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/
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/
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/
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/
When the mercury drops a little too much and the snow piles up a little too high, it’s time for a winter escape. We’ve rounded up some of America’s finest winter beaches, each with its own distinct flavor at a price that’s right. THE GEORGIA COAST When it comes to warm beaches, great price, and convenience, Georgia should spring to mind this time of year. The barrier islands of the state’s southern coast offer some of the best stretches of sand, great weather, and the welcoming vibe every vacationer craves. We love St. Simons Island for its incredible white-sand beaches, history, and ample golf courses, but we also love that the best way to get around the island may be on a rented beach cruiser bike, giving you the opportunity to leave your car behind and truly disconnect from all the stuff you went on vacation to escape. Points of interest on the island include a charming lighthouse, a 19th-century church, and ancient oak trees with their distinctive moss drapery. Grab a plate of shrimp and grits at Crabdaddy’s Seafood Grill and grab an affordable room (well under $150/night) at the Village Inn & Pub and other hotels on the island. To learn more about St. Simons Island, visit exploregeorgia.org. An easy day trip from St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island is relatively wild (more than 60 percent of its land is protected from development) and home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Georgia. Just drive back to the mainland from St. Simons and over the bridge to Jekyll, where you’ll find 10 miles of beach (including favorites Driftwood and Glory), the 250-acre Historic Landmark District, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a water park, and four golf courses. To learn more about Jekyll Island, visit exploregeorgia.org. Tybee Island is a 20-minute drive from Savannah, making it one of the most convenient winter escapes in the U.S., not to mention one of the most affordable. Here, you’ll find classic beach activities like a boardwalk, pier, and souvenir shops, low-key restaurants like the Crab Shack (yu must try the steamed oysters and Low Country boil with shrimp, sausage, and potatoes), and comfy motels, the beachfront Hotel Tybee (well under $150/night) and others. What’s not to love? Don’t miss the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, a 270-year-old site with historic buildings that visitors can tour and the Civil War-era Fort Pulaski National Monument on nearby Cockspur Island. To learn more about Tybee Island, visit exploregeorgia.org. MOLOKAI, HAWAII No traffic lights. No resorts. The world’s highest sea cliffs. Volcanoes (don’t worry they’re extinct). If you can’t relax on Molokai, the least-visited of the major Hawaiian islands, it’s possible you’re just not trying hard enough. Seek out the gold sand of Papohaku beach, visit the island’s biggest town (a whopping 7,000 people live there), and head to downtown Kaunakakai for local Hawaiian favorites such as mahi-mahi. CATALINA ISLAND, CALIFORNIA For anyone who has visited Los Angeles and complained about the traffic (aka, everyone): We love the fact that cars aren’t allowed on Catalina, just 22 miles off the Southern California coast, unless you count golf carts, which you can rent if you really need to. Yes, this is a place to really get away from it all. After the 90-minute ferry ride, you’ll enter another world, where bicycles are the best way to get around, and exploring the island’s interior in search of birds (you may even see a bald eagle), is one of the prime activities. The town of Avalon is where you’ll find charming shops, restaurants, and affordable lodging. PUERTO RICO Besides being a quick flight from many U.S. cities, no passport required, Puerto Rico can also use your help: Tourism dollars help fund the island’s recovery from hurricane damage sustained in 2017. You’ll love the beaches, great food, and natural beauty, typified by El Yunque National Forest, a rainforest (bring a poncho!), perfect for a half- or full-day guided tour of sites such as La Coca Falls and the Yokahu Lookout Tower. Feast on traditional local fare such as arepas and plantains, washed down with a pina colada (the drink was invented in Puerto Rico in the 1950s), and tour charming Old San Juan, one of the oldest and most historic city centers in the U.S. For great views, visit El Morro National Monument, a 16th-century Spanish colonial fort that offers some of the most Instagrammable moments in the Caribbean. ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS The easternmost point in the United States is in the Caribbean, in the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix may be small as far as islands go, but when it comes to winter getaways, it sure reminds you that good things come in small packages, with great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, eating Caribbean favorites such as conch and snapper, and acres of golf for those who define “vacation” as time on the links. We love historic Christiansted, where you’ll find reliable hotels and restaurants at good prices.
Black History Month, celebrated every February, is a perfect excuse to plan an educational trip to a new place. Below, here are some of the top landmarks to visit to experience culture and entertainment, learn about abolitionist and Civil Rights history, visit the homes of influential figures, and see both contemporary art and historical artifacts at museums around the country. Beale Street Historic District - Memphis, TN Beale Street, established in 1841 and one of the most iconic streets in America, became a thriving area for black commerce and culture around the time of the Civil War. But in the 1870s, yellow fever hit Memphis and severely affected the city’s population. As a result, the city had to forfeit its charter in 1879. During this time, former slave Robert Church acquired land in the area, and his investments helped restore the business community’s confidence in Memphis, which led to the regaining of its charter. Among Church’s contributions was the Robert R. Church Park at the corner of Fourth and Beale. The park quickly became a gathering center for blues musicians and featured a 2,000-seat auditorium. Beale Street was also home to many black-owned businesses, clubs, restaurants, and shops and was the headquarters of Ida B. Wells’ anti-segregationist newspaper, Free Speech. The newspaper office was housed in the historic First Baptist Church (Beale Street), which was built by a congregation of freed slaves. From the 1920s to 1940s, artists such as Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong and B.B. King played on the street and subsequently developed the legendary Memphis blues sound. During the Civil Rights Movement, the area was also where African-Americans came to entertain and be entertained, shop, strategize and protest. When city sanitation workers decided to strike in response to deplorable job conditions, they marched down Beale Street, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Memphis in support. The demonstrations were a precursor to his assassination on April 4, 1968. Despite the closing of many sections of the storied street by the 1960s, Beale Street saw a successful revitalization. Today, it continues to be a hub for music, nightlife, dining and the arts. The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery, toward the end of Beale Street, houses an archive of 1.8 million images by photographer Dr. Ernest C. Withers. The building was Withers’ working studio, and visitors can see displays of his iconic images of legendary Civil Rights Movement events as well as blues and jazz performers. Other nearby landmarks: National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Clayborn Temple, WDIA Radio Station Martin Luther King Jr Memorial - Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial - courtesy of britannica.com Located in downtown Washington, DC, the memorial honors Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy and the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice. A prominent leader in the modern civil rights movement, Dr. King was a tireless advocate for racial equality, working class, and the oppressed around the world. The National Mall was also the site of one of the largest human rights protests in American history – the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – after which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream Speech” to a crowd of 250,000. Washington, DC is a site that’s central to the Civil Rights Movement. The United States Supreme Court building here was the location of the groundbreaking decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and students and professors at local Howard University played a major role in bringing school desegregation to the nation’s attention. The nation’s capital and its historic landmarks offer opportunities for reflection on the American Civil Rights Movement and the country’s progress moving forward. Other nearby landmarks: Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (reopens March 2023), Lincoln Memorial, National Museum of African American History and Culture Biddy Mason Memorial Park - Los Angeles, CA Bridget “Biddy” Mason was born into slavery in 1818. Not much is known of her early life, but by the time she was a young adult she was enslaved in the household of Robert Smith. In 1847, she traveled, mostly on foot, from Mississippi to Utah with the Smith household. The household lived in Salt Lake City for two years, then resettled in San Bernardino, California in 1851. California was admitted to the Union in 1850 as a free, nonslave state, which meant Smith was holding Mason illegally. Mason fought for her freedom in court, with the trial ruling confirming her freedom in 1856. As a free woman, Mason settled in Los Angeles with her children and found work as a nurse and midwife. In 1866, she purchased a nearly one-acre site between present-day Broadway (then Fort Street) and Spring Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets. On this, the present location of the park, she built her homestead. Throughout the years, this pioneering black woman purchased more property, and as the value of her holdings escalated, she eventually became a relatively wealthy woman and an untiring philanthropist. This mini-park was designed by landscape architects Katherine Spitz and Pamela Burton. The artwork Biddy Mason Time and Place is an 80-foot-long poured concrete wall by artist Sheila Levrant de Bretteville. The wall is a timeline of Biddy Mason’s life, illustrated by impressions of objects such as agave leaves, wagon wheels, and a midwife’s bag, as well as simple text and images such as an early survey map of Los Angeles and Biddy’s freedom papers. The history begins at the right (northernmost) end of the wall with the text “Biddy Mason born a slave,” and progresses in time to the inscription: “Los Angeles mourns and reveres Grandma Mason.” Other nearby landmarks: The Great Wall of Crenshaw, Ralph Bunch House, African American Firefighter Museum, Lincoln Theater Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site - Richmond, VA Maggie L. Walker House - courtesy of npplan.com Maggie Lena Walker devoted her life to civil rights advancement, economic empowerment, and educational opportunities for Jim Crow-era African Americans and women. As a bank president, newspaper editor, and fraternal leader, Walker served as an inspiration of pride and progress. Today, Walker’s home is preserved as a tribute to her enduring legacy of vision, courage, and determination. The residence at 110 1/2 East Leigh Street was built in 1883. The address became a prime location in the heart of Jackson Ward, the center of Richmond's African American business and social life at the turn of the century. The Walkers purchased the house in 1904 and soon began making changes. Central heating and electricity were added, and with the addition of several bedrooms and enclosed porches, the home increased from 9 to 28 rooms. In 1928 an elevator was added in the rear of the house to provide Mrs. Walker access to the second floor. The Walker family owned the home until 1979, when it was purchased by the National Park Service. Most of the furnishings throughout the home are original family pieces. They are valuable in understanding the 1904–1934 period of her occupancy. Together the house and the furnishings help us to learn more about Maggie Walker and the world in which she lived. Her community of Jackson Ward, a National Historic Landmark District, continues to exemplify the success of African American entrepreneurship. Other nearby landmarks: Robert Russa Moton Museum, Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, Jackson Ward, Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, Booker T Washington National Monument Mississippi Freedom Trail Freedom Trail marker - courtesy of civilrightstrail.com There are several Freedom Trail markers in Jackson, so if you’re starting from there, you can see markers at the home of Medgar Evers, the Greyhound Bus Station, Mississippi State Capitol, Council of Federated Organizations Civil Rights Education Center, Tougaloo College, Jackson State University and the site of the 1963 sit-in at Woolworth’s. According to the state of Mississippi’s tourism website, three more markers are scheduled to be placed in Jackson – at the NAACP state headquarters, Masonic Temple (M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge) and WLBT news offices. Northern Mississippi is also home to several markers. In Cleveland, you can visit the home of Amzie Moore, an underappreciated champion of civil rights in Mississippi. Nearby Ruleville has two markers, one at William Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and one at the gravesite of civil rights heroine Fannie Lou Hamer. Take a 40-minute drive to explore the Mississippi Delta and visit Clarksdale to see the Freedom Trail marker at Aaron Henry’s Fourth Street Drug Store. Other northern Mississippi cities with markers on the Freedom Trail include Mayersville, Greenwood, Holly Springs and Blue Mountain. For a complete list of cities and markers, visit Mississippi’s tourism website. Abiel Smith School & African Meeting House - Boston, MA African Meeting House - courtesy of nps.gov The Museum of African American History is New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving, conserving and interpreting the contributions of African Americans. In Boston, the Museum has preserved two historic sites that tell the story of organized Black communities from the Colonial Period through the 19th century. At the Boston location, visitors arrive first at the Abiel Smith School. The Abiel Smith School (1835) is the oldest public school in the United States that was built for the sole purpose of educating African American children. Its walls tell the story of abolition and equal education. Located steps away from the Massachusetts State House, the Abiel Smith School currently houses first-class exhibit galleries, education programs, and a museum store filled with books and inspired gifts. Nearby, the African Meeting House (1806) is the oldest extant black church building in the nation and built by free African American artisans. Once a church, a school, and vital community meeting place, the African Meeting House has been returned to its 1855 appearance through historic restoration and is open to the public for talks and tours, our events and yours. In addition to the historic sites, the Museum has also preserved sites in Nantucket as well as a trail through the Beacon Hill neighborhood that includes the Charles Street Meeting House, Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial, George Middleton House, The Phillips School, John J. Smith House, Lewis and Harriet Hayden House, John Coburn House, and the Smith Court Residences. Other nearby landmarks: Boston Common, Boston Women's Memorial for Phillis Wheatley, Orchard House, W. E. B. DuBois HomesiteThe Langston Hughes House - New York, NY The African-American poet Langston Hughes, one of the foremost figures of the Harlem Renaissance, lived at 20 East 127th Street for the last two decades of his life, on the top floor of a brownstone row house where he wrote such notable works as "Montage of a Dream Deferred" and "I Wonder as I Wander." Open to the public, it's also home to the I, Too, Arts Collective, a non-profit committed to nurturing creativity within underrepresented communities that offers poetry salons, workshops and affordable work space. Other nearby landmarks: The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Apollo Theater, Audre Lorde Residence, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Frederick Douglass Memorial,Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art The Little Rock Nine Monument - Little Rock, AR The Little Rock Nine - courtesy of civilrightstrail.com Following the decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the court mandated that all public schools in the U.S. be desegregated “with all deliberate speed” in a second ruling called Brown II. Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus opposed the decision and attempted to block nine black students from entering Central High School in Little Rock by calling in the Arkansas National Guard on September 4, 1957. These students, known as the Little Rock Nine, and their plight drew national attention. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to protect the students and let them enter the school safely. By the end of September, all nine had been admitted to Little Rock Central High School, marking a major victory in the fight for civil rights in education. “Testament: The Little Rock Nine Monument” honors the courage of the nine African-American students enrolled at Little Rock Central High School who began the process of desegregating the city’s public schools in 1957. Located on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol, the memorial features bronze sculptures of the nine, along with plaques bearing quotations from each of them. Other nearby landmarks: Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail
This spring, North America will be in the path of a total solar eclipse. Solar eclipses have proven to be a great excuse for a vacation, in order to experience being in the “path of totality”—and an experience like this won't come again to the continental US until 2044. During the afternoon of April 8, 2024, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, blocking the face of the sun and creating a shadow over locations within its path. This “path of totality” will be directly underneath the most significant part of the moon’s umbra, or shadow, plunging these locations into darkness during the normally bright afternoon hours. Plan your vacation to catch this historic date at one of the destinations below. Enjoy the beauty of the mountains in Lake Placid, New York Sunset in the Adirondack Mountains in New York by Eva Darron - Unsplash The Adirondack Mountains, in upstate New York, offers some of the best opportunities for outdoor recreation in a beautiful, natural setting; it is within a day’s drive for 25% of the entire North American population, making it an easy vacation destination. It is anticipated that, due to ease of travel to the region, its open spaces, expansive vistas and unobstructed views of the sky, many people will choose to travel to the region ahead of the eclipse. In anticipation of increased travel, local businesses, attractions and communities are beginning to plan events, determining optimal places for viewing, and establishing various activities throughout the region. 2024-eclipse.com will serve as a central location for sharing information about these activities and events, as businesses, attractions and communities prepare. Visitors, potential visitors and those interested in learning more about the solar eclipse are encouraged to refer to the site ahead of their visit. High Peaks Resort is offering their Total Solar Eclipse package bookable online here. In addition to the eclipse viewing on April 8, High Peaks Resort is throwing a lawn party from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM with food, drink, and entertainment at Lake House. In addition, Lake Placid will host a variety of events and activities for all ages. From educational workshops to outdoor activities and celebrations, there's something for everyone to enjoy. The resort is the perfect place to make a homebase while exploring the Adirondacks, with easy access to Whiteface Mountain (35-minute drive), the Olympic sites, and many other top attractions in the area. The resort offers three unique lodging experiences, from a traditional hotel experience in the High Peaks Resort, to a modern retro-vibe in the Lake House, to privacy and serenity in the Waterfront Collection (including suites with fireplaces!). Guests enjoy sweeping views of the Adirondack mountains, arts and crafts, family movie nights, s’mores building and marshmallow toasting, birds of prey demonstrations and dining specials in Dancing Bears Restaurant. Plan a family-friendly celebration in Columbus, Ohio Skyline of Columbus, Ohio - courtesy of Experience Columbus Columbus invites visitors to experience the near totality (99.6%) in Ohio's capital city. For the first time since 1806, Ohio will be in the direct path of a total solar eclipse. From unique viewing parties at rooftops downtown to an Eclipse-inspired craft beer from Land-Grant Brewing Company, here's what's happening in the 14th largest city in the U.S.: Eclipse viewing party at the #1 science museum in the country: Celebrate the eclipse at COSI, named the #1 science museum in the country for four consecutive years by USA Today 10Best. Located downtown in the path of near totality, the museum is hosting a day of fun, hands-on activities. They are also giving away thousands of free eclipse glasses. For those who cannot attend in person, COSI will live-stream the eclipse, supported by expert commentary and explanations during the event. Say cheers to the historic event with an eclipse-themed craft beer: One of Columbus' favorite craft breweries, Land-Grant Brewing Company, is celebrating the occasion with a special beer in honor of the eclipse. Totality is a Black IPA and an exclusive COSI collaboration. Visitors can try the beer on tap during their viewing party starting at 11 a.m. The watch party includes free eclipse glasses, interactive experiments with the COSI team, cosmic-themed music and food from local food trucks. Step into the path of totality at the zoo: Located in nearby Delaware County, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is in the path of totality where experts anticipate the totality will last around 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Join them for a special Solar Eclipse Solar-Bration from noon to 4 p.m. and take in the historic sight amidst the wonders of wildlife. Visitors will get viewing glasses and enjoy character greetings and hands-on activities. Attend other watch parties at top attractions: In addition to COSI and Land-Grant's watch parties in Downtown Columbus, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum will host a viewing party on their expansive rooftop. Grab glasses at Columbus' visitor centers: Experience Columbus is selling glasses so you can safely enjoy the solar eclipse for just $1. Stop by and grab a pair at the Visitor Centers located at Easton Town Center or in the Arena District. Stay in Columbus' celestial-themed hotel: Whether you're planning to enjoy the near totality in downtown Columbus or drive the short distance northwest from Columbus into the path of totality, consider making Columbus your home base and staying at the celestial-themed Hotel LeVeque. Located in the historic 47-story LeVeque Tower, once Amelia Earhart's aerial lighthouse, the hotel boasts celestial details from lobby to guestrooms. Each of the 149 rooms features a telescope, ensuring a unique stargazing experience, and visitors can enjoy nightly turn-down service with a star machine projecting the night sky onto the ceilings. Or choose from one of dozens of other hotels in Columbus. Book a two-night stay through Experience Columbus and you'll get the choice of a $100 Delta voucher (stay must be a minimum of $250+), two tickets to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, two tickets to the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens or a $25-$50 Lyft credit. Special solar science kits: No matter where you live you can learn more about the solar system with COSI Connects Solar Kit. Recommended for grades 2-5, the kit offers a fun way for kids to learn about our solar system's star—the sun. Explore the science of light and magnetism and make your own artwork showing the corona during a solar eclipse. Every kit includes solar glasses. Escape city lights at campgrounds in the eastern states Moonlight falls on a campsite by Tim Foster - Unsplash The rare event will be viewable at nine Spacious Skies Campgrounds in the eastern US as the eclipse travels along a diagonal trajectory from Mexico to Maine. Campsites and glamping accommodations such as cabins, yurts and retro trailers – which are sure to be popular on that very special day – are now available for travelers to book. “At Spacious Skies Campgrounds, the stars are more than just a backdrop—they're part of our story,” said Ali Rasmussen, co-founder of Spacious Skies Campgrounds. “Imagine watching a solar eclipse here. It's not just a spectacle, it's a shared celestial experience. Our approach to camping is star-studded, literally. We've woven the cosmic theme into everything: our dedicated Cosmic Crew, the playful Cosmic Canine Commons, engaging activities for Cosmic Kiddos and perks for our Cosmic Camper loyalty members. Experiencing a solar eclipse at our campgrounds? It’s not just fitting, it’s an unforgettable cosmic celebration.” Located in the states of New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina (three campgrounds), Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, the campgrounds are situated near national and state parks as well as charming towns. All offer a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities like hiking and fishing as well as amenities such as sport courts and playgrounds. The maximum view of the eclipse varies from campground to campground. For specific details on the view from each location, visit this site. Campgrounds near the path of the Total Solar Eclipse include: Belle Ridge, Monterey, Tennessee, 2:05 p.m.Savannah Oaks, Savannah, Georgia, 3:08 p.m.Hidden Creek, Marion, North Carolina, 3:10 p.m.Bear Den, Spruce Pine North Carolina, 3:10 p.m.Peach Haven, Gaffney, South Carolina., 3:10 p.m.Sandy Run, Fayetteville, North Carolina., 3:14 p.m.Shenandoah Views, Luray, Virginia, 3:18 p.m.Country Oaks, Dorothy, New Jersey, 3:23 p.m.French Pond, Henniker, New Hampshire, 3:29 p.m. Spacious Skies Campgrounds offer a variety of accommodations choices in addition to RV sites. Most locations feature cabin options, and many also offer glamping accommodations such as yurts and retro trailers. Members of the Spacious Skies Loyalty Program, called “Cosmic Campers” can save up to 12 percent on all RV sites, cabins and other accommodations. The annual fee to join the program is $31.90. While the Loyalty Program discount cannot be combined with other discounts, the discount with the greatest savings is rewarded, providing campers with the best possible deal on their stay. Spacious Skies Campgrounds also offers seasonal camping deals and other specials.
New Hampshire ski areas are ready to welcome visitors during looking for a late-season ski trip. Over 875 alpine and Nordic trails are currently open and covered side to side and top to bottom with snow, offering thousands of acres of varied terrain suitable for everyone from beginners to experts. Additionally, resorts are offering a multitude of other family-friendly activities like tubing, snowshoeing, and ziplining, along with special events and après-ski festivities for both kids and adults. Ski New Hampshire provides a listing of both alpine and cross-country ski areas on its website at www.SkiNH.com/resorts. Here, visitors will find information on ski areas of all sizes, each with its own vibe, level of difficulty, and off-slope offerings. Those looking for hidden gems with short lift lines and lower ticket prices can often find both at smaller ski areas. Currently, Ski NH has $25 tickets available at Dartmouth Skiway and McIntyre Ski Area that are good any day for the rest of the 2023-24 ski season, including February vacation weeks. Ski NH's Conditions page provides information that guests typically want to know in advance, including snow conditions, the number of open trails and lifts, links to resort web cameras, and click-through links to area websites for more detailed snow reports. Regarding tickets, ski lessons, and more, people should be aware that some ski areas will sell out of certain products or services during holiday and vacation periods. Ski NH suggests calling in advance to ensure availability, and in some cases, advanced purchases or reservations may be recommended or required. Night ski and save Skiing in New Hampshire - coutesy of Ski NH Another way vacationers can save on the slopes is to consider skiing under the lights at night. Many areas like Gunstock Mountain Resort, King Pine, McIntyre Ski Area, Pats Peak, and Crotched Mountain offer night skiing and riding from mid-afternoon until 8 p.m. or later. Crotched Mountain is normally open Tuesday-Saturday until 9 p.m., but is also open for night skiing until midnight on March 2. Find the latest information on night skiing at SkiNH.com. Go Nordic Nordic (or cross-country) skiing is a great choice to beat the crowds and get a great workout. At many Nordic centers, visitors can also snowshoe. The state has many choices for cross-country skiing that offer diverse terrain options, from beginner to expert, and some with sweeping views across open fields and others through wooded trails. Cross-country skiing is a lower-cost alternative to downhill, has a shorter learning curve, and is another great way for the entire family to enjoy time on snow this February. For those who have never tried cross-country skiing before, most areas offer lessons; one lesson can build confidence and get new skiers on their way to enjoying many miles (or kilometers, as measured by Nordic areas) of trails. Try a non-skiing mountain adventure Snow tubing has become increasingly popular, especially for kids, for those who don't ski, or as an activity to complement skiing and riding while on vacation. Snow tubing facilities vary; some are lift-serviced while others require a short hike up the hill. NH resorts offering snow tubing include Bretton Woods, Cranmore Mountain Resort, Franconia Inn XC, Great Glen Trails, Gunstock Mountain Resort, King Pine, Loon Mountain Resort, McIntyre Ski Area, and Pats Peak. Many NH ski resorts offer additional activities on and off snow, including fat biking, canopy tours, skijoring, mountain coasters, and taking a snow coach up the famed Mount Washington (the highest peak in the Northeast) where you can either ride the coach or snowshoe back down. Find more information on these unique non-skiing activities at SkiNH.com. Don't forget the après A child eats a s'more - courtesy of Ski NH For those who enjoy live music and hanging out with friends and family after skiing and riding, most NH alpine ski resorts offer live music on weekends or certain afternoons along with hearty appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, drinks, and more. During the February 17-24 vacation week, several ski areas will be serving up live music daily, while others will be hosting live acts Friday and Saturday at either end of the vacation week. A variety of events will take place at NH ski areas during the vacation weeks. For the kids, Cranmore Mountain Resort will be hosting its Cranapalooza family-friendly events daily from February 17-23. On February 24th and 25th, it's Good vs. Evil at Mount Sunapee's Superheroes and Supervillains Weekend! Come dressed as your favorite superhero or supervillain or make up your own and enter to win a pair of Oakley goggles at either Guest Services location. For those who enjoy competition, on February 25th there is “North America’s Toughest 10K." The Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds 10k course uses 4k of the Great Glen Trails system, and then 6k on the snow covered Mt. Washington Auto Road with an average grade of 12% and an elevation gain of 2,200 feet (pre-registration required). Other events include live music, s'mores, guided snowshoe tours, and more; details on these and many more events can be found at www.skinh.com/events.
The wilds of Alaska, British Columbia, and Yosemite Valley are three locations beloved by travelers looking to escape into the beauty of nature and explore the outdoors—and all three destinations will have even more to offer this upcoming year. These destinations all include brand-new accommodations and experiences launching soon in 2024, so book your next wild adventure now. Feel rejuvenated in Alaska Rocking chairs at Tutka Bay Lodge - courtesy of Tutka Bay Lodge Alaska At Tutka Bay Lodge, wellness is woven skillfully into each day at the lodge. Within the Wild cuisine, cooking classes, adventure activities, and opportunities to explore in nature all add to the overall wellness culture at the lodge. To offer a deeper connection to nature and one's self, Tutka Bay Lodge's new regenerative wellness program offered all summer long includes daily outdoor yoga, as well as meditation, which can be practiced on a kayak or paddle board for a floating meditative treatment, and guided intentional breathing to find inner stillness, self-reflection, and grounding. Taking advantage of the lodge's unique location, Forest Therapy incorporates guided hikes into an old-growth rainforest or deep into the nearby Kachemak Bay State Park and Reiki in the wild where an expert uses gentle hand movements to guide the flow of healthy energy through the body to reduce stress and promote healing. From this ideal setting, guests can immerse themselves in sound bathing, which incorporates a full-body listening experience that intentionally uses sound to invite gentle, yet powerful, therapeutic and restorative processes to nurture the mind and body. Back at the lodge, a Wilderness Tea Lounge invites guests to gather herbs and berries from the forest to create a healthy and healing tea, which can be enjoyed before or after a Reiki in the Wild session or Herb & Salt Scrub Treatment. In addition to these offerings, the lodge has two hot tubs, a wood-fired sauna, and a private beach. A yurt is located near the forest, which guests can access anytime to stretch and do some weight-training with dumbbells and kettlebells. Within the Wild cuisine, cooking classes, adventure activities, or on-site property engagements with nature all add to our overall wellness culture at the lodge. Tutka Bay Lodge is also thrilled to announce their upcoming 'Wellness in the Wild' program retreats for 2024, scheduled in spring (May 24-27) and fall (Sept 20-23). Led by Hope Aguirre, the Wellness Director, guests are invited to immerse themselves in the healing power of nature, embracing the beauty of pristine waters and refreshing bay air. This transformative program encompasses eight core pillars: Connect, Grow, Heal, Create, Listen, Eat, Learn, and Move. At Tutka Bay Lodge, visitors will discover a sanctuary of balance, tranquility, and rejuvenation in the awe-inspiring Alaska wilderness, providing the perfect environment for focus and inner peace. Connect - Facilitate connections with the land, local natives, fellow participants, and, most importantly, oneself. Amidst the enchantment of our magical old-growth forest, find a special tree, the sanctuary for this transformative journey.Grow - Embrace hope for the future. Sustainability and regeneration are woven into every retreat aspect, from learning new skills to silent walks to joyful time shared at the table, encouraging reflective and purposeful living.Hea l- Experience the healing power of the natural world. Connect with the land and sea living pulse through meditative walks, hikes along Grace Ridge, and discovering the curative properties of wild things. Feel the energy of trees and embrace them and create your salt scrub using sea salt harvested from the ocean, complemented by wild herbs and flowers.Create - Liberate your mind, and inspiration will follow. Engage with talented hosts to make local spruce tip incense, experiment with natural pigment watercolors, and create fish prints. Unwind with glacial facial masks crafted from glacier ice, glacial mud, and seaweed freshly harvested from the ocean.Listen - Immerse in a symphony of sounds, allowing them to envelop and transport you to heightened awareness through sound bathing. Experience the transformative power of sound and celebrate the rhythmic undulations of the sea, the whispers of wind through the forest, and the harmonious melodies of birdsong. Explore the enchanting harmonics created by singing bowls, bells, harps, and the human voice.Eat - At Tutka Bay Lodge, food tells the story of who they are, who lived there in the distant past, and perhaps who will be here in the future. Learn about the cuisine, the cultural story of Alutiiq and Dena' Ina natives, the Russian occupation, and Scandinavian fishermen settlers. Learn how to forage for wild edibles and craft your gathered treasures into delicious works of art worthy of any Michelin-starred restaurant.Learn - Naturalist outdoor guides bring you deep into our old-growth Sitka Spruce Forest. Guides will share skills such as plant identification, animal tracking, and fire starting. The Spring retreat will marvel at being at near-full light at midnight and capturing the early morning dawn chorus. The Fall retreat will spend time looking at the stars and the bioluminescence in the bay.Move - In the heart of the seaside sanctuary, discover solace and immerse in exhilarating pursuits. The expansive deck, overlooking the ocean, becomes a base for practicing yoga while absorbing the invigorating sea breeze. Enjoy evening music and dancing, bonfires on the nearby beach, and stories. Sea kayaking offers an up-close encounter with the rhythmic ocean waves – and a potential whale sighting. Water-based wellness activities, including aqua yoga and hot-cold therapy, provide a harmonious blend of relaxation and exercise, embraced by the soothing environment of Tutka Bay. To learn more and book a stay or retreat visit www.withinthewild.com. Visit the Kootenay Rockies in British Columbia Rendering of Basecamp Suites in Revelstroke - courtesy of Basecamp Resorts Canada's award-winning hospitality brand Basecamp Resorts today announced Basecamp Suites Revelstoke (112 2nd Street East, Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada) will open to guests on May 17 2024, with reservations now available to book online. The modern boutique hotel was intentionally designed for travelers seeking comfort, style and convenience while visiting one of Canada's most spectacular and thrilling mountain towns. Located in downtown Revelstoke, with easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment and adventures, and just a 10-minute drive from world-famous Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Basecamp Suites Revelstoke redefines the quintessential mountain getaway. The brand new hotel boasts 31 spacious suites - from three-bedroom to micro-studios - each featuring a fully equipped kitchen, living/dining areas, a washer/dryer and stunning mountain views. Additional amenities include communal outdoor rooftop hot tubs, high-end bedding and furniture, shuttle services and a full-service front desk. “Revelstoke is a must visit Canadian mountain town, filled with incredible culture, art, craft breweries and restaurants, stunning scenery and limitless adventures. We are thrilled to be opening another hotel in this beautiful pristine destination, and to provide visitors with a home-away-from-home while they take in all that Revelstoke has to offer,” said Sky McLean, founder and CEO, Basecamp Resorts. A dynamic mountain community with a rich heritage, loved for its small-town charm and big mountain adventure, Revelstoke is a year-round paradise nestled in the Kootenay Rockies. Adventure seekers can partake in world-class skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, paragliding and more. Downtown Revelstoke offers visitors a range of vibrant and diverse culture to enjoy including independent restaurants, cafes, breweries, shops, museums, live music, art galleries, public art, markets and festivals, Tucked between the Monashee and Selkirk Mountain Ranges of southeastern British Columbia, home to the Columbia River, and located in the world's only inland temperate rainforest filled with old growth forests, Revelstoke is renowned for its natural splendors and is known as a mecca for thrill-seekers. Experience the beauty of Yosemite Valley Firefall Ranch Cottage - courtesy of Firefall Ranch/Tracy Barbutes Welcoming guests this May 2024, Firefall Ranch offers an unparalleled blend of rustic elegance, exceptional nature-forward experiences, and sustainable travel practices, all within minutes of Yosemite's popular northwest entrance. A beckoning retreat for discerning travelers, the Ranch comprises 55 thoughtfully designed, stand-alone cottages and villas dispersed amongst 300 acres of serene meadowland and forested rolling hills. The Ranch's name takes inspiration from the eagerly anticipated natural marvel of Firefall — an annual phenomenon that takes place in world-famous Yosemite Valley when each February the sunlight streams perfectly through the thin cascade of water at Horsetail Fall, transforming it into a breathtaking, fiery orange stream over the sheer face of iconic El Capitan. Firefall Ranch invites guests to embrace a world away from the everyday, offering not only accommodations but a private and enveloping connection with the surrounding natural beauty of Yosemite. A 'destination within a destination,' Firefall Ranch features 55 stand-alone cottages and villas with one, two, and three-bedroom configurations. Each cottage and villa boasts a double-sided indoor/outdoor fireplace, an expansive covered deck, and striking design details. Luxurious and relaxed, Firefall Ranch stands as a secluded haven with its own hiking trails, leading guests through the private forested hillside with stunning vistas that overlook the entire ranch. A natural pond adds to the tranquility, providing a peaceful spot for reflection, while carved pathways procure space for calming walks and bathing in the soothing sounds of redwing blackbirds. The main grounds are flat, ensuring easy accessibility for guests to enjoy the property throughout the seasons. Firefall Ranch is now taking reservations for stays starting May 1, 2024. For additional information, please visit firefallranch.com . The signature Restaurant at Firefall Ranch presents an upscale yet playful approach to modern mountain cuisine. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, flavorful menus are rooted in natural hardwood grilling, include delicious and healthy mountain fare, and top it all off with a delectable selection of fresh desserts made daily. Adjacent to the Restaurant is a private wine room that showcases a well-balanced collection of wines from accomplished vintners in California and around the world. The Tavern, a separate, more casual dining experience, is a memorable gathering spot after an adventurous day. Amidst a lively and comfortable atmosphere, guests can enjoy hand-crafted cocktails, curated wines, craft beers, and free-spirited non-alcoholic drinks. Lastly, The General Store provides a rich array of gifts and treats along with essentials for all of your Yosemite adventures, from made-to-order coffees to trail-ready breakfasts and lunches to happy hour supplies. Firefall Ranch offers a seasonally rotating activities calendar that ensures a variety of experiences for guests of all ages. Designed for kids and kids at heart, daily activities include nightly fireside s'mores, stargazing, crafts, wine tastings, and more. The heated pool and hot tubs offer family-friendly fun in the summer and romantic sunsets in quieter seasons. Outdoor activities include bocce ball, horseshoes, ping pong, hammocks, and serene scenic vistas. The inviting Guest Lounge includes a double-sided fireplace, cozy seating, games, and panoramic views. Guests can also enjoy a plethora of guided excursions, from driving tours of the park's iconic sites to adventurous hikes, biking, snowshoeing, fly fishing, overnight backpacking, and even a private airplane ride over the park. The Recreation Desk and dedicated team assists guests in planning recreation, exploration, and wellness activities. For a full-service spa experience, guests are encouraged to visit nearby sister resort, Rush Creek Lodge & Spa. In addition to recreational activities, Firefall Ranch offers flexible, indoor and outdoor function spaces for unforgettable retreats, weddings, and group gatherings. The breathtaking event space, Peregrine Hall, with towering cathedral ceilings and dramatic custom woodwork, provides an elevated view of the forested surroundings and can accommodate groups from 50 to 225 people — providing endless options for unforgettable events.
In New York, Adirondack region maple producers have begun their annual sap collection and maple syrup production activity. Maple Weekends, a celebration of maple producers and maple products, will take place March 16, 17, 23 and 24 with many facilities offering tours, samples and opportunities to speak with experts about maple syrup production in New York. New York is the second-largest maple-producing state in the country, accounting for approximately 18% of syrup produced each year. Much of that production takes place within the Adirondack region of upstate New York in small, family-owned “sugar shacks.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New York produced 750,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2023, an 8% decrease from the previous year; while maple producers outside of New York experienced a 15% decrease. In 2022, maple syrup production in New York was valued at $30.6 million with an estimated economic impact of approximately $120 million.Maple syrup is typically produced throughout the months of February, March and early April. Unusually warm daytime temperatures this year caused sap to begin flowing in January. Sugar maple trees move sugary water (sap) through their trunks in late winter. Temperature fluctuations push sap through the tree so that it has the nutrients needed to grow. Sap can be collected through holes in the trees when there are cold nights and warm days; below 32°F at night and above 40°F during the day. This watery sap is then boiled until it becomes thick.Boiling sap and allowing the excess water to evaporate is arguably the most important part of the production process, as the quality of the syrup is determined by the amount of sugar in the final product. High quality syrups ideally contain 66-67% sugar. It is also incredibly time-consuming; it takes 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup. According to Adam Wild, director of the Uihlein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid, maple syrup production has always been a part of life in the Adirondacks. “The heavily forested Adirondack region, with its large percentage of maple trees combined with the ideal Adirondack climate of long cold winters punctuated with gradual warming at the end of the winter season make this area one of the best in the entire nation for maple syrup production.” he said.Much of Wild’s research focuses on forest management and sustainability initiatives, as maple syrup production is a sustainable, farm-to-table practice. “Maple producers actively manage their forests, ensuring that the trees remain in place for generations. They are not cut for timber and maple producers continually work to ensure that the trees remain healthy. Tapping trees removes only a small percentage of the trees’ stored energy, as each tree produces much more than it actually needs to thrive.” Book a unique stay at a local resort Sunset in Adirondacks by Eva Darron - Unsplash High Peaks Resort on the shores of Mirror Lake in the heart of Lake Placid is the perfect place to make a homebase while exploring the Adirondacks, and it is just a short drive from local Lake Placid Maple Sugar Houses. To take advantage of this short season, High Peaks Resort is offering a Mountains & Maple package. When booked, visitors receive: Authentic, locally farmed Maple Syrup—perfect for those morning pancakes or an afternoon pick-me-up.Maple Cotton Candy that captures the essence of the Adirondacks in each fluffy bite.Maple Popcorn, an irresistible blend of sweet and salty, for cozy in-room movie nights.Two exclusive High Peaks Resort mugs to take home, so your Adirondack memories stay fresh long after you depart. The resort offers three unique lodging experiences, from a traditional hotel experience in the High Peaks Resort, to a modern retro-vibe in the Lake House, to privacy and serenity in the Waterfront Collection (including suites with fireplaces!). Guests enjoy sweeping views of the Adirondack mountains, arts and crafts, family movie nights, s’mores building and marshmallow toasting, birds of prey demonstrations and dining specials in Dancing Bears Restaurant. Go beyond breakfast and try inspired local cuisine A collection of maple syrups by Wei Chen - Unsplash Maple syrup traditionally accompanies a variety of breakfast foods but, in the Adirondacks, it is also used to flavor candy, beverages, barbecue sauce, recipes, and cocktails. It can also be used as part of various experiences that showcase this Adirondack pantry staple. Some locally produced products and recipes include: Maple beer: Craft beers featuring local maple are found across the Adirondacks. Big Slide Brewery’s maple bourbon imperial stout is aged in a barrel previously used for locally-produced maple syrup. Raquette River Brewing offers its Maple Cream Porter, brewed with local maple syrup.Many Adirondack-region restaurants have “maple glazed” items on the menu: salmon, pork, chicken, vegetables and more. Chef Mike Rush at Campfire Grill in Saranac Lake obtains kegs of maple syrup for use throughout the year.Barbecue sauces in the Adirondack region often use maple syrup.Maple is used for a variety of products including: cotton candy, hard candies, maple butter, various syrups, sauces and jellies. Continue the celebration at home with a local drink recipe Local bartenders often create delicious cocktails with maple, including this recipe for a maple margarita created by Carolyn Sicher, co-owner of the Deer’s Head Inn, in Elizabethtown, NY: Ingredients: 1.5 oz good quality tequila, .5 oz mandarin liqueur, .5 oz fresh lime juice, .5 oz fresh lemon juice, .5 oz maple lemonade (traditional lemonade with maple as extra sweetener), 1 Tbsp local maple syrup Directions: Rub a freshly-cut lime wedge around the rim of the glass and coat the rim by placing it upside down in a dish of tajin spice blend. Fill the glass with fresh ice. Mix all ingredients together in a shaker with ice cubes and strain into the glass. Drizzle with a tablespoon of pure Adirondack maple syrup. Garnish with lime.