Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 27, 2013

Travel in Brief: 01/27/13


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Civil War tours

ALBANY, N.Y. — A popular Civil War tour at the state Capitol in downtown Albany is continuing in the new year.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Office of General Services say the free hour-long tours are being offered on the first Thursday of the month beginning Feb. 7 and continuing through June.

The tours were begun last September. Led by guides dressed in Civil War-era clothing, the tours highlight the Civil War imagery in the Capitol's ornate carvings and feature a special tour of the building's latest battle flag exhibition, titled "1862: Red, White and Battered." The exhibit includes nine conserved flags from New York state that were carried into battle in 1862.

Reservations for the tour can be made online at or by calling 518-473-7582.

Wonders of West

OAKLAND, Calif. — Train Holidays is offering tours for summer 2013 to Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks on the California Zephyr and the Empire Builder.

Programs begin in Chicago or San Francisco. Complete fares for the entire 10-day program including the California Zephyr to Utah (from Chicago or Northern California), hotel stays, most meals, sightseeing in the national parks, the Empire Builder back to Chicago or the West Coast and more, start at $2,795. Guests reserving by Jan. 31 receive free train travel from their hometown to the nearest starting point for the trip.

For information & reservations, call 800-543-2846 or visit

Rainier upgrade

SEATTLE — The National Park Service has approved long-awaited upgrades to Mount Rainier's Camp Muir — one of the main stops for the thousands people who climb the mountain.

Pacific West Region director Chris Lehnertz determined that upgrading the high camp would have no impact on the park, giving the green light to replace the camp's non-historic structures. Camp Muir is the highest backcountry camp, located at an elevation of 10,080 feet. About 500 climbers visit Camp Muir a day during summer and it's one of the main routes for people summiting the mountain.

Erratic bats

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — Officials in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park caution that there have been numerous reports of bats acting erratically and warn people to avoid contact with them.

Park biologists say bats should be hibernating now, but some have been seen flying in erratic ways during the day and diving toward people. Bats can carry diseases, including rabies. Any skin-to-skin contact is dangerous. Heath officials say people who have touched bats should seek immediate medical advice.

High-tech art

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Museum of Art is opening a high-tech gallery meant to electronically connect art fans and the museum's renowned collection.

Called Gallery One, it has a 40-foot multi-touch screen that displays images of more than 3,500 items from the collection. It will allow visitors to match their faces to works of art or strike a pose from a Rodin sculpture.

Visitors can download tours or create their own on iPads. A new iPad application will allow visitors to learn how works of art were created and where.

MGM unveils Wi-Fi

LAS VEGAS — MGM Resorts is unveiling Wi-Fi networks that will allow visitors at its Las Vegas casinos free wireless Internet access in public areas.

The company said the system is already in effect at the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage. It's expected to be installed this year in the Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor and Excalibur. Company officials say basic Internet access is available to anyone who comes into public areas such as the lobby, pool area, casino and restaurants, and doesn't require a password.

Hotel guests get an upgraded service, and convention attendees can upgrade to top speeds.