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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
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
For those of us who remember the Radisson that used to occupy the concrete high-rise that’s now Boston’s shiny new Revere Hotel, the change from one property to the other is dramatic, to say the least. The Radisson got the job done for leisure travelers, especially in this centrally located Boston neighborhood, but you can be sure that it never featured soothing aromatherapy scents in the lobby, sculptures, studded leather headboards, or trendy bath products in sparkly-tiled showers.
Following a July, 2012 opening, only the building’s parking garage-y exterior remains intact. The interior got a plush re-do for maximum comfort and urban cool. The building’s roof even received a subdued-yet-glamorous facelift and now serves as a topiary-filled sundeck with skyline views.
If you want to experience the Revere firsthand this fall, you’ll likely pay somewhere between $350 and $500 a night to do it, but if you can hold out for cooler weather – and resolve to do your Christmas shopping in the boutiques on Newbury Street – you can stay for as little as $159 to $199 per night in November and December. That’s a steal considering that the property is still as shiny as its namesake’s silver, and that its rooms, common spaces, and the super-friendly treatment from its staff feel more 5-star than 4-. At that price, even the winter wind that whips through Boston doesn’t seem so daunting. Click here to search for rates.
You might have been waiting all summer for that perfect sunny day, but in the U.S., those rays have turned into a scorcher. With America currently experiencing the hottest summer on record, some of us are wishing for a cooler front. What better time, then, to dream about the Southern Hemisphere, which is going through its winter months? While it may not be easy to book a last minute getaway to these destinations, just lusting over them will hopefully cool you down.
Angel Falls – Venezuela
Venezuela is mostly tropical due to its location just north of the equator, but thanks to its varied geography, pockets of microclimates exist. One such area is the Guiana Highlands, a southern region of the country characterized by imposing plateaus and vast upland plains. From June to early September, the average temperature hits 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 35 degree at night, making this the best time to visit the Angel Falls in Canaima National Park. Renowned as the world’s highest waterfall at 3,212 feet, winter’s torrential rains causes the rapids to swell to their full glory. However, if storm clouds shroud your view, Canaima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a destination in itself, with impressive geological formations and lush greenery.
The dog days of summer may be upon us, but RockResorts is looking to cool you down with its winter getaway deals featuring savings of 25 to 50 percent, and rates starting at $85 per night at locations around the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Already dreaming of snow? Book now for the lowest rates at The Arrabelle at Vail Square or The Lodge at Vail, RockResorts’ establishments near Vail, Colorado, where you’ll find excellent back-country skiing and snowboarding. At nearby Beaver Creek, the group’s Osprey and The Pine Lodge also offer activities like snowshoeing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, and hot air ballooning. Read more
The perfect location (on one of the island’s prettiest beaches), villa-style accommodations, and fantastic French-Caribbean fare make La Samanna St. Martin’s leading luxury hotel. White-washed Mediterranean villas perched above Baie Longue feature 83 newly renovated rooms and suites (since November 2011), complete with white travertine floors, marble bathrooms, shabby-chic furnishings, and oceanview balconies or terraces. The best suites come with their own private plunge pool or terrace with jacuzzi. A clubby colonial bar, impressive wine cellar, pool deck, and small spa round out the offerings. If you still need selling, a meal at Le Reserve is bound to dazzle. Alfresco seating on the oceanfront deck, bites of lobster ravioli, and a bottle of crisp Sancerre easily won me over. Rates are steep, starting at $845/night, but the resort’s More Paradise offer includes breakfast and $100 resort credit daily in peak winter season. www.lasamanna.com
For general trip-planning info, see our St. Martin Travel Guide.
Yosemite National Park might be lacking in snow so far this year, but the lack of picturesque snowy landscapes means that areas of the park that are ordinarily closed for the winter still remain open. Visitors to the park can expect the rare opportunities that the usual winter temperatures but unusual dry weather provide: As of now, your winter getaway to Yosemite can still include a drive along Tioga Road (which usually closes in November) with a stop at Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake, a visit to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia, and a view of the iconic Glacier Point.
The park also boasts its usual winter activities, which include ice skating at Tenaya Lodge and Curry Village, skiing at Badger Pass Ski Area, and even hiking and backpacking. Note: The National Parks Service keeps up to date information on what activities are available and what the current conditions are, and you should make sure to check before your visit if the roads are likely to remain open.
Stay at The Sebastian, a luxury Vail resort this ski season and receive two free lift tickets on each day of your stay – an added daily value of $160! With this exclusive deal from ShermansTravel, you’ll also receive two spa treatments, daily breakfasts, and welcome drinks. Stays at The Sebastian start at $250 alone, meaning you essentially receive the lift tickets and amenities for free.
The Sebastian is Vail’s newest boutique hotel, a 4.5-star resort in the heart of Vail Village. It offers luxurious room accommodations, an indoor pool and hot tubs, a fitness and wellness center, a full-service spa, a variety of upscale and casual dining, and much more.
Book by November 30 to snag this exclusive luxury deal!
THE VALUE: Save hundreds of dollars on lift tickets, spa treatments and extra amenities from this luxury Vail resort.
THE CATCH: A minimum stay of three nights is required.
THE DETAILS: Call 800-863-2325 and mention ShermansTravel.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights to Vail.
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