Coming and Going: Post-Thanksgiving Hikes, Airlines Discounting Holiday Travel

Sunday, November 23, 2008; Page P02


No Train, No Gain

Holiday season is approaching and with it a tidal wave of sedentary activities. And so, the perennial question looms: How will you walk off that Thanksgiving dinner? Glad you asked, says the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which has put together a geographically diverse list of Turkey Day hikes. Regardless of where Grandma's house is, you have no excuse.

"The mission is to create a nationwide network of trails out of former rail lines," Rails-to-Trails spokesman Katie Test ( told CoGo. When the nonprofit began in 1986, there were 200 known trails; now there are "15,000 with another 10,000 in development."

Among the trails Test recommends for this time of year are the Foothills Trail in Washington state, a 28-mile path that "runs by two pumpkin patches," and California's Joe Rodota Trail, which cruises past the Willow Bird Turkey Farm. That's a good place to "get some exercise and pick up your Thanksgiving dinner," says Test, as the farm has roasted, smoked and other options available on the spot. (And which lucky family member gets to carry the bird down the 13-mile trail?)

Closer to home, there's the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which winds its way through New England cranberry bogs, and Pennsylvania's Great Allegheny Passage. At 150 miles, this Somerset County rail-trail is the longest one on the East Coast, not to mention the only one to run past an ostrich farm.

For information on many more rail-trails as well as driving directions to them, visit the conservancy's interactive trail finder, at


Sale Roundup

Think you can't go home for the holidays? In an unprecedented flurry of sales, airlines are slashing ticket prices for wintertime travel, even around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Of course, the airlines have also slashed the number of flights this year. On Delta and American, for example, the number of seats on flights the Friday before Christmas is down 13 percent, according to chief executive Rick Seaney, so available seats may be few and far between. But if you're hoping to get home for, say, the Friday morning touch-football game, or you have a flexible schedule, you might be able to snag a decent price.

Here are a few sales offered:

Southwest's Thanksgiving sale requires only three days' advance purchase and has no blackout dates, which means you can buy your ticket today and be at Grandma's house in time for the Macy's parade ( The sale ends Nov. 29 and is good for travel through Dec. 2 (in case you just want to get there for the leftovers).

Three airlines have similar deals, with one-way discounts for travel through Jan. 5, and the sales all end Nov. 26. Northwest ( is offering $49-and-up one-way flights, and its new parent airline, Delta, has one-ways from $59 ( American Airlines ( has 14-day advance-purchase tickets starting at $49, too.

If home is where the heartland is, purchase tickets by tomorrow (Nov. 24) on Midwest ( for last-minute Thanksgiving fares starting at $178 roundtrip for travel through Dec. 2.

There are also deals on Alaska Airlines, Continental and United; check the airlines' Web sites for details.


Unhealthy Hubs = Unhealthy Hubbies?

This just in: The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a doctors advocacy group that supports vegetarian nutrition, released its eighth annual report on healthful food options at airports. It found that Detroit and Dallas have the best food options; Atlanta, Las Vegas and Washington have the worst. Menus in the 15 busiest airports in the United States were examined by PCRM dietitians for low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free vegetarian entrees; the more restaurants with healthful options, the higher the score.

Tied for first are Dallas/Fort Worth and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airports (each with 95 percent of restaurants offering healthful options). Just as last year, Reagan National scored the lowest. Only 60 percent of National's restaurants offer what PCRM considers healthful fare.

Of course, none of this matters if you're determined to eat a Cinnabon every time you go to National. Not that CoGo knows anyone like that . . . .


US Airways has sale fares to Dublin, London, Milan, Brussels and Manchester, England. Round-trip fare from Reagan National to Manchester, for example, is $570, including $144 taxes (other airlines are matching). Book online at by Dec. 31, and travel Monday-Thursday; travel dates vary by destination. Also, receive double miles for travel through Feb. 28 (request eCertificate EUROPE2X). Seven-day advance purchase is required.

Reporting: Scott Vogel, Christina Talcott

Help feed CoGo. Send travel news, road reports and juicy tattles to: By fax: 202-912-3609. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

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