Durango, Colorado Outside the Guide

January 22, 2015 on 10:55 am | In Adventure Travel, Outdoors, Rail Tours, Road Trips, Rockies, Sports Travel | Comments Off



Discover what’s hot in this Southwestern Colorado mountain town

Durango, CO – Durango is an epicenter for a great number of things; outdoor pursuits in the surrounding high desert and mountains, fresh food raised at high-elevation farms, Native American history and Old West heritage are just a sampling of the things that lure people to Durango. 2015 is the year of the sheep, but don’t just follow the flock – step out and try some of the more unique things Durango has to offer.

Culinary Durango

From down-to-earth eateries, cafes and brewpubs to award-winning fine dining, our culinary offerings reflect the richness, creativity and uniqueness of the Southwest. The quantity of independent restaurants, quality of ingredients and breadth of menu selections in this town boldly challenge the sophisticated culinary offerings of any metropolitan hub. Stop in the historic and award winning El Moro Spirits and Tavern or spend a summer afternoon on the patios of more than 20 restaurants around town. With over 100 restaurants to choose from, Durango is a hotbed for cuisines that blend the absolute best flavors from around the world and from our own backyard.

Competitive Cyclist Spend $250 Get $50Agriculture is at the heart of the Durango community supported by a strong “eat local” mindset and an abundance of locally grown and raised meat, vegetables and food products. At the Durango Farmers Market, local agriculturalists and artisans meet in a festive market venue to sell their harvests and talents. Agritourism brings visitors to learn about sustainability and enjoy an agri-vacation in this fertile mountain growing region.

6 Breweries and 2 Distilleries
Durango is one crafty little mountain town, and much of the artistic talent is funneled into creative, award winning libations. Whether it’s beer or spirits, the town has a draw you’re sure to enjoy. Self-proclaimed as the “City of Brewerly Love”, a trip to Durango isn’t complete without a pint from one of our six craft breweries and brew pubs: Carver Brewing Co., Durango Brewing Co., Ska Brewing Co., Brew Pub & Kitchen, Steamworks Brewing Co. and the newest addition: Animas Brewing Company. Due to readily available “first use” water, Durango is ideal for brewing award-winning beers, ales and lagers.

Durango Craft Spirits is the town’s first grain-to-glass distillery since prohibition; producing small batch, creatively distinctive distilled spirits using high quality regional ingredients. Colorado Honey from Honey House Distillery blends premium bourbon whiskey and Rocky Mountain Honey from Honeyville.

Outdoorplay.com - Free Kayak ShippingAnimas River Trail

This beautiful walkable, bikable, bladable trail weaves its way through town alongside the Animas River. Watch rafts, kayaks, and SUP boarders splash through the newly improved Smelter rapid, swing by the Durango Powerhouse museum for interactive learning, events, eats and drinks. The Durango Library, Inhabit yoga, and the local Fish Hatchery are fun-for-all stops along the trail. Refuel with riverside craft ice cream from Cream Bean Berry, or dine on the river’s edge at The Animas River Café. If June finds you in Durango, be sure to check out Animas River Days.

History Comes Alive

West of Durango, Mesa Verde Country is the archaeological center of America: Mesa Verde National Park, the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Hovenweep National Monument, the Anasazi Heritage Center and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that allows visitors to experience the life of the Ancestral Puebloans. Or head east and visit the newly designated Chimney Rock National Monument.

Unique Lodging

When you’re ready to tuck yourself in for the night, here are some unique places to rest your head:

A bit of history… choose from one of our historic hotels: The Strater Hotel, built in 1887, is decorated with period decor, beautiful handcrafted woodwork, and the largest private collection of American Victorian walnut antiques in the world. It recently received the prestigious “Historic Hotels of America Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year Award”. The Rochester Hotel and Leland House, built in 1927 and 1892 respectively, have been renovated by a mother and son team. The décor boasts original antiques and woodwork, as well as Western-movie themed rooms. The General Palmer, built in 1898, blends the comforts of modern living with Victorian charm in the heart of the historic downtown.

Slopeside… The Purgatory Lodge at Durango Mountain Resort offers upgraded skier services and amenities, lodging facilities and the world-class Purgy’s Day Lodge. The family-friendly lodge features 2, 3 and 4 bedroom slopeside units, swimming pool and spa facility, ski and snowboard storage and more. Experience the quintessential skier’s dream with a good night’s sleep in a slopeside condominium, rental house or hotel room at Purgatory.

Cozy Inns & B&Bs… Unwind, pamper yourself and enjoy your stay in one of Durango’s charming inns or bed & breakfasts. Located downtown, out of town, creekside, lakeside or mountainside; find unique lodging, incredible hospitality and a respite from the ordinary.

Authentic Colorado cabins and ranches… Kick off your boots and experience the authentic Southwest at one of our working ranches. From rustic mountain lodges and lake front cabins, to all-inclusive guest ranches and resorts, saddle up for a western holiday.

Camp out on top of the world… At 6,512 feet above sea level, you’re closer to the stars. Choose from a plethora of campgrounds and RV parks for all levels of “roughing-it.”

Arts in the Community

Durango has a thriving art scene that touts both local and internationally renowned artists. A walk down historic Main Avenue reveals everything from small, local art cooperatives to galleries hosting work from world-famous artists. Wander out for the First Thursday Art Walk every month for a chance to peek in galleries and enjoy live entertainment, treats and the chance to meet local artists. Enjoy live performances at the downtown Strater Theatre and Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, live music at restaurants and local theatre at the Durango Arts Center. In March, 2015, Durango Film celebrates a decade of the independent film festival. A hidden jewel in the arts and cultural world, Durango boasts over a dozen galleries carrying treasures from American Indians, Contemporary Western and Southwestern works of museum-quality art represented with sculptures, pottery, baskets, fine-art photography and home furnishings.

wickers.com COUPON 10% OFF all ordersDurango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango is largely a place built around a train, and it’s the historic steam train that still runs today. Take a ride back through time behind a historic coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive. Revel in the breathtaking sights as the train winds from the Animas Valley through 46 miles of the San Juan National Forest to the old mining town of Silverton. Soak in the magic of Christmas aboard the Polar Express, check out local Blues Bands on the Blues Train, or hone your photography skills with professionals aboard the Photography Train. These and many more theme train rides offer a unique venue for exploration of Durango and Silverton, with a peek to “then” and an appreciation for now.

Durango Mountain Resort

With 88 trails across 1,360 skiable acres, Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort (DMR) has mastered the art of snow fun with exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities and après ski activities. Renowned as a family-friendly resort and named “Best Ski Value” by TripAdvisor 2012-2014, there are many other ways to enjoy the incredible winter wonderland at Durango Mountain Resort. Try the snowshoe alpenglow evening tour with wine and cheese at the Powder House restaurant, bring kiddos and stop by the Hot Cocoa bar, or glide your way around the Steamworks Bar and hop to the assorted sounds of local musicians. New this year: The Burton Riglet Park, a terrain-based learning center in the base area, allows the youngest snowboarders, ages 3-6, to experience sliding on the snow. Lodging and lift value packages offer deep savings.

Free Shipping Over $50* at Altrec.com!Vallecito Lake

Vallecito Lake is a stunning mountain lake just 20 minutes from town. It’s a favorite destination for motorcycle riders, and new restaurants along the shores are the perfect stop for a family outing. Play all day on the lake, eat on the shores and camp in the beautiful forests that frame this exquisite lake.

San Juan Scenic Byway
If you’re a road-tripping wiz, or care to be, the San Juan Skyway Scenic and Historic Byway should be on the top of your list. A scenic byway designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the San Juan Skyway celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014. Durango is just one stop on this truly spectacular journey through time and place.

About the Durango Area Tourism Office
The Durango Area Tourism Office is a not-for-profit organization operating with the mission to promote Durango and La Plata County’s multitude of tourism attractions, events and services.

For more information, visit www.durango.org or call (970) 247-3500.


New Name, same Service: Swiss Travel Pass.

January 12, 2015 on 10:43 am | In Adventure Travel, Rail Tours, Switzerland | Comments Off



In spring, Switzerland Tourism launches the Grand Tour of Switzerland – a 1000-mile route to explore the highlights of Switzerland on one single tour. You can do all of it or just parts and with almost all forms of transport: car, motor bike or train. If you chose the Grand Train Tour, get the Swiss Travel Pass, which is the new Swiss Pass. Despite the name change, it still is a all-in-one ticket to travel by train, bus, trams and boats across Switzerland – and includes many bonus benefits.  Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature about The Swiss Pass.

Unlimited travel through Switzerland

Swiss Travel Pass.


Asia and Australia Sail and Rail

January 11, 2015 on 5:06 pm | In Adventure Travel, Australia, Cook Islands, Cruise Boats, Fiji Islands, New South Wales, Northern, Queensland, Rail Tours, South Australia, Sydney, Tasmania, Victoria | Comments Off



CRUISE holiday specialist ecruising.travel are offering savings of up to $3000 per person on an exciting 20-night cruise and rail package from Singapore to Sydney experiencing both the Legend of the Seas ship and the famous Australian Indian Pacific train.

The adventure begins on September 10, 2015, with three days in Singapore staying in the central area of Clarke Quay- home of many restaurants, bars and retail outlets.

On board the Legend of the Seas, spend 14 nights cruising through South East Asia with port visits to Port Klang and Langkawi in Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand and Bali and Lombok in Indonesia before entering Australian waters to visit Broome and Geraldton then disembarking in Fremantle.

Join the Indian Pacific for three nights and travel across Australia to Sydney. Upgrade for a Gold Cabin for $1250 per person to have all meals included and unique outback excursions at Whistle Stops along the way in Kalgoorlie, Adelaide or Broken Hill.

Ecruising is selling this exclusive package from $3399 per person, which includes one-way economy airfare from Sydney and Perth, three nights accommodation at the Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay, entry to the Singapore Flyer, Singapore City sightseeing pass, 14 nights cruise accommodation with all meals and entertainment on the ship, three nights Red Saver accommodation on the Indian Pacific, transfers, port charges and government taxes.

The package is priced from $3679 for Brisbane and Melbourne passengers, Coolangatta from $3789 and from Adelaide from $3699.

For more information contact ecruising.travel on 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel.

Book Your Beach Resort at a Discount


Eurail Discounts Global and Select Passes By 20 Percent

January 6, 2015 on 10:30 am | In Europe, Rail Tours | Comments Off




Explore all of Spain with a Single Country Rail Pass
Eurail has been reaching out to groups not normally associated with their passes such as older travelers. The off-season, when students are in school, is a prime season for reaching older travelers and to instigate that, Eurail has produced some deep discounts for off-season travel. Eurail put its Global and Select Passes on sale of at least 20 percent off through Dec. 31 for travel through March 31. When purchased of groups of two to five people an extra 15 percent discount is available. Travelers must reside outside of Europe.

The discounts are available in both first and second class in all travel categories: Adult, Child and Youth. The European off season is a great time to travel with fewer crowds, lower prices and multiple festivals including major Carnival celebrations in February in Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium.

Global Passes, Eurail’s most popular product, are valid for travel in 24 European countries (including free or discounted travel on some major shipping lines). The Select Pass is valid for travel in four adjoining Eurail countries, offering travelers 27 participating countries to choose from. Each pass varies in length and class. The Global Pass comes in lengths of 15, 21 days as well as 1, 2 and 3 months continuous; 10 or 15 days within two months. Select, Passes allow travelers to choose which days they travel within a longer period of validity.

To purchase Eurail Passes contact any of several distributers at www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors. Eurail Passes also offer their holders such value added services as accommodation benefits and more.  Read more travel news at  www.TravelPulse.com


Washington Union Station Passenger Communication Improvements Completed

January 5, 2015 on 9:41 am | In East Coast, New York City, Rail Tours | Comments Off



Luggage ProsVital communications to rail travelers traveling via Washington Union Station in the District of Columbia will be much more noticeable now that a $2.2 million improvement has been completed, according to an Amtrak press release.

Under a Maryland Transit Administration-Amtrak Joint Benefit Program, public address and electronic passenger information display systems (PIDS) received a makeover. Over 290 speakers and 44 LED signs were installed on the station platforms used by Amtrak, and local Maryland and Virginia transit lines.

ADA-compliant, these passenger communication systems announce and display train status in real-time, boarding and station announcements, and safety and security messages.

The enhancements are part of a long-term program called the Washington Union Station Master Plan, a multi-part, overarching vision to increase passenger and rail capacity, plus cuisine and retail-related amenities. Waiting areas and pedestrian flow are other immediate priorities.

Union Station is a major east coast transit hub serving 32 million visitors per year.  Read more travel news at  www.TravelPulse.com


NYC subway extension

December 30, 2014 on 10:08 am | In New York City, Rail Tours | Comments Off



GETTING AROUND NEW YORK CITY

The Number 7 Subway Line extension will bring the Flushing Line to 34th Street and 11th Avenue, at the heart of what will be Manhattan’s newest neighborhood. New housing, restaurants and entertainment options are planned for the redeveloped area on the Far West Side. The new $2.4 billion project will extend the line by 1½ miles and service is expected to commence in February 2015 (www.mta.info).


New Bullet Line Will Open Hokuriku

December 23, 2014 on 3:27 pm | In Asia, Japan, Rail Tours | Comments Off



Luggage ProsJapan’s Hokuriku Region stretches along the northwestern shores of Honshu Island, an area that combines the high peaks of the Japanese Alps and a long coastline along the Sea of Japan known for its fine seafood. On March 14 it will become a lot easier for travelers to explore this region when the Hokuriku Shinkansen service begins running its 2.5 hour service from Tokyo.

This new $17.5 billion Bullet Train service to Hokuriku is a fitting engineering achievement to mark the 50th Anniversary Year of the Shinkansen (Bullet Trains) and should serve as a reminder that high speed rail has been an enormous factor in Japan’s rise to economic power, an ascent that totally parallels the spreading network of Bullet Trains throughout the country.

The new line that opens this spring runs from Nagano Station to Kanazawa Station and it couldn’t come at a better time for Japan’s fortunes in the U.S. tourism market, a market that seems to be discovering the beauty of rail travel and the beauty of Japan at the same time.

According to Yuki Tanaka, the director of the Japan National Tourist Office (JNTO) in New York, Japan is setting records in arrivals from the U.S. “With two months to go in 2014 we are up about 10 percent over last year. We can reasonably project about 870,000 U.S. visitors in 2014.”

The strength of the U.S. Dollar, which now buys 118 Yen, is a major factor in the surge of tourism. In September 2012 the Yen was roaring at 77 Yen to the greenback. That huge increase in spending power has U.S. travelers reaching into their bucket list and pulling out Japan.

To put that all in perspective, when the new Hokuriku line makes its initial run, it will be just three years and three days after the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami that completely devastated Japanese inbound tourism. The new train’s straight track to Kanazawa is a real contrast to the roller coaster that Japanese tourism has been riding in the new millennium.

The ease of access to Hokuriku comes at an ideal time. Until now, Hokuriku required a five-hour journey with the sort of train changes that can be confusing for many travelers. The new extended Shinkansen line will run through the toughest routes across the Japan Alps. It’s the difficulty of access that has protected the region’s traditional nature from too much outside influence.

Those Alps and the coastal region on the Japan Sea give Hokuriku a fine combination of traditional and remote mountain village culture and a more international mindset of the region’s ports. The sea there also provides what most Japanese consider the country’s best seafood.

To help the new train and the Hokuriku region take off, the JNTO launched a Hokuriku website detailing attractions, landmarks, and culinary destinations and a map for international travelers. The site should come in handy for the expected growth of tourist traffic to the region.

For now the train’s western terminus will be in Kanazawa, the largest city in Hokuriku. The city’s highlight attractions include Kenroku-en Garden and the city’s historic Higashi-Chaya District. Kanazawa was a center for the second most powerful family during Japan’s Edo period, the Maeda family. Though the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled from Edo (modern day Tokyo), the Maedas oversaw their lands from Kanazawa.

Their influence spawned the city’s oft-cited feeling of time travel to the feudal era. The patronage of the Maeda family helped establish many of the crafts that define the area today. While such traditional crafts as lacquer ware, pottery and copper are abundant, a contemporary art scene is also thriving. Food traditions include the seafood cuisine, quality sake and breweries producing miso and soy sauce.

Other stops between Nagano and Kanazawa also offer visitors some interesting attractions. Myoko is a gateway to some of Japan’s finest alpine places such as Echigo-Tsumari, a popular hot springs town. It’s also an arts center thanks in part to the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field, which hosts international art events every year, as well as a Triennial. The new Jo Etsu-Nyoko station that was built for the new train is very near Nozawa Onsen, a great ski gateway that made No. 41 on the New York Times Best Places list in January.

The train departs Tokyo from the classic Tokyo Station, a 1914 landmark that completed a $645 million renovation in 2013. A top tourist attraction itself, the station is known for its concourses lined with restaurants, stores and a 100-year-old refurbished hotel. The station is the city’s main bullet-train hub and handles about 380,000 mainline train passengers a day.

“Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka have been so popular with Americans, but we must introduce them to other places in Japan,” said Tanaka. “Those three places are wonderful but they’re only a small part of what makes Japan so interesting. Kanazawa and Hokuriku region will add still more to what visitors can easily do while they’re in Japan and so we are very excited.”

Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com


Eurostar Unveils 200 mph e320 Trains: Bigger, Free Wi-Fi and 15 Minutes Faster to Paris

December 23, 2014 on 11:19 am | In Europe, France, London, Paris, Rail Tours, United Kingdom | Comments Off



Luggage ProsWhen the folks at Eurostar begin to unwrap the gifts they received for their train’s 20th birthday this Nov. 14, the biggest package will contain the new e320 train that promises to revolutionize the still revolutionary practice of riding from Paris to London by rail. They’re unveiling that gift at London’s St. Pancras station today.

In 1994, Eurostar was established as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On Sept. 1, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. Twenty years after its launch, the Eurostar dominates market share against the airlines for London/Paris traffic and the new train should only accelerate that trend.

The e320 train (see video below) will enter commercial service with ten e320 trains at the end of 2015 and now Eurostar has decided to order a further seven more e320s. With the original order of e320s now in the final stage of completion, this increases the number of new trains to 17 in total.

The e320 trains will entirely broaden Eurostar’s horizons because they are ‘inter-operable’ with the ability to operate across diverse European signaling systems, opening up the potential for a whole range of new direct services between the UK and European city center destinations. Beyond its core routes connecting London to Paris, Brussels and Lille, Eurostar also connects to the French Alps, Swiss Alps and Geneva.


Book Eurostar from Rail Europe
In May begins a new year-round direct service to Provence, stopping at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, followed at the end of 2016 by the launch of a direct route to Amsterdam with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol along the way.

“With just one year to go until our new e320 train comes into service, passengers will see a complete transformation of our service,” said Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar. “The combination of bold design, chic interiors and Wi-Fi connectivity will raise the bar, providing an unprecedented level of style and comfort for our customers.”

It’s an improvement that may help Eurostar compete against the possibility of a second rail company using the Chunnel. Plans to put another rail line in the Chunnel. The Channel Tunnel issued a ‘Certificate B’ operating license to Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German rail line. DB has for year’s coveted the notion of high-speed service between Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Köln and London.

The e320s can carry 900 passengers, percent. Furthermore the train can reach speeds of 200 mph. The look will beautiful as well with external livery and interiors designed by Pininfarina, an Italian design house, known for car designs. Energy efficiency and enhanced passenger experience are the goals. The Eurostar fleet will feature free Wi-Fi throughout and a broader range of information and entertainment options including live news feeds and weather reports as well as a collection of destination guides. The e320s will also feature more space per seat with each seat equipped with power points and a USB socket as well as a newly designed bar buffet, ergonomically designed reclining seats and increased luggage areas.

To mark its two decades of service, over the next two weeks, Eurostar will be staging celebratory activities on-board its trains and in its stations. This includes surprise golden tickets, giveaways and special events for customers as well as a dedicated birthday promotion running between Nov. 13 and 24 offering return trips in Standard for £59/€69 and in Standard Premier for £149/€179 – for travel between Jan 5 and Feb. 12.

Last year, Eurostar more than doubled its profits, earning £52 million. Currently, the British government is hoping to sell its 40 percent share of the train, as part of its economic austerity plan.

Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com

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VIA Rail Canada Extends Discount on 20/20 Card

December 23, 2014 on 10:12 am | In Adventure Travel, Alberta, British Columbia, Canada, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, Rail Tours, Saskatchewan, Toronto | Comments Off



VIA Rail Canada is making it easier for students to purchase the rail line’s 20/20 Discount Card by extending the purchase period to Oct. 13. The pass, good for anywhere on the VIA Rail network that virtually covers Canada, is designed for student travelers aged 12 to 25 (and 26+ with ISIC card): the 20/20 Discount Card and the Unlimited Semester Pass.

Priced at $20, the card is good for a full year of 20 percent savings off on Economy or Economy Plus fares. It also offers a 10 percent discount on VIA Rail’s most affordable Escape fares.

The Unlimited Semester Pass allows unlimited travel between Kingston and Windsor or Kingston and Québec City for a period of 120 days, in Economy class for $499 + taxes.

Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com


Amtrak Vacations Adds 25 Products to New Brochure

December 23, 2014 on 10:09 am | In Rail Tours, USA | Comments Off



Luggage ProsThe new 2015-2016 Amtrak Vacations brochure has more than 25 new packages including a series of weekend getaways designed for families. Escorted and independent rail journeys, rail and sail programs in combination with Norwegian Cruise Lines are all part of the new program. The new line of Family Weekend Getaways includes such destinations as Chicago, New York City, Niagara Falls, San Diego, Seattle and others.

An Early Booking Discount to commemorate the new brochure can save $250 per person for any 2015 escorted journey booked by Dec. 31 and $150 per person for any 2015 independent journey booked by Dec.

The brochure also expanded its line-up of destinations. The new nine-day Glacier National Park Escorted vacation includes three full days inside the park with overnight stays at the Glacier Park Lodge. The journey also visits Chicago and Seattle on board Amtrak’s Empire Builder. The new eight-day Music Cities of America Escorted vacation explores American music in Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans aboard Amtrak’s City of New Orleans.

The new 16-day Route 66 by Rail Independent vacation includes admission to three museums in Kingman, AZ including the Powerhouse Route 66 Museum, guided tours in Albuquerque and Los Angeles. Other new program feature Southern Heritage with Jekyll Island Escorted, Northern National Parks Escorted, California and the Golden West, Midwest to the Pacific and others.

All Amtrak appointed travel agencies can earn eight to 10 percent commission on Amtrak Vacations packages and group tickets.

Read more travel news at www.TravelPulse.com

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