Category Archives: Seasonal Travel

5 fantastic fall getaways

Courtesy of Topnotch Resort and Spa / via The Daily Meal

As the second-least populous state, Vermont offers uncluttered vistas.

With temperatures dropping and the long days of summer coming to an end, it’s time to look forward to fantastic fall getaways. Often the low season in many locales, fall’s temperate temperatures mean fewer travelers on the road and more deals for savvy travelers.


Slideshow: See all 39 fantastic fall getaways

Though school is back in session, 74 percent of Americans are planning to travel during the fall months, with 40 percent reporting that they will hit the road and skies and 51 percent planning to spend time with family and friends, according to American Express’ fall travel Spending Saving Tracker.

Related: See the 101 best hotel restaurants around the world

Some 37 percent are traveling domestically, and 27 percent are staying closer to home to take in the stunning fall foliage in places like Stowe, Vt., Cooperstown, N.Y., and Charleston, S.C.

Related: See 10 tips to save money on your next business trip

Only 7 percent plan to travel internationally this fall, with Europe and the Caribbean as the most popular destinations.

The Daily Meal has gathered 39 fantastic fall getaways with fall-themed packages from coast to coast, across the pond in London, and in the Caribbean. Pack your fall wardrobe (or bathing suit if you’re heading somewhere tropical) and hit the road.

Fall for Vermont (Stowe, Vt.)
The mountain village is known for its fall foliage from early September through late October. Topnotch Resort and Spa offers a Fall for Vermont bed-and-breakfast special, which includes overnight accommodations — rooms, suites and resort homes — American breakfast at Norma’s, mapped foliage tours, and a Vermont souvenir. Rates start at $195.  

Ignite the spark (Boston)
The Four Seasons Boston’s adrenaline-fueled getaway lets guests drive a Porsche Panamera while checking out the area’s fall foliage, sip a custom martini, enjoy a morning of yoga outside and enjoy breakfast in bed. Rates start at $550; available on weekends, starting Sept. 29.

Lompoc 10 Barrel Beer dinner (Bend/Powell Butte, Ore.)
Beer connoisseurs can raise a pint or two at Brasada Ranch’s Lompoc 10 Barrel Beer dinner on Oct. 27. Brewmasters Bryan Keilty of Lompoc Brewing and Tonya Cornett of 10 Barrel Brewing Co., craft breweries in Bend and Portland, respectively, are pairing their Oregon beers with a four-course meal prepared by Brasada Ranch’s chef Adrian Carpenter. The $65 dinner at Range Restaurant and Bar at Brasada Ranch, a member of Preferred Hotels Resorts, includes albacore tuna ceviche with sweet corn sorbet, pickled chanterelles, and aji panca chile gastrique; baby spinach and duck confit salad with soft-cooked farm eggs, roasted red peppers, black currants, and warm pancetta vinaigrette; wood-fired beef rib-eye with olive oil crushed heirloom potatoes and roasted romanesco with bourbon whole-grain jus; and Juniper Grove goat cheesecake with caramel, hazelnut sandies, and farm-fresh berries. Rates: $199 per night; does not include the Lompoc 10 Barrel Beer dinner.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park autumn adventures (Jackson Hole, Wyo.)
Tour Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park with The Clear Creek Group’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park Autumn Adventures package, which includes a stay at Shooting Star Cabins and a Western picnic made with locally sourced ingredients from Wyoming that can be enjoyed while overlooking the Tetons.

Golf with the pros (La Romana, Dominican Republic)
Golfers can play alongside touring pros with the annual GolFantasy, from Dec. 2 to 9, at the 700-acre Casa de Campo, which has three golf courses. During the week, guests play 18 holes with touring pros each day in groups of four and five. Other events during the week include clinics, tournaments, forums, individual instruction and daily contests. The package includes accommodations; round-trip transfers to and from the airport; all private GolFantasy activities including golfing and other interaction with Pros, plus instruction, unlimited golf, including cart and greens fees; three meals per day at on-site restaurants including Chinois and Beach Club by Le Cirque and all beverages including alcoholic beverages; and a goodie bag for all. Rate: $3,295 for the four-night program and $4,995 for the 7-night program.

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3 tips for an affordable fall getaway

Follow these three travel tips to get the most value out of your getaway this fall.   

1. Tip: Head to a popular summer beach escape
Beach getaways that people love in the summer are an insider’s secret in the fall — the weather is still great, crowds are few and the prices drop dramatically. The quintessential New England island destination of Nantucket is a great example.

White Elephant, Nantucket, Mass.
You’ll find this classic resort — with expansive lawns and 64 airy rooms — occupying a prime spot on Nantucket Harbor. In October, you can stay here for a low as $195/night, about half what you’d pay in the summer high season.

Nantucket Hotel, Nantucket, Mass.
Thirty elegant guestrooms and suites are all crisply upholstered in nautical blue-and-white fabrics at this stylish hotel, which reopened in 2012. One fun perk: a refurbished vintage 1934 Ford bus for shuttling guests to and from local beaches. The special rate of $175/night includes movie and museum tickets in October.

Related: America’s best hotels for fall colors


2. Tip: Visit a ski destination
Ski destinations are great fall getaways — you’ll get to see stunning foliage of all colors, get great weather and get super values in some of the most amazing resorts before the prime ski season rates kick in.

The Pines Lodge, a RockResort, Beaver Creek, Colo.
Just rated the third best resort in the cont. U.S. by T+L readers, this RockResort hotel gives you easy access to tons of outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking and golf. The Pines Lodge Summer Time Rocks deal continues through Nov. 20 with rates from $99/night, up to 40 percent off.

Bentwood Inn, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The hotel has teamed up with local naturalists to offer guided naturalist excursions to find and listen to elk bugling in Grand Teton National Park. You get the chance to get up close to see (and hear!) this natural event. The Elk Bugling Season Special is just $233/night ($695 for three nights, double) and includes a guided naturalist excursion, breakfast and an evening appetizer hour. From $233/night, a great value compared to the original rate of three nights for two at $885.

3. Tip: Explore a city
Sightsee, eat out and get some culture in major cities, where visiting on weekends can offer good hotel values.

Hyatt Regency San Francisco
It’s a treat to visit San Francisco in September and October, when weather is mild and suited to a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, which just celebrated its 75th anniversary in May. Hyatt Regency is offering an “explore San Francisco” package from $209/night, which includes passes for two on all Muni public transportation (including the famed cable cars) and dining discounts. From $209/night.

Liaison Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
In this election season, what could be a more timely destination than the nation’s capital? The Liaison Capitol Hill is celebrating with a “swing into the election” package that includes a walking tour kit, a list of political sites and fun facts about past elections. From $159/night.

More from Travel + Leisure:

5 former national convention host cities

G. Widman for GPTMC

The President’s House, home to George Washington and John Adams from 1790 to 1800, is a museum in Philadelphia, the nation’s former capital.

With two southeastern cities taking turns in the spotlight (Tampa, Fla., host of last week’s Republican National Convention, and Charlotte, N.C., currently welcoming delegates to the Democratic National Convention), we thought it was a great time to showcase a few other notable destinations that have witnessed political history. Some former host cities have not seen a convention since the 19th century, and others welcomed the political machines during the current economic downturn. All have seen their fair share of political drama, backstabbing, and glad-handing. Whether launching political careers or welcoming travelers, these cities get our vote for great destinations.


Slideshow: See why these national convention host cities are worth visiting

1. Cincinnati

Hosted DNC: 1856, 1880 
Hosted RNC: 1876 

Presidential connection: Cincinnati’s presidential connections all seem to come in threes. The city has hosted three national conventions. Additionally, three presidents have called Cincinnati home: Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison and William Howard Taft. 

Historic appeal: Check out the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, a two-story Greek Revival house where the former president was born and raised. Restored to its original splendor, visitors can tour Taft’s birthplace, four period rooms that reflect his family life, and an education center with family artifacts and an animatronic figure of William Taft’s son Charlie, which tells his family’s history.  

Campaign stops: At the Cincinnati Zoo Botanical Garden, felines now have a new home in the form of Cat Canyon. Opened on June 30, the renovated exhibit allows visitors to peer into the eyes of a Malayan tiger (separated only by an inch of glass), and includes an outdoor area that showcases white tigers and snow leopards in their natural setting. Also newly opened is the American Sign Museum, which recently moved to its new home in Cincinnati’s Camp Washington. Housed in a former clothing and parachute factory, the exhibit displays signs and advertisements from the past, including neon billboards and classic painted banners. 

2. Denver

Hosted DNC: 1908, 2008  

Presidential connection: The Mile High City hosted the Democratic National Convention twice – 100 years apart. In 1908, Denver was the first western city to host a convention for a major national party, and it was the first to accredit women. In 2008, the Rocky Mountain capital made history when Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, an African-American, won the nomination for president. The convention also saw the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy deliver a poignant speech before the delegates, paraphrasing his brother’s 1961 inaugural address and his own 1980 convention speech.  

Historic appeal: Denver had only been a city for 50 years when it hosted the 1908 Democratic National Convention. To accommodate the large crowds the convention would bring, the city built the second largest auditorium in America (after New York’s Madison Square Garden). Denver’s Municipal Auditorium, now named the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, is part of the city’s performing arts complex – the largest under one roof in the United States – with 10 performance spaces on a 12-acre site. 

Campaign stops: History Colorado Center, a 200,000-square-foot, $110.8 million museum, just opened in April 2012. This new cultural attraction hosts high-tech and hands-on exhibits that immerse visitors in stories of Colorado’s past. The museum highlights a wide spectrum of historic accounts. Exhibits allow visitors to experience pivotal moments in the Centennial State’s history. In 1858, William Green Russell, a miner, discovered a small gold deposit in what is now Confluence Park. This event triggered the Gold Rush of the late 19th century and the founding of the city of Denver that same year. Located on Denver’s 850-mile bike trail network, the river park is surrounded by attractions. Ride the Platte River Trolley to the Downtown Aquarium to see stingrays and sharks, The Children’s Museum of Denver, or dine in the nearby neighborhoods of Riverfront, LoHi, and Highlands.

3. Miami

Hosted DNC: 1972 
Hosted RNC: 1968, 1972  

Presidential connection: South Florida’s presidential history is murkier than the water in the Everglades. Miami hosted the conventions that led to the nominations of George McGovern, a Democrat, and Richard Nixon, a Republican. Nixon defeated McGovern in one of the largest landslides in American history before leaving the White House in shame. Additionally, President-elect Franklin Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami in 1933.  

Historic appeal: Coffee lovers and conspiracy theorists will enjoy a visit to Little Havana. Many people believe that the CIA trained Cuban exiles to assassinate John F. Kennedy, a theory that was explored by author Joan Didion, who claimed that Cuban-Americans considered JFK to be the second-most hated man in Miami (after Fidel Castro). The Miami Beach Convention Center, site of all three of the city’s national conventions, still plays host to major events, including Art Basel, the internationally renowned contemporary art festival. 

Campaign stops: Wearing white is very chic on South Beach, but it’s also trendy at Jungle Island, where they’ve added a white lion, two royal white tigers and two snow tigers to their new exhibit. Two of Miami’s most prominent universities are celebrating the city’s diversity through exhibits featuring artists that represent the city’s Caribbean and Latin influences. Frost Museum of Art at Florida International University is showcasing Jamaican artists, while the Lowe Museum of Art at the University of Miami is home to an exhibit of Mexican devotional works.

4. Philadelphia

Hosted DNC: 1936, 1948 
Hosted RNC: 1856, 1872, 1900, 1940, 1948, 2000 

Presidential connection: Philadelphia hosted the first ever Republican National Convention in 1856, followed by five more, most recently in 2000, at which George W. Bush was nominated. The city is also home to the National Constitution Center, where President Barack Obama gave his speech on race in 2008, and where former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush both received the Liberty Medal for their work with victims of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami.  

Historic appeal: As the nation’s former capital, Philadelphia has a number of “White Houses” within its limits. The President’s House, home to George Washington and John Adams from 1790 to 1800, is now an exhibition on slavery, and the Deshler-Morris House, in Germantown, the oldest official presidential residence (which also served as George Washington’s summer retreat) are both open to the public.

Campaign stops: Feel the passion of “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen,” a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit at the National Constitution Center. The show captures The Boss’ career from his early days to his anthems with the E Street Band, and includes more than 150 artifacts like guitars, outfits and handwritten lyric manuscripts. Just across the Delaware River, Adventure Aquarium is currently holding an exhibit on the Megalodon, a gigantic prehistoric shark that ruled the oceans more than 2 million years ago. Guests can enter its gaping jaws through a 60-foot-long sculpture, touch a full set of its razor-sharp teeth, and find out what modern species are related to this ancient beast.

5. St. Louis

Hosted DNC: 1876, 1888, 1904, 1916
Hosted RNC: 1896  

Presidential connection: William McKinley won the nomination for president here in 1896 during the city’s only National Republican Convention. The 25th president eventually led the nation into the Spanish-American War and the modern era of American history. Woodrow Wilson, the nation’s 28th president who led the nation during World War I, won his nomination in a landslide vote: 1,092 ayes to 1 nay.  

Historic appeal: Ulysses S. Grant is known as the 18th president and the Civil War general that led the Union forces. In St. Louis, visitors can follow in Grant’s footsteps. At White Haven, the national historic site for the president, his family life is on display with many free activities. Grant’s Farm, a 281-acre farm and petting zoo, was owned by the former president in the 1850s. Now part of the Anheuser-Busch family, a remnant of Grant’s residency remains. Grant’s Cabin (nicknamed Hardscrabble by the former president), a home that the former president built in three days for his family, sits on the property.  

Campaign stops: After closing its doors for more than 20 years, the Peabody Opera House reopened in October 2011. The 3,100-seat venue with 12 luxury boxes and a two-story lobby constructed entirely of Tennessee and St. Genevieve marble hosts Broadway, theatricals and concerts. St. Louis is known as a baseball city, but it’s also home to the World Chess Hall of Fame. Originally a museum in the basement of the organization’s headquarters in New Windsor, N.Y., followed by a brief stint in Miami, the museum opened in September 2011 in St. Louis’ Central West End. It houses a permanent collection, temporary exhibitions highlighting the great players like Bobby Fischer, historic games, and the game’s cultural history. Admission is free.

Slideshow: See the entire list of national convention host cities.

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See the sights of London for less

Kate Maxwell, a native Londoner and editor-in-chief of Jetsetter.com, shares her tips on how to visit London for less, including how to get around, where to stay, and what to do.

London is renowned for being one of the world’s most expensive cities, but there are many fantastic attractions that won’t cost you a penny. Kate Maxwell, editor-in-chief of Jetsetter.com, shared her favorites on the TODAY this morning.

Markets
Spending time at some of London’s markets — some of which have been trading for over a hundred years — is a great way to get up close and personal with the locals. Food markets around the capital have blossomed in recent years, selling local, seasonal and artisanal products. Look out for the free samples!

  • Borough Market, in Southwark, on the South Bank of the Thames, is open every day during the Olympics. Don’t miss Mrs Kings Pork Pies, hand-made in the north of England from a 159-year-old family recipe, Greedy Goat for ice cream made from pedigree goat milk, and Neal’s Yard Dairy, which sources from 70 cheesemakers all over the UK and Ireland and ages them in its maturing rooms under the brick railway arches of Bermondsey, close by. 
  • Maltby Street, in Bermondsey, is a lesser-known alternative to Borough and the most recent addition to London’s market scene. Open Saturdays 9 a.m. –  2 p.m., it has stalls tucked under railway arches. My picks: custard doughnuts and eccles cakes from St John Bakery, Polish sausage from Topolski, Alpine cheese from Mons and Monmouth Coffee Company, which is often credited to revolutionizing London’s coffee scene, for flat whites. 
  • In East London, not far from the Olympic stadium, Broadway Market is one of the city’s foremost hipster hangouts. The narrow street, which has hosted a market since the 1890s and has just been rebuilt, is lined with stalls on Saturdays, selling freshly shucked oysters, multiple types of olives, hand-filtered coffee and much more to a super trendy, creative crew. I always get a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, and I have a pint of shandy (half-lemonade, half-lager) at the Cat Mutton pub, which has been serving since the 1600s, afterwards.

Museums
Incredibly, most museums in London do not charge entry, although you will have to pay for special exhibitions — and there are some fantastic ones on over the summer. My museum musts include:

  • The British Museum, which has an extraordinary collection of historical objects from around the world, including Ancient Greece, Anglo Saxon England, Imperial China and much more. I used to be fascinated by the Egyptian Mummies as a child, and the museum’s most famous exhibit, the Rosetta Stone, which is inscribed with a decree in three languages: Ancient Egyptian, Demotic, and Ancient Greek, and has been on display since 1802.
  • The Natural History Museum, in South Kensington, is THE place to take the kids, particularly dinosaur-obsessed ones — it’s a big hit with my 8-year-old nephew. There are hundreds of specimens on display, including life-size skeletons and four moving, animatronic dinosaurs — don’t miss the terrifying T-Rex with 15cm teeth. 
  • Tate Modern on the buzzing South Bank of the Thames is currently hosting a Damien Hirst retrospective, which includes the bad boy British artist’s shark in formaldehyde, enough spot paintings to send you dotty, and a room of live butterflies (admission 14 GBP). The museum has the biggest collection of modern art in the country — I love Matisse’s The Snail, and the Rothko room. Tate Britain, meanwhile, is a boat ride away in Millbank, and exhibits British art from 1500 to the present day: Turner, Whistler, Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud.  
  • Victoria Albert Museum in South Kensington is the UK’s largest art and design museum, with wonderful fashion, jewelry (my favorite bit), glass, ceramics, architecture and more from different periods in history — Renaissance, Rococo, Art Deco and much more — from all over the globe. This summer it’s showing “Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950,” a collection of dresses worn by royals and celebrities — don’t miss Princess Diana’s Elvis Gown by Catherine Walker and look out for designs by Kate Middleton favorites Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham — if you’re inspired, her boutique is just down the road.  

Parks
Spending time in London’s patchwork of parks and green spaces is one of the highlights of a visit to the city. Pack a picnic and pray for good weather. The parks will also be broadcasting Olympics events during the Games, although you’ll have to pay for a ticket.

  • Kensington Gardens is one of eight Royal Parks and one of the most beautiful, with formal avenues of trees, ornamental flowerbeds, the Peter Pan-themed Diana Memorial Playground, created in honor of the late princess, and the Serpentine Gallery, which features a new architect-designed pavilion every summer (Herzog and de Meuron designed this year’s). Make sure you check out Kate and William’s new gaff, Kensington Palace, which recently opened to the public.
  • Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park, at 2,500 acres — three times bigger than Central Park — and a national nature reserve. Among the park’s attractions are 650 free roaming deer; 144 species of bird, including woodpeckers, kestrels, owls and numerous waterfowl; bats; and 1,000 species of beetle. There are historic oaks in the wooded areas, ponds, ornamental gardens (don’t miss Isabella Plantation), hills and grassland. It’s a tube ride from the center of London: take the Richmond-bound District Line and get off at the very last stop.

Oli Scarff / Getty Images

From Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square to the River Thames, the venerable London exudes history.

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Explore one of London’s poshest neighborhoods

Matthew Buck

Belgravia, with its proximity to the shoppers’ paradises of King’s Road and Knightsbridge, is one of London’s poshest neighborhoods.

It’s London’s year, in case you hadn’t noticed. But you don’t need a ticket to the 800-meter final to feel the Olympic vibe — you’ll find the real, live, pumped up London far from the tourist fray, in the city’s villages. For its first iPad travel feature, Jetsetter picked six favorites, tapped some locals for tips, and added their own — so all you have to do to go native is book a flight and a bed.

Below, the 411 on Belgravia; for five more ‘hoods, download Jetsetter’s iPad app.

Belgravia
It’s one of London’s poshest neighborhoods, but despite its proximity to Her Majesty’s gaff and the shoppers’ paradises of the King’s Road and Knightsbridge, Belgravia is a predominantly residential area. To be a real, Georgian townhouse-owning local, you’ll need at least $10m and — increasingly, a Russian accent. Instead, check into a hotel for a night or two, gawp your way around stucco-fronted Eaton, Belgrave and Chester Squares, and make believe instead.

The local: Mark Hix, head chef, Hix Belgravia
“Belgravia is unlike anywhere else in London. It’s intimate and an antidote to the hullabaloo of the rest of the city. There’s a huge variety of restaurants, from local bistros to Michelin-starred experiences like Tinello and Pétrus. And of course my own restaurant, Hix Belgravia; don’t miss the pici pasta with duck. Other favorite spots of mine include Jeroboams, an old-school wine merchant on Pont Street with a fantastic selection of Bordeaux and Burgundy, and gunsmith Ray Ward, which has extraordinary handcrafted shotguns.”

Shop
Belgravia’s shopping options are reassuringly upscale. Kate Middleton swings by Jenny Packham on Elizabeth Street for evening dresses; milliner Philip Treacy’s creations range from the eccentric (who could forget Princess Beatrice’s wedding hat?) to the wearable, while the Grosvenor Stationery Company is the place to get your engraved calling cards. And for sexy undies in a boudoir setting, hit Agent Provocateur, on Pont Street.

Eat
For immaculate seasonal British fare (potted Scottish salmon, Gloucester beef cottage pie) try The Ebury, in an old pub just across the border in Pimlico. At the glamorous Amaya, Indian gets a Michelin-starred twist, and for a Highland fling, order the Macsween haggis at Boisdale and finish with a dram of limited edition single malt whisky. For a distinctly unstuffy experience in this haute hood, try the six-month-old Hix Belgravia, at Belgraves hotel.

Drink
Too posh for pubs? Not Belgravia. Our favorite traditional boozers, which attract a young aristo crowd, include the tiny, creaky-floorboarded Antelope, which dates back to the 17th century, The Orange, which does a mean Sunday roast, and its stucco-fronted sister bar-restaurant, The Thomas Cubitt, where you’ll find British takes on traditional cocktails, including a mojito with Hendrick’s gin. And for afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and scones with clotted cream, or something stronger, head to The Goring, a deliciously traditional hotel where a certain princess spent the eve of her wedding.

Sleep
What Belgraves hotel lacks in Georgian pedigree (it’s in a midcentury building) it more than makes up in contemporary style. The first Thompson hotel outside North America has plush, light-filled rooms, a clubby bar and a Hix restaurant. 

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

From Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square, the venerable old town oozes history and Dickens.

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