Dine in Kennebunkport. 
Saturday, May 19, 2007, 07:32 PM - Maine
There is no better way to spend a weekend or vacation that to spend it dallying around the region during the day and then enjoying evenings of leisurely dining. There are numerous choices of activities and eateries that are sure to please the preference of every visitor.

You do not need to fly anywhere or drive for endless hours to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Kennebunkport, Maine offers it all and is located just a hundred miles north of Boston and only five hours from New York City. The short distance makes it feasible to come to Kennebunkport, if only to enjoy a day of leisure followed by dinner. At times, just a change of scenery and a few hours to explore a new town is all that is needed to be rejuvenated.

Kennebunkport is a seaside community that has the coastal New England ambiance that one would expect, while also offering an array of diamond star accommodations, endless miles of beaches, eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and museums.

If you love exploring new regions and love the ocean, then you will enjoy spending a day visiting local lighthouses. Kennebunk is home to the Goat Island lighthouse, the last manned lighthouse in Maine, and the next to the last to be automated in the United States. There are at least a half a dozen more within a short driving distance of Kennebunkport.

The majestic Atlantic coastline is best viewed from out on the water, where the visitor can look back at the rugged rocks, and the sights of people walking dogs, flying kites, running and walking along the sand beaches. The region offers numerous excursions which include whale watching, short schooner sailing trips, puffin watches, and sunset cruises.

For those who prefer to enjoy the rich culture of this historic town, a sightseeing tour would be a perfect way to spend the day. The In town Trolley offers 45 minute narrated tours and visits such places as President Bush's estate, the Franciscan Monastery and Spouting Rock. For a minimal fee, you can purchase a day pass and disembark and board as often as you like throughout the day.

There are also walking tours available. Scattered throughout the village are places to buy steaming lattes, cocoa, and coffee to enjoy while taking in the wonder of seemingly stepping back to the 1600's. The charm of the quaint brick buildings is not diminished by the 21st Century businesses that dwell within. For those who prefer the more contemporary shopping experience, Dock Square is an excellent place to do outlet shopping. Visitors will not want to bypass the opportunity to enjoy a cone of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, made right in New England.

Many visitors will come to Kennebunkport to enjoy playing golf on one of the many courses in the region. The Cape Arundel Golf Club is favored by former President Bush and offers tee times for visitors and non-members. Webhannet Golf Club is another excellent choice for avid golfers, and is home to regional tournaments.

There are some visitors who desire to enjoy the country setting that surrounds Kennebunkport. A must see is Lightfoot Farms, just outside of town. The farm raises Alpacas, specializing in Peruvian Alpacas. Visitors will enjoy learning about the tradition and rich heritage that accompanies raising alpacas.

Some will define "dallying" as doing nothing more than reading a good book and enjoying time at a Spa. Kennebunkport offers several choices, including The Breakwater Spa and the White Barn Inn & Spa. Going to a spa offers the opportunity to select from an array of services, ranging from facials to massages. Top therapists will do deep muscle massage and relax taunt muscles, stimulate circulation and use premium products that will soften and pamper the skin. Packages and appointments can be tailored to meet your individual desires, all designed to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul!

After a day of total rejuvenation and being invigorated by the fresh New England air, choose to have dinner at one of the famous eateries as the dessert to your day! For those wanting to enjoy some of the fresh seafood that has just come off the docks, your best choice for dinner is at the famous Stripers Restaurant, where the fresh catch is cooked to order. Many visitors to Maine want to have a lobster for dinner, and Stripers in the place in Kennebunkport to enjoy one in authentic surroundings.

Grissini Italian Bistro is the perfect eclectic dining experience for those wanting to continue the day that has been filled with absorbing rich history and culture of the region. The atmosphere is enhanced by the exhibition wood grilling kitchen where authentic Tuscan meals are prepared to order. Signature pizzas, homemade pastas, and breads are all specialty items at Grissini's. The bistro ambiance and décor creates the illusion of being in Old World Tuscany.

For those desiring to enjoy an elegant dining experience, there is only one choice. The White Barn offers dinner served in New England's only AAA Five Diamond award winning restaurant. The finest of dining cuisine is served in two fully restored mid- 1800's barns that offer crisp white linens, candlelight and floor to ceiling windows. Service is impeccable. Food is prepared with finesse, using only the finest of ingredients. Reservations and jackets are required.

There are numerous opportunities for after dinner entertainment in the region, with the most famous landmark being the Arundel Playhouse. It is a world class theatre with live performances throughout the summer season.

Kennebunkport is the perfect location to spend a day, weekend, or vacation dallying and dining. Choices of accommodations, leisure activities, and dining are plentiful enough to offer something for everyone. Visit the website kport.com to begin planning your get away now.

By: Nick Tate
Nick Tate is a professional travel writer and has worked with some of the leading travel publications in the world including Travel & Leisure and Lonely Planet. In this article he explores Kennebunkport and some of the best Kennebunkport restaurants such as The White Barn Inn Restaurant, Striper.

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Getaway to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. 
Friday, May 18, 2007, 06:06 PM - Tennessee
Located in Eastern Tennessee within a day's drive of two third's of the U.S. population, Pigeon Forge plays host to over 11 million tourists each year, and with the breathtaking beauty of the Smoky Mountains at its doorstep, it is certainly an experience to behold. A bonus to its scenic beauty and southern hospitality is its abundance of exciting activities for visitors of every age group. There is so much to see and do here that the city's official motto is "Action Packed Pigeon Forge™."

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is, of course, one of the biggest draws to the area. A half-million acre wilderness of mountainous terrain bordering Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, this national park offers a variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. From white water rafting to hiking and fly-fishing, you'll never run out of outdoor activities. You'll also find some of the most incredible photo opportunities in the country!

Besides its awe-inspiring beauty, you'll find top-notch entertainment. Shows ranging from music and comedy to magic, mystery, and acrobatics can all be found in Pigeon Forge. The area even boasts over 50 family attractions. Museums, water parks, mini-golf courses, and arcades are just a few examples. Oh, and let's not forget Dollywood theme park and the Dixie Stampede!

If you enjoy shopping and love to eat, then Pigeon Forge will be right up your alley! With six outlet malls that contain over 200 stores, and over 140 other specialty stores and craft shops, you'll have plenty of opportunities to 'shop till you drop.' Work up an appetite? Then you're in luck, because there is a wide range of cuisine to choose from at the area's restaurants!

After all the activities and excitement, it's nice to know you'll have a place to rest at the end of the day. Not only can the city accommodate over 58,000 guests each night, over 600 of its lodging properties are cabins, cottages, or condos with amenities (and luxuries) ranging from billiard tables and Jacuzzis to flat screen televisions. If camping out is more your thing, you'll be pleased with the more than 15 campgrounds to choose from.

No matter where you choose to stay or what your activity or dining preference may be, one thing is for sure---you'll make enough memories to last a lifetime in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

By: Susan Collmorgen
Susan Collmorgen, is administrator of an online informational guide to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. For more information, visit: SelectPigeonForge.com.

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Capital Cities Tour: Discover Juneau, Alaska. 
Thursday, May 17, 2007, 12:00 AM - Alaska
“Extreme" best describes Alaska, America's outermost northern state, one-third of which lies in the Arctic Circle. Although Alaska is the largest state in the Union, (two and a half times bigger than Texas), its rough terrain prohibits intercity travel. As a result, each Alaskan city and town preserves its unique charm and village-like quality, marked with ancient totem poles. Towering snow-covered mountains with menacing jagged peaks preside over charming little towns of humble, one- and two-story wood buildings. American Bald Eagles soar over the onion domes of Russian Orthodox churches, reminiscent of the time when Alaska belonged to Russia.

Alaska’s landscape is primitive, pristine and perilous. Its exotic “blue ice” for example, (referring to Alaska’s turquoise ice floes that sail passively over a midnight sea), seems as gentle as deer, yet as deadly on waterways as deer are on highways. This stunning blue ice floats silently beneath towering glacier walls called “white thunder,” so called because they look like white, foamy tidal waves frozen in midair.

Although the modern world’s cruise ships and airlines frequently penetrate this massive snow-fortified land, much of the state remains a vast wilderness that defies man's taming or domestication. Alaska is full of awe-inspiring beauty and deadly danger—two extremes of Mother Nature's personality. As the state's unofficial nickname claims, it is "The Last Frontier."

STATE TOURIST INFORMATION (907) 929-2200, JUNEAU

Juneau is the only landlocked capital in the United States. No major roads travel in or out of the city. However, frequent air and boat service make this hard-to-reach capital a manageable trek that’s worth the effort and expense to get to. Where else can you find state business being conducted at the base of a snow-covered mountain, down the street from a moving glacier, close to a lush rain forest, in a wilderness where bears roam freely, Bald Eagles soar; a city where Tlingit totem poles stand, onion dome Russian Orthodox churches rise, and the remnants of 19th century gold miners mark their distinctive claim—all in one city?

Things to See in Juneau:

• Alaska Statehouse

Built in 1931, the Territorial and Federal Building became the State Capitol in 1959, and has housed the state legislature, governor's office and Lt. governor's office ever since. Four columns of Tokeen marble from Prince of Wales Island south of Juneau, embellish the exterior brick-faced concrete structure. The Alaska State Seal in the lobby, made of gold nuggets from Alaska’s Gold Rush era greets visitors. The doors to the Senate Chambers have handles of hand cast brass etched in totemic symbols representing an eagle, a whale and a bear—still commonly found in Juneau to this day.

Check it out . . . The portrait of former state senator Bettye Fahrenkamp shows her wearing earrings of native symbols that mean "in one ear, out the other.” She wore them during all Senate sessions.

Check it out . . . The map of Alaska on the third floor is made from a piece of the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

• Alaska State Museum

Founded as a territorial museum in 1900 the Alaska State Museum today displays Alaska’s natural history, native history, state history, art and culture with exhibits containing more than 23,000 artifacts and works of art.

Check it out . . . The Alaska Native Gallery includes a Northwest Coast clan house complete with totems, a 38 ft. umiak, a whaling boat made from driftwood covered with walrus skins and the state’s unique bentwood hunting hat.

Check it out . . . The Natural History Gallery exhibits Alaska's bald eagles in a full-sized nesting tree that includes seven eagles at various stages of life, from egg to adult.

• St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church, situated above downtown Juneau is the oldest original Russian Orthodox church in Alaska. A gilded gold onion dome crowns a humble, thatched roof cottage of white clapboard trimmed in Nantucket blue. The bell hanging from a small steepled doorway beckons visitors inside where solemn, 19th century Russian icons and liturgical items transport one to Russia’s past.

Tip: Weekend services sung in English, Tlingit, and Old Slavonic are held Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.

• Mendenhall Glacier

One of Alaska's most popular attractions, Mendenhall Glacier, is just few miles from downtown. So close to town, yet so far from civilization, this primordial mass of ancient ice stretches 12 miles, spans a width of 1-1/2 miles, and is 400-800 feet deep, depending on where you stand. Naturalist John Muir considered it "one of the most beautiful of the coastal glaciers." An easy trail along Mendenhall Lake leads to close-up views of this massive chunk of ice and rock, which is merely one arm of the colossal Juneau Ice Field, a 1500-square-mile block of ice larger than the state of Rhode Island.

• Tracy Arm Fjord

A natural fence of jagged white mountains surrounds this narrow, deep waterway. The base of the mountains descend almost in equidistance to the depths of the greenish blue water below. Triangular ice floes that look like huge wedges of aquamarine pie topped with whipped meringue on a crust of snow sail past boats half their size. Waterfalls spew out between a fringe of evergreens, cascading into an awaiting green sea, synchronized like the well-rehearsed leap of a ballerina into the arms of her anticipating partner. The wide-winged Bald Eagle commands the skies overhead as whales, seals, porpoise, and other wildlife splash and splatter below in their private swimming hole, protected by glacial stone palisades. The waterway is like a gigantic moat shimmering past a glorious ice palace. Glaciers, waterfalls, feathery green pines, and flirtatious ice floes of translucent blue and opaque white make this a wintry fairyland to dazzle the eye and make one’s heart soar with the eagles.

By: Priscilla Faith Rhodes
Priscilla Faith Rhodes is the author of DISCOVER AMERICA DIARIES: 50 STATES, 50 STATES OF MIND, and co-publisher of the award-winning website, Postcards from America, http://www.postcardsfrom.com, a edu-travel site that helps students and families learn about America through postcards.

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Tucson Arizona - 5 Top Spots to Explore Arizona's Old West. 
Tuesday, May 15, 2007, 08:26 PM - Arizona
Tucson Arizona - 5 Top Spots to Explore Arizona's Old West. A travel destination article featured by USA City Directories, a portal to guides and directories for cities, counties and states in the United States Of America.For the traveler searching for the iconic symbols of the Old West - horses, cowboys, cactus and coyotes - you can't do much better than by heading over to the western outskirts of Tucson Arizona.

Tucson's Old West roots lie in its past as a ranching town and former cavalry outpost during the tumultuous years of conflicts with the Apache tribes.

Though most of the ranches have turned into subdivisions and strip malls, pockets of that cactus-studded Old West landscape lie just outside the city's borders.

To escape for a day into Tucson Arizona's Old West past, saddle up your vehicle and go west...

1) Act Like a Dude
Start your Old West adventure on Tucson Arizona's growing northwest side. West of the busy Interstate 10 freeway and tucked against saguaro cactus-studded mountains are two dude ranches that preserve the Old West lifestyle.

Explore your inner cowpoke at White Stallion Ranch - a working cattle ranch on 3,000 acres of prime Sonoran Desert. Guests can stay overnight - or for a week. Take a leisurely trail ride, participate in team cattle pennings or attend the weekly rodeo.

Nearby, the Lazy K Bar Ranch also offers the dude ranch experience - for the day or for overnight stays - with breakfast rides, nighttime horse-drawn wagon rides, cowboy cookouts, Sunday afternoon rodeos and all-female cowgirl camps.

2) Cactus, Coyotes and Cardinals
Continue on your Tucson Arizona Old West adventure with a drive along Picture Rocks Road which begins just north of the ranches.

This scenic 2-lane route meanders through the northwest corner of famed Saguaro National Park.

For several miles, you'll see nothing but craggy peaks, wide open spaces and scenic desert lush with saguaro, prickly pear and cholla cactus and spiky ocotillos. Keep your eyes peeled for javelina, jackrabbits or coyotes crossing the road and cardinals perched in the green-barked palo verde trees.

3) See a Forest of Giants
Take a leisurely trip into the park. From Picture Rocks Road, turn onto Golden Gate Road. This unpaved route is an easy drive for any vehicle and winds through some of the thickest stands of the towering, multi-armed saguaro cactus in Arizona. You'll also get gorgeous views of Wasson Peak - the highest mountain in Saguaro National Park.

There are plenty of places to stop and hike the park's trails or enjoy the views. Sit quietly and you might see Harris hawks, antelope ground squirrels or even a roadrunner.

For a quick side trip, take the turnoff to the Signal Hill picnic area. A short trail from the picnic tables leads to ancient Native American petroglyphs etched onto large boulders - the "Picture Rocks" for which the area is named.

Continue on the Golden Gate Road to the park's excellent visitor center. The wonderful displays help you identify what you've seen and introduce you to the Tohono O'odham - the Indian tribe that has inhabited the Tucson Arizona area for centuries.

4) Discover the Desert's Plants and Animals
From the visitor center, head east on Kinney Road to the world renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - one of Tucson Arizona's best attractions.

This combination zoo, botanical garden and natural history museum has colorful garden paths and naturalistic exhibits that immerse you in the sights and sounds of the region. They have over 1,300 types of plants and more than 300 kinds of animals. Here you can see often elusive species such as desert tortoises, Gila monsters and mountain lions.

This is also a great place to eat lunch at the gourmet Ocotillo Cafe which serves inventive Southwestern cuisine or the cafeteria-style Ironwood Terraces with its burgers, sandwiches and salads.

5) How the Old West Was on the Silver Screen
Continue east on Kinney Road to one of Tucson Arizona's popular tourist attractions - Old Tucson Studios.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the rugged Tucson Mountains, Old Tucson was built as an on-location set for some of Hollywood's famous Westerns. Rio Bravo, Gunfight at the OK Corral and Tombstone were all filmed here.

Stroll past the Old West style buildings, take a miniature train ride around the grounds, watch an old time musical review in the saloon and see a classic Old West gunfight. Old Tucson is a touristy stop but kids especially enjoy it.

From here, head back to Kinney Road and follow the signs back into town and back into the modern world.

Copyright © 2007 arizona-vacation-planner.com/ All Rights Reserved

By: Paula Hartgraves
Paula Hartgraves is an old Tucson hand, having worked as a hiking guide at one of the city's popular resorts. Check out more of her tips on what to see and where to stay and eat in Tucson by visiting: http://www.arizona-vacation-planner.com ... ation.html.

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