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New York State Kicks Off Winter Season
New York State welcomes travelers this winter season with new events like the 75th Anniversary Celebration of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” one-of-a-kind activities including riding the only Olympic bobsled east of the Rockies and top-notch skiing and snowboarding whether you are a beginner or pro. Travelers will find outdoor adventure options to mix up their ski mountain fun, miles of trails for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing and a diverse mix of restaurants and craft beverage spots for the well-deserved après-ski. Family friendly events include Ice Castles in Lake George, Westchester’s Winter Wonderland Drive-Thru Holiday Light Extravaganza and Zoo New York’s Winter Wonderlights that will leave adults and kids in the right magical winter mindset. The cold weather turns New York into a winter wonderland, making it the perfect destination for a quick getaway or an extended break from hibernation. Here's a sampling of new experiences in New York State this winter: Hit the Slopes! Pack your bags and grab your skis or board for an amazing getaway at one of over 50 ski areas across the state. Remember: third and fourth graders ski free at many of these mountains, and be sure to check the latest Ski Association of New York Snow Report for the most up-to-date conditions. · Windham Mountain invested more than $4 million in capital improvements, including snowmaking upgrades, an environmentally friendly groomer, the redevelopment of the Children's Learning Center and a new "Magic Carpet" conveyor lift. · Holiday Valley in Ellicottville installed the Yodeler Express, a high-speed detachable quad chairlift that helps beginners, allowing for increased efficiency - transporting 2,400 people per hour to the 2,000-foot summit. · Catamount Mountain Resort in Hillsdale made significant upgrades to their snowmaking system, installed two new chairlifts and added new food and beverage options to the base area. · Whiteface in Wilmington has a new SkyTrac quad, continued into phase II of their three-phase snowmaking improvement project (including almost 30,000 feet of replacement snowmaking pipe) and finished renovating their Cloudsplitter Gondola. · Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua added a new trail called Polaris to their Galaxy Lift Pod, improved their snowmaking capabilities and installed Axess Smart Gates on all lifts so skiers and riders can access the mountain with their Bristol Gateway Cards. · Oak Mountain in Speculator doubled their snowmaking capacity, replaced their Bunny Hill T-Bar with a Sunkid surface lift, and added new skis and snowboards to their "Rossignol Rental fleet." Celebrate Winter and History Winter festivals are some of the most popular annual events across New York State. This year, there is no better place to celebrate the season with commemorations and events. · Celebrate Harriet Tubman's 200th birthday by visiting her home in Auburn, along with the surrounding communities in Cayuga County. Special activities during Harriet Tubman Week, scheduled for March 10-15, 2022, will be held at various sites, including her home at the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, Seward House Museum, and Fort Hill Cemetery where she is buried. More commemorations will be announced. · In Seneca Falls, join the 75th Anniversary Celebration of "It's a Wonderful Life" from December 8-12 where many of the cast members will reunite, including the Bailey children and their friends. · Ice Castles comes to New York State for the first time, featuring ice displays with LED lights and colors at the Festival Commons at Charles Wood Park in Lake George. This new winter event is expected to be open from early January to early March, depending on weather. Also in Lake George, Lake George Winterfest is held mid-December to March, and the Lake George Winter Carnival is held every Saturday and Sunday in February. · LuminoCity Festival is coming to Long Island for the first time this winter. The immersive light display will be at Whitney Pond Park in Manhasset through January 9. Also on Long Island, the Shimmering Solstice will take place at Old Westbury Gardens through January 9, transforming the grounds into stunning light displays with music. This new seasonal event is ideal for the whole family. · The Holiday Market, a new series of outdoor community events, will take place on the grounds of Gallery North and the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket on Saturdays from November 27 to December 18. · Zoo New York, the "only zoo dedicated to the animals of New York State," is hosting Winter Wonderlights on weekend evenings from November 26 to January 2. Explore the zoo at night to see it illuminated with multicolored lights. · See even more lights, holiday animations and new displays at Westchester's Winter Wonderland Drive-Thru Holiday Light Extravaganza at Kensico Dam Plaza, November 26 - January 2. Cozy Eateries & Craft Beverage Spots Enjoy comfort food, taste classic New York bites and sip locally produced craft beverages this winter season. · Southern Tier Brewing Company opened a new location in the Harborcenter in Buffalo, offering a full tasting room and a "beer-inspired" food menu. · Brick & Ivy is a newly opened BIPOC-owned restaurant in Rochester that features a unique mix of dishes, such as fried cauliflower, jerk seared salmon, and confit duck leg. · Embrace the chilly temperatures at one of Lake George's ice bars, including The Sagamore's famous Glacier Ice Bar, Adirondack Pub & Brewery's Funky Ice Fest and Winterfest at Erlowest. · Newly opened Willa's Bakery in Catskill offers a wide variety of scratch-made baked goods, along with seasonal breakfast and lunch dishes made using locally sourced ingredients. · DisBatch Brewing Company, slated to open this December in Macedon, is Wayne County's first brewery. It was started by first responders who wanted to provide the community with a place to gather and relax. · In Albany, Skinny Pancake, scheduled to open soon, plans to feature various crepe dishes that utilize local ingredients. · Recently opened Nova Kitchen & Bar in Blauvelt, Rockland County, uses locally sourced seasonal ingredients to create innovative daily specials and is the brainchild of a couple that worked their way up in the industry from busgirl and dishwasher to manager and head chef. Exciting New and Recently Opened Attractions With both indoor and outdoor attractions, visitors of all ages can participate in seasonal excitement. · Schenectady's Mohawk Harbor is hosting a new winter experience featuring a 60x100 foot ice skating rink, Holiday Pop-Up Shop by Beekman 1802, and food options from Druthers Brewing Company, Shaker & Vine and the restaurants at Rivers Casino & Resort. · Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery will feature the Renaissance Impressions: Sixteenth-Century Master Prints from the Kirk Edward Long Collection exhibit until February 6. The exhibit includes 82 masterworks by diverse artists, highlighting the visual culture of the Renaissance. · Lark Hall in Albany was recently restored and repurposed as a concert venue, hosting a diverse mix of bands and performers. · The Earl Cardot Eastside Overland Trail system in Gerry, Chautauqua County, expanded in 2021 and features more than three miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. · At Niagara Falls State Park, witness the splendor of the frosted Falls from all angles. For a unique perspective, Cave of the Winds takes visitors down an elevator into the Niagara Gorge to get an up close and personal view of Falls from one of the two open observation decks. On the Horizon Mark your calendars for this exciting upcoming event. · The FISU World University Games will be held in Lake Placid and the surrounding communities from January 12-22, 2023, featuring competition among exceptional international collegiate athletes. It is the second largest multi-sport winter event in the world. For those inspired by the upcoming Winter Olympics, they can head to Lake Placid to experience Olympic history at the Olympic Museum, the recently opened Cliffside Coaster or ride the only Olympic bobsled east of the Rockies. For more information on new developments and other happenings in New York State, visit iloveny.com.
The ultimate New England fall foliage road trip
Editor's note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice. Trip length: 5–7 days; 424 miles (682km)Best time to go: Late September to mid-OctoberEssential photo: Kent Falls set against a backdrop of autumnal colorsTop experience: Ziplining through the tree canopy in Bretton Woods The brilliance of fall in New England is legendary. Scarlet and sugar maples, ash, birch, beech, dogwood, tulip tree, oak and sassafras all contribute to the carnival of autumn color. But this trip is about much more than just flora and fauna: the harvest spirit makes for family outings to pick-your-own farms, leisurely walks along dappled trails, and tables groaning beneath delicious seasonal produce. Lake Candlewood is the perfect place to start a New England fall foliage road trip © Alan Copson / Getty Images1. Lake Candlewood With a surface area of 8.4 sq miles, Candlewood is the largest lake in Connecticut. On the western shore, the Squantz Pond State Park is popular with leaf-peepers, who come to amble the pretty shoreline. In Brookfield and Sherman, quiet vineyards with acres of gnarled grapevines line the hillsides. Visitors can tour the award-winning DiGrazia Vineyards or opt for something more intimate at White Silo Farm Winery, where the focus is on specialty wines made from farm-grown fruit. For the ultimate bird’s eye view of the foliage, consider a late-afternoon hot-air-balloon ride with GONE Ballooning in nearby Southbury. The drive: From Danbury, at the southern tip of the lake, you have a choice of heading north via US 7, taking in Brookfield and New Milford (or trailing the scenic eastern shoreline along Candlewood Lake Rd S); or heading north along CT 37 and CT 39 via New Fairfield, Squantz Pond and Sherman, before reconnecting with US 7 to Kent. The Litchfield Hills of Connecticut have possibly the best fall colors in the world © DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images2. Kent Kent has previously been voted the spot in all of New England (yes, even beating Vermont) for fall foliage viewing. Situated prettily in the Litchfield Hills on the banks of the Housatonic River, it is surrounded by dense woodlands. For a sweeping view of them, hike up Cobble Mountain in Macedonia Brook State Park, a wooded oasis 2 miles north of town. The steep climb to the rocky ridge affords panoramic views of the foliage against a backdrop of the Taconic and Catskill mountain ranges. The 2175-mile Georgiato-Maine Appalachian National Scenic Trail also runs through Kent and up to Salisbury on the Massachusetts border. Unlike much of the trail, the Kent section offers a mostly flat 5-mile river walk alongside the Housatonic, the longest river walk along the entire length of the trail. The trailhead is accessed on River Rd, off CT 341. The drive: The 15-mile drive from Kent to Housatonic Meadows State Park along US 7 is one of the most scenic drives in Connecticut. The single-lane road dips and weaves between thick forests, past Kent Falls State Park (currently closed due to COVID-19) with its tumbling waterfall (visible from the road), and through West Cornwall’s picturesque covered bridge, which spans the Housatonic River. The picturesque covered bridge in West Cornwall, Connecticut © Jeff Hunter / Getty Images3. Housatonic Meadows State Park During the spring thaw, the churning waters of the Housatonic challenge kayakers and canoeists. By summer, the scenic waterway transforms into a lazy, flat river perfect for fly-fishing. In the Housatonic Meadows State Park, campers vie for a spot on the banks of the river while hikers take to the hills on the Appalachian Trail. Housatonic River Outfitters runs guided fishing trips with gourmet picnics. Popular with artists and photographers, one of the most photographed fall scenes is the Cornwall Bridge (West Cornwall), an antique covered bridge that stretches across the broad river, framed by vibrantly colored foliage. In the nearby town of Goshen is Nodine’s Smokehouse, a major supplier of smoked meats to New York gourmet food stores. The drive: Continue north along US 7 toward the Massachusetts border and Great Barrington. After a few miles you leave the forested slopes of the park behind you and enter expansive rolling countryside dotted with large red-and-white barns. Look out for hand-painted signs advertising farm produce and consider stopping overnight in Falls Village, which has an excellent B&B. The Berkshires turn crimson and gold, making for a spectacular fall, in the hills of Massacusetts © DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images4. Berkshires Blanketing the westernmost part of Massachusetts, the rounded mountains of the Berkshires turn crimson and gold as early as mid-September. The effective capital of the Berkshires is Great Barrington, a formerly industrial town whose streets are now lined with art galleries and upscale restaurants. It’s the perfect place to pack your picnic or rest your legs before or after a hike in nearby Beartown State Forest. Crisscrossing some 12,000 acres, hiking trails yield spectacular views of wooded hillsides and pretty Benedict Pond, Further north, October Mountain State Forest is the state’s largest tract of green space (16,127 acres), also interwoven with hiking trails. The name – attributed to Herman Melville – gives a good indication of when this park is at its loveliest, with its multicolored tapestry of hemlocks, birches and oaks. The drive: Drive north on US 7, the spine of the Berkshires, cruising through Great Barrington and Stockbridge. In Lee, the highway merges with scenic US 20, from where you can access October Mountain. Continue 16 miles north through Lenox and Pittsfield to Lanesborough. Turn right on N Main St and follow the signs to the park entrance. Driving to the summit of Mt Greylock in autumn is a sensory overload © PM 10 / Getty Images5. Mt Greylock State Forest Massachusetts’ highest peak is not so high, at 3491ft, but a climb up the 92ft-high War Veterans Memorial Tower rewards you with a forested panorama stretching up to 100 miles, across the Taconic, Housatonic and Catskill ranges, and over five states. Even if the weather seems drab from the foot, driving up to the summit may well lift you above the gray blanket, and the view with a layer of cloud floating between tree line and sky is simply magical. Mt Greylock State Reservation has some 45 miles of hiking trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Frequent trail pull-offs on the road up – including some that lead to waterfalls – make it easy to get at least a little hike in before reaching the top of Mt Greylock. The drive: Return to US 7 and continue north through the quintessential college town of Williamstown. Cross the Vermont border and continue north through the historic village of Bennington. Just north of Bennington, turn left on Rte 7A and continue north to Manchester. Manchester's architecture looks even better shrouded in fall colors © DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images6. Manchester Stylish Manchester is known for its magnificent New England architecture. For fall foliage views, head south of the center to 3828ft-high Mt Equinox, the highest mountain accessible by car in the Taconic Range. Wind up the 5.2 miles – with gasp-inducing scenery at every hairpin turn – seemingly to the top of the world, where the 360-degree panorama unfolds, offering views of the Adirondacks, the lush Battenkill Valley and Montréal’s Mt Royal. If early snow makes Mt Equinox inaccessible, visit 412-acre Hildene, a Georgian Revival mansion that was once home to the Lincoln family. It’s filled with presidential memorabilia and sits nestled at the edge of the Green Mountains, with access to 8 miles of wooded walking trails. The drive: Take US 7 north to Burlington. Three miles past Middlebury in New Haven, stop off at Lincoln Peak Vineyard for wine tasting or a picnic lunch on the wraparound porch. Go out on Lake Champlain for a leaf-peeping adventure and you might run into a mythical sea creature © Larry Gerbrandt / Getty Images7. Lake Champlain With a surface area of 490 sq miles, straddling New York, Vermont and Quebec, Lake Champlain is the largest freshwater lake in the US after the Great Lakes. On its northeastern side, Burlington is a gorgeous base to enjoy the lake. Explore it by foot on our walking tour. Then scoot down to the wooden promenade, take a swing on the fourperson rocking benches and consider a bike ride along the 7.5-mile lakeside bike path. For the best off-shore foliage views we love the Friend Ship sailboat at Whistling Man Schooner Company, a 43ft sloop that accommodates a mere 13 passengers. Next door, ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center explores the history and ecosystem of the lake, including a famous snapshot of Champ, Lake Champlain’s mythical sea creature. The drive: Take I-89 southeast to Montpelier passing Camels Hump State Park and CC Putnam State Forest. At Montpelier, pick up US2 heading east to St Johnsbury, where you can hop on I-91 south to I-93 south. Just after Littleton, take US 302 east to Bretton Woods. The Bretton Woods have leaf-peeping as well as high adventure just waiting to be explored © thrmylens / Getty Images8. Bretton Woods Unbuckle your seat belts and step away from the car. You’re not just peeping at leaves today, you’re swooping past them on zip lines that drop 1000ft at 30mph. The four-season Bretton Woods Canopy Tour includes a hike through the woods, a stroll over sky bridges and a swoosh down 10 cables to tree platforms. If this leaves you craving even higher views, cross US 302 and drive 6 miles on Base Rd to the coal-burning, steam-powered Mount Washington Cog Railway at the western base of Mt Washington, the highest peak in New England. This historic railway has been hauling sightseers to the mountain’s 6288ft summit since 1869. The drive: Continue driving east on US 302, a route that parallels the Saco River and the Conway Scenic Railroad, traversing Crawford Notch State Park. At the junction of NH 16 and US 302, continue east on US 302 into North Conway. Wrap up your fall foliage road trip in North Conway, a scenic finale © Nils Winkelmann / EyeEm / Getty Images9. North Conway Many of the best restaurants, pubs and inns in North Conway come with expansive views of the nearby mountains, making it an ideal place to wrap up a fall foliage road trip. If you’re traveling with kids or you skipped the cog railway ride up Mt Washington, consider an excursion on the antique Valley Train with the Conway Scenic Railroad; it’s a short but sweet roundtrip ride through the Mt Washington Valley from North Conway to Conway, 11 miles south. The Moat Mountains and the Saco River will be your scenic backdrop. First-class seats are usually in a restored Pullman observation car.
How hotels are adapting to the new reality of COVID-19
Covid 19 has changed the world. From the minutia of our daily lives to how we plan, the coronavirus has pierced the very heart of society. Hotels, travel, and the general service industry has been hit particularly hard at this time, making an inherently social experience almost impossible to deliver. But all is not lost. Owners, managers and industry leaders are coming together to figure out a way to survive, and change, giving guests and consumers the time to dream about their next trip—and hopefully make it a reality when things are safe and sanitary. From check-in, to room cleaning to mini bars to pool areas, here are how some hotels, resorts and destinations are trying to make sure everything is safe and sanitized for the future of travel. Wyndham Destinations, the world’s largest timeshare operator, is looking at a phased opening in late May. Kevin Maciulewicz, SVP of Resort Operations, says they will be limiting the number of guests to maximize social distancing, depending on the specific configuration of the resorts. “We’re actually seeing very strong demand in bookings for travel in August and beyond from owners and guests,” he says. However, “many resort amenities will remain closed for the immediate future, including swimming pools, food and beverage, fitness centers and other public spaces,” he adds. In glamping news, Peter Mack, CEO of luxury glamping disrupter Collective Retreats, believes its vacation offerings are set up to naturally allow for social distancing. And though there are no lobbies, elevators, or hallways to deal with, they company is adding staff, cleaning more frequently and offering branded bandanas to guests. In fact, Collective Hill Country, in Wimberley, TX, has remained open through the crises. “And guests seem to feel comfortable given the open-air nature of the accommodations,” he says. In New York City, one of the hardest hit areas of the country, Collective Governor’s Island is offering a “Recharge Package” where guests can book a future stay at a discounted price—with a percentage benefitting the food bank, City Harvest. And at MGM Resorts a seven-point safety plan was recently released for all their resorts—a result of months-long work with public health experts, according to Acting CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle. For employees, this includes temperature checks before entering properties along with mandatory masks and gloves. To help with social distancing, plexiglass barriers will be installed in casinos and lobbies, and in rooms, air conditioning units were recently updated to help with air quality. “Our properties will not look the way they used to for a while, and that’s not only OK, it’s critically important, “says Hornbuckle. In addition, they will be offering a completely contactless check-in experience. Using a mobile app, guests will be able to check-in, pay their bill and get a digital room key via their smartphone. For those who feel uncomfortable going fully digital, employees will still be available with physical barriers to protect interactions and reduced lines, and physical keys can be made using self-serve key encoders. Of course, some hotels have decided to stay open during the crises and The Hotel Figueroa, or The Fig, a downtown fixture in Los Angeles, is adjusting to the times. Connie Wang, the hotel’s Managing Director, suggests there is minimal contact between guests and associates. “For the pool, we have positioned all furniture for appropriate social distancing of 6’ apart. Staff have been trained to fully wipe down all seating with disinfectant between guest usage, and a freshly laundered rolled towel placed at the head of our lounger is used to indicate to the next guest that it is safe to approach. We have signage to remind guests to socially distance, and staff to keep an eye out as well,” she says. In addition, they are using electrostatic sprayers with disinfectant in public areas, and UV light disinfecting technology in between guest stays. Face masks must always be worn by staff while guests are asked to don face coverings in indoor public spaces. Other, smaller hotels and resorts are also coming up with strategies for reopening, though most don’t have plans to reopen in the immediate future. To help limit interactions between guests and employees, the Harbor House Inn, in Mendocino County, CA, is considering opening only 50 percent of its rooms and allowing a “rest” day between guests. This would allow for in-depth cleaning and sanitation. And, The Inns of Aurora, in the Finger Lakes region, NY, have shifted its accommodation model to allow for full buyouts of three of the five inns on the property. Each one will be available at a base price and offer specific, customizable amenities like private chef service and grocery delivery on an a la carte basis. Check in and arrival experiences are also being reimagined and Arizona’s Castle Hot Springs plan on streamlining the arrival experience with guests before check-in, while the Wayfinder Hotel in Newport, RI, will completely skip lobby and curbside check-in, providing keyless guestroom entry. For the most part, most properties are considering making in-room dining easier and more comfortable. At The Roxbury at Stratton Falls, Catskill, NY, the usual buffet-style continental breakfast will become a la carte and they are working with local restaurants and food trucks to deliver meals—all of which will be directly delivered to a guestroom door. And, not to worry, Union Grove Distillery and Roxbury Wine & Spirits will also deliver to the hotel.
Leaf Peeping and Art Gazing: the Beauty of the Hudson Valley
Burnt sienna. Honey yellow. Salamander orange. Chestnut brown. The hills of New York's Hudson Valley become an arboreal art show every autumn when fall's foliage turns the landscape kaleidoscopic. This limited-time exhibit isn't the only exemplary art in the area, however. From outdoor sculpture gardens to historic houses overlooking the landscape, contemporary artwork blends with the surrounding countryside to serve up an unmissable art/nature combo platter for peak leaf-peeping season. All easy day trips from New York City, it's worth hopping on a train or renting a car to check out these six outdoor - or nature-adjacent - offerings for yourself. Storm King Art Center Storm King is the crowning jewel of the Hudson Valley art scene. Mammoth works by modern art heavyweights like Alexander Calder and Roy Lichtenstein seem to grow from the ground around every corner, blurring the line between nature and art. Autumn is a picture-perfect time to visit - the rusted red leaves of black gum trees mimic the weathered steel of sculptures like Menashe Kadishman’s gravity-defying Suspended. The 500-acre grounds can be a lot to cover in a day, but checking out Museum Hill’s panoramic views is a must. The art center is an hour-and-a-half drive from New York City. There’s a free shuttle bus from the Beacon train station on weekends and holiday Mondays. Art Omi Art Omi's sculpture and architecture park is the Storm King no one told you about. It's worth spending a couple hours wandering the site's 300 acres of fields and forests to find the psychedelic structures sprinkled among the flora. Look out for Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley’s ReActor, a glass apartment precariously perched on a concrete column that sways in the breeze, and Tony Tasset’s 12-foot fiber-glass deer that guards the park’s entrance. Checking out Omi's 60-plus art pieces is free; the grounds are open from dawn until dusk. The site is a fifteen-minute drive from the hip town of Hudson and about two hours from New York City. untitled (to a man, George McGovern) 2 - Dan Flavin at Dia:Beacon © John Garry / Budget Travel Dia:Beacon Dia:Beacon is a contemporary art museum housed in a former Nabisco box printing factory. Located on 31 acres along the Hudson River, the nearly 300,000 sq-ft industrial complex is home to art installations that can't help but comment on the vast spaces they occupy. Richard Serra effectively conjures the Grand Canyon in his Torqued Ellipses, minimalist Dan Flavin bathes bare brick rooms in soft fluorescent lights, and Louise Bourgeois’s Crouching Spider takes up an area the size of a West Village apartment. This boastful use of space is a breath of fresh air for New York urbanites used to living small. The 80-minute train ride from Manhattan to Beacon is equally enchanting. For Hudson River views, grab a seat on the left side of the train while heading north from Grand Central Terminal. Opus 40 Sculptor Harvey Fite (1903 - 1976) spent 37 years transforming an abandoned quarry near Woodstock, NY, into a 6.5-acre masterpiece of swirling bluestone. Fite cut and placed every stone by hand using ancient Mayan building techniques. Tucked between Overlook and Roundtop Mountain in the heart of the Catskills, the site is a peaceful homage to his astounding achievement in masonry. You can explore the monument’s labyrinthine walkways, see Fite’s other sculptures showcased around the 70-acre property, and learn about the history of quarrying in the Quarryman’s Museum. Opus 40 is a two-hour drive from New York City. Thomas Cole National Historic Site Thomas Cole (1801-1848), famous for painting romantic landscapes of the American wilderness, founded the Hudson River School and inspired the country's earliest artistic movement. The Federal-style house and barn where he lived and worked has been a National Historic Site since 1999. Visiting the museum is magically meta - expansive views from the house's veranda showcase the same Catskill Mountain scenery depicted in his paintings. Be sure to check out the Hudson River Skywalk, a 3.2-mile trail that crosses Rip Van Winkle Bridge and connects to Olana State Historic Site, the place his protégé Frederic Edwin Church called home. The site is a two-hour drive from New York City, and accessible by a two-hour train ride and ten-minute taxi from the train station in Hudson. Olana State Historic Site Olana’s palatial hilltop home is an architectural anomaly on 250 acres of prime Hudson River real estate. Designed by owner Frederic Edwin Church (1826 - 1900) and architect Calvert Vaux, the 19th-century structure pairs Arabian Nights drama with Victorian opulence. The grounds are nothing to scoff at, either. An artistic environmentalist from the Hudson River School, Church meticulously sculpted the meadows and woodlands, and even created an artificial lake, with the same attention to detail exhibited in his landscape paintings. A five-mile carriage road snakes through the property and ends at the pièce de résistance, Church’s house. Inside you’ll find the Church family’s extensive art collection. Head up to the belltower for unparalleled views of the Catskill Mountains undulating below. This National Historic Landmark is a 10-minute drive from Hudson.
The Best Hotels and Resorts to Spend the Holidays
If you are considering taking the plunge and spending your cherished holiday time somewhere other than home, there are many factors to consider—like how far you want to travel, whether you’re going with family and what, if any, special holiday details are being offered. To help with this difficult determination, we’ve rounded up five super places to consider this holiday season. From sandy beaches to sin city, we’ve got you covered for everything happy and the merry. The Emerson Resort and Spa is a great place to get cozy in upstate New York © Tobey Grumet / Budget Travel Emerson Resort & Spa, Mt. Tremper, NY Location, location, location. Sitting directly between the most sought-after vacation towns in New York’s Catskill mountain range, like Woodstock and Phoenicia, this sprawling resort is just a two-hour drive from NYC, offering a family- and dog-friendly, cold-weather sanctuary from the city. In addition to cold weather pursuits and a weekly bonfire, you can try other included resort activities like a Winter Guided Nature Walk, an ornament making class and Storytime in the Great Room with a delicious hot chocolate bar on hand. The Emerson Resort and Spa is also home to the world’s largest kaleidoscope, and a Holiday Kaleidoshow is being planned for guests. Interested in a little relaxation? Hit the spa and reserve a treatment with its Peppermint Rosemary aroma and signature tea—or get a 20% discount on any manicure through December. The onsite Woodnotes Grille will also be offering holiday-inspired specials, like the Edge of Esopus cocktail and a pan roasted porterhouse pork chop with apple sage butter, roast potatoes and braised red cabbage. Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas has something for everyone when it comes to the holidays. And though you may come for the mild the desert weather, you’ll stay for the shows, restaurants, nightclubs and family activities—including the massive Strip-wide fireworks show on New Year’s Eve. As a home base, the Bellagio is a working winter wonderland you won’t want to miss. In addition to the 42-foot white fir tree with five-car motorized train in its Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, you’ll want to stop and gawk at the polar bear-escorted ice queen, dressed in a couture gown created from preserved roses, silver palmetto leaves, hydrangeas and orchids. Nearby, there is also a Gothic castle and connected passageway inspired by New York’s Central Park. In fact, over 34,000 flowers and 28,000 poinsettias will be on display around the exhibit. Don’t forget to visit restaurants like Spago, New York’s Soho darling Sadelle’s, and the iconic Le Cirque. New Year’s weekend will also herald the opening of The Mayfair Supper Club, a classic dinner and a show experience with the well-known Bellagio fountains dancing in the background. Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee, FL Nobody does family time better than central Florida. And though Disney may be the draw, this Marriot Bonvoy resort is offering holiday fun for all ages. The popular ICE! Exhibit has a Polar Express theme this year and includes hand-carved sculptures and displays made from over two million pounds of ice, while the Cirque Dreams Unwrapped stage show is a combination of a circus and Broadway-style revue. The Gaylord Palms Resort's on-site Alpine Village brings a little bit of cold weather fun to the tropics and the whole family can tube down eight lanes of real snow, while the Santa’s Snow Throw exhibit lets you pound Santa’s Elves with buckets of snowballs. Christmas trees abound in the Evergreen Atrium, a perfect place for a leisurely stroll and the Relache Spa is offering seasonal treatments for adult relaxation. Christmas and New Years buffets are available for brunch and dinner, and kiddos might enjoy the Elf on the Shelf Character breakfast. Christmas packages are now 20% off. The northern lights dance over the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, which is located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site © Tobey Grumet / Budget Travel Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Alberta, CA Do winter right at this Canadian lodge located directly inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jasper National Park. With 700 acres to explore, activities are diverse and include hiking, sledding, tobogganing, snowshoeing and, of course, skiing. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge's Festival of Christmas includes Santa’s Cabin with sleigh and reindeer, and the Winter Wonderland will be set up with all the equipment you’ll need to enjoy the amenities—including fat tire bikes for hire. Hit the Lake Mildred Ice Park, surrounded by Rocky Mountain views, to join a game of hockey, try your hand at figure skating or just tool around the 1km loop. Kids can also check out the indoor Christmas Carnival, decorate their own stockings on Christmas Eve, drop-off letters to Santa and enjoy s’mores under the stars on Lac Beauvert’s frozen shores. Of course, adults can have some fun too by joining a mixology class, beer tasting or cooking demo—all exploring holiday flavors. The Spa & Salon is featuring 24K gold manicures and pedicures for the season as well as an Express Holiday Makeup service if you want to get glam. Best of all, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a chance to catch the stunning aurora borealis over the lake. Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica Enjoy your holidays island style at this festive Jamaican stunner in popular Half Moon. Named for the crescent, white sand beach it cradles, the resort’s open-air lobby and Cedar Bar are the social center of the property—and here you’ll be able to enjoy the “Chrismus breeze,” clink festive cocktails and dance to the seasonal, live music and tribute concerts. A curated Christmas program also includes a tree-lighting ceremony, ice-sculpting lessons and a holiday-themed sandcastle building competition—created specially for bragging rights. Of course, Jamaican Santa doesn’t deign to come by sleigh, so kids can catch him as he flies into Half Moon by parasail. Book a villa in the Rose Hall section of the resort and you can organize a floating feast in your private pool, and have staff customize your decorations and lights. Other family friendly activities include goat races and pony rides, and you can use golf carts or bikes to get around the resort’s 400 acres. Golf and tennis are complimentary, and the Fern Tree Spa is offering a free body exfoliation when you book the therapeutic massage. A Gentleman’s Spa is also available for that guy who has everything.
The 6 Best Places to See Fall Colors
Don’t mourn the end of summer. Swap out that bathing suit for a sweater, ice cream for apples, and make a date with mother nature to ponder the stunning colors of America’s fall foliage. Given the overwhelming number of parks, mountains and forests to choose from, finding the right time and place to see these vibrant displays may seem overwhelming. To get you started, we’ve rounded up six of the best places to enjoy fall’s impressive hues. And though there is an estimated time for peak viewing, it’s all about the weather, so you may want to check the Farmer’s Almanac and The Weather Channel for a quick update before you head out. Catskills, NY New York is one of the most popular states to get a full glimpse of seasonal colors. And this mountain range in the state’s southeast corner is close enough to New York City to drive, train or bus to in just a few short hours. The optimal viewing time in the Catskills is the end of September through October and though you can’t miss the breathtaking changes wherever you end up, we suggest a drive to the Kaaterskill Clove Experience, a hike to Mount Utsayantha or a trip aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Weekend events, like the Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest and the Taste of the Catskills, are a great way to extend your foliage excursion and mix it up with both locals and tourists. Gettysburg, PA Combine your autumn viewing with some American history this season and head to Gettysburg around the third week of October until mid-November to enjoy peak foliage. The Gettysburg National Military Park and the top of the battlefield Little Round Top affords flamboyant views all the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can also choose to see the changing leaves on horseback from the National Riding Stables Horse Rescue or Hickory Hollow Farm, take a drive through Pennsylvania’s Apple Country or visit the Hauser Estate Winery for a taste of wine and hard cider, as well as a view from one of the region’s highest points. The National Apple Harvest Festival runs through the first two weekends of October and will give you a good reason to stay and enjoy the food, crafts, entertainment and, you know, all those apples. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, NM The mountains of northern New Mexico are a highlight for leaf gazing aficionados during the first few weeks of October, and this dreamily named route provides an 83-mile loop of what the southwest autumn has to offer. The drive is approximately three hours, though you’ll want to factor in time for stops along the way. The byway begins and ends in the artists’ colony Taos and makes its way through Questa, Red River, Eagle’s Nest and Angel Fire. The sundry scenery includes Taos Pueblo, which houses the country’s first memorial to Vietnam vets, as well as Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s tallest point, and Taos Ski Valley where you can enjoy the vivid views on a hike, bike or ski lift. Lake of the Ozarks, MS Mid- to late-October is the best tome to see the Ozarks hardwood forests and rolling hills burn with scarlet, ginger and gold on this vast shoreline – though it could easily stretch into November with an abundance of cool sunny days. Unfolding across four counties, this summer getaway comes alive in the fall, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the brilliant scenery in the surrounding Ozark Hills. Take a drive through the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest, stop at the Ameren Scenic Overlook, survey the surroundings with a round of golf at the Margaritaville Lake Resort or hop on a boat at Celebration Cruises to see the sites from the water. Columbia River Gorge, OR With over 80 miles of brightly tinted forests to gawk at, this scenic area located along Interstate 84 is at its peak for fall foliage from mid-September to mid-October. The drive is parallel to the Columbia River, but be sure to stop at the Crown Point Vista House for more expansive views of the Cascade Mountains or consider a hike on the popular Dog Mountain Loop. Take a cheeky break for a beverage and panoramic vistas at one of the Gorge wineries or breweries or book a white water rafting trip down the Columbia River to liven things up. Kancamagus Highway, NH This 34-mile drive, nicknamed the Kanc by locals, provides an explosion of brilliant colored leaves come mid-September and lasting through early October. Because this highway cuts through the White Mountain National Forest, there are plenty of points to pull off and enjoy the breathtaking views. The Sabbaday Falls includes a 45ft drop and perfect picnicking options and you can stop at the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves to wander off on a hike. Or hop on the 80-passenger cable car at the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway to see the spectacular foliage from the air – all the way to Maine, Vermont and Canada.
More Places to go
Great Northern Catskills
The Catskill Mountains, also known as the Catskills, are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains, located in southeastern New York. As a cultural and geographic region, the Catskills are generally defined as those areas close to or within the borders of the Catskill Park, a 700,000-acre (2,800 km2) forest preserve forever protected from many forms of development under New York state law. Geologically, the Catskills are a mature dissected plateau, a flat region subsequently uplifted and eroded into sharp relief by watercourses. The Catskills form the northeastern end of the Allegheny Plateau (also known as the Appalachian Plateau).The Catskills were named by early Dutch settlers. They are well known in American society as the setting for films and works of art, including many 19th-century Hudson River School paintings, as well as for being a favored destination for vacationers from New York City in the mid-20th century. The region's many large resorts gave countless young stand-up comedians an opportunity to hone their craft. The Catskills have long been a haven for artists, musicians and writers, especially in and around the towns of Phoenicia and Woodstock.
Hudson is a city and the county seat of Columbia County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 6,713, the second-largest in the county, following the nearby town of Kinderhook. Located on the east side of the Hudson River and 120 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, it was named for the river and its namesake explorer Henry Hudson.
Saugerties () is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 19,482 at the 2010 census. The Town of Saugerties contains the Village of Saugerties in the northeast corner of Ulster County. Part of the town is inside Catskill Park. U.S. Route 9W and New York State Route 32 pass through the town, converging at the center of the village and overlapping to the south. These routes parallel the New York State Thruway (Interstate 87), which passes through the town just west of the village.
Columbia County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 63,096. The county seat is Hudson. The name comes from the Latin feminine form of the name of Christopher Columbus, which was at the time of the formation of the county a popular proposal for the name of the United States. Columbia County comprises the Hudson, NY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Albany-Schenectady, NY Combined Statistical Area. It is on the east side of the Hudson River.