Skiing at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood Alaska

Alyeska Ski Area
Alyeska Ski Area

Another great thing about visiting Alaska in the winter time is the lure of Alyeska Ski Resort just a few hours south of Anchorage.  This ski area has nine lifts with a capacity to more 12, 196 riders per hour.  The summit is 3990 feet with the base at just 250 feet above sea level.  With the capacity and terrain to accommodate all levels of skiers, this family friendly resort will keep everyone happy on and off the slopes.

In addition to down hill skiing, there is Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice skating on the pond, glacier flights and a spa.  The hotel has restaurants, an indoor pool and a gym.  Entertainment, including free movies during the week and live music on the weekends will surely please guest who’d like to stay on site.  Many will choose to venture into nearby Girdwood for shopping, restaurants and entertainment while visiting the area.

While I’m an experienced skier, I don’t consider myself a good skier.  I found the  expert slopes exciting to watch from the lifts and the beginner slopes easiest enough even for a first time skier.  The bulk of my time was spent on the moderate trails, with enough variety that I managed to ski for most of the day without repeating any runs.  This allowed me to view the magnificent scenery, the main reason I was on the slopes in the first place.  The photo opportunities were just endless with mountains in almost every direction and the water below.  Several non-skier guests of the resort even opted to ride the tram just to see the views.  Alyeska is a beautiful location to experience the scenery that Alaska is famous for, while pampering yourself with true Alaskan hospitality.

 

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Visiting Alaska in Winter Time

Alyeska Resort Alaska
Alyeska Resort Alaska

Most people consider visiting Alaska during the summer.  Coming from New England, I decided to visit in the winter time.  The weather in Anchorage and the Seward area is pretty similar to my home state of New Hampshire during the winter months and the scenery can’t be found anywhere else on earth.

My favorite part of traveling is getting to know the locals and seeing their scenic land and  how they live.  While July guests to Alaska have the benefit of warmer weather and more cruise and train travel options, the bustling city looks nothing like the home the locals love during the other ten months of the year.

We arrived in Anchorage for the last week in February to participate in the festivities leading up to the Iditarod dog sled races.  While in town, we took the beautiful Turnagain Arm scenic road to Seward then on to Alyeska Resort and Ski Area for a few days on the slopes.

While in Alyeska, we went dog sledding at night.  The snow is so white and pure that it looks like there are diamonds sparkling through it.  Even late at night, a field of snow has sparkles that light the way.  The dogs, naturally nocturnal animals,  train best at the lower temperatures during the night and while their energy is highest.  It was about 10 degrees farenheit during our mush, which was chilly, although we came dressed properly and were able to enjoy the clear skies, the sound of the snow under the skis and the beautiful snow cover.  I’m sure this authentic experience could only be found in the winter months.

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The National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC

japanese cherry blossoms
japanese cherry blossoms

The Washington DC mall will fill with the Japanese cherry blossoms again this spring.   The two week events kicks off on March 22, 2014 with hundreds of performances and events planned.  One of the highlights of the Cherry Blossom Festival is the parade which will take place on  April 12, 2014 from 10 a.m. to noon along Constitution Avenue.  After the parade, be sure to participate in the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival offering guests a taste of Japanese culture including food, music, dance and crafts.

Well over three thousand cherry trees were gifted to the United States by the City of Tokyo back in 1912 as a gift of friendship.  There are about a dozen different cherry trees on the Tidal Basin in Washington.  The festivals have taken place for many of those years and continues to grow in size, interest and length.

For tourists interested in participating in this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival, I can provide train and hotel arrangements for the independent traveler or a full week tour for those who would enjoy delving into all the sights and activities of this beautiful city.  An active traveler may enjoy a bike tour of the city or maybe a Segway ride.

While in DC, be sure to visit the many museums, sporting events, monuments and scenic areas.  Keep in mind that blooming dates vary based on weather patterns.

 

 

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Virgin Islands travel quick and easy for US citizens-no passport needed.

Travel to the US Virgin Islands is quick and easy for US citizens; short flights, no passport needed for americans, beautiful beaches and plenty of accommodation choices.  St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John islands make up the US Virgin Islands where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.

Westin Resort St. John US Virgin Islands
Westin Resort St. John US Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, the hub of the US Virgin Islands, is known for its shopping and beaches.  Its a busy cruise port and the entry point for most visitors to the USVI.  From here, take a catamaran or speed boat to any one of the nearby islands for a day trip or longer vacation.

Visit the new accessible trails in the VI National Park on St. John, where 75% of the island is designated as national park property.  There are great opportunities to stay in style while you camp (try the Concordia Campground where there are hard tents with bathrooms) as well as options for luxury accommodations for those tourists looking for pampering and more.

If camping and nature aren’t for you, visit the full casinos on St. Croix, with or without an all inclusive resort experience.  The all inclusive resort option will help you know your travel costs, leaving some lucky money for chips.  Captain Morgan’s Rum Center is not to be missed  as a day excursion.

Active and retired military receive a $150 discount for most accommodations and there are rates and packages to meet every travelers needs. Please call 603-434-8100 or Wendy@SoloToGroupTravel.com for the latest offers.

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