Archive for December, 2015

Ultimate Luxury Holiday Gift of Travel: Magellan Jets 25 Hour Card

December 15, 2015

How’s this for thinking out of the box for a luxury holiday gift to help fulfill some bucket list or New Year’s resolution for the ultimate in travel: Magellan Jets’ 25 Hour Jet Card.

The Magellan Jets 25 Hour card affords card-holders guaranteed availability within 8 hours, fixed fuel rates, no repositioning fees, guaranteed WiFi, and exclusive travel benefit packages for the whole family. Choose from 10 aircraft types from the light cabin Hawker 400XP to the luxurious large cabin G450.

The 25 Hour Card starts at $100,000, based on aircraft type.

Magellan Jets is a leader in private jet travel with over 30 years of aviation experience. With a wide variety of membership programs as well as point-to-point charter services, clients are advised on the best option for their specific needs. Benefits of a membership include no repositioning charges, guaranteed aircraft availability with as little as eight hours’ notice, inclusive gourmet catering, and V.I.P. ground transportation. Magellan Jets’ Flight Support department is available 24/7 to provide services such as weather tracking, itinerary changes, and personalized in-flight entertainment. Magellan Jets has operations worldwide and offers flights in the Continental U.S., the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, and Europe.

Magellan Jets, 2 Heritage Dr. Suite 301, Quincy, MA 02171. 877-550-JETS, www.magellanjets.com.

 

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Candlelight Evenings and Holiday Craft Show At Old Bethpage Village Restoration

December 15, 2015
Candlelight Evenings at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Candlelight Evenings at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The most enchanting holiday event on Long Island are the Candlelight Evenings at Old Bethpage Village Restoration which will take place this year on December 17, 18, 19, and 20 from 5– 9:30 pm.

Candlelight Evenings at OBVR offer a Hallmark card setting of flickering candles inside the Village’s historic homes, along with 19th Century holiday decorations and entertainment, all set within the confines of a rural valley setting. Among the forms of 19th Century entertainment offered will be music, including a brass quartet and fiddlers playing popular seasonal tunes as well as performers by local schools and organizations, a traditional 1866 decorated Christmas Tree, stories of Christmases past; contra-dancing, and a traditional bonfire.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration, which is now operated by the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museum,  provides visitors with an exquisite opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th Century American village set on more than 200 acres. While you are there, you really forget what century it is.

Entrance fees are: $10 for adults, $7 for children (5 – 12), seniors and volunteer firefighters. Children under 5 are free.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage (Exit 48 of the Long Island Expressway).  It is closed after December 20 until April.

For more information, call 516-572-8401.

For more information about Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museum, call 516-572-0200, or visit the website at: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/parks.

 

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January is Learn to Ski, Snowboard Month in Colorado Ski Country USA

December 6, 2015
Learn to Ski in Winter Park, Colorado © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Learn to Ski in Winter Park, Colorado © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

DenverColo. – January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month across America and Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) member ski areas and resorts are offering special promotions and programs to make it easy for people to learn Colorado’s signature winter sports. Guests visiting CSCUSA member resorts in January will find package deals on rentals, lift tickets, and professional instruction, and in many cases resorts will reward successful first-time learners with a complimentary season pass after completion of a multi-day lesson program.

In addition, several resorts are participating in the World’s Largest Lesson on Friday, January 8. This group lesson will occur at ski resorts across America in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest multi-venue skiing and snowboarding lesson. Participating CSCUSA member resorts include Arapahoe Basin, Buttermilk, Copper Mountain, Powderhorn, Snowmass, Steamboat, and Sunlight.

With plentiful, soft snow and a small army of dedicated skiing and snowboarding instructors ready to create lifelong skiers or snowboarders, January is the perfect time to introduce a friend or family member to Colorado Ski Country. Here is a summary of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard activities and offerings at CSCUSA member ski areas. 

Arapahoe Basin

Super Sunday Lessons

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s Super Sunday lessons are morning, half-day only (2.5 hours) and include a lift ticket. Adults (ages 15+) are $80 and children (ages 3-14) are $100. Equipment rentals are not included but guests can find alpine ski and snowboard rentals on-site at the Arapahoe Basin rental shop.

Super Sunday lessons are available January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 as well as Friday, January 8 as Arapahoe Basin participates in the World’s Largest Lesson. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com 

Aspen Snowmass

Buttermilk Deluxe Package

Join Aspen Snowmass for a special private lesson package on Buttermilk while they prepare for and host the Aspen Winter X Games. For $390, participating guests will receive a full-day private lesson and can bring up to four of their friends/family. Added benefits include flexible meeting times and locations, priority lift access, and overnight ski/snowboard storage and mountain transfers.

Valid January 18 through February 5, 2016. Reservations and pre-payment are required. For more information, visithttp://www.aspensnowmass.com.

Beginner Incentive Package at the Limelight Hotel

New this year at the Limelight Hotel, the property introduces the Beginner Incentive Package that will make any newbie to the sport a skier for life. Offered in conjunction with the Aspen Snowmass Ski & Snowboard Schools, the package includes three full days of adult beginner lessons and four nights at the Limelight Hotel. Daily lunch is included in the experience, and the property’s local guides will escort skiers and riders to the slopes each day. Ski or Snowboard boot rentals, skis, snowboards and helmets are included. Guests also have the option to rent goggles, gloves, jackets and outerwear upon arrival from local retail partners.

The package is valid during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month from Jan. 2-17, 2016. Pricing for this all-inclusive package starts at $1,778 per person. Book now by visiting www.limelighthotel.com or calling (844) 854-3387.

Cooper

3 Lesson Package

Cooper’s First Timer 3 Lesson Package is available as a first time snow experience for those who have never skied nor snowboarded before. This program is intended for a first time snow sport experience only and is geared toward adults 13 years old and older. The package includes three two-hour group ski, telemark, or snowboard lessons, rental equipment, and access to Cooper’s Magic Carpet lift for $210, or $189 with advance online reservations. Lessons can be taken any time Group Lessons are offered during the season. For more information, visit http://skicooper.com/product/first-timer-3-lesson-package/. 

Copper Mountain

Ski and Ride School University: No More Excuses for Winter Sport Never-Evers

Inspired by National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, Ski and Ride School U offers newbies aged 18 and older a hassle-free and affordable option to catch the winter bug. For $199 the package includes:

  • Three ski or snowboard lessons
  • Lift tickets
  • Equipment rentals
  • Close-in parking
  • Lunch on the 2nd and 3rd day

Upon graduation and completion of the third lesson, Copper will award participants a free season pass so guests can progress further on the slopes for the remainder of the winter. Quantities are limited and the package must be purchased in person at Copper Mountain. For more information, please visit www.CopperColorado.com.

Crested Butte

Adult First Time Beginner Adventure Lesson

During the month of January, first time skiers and riders, ages 15 and older can sign up for a First Time Beginner Adventure lesson with the Crested Butte Ski + Ride School for $79. This package includes a full-day ski or snowboard lesson, full day adult lift ticket (valid for limited lift access on the day of the lesson) and half off a single-day equipment rental package. This offer is available to first time skiers and riders only. Limit one lesson package per person. Advance reservation required. For more information, visit http://www.skicb.com/learn. 

Eldora

Lesson, Lift and Equipment Rental Package for Children and Adults

Eldora Mountain Resort (EMR) is offering the Mountain Explorer Children’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard Package for $129. The day package includes an all mountain lift ticket, all day rental, and all day lesson, with snacks and lunch. Reservations are recommended; visit http://www.eldora.com/lessons.children.html for more information.

For adults, EMR is offering the EASY 1-2-3 for $129. The day package includes one day of lower mountain lift access, all day equipment rental and 3.5 hour lesson (2 hours AM and 1.5 hours PM). Visit http://www.eldora.com/lessons.daily.html for more information.

Loveland Ski Area

3-Class Pass For Kids

All children (ages 4-14) regardless of ability who pre-purchase or complete 3 full day lesson packages receive a free, unrestricted season pass to keep practicing their skiing or snowboarding skills for the rest of the season. Children’s full day lesson packages include lesson, lift access, rentals (ski or snowboard) and lunch.  Full day lessons are from 10am through 3:30pm daily. Phone reservations are available or guests can register at the Loveland Valley between 8am and 9am. Participants who pre-purchase can enjoy the season pass all winter long. Pre-purchase price is $336 for ages 6-14 skiers & snowboarders (Includes Season Pass); $360 for ages 4-5 skiers (Includes Season Pass & early drop off)

3-Class Pass for Newcomer Adults

The 3-Class Pass for adult first-time skiers or snowboarders is now available for pre-purchase. The pre-purchased package includes one All Day Newcomer and two half day Master the Mountain lesson packages. Upon completion of their third lesson, guests will receive a full, unrestricted Loveland Season Pass. Lesson packages include lesson, all-day lift access and equipment rental. Phone reservations are available or register at the Loveland Valley between 8am and 9am. Pre-purchase price is $331 (includes season pass).

Adult Novice/Intermediate 3-Class Pass

The Pre-Purchase program includes three 1/2-day Master the Mountain, full lesson packages, and an unrestricted Season Pass valid all season upon pre-purchase. Lesson packages include lift access and rental equipment, (ski or snowboard). Phone reservations are available at 800-736-3SKI or register at the Loveland Valley between 8am and 9am. Pre-purchase price is $471 (includes season pass). For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com. 

Monarch

Monarch Mountain celebrates Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month with affordable learn to ski and ride packages at the Monarch Mountain Ski and Ride School. Pricing begins at $55 for a half day youth group lesson. Visit www.skimonarch.com for details. 

Powderhorn

Learn to Ski or Snowboard Series

Powderhorn’s Learn to Ski or Snowboard program is for first timers only, skiers aged 5 and older and Snowboarders aged 7 and older. The program includes three full-days of lessons and EZ rider lift tickets and rentals for $169 (helmet not included). Upon completion, participants will receive a Graduate Card that entitles them to 50 percent off any additional lessons, rentals or lift tickets for the remainder of the winter season. Lessons are available Thursday-Sunday throughout the season and holidays. Lesson times are 10:30 am – 12:30 pm; 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. For more information, visit www.powderhorn.com. 

Purgatory

“One, Two, Free” Learn to Ski Package  

Purgatory Snowsports School offers a special learn to ski and snowboard package starting at $74 that includes 2 days of lift tickets, rental gear, full day beginner lessons. On the third day, receive a free lift ticket, 50% off rental gear and 50% off half-day lesson.  Participants also receive a 50% off discount card on lift tickets, rentals and lessons for the remainder of the season. Skiers & snowboarders can bring a friend to participate in Purgatory’s Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month program and receive a $25 Purgatory mountain card just for their referral, plus save 25% on a group lesson. For more information, visit www.SkiPurg.com/LSSM.    

Ski Granby Ranch

Get on the Snow

Ski Granby Ranch is offering a special program from January 4-31, 2016 called Get on the Snow for $249. Designed for first-time skiers and snowboarders aged 13 and older, Get on the Snow participants will receive two days of lessons and will ski and ride free at Granby Ranch for the rest of the season with a complimentary season pass upon completing their lessons.

Reservations are required. For more information, visit http://www.granbyranch.com/ski-ride-granby-ranch/get-on-the-snow.html. 

Steamboat

January Learn to Ski/Ride Package

Guests at Steamboat can build confidence while they learn in a safe, controlled, terrain-based environment with instructors that guide them every step of the way. Steamboat’s Learn to Ski/Ride Package opens the slopes with two days of lessons, rentals and lift tickets for just $199 from Jan. 4-31. Learn to Ski/Ride is available for adults and children ages 1st Grade and older. For more information, visit www.steamboat.com or call 800.299.5017. 

Sunlight

Skier Appreciation Day and Student/Teacher Appreciation Day

Skier Appreciation Day at Sunlight (January 8) offers $20 lift tickets to all skiers and snowboarders with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to the United Way of Garfield County. In addition, on January 10 Sunlight will host Student/Teacher Appreciation Day, with $20 lift tickets for students and free lift tickets for teachers.

United States Ski and Snowboard Association U-10/U-12 Festival

On Jan. 30-31, Sunlight fans have an opportunity to watch the nation’s top up and coming ski and snowboard racers as part of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association’s U-10/12 Festival. Come watch some of the ski and snowboard talent that just might be standing on top of the podium in future Olympic and World Cup races. For more information, visit www.sunlightmtn.com.

Winter Park

Kid’s Multi-Week Lessons

Winter Park Ski + Ride School’s multi-week Fish Programs can accommodate children from age 3 to 14. With the 7 week Piranhas Program, 5 week Barracudas Program, or the 3 week Minnows Program, kids will have a blast while making new friends, and developing new skills on the slopes. Groups are broken down by age and ability level, from beginner to expert. Programs include instruction from the same coach each week, GPS tracking, and lunch. Programs for the month of January begin at $259 and may be reserved here: http://www.winterparkresort.com/plan-your-trip/lessons/kids-multiweek-lessons.aspx 

Wolf Creek

Camp Robbers Clinic for Kids

Wolf Creek Ski Area offers a variety of ski and snowboard packages to help introduce never-evers to the sport. During the month of January, Wolf Creek is offering a four-week Camp Robbers clinic for kids. For $231 ($264 for non-Season Pass holders) lift ticket, ski rental, four hours of instruction, lunch, and snacks are all included each week. Children will be grouped with the same children and instructor each week for the clinic. Not only will the kids improve on their skills, but also this class design will encourage socialization and friendship over the four-week span. Mountain safety, fun races, and a terrain garden are all featured in this program. For more information, visit http://www.wolfcreekski.com.

Information about CSCUSA and its members can be found at www.ColoradoSki.com, on Twitter @ColoradoSkiUSA and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ColoradoSkiCountryUSA. This release and other press information can be found in the online press room at http://www.ColoradoSki.com/Media.

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Ski Vermont’s Check in to Win Program Expands to Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing

December 5, 2015
Pico Mountain, Central Vermont

Skiing down 49er at Pico Mountain. Win prizes when you use the app in Ski Vermont’s Vertical Challenge © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Last season nearly 16,000 skiers and riders “checked in” with Ski Vermont to win prizes and bragging rights. After two successful years partnering with Trace Snow and Verizon Wireless, Ski Vermont is partnering with SnoCru to expand the Check In to Win program to cross country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts.

“This season we wanted to be able to offer the same incentives to all snow sports enthusiasts, regardless of how they choose to recreate on snow,” said Ski Vermont’s Director of Marketing, Kyle Opuszynski. “We will award the first alpine skier, snowboarder and nordic skier that visits all of Vermont’s applicable resorts with brand new equipment.”

The goal of the Ski Vermont Check In to Win program is to get skiers, riders and snowshoe enthusiasts to explore more of Vermont’s trails and resorts. Alpine skiers and snowboarders participate by downloading the Trace application on their phone to track their days, runs and vertical feet. Nordic skiers and snowshoers will download the SnoCru application to document distance and map their tracks.

All participants are entered to win prizes each time they explore new resorts and can earn Vermont medals while competing against other skiers and riders in Vermont. Prizes come from Ski Vermont partners like Darn Tough, Rossignol, Burton, anon, Long Trail Brewing, Skida, Vermont Spirits, and more. The first skier, snowboarder and Nordic skier to visit all the applicable resorts will win Rossignol skis and bindings, a Burton snowboard and a Rossignol cross country set up respectively.

Jayne Johnson from Milford, New Hampshire was the first winner to take home a pair of Rossignol skis and bindings as her reward for being the first to ski all 19 public Vermont resorts during the 2014-15 season. Read more about her adventures at skivermont.com. New this year, winners will receive Trace tracking devices that mount directly to skis and snowboards, providing more accurate data than ever.

The annual Vertical Challenge will resume in 2015-16 as well. The 2014-15 season winner, Rob Weiss from Albany, New York, logged almost two million vertical feet snowboarding at Killington Resort over an impressive 85 days on the hill.

“Year after year, we continue to see Vermont’s biggest fans proving their dedication to our mountains and we applaud them for their efforts. We also envy their time on snow,” says Opuszynski.

Watch Ski Vermont’s Check In to Win video and stay up-to-date on opening dates and conditions at skivermont.com.

 

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New York State Parks Celebrate Season with Tree Lightings, Holiday Markets, Historic Tours

December 5, 2015

 

 

Holiday Spectacular at Jones Beach, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Holiday Spectacular at Jones Beach, Long Island © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Celebrate the holiday season at more than 40 parks or historic sites across New York State.

Holiday celebrations at New York State parks range from tours of the lavishly decorated Staatsburgh Mansion in the Hudson Valley, to candlelight tours of Old Fort Niagara overlooking Lake Ontario, to family-friendly tree-lighting celebrations at state parks on Long Island. Events will also include making holiday snacks for black bears at Trailside Zoo in Bear Mountain State Park, holiday cookie decorating at Green Lakes State Park and a gingerbread house contest at Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site.

Some events require pre-registration and/or an admission fee;  check http://nysparks.com/events for more details.

Central

Long Island

New York City

Palisades

  • Christmas with the Ellisons – Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site; Dec. 12 & 19, 4 – 7 p.m.
    · Festival of Lights – Senate House State Historic Site; Dec. 12, 5 – 8 p.m.
    · Warm Up at the Washingtons – Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site; Dec. 13, 1 – 5 p.m.
    · Berry Merry Holiday – Bear Mountain State Park; Dec. 19 at 10:30 a.m.
    · Open House – Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site; Dec. 27, 28 & 29, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Saratoga/Capital Region

  • Holiday Craft Bazaar – Thacher State Park Nature Center; Dec 5, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Dec. 6, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    · St. Nicholas Day Open House – Crailo State Historic Site; Dec. 5, 12 – 4 p.m.
    · Sweater Mitten Mania – Thacher State Park Nature Center; Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.

Taconic

Thousand Islands

  • Pine Bow Wreath Workshop – Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, Wellesley Island State Park; Dec. 5 at 10 a.m.
    · Holiday Bonanza – Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, Wellesley Island State Park; Dec. 12, 10 a.m.– 3:30 p.m.

Western NY

“This year, I encourage New Yorkers to start a new tradition: visit a state park or historic site and participate in our many family-friendly activities that run throughout the year,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Holiday-themed events across the state have something for everyone.”
“New York’s parks and historic sites offer unparalleled natural beauty, countless opportunities for outdoor recreation, and family-friendly fun no matter what time of year it is,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I urge New Yorkers and visitors alike to see for themselves all that our parks have to offer this holiday season.”

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 62 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

 

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Apple Vacations Launches Third Cuba Tour to Accommodate Traveler Demand

December 3, 2015

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – With Apple Vacations’ tours to Cuba completely sold out for 2015, and 2016 departures selling quickly, the tour operator has created an exclusive eight-night Seascape Discovery tour. This new tour features one pre-night in Miami, four nights in Havana at the IBEROSTAR Parque Central, three nights in Varadero at the IBEROSTAR Varadero, comprehensive sightseeing tours, interactions with local artists, salsa lessons, a boat ride through an underground river, pottery demonstrations, rum and cigar tastings, and authentic Cuban cuisine.

“Following the extremely successful Cuba tour program we launched in July, we have added a third tour for 2016,” said Tim Mullen, President of Apple Vacations. “Cuba is a hot selling destination and we are meeting the demand of travelers looking to immerse themselves in Cuban culture, and engage with the Cuban people,” he added.

The eight-night Seascape Discovery is priced from $5,550 per person, based on double occupancy, with the following departure dates: Feb. 13, March 26, April 30, May 28, June 25, July 30, Aug. 27, Sept. 24 and Oct. 29, 2016.

Prices include Cuban health insurance, charter flights departing from Miami (connecting flights from other US cities available), Cuban tourist visa processing, and U.S. taxes and fees. A Cuban departure tax of $25 per passenger will be collected upon check-in at Miami International Airport.

The leading vacation wholesaler is working with US-based Cuba Travel Services, a Cuba-licensed operator that charters flights from Miami to Cuba with XTRA Airways and American Airlines. Connections to Miami can be arranged from all major U.S. gateways.

Travel to Cuba must be booked 64 days in advance of departure to allow ample time for the processing of required documentation.

Travelers will receive an orientation in Miami to ensure familiarity with Cuban laws, policies and traditions prior to arrival in Cuba.

For more than 45 years, Apple Vacations has provided affordable, top quality vacation packages from U.S. departure cities nationwide to vacation destinations throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii and Europe, as well top North and South American ski resorts. Apple Vacations has been consistently voted “Best Tour Operator to Mexico and Latin America” by readers of the leading travel trade magazines.

Cuba Travel Services Inc., with offices in California and Florida, arranges daily, non-stop, direct public charter flights between the United States and Cuba. Cuba Travel Services, Inc. is licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as both an authorized Carrier Service Provider (CSP) and Travel Service Provider (TSP) in travel related services to Cuba. As a full service charter and tour operator, Cuba Travel Services provides professional services to individuals, groups, families, educators, students, professionals and organizations, under Specific or General Licenses issued by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Visit www.applevacations.com/cubatours/ for more information.

 

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Victoria Offers Up to 52% Off Winter Yangtze Cruises Through Heart of China

December 3, 2015
Victoria Cruises-entertain

Entertainment aboard Victoria Cruises.

NEW YORK, NY  – Victoria Cruises, the only American-managed luxury cruise line on China’s Yangtze River, is offering guests up to 52% savings this winter. Private balcony superior staterooms for the popular three-or-four-night sail between Chongqing and Yichang starts at $470 per person, based on double occupancy, in January and February 2016, representing a savings of $510 per person.

Passengers can upgrade to a private balcony Superior Stateroom with Luxury Amenities for $670 per person, based on double occupancy, also a savings of $510 per person. Luxury Amenities include VIP perks such as “white glove” service, access to exclusive ship areas, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access and enhanced dining privileges.

By booking the Shangri-La Suite from $1,510 per person, based on double occupancy, guests will receive more spacious accommodations with Luxury Amenities, saving $1,050 per person.

Winter special sailings will sail downstream on Thursdays and upstream on Sundays.  Offering a truly spectacular way to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Victoria Cruises is also offering additional special sailings with downstream departures on Feb. 8 and 9, 2016 and upstream departures on Feb. 11 and 12, 2016 with an additional surcharge of $200 per person, based on double occupancy.

Departing from Chongqing guests will sail to Shibaozhai, known as “The Pearl of the Yangtze,” where they will observe a 12-story, 18th century wooden pagoda built without the use of a single nail. Passengers will also enjoy an educational tour of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric project in the world, and a small boat excursion on a traditional sampan along one of the Yangtze’s scenic tributaries.

Shore excursions are not included and cost an additional $90 per person for a comprehensive package featuring three standard excursions (may be substituted based on river conditions and other factors).

Victoria Cruises offers many interesting onboard activities such as Tai Chi lessons, acupuncture demonstrations and discussions on the Yangtze’s history. Nightly entertainment options include traditional Chinese dance and musical performances.

Already earning high marks from passengers, Victoria’s dining has introduced new culinary concepts and menus thanks to the addition of award-winning American celebrity chef Walter Staib. The culinary program for the winter special was designed by Staib and includes both western dishes and a la carte dining.

Chef Staib recently won a 2015 Emmy© Award for his Yangtze River episode of PBS’s A Taste of History,filmed aboard one of the Victoria Cruises five-star ships.

All prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements are available. Itineraries are subject to change based on river conditions.

For more information or to book, or for a list of tour operators which include the Yangtze River in their value-priced winter programs, contact Victoria Cruises toll-free at 800-348-8084 or visit www.VictoriaCruises.com.

 

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LEGOLAND® California Resort Hosts Holiday Snow Days, Winter Nights Celebration Through Jan 3

December 3, 2015

Legoland-xmas

CARLSBAD, Calif.– Holiday cheer is spreading throughout LEGOLAND® California Resort with more snow play areas than ever before as the Park kicks off its annual winter celebration, Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights. The winter fun runs through Jan. 3, 2016 with festive treats, holiday entertainment, cheerful décor, family fun activities and nightly fireworks from Dec. 26 through Dec. 31, 2015.

The Park’s Fun Town transforms into a winter wonderland with two snow play areas for families to throw snowballs at LEGO® themed targets, build snowmen using LEGO accessories and join in the Holiday Village Build at the LEGO Clubhouse. Plus, guests can enjoy a holiday show from the LEGO Friends, Jingle Jammers and the Holiday Character Dance Party featuring the LEGOLAND elves, Jingle Joe and Tinsel Toe.

SEA LIFE® Aquarium is getting in on the fun with a holiday-themed Daily Dive Show, crafting events and “green” holiday tips. LEGOLAND Hotel is also decking the halls with Holiday décor and themed LEGO building contests. Holiday Snow Days continues with the annual LEGO Christmas tree lighting ceremony and celebrates the New Year with San Diego’s biggest Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31.

On Nov. 30, with the help of Santa and Golden Globe Award winning actress Jenna Elfman, the Resort’s LEGO Christmas tree officially lighted up the night during the 13th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The 30-foot tall Christmas tree is created out of more than 245,000 green DUPLO® bricks and is adorned with more than 400 LEGO ornaments including special movie clapper ornaments in honor of “The LEGO® Movie 4D A New Adventure” premiering Feb. 6 at LEGOLAND California. Plus, 11 lucky kids will be selected through LEGOLAND California Resort’s Facebook page to light the LEGO Christmas tree on select nights throughout the month of December.

The celebration concludes on Dec. 31 with Kids’ New Year’s Eve, the biggest kids New Year’s celebration that lets kids to ring in 2016 without missing their bedtime! Like the famous ball dropping in Times Square, Kids’ New Year’s Eve rocks the night with musical performances by Recess Monkey, The Not-Its, Twinkle Time, The Dirty Socks Funtime Band, Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players and Grammy -winning artist Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band who will perform on three stages and join in with the guests in counting down the seconds until a huge LEGO brick drops from 22-feet in the air launching a spectacular fireworks display at 6 p.m.

LEGOLAND California Resort is extending its Park hours for the winter holiday during these dates: Dec. 5, 12, 19 – 23 and 26 – 31. LEGOLAND California Resort is also offering a gift for holiday guests; through Dec. 24, 2015, select a date online to visit LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE Aquarium between Nov. 21, 2015 and Jan. 3, 2016 to purchase your one-day hopper ticket for only $90! All Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights activities located inside the Park are included in the price of a LEGOLAND California admission ticket.

For more Holiday Snow Days information, visit www.LEGOLAND.com or call (760) 918-LEGO (5346).

 

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Vermont Ski Resorts Bundle Plenty of Joy This Holiday Season

December 3, 2015
Okemo Mountain, Vermont

Okemo Mountain, Vermont (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Bucolic villages surrounded by snow covered pines welcome weary travelers on their way to Vermont’s picturesque mountain peaks this holiday season. Slide down snow, share delicious family meals, and warm up by the fire together with a hot cocoa or trusty Vermont brew. Vermont ski and snowboard resorts are a majestic destination during the holidays and they offer cheerful activities and delightful packages for families and friends who want to escape it all and enjoy winter in its original state.

Mount Snow Resort

The holidays are a special time at Mount Snow. The Christmas holiday week is full of events and activities including Grommet Jam #1 for kids age 12 and under on Monday, December 28. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a Torchlight Parade and Fireworks display plus family activities and more.

Stratton Mountain Resort

Stratton welcomes the most wonderful time of year with ideal skiing and riding conditions, family fun events, and mountain comradery. Christmas vacation happenings include live music, fireworks and holiday celebrations. Book early on lodging and save. For a full events listing, visitstratton.com/events.

Bromley Mountain

Bromley looks forward to a festive holiday season, kicked off with a super Santa ski deal on December 25. Wear a red suit, beard, hat & bowl full of jelly belly on 12/25 and ski or ride all day for $25. December 26-27 will feature the Sun Mountain Sessions Snowboard Camp, a 2-day shred fest for kids ages 12-18, complete with coaching, giveaways and special pro appearances. Got kids? In addition to great ski and board programs during the day, they’ll have the Kids Lounge ready for entertaining the most important young guests. Video games, Vew-Do boards and an indoor Riglet Park are just a few of the nightly activities scheduled from December 26 through January 2. Plus, Sylvia Fletcher and her Magic Trunk of Ventrilo-tastic characters will perform on 12/28 from 5:30-6:15pm for an extra special Kids Lounge.

Okemo Mountain Resort

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, Okemo celebrates the holidays with a selection of sugarplum-packed, family-fun events and activities plus a great pre-Christmas lodging offer. Okemo’s `Twas the Week Before Christmas Package offers rates 50 percent less than holiday rates that begin after Christmas! Skiers and riders can save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars with an Okemo lodging reservation for three nights or more, starting December 18 with departure by December 26. Call (802) 228-1600.

Quechee Ski Area

The Quechee Club will host a variety of family fun activities for all ages over the holiday. Enjoy the alpine ski area or more than 10 miles of Nordic Trails, sledding, ice skating, or explore the wilderness on snowshoes. Quechee encourages embracing the outdoors. In addition to premier lodging and amenities, the Recreation Department runs full winter programming with daily schedules that include events like family Movie Night and Kids’ Night Out featuring adventures like indoor rock climbing and mobile laser tag. Off campus trips are also available and include best-of Vermont winter activities like Dog Sledding and backcountry snowmobile tours. For more information about premier rentals and holiday vacation happenings, please visit www.quecheeclub.com or call (802)295-9356.

Killington Mountain Resort

Killington is set to host the 2nd annual Jingle Jam at the Mouse Run terrain park on December 19, 2015. Skiers and snowboarders will donate unopened presents to the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County in exchange for half-off their registration fee. During December the Killington Grand Resort Hotel will also host the Vermont Holiday Festival to benefit the Vermont Foodbank, featuring hundreds of uniquely designed evergreen trees, Santa’s Workshop for kids, and free Sleigh Rides.

Sugarbush Resort

The whole family will find some fun during the holidays at Sugarbush. But first, don’t miss The Big Kicker, the winter kickoff party co-hosted with Mad River Glen complete with films, freestyle expos, food, presentations, and more. Christmas week, enjoy everything from Christmas Dinner and S’mores Cookout to VINS Birds of Prey Performance and Kids’ Cooking Class. Don’t miss the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Display on New Year’s Eve, as well as a dog parade earlier in the day.

Bolton Valley

Nothing brings friends and families together for good times quite like the holidays, and holidays spent on snow create lasting memories. Bolton Valley’s cozy base village will be trimmed in white lights for the holidays, creating a festive atmosphere for guests at the resort. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the mountain will be full of guests enjoying skiing, riding and daily family events. The Indoor Amusement Center will be open every day this week. Free, family oriented evens include a Magic Show and a Balloon Twister creating balloon sculptures. Skiers and riders will also have a chance to warm up around a campfire with complimentary hot cocoa and cookies or head inside for family movie night. Don’t miss the New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Torchlight Parade at 8:30pm on Thursday, December 31.

Stowe Mountain Resort

Enjoy savings and convenience every day, holidays included with Stowe ByPass. At Stowe Mountain Resort you can simply sign-up for ByPass online at no-charge and go direct to the lift every day you ski or ride. Add to that instantaneous savings by automatically paying the discounted ByPass rate, even during the holidays, the first time you’re scanned at the lift each day. The Evolution Stowe Card has replaced traditional tickets, using RFID technology for optimum convenience and value throughout Stowe Mountain Resort.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

December is Holiday Magic Month at Smugglers’ Notch Resort. Throughout the month, families visiting Smugglers’ can create their own holiday magic through cookie decorating, craft workshops, and evening elf tuck-ins with bedtime stories. Christmas Eve highlights include the arrival of Santa, and a torchlight parade and fireworks. Smugglers’ ushers in 2016 with a New Year’s celebration featuring a bonfire, torchlight parade, fireworks, late night entertainment and dance parties, and a variety of dining alternatives. The Kids’ Night Out program at Treasures nursery offers children ages 3-11 their own New Year’s fun with dinner, games and entertainment available until after midnight. December vacation packages starting at $129 per adult and $99 per youth ages 3-17 include condominium lodging, daily lift tickets, outdoor ice skating, use of the heated pool and hot tubs, the indoor FunZone with games & inflatables, daytime and evening snow tubing, use of cross country skiing & snowshoeing trails, and nightly family & adult entertainment. (www.smuggs.com/skivtw, 855-814-7325)

Q Burke Mountain Resort

Spend the Holidays at Q Burke Mountain Resort with plenty to do for the whole family. There will be special appearances by the man himself, Mr. Santa Claus, and gingerbread house decorating and sledding on the slopes of Burke Mountain. Be one of the first to stay in the new Q Burke Hotel and Conference Center with plenty of amenities to keep the whole gang entertained. Outdoor heated pool and hot tub, family arcade, fitness center, fine-dining, coffee shop, and a relaxing day lodge ambiance will let you revel in the journeys of the day while relaxing fireside enjoying company. Finish off or start another day with Dinner and Comedy on Saturday, December 26th with Tony Bates and Jim Colliton in the Q Burke Darling Conference Room.

For more info, visit skivermont.com.

 

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NANTUCKET NOEL 2015 Features Ron Howard’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ Film

December 3, 2015

Starting with the annual month-long Nantucket Noel on November 27 and running through Nantucket New Years, and including the dazzling Christmas Stroll Weekend December 4-6, Nantucket will be the place to be this holiday season.

Starting with Nantucket Noel, holiday festivities begin the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 27 with the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Community Caroling. Locals and visitors assemble at the top of Main Street at dusk to thrill the lighting of more than 100 holiday trees followed by.

The following weekend is the long-awaited Christmas Stroll Weekend with a dizzying list of events including Nantucket Historical Association’s Festival of Wreaths and Festival of Trees, Scavenger Hunt, Christmas Market, Storefront and Tree Decorating Contests, Town Crier Ringing in Christmas Stroll and arrival of Santa Claus, the Magical Talking Tree on Main Street, Community Sing-Along and live entertainment!

Nantucket Historical Association’s annual Festival of Wreaths will feature eighty beautifully crafted wreaths on display in the Whaling Museum’s McCausland Gallery. Each wreath was created by a Nantucket community member, local merchant, nonprofit organization, artist, artisan or school children. This free event runs Wednesday thru Saturday November 25 and 27–28 (closed Thanksgiving November 26) from 10am to 5pm. All wreaths can be won through a competitive bidding process and proceeds support NHA’s many programs.

NHA’s much beloved 22nd Annual Festival of Trees will be held December 4 – 31 from 10am to 5pm daily (hours on Friday, December 4 will be 10am–8pm and Saturday, December 12 from 5pm-8pm) at the Whaling Museum.

NANTUCKET CHAMBER’S NANTUCKET NOEL HOLIDAY RAFFLE
Anyone can enter the Nantucket Chamber’s Nantucket Noel Holiday Raffle featuring a fabulous prize of a one-week Nantucket stay in a traditional cottage and includes round trip transportation, dining gift certificates to three restaurants, two bikes for one week, Nantucket RTA one-week bus pass for two and a Stop & Shop gift card. Only 500 tickets are available and they are on sale now. Stop at the Chamber office at 0 Main Street or call 508-228-1700 to purchase. The raffle drawing will be held on January 2, 2016.

NANTUCKET NEW YEARS
Nantucket New Years will run from Wednesday, December 30, 2015 through Saturday, January 2, 2016. Activities and events will include the Festival of Trees, a Nantucket Walkabout, Birding Field Trip, Noon Years Eve Arts & Crafts Workshop, Skating Celebration, Night to Remember Ball, New Year’s Eve Bon Voyage Dinner and more!

IN the HEART of the SEA
And as if the foregoing was not enough, the much-anticipated December 11 launch of Ron Howard’s blockbuster feature film In the Heart of the Sea, based upon the novel written by Nantucket resident Nathaniel Philbrick, will invoke Nantucket’s glory days as “whaling capital of the world” in the mid-19th century. The film can be viewed in the very “heart of the sea” on Nantucket island!

The novel and feature film both evoke the Essex, an 88-foot whaleship which called Nantucket home. Departing its island home in August 1819 for an anticipated 2-1/2-year voyage, the Essex met its untimely end on November 20, 1820 when the ship sank 2,000 nautical miles west of South America as a direct result of a whale attack by an unusually large (85-foot) sperm whale. What followed the wreck, the desolation of the surviving sailors and their tribulations, were practically beyond words. The three survivors were rescued when almost within sight of the South American coast by Nantucket whaleship Dauphin, on February 23, 95 days after Essex sank. Both novel and film recount what is purported to be the true story behind Herman Melville’s classic 1851 novel Moby Dick.

Philbrick observed a truism of survival tales, which In the Heart of the Sea is definitely one, “A survival tale peels away the niceties and comforts of civilization. Suddenly, all the technology and education in the world means nothing. I think all of us wonder while reading a survival tale, ‘What would I have done in this situation? Would I have made it?’ ”

CARLISLE HOUSE IN the HEART of the SEA GETAWAY PACKAGE December 10-13, 2015 only
Carlisle House, an 18th-century island B&B, is offering an In the Heart of the Sea getaway package. Just imagine watching the movie while visiting the mid-19th century “whaling capital of the world” and the very place from which the actual Essex whaleship departed for its ill-fated voyage in 1819.

Carlisle House’s In the Heart of the Sea package will be offered December 10-13, 2015
and will help celebrate the 250th anniversary of this former whaling captain’s house which was once owned by Love Parker, sister of Essex Captain Pollard. Pollard’s story is told in the major motion picture In the Heart of the Sea by director Ron Howard which opens that weekend! For $399 the getaway package includes: two-night stay in a spacious queen room, continental-plus breakfast daily, two tickets to the film at Nantucket’s Dreamland Theatre and admission for two at the Nantucket Whaling Museum.

For additional information about Nantucket and holiday events, visit Nantucket Chamber or telephone 508-228-1700.

Meanwhile, on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard:

CAPE COD

Come celebrate Christmas on Cape Cod this December.  Every town and village puts their special stamp on holiday-inspired events throughout the month, including festive strolls, theater performances, parades, harbor lightings and Santa’s arrival by boat. Kids will love the Train to Christmas Town aboard Cape Cod Central Railroad and Gardens Aglowat Heritage Museums & Gardens. Visit http://christmasoncapecod.com/ for holiday events, packages, “shop-portunities” and to find out how you could win hundreds of dollars in gift cards through the “Santa’s Helper” social media promotion! Lots of holiday happenings are planned in Hyannis (see http://web.hyannis.com/events?month=12&Year=2015). Find more information on Cape Cod.

 

MARTHA’S VINEYARD

A favorite Island tradition for 34 years, Christmas in Edgartown – happening December 10-13 – celebrates the holidays and provides visitors the chance to experience the charm of Edgartown in the winter! Weekend highlights include the Christmas parade, an arts & craft fair, holiday concerts, photos with Santa, the annual lighting of the lighthouse at the Harbor View Hotel, retail promotions, and holiday-themed events benefiting Island Charities. For more information visithttp://www.mvy.com/

 

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