Nestled in the mountains of West Virginia, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers excursions that transport you back in time and let you relive an era when steam-driven locomotives were an essential part of everyday life. Trips to Cass are filled with rich histories of the past, unparalleled views of a vast wilderness area, and close-up encounters with the sights and sounds of original steam-driven locomotives. The town of Cass remains relatively unchanged. The restored company houses add to the charm and atmosphere of the town. From the company store and museum to the train depot, you'll find an abundance of things to do prior to your departure on the historic Cass Railroad. The Cass Scenic Railroad is the same line built in 1901 to haul lumber to the mill in Cass. The locomotives are the same Shay locomotives used in Cass, and in the rain forests of British Columbia for more than a half-century. The passenger cars are old logging flat-cars refurbished and made into passenger cars. Once you board the train, the real excitement begins! The great pistons of the carefully restored Shay locomotive will start pulsing, driven by hundreds of pounds of steam pressure. The shaft begins turning, the wheels find traction, and the locomotive begins to move. With thick, black smoke belching from its stack, the train pulls away from the station, passing the old water tower from which the locomotive tanks are filled. As the train rounds the curve up Leatherbark Creek, you'll pass the Cass Shop, where the locomotives are serviced and repaired, and a graveyard of antiquated, but fascinating equipment on sidetracks. As the pressure builds, the locomotive is driven at full steam, and the laborious journey up the mountain toward the two switchbacks begin. The loud huff of the stack, the clanking of gears and pistons, the furious scream of the whistle at the crossings, and the ever present clackety-clack of the rails will indeed make you feel as if you have been transported back i
Right in the heart of downtown Orlando, this park is the heart of the city itself. In addition to its beautiful view of Orlando’s skyline, Lake Eola has an amphitheater where plays and concerts may be enjoyed throughout the year. Walkers and runners can burn a few calories along a 0.9-mile trail that circles the lake. Pedal-propelled swan rental boats may seduce, but exercise caution in summer months.
Modeled after the principles of new urbanism, Denver's newest neighborhood combines the perks of urban living with a traditional, small-town atmosphere. Residents of Stapleton -- the location of this year's HGTV Green Home -- enjoy walkable streets, a vibrant town center and more than 500 acres of parks and open space. Plus, the community is conveniently located just 10 minutes from downtown Denver, 20 minutes from Denver International Airport and 30 minutes from Colorado's Rocky Mountains.
The world-famous parade known as Mardi Gras is part of a week-long festival of street celebrations, floats and beads-galore. The city-wide event takes place every year before the season of Lent. Mardi Grad, or Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday -- the final day of Carnival. Visitors come from all over to be a part of the festivities, and for many locals, it is the most anticipated event of the year.