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In just a couple weeks’ time, spring will be here. We’re definitely looking forward to trading in the layers of outerwear for lighter duds, but there’s one thing that we’re happy to have while winter sticks around: lower rates in the Finger Lakes Wine Country. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway this month, on top of those great prices, a select number of properties in the region are offering either a free third night or half off the second night through March 31. The Winter in Finger Lakes Wine Country promotion also gives travelers a Palate Passport filled with discounts and deals for popular local attractions and businesses. Here’s a quick look at just a few of the options.
My favorite time of year to visit Napa and Sonoma are the months of January, February and March. It’s not uncommon to be the only one in the tasting room (hello, library and reserve pours!) or be invited to the cellar or winemaking facility to meet the winemaker. Why? Though the weather — between the 50s and 70s during the day, down to the 40s at night — is considered quite warm for much of the country, Bay Area residents consider it too chilly to visit tasting rooms. Within this window, the golden hue of mustard cover crops in the vineyards from late January through March, and greener grass in March as rainy season begins, makes for fantastically picturesque drives. And it’s all in all cheaper, too. Airfares are lower than in summer months — from JFK to SFO, the major airports serving Napa and Sonoma aside from Oakland, round-trip fares can run as low as $365 over a long weekend; from LAX, it’s just $44 round-trip.
The same goes for wine regions in other parts of the U.S. Out in the Finger Lakes or Long Island, for example, January and February especially offer some of the best hotel rates of the year — while lower flight demand always means cheaper airfare. It’s a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned, but here are a few extra tips for maximizing the experience:
For some of us, every day is unofficially Coffee Day, but the official National Coffee Day is just around the corner: September 29. Celebrate by pouring yourself another cup of your best brew and by planning a visit to these coffee-centric destinations. Read more
The storied Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland is celebrating its 90th birthday with the launch of an exclusive partnership with Virgin Balloon Flights to become the only Scottish hotel to offer guests hot-air balloon rides. For £2,100 ($3,595) groups of between ten and 16 can book a sunrise or sunset ride and get a bird’s eye view of the 850-acre estate and the surrounding countryside.
In the U.S., you can book hot air ballooning packages over Napa Valley at The Meritage Resort; over the Temecula Valley Wine Country at Pechanga Resort and Casino; over the desert floor at the Palm Springs Hyatt; over the canyons of New Mexico with El Rancho Hotel; or the Finger Lakes with Chalet B&B.
Take a look at our slideshow to get a bird’s eye view of some of these packages.
New York City may be at its most appealing in the summertime (picnic in Central Park, anyone?) – but that doesn’t mean you can’t justify a long weekend in the country. Even if you’re not quite cut out for life in the stables, that fresh air is bound to do you good. Here, three upstate farm B&Bs for an affordable escape from the hustle and bustle:
We’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer. But in just under a month, we’ll be entering into one of our favorite times of the year: fall harvest. Whether it’s apples, pumpkins, cranberries, grapes, or otherwise, we can’t wait to start stuffing our faces with delicious treats homegrown in upstate New York’s ubiquitous farms, orchards, and wineries. Here are a few fun, family-friendly, food-filled festivals to get you in the spirit of the season. And don’t worry about overdoing it on the desserts – after all, the next bikini season won’t be for another nine months. Read more
With spring in full swing and summer fast-approaching, travel season in the U.S. is at its prime. Even places like Chicago and the Finger Lakes – known as cold locales for most of the year – are coming out of the woodwork as desirable summer destinations, and have the prices to match. Take a look at some of our favorite sun-soaked travel deals below. Read more
Food trails are about more than just, well, food – they provide a unique opportunity to explore a region through a specific culinary item or dish. Because trails are usually a loose collection of food-themed destinations rather than a Point-A-to-Point-B route, you can plan a vacation around them or incorporate them into existing travel plans. These six mouthwatering food trails will tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your sense of adventure. Read more
Stumped on what to get your sweetie this Valentine’s Day? Look no further than our Monday Deal Alert, because this week’s travel deals are made for lovebirds, with romance packages from the Windy City to the Big Apple. So book your room, grab your main squeeze, and set out to explore major cities or snuggle up with complimentary wine, chocolate, movies, and more with these specials.
Stay in downtown Chicago, near shopping and restaurants on the Magnificent Mile and the shores of Lake Michigan, at the 4-star PUBLIC Chicago, designed by famous hotelier Ian Schrager. This winter offer, which includes Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day weekend, starts from only $125 per night – a savings of over 60 percent at the same hotel in spring and summer. Read more
Around this time last year I suggested a family vacation to Rochester’s Strong National Museum of Play, “the best kids’ museum you never heard of” (to quote myself) and also noted briefly that the Finger Lakes region packed plenty of appeal for outdoorsy families.
It’s the latter idea that gets our attention this week, as New York State’s Ontario county – zestily rebranding its nine thousand square miles of goodness as “Nature’s Health Club”– is suggesting families try out a fitness trail studded with several local points of interest.
The trail in this case can be framed more realistically as a loose driving tour. The sites on the route – an historic site, creperie, sailboarding shop, water park, and apple orchard – lie south of U.S. 90, spanning a 25 mile area that bridges the Canandaigua and Seneca lakes. So the way I’d approach this trip is first spending a day or two in Rochester and then driving the 20 miles southeast to Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, NY, in whose vicinity you’ll find more than half a dozen inns and chain hotels hugging the south side of US 90 if you want to add an overnight or two to this tour. Read more
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