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Double A's, right this way! Virgin America today announced that they'll soon be flying to two new destinations starting with the letter "A," and that's about all they have in common.
First, we have Austin, Texas. This beautiful city is best known for keeping things weird, hosting SxSW, serving BBQ, and having live music every day of the week. “Austin and San Francisco share strong cultural and business links," says Virgin America CEO David Cush, and we couldn't agree more.
Between San Francisco Airport's free wifi at Terminal 2, the in-flight wifi on the plane, and the wifi at AUS it'll be like you never even left your office (so slipping away for a Texas stay is easy-peasy). Service to Austin from San Francisco is scheduled to begin May 21, 2013, with fares from $89 each way.
Beer brewed with spruce tips!
It makes sense that Alaska has a thriving craft economy; after all, you need something to do when you’re cooped inside during a long winter. But Alaska’s longtime embrace of environmentalism and local pride, combined with the state’s unique plants and materials, means you can get awesome stuff here that you might not be able to find anywhere else.
If you want to buy a stuffed whale or a totem key chain, there are plenty of places happy to help you with that. But for something truly local* and meaningful, here are a couple of suggestions:
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** UPDATE ** The mystery has been solved! You awesome readers reacted on Facebook and via email to say that the airplane above is a National Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation. Edgar van der Meer even pointed out this page on the airliner.
Dear fellow aviation geeks: Can you identify this airplane and its airline?
We have our theories, but the blurriness of this old Kodak print frustrates. Anyway, we recently came across a stash of someone's souvenirs from a late 1950s trip around Alaska. This was the only photograbbing our attention immediatelybut it was included with a program from an Alaskan cruise and a pamphlet from Mt. McKinley National Park, all from around 1957 (the season date on the McKinley pamphlet).
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Our favorite Idiot Abroad, Karl Pilkington, crossed whale watching in Alaska off the bucket list in this week's episode.
As usual, Ricky and Steve planned a few detours for Karl, including a hike through Heather Pass in the Arctic Circle. Karl was lead to a snowy cabin by his guide, Marty, who was incredibly patient considering Karl moved even slower than usual on his skis as he dragged along a sled that kept getting tangled. At one point Marty reassured Karl that it was all down hill from here, to which Karl replied, "since I got off the plane it's been down hill."
Today, Big Miracle opens in theaters across the country and the timing couldn't be better with Alaska's whale-watching season right around the corner.
The film, starring Drew Barrymore, is based on the real-life rescue of several gray whales near Barrow, Alaska in 1988. Barrymore plays a Greenpeace volunteer who, along with her reporter ex-boyfriend (John Krasinski), convinces rival world superpowers to come together and help save the whales.
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As you know we’re still in the first week of the new year, but there’s already a brand new volcano—complete with ash-cloud potential—getting ready to wreak havoc on air travel. Unlike the volcanoes over in Europe or down in South America, this one’s a little closer to home, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to pronounce.
Mount Cleveland—just rolls off the tongue—is located within the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska, and scientists believe that it’s getting ready to celebrate 2012 by starting to shake, rattle, and roll. Just over a week ago there was a little volcano hiccup that sent a whole bunch of ash and other particulate into the skies, but things quickly dissipated and flights weren’t really affected. The concern still remains, as the tippy top of the volcano is right in the way of one of the main commercial flight paths between North America and Asia.
We’re always intrigued by some of the air carriers based in Russia, so when we heard about Vladivostok Air bringing some flights to Alaska we just had to share. The airline is the new face of Russian aviation—at least according to their website—but they’ve actually been around for quite some time, doing their thing since the 1930s in one form or another.
Vladivostok Air is now planning weekly flights for a couple of months beginning next summer between Anchorage and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Sure it’s not Moscow or St. Petersburg, but a trip there will definitely get your friends to haul out the atlas and try to figure out where the heck the Kamchatka Peninsula is. Oh, and it’s pretty much Siberia, so there’s always that perk.
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Do you live in Alaska or are you moving there? Winter may be descending and bringing the cold and darkness along with it, but there's light for travelers! Alaska Airlines wants residents of the state to only think of them when it comes to booking flights, and so the airlines has just announced a new set of Alaskans-only perks.
It's called "Club 49," and members of Alaska's Mileage Plan frequent flyer program with an AK state code in their address can join it for freeright here. So what is Alaska Airlines giving to those who live way up north? Well, for starters, two free checked bags on each flight. That's pretty sweet and you save $20 per bag, sure, but we're also jealous of an annual gift of two certificates for 30% off one-way, full flex Y base fares, bookable within four days of the flight for last-minute getaways. The winter giving you seasonal depression? Time to use those passes for a long weekend in California.
Finally, Club 49 members will enjoy weekly fare sales to and from Alaska, specifically targeted at them. Again we're jealous, but not jealous enough to move across the country and northwards. Now if only JetBlue started a club just for New Yorkers...
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There's more bad news for Sarah Palin, who had to shut down her online map featuring gun crosshairs over Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Arizona district this weekend. Now her reality show has been canceled after only one season.
The show followed Palin and her family as they traveled to some of the most beautiful locations in the state. In this week's final episode, she rode a four-wheeler through Nome to an isolated stretch of beach where gold is often found.
But, despite the beautiful scenery, Palin also found herself under fire for hunting caribou with her dad and shooting guns with her kids, y'know, because nothing says family fun like a little bloodshed.
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Sure the majority of the holidays have come and gone, but that just means we need something new to entertain us until the summer warmth returns. There's still plenty of special winter beers and brews to sample, so here’s our picks for three festivals from which to take a sip or two this January.
· Denver’s Winter Brew Fest 2011:
Citizens of Denver know their beer, and they’re ready to celebrate their love of the sudsy stuff at the end of January. On Friday, January 28 the annual Winter Brew Fest is ready to welcome both craft brewers and mega breweries to Mile High Station to celebrate ales, lagers, and stouts. Expect at least 35 breweries from around the state, country, and world to bring over 90 different varieties of beverages to share. Best of all, some of the proceeds of your admission go to benefit the Swallow Hill Music Association.
Tickets are still available, but we’d act quickly, as we’re sure a beer festival in Colorado is guaranteed to sell out. Tickets are $30 in advance and include unlimited tastings of the festival’s best brews. You’ll even get a souvenir tasting glass that you’re free to stumble out the door with once you’ve had your fill. Of course there will be plenty of live music, great food, and other stuff for sale to help balance all the delicious beer samples.
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Whether you love her or hate her, you can't deny the impact Sarah Palin has had on Alaska, and its image. Now the state is hoping that influence will continue with her new reality series, Sarah Palin's Alaska.
The series features plenty of Palinisms, like in last night's episode when Sarah brags that her first baby shower was held at the shooting range and exclaims, "I love to share that story 'cause it gets the liberals all wee-wee-ed up." Aside from this, the show also highlights amazing treks through scenic Alaska.
If you’re looking for the ultimate designated driver, Alaska is where you’ll find one. The Alaska Railroad usually runs trains through the scenic mountains and rivers of Alaska, and this weekend they’ll be doing what they usually do; however, they’re adding a little more fun to their bar car. The Great Alaska Beer Train runs on Saturday, October 2, so you’ve only got a little more than a week to get up north.
Tickets are $159 per person, which is a little pricey, but that does include plenty of adult beverages as well as a pretty scenic ride through the wilderness. Your booze
cruise train will depart at 4pm, and then will travel around 80 miles from Anchorage to Portage. You’ll be back around 8:30pm, so be sure to have a taxi waiting to take you back to the hotel.