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Another way to experience the splendor of Whistler is to take a gondola ride to the top of Blackcomb Mountain.

"One of the most spectacular sights you can see when you're riding up the gondola is to break through the cloud level and to be up above the clouds and have blue sky," said Jewett.

With so much natural brilliance, residents can't help but love the mountain village.

"It's a beautiful place," Jewett said. "I don't get tired of waking up every morning and looking out my bedroom window. It's the scenery, it's the terrain, it's the whole experience. I'm not tired of it and I never will be."

HOW TO GET THERE:

Whistler Mountaineer Train

The best way to get to Whistler Village is aboard the new Whistler Mountaineer Train, which departs daily from North Vancouver and journeys through the famed Sea-to-Sky Corridor, along North America's southern-most fjord, Howe Sound, past mountain peaks, waterfalls and spectacular glacial-fed rivers canyons. The train also features a restored, century-old open-air observation car, and slows down for all the best vistas. The Whistler Mountaineer, which started service in May, has been extremely popular, especially as improvements continue to be made on the road to Whistler in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. For more information go to: www.whistlermountaineer.com .

For information or reservations on Whistler Village, call 1-800-WHISTLER or visit www.whistler.com or www.tourismwhistler.com.

Sept. 24, 2006

Block Island is located 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Formed more than 10,000 years ago by glaciers, the island is home to 800 people during the winter months.

"It's what we like to say is your escape from the mainland," said Susan Shea, executive director of the Block Island Tourism Council.

The island's geography includes bluffs, coastal scrub and grassland as well as beaches and an ocean, according to Scott Comings, director of the Nature Conservancy of Block Island.

"It's just a spectacular place to live and visit," he said.

Conservation has been a big part of Block Island's history.

"At this point, we have about 43 percent of the land in some sort of conservation," he said.

Block Island is known for its lighthouses, especially the North Lighthouse and the Southeast Lighthouse, which sits atop a 200-foot clay bluff.

Block Island Harbormaster Christopher Willi attributes the island's popularity to its charm.

"It's a very low key, relaxing atmosphere," Willi said. "It doesn't matter if you're the Prince of Wales or a blue collar worker from the city, you come here and you get treated the same."

In addition to charm, Willi said, the island has recreational boating, kayaking, biking and hiking.

For tourists planning a visit, there are plenty of places to stay.

"Block Island has numerous inns, B and Bs, hotels, most of which are the original buildings extending back as far as the 1800s. They've all been restored," Shea said. "The hotels on the island are known for their wrap-around porches that face the ocean."

But for Comings, the island's highlight is still nature.

"In addition to the grasslands and the beaches and the bluffs, we have a lot of beautiful ponds sprinkled throughout the island," he said. "Fall sunsets are just spectacular. And if you're in the right spot … it's just amazing, like very few places in New England."

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