Archive for the ‘fall getaways’ Category

Come to Atlantic Canada for Foliage, Flavor and Festivals This Fall

September 29, 2017
Canada-PEI fall e2

Prince Edward Island’s red clay roads are delightful for biking in fall.

ATLANTIC CANADA  – The Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island offer more than breathtaking horizons of gold, crimson and amber leaves in autumn.  This fall, travelers to Atlantic Canada’s coastal region will find fewer crowds, lower rates and a variety of festivals, culinary indulgences and experiences that deliver more than simply peeping at leaves from a car.

Prince Edward Island

Throughout September, the Fall Flavours Festival takes foodies on a culinary journey across Prince Edward Island.  From mussel and lobster shore boils and grilled cheese chef challenges, to made in Canada food tours, the festival also features signature events hosted by popular celebrity chefs including PEI’s own Chef Michael Smith. Pricing for individual events vary.

For leaf peepers, the red clay roads on Prince Edward Island(http://www.tourismpei.com) are lined with trees full of apricot orange, fiery red and bright yellow and showcase best between mid-September and mid-October.  Bicycling on the Confederation Trail, which is built on old railroad tracks and spans about 270 miles (435 kilometers), offers spectacular views of colorful foliage with sections that lead through wooded areas and along the coastline.

Nova Scotia

With a famed heritage for its giant pumpkins, Windsor in  Nova Scotia ( http://www.novascotia.com) hosts the annual Pumpkin Festival and Regatta, where people paddle in hollowed out oversized pumpkins and race across Lake Pezaquid. With a backdrop of autumn leaves, spectators can cheer on the pumpkin racers, children can participate in scavenger hunts and so much more during the festivities on October 9.  For more information, visit http://worldsbiggestpumpkins.com

For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is alive with music, activities and events celebrating the community’s rich culture during the annual Celtic Colours International Festival.  Held from October 6-14 when the leaves of Cape Breton are vibrant in red, yellow and orange hues, Celtic Colours has grown to become one of Canada’s premier musical events. At one of the many concerts, guests will be entertained by musicians from around the world sharing the stage with Cape Breton’s best singers, dancers, players, story-tellers and culture bearers in venues that range from community halls and churches to modern schools and theatres. For more information, visit http://celtic-colours.com/.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Foliage enthusiasts looking for an offbeat way to view fall colors can head to Newfoundland and Labrador (http://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com)and hop on an ATV.  In Western Newfoundland, Mount Musgrave ATV Tours travels along Marble Mountain’s jaw-dropping vistas of Humber Valley. The one and half hour tour brings ATVing guests beyond the chairlift to the summit of Mount Musgrave to spot wildlife such as moose, caribou, black bear, and of course, the vibrant hues of changing leaves. Available through October 31, price is $55 CAD per person.

From October 6-8, Fogo Island celebrates the partridgeberry, the tart red berry that grows in abundance in Newfoundland and Labrador.  The Fogo Island Partridgeberry Harvest Festival showcases local produce of Fogo Island and Change Islands through farmer’s market, crafts, bake-offs, harvest competitions, demonstration of traditional woodworking and quilting, music, jam sessions and much more.

New Brunswick

Indulge, New Brunswick’s annual food and wine festival in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, features three days of food experiences and more from October 13 to 15. From a walking tour and tasting of top chefs’ wares along shorefront Water Street to a farmer’s market, tasting dinners and wine trails, guests enjoy local culinary delights.  On October 14, adventurists can race the tide across the ocean floor on bike during Cyclocross the Tide on Ministers Island.  Pricing for individual events vary.

In Miramichi, New Brunswick (http://www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca), the newly opened Over the Cove Zipline stretches more than 980 feet (300 meters). Adventurers can zip over water and through the changing colored leaves in two directions at French Fort Cove, which also offers walking, hiking and biking trails. Over the Cove Zipline is open weekends through October 9. Price is $20 CAD per person.

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The Best of CA Highway 1: Must-See Spots in Cayucos by The Sea

October 8, 2016
Cass-House-2-Cass-House---Pavilion-credit-Lindsey-Hahn

Check out the Historic Cass House and Historical Museum in Cayucos along the Highway 1 Discovery Route, Photo Credit Lindsey Hahn. (PRNewsFoto/California Highway 1 Discovery)

A Beachcomber’s Paradise, A Foodie’s Nirvana, And A Vacationer’s Dream Come True; With a Rich History, Cayucos Features a White Sandy Beach, a Fishing Pier, Tide Pools, Hiking, Biking and Horseback Riding Trails, Plus Enter To Win A Must See Getaway To The Coolest California Beach Town

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif.– Roam around the Coolest California Beach Town! Take the plunge into the classic beach town of Cayucos along the iconic CA Highway 1 Discovery Route in Coastal San Luis Obispo County midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Enjoy miles of pet-friendly beach, surfing, kayaking, strolling the historic pier and getting up close and personal with sea life (think adorable sea otters). With plenty of family-owned restaurants, wineries and local artisan goods, there’s so much for you to enjoy, especially on a fall, mid-week getaway to Cayucos.

Voted “the coolest small town in America” in 2009, Cayucos by the Sea is a surprising gem of a town that appears like magic out of the misty fog. Cayucos is truly an authentic California beach town with a long stretch of white sandy beach, sun more often than fog, a free public fishing pier, an historic saloon, and a quaint old-fashioned main street. Television personality Huell Howser selected Cayucos for an episode of his show, California’s Gold, and filmed most of it strolling up the center of Ocean Avenue, marveling at its un-crowded yet ultra-desirable qualities.

Win a Must-See Cayucos Getaway 
Immerse yourself in Cayucos by entering to win the Must-See Getaway Contest. It’s easy. Just fill out this form and you could be selected to win two night lodging at one of the town’s quaint hotels, wine tasting at Cayucos Cellars, dining and a private kayak tour for two.

Must-See Cayucos by the Sea – As Close To Perfection As You Can Get

Unscathed by the big developers, the population of Cayucos is about 3,000. Despite its small size, Cayucos has an eating establishment to meet everyone’s palate, from a chowder house to five-star dining. You’ll also find fabulous antique stores, surf shops with handcrafted boards, and locally owned gift stores. For children, there are three play areas designed just for them including, picnic tables, barbecues, and a paid lifeguard during the summer. There’s even a fresh water swimming pool in the summer near Hardie Park and two lighted tennis courts, located a short walk away from the pier. Grownups looking for a bit of “spice” will find that “in spades” if you’ll forgive the pun, at The Old Cayucos Tavern, a historic bar with card-playing rooms, pool tables, dancing, and some of the best live music around. Check out this video to see all there is to do in the cool seaside town or visit http://ci.highway1discoveryroute.com/files/Must_See_Caycuos__10416.pdf. For more information on the California Highway 1 Discovery Route, visit www.Highway1DiscoveryRoute.com.

 

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Story of Mad Butcher & Severed Heads Reenacted During Halloween Weekends at West Virginia’s ACE Adventure Resort

October 6, 2016
Nightmare in the Gorge Haunted Trail is the grand finale of a fun-laden season at ACE Adventure Resort on 1,500 acres in West Virginia’s southern hills.

Nightmare in the Gorge Haunted Trail is the grand finale of a fun-laden season at ACE Adventure Resort on 1,500 acres in West Virginia’s southern hills.

NEW RIVER GORGE, WV – How much fear fun can you handle when forests become primeval, distressed ghouls linger in the thickets and overall, for four late October nights, the hair on the back of everyone’s neck will rise?

Nightmare in the Gorge Haunted Trail is the grand finale of a fun-laden season at ACE Adventure Resort on 1,500 acres in West Virginia’s southern hills. Here Nightmare in the Gorge Haunted Hike takes place from 7:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22 and again on Oct. 28 and 29, 2016. To participate, the per person rate is $13 for adults and $10 for youth. Visitors can combine the walk with a Night Sky Zip Line Tour and the rate is $99 for adults, $89 for youth. Add a 5K Zombie Run on Oct. 22 only at $129 for adults and $119 for youth.

And over these two weekends the resort’s cabins can be rented for half price.

The resort comes by its haunting naturally, locals say. There’s an old story from 1960’s about a mad butcher and a number of murders that occurred in the area. The mad butcher, never convicted, has been in and out of mental institutions, while rumors of dismembered heads stayed put. The murders were never solved.

ACE Adventure Resort’s (https://aceraft.com/) designer of fear is Chris Colin, who also stages the resort’s annual music festival. He explained that this year the haunted trail plays off the mad butcher story with a butcher shop with a hillbilly kitchen, a maze through a hillbilly workshop garage, a haunted house – or two – and the introduction of new fear-inspiring characters to the scene.

“We had 1,500 people over four days last year,” Colin said. “We expect to double that number this year.”

The nighttime zip line, a year-round staple, is enhanced by spooky qualities in deference to the season. West Virginia’s New River Gorge becomes a blur as shadows lengthen and people begin to soar like bats through the treetops and moving shadows. Senses leap into overdrive over seven zips and a sky bridge that keeps participants enthralled for over two hours. Adventurers must be 13 years or older and weigh at least 100 pounds (but not over 200).

The 5KM Zombie Run on the first weekend works like flag football. The runners, laden with flags, have to keep their flags away from the aggressive zombies. If they lose their flags, they become zombies too.

Fall colors at ACE Adventure Resort peak mid to late October depending on the weather. However, the protected depths of the New River Gorge can keep colors longer than usual along the river bottom. Prime foliage viewing is best from secluded overlooks which include the Endless Wall Trail, named the best national park hike in the United States by the readers of USA Today. ACE’s popular New River Bridge Catwalk Tour that takes adventurers under the longest single arch bridge in the western hemisphere spans 1.5 miles on a 24-inch wide catwalk (with railings). The fall colors can be truly spectacular with the right timing (this can be coupled with a raft trip).

Most of the activities that have made ACE Adventure Resort a #1 Outfitter in West Virginia continue through fall as well: zip liningmountain bikingdisc golfstand up paddle boarding and rock climbing. The adjacent 70,000-acre New River Gorge National River is an option for miles of wilderness exploring afoot and on horseback or fat tire bike. Guests may also enjoy world class fishing on the New River for small mouth bass. Conditions for rock climbing and mountain biking are usually optimal this time of year.

ACE Adventure Resort is the East Coast’s largest mountain hideaway exclusively focused on world-class whitewater rafting along with guided adventures, outdoor sports and activities, lodging, camping and other amenities. The nearby New River Gorge National River is affectionately known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” and features rafting from April to October. The New and Gauley Rivers combined offer over 100 miles of rapids all within 30 minutes of the resort. Both rivers are administered by the National Park Service.  ACE’s passion since 1980 has been to create vacations wrapped around these rivers and other outdoor adventures so that guests can experience “a world of adventure in one place.” The 1,500 acres here encompass both forest and a 5-acre lake plus a series of ponds, a mining-era ghost town and spectacular cliffs for rock climbing, waterfalls and overlooks.

For more information and to make trip and lodging reservations, please telephone (800) 787-3982 or email ace@aceraft.com. Visit the website at www.aceraft.com.

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New Hampshire’s RiverFire Festival Transforms Androscoggin River Into A Floating Blaze

October 2, 2015
During the RiverFire Festival, the River Walk Bridge in Berlin is decorated with hundreds of creatively carved jack-o-lanterns. The festival, which takes place at the Northern Forest Heritage Park in Berlin, draws more than 5,000 people, and features a day of family-friendly Halloween fun and food before the dramatic lighting of the Androscoggin River at dusk.

During the RiverFire Festival, the River Walk Bridge in Berlin is decorated with hundreds of creatively carved jack-o-lanterns. The festival, which takes place at the Northern Forest Heritage Park in Berlin, draws more than 5,000 people, and features a day of family-friendly Halloween fun and food before the dramatic lighting of the Androscoggin River at dusk.

Burning brighter and hotter than ever with hundreds of jack-o-lanterns and bonfires illuminating the river, the spectacular annual RiverFire Festival presented by Service Credit Union in Berlin will set the Androscoggin River ablaze at dusk on Saturday, October 17.

Now in its 12th year as one of the Grand North’s most celebrated events, the RiverFire Festival draws more than 5,000 people each year to the Northern Forest Heritage Park, 942 Main Street in Berlin, to take part in a day of family-friendly Halloween fun, food and promotions before the dramatic lighting of the Androscoggin River. RiverFire festivities will kick off at 2 p.m. with free admission.

“The RiverFire Festival presented by Service Credit Union is a perfect way to experience New Hampshire’s Grand North in the fall and it is a fantastic opportunity for families to get a head-start on celebrating the Halloween season,” said Paula Kinney, of the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the RiverFire Festival. “To see the river illuminated by fire is simply breathtaking. The striking contrast between the Androscoggin River’s dark waters with the dramatic bonfires and glowing jack-o-lanterns is truly a visual experience that cannot be missed. Along with the dramatic fires on the river beginning at dusk, RiverFire also boasts a full day of fun for the whole family.”

While the fires appear to be floating on the water, the blazes actually burn on the historic boom piers dotting the river. The piers were used during the height of the logging era, when they separated and guided lumber as it floated down the river to the mills of Berlin. During RiverFire, the boom piers are stacked with skids and set on fire creating a dynamic contrast between the dark waters and the bright orange flames. Along with the bonfires, the River Walk Bridge will be decorated with hundreds of creatively carved jack-o-lanterns.

To go along with the spectacular fires on the water, other family-friendly activities include hay rides, pumpkin carving, a petting zoo, duck races, a bouncy house, a children’s Halloween costume parade, and mouth-watering food. The third annual Zombie ATV Poker Run has become a big hit at the festival. In a new nighttime feature this year, RiverFire will also include laser tag from 5 to 9 p.m. In addition, Duke, one of New England’s best country rock bands, will kick off evening festivities with some great live tunes. Food vendors and the 21-plus Beer Tent will be available throughout the afternoon as well. For more information on the schedule of events and activities, visit: http://www.androscogginvalleychamber.com/riverfire-festival/schedule/.

“The RiverFire Festival has become one of the true marquee events of the Grand North, drawing families from all over the region,” said Karl Stone, Marketing Manager for New Hampshire Grand, the official visitor information source for Coos County and the northern White Mountains. “Incredible ‘floating fires,’ a fun-filled Halloween-themed day for families, and a great opportunity to walk Berlin’s historic Main Street, make the RiverFire Festival the hottest event in the Grand North.”

In the third annual Zombie ATV Poker Run, ATV enthusiasts dress in zombie costumes and decorate their ATVs for a chance to win prizes for best costume and most festive ATV. Register at White Mountain ATV Rental, 299 Main Street in Gorham, and ride to the Northern Forest Heritage Park in Berlin. Registration takes place on October 17th from 9-11 a.m. Parking is free.

The third annual RiverFire 5K Run/Walk, which is hosted by Coos County Family Health Services, begins at 2 p.m. Runners leave from Heritage Park, proceed over the 12th-Street Bridge to the cemeteries and return to Heritage Park. For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.coosfamilyhealth.org/riverfire.pdf.

RiverFire presented by Service Credit Union is hosted by the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors include Service Credit Union, AutoNorth Pre-Owned Superstore, Northeast Credit Union, Brookfield Renewable, Northway Bank, Bank of New Hampshire, Great Northwoods Container Service, ReMax Northern Edge Realty, Capone Iron Corporation and Nordic Construction.

For additional information, call (603) 752-6060, or click on www.riverfirenh.com or www.facebook.com/riverfire.berlinnh.

 

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Topnotch Partners with Outfitters to Offer Excursions to Immerse in Stowe, Vermont’s Fall Foliage

October 2, 2015

With the highest percentage of maple trees in New England, Vermont’s reputation as the most vibrant destination for fall foliage is undisputed.  At Topnotch Resort in Stowe, travelers are encouraged to do more than peep at leaves from the car window and has a new program of activities for guests to explore the resort’s natural surroundings, in and among the colorful maple trees.

The new Topnotch Experience Center has been designed to create customized and memorable guest experiences. For the nature-loving, active travelers, the resort offers an array of new activities like Pilates sessions under a canopy of trees in the forest, introductory climbing and bouldering, guided river walks for kids and wake-up foliage hikes. For foodies, visits to local selection of Vermont’s many blossoming Micro Breweries, Creameries and Organic Farms are offered as well as on-site Mixology classes to whet guest appetites.

“The new programming utilizes every one of the 120 acres and acclaimed facilities that have long been the essence of the Topnotch experience, from the base of Mt. Mansfield to the equestrian center and the five-mile Rec trail around Stowe,” says Bob Sassani, general manager of Topnotch Resort. “With vantage points to see foliage right from the windows and outdoor space of our restaurants and from inside the guest rooms, our guests also have the opportunity to not just look, but to get out there and do.”

In addition to a roster of complimentary activities for kids and grown-ups – like hair braiding in the salon, guided nature walks and more – Topnotch offers activities through partnerships with local tour operators and outfitters including:

  • Sunrise Mountain Guides offers morning three to six mile runs or hikes, half day hike options and introductions to climbing and bouldering. Prices range from $25 to $150, per person.
  • Daily guided mountain bike tour through the forests of the Green Mountains led by Mansfield Cycle Bike Tours, priced at $180.00, per couple.
  • New fitness classes like stand up paddleboard classes in the resort’s indoor pool to tone and learn the basics ($20 per class); and “Into the Woods” hike and Saturday mornings Pilates sessions.
  • Topnotch Beer Tastings are held every Tuesday evening starting at 6pm at The Roost in the resort, priced at $10 per person.
  • Five-hour Topnotch Guided Brewery tours to The Crop Brewery, The Rock Art Brewery, The Lost Nation and the von Trapp Brewery, led by Greg Doremus of Vermont Guided Tours, priced at $125 per person.

Leading the charge on program development, Topnotch has enlisted the expertise of Jesse George, the resort’s new “Experience Manager” to research, create and implement activities suited for a wide variety of personalities and ages as well as build partnerships with local vendors.  “The new Experience Center pulls in Topnotch elements and amenities across spa, fitness, and dining, as well as valued partners like Sunrise Mountain Guides, Mansfield Cycle, Vermont Guided Tours and Paddle North to create bespoke vacations for each and every guest,” explains George.

Set within 120 acres of woodland at the foot of Mount Mansfield in the village of Stowe, Vermont, Topnotch Resort blends the gracious charm of a ski lodge with the luxurious amenities of world-class resort. A recent $15M renovation encompassed all 68 guest rooms, 9,000 square feet of meeting space and added a new concept restaurant, The Roost, to complement the locally sourced, full-service restaurant Flannel.   Additional accommodations can be found in a variety of Resort Homes. Amenities at the luxury boutique resort include the 35,000 square foot Topnotch Spa; the Tennis Center with four indoor and six outdoor courts; a state-of-the-art Fitness Center; and water features such as an indoor pool, a whirlpool/Jacuzzi, and two outdoor pools with mountain-views – one of which is heated year-round. Among the outdoor pursuits is cross-country and downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.  One of members of the MetWest Terra Hospitality collection of boutique hotels, Topnotch Resort is a AAA Four-Diamond property and a Preferred Boutique Resort. www.topnotchresort.com

For more information on Topnotch Resort and the new “Activities & Experience Center,” visit www.topnotchresort.com or call 1-800-451-8686.

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Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort offers ‘Fantastic Fall’ Rates as Pro Surfers Gather

October 2, 2014

Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s fabled North Shore is celebrating the season’s world-class North Shore surf with Fantastic Fall rates starting at $209 a night for newly renovated epic ocean-view accommodations. Be there for the kickoff to the world’s top surf competitions with fall rates for travel from Sept. 1-Nov. 27, 2014.

For surfers and their global followers, this 7-mile stretch of white sand beaches possesses its own heroes, legends, and icons. The epic waves, the incredible natural beauty and the friendly people have inspired distinctive music, art, photography, film, and even food that are uniquely part of the North Shore vibe.

Be one of the first to experience Turtle Bay’s recent renovations, including newly renovated guestrooms; two new restaurants with farm-to-table and sea-to-table cuisine; the new Nalu Kinetic Spa and Wellness Center; and two new retail outlets with exclusive coastal styles. Plus, the fall lineup of North Shore surf events is unrivaled – check out the HIC Pro at Sunset Beach from Oct.28-Nov.10, 2014, or the REEF Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa from Nov.12-23, 2014. The Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach runs Nov. 24-Dec. 1, 2014.

Turtle Bay also offers incredible value with an unbeatable lineup of on-site activities – from stand-up paddle boarding and surf lessons at the Hans Hedemann Surf Center to Segway tours, hiking and mountain biking across the resort’s 880 acres to horseback rides at the Stables, beachside yoga at the new Nalu Kinetic Spa and 36 holes of championship golf on two renowned courses. As part of the special Golftober event at Turtle Bay, all guests golf for free throughout the month of October on either course.

Limited quantities of Fantastic Fall rates are available, and rates are subject to change. Call (808) 293-6000 or visit turtlebayresort.com for more.

To discover the destination and stay up to date on the Turtle Bay experience, check out Oahusfablednorthshore.com.

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Homer Hickam & Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival October 3-5 in West Virginia Mountains

September 19, 2014
Homer Hickam is coming to Beckley, West Virginia, October 3-5 for the Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival.

Homer Hickam is coming to Beckley, West Virginia, October 3-5 for the Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival.

The Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival is coming to Beckley, West Virginia the first weekend in October, just in time for peak mountain fall foliage, featuring Homer Hickam and the Rocket Boys and special celebrity guest of honor Hollywood actor Chris Ellis, who played Homer’s Big Creek High School Principal Turner in the movie “October Sky.”

The Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival central location is Beckley’s New River Park, which boasts an authentic exhibition working coal mine that will be open for discounted tours, taking riders on a motorized tour 1,500 feet underground. The park also features an award-winning youth museum and planetarium, great Appalachian food, a complete full size replica of a 1950’s mining town like Coalwood, a miner’s museum, and more.

Fans of Homer Hickam’s New York Times #1 best seller “Rocket Boys” and the movie version “October Sky” will have the opportunity to enjoy free autograph signings and photo ops with actual Rocket Boys Hickam, Roy Lee Cooke, Jimmy “O’Dell” Carroll and Billy Rose and movie cast member Chris Ellis.

Mr. Ellis is one of Hollywood’s most prolific character actors; in addition to  “October Sky,” Chris has appeared in dozens of movie and TV roles in his three decade career including “Apollo 13,” “Armageddon,” “Batman-The Dark Knight Rises,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “Transformers,” “That Thing You Do,” “Days of Thunder,” “My Cousin Vinny,” “Law and Order,” “CSI,” “The Mentalist,” “The Office,” and more too numerous to mention.

Fans of Universal Studios “October Sky” can enjoy a special movie screening as part of the festival hosted by Ellis and the Rocket Boys. Prior to the screening, Chris will conduct an informal actor’s workshop and “Inside the Actor’s Studio” Q&A session, with behind the scenes details on the movie’s filming and how Hollywood made Coalwood come to life on the big screen.

Rocket Boys Rock & Roll

This year’s festivities will also include a Friday night “Rocket Boys Rock & Roll Caravan” presented by the Beckley Concert Association. The world famous “Bill Haley’s Comets,” the band often credited with having the first ever Rock and Roll hit, will headline the show. The Comets name was inspired by America’s 1950’s fascination with space will perform their classics including “Rock Around The Clock,” “See Ya Later Alligator,” “Shake Rattle and Roll,” and lots more. The Comets special guests will be beach music pros “The Entertainers,” direct from Elsie Hickam’s favorite spot, Myrtle Beach South Carolina! Festivalgoers will also enjoy free live music on Saturday at the Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival grounds from several artists, including the award winning bluegrass band Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys.

The annual Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival will include a writers workshop hosted by Homer Hickam for aspiring and seasoned authors, as well as book signings from other notable writers including Dreama Denver, wife of late “Gilligan’s Island” star Bob Denver who will be signing copies of her memoir “Gilligan’s Dreams,” and Daniel Boyd, the West Virginia filmmaker (“Chillers,” “Invasion of the Space Preachers,” “Paradise Park”) and author whose latest graphic novel “Carbon” is set in the West Virginia coalfields.

Saturday evening is topped off with a huge Chili Night celebration, which annually attracts thousands of visitors to downtown Beckley. Sunday will feature a chartered bus tour to the town of Coalwood to see many of the sites featured in the book and movie, hosted by Rocket Boy Roy Lee Cooke, and includes a homemade lunch in Coalwood.

Fans of Homer Hickam’s books come in great numbers each year to get a chance to meet the New York Times #1 best selling author and see the sites and characters portrayed in his Coalwood series of memoirs. “Rocket Boys” Roy Lee Cooke, Jimmy O’Dell Carroll, Billy Rose and Hickam himself return each October to visit old and new friends and share stories of the “Coalwood Way.” Every year the crowd grows, drawing in fans both national and international as well as busloads of students from West Virginia and surrounding states. Many can be seen carrying their own treasured, often dog-eared, copy of Hickam’s “Rocket Boys,” one of the most read books in schools. Hickam’s books will be available for purchase and autographing at the festival.

Rockets Launch

One of the Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival highlights is the dozens of students from schools all over America who join Hickam and the other Rocket Boys to launch rockets at New River Park’s hilltop “Cape Coalwood” launch pad. Rocket kits and launch supplies will be available for sale at the festival. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival and the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Construction and launch is easy – even for first timers. Students from Homer Hickam’s alma mater Virginia Tech will be there to assist. NASA representatives from Goddard Space Flight Center will also be in attendance to talk rockets and space with festival-goers and provide their rocketry expertise.

Beckley, WV is located on Interstate 64 in southern West Virginia, and is also accessible via Beckley/Raleigh County Airport with daily non-stops via United Airlines to Washington Dulles airport and Amtrak service on the Cardinal line.

More information on the Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival, including a complete schedule of events and lodging information, is available online at http://www.rocketboysfestival.com.

 

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St. Maarten Resorts Entice Fall Getaway Travelers with Discounted Rates, Incentives

September 5, 2014
 St Maarten resorts and hotels are providing discounts up to 40% off standard rates, along with other travel incentives and activities for fall getaways.


St Maarten resorts and hotels are providing discounts up to 40% off standard rates, along with other travel incentives and activities for fall getaways.

The lively and picturesque island of St. Maarten (www.VacationStMaarten.com) is enticing travelers to fall getaways with resorts and hotels providing discounts up to 40% off standard rates, along with other travel incentives and activities.

Mary’s Boon Beach Resort is offering travelers two special packages for those interested in visiting the friendly island this September. Guests who book three nights in a garden or beachfront studio will receive a fourth night free, starting from just $342 including tax and service charges. Those wanting to stay a full week in St. Maarten can book the seven-night package, with guests only responsible for the cost of five nights. The seven-night special is available for garden, beachfront and deluxe beachfront studios and starts at $570 inclusive of taxes and service charges. These fall specials include a 15% discount on additional nights, free welcome fruit/rum punch and free Wi-Fi. The specials are valid for travel through Sept. 30, 2014. To book, e-mail info@marysboon.com or call (800) 497-5834.

Oyster Bay Beach Resort is luring travelers with a variety of discounted rates throughout the fall season. Guests will enjoy 40% off standard rates when traveling through Sept. 30, 2014, 20% on travel Oct. 1 – 31, 2014 and 10% off travel Nov. 1 – Dec. 19, 2014. Oyster Bay Beach Resort is perched on a coral reef overlooking the Caribbean Sea and Oyster Pond Marina, and provides breathtaking ocean views, a white sandy beach and countless amenities.  For reservations, visit www.OysterBayBeachResort.com, call (866) 978-0212 or email reservations@obbr.com.

Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel is providing vacationers with a free rental car when booking directly with the hotel from Aug. 30, 2014 for reservations through Dec. 18, 2014. Princess Heights is located in a quiet and exclusive neighborhood with a multitude of activities including watersports, spas, casinos and restaurants only a few minutes away. Rates start at $139 per room, per night. Visit www.PrincessHeights.com, call (800) 881-1744 or e-mail info@princessheights.com to book.

Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort Casino & Spa is affording travelers extra value with its Fall Into Savings special, offering a fourth night free plus $300 in resort credits for travel through Dec. 18, 2014, when booked by Sept. 30, 2014.  Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa is a serene Caribbean haven and St. Maarten’s premier, limitless all-inclusive, adults-only resort. To book the Fall Into Savings special, visit www.Sonesta.com/GreatBay.

Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino is also offering vacationers a Fall Into Savings special, providing a third night free, plus $200 in resort credits for travel through Dec. 18, 2014 on reservations booked by Sept. 30, 2014. This all-inclusive St. Maarten resort is a spectacular destination within a destination, offering endless activities for travelers’ enjoyment and relaxation. To book this deal, visit www.Sonesta.com/MahoBeach.

Brand new to the island this fall, Sonesta Oceant Point Resort is celebrating its soft opening with 35% off standard rates, plus a tour to St. Barth’s, on reservations seven-nights or longer. This special is valid for travel Nov. 1, 2014 – Dec. 24, 2015 and must be booked by Oct. 31, 2014. To be one of the first to experience this new property, visit www.Sonesta.com/OceanPoint.

The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa is affording guests with discounted rates when booking two nights or more. For every night travelers pay the standard rate, they receive 40% off the next night. The property features 310 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and 15 suites, with two restaurants, a lobby bar and swim-up bar, a poolside deli, a full-service European-style spa, fitness studio, casino, retail shops and a beachfront watersports shop. The Westin is the only major resort in the Caribbean to install and utilize solar panels to replace its energy consumption. This special offer is valid for travel through Dec. 31, 2014. For reservations, visit www.westinstmaarten.com or call (866) 716-8108 and mention rate plan ZB4.

For more information on St. Maarten, visit the official site of the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau at www.VacationStMaarten.com.

Two Nations, Multi-Cultural

St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair.  As “the culinary capital of the Caribbean,” St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.

Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island’s 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions.  During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island’s scuba diving and snorkeling facilities.  The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a bustling city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.

Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts.  Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

Find St. Maarten on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VacationStMaarten and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StMaartenTravel.  For more information, visit www.VacationStMaarten.com.

 

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Indulge at Twin Farms, Vermont’s 5-Star, Relais & Chateaux Country Hideaway

September 3, 2014
Twin Farms, an intimate country hideaway and a five star Relais & Chateaux Resort, is an ideal retreat for art and design lovers, romantics and gourmets.

Twin Farms, an intimate country hideaway and a five star Relais & Chateaux Resort, is an ideal retreat for art and design lovers, romantics and gourmets.

Twin Farms, an intimate country hideaway, set amidst 300 acres of meadows and woodlands in an unspoiled valley, just 15 minutes north of Woodstock, in Barnard, Vermont, is an ideal retreat for art and design lovers, romantics and gourmets.

The five star Relais & Chateaux Resort provides 20 lovely rooms in 10 freestanding cottages

Originally the home of the writer and Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis, the five star Relais & Chateaux Resort provides 20 lovely rooms in 10 freestanding cottages.

In 1993, Jed Johnson, interior designer and friend of the famous artist Andy Warhol, designed 15 rooms, before Peter Bohlin and interior designer Thad Hayes completed the rest in 2005. A special combination of American folk and contemporary art gives Twin Farms its special charm. Decorative ceramics are mixed with originals by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and David Hockney, among others, while fine woodwork made of maple and pine relate with modern sculptures.

Gourmets will appreciate the elegant and authentic cuisine at The Main House restaurant. Chef Nathan Rich’s dishes reflect the seasons and are prepared with ingredients from the garden or from the nearby region. The wine cellar, consisting of 26,000 bottles of fine wine of international origin, completes the taste experience. Nathan Rich was honored last year as one of the world’s only three chefs with the award “Relais & Chateaux Rising Chef Trophy 2013”.

At the “Spa at Twin Farms,” guests can indulge in relaxing massages or enjoy a workout in the fully-equipped fitness center. The Spa menu offers tailor-made spa treatments, luxurious facials, rejuvenating pedicures and manicures as well as exquisite body treatments. All Spa products are handmade Vermont and contain only herbal extracts, organic herbal teas and pure essential oils.

Summer and winter, there is a lot to do, whether hiking, climbing, fishing, canoeing, skiing or ice skating.

Accommodations start at $ 1,450 for two people. The price includes all meals, drinks, cocktails, wine and the use of the spa area including the Furo – a 104 degree Japanese style soaking tub – as well as the use of recreational equipment such as canoes and fishing tackle.

Twin Farms, P.O. Box 115, Barnard, Vermont 05031, 802-234-9999, info@twinfarms.com, www.twinfarms.com.

 

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TourCrafters Offers Air-Inclusive Deals for Fall Travel to Spain, Italy, Booked by Aug 28

August 9, 2014
TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive deals to Spain and Italy for September and October, booked and paid for by August 28.

This is the ideal time to travel to Europe: the weather is pleasant, the sidewalk cafés are open, but the summertime crowds have gone home.

TourCrafters’ six-night Madrid and Barcelona deal, for example, costs only $1,919 including round-trip air fare from New York, daily breakfast, three nights’ accommodation in a 3-star Madrid hotel, a half-day Madrid sightseeing tour, high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona, three nights in a 3-star Barcelona hotel and a half-day Artistic Tour of Barcelona.

You’ll have a chance to see such Madrid highlights as the Royal Palace, the Paseo del Prado and the Gran Via, and then take in some of the capital’s great museums and fine shops on your own. TourCrafters even offers an optional excursion to Toledo. In Barcelona the tour covers Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces—the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and buildings on the Paseo de Gracia—but you’ll also have time to see the Gothic Quarter and the fascinating life (cafés, market, canaries, flower stalls) along Las Ramblas, as well as to dine in some of its celebrated restaurants.

TourCrafters is also offering the following September/October air and land deals: Rome and Florence, from $1,919; Madrid, Mallorca and Barcelona, from $3,079; Madrid, Ibiza and Barcelona, from $2,559; and Italy by Train, from $2,379.

In addition, for a limited time only, TourCrafters is having an Airfare Sale from New York (JFK) to several European destinations including London, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Prague and Athens.

All prices are per person, double occupancy. Air fare add-ons are available from many other cities than New York. Fuel charges are included but are subject to change by the airlines. Airport taxes ($109 per person) are not included and hotel taxes in Italy must be paid directly to the hotel in euros.

For more information on these last-minute fall deals, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers,” and then “Deal of the Week.” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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