OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 20th
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western travel buzz
Virgin America, the California-based domestic airline, has launched its first domestic lounge with the opening of the stylish new Virgin America Loft at Los Angeles International Airport's (LAX) Terminal 3.

Not to be confused with sister-branded airline Virgin Atlantic's premium international Clubhouses designed for longer-haul travelers, the new Virgin America Loft will offer Virgin America's guests a sleek and modern retreat within LAX.
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Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts began operating the Olympic National Park destination, which is only steps from the Pacific Ocean, in late September. Since then it has begun offering lodging packages and other discounts while adding its own touches, including new room amenities, a new restaurant menu and stepped up environmental conservation efforts.

"Kalaloch Lodge is a wonderful place in the winter with the waves crashing the rugged coast of the peninsula as you take it all in from the lodge on the bluff," said Walter Kochansky, general manager at Kalaloch Lodge. "Many of our accommodations feature sweeping views of the majestic Pacific Ocean and the driftwood beaches. As most people know, it is a very unique national park setting."

The classic seaside retreat features full access to the pristine beaches, wilderness and forests of the nearly 1 million-acre Olympic National Park in the Pacific Northwest. Recreation opportunities abound with hiking, beachcombing, fishing, and bird watching, as well as seasonal whale watching and razor clamming.

The lodge features 64 rooms - spread between the charming main lodge, Seacrest Building and various comfortable cabins.

Megabus.com, the first city-to-city, express bus company with fares from $1, has announced expansion to California and Nevada, with frequent daily service beginning Dec. 12, 2012.

California and Nevada residents will be able to travel express to/from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., Riverside, Calif., Las Vegas, Sparks/Reno, Nev., Sacramento, Calif., and San Jose, Calif. for as low as $1. Customers can now begin booking travel at www.megabus.com.
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Following a multi-million dollar renovation, the Silvertree Hotel and Conference Center has reopened as the Westin Snowmass Resort in Snowmass, Colorado.

Owned by a joint venture between Starwood Capital Group and Wasserman Real Estate, the rennovation included refurbishing all guest rooms and public areas, and adding a brand-new spa, fitness center, hot tubs and a ski-in, ski-out restaurant.

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Grand Canyon Railway has added a completely refurbished, full-length dome car to its rolling stock and named it in honor of Fred Harvey, an 1870s railroad restaurateur who became a legend in the Old West for bringing good food, civilized service and attractive, honestly run eating houses and hotels to travelers.
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Gray Line of Alaska is now taking reservations for its 2013 tour packages and has added four new "add-on" tours to enhance any Alaska and Yukon vacation.

Gray Line is also offering a special early booking discount of $600 per couple for trips booked by Nov. 30 that are six days or longer.
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The Port of Seattle Commission has given the green light for the final design for an estimated $230 million renovation of the north satellite at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to better serve passengers.

The project will include modernizing facilities, seismic upgrades, enhanced traveler amenities, three new gates and a new roof-top lounge for Alaska Airlines, soon to be the sole tenant in the north satellite.
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Holland America Line said for the  2013 cruise season it is increasing its presence in Alaska's waters with more departures and more guests than in previous years.

Although the number of Holland America ships deployed in Alaska will remain at seven - the same as 2012 - ms Amsterdam will double its departures on new seven-day roundtrip sailings from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
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Island Air, one of Hawaii's leading regional carriers, has announced a new business model featuring a complete image and brand overhaul. This new brand coincides with the arrival of the airline's new common fleet type, the European ATR, in August 2012.

The comprehensive rebranding touches every aspect of the airline; from an enhanced website to a newly inspired aircraft livery design, including an exciting new logo mark and identity.
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More leg room is coming for travelers on Alaska Airlines jets starting fall 2012.

Alaska Airlines and Recaro Aircraft Seating said that the carrier is the North America launch customer for an innovative main cabin seat that will provide more legroom for passengers.

The award-winning seat will be installed on all of Alaska Airlines' 22 new Boeing 737-900ERs scheduled for delivery in fall 2012 through 2014.
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Construction of a new linear park around the exterior slope of Diamond Head State Monument on Oahu got underway April 4, 2012 and will provide visitors with of an accessible multi-use pathway, picnic and rest areas along its 1.3-mile length.

The pathway, which will be completed by November 2012, will provide residents and visitors an accessible multi-use path along the exterior slopes of the monument, a spokesperson for Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) said.
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Customer-friendly check-in kiosks and bag-check stations are just two of the features travelers will find waiting for them at the new Alaska Airlines "Airport of the Future" at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The new Alaska Airlines terminal opened March 27, 2012 and Alaska's move from Terminal 3 to Terminal 6 offers travelers more convenient access to U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoints and to alliance partner Delta Air Lines, located in Terminal 5.
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Grand Canyon Railway (GCR) has announced the 2012 dates for special runs of its steam-powered "Cataract Creek Rambler" as well as other steam runs between Williams, Ariz. and the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

The Cataract Creek Rambler is an eight-mile trip operating May 12 and 13, and June 9. Powered by steam locomotive 4960, GCR operates a single class of service in the train's historic 1923 Harriman cars.
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Hawaiian Airlines will launch daily nonstop service between New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Honolulu starting June 4, 2012.

"We are bringing Hawaii to New York," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO. "We're the airline of choice for millions of people on the West Coast and in Asia, and we're excited to be bringing the Hawaiian experience to New York"
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Union Pacific Railroad's iconic steam locomotive, No. 844, will travel through the Southwestern United States during fall 2011 to kick off state centennial celebrations in New Mexico and Arizona, respectively.

No. 844, the last steam locomotive built for Union Pacific, will travel more than 2,900 miles from its base in Wyoming on a 32-day, nine-state tour that will honor the rich railroad heritage of the scenic Southwest.

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The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta will celebrate its 40th event with 550 hot air balloons representing 20 countries, and honoring the person who started it all in 1972 Sid Cutter, the founder and "Father of Fiesta."

The 40th event will occur Oct. 1-9, 2011 at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. New this year will be the Sandia Resort and Casino $100,000 challenge, the richest active prize in ballooning.
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California's Monterey Bay Aquarium is transforming the way people see the oceans with a new perspective on the vast, virtually unexplored waters of the open sea.

The aquarium's acclaimed Outer Bay galleries have re-opened as "The Open Sea," shining light on epic migrations of ocean animals across the Pacific and the constant motion of life in the open ocean.
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Denver, Colorado's Mile High City, will be saying adios to summer 2011 with a long Labor Day weekend packed with events and activities - many of them free.

Courtesy of the Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau, here is a list of Labor Day Weekend highlights around Denver in case you happen to be in the area.
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Restoring the San Antonio River's ecosystem is two miles closer to its 2013 completion date following ceremonies held near Mission Concepcion on June 25, 2011 opening the initial two phases.

The project, a nearly $246 million river ecosystems restoration effort, is designed to restore the riparian habitat of the San Antonio River, reconnect the historic Spanish missions of the city to the river, and add over nine miles of hiking and biking trails that will connect the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River to the famed Riverwalk of downtown San Antonio.
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New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park on Memorial Day Weekend 2011 is restoring another tradition to post-Katrina New Orleans for travelers riding Amtrak's Sunset Limited.

Trails & Rails, a nationwide program that provides onboard education for Amtrak passengers, premiered on the Sunset Limited from New Orleans to Lafayette, La. in 1994, staffed by rangers from Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

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