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Feb 17th
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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for July 27

Latest News, Deals & Savings for July 27

Americana comes alive Aug. 2-8 at Folk Art Week at the Homestead National Monument of America just outside of Beatrice, Nebraska, Pink Jeep Tours will offer 4-wheel-drive tours of Death Valley this fall, and tickets are now available for the Grand Canyon Railway’s The Polar Express starting Nov. 13, 2009 and running through Jan. 9, 2010.

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Americana Comes Alive at Homestead Folk Art Week

Americana history, art and crafts will come alive for visitors at Folk Art Week Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009 through Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009 at the Homestead National Monument of America just outside of Beatrice, Nebraska.

Not only is this event free, but it is sure to be educational and fun. Several of the artists will encourage visitors to try their hand at their art.

All activities will be presented at Homestead National Monument of America's Education Center and will be demonstrations and talks will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, including artist demonstrations. Featured artists and crafts include:

  • Sunday, Aug. 2: Lacemaking - Sandra Wallick and Sandra Spann
  • Monday, Aug. 3: Weaving with Floor and Table Looms - Karen Higgins
  • Tuesday, Aug. 4: Weaving with Floor and Table Looms - Karen Higgins
  • Wednesday, Aug. 5: Hide tanning - Darin Zahm
  • Thursday, Aug. 6: Ukrainian Egg Painting - June Kucera and Terry Thompson
  • Friday, Aug. 7: Pottery - Nancy Hagler-Vujovic
  • Saturday, Aug. 8: Wood carving - Erna Beach

Folk Art Week will kick off with members of the Lincoln Lacemakers creating works of art. They will demonstrate several types of lace making skills. Then Karen Higgins will demonstrate the art of weaving using both a large floor loom and a smaller table loom.

Homesteaders made their own carpets on floor looms. Smaller table looms would make finer pieces of art such as table cloths and towels. On Wednesday, Darin Zahm will teach people hide tanning and even ask them to assist scraping hair off of hides as he prepares them to make clothing and other items. June Kucera and Terry Thompson will demonstrate and teach people how to paint eggs.

People will be able to make their own piece of egg art and take it home. Nancy Haggler-Vujovic is an art instructor at Southeast Community College. She makes beautiful pieces of pottery. She will be demonstrating how the homesteaders would have made pottery. The week concludes with Erna Beach demonstrating wood carving.

Homestead National Monument of America was created as a lasting memorial to all the settlers who built the American West and is operated and administered by the National Park Service. It is located four miles west of Beatrice on Nebraska Highway 4. Summer hours of operation are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. For more information call (402) 223-3514 or visit the web site at  

Pink Jeep Tours To Offer Death Valley Tours This Fall

Beginning this September, Pink Jeep Tours will become the first independent tour company to offer in-park service at Death Valley National Park in California.

These new tours will allow guests to visit the remote areas of the park too difficult for most vehicles to access. This is made possible by Pink Jeep Tours' new Tour Trekker, the first-of-its-kind, high-end, state-of-the-art sightseeing vehicle. This comfortable 4-wheel drive vehicle has seating for up to 10 passengers so guests will truly enjoy a "small group" experience.

Hotel pick-up and drop-off will be available from most park hotels, including the 4-diamond Furnace Creek Inn, the Furnace Creek Ranch and the popular Stovepipe Wells Village. Tours will originate and conclude inside the park.

To make this possible, Pink Jeep Tours has partnered with Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the nation's largest park concessions management company and leader in park and resort hospitality. Xanterra oversees and manages most resort, dining and retail offerings at Death Valley.

Once inside the park, guests can visit secluded areas such as Racetrack Playa, famous for its "mysterious sliding rocks" that move across the dry lake bed on their own; Titus Canyon with its panoramic views at Red Pass and sheer towering walls in the canyon "narrows;" Charcoal kilns and Mosaic Canyon with its smooth, polished marble walls and West Side Road offering views of the valley most visitors rarely see.

In addition, guests can also join Pink Jeep's classic Death Valley tour when it arrives from Las Vegas. This 2-hour segment visits Badwater Basin, Devil's Golf Course, Zabriskie Point and Artist's Palette.

Tour prices range from $65 to $165. For more information, call Pink Jeep Tours at (702) 895-6777 or visit the Web site at

Grand Canyon Railway's Polar Express Starts Nov. 13

Tickets are now available for the Grand Canyon Railway's The Polar Express starting Nov. 13, 2009 and running through Jan. 9, 2010. The Grand Canyon Railway will also offer a Christmas Eve Polar Express and will increase capacity compared to previous years.

Most evenings, the Grand Canyon Railway offers two trains, with one departing the Williams Depot at 6:30 p.m. and a second train departing at 8 p.m. Presentations on weekends and nights close to Christmas typically sell out.

Closely following The Polar Express book by Chris Van Allsburg, this nighttime trip from the Grand Canyon Railway depot in Williams, Arizona through 12 miles of wilderness to the "North Pole" features a special reading of The Polar Express while passengers enjoy hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.

After arriving at the "North Pole" - a Christmas light village featuring an "Aurora Borealis" - Santa Claus and his reindeer welcome passengers before Santa boards the Polar Express for the return trip to Williams.

Santa then makes his way through the historic Pullman passenger cars, greeting every child and presenting each one with a special gift - a jingle bell signifying their belief in Santa Claus. The round trip journey is a little more than an hour in length.

The new Christmas Eve Special - occurring on the same night as in the book and movie - will also feature special gifts from Santa that the normal Polar Express does not offer. The Railway will also offer the Polar Express Dec. 26, 27 and 28, 2009. The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel will be open Dec. 24 and 25, 2009. Daily train service to the Grand Canyon will not be offered Dec. 25.

Individual tickets for the train ride only are $29 for adults and $14 for children ages two to 15 Sunday through Thursday in November and all January excursions and $19 for children ages two to 15 on November weekends and throughout December.

Rates for the special Christmas Eve presentation are $58 for adults and $38 for children ages two to 15. Overnight packages start as low as $304 for two adults and two children and include the roundtrip aboard the Polar Express, one-night stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and breakfast and dinner at the Grand Depot Café. The package price is based on adult double occupancy and does not include tax.

Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-THE-TRAIN. More information about the Grand Canyon Railway is available online at
www.thetrain.com or by calling 1-800-THE-TRAIN.