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No matter the season, there’s always a good reason to visit New Orleans. The city’s party-hearty spirit knows no seasonal boundaries, despite revving up for major notable events, like Mardi Gras. But what if you want your New Orleans vacation to be leisurely and (a little) quiet? We recommend visiting the Crescent City during early December, in between major holidays.
Time to dust off the skis and snowboards: the 2013-14 ski season is already underway, with several resorts already open and plenty more set to do so in coming weeks – which is a promising sign for the season to come. This year, some enticing deals and passes, as well as more direct flights to resort destinations, are a great excuse for a winter weekend getaway. Here are some of the best (and budget-friendly) offers.
Alta and Snowbird, Utah: Known for epic powder and deliciously long runs, these Utah resorts are also offering out-of-state visitors a killer deal this year: half off lift tickets within 24 hours of arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport. The offer is good throughout the 2013-14 ski season, Monday through Friday, and saves $39.50. Read more
When we think of iconic winter destinations in the United States, Aspen, Colorado immediately comes to mind, especially among well-heeled travelers. It is the most expensive town in America, with last year’s lowest single-family home priced at $559,000 (located, incidentally, in a trailer park). It is also the location of America’s most expensive house, which went on sale a few years ago for $135 million.
What does all this mean for tourists? Well, it’s expensive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Read more
Travelers across the US are starting to dust off their ski poles and practice their knee bends, as resorts in the northeast, midwest, southwest – anywhere, really, where there’s fresh powder to be had – prepare to open for the season. But for most of us, skiing is only half the fun. The rest of the trip (finding cozy lodges to sip hot chocolate, visiting local shops and galleries, or maybe even stopping in at a ‘cowboy bar’) should be every bit as memorable as the time you spend on the trails. Below, a few recommendations for towns that provide a quiet setting for your alpine getaway, and with lower prices to boot, could be a better deal than larger resorts in better-known areas.
Hanover, New Hampshire (above)
On your way to or from the Dartmouth Skiway, set aside some time to enjoy the cultural offerings of the college town of Hanover, 20 minutes to the south. Visit the Hood Museum contemporary art center where interning Dartmouth students help to curate the frequently changing exhibits – current exhibits feature Picasso and Fan Tchunpi. The Hanover Inn, which occupies a building dating from 1780 and overlooks Dartmouth Green, is connected to the Hood Museum via a passageway and is home to a farm-to-table restaurant named PINE, created by celebrity Boston chef, (and James Beard award winner) Michael Schlow.
Across the green, in the college’s Baker library, is the Epic of American Civilization, one Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco’s three grand frescoes in the United States (the others are in California and New York City.) Read more
Whether you’re coming to see the Rockettes, or gaze at the decked-out store windows along Fifth Avenue, New York makes for an incredible holiday vacation destination. Weeks before Thanksgiving, though, the city is already starting to prep for winter, beginning with the opening of its iconic ice rinks. Here’s a guide to what’s open, how much it costs, and what you can expect before and after you strap on your skates. The best news? There’s a lot more ice in New York City than just Rockefeller Center.
After spending five days in Iceland, I can’t understand what took me so long to visit. The country is a mere five-hour flight from New York (like flying to California) but it’s a world away in terms of the scale of its nature adventures. Iceland is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
Reykjavik is a small, charming city with one main street, a cute harbor, excellent restaurants, and a handful of city sights to explore, like the new opera house. But if you want to get the best of Iceland, the prime sightseeing is outside of town. I hadn’t planned any excursions in advance so I had to work fast and learn about what I needed to see.
I short-listed a few activities after asking fellow hotel guests what they recommended. Here’s what I did: Read more
Well, it’s officially September. While some cities are still seeing warm temperatures, we’re already skipping ahead in our minds to fall…and worse, winter. But, rather than let the changing seasons get us down, we’ve decided to just plan our next vacation. From Boston to Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach, JetBlue’s Book Smart Sale (one-way fares; book by tomorrow at midnight; travel dates September 17 to December 18) is offering some great fares on key destinations: Read more
Your winter travel plans may not be on your mind yet, but here’s some incentive to start thinking about (and booking) them now: amazing flight deals. From Reykjavik to Oslo, Copenhagen, and more, you can fly round-trip this winter from multiple U.S. cities (New York, Denver, D.C., and others) on Icelandair from $546. As unappealing as cold weather might sound right now, these hot (well…so to speak) European destinations should give you something to look forward to this winter. Check out some of our favorite destinations and deals below. 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
Just because Old Man Winter has settled in for a bit in most of the U.S., that doesn’t mean that you should put off any plans to get out and explore. In fact, winter can be one of the more opportune times to use up some vacation days. Crowds are generally smaller, lodging rates are lower, and the stresses of travel can take a backseat to genuine discovery. Of course, things tend to go a lot smoother when you’re outfitted properly, hence this guide to some of the winter’s top gadgetry and wearable electronics.
For those planning to brave the bitter cold for a day of snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or, heck, even heli-skiing, take a hard look at Columbia’s Omni-Heat line. While a heated jacket was apparently put on ice a few years ago, the company is shipping an entire line of “Reflective” clothing that almost feels like magic when you put it on. I’d recommend an Omni-Heat base layer, stacked with a shirt and a coat. The silver material in the base layer soaks up your body heat and pushes it right back at your core, keeping you exceptionally warm without any fancy wires or washing restrictions. Read more
Temperatures may be chilly at the moment, but the winter festival scene is certainly heating up. Across North America, outdoor adventurers can choose from all sorts of snow-centric gatherings that feature everything from ice sculpting to costumed ski jump competitions to a lively pub crawl – on skis, of course.
Choose from any of these fun, family-friendly festivals for the perfect antidote to cabin fever.
The action starts this holiday weekend, with the fourth-annual Estes Park’s Winter Festival in Estes Park, Colorado, held January 18-21, which has become one of the fastest growing festivals in Colorado. Read more
Some people would have you believe that hiking is a 3-season activity. Assuming a concerned tone, they’ll warn you about frigid temperatures, park closures, and impassable trails. And, to a certain extent, they might be right. In the United States, winter is a season for skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Or gathering around a fireplace with a few friends and a mug of hot cocoa or mulled wine.
Hikers should know however, that they don’t have to put off their kind of fun until the spring thaw, even if the snowdrifts outside continue to grow. They simply need to pick up a new piece of gear: snowshoes. A basic pair will only cost a little more than the waterproof, Gore-Tex boots you probably already own. Once you’ve chosen your snowshoes, all you need to do next is dress in layers, pack plenty of snacks and water (and maybe a few hand warmer packets just in case), and select a trail. To get you started, here’s a short list of state parks in the Northeast with winter trails and on-site rental facilities. Read more
Even if the cold doesn’t bother you, the trouble with winter is that nightfall arrives sooner than most of us would like it to. There is however, one good reason to venture out into the frigid winter air during the darkest months of the year: the Northern Lights. Also known as aurora borealis or the “northern dawn,” this electrical phenomena is approaching a peak period that will last until about 2016. In other words, if you haven’t seen this shimmering display before, the odds of catching a glimpse in the next few years are higher than usual. Clear skies on or around the spring equinox (March 20 in 2013) will up your chances even further. And for travelers planning a trip to see the aurora, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks helpfully posts a forecast online. Read more
We’ve already offered you gift guides for all types of travelers. But with just a few days left before Christmas (and Chanukah already in the rear view mirror), I’m sharing a few more of my favorite pieces of gear, just in case you’ve been putting off all of your shopping until the last minute. Or, perhaps you’re anticipating a bevy of gift cards, checks, and cash stuffed in your stockings and need suggestions for how to spend them all in the new year. Whether you’re shopping for a friend, loved one, or yourself, this random assortment of great gear is sure to round out any traveler’s collection.
Tretorn Skerry Vinter Boots ($75): Tretorn is known for its rubber rain boots, which are great. However, come winter, when rain turns to sleet and snow, you need more than rubber to keep yourself warm. The Skerry Vinter boots put a winter spin on the classic, by adding a faux fur lining to these brightly colored women’s boots. They’re 100 percent waterproof, warm, and comfortable for a day wandering the city shopping for a pair of gloves to match. They’re also stylish, durable, and affordable, at $75. Read more
Head to snowy Vermont this winter and save as much as 40% on current rates at a 4-diamond resort in the popular town of Stowe. As part of their pre-season sale, Topnotch Resort and Spa – a top-rated property on TripAdvisor – is offering rates as low as $139 on most weekdays between December 1, 2012 and April 7, 2013. Most weekends are available for $209 per night. But hurry, you need to book by midnight on September 17 to take advantage of this special offer.
Blackout dates includes the travel periods around Christmas and New Year (December 24 – January 1), Martin Luther King Day (January 18-20), Presidents’ Day (February 15-23), and March 7-10.
The picture-perfect town of Stowe is nestled in a cozy valley and surrounded by majestic mountains. Founded in 1794, it has preserved its quintessential New England charm and features many locally owned shops, a variety of restaurants, and a vibrant music and arts scene. Popular activities in the winter months include Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, and dog sledding. Or relax in the upscale resort’s outdoor hot tubs, make s’mores, or enjoy a treatment at the Topnotch Spa.
Topnotch Resort and Spa is located on 120 wooded acres three miles from Stowe Mountain Resort and less than six miles from Smugglers’ Notch Ski Area. Area attractions also include the Ben and Jerry’s Factory. Free wireless Internet access is available and guests also received a complimentary newspaper every day.
For more information and to book, visit the Topnotch Resort and Spa website or call 800-451-8686.
See our Stowe, Vermont destination guide for more trip planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on return flights, packages, and more travel deals.
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