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5 last-minute leaf-peeping deals
All across North America, shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown herald autumn's arrival. While many big, multicity fall foliage tours sold out months ago, there are still small-scale deals to be had that make for great weekend getaways. Here are five ways to peep your local leaves while they're still alight. Boston, Bike/2 Nights, From $315 Stay for two nights at the Midtown Hotel, located in the center of Boston's Back Bay, and use it as your home base for exploring the city on two wheels during a classic New England autumn. Includes free parking, daily breakfast, and 24-hour bike access, with helmets, maps, and locks. When: Through October 2011 Contact: Midtown Hotel, 800/343-1177, midtownhotel.com Mackinac Island, Mich., From $159 a Night Mission Point Resort's "Ghost Hunter" package includes accommodations for two in a standard garden room; a ghost-themed tour of the rumored-to-be-haunted hotel grounds, featured earlier this year on Syfy's Ghost Hunters; round-trip ferry tickets on Arnold Transit Co., which travels through the Straits of Mackinac; dinner for two at the resort's restaurant, Chianti; and daily breakfast; from $159 a night for a minimum two-night stay, plus taxes of 18 percent. When: Through Oct. 23, 2011 Contact: Mission Point Resort, 800/833-7711, missionpoint.com Mammoth, Calif., 2 Nights, From $49 a Night Experience autumn in California's Lakes Basin with a cabin rental, complimentary bottle of wine, daily breakfast, complimentary two-hour boat rental, fishing-rod rental, and access to Tamarack Adventures' guided activities (like hikes, bike tours, and fishing clinics), from $49 per person per night (two-night minimum stay), plus taxes and fees. When:Through November 7. Contact: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, 800/626-6684, mammothmountain.com Seattle, Wash., and Victoria, British Colombia, Ferry/Hotel, From $99 a Night Enjoy a round-trip Victoria Clipper cruise from Seattle to Victoria, Canada, and one night at the Harbor Towers hotel in Victoria, from $99 per person per night. Plus, "like" Clipper Vacations on Facebook and get a promo code good for an additional 10% off. Extend your stay to 2 nights for a discounted $123 per person per night. When: October 1, 2011- January 2, 2012 Contact: Clipper Vacations, 800/888-2535, clippervacations.com Virginia, Resort/Horseback Ride, From $99 a Night Includes one night in your choice of tree house, yurt, cabin, chalet, or hotel room at the Shenandoah Crossing resort, plus one 45-minute trail ride for two people. Extend your stay from $63 per night for up to three additional nights; extra horseback rides for other members of your party can be added for a discounted rate of $18 per person. When: Through November 18, 2011 Contact: Shenandoah Crossing, 888/760-8188, otdestinations.com MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: 5 Fall Foliage Drives North America's Most Charming Fall Islands 8 Fall Foliage Cruises
Kid Rock Gives Michigan a Lift
He may not get the highest marks for imaginative song titles, but pop star Kid Rock is no slouch when it comes to home-state loyalty. The rocker has contributed his song "Detroit, Michigan," from his upcoming album Rebel Soul, to the state of Michigan's official tourism website, michigan.org. "Detroit, Michigan / Ya heard about Marvin Gaye / We got him," the artist croons, in a song that references a number of Motor City celebs, including Motown singer/songwriter Gaye, "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin, and Grammy-winning rapper Eminem as well as civil rights activist Rosa Parks and automaker Henry Ford. Rock, who grew up in a Detroit suburb and has recorded such hits as as "Cowboy" and "Bawitdaba," shows his local pride (and party-hearty spirit) with lines such as "The Big Three baby and the finest cars / George Clinton's P Funk all stars / We spend our days on the line and our nights in the bars." Michigan, of course, should require no arm-twisting where vacationers are concerned. The 11th-largest state, with a population of nearly 10 million, is home to a host of popular destinations, including: Traverse City, on the shores of Lake Michigan, offers miles of beaches, wineries, scenic lighthouses, and some of the Midwest's best golf courses. The Henry Ford, one of America's most popular historical attractions, is a museum, a village, an auto factory tour, and IMAX theater dedicated to the inventor of the assembly line and founder of, well, you know… Mackinac Island, with its limestone bluffs, is a favorite summertime vacation spot for its historic forts and trails for biking, hiking, or horseback riding. Detroit, best known for turning out world-class cars and groundbreaking R&B and techno music, is also gaining popularity for its downtown casinos like the Greektown Casino-Hotel, the Detroit Beer Company (across from the Detroit Opera House, home to Michigan Opera Theatre), and Diamond Jack's Detroit River Boat Excursions, a two-hour narrated river tour.
Ready for a Ferry Ride to Cuba?
For those of you who've enjoyed ferry rides to prime destinations like Sausalito, Nantucket, and Mackinac Island, hold on to your hats: The U.S. just approved ferry service between Florida and Cuba. Granting licenses to several cargo and passenger companies, the federal government opened up the possibility of ferry service in the Florida Straits for the first time in more than a half century. The Miami Herald reports that some ferry companies say they may offer service within weeks from ports like Key West, Miami, Port Everglades, and the Tampa area. The Sun Sentinel reports that one company, CubaKat, hopes to offer high-speed catamaran service from the Florida Keys to Havana by December. CubaKat's multimillion dollar craft would transport about 200 people to Havana in approximately for hours for $338 (considerably less than the $500 airfares common at the moment). While there are still plenty of hoops to be jumped through and red tape to be cut (not to mention the fact that Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba only for family visits and educational/professional purposes), the prospect is enticing. Back in the 1950s, ferry travel to and from Cuba was a normal part of many Americans' and Cubans' travel experiences. If you're ready to dive into the "purposeful travel" that is currently permitted to Cuba, you don't have to wait for ferry service to begin. A group tour such as Intrepid Travel's 9-day Hola Cuba People to People package might be right for you. You'll meet real Cubans, including top chefs, local artists, salsa dancers, historians, and tobacco farmers, as you travel from iconic Havana to the countryside. We want to know: Have you visited Cuba? Are you one of the many travel fanatics eagerly researching a future Cuba excursion?
More Places to go
Petoskey ( pe-TAH-skee) is a city and coastal resort community in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was estimated at approximately 5,670 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Emmet County, located at the northern end of the Lower Peninsula.
Beaver Island is an island in Lake Michigan in the U.S. state of Michigan. At 55.8 sq mi (145 km2), it is the largest island in Lake Michigan and the third largest island in Michigan after Isle Royale and Drummond Island. The island is located approximately 32 miles (51 km) from the city of Charlevoix. Beaver Island had a total population of 657 at the 2010 census. In 1856, it was home to a unique American religious colony, a theocratic monarchy ruled by the self-appointed "King Strang", who was the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, colloquially known as Strangites to distinguish them from the much larger The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Irish American immigrants later settled in the island, and it has remained a popular vacation and tourist destination. Portions of the island and surrounding archipelago are protected as part of the Beaver Islands State Wildlife Research Area.
Drummond Island Township is a civil township of Chippewa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,058 at the 2010 census.The township consists of Drummond Island, the seventh-largest lake island in the world. With an area of 347 km2 (134 sq mi), it is also the third-largest lake island in Lake Huron, following Manitoulin Island and St. Joseph Island, and the fifth-largest island in the contiguous United States, following Long Island, Padre Island, the lake island of Isle Royale and Whidbey Island. M-134 extends from the mainland to run through the western portion of the island, connecting with the mainland via the Drummond Island Ferry, which runs between the island and De Tour Village. On the east side of Drummond Island, the Canada–United States border passes through the False Detour Channel. On the other side of that channel, the Canadian Cockburn Island separates Drummond from Manitoulin Island.
Sault Ste Marie
Sault Ste. Marie ( SOO-seint-ma-REE) is the only city and county seat of Chippewa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. With a population of 14,144 at the 2010 census, it is the second-most populated city in the Upper Peninsula after Marquette. It is the central city of the Sault Ste. Marie, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Chippewa County and had a population of 38,520 at the 2010 census. Sault Ste. Marie was settled as early as 1668, which makes it Michigan's oldest city and among the oldest cities in the United States. Located at the northeastern edge of the Upper Peninsula, it is separated by the St. Marys River from the much-larger city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The two are connected by the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, which represents the northern terminus of Interstate 75. This portion of the river also contains the Soo Locks, as well as a swinging railroad bridge. The city is also home to Lake Superior State University.