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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, April 2006 Issue



Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
http://tsalerts.freespaces.com
travelalerts@wowmail.com
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright © 2006 
All Rights Reserved.


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Chile Pepper Red Sterling EarringsHOT SUMMER SCENE STEALERS!

Get a whole new summer look with our hot chile pepper red coral earrings. Handcrafted in Thailand, these beauties have small cubes and beads of coral dangling from the finest sterling silver wires and accented with 2mm sterling silver beads.

Perfect for all those summer activities. Value priced at $19.95.

Click here to order.


In This Issue:
Lincoln Hall, Berea, KY

  • Hollywood's Designated Driver
  • Alaska Marine Highway Special Fares
  • Discover Thailand Pass
  • Tips for Avoiding "Stomach Flu"
  • Brooklyn Pass
  • Free Air on European Cruises
  • Triple Thrifty Miles on Delta
  • Free Air, 10% Off British Isle Cruises
  • American Airlines Sweepstakes
  • Airline Consumer Complaints Up in Dec. 2005
  • $49 Nevada Getaway
  • TourCrafters Riviera Savings
  • Cathay Pacific All Asia Pass
  • Vacation Tips to Protect Home & Wallet
  • Buenos Aires and Iguazu Special
  • Search Engine Savings
  • History & Hospitality Along I-75 by Nicki Chodnoff
  • United Anniversary Sweepstakes

  • Hollywood's Designated Driver

    Visitors planning to bar-hop in Hollywood, CA can leave the designated driving to the new Holly Trolley, a bus that stops at several of Hollywood's hottest night spots.

    For $1, you can ride the Holly Trolley all night, embarking and disembarking as often as you like near clubs such as The Highlands, Mood and Avalon.

    The hot venues are scattered through the central Hollywood area and Hollywood Boulevard, from La Brea at the west end past Vine Street in the east.

    The trolley operates Thursday through Saturday (except designated holidays) from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., arriving at each stop in 12-minute intervals.

    Holly Trolley.


    Alaska Marine Highway Special Fares

    The Alaska Marine Highway System offers special summer fares for travel between select Alaskan ports. In Southeast Alaska, travel to and from Juneau and Pelican and Juneau and Bartlett Cove are offered at a 30 percent discount for one-way and roundtrip travel May 1 through Aug. 16.

    In Prince William Sound, travel between Cordova and Valdez, and Cordova and Whittier receive a 30 percent discount all summer long.

    The summer discounts apply to adult and child passenger fares, drive-on vehicles accompanying passengers, bicycles and kayaks. Discounted trips between Pelican and Juneau, and trips to and from Cordova are effective May 1 through Sep. 30. Ticket prices for the Bartlett Cove trips are effective May 1 through the Aug. 16.

    Reservations can be made online, in person at any Alaska Marine Highway terminal, or by phone.

    Alaska Marine Highway or 800/642-0066.


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    Discover Thailand Pass

    Thai International Airlines gives you the chance to see more of Thailand with a special pass where you can fly to three Thai cities for $169 US. The pass is in conjunction with international travel to/from and via Thailand. The international flight may be on any carrier and you must show the connected international tickets on demand. The pass price doesn't include applicable government fees and taxes.

    The sale is valid through Dec. 31, 2006. All travel must be completed by March 31, 2007 and the maximum stay is three months. From May 2006, the airline will operate direct flights from New York-JFK to Bangkok.

    The first three coupons for $169 can be used to fly economy class to any of Thai's domestic airports during a period of three months. Each additional flight coupon is $59 US with a maximum of eight coupons allowed.

    The Thailand pass for children ages two to 11years old offers a 50 percent discount. Infants not occupying a seat get a ticket for 10 percent of the adult fare.

    Thai International Airlines or 800/426-5204.


    Tips for Avoiding "Stomach Flu"

    Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that lasts one to two days may be symptoms of a highly contagious virus. It can disrupt a vacation or business trip, as many attendees of the American Medical Association (AMA) Alliance conference found. Attendees of the AMA Alliance National Leadership Development Conference, held at one of Chicago's finest hotels, became ill with what is known as Norovirus, the same virus that spread quickly on cruise ships a few years ago. It is frequently spread through improper food handling.

    Members of the AMA Alliance are primarily the spouses of the nation's physicians and recognize the importance of frequent hand washing, particularly during travel, where improper food handling or a lapse in hotel or restaurant sanitation procedures can lead to temporary health problems for visitors.

    The AMA Alliance encourages anyone who travels to wash their hands frequently. Below is advice from the Centers for Disease Control to prevent exposure to Norovirus:

    1. Frequently wash hands, especially after a visit to the restroom and after changing diapers.
    2. Carefully wash fruits and vegetables.
    3. Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach-based household cleaner immediately after an episode of illness.
    4. Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
    5. People infected with Norovirus should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for three days after the symptoms subside. Food contaminated by an ill person should be disposed of
    6. immediately.
    American Medical Association Alliance

    Brooklyn Pass

    Discover the diversity of destinations throughout Brooklyn with the Brooklyn Pass. The pass is a two-day passport to the borough's top attractions, priced at $25 for adults and $15 for children.

    The two-day pass includes admission to some of the area's top attractions, special offers, discounts on food and retailers, and a guide book with information in three languages (English, French and Spanish).

    Attractions and retailers participating in the pass include Astroland, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Barge Music, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, Deno's WonderWheel, Jewish Children's Museum, Junior's Restaurant, New York Transit Museum, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Carousel, Electric Boat and Lakeside Snack Bar, Prospect Park Zoo, and Weeksville Historic Hunterfly Road Houses.

    The Brooklyn Pass is available online and at the Brooklyn Tourism & Visitors Center at Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street.

    Brooklyn Pass.

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    Fr-ee Fun San Diego
    This savings-packed FR.EE brochure features almost 40 Fun, Fr-ee Things to do in San Diego. When heading to Southern California, attend concerts or visit a State Historic Park and keep that cash in your pocket.

    To get your Fr-ee Fun San Diego brochure, for a $1 handling fee, click here to send us an email.


    Free Air on European Cruises

    Discovery World Cruises offers free roundtrip economy class airfare from select East Coast cities. The promotion is offered on 10 Northern Europe cruises, departing roundtrip from Harwich, England, aboard the MV Discovery. Each voyage is packaged with a two-night hotel stay in London prior to departure.

    Non East Coast travelers are offered add-on fares of $99 from the Central U.S. and $199 from the West Coast. The MV Discovery is a mid-sized ocean liner with 351 staterooms and suites; three restaurants; five lounges; a movie theater; well-stocked library; casino; Internet center; full spa; exercise gym; two swimming pools, including one beneath a retractable roof; and two Jacuzzis.

    Eligible Northern Europe itineraries include:

    The 11-day Norwegian Fjords, departing May 24, 2006. Rates from $1,985 per person, double occupancy.

    16-day Baltic Capitals, departs May 31. Rates from $3,295 p.p.d.o.

    14-day Land of the Midnight Sun, departs June 12. Rates from $2,950 p.p.d.o.

    18-day Baltic Discovery, departs June 22. Rates from $3,695 p.p.d.o.

    16-day Fjords, Faroes, Fire & Ice, departs July 6. Rates from $3,295 p.p.d.o.

    12-day Norwegian Explorer, departs July 18. Rates from $2,450 p.p.d.o.

    15-day Baltic Treasures, departs July 26. Rates from $3,095 p.p.d.o.

    22-day Iceland, Greenland & Ireland, departs Aug. 6. Rates from $4,450 p.p.d.o.

    11-day Discovering the Fjords, departs Aug. 24. Rates from $2,195 p.p.d.o.

    18-day St. Petersburg & Northern Capitals, departs Aug. 31. Rates from $3,450 p.p.d.o..

    Discovery World Cruises or 866/623-2689.


    Triple Thrifty Miles on Delta

    Thrifty Car Rental offers triple miles with Delta Air Lines through May 31, 2006. Delta SkyMiles members who rent a mid-size car or larger vehicle for two days or more during the promotional period will earn triple miles of 150 miles per rental day (with a maximum of seven rental days) through May 31, 2006.

    A minimum two-day rental is required and is valid on reservations worldwide. Qualifying rentals must be booked online using PC Code DLT6. Cars must be picked up by May 31, 2006.

    This offer is only available on reservations booked online. Triple miles will only be awarded for a maximum of seven days per rental. Other restrictions may apply.

    Thrifty Car Rental


    Free Air, 10% Off British Isle Cruises

    Peter Deilmann Cruises offers Americans three cruises to the British Isles on the MS Deutschland with free air and 10 percent off cabin rates. The 11- to 14-night sailings feature England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and depart May 26, Aug. 12 and Sept. 10. Passengers can fly free roundtrip from 16 U.S. cities and save up to $1,248 on the cruise rates.

    The free roundtrip air is available from New York and 15 eastern U.S. gateways. Air supplements from 19 Midwest cities cost $60 to $70 and $150 to $170 from 13 cities in the West. For passengers who arrange their own airfare, there is a $750 reduction off the cruise fare.

    An added attraction for U.S. travelers, these cruises offer a 50 percent reduction on pre-arranged English-language shore excursions and free airport/ship transfers. Reduced prices on these cruises begin at $3,894 per person double occupancy for an 11-night sailing while single staterooms start at $4,323 including air transportation.

    The 520-passenger, MS Deutschland offers a two-to-one passenger-to-crew ratio. The ship has outdoor and indoor swimming pools, three sun decks with teak deck chairs, an open-air promenade deck, fitness center, exercise and dance classes, sauna, solarium, Turkish bath and putting green, spa and fitness center, three restaurants and an outdoor dining terrace.

    Peter Deilmann Cruises or 800/348-8287.


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    There's no mistaking your luggage with the Face-It Luggage Tag. The durable, laminated tag displays your face and the phrase "This Face Belongs With This Luggage."

    A Face-It Luggage tag makes it less likely for a stranger or thief to walk off with your luggage and helps you recognize your luggage at a glance in hotels or airports. Face-It Tags are also available for briefcases, portfolio books, backpacks, sporting equipment, musical instruments, bicycles and more. Face-It Luggage Tags.



    American Airlines Sweepstakes

    American Airlines says "Surf's Up!" with its "Ultimate Surf Destination" sweepstakes. American teams with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to offer six grand-prize winners a seven-night cruise for two on Royal Caribbean's new Freedom of the Seas plus transportation on American Airlines.

    Three winners will also receive a four-night Royal Caribbean cruise for two plus air travel on American Airlines, and one winner will receive an AA.com customized surfboard with roundtrip airfare for two on American to any domestic surfing destination.

    No purchase is necessary to win. Through Apr. 30, 2006, when you purchase a ticket at American's website online and fly by May 31, 2006, you will automatically be entered in the sweepstakes. You can also receive entries by filling out the sweepstakes registration form online and by referring friends to check out the promotion. The total number of possible entries is three.

    Complete rules and sweepstakes details.



    Airline Consumer Complaints Up in Dec. 2005

    U.S. airlines experienced a higher rate of flight delays, more reports of mishandled baggage and a higher number of complaints about airline service in December 2005 than in December 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report .

    According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the 20 airlines reporting on-time performance recorded an on-time arrival rate of 77.4 percent in 2005, down from 78.1 percent in 2004. These carriers also recorded a rate of 6.04 reports of mishandled baggage per 1,000 passengers, up from 2004's rate of 4.91. The Department received 8,735 complaints from consumers about airline service, up 17.2 percent from 2004's total of 7,452 complaints.

    The report also includes data on the causes of flight delays and cancellations, consumer disability and discrimination complaints, oversales ("bumping") during the fourth quarter and January-December 2005, and incidents involving pets traveling by air.

    December Flight Delays - the carriers reporting on-time performance posted a 71 percent on-time arrival record in December, down from December 2004's 71.6 and November 2005's 80 percent marks.

    Causes of Flight Delays - 9.46 percent of flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 7.48 percent in November; 8.18 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 5.21 percent in November; 8.06 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.41 percent in November; 1.13 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.69 percent in November; and 0.10 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.03 percent in November.

    Weather is a factor in the extreme-weather and aviation-system categories. This includes delays due to re-routing flights by DOT's Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the carriers involved. Weather is also a factor in delays attributed to late-arriving aircraft, although airlines do not report specific causes in that category.

    Mishandled Baggage - U.S. carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 7.73 reports per 1,000 passengers in December, down from December 2004's 9.11 but up from November 2005's 5.00 rate.

    Bumping - In 2005, the U.S. carriers had a bumping rate of 0.89 per 10,000 passengers, slightly higher than the 0.86 rate for 2004. For the fourth quarter of 2005, the carriers recorded a bumping rate of 0.83 per 10,000 passengers, down from the 0.90 rate recorded during the fourth quarter of 2004.

    Incidents Involving Pets - carriers reported one incident involving pets while traveling by air, involving the loss of a pet, down from the two incidents reported in November. Carriers first began reporting pet incidents in May 2005.

    Complaints About Airline Service - the department received 640 complaints about airline service from consumers, down 34.6 percent from the 979 complaints filed in December 2004 but up 22.1 percent from the524 received in November 2005.

    Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers - the Department received 30 disability-related complaints in December, down 30.2 percent from the 43 filed in December 2004 but 7.1 percent more than the28 complaints filed in November 2005. In 2005, the Department received 507 disability-related complaints, a decrease of 3.4 percent from the 525 received in 2004.

    Complaints About Discrimination - the Department received 13 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability, such as race, religion, national origin or sex, the same number as in December 2004, but up from the four filed in November 2005. In 2005, the department received 128 discrimination complaints, up 8.5 percent from the 118 received in 2004.

    Highest On-Time Arrival Rates
    1. Hawaiian Airlines 94.2 percent
    2. Independence Air 78.7 percent
    3. America West Airlines 78.5 percent

    Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates
    1. JetBlue Airways 63.7 percent
    2. Atlantic Southeast Airlines 65.4 percent
    3. Northwest Airlines 65.6 percent

    Most Frequently Delayed Flights
    1. Atlantic Southeast flight 4148 Dallas-Fort Worth to Salt Lake City late 100%
    2. Southwest Airlines flight 3462 Houston Hobby Airport to New Orleans late 100%
    3. Southwest Airlines flight 2030 New Orleans to Houston Hobby Airport late 95.83%
    4. American Airlines flight 795 Miami to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands late 94.12%
    4. American Eagle Airlines flight 4685 New York JFK to Chicago late 94.12%
    4. Northwest Airlines flight 97 Minneapolis-St. Paul to Honolulu late 94.12%
    4. SkyWest Airlines flight 6171 Sacramento, CA to San Francisco late 94.12 %
    4. SkyWest Airlines flight 5814 from Birmingham, AL to Chicago late 94.12%

    Highest Rates of Canceled Flights
    1. American Eagle Airlines 3.9 percent
    2. SkyWest Airlines 3.3 percent
    3. Atlantic Southeast Airlines 3.3 percent

    Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights
    1. Hawaiian Airlines 0.0 percent (Hawaiian canceled one flight in December)
    2. Frontier Airlines 0.3 percent
    3. JetBlue Airways 0.3 percent

    File your complaints in writing with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, Room 4107, 400 7th St., S.W., Washington, DC 20590; by e-mail at airconsumer@dot.gov; by voice mail at 202/366-2220 or by TTY at 202/366-0511.

    The Air Travel Consumer Report



    $49 Nevada Getaway

    The City Center Motel in Carson City, NV offers a $49 per night, per couple package that's hard to beat.

    For your $49 you get a night's stay, two $7 restaurant coupons, four cocktails, four $1.50 keno credits and four $1 gaming tokens for the Carson Nugget.

    You can sign up for a free Prospector's Club card at the club booth to receive "getaway" coupons. When you use the Prospector's Club card, you earn cash and other rewards.

    800/338-7760 ask for Prospector's Club Getaway package.


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    Protect Luggage with Baggage Guard Seals

    The pre-numbered, one-time use plastic padlocks are the perfect way to protect your luggage since they cannot be reinstalled once removed. That feature lets you instantly know if someone tampered with your luggage. Yet when TSAs at airports need to inspect your luggage, Baggage Guard Seals can be easily removed. A package of 10 Baggage Guard Seals is still only $9.95.

    Click Here to Order from On The Go Publishing.


    TourCrafters Riviera Savings

    TourCrafters has special airfares for their "French Riviera Springtime" packages with prices starting at $527 from New York and Washington for air and land. Airfare add-on from other cities are Boston $12, Chicago/Miami/Orlando $70 and Houston $95.

    The packages include roundtrip airfare to Nice; three, four, five, six or seven overnights at the selected hotel; daily breakfast; and hotel service charges and taxes. Prices and dates depend on the hotel chosen (some are valid from May 9 to 24, others until June 5).

    The least expensive package is $527 for three nights at the two-star Comfort Hotel Nice Vieux Port, which is near Nice's old port. The most expensive is $1,175 for seven nights at the recently-renovated four-star Hotel Nice Riviera, in the town center. Other hotels are offered in Nice, Cannes, Antibes/Juan-les-Pins and Sainte Maxime.

    Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, are subject to availability and do not include airport taxes or fuel surcharges. Reservations must be paid for within 72 hours.

    The French Riviera boasts more than 120 perched villages that overlook the sea or valleys, art museums such as the Fondation Maeght in St. Paul de Vence, Picasso's pottery town of Vallauris, the perfume center of Grasse, Monte Carlo and its casino, and Nice's old town.

    TourCrafters or 800/482-5995.



    Cathay Pacific All Asia Pass

    Cathay Pacific offers its 2006 All Asia Pass, a convenient way to experience up to 18 Asian cities for one fare.

    Priced from $1,499 plus taxes, the All Asia Pass includes economy class airfare from Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Toronto to Hong Kong plus 21 consecutive days of travel to any or all 17 other popular Asian cities. Destinations include: Bali, Bangkok, Colombo, Fukuoka, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Nagoya, Osaka, Penang, Sapporo, Seoul, Singapore, Surabaya, Taipei and Tokyo. You can save more money by registering online as a Cathay Pacific CyberTraveler, which qualifies you and three companions for a $200 discount.

    All Asia Pass departures must occur between Feb. 15 and May 18, 2006 or Aug. 21 and Dec. 6, 2006. Summer travel and extension options up to 90 days are available for an additional fee. You also can upgrade to business class (on the transpacific flights) and select other cities in Asia and the South Pacific for an additional fee.

    Cathay Pacific.



    Vacation Tips to Protect Home and Wallet

    Before you hit the road, take a few extra precautions to keep your vacation from costing more than you'd bargained for.

    "You can save quite a bit of money by talking to your insurance agent before you rent a car," advises Mark Dombrowski of Erie Insurance. "In most cases, whatever coverage and deductibles you have on your own car would apply when you rent a car, providing you are using the car for pleasure and not for business."

    Erie Insurance recommends the following:

    If you leave your car at home, park it in the driveway to give the appearance that someone is home. Don't leave your garage door opener in the car.

    Have a neighbor set out the trash on normal collection days and bring in mail and packages daily. Make sure they place the pile of mail away from windows. If you will be gone for an extended period, arrange to have yard work or snow taken care of.

    If you have an alarm system, make sure it is in working order and set whenever anyone leaves your house. Use motion detectors on outdoor lighting and timers for indoor lights.

    Turn phone ringers down or off and don't change your answering machine message to announce you are out of town. Check in every few days to listen to your messages.

    When staying in a hotel, ask for rooms that open to interior hallways away from outside doors. Look for hotels with electronic key cards, which are reprogrammed for each new guest. Avoid taking your key card out in public places where it can be stolen.

    Do not keep money or jewelry in your checked luggage or in your hotel room. If possible, divide money up among the adults in case one is the victim of a pickpocket. Use travelers' checks during extended vacations whenever possible.

    Keep jewelry with you or secured in the hotel safe until you need it.

    Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the theft of personal possessions and damage to the home caused by a break-in. With replacement cost coverage, which is only about 10 percent more than actual cash value coverage, damaged property is replaced without deducting for depreciation.

    Erie Insurance Group



    Advertisement
    Cheap Tix Chart
    Buy Tickets at a Discount -- Special ticket outlets sell discounted day-of-performance tickets to theater productions, films, and sporting events. Discounts can be 50 percent or more. On The Go Publishing’s Cheap Tix Chart, still only $14, lists outlets in the U.S. and eight foreign cities that sell discounted, day-of-performance tickets. Click here to order the Cheap Tix Chart from On The Go Publishing.

    Buenos Aires and Iguazu Special

    Experience Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls in one vacation package from LANVACATION. The vacation special includes four nights in Buenos Aires, called the Paris of South America and then to Iguazu Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a two-night hotel stay to view nature's dramatic display of 275 waterfalls shaped by 120 million years of geological history.

    The Buenos Aires/ Iguazu special includes roundtrip air on LAN Airlines to Buenos Aires and between cities, transfers, four-night hotel accommodations in Buenos Aires, half-day city tour in Buenos Aires, two-night hotel accommodations in Iguazu, breakfast daily, and hotel taxes and service charges.

    Package price starts from $1229 from Miami and New York with travel valid Apr. 17 to June 17, 2006 and Aug. 16 to Dec. 9, 2006. Package price does not airport taxes and fees

    Other gateway add-ons include Boston/Philadelphia $15; Washington Dulles $40; Los Angeles/San Francisco $175; Atlanta/Dallas $185; Chicago $240; Detroit $320; and Portland/Seattle $350.

    LANVACATIONS or 800/435-3593.


    Search Engine Savings

    More than 20 Florida destinations and several in California offer savings on vacation rentals at Rentalo.com, an online search engine and directory for rental accommodations in the U.S. and abroad. Destinations with reduced rentals April through June include Marco, Sanibel and Anna Maria islands on Florida's West Coast and Palm Springs and Palm Desert in California.

    There's a 20.3 percent savings on Marco Island for a waterfront four-bedroom, two-bath house with heated swimming pool for $166 per night with a six-night minimum rental.

    On Sanibel Island, a one-bedroom apartment at a beach and tennis resort is $100 nightly, a 21.3 percent discount, for a seven-night stay June 3-30.

    On Anna Maria Island, a beachfront two-level, two bedroom apartment with two baths is $114 per night, a 20 percent savings, for a seven-night stay Apr. 30 through May 28.

    In Palm Desert, CA, a two-level condo with two bedrooms and three baths overlooking the Shadow Mountains is $250 per night Apr. 5 to 29, a 26 percent reduction.

    Rentalo's free online directory provides quick access to 120,000 rentals in 15,000 destinations worldwide. Savings are up to 80 percent off published rates on rentals at many destinations.

    Rentalo or 877/710-5914.



    History and Hospitality Along I-75 -- article and photos by Nicki Chodnoff

    Cumberland Gap National ParkThe Bluegrass State's legacy of horses, history, and hospitality started in the high Appalachian peaks. In what is now the far southeast corner of Kentucky, pioneers crossed the forbidding Alleghenies via the Cumberland Gap and the Wilderness Road, the first doorway to the west. Once through the gap, much of the pioneers' progress parallels today's I-75, the major north/south interstate that bisects the state. This makes Cumberland Gap National Historical Park one of the most important historical sites and scenic sites in Kentucky.

    Once in the park, start at the visitor center and give it, along with the movie theater and crafts' shop, at least an hour. "Imagine woods bison, wild turkey, deer and plentiful game roaming freely along the Wilderness Road and what is now the national park," said Park Ranger Carol Borneman. "That's what Daniel Boone found on the trail that eventually became the Wilderness Road, when he was hired to guide John Findley and find a viable route into the country's interior." That wilderness is still evident when you consider 14,000 of the park's 20,500 acres are pristine. You can get a glimpse of the pristine on park ranger-led tours to the Hensley settlement, to see how the self-sufficient Hensley and Gibbon families lived. Rangers also lead visitors on a two-hour Gap Cave tour that explores four levels of the underground cave. On your own, you can explore 55 miles of hiking trails, where you can still see the White Rocks outcropping, a sign to pioneers on the Wilderness Road that they only had one more day of travel before reaching the Cumberland Gap.

    Along the I-75 corridor, there is an incredible diversity of scenic and manmade attractions.

    Two miles from the Cumberland Gap, in Harrogate, TN, the Abraham Lincoln Museum serves as a memorial to the 16th President. At the main entrance to Lincoln Memorial University, the museum houses one of the largest and most complete Lincoln and Civil War collections in the country. It's definitely a hidden treasure for Civil War buffs. The University was founded by Union General Oliver Otis Howard, fulfilling President Lincoln's desire to help the people of East Tennessee who remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War. The museum exhibits rare items such as the silver-topped cane Lincoln carried the night of his assassination, a lock of Lincoln's hair clipped on his death bed, and two life masks. In all, more than 20,000 books, manuscripts, photographs, paintings and sculptures tell the story of Lincoln and the Civil War.

    Glacier Girl"Glacier Girl," a P-38 fighter that went down in World War II, is the star of the Lost Squadron Museum in Middlesboro, Kentucky. In 1942 while flying in Operation Bolero, the planes were forced to land on a Greenland glacier. The 25 Army Air Corps crewmen were rescued, but six P-38s and two B-17s were buried under ice. By 1992, when Project Manager Bob Cardin got the recovery going, the aircraft were buried under 268 feet of ice. A heated probe bore a hole through the ice to "Glacier Girl." Once there, crew members descended down the hole and carved out the plane, which was moved to Middlesboro, KY for restoration. Now director of the Lost Squadron Museum, Cardin proudly points out "Glacier Girl" is the only World War II era aircraft with its original engine and propellers.

    Heading north on I-75 to Renfro Valley, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum pays homage to the Kentucky's talented sons and daughters, past to present. In the heart of the state's traditional country music, Renfro Valley became a mecca for music lovers in 1939 when valley native John Lair started the Saturday night barn dance and radio show. Now the museum, located in the renovated Lair stables with a rustic and down-home ambience, honors musicians from diverse genres including opera, rock, blue grass and blues.

    Next to the museum, John Lair's creation, now the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, still broadcasts one of the oldest radio shows in the country. It features a variety of weekly live performances, among the most popular are the Headliner Concert Series. The complex includes Bittersweet Cabin Museum and village, and shops that sell everything from fresh-ground cornmeal to hams, T-shirts, and CDs. The Lodge Restaurant, across the street from the performance area, serves tasty country cooking and gets diners out in time to see the show.

    Kentucky Artisan CenterShopping begins on the 16-mile approach to Berea, as flea markets line U.S. 25 from Renfro Valley north. You'll hit more than 155 antique shops, 40 craft shops and the new Kentucky Artisan Center on the way to and in Berea. The plethora of artisans and antiques validate the town's long-time reputation as Kentucky's "Crafts Capital," a designation bestowed by the Kentucky Legislature.

    Berea is home to Berea College, a liberal-minded institution founded in 1855 by Abolitionist John Fee. Walk around campus and you'll realize the college and town are as pretty as the crafts made here. Lincoln Hall, an architectural replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Today, financially-strapped students work up to 15 hours per week in one of the college's industries, instead of paying tuition. As part of this program, they create fine furniture, woven items, ceramics, brooms, and wrought-iron pieces. Once the college's weaving headquarters, the 1917 Log House is a showcase for the hand-made goods the students and other artisans create. Upstairs, the Wallace Nutting Furniture Museum gives you a peek at the original Early American styles that Berea College students reproduce from local wild cherry and black walnut.

    The Appalachian community and the nearby hills and countryside are home to dozens of artisans, some producing museum quality art pieces such as Warren May. Stop into his woodworking shop in the College Square cluster and Warren will gladly give you a dulcimer lesson on one of his custom made instruments or tell about the Kentucky-style marquetry he puts on his handmade sideboard. May's been creating wooden furniture with distinctive beading or Appalachian details for 25 years. "I really enjoy making one piece of furniture from one piece of wood, " said May. While at College Square, in the heart of picturesque Berea, stay (or at least eat) at historic Boone Tavern.

    Churchill WeaversSeveral streets away from College Square, you'll find the looms and shuttles of Churchill Weavers, America's largest and foremost hand-weaving studio. Since 1922, the soft yarns and fine workmanship have distinguished the Churchill line. You can still watch weavers at work, their feet and hands nimbly caressing the shuttles on their looms. Over the years, Churchill Weavers woolen baby blankets, couch throws, neck ties, and ladies accessories have been coveted by stars, nobility and ordinary people who crave quality. The expert weavers even produced a special coveralls material for NASA's space program.

    Heading north to Nicholasville, Camp Nelson Heritage Park was once the federal quartermaster and commissary depot and one of the country's largest training centers for U.S. Colored Troops. Founded and constructed by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's 9th Corps of the Army of Ohio in June 1863, the 4000-acre facility was also a self-sufficient refugee camp, with indoor plumbing, serving up to 3,000 people at a time. Of the 300-some structures that were on the property, the buggy shed and the White House only remain. Now open to the public, the White House served as officers' quarters during the war. A residence before and after the war, Mary Kozak, Jessamine County project director, said family life at the White House depicts the time when it was used as a military headquarters. The now 408-acre heritage park includes a 1.2-mile interpretive trail with signs about area history.

    For more information about the sights around Kentucky's I-75 corridor, contact the Southern & Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Assoc. or 877-TOUR-SEKY.



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    Information & Credits

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