NEW YORK (AP) — EXPLORING CULTURAL LANDSCAPES
An ancient pueblo inhabited for centuries by indigenous people. A city park inspired by the Midwestern prairie. A Hudson River estate designed as a three-dimensional work of art.
What do these places — the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, Columbus Park in Chicago and Olana in New York — have in common? They're all cultural landscapes — places that are important because of their history or association with individuals, communities or events. And they're included — along with 1,700 other sites — in an online database called What's Out There, created by the Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington D.C.
The database at http://www.tclf.org offers photos and information about designed landscapes (as opposed to natural or unaltered landscapes) in order to promote awareness and preservation efforts. The foundation has also published nine guidebooks about cultural landscape legacies in places ranging from Denver to Miami. This year the organization will sponsor a number of events including weekend tours in Austin, Texas; Newport, Rhode Island; Denver and Toronto, along with a photo exhibit on the work of landscape architect Dan Kiley that will be shown Jan. 24-Feb. 28 at the University of Colorado in Denver and at New York's Center for Architecture March 26-June 20.
The organization's website has been optimized for iPhones and other digital devices with a "What's Nearby" button that provides an illustrated list of all the landscapes in the database within a 25-mile radius.
A hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is running on sunshine.
Guest rooms at the Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa are now 100 percent solar-powered, according to the hotel and Stay.Solar, a new company that's looking to bring solar power to the hotel industry.
But you won't see solar panels in the hotel roof — even though New Mexico has plenty of sunny days. The energy is produced at large-scale solar installations elsewhere and is delivered to the hotel by smart-grid technology.
"It's kind of like depositing money in a bank in New York and pulling it out of an ATM machine somewhere else," explained Stay.Solar president Don Hicks.
Guests won't notice anything different — other than a sign on the hotel registration desk and in each room explaining the solar sourcing.
Hotel Santa Fe is the first hotel to convert to all-solar power with Stay.Solar. "To be the first out of the gate with this company, we are very excited about that," said hotel spokesman Steve Lewis. "It felt like a really good fit."
The 163-room Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa is majority-owned by the Picuris Pueblo, an indigenous community north of Santa Fe.
Stay.Solar is looking to expand the program to other high-end boutique hotels around the country. But the energy does cost more to produce than energy from conventional sources like coal: "It's a premium product," said Hicks. Customers sign up as part of a commitment to green business practices, not to save money. As long-term demand for solar energy grows, the cost of producing it is expected to drop.
NEW POCONOS WATER PARK
Kalahari Resorts is planning to open a water park in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains in June. It's the company's first location in the Eastern U.S. The first Kalahari Resort opened in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, in 2000, and the second opened in 2005 in Sandusky, Ohio.
The new Kalahari will be Pennsylvania's largest indoor water park at 100,000 square feet. It will include a family entertainment center with bowling, laser tag, black-light mini-golf and arcade games. The resort will have 457 guest rooms along with convention center space, restaurants, a spa, golf course.
DOLLYWOOD CHRISTIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL
Dollywood is launching a new event later this year: Rock the Smokies, a Christian music festival scheduled for Sept. 5.
The event at the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, theme park will feature Third Day and For King & Country among others. Festival tickets will include admission to the park and rides. Tickets are expected to go on sale in February.