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Archive for January, 2014

Winter Getaway in Newport

Posted on: January 31st, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Sakonnet-RiverThe seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island has a long history as a summer destination, with wealthy socialites of the past flocking to their mansions to spend the season on the coast.  However, Newport’s many attractions don’t disappear with the warm weather.

Unlike many beach cities, Newport does not shut down in the off season.  It remains a vibrant destination, with plenty of things to do! Touring Gilded Age mansions such as The Elms and The Breakers remains a favorite tourist attraction throughout the year, as does Newport’s famous Cliff Walk and Ocean Drive and the Newport Harbor Walk!  Some activities are reserved only for the colder months, such as seal watching tours!

Newport is a college town, and a thriving center of arts and culture.  There are plenty of museums and galleries to brows and a walk down Thames Street is a treat in any season.

A walk through Newport’s thriving downtown will show you that there are plenty of places to eat, whether you’re looking for a bar, coffee shop, or a sit down meal.  Newport is full of delicious bakeries, fine dining, casual haute cuisine, and great gastropubs.  Try local beers paired with tasty pub grub or treat your taste buds with a fantastic meal made with local ingredients and perfectly paired with fine wine all while enjoy gorgeous views of Newport Harbor.

There are many beautiful places to stay in Newport.  Step back in time and stay in lovingly renovated Gilded Age “cottages” which once played host to lavish parties for the rich and famous.  Enjoy romantic getaways with sweeping views of Newport Harbor and the Bay. Or enjoy stay right on the waterfront and just a few blocks from Thames Street, in the heart of Newport, so you’re never far from any of the action!

Newport has a reputation as a summer destination, but it’s a great place to visit in the winter! You can do many of the same activities, and even have a few more options open to you! If you’re looking to getaway to a town with lots of things to keep you busy this winter, Newport is the perfect place!

 

 

Experience Winter in Newport, RI

Posted on: January 27th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Newport_Rhode_Island_Aerial_ViewNicknamed “the city by the sea”, Newport, Rhode Island is just 75 miles outside Boston and just a few hours outside New York City.  This charming coastal town offers gorgeous architecture, beautiful scenery and great nightlife that make it the perfect place to getaway.

Unlike most beach resort towns, Newport does not shut down during the off season, but remains an exceptional place to visit during winter.  The University keeps a steady year round population and winter is welcomed and celebrated by this vibrant community.  Many of the things that draw tourists in summer remain just as fun in winter, such as visiting the great summer “cottages” of the Gilded Age, Newport’s excellent museums and it’s famous Cliff Walk.

It also has a very rich history which can easily be explored as you walk its streets.

Founded in 1639 by a diverging sect of religious men from Massachusetts, political tensions were strong in Newport from the get go.  However, eventually the settlers were able to overcome these and helped to develop Newport into one of Colonial America’s most important trade ports.  It received so much trade that it easily rivaled New York and Boston.

In 1663 Rhode Island received its royal charter and Benedict Arnold was elected governor in Newport.

From 1776 – 79, during the American Revolution, the British occupied Newport and used it as a base to attack New York City.  In 1778 Americans and French allies began the Battle of Rhode Island.  However it was unsuccessful due to France’s reluctance to go through with the plan and the Americans were driven from the city.  However, the following year the British abandoned the Newport in favor of New York City.

For the next year the city served as a base for Lieutenant General Rochambeau.  Though he moved his base to Providence in 1781, Newport continued to serve as a base for French forces for the rest of the war.  A monument to Rochambeau now stands in Kings Park in honor and thanks to his contributions to the war.

Newport is perhaps best known for its many Gilded Ages mansions, which began to be built during the Industrial Revolution.  Robber barons and members of the social elite, drawn by the quiet charm of the city began building large summer “cottages” to spend the season.

Edith Wharton, one of Newport’s many famous residents, described this social scene in her novel The Age of Innocence, which she is believed to have written in her cottage Land’s End.

In more recent history Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower both had “Summer White Houses” in Newport.

During the mid 20th century Newport was home to a Naval base, which today houses the Naval War College.

While Newport may seem to be primarily a summer destination, it is actually a great place to visit in winter.  Many of the same activities can be done, and there will be less crowds.  The city looks especially charming covered in snow, which is certainly a view you won’t see in summer!

Newport is an easy drive from Boston or New York City.  It’s also easily accessed by Providence Airport.

Places to Stay in Lincoln

Posted on: January 23rd, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-White_Mountains_panoramaLincoln and the surrounding area have many lovely places to stay.  From former Guilded Age hotels turned  bed and breakfast  to modern ski resorts with everything you could need right in the hotel.  Stay right on the slopes with ski in ski out access or stay close to the city center with great shopping and dining just a few minutes away!

The Mountain Club on Loon  – If you want easy access to the slopes you can’t get anything better than this! Get ski in ski out access to Loon Mountain at the Mountain Club.  You’re just a few steps away from the lifts at any time! Enjoy on site dining, indoor and outdoor pools, a full service spa and more! You’ll find everything you need right at the resort! And of course you’ll have stunning views of Loon Mountain right outside your window.

Indian Head Resort – This lakeside resort offers beautiful views of Shadow Lake and Franconia Notch State Park.  Enjoy the heated pool and the sauna after a long day on the slopes, or take advantage of the nightly kids activities while you take some time alone with your special someone in the dining room.   All rooms feature 50″ Plasma screen TVs.

Red Sleigh Inn –   Built by J.E Homestead, a dairy farmer and lumber baron from Lincoln, the Red Sleigh Inn is a beautiful historic home that will transport you to the Guilded Age, when wealthy socialites escaped claustrophobic cities to indulge in simpler mountain life. Take in beautiful views of the mountains and begin each day with a hearty country breakfast before heading off to enjoy Loon Mountain.

Snowy Owl Inn –  One of New England’s finest country inns, The Snowy Owl Inn is in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest.   Staff are courteous and knowledgeable and are happy to help you plan your vacation and accommodate you in any way that they can with any special requests you might have.  Town Square is just next door where you will find plenty of great shopping and dining, and skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are never far away.

Sunset Hill House – Located in Sugar Hill, Sunset Hill House is an historic home with roots in the Grand Resort Hotel days of the White Mountains.  In the early 20th century it played host the elite members of society from New York, Boston, and Newport who traveled to stay at beautiful country “houses” for the season and take in the clear air of the mountains.  Allow yourself to be transported back in time in this 1880 mansion with beautiful views of the White Mountains and Green Mountains.  Start each day with a spectacular full breakfast and relax after a long day on the slopes in your whirlpool tub or on your private deck.

 

Lincoln, New Hampshire

Posted on: January 20th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Pemigewassett_covered_bridgeNear the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Lincoln is primarily thought of as a premier summer destination, well known for its great outdoor activities.  However, in winter it also offers plenty of entertainment, including the ski resort at Loon Mountain, interesting snow sculptures, and much more.

Founded in 1764 by a group of 70 land investors from Connecticut, the town was named for Henry Fieness Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, 9th Earl of Lincoln, who was at the time comptroller of customs for the port of London.  However, the town was not settled until 1782.

The area was poor for farming, but timber was plenty, and the Pemigewasset River made water power available to run saw mills.  Within the next century Lincoln developed a booming logging industry.  Railroads, originally installed to transport freight increasingly began to bring tourists to the mountains who wished to take in the scenery and fresh air.

In 1892, James E. Henry purchased 100,000 acres of timber new Lincoln, establishing what remains one of its most important logging enterprises to this day.  In 1902 he built a paper mill, and the following year built the Lincoln House Hotel.  The company was sold in 1917 to Parker Young Company, and again in 1946 to Marcalus Manufacturing Company.  Papermaking remained an important industry in Lincoln until 1971 when the company was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Today most people come to visit Lincoln to admire its natural beauty and practice their favorite outdoor recreations.  Loon Mountain draws skiers and snowboarders all winter long, while Flume Gorge and Fraconia Notch State Park draw visitors with their natural beauty throughout the year.

Get Your Fill of New England Charm in Cavendish

Posted on: January 18th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Sawduster_Chair,_SugarloafCavendish is a charming small town nestled in the Green Mountains of southern Vermont.  Made up of two small villages, Cavendish and Proctorsville, it is a great mix of Victorian charm and natural Vermont beauty.

Though it is a relatively small town, there are plenty of things to do in Cavendish.  Cavendish is just next to Okemo Mountain Resort and not too far from Killington.   Both are great ski resorts, offering tons of trails and runs for people of all levels of skill.

Snowmobiling is extremely popular in the area, and there are tons of trails to follow that will take you through Cavendish and the rest of Okemo Valley.  See the twists and turns of the Black River and visit other charming towns along the way.

The places to eat in Cavendish range from fine dining to good old fashioned home cooking.  Find your favorite night spot and enjoy a perfect mixed cocktail or a great locally brewed beer.  Enjoy a carefully prepared meal made with all locally sourced produce and products.  Find something that reminds you of home, or something that makes your vacation extra special.

The places to stay in Cavendish are luxurious getaways that tend to your every need.  Stay in a historical castle with all the amenities of modern life but all the charm of times gone past.  Or stay in a private cabin that allows you the intimacy and privacy of staying at home but with all the luxury of staying in a hotel.  Enjoy all the amenities of a grand hotel but with feel of a small bed and breakfast.  Cavendish hotels offer all this and more.

Cavendish is a great place to come and stay to relax, enjoy Okemo Valley, and enjoy all the charms of Vermont.

 

Cavendish, Vermont

Posted on: January 13th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Nestled in Okemo Valley along the Black River and Route 131, Cavendish, Vermont is a charming mountain side town.  It is made up of two villages: Cavendish and Proctorsville.  Though Okemo Valley may be thought of primarily as a summer destination it has great things to offer in winter.

On one side of the town lies the Black River, offering fantastic trout fishing and kayaking, in season.  On the other lies the Hawks Mountain Wildlife Management Area, with over 2000 acres of natural landscape.  Wildlife in the park include bobcats, black bears, falcons, and so much more.  In winter it’s a great place for snowshoeing and bird watching.

Cavendish was first settled in 1769 by Captain John Coffeen, who established residence with his family, in what is now called Coffeen Pasture.  In the 1780s Leonard Proctor came from Massachusetts, beginning the establishment of Proctorsville along the Black River.

Today the town, with its two small villages, nestled in the pine trees along the river, makes a picturesque scene.   Its many bakeries, restaurants, galleries, and other small businesses, mixed with its turn of the century architecture make the town charming and quaint.

 

Rejuvinate in Saratoga Springs

Posted on: January 10th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

Caroline_Street_from_BroadwaySaratoga Springs has a long and varied history.  Though it is now well known for its Thoroughbred race track and its history with gambling, its original claim to fame was its mineral springs, which people claimed had healing properties.

Its impossible to say if the waters truly possess a magical healing ability, but anyone who stays in Saratoga Springs and drinks from the springs can tell you that they leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

To drink from one of the springs all you need to do is find one of the many pumps or spigots throughout town.  Some are marked by plaques, or covered pavilions, or some sit without notice out of a rock.  You can also visit Saratoga Spa National Park and take the mineral springs tour!

The mineral springs certainly aren’t the only attractions in Saratoga Springs. In winter the park also offers cross country skiing, ice hockey, and ice skating.   There is a very large casino and harness racetrack offering endless hours of entertainment.  There are also several museums, including 3 national museums, and downtown Saratoga Springs is always bustling, with many shops and restaurants.

There are many amazing restaurants in Saratoga Springs serving a wide range of cuisines.  Spanish tapas, French patisseries, fine dining, and gastro pubs are all available in Saratoga Springs.  Many restaurants keep close ties with local farmers and producers, keeping their menus as fresh and flavorful as possible.

Many of the hotels in Saratoga Springs  are influenced by the former grand hotels that ruled the area in the 19th and early 20th century.  Some of those hotels still exist, and they make a unique and memorable place to stay.   There are also plenty of small bed and breakfasts or inns in the area, many of which are in charming Victorian houses or mansions, and they add the perfect amount of charm or romance to any stay.

Saratoga Springs has a long history as a destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.  It’s still an excellent place for those things today! Allow yourself to relax and be pampered, experience the spring’s healing powers and feel rejuvenated in Saratoga Springs.

Places to Stay in Saratoga Springs

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

800px-Adelphi_Hotel_Saratoga_Springs_(6276800338)Saratoga Springs has a long history as a resort town.  Though many of its old hotels were demolished or lost to fires there are still a few historic hotels to choose from, as well as many beautiful bed and breakfasts and inns that will make your stay feel truly special.

Adelphi Hotel – A hotel with a distinct personality, this establishment has a great mix of Victorian luxury and modern comfort.  Its eclectic decor includes Victorian antiques, old photographs and engravings and styles ranging from English country manor to Adirondack cabin.

The Inn at Saratoga – Established circa 1848, the Inn at Saratoga is the oldest operating hotel in Saratoga.  It is within easy walking distance of Saratoga Springs’ vibrant downtown and provides luxurious yet cozy accommodations.

Saratoga Arms – This gorgeous boutique hotel was established in 1870 and provides a level of intimacy and charm that cannot be matched. Family owned and operated, you are guaranteed superb personalized service.  The Saratoga Arms is just a few steps from downtown Saratoga Springs and all its great nightlife, dining, and shops.  Start each morning with a full breakfast!

Circular Manor B&B – Warm yourself by the fireplace with a cup of fresh ground coffee or custom blended tea after a long day exploring Saratoga Springs at the Circular Manor.  Located in the Historic District of Saratoga Springs, it is within a short distance of downtown and everything it has to offer.  Start each morning with a delicious gourmet breakfast.

Batcheller Mansion Inn – Built in 1873, the Batcheller Mansion was designed by Nicols and Halcott of Albany and is a perfect example of a High Victorian Gothic mansion.  The mansion is noted to be the inspiration for Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, and has been featured in several films and books.  To step through its doors is to step back in time and into a fantasy.  Surround yourself with Victorian elegance, and take advantage of the inn’s superb service.  In room spa services, delicious food, and beautiful decor are only some of the things you’ll find at this unique hotel.

Saratoga Springs, NY

Posted on: January 6th, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

SaratogaSpringwaterNamed one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Saratoga Springs is full of history, charm, and character.

Named for the nearby mineral spring, which purportedly has healing powers, Saratoga Springs has many claims to fame.  It is the site of one of the turning points in the American Revolution, the Battle of Saratoga,  it  is home to a world renowned Thoroughbred racing track, and local legend has it as the birthplace of the potato chip and the club sandwich.

Established in 1819, Saratoga Springs was originally the western portion of the Town of Saratoga.  The region was established as a city in 1915.  In 1832 the Saratoga and Schenectady Railroad was established, allowing tourists and travelers to come and go with greater ease, and bringing fame to Saratoga Springs’ mineral springs.

Many believed that the springs had magical healing powers, and their reported abilities drew many tourists who hoped to receive their benefits.  Springs can still be found throughout the town, covered in pavilions, marked by plaques, or even just spigots protruding from rocks.   The water has a distinct flavor from spring to spring.  Some are salty, some taste strongly of sodium chloride or other minerals, and some are completely clear and fresh.  Though they may smell strongly of sulfur, there is little to no traces of dissolved sulfur in the water, and it is completely safe to drink.

With so many tourists coming to enjoy the healing powers of the natural springs, many hotels were established, and Dr Simon Baruch began to develop several European style spas as centers for recuperation and health.  Many large hotels were established in this time frame including the Grand Union Hotel, which was at the time the largest hotel in the world.

Toward the end of the 1800s, it was feared that excessive consumption and over pumping of the springs would deplete the resource.  In 1911 the New York State Reservation was established to protect the springs.  It is now called the Spa State Park.

The Saratoga Race Course opened in 1863, giving tourists a whole new reason to visit Saratoga Springs.  The city became well known for horse racing and gambling, though the latter was illegal in the early years of the 20th century.

Today it still has strong ties with its spa resort, and gambling history.  It’s also a great place to learn about American history, being the site of one of the most important battles of the American Revolution, and home to three National Museums.

Winter Getaway in Wine Country

Posted on: January 3rd, 2014 by Erin Weir No Comments

655px-Ice_wine_grapesThe Finger Lakes Region is one of New York’s most underrated travel destinations.  It’s a wonderful place to visit year round, but in winter it provides the unique opportunity to enjoy plenty of classic winter activities, all in the heart of wine country.

While wine tasting may be one of the region’s most famed activities, there are many other activities to enjoy in the Finger Lakes Region. Winter is a great time to enjoy many of your favorite winter sports, including downhill skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.

The region’s rolling hills and low lakes create frost conditions unique to the Finger Lakes Region, allowing wine makers to ability to make ice wines in winter.  This is one of the regions specialties.   There are several different wine trails to follow in the Finger Lakes Region, taking you to many different wineries around the lakes and allowing you to sample ice wines and other wines.

If you plan to follow a specific wine trail, you’ll find lots of great bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels along the way.  As many towns in the Finger Lakes Region are smaller and more rural in nature, you are more likely to come across a bed and breakfast or inn than a large hotel.  However you will not have to sacrifice comfort.  Many of these inns make their names by selling luxury and providing all the comforts of home.

The same small town, rural nature that lends many of Finger Lakes’ towns to avoid large hotels also gives way to many restaurants having strong ties with local farmers and artisans.  Restaurants in the Finger Lakes Region promote strongly the farm-to-table ideal, using fresh, local produce, cheeses, meats, and other products to create amazing meals.  Many restaurants also have strong ties with local wineries and work hard to pair local wines carefully with their menus.

Offering skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and all kinds of winter fun, as well as romantic bed and breakfasts, and amazing food, all in the heart of wine country, the Finger Lakes Region is the perfect winter getaway.  Whether it’s for a weekend or an extended stay, there’s no end to the fun and relaxation you’ll find here.

 

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