Based in Anchorage, the Alaska Railroad travels 500 miles of main line from Seward to Fairbanks, with spurs to Whittier and Palmer. Together with John Hall’s Alaska tours, travelers can explore the remote Alaskan interior via train, plane, bus and boat. This view is from the observation car as the train heads south from Anchorage to Whittier along the scenic Turnagain Arm.
Cascading over piles of limestone boulders, this first-magnitude spring on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River is one of Florida’s newest and most awe-inspiring swimming holes. Dive deep into the cool, crystal-clear waters that descend almost 25 feet into the earth’s surface, but make sure to get there early; this once-hidden gem is becoming more and more popular by the day.
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
Highway 100 is Loveland Café's famous Southern home. Typical fare includes country ham, biscuits, hash brown casserole and stone-ground grits -- all topped with gravy. And if that's not enough food, make sure to order the biscuits -- made with love by Carol Fay, The Biscuit Lady, who's been serving biscuits hot off the griddle for over 28 years.
Anna and Bryant Reese were married on August 12, 2012, surrounded by friends, family and an enchanting woodsy setting. "I wanted something different, and we're just woodsy people," says Anna. "We love going to the mountains, and Bryant even proposed to me at the fork outside of Cades Cove (in the Smoky Mountains)."
This picturesque spring wedding was held at the Allandale Mansion barn in Kingsport, Tenn. "Kingsport is a small, quaint town with few outdoor venues," explains the bride. "We knew we wanted a rustic vibe, so when we visited Allandale, we fell in love with its beautiful weeping willow trees and big, open barn."
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.