Winchester-Frederick CO., VA

Come to the top of Virginia where you can celebrate pink apple blossoms in the spring. Over 30 events await you during the 82nd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, including the coronation of Queen Shenandoah, a grand feature parade, and much more!

Return in the fall to pick apples from one of our many orchards and enjoy agricultural festivals that celebrate peaches, apples and pumpkins. Our Follow the Apple Trail audio driving tour will guide you through the scenic roads of Frederick County while informing you of our apple heritage.

Union and Confederate forces fought for control of this important Virginia crossroads. The city changed hands more than 70 times during the conflict; 13 times in one day. A Civil War  Orientation for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District is located within the Winchester-Frederick County Visitor Center. The orientation center is a useful tool in planning your visit to local Civil War sites.

Make our home your getaway, by browsing the unique shops in Old Town. Enjoy delicious cuisine whether in a fine or casual setting, and be entertained at our professional theatres, the Wayside Theatre and Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre.


European Train Travel Guide

European Train Travel

Traversing the Continent by rail is romantic. It’s also practical. After all, who isn’t desperate for an alternative to air travel? Especially one that involves few delays or security lines, stations in the center of the action (forget schlepping to the airport!), affordable ticket prices, and a chance to take in the scenery up close. Riding the rails is also easier on the environment. A trip on the Eurostar from London to Paris produces one-tenth the carbon dioxide per passenger of a plane flying the same route. And as of November 2007, the service is carbon-neutral, thanks to the purchase of offsets. Ready to roll?

Europe By Rail

Rail Europe (888/382-7245; raileurope.com) specializes in selling single tickets, as well as all of the major multitrip passes. BritRail passes (from $259 for four days) are the only option avail­able to North Americans for unlim­ited travel throughout Britain. (Snag these before your trip ­they’re not sold in the U.K.) Eurail passes cover the Continent and include the Global Pass (from $744 for the 15-day first-class option), valid in 20 countries. For less­sweeping itineraries, there’s the Eurail Select Pass, which is good for three to five adjoining coun­tries; 25 regional passes, each encompassing two or more coun­tries; and 17 single-country passes. Whichever you choose, don’t wait until you hit Europe to buy-it’ll be 20 percent more expensive there.

FIRST CLASS VS. SECOND First-class tickets cost about 50 percent more than second class. That typically buys a reclining seat, a meal, more space for luggage, and a quiet train car. Second class is absolutely fine if your trip is only a few hours-and your mother­in-law isn’t along for the ride.


Sarasota’s “Big Five” Art Organizations

For many who come to Saraso­ta for a weekend, week or season­long stay, the white sands and turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico may be the primary draws.

But Sarasota also treasures its reputation as Florida’s cultural capital, with theater, visual art, opera, ballet and classical music available for top-caliber enter­tainment after a day at the beach or on the water.

Sarasota’s “big five” arts orga­nizations – the John and Mable Ringling Mu­seum of Art, Sara­sota Opera, Sara­sota Ballet, Sara­sota Orchestra and Asolo Rep­ertory Theatre – each work in their own way, and sometimes collective­ly, to let tourists know there’s more to do here than pick up shells.


Explore The Heart Of New Mexico

Explore the Heart of New Mexico, an adventure guaranteed to revitalize heart and soul. From the bustle of city life to the tranquility of nature, whichever road you travel in Central New Mexico promises plenty of fine attractions and jaw­dropping scenery.

Take a walk through time as you discover the mystic beauty of ancient Native American ruins and Hispanic lore. Stroll through Madrid on the Turquoise Trail, travel Route 66, and bask in the scenery. Wide­ open spaces, natural beauty, and out­door recreation abound in the Heart of New Mexico. Visit heartnm.com.

Authenticity is Albuquerque, with its unique blend of multiculturalism, natural beauty, profound historic attractions, spectacular climate with four distinct seasons, museums, galleries, and shopping, creating a distinct and unforgettable experience for each visitor. Albuquerque  Bio Park, Albuquer­que Aquarium, Rio Grande Botanic Garden, Rio Grande Zoo, Anderson­ Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, Historic Old Town, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Sandia Peak Tramway, Petroglyph National Monument, and Sandia Peak Ski Area the list of things to do is endless. Diverse cultures, authentic art, and vibrant traditions have shaped the centuries-old story of Albuquerque. Mild climate and blue skies offer accessible and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities including golf, mountain adventures, and hot-air ballooning. A world of adventure, culture, and authentic experiences awaits.

Celebrating the Pueblo Indian Heritage

Owned by 19 Indian Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque shares the allure of New Mexico’s American Indian Pueblo tribes year round by presenting their unique languages, colorful traditional dances, distinct arts and crafts, and strong cultural values to thousands of visitors each year.

The Center’s venue, modeled after Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, includes a museum, a restaurant featuring Native Fusion cuisine, changing exhibitions, cultural programs, a gift shop, galleries, and a mural-filled plaza of artwork by renowned Pueblo artists.

Visit indianpueblo.org.


The Kentucky Derby

KENTUCKY HOLDS ITS BREATH ALL YEAR UNTIL THE FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY, ALSO KNOWN AS DERBY DAY.

After a glorious week of parades, parties, and other special events around Louisville, Derby Day finally arrives. You join the line to take the elevators up to Millionaire’s Row, a two-story VIP area high above the track. Inside, men in summer suits study racing forms and women wear hats that are works of art. You’ve read about it and seen it on TV Now you’re here, at the event that symbolizes the beating heart of the Bluegrass State-the Kentucky Derby.

You might find yourself standing next to Prince Albert of Monaco or Michael Jordan. Women peek from beneath large brims, studying the other hats and shoes, frocks and celebrities. Brooke Shields and Valerie Bertinelli throw off megawatt smiles to match their spring designer apparel.

Churchill Downs, venue for this sporting event (first raced in 1875), also hosts the world’s largest chorus on Derby Day, as 150,000 voices join together for “My Old Kentucky Home:” Even if you’re not a native, you’ll find a catch in your throat as you sing Stephen Foster’s words.

Then the Run for the Roses, the most famous two minutes in sports, starts. Some of the most beautiful horses in the world race by in a thunderous rush of hooves accompanied by the deafening roar of the crowd. The winning Thoroughbred, draped in a garland of 400 roses, senses that something special has happened. He raises his head and sniffs the springtime air. He knows, as does every spectator, that there is simply nothing like this, not anywhere.


Douglaston Park and Brinegar Cabin, NC

Rolling ridgetop meadows and steep mountainsides char­acterize the Doughton Park area. Remote places in the moun­tains like this were settled in the mid to late 1800s by expand­ing families seeking more land and moving farther up the mountain creeks and valleys, yet still remaining close to par­ents, grandparents, and other relatives. While people in many other parts of the country were rushing into the modern ways of the 20th century, these close-knit families–like the Brinegars, Caudills, Joines, Crouses and Pruitts–still raised most of their own food, built their own homes, and lived well into the 1900s without modern conveniences.

Martin Brinegar and Caroline Joines were married in 1878 and built a log cabin near Caroline’s parents’ home. It still stands here on the ridge along with their springhouse and granary. Here they raised and provided for their three chil­dren. Below the Brinegar cabin is Basin Cove. Settled in the 1880s by Harrison Caudill, Basin Cove grew into a community of 20 families with a store, church, and school. In 1916 a tor­rential flash flood and mud slide, cascading down the valley, destroyed all but one home and killed several people. The com­munity was never rebuilt.

Today, Parkway visitors can experience the ruggedness and beauty of life here. Glimpse Basin Cove and the remain­ing cabin from Wildcat Rocks near Bluffs lodge. Or hike some of the more than 30 miles of trails that meander through the meadows and climb the steep hillsides. The Brinegar cabin is open several days a week during the summer and fall. Visitors can tour a demonstration garden and the cabin, and see exhib­its, learning how Caroline made her family’s clothes from the flax she grew and sheep she raised herself.


The Land of Shenendoah

The land of Shenendoah is showcased in Page County, home to both Luray Caverns and the Shenandoah National Park. Winding along the top of the Blue ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive offers unrivaled panoramic vistas and access to ancient granite summits. 

A canoe or tube trip along the meandering  Shenandoah River provides a more timeless and fun filled sense of man’s oldest travels.

Enjoy these natural wonders as well as the history, heritage and talents of our people …visit our quaint towns, shops, historic sites, concerts, festivals, and fairs to see, hear, taste and savor the richness of our bounty. Leave the stress of city life; visit our communities of Luray, Stanley and Shenandoah where you are welcomed with small town charm.

Our accommodations are as varied as the landscape: whether you prefer elegant bed and breakfasts, fine hotels, rustic cabins or scenic campgrounds, you’ll find the perfect spot to stay, relax and enjoy!

For more:  http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/BRPA2010/section%201.pdf


West Virginia – Jefferson County

Why visit Jefferson County, West Virginia? Travel just a few hours from the Blue Ridge Parkway and experience the physical activities, scenic beauty and historical heritage. Find out why Thomas Jefferson once said that the view at Harpers Ferry was worth crossing an ocean. You might enjoy the fun of fish­ing, rafting or tubing the cool waters of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Maybe you would prefer to hike the Appalachian Trail or bike the C&O Canal and Antietam Battlefield. Discover the best “birding” spots or experi­ence the thrill of Charles Town Racing & Slots.

See where John Brown’s Raid took place as you do a walking tour in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park but don’t forget walking tours of historic Charles Town and Shepherdstown. Remember to take the time to visit quaint shops, antiques and flea markets. The 112 mile Washington Heritage Trail National Byway allows you to find out about the extensive Washington history in this area.

For more:  http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/BRPA2010/section%201.pdf


New Mexico

New Mexico… Be Enchanted

New Mexico is a cloud perched on a mesa top, a road that disappears into charming, red hills, the play of shadows on a mountainside. It is farmers, cattlemen, scientists, engineers, businesspeople, artists, writers, and dreamers, speaking in many languages, coming from many cultures.

The power of New Mexico is, and has always been, its people, living together in a lovely, yet challeng­ing environment, influenced by a blend of languages, traditions, and lifestyles. Indeed, the beauty of New Mexico-emerging from her history, architecture, art forms, and community festivals-is unlike any other place.

Ancient civilizations, Route 66, El Camino Real and the Santa Fe Trail conjure up mental images of days gone by, of heritage and history, of rural America. These images and a million others are not only a part of the past. They are here and now.  Maybe best of all, reliving your newest lifelong memories is best enjoyed while experiencing firsthand an incredible New Mexico sunset. Come and share this special time of year in the Southwest’s favorite playground. Visit newmexico.org.

Ruidoso: It’s Where to Go

Nestled high in the pristine Sacramento Mountains, the village of Ruidoso is the idyllic “mountain casual” resort for both adventure and rejuvenation.

Filled with historic and Wild West museums, art galleries, shopping, casino gaming, great restaurants, seasonal horse racing, and snow skiing, Ruidoso celebrates its long­held tradition of escapism. Its lakes and rivers, gaming, tall pines, rustic cabins, cool evening temperatures, fabulous Spencer Theater, historic Lincoln and Fort Stanton, and the breathtaking Inn of the Mountain Gods add to that same tradition. Enjoy a high-altitude escape surrounded by beautiful scenic vistas.

Visit RuidosoAttractions.com.


Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia and North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the very scenic highway that con­nects Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive in Virginia, with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. The whole trip along the Parkway, which traverses Virginia and western North Carolina, encompasses a 469 mile drive that can take up to a leisurely 10 days, including stops to explore along the way.

It’s a highway and a journey surrounded by natural beauty. The majority of the Parkway in Virginia runs through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and into North Carolina along mountain crests. The road itself is a two lane highway with a 45 mph speed limit, but for travelers who enjoy “driving trips,” traveling the Parkway can be a very special experience.

The attractions along the Virginia portion of the Parkway differ slightly from those on the North Carolina side. In Virginia, the recreated mountain farm near Humpback Rocks at the begin­ning of the Parkway and Mabry Mill, further south, give visitors a glimpse of traditional mountain life in the early days of settle­ment. In North Carolina, Linville Falls, the Cradle of Forestry, and other natural wonders, feature the natural environment.

In addition to the stops right along the Parkway itself, the road is next to historic towns from top to bottom, making for fas­cinating exploration of the heritage and culture of the region along the way. The headquarters of the Blue Ridge Parkway is located in Asheville, North Carolina, a city well known to literary figures including Carl Sandburg, Thomas Wolfe and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Exploration of their homes and haunts in the Asheville area presents an interesting side trip and a one or two day break from driving.