In a special weekly series called “Three-Day Getaways,” “Today” travel editor Peter Greenberg is heading out for a series of mini-vacations from several of our nation's major metropolitan hubs. This week, he made a great escape from Las Vegas, Nev., which got him into some hot water and took him to some spooky surroundings. Here’s a quick look at some of the suggested stops for this side-trip:
Flyaway Indoor Skydiving
Las Vegas, Nev.
Web site: www.flyawayindoorskydiving.com
At Flyaway, America's first vertical wind tunnel, you can break the bonds of gravity and body fly. It’s a popular training resource for sport skydivers, competition teams and military units. No experience is necessary because they teach you everything you need to know to body fly indoors.
Las Vegas, Nev.
Phone: 702-699-5550 or 866- 4 X-STUNTS
Web site: www.ThrillseekersUnlimited.com
Thrillseekers Unlimited offers an exciting, adrenaline-filled vacation/getaway. It’s perfect for any family, group or company that wants an experience so riveting and exciting and, so different than anything most have ever done before.
Pahrump Valley Winery
Web site: www.pahrumpwinery.com
You're driving across the hot desert. You're thirsty. Suddenly, a vision appears on the horizon – a mirage of cool, clear water? Forget that – stop and quench your thirst at Pahrump Valley Vineyard. For the past decade, Jack Sanders has been harvesting zinfandel and symphony varietal grapes in the Mojave, 70 miles south of the city. The winery is open for tours and tasting daily. The most popular selections are Charleston Peak, a crisp off-dry white ($8.50) and Pahrump's light, fruity burgundy ($7). These wines make great gifts and if you order three bottles or more, they will happily add your personal greeting or put your company name on the label. After the wine tasting, you'll be ready to sample the gourmet fare at the restaurant or stroll along the walking trails.
Furnace Creek Ranch
Death Valley, Calif.
Web site: furnacecreekresort.com
The Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, California – just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles – consists of an oasis 18-hole golf course (the world's lowest course at 214 feet below sea level), four restaurants, a saloon, a cocktail lounge, retail outlets, a Borax Museum, spring-fed swimming pools, tennis courts, is the perfect vantage point from which to explore Death Valley National Park.
Bailey's Hot Springs
The springs feed the Amargosa River, a strange desert watercourse that originates north of Beatty and ends at Badwater in Death Valley, running beneath the desert surface along much of its length. One of those springs provides Bailey's Hot Springs Resort with the water for its baths. There are two large private antique bathhouses available by the hour, which consists of 3 different temperatures: Hot, Hotter, and Hottest! The hottest temperatures range from 105-108 degrees. Time limit 30-40 minutes and clothing is optional because the facility is private. The cost is $5 per person and each bath is 400 square feet. The water is artesian and comes from pea gravel out of the ground. Bailey's is open seven days a week.
Amargosa Opera House and Hotel
Death Valley Junction, Calif.
Web site: www.amargosa-opera-house.com
Here you can personally meet colorful Marta Becket, 79, a former New York City dancer, who still performs in the theater that she purchased in order to stage her own shows. Marta also is an artist and painted an audience on the opera house walls, so she would never have to perform to an "empty house." She also painted furniture on the walls of the adjoining Death Valley Junction Hotel, where people still check-in. It has a gift shop that sells Marta memorabilia. You should call in advance to make sure Marta is there.
The Ghost Town of Rhyolite
Web site: www.rhyolitesite.com
Just out of Beatty, Nev., Rhyolite is a ghost town with much character. It was born as a result of a gold strike made in August 1904 by Shorty Harris and Ed Cross. While several towns sprang up as a result of the Bullfrog strike, Rhyolite grew to become the cosmopolitan city that eclipsed them all. It is estimated that between 3,500 and 8,000 people lived in Rhyolite during the boom years of 1905 to 1910. By 1919 the post office closed, everyone had gone and Rhyolite became a ghost town.