Archive for the ‘Christmas travel’ Category

Holly Jolly Christmas and Holiday Events in Orlando

December 6, 2016
mickeys-very-merry-xmas-party3-e2-cory-oborn

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at DisneyWorld’s Magic Kingdom (photo by Cory O’Born)

Holiday traditions and joyful celebrations transform Orlando into a holly jolly destination. Here’s a sampling:

Celebrate traditions of the season from around the globe as Epcot hosts another year of Holidays Around the World through Dec. 30, 2016. Taking place three times each day, the Candlelight Processional features a stirring retelling of the story of Christmas by a celebrity narrator, set against the inspirational backdrop of a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park plays host to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, held select nights through Dec. 22, 2016. Enjoy live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and a jolly holiday parade with Mickey, Santa and other familiar Disney friends. See Cinderella’s Castle sparkle white lights, as well as a magical snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.

Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure: This holiday season, Universal’s Islands of Adventure transforms Seuss Landing into the world of Grinchmas, from Dec. 3, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017. Included with park admission, Grinchmas will be sure to delight Dr. Seuss fans of all ages with festive storybook décor, a heartwarming live show featuring recorded music by Mannheim Steamroller, and meet-and-greet- opportunities with the Grinch himself!

Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios Florida: The streets of Universal Studios Florida  fill with floats and balloons straight from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in Universal’s very own Macy’s Holiday Parade, through Jan. 1, 2017. Event admission is included with regular park admission.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration: Included with regular park admission, guests can experience the fun-filled holidays with special shows and attractions, including Shamu Christmas Miracles, Winter Wonderland on Ice and The Polar Express Experience (select nights, through Dec. 31).

Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND Florida  During the Christmas Bricktacular event  (Dec. 17 – 18, 24 – 25, 26 – 30). kids will enjoy a 270,000 brick Christmas tree and festive decorations, as well as daily appearances by Santa Claus. Event admission is included with regular park admission.

Visit Orlando is an official seller of Orlando attractions tickets. You can find discounted tickets (http://tickets.visitorlando.com/store/)  Find discounted tickets to Orlando theme parks, attractions, sporting events and dinner shows.

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‘Christmas Town’ at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

December 6, 2016
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Celebrate the spirit of the season at Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town™ amid the glow of more than eight million lights ©2016 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Christmas shines brightest at Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™. The theme park is aglow with eight million lights, one of the largest light displays in North America. Festive food and drink, holiday shopping and heart-warming shows make the season come alive at Busch Gardens. season. Additions this year include Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland, an entire area where guests can meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his friends. The park will also operate a second major roller coaster, Tempesto®, and will open Sesame Street® Forest of Fun with a special holiday atmosphere. Visit the big man in red at his North Pole workshop and capture an unforgettable memory. Keep warm with a mug of the park’s signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate and enjoy the spirit of the holiday. (Guests who purchase tickets on the day of their visit at the park will pay the full general admission price of $38. Daily ticket prices and availability can be found at www.christmastown.com/va).

For flexibility and the freedom to enjoy Christmas Town multiple days, visitors can purchase the Christmas Town Fun Card, which, for the same price as general admission, allows unlimited visits. The Fun Card is available on the park’s website, or may be purchased the day of visit. Christmas Town is open on select days through Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, visit www.christmastown.com/va  (1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, 800-343-7946).

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Christmas Holidays in Colonial Williamsburg

December 6, 2016
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Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg (photo by Danielle Hendricks)

Colonial Willamsburg takes on a special holiday flare, with handmade decorations lit by cressets throughout the Historic Area, and the scent of hot cider and ginger cakes filling the streets.

Williamsburg began as Middle Plantation, an outpost of Jamestown, in 1633 and served as Virginia’s capital from 1699 to 1780. When you discover Colonial Williamsburg, you become a citizen of the Revolutionary City, engaging with the local community and experiencing firsthand the daily struggles of wartime. Explore the art museums, unleash your kids’ inner colonists, tee off a game of golf, or relax and unwind at the Spa. Stay at one of the official Colonial Williamsburg hotels, with a variety of opportunities to shop and dine.

Among the attractions:

The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, accessible via the Public Hospital of 1773 at 326 Francis St. West, are open to guests with Colonial Williamsburg or Art Museums admission. Seasonal exhibit highlights include perennial favorite dollhouse exhibit “The World Made Small” plus the return of “A Carolina Room Christmas” and the new “German Toys in America.”

Bassett Hall, the local home of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, is decorated for the holidays and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to guests with Colonial Williamsburg admission.

Information, admission and special program tickets are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations, online at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com or by calling 855-296-6627 (101 Visitor Center Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185, 866-987-6322).

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‘A Colonial Christmas’ in Jamestown

December 6, 2016
Christmas Music at Jamestown Settlement, Virginia (Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo)

Christmas Music at Jamestown Settlement, Virginia (Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation photo)

The Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown celebrate “A Colonial Christmas” through December 31. The month-long event explores 17th- and 18th-century holiday traditions with interpretive programs and, December 26-31, festivities abound with musical entertainment of the period.

The two living-history museums tell the story of our nation’s beginnings throughout the year with gallery exhibits and historical interpretation in re-created outdoor settings – a Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement, and Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. 

Jamestown Settlement

“A Jamestown Christmas” holiday film and special interpretive programs compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of America’s first permanent English colony. In England, the holiday season – extending from December 25 to January 6 – was a time of merriment and feasting. While little is known about Christmases in early Jamestown, “A Colonial Christmas” activities reflect the cultural traditions recalled by English colonists.

Throughout the month, visitors to the outdoor living-history areas can learn about the Jamestown colony’s early years as well as the English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606, and the Powhatan Indian hospitality shown to Captain John Smith’s trading party in 1608 during a winter storm. In the re-created Powhatan Indian village, historical interpreters will present ongoing demonstrations on typical winter activities, including food preservation and hunting tools and techniques.

In the re-created fort, visitors can see wattle-and-daub buildings decorated with greenery and demonstrations of fancy cooking and, December 23-31, experience the 17th-century English tradition of the Lord of Misrule, “grand captain of all mischief.” 

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Hear accounts of Christmas and winter in military encampments during the American Revolution and glimpse holiday preparations on a Revolution-era farm. Visitors to the Continental Army encampment can learn about winter camp life and hear accounts of Christmas during the war, as well as assist the quartermaster in preparing military supplies and, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, observe artillery demonstrations.

At the clapboard farmhouse adorned with greenery, historical interpreters compare and contrast 18th-century holiday traditions with those of modern times and demonstrate a variety of holiday activities, including setting a farmhouse table for a holiday feast. Visitors can see open-hearth cooking in the farm kitchen and take part in periodic candle-dipping activities. 

Period Holiday Music & Entertainment

In Jamestown Settlement’s re-created fort church and at the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, visitors can enjoy a variety of 17th- and 18th-century holiday music December 26-31, including fiddler David Gardner, Barry and Lynn Trott and the Itinerant Band.  Musical performances will be at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Jamestown Settlement and at 12 and 2 p.m. at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Tickets & Private Tours

A value-priced combination ticket to both museums is $21.25 for adults and $10.75 for ages 6-12 Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $17.00 for adults and $8.00 for ages 6-12 and to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free.

A History is Fun combination ticket – available online only – offers seven days of unlimited admission to both museums at $21.25 for adults and $10.75 for ages 6-12 and includes coupon booklets for Williamsburg Premium Outlets and a Historic Yorktown Rewards Card.

Christmas-themed private tours are available for an additional fee with advance reservations for a party of 14 or fewer people. Reservations can be made online or by calling (757) 253-4939.

In time for holiday shopping, Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown  gift shops offer a selection of books, prints, museum reproductions, educational toys, games and souvenirs relating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Admission is not required to visit the museum gift shops, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Shop online at www.shophistoryisfun.com.

Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round, except for Christmas and New Year’s days. The museums are separated by a 25-minute drive along the Colonial Parkway, a National Scenic Byway. Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. Parking is free. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free, (757) 253-4838 or visit www.historyisfun.org/jamestown-settlement/a-colonial-christmas.

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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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Charleston, SC Holiday Festivities Tap into History, Culture

December 23, 2014
The Garden Club of Charleston has partnered with the Joseph Manigault House to present “Charleston’s Antebellum Charms,” a themed floral display.

The Garden Club of Charleston has partnered with the Joseph Manigault House to present “Charleston’s Antebellum Charms,” a themed floral display.

Charleston, S.C. is celebrating the holiday season with a series of festive events and lectures that tap into the area’s rich history and culture. The charming city comes to life featuring breathtaking southern Antebellum mansions decorated in traditional holiday themed flora and more. Here are some highlights:

  • The Charleston Museum presents Holiday Decorations at the Joseph Manigault House,December 6 – 31, 2014: The Garden Club of Charleston has partnered with the Joseph Manigault House to present “Charleston’s Antebellum Charms,” a themed floral display. The Joseph Manigault House is an exquisite antebellum structure that reflects the lifestyle of wealthy urban rice planters in the early part of the 19th century. The Garden Club highlights the magnificent beauty of the Joseph Manigault House with creative holiday arrangements, using only live plant materials that would have been available in the Lowcountry during the first quarter of the 19th century. For more information, visit  www.charlestonmuseum.org or call (843)722-2996.
  • The Historic Charleston Foundation presents Yuletide in the Lowcountry HolidayExhibitions, end of November 2014 – early January 2015: Visitors are invited to experience the feasts, decorations and local traditions of Historic Charleston Foundation’s two museum houses, the Nathaniel Russell House, constructed in 1808 and the circa 1820 Aiken-Rhett House. Guests will experience Christmases past and learn the evolution of holiday traditions in Charleston through the display Yuletide in the Lowcountry. Beginning at the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, guests will learn about elegant early 19th century family gatherings replete with holiday embellishments collected from local flora.  Visitors will observe the time-honored Victorian trimmings of a Lowcountry Christmas dinner in 1860 at the Aiken-Rhett House Museum. House museums hours of operation are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon. through Sat.; 2 – 5 p.m., Sunday; last tour begins at 4:15 p.m. Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Reservations are needed for groups of 12 or more. For more information, visit www.historiccharleston.org or call (843) 724-8485.
  • South Carolina Historical Society presents the 7thAnnual Winter Lecture Series, January 20 – March 10, 2015: The South Carolina Historical Society will host a series of lectures this winter highlighting “South Carolinians You Should Know.” A few highlights include Robert Mills, a Charlestonian who famously designed the Washington Monument, and Anne Pamela Cunningham, a South Carolinian who salvaged Mount Vernon through donations and the creation of “The Mount Vernon Ladies Association,” which continues to manage the property today. Lectures will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 7 p.m. at the historic First Baptist Church in downtown Charleston. Please join the SCHS each Tuesday to learn more about South Carolina and its contributions to our national history. For more information, visit www.southcarolinahistoricalsociety or call (843)723-3225.

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All New ‘Holidays in Space’ Light Show Delights Guests at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

December 23, 2014
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is treating guests to an out-of-this-world holiday experience with an all new Holiday Rocket Garden Light Show, part of the attraction’s annual “Holidays in Space” celebration.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is treating guests to an out-of-this-world holiday experience with an all new Holiday Rocket Garden Light Show, part of the attraction’s annual “Holidays in Space” celebration.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is treating guests to an out-of-this-world holiday experience with an all new Holiday Rocket Garden Light Show, part of the attraction’s annual “Holidays in Space” celebration.

The new Holiday Rocket Garden Light Show takes place daily through Jan. 4 in the ever-popular Rocket Garden, a Visitor Complex hallmark. The outdoor garden features a majestic collection of real and replica capsules and rockets, soaring 80, 90, and 100 feet into the sky, demonstrating how manned space flight progressed through the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo eras.

The Visitor Complex also is adorned for the holiday season with a stunning array of decorations including a 41-foot Christmas tree, a giant NASA “meatball” ornament, garlands, lights, ribbons, bows and more.

“Coming here for the holidays was absolutely amazing, we really, really enjoyed it. There was a lot to do, it was beyond my expectations and we’ll definitely come back,” said James Devon of Jersey, United Kingdom. “ Well, we haven’t really got anything like this back in England, so it’s something new. Obviously there are a lot of other attractions in Florida and this one of them, it was something I’ve always wanted to see.”

“Walking down the sidewalk and seeing the rockets lit up, that was amazing,” said Rebecca Lagare of Petersham, Massachusetts. “I’m glad that they did something like that.”

“Many astronauts have told us that they have felt no greater sense of peace and hope for humankind than when looking down on the blue marble of Earth from space,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of the Visitor Complex. “Through this truly unique celebration, we hope to share that incredible feeling with all our guests this holiday season.”

A second element will be added to Holidays in Space Dec. 22 through Dec. 30 when a 3D projection mapping presentation will be shown on the side of the 223-foot-long Saturn 1B rocket. Also called spatial augmented reality, this technology is used to project images onto irregularly shaped objects, such as bridges, buildings, and now, a rocket. This remarkable presentation, a first at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, features custom animation blended with historic footage of actual launches and awe-inspiring views of Earth from the ISS. The show takes guests on a walk through NASA history, from the first moon launches, through the 30-year Space Shuttle Program and the assembly of the ISS, and onto the surface of Mars, thanks to actual images captured by NASA’s robotic exploration rovers.

From Dec. 26-Dec. 31, a Holiday Laser Light Spectacular will be added to the festivities, featuring an incredible music and laser light show that will be visible in Orlando and throughout Central Florida. The green rays from the laser show may even be bright enough for crew aboard the International Space Station to see.

All holiday activities are included with Visitor Complex admission; no advance reservations are required. Light shows begin at dusk each day. The Visitor Complex is open 365 days a year, including Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s holiday hours of operation are:

Nov. 28-Dec. 25: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dec. 26-Jan. 4: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun and educational activities, including the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Shuttle Launch Experience®, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space®: Explorers Wanted and many other interactive exhibits. The new $100 million home for Space Shuttle AtlantisSM opened June 29, 2013. Admission also includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft and the world’s largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia, which opens daily at noon and closing times vary by season. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit http://www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

Twitter: @ExploreSpaceKsc

facebook.com/KennedySpaceCenterVisitorComplex

 

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Accuweather: Five Major Cities Most Likely to Have a White Christmas

December 10, 2014
Accuweather predicts Milwaukee is likely to have a White Christmas (photo supplied by Accuweather).

Accuweather predicts Milwaukee is likely to have a White Christmas (photo supplied by Accuweather).

The five major US cities with the highest probability for a white Christmas, with at least one inch of snow on the ground are Minneapolis, Denver, Milwaukee, Detroit, Buffalo, according to AccuWeather.

“Many people across the country are likely dreaming of a white Christmas, some cities offer a better probability than others for snow on the ground each holiday,” reports Michael Kuhne, staff writer for AccuWeather.com.

“You need snow – on or near Christmas Day is ideal,” AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jim Andrews said. “Of course, if it happens well before Christmas, it needs to stay cold (near to below freezing) through Christmas to keep snow on the ground.”

Also, a cold snap before the snowfall is helpful in chilling the ground, he said, adding that frozen ground holds snow much better than unfrozen ground.

Areas of the interior Northeast, Upper Midwest, northern Plains, Rocky Mountains and Intermountain West offer the highest prospect of a white Christmas in the continental United States.

Take a look at five of America’s major cities with populations of more than 250,000 that are most likely to see a white Christmas each year based on NOAA’s 30-year normal data from 1981-2010.

Minneapolis

Minneapolis takes the number one spot on our list with a 77 percent likelihood of having at least an inch of snow on the ground for the Christmas holiday. The city’s December snowfall average is 11.5 inches and the snowiest Christmas on record occurred in 1945 with a snowfall total of 9.6 inches.

“Minneapolis is farthest north and the coldest of the cities [on the list],” Andrews said. “By the time you get to Christmas, the normal temperature is well below freezing; if there’s precipitation, the odds are that it will be snow rather than rain or ice.”

Denver

Taking the number two spot on the list with a 50 percent prospect of seeing a white Christmas, Denver has an average December snowfall of 8.7 inches. The snowiest Christmas Day in the Mile-High City’s recorded history occurred in 2007 with a total of 7.4 inches.

“Denver’s climate is volatile in December,” Andrews said. “It can be exceptionally warm on Christmas day with temperatures nearing 70 F, or it be near minus 20 F; those are absolute extremes.”

If the pattern is such that the normal, moderating westerly winds are shut off, the cold can hold its ground there and keep snow locked in, he added.

Milwaukee

Along with two other cities on this list, Milwaukee ties for third place with a 47 percent probability of a white Christmas. The city sees an average of 10.6 inches of snowfall in December. The snowiest Christmas in the city’s recorded history occurred in 1950 with a total of 5.7 inches of snow.

“[The probability] has to do with the normal temperature and normal precipitation in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas,” Andrews said.

Detroit

Detroit, like Milwaukee, has a 47 percent prospect of having at least 1 inch or more of snow on the ground at Christmas each year. The average snowfall for December across the Motor City is 9.7 inches.

While the 2013-2014 season marked the snowiest winter in the city’s history, Detroit’s snowiest Christmas day occurred in 1915 with a snowfall total of 7.9 inches.

“While Detroit does not benefit from lake-effect snow, it is usually cold enough [in December] for precipitation to often take the form of snow, thereby giving the city a significant chance of a white Christmas,” Andrews said.

Buffalo

As with Detroit and Milwaukee, there is a 47 percent likelihood that Buffalo will have a white Christmas each year. Buffalo has the highest December snowfall average on the list with 27.4 inches. The snowiest Christmas Day the city has seen in recorded history occurred in 2002 with a snowfall total of 8.4 inches.

“Lake-effect snow contributes to the city’s near 50 percent probability of seeing a white Christmas,” Andrews said.

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Culture-Rich ‘Yuletide in Taos’ Holiday Celebration Returns to Taos, NM

November 26, 2014

TAOS, NM—Taos, New Mexico’s unique, magical holiday tradition of “Yuletide in Taos,” is just weeks away from unwrapping, beginning with the annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot on Nov. 22 and culminating with the meaningful Taos Pueblo Christmas traditions through Dec. 25.

“There’s no other place that brings the warmth of rich cultural holiday traditions to life than Taos, where the senses come alive with the lights, sounds, and experiences that are unique to this town. Plus, with Taos Ski Valley’s new chairlift to Kachina Peak, skiers can now experience some of the highest ski runs in the world,” said Town of Taos Mayor Dan Barrone.

Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27, skiers will be able to experience Taos Ski Valley’s Kachina Peak at an elevation of 12,450 feet thanks to a recently installed chairlift – one of the highest chairlifts in North America.  The lift will increase the mountain’s advanced and expert lift-serviced terrain by 50 percent. Also new during the 2014-2015 ski season, expert skiers will have the chance to access 35 acres of terrain off the West Basin Ridge known as “Wild West Glades.”

The purchase of two new air compressors at Taos Ski Valley is expected to optimize the resort’s snowmaking capabilities, resulting in earlier access to more terrain and more snow. The resort will be open on a limited schedule Thursday through Sunday until Dec. 7. Visit skitaos.org for complete information.

In time for the start of holiday shopping, many businesses in downtown Taos are offering tax-free shopping from Nov. 29 through Dec. 13. Businesses will have a decal on store fronts indicating their participation, which saves shoppers 8.1875 percent on items.

The 29th annual Yuletide Arts and Crafts Fair, Nov. 28–30, provides a head start on holiday shopping with dozens of arts and crafts made by local artists including jewelry, tin work, carved santos, paintings, and much more. Gift wrapping is available and guests will have a chance to win door prizes. Santa will also make an appearance each day. There is no charge for the fair, which takes place at the UNM-Rio Grande and Bataan Halls in Taos.

The highlight of Yuletide in Taos – the 28th annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting – brings the community together as Taos Mayor Dan Barrone lights the town Christmas tree in Taos Plaza at 4 p.m. Then, the Plaza will be open to foot traffic only, and Plaza businesses will have special offerings including complementary hot cocoa, cookies, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch who will handing out 200 toys donated and distributed by the Taos Optimist Club Elves. The local Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts along with Taos Middle and High School choruses will sing traditional Christmas songs, and live entertainment will be provided by a number of local artists. A Yuletide Parade is scheduled at 4:55 p.m. Special parking arrangements will be provided for people requiring ADA access to the event. There is no charge for the event, and all are welcome to attend. Contact Judy Esquibel at 575-737-2588 for details.

On Dec. 6, Millicent Rogers Museum will host a free “Holiday Fiesta” for families with holiday-centered activities at the museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $2 for kids 2–16 years of age. Visit millicentrogers.org for more information.

One of the holiday staples in Taos, Lighting Ledoux, will illuminate historic Ledoux Street with hundreds of farolitos, luminarias, and bonfires on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 4–7 p.m. Galleries, shops and museums are open later, and offer complementary food and hot drinks while carolers serenade passersby along the way. There is no charge to attend.

Eighteenth century-built historic “great house,” Hacienda de los Martinez, is hosting a tree lighting event at 3 p.m. on Dec. 7 at their “Memories in Lights” event, followed by a program with music by Los Pastores. A reception will follow. Visit taoshistoricmuseums.org for more information or call 575-758-0505.

The Working Class Theater and Taos Youth Ballet will perform an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol” at the Taos Community Auditorium from Dec. 10–14 with a 7 p.m. performance each night. Tickets are $17 for adults; $10 for 18 and under; $5 for 5 and under. Tickets go on sale Nov. 15 and can be purchased by calling the TCA at 575-758-2052. Working Class Theater is a 501c3 non-profit and is in need of donations. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit taostheatre.org.

The furry members of the family can get in on the Christmas spirit at the John Dunn Shops’ “Santa Paws” event, from noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 13. Santa Paws will pose with pets for pictures. Animals in need of loving homes will be available for adoption, and food and beverages will be on hand. The event benefits St. James Pet Food Pantry.

Within walking distance of the Santa Paws event, Bent Street will be lit with small farolitos and luminaries as part of “Bonfires on Bent Street,” from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 13. Businesses will offer food, music, appearances from Santa and more.

The rich Spanish tradition of “Las Posadas” takes place Dec. 14–22 at 6 p.m. nightly, where everyone can participate in re-enactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging. Each night, the group representing the Holy Family will stand outside a home and sing songs, asking for lodging, only to be turned away. Followers carry candles as the couple searches for a home which will eventually take them in on Dec. 24. Begins at St. Francis de Asis Church.

Taos Pueblo celebrates their traditional Christmas Eve Procession on Dec. 24 at sunset, which is unlike anything else of its kind. The celebration is a stunning contrast between massive bonfires and the Procession of the Virgin with rifle salutes from the rooftops of the 1,000 year old adobe pueblo buildings. Taos Pueblo natives will perform a ceremonial dance on Dec. 25, known as Taos Pueblo Deer (or) Matachines Dance. The dance takes place at 2 p.m. in the Taos Pueblo’s Plaza. No cameras or cell phones allowed. Visit taospueblo.com.

Several ski resorts along the Enchanted Circle including Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire, Sipapu, Enchanted Forest, and Red River are all hosting their own Christmas Eve Torchlight Parades on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Watch as skiers make their way down ski slopes in the dark with flares as their only means of light. Taos Ski Valley is also the place to be on New Year’s Eve with their fireworks show and parade, beginning at 6 p.m. Visit taos.org for more information.

For a complete list of all Yuletide in Taos events or for lodging information and specials, visit taos.org.
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Ski and Ride in Vermont this Holiday Season

November 26, 2014
Smugglers' Notch Resort's holiday celebration December 19-26, 2014 includes elf tuck-ins & bedtime stories, a holiday crafts party, and on Christmas Eve, the arrival of Santa, a torchlight parade and fireworks © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s holiday celebration December 19-26, 2014 includes elf tuck-ins & bedtime stories, a holiday crafts party, and on Christmas Eve, the arrival of Santa, a torchlight parade and fireworks © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Snow covered pine trees, quaint villages decked out in lights, and the feeling of gliding down a mountain side, followed by hot cocoa by the fire. What could be a better way to spend a holiday? Vermont ski and snowboard resorts are a majestic destination during the holidays and offer many cheerful activities and packages to get the family there.

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. The best holiday’s are spent at Bolton Valley, your neighborhood ski area.

Bromley Mountain

Join Bromley for some classic Christmas holiday fun to kick off the vacation week. Dress up like Santa on 12/25/14 and ski or ride for just $25.  Yup, that’s right… break out the red, white and jelly belly and be on the hill for cheap. Wear a santa outfit to the ticket office to redeem savings. Coat, pants, hat and beard (real or fake) are a must.

Jay Peak Resort

Food comas are something to be thankful for.  Try Thanksgiving at Howie’s or Alice’s for a hearty homemade meal slopeside.  Work off the buffet on opening day when Stateside gets the lifts rolling on November 28th.

Ring in the New Year at Jay Peak with fireworks and music.  Details soon at jaypeakresort.com.

Killington Resort

Thanksgiving at Killington means shredding the slopes, and the first rail jams of the season in Loaded Turkey and Rails 2 Riches. Another tradition, the Killington Test Fest, goes down at the base of Superstar on Tuesday, December 16 and Wednesday, December 17, showcasing the best gear for the 2015 season. And be sure to hit the after party at the Wobbly Barn on Tuesday night.

Lift ticket deals up to 60% off are available at Killington.com, where you get Beast Tickets, Best Price.

Pico Mountain opens on December 13, 2014, and a full season of Family Mountain Fun awaits.

Magic Mountain

This upcoming Holiday season will be one to remember at Magic! Opening on the 20th of December, Magic will get everyone’s ski legs back just in time for Holidays. Magic will be making more snow than ever before with our improved system and the newly rebuilt Red Chair will smoothly bring you up to the top of mountain with ease. A New Year’s Eve fireworks bash will be held to show the beauty of Magic against a brilliant night sky. Make walk-to-slopes reservations at the Upper Pass Lodge or Blue Gentian Inn now and get the lowest holiday ticket prices around at the online Magic Store. www.magicmtn.com

Mount Snow Resort

The holidays are a special time at Mount Snow starting Thanksgiving weekend. Friday, November 28 is the Turkey Hangover Hill Climb and then on the 29th the resort will have its first Torchlight Parade (conditions permitting) and Fireworks Extravaganza with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Book two nights and get the third night free over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Christmas holiday week is loaded with events and activities including Grommet Jam #1 for kids age 12 and under on Monday, December 29.  New for this year, enjoy a huge family-friendly Torchlight Parade and Fireworks display on New Years Eve plus live music all week long, family activities and more.

Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo kicks off the holidays with a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner at Coleman Brook Tavern, followed by the annual Trot it Off 5k, November 29. The holiday season is sugarplum-packed with fun events and activities like visits with Santa, a food drive, a Demo Day, a torchlight parade with fireworks, a moonlight hike, an ice skating party, the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge and more. Finally, Okemo rings in the New Year with its annual Family New Year’s Eve – an evening of fun that culminates with a DJ dance party and fireworks show. And of course, there’s lots of great skiing and snowboarding at Okemo. Call (802) 228-1600, or visit okemo.com.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Gobble up a Thanksgiving weekend getaway at Smugglers’ Notch Resort with a three night stay in condominium lodging starting at $372 in a studio home. On Thanksgiving Day, the resort’s Hearth & Candle will serve dinner. Ski or ride on intermediate terrain beginning Friday, November 28 at early season lift ticket pricing ($50/adult, $38/youth ages 6-18). Other holiday weekend activities include enjoying a zip line canopy tour and family fun such as a minigolf tourney in the indoor FunZone, nature walk, or bingo.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s holiday celebration December 19-26, 2014 includes elf tuck-ins & bedtime stories, a holiday crafts party, and on Christmas Eve, the arrival of Santa, a torchlight parade and fireworks. Rates per night start at $115 per youth and $145 per adult, with inclusions of condominium lodging, daily lift tickets, outdoor ice skating, use of the heated pool and hot tubs, the indoor FunZone with games & inflatables, evening snow tubing, use of cross country skiing & snowshoeing trails, and nightly family & adult entertainment. During this period, bookings of 6 nights or more receive the next night free. www.smuggs.com/skivtw

Stowe Mountain Resort

Take everything you don’t like about holiday lift ticket lines and make that easy, as easy as walking from your car directly to the lift and going skiing. That’s the ByPass at Stowe Mountain Resort. Simply get an Evolution Stowe Card online, sign-up for ByPass and go direct to the lift every day you ski or ride in Stowe. 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.

Stratton Mountain Resort

The holidays are a tradition at Stratton Mountain where Thanksgiving starts with the Gobble Gobble Wobble 5K. That’s one way to earn your dinner, served up at restaurants throughout the Village including Table 43.1 where the feast is Vermont farm-to-table. Skiing, riding and plenty of family activities round out the opening weekend celebration.

There’s no place like the mountains to ring in the New Year. This year, those new gondola cabins will provide a perfect vantage point for viewing the torchlight parade and fireworks. Movies and music. Sugar on Snow. Snowshoe treks. Snowmobile tours. Snowtubing. Ice Castle. Dogsledding… It’s all on the holiday week menu at Stratton Mountain.

Sugarbush Resort

Sugarbush hosts numerous fun activities for the whole family starting in November through the holidays. Don’t miss The Big Kicker, the winter kickoff party complete with films, freestyle expos, food, presentations, and more. The annual Taste of Timbers event takes place on December 8th where you can sample locally inspired foods prepared by our culinary team. Christmas week, enjoy everything from the kids’ cooking class and cookie decorating to a live bird show and family fun nights with street performers. Be sure to enjoy the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Display on New Years Eve, as well as a dog parade earlier in the day.

 

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