August 2, 2007 was a historic day in America. On that day, the bitter partisanship that pretty much defines American politics was cast aside to pass a bill that declared bourbon to be our “National Spirit” and established September as National Bourbon Heritage Month. And here’s the best part: They passed the bill unanimously. Yes, unanimously. As further evidence of bourbon’s importance to American heritage as well as the nation’s economy, this isn’t the first time Congress passed a law involving the industry. In 1967, it passed a bill to define bourbon as a whiskey that must be distilled from at least 51% corn and aged in a new charred American white oak barrel and just as Champagne can only be made in the region of the same name in France and Iberico ham can only come from Spain and Portugal, bourbon must be made in the USA. Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash Which brings us to today. The bourbon industry is exploding—there were over 11.4 million barrels aging in Kentucky in 2021, which works out to 2.4 barrels for every citizen of the state. So-called “whiskey pilgrims,” from millennial enthusiasts to seasoned aficionados, have been flocking to Kentucky to visit bourbon distilleries and see how the spirit is made. But even before bourbon growth took off, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association established in 1880, a trade organization, founded the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999. (Bourbon production increased 571% since then, from 455,078 barrels in 1999 to 2.6 million in 2021). The KBT is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to head to the source and see craftsmanship in action. And the best part: the guidance the KBT provides is completely free. Each distillery offers tours that show the many steps of whiskey-making, from fermenting to distilling to barreling to bottling and, of course, what would a tour be without a lesson in tasting. The distilleries charge a minimal admission fee. It’s worth it. Just go to the site and download the map. It shows the number of miles between distilleries, which ranges between eight and 70, and lot of other helpful logistical details. There are 46 distilleries on the trail. The KDAhas created The Bourbon Trail™ Passport & Field Guide for you to take from stop to stop. Get it stamped at each distillery and you can earn rewards. Among the stops is the iconic Maker’s Mark Distillery, a National Historic Landmark. It’s set up with the house of its founders replicated to period detail. You can watch workers dip the bottles in the red wax Maker’s is known for and even try it for yourself in the gift shop. Courtesy of Jim Beam The massive Jim Beam Distillery is a mighty sight to behold, what with 10.7 million (9 liter) cases sold in 2020 . This is indeed the slickest stop on the tour. The company is in its seventh generation of Beams and old-school heritage looms large in its mythology, yet it’s all presented with all kinds of digital bells and whistles. The visitor center is a veritable multi-story museum, with interactive educational elements. They also offer an interactive multi-sensory tour and a decanter museum that would make an antiques collector swoon. Prepare to spend a lot of time here. Heaven Hill, the oldest family-run distillery, offers the Bourbon Heritage Center, a museum of bourbon, past to present. You are welcomed onto the Heaven Hill campus by several rickhouses, filled with up to 52,000 barrels each. The newest rickhouse on site features a bird’s eye view into the resting barrels with a glass window corner spanning the seven floors. The exterior of the updated visitor center showcases a replica of how the distillery looked in 1935, an authentic, vintage barrel truck representative of what the Shapira brothers may have driven in the 1940s and an updated sign celebrating the new name. Wild Turkey and Four Roses have both invested vast sums in the last few years to open stunning visitor centers at their historic distilleries, each one a shrine to American heritage. With all the tourist pouring into (sorry, no pun intended) the state, they need someplace to eat and drink after a day of touring. Louisville has become quite an urban destination. Inventive restaurants are opening at a rapid clip, and meantime, some of the longstanding institutions banded together to form the Urban Bourbon Trail, a guide to some of the most incredible bourbon bars in Louisville, which basically means the most incredible bourbon bars in the world. Presented by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/
Don't let the stress and busy-ness of the holidays take over this year. Wind down from all the excitement with the perfect drink from Bird Dog's seasonally-inspired whiskeys. The flavors below encapsulate the holidays and perfectly complement a number of classic fall and winter activities. These drinks are sure to add a festive touch to group gatherings and fun-filled days, so stock your bar at home and book those holiday plans now! Pumpkin Spice - Fall Festivals and Spooky Nights A spooky fall display with candles and pumpkins by Freestocks - Unplash Pumpkin spice-flavored items have a cult-like following, the fervor of which peaks in October just in time for Halloween events and fall festivals. Pumpkins abound—on doorsteps, outside grocery stores, and all over any variety of fall events. However, the extra kick of a pumpkin-spiced whiskey comes in handy when attempting to calm the nerves (before or after) a haunted house or extra spooky Halloween-themed activity. If you're interested in scary thrills, head to St. Augustine, Florida for the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum. Built in 1798, this house has seen its fair share of occupants. To celebrate Halloween, the Museum is offering Mortality and Mourning: A Century of Death, a family-friendly tour revealing how St. Augustinians in the 1800s practiced medicine and mourned. Tours are offered twice nightly on Friday and Saturday evenings, through Saturday, October 28. Additionally, The Colonial Quarter hosts the Halloween Spooktacular, presented by the St. Augustine Swashbucklers. Adventure through haunted grounds Friday, October 27th through Sunday, October 29th. Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice Candy Cane - Holiday Performances Ballet dancers backstage by Kazuo Ota - Unsplash As fall fades, peppermint-infused treats begin to make their way in anticipation of the Christmas season. Shows such as The Nutcracker are traditionally family favorites and performances of the classic ballet are typically available in most major cities. In addition to professional theatre, though, December is also the peak season for school holiday programs. Whether you're celebrating a festive night out in town, or recovering from a long night (or nights) of a packed family schedule, a festive candy cane-infused bourbon is a great addition to the evening. In Jacksonville, Florida, the performing arts lineup is packed for the holiday season. The theaters of Jacksonville get into the holiday spirit through the end of the year with performances of heart-warming classics and cheery seasonal programming. The Jacksonville Symphony will perform the First Coast Nutcracker in December with prized dancers and magical set pieces at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts. Alhambra Theatre & Dining puts on Miracle on 34th Street from mid-November until Christmas Eve. In early December, the Ritz Theater & Museum will host the Jacksonville Christmas Spectacular, three humorous and fun stories in one show featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars DrumLine as a musical guest. Bird Dog Candy Cane S'mores - Outdoor Adventures A roaring campfire in the mountains by Courtnie Tosana - Unsplash S'mores top the list of outdoor campfire treats. If you've got a plan to enjoy the fall colors and changing of the seasons with camping, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, be sure to bring along a celebratory beverage like Bird Dog S'mores Flavored Whiskey (no campfire required!). A drink like this is especially useful if you need to wind down from a thrilling day of climbing, rafting, mountain biking, or other more extreme activities. Ride the rapids in a thrilling white water rafting trip in East Tennessee: The Ocoee River, renowned for its Olympic course, ranks among the top whitewater rivers in the US. Its 11-mile stretch transforms into a thrilling whitewater adventure, drawing over 300,000 paddlers annually. Nestled within the Bald and Unaka Mountains, the Nolichucky River boasts a nine-mile gorge, offering a wild and thrilling setting. Considered a challenging Class III or IV river, guided trips are available for adventurers aged 12 and above. The Upper Pigeon River, surrounded by the stunning Great Smoky Mountains, provides Class III rapids and a range of outfitter-guided excursions. For a more relaxed experience, the Lower Pigeon River offers gentle rapids, swimming spots, and scenic views, making it ideal for families and leisurely float trips. Designated as a State Scenic River, the Hiwassee River features predominantly Class I and II rapids, with some sections reaching Class III during water releases. Outfitters offer self-guided rafting, guided fishing, and accommodation options, making it a versatile destination for a variety of outdoor activities. Bird Dog S'mores Mesquite Brown Sugar - Light Displays and Natural Beauty Las Noches de Las Luminarias - Courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden The earthy notes of mesquite and sweet warmth of brown sugar combine to make the perfect flavor profile for a night exploring the many tree lighting ceremonies, and beautifully-illuminated outdoor spaces this time of year. Stroll through decoratively lit city parks and twinkly trees with a drink in hand, or pour a nightcap after a magical evening out. In Phoenix, Arizona, visitors can enjoy hundreds of hand-lit luminarias around the Desert Botanical Garden as live performances and entertainment, and festive snacks complete a picture-perfect evening at Las Noches de Las Luminarias. Celebrate the Mexican holiday tradition of La Posada (December 17th) with singing processions, traditional Mexican food and beverage, as well as a piñata breaking experience for children. Nearby, Old Town Scottsdale hosts Scottsdazzle, a signature holiday spectacular with an annual Sing-Along & Tree Lighting Ceremony (this year's is November 25th). Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar Espresso - Holiday Shopping and City Tours Nutcrackers on display in a store window by Dare Artworks - Unsplash Holiday shopping doesn't have to be rough. Seasonal markets can be a great way to support local vendors and craftsmen, while exploring new places. Plan a night out to a big city to enjoy the markets and holiday light installations. An espresso-flavored drink matches the tone of a bustling retail atmosphere, without giving the over-stimulating punch of an actual coffee. Head to San Francisco for a fun shopping experience. Visit The Park Market at Crane Cove with local makers, live music, food and drink vendors, and family-friendly activities to one of the city's newer parks. The Trick or Treat Market on October 28 will include Halloween activities and crafts, while the series ends on November 19 with a Holiday Mercantile. Explore more of the city with a unique tour, powered by augmented-reality and Paper Tree - The Origami Store. Visitors scan a QR code at Paper Tree to begin an immersive origami adventure on their smartphones. As they stroll along Japantown's Buchanan Street, colorful red and white envelopes appear to “float in the air.” The user's proximity triggers an envelope to open, revealing a larger-than-life origami diorama. Using their smartphone, visitors can walk around the origami figures and inspect them from all angles to see the intricate folds made to create each piece. A pop-up display also shows the artist's name and which origami papers from Paper Tree were used in the work. A flock of gold origami cranes flutters across the sky once all the dioramas are revealed. Bird Dog Black Espresso Gingerbread - Make-Believe and Magic Warm drink and gingerbread by Flotsam - Shutterstock No matter what you celebrate, the holiday season has a special kind of magic to it. The end-of-the-year celebrations inspire acts of kindness, magical decor, and whimsical stories. The spirit of gift-giving and thankfulness can soften even the most scrooge-y of people. Holiday vacations from work and school—whether spent relaxing at home, with family, or at a fun destination—often center around festive meals and treats. Adding a gingerbread-flavored cocktail make a festive addition to big get togethers with friends and family. For a truly magical experience, take the family to a winter wonderland like the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee which features kids activities, magical decor, ice skating, and light displays every November and December. Or, step back into a storybook with a trip on one of the many polar express train rides across the country. One of the best can be found in Durango, Colorado aboard the vintage steam train. The Polar Express Train Ride takes visitors on a narrow-gauge rail through the Rocky Mountains for an immersive re-creation of the classic holiday story. Enjoy hot cocoa and treats on the way to the "North Pole," where visitors will enjoy a light show and the train picks up Santa Claus himself. On the return trip to Durango, Santa will visit each coach and hand out the first gift of Christmas to each passenger. Bird Dog Gingerbread Sponsored by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/
Once upon a time, whiskey was the currency of cowboys and grandfathers. Then the story changed. Over the past two decades, Scotch, bourbon and Irish whiskey have become some of the fastest growing spirits in the world. In the United States, it has become increasingly easy to find bars specializing in uisce beatha. (That’s Gaelic for “water of life” and the source of the word “whiskey”). Most feature bartenders who work in a sommelier-like capacity to answer questions and offer suggestions that best suit your preferences. Here are some of the best spots to slake your whiskey thirst. And curiosity. Brandy Library: New York, New York There’s a casual elegance that pervades the Brandy Library, which opened in 2004, earning it the badge of first whiskey bar in New York. (As legend has it, owner Flavien Desoblin christened it “Brandy Library” instead of “Whiskey Library” because when he opened the place, whiskey wasn’t a fraction as cool as it is now and he worried it might turn people away.) Brandy Library, in the posh Tribeca neighborhood, is a full-immersion experience. Shelves line several walls in the sepia-toned, living-room-like bar. Add to that copper lighting fixtures inspired by liquor stills and a gorgeous leather-bound menu arranged by region, and you have a Mecca-level destination worth a pilgrimage. Silver Dollar: Louisville, Kentucky The Silver Dollar is located in the heart of Bourbon Country © Liza Weisstuch There are many reasons to visit the Silver Dollar. Architecture junkies will be intrigued by how this 1890 fire house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was transformed into one of Louisville’s hippest hangouts. (Yes, the fire pole is still standing.) Music-lovers will appreciate how it stands as a tribute the Bakersfield Sound, the classic country music style credited to Buck Owens, who, in the 1950s, infused Nashville’s popular swinging country with the strumming Mexican conjunto music he discovered in his local California bars. The fact that bartenders play country music on vinyl only elevates the vintage vibe. Similarly, the southern regional cuisine on the menu has a spicy Mexican accent. And then, of course, there is the American whiskey, which is in no shortage here in the bourbon capital of the world. Jack Rose Dining Saloon: Washington, DC Inside the Jack Rose © Greg Powers The Jack Rose is less whisky bar and more whisky kingdom, of sorts, offering a range of environments for imbibing in Washington, DC’s, vibrant Adam’s Morgan neighborhood. The main bar and dining room is a handsome dark-wood-and-leather affair lightened with soaring ceilings, tall windows, and a marble bar. Those high ceilings are necessary to house the nearly 2700 brands of whiskey, many of which are accessible to the bartenders only by ladder. Not sure what you like? No pressure, you can buy anything as a half-ounce pour here so go on and experiment. Upstairs is a seasonal tiki bar as well as an open-air terrace with a bar of its own featuring a barbecue pit area equipped with heat lamps so you can chill out in the winter. Speaking of barbecue, food here leans southern and hearty, with fried green tomatoes and cornmeal fried oysters playing leading roles on the menu. Seven Grand: Los Angeles, California The hunting-lodge stylings of Seven Grand in LA © Liza Weisstuch If there’s one thing you should know about Seven Grand, it’s that its whiskey menu is 44 pages long. Yes, 44 pages. You could say that this antique-y, dimly lit hunting-lodge-chic bar, which opened in 2007, is the antithesis of Los Angeles, where so many bars and restaurants are airy and light. Or you could argue that Seven Grand is quintessentially LA, what with its transportive movie-set-like ambiance, complete with details like mounted deer heads and vintage furniture. Regardless, it claims the biggest whiskey collection in the West, making it an attraction for aficionados and the whisky-curious. The whiskey list does soar to super-premium heights, but the vibe here is very down-to-earth. (See: pool tables, live music.) And for those in-the-know, there’s Jackelope, an intimate Japanese-style whiskey bar tucked away in the back. Fiori D’Italia: Anchorage, Alaska When an earthquake struck Anchorage, Alaska, in 2018, many of whiskey bottles from the collection of more than 400 at Fiori d’Italia hit the ground and shattered. Building the collection had been an ongoing pursuit for the young bar manager Ylli Ferati, whose family owns and runs the discreetly tucked-away Italian restaurant. But thanks to his perseverance and vast industry connections, he was able to rebuild the biggest whiskey selection in Alaska. The restaurant, which is owned and run by Ylli’s parents, immigrants from Macedonia, is decidedly old-school Italian, and while they do indeed have a wine list, Ylli encourages exploring whiskey pairings with the food, a fine way to understand the spirit’s universal appeal. Multnomah Whiskey Library: Portland, Oregon The massive collection in the Multnomah Whiskey Library lines the shelves on the wall © Dina Avila There is a good chance that you’ll stop in your tracks the first time you walk into the Multnomah Whiskey Library in downtown Portland, Oregon, and behold its grandeur. True to its name, it’s set up as like a library reading room, complete with long tables and desktop-style lamps. But don’t expect quiet contemplation here. After all, its shelves are not packed with books, but with about 2,000 bottles of whiskey, plus a healthy assortment of rum, tequila and cognac. If cocktails are your preference, you’re in for a treat: the service here involves a dedicated bartender who takes the order at your table and makes the cocktail tableside. While not a speakeasy, its entrance is a tad discreet, so stay on the lookout for the “Whisky Library” sign. And pro tip: It’s a spacious place and very popular, so arrive early to get your name on the list. Delilah’s: Chicago, Illinois For many years, the term “whiskey bar” conjured up images of high-end fusty affairs. The recent bourbon boom has made brown water a more democratic drink, but before bourbon became a hipster spirit, there was Delilah’s, which stood out – and continues to gather fans – for the way it uniquely captures whiskey’s freewheeling, rock’n’roll soul. This Chicago hangout has a dive-y vibe, complete with weathered banquettes, Christmas lights, and live rock bands. You’ll find as much pretension here as you might in your local CVS. Yet the global whiskey selection is world-class and the bartenders can each provide a thorough whiskey education. Presented by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/
If your favorite whiskey flavor were a vacation home, where would you go? Transport yourself to the very places your taste buds dream of. Dive into the vacation realm inspired by Bird Dog Whiskey's new innovative flavors. These aren’t just destinations; they’re sensory adventures. Pack Bird Dog Whiskey's newest flavor releases and match the mood of these magnificent, unique, and exceptionally rated vacation homes from VRBO – from the rich aromas of pumpkin spice to the surprising undertones of mesquite brown sugar. Your escapade just got a whole lot zestier. 1. Pair with Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice: Book on VRBO: Elegant Cabin in Perfect Location! Private but close to Everything! Gatlinburg, TN Source: VRBO - The large open area floor plan makes the cabin feel even bigger than it is! Enjoy the falling leaves of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This beautifully maintained log cabin is a stone's throw away from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Adorned with cathedral ceilings, it features a luxurious upstairs primary suite with a jetted tub. Outside, a covered deck boasts a new hot tub and stunning natural views, while a front porch offers seasonal mountain vistas from comfortable rocking chairs. Whether for a romantic escape or a family getaway, its location and charm make it an ideal vacation choice. Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice 2. Pair with Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar: Book on VRBO: Desert Reverie at Mesquite Cabin - Twentynine Palms, California Source: VRBO - The private stone hot tub at Mesquite Cabin Step into this sanctuary amidst the Mojave Desert, perfectly positioned by Joshua Tree National Park. The Mesquite Cabin is a green retreat, where eco-friendly meets luxurious relaxation. Indulge in a heavenly soak in its stone tub, filled with mineral-rich hot springs, under the vast, starlit sky. Nature’s elegance, with a sustainable touch. Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar 3. Pair with Bird Dog S'mores: Book on VRBO: Modern Luxury Waterfront on Lake Norman - Mooresville, NC Modern Luxury Waterfront on Lake Norman - Resort Style This lavish 4000+ sq ft home offers 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, an expansive bunk room, and a modern chef's kitchen tailored for entertainment. Relish in the 1,300 sq ft covered outdoor space, boasting an outdoor kitchen, built-in bar for 10, and breathtaking Lake Norman views. The primary suite is a haven with a Nordictrack treadmill, opulent bath, sauna, and stone tub. Enjoy multiple scenic outdoor sitting areas and a two-story dock in a prime location, just a short boat ride to the main channel. Set on an acre, this wooded property ensures privacy while being near dining, shopping, and outdoor activities. Experience North Carolina's premier Lake Norman for an unforgettable vacation. Bird Dog S'mores 4. Pair with Bird Dog Black Espresso: Book on VRBO: Island Mornings at the Hawaiian Surf Cottage - Haiku-Pauwela, Hawaii Source: VRBO - Featured in HAWAII Magazine: "Favorite place to stay in Hawaii" Experience Maui's genuine heartbeat at this cozy surf retreat, shadowed by the imposing Haleakala. Awake with the North Shore's early risers, surf the morning waves, and revel in the tropical ambiance. Perfect for couples celebrating their honeymoon or anniversary! Enjoy the outdoor shower, semi-private yard with a surfboard fence and murals and outdoor covered area for relaxing. Private and quiet cottage in a wonderful location for exploring the North Shore, Road to Hana and Haleakala. And for those caffeine aficionados, a charming local café beckons just around the corner. Bird Dog Black Espresso 5. Pair with Bird Dog Candy Cane: Book on VRBO: Fantasy Fulfilled at Candy Crush Castle - Davenport, Florida Source: VRBO- One of the fun themed bedrooms at Candy Crush Castle Embark on a whimsical journey at this enchanting Florida villa. With rooms straight out of fairy tales and a plethora of games, this "castle" is the epitome of playful luxury. Whether you're navigating through the Candy Factory bedroom or gaming in the Hideout, delight is at every corner. And when the evening grows quiet, the grown-ups can savor a hushed moment of relaxation. Bird Dog Candy Cane 6. Pair with Bird Dog Gingerbread: Book on VRBO: Victorian Elegance at The Gingerbread House, Savannah, Georgia Source: VRBO - A street view of the Gingerbread House Step into a bygone era at Savannah’s iconic Gingerbread House, radiating the charm of the Black Forest's architectural wonder. This historic beauty offers an enticing blend of vintage appeal and modern comforts. After exploring the vibrant streets of Savannah, retreat to the tranquil courtyard, and warm yourself by the fire pit with a heartening drink. Bird Dog Gingerbread There you have it – six destinations, six experiences, all enhanced with a touch of Bird Dog Whiskey. So why wait? Let flavors guide your next journey. Cheers to spirited adventures! Sponsored by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/
The smell is the first thing you'll notice: vanilla, some caramel. That's the scent of bourbon in the air. Workers at nearby distilleries call the fumes "the angel's share"--a fitting term, considering that this town about 40 miles south of Louisville is home to both whiskey people and monks. The area once claimed more than 20 distilleries. Only two (Barton and Heaven Hill) remained in 2006 but Bardstown has rebounded and now boasts over 11 distilleries, the most (bourbon) in any city! Their title as the Bourbon Capital of the World makes Bardstown a must-visit for bourbon enthusiasts. With friendly locals and a relaxed, small-town atmosphere, Bardstown warmly welcomes tourists, offering an authentic experience where you can savor the town's beauty, explore its rich history, and, of course, indulge in the finest bourbon-making heritage the region has to offer. Things to Do: Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History -The museum displays a 50 year collection of rare artifacts and documents concerning the American whiskey industry dating from pre-Colonial days to post-Prohibition years. The museum includes exhibits on President Washington, Abraham Lincoln, authentic moonshine stills, antique bottles and jugs, medicinal whiskey bottles, unique advertising art, novelty whiskey containers, and much more. Heaven Hill Distillery - Courtesy of Visit Bardstown Bourbon Trail - Bardstown is an Official Gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and a must-book stop for all of the rest. Nowhere in Kentucky—or the world for that matter—can you find as many bourbon distilleries in such proximity. No matter what direction you’re headed, you’ll experience scenic drives of rolling hills and rickhouses amongst bourbon’s greatest brands. Explore the trail options, including group tours and discounts, or discover a curated experience with a Bourbon Trail guide. Federal Hill Plantation House - which showcases 19th-century Southern aristocratic life. The mansion, in My Old Kentucky Home State Park, was home to the prominent Rowan family. Guides in antebellum costumes spin yarns about how composer Stephen Foster had such a fine stay in 1852 that he immortalized the place by writing "My Old Kentucky Home," now the state song. Six days a week in summer, locals gather in the park's amphitheater to immortalize him, too, in Stephen Foster--The Musical. Where to Stay: Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn - Courtesy of Visit Bardstown Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn - Bourbon Manor is a Bourbon-Lover’s Paradise – where Bourbon is celebrated every day of the year. Offering 10 spacious, antique-appointed and spirit-themed B&B guest rooms this award-winning, historic bed and breakfast is an ideal, centrally-located lodging option for Bourbon Country tours and excursions. Be sure to make time to indulge in their award-winning, full country “gourmet” breakfast that includes some fabulous breakfast desserts infused with Bourbon! Abbey of Gethsemani - In 1848, a group of monks from France settled in nearby hills and founded the Abbey of Gethsemani, the nation's oldest--and most incongruously located--Trappist monastery. The brothers host spiritual retreats; guests come for at least two days and donate whatever they can. "And if you can't pay this year, send us what you can, or pay us next year," says Brother Thaddeus Jailer's Inn - If lodging with the pious doesn't appeal, why not sleep with the ghosts of sinners? The Jailer's Inn has nine guest rooms in a former jail. A full breakfast with French toast and fresh strawberries is served in the courtyard, the former location of the gallows. To learn more about Bardstown be sure to visit their site. Presented by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/
Gear up for an epic ski trip this winter without busting your budget or compromising on quality. Forbes Advisor recently released their rankings and data on the best ski slopes for the money this season; similarly, HomeToGo.com found the overall cheapest resorts in the country. The data features both regular favorites and hidden gems, with options from all over the country. Take a look at the best value resorts this season and start planning your next getaway in a winter wonderland. Perfect powder in Idaho A skier speeds down a mountain by Clement Delhaye - Unsplash Silver Mountain Resort in Idaho—just across the state line from Spokane—comes in an impressive fourth place on Forbes Advisor's best value resorts. Not only does it boast 73 outdoor runs, but there's also an indoor waterpark to keep the thrills going even off the slopes. Airfare for this destination will be the biggest expense, with travelers paying an average of $432 for peak season flights. However, thanks to affordable lift tickets, ski rentals, and opportunities to save even more if you're a Powder Alliance member, costs stay low. Visitors can expect to budget around $254 for two-nights of overnight accommodations. Also in Idaho is the fifth most affordable ski slope Schweitzer Mountain, nestled in the Selkirk Mountains, with a day on the slopes costing about $210. With lift tickets around $110 and nightly lodging prices coming out at an average of about $100 per person, this is a more affordable option than Silver Mountain but doesn't disappoint with an average snow depth of over 88 inches and over 2,900 acres of terrain. Don't forget to take in the view at the top: from here, skiers can see three states, Canada, and Lake Pend Oreille. An all-around favorite in Montana Winter in Whitefish, Montana by Roberto Nickson - Unsplash The 10th best value ski slope according to Forbes Advisor, Whitefish is also the 7th overall cheapest thanks to lift tickets and ski rentals that are priced reasonably. Like many of the locations on this list, airfare will hurt your wallet the most: with an average cost of $529 per flight. On average, a two-night stay will cost around $322. However, the investment is worth it, with 98 runs to choose from and lift tickets only cost $94. Phenomenal slopes in New Mexico Powder flies as a skier head down a slope by Robson Hatsukami Morgan - Unsplash Skiing in the southwest is some of the best in the country. Taos Ski Resort has more than 100 runs and participates in the Ikon Pass, launching it to the 7th place spot for best value. Unlike some of the destinations on this list, transportation costs to New Mexico won't break the bank, as airfare and car rental costs are much lower than the ever-popular destinations like Denver and Salt Lake. This year, Taos Ski Valley also has two new packages for beginner skiers. There's certainly less to lose when the price is this nice (if you discover skiing isn't quite your thing, at least you didn't blow your savings on a fancy Colorado resort town!). The "First Timers Package" will offer new skiers and riders a deeply discounted rate to try out the sport for the first time. The package includes instruction, a novice lift ticket, and equipment rental from Taos Sports. The package starts at $205 for a one-day first time lesson, $330 for a two-day first time lesson, or $395 for three days. (A savings of $179 or more than 50% for the one-day option, up to $757 savings for the three-day). Then, there's Ski Week, a full week of instruction to inspire and improve visitors’ skiing, renew their spirits, and create long-time friendships. These personal connections and friendships are vital to the core of the Ski Week, and the traditions of legendary Taos ski instructor, Jean Meyer. Taos offers the only full-week ski program in North America. New this winter, guests can book a Ski Week package, which includes five days of immersive lessons, two five-day lift tickets, five nights of accommodations at the slopeside Blake Hotel, five-day demo ski rentals and daily breakfast at 192 at The Blake. Ski Week themes include a classic ski week, women’s ski week, and race ski week, as well as a s Starting at $3,690 for two people. Additional packages include the Weekday Getaway and the Ski and Stay, which offer special rates for those who visit on weekdays or bundle lodging with other purchases. Nearby, Angel Fire is the eighth most affordable ski resort, with $115 lift tickets and low costs for accommodations. Between these two resorts and the money saved on flights, eager skiers could even squeeze both ski areas in during the same trip. Affordable, under-the-radar spots in New England Snowy Vermont by Kevin Wiegand - Unsplash While you won't find any East Coast resorts on Forbes Advisor's list this year, that doesn't mean there isn't great skiing to be found in the northeast. Jay Peak, Vermont came in as the fourth most affordable ski resort, with lodging costs per person just under $100 and lift tickets roughly the same at $109. Both Sunday River and Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine had decent showings, landing 6th and 12th respectively in HomeToGo rankings. Of special note, Sunday River has the cheapest lift tickets at just $65. Additionally, while it isn't technically in New England, Gore Mountain is close—not too far from Vermont, in northern New York. It ranks as the third cheapest place to ski this year, with incredibly low lodging costs and an average day trip totalling around $200. Budget-friendly favorites in the Pacific Northwest Mount Baker, Washington by Daniel Bynum - Unsplash Mount Baker in Washington is one of the few ski areas that made both lists for value and affordability. Ranked 6th for its value, and 9th for its overall affordability, it's the best place for fresh snow with an average snow depth of 76.3 inches and over 62 miles of runs. Even airfare through Seattle isn't too bad, with plenty of affordable flights and lower average ticket costs. While lift tickets are only around $91, ski rentals can be more expensive than other locations ($102 for two days) so be sure to bring your own if you can. Skiers who want practically guaranteed fresh snow should head directly to Mt. Baker. With a snow score of 84.5—the highest of resorts that made our list for overall value—it’s sure to please. Plus, airfare to Seattle will only set you back about $361, the third-cheapest in the country which helps drive costs down. Keep an eye on the cost of ski rentals, though: at about $102 per two days, you may prefer to bring your own. However, if you're looking to save the most money, Mission Ridge Ski Area is your best bet in the country. Also in Washington State, it is consistently ranked as the most budget-friendly ski slope in the US with a total average cost of lift tickets and lodging coming out to about $178 per person, per day. Behind Mission Ridge in second place for affordability, is fellow Pacific Northwest ski area Mount Bachelor in Oregon. With an average nightly lodging price per person of around $55, it is the cheapest place to stay on the list. Top resorts in Utah Snowy mountains in Logan, Utah by Courtney Smith - Unsplash Utah ski resorts snagged all three top spots when it came to Forbes Advisor's list. While they may not be the overall most budget-friendly, they will be the best investment for those looking for a truly amazing experience in the mountains. Close to Salt Lake City, Beaver Mountain ranks third for its value. Visitors can get incredible deals with two-day lift tickets at $140 and two-day ski rentals at just $60, plus there are potential discounts for those with an Epic Pass. The resort only has three lifts and 23 runs, though, so it may not be the most adventurous for some. If you're looking for more terrain, try Eagle Point, Utah, which came in as the second-best ski resort for value. Data from Airbnb showed it was one of the most affordable destinations, and the resort accepts the Indy Pass (which could help offset its slightly higher lift ticket costs). Brian Head Resort took the top spot for best value. Options for flights are a little better here, as the resort is roughly equidistant from both Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. With great deals on two-day lift tickets and ski rentals ($228 combined), affordable lodging options, and 65 runs, skiers are sure to have an incredible winter trip at this Utah resort. —For more data on ski resorts this year, visit HomeToGo.com and Forbes.
From north to south and from coast to coast, America is packed with diverse landscapes that are worth exploring for every type of traveler. Each state has its own culture and landmarks that make them unique. Courtesy of musement Outdoor enthusiasts have a plethora of places to choose from. National parks and outdoor attractions make up almost one third of the most popular attractions in the United States. From the greats like The Grand Canyon (Arizona) and the urban oasis Central Park (New York) to lesser-known gems like Blackwater Falls State Park (West Virginia) or the Gulf Islands National Seashore (Mississippi) and its beaches, you can get a taste of cultural activities while enjoying Mother Nature. Hersheypark: Hershey, Pennsylvania - Istock/ gsheldon Thrill seekers and families with young ones will be glad to see that ten states across the country have amusement/theme parks as their number one attraction. Snap pictures with Mickey and your favorite Disney characters at Walt Disney World (Florida) or Disneyland Park (California). Otherwise, you can escape to the east to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia). Got a craving for chocolate? Head to Hersheypark (Pennsylvania) and see what the hype is all about. The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas History buffs will be able to turn the clocks back at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (Michigan) where they can witness some of America’s most historical items, discover what life was like in the 1830s at The Alamo (Texas), or jump on board the World War II battleship turned museum at the USS Alabama (Alabama). Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium: Atlanta,Georgia - Istock/Gau Souza Animal lovers across the states have the opportunity to visit some of the world’s best zoos and aquariums. From Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Nebraska) and its one-of-a-kind exhibits to the world-renowned Georgia Aquarium (Georgia), one of the largest in the world, to the west coast’s Oregon Zoo, the United States offers plenty to admire. Research done by Musement, the digital discovery and booking platform for travel activities and experiences around the world. To see the full list of all 50 attractions click here.
Colorado has long been renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and year-round outdoor adventures, and during the holidays, it transforms into a winter wonderland. Colorado's allure during this special season lies in its ability to seamlessly combine timeless traditions with thrilling new adventures. From annual events to celebrate the season and memorable winter activities to festive lodging packages and dining experiences, Colorado is the place to celebrate the most magical time of the year. See magical sights and light displays Snow, Christmas lights, and the tree during the day in Denver, Colorado by Colin Lloyd - Unsplash Most trips begin with a flight into Denver, Colorado. Make sure to take in all the magical sights that the Mile High city has to offer this time of year. Stop by Denver's Union Station for a glance at the 40-foot tall Christmas tree. Just south in the suburb of Littleton, visitors can see the Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms (November 24 – January 1), a 1-mile path that is illuminated with thousands of Christmas lights and epic lighting displays synchronized to music, creating a magical atmosphere on the 1880s Hildebrand Ranch homestead. Then, on December 10th is the Cherry Creek Chanukah Celebration; an outdoor menorah is lit and attendees can enjoy festive treats, face painting and crafts. Also, through January 7th, the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts Blossoms of Light, an annual holiday light extravaganza that transforms the gardens into a shimmering wonderland with a 360-degree immersive light experience. Don't miss The Colorado Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, a cherished holiday tradition offering joy and merriment to visitors as they kick off the season. Several holiday markets also pop up across the state during the holiday season. The Denver Christkindl Market (November 17 - December 23) transforms Civic Center Park into a miniature German village with live music, holiday shopping and food vendors serving traditional German Christmas market specialties such as gingerbread biscuits, grilled sausages and the beloved gluehwein. Heading north from the city, be sure to stop at the Garden of Lights (December 8 - 23) in Fort Collins, one of Northern Colorado's favorite holiday traditions featuring a half-mile loop of perennial flower beds, sculptures, a holiday village and other garden creatures—all crafted entirely from holiday lights. There's also Loveland's Winter Wonderlights (November 18 - January 1), a captivating free light show that enchants visitors with over 200,000 lights, live reindeer, ice sculpting, music and dance performances. Over in Telluride, the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade showcases ski resort employees gliding down the mountain with torches, making it a unique and unforgettable spectacle. Take a mountain train ride Telluride, Colorado turns into a winter wonderland in the snow by Thomas Kelley - Unsplash For a touch of nostalgia, Colorado's historic trains take travelers on a journey through winter wonderlands. The Leadville Railroad Holiday Express offers a magical ride through snowy mountains with scenic views. The Santa Express Train with the Royal Gorge Route Railroad leads passengers to the North Pole and back, complete with a visit from Santa. The Polar Express Train Rides at the Colorado Railroad Museum and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, both offer unparalleled holiday experiences. The Georgetown Loop Railroad's Winter Holiday Trains are one of Colorado’s most authentic living history experiences and offer timeless adventures through scenic vistas decorated with more than 300,000 holiday lights. Experience the Royal Gorge Bridge at its most festive For the second time, America’s highest suspension bridge will become a winter wonderland. In December, the Royal Gorge Bridge will transform into an interactive drive-thru holiday lights experience, The Bridge of Lights. Cookies and cocoa are also available for purchase as you enjoy the drive across the sparkling bridge. Stay a night in the backcountry A trail through Crested Butte, Colorado by Taylor Brandon - Unsplash In Crested Butte, those seeking outdoor adventures can embark on a cross-country ski or snowshoe trip into the serene backcountry. The Magic Meadows Yurt, heated by a wood-burning stove, is accessible only on skis or snowshoes through a 1-mile groomed trail. Visitors can warm up with cocktails or enjoy local brews while savoring a Colorado-inspired meal and live music. For equally festive accommodations that are less rugged, the C Lazy U Ranch transforms into a snowy paradise for the holidays offering a delightful combination of Rocky Mountain scenery and festive fun, including gingerbread house making, Christmas karaoke and a special visit from Santa via horse-drawn sleigh. Enjoy merry, seasonal dining experiences Indulge in a unique Snowcat Dinner at Aspen's Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, where a picturesque cabin in the Rockies serves exquisite dishes with breathtaking views. If you find yourself in Arapahoe Basin for New Year's, try the New Year's Eve Moonlight Dinner Series; it combines chairlift rides, chef-prepared global cuisine and mountain vistas for an unforgettable celebration. In Grand Junction, The Hotel Maverick’s restaurant, Devil’s Kitchen will transform its rooftop terrace into an amazing snow globe dining experience against panoramic views of the Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument. Cozy up and enjoy a festive meal of regionally inspired dishes and specialty craft cocktails in private illuminated igloos and gondolas. There's also Miracle on 7, Estes Park's own Christmas-inspired pop-up cocktail bar that transforms Cousin Pat's Pub & Grill into a festive atmosphere with kitschy holiday decorations, expertly crafted cocktails and more. The Ramble Hotel in Denver will transform Death & Co’s intimate Suite 6A into an elegant holiday bar with floor-to-ceiling décor and a festive selection of specialty cocktails and bites only available in the pop-up ski lodge-inspired suite. Also in Denver, The Brown Palace is an iconic hotel renowned for its holiday offerings including a traditional holiday afternoon tea (November 13 – January 21) and special Christmas and New Year's Eve dining events. Get a taste of holidays past with historic activities A cold winter evening in Glenwood Springs, Colorado by Nate Hughes - Unsplash The historic Fort Restaurant in Morrison, designed to resemble an 1800s fur trading post, offers a unique holiday dining experience serving traditional dishes like bison and game meats. Also in Morrison, the Tesoro Cultural Center's Las Posadas (December 24) is an annual Christmas Eve celebration that reenacts Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, featuring children's participation, traditional music, piñatas and complimentary treats like biscochito cookies and Mexican hot chocolate. For a cozy and rustic adventure, 2 Below Zero in Frisco offers mule-team-driven sleigh rides with chuckwagon dinners and live music, while Steamboat Springs provides a Wild West touch with its Haymaker Sleigh Ride Dinner. In Glenwood Springs,Hotel Colorado provides an enchanting and classic Colorado Christmas experience, where visitors can immerse in the rich holiday tradition that dates back to 1893 featuring beautifully decorated fir trees, half a million holiday lights, an annual tree lighting ceremony, breakfasts with Santa and festive touches around each corner. Celebrate the holiday season in Victor and Cripple Creek as the Gold Camps come alive with dazzling holiday lights adorning mine headframes (November 24 – December 31). Enjoy a festive self-guided tour, complete with holiday music and beautiful light displays in this historic mining region. Finally, experience the unique charm of the holiday season in Denver before 1924 by touring the beautifully decorated Center for Colorado Women's History and enjoying a delightful tea service during their Holiday Tea special events (November 25 – December 16). Head outdoors for snowy excursions A herd fo elk in Estes Park, Colorado by Greyson & Thomas - Unsplash Located in Granby, between Winter Park Ski Resort and Rocky Mountain National Park, true to its name, YMCA of the Rockies -Snow Mountain Ranch is the ultimate winter wonderland. The 5,100-acre property offers Nordic skiing and snowshoeing on 85K of groomed, world-class terrain, private and group cross country ski lessons and rentals, dog sled experiences, winter horse drawn sleigh rides, ice skating, indoor archery and rock climbing, indoor swimming, nostalgic roller skating, and much more. Accommodations include hotel-style lodge rooms starting at $104 per night and Nordic ski-in and ski-out, pet-friendly cabins starting at $199 for a 2 bedroom. There are several activities to participate in during the winter season: New this year, the Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center will offer full moon ski and snowshoe experience, with lights on the trail and hot chocolate.. The full moon events will take place on Friday, January 26, 2024 and Friday, February, 23, 2024.The Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center offers 85K of groomed, world-class country ski terrain meandering through pine forest, wide meadows and along a mountain creek. An annual tradition for many families and friends is the Christmas Tree Cutting Experience. Purchase a tree-cutting ticket and head out on a winter adventure to find the perfect Christmas tree. Overnight guests can cut down a tree for free.Meet the team, including the six new Snow Mountain Ranch dog sled puppies, and tour the beautiful property on a Snow Mountain Ranch dog sled adventure. Reservations are required for both the long and short sled dog rides. There's also the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center (in Estes Park). Guests can enjoy a number of on-site, seasonal activities during the day – including sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, roller skating, indoor swimming or rock climbing and more – and return to their cozy lodge room or private cabins at night. And the town of Estes Park itself is a must-visit winter destination – with its annual Catch the Glow holiday festival, local boutique shops, and charming restaurants. Ice skating is a favorite winter tradition at the Estes Park Center. This year, guests can grab their free skate rentals and twirl, glide, and jump to their heart’s content. For a warm-up on select dates, they can stop by the new rink side Hot Cocoa Truck (the resort’s winter iteration of its popular summer ice cream truck).The Mootz Family Craft and Design Center will feature seasonal crafts alongside their popular regular offerings. So, guests can make a holiday-scented candle, mosaic, or piece of jewelry for a gift that really comes from the heart. And, new this year, the craft center will offer gift wrapping. YMCA of the Rockies is known for its guided hikes, included with a stay. Area experts will lead guests through the winter wonderland of Rocky Mountain National Park on snowshoe adventures that range from beginner to expert. At the end of the day, guests can relax and share stories of their day around a private bonfire with hot cocoa and s’mores. — Colorado invites all to embrace the holiday spirit and create treasured memories in a snow globe setting. For more details, please visit www.colorado.com.
"Home for the holidays" might be the preferred plan for some, but these hotels go all-out when it comes to celebrating Christmas day. With life-size confections and incredible gingerbread displays, shows and performances, beautifully-crafted decor, Santa (and reindeer!) appearances, and so much more, visitors will be hard-pressed to find a more magical palce to spend the Christmas season. Hotel Bennett (Charleston, South Carolina) Kids get hot cocoa from a life-size gingerbread house in Hotel Bennett - courtesy of Hotel Bennett Warm your heart and your spirit this holiday season and create cherished memories with loved ones at Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2022, Hotel Bennett unveiled a spectacular addition to our holiday decor – an enchanting life-sized gingerbread house. This masterpiece was meticulously crafted using a staggering array of confections: 2 lbs of candy corn, 10 lbs of marshmallows, 10 lbs of candy canes, 25 ft of rock candy, 95 lbs of gummy bears, 105 lbs of Rice Krispies, 364 ft of red liquorice rope, 672 jolly ranchers, 1428 skittles, and adorned with 3000 twinkling red and green lights. Nestled in the welcoming embrace of our first-floor lobby, this Gingerbread House promises an enchanting experience for all. Elves will be on hand to serve steaming cups of hot cocoa, making it a heartwarming treat for families and guests alike. Ensure you don't miss this captivating destination, perfect for creating cherished holiday memories. Enjoy a whimsical "Tea with Santa," held on weekends through the holiday season, that will transport you and your loved ones to a world of magic and wonder with an array of delectable, holiday-inspired treats and a visit from Santa Claus himself. Sip on a selection of whimsical teas with champagne available for grown-up guests; plus, receive a keepsake to commemorate the special day. Holiday teas geared more towards adults are also served Thursdays and Fridays. On December 23rd, guests can also book a magical Breakfast with Santa in the Crown Ballroom. If you can't be home for the holidays, Hotel Bennett will try to be the next best thing. Experience the magic of the season with an enchanting "Home Sweet Hotel Bennett" package. Unwrap the joy of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, adorned with twinkling lights and festive ornaments, right in the comfort of your room. And to make your stay even sweeter, enjoy a special Hotel Bennett keepsake ornament to commemorate your holiday getaway. (Reservations even include complimentary hot chocolate from the Life-Size Gingerbread House!) Book this special package now through December 25, 2023, for stays until January 3, 2024 (blackout dates apply). Snowvillage Inn (Eaton Center, New Hampshire) Winter at The Snowvillage Inn - courtesy of the Snowvillage Inn The Christmas decorations at the Snowvillage Inn are a sight to behold, transforming the inn into a festive wonderland that exudes warmth and holiday spirit. Visitors can find beautiful, handcrafted wreaths adorning the entrance, each one uniquely decorated with traditional holiday elements. The inn's exterior is adorned with twinkling lights that outline the building, creating a magical, wintry ambiance as soon as you arrive. Inside, the cozy fireplaces are decorated with garlands and their crackling fires invite guests to snuggle up with a warm drink while enjoying the festive atmosphere. The heart of the inn is graced by the presence of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Get into the holiday spirit with a pre-Christmas getaway to the Inn. This exclusive package gives you the official Snowvillage Inn Holiday Ornament, romantic dinner for two, and more. Be sure to visit the nearby Stone Mountain Arts Center. Their December schedule is packed with Christmas cheer including: the SMAC Craft Fair on December 3rd, a Christmas luncheon on December 6th with a Christmas concert performed by owner Carol Noonan, and Stone Mountain LIVE December 15th-16th. With the lights all strung and garlands galore, Stone Mountain LIVE at Christmas takes all the best aspects of this special place on the hill and packs it into one fun festive night! The Aspen Meadows Resort (Aspen, Colorado) This year, The Aspen Meadows Resort will debut a new holiday reindeer village complete with carolers along with snowmen building and s'mores by a cozy firepit. On Friday, December 22, the iconic Anderson Park will transform into an enchanting winter wonderland and the magical world of the North Pole will come to life with a meet and greet of Santa’s reindeer from Colorado Reindeer Ranch. An outdoor bar serves steaming hot cocoa and mulled wine. There are also sleigh rides, gingerbread house and cookie decorating, plus special holiday menus. The resort celebrates all eight nights of Hanukkah with menorah lightings and traditional latkes (from December 7th-15th this year). Holiday movie nights as well as happy hours are planned for December 9th, 24th, 27th, and 29th. A special Christmas dinner will be held on the big day, and New Year's Eve will feature a fireworks extravaganza and an elegant four-course prix fixe dinner at Plato's Restaurant. The Westin Anaheim Resort (Anaheim, California) The Westin Anaheim Resort during the holidays - courtesy of Wincome Hospitality From festive décor and delectable holiday dining to special events and interactive family activities, The Westin Anaheim Resort has curated a wonderland of experiences to make this holiday season truly extraordinary. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a captivating display of twinkling lights on the grand entrance, wreaths, and illuminated Christmas trees. Guests staying at The Westin Anaheim Resort December 13th – 31st will be welcomed with a complimentary holiday arrival beverage, Sweet Orange Tea Elixir. This nourishing elixir is infused with antioxidant-rich oranges and spiced with aromatic turmeric, ginger and honey— long renowned for their many health benefits. From December 22nd - 24th, guests will also enjoy melodious carols and the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked Christmas treats and hot cocoa in the lobby. In the hotel lobby, view Santa’s Chocolate Workshop. Acclaimed Pastry Chef Andy De La Cruz and his talented pastry team have meticulously recreated Santa’s chocolate workshop, a confectionary wonderland filled with the sweet aromas of the season. Over 100 pounds of chocolate were used in building the workshop’s festive scene, where life-sized elves toil to create toys for boys and girls. The display was built by a team of eight, and took over two weeks to construct. In addition to the hotel’s regular Westin Family activities, (Storytime, Art Quest, Yoga and more) throughout the month of December, children can embark in magical ornament decorating, while adults can indulge in Holiday-themed Crafted at Westin cocktails. Santa Claus will also visit Blossom Café on December 17th from 11 am – 1 pm, and inside the lobby December 22nd from 6 pm – 8 pm. Santa’s Holiday appearance will include holiday hot cocoa station and Christmas carolers. The Tangerine Room, the resort's signature restaurant, will host a sumptuous Christmas Day buffet December 25th from 12pm to 6:30pm featuring an array of holiday delicacies. For a more casual experience, families can opt for Blossom Market and Café which offers sweet confections from the bakery and gourmet Christmas coffee including the Gingerbread Espresso Latte and the Cool Yule Peppermint Mocha. The Flamingo Resort (Santa Rosa, California) During the holiday season, the iconic resort will be transformed into a tropical winter wonderland full of retro tiki holiday décor. Upon entering, visitors are welcomed with a beautiful, elevated Hawaiian holiday display in the porte-cochere. Get lost in the whimsy of Sippin' Santa, the Lazeaway Club's holiday themed cocktail pop-up. Envision Santa on a surfboard instead of a sleigh, replace the classic pine tree with palms decked with ornaments, and hang hibiscus garlands alongside tinsel—in essence, that is the Sippin' Santa spirit. Those looking for festive family fun at the Flamingo Resort will enjoy Festive Ornament Decorating on Thursday afternoons and Holiday Cookie Decorating on Saturday afternoons through December. The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs, Colorado) The historic Broadmoor hotel - courtesy of Matt Inden/Miles and Colorado.com In Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor blends timeless tradition with enchanting elegance as guests start their holiday season amid millions of dazzling holiday lights, an extravagant gingerbread display and a wide range of family-friendly holiday programming. This year's special piece in the gingerbread display is "A Lightning Bug Boat" that pays homage to the canopy boats that once cruised on Cheyenne Lake when the resort opened its doors in 1918. Enjoy a Broadmoor Hall Brunch on Christmas Day, and the resort's "12 Days of Christmas" with special events from December 20th to January 1st. The Broadmoor's annual Holiday Show is a family-friendly dinner show filled with seasonal favorites presented in a variety show format, sprinkled with a few surprises. Back by popular demand, singer Debby Boone returns to headline. Joining Boone are Broadway star Marcus Lovett and his daughter, Cathryn Lovett; the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale; and Ken Miller and The Broadmoor Pops Orchestra. This year, te Holiday Show takes place December 15, 16, 22, 23, and 24, 2023. Additionally, the Broadmoor hosts a New Year's Eve Gala and New Year's Eve Bash.
Photo ops with Santa at the mall are fine, but Ole Saint Nick is making some unique visits around the country this year. From dramatic entrances by air and by sea, to mountainside sightings and rodeo events, the man in the big red suit is gracing the destinations below with a little extra Christmas magic. Look out for flying reindeer (Perdido Key, Florida) Santa lands on this beach in Perdido Key, Florida by Cody Riviello - Unsplash This year on December 9th, don't miss a trip to the gulf coast to experience the Annual Santa Drop, where Santa Claus will skydive onto the snowy-white sandy beach on Perdido Key. On the state line between Florida and Alabama, visitors can view Santa's thrilling entrance at 12:30pm from the Flora-Bama beach lounge. Following the jump, photos ops with the jolly skydiver will be available—all ages are welcome to get in line, so don't forget to bring your holiday wish list! Flora-Bama will also have kids crafts, games, live music featuring holiday tunes for the kiddos, face painting, treats, and (for those of age) plenty of Bushwackers for sale at the bar. The event free to the public, and entertainment begins at 11am. See the Fast and the Festive-est (Breckenridge, Colorado) Downtown Breckenridge in the snow by Michael Steinman - Unsplash The Lighting of Breckenridge in Colorado captures the charm of a snowy mountain town straight out of a holiday movie; but it also has a unique event that brings not one, but several Santas to town. The "Race of the Santas," which takes place during this year's celebration on December 2nd, features hundreds of Santa look-alikes running down the town's Main Street in a race to the finish line. Following the race, the "real" Santa makes an early appearance to Breckenridge to light the tree and illuminate the town with over 250,000 holiday lights. Then from 5 to 7:30pm at the Mountain Top Explorium, kids can visit Santa himself. Other events during the day include a holiday dog parade, a mini-race for kids called the "moose march," carolers, and other revelry. A holiday market and toy drive also run throughout the day. Stop by Santa's year-round workshop (Colorado Springs, Colorado) A Christmas gift all wrapped up by Samuel Holt - Unsplash Sure, Christmas is the best time of year to encounter Santa Claus, but if you're someone who can't shake the holiday spirit (no matter the season), you'll be thrilled to know that Saint Nick can always be found at the North Pole in Colorado Springs. Located at the picturesque foot of Pikes Peak, the North Pole-Santa's Workshop offers a vintage amusement park experience with rides, festive shops, and the chance to meet Santa year-round, creating a timeless family tradition. Take in a show with Elmer the Elf, watch the glass blower create beautiful custom ornaments before your eyes, and don't forget to get some sweet treats at the Carousel Cafe. Wrangle a visit with Old Saint Nick at the rodeo (Las Vegas, Nevada) Christmas decor in Las Vegas by M A Dipp - Unsplash Proud to continue the western legacy in downtown Las Vegas, the Plaza Hotel & Casino will again serve as a hotel sponsor of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and host numerous professional rodeo events at its outdoor equestrian facility, the CORE Arena, December 4th through 16th. Alongside the rodeo events, the Downtown Christmas Expo takes over the Plaza’s third floor convention space from 9 am to 4:30 pm daily, December 7th through 16th. As a special treat for younger attendees, this year, Santa Claus will be at the Downtown Christmas Expo daily from noon to 2 pm. Shoppers can also bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to a toy drive to benefit St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a local nonprofit that provides a community of hope and healing to help children and youth who have been abused, neglected, homeless, and/or exploited. The carefully curated shopping event features a diverse array of apparel and accessory designers, artisans, jewelers, and Western couture. Free to attend, the Downtown Christmas Expo is a marquee part of the memorable Western experience in Las Vegas every December. Head to the Cape for a seaside welcome (Falmouth, Massachusetts) Cape Code, Massachusetts by at - Unsplash In Cape Cod, a seafaring Santa makes his way to the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts during the first weekend of December. Falmouth's Holidays by The Sea Weekend is free to attend and features events throughout the town, including caroling at Woods Hole, the Nobska Light Holiday Open House, a GhElf run and Jingle Jog, the annual lighting of the Falmouth Village Green, and a downtown holiday stroll. On the morning of Saturday, December 2nd, Santa sails into the harbor at 10:30am (with free candy canes for all!). Then, on Sunday, Santa Claus returns to take part in the largest Christmas parade in southeast New England, which features decorated floats, marching bands, live animals, and costumed characters.
In Monterey County, California paths connect places, people and experiences, offering a wealth of things to explore. Every trip offers a new opportunity to connect with those around you, with nature and with yourself. Below are four different ways to experience this West Coast destination, with something for every type of traveler. Find you "path" below, and get to booking a trip for the new year! The Wellness Path: Connect Within and Find Your Center Spa treatment at Post Ranch Inn - courtesy of See Monterey Combining the region's iconic natural beauty with unique and immersive bespoke experiences, Monterey County is a haven for wellness seekers. Reconnect with your mind, body and spirit as you immerse yourself in the tranquil trails along the pristine coastline of Pacific Grove, find your Zen in serene redwood forests and enjoy rejuvenating spa experiences at renowned resorts. From indigenous-inspired treatments and shaman sessions to cold stream plunges and equine therapy programs, wellness travelers can experience a diverse array of rejuvenating activities, ensuring an enriching journey of self-discovery. The Epicurean Path: A Culinary Voyage of Land and Sea Old Fisherman's Wharf - courtesy of See Monterey Monterey County is a haven for foodies, connecting diners with fresh seafood straight from the Monterey Bay, produce from the verdant Salinas Valley and award-winning wine poured tableside. Culinary experiences are accompanied by acclaimed wines from the Carmel and Salinas valleys, the largest Chardonnay grower in the country, at esteemed and award-winning vineyards that offer immersive and authentic wine journeys. Savor local classics, such as the iconic clam chowder served in a warm garlic bread bowl or fresh-caught calamari. For an elevated dining experience, indulge in delights crafted by Carmel-by-the-Sea's Michelin-starred chefs like succulent abalone skewers and Dungeness crab ravioli. Additionally, embark on a self-guided journey along the Artichoke Trail, a path winding through farm stands, local shops and restaurants throughout Monterey County, where two-thirds of the world's artichokes are cultivated. The Outdoor Path: Conquer New Horizons Pfeiffer Falls Trail in Big Sur - courtesy of See Monterey Connect with Mother Nature as you explore Monterey County's natural wonders. Monterey County boasts a treasure trove of outdoor adventures and is a veritable playground for wildlife lovers, leisure hikes and thrill seekers. Whether you're into hiking, biking, wildlife spotting or skydiving over Seaside, Monterey County offers diverse landscapes, from 99 miles of sweeping coastline to endless trails into the redwoods and out of the valley. Explore miles of serene hiking trails that wind through the lush redwood forests of Big Sur and the coastal bluffs, perfect for leisurely strolls or challenging hikes. For thrill-seekers, embark on exciting water sports such as kayaking in the pristine waters of Monterey Bay or scuba diving to discover the hidden gems living in the kelp forests. Watch the California condors while you hike ancient rock formations and discover caves at Pinnacle National Park or take a leisurely cruise down the Elkhorn Slough on the lookout for marine birds and sea otters. There's a path, literally and figuratively, for every type of outdoor enthusiast to discover nature and themselves. The Family Friendly Path: Adventures for the Young and Young at Heart Monterey Bay Aquarium - courtesy of See Monterey Creating cherished family memories is effortless in Monterey County. Brimming with attractions for kids and the young at heart, there is an abundance of opportunities for families to create lasting moments and connect with each other. Explore the wonders of the ocean at the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium, where both young and old can marvel at marine life. Enjoy quality time together at the family-friendly resorts in Carmel Valley where adventure and relaxation blend seamlessly. Discover accessibility and inclusivity at new attractions like Orchard Lane Park in Soledad, the sensory children's park designed to accommodate all children, or ride the rails through Marina State Park on a handcar tour, sure to tire out active kiddos. For a classic family experience, venture to Dennis the Menace Park, a beloved local destination where kids can run, play and let their imaginations roam free. The possibilities are as diverse as your family's unique interests, ensuring that every family member can find their own path to an unforgettable family adventure. — For more information and to find your way here, please visit www.SeeMonterey.com.