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In Hot Springs, Arkansas, a city known as the official Birthplace of Spring Baseball, a one-of-a-kind attraction was recently opened to the public.

Starting March 29, the historical “baseball trail” will allow visitors to tour a series of 26 historical landmarks, taking tourists on a journey to where America’s baseball legends played and trained during the sport’s golden era.

According to an article on the Hot Springs website, Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, says that more than 45 percent of Major League Baseball Hall of Famers in Cooperstown, N.Y., either played baseball or were associated with baseball training in Hot Springs National Park. 134 out of the current 295 Hall of Fame members can now be associated with training, playing, visiting, or simply being in Hot Springs, Arrison says.

According to Arrison, five baseball historians worked to document Hot Springs as the birthplace of what eventually became known as the sport’s spring training. As the historians dug deep into newspapers, archives, and other sources across America, they uncovered increasing information about the popularity of spring baseball in the area. Now more than 300 players, managers, owners, journalists, and other famous names can be associated with the sport in Hot Springs.

On the trail, tourists can stand in the spot where Babe Ruth hit a home run that traveled 573 feet and landed in a pit on a nearby alligator farm; and flip a coin at the site of The Eastman Hotel, where Ruth did the same in 1921 to determine his salary with the Yankees for the following year.

Brochures are available to visitors who can independently tour the plaques along the trail, and smartphone users can access audio narration through a free mobile app.

For more information, visit the Hot Springs website. Fans of the national pastime might also like to read “Shining Diamonds in the April issue of Healthcare Traveler.

Jim Twardowski, RN, is a travel writer based in New Orleans.

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America’s railroad, Amtrak, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. A special Exhibit Train is traveling across the country showcasing the company’s history over the decades and displaying memorabilia such as period uniforms, past menus and dinnerware, and vintage advertising.

In March the exhibit stops in Virginia, North Carolina, and Delaware. The free exhibit is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All three locations feature kid’s activities based on Chuggington Depot — an animated Disney Junior television show.

Photo: Sura Nualpradid

March Stops

  • March 3 & 4: Staples Mill Road Station, Richmond, Va.
  • March 10 & 11: Amtrak Station, Raleigh, N.C.
  • March 17 & 18: North Carolina Transportation Museum, Spencer, N.C.
  • March 31 & April 1: Amtrak Station, Wilmington, Del.

The Exhibit Train will visit 35 cities across the nation in 2012. For a complete list of locations and dates, visit amtrak40th.com.

Commemorative 40th anniversary merchandise will be available for purchase onboard the train including “Amtrak: An American Story,” a book that chronicles the history of the railroad with archival photographs, a historical timeline, and personal narratives for each decade; and “Amtrak: The First 40 Years,” a documentary DVD with hard-to-find photographs and video footage, as well as interviews with past and present leaders.

Amtrak is the nation’s intercity passenger rail provider and its only high-speed rail operator. Trains connect 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces. More than 300 daily trains travel at speeds up to 150 mph. Last year, a record-breaking 30 million passengers chose to travel on Amtrak. For more information on schedules or fares, visit www.Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL.

Jim Twardowski, RN, is a travel writer based in New Orleans.

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