In This Issue:

FEATURED TRIP: Great Western Explorer
CRUISE OF THE MONTH: Passage to British Honduras
JOURNEY OF THE MONTH: Great Canadian Pacific
BEHIND THE SCENES: To Be At Sea
THE WAY IT WAS: Chicago’s Union Station
PHOTO OF THE MONTH: Red Cliffs Lodge
DID YOU KNOW? Soaring Imaginations in Seattle
HISTORIC SNAPSHOT: Boston’s Finest
A TASTE FOR TRAVEL: Huckleberry Cobbler Cake
TRAVEL TIPS: The Perfect Day in Chicago
NATIONAL PARK TRIVIA: Going to the Sun Highway
IN YOUR OWN WORDS: Guests Speak Up

 

EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR NEWSLETTER READERS

FREE NIGHT IN NEW YORK! Receive a free pre-trip hotel night in New York prior to our 13-day Journey to Atlantic Canada cruise/train tour departing September 24! Note that this is an EXCLUSIVE offer that is made available ONLY to subscribers of this e-newsletter and must be redeemed by calling Uncommon Journeys at 1-800-323-5893. This offer expires Friday, July 31.



Featured Trip

 Great Western Explorer

Our 14-day Great Western Explorer train tours departing May 14 and October 22, 2016 are some of our most sought-after trips, melding the very best of the west with private train travel. While biased, we think that our new Vista-Dome Great Western Explorer trip is a masterpiece, a visual feast offering up some of the most extraordinary sights of the American West, combined with exceptional sightseeing, superb hotels and a leisurely pace. This holiday is a trip of superlatives: from the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe to the overwhelming splendor of Hearst Castle, to the California Coast (which we travel alongside for 131 miles by train) to the awesome majesty of the Southwest, not to mention the incomparable Yosemite National Park. We have included such rare treats as a ride aboard the newly restored Virginia & Truckee Railroad into historic Virginia City, Nevada, steamship passage to the lovely Catalina Island and a visit to the famed Santa Monica Pier just to name just a few delights awaiting our guests. Naturally, all sightseeing and admission fees are included in the tour price as well as remarkable hotels like the Silver Legacy Resort in Reno (a two-night stay) and the legendary Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles (also two nights). Last but not least, there is a professional tour manager to handle all the details so that you may concentrate on the important matters like whether or not to enjoy the crab omelet or the fresh tuna at our lunch in quaint Morro Bay, California. In an age sadly filled with cramped flights without meal service where there is a charge for a pillow, our guests enjoy First Class sleeping car travel with beds and pillows! This way, you will have an up-close view of all of the majesty and beauty of the Great American West.

Sunset on the Great Western Limited.

• Our guests enjoy the stunning daylight passage through the Colorado Rockies over the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad ‘Main Line Through the Rockies’ and the glorious passage across the Navajolands of the Great Southwest. All meals, wine and spirits while aboard the Vista-Dome ‘Great Western Limited’ are included.
• Two-night stay in enchanting Santa Fe, New Mexico, with sightseeing and plenty of free time to explore this historic area.
• Fully hosted from start to finish by professional tour manager that handles all of the details.
• Superb hotels throughout including the Four-Diamond rated Silver Legacy Resort in Reno, and the opulent Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Notably, many of our hotel stays are two-nights long. Many meals ashore including breakfast daily.
• Extraordinary sightseeing like the storied Virginia & Truckee Railroad, a visit to Hearst Castle and Steamer passage to lovely Catalina Island are featured and all admission fees are included.
• A leisurely, relaxed pace with plenty of free time for you to enjoy as you wish.

Beginning at just $3,995 per person and offered twice only on May 14 and October 22, 2016, our 14-day Great Western Explorer journeys will sell quickly so call us at 1-800-323-5893 for more details.
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 Passage to British Honduras

Our 12-day Passage to British Honduras cruise/train tours departing December 3, 2015; March 17, 2016 and December 3, 2016 will take you to another world from Chicago to New Orleans to Belize and Mexico’s Yucatan. Join us on a journey from downtown Chicago to the jungles of Central America by vintage train and ocean liner! We begin in great comfort with an evening departure from the Windy City to New Orleans aboard the finest train in this country for decades, Pullman Rail Journeys’ superb overnight vintage train, followed by a two-night stay in New Orleans in the French Quarter before the centerpiece of our holiday, passage by ship to exotic Belize, formerly British Honduras, one of the most fascinating places on Earth. With the second longest barrier reef in the world, lush jungles filled with jaguars, ocelots and wild monkeys, Belize is a place of stunning natural beauty, famed for its breathtaking Mayan ruins, a 'must-see' sight for any traveler. Happily, Belize is not the only exotic port of call on our passage from New Orleans, we also visit Costa Maya in Mexico's Yucatan, popular Cozumel and delightful unspoiled Roatan, in Honduras, rarely visited by cruise ships and highly rated by our guests. After a relaxing voyage, our guests enjoy Pullman Rail Journeys private train after the cruise back to Chicago.

Quirky and eclectic New Orleans.

There can be no finer start to a vacation than the new Pullman Rail Journeys service from Chicago to the Crescent City with its carefully restored classic Pullman sleeping cars, deft service, traditional dining car meals and the best of everything, evoking a style and manner of travel that vanished in this country decades ago. In New Orleans, we enjoy a two-night hotel stay in the heart of the French Quarter with breakfast daily, a French Quarter sightseeing tour and, of course, a visit to famed Cafe du Monde for the best cafe au lait and beignets in the world. Our ship, the ms Norwegian Dawn, features 11 restaurants, 11 bars and lounges, an excellent spa and fitness center, a casino and acres of open deck space. Because Norwegian Cruise Line operates 'Freestyle Cruising' you may dine when you like, where you like, with whom you like, there is no required dress code and a level of personal choice on how you enjoy your vacation is offered.

• Overnight travel round-trip between Chicago and New Orleans aboard Pullman Rail Journeys stunning new Panama Limited service. All guests enjoy sleeping car travel with grand dining and traditional service by the Pullman Company on the finest train in this country for years. All meals, wines & spirits while aboard are included.
• Two-night stay in New Orleans at the superbly located Hotel Daphne Orleans in the French Quarter including complimentary breakfast daily and in-room Wi-Fi
• French Quarter sightseeing tour and visit to Café du Monde before we sail. We have intentionally left large blocks of free time for you to enjoy ‘The Crescent City'.
• 7-night West Indies cruise round trip from New Orleans aboard the Norwegian Dawn making calls at Costa Maya, Belize City, Roatan, and Cozumel. Naturally, all meals & entertainment are included.
• Hosted by professional tour manager with special cocktail parties & events throughout.

Beginning at just $2,895 per person, these 12-day Passage to British Honduras trips departing December 3, 2015; March 17, 2016; and December 3, 2016 are much more than just a standard cruise and train tour. Call us at 1-800-323-5893 for more details.
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 Great Canadian Pacific

Our 13-day Great Canadian Pacific cruise/train tour departing once-only on April 30, 2016 is a throwback to one of the greatest companies ever associated with train and ocean liner travel in the 20th century, a legacy that lives on today. No company had become more associated with a region than was Canadian Pacific Railway with the Canadian Rockies during the golden era of travel by train and ocean liner. Canadian Pacific Hotels spanned the Dominion of Canada from Victoria to Halifax and the three crown jewels in the Canadian Rockies were the fabled Banff Springs Hotel, the stunning Chateau Lake Louise and the stylish Jasper Park Lodge. On the western edge of British Columbia stood the legendary Empress Hotel in Victoria, the final outpost of Canadian Pacific Hotels. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we have tailored a Springtime holiday to the Canadian Rockies that features four great Canadian Pacific Hotels, along with a short but sweet ocean voyage and travel aboard the last great train in North America, Via Rail Canada's iconic domeliner Canadian. All at the perfect time of the year when crowds are less, spring wildflowers are abundant and waterfalls are roaring. This is an elegant vacation with many nice touches, from a tour to the wine country during our port call in San Francisco, to special cocktail parties aboard the ship to Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. Naturally, there is a tour manager to handle all of the details so that you may relax with time to take that perfect photo or enjoy the second scone at afternoon tea.

Princess follows in the coastal wake of Canadian Pacific.

Our holiday begins in Los Angeles with a special sailing day luncheon aboard the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach, a fitting start to a nostalgic journey. We then board the spacious and comfortable Crown Princess of Princess Cruises for a rare six-day Pacific Coastal voyage that includes a full 16 hour visit to San Francisco, an usual port call in Astoria, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River and best of all, a full 16 hour visit to Victoria, British Columbia with time not only for the Empress Hotel but Butchart Gardens, shopping and sightseeing as well. After the relaxing ocean voyage, we offer the scenic passage from Vancouver to Jasper with the Rockies segment timed for daylight viewing aboard Via Rail's 'Canadian' with its classic Vista-Dome cars, comfortable Pullman sleeping cars, excellent dining and the fabled end of train 'Park Car' with its Mural and Bullet Lounges. There is simply no finer way to see the Canadian Rockies.

  • Six-night voyage from Los Angeles to Vancouver aboard the Crown Princess of Princess Cruises with a full day visit to San Francisco, as well as Astoria, Oregon and Victoria, British Columbia in addition to superb ocean travel.
  • Superb shore excursions including the Napa Valley and Sausalito during our call in San Francisco and Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria are included.
  • Travel aboard Via Rail's Vista-Dome Streamliner Canadian from Vancouver to Jasper in First Class sleeping accommodations including meals.
  • Six days in the Canadian Rockies with one night each in Jasper and Lake Louise and three nights in Banff.
  • Travel through the Columbia Icefields Parkway with a special Sno-Coach ride atop the Athabasca Glacier.
  • Complete sightseeing in the Rockies including Maligne Canyon, Peyto Lake, Banff Hot Springs and a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain.
  • Grand dining including Le Beaujolais in Banff and breakfast at the storied Chateau Lake Louise Hotel the morning we visit this most photographed lake.
  • Professional and experienced tour host from Uncommon Journeys.
  • Free or low-cost train travel to Los Angeles and the start of the trip.

Our 13-day Great Canadian Pacific cruise/train tour embarks on April 30, 2016 and features only one departure. With a price beginning at just $4,695, it’s sure to be the hottest ticket in town. Call us at 1-800-323-5893 for more details.
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  To Be At Sea

A rainbow is an unexpected surprise.

When you vacation with Uncommon Journeys, you know you’re going to get a special vacation, but even we can’t claim credit for the romance of the sea. There is something about the crisp smell of the ocean, the primordial sense that these bodies of water existed billions of years before man, and the understanding that seas are the world’s highways and the great explorers such as Magellan and Columbus were the pioneers who led the way so very long ago.

Those thoughts brought our President, Kevin Tam, back to his first cruise on Holland America Line. He was headed south into the Caribbean, much like our current 12-day Passage to British Honduras cruise/train tours, and it was pitch black. No moon could be seen at all. He had climbed to the highest deck on the ship, far above the lighted pool area so there was no light pollution. He gazed out upon a canopy of stars. It was more than a canopy, really. It was an unbroken dome of diamonds, each glittering with a different intensity, which extended down to the black surface of the midnight sea itself. In fact, the only possible way to tell where the sky stopped and the sea began was to identify the sharp line where the stars disappeared. That was the horizon.

In this peaceful, perfect world, he noticed far ahead that there were red lights moving in the sky. At first he thought they were falling stars, much like he had been seeing streak across the sky all night. However, these pinpoints of light weren’t falling but, rather, rising into the sky. They were orange with a bluish tinge. He was riveted in place, fascinated by this strange display of nature.

As time passed and the ship hissed and foamed through the dark sea, the movement of the stars seemed deliberate and he noticed below them a handful of steady light moving across the horizon. It seemed bizarre but as the ship drew closer, he realized that the moving lights were airplanes, way out in the middle of the Caribbean. He couldn’t figure out what they were doing until he realized that the orange/blue glow would rise into the sky and then wink out as if a switch had been thrown. A black shape below the lights began to blot out the stars closest to the horizon.

Slowly it dawned on him that the black shape was an aircraft carrier and the orange/blue stars were the afterburners of F-14 Tomcats blasting off the deck and into the sky. Remarkably, his ocean liner pulled alongside the black silhouette of the aircraft carrier and the colorful stars were heard for what they were: the roaring jet exhaust of the warplanes hurtling upward. There he was, standing atop an ocean liner while most of his fellow guests slept, his ship knifing through the Caribbean on a moonless night, soaking in the serenity and beauty of nature and the ocean, and yet the men and women serving the United States were there, almost close enough to touch. These men and women were everywhere around the world, quietly going about the business of protecting and preserving the freedom of all Americans. It was a glimpse behind the scenes of something completely unexpected that he would never forget.

The romance of the sea and ocean liner cruising are part of our 17-day Yosemite to Denali cruise/train tour departing August 10, 2015; our 7-day Holiday with the Queen cruise tour departing July 29, 2015; our 11-day West Coast Swing cruise/train tour departing September 23, 2015; our 13-day Journey to Atlantic Canada cruise tour departing September 24; our 12-day Elegant Palm Springs cruise tour departing November 1, 2015; our 16-day Canada and New England with the Queen cruise tour departing September 26, 2015; our 20-day Hawaii Calls cruise tour departing November 25, 2015; our 12-day Passage to British Honduras cruise/train tours departing December 3, 2015, March 17, 2016 and December 1, 2016; and our 13-day Great Canadian Pacific cruise/train tour departing April 30, 2016.
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Chicago’s Union Station

The grand entrance to the trains.

Like many train stations of the era, Chicago’s Union Station was not the first to bear the name. In fact it’s the second and possibly the third station of that name built in the area. The first opened in 1881 and consolidated the operations of the Chicago and Alton Railroad, the Michigan Central Railroad, the Pennsylvania Company and both the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad as well as the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway but before the building could open, the Michigan Central backed out.

However, the rapid growth of Chicago in the latter part of the 19th century and the impracticality of having multiple railroad stations led to the dream of truly consolidating all rail operations in the city. The Chicago Union Station Company was formed to achieve that dream. Architect Daniel Burnham provided the design but would never live to see the building finished. Construction began in 1913 but it took a dozen years until Chicago Union Station finally opened its doors in 1925 although exterior work on the rails and roads around the station went on for another couple of years. The giant Beaux-Arts structure was a labor of love, its creation slowed by World War I and a construction cost soaring into the millions of dollars.

But the result was – and is – striking. The Great Hall has been named by some as one of the greatest such public spaces in the country. Inside are not just a cascade of staircases, balconies, open spaces and waiting areas; there are vaulted skylights, statues, ornate lighting and a concourse next to the river.

The station thrived throughout the 1920s and 1930s and with outbreak of World War II and the need to move soldiers across the country to training bases and for shipment overseas, Chicago became an important transfer point. During the height of the war, roughly 100,000 people and 300 trains passed through the building. For sake of comparison, that’s an annual total that is almost half the number of people who pass through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, a far, far larger building complex.

But with the advent of airliners in the 1950s, the interstate highway system in the 1960s and Amtrak in the 1970s, traffic declined precipitously at Union Station. Portions of the building were given over to office development and in 1991, the Great Hall was renovated. Unbelievably, the airy skylight had been covered over in black paint during World War II in case of air raids yet nearly 50 years later, had not yet been restored to its 1925 glory. The skylight now floods the Great Hall with sunlight but the massive station continues to undergo restoration. Passenger numbers are soaring, with over 50,000 people passing through each day.

For Uncommon Journeys’ guests, it’s like stepping back in time. While 6,000 of those 50,000 people a day are boarding Amtrak trains, only a few dozen once a week or so are boarding our private Great Western Limited restored Vista-Dome Streamliner train. Even without knowing the history of this great building, it is a grand start to a memorable vacation.
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Red Cliffs Lodge

Rockland’s bustling main street.

When you vacation with Uncommon Journeys, you’re assured of stylish, historic, interesting, convenient and memorable hotel stays. However, there is one place that our guests can’t seem to get enough of and which is a highlight of our 14-day 2016 Best of the West train trips which depart August 9 and September 6. Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah stands out as a true slice of heaven on a trip that includes visits to Arches, Canyonlands, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier national parks along with travel to and from Chicago on our private restored Vista-Dome Streamliner train, the Great Western Limited.

Red Cliffs Lodge is nestled on the Colorado River directly across from towering red cliffs from which the resort takes its name. Accommodations are individual cabins that are full suites with living area, eating area, kitchenette, spacious bathroom, fireplace and one or two bedrooms. Inside the main lodge building you’ll find the Moab Movie Museum which chronicles the surprisingly vibrant history of movies filmed in the region, along with costumes and other items actually used in many of the films. Upstairs with a terrace overlooking the river and a stunning view of the sunrise is the Cowboy Grill with a menu that boasts of a distinctive Western touch. Also part of the Red Cliffs Lodge are horse stables, a pool and fully-equipped gymnasium, comfortable community gathering area and the Castle Creek Winery, the biggest in Utah. There is a special wine tasting and tour just for Uncommon Journeys guests, followed by an authentic cowboy dinner in a special event space above the bottling area.

You easily can see why two nights at the lodge is one of the highlights of a trip already chock full of extraordinary experiences. Ready to join us?

If you’d like to see a photo from one of your own Uncommon Journeys trips featured in our newsletter, just email it to us at uncommon@uncommonjourneys.com and be sure to note in your email that we can use it for marketing purposes.
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Soaring Imaginations in Seattle

Air Force One is a centerpiece of the Museum of Flight

There was a time not all that long ago when flying was special. Back in the 1950s and 1960s to travel by air was an elegant affair. Men wore suits, ties and hats, ladies donned nice dresses and gloves, flight attendants were known as stewardesses and provided exemplary service, meals were hot and tasty, children could visit the cockpit, there were no security lines and airports weren’t crowded. It might have cost far more to travel in those days (taking into account inflation), but it was a special experience.

There’s still a place that captures that excitement. The Museum of Flight in Seattle is, in our opinion, easily one of the finest aviation museums in the United States. The main hall is an enormous glass-enclosed spaced with dozens of planes, some as large as a DC-3 airliner, hanging from the ceiling. There’s a massive room dedicated to World War I with aircraft on the floor and hanging from the rafters and another much larger one profiling World War I. The original red barn in which the Boeing Company began is incorporated into the complex with exhibits detailing the history of the company. A covered walkway takes visitors across the street to a huge space pavilion with a space shuttle mock-up that was used for training astronauts and next door a covered airpark is under construction which, when finished, will be so vast that it will house the world’s first 747, the first 737, the first 727, the first 787 Dreamliner, a 707 used as Air Force One, a Concorde, a Lockheed Constellation airliner, and a dozen smaller craft as well. It is a massive and impressive facility that tells the story of flight in a way that reminds us of the wonder, the beauty and achievements rather than the half-cans of soda, bags of peanuts and TSA body searches. We highly recommend letting your imagination soar in Seattle.

You can visit the Museum of Flight on any of our trips that include a stop in Seattle, such as our 17-day Yosemite to Denali cruise/train tour departing August 10.
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Boston’s Finest

The history of the US Navy is still afloat.

Here at Uncommon Journeys we love hearing from our guests. We love the notes about our tour managers, your favorite sights and your overall impressions of our trips. But most of all, we love getting photos and recently one of our guests sent us some terrific photos of Boston which is part of our upcoming 13-day Journey to Atlantic Canada cruise/train tour departing September 24.

It is with great pleasure that we offer a one-time only Fall Colors voyage to Canada and New England that combines our own special classic Streamliner train, the Montreal Limited, along with overnight stays in both Quebec City and Montreal in addition to an elegant cruise aboard the Eurodam of Holland America Line. In addition to some brilliant sightseeing and fine dining, our ports of call are superb and include Boston, Rockland, Canada’s Atlantic Provinces and Quebec.

I love all these destinations but there is something about the sense of history in Boston that is truly alluring. You can walk the Freedom trail and feel as if you’re standing in the midst of the Revolutionary War. But perhaps my favorite attraction is one that floats: the USS Constitution. She’s the 18th century sailing ship that we all read about as schoolchildren. Commissioned in 1797, her wooden hull was so think that cannonballs would bounce off the sides, earning her the nickname “Old Ironsides.” It is one thing to read about her, but an entirely different experience to walk her decks and imagine yourself in the midst of one of her many sea battles during the War of 1812. We invite you to experience the real thing during the Boston port of call on our 13-day Journey to Atlantic Canada cruise/train tour.
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Samuel Johnson

 

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” Samuel Johnson
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Huckleberry Cobbler Cake

Recipe courtesy of Uncommon Journeys guest Jim Lida

Whip up a tasty treat like you might find on the road in Montana. 

It's summer which means vacation travel and for us, that means train trips across the country, sampling the very best that America has to offer. Here’s a unique twist on Huckleberry Pie sent in by one of our loyal guests. It’s not quite a cake, it’s not really a pie but it is reminiscent of a cobbler. What there’s no debate about is that it’s delicious! Enjoy!

YIELD
8 to 10 servings

Ingredients
Crust/Topping

  • 1 egg
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (not the pudding kind)
  • 1 stick margerine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Cool Whip to taste
Filling
  • 4 pints fresh or frozen huckleberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
For topping, mix1 cup dry cake mix, ¼ cup sugar, ½ stick margarine and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together with steak knives until crumbly – set aside.  For crust, mix 1 egg, ½ stick melted margarine with remaining dry cake mix and press into bottom only (not the sides) of greased 9 x 13 pan.
For filling, bring all filling ingredients to boil in a saucepan over medium heat; stir until sugar melts.  Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.  Spoon huckleberry mixture over crust until 1 inch deep.  Sprinkle topping on top of filling and bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool for 10 or 15 minutes and refrigerate 5 hours.  Top with Cool Whip when serving.
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The Perfect Day in Chicago

The groovy Jelly Bean in Millennium Park.

Here at Uncommon Journeys, we schedule departures for our trips from a number of places but more city than any other, we routinely choose Chicago. It’s often called Second City because it was, until passed by Los Angeles a number of years ago, the second biggest city in the United States. We choose it as a base for train travel because of its importance as a rail hub, the ease of reaching Chicago from anywhere in North America, and because it is a truly beautiful city with a host of things to do.

Guests enjoy staying overnight in Chicago before the beginning of their trips with us and sometimes after as well. We get a lot of questions but one of the most frequently asked involves what to do for a day in Chicago. Indeed, if you could spend just one day in Chicago, what would constitute the perfect day?

The best way to start the day is with a hearty breakfast at Yolk on South Michigan Avenue where the omelets will blow you away but one of the most talked about items is the Pot Roast Benedict, a filling concoction of toasted English muffin, pot roast and two poached eggs and topped with Yolk’s famous homemade hollandaise. Add a cranberry walnut orange muffin on the side, and I guarantee it’s a meal you’ll be telling your grandchildren about!

Next, walk a few blocks north along Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park and enjoy the sculptures and the view of the surrounding skyscrapers (only New York has more). The most popular work of art is what is often called the “Jelly Bean,” an enormous blob of reflective, polished metal that you can walk around and under which distorts the view of Chicago and of its tourists with its curved walls. The 110-ton sculpture is the work of Anish Kapoor and is formally known as Cloud Gate.

Just south of Millennium Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, your next stop. It is a sprawling and impressive complex with numerous exhibitions and fascinating artwork. Art lovers can stay here and lose themselves for the rest of the day and be perfectly happy. But if you want to hit the highlights, make sure not to miss the classic painting of a dour farmer with a pitchfork standing next to his equally dour wife. The 1930 work American Gothic by Grant Wood captures the resilience of America during the Great Depression and is one of the most parodied works in the world.

For lunch, you need go no further than the stylish Museum Café right at the Art Institute of Chicago. It features a wide selection of various dishes from around the world. After your big breakfast, you might want to keep things light with some sushi, a charcuterie plate or a quinoa salad. It’s a bright and airy space that will leave you eager to see more of Chicago.

Walk north along Michigan Avenue and pop into the world famous shops on your way to the bridge over the Chicago River. Buy a ticket for the tour boat offering the architectural tour of Chicago and for the next couple hours, you’ll be whisked along the Chicago River, surrounded by skyscrapers, and learn the evolution of American architecture and the unique aspects of the towers that punctuate the Chicago skyline ranging from the ornate Water Tower to the imposing bulk of the Willis Tower.

Inspired by skyscrapers, head to the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center a few blocks north on Michigan Avenue and take a seat in the Signature Lounge for a craft beer or specialty cocktail with a view that will take your breath away. You’ll find yourself looking down on 70-story buildings and gazing past Navy Pier out into Lake Michigan as well as the sprawling street grid to the west.

Backtrack seven blocks south for dinner at Lawry’s The Prime Rib on East Ontario Street. This is a Chicago classic and you won’t forgive yourself if you’re in what was once the cattle and stockyard hub of the nation if you don’t try some of Lawry’s melt-in-your-mouth prime rib and a baked potato loaded with sour crème, chives, butter, cheese and crumbled bacon. Finish things off with a hot fudge sundae prepared tableside.

If you’re up for more fun, bring the perfect day in Chicago to a close with a night at The Second City, the famed improv haven where comedians perform impromptu skits based on audience suggestions and where comedy legends such as Alan Arkin, David Steinberg, Robert Klein, Fred Willard, Peter Boyle, John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Mike Meyers, Chris Farley, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Jane Lynch and Tina Fey all got their start.

And the best part of the perfect day in Chicago is that you know it’s part of the perfect train trip with Uncommon Journeys! >BACK TO NEWSLETTER

 

 




Going to the Sun Highway

The splendor of Glacier National Park.

While name might sound a bit awkward to say, the Going to the Sun Highway is something our returning guests can’t stop talking about. Completed in 1932, it is the only road traversing Glacier National Park. It crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and, with a length of 53 miles, is one of the few roads designated both a National Historic Landmark and Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. With only two lanes, it winds through the mountains and offers among the most spectacular views of any mountain road in America. You’ll note we visit in the summer because it takes an entire spring to clear the road of up to 80 feet of snow that has fallen during the winter. The road doesn’t open to the historic Red Jammer buses until June but is certainly worth the wait.

Like many protected lands in the Western United States, what is now Glacier National Park was home to Native Americans. The Blackfeet and Flathead tribes laid claim to opposite sides of the land. The area became a National Park in 1910 and a hotel and chalets were built by the Great Northern Railway, many of which are now on the National Register of Historic Places. Covering over a million acres, the park is the home to grizzly bears, mountain goats and wolverines. You might even see a lynx or two. Spanning two mountain ranges within the Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park has over 130 lakes, spectacular mountain vistas and is sometimes called the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem” thanks to its abundant flora and fauna. Within the park are specific ecosystems ranging from tundra and prairie to forests containing hemlock and red cedar.
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Guests Speak Up

“We recently (in early May 2015) took a trip through the Southwest with AAA Akron Auto Club. In Phoenix, we were connected with Tour Manager Conrad Tausend of your company. We were extremely pleased with the professionalism and knowledge throughout our trip. Conrad went over and above making our experience both educational and comfortable. Since this was our first trip through the Southwest, it was made thoroughly enjoyable. We would certainly have no hesitation in booking again with your company.”

-Joan and Tom D., Akron, Ohio

To submit your own comments about a trip and to be featured in our monthly newsletter, just email us.
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* Note that this is an EXCLUSIVE offer that is made available ONLY to subscribers of this e-newsletter and must be redeemed by calling Uncommon Journeys at 1-800-323-5893. This offer expires on Friday, July 31, 2015 and is only available for new bookings.