Celebrate the Start of Ski Season | Vail, Colorado

blog1

Ski season has officially arrived in Vail, Colorado. Vail is North America’s fourth largest ski area, featuring 5,289 acres, 33 lifts, multiple parks, and the famous Back Bowls. Hit the slopes for great skiing, snowboarding, and mountain activities, and then spend some time enjoying après-ski fare and window-shopping in town.

blog2

Sonnenalp Hotel

The Sonnenalp Hotel offers a comfortable yet luxurious stay for your winter getaway. The family-owned resort features European-style lodging, a relaxing spa, and four great restaurants. We recommend dinner at Swiss Chalet, where you can share a pot of creamy fondue. The Sonnenalp makes your time on the slopes hassle-free with a Ski Concierge that will assist you with equipment and clothing rentals and answer any questions you may have. Now through December 25th, book the Early Bird Gets the Snow Package and receive 20% off room rates, 25% off spa services and products, two free Oxygen Bar Sessions at the spa, and reduced rates on equipment rental and valet parking.

blog3

Vintage

Enjoy Champagne Brunch at Vintage, Vail’s French brasserie-style eatery. Try one of their unique breakfast dishes like the Huckleberry Bacon French Toast, a brioche stuffed with bacon-mascarpone and dulce de leche and topped with huckleberry syrup and bourbon whipped cream. They offer a long list of amazing brunch cocktails as well. Our favorite is the Poisoned Apple, a perfect choice for the holiday season. It’s crafted with 360 vodka, Colorado apple cider, ginger beer, aromatic bitters, and cinnamon.

blog4

Snowshoe Tour

Skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only ways to experience Vail’s pristine snow! Sign up for a guided Snowshoe Tour. You’ll learn about the history and wildlife of Vail and the Rocky Mountains while you traverse the wilderness on foot, enjoying fantastic views along the way. Tours from the Vail Nordic School are 2.5 hours long and include all of your equipment rentals.

blog5

Explore Vail

Be sure to spend some time in Vail Village and Lionshead Village, Vail’s two base areas. These car-free areas are linked by a free bus system that makes it easy to hop between them. Enjoy après-ski cocktails and appetizers at one of the many restaurants, or spend some time browsing local stores like Bradbury Art & Antiques, a collection of unique paintings, furniture, and accessories. You can also find live music, art classes, sports, and more. View the event calendar to find out what’s happening while you’re in town.

blog6

Adventure Ridge

Starting in mid-December, try out some of Adventure Ridge’s exciting on-mountain activities. Experience the thrill of winter tubing, or try out the new Forest Flyer, a raised alpine coaster that takes you on a 3,400-foot ride down the mountain. For something unique, try Ski Biking – skiing while seated on a bike that has skis instead of wheels. Adventure Ridge offers nighttime guided Ski Biking tours for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Thanksgiving Getaway | Chicago, Illinois

blog1

Visit the Windy City for a Thanksgiving getaway this year. Beautiful decorations and exciting events make Chicago a lively place to be during the holiday season. Experience festive attractions like the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade and Christkindlmarket, a European-inspired holiday marketplace. A trip to Chicago is the perfect way to kick off the holidays.

blog2

Kinzie Hotel

Stay at the Kinzie Hotel in downtown Chicago’s trendy River North district. It’s close to the Magnificent Mile, the Loop, and the city’s best restaurants and nightlife. The Explore Chicago Package is the perfect way to experience the city. The Kinzie Hotel will welcome you with traditional Garrett Popcorn and a city pass that gets you into attractions such as Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, 360 Chicago, Adler Planetarium, and the Art Institute. You’ll also enjoy breakfast each day and hors d’oeuvres and cocktails each evening.

blog3

Bub City

Bub City is a popular Chicago restaurant that specializes in delicious barbeque and comfort foods such as brisket, fried chicken, and mac & cheese. With live bands and karaoke nights, it’s a fun place for a night out with friends. On Thanksgiving, Bub City will be open from 11 am to midnight serving hickory-smoked turkey, cornbread and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberries. While some Thanksgiving dinners can cost you upwards of $80, this one is a surprisingly reasonable $17 per person.

blog4

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Originally called the Christmas Caravan, this parade started in 1934 to boost morale during the Depression. Today, the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade is an impressive display of floats, marching bands, staged performances, and celebrity guests. This year, see stars from Veep, Shameless, Chicago Fire, and Lethal Weapon. Watch the parade on State Street from Congress to Randolph. Make sure to get there early, and bring plenty of jackets and blankets – in late November, the average high is 42 degrees!

blog6

Christkindlmarket

Christkindlmarket is an outdoor holiday marketplace in downtown Chicago. Modeled after Germany’s 16th century Christkindlesmarkt, it brings a taste of European culture and tradition to Chicago and is a fun holiday activity for all ages. Browse handmade goods, enjoy live music, and sample classic German foods such as sausages, potato pancakes, and Strudel. Be sure to try a glass of Gluhwein, German hot spiced wine that’s perfect on a chilly night. The market is open through Christmas Eve.

blog7

Magnificent Mile

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue with some of the city’s best restaurants, shops, museums, and hotels. Stroll down the street to get acquainted with Chicago and see the impressive architecture of its most iconic buildings. For incredible views of the Magnificent Mile, downtown Chicago, and the waterfront, head up to 360 Chicago. The observation deck, located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, towers above the city at 1,000 feet. At the top, grab a coffee or a cocktail while you admire the panorama.

Thanksgiving Getaway | Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

blog2

What better place to spend Thanksgiving than in Williamsburg, Virginia? This quaint area is steeped in early American history, from the first colonies through the Revolutionary War. It’s home to the Historic Triangle encompassing Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown. Explore multiple museums and venues that make history come alive for exciting and educational trip.

blog1

Williamsburg Lodge

Located next to the Revolutionary City in Colonial Williamsburg, the Williamsburg Lodge makes for a fun and convenient stay. Rooms are decorated in a style reminiscent of colonial Virginia, and the lodge has easy access to a spa, golf course, and historic taverns. The America’s Historic Triangle Package is perfect for experiencing all Williamsburg has to offer. Enjoy daily breakfast as well as unlimited admission to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center, Historic Jamestowne, and Yorktown Battlefield. 

blog3

Colonial Williamsburg

Explore the world’s largest living history museum at Colonial Williamsburg. Get a sense of what life was like in the colonies during the American Revolution by watching and interacting with live actors in character as 18th-century townspeople, politicians, shopkeepers, and more. Learn about the trades, homes, and community areas of the colonies during a guided tour through the Revolutionary City, then watch and take part in live demonstrations. You can also visit historic shops and buy souvenirs of colonial-inspired clothes, household goods, jewelry, and stationary.

blog4

Historic Jamestowne

Built in 1607 by Captain John Smith, Jamestown was the first English settlement in the Americas. Learn all about our country’s earliest history at Historic Jamestowne, a site dedicated to exposing and preserving the stories of the settlement. It’s home to the Jamestown Rediscovery project, which is working to uncover the original James Fort. Watch excavations, talk to the archaeologists, and browse the Archaearium, which houses over 4,000 Jamestown artifacts. Be sure to see The World of Pocahontas, Unearthed, an exhibit full of Indian-made artifacts that help illuminate the relationship and interactions between the Powhatans and the English.

blog6

A Chef’s Kitchen

A Chef’s Kitchen provides unique culinary experiences perfect for cooking enthusiasts and foodies. Sign up for a Dinner Class, a combination served meal/cooking demonstration in a small theater-style room. The dinner includes hors d’oeuvres, five courses, champagne, and wine pairings. Chefs will show you how to prepare all of the dishes in entertaining demonstrations, and you get to take home the recipes. Orange-vanilla and mascarpone cheesecake, sweet potato and butternut squash soup with toasted pumped seeds, and Thai coconut stewed shrimp are just some of the dishes that may be on your menu.

blog7

The Williamsburg Winery

Stop by Williamsburg Winery to spend an afternoon sipping wine and admiring the beautiful grounds. The 40-acre vineyard has numerous grape varietals including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Viognier, and more. Purchase tickets online for the Tour and Tasting with Lunch. You’ll take a guided tour of the winery and taste seven different wines in a souvenir engraved Williamsburg Winery glass. Afterwards, enjoy a glass of wine, main course, dessert, and coffee or tea at the winery’s Gabriel Archer Tavern.

Thanksgiving Getaway | New York, New York

blog2

Find holiday cheer in New York City this Thanksgiving and kick off the season in style. Stay in the heart of the city near Times Square, see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving dinner. You won’t run out of things to do in the city that never sleeps!

blog3

Sanctuary Hotel

The Sanctuary Hotel is located in Midtown Manhattan, close to Times Square, Broadway theaters, Rockefeller Center, and Fifth Avenue. The lavish boutique hotel is dedicated to creating a top-notch guest experience complete with excellent service, luxury European linens, spa-inspired bathrooms, and complimentary breakfast. Book the Thanksgiving at the Sanctuary! offer to receive 15% off your stay and a $50 food and beverage credit for TENDER, their elegant steak and sushi restaurant. Best of all, you’ll be within walking distance of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! 

blog4

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is celebrating its 90th year! The 2016 parade promises to be spectacular ­– see Charlie Brown, SpongeBob, and Pikachu balloons, and watch live performances from Tony Bennett, Fitz and the Tantrums, and more. This year, see the parade in person instead of from your couch. Wake up early on Thanksgiving morning, grab a pumpkin spice latte, and stake out a spot.

blog5

Cassette

Cassette serves unique cocktails, an extensive selection of wine and beer, and an assortment of food ranging from simple (Avocado Toast) to indulgent (Bouchot Mussels). Though it’s a good choice for brunch or dinner any day, we recommend heading there for Thanksgiving dinner while you’re in town. Their prix fixe menu has three courses of tasty foods, including cast iron skillet cornbread, leek bread pudding, and sweet potato pie with charred marshmallow and caramelized pastry crust.

blog6

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar

Whether you want to get a head start on holiday shopping or you’re just looking for a unique souvenir, the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar is worth a visit. The free event takes place the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving and is a great way to get in the holiday spirit. Browse clothes, accessories, décor, and more from 40+ sellers, and try food from local vendors like Ejen Korean Comfort Food. The event also has complimentary cocktails, a live DJ, and a photo booth.

blog7

Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery first opened in West Village in 1996. Their irresistible desserts quickly became a sensation, and they now have locations all over the world. Magnolia makes cupcakes, cakes, muffins, scones, pies, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, and more. Stop by for dessert one day and take home a bag of treats to snack on throughout your trip. They’re even open on Thanksgiving, so you can pick up a pie or try their cupcake of the month, Harvest Apple. It’s a taste of fall with apples, cranberries, pecans, and caramel meringue buttercream frosting.

Plan Your Holiday Visit to Walt Disney World | Orlando, Florida

blog2

November and early December is a great time to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando. Holiday decorations are up and celebrations are underway, but the parks are usually less crowded during these weeks than right before Christmas. Here’s your guide to the seasonal events at Walt Disney World and some other great Orlando attractions you won’t want to miss.

blog1

Villas of Grand Cypress

The Villas of Grand Cypress is close to all of Orlando’s exciting theme parks, yet secluded in natural beauty. You’ll love returning to the serene 1,500-acre resort after a full day of fun at Walt Disney World. The resort features bikes and bike trails, catch-and-release fishing, a fitness center, driving ranges and putting greens, and daily rides to theme parks. It’s also home to the Grand Cypress Golf Club, which has impressively landscaped 27-hole and 18-hole golf courses. Book the Fall Family Fun Package and your family will be welcomed with a fun amenity, receive a $25 credit in the pro shop for souvenirs, and be transported to and from the theme park of your choice in a town car.

blog3

Magic Kingdom

Visit Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, which transforms into a winter wonderland for the holiday season starting in early November. Throughout the park, you’ll see rides decorated for the holidays, characters wearing seasonal costumes, and the Cinderella Castle glowing with lights. Purchase a separate ticket to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a huge celebration on select days between November 7th and December 22nd. The event includes fireworks, a holiday parade, and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, a show featuring multiple Disney characters dancing and singing carols.

blog4

Epcot

Epcot also has a number of exciting holiday events, which run from November 25th to December 30th. In Holidays Around the World, countries of the World Showcase share their holiday customs as well as seasonal foods and music. Hear the story of Christmas as told by celebrity narrators accompanied by an orchestra and choir in The Candlelight Processional. IllumiNations, a year-round show that tells the story of Earth, has a special holiday finale with seasonal greetings in the native languages of the World Showcase countries and an inspiring theme of peace on Earth.

blog5

Hot Krust

It can be hard to find fresh and affordable food on vacation, especially inside amusement parks. Visit Hot Krust, a panini kitchen with reasonable prices that uses only fresh, gourmet ingredients to create delicious sandwiches. Our favorite is the Florentine Chicken, made with roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes, Muenster cheese, spinach, mayo, and pesto. Be sure to grab a homemade cookie or brownie for dessert.

blog6

Morse Museum

Orlando’s Morse Museum has an extensive collection of American art, including pottery, paintings, graphics, and décor. Its claim to fame, however, is a collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The son of Tiffany & Co.’s founder, Louis Comfort Tiffany was a glassmaker and designer in the late 1800s with clients like Mark Twain and President Chester Arthur. His works include stained glass windows, lamps, vases, and jewelry, all inspired by nature and crafted in a timeless style. The Louis Comfort Tiffany collection at the Morse Museum has been called the most comprehensive in the world.