Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Fourth of July Celebrations

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, everything is just terrific on the Fouth of July, with parades, food festivals, concerts, backyard barbecues and fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. It's hard to call this green travels, because fireworks come in all colors, especially red, white and blue.

Simply, this is America’s annual birthday party, celebrating the day in 1776 when 13 scrappy colonies declared their independence from the world’s then-superpower.

Here are three of the best --

New York City -- The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks is the nation’s largest, with more than 120,000 bursts of shape and color and movement reaching as high as 1,000 feet into the air, all of it timed to a riveting soundtrack. There also are live performances from top Broadway show stars and pop favorites, this year including country music star Kenny Chesney. The fireworks begin at 9 p.m., launched from barges in the East River. The event is televised nationally on NBC.

Washington, D. C. -- It’s an all-day Fourth of July festival in the Nation's Capital, starting before noon with America’s National Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue, past national monuments including the Washington Monument. Many of the bands are in Revolutionary Era dress, marching to the beat of fifes and drums. After the parade, a National Folklife Festival on the Mall celebrates many of the cultures of the U.S. A. The party finishes in the evening at the Capitol Building, with a musical celebration by the National Symphony Orchestra, and fireworks that light up the sky. This concert and fireworks party is broadcast by PBS.

New Orleans -- This city is filled with music year-round, and a New Orleans July Fourth celebration has a touch of Mardi Gras. The music starts before noon with concerts and events at various spots around the riverfront, from the French Market and to the Riverwalk Marketplace. At 7:30, there’s a concert by the New Orleans Concert Band overlooking the Mississippi River, followed by a Dueling Barges Fireworks Display.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Free Gas Deals from Hotels

Gas prices are higher than ever. That's not news. What is news is all the deals from hotels to give you back some green this summer travel season.

No, hotels are not lowering their rates, but they are giving guests rebates for the gas tank. Here are some more great deals --

The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, a beachfront resort located directly on the Gulf of Mexico on St. Pete Beach, just 30 minutes from Tampa, Fla., is betting that oil prices will continue to rise. So instead of offering you a fixed $10 or $25 or whatever for 'free' gas, their rebate is pegged to the cost of a barrel.

The promotion is called "Barrel of Fun" . Cute. At check out, guests booking the package receive a room credit equal to the exact price of a barrel of crude oil on that day. Here's the catch -- there's always a catch. The promotion is for a minimum three-night stay, weekdays only -- no weekends -- and ends on August 28th, just before the big Labor Day weekend.

Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places to get away -- winter to ski my legs off, other seasons to hike, bike, go whitewater rafting on the Truckee River, or relax on a paddlewheel cruise of the lake. The Resort at Squaw Creek is one of the most highly-rated resorts in the US, at the base of Squaw Valley USA, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics. It's an AAA Four-Diamond property.
Squaw Creek's "Affordable Highways promotion gives you a $25 free gas card, and requires only a two-night minimum stay. Be sure to mention code AFHWYRSC when you make your reservation.

Okay, so hotels aren't lowering their prices. But free gas is a great way to save green on your summer travels.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alaska Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Statehood

This is going to be the biggest party in Alaska's history, with events all over the state celebrating the 50th birthday of the 49th state.

It was on June 30, 1958 that the U. S. Congress approved statehood for Alaska. The birthday bash begins Friday, June 27 with a free Wynonna Judd concert that is being broadcast around the world. Coined "Operation Gratitude," the show honors Alaska's military and the state of Alaska.

Judd's concert will be held at Alaska's Elmendorf Air Force Base, located just outside Anchorage. Wynonna's sister Naomi Judd, and the Palmetto State Quartet, will also be on hand.

Even without the birthday celebrations, this is a great time of year to visit Alaska. In June and July, just before and after the summer solstice, Alaskans enjoy near-constant daylight, so the concert will be well lit, to say the least.

Alaskans are likely to be celebrating the rest of the year, until January 3, 2009 -- that's the 50th anniversary of the date Statehood was made official, when President Dwight Eisenhower's signature ushered in Alaska as the 49th state, on January 3, 1959. For a full schedule of events, check the special celebration website.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wyoming Resorts Go Smoke Free

Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee are known for some of the most challenging and most scenic terrain in the world -- skiing and snowboarding in winter, and mountain biking when snow gives way to colorful wildflowers and green Alpine grasses.

Now, these world-class travel destinations will also be known for a bold commitment to the health of their staff and guests. Earlier this month, the two year-round resorts, plus resort Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, put smoke-free policies into effect.

What makes this action unusual is that no other U.S. ski resorts have passed such comprehensive smokefree policies on their own, without the influence of a local or statewide smokefree ordinance. Also, this action by the three top resorts in Wyoming sends a strong message to the local community, the state, and the rest of the ski industry.

There is no more smoking in any Jackson Hole Mountain Resort building, around the entire base area, parking lots, lift lines, chairlifts, trails and all ski/mountain bike runs. And in case you forget, JHMR has posted 50 branded non-smoking signs around the resort.

Grand Targhee Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Resort partnered with the Teton County Tobacco Prevention Program and local businesses on this effort.

The smoke-free policy will help our health, of course, and it also may help the health of Wyoming's forests and parks, including Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. That's because last year more than three million acres burned because of human carelessness, including careless cigarette disposal, such as the idiot who tosses a butt out of a moving car.

Travel green, travel smoke-free.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thai Airways Programs to Protect the Environment

Thailand is known for incredibly beautiful pagodas, beaches, wonderful food and a warm welcome to visitors. Now, its national airline, Thai Airways, is adding green programs to protect the environment.

Here's part of what they are doing to help us all travel green --
  • A reforestation program at Hui Sai in Cha-am district, Petchburi province involves local schoolchildren, to teach them about the importance of the forest and natural resources. Children of Thai Airways employees also are participating.

  • An environmental awareness exhibition traveling to the airline's various offices and ticket locations in Thailand, to educate employees and passengers on how Thai Airways is working with other airlines to to decrease CO² emissions in the airline industry.

  • A Good Agricultural Practice program, which has been conducted for the last six years, helping Thai farmers develop a production system that is environmentally friendly. The airline also purchases food directly from local farmers.

  • A program that encourages Thai Airways employees to collect vegetable oil that has been used in meal preparation and send it to the company's catering unit to recycle it into biodiesel.
Cheers to Thai Airways for its green travels efforts.