We’ve all heard the saying, “The world is your oyster.” But honestly, that doesn’t even begin to crack the shell of our planet’s infinite wonders, natural phenomenon and cultural intricacies that are waiting to be discovered by even the most casual travelers. So ditch the armchair, put electronic devices in hibernation, and drop foot in these top 10 travel destinations for 2018.
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Here are Triphop’s pick for Top 10 Travel Destinations of 2018:
Bring Back the Caribbean in St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
This is the year when luxury travel and “cultural awareness” happen to collide in a big way. St Croix, slowly emerging from the devastating hurricanes of 2017, is still the same island the world loves to love – and for good reason. Descriptive adjectives abound in better times, but let’s just say: playful Caribbean breezes, lush tropical rainforests, cubbyhole snorkeling coves, ancient forts, shipwreck diving and even a flashy modern casino. The Buccaneer, an iconic pink colonial plantation inn, is welcoming the world to stay-and-play as they’ve done for generations. This is how mindful travelers can pitch in, just by spending 2018 vacation dollars where they really count.
Encounter Wild Horses, Gullah Culture and Financial Ghosts in America’s Eastern Sea Islands
The Sea Islands of America’s Eastern seaboard harbor tales of pirates, shipwrecks, Civil War battles, and financial titans charting the course of history in lavish summer cottages. It’s also the heart of Gullah and Geechee culture, dating back to antebellum sugarcane and cotton plantations on the islands. Visit the genteel Jekyll Island Club for a romp through the former summer homes of America’s elite families bearing names like Pulitzer, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. Within a couple of hundred miles of coastline, you can discover Gullah folk art and devour a Low Country seafood boil on St Helena Island; Stay at the Holiday Inn Resort in Jekyll Island and take in the view of tabby-shell architecture in the tiny Sapello Island community of Hog Hammock and see feral horses running wild with the wind on Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Harvest Olives, Saffron and Truffles in Umbria, Italy
Just a one-hour train ride from Rome drops you into the heart of Umbria, a land of endless olive groves stretching lazily in the shadow of the Mount Petrarvella, along with golden fields of delicate saffron and deep damp forests harboring elite black truffles. Help bring in the harvest and delve into the Italian “slow food” movement at places like Il Fontanaro, a family-owned organic olive farm with centuries-old villas and a slow-food culinary school. You’ll roll out thin ribbons of handmade pasta, and then pat rising mounds of dough into flatbread foundations cradling freshly-picked tomatoes, basil, local sausages, fresh mozzarella and the Pinelli family’s own olive oils – all under starry Umbrian skies. The medieval gated village of Paciano is only a short stroll away, where old men really do sit on benches amidst cobblestone streets and tiny ancient cottages. BONUS TIP: Make the most of your visit by staying at Residenza Paolo VI in Rome for 6 nights and get $53 cash back to spend any way you like.
Go Forest Bathing in Japan
Shake off the idea that “forest bathing” has anything to do with nudie soaks in the Japanese evergreen forests. Known as Shinrin-Yoku and sanctioned by the Japanese government with 200 dedicated trails, the practice is really all about breathing in the natural essential oils, known as phytoncides, that exist naturally in many trees and plants. This triggers a plethora of health benefits such as reducing the production of stress hormones, lowering blood pressure and boosting the immune system. In keeping with Japan’s devotion to the environment, and a deeply held belief based on politeness and respect, forest bathing is an eco-travel trend that lines up with Henry David Thoreau’s admonition in “Walden” to “smell the whispering sedge” and embrace the “tonic of wildness.”
Breathe the Heady Aromas of Zanzibar’s Spice Plantations
Blanketing this East African island with ancient intoxicating aromas, the spice plantations of Zanzibar are like something out of colonial-era movies. Wafting through the humid evening air, the distinct presence of nutmeg, ginger, pepper, cloves, coriander, tamarind, vanilla and ylang ylang is overpowering. Unpack your bags at African House Hotel in Stone Town amidst the well-known red-tiled rooftops and you’ll find local guides who are more than willing to transport you into the world of exotic spices and fruits growing unfettered on fertile plantations and small farms in Kizimbani and Kindichi. They’ll arrange for traditional Swahili meals and baskets brimming with custard fruits, papayas, mangos and jackfruit. Back in Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, you can roam through “duka squares” and colorful small markets offering Zanzibar handicrafts, textiles, ukili palm-woven jewelry and – of course – spices. If you’re lucky, you’ll wrangle an invitation to a Dada cooking class in Matemwe Village.
Glide With Sea Creatures in Galapagos Islands
Ever since Charles Darwin accidentally landed in the Galapagos Islands aboard the H.M.S. Beagle in 1835, this aquatic archipelago off the shores of Ecuador has held a mystique that even today’s intrepid voyagers have yet to quell. As the ship’s resident naturalist, enthralled with raw undisturbed nature, Darwin based his now-famous “Origin of Species” on his return explorations of the San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela and Santiago Islands. Little has changed in the Galapagos of today, where you can swim freely with Galapagos Sea Lions in their unfettered, natural habitats. Due to a lack of natural predators and minimal tourism, these playful sea creatures bobble on beaches like floppy cartoon characters and nurture their young by the thousands in La Loberia Nature Reserve on San Cristobal Island.
Find Castles and Yeats in County Clare, Ireland
Spoken by W.B. Yeats, one of Ireland’s favorite pen-pushers, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” You can count on that happening almost instantly when you set foot in the County Clare, about a 130-mile train ride from Dublin. It’s like suddenly being plunged into the past with ancient castles and rolling emerald-green meadows that are seemingly untouched by modern civilization. Make your way to Bun Ráite castle, commonly known by its English adaptation of “Bunratty,” and tromp through medieval bed chambers, ballrooms, chapels and banquet rooms towering over the Raite River. Continue your travel through time by laying your head at Temple Gate Hotel which sits at what used to be a convent in the 19th century. Then make your way through the surrounding folk park, a living-history village dating back to the 1800s, and then stay into the evening for a rowdy, decadent medieval banquet with dancing and live music.
Plunge Into Mimosa Heaven in Herceg Novi, Montenegro
Having nothing to do with champagne and citrus, and everything to do with the flagrant beauty of native mimosa flowers, Herceg Novi flaunts its floral pedigree with festivals, foodie events, carnivals and entire weeks centered on these colorful blossoms. Get decked out in February and March for a Mardi-Gras style mimosa carnival with street dances and masquerade balls, culminating in the crowning of a mimosa king and queen. While in town, visit the wild and wonderful Luštica Peninsula, and explore the Bay of Kotor. Rent a kayak and paddle over the quaint fishing village of Rose with its white-stone cottages, magenta bougainvillea and trailing grape vines.
Celebrate 300 Years of New Orleans Culture
When the words “celebrate” and “New Orleans” appear in the same phrase, it’s a good bet that visions of raucous-Bacchus Mardi Gras carnivals pop into your brain. But resist the urge to pigeonhole NOLA, especially when it comes to their 300-year birthday celebrations in 2018. As one of the world’s most diverse communities, New Orleans was a city even before America was a country and you can bet there will be no stone unturned in recognizing the intricate multicultural influences. The New Orleans Tricentennial celebration continues through most of 2018 with events ranging from authentic NOLA jazz to Argentine tango, Chinese opera and a “Portraits of Influence” exhibition by José Salazar, Louisiana’s earliest known artist. Look for everything from antique “tall ships” to U.S. Navy ships, a Burlesque Opera by the makers of Tabasco, and dozens of events recognizing women’s contributions to New Orleans jazz, Cajun cuisine, the Louisiana National Guard. A high-tech Luna Fête light festival highlights New Orleans architecture and iconic landmarks. A stay in the iconic Hotel Monteleone will place you in the center of all the festivities and bring this celebration full circle.
Find Your Soul in the Matrimandir Outside Pondicherry, India
Silence is deafening inside the white-marble, gold-domed Matrimandir, sprawling across the countryside near Pondicherry, a French-colonial village on the Bay of Bengal. Although India is one of the noisiest places on earth, it harbors a pocket of absolute silence. After relinquishing your worldly goods (yes, all of them, including your cell phone, wallet and shoes), you are granted entrance to the other-worldly Matrimandir, a semi-ashram/temple that followers call a place of “individual silent concentration.” They actually mean that, as not one sound is uttered while curving quietly along solid-white marble stairs into a solid-white marble inner chamber crowned with a genuine gold-disc dome. An optically perfect glass globe allows a single shaft of sunlight through a heliostat mounted on the roof. This focal point aids concentration as you sit cross-legged in a circle inside the dome, experiencing the eerie “sound of silence,” perhaps for the first time in your life.
Luxury Italian Villa Brand Expands to Bring Enthusiastic Travelers New Properties Across Europe
An established and recognised luxury villa business is rebranding to celebrate the expansion of its beautiful holiday rental portfolio. Aria of Puglia, which has built up an incredible reputation among discerning travellers, has changed its name to Aria Journeys, reflecting the brand’s expansion beyond the stunning Italian region. Holidaymakers will now be able to use the customer-focussed business to visit charming tourist hotspots across Europe.
Specialising in indulgent villas and chalet rentals, Aria Journeys is the go to platform for tourists that want a trip that exudes luxury. With a hand picked portfolio spanning over 200 lavish properties, from the breathtaking Alps to the relaxing Canary Islands, Aria Journeys has something that appeals to every travel style. The business’ growth has been driven by customer demand after experiencing the exceptional level of service that it delivers to each of its guests. Aria Journeys will now be rolling out the service it’s become renowned for to new villas and designations. Through working carefully selected indigenous partners, Aria Journeys provides an experience that is second to none, bringing each visitor first hand information on where they should be visiting, heading to for food, and revealing the location of hidden gems.
Chiara Tenuzzo, Director of Aria Journeys, said, “We’re thrilled to be reaching new dentations and taking our unique brand of customer service to even more travellers. To ensure that Aria Journeys lives up to expectations we’ve scoured Europe for the most luxurious and inviting holiday rentals, hand picking those that really stand out to add to our collection. As a result we’ve been able to incorporate some wonderful new destinations into the brand, including charming Tuscany and the vibrant Balearic Islands.”
Tenuzzo added, “The team behind Aria Journeys are continuously on the lookout for those beautiful properties that will really give a holiday the wow factor. Our range of properties is set to continue growing, bringing even more choice to travelers wanting to experience an authentic, deluxe, and memorable trip in Europe.”
Aria of Puglia was launched in 2013, combining Tenuzzo’s passions for delivering exceptional customer service and travel with a love of her home
region of Puglia in Italy. Through hand picking properties, the brand quickly grew a devoted and loyal following of holidaymakers. Keen to experience the luxury of the brand’s properties with its in-depth local knowledge in other areas of Italy and beyond, the business’ customers asked for more holiday locations featuring exquisite rental properties and the business has responded with Aria Journeys.
To find out more visit ariajourneys.com/.
Aria Journeys is a UK based luxury villa and chalet rental company. With many years of experience working in the industry, as well as a deep seated passion for its destinations, the brand is well placed to offer those looking to explore regions, cities, and towns in luxury.
KENNETH JACQUES NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF
AC HOTEL NEW ORLEANS BOURBON
Newly-renovated property welcomes overnight guests
Irvine, Calif. (November 29, 2017) – Pacific Hospitality Group (PHG) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kenneth Jacques as general manager of the AC Hotel® New Orleans Bourbon. In his new role, Jacques will manage the daily operations of the hotel, including recruiting, hiring and training of all personnel. He will also oversee bringing to life AC Hotels by Marriott’s innovative and elevated guest experience, catering to the modern business traveler.
With more than 15 years in the hospitality industry, Jacques most recently served as general manager at Marriott’s Moxy New Orleans property where he was awarded General Manager of the Year in 2016. Before joining Moxy New Orleans, Jacques held several management and leadership positions at The Westin New Orleans Canal Place, Loews New Orleans Hotel, W Washington D.C. and W New Orleans. He was also recognized as Manager of the Year on multiple occasions during his time at these properties. A New Orleans native and Louisiana State University graduate, Jacques’ educational background includes additional certifications in lifestyle hospitality programs.
“Kenneth’s deep roots within the New Orleans community coupled with his award-winning operational experience make him a great asset to the AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon,” said Paul McCormick, senior vice president of operations at PHG. “His extensive market knowledge and leadership experience will provide the competitive advantage that will assist this property in becoming one of the top lifestyle hotels in New Orleans.”
The AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon features 220 newly-renovated guest rooms, a sixth-floor outdoor atrium with downtown views, fitness center, and 4,680 square feet of total meeting and event space, with the largest space accommodating up to 168 people. It also includes the AC Kitchen, serving a European style breakfast, the AC Lounge with delicious small plates and craft cocktails in the evening, a business center and laundry facility.
Located in the historic Cotton Exchange building in the Bourbon/French Quarter area of New Orleans, the hotel’s central location and proximity to many dining and shopping options allows guests to immerse themselves in the authenticity of New Orleans’ most iconic neighborhood. The eight-story building also boasts a classic European design with sleek, clean and crisp lines that create a feeling of harmony and inspire creativity.
For reservations and more information, please visit pacifichospitality.com or http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/msyac-ac-hotel-new-orleans-bourbon/, and follow AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon onFacebook, Instagram and Twitter.
For images of the AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon and General Manager Kenneth Jacques, click here.
About AC Hotels by Marriott
AC Hotels by Marriott®, a lifestyle brand that celebrates a new way to hotel complemented by a European soul and Spanish roots, boasts more than 100 design-led hotels in 13 countries and territories. Design-driven AC Hotels by Marriott® edit away the unnecessary to remove friction, providing thoughtfully designed moments of beauty, allowing guests to focus on what’s important to them. The properties modern design for modern business include buzzing AC Lounges, the perfect place for locals or visitors to get work done in style or to enjoy handcrafted cocktails and tapas. High-design guest rooms and public spaces with sleek furnishings and intuitive technology features such as the Media Salons and AC Libraries inspire and connect. AC Hotels by Marriott® is proud to participate in the industry’s award-winning loyalty program, Marriott Rewards® which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®. Members can now link accounts with Starwood Preferred Guest® at members.marriott.com for instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer. For more information, visit ac-hotels.com. For more information, visit http://achotels.marriott.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Pacific Hospitality Group
Established in 1987, Pacific Hospitality Group (PHG) is a growing hospitality company with 11 hotels in California, Hawaii and Louisiana. Based in Irvine, California, the company owns, manages, finances and develops hotels in iconic destinations. PHG serves as the parent company to a portfolio of lifestyle and luxury properties known as the Meritage Collection. Meritage Collection hotels include Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa near San Diego, Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort in Kauai, The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, and the Village at The Meritage Resort, an all-new resort and wine-tasting experience at the storied Meritage Resort (Opening summer 2018).
Pacific Hospitality Group also serves as the franchisee of the following properties: Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove, AC Hotel Phoenix Tempe/Downtown, AC Hotel Irvine, AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon/French Quarter Area, DoubleTree by Hilton Irvine Spectrum, and DoubleTree by Hilton Santa Ana /Orange County Airport. Other PHG affiliations include Trinitas Cellars, Balboa Bay Club and the Newport Beach Country Club. For more information, visit www.pacifichospitality.com or www.linkedin.com/company/pacific-hospitality-group.
My family and I recently had the opportunity to stay at the new Marriott dual-branded Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites on Clearwater Beach and LOVED our experience! We spent one night in the Residence Inn side of the property and my boys are already asking to return.
The brand-new property opened in the summer of 2017 and boasts oversized guest rooms with a coastal vibe, flexible living, working and sleeping space, stunning views of Clearwater Bay and a wide array of shared amenities. Both brands stay true to themselves: SpringHill Suites offer stunning décor from West Elm and comfortable features, while Residence Inn offers a kitchenette and ample space for extended stays and families. They share the lobby, pool, business features, and exercise room.
Start off the new year right by getting outside and on the slopes of Vermont in 2018. Join the resorts for their never-ending list of activities from family friendly days on the hill to après wine tasting and movie premiers. Save money in the new year too by taking advantage of discounted lift tickets, ski and stay deals and beginner learn-to-turn packages.
Early January Events
January 1, 2018 – Holiday Week at Sugarbush Resort
Come to Sugarbush to find your source of holiday cheer this season. New Year’s Day will wrap up Holiday Week with traditional activities such as Kid's Pizza & Movie Night, S'more Cookouts, Torchlight Parade & Fireworks, Annual Dog Parade, Live Music and more.
January 1, 2018 – Holiday Week at Burke Mountain
New Year's Eve at Burke means their annual party at the Tamarack Grille (21+), featuring live music and a fireworks display. Not looking forward to cooking New Year's Day? No problem, they’ve got you covered. Join Burke Mountain for a New Year's Day Brunch in the Willoughby's Restaurant from 10am-2pm.
January 3-13, 2018 - Wine Tasting at Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge is back at it again for the month of January with their frequent wine tastings. Start off on January 3rd with Carmeneres from Chile, then Nero D’Avola on January 6th where visitors will try wines from Sicily’s best known red grape, White Wines of Austria on January 10th and finally, a tasting full of big fresh fruit flavors during the Argentine Wine Tasting on January 13th.
January 4-25, 2018 - Thursday Trivia Night at Burke Mountain
Gather your friends, and your wits, and join the folks at Burke every Thursday evening from 6:30-8:30pm in the View Pub in the Burke Mountain Hotel. Entry is free for teams of up to 4 who will test their knowledge of a range of topics from local history to geography to music and more while enjoying drink specials and competing for weekly prizes. Participants in 6 or more trivia nights throughout the season will be eligible to enter the grand prize raffle in March.
January 4, 2018 - Okemo’s Grommet Throwdown at Okemo Mountain Resort
It’s time for the little jibbers to show off! Okemo designs a special park for kids 13 and under. Spend the morning training in the rail garden under the guidance of some of Okemo’s Park and Pipe instructors and then show off those new skills after lunch for some great prizes.
January 6, 2018 – Mario the Magician at Okemo Mountain Resort
Mario "the Magician" Marchese is an artist and inventor who creates his own props. He is known for his clever integration of DIY electronics and robotics into his performances. Okemo Clock Tower base lodge doors open at 7 pm.Proceeds benefit OMARA, a non-profit booster club that was founded to support the athletes, families, and coaches of Okemo Competition Programs.
January 6, 2018- 24 Hours of Stratton at Stratton Mountain Resort
The 6th Annual 24 Hours of Stratton is a one-of-a-kind opportunity, for all ages and ability, to ride around the clock, as Stratton lights-up its trails for the weekend. Ski all day and ride all night until the Sunday 9am finale! Ski under the stars, camp out in the base lodge, enjoy fireworks, music and giveaways, relish first tracks at sunrise, and share in the spirit of the event that gives back to the community.
January 6 & 14, 2018- Volkswagen Presents Warren Miller’s Line of Descent at Stowe Mountain Resort
The lineage of mountain lifestyle continues in Warren Miller Entertainment’s (WME) 68th full-length feature film, Line of Descent. In this year’s film, WME travels the globe, by land, air, and sea, exploring the ties that bind ski culture. Movie will premiere at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center on January 6th and January 14th at 7pm.
January 7, 2018- Subaru and Hyundai Day at Bolton Valley
If you're a Subaru or Hyundai owner, prepare for some fantastic news. Once again, Bolton Valley will host four special days for Subaru and Hyundai owners. Each day will include a different lift ticket deal for owners with a valid registration. On January 7, owners can receive up to 4 all access full day lift tickets at 50% off the current rate for that day.
January 7, 2018 – Youth Day at Mount Snow Resort
Youth ages 17 and under pay just $17 when they visit Mount Snow for this great deal and enjoy a fun day on the mountain. Money saved on the lift ticket can be used for treats like a slice of Tony’s pizza or a Waffle Cabin waffle with extra chocolate sauce.
January 8, 2018- College Week at Mount Snow
Round up your friends and join Mount Snow for College Week and enjoy a week full of activities, parties and deals. This week will feature a wing eating contest at Cuzzins, a free night of tubing, live music, and more!
January 13-14, 2018- Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend at Sugarbush Resort
Take off to the Green Mountains for an exciting weekend of activities for all the skiers and riders in your family. This weekend features a Kid's Cooking Class, late-night music, a local artisan market, kid’s pizza and movie night, specialty dining options at Rumble's Kitchen and Castlerock Pub and more. Enjoy the torchlight parade and fireworks on Saturday night.
January 13, 2018- Mini Shred Madness at Killington Resort
This rail jam is for the groms! Join Killington in the park and compete for prizes in a friendly and fun environment. Grom skiers and riders, 13 years and under will get a feel for park riding and experience the rules and navigation of the park. Mini Shred Madness is all about having fun in a competition setting. There will be Killington Park team riders cruising through the event offering help and motivation to participants. Not to mention, there will be all sorts of free giveaways being handed out at the event to competitors.
January 13, 2018 – Let It Glow Laser Show and Fireworks at Okemo Mountain Resort
Okemo presents a laser light show spectacular with colorful lasers projected on the snow and into the night sky just outside Okemo’s Clock Tower base lodge. A fireworks finale follows. Okemo’s Sitting Bull will be open for beverages and rocking live music.
January 14, 2018- Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at Mount Snow Resort
Mount Snow Ski and Snowboard School instructors will descend upon the Canyon ski trail in a beautiful torchlight glow. Immediately following the torchlight parade Mount Snow will light up the sky with a huge fireworks display.
January 14, 2018- Winter Farmers Market at Bolton Valley
This season Bolton Valley is creating some extra reasons for you to stop by their local neighborhood resort by introducing the new Winter Farmers Market held at the Sports Center. For seven Sundays from 1 until 5 p.m., you can meet the local vendors who will be here to offer you local products from around the region.
January 15, 2018 – PHAT Day at Okemo Mountain Resort
To commemorate National Safety Month, the PHAT (Protect Your Head at All Times/Protect Your Head on All Terrain) team will be on hand at Okemo to extol the virtues of wearing a helmet while skiing and riding. They’ll have stickers, posters and helmet raffles.
For a full list of January events please visit SkiVermont.com.
Early January Deals
January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month nationwide and to help spread the joys of skiing and snowboarding Ski Vermont is once again offering our $49 package for beginners. This package includes a beginner lesson, lift ticket and rentals for one full day on the mountain. Ten Vermont resorts participate in this program and purchasers can choose to redeem this package anytime during the month of January, excluding holiday periods. To learn more about this great deal visit SkiVermont.com.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Save 30% on lift tickets to Stowe by purchasing at least 48 hours in advance online.
At Sugarbush, they know that once you get the feel for sliding on snow, you'll be hooked. To help you discover the joy we all can find in skiing and riding, they offer their award-winning First Timer to Life Timer program. The program includes rentals, lift tickets and a three-lesson series to get participants hooked on skiing and snowboarding. Once all three lessons are completed Sugarbush will reward participants with a season pass for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Also at Sugarbush this season, take advantage of Thursdays at Mt. Ellen with $30 lift tickets.
Killington offers visitors many ways to save this season with their in advance online savings, Bring a Friend, Ski Free program to their 4 Day Discovery Program for Adult First Timers. Their innovative 4-day Discovery Program for adults includes a two-hour lesson, rental equipment and a lift ticket each day, all for just $399 for the Elan ski program or the Burton snowboard program. Learn on Elan skis and Burton snowboards, and receive brand new versions of these skis and boards mounted with bindings prior to completing the fourth lesson (MSRP $575).
Bromley Mountain Resort
Purchase the Sun Mountain Card and your first lift ticket is free. This discount card virtually pays for itself the moment you buy it. Present the Sun Mountain Card to the Ticket Office upon your visit and save $30 off Monday through Friday, $20 off Saturday through Sunday (non-holidays) and $10 off on holidays. Purchase before December 15th and save an additional $10 on the Sun Mountain Card.
Stratton Mountain Resort
Save big at Stratton with their One Nighter deal, where visitors spending one night and two days on the slopes can access rates starting at $238 for two people.
Mount Snow Resort
Mount Snow lift tickets are now on sale with incredible savings for the 2017-18 ski season when you purchase in advance. But hurry, prices increase as more tickets are sold.
Looking for a place to stay during your visit? Find all the best lodging options local to your favorite resorts on our Lodging Finder. To explore more deals and money saving opportunities visit our Deals page.
Did you know that Vermont has 20 alpine resorts and 30 cross country centers? Explore them this season with the Ski Vermont 2017-18 End-to-End Tour. Participants will visit different resorts each week and be entered to win tickets and prize packs when they submit photos.
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME FOR AN OLD-FASHIONED WINTER HOLIDAY IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Three Coastal Inns Spread Winter Cheer; All Aboard a Vintage Christmas Train; Soothe Seasonal Stress at a Camp in the Redwoods; and a Tempting New Red That Goes with Everything on Your Festive Table
MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA -- (November 29, 2017) -- Seaside villages bordered by fragrant forests make Mendocino an idyllic place to fulfill your dreams of a small-town winter. Gracious Victorians sparkle warmly, inviting shops line cobbled streets, and majestic whales can be spotted offshore on their annual migration. Mendocino is at its most quaint and un-crowded at this time of year—you’d never know you were only 100 miles north of San Francisco. The air is redolent of pine and cedar outdoors, while indoors you will find crackling fires and tables piled high with local delicacies such as Dungeness crab and Chanterelle mushrooms, alongside luscious wines that originated from grapes grown in one of Mendocino’s famed wine regions. Seasonal specials at alluring inns entice you to enjoy the traditional fun—ride the Magical Christmas train with Santa, marvel at the stunning display of lights that adorn the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens during their annual holiday festival, sip artisanal wines with a friendly winemaker—or decompress at a heritage campground that brings the mysteries of nature to you.
The small port town of Fort Bragg is renowned for their resemblance to Cape Cod and the sweet Dungeness crab they pull from the sea each winter. Start your adventure there as you board the Skunk Train for an historical ride through some of the most inaccessible, glorious landscape on earth. Chug through tunnels, deep into virgin old growth forests – maybe spotting a family of white tailed deer drinking from the river along the way. At this time of year they add to the fun by running the Magical Christmas Train, a 60-minute journey through a storybook wonderland. Each child gets a personal visit with Santa, cookies, and hot chocolate in their own souvenir mug. Carols, reindeer games and more are in store. Trains also make a 90-minute jaunt from their inland Willits terminal, or from the coastal Fort Bragg station. To learn more and book tickets, please visit: https://www.skunktrain.com/experiences/magical-christmas-train/. The Magical Christmas Train runs daily December 2 – 23, 2017. Skunk Train, 100 W Laurel St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, (707) 964-6371, http://www.skunktrain.com.
A few miles south, past the historic district that is the town of Mendocino proper, the Little River Inn has designed a Festival of Lights package (in conjunction with the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens) to help revelers enjoy the fun. This gorgeous, sprawling property has been owned and operated by the same family for five generations, and their lavish decorations and brilliant tree set the mood. The only full-service resort on the Mendocino Coast, Little River Inn boasts a salon and spa, an Audubon-certified golf course, and an award-winning restaurant. Winter is a delicious season at the inn, with winemaker dinners featuring local beers and wines, crab feeds and mushroom menus. Chef Marc Dym has garnered raves for his made-to-order clam chowder, and his crab cakes win “Best on the Coast” year after year. Abalone fritters, which helped build the inn’s reputation decades ago, have been reintroduced to the menu with a sous vide twist. Always on offer are Grandpa Ole's melt-in-your-mouth hotcakes, a breakfast specialty passed down from the innkeeper’s grandfather, and a cozy way to start a chilly morning. The Little River Inn has 66 rooms, from the luxurious to the affordable, and every single one with a view of the ocean (and most with fireplaces as well).
The Little River Inn’s Festival of Lights special includes:
* Two nights lodging in an Ocean View Gas Fireplace Room
* Dinner for two in Ole’s Whale Watch Bar. (Dinner is served in Ole’s from 4 pm to 8 pm)
* Admission to the Festival of Lights at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, a spectacular celebration of glittering color, dazzling artistry, live music, and local craft beers and wines set amongst the West Coast’s only coastal botanical gardens on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening from 5 pm to 7:30 pm
* Breakfast for two in the Garden Dining Room
The Festival of Lights Package is available November 26 – December 17 and must include a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night stay. Packages begin at $435 for two, exclusive of tax and gratuity. More at: http://www.littleriverinn.com/little-river-inns-festival-of-lights-winter-package/. Add additional nights and enjoy the best rates of the year during LRI’s WINTER SPECIAL, which offers 25% off all rooms between November 26 and December 21. Little River Inn, 7901 N. Highway One, Little River, CA 95456, (707) 937-5942, www.littleriverinn.com.
If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, the nearby Brewery Gulch Inn offers the perfect escape for couples. Their Festive Mendocino package allows you to stay at one of the most lauded inns in the world at a deeply discounted winter rate. The stunning architecture, mouthwatering cuisine, dramatic ocean views and personal pampering are some of the reasons why Condé Nast Traveler previously named the 10-room inn the #1 Best Hotel in Northern California and the #46 Best Hotel in the World. Guests rave about the gourmet buffet, served at 5:30PM every night, when the inn’s private chef will tempt you with a menu confected from local bounty. Watch the Pacific crash against the rocks below, cuddled up in your room that is elegantly appointed with comfortable, design-forward furniture and soft throws for snuggling in front of the fire. Asprey products, Himalayan bath salts and thick Abyss towels elevate the bathrooms to spa-like temples of relaxation. Fall asleep under featherbeds cloaked in Sferra linen and wake to the sound of the waves. Each morning, the chef will prepare a made-to-order breakfast for you, to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own room, or in the soaring Great Room, anchored by an iconic, four-sided glass and steel fireplace fabricated by a local shipbuilder and flooded with light tumbling down from the central core’s three-story high skylight and 13-foot high, redwood-trimmed French doors overlooking Smuggler’s Cove.
Mention “Festive Mendocino” at the time of booking, either online in the Comments section or over the phone, and receive a 15% discount applied to your stay. This offer is applicable during the months of December and January, to new reservations only, is not combinable with any other discounts and must be mentioned at the time of booking. Blackout dates are: December 18 through January 2 and January 15-18, 2018. http://www.brewerygulchinn.com/special-offers/festive-mendocino.htm. Brewery Gulch Inn, 9401 N. Highway One, Mendocino, CA 95460, (707) 937-4752, www.brewerygulchinn.com.
Nature lovers and whale watchers know that there is another side of Mendocino in winter—expansive, rugged and unspoiled. The Inn at Newport Ranch, on a 2,000-acre private preserve just north of Fort Bragg, is one of the last places in Northern California where you can lose yourself in those breathtaking vistas and explore a mile of oceanfront, three miles of ridge tops, panoramic coastal views and 20 miles of world class hiking and riding trails through redwoods and along the coast. Will Jackson, a Connecticut Yankee with dreams of the Wild West, built his dream luxury lodge to have all of the beauty and creature comforts of a 5-star hotel. The guest quarters are both grand and intimate, designed to enhance the landscape and carefully crafted to incorporate materials such as recycled redwood trees and the finest imported stone. When you’re not exploring the forests, beaches and meadows on their land, you will want to hunker down in your suite or room to enjoy panoramic views of the tempest-tossed ocean—or take a hot tub atop their repurposed water tower with 50-mile views across the Pacific. The onsite Fireside Spa is entered through a grove of Redwood trees, and the Chef serves up North coast seasonally-inspired ranch cuisine—with many ingredients sourced from the Inn’s own organic gardens. Only open since 2016 (they made USA Today’s ‘Top 10 New Hotels in the US’ that year), the Inn’s new Winter Storm Watch Getaway is the very first guest special that they have ever offered.
The Winter Storm Watch Getaway deal includes:
Get 10% off the suite or room of your choice from January 1, 2018 – March 31, 2018. Room rate includes the full Ranch Breakfast and evening appetizer hour.
For an additional $325, add on an all-inclusive experience that includes:
The California Redwood rainforest is at its most beautiful in winter, with mosses and mushrooms flourishing at the bases of the trees and brilliant stars peeking through crowns that stretch to the sky. To get up close-and-personal with these phenomena, go to the banks of the rushing Navarro River in Mendocino’s famed Anderson Valley Wine Country and find Camp Navarro, a utopian spot to commune with the ancient forest and native wildlife in the fresh, crisp air. A former Boy Scout Camp turned nature retreat extraordinaire, Camp Navarro holds group events year round. The camp is only 2 hours’ drive from the Bay Area yet feels completely apart from civilization, making it a favorite destination for gatherings such as reunions, weddings, music festivals, and company team building. Camp Navarro has capacity for over 400 people to sleep on memory foam mattresses in a variety of cabins, East Coast-style Adirondacks and Teepee tents. This season they are adding new Adirondack cabins and new Deluxe Teepees (all of which will have heating), in addition to 40 new Glamping tents and brand new bedding, to entice you to drift off to sleep to the sound of the bubbling creek. Facilities include a 10,000-square-foot main lodge and infrastructure and Wifi throughout the property. The cuisine is a stand out—you will be reminded that their chefs have Michelin-starred restaurant experience when you tuck into a pizza from their Mugnaini wood-fired oven. At this contemplative season, guests can take long walks through miles of lush acreage, take classes on how to forage or make a fire in the wilderness, or learn to identify winter constellations, among other activities designed to enhance appreciation of the sylvan surroundings. Long nights are filled with fireside conversation, board games, dance parties, and steaming mugs of mulled cider and cocoa—and no camp would be complete without sweet gooey S’mores. Camp Navarro, 901 Masonite Industrial Rd, Navarro, CA 95466, (707) 633-3020, http://www.campnavarro.com.
Also located in Anderson Valley Wine Country is Lula Cellars, a small production premium winery with a cult-like following. The intense flavors of Lula’s wines are attributable to slow-ripening grapes that spend mornings under coastal fog and bask in warm sun all afternoon. The winery’s 2,800 yearly cases are made entirely from Mendocino grapes and only sold directly to consumers. This egalitarian esthetic is embodied in their welcoming and pet-friendly tasting room, where you can chat about winemaking and taste their latest creation--Guntly Red. Priced at $24 per bottle and perfect for pouring liberally at holiday gatherings, Guntly Red is a Pinot blend so drinkable that it goes with almost everything. It has all the complexities of a fine Pinot Noir with none of the pretension, making it both an important addition to your cellar and a perfect gift for wine-loving friends. Other Lula vintages that make stellar gifts include their multiple Gold Medal-winning Pinot Noirs and celebrated Rosato (a style of Italian rosé). You can order their wines and find more information about visiting them at http://www.lulacellars.com. Lula Cellars Tasting Room, 2800 Guntly Rd, Philo, CA 95466, (707) 895-3737, www.lulacellars.com.
Mendocino during the winter months allows you to experience a Norman Rockwell holiday, pamper yourself with sumptuousness, and tap the power of the Pacific and forests of centuries’ old trees to refresh your spirit. Still relatively undiscovered—and so truly affordable in the off-season—Mendocino can be your secret place to winter or a destination to celebrate with friends and family.
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Heather Noll | Chalkboard Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org | 415.290.2891
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