I'd like to hear which route you would nominate as being the best (perhaps easiest) ride under 500 miles.
I'm trying to get my wife interested in bike touring. She's quite athletic, but just doesn't have the same appreciation for cycling that I do. She has, though, enjoyed rides where there is a lot of scenery and no automobile traffic--and it helps if there is ice cream somewhere along the ride. The ideal would be a rails-to-trails kind of route, where the only other trail users would be pedestrians (she somehow hates cars but doesn't seem bothered by children and dogs running in front of her), the surface is moderately smooth (she doesn't like long stretches of gravel but can handle a limited amount), and there are enough nearby amenities to eat in restaurants (not every meal) and sleep in hotels.
We live in Alaska, where there is plenty of scenery on any ride, but also an abundance of hills (or mountains), lots of gravel, and seldom an ice cream stand or hotel. So we'll be jumping on a plane to whatever the destination. I think Europe would be our first choice (I'm dreaming of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic), but would also be interested in rides inside the U.S. We would be doing this as credit card tourists--traveling fairly light and staying in hotels, but without the benefit of a SAG wagon. The 500 mile limit isn't an absolute number; I'm just looking for a trip that takes one to two weeks at a moderate pace.
Within those parameters, what route would you nominate as the epic ride?