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East to West Rails and Trails

The Great American Rail-Trail is the nation’s first cross-country multiuse trail, stretching more than 3,700 miles between Washington, D.C., and Washington State. This infrastructure connects thousands of miles of rail-trails and multiuse trails, serving those living along the route as well as visitors from around the country and the world.

A unique experience away from vehicle traffic, with gentle grades, for all types of trail users, from long-distance cyclists and runners to casual daily explorers developed in partnership with state agencies, nonprofits, volunteers and trail partners country wide to ensure a contiguous and direct route.

A nation connected by trails

The gateways to the Great American Rail-Trail:

D.C. and Maryland’s Capital Crescent Trail    D.C. and Maryland’s C&O Canal Towpath

West Virginia and Pennsylvania’s Panhandle Trail    Ohio’s Ohio to Erie Trail

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Indiana’s Cardinal Greenway    Illinois’ Hennepin Canal Parkway    Iowa’s Cedar Valley Nature Trail

Nebraska’s Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail    Wyoming’s Casper Rail Trail

Montana’s Headwaters Trail System    Idaho’s Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

Washington’s Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

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The Great American Rail-Trail is a signature project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to connecting people and communities through a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines. The “Great American” is the most ambitious project in its TrailNation™ portfolio—the organization’s initiative to encourage the rapid replication of regional trail networks across the country.

Rails and Trails USA

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Environmental and Historical Tourism

Food Wine and Craft Beer Trails in US North East Towns

The Northeast Region of the United States corresponds to the original northern colonies that founded the country. Besides its illustrious history and culture, the region is a trend setter on the technological and environmental fronts along with agricultural innovations and unique, local food, wine and craft beer traditions.

Vermont is agriculture and industry, heritage museums and historic sites, small towns and downtowns where visitors and residents find the distinctive local businesses, historic buildings, and rich cultural and social activities that form Vermont’s special sense of community. These authentic and attractive downtowns and villages are widely recognized as a key part of the state’s allure.

Rockland and Piermont are located just 30 miles north of New York City and are known for quaint villages, spectacular river views and outdoor recreation with 32,000 acres of park lands dotted with sparkling lakes and streams rushing down to the Hudson. Miles marked trails lead right to the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains. The Hudson Valley extends 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan; a National Heritage Area the valley is steeped in history natural beauty culture food and farmers’ markets.

Upstate New York is home to city and country settings, high-tech industries and natural wonders. Drive through the Catskill Mountains and reach the Corning Museum, the world’s largest glass museum featuring a contemporary art and design wing; experience live hot glass demonstrations of glass objects made by artists and hands-on exhibits highlighting science and technology.

The Finger Lakes and Watkins Glen State Park, site of 19 waterfalls and a gorge. Seneca Lake is a long slender lake with wineries along both sides. From Geneva, on the north shore of the lake, you can head east towards Syracuse and visit Destiny USA, sixth largest shopping destination in the United States.

Rochester is a world-renowned American city and home to George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film inside the home of Kodak’s founder.

Cruise or Walk though Historic Villages along the Erie Canal

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Environmental Tourism

Some communities have been in the forefront of land conservation, historic preservation and arts movements that celebrate the land, landscapes and water resources management initiatives. 

Local Culture in the Lehigh Valley draws from the Moravian settlements experience, a broad cultural environment in which music, art, education and religious tolerance flourished, as evidenced by the communal dwellings, churches and industrial structures.

The Brandywine Valley facing an industrial development that would impact a largely rural community, focused on Development & Conservancy Issues, including floodplain areas that threatened to devastate water supplies in parts of the Delaware River Valley. 

In Philadelphia the waterfront is now a 6-mile walking and biking destination. Trail features include streetscape improvements, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, along with benches, bike racks, decorative street pavers and innovative solar trail lighting.

Center City offers a thriving culture and entertainment scene as well as a contemporary arts museum with training programs and study tours for students, aspiring artists and traveling families.  

Historical Tourism

Bucks County is one of the three original counties created by William Penn in 1682. Pennsbury Manor stands on the point of land formed by the Delaware River between Morrisville and Bristol. Painstaking research went into restoring the prim-fronted, three-storied, brick manor-house, rebuilt on the original foundations.

Lehigh Valley Allentown was a rural village founded in 1762 by William Allen, Chief Justice of Colonial Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. By 1829 Allentown expanded from a small Pennsylvania Dutch village of farmers and tradesmen to a center of commerce. With the opening of the Lehigh Canal, many canal workers made their homes here. 

The Lehigh Valley Gave Birth to America’s Industrial Revolution

Loudoun County Virginia is renowned for rolling hills of farms and vineyards, pastures filled with grazing horses, and the Blue Ridge Mountains; it is also just 25 miles from Washington DC.

Leesburg has seen significant history from 1758 and has a well-preserved downtown historic district with stunning 18th and 19th century architecture. It also a shopping and dining venue and features historic sites such as Gen. George C. Marshall’s home, Dodona Manor and Ball’s Bluff Civil War battlefield.

Middleburg, known as the capital of Virginia’s horse country, has been welcoming visitors since 1787. It is also a shopper’s delight, with home furnishing and antique stores, boutiques and more; a stroll through this historic hamlet is a unique experience. Middleburg has hosted iconic American personalities such as Jackie Kennedy and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  history geology hydrology fishing and the environment

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is comprised of nine counties with a population of nearly 450 thousand. The term Eastern Shore distinguishes a territorial part of the State from the land west of Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was a shallow canal with locks after its construction in 1829; it was deepened in the early 20th century to sea level. The north-south section of the Mason-Dixon Line forms the border between Maryland and Delaware.

Environmental and Historical Tourism in the US North East

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Milan Monza and Lake Como

Water History Food Fashion and Design

Unlike most European and world leading cities, Milan was not settled on a river or by the sea, but in the middle of the Po River Valley. Hence, Milan’s is a history about water and how water was brought to the city. The concentric layout of the city center has been influenced by the Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered.

Water History and Leonardo Da Vinci

A Source of energy for transportation and as a defense system throughout the centuries.Leonardo Da Vinci spent his most productive years in Milan, and his activity as an engineer crossed with the water history of the city; marks of his activity are still visible after hundreds of years. Water, sustainability and Leonardo are the threads that unify the different epochs in the city’s history and this part of Italy.

Traditions and Innovations in Energy and Water

Classical Milan the old Roman city of Mediolanum, and the more hidden parts of Milan, will connect the visitor with old artisan shops, the new Museum of Cultures, Villa Necchi Campiglio and the Last Supper.

Shopping and Design Milan is a global capital in industrial design, fashion and architecture. It is also a mecca for food lovers.As the commercial capital of Italy and one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, it accounts for the lion’s share of the fashion trade, with some of the most renowned fashion houses headquartered here. Its upscale fashion district- il quadrilatero della moda – and La Galleria, the world’s first shopping mall, offer the best shopping opportunities anywhere. 

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The Royal Villa in Monza has its own history dating back to the middle ages with a Royal Villa and the surrounding Monza Park. Recently restored the villa rivals in size and quality Versailles and Caserta’s Royal Palace. Behind the Royal Villa, Monza Park is the largest walled park in Europe. You may be already familiar with it as the racetrack where the Monza Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place every September.

Lake Como Bellagio is a cozy old village where the two branches of the lake converge in a narrow Canyon and where the water is still feeding an old-fashioned power plant. Isola Comacina is an old settlement with ruins dating back from the middle ages, and a terrific view of the Lake. The road back to Milan is via the Strada Regina – Queen’s Road – along the lakeshore and an opportunity to look at some gorgeous villas, including George Clooney’s residence.

Traveling to Milan Monza and Lake Como

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A Journey into the Venetian Past

Venice Isles Food Wine and History

A Walking Itinerary of the most famous sights, including St Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Rialto Bridge, the Doge Palace and the Ponte dei Sospiri.

Venetian Cooking Class our expert cook will teach you how to prepare the local dishes and entertain you by analyzing the intriguing fragrances, the exotic origins of some ingredients, the cooking processes as well as answer your questions about the products being used. Classes are held in a Palazzo apartment in Venice or in a Liberty Villa at the Lido beach, a fascinating bathing resort with tall trees and gardens traversed by several canals. 

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Venice wine tasting in a typical bar or in an ancient Palazzo on the Grand Canal, held by a professional Sommelier presenting various wines, accompanied by intriguing stories about local history, as you experience the lifestyle of a Venetian aristocrat.

Escape crowded Venice for a day and unwind on a trip to the islands of Murano and Burano for a rare glimpse into what Venice used to be; a community of traditional artisans where skills have been passed down from one generation to the next for centuries.

Murano’s Ancient Art of Glassblowing

Burano is famous for its lace making and for the colorful houses crammed along its canals, so painted by fishermen who wanted to spot their homes from a distance. Visit a small building where women sit stitching lace the old-fashioned way, just as their mothers and grandmothers did. Also, take time to admire the delicate lace in the museum, shop or wind your way along the kaleidoscopic streets.

Wine Tasting enter the fascinating Venetian back country and discover the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills, a natural area dotted with small villages, vineyards and typical osterie. Visit a family-owned wine cellar and taste its sparkling wines and the local genuine products. Experience the amazing ancient village of the Poet Petrarca, unchanged since the 14th century.

Journey into the Venetian Past

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Milan Italy

Art Architecture Cuisine Design Fashion and Shopping

Milan is located between the Po River, the Alps and Italian lakes region. The concentric layout of the city center has been influenced by the Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered. There are only few remains of the ancient Roman colony of Mediolanum. Following the edict of Milan in 313 A.D., several basilicas were built by the city gates, still standing and refurbished over the centuries. The cathedral was built between 1386 and 1577, is the fifth largest in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy. In the 15th century, an old fortress was enlarged and embellished to become the Castello Sforzesco, the seat of an elegant Renaissance court surrounded by a walled hunting park.

Economy the Milan metro area generates approximately 9% of the national GDP and is home to more than 8 percent of all businesses in Italy, including many media and advertising agencies. Milan is a major world fashion center – 12,000 companies, 800 show rooms, and 6,000 sales outlets – and manufacturing center. Other important products made here include chemicals, machinery, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Other key sectors in the city’s economy are advanced research in health and biotechnologies, engineering, banking and finance.

Museums and Art Galleries the Brera Portrait Gallery holds one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings. The Sforza Castle hosts numerous art collections and exhibitions, especially statues, ancient arms and furniture. Leonardo Da Vinci worked here from 1482 until 1499 and was commissioned to paint the Virgin of the Rocks and the Last Supper. Milan was affected by the Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries, hosting numerous artists, architects and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio. In the 20th century, the city was the epicenter of the Futurist artistic movement. The Museo del Novecento is a 20th Century art gallery with sections dedicated to Futurism, Spatialism and Poor Art.

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Music Milan is a major national and international center of the performing arts, most notably opera. La Scala is considered one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, hosting the premieres of numerous operas since the mid19th century. Other major theatres in Milan include the Arcimboldi and the Lirico.The city also has a renowned symphony orchestra, conservatory and is a major center for musical composition.

Fashion and Shopping a global capital in industrial design, fashion and architecture, Milan is the commercial capital of Italy and one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, it accounts for the lion’s share of the fashion trade, with some of the most renowned fashion houses headquartered here. Its upscale fashion district and Galleria, the world’s first shopping mall, offer the best shopping opportunities. 

Architecture and Design the city’s modern skyscrapers and unique liberty style office and apartment buildings make it a trend setter in architecture. Milan is also a leader in high-quality furniture and interior design and is home to Europe’s largest permanent trade exhibition – Fiera Milano – and one of the most prestigious international furniture and design fairs. Milan has recently undergone a massive urban renewal with several famous architects taking part in projects such as EXPO 2015.

Food and Wine home to a proud culinary tradition, Milan specialties include classic dishes like cotoletta alla milanese, cassoeula, stewed pork rib chops and sausage with cabbage, ossobuco, risotto, busecca and brasato, salami and gorgonzola cheese. Sweets include chiacchiere, panettone and tortelli. World-renowned restaurants and cafés can be found in the historic center, Brera and Navigli districts.

Business and Vacation Travel to Milan and Italy

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Fort Wayne Indiana

 architecture manufacturing the arts culture and the river greenway

Located at the center of northeastern Indiana, Fort Wayne is located 18 miles (29 km) west of the Ohio border, 50 miles (80 km) south of the Michigan border and within a 300-mile (482 km) radius of Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, and Milwaukee.

canoeing on st. marys riverOrigins built in 1794 by General Anthony Wayne as the last in a series of forts built near the Miami village of Kekionga, this European-American settlement developed at the confluence of the St. Joseph, St. Mary and Maumee rivers and later underwent growth with the Wabash and Erie Canal and the railroad. The term Summit City refers to the city’s position at the highest elevation along the canal’s route.

The Three Rivers Area was the Capital of the Miami Nation

fort wayne in 1812Geography the most important feature of the area is the short distance overland between the Three Rivers system, which flows to the Atlantic, and the Wabash system, which flows to the Gulf of Mexico; hence, the portage over which passengers and cargoes moved from one system to the next. This natural crossroads attracted the Native Americans for thousands of years. Chief Little Turtle of the Miami Nation called it “that glorious gate through which all the words of our chiefs had to pass through from north to south and from east to west.” It later attracted explorers, traders and pioneer settlers who continued to develop the area as a transportation and communications center.

Recent History at the turn of the 20th century, there was a large influx of Germans and Irish who formed Fort Wayne’s urban working class in an economy based on manufacturing and many innovations such as the gasoline pump, the refrigerator, and even the first video games. Following a long period of economic decline, efforts by local leaders during the 1990s focused on crime reduction, economic diversification, and downtown redevelopment which continued in the 21st century.

allen county war memorial coliseumArchitecture during the 19th century, Fort Wayne was dominated by Greek and Gothic Revival as well as Italianate architecture. Popular early-20thcentury architectural styles found in the city include Queen Anne, Romanesque, Neoclassical, Dutch Colonial Revival, Prairie, Tudor Revival and Art Deco.

Manufacturing is deeply rooted in Fort Wayne’s economic history, dating to the earliest days of the city’s growth as an important trade stop. From 1900 to 1930, Fort Wayne’s industrial output expanded by 747 percent. Despite economic diversification, the city was significantly impacted by the early 21st century financial crisis, losing nearly a quarter of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2014.

embassy theatre and indiana hotelArts and Culture since its establishment in 2010, the Cultural District has been home to several of the city’s cultural institutions, including the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, the Arts United Center, and Hall Community Arts Center. The Embassy Theatre hosts over 200,000 patrons annually and Foellinger Theatre hosts seasonal acts and outdoor concerts during warmer months. Located west of downtown, Arena Dinner Theatre is a nonprofit community arts corporation with a focus on live theater production, annually hosting seven full-length theatrical productions. Established in 1921, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art specializes in the collection and exhibition of American art.

The History Center Manages a Collection of 23,000 Artifacts Recalling Local History

three rivers fort wayneRiver Greenway is a system of recreational trails along the riverbanks designed to beautify the riverfronts and promote an active lifestyle for Fort Wayne residents. It comprises 180 miles (290 km) in the city and county and has about 550,000 annual users. With the expansion of trails, cycling has also become an emerging mode of transportation for residents.

Transport Fort Wayne is connected by air with five airlines offering direct service to 13 domestic connections. Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited are the closest passenger rail services to Fort Wayne, with a stop located 25 miles (40 km) north in Waterloo. Mass Transit consists of 12 bus routes through the cities of Fort Wayne and New Haven via downtown’s Central Station.

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Havre de Grace Maryland

rivers canals an historic district museums local artisans an underground railroad

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHavre de Grace is at the mouth of the Susquehanna River and the head of Chesapeake Bay. It is named after the French port city of Le Havre – the Harbor of Grace. During the Revolutionary War, the small hamlet known as Harmer’s Town was visited by General Lafayette who commented that the area reminded him of the French seaport.

George Washington stayed overnight in the town in 1789 on the journey to New York City for his first inauguration. During the First Congress in 1789, Havre de Grace missed by only one vote being named the capital of the fledgling United States.

Early Industry in Havre de Grace included oyster and crab harvesting as well as fruit orchards. Products were shipped to markets along the East Coast and upriver.  Havre de Grace became known for duck hunting, and was a seasonal destination for hunters who hired local guides to escort them hunting on the river and along the bay.

Havre de GraceLocal Artisans Made High Quality Decoys on Display in the City’s Decoy Museum

The Southern Terminus of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal bypassed difficult navigational areas of the lower Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, where it connected to the Pennsylvania Canal. It was built between 1836–1840. The Lock Keeper’s house and remnants of the canal exist today as a museum.

The Underground Railroad Havre de Grace was a primary town on the Eastern Route as slaves crossed the Susquehanna to havens in Pennsylvania, on the way to Philadelphia and New York. By the 1860s, a large population of free African Americans had settled in the town, supporting independent artisans, as well as jobs associated with shipping on the river, canal and the railroads.

The Seneca Cannery, currently an antique shop, is a very good example of a late 19th century brick industrial building with its classical facade and massive stone buttresses on the rear. Many patents followed the opening of the S. J. Seneca Cannery: 1901, The Baling-press; 1905, The Cooker and the Tomato Scalder; 1917, Improved Tomato Scalder and the Can-opener; 1918, Tomato Peeling Machine.

HdG maritime museumThe Central Business District was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Havre de Grace Historic District, which recognizes its architecture and historic fabric. A variety of museums help explain and interpret the city’s rich maritime past and present: the Decoy Museum, the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, Concord Point Lighthouse, the Lockhouse Museum, the Black wetland restorationEyed Susan paddle steamer. Havre de Grace also claims a renovated seaplane port.

The Environment the town is located on a freshwater wetland, tidal cove, and small forested area teeming with species of flora and fauna; the backdrop for generations of inhabitants, from the earliest Native tribes to the first European colonists in the 1600s, to today’s thriving 21st century community.

The Maritime Museum is a 10,000 square foot, three-story modern building adjacent to Concord Point Heritage Corridor, Havre de Grace’s historic district spanning five waterfront acres and a designated attraction on the National Park Service’s John Smith and Star Spangled Banner Trails.

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