The Beartooth All American Road opens for its 75th year

Last fall we introduced you to the Beartooth All American Road, declaring it “America’s Best Drive,” and lauding it for its breathtaking beauty. The road, which passes through the heart of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, begins in Red Lodge, Montana, and passes briefly into Wyoming, before wandering back into Big Sky Country, passing through the sleepy little town of Cooke City, before eventually ending at the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Closed from mid-October to mid-May, the Beartooth re-opened for the travel season last weekend – a travel season that will celebrate the 75th year of this iconic highway.

Construction on the road began in 1931, but due to bad weather, it was often suspended for several months each year. Even with those challenges, the 69-mile route was completed in 1934, officially opening on June 14th of that year. At the time, the road was a monument to modern engineering and construction techniques, and it remains an impressive feat to this day.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Beartooth, both Red Lodge and Cooke City have a number of activities on tap. Red Lodge will begin the festivities with a three-day celebration that gets underway on June 10th and runs throughout that entire weekend. The town will play host to a number of historical presentations and walking tours, a free BBQ, driving tours of the highway, and a parade. For a full schedule of events in Red Lodge, click here.

Similarly, Cooke City will also be hosting events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the scenic highway and its historical roots in mining operations throughout the area. While the town hasn’t completely formalized its plans yet, you can see what they have on tap by clicking here.

If you aren’t able to make any of these celebrations, the Beartooth is always worth the drive any other time this summer as well. It is quite simply one of the most spectacular drives you’ll ever take and you’ll find yourself stopping frequently along the way to snap photos of the amazing scenery. My advice for the best way to experience the road however, is on the back of a bike with Beartooth Bike Tours. If you have the time, there is simply no better way to take in the sights.

Two routes, one trip – Road trip tip

Before embarking on a road trip, map out two different routes — a slower, scenic route and a shorter, faster (less scenic) route.

In case you need to reach your destination sooner than planned, you’ll have your faster route. However, try to take the more intriguing scenic route. Grab a camera, hop out, and snap some shots of the beautiful scenery you pass by. Discover the hottest eateries on your journey. Be sure to stop in, indulge in the local eats, and continue along your trip-capturing memorable moments.

NOTE: Make sure to print a copy of your scenic route and your fastest route even if you have GPS. Just in case…

Have a road trip scavenger hunt – Road trip tip

Planning a family road trip? To avoid hours of boredom, plan a “scenic scavenger hunt.”

It’s easy. Just write down a list of 100 things you might see along the way, like landmarks, buses or bridges. The first person to complete the list wins.

For preschool kids, substitute magazine photos and trim the list to twenty familiar objects. For older kids, include a challenge: require them to provide one additional fact about each item they find.

Have fun. And by the time you reach the end of the road, you won’t be at the end of your rope.

Getting high on Hong Kong

Everything about visiting Hong Kong is vertical. From the towering skyscrapers of Victoria Harbor to the city’s jaw-dropping views and rooftop secrets, it’s a destination best experienced from up above. But it’s not just height that makes Hong Kong a great city for travelers. It’s the mind-boggling density that comes with it: the high rises clinging to the slopes of mountains, the daily blitzkrieg of billboards and light and the hidden retreats tucked on high that taken as a whole have the power to awe and delight.

During Gadling’s visit to Hong Kong last month, we had a chance to investigate some of the numerous high places that give this metropolis its unique air. From vertigo-inducing cocktail lounges to modern architectural masterpieces to heart-stopping city views, we looked low (and high) for Hong Kong’s best spots. Wondering what we found? Get ready to get high on Hong Kong. Keep reading below for more…Drinking in the sights
The street level signage for Hong Kong steakhouse Wooloomooloo is unassuming and forgettable. But visitors who take the elevator to the 31st floor of the restaurant’s Wan Chai location will discover some truly unforgettable city views. Hidden high above this busy downtown district is low-lit oasis of romance and luxury, with floor to ceiling windows and million-dollar views of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers, Victoria Harbor, and the Happy Valley racetrack.

Wooloomooloo’s main attraction is the restaurant’s open air roof deck, where visitors can sip a few cocktails or a glass of wine, bathed in the glow of Hong Kong’s 24-hour light show below.

A vertical masterpiece

If you’ve ever seen a photo of Hong Kong, you probably already know the iconic Bank of China Tower, designed by architect I.M. Pei. The beveled edges of this sky-high building make it one of the city’s most famous tall landmarks – and also among its most controversial. This towering structure has been criticized for its poor feng shui, a Chinese philosophy that advocates proper “energy flow” in design. Love or hate it, did you know the Bank of China Tower has a viewing deck open to the public? Take the elevator to the 43rd Floor for a peek inside this architectural wonder and some imposing views of the city below.

The ultimate Hong Kong view
Hong Kong has some downright impressive heights, whether you’re drinking at a swanky rooftop restaurant or checking out the view from one of its most famous buildings. But the most amazing way to see Hong Kong from up high is the panorama from The Peak. Located on the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, “The Peak” offers visitors a literal bird’s eye look at this remarkable city.

Half the fun of getting to The Peak is riding on the historic Peak Tram cable car, which drags passengers up the mountain’s perilously steep hillside. Once you arrive at the top, you’ll be treated one of the world’s most unique city views, looking down from on high at Hong Kong’s impressive skyline below. Though many will opt to pay for the Sky Terrace viewing deck, don’t feel obligated. Instead, walk out the doors of the Peak Tower to find several free spots with equally amazing views.

Hong Kong isn’t just a metropolis that “stands tall” on the world stage. It is tall – from the restaurants to the architecture to the stunning views. Stay long enough, and you might never want to come down.

Fall foliage. . .with bourbon in Kentucky

Taking an autumn drive to see the leaves change colors is a time-honored tradition in the north and east of the country. While Kentucky might not be the first place you think of as a leaf-peeping destination, the state is full of scenic byways and rolling countryside to be explored. Plus….there’s bourbon.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is composed of eight distilleries scattered around Lexington, Bardstown and Frankfort, which are all about one hour from Louisville. Autumn is the perfect time to visit. The leaves are changing, the crowds are gone, and the weather is mild. You can fly into either the Louisville or Lexington airport, though flights to Louisville seem to be cheaper.

Four of the distilleries are closer to Bardstown. These are Jim Bean, Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, and Tom Moore. Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve are closer to Frankfort. Most are open Tuesday through Saturday (some are open Sundays in summer as well) and offer tours every hour. Tours are generally free, or cost just a few dollars. Tours will often include a walk through the production area, a lesson in the history and production of bourbon, and of course, a tasting session.

Getting Around
You’ll need a car to get between the distilleries, so travel with a designated driver or visit no more than two distilleries per day. You could also book a tour guide and driver with a company like Mint Julep Tours.

Where to Stay
For a more urban experience, look for a hotel in Louisville or Lexington, where you should be able to find a room at a national chain for around $100 per night. You’ll find more bed and breakfast accommodations in the smaller town of Bardstown.

What to Do
Other than visiting the distilleries in the area, you can go also go wine-tasting, visit a Civil War Museum, Kentucky Train Museum, take a two-hour dinner train ride through the vibrantly-colored foliage of the countryside, or visit the Kentucky Horse Park. The Park features a daily parade, equine education, horseback and pony rides, and horse shows.