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This week's round-up is an all-American affair, with new winter-sun flights to the California desert, scenic state-traversing train trips through national parks and mountain landscapes and a bunch of fantastic one-day walking itineraries through New York's most fascinating enclaves. It's all about planes, trains and… feet.
Palm Springs: winter desert retreat
First up, who'd like some winter sun in the desert? Virgin America have announced new flights to Hollywood's playground and California's capital of mid-century cool, Palm Springs, a city famous for hosting the international jet set since the late 1920s. Frank Sinatra lived here (notably at his Twin Palms Estate house - you can even rent it for a Rat Pack style break), as did Bob Hope, Cary Grant and Al Jolson, and during the 1940s - 1960s it became a haven for modernist architects practicing the mid-century modern style, leaving an unparalleled architectural legacy. For a completely authentic experience, book a stay in the renovated mid century Ace Hotel.
Virgin America's direct flights will leave from San Francisco and there will also be a flight from New York with a quick stop in San Francisco too (no need to get off). If you're especially decisive, some amazing sale fares are available if you book today. Flights begin on the 15th December.
America by train
Now, we're a long haul airline but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy sitting back and watching the world whizz by at ground level too, and we love this National Geographic article on North America's Top 10 Train Trips. In fact, we can't think of many better ways to see the United States than by taking the California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville (just the other side of San Francisco bay). Take a look at all the places you'll get to see as you pass through seven states: the Rocky Mountains, the canyons of the Colorado river, desert landscapes in Utah and Nevada, and the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains are just the highlights.
Alternatively, take the Ethan Allen Express from New York to Vermont - a five and a half hour trip that traverses the Hudson River Valley, passes through upstate New York's Catskills range and into the Vermont wilderness, finishing in the town of Rutland. With autumn just around the corner, this is the perfect time to book to experience New England's famous fall foliage.
If all these wide open spaces make you want to beat a retreat back to the nearest crowded subway station or favourite coffee shop, then those heading to the Big Apple will want to get their hands on Time Out's New York Neighbourhoods one-day itineraries guide. For really informative, well-structured itineraries with stops at quirky, unexpected places, they're the best we've seen in a long time.
Spend a day getting under the skin of hipper-than-thou Williamsburg, Brooklyn and finish up by taking in a flick at the Nitehawk Cinema. Visit offbeat galleries and spot street art on a wander through the East Village, followed by cocktails at Amor y Amargo, or see a different side of the Financial District with a peek at Frank Gehry's towering New York building, a stroll through the British Garden and an al fresco beer with fab Brooklyn Bridge views at the Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club.
For flights to all our United States destinations, visit www.virginatlantic.com.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.