Say Hueque Explores 150-Year-History of Welsh in Patagonia

The Argentina and Chile tour operator specializing in authentic experiences for independent travelers, Say Hueque – http://sayhueque.com/ announces tours this year to a region of Patagonia settled by the Welsh 150 years ago.

Impressive Wildlife & Cultural Heritage of Patagonian Pioneers delves into Patagonian history as written by European pioneers who emigrated from Wales in 1865. This program also reveals the Galapagos-like environment known as Bahia Bustamante that attracts an abundance of, among others, sea lions, whales and penguins.

The rate for this seven-day tour is from $2,900 per person, double. This includes all transfers, six nights accommodation, six breakfasts, three dinners and lunches, tours and the services of a bilingual (English/Spanish) guide. Departures can be planned year round based on a minimum of two people. Flights are not included in the price, but can be arranged on request.

The echoes of the past lives of destitute Welsh coalminers and their families who departed Liverpool, England, on a ship called the Mimosa, and who landed July 28, 1865 in New Bay (Port Madryn), Patagonia, resonate throughout this landscape. The influx of Welsh immigrants began in Puerto Madryn and this is where the anniversary trip begins. A visit to the Welsh Historical Museum reveals stories of these pioneers who are being commemorated throughout Patagonia this year. Visitors may expect musical events (the Welsh national pastime is singing) and theatricals as part of the celebration. Welsh-style tea houses, or casas de te as they’re known in Argentina, will be serving up a cuppa and slices of bara brith (a Welsh fruit loaf served with tea).

Guests then travel to the Valdes Peninsula, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is defined by a creek called Caleta Valdes and is home to a colony of elephant seals and Franca Austral whales. Here, too, is the village of Puerto Piramides where pods of whales congregate from June to December. A boat escorts guests around the Golfo Neuvo Bay for whale watching. On Day 3 a professional guide takes guests snorkeling with resident sea lions.

Day 4 brings guests to Bahia Bustamante, a seaside village surrounded entirely by nature. The village is located on Patagonia’s Atlantic coast where visitors lodge in traditional “houses by the sea.” En route is a stop at Dos Bahias Cape where thousands of penguins reside annually during breeding season. Bahia Bustamante is dubbed a “seaweed village”, aptly named because of its devotion to the seaweed harvest. Even streets are named for species of seaweed. The village has a population of 40 and has opened its doors to travelers looking for authenticity. The following day, guests visit three ranches inland from the bay: Las Quebradas, Las Mercedes and Las Margaritas. Here all are welcome to roll up their sleeves and help with whatever farm chore is ongoing at the moment, from sheep shearing to lambing.

The next day guests travel by boat through meadows of seaweed to the Versace Archipelago for bird watching and observing sea lions and possibly even Magellanic penguins or a pod of orca whales. This may be followed by a horseback ride through the Patagonian steppe.

For an itinerary and additional details on this special adventure please see: http://www.sayhueque.com/argentina_tours/patagonia/impressive_wildlife_patagonia.php

Established in 1999, Say Hueque creates customized tours for independent travelers throughout Argentina’s and Chile’s national parks and cities. Popular destinations and experiences include Buenos Aires, Iguassu Falls, Perito Moreno Glacier, hiking in Patagonia, wine tasting in Mendoza, horseback riding at traditional estancias and glacier cruises.

Say Hueque adopted its name from the last tribal chief that surrendered to the Europeans in their conquest of the American lands, in 1885. The Great Cacique Say Hueque was the leader of a powerful tribe that occupied the region of central Patagonia. Their cultural influence is still very strong at some locations close to the Andes Range.

For more information please visit: http://www.sayhueque.com/, call 1.718.395.5504 (US) or email them at: info@sayhueque.com.

Artisanal ‘Garden-to-Glass’ Culinary Craft Cocktails Elevating Beverage Industry Standards, Seasonal Soirées

Mix up your spirit selections and take your summer soirées to an unforgettable new level this season with libations that eradicate expectations: easy mix-and-go artisanal craft cocktails featuring Bloomery SweetShine’s award-winning line of all-natural, hand-crafted liqueurs that make premium spirits sing. No need to hit the bar for a stellar craft cocktail, as these killer farm-fresh concoctions are a snap to make at home!

Sustainably crafted with 100% natural hand-selected ingredients for a supreme garden-to-glass experience, Bloomery’s unparalleled assortment of SweetShine artisanal liqueurs are full of  farm fresh fruit, roots and nuts paired with homespun syrups and corn likker—that’s it…there are no preservatives, concentrates or artificial ingredients whatsoever.

Mastering mixology and becoming a “home bar rock star” is super-simple with SweetShine’s array of distinctive flavors that include “Moonshine Milkshake” Cremma Lemma, Black Walnut, Limoncello, Raspberry Lemon, Ginger Shine, Peach Shine, Chocolate Raspberry, Hard Lemonade and Seasonal Cranberry Clementine and Pumpkin Spice. All are ideal for pairing with the premium spirit of your choice, whether it’s vodka, bourbon, gin or champagne—just blend, chill and enjoy! Just a touch of SweetShine quickly creates a classic cocktail with a twist that’ll let you bid boring and unadventurous drinking adieu! SweetShine is also incredibly tasty as a beer topper or mixed into your coffee beverage.

“There is a growing resurgence with consumers who want to create craft beverages from high quality, fresh ingredients, but don’t want to be burdened with a drink that’s too complex to make,” notes Linda Losey, founder of Bloomery Plantation Distillery. “Our fans trust our brand in that arena, and are comfortable and confident that when they grab a bottle of SweetShine, they can add it to any of their current cocktails and they’ll create a fresher, higher quality, premium cocktail that was a breeze to make.”

The freshness of Bloomery SweetShine’s ingredients cannot be understated, with all agricultural ingredients grown at the distillery’s own farm,  local neighboring farms or other small American farms. Each item in the brand’s portfolio proffers an exciting and unrivaled flavor profile.

Home Mixology Made Easy
Here are 5 three-step artisanal craft cocktail recipes that’ll make your taste buds sing this season:  

  • Ruby Red Slipper: Equal parts Raspberry Lemon SweetShine, Vodka, fresh Ruby Red Grapefruit
  • Oh my Darlin’: Equal parts Cranberry Clementine SweetShine and Gin with a heavy splash of Tonic
  • Cremmarita: 1 1//4 parts Cremma Lemma SweetShine, 1 part Tequila, ½ part Fresh Lime
  • Southern Hospitality: 1 part Peach SweetShine, 1 part Bourbon, 2 parts Tea
  • SweetShine Mule: 1 part Ginger SweetShine, 1 part Vodka, 1 part Fresh Lime

Bloomery SweetShine, a leader in the locally sustainable craft distillery trade, is helping drive the emerging craft beverage category and “culinary cocktail” trend that’s now sweeping the globe. With more than twenty-one international awards and too many cocktail aficionado accolades to count, the company is doing its part to take the restaurant, bar and hospitality industries to tasty new heights.

When Bloomery Plantation Distillery opened its doors in September of 2011, we were the 424th craft distiller federally licensed in the U.S.—today those numbers have exploded,” adds Losey.  “The critical intersection of local sourcing combined with the handcrafting of approachable spirits like liqueurs is resonating in the marketplace. Consumers like a little bit of the unusual and appreciate our whimsical approach, but quality and taste are paramount—this is why we grow our own Italian lemons and Hawaiian ginger as well as grow and harvest our own black walnuts and pumpkins to craft distinctive, memorable and crave-worthy flavors.”

Bottles SM.jpgAnd crave-worthy they are! While entirely versatile with veritable limitless recipe possibilities, here’s an at-a-glance glimpse of SweetShine best serving practices:

  • Limoncello: Traditionally this is best served from the freezer into a chilled glass and we don’t argue with this tradition. However this will surprise you as a beer topper too. Spike a nice hefeweisen with a touch for a special treat.
  • Cremma Lemma: Also great from the freezer into a chilled glass or over ice. This is our “moonshine milkshake.” Remember to shake it up before serving. This is made with real milk and can often form a limoncello collar. This collar is the prize in the Cracker Jack box, better than any tequila worm. This tiny bit of lemon cheesecake has a bit of a kick and is certain to put a smile on your face. Try our “moonshine milkshake” in a little bit of bourbon and ooooh, so smooth.
  • Raspberry Lemon: Best served from the fridge or cooler. Mixes with EVERYTHING! Mixologists love it, bakers and chefs love it. Bottles are also designed to be used with a straw. Try it one to one with vodka and fresh ruby red grapefruit juice. An oh my, martini.
  • Hard Lemonade: An American favorite. “Moonshine-based” easy sipping. Low alcohol content. Just a great lemonade. Made from fresh hand-squeezed lemons with just enough spike, it’s a special hard lemonade designed for hot days or hot dates. Serve from the fridge or the cooler. Depending on the etiquette of your event, you may choose to drink from the bottle or through a fancy straw. Best purchased in quantity. Refrigerate after opening.
  • Chocolate Raspberry: Chilled is best, never frozen. Please shake before serving and don’t bake it in your car! Again all trades love it. Even coffee baristas! A shot in your coffee and it’ll change your morning routine.
  • Peach: This is phenomenal served over ice. Try this with something bubbly too, champagne, prosecco, tonic. Whiskeys call our peach girl a great friend with benefits.
  • Ginger: Don’t let the old guy on the label fool you, this is a new taste in a bottle. Never before has anyone captured ginger snap flavor and capped it. We like this best at room temperature. Try this mixed with ANY brown spirit, rye, scotch, cognac etc. also great with gin. Like the Limoncello, this is a WOW as a beer topper too. Try a bit with your favorite IPA or Pale Ale for a smoothing result.
  • Black Walnut: Like our Limoncello this is a traditional Italian digestivo, a straight from the bottle sipper after dinner finishing very smoothly. Unlike limoncello this is not as sweet and offers many spice flavors in the finish. The dark color is from all natural unripe or green black walnuts and a mix of spices creating a unique flavor for you to savor!
  • Seasonal Pumpkin Spice: Miss Seasonality with tons of personality. Crafted after Eric’s grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe. And, oh boy, did he nail it! The delight of pumpkin and spice in a delectable, chop-licking liqueur.


Bloomery SweetShine Gives Moonshine a Makeover

YellowGirl SM.jpgSince opening as a mini-distillery in the agri-tourism industry in September of 2011, Bloomery Plantation Distillery has been capitalizing on the craving for locally sustainable craft distilleries, the nostalgia for the prohibition-era and the explosion of fruit flavored liqueurs through its hand-crafted, award-winning SweetShine line. With a sweet spin on moonshine, the company makes moonshine drinkable through its award-winning liqueurs that are hand-crafted from farm-fresh fruits, roots and nuts. To date, more than 60,000 premium drink devotees have visited the distillery to enjoy a SweetShine artisanal cocktail of their own amid affable company.

The distillery boasts a wildly unique, imaginative and fiercely dedicated staff led by company founder, Linda Losey. For staffers, SweetShine represents far more than just a product line but rather is regarded as a foundational philosophy—an adventurous and even risk-taking way of doing things…a spirited and amusing outlook on life. This viewpoint guides everything the company creates, and Bloomery’s passionate one-of-a-kind team attracts customers from around the world who believe in, connect with and trust the SweetShine brand.

The distillery, located two miles east of Charles Town, West Virginia, is situated on a 12-acre parcel of land where they grow farm-fresh ingredients used in the elixirs, including ginger, raspberries and lemons, among others. Putting their unique spin on the process of making moonshine, Bloomery’s all natural SweetShine is crafted using time-honored recipes with 190 proof ‘shine, pure cane sugar and garden-grown ingredients. The entire process is hand-crafted—from the hand-zesting of every lemon, to the hand-chopping of the ginger, to the hand picking of raspberries, to the hand-making of its syrups, to the handwriting that goes on every bottle of every label. Each batch is individually proofed; the finished liqueurs range from 40° to 70°. Truly handcrafted. And it shows. Just a touch of SweetShine quickly creates a classic cocktail with a twist—goodbye to boring unadventurous drinking! Bloomery SweetShine is currently distributed to retailers, bars and restaurants in 42 states, and continues to expand distribution nationally.

Learn more about the brand and its admirable approach online at www.BloomerySweetshine.com.

Citrus County highlights the natural beauty that is Florida

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Professional Marketing Solutions of Central Florida, Inc. (PMS), an award-winning, integrated marketing and public relations agency based in Celebration, Florida, today announced it has been selected by the Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau to represent its public relations and advertising.

“There is no destination quite like Citrus County because it’s the ONLY destination in the state of Florida where you can actually swim and snorkel and interact with hundreds of beloved manatees,” said Michelle Harris, president of Professional Marketing Solutions. “There is so much natural beauty and endless aquatic adventures that await and we are truly looking forward to showcasing Citrus County as undoubtedly one of the most pristine places on the planet.”

Warm Gulf waters, spring-fed rivers, swimming with manatees, fantastic fishing, lovely lakes, historic bed and breakfasts and exquisite campgrounds are but a small part of the charm of Citrus County’s unspoiled natural surroundings. A short 80-minute drive from Orlando—only 60 from Tampa—Citrus County is known for its very distinct and dazzling towns: Crystal River, Homosassa, Inverness and Floral City.

·      Crystal River: Nestled around Kings Bay, an outstanding Florida waterway that offers spectacular boating, diving, swimming, fishing and scalloping, Crystal River is home of signature Citrus County events like the Manatee Festival and the Stone Crab Jam.

·      Homosassa: Stretching from US 19 to the Homosassa River, there is so much to see and do in Homosassa. Kick back, relax and enjoy the view while the monkeys entertain you on their own personal Monkey Island at the Yardarm Lodge in Old Homosassa. Kayak the Chassahowitzka River to the “Crack and Back,” a surreal adventure that puts wildlife encounters on a whole new level. During a stay in Old Homosassa, visit the Yulee Sugar Mills Ruins Historic State Park, Florida’s most evocative historic setting of the Civil War area. And a true MUST-SEE is the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park that serves as a refuge for injured and orphaned manatees and a home to a comprehensive collection of native wildlife.

·      Inverness: ‘Small town done right’ is a good way to characterize Inverness. This gem of a city bustles with outdoor festivals and charm with its whimsical, historic downtown. One of only a few nationwide street races, the Inverness Grand Prix turns the streets into a racetrack for the growing karting phenomena. History and culture thrive at the Valerie Theatre Cultural Center and the Old Historic Courthouse. The Inverness Trailhead offers easy access to the longest paved trail in Florida, the Withlacoochee State Trail.

·     Floral City: A unique small town with an old Florida-feel, Floral City is enveloped by 125-year-old canopy oaks and dotted with glorious Historic Registered homes. While its quickly becoming an artists’ mecca, a huge draw, no doubt, is Ferris Groves, which has grown from a 1930s roadside stand into a full-service operation producing oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, blueberries and strawberries.

For more information on Citrus County, visit www.visitcitrus.com. For more information on Professional Marketing Solutions, please contact Candice Coleman at 314-606-1167314-606-1167.

New Bentwood Inn Amenity Gets Tesla Owners Powered Up

Jackson Hole’s award-winning Bentwood Inn (http://www.bentwoodinn.com/) has teamed up with Tesla Motors to provide an increasingly desirable amenity; Tesla Destination Charging.

The decision to add the new charging station was easy, according to Innkeepers Bob and Virginia Schrader, “Environmental sustainability and energy conservation are two of our core principles.”

This inn, built in 1995 and constructed using massive 200 year old logs sustainably harvested from the Great Yellowstone Fire of 1988 is rated among the top Inns in Jackson Hole by Trip Advisor after achieving their Gold rating for environmental standards. The Bentwood Inn is the only Select Registry Property in Wyoming and has been recognized as “One of North America’s Top Ten Ecolodges” by Outside magazine and Away.com.

The Bentwood Inn joins a rapidly growing network of resorts in Tesla Destination Charging, including more than 160 other Select Registry properties throughout the U.S. This new program provides hotels, resorts, and restaurants around the world with charging equipment, and gives Tesla drivers the freedom to charge wherever they want to travel by replicating the charging convenience owners are accustomed to at home. The Bentwood Inn has one 80A Tesla Wall Connector; both guests and non-guest visitors can charge for free.

“We’re constantly finding new ways to heighten the guests’ experience. By combining leading-edge technology and the forward-thinking of Tesla with our commitment to provide outstanding service and offerings, we now have the ability to offer guests a seamless and convenient charging experience during their stay,” said Bob Schrader.

Tesla’s growing Supercharger network (now 400 stations along frequently-traveled highways) has inspired Model S owners to hit the road in increasing numbers. Owners can drive all day, charging for 30-40 minutes at Superchargers and then stop at night to stay at The Bentwood Inn, other quality-assured Select Registry properties, and other locations that have installed Tesla High Power Connectors. Tesla’s High Power Wall Connectors add 58 miles of range per hour, topping off Model S’s full 265 miles of range in just a few hours on a single charge.

Select Registry properties and other Tesla Destination Charging station locations are located on Select Registry’s website, Tesla’s interactive webpage, and will soon be featured in every Tesla vehicles’ 17” touchscreen through the navigation application to easily plan trips and locate the property. Visit http://www.teslamotors.com/findus#/ for more information.

Photographs of the property and chargers are available upon request.

About The Bentwood Inn:
The Bentwood Inn is a four season, award-winning luxury log lodge nestled on 3.5 acres of Jackson Hole solitude where all year long wildlife can be seen passing through the property. There is over 6,000 square feet of luxury to enjoy; including the Great Room with a three-story river rock fireplace and baby grand piano. Each guest room has a private fireplace and personal deck or porch, and most have a king bed and jetted spa tub. The large outdoor back deck facing the Grand Tetons is perfect for relaxing and socializing in warm weather, and ideal for hosting weddings and events.

The only Select Registry lodge in Wyoming, the inn was recently featured on The Today Show. Ski Magazine selected The Bentwood as “Inn of the Month” and Outside Magazine recognized the lodge as, “One of North America’s Top 10 Ecolodges.” In addition to in-room private fireplaces, quests are pampered with plush robes, Wi-Fi and unique and natural bath amenities. Each stay includes a full breakfast, gourmet appetizers each night and bottomless plates of home baked chocolate chip cookies.

About Tesla
Tesla Motors’ (NASDAQ: TSLA) goal is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport with a full range of increasingly affordable electric cars. California-based Tesla designs and manufactures electric vehicles as well as renewable energy storage. Tesla has delivered nearly 70,000 electric vehicles to customers worldwide.

About Select Registry
Select Registry is a portfolio of more than 300 quality-assured premier inns, bed and breakfasts, and small hotels throughout North America. Each property has passed an unannounced, rigorous, 200-point quality assurance inspection to earn and maintain its Select Registry membership, and to ensure it provides travelers with guaranteed quality, exceptional service, and an unforgettable lodging experience. Learn more at www.selectregistry.com

Seven Holland America Line Ships to Sail 98 Caribbean Departures Roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa in 2015-16

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With longer itineraries and a unique mid-size ship experience, Holland America Line’s 2015-16 Caribbean season features a diverse range of options up to 21 days that include not-to-be-missed calls and ports not regularly found on typical Caribbean cruises.

Seven of the line’s premium ships will explore the entire region on cruises that sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while ms Veendam returns to the Caribbean in January 2016 to take over the roundtrip Tampa, Fla., departures.

“Holland America Line provides the most port intensive and exclusive experience in the Caribbean, with a breadth of itinerary options to highlight the diversity of the region to our guests,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The Caribbean is a popular destination because it’s a relaxing, tropical paradise that’s accessible to so many travelers, and by offering a wide range of ships and itineraries, we’re able to offer a dream vacation at a great value.”

From October 2015 through April 2016, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Veendam, ms Westerdam, ms Prinsendam and ms Zuiderdam sail a total of 98 seven-, 10-, 11-, 12- and 14-day cruises that can be combined into longer Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 21 days. The itineraries span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

All Fort Lauderdale itineraries feature a call at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.

Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries
During the season, Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam will sail a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries that can be combined to form 14-day Collectors’ Voyages spanning both regions. Westerdam maintains a weekly schedule of seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises, while Maasdam sails seven- and 10-day eastern routes, as well as longer 11-day southern itineraries. Oosterdam also features 10- and 11-day southern Caribbean cruises ideal for guests looking for a longer vacation.

The Nieuw Amsterdam will also feature a new seven-day Tropical Caribbean itinerary in 2016 that calls on maiden port Amber Cove, Carnival Corporation’s new $85 million cruise center in the Dominican Republic. Located near the historic town of Puerto Plata, Amber Cover will provide access to a purpose-built facility with a welcome center, craft marketplace, eateries, a swimming pool and transportation hub for access to inland shore tours for a wide variety of interests.

In addition to the 14-day Collectors’ Voyages, other itineraries can be combined to form a diverse range of options, including a 21-day southern cruise on Oosterdam, a 21-day southern and eastern option on Maasdam and a 17-day nonrepeating double-eastern route, also on Maasdam.

Partial Panama Canal Transits
Guests looking to explore the Panama Canal without going through to the West Coast can embark on a convenient roundtrip Fort Lauderdale partial transit aboard Zuiderdam. The ship makes its way to Gatún Lake and spends the day leisurely scenic cruising. During the 10- and 11-day departures the ship also visits several Caribbean ports.

Zuiderdam recently underwent an extensive drydock to add 25 new staterooms and enhance several public areas — including the dining room, Neptune Lounge, Canaletto restaurant, The Greenhouse Spa and Salon, and the Dive-In outdoor grill serving signature burgers — with new furniture, signage, carpet and design updates.

Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries
Beginning in January 2016, Veendam spends the Caribbean season cruising roundtrip from Tampa on seven-day western and 12- and 14-day southern itineraries. The seven- and 14-day options can be combined to form a 21-day western/southern Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage.

Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise
For travelers who like to get away from the hustle, and chill of December, the holiday season is a special time onboard. A total of 13 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on far-reaching itineraries ranging from seven to 16 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form 14- or 21-day Holiday Collectors’ Voyages.  Prinsendam also offers a 16-day southern Caribbean cruise, departing Dec. 19, 2015, sailing during both Christmas and New Year’s Day.

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and sing-alongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Claus and holiday-themed crafts.

The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a Champagne toast.

Go On Location in the Caribbean
On each cruise, regional cultural experiences are brought onboard, such as the Island Magic Steel Drum Band, learning to weave and craft with palm leaves and local rum tastings – all part of Holland America Line’s On Location program. The itinerary sets the stage for guests to indulge in localized experiences that makes the journey as enriching as the ports of call through lectures, demonstrations and performances.

For more information about Caribbean itineraries and Holland America Line, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL or visit hollandamerica.com.

Holland America Line Breaks Ground on New Base Camp Complex at the McKinley Chalet Resort at Denali National Park

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Holland America Line has broken ground on a new “Base Camp” complex at the company’s McKinley Chalet Resort near the entrance to Alaska’s Denali National Park. Expected to be complete for the 2016 Alaska cruise season, Base Camp is part of Holland America Line’s ongoing enhancement program at the property that also includes room updates, upgrades to soft goods and hotel decor and additional modifications.

The McKinley Chalet Resort provides accommodations for guests on Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys that combine an Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali National Park and beyond. Base Camp will be centrally located between the main part of the property, containing the reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms, and the riverfront guest rooms that provide stunning views of the Nenana River.

“Our McKinley Chalet Resort is the premier destination hotel in Alaska, and the addition of Base Camp to this already-spectacular property will make the guest experience all the more memorable and enriching,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Base Camp enables us to showcase Alaska and Denali National Park on a whole new level by bringing even more of the local history to our guests through art, dining and music.”

Base Camp will serve as a new gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The largest building in the complex will be the grand 7,800-square-foot restaurant reaching two stories high to showcase views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit the Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the “Music of Denali Dinner Theater” that becomes a bar and music venue after the show.

At the center of Base Camp is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and a semicircle of bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows, ranger talks and demonstrations.

The new location also will feature cozy fire pits to gather around on cool Alaska evenings; outdoor seating for guests who wish to enjoy the scenery; three retail shops offering local goods; and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists will display and discuss their works.

Walking paths in and around Base Camp show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting nestled just across the Nenana River from Denali National Park.

Alaska-based companies heading up the McKinley Chalet Resort’s enhancement project include general contractor Dawson Construction and Stantec, which is providing engineering services. Additional firms involved are lead and landscape architect The Portico Group, restaurant architect Heliotrope Architects, structural engineering company Michael Leonard Associates and project manager Costigan Integrated, all of Seattle, Wash.

Spanning nearly 60 acres, the McKinley Chalet Resort currently features 478 rooms, fine and casual dining, an on-site dinner theater, on-site raft departures and walking trails along the Nenana River.

Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys combine the “must-see” of Denali National Park with the “seldom-seen” wonders of the Yukon, including one- or two-night stays in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush country and up to three-night stays at Denali National Park.

This year, the Land+Sea Journeys run May through September and offer 13 options, ranging in total length from 10 to 20 days in two distinct series: Yukon+Denali Land+Sea Journeys and Denali Land+Sea Journeys. All Land+Sea Journeys combine a three- to seven-night Holland America Line cruise with an overland adventure that includes a one-, two- or three-night stay at Denali National Park as a centerpiece of the Alaska experience.

Each Land+Sea Journey also showcases places such as the gold rush town of Dawson City, charming Seward, historic Fairbanks, colorful Skagway and the historic narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.

For more information about the Alaska Land+Sea Journeys and Holland America Line, contact a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL or visit hollandamerica.com. The Holland America Line Alaska tablet app also is available in the Apple, Android or Windows app stores.

New Small Group Tours Include VIP Access to Top Galapagos Scientists

Ecuador’s leading purveyor of extraordinary experiences, Tropic Journeys in Nature (Tropic) and the Charles Darwin Foundation, a highly respected scientific institution, are partnering to give small groups (up to 16 people) visiting the Galapagos Islands exclusive access to specialized knowledge that only the experienced Foundation’s scientists and staff can provide.

The Charles Darwin Foundation works tirelessly to preserve both the rich history and sustainability of the Galapagos Islands.

“These tours, we hope, will send our guests home with additional food for thought about how fragile the endangered world of the Galapagos is. Saying their last good-byes to our sea lions is great for photos. Thinking about and acting on these issues can impact our world,” explains Jascivan Carvalho, Founder and Director of Tropic (http://www.destinationecuador.com/).

The programs begin and end on Santa Cruz Island, the location of the Foundation’s Charles Darwin Research Station. One program, “The Legacy of Charles Darwin”, begins to penetrate the science and beauty that define this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Foundation scientist will introduce this world before guests visit the tortoise-breeding center that provides a sample of this region’s biodiversity. The discussion lasts approximately 90 minutes. The cost is $225 per group and requires booking in advance.

In an extended program that goes beyond the basics, The Foundation and Tropic will host small groups on a visit to a habitat somewhere on Santa Cruz Island for exploring flora/fauna, vertebrates, invertebrates and marine life of their choosing. This program which is led by a Foundation scientist requires that participants bring their passion for knowledge and adventure in order to get the most of the curator’s expertise and wisdom. This is a unique opportunity in a unique location, where few non-scientists have gone before.  The tour and discussion together are $1,115 with a maximum of eight per group and require booking in advance.

Also in tandem with the Foundation, Topic can arrange half-day field trips exclusive to groups of up to 16 participants. Three stops are made to different regions of Santa Cruz Island to underscore the importance of scientific studies being done here and how at-risk is this region’s sustainability. This is an opportunity to explore remote habitats and scenery that few have had the chance to see.

The first stop on the tour is the Scalesia Forest where visitors will see the toll that harmful agricultural activities and invasive wildlife have taken here, leaving the forest at only 1% of its 1915 original distribution.  The rapid reduction of the Scalesia Forest is a result of the excessive logging in the early 20th century for the sake of agriculture. The devastation is so catastrophic that it has resulted in “an almost complete loss of an entire vegetation type.” (André Mauchamp and Rachel Atkinson, Galapagos Report 2009-2010).

The second stop is a trek to “Los Gemelos” or “The Twins”, identical craters formed during the creation of the island when a lava tunnel collapsed, leaving behind large crater-like holes. The ecosystem is again the focus. A scientist explains how a forest came to evolve in these holes. Scalesia pedunculata trees, affectionately known as “broccoli trees”, growing in these depressions provide habitat for orchids, mosses, lichens and many birds including Darwin’s finches. A stop at the National Park Greenhouse displaying conservation in action concludes this tour. The Greenhouse focuses on growing endemic and native plants that will be re-introduced into degrading ecosystems as part of the Foundation’s fight to save this world. The four-hour program is $670 per group, including round-trip private transportation.

Go to Tropic’s website for more information: http://www.destinationecuador.com/darwin-galapagos.html

Visitors and friends of the Galapagos are urged to support the work of the Charles Darwin Foundation through tax deductible donations.
Visit: http://www.darwinfoundation.org/en/get-involved/donate/