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One of the best ways to get to know a place is through its public green spaces. Next time you’re traveling, pack a picnic and enjoy. Here are our picks for the best places to picnic in the U.S. this summer. Read more
According to the thermometer, it’s pretty cold out there in most the country right now. As in single digit cold. Which wouldn’t be such a big deal except for the fact that you’re the kind of person who likes to burn calories outdoors. Hiking boots, bike shorts, a life vest, climbing shoes—these are your preferred gym clothes. So what are you supposed to do when winter temperatures dip low enough to make a snowman shiver?
The answer is simple, and fortunately for the fair-weather adventurer, heated: find an indoor climbing wall. As the sport of climbing has grown in popularity, rock gyms have sprung up everywhere, especially in eastern cities where busy professionals don’t necessarily have easy access to cliffs, crags, towers, and other large rock formations. And just about every spot offers day passes, equipment rental, lessons, and the occasional discount, so you can show up for a test climb without committing to membership. Plus, they’re good places to meet other outdoor enthusiasts and a fun alternative to yet another predictable workout on the elliptical. Read more
For most of the northeast, camping season ended weeks ago. The foliage is past its peak and as the end of the year creeps closer by the day, temperatures will continue to drop. Many seasonal adventure seekers have probably already put their hiking and camping gear into winter storage. What these people will be missing out on though, is the chance to experience a number of parks and wilderness areas across New York and New England in the off-season – no shivering required.
How is this possible? By staying at a rustic cabin or lodge maintained by the state or a non-profit. In the Pine Tree State, Maine Huts & Trails operates a 45-mile recreation corridor that includes three small, comfy “boutique hostels” (a fourth is due to open in late December) with hot showers, heated bunkhouses, kitchens, and dining rooms. Hike, ski, or snowshoe from hut to hut or choose Poplar, the hut closest to the town of Kingfield, for a shorter, easy-access trip. Sweeping views of Flagstaff Lake and the Bigelow Range are included at no additional charge. Read more
Escape the summer heat with a trip to the charming coastal town of Bar Harbor, Maine. Be one of the first to experience the new, upscale West Street Hotel from just $149 a night – as much as 50 percent off surrounding dates. We found this rate for stays on August 26, September 3, and September 6 but many other dates at the end of August and beginning of September are available for under $200 a night.
The new hotel is centrally located just steps away from shopping, dining, and the Atlantic Ocean, which can be seen from the property’s guestrooms and the spectacular rooftop pool. The spacious guestrooms are held in traditional nautical-styled decor with rich dark Lexington furnishings, leather sitting chairs, fine textiles, and private seating balconies. They also feature Venetian mosaic tile accents in the bathroom, iPod docking stations, flat screen HDTVs, and wireless internet access.
Guests can enjoy signature dishes inspired by classic Irish-American cuisine at Paddy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, which is decorated with imported wood from Ireland combined with authentic decor and design. You’ll also have access to the Bar Harbor Club, Maine’s most historic private club, which features a spa, clay tennis courts, a pool and a Jacuzzi on the water’s edge.
To book this deal, visit the West Street Hotel website. For dates in August use promo code SUMMER. No booking code is necessary for September bookings.
Making sure the kids (and adults) are entertained while on a summer road trip can really make or break your vacation. The new book What’s Great About . . . I-95 by road trip expert Barbara Barnes offers a fun and educational way to pass the time while cruising down one of the U.S.’s most-traveled stretches of highway.
“It really does make [the ride] go faster,” says Barnes of the book. “It keeps the driver alert, and it makes the drive more fun.”
With sections broken down by state and points of interest designated by mile marker, Barnes maps out all 1,925 miles of I-95 from Houlton, Maine to Miami. The book highlights sights to look out for from the highway (like the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia) while providing little-known facts about notable people and places (The first woman to run for president? Victoria Woodhull, in 1872).
Now that you’ve got the car ride entertainment covered, we asked Barnes for her advice on planning the rest of your vacation. Here are five tips for the perfect I-95 road trip:
For diehard skiers and boarders, this year’s February 29 means an extra day on the slopes. Resorts across the country will offer lift tickets for just $29 tomorrow to take full advantage of Leap Day – with some full-day prices slashed by over 60 percent.
- Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadow: Book online by midnight tonight to score savings of 65 percent at these California sister resorts north of Lake Tahoe.
- Sunday River: Lift tickets at this resort near Bethel, Me., are discounted 64 percent.
- Diamond Peak: Save 46 percent at these slopes north of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side.
- Sno Mountain: Skiing at Scranton, Pa.’s local mountain will save you 43 percent.
If you can’t make it to the slopes tomorrow but want to plan a ski getaway for March, Big Bear Lake in southern California will be offering a flash sale on lodging and lift tickets from 6am February 29 to 6am March 1. Book any weeknight in March to receive 29 percent off lodging, up to two $29 lift tickets per day, and 29 percent off ski and snowboard rentals.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and other travel deals.
Romance is revving up all over the place during the month of February, from sun-kissed beaches to sophisticated big cities. Here are 25 deals and packages – from Fort Lauderdale to Fiji, Maine to Madrid, and St. Kitts to Sedona – that you can still book to make this Valentine’s Day the most memorable ever:
IN THE U.S. & CANADA
The Grand Del Mar: Unplug and relax with the “Disconnect Package” at the luxurious The Grand Del Mar near San Diego (shown above at left) and you’ll get one night’s accommodations (with the room TV unplugged and upgrade upon booking if available), berry-infused champagne cocktail upon arrival, choice of a 60-minute couples massage, or a 2-hour horseback ride for two, breakfast in bed for two, and late checkout, from $795/night. Read more
This summer there are several new reasons to plan a romantic getaway to Maine – or even to wait for fall when the leaves burst with color and the caravans of families (Maine is nicknamed “Vacationland” on its license plates for a reason) have headed back home in time for school. A handful of resorts, from Kennebunkport in the south to Bar Harbor further north, have undergone renovations, with the addition of new or updated accommodations, noteworthy restaurants, and soothing spas. I recently drove up the coast and visited five properties, each with new or improved amenities. Here’s the scoop:
Hidden Pond: This 60-acre woodland property, located about a mile from Goose Rocks Beach and five miles from the charming town of Kennebunkport, offers a unique blend of grown-up luxury and sleep-away-camp nostalgia. Opened in 2008 with 14 individually designed two-bedroom cottages – set amid rustling birches, fragrant balsams, and a tranquil pond as if in a perfectly planned miniature neighborhood – the resort has added a dash of romance this summer with a trio of new additions.
Every spring, hundreds of hikers tackle the Appalachian Trail, which stretches 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine. Those who make it the entire length are called thru-hikers, and they usually complete their expedition in five to seven months.
Not Asheville-based hiker, ultra-marathoner, and author Jennifer Pharr Davis, who, starting in Maine next week, will attempt to break her own women’s record for an assisted thru-hike on the AT, which currently stands at 57 days, 8 hours and 35 minutes. (Just five men have finished faster.)
Supported by her husband, Brew, and several friends, Pharr Davis expects to set off from Maine next week, depending on the weather forecast, and average 46 miles a day before wrapping up in Springer Mountain, GA, sometime in early August.
In honor of Great Outdoors Month and National Camping Month in June, I spoke to 28-year-old Pharr Davis – who, after logging close to 9,000 miles hiking and backpacking on six continents, could be the poster girl for both – about her upcoming adventure. (You can follow her journey at www.blueridgehikingco.com.)
If lobster is one of the your favorite foods (and you enjoy sharing it with someone special) mark your summer travel calendars for these four very different opportunities – from romantic to rowdy – to indulge in all the tender, buttery crustaceans you can eat.
Lobster Lovers Itinerary from Absolute Belize: Belize, a friendly, sunny Central American country, marks the beginning of its annual lobster season each June (Belize lobsters are shown above at left) with the weeklong San Pedro Lobsterfest (www.sanpedrolobsterfest.com) on Ambergris Caye.
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