la Puerta are typically a la carte (except for the summer when the spa often offers a package of services called the Piñata Plan), however they’re much more affordable compared to other spas as most start at $80 for a 50-minute session and $140 to $150 for a 90-minute session. I opted for a Relaxation Massage, which was just what I needed after a day filled with workouts and TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / 11.1 MAR

long walks. A basic Swedish massage, it was deep enough to help relieve the soreness I was feeling and helped me unwind—great just before bedtime! If you’re looking for something even more relaxing, the Four-Hand Massage, utilizing two therapists, is pure bliss, and at $150, is a great value. Even after 70 years, the Ranch has stayed true to its’ core, drawing people for varying reasons, all of which have meaning: Some come for fitness, some for nutrition and others for healing. And then there’s nearby Mount Kuchumaa, which Native Americans consider a sacred place. And it is a sacred place. After my week at Rancho la Puerto, I was inspired and transformed. Donna Mantone-Adinolfi is a travel, spa and wellness writer/columnist, freelance writer and blogger. She focuses on travel, spas, personal development and wellness, and is the founder of Mindful Adventures. She can be reached at

congratulates all of the North American Travel Journalists Association

2010 Awards Competition Winners Spirit of Kalliope Award Keith Bellows Grand Prize Winners Photography – David Noyes Travel Journalism – Michael Luongo Publication – Virtuoso Life Convention & Visitors Bureaus/Destination Marketing Organizations – Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau MEDIA: General Travel Articles Destination Travel, Domestic Newspaper - Greater than 250,000 Gold: Michael Luongo; Silver: Ceil Miller-Bouchet; Bronze: Sarah Staples Destination Travel, Domestic Newspaper - Less than 250,000 Gold: Janet Podolak; Silver: Christine Tibbetts; Bronze: Lisa Te Sonne Destination Travel, Domestic Magazine Gold: Raphael Kadushin; Silver: Keith Bellows; Bronze (tie): Andrew Evans, Adam Sachs Destination Travel, International Newspaper - Greater than 250,000 Circulation Gold: Adrian Brijbassi; Silver: Adrian Brijbassi; Bronze: Ellen Creager Destination Travel, International Newspaper - Less than 250,000 Circulation Gold: Lindor Reynolds; Silver: Ron Pradinuk; Bronze: Chris McBeath Category 103: Destination Travel, International Magazine Gold: Robert Draper; Silver: David Noyes; Bronze: Michael DeFreitas Category 104: Byline Travel Column – Greater than 250,000 Circulation Gold: Daisann McLane; Silver: Keith Bellows; Bronze: Peter Jon Lindberg Byline Travel Column – Less than 250,000 Circulation Gold: Janet Podolak; Silver: Paul Rubio; Bronze: Stacey Wittig Travel Series – Magazine Gold: Mike Guy; Silver: William Purpura; Bronze: Keith Bellows Category 105A: Travel Series - Newspaper Gold: Michael Luongo; Silver: Adrian Brijbassi; Bronze: Jill Schensul MEDIA: Special Focus Travel Articles Print Local Lifestyle Gold: Luke Barr; Silver: Layla Schlack; Bronze: Lola Akinmade Leisure Activity Gold: Keith Bellows; Silver: Elaine Glusac; Bronze: Jill Schensul Sports and Recreation Gold: Margie Goldsmith; Silver: Dina Mishev; Bronze: Geoff Kirbyson Resorts Gold: Charles Kulander; Silver: Charles Gandee; Bronze (tie): Amy Rosen, Lisa Trottier Cruises Gold: Janice Mucalov; Silver: Tim Leffel; Bronze: Remy Scalza Personality and Profiles Gold: Jayme Otto; Silver: Cleo Paskal; Bronze: Keith Bellows

Historical or Hobby Travel Gold: Michael Luongo; Silver: Michael DeFreitas; Bronze (tie): Dale Sanders, Linda Fasteson Mature Travel and Travelers Gold: Linda Fasteson Intergenerational and Family Travel Gold: Michael Schuman; Silver: George Burden; Bronze: Heather Greenwood Davis Culinary Travel Gold: Lygia Navarro; Silver: Peter Jon Lindberg; Bronze (tie): Remy Scalza, Elizabeth Berg Cultural, Educational, Self-Improvement Travel Gold: Jayme Otto; Silver: Michael Luongo; Bronze: Sarah Staples Eco, Environmental or Special Purpose Travel Gold: Kim Brown Seely; Silver: Melina Gerosa Bellows; Bronze: Susan Nerberg Budget Travel Gold: Jill Schensul; Silver: John Lee; Bronze: Lindor Reynolds MEDIA: Special Focus Travel Articles – Internet Local Lifestyle Gold: Amy Rosen; Silver: Lola Akinmade; Bronze: Margie Goldsmith Leisure Activity Gold: Carole Herdegen; Silver: Peter Rose; Bronze: Margie Goldsmith Sports and Recreation Gold: Julian Smith; Silver: Tim Leffel Resorts Gold: George Burden; Silver: Kara Williams; Bronze: Dale Sanders Cruises Gold: Paul Rubio; Silver: Nell Raun-Linde; Bronze: Lisa Codianne Fowler Personality and Profiles Gold: Sarah Steinberg Historical or Hobby Travel Gold: Suzanne Corbett; Silver: Georgia Hesse Intergenerational and Family Travel Gold: Howard Hian; Silver: Margo McDonough Culinary Travel Gold: Dale Sanders; Silver: Nell Raun-Linde; Bronze: Suzanne Corbett Cultural, Educational, Self-Improvement Travel Gold: Dave G. Houser; Silver: Jill Robinson; Bronze: George Burden Eco, Environmental or Special Purpose Travel Gold: Tim Leffel; Silver: Karin Leperi; Bronze: Adam H. Graham Budget Travel Gold: Sarah Pascarella; Silver: Jennifer Miner MEDIA: Electronic, Video, Broadcast Travel Journalism Website Gold:; Silver: Publication/Commercial Blog Gold:; Silver:; Bronze: Carry On Blog, Travel & Leisure Independent Blog Gold:; Silver:; Bronze: Travel App Gold: Greater Lansing Mobile App for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android, Greater Lansing Convention &

Visitors Bureau; Silver: San Francisco Restaurants, Jules Older and Effin Older MEDIA: Photography, Illustration Overall Excellence Gold: David Noyes; Silver: Leda & St. Jacques; Silver: Melissa Farlow; Bronze: Lorne Bridgman Cover Photo, Illustration Gold: Istvan Banyai; Silver: Jill Schensul; Bronze: Christian Kerber Landscape, Seascape Gold: Remy Scalza; Silver: Peter Rose; Bronze: Will Van Overbeek Portrait, People Gold: David Radabaugh; Silver: Michael DeFreitas; Bronze: David Lasker Facility, Architectural Gold: Melissa Farlow; Silver: Robert Jerome MEDIA: Miscellaneous Travel Book or Guide Gold: Maureen Ebersole; Silver: Peter Rose; Bronze: Linda Ballou Trade Travel Article Gold: Deanna Ting; Silver: Carla Marie Rupp Travel Tips & Advice Gold: Jean-François Légaré, Isa Tousignant, & Susan Nerberg; Silver: Sarah Staples; Bronze: Jennifer Miner ORGANIZATIONS Visitors’ Guide – Marketing Budget Greater than $400,000 Gold: Chicago Office of Tourism; Silver: Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau; Bronze: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau Visitors’ Guide – Marketing Budget Less than $400,000 Gold: South County Tourism; Silver: Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association Destination Video – Marketing Budget Greater than $400,000 Gold: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism; Silver: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau; Bronze: Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau Destination Website – Marketing Budget Greater than $400,000 Gold: Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau Destination Website – Marketing Budget Less than $400,000 Gold: Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism Social Media or Marketing Campaign – Marketing Budget Greater than $400,000 Gold: Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau; Silver: Chicago Office of Tourism; Bronze: Positively Cleveland Social Media or Marketing Campaign – Marketing Budget Less than $400,000 Gold: Lindsborg, KS Convention & Visitors Bureau; Silver: Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau PUBLICATIONS Newspaper Travel Section Gold: The Record Travel Magazine Gold: Virtuoso Life; Silver (tie): National Geographic Traveler, Ensemble Vacations In-Flight Magazine Gold: enRoute; Silver: Go; Bronze: American Way Magazine




ADVENTURE From celebrating milestone anniversaries to crossing the Arctic Circle, this Norwegian cruise satisfies seniors and multigenerational family travelers Story and Photography By Carol Canter

With a fiftieth wedding anniversary

A misty rain only enhanced the beauty of Svartisen, Norway's second largest glacier.

to celebrate with family and friends and a life list of dream trips spilling over with Norwegian fjords, Roz and Irwin Bendet of Santa Barbara, Calif., chose a 12night cruise aboard the Midnatsol, a ship in the Norwegian–based Hurtigruten cruise line. So did a couple from Cologne, Germany, who sailed with their four children and their families. The choice was the right one for them all, each a multigenerational and well-traveled group that reveled in the soft adventure, scenic splendor and low-key shipboard ambiance, not to mention amenities like in-cabin heated bathroom floors. The Bendets had traveled in Norway before, visiting a friend Roz had made 50 years prior. They long dreamed of returning for a fuller exploration of Norway’s fjords, the glacially carved inlets of water rated as “the world’s most celebrated and iconic travel destination” by National Geographic Traveler. Irwin loved being on deck as the ship’s captain deftly navigated the long narrowing waterways, its steep mountain walls streaming with waterfalls and closing in. Reclining in a deck chair, this 83-year old retired professor of biophysics decided this surely beat driving. Others agreed, whether soaking in an outdoor Jacuzzi at sunset or


steaming in a sauna as the scenery, framed in a grand picture window, floated by. Irwin was never alone on deck. The first morning as we left the Art Nouveau town of Alesund and approached Geiranger, Norway’s most photographed fjord, most of the ship’s 400-plus passengers were out with him. The majority were seniors, who generally have the time and resources for such a trip, but there was a nice mix of young people in their 30s and 40s as well. The crowd is an international one, with almost 10 percent from the United States, and nearly half from Germany.

SOAKING IN THE SUN AND SCENERY Sunshine poured onto the deck, reflecting off snowstreaked glaciers shimmering above forested mountain slopes. Photographers with long lenses and sophisticated equipment were shooting madly. So was everyone else, capturing what they could with their point-and-shoot cameras. Friends and loved ones posed against the ship’s railings, to be immortalized in pixels against these long-desired backdrops. Everywhere the scenery was glorious. Portside off the bow patchwork patterns of emerald farmland and golden fields of barley spilled down slopes to the azure water’s edge. Weathered wood houses testified to the rugged and independent lifestyle, based on farming and fishing, led in these remote coastal villages and hamlets. Hurtigruten, which means “fast route” in Norwegian, has provided a vital link to these communities for more than a century. Eleven vessels continue to ferry cargo and passengers daily to 34 ports of call between Bergen and Kirkenes, giving cruise passengers an insider’s

A fiery midnight sunset was an auspicious sendoff our first night aboard the Midnatsol.

Our Hurtigruten ship Midnatsol is photographed departing Geirangerfjord.


FAMILY TRAVEL SENIOR TRAVEL glimpse of Norway’s ruggedly beautiful coastline. Neither standard ferry nor glitzy floating hotel, the Midnatsol was sleek and light-filled with gleaming woods and floor-to-ceiling windows. Glass elevators serve the ship’s six decks from an elegant central atrium. An art collection of colorful weavings, mosaic wall sculptures, oils and other standout works by Norwegian artists hang throughout the ship. Photographer Trym Ivar Bergsmo’s evocative images from his book Boazojahki—Four Seasons with the Reindeer People are revelatory of Norway’s mystery. Destroyed by fire in 1904, the charming seaport of Alesund was rebuilt in the


harmonious art nouveau style, known in German as Jugenstil. The town was

We boarded the Midnatsol in Bergen, a picturesque historic port city, setting sail at 8 o’clock in the evening. After dinner, a fiery sunset painted the sky aflame. The time was close to midnight on August 19, two months after the midnight sun—for which

our first port of call on the northbound route from Bergen.

IF YOU GO Hurtigruten 866-552-0371 Rates for the 2011 Norwegian Fjord cruise, which is now a 10-day excursion, start at $1,499 per person. Flights to and from Norway are not included in the price.

Geiranger, Norway’s most photographed fjord, sparkles in the sunlight.

On a misty morning walk to a glacier, we searched for cloudberries, immersed in this pastoral scene.

our ship is named—reached its peak. If not a baptism by fire, it was surely an auspicious sendoff. Another baptism, this by ice, marked our crossing the Arctic Circle on day five. We toasted the milestone with cloudberry liqueur, at least those of us who submitted to a bracing dose of water poured down our backs in the chill morning sun. Despite the light-hearted ceremony presided over by “King Neptune,” crossing the Arctic Circle is one of several markers on a “life list” that seniors can check off. A visit to the North Cape, the northernmost point on the European continent, is another. Passengers stand at the edge of the world and peer ahead into the vast beyond. Some are moved to tears. An Italian named Negri wrote in 1664, “This is where the world ends, and this is also where my curiosity ends, and I can return home satisfied.” Satisfied we were, but our curiosity was piqued by

many new experiences both on and off the ship. Optional excursions took us to meet Norway’s indigenous Sami people; participate in a Viking feast, hosted by staffers in traditional costumes; view wild reindeer, sea eagles and puffins; visit an Arctic cathedral; and search for cloudberries in the rain. Many first-time Hurtigruten cruisers had signed on for the seven-night northbound trip to Kirkenes, near the Russian border. Retired seniors like Roz and Irwin stayed on for the southbound return to Bergen. Though their kids disembarked in Kirkenes to return to work, they happily settled into the rhythm of life on the ship. This included eating well.

DELECTABLE DINING Lunch buffets featured a daily selection of salmon— baked, marinated and smoked—herrings and halibut, caviars and sour cream. Fresh salads focused on lentils, beets, potatoes and cucumbers. Nordic specialties like smoked reindeer, lingonberry preserves (delectable with crepes!) and a light cloudberry dessert were rich and enriching. For Roz, who grew up on the Gulf Coast of the United States, the Norwegian seafood was comparable in freshness. The final night’s seafood buffet was memorable, an ultimate feast as plates piled high with crab, mussels and shrimp were filled and refilled. Dinners other nights were elegant sit-down affairs with reserved seating. While the cruise price at first glance had seemed high to the Bendets, they judged it fair after experiencing the overall quality of the product. A no-tipping policy enhances the value. In fact, after experiencing the cost of living in Norway, one of Europe’s most expensive countries, many passengers agreed that a Hurtigruten cruise is the way to go for seniors ready to turn their fjord fantasy into reality. Decades of living by lush Hawaiian waterfalls and dramatic California coastline readied Carol Canter for the startling scenic splendor of the Norwegian fjords. Her award-winning articles on travel and health have been published in trade and consumer publications from Agent@Home to Odyssey,

Easy to Get to and Hard to Leave 800-753-3255

in-flight magazines and newspaper travel sections. Her specialty as a family travel writer has naturally evolved into


her current endeavor: San Francisco Active Seniors Travel Examiner.


francisco/carol-canter 11.1 MAR / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Two Wings, Many Prayers for

WRIGHT BROTHERS Historic aviation comes alive during a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina By Dan Schlossberg

A piece of wing fabric from the Flyer, the airplane that made the first manned flight, later flew to the moon. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took it with them to the lunar surface on July 20, 1969—66 years after Orville and Wilber Wright got their primitive flying machine airborne. You can see the piece that went lunar on a visit to

the Wright Brothers National Memorial, along with plenty of other historic exhibits and interactive attractions at this somewhat under-appreciated monument located near Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Everyone knows the age of aviation began with the Wright Brothers’ first flight from Kitty Hawk—

Granite monument marks the spot in Kitty Hawk, N.C., where the Wright Brothers launched the first successful manned flight in 1903.





just a shade north of where the memorial is located—and I visited the site this past August with my family to see what it was all about.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN Volunteers at the site’s Visitor Center present daily lectures about the Wright brothers, while the nearby First Flight Centennial Pavilion features films, shows and demonstrations—even allowing kids to apply newly learned aeronautics dynamics to simple kite flying. There’s also an extensive National Park brochure that goes in depth about the brothers and what led to their aviation quest in case you want more details. Wilbur and Orville Wright owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, for seven years, but they were enamored by reports of experiments in aeronautics. They eventually turned their attention to flying and temporarily relocated to Kitty Hawk, N.C., where the isolation, sand dunes, open spaces and wind conditions were perfect for flying experiments, which often ended in crash-landings.

The brothers learned about the science of flying by watching birds, flying kites and constantly rebuilding their experimental glider. After more than 1,000 glides and the introduction of an engine that depended on gasoline power and two rear propellers controlled by bicycle-style chains, they were ready to fly in December 1903. Puny and primitive by modern standards, the double-winged Flyer measured 40 feet across, weighed 605 pounds, and generated only 12 horsepower. After repairs were completed from a failed attempt at flight a few days earlier, the brothers were ready to try again on December 17. Even with a strong headwind blowing of 27 miles per hour, the brothers proceeded to perform the most noteworthy experiment since Ben Franklin flew a kite with a metal key attached in a lightning storm. Like Franklin, the Wrights were risking their lives in the interest of science. They remembered that German glider guru Otto Lillienthal had been killed while attempting to fly just seven years earlier. At 10:35 a.m., Orville, lying flat in a position per-

Visitors to Wright Brothers National Memorial learn the dynamics of flight near old sheds where the aviation pioneers worked and slept more than a century ago. PHOTO: DAN SCHLOSSBERG



FAMILY TRAVEL HISTORIC pendicular to the wings, kept one hand on the vertical joystick that controlled the up-and-down movements of the airplane elevator, and started the engine. Unable to talk because of the noise, the brothers shook hands, signaling Orville to release the restraining wire. Wilbur ran alongside while witnesses from the U.S. Life Saving Service snapped pictures of the historic moment as the Flyer slid down the starting rail, lifted off and stayed airborne for 12 seconds before hitting the sand 120 feet away. Its ground speed was 6.8 m.p.h. The Wright brothers made three more flights that day, with the fourth spanning 852 feet in 59 seconds. Although the original flyer was damaged beyond repair by wind later that same day, the brothers never looked back. They realized they had made a

“Although the original flyer was damaged beyond repair by wind...the brothers never looked back. They realized they had made a discovery that would change the world.”

IF YOU GO The Wright Brothers National Memorial Located in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., 3 miles south of Kitty Hawk and 2 miles north of Nags Head, on U.S. 158. The site is open seven days a week, year-round and costs $4 per person. For more information, visit, or call 252-441-7430. OTHER NEARBY SITES OF INTEREST: Cape Hatteras National Seashore Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, home of the first English settlement in the New World Four lighthouses and miles of Atlantic beaches

discovery that would change the world. Returning to Ohio, they made more than 100 flights in 1904 and devised the first practical airplane a year later. After signing a development contract with the U.S. Army in 1908, the brothers entertained crowds in the United States and abroad. They were thrilled when throngs of New Yorkers cheered their 20-mile roundtrip over the Hudson River from Governors Island to Grant’s Tomb. French refinements to the original Wright design led to the 1911 Wright Model B, the prototype for all planes that followed—including those of the 21st century.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE The Wright Brothers National Memorial features reproductions of the brothers’ experimental 1902 glider and 1903 Flyer (the original is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.), plus a towering granite obelisk that marks the summit of a giant sand dune called Kill Devil Hill, where the brothers performed their first glider flights. When completed in 1932, it was the largest American monument ever dedicated to a living person. Orville Wright attended that dedication. Not far from the base of the massive vegetated dune, visitors view markers showing the take-off and landing points for each of the brothers’ first four flights. A boulder marks the liftoff point for each. Not far away are wooden buildings reconstructed to look like the Wrights’ workshop, living quarters and hangar (they actually shared their bedroom with the 1902 glider). I was surprised by how spread out the site is; it’s a long walk from the Visitor Center to the monument on top of the giant sand dune—so far, we actually wound up driving from one to the other. Also on site, below the monument, is a sculpture of the 1903 plane that gave the gift of flight to man. Orville and Wilbur could have been first to say, “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, N.J., is travel editor of New

LOCAL CVB/TOURISM OFFICE: Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Jersey Lifestyle and Sirius XM Radio’s Maggie Linton Show and the author of 35 baseball books, including The 300 Club: Have We Seen the Last of Baseball’s 300-Game Winners? He also is president emeritus of NATJA.



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World-renowned for sea kayaking, orca whale watching and a thriving arts scene, the San Juans are just a 30-45 minute scenic flight from Seattle or a ferry cruise through an archipelago. They enjoy a climate unique in the Pacific Northwest, with about half the rain of its neighbors. Growing trends include culinary tourism and multiexperiential tours.

Come discover Albany; New York’s historic Capital City on the banks of the mighty Hudson River! Albany has enticed visitors for 400 years with historic sites, fabulous attractions, family friendly amenities and entertaining events. World-class museums, unique galleries, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine and welcoming accommodations ensure your experience is legendary.

Old-Québec tells of its 400 years of history through its narrow winding streets. With French notes in the air, one feels transported into a European feel. Bistros serve “Café au lait” and boutiques offer local artisans work of art. The unparalleled quality of restaurants put Québec on a pedestal for exquisite cuisine. Outdoor enthusiasts are impressed with the variety of activities available.

ALASKA Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau 907-747-5940

ARKANSAS Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau (479) 783-8888

Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau 800-844-4781

ARIZONA Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau 602-452-6250

CALIFORNIA Big Bear Lake Resort Association 909-866-6190

Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Palm Springs 760-322-8425

San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau 800-288-4748


FLORIDA Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

LOUISIANA Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau



St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra 904.829.1711

ILLINOIS City of Chicago 312-744-2390





Napa Valley Wine Train


Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau


INDIANA Brown County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau


COLORADO Glenwood Springs



KENTUCKY Buffalo Trace Distillery

MICHIGAN Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau 517-377-1423

NEVADA Destination Henderson Nevada 702-267-2171

Nevada Commission on Tourism 775-687-0616

Oliver Winery 812-876-5800

NORTH CAROLINA Outer Banks Visitors Bureau 877-629-4386




In the heart of Southern Kentucky, Bowling Green is a bustling city treasuring its smalltown heritage. Rev up your sense of adventure at the National Corvette Museum or discover more than sweets at the Duncan Hines Exhibit. Exciting roller coasters, raceways and an underground boat tour are blended with the charm of nearly 100 historic register listings and family-fun farms.

In Oklahoma, you’ll find hospitality around every corner. We’re situated at the crossroads of the nation, where Southern hospitality goes hand-in-hand with solid Midwestern values; where the don’t-quit attitude of the Old West combines with a sophistication you would expect only in big cities back East. We are a one-of-a-kind state with something for everyone. Discover the nation's most diverse terrain and the ultimate in outdoor adventures.

Fort Smith was a town on the edge of the nation in the late 1800's; the last stop at civilization before entering Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and the lawlessness that lay ahead. Today, Fort Smith embraces and celebrates its Wild West heritage and preserves the memories of those rough 'n tumble times.

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA New Brunswick Tourism & Parks 1-800-561-0123

Lake Erie Shores & Islands 800-255-3743

Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau (610) 834-7990

Positively Cleveland NEVADA Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority



Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA New Brunswick Parks & Recreation (506) 444-5122

NEW YORK Albany, An Amazing Discovery 800-258-3582

QUÉBEC, CANADA Québec City and Area 418-641-6654


RHODE ISLAND The Newport & Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau

OKLAHOMA Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau



South County Tourism Council

Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Dept.



TENNESEE Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway


ONTARIO, CANADA Tourism Toronto


Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce


Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation


Ulster County Tourism

OREGON Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau



OHIO Greater Licking County Covention and Visitors Bureau

PENNSYLVANIA Delaware County's Brandywine Conference & Visitors Bureau



VIRGINIA Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau 757-385-6645

WASHINGTON San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau 360-378-6822


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