Back when Denver was nothing more than a small frontier town, a dusty outlier on a trodden trail, most people kept heading farther west. All that changed when the railroad laid tracks through the heart of town, transforming it into the largest stop between Chicago and San Francisco. By the 1860s the lure of gold and silver in the Rocky Mountains cemented Denver as a railroad hub. The Union Depot handled more than 200 trains per day during railroading’s golden age. Trains gave way to automobiles, eventually leading to traffic congestion, with smog as a byproduct. By 2004 fed-up voters approved a $4.7 billion funding initiative to streamline rail and commuter connectivity spanning eight counties — Denver’s bold vision to address downtown gridlock. That vision became reality April 22 when Denver joined the big “urban” league with inaugural rail service from the airport to downtown Denver in just more than 30 minutes. (RTD FasTracks is the regional transportation district and brainchild behind Denver’s transportation renaissance.) The former cow town now sports a modern-day public transportation marvel designed to meet the needs of its 21st-century citizens. Today Denver features an alluring harmony of cowboy beginnings fused with an edgy urban vibe capitalizing on mountain highs. Wesley Marshall, associate professor of civil engineering, University of Colorado at Denver, loves going to cities where one can easily get around without having to rent a car. “Denver is definitely beginning to move in that direction,” he says. “Beyond transit, downtown Denver has also pivoted into a city where walking and bicycling are quickly becoming great options. It’s easy to get access to the bike share system, and even if you need a car for a bit of time, there are now several car sharing services such as Lyft and Uber.” According to Marshall, Denver learned from other urban places by focusing on new mixed-use developments at TODs (transit-oriented development) along the new rail corridors. “However, I also feel like they’ve fallen into some of the same old traps, such as focusing a bit too much on trying to relieve traffic congestion — when that isn’t what transit is for — and in turn placing these rail lines along highways, which severely limits the TODs.”
Rail provides a more permanent economic solution to boosting a downtown renaissance, as people want to live by convenient rail stops. “Economic development seldom pops up due to a new bus stop, but rail stations — and the permanence of the tracks — make for a different story,” notes Marshall. Busy business travelers find air travel to Denver more convenient than ever. Ranked as the second-largest airport in the world by size, Denver International Airport handles more than 50 million passengers annually, making it the fifth-busiest airport in the United States. DEN boasts non-stop service from 24 international destinations in 10 countries. New 2016 Denver routes include Virgin America’s link to San Francisco (SFO), Sun Country Airlines’ daily non-stop service to Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), Lufthansa’s non-stop flight to Munich (MUC) and Air Canada’s non-stop service to Montréal (YUL). Other airlines currently connect through Denver, including Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Great Lakes Aviation, Icelandair, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines and Volaris. The Westin at Denver International Airport opened November 2015, epitomizing the trend of travelers with air connections seeking the convenience of staying overnight at the airport. Guests access the hotel on the south side of Jeppesen Terminal on Level 5. Looking like gigantic glass wings, the architecture’s distinctive and bold design reaches forward to the future, suggesting a new chapter for Denver’s groove. From a platform under The Westin, catch the 24-mile rail line to downtown’s Union Station. Completely restored in 2014 and decorated in the lavish Beaux-Arts style, Denver Union Station once again serves as a transportation hub and houses the stately 112-room Crawford Hotel, a former railroad hotel. Ask for a Pullman room, modeled after the private sleeping cars of yore. For an in-depth focus on Denver’s eras of transportation, explore its past. Rail fans will delight in viewing steam trains, historic locomotives and narrow-gauge mountain trains at the Colorado Railroad Museum. The Forney Museum of Transportation displays more than 600 artifacts from all kinds of historic transportation, with its biggest prize the Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Locomotive 4005. Then hop over to Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum for a history of the former Lowry Air Force Base. Acquisitions include the U.S. Air Force’s B-1A Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bomber.
Drive west on I-70 to Mount Evans Scenic Byway & Wilderness, the highest paved auto road in North America, known as the “Road to the Sky.” Park and climb the last quarter-mile to the 14,260-foot summit. Along the way you’ll discover rare flowers and bristlecone pines, considered the oldest living things in the world. You might even see bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Head north for 65 miles on I-25 to Fort Collins, home of Colorado State University. Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins offers an unbelievable array of culture, cuisine and outdoor activities like biking, hiking and canoeing. Foodies congregate here along with craft beer aficionados looking to sample the wares at the world-famous New Belgium Brewery. Steer south on I-25 to Pueblo, connecting with U.S. 50 to Cañon City for the world’s largest suspension bridge. Spanning the Arkansas River, the 1,260-foot-long bridge supports more than 2 million pounds. Buy a ticket to ride the aerial tram and the world’s steepest incline railway to the bottom of the gorge. Splurge on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, a heritage train that transits a 24-mile roundtrip through the “most arresting scenic site in all of American railroading.”
As harmful to the environment as air travel is, some airports are taking measures to become more environmentally conscious. One example is Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where an adjacent solar farm powers certain airport operations.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.