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Showing posts with label Where in the World Wednesdays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Where in the World Wednesdays. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Death Valley National Park - California

Located within the northern end of the Mojave Desert in California, Death Valley National Park is the hottest spot in America – literally!  Summer time temps typically reach 125° F and hotter… topping out in July 1913 at 134° F.  In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet striking contrasts exist throughout the park - towering peaks are frosted with winter snow, and rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers.  It’s hot and arid, but home to over 307 species of birds, 51 species of mammals and over 1,000 species of plants that are native to the area.  It has a striking beauty to it, despite only receiving about 2 inches of rain every year.  The area originally got its’ name in 1849 by pioneers moving west in search for gold, and became a national park in 1994.  

 Highlights of the park include Deadman Pass and Dry Bone Canyon, and the soaring Telescope Peak at 11,049 feet above sea level.  Two slowly rising mountain ranges surround the desert park, created by a plate of crusty salt flats that are sinking, giving the appearance of the desert park being a valley.  It is filled with mineral deposits that have colored the surrounding hillsides with striking oranges, pinks, purples and greens, in an area known as Artist’s Palette.  At Dante’s view, a mile-high sand dune, visitors can take in striking 360° views for 100 miles – allowing visitors to see both the highest and lowest points in the U.S.’ lower 48 – Badwater, at 282 feet below sea level and Mount Whitney, at 14,191 feet above sea level. 

The park boasts a beautiful stone and adobe Mission-style resort, the Furnace Creek Inn, which is an oasis of hot springs and palm trees with a beautiful spring-fed pool.  It also features an 18-hole golf course (the lowest in the world), and a restaurant offering striking views.   

Death Valley National Park is located about 121 miles west of Las Vegas, and about 286 northeast of Los Angeles.  For more information about a visit to Death Valley or other national parks, call 855.776.1733 or submit a vacation quote request at my websites: or  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, circle me on Google+, and pin me on Pinterest

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life: Mt. Vernon

Mount Vernon – Alexandria, Virginia

For over 40 years, George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the American forces during the nation’s Revolutionary War to establish independence from England, and the first President of the United States, called Mount Vernon home. Along with his wife Martha, the Washingtons lived at this the most popular historic estate in America, which is situated along the Potomac River in Northern Virginia.

Guests can get a glimpse of 18th century life when visiting Mount Vernon, as they enjoy working their way through more than a dozen original structures, including the Mansion itself.  They’ll also see Washington’s Tomb, a working blacksmith shop and the George Washington: Pioneer Farmer site, which is a 4-acre demonstration farm with a reconstructed slave cabin and 16-sided treading barn.  The extensive plantation covers more than 50 acres, and is American landmark. 

It is a lasting reminder of the life and legacy of the man known as the Father of our Country.  With video displays, immersive displays and over 500 artifacts, George Washington’s life will come alive for visitors, especially through the featured film presentation, “We Fight for Freedom” presented in the Ford Orientation Center.  It offers visitors a chance to understand America’s first hero and the fascinating world in which he lived. Since the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association bought the nearly empty Mansion in 1858, it has gathered Washington objects and used archaeology and research to piece together clues about the buildings and gardens of a bygone era. Over 1 million visitors walk in Washington's footsteps each year, making Mount Vernon the most popular historic estate in America.

Mount Vernon is located about 16 miles south of Washington, D.C. and is an excellent day trip for families or student groups visiting the U.S. capitol.  For more information about a visit to Mount Vernon or Washington, D.C., or other historic destinations, call 855.776.1733 or submit a vacation quote request or submit a vacation quote request at: or  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, circle me on Google+, and pin me on Pinterest

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Boundary Waters – Ely, Minnesota

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is made up of more than 1,000 lakes scattered throughout the piney wilderness of the Superior National Forest along the Minnesota-Ontario border.  This stretch of wilderness is composed of 1 million protected acres of land, with lakes ranging in size from 10 acres to 10,000 acres.  It’s the largest wilderness preserve in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains.  Cross the border into Canada and you’ll find another 1.2 million acres in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park

The BCWA is free of cars, and nearly free of motorboats too.  It boasts more than 1,500 acres of mapped canoe routes and was first used by Ojibwa, French, Dutch and British fur traders during the 17th century.  The typical user comes in and spends days or weeks, paddling and portaging canoes as they camp along the forested shores and fish for their dinner.  Paddlers and anglers help to make Boundary Waters the most heavily used wilderness area in the United States. 

Throughout the BWCA you’re likely to encounter loons, moose, and occasionally a wolf or two – specifically eastern timber wolves, who roam the woods after nearly facing extinction in the 1930’s, and from time to time, other humans.  The permit system enforced throughout the BWCA keeps the crowds quite manageable.

Nearby Ely is home to a number of outfitters who provide everything that excursions might need – from basic gear rental to outfitting entire week-long excursions into the wilderness.  There are also quaint log cabins and lodges nearby to retreat to after a number of days into the backcountry. 

The BWCA isn’t just a three-season wilderness either.  Wintertime is when the BWCA can be at its’ most magical as the entire area becomes a snow-blanketed glittering wonderland.  The Wintergreen Lodge, operated by noted polar explorer Paul Schurke, offers lodge-to-lodge or camping dogsled trips across frozen landscapes as Ely is the Sled Dog Capital of the U.S. every winter. 

Ely is located about 100 miles north of Duluth, with an average population of 4,000.  For more information about a visit to Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, Ely or other parts of Minnesota, call 317.776.1733 or submit a quote request via my website.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Mackinac Island, Michigan

A Victorian relic in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. continues to charm guests every single summer.  Mackinac Island preserves the spirit of the Victorian era with its’ horse-drawn carriages driving down automobile-free streets, as pedestrians promenade down the avenues and bicyclists ride around town.  Ice cream parlors, candy shops and cafes litter the main street of town, along with souvenir and trinket shops galore. Be sure to stop in and sample the fudge though, which truly is world-renown.

The island itself is located in the Straits of Mackinac, which is where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet, and where the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan are linked at their closest points by the four-mile long Mackinac Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.  The island itself is more than a mile off-shore from the Upper Peninsula, and be reached from both peninsulas by boat.  There are only about 500 year-round residents on the island, and the only automobile is the ambulance.  The island does have its' own small-craft airport, specifically for airlifting in emergencies and resident departure from the island during the winter months when the straights of Mackinac freeze over. 

The island was first settled in the 1700’s as an outpost by the British during the French and Indian War, and later, much later, in the late 19th century by wealthy urbanites and railroad barons for their summertime enjoyment.  “Cottages” sprang up all around the shores of the island (grand and imposing homes), and almost as quickly as it arrived, the automobile was banned from the island.  Today there are more than 500 horses stabled on the island.  

The most impressive structure on the island is the famous, sprawling, Grand Hotel, built in 1887, boasting the world’s longest front porch, coming in at 660-feet long.  This impressive structure was designed in Greek Revival style, that some call a palace – and can be seen from the mainland of both peninsulas, up to about 5 miles away to the Lower Peninsula.  This grand dame of the 19th century boasts a magnificent dining room, as well as expansive lake views.  It played host to a number of motion picture shoots, including Ester Williams and her synchronized swimming of the 1930’s and the 1980’s cult classic, Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. 
Accommodations on the island include of course the Grand Hotel, but there are a variety of other hotels and homes for rent on the island.  Many visitors choose to stay on either peninsula of the mainland in either Macinaw City (Lower) or St. Ignace (Upper), as both provide easy day trips to other Michigan treats such as the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along the shores of Lake Superior and Sleeping Bear Dunes near Traverse City, along the shores of Lake Michigan. 

For more information about a visit to Mackinac Island or other parts of Michigan, call 855.776.1733 or via my websites: or  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, circle me on Google+, and pin me on Pinterest

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Acadia National Park – Bar Harbor, ME

In the midst Maine’s picturesque, rolling seaside island of Mount Desert Island, surrounded by Western Bay, Frenchman Bay, Blue Hill Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, lies the 47,453 acres that make up Acadia National Park.  The oldest national park located east of the Mississippi River, the park was established in 1919 as Lafayette National Park (changed to Acadia in 1929) – in honor of Marquis de Lafayette, who was a very influential French supporter of the American Revolution. 

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

The park includes woodlands, lakes, mountains (including the highest peak on the entire Atlantic coast between Canada and Brazil – Cadillac Mountain - at a height of 1,528 feet), and of course ocean shoreline.  The park is noted for Cadillac Mountain, not just because it is the highest peak along the Atlantic, but also because it is the first place on U.S. soil touched by the sun’s rays at daybreak.  Campers and tourists alike regularly ascend the mountain to experience that phenomenon.

Acadia National Park is also home to about 40 different species of mammalian wildlife, along with many marine species in the surrounding waters.  Among the land based critters are found chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, moose, beavers, porcupines, white-tailed deer, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, black bears and bobcats.

It is a destination for more than two million visitors each year, with the average visitor spending three or four days in the area. With many different facilities and attractions in the park, there is something to interest everyone – from scenic driving or carriage tours, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, birdwatching, bicycling – and so much more.  In addition to activities in the park, local communities offer boat trips, whale watching, canoe rentals, ocean kayaking trips, and bus tours. 

Accommodations inside Acadia National Park are made up of campgrounds;  non-camping accommodations can be found in nearby communities such as Bar Harbor, Bernard or Northeast Harbor.  The two primary park campgrounds on Mount Desert Island are Blackwoods Campground and Seawall Campground. All sites are wooded and within a 10-minute walk of the ocean; no sites are located on the water. The majority of sites are for tents, small and large, but other sites accommodate pop-ups, vehicle campers, and RVs up to 35 feet. A maximum of one vehicle and six people is allowed at each site. There are no hook-ups. Campground facilities include comfort stations, cold running water, dump station, picnic tables, fire rings, and water faucets (facilities at Blackwoods differ in the winter). Seasonal showers and camping supply stores are located within ½ mile of the campground.  There is no backcountry camping at Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park is easily accessible.  It is roughly one hour from Bangor to the west, where most visitors to the area might fly in from other cities.  It is about a 3 ½ hour drive from Portland to the south, and about six hours north of Boston.  The park itself is open year-round, however the Visitor Center is open from April 15 through October.  Most facilities, including the museum, picnic areas, Seawall Campground and many roads close during the winter months
For more information about a visit to Acadia National Park or other parts of Maine, call 855.776.1733 or via my websites: or  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, circle me on Google+, and pin me on Pinterest

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where in The World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Once again, in honor of the Summer Games, today we take a look at another destination within the United Kingdom.  This time it’s Britain’s most historic spa town - Bath.  A city that dates back to around 45AD, when the Romans first arrived in the region, and sports hot springs, which prompted the construction of elaborate saunas, bathhouses, and temples beginning in about 60AD.

The city is located about 115 miles west of London, in the southwest county of Somerset, at the bottom of the Avon Valley, and near the southern edge of the Cotswolds, a range of limestone hills.

1610 Map of the city
A Benedictine monastery was established in Bath in the 7th century, with Bath Abbey being constructed shortly thereafter.  During that time period, the old Roman layout of the city was lost as many structures fell into ruins, and King Alfred re-laid the city when it was taken under royal possession.   Later, in 973, Bath Abbey played a royal role as Edgar was crowned King of England. 

During the ensuing centuries, Bath rose and fell in popularity, as well as disrepair.  It was in 1702, during a visit by Queen Anne, that the city officially saw its rebirth as the country’s premier spa town.  Soon thereafter, Britain’s “high society” would journey to Bath to “take the waters”, as often depicted in the novels of Jane Austen.  The city was soon transformed into the preeminent architectural wonderland, filled with grand and beautiful Georgian structures.  Parks, theatres, hotels, and beautiful homes were built throughout the city, including the huge, semi-ellipse Royal Crescent – a massive structure of 30 identical stone houses overlooking Royal Victoria Park, on which construction began in 1775.  Today Bath is a shopping and dining paradise, and still known for the Roman baths.

The Royal Crescent
For more information about how you might be able to experience the splendors of Bath or other remarkable destinations throughout the British countryside, contact me at 317.776.1733 or simply visit my website.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

In honor of the Summer Games, today we take a look at another destination within the United Kingdom.  This time it’s the Scottish home of the British Royal Family – the Balmoral estate.  

In the shadows of Lochnagar, set amongst the spectacular scenery of Royal Deeside, the Balmoral Estate which covers about 20,000 hectares (just over 50,000 acres) acres of heather clad hills, ancient Caledonian woodland.  The estate itself goes back to late 1300’s when King Robert II of Scotland had a hunting lodge there.  The first permanent house was constructed in 1390, and additions and expansions were made to what eventually became a castle through the ensuing years, and caught the attention of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1847 while they were on holiday in the nearby Ardverikie by Loch Laggan.

Unlike most of the other castles and residences that are official state-owned properties that they Royal Family uses and enjoys, Balmoral Estate is a privately owned residence.  It was purchased by Queen Victoria (Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandmother) in 1848, and has been the Scottish home for the Royal Family ever since. Upon her death is was passed to her son King George V, who passed it to his son King Edward VIII, and following his abdication, it was purchased by his brother King George VI who succeeded Edward.  Elizabeth II received the Estate after her father’s death in 1952. 

Over the past 150 years with careful stewardship by the Royal Family and their estate management staff, the estate has preserved the wildlife, scenery and architecture which is available for all generations to enjoy.  During the spring and early summer months when the Royal Family is in not residence, the grounds, gardens and exhibitions are open to the public on a daily basis.

Balmoral is a wonderful venue for a day out and during the open season you will find lots of activities to participate in.  Activities such as guided walks and tours, luxury land rover safaris, plus the annual Balmoral Road Races and the St. James’ Place Foundation Half Marathon.  A featured favorite are the “Running the Highlands” training weekends – covering fitness training, running, flexibility, sports massage, nutrition, pilates, and running form and technique.  Additionally, salmon fishing is available on the River Dee, and the estate hosts car enthusiasts who gather for car rallies and exhibitions on the grounds.   Select areas of the grounds are available for private parties and events, including wedding receptions. 

Balmoral is a working estate mostly 1,000 feet above sea level, though there are seven Munros or mountains over 3,000 feet.  Throughout the estate deer stalking, grouse shooting, forestry, and farming are the main land uses. The estate provides an important recreational benefit to members of the visiting public and a range of user groups – and even provides accommodations that can be rented in a variety of cottages and lodges from 5 to 13 guests.  Pets are welcome but must be controlled at all times. 

For more information about how you might be able to experience the splendors of Balmoral, or other remarkable destinations throughout the Scottish highlands contact me at 317.776.1733 or via my website. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving this Life

London.  The city which is so utterly steeped in pomp and pageantry;  the city where history and tradition are not merely valued and prized, but rather are ingrained and integrated into daily life; the city of modernity in art, fashion, music, education, commerce, and entertainment; the city that claims itself to be the capital of the 21st-century Europe.  It is, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “the epitome of our times, and the Rome of today.”

London has served as the capital of England, and The United Kingdom since the 10th century.  It is the largest metropolitan city in England, and is generally considered the largest metropolitan city in all of the European Union.  It was originally founded nearly 2,000 years ago by the Romans, as Londinium. 

London has been awash in celebration through the first half of 2012, thanks in large part to the Golden Jubilee, marking the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who first aceeded to the throne 60 years following the sudden death of her father, King George VI.  Elizabeth is now the second longest-serving monarch in England’s history, behind Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years.  And now, in just a couple of days, will see the grand spectacle of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics – the games of the 30th Olympiad of the modern era. 

Windsor Castle
London has always been a popular destination within Europe.  Given its’ age as a city, and the vast array of historical, political, and social events and movements that have taken place within the community, there is a dramatic number of museums, gardens, palaces, galleries, cathedrals, parks, concert halls, neighborhoods and shopping destinations to visit.   
Westminster Abbey
Buckingham Palace
Tower of London

Depending on the length of an individual stay, visitors to London will have ample opportunity to take in many of London’s most famous sites – including such historic places as:

  • Westminster Abbey (dating back 1066)
  • Windsor Castle (similarly dating back to the 10th century)
  • Tower of London (dating back to the 11th century)
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral (dating back to the 17th century)
  • Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens (dating back to the 1730s)
  • Buckingham Palace (dating back to 1705, expanded to its’ current size in the 1830s)
  • …and so many more.

The city has so much to offer, and now, once again, London will be the center of the world’s attention – at least from July 27th through August 12th while hosting the Summer Olympics once again.  The last time London hosted the games was in 1908.  The games were scheduled to be in London in 1944, but due to World War II, those games were canceled.  For more info on the games themselves, visit the official site here.  

For more information about how you might be able to experience the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia - or the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or to simply plan your vacation to England, contact me at 317.776.1733, or simply visit my website.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where in the World Wednesday - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

The Walt Disney Family Museum - San Francisco, California

The Walt Disney Family Museum first opened October 1, 2009.  It is a 77,000 square foot facility which is located within the historic Presidio of San Francisco, near the Golden Gate Bridge, and is comprised of three buildings within the former military post. It is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, established by Walt's heirs, and is not formally associated with the media conglomerate that also bears his name - The Walt Disney Company. 

Walt Disney Family Museum
© Frank Anzalone
The museum features early drawings and animation, movies, music, listening stations, plus a 12-foot diameter model of Disneyland as Walt knew it.  The lobby contains 248 awards that Walt Disney won during his career, including many Academy Awards - including the honorary award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (the one full-size Oscar alongside the seven miniature versions), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

There are ten permanent galleries, beginning with his family history and ending with his death on December 15th, 1966.  They are comprised of:

  • Gallery 1 Beginnings: Walt Disney’s Early Years (1901-1923)
  • Gallery 2 Hollywood (1923-1928)
  • Galleries 3 New Horizons: The Emergence of the Walt Disney Studio (1928 to 1940)
  • Gallery 4 The Move to Features: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Gallery 5 New Success and Greater Ambitions
  • Gallery 6 The Late ‘30s to Mid ‘40s
  • Gallery 7 Post-War Rebuilding: Mid-‘40s to the early 1950s
  • Gallery 8 Walt and the Natural World
  • Gallery 9 The 1950s and 1960s: The Big Screen and Beyond
  • Gallery 10 Remembering Walt Disney
Walt Disney Family Museum © Frank Anzalone

Admission is by timed-entry ticket, which helps to regulate the flow of visitors - at least through the front door. Once inside, you are free to tour the Museum at your own pace, Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and $12.50 for children 6 to 17. Admission is free for members. Tickets can be purchased online, up to 60 days in advance of your visit.

To museum is located at:  104 Montgomery Street * San Francisco, CA 94129 * (415) 345-6800 *‎.

For more information and to reserve your next vacation to California, or to visit The Walt Disney Family Museum, contact me at 855.776.1733 or via my websites: or  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, circle me on Google+, and pin me on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving this Life

DISNEYLAND RESORT – Anaheim, California

Disneyland, the theme park, first opened its’ gates to the public on July 17, 1955 (57 years ago next Tuesday), though Disneyland the idea, first started to percolate in the mind of its’ progenitor – Walt Disney, as early as the mid-1930’s.  It began as a dream of a magical little park, where parents and children could have fun together – as a father watched his little girls playing on the merry-go-round and other enticements at Griffith Park, not too far from Hollywood, where Walt would take his daughters on Sunday afternoons.

Through the years his magical little park grew in scope, and was placed on the back burner as a variety of events around the world played out throughout the late 1930’s and on through the 1940’s – most famous of all of course was World War II, when many activities at Walt’s studio were halted or at least temporarily ceased.  But after the war ended, the ideas began to bubble up once again to the surface of Walt’s imagination.  In the early 1950’s that magical little park was to be located across the street from the Studio complex in Burbank, CA.  But the ideas just kept getting bigger and grander, and Walt knew that there just wasn’t enough land available for what he wanted to do in his park.  So the search was on for a suitable location to build his dream – Walt’s Folly – as it came to be known throughout the entertainment industry. 

Concept Art for Sleeping Beauty Castle
by Herb Ryman - 1954
Walt invited Marvin Davis, Herb Ryman, Ken Anderson and a few select others to help him turn his dreams into concepts on paper.  Soon the park started to grow again as lands of fantasy, adventure, the American frontier and tomorrow began to appear.  And before long, Walt was selling the idea not just to those within the Studio, but to some outside the company. It was a rough beginning, and Walt put much of his own portfolio on the line in order to get the park built, but his persistence paid off. 

Sleeping Beauty Castle - January 2012
 July 17, 1955 – Black Sunday – as it became known within the management ranks in Burbank – came and the park was flooded with guests.  Many more than they anticipated, thanks to some clever counterfeiting of tickets – thereby swelling the guest count by nearly double what was expected.  Despite negative publicity following a variety of concerns on Opening Day (non-working attractions, not enough drinking fountains, excessive heat, super-sized crowds, and more) the public quickly embraced “Walt’s Folly”, defying what the critics had to say.  And even though the park was closed two days each week, by the end of September 1955, more than one million guests had passed through the park’s gates.  What was anticipated to be a passing fancy that would quickly shut down – not only survived, but thrived!  And here we are, 57 years later, about to mark another July 17th and the much celebrated continued success of Walt’s magical little park. 

No other theme park venture has been the inspiration for not just one, but five sister Magic Kingdoms around the world… in Florida, Japan, France, Hong Kong and soon-to-be in mainland China – in Shanghai where the next Magic Kingdom is currently under construction.  No matter which park you visit – the original inspired design concept of the “Main Street” corridor leading up to the Central Hub is repeated time and again – all leading to that central structure – the castle – or the “wienie” as Walt liked to call it – beckoning guests forward to discover more delights that lie further in. 

But what IS Disneyland?  That question solicits a response that will be different from anyone that you ask.  To some, it is just an amusement park, like many others around the nation.  To others, it is a design inspiration.  Still to others it is a place where youth lives – and relives fond memories from the past – as well as allowing guests to dream about far off places, imagining themselves in different worlds or environments… much as they once did when in childhood playtime they let their imaginations run wild. 

As a theme park, Disneyland is comprised of 6 individual themed lands:  Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country and Mickey’s ToonTown.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more individual information about Disneyland – the park.

As a Resort Destination, the Disneyland Resort is comprised of two theme parks:  Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (opened in 2001) – as well as a dining, shopping and entertainment district – Downtown Disney District – and three resort hotels: Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Disneyland Resort - Map art  © Disney
For the as yet Walt Disney World only guest - yes, of course the Disneyland Resort is small.  But that roughly 600 acres that it encompasses is jammed full of fun and excitement!  The resort itself just came off a 5-year expansion program that brought the all-new CARSLAND to Disney California Adventure, as well as a multitude of new and updated attractions, shows and other offerings at both parks, and at Downtown Disney and in the hotels.  It is a multi-day destination in itself, but also easily serves as a "home-base" for extended Southern California exploration.  

It is a resort destination that annually attracts more than 15 million visitors.  It is home to the original version of many beloved Disney theme park attractions now found in other Magic Kingdoms around the world, including:  Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Tom Sawyer IslandSplash Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Jungle Cruise, Star Tours, the Enchanted Tiki Room and more. 

Disneyland is located in the city of Anaheim in Orange County, and is about 26 miles southeast of Los Angeles.  It is just minutes away from miles and miles of famed Southern California beaches, and not far from three metropolitan airports:  Los Angeles International, Ontario International and John Wayne-Santa Ana – plus two smaller airports: Long Beach and Burbank.  Convenient shuttles and buses can transport air travelers to the resort in comfort.

For more information and to reserve your next vacation to the Disneyland Resort, contact me at 855.776.1733 or via my websites: or  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, circle me on Google+, and pin me on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Valley Forge National Historical Park - Valley Forge, PA

In the picturesque, rolling hillsides of eastern Pennsylvania, only about 23 miles northwest of Philadelphia, lies the 3,500-acres that make up the Valley Forge National Historical Park - a peaceful reminder of the hard-fought war, and sacrifices were given long ago (nearly 235 years ago) helped secure the national freedoms we still enjoy today. It was here at Valley Forge that General George Washington forged his Continental Army into a fighting force during the winter encampment of 1777-78.

Though no battles were fought there; and no bayonet charges or artillery bombardments took place, some 2,000 soldiers died (more Americans than were killed at the battles of Germantown and Brandywine combined); Valley Forge tells the epic story of an army’s very real struggle to survive.  The odds were immense – hunger, frigid temperatures, and disease. But survive they did. And their tenacity was a turning point in the War for Independence – the Revolutionary War. 

The Park serves as a reminder of those troubled times.  Visitors are able to see for themselves Washington’s original stone headquarters, which has been lovingly restored and furnished; along with several log soldier huts that have been reconstructed. Nearby a train station from 1913 features interactive exhibits of Washington and his confidantes and the town just to the west of the Park is a very quaint reminder of America’s Colonial past.  Throughout the Park statues and monuments illuminate America’s heritage for Park visitors, including statues of General "Mad Anthony" Wayne and Baron Friedrich von Steuben as well as the Monument to Patriots of African Descent. 

Many visitors will find the Visitor Center’s exhibits and artifacts to be very informative and interesting. The Encampment Store offers books, souvenirs, gifts, light refreshments and more. The Park offers both self-guided auto and walking tours, as well as Ranger-led hikes and during the summer months, a trolley tour, as well as bicycle rentals.  Valley Forge National Historical Park includes roughly 20 miles of multi-use trails that wind throughout the park’s rolling hillsides.
George Washington, as depicted in
the American Adventure at
Walt Disney World's Epcot

Valley Forge is quite easily accessible via the Valley Forge exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  The Park itself is located at Route 23 and North Gulph Road in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The Visitor Center and other park buildings are open from 9 am to 5 pm year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day - while the park grounds themselves are open from dawn to dusk.

For more information about Valley Forge or other National Parks, Monuments, or Historical Parks, or to reserve your next vacation, contact me at 317.776.1733.