Archive for the ‘family travel’ Category

US, Italy, France Among Top 10 Spring Break Destinations; Switzerland, Greece, Morocco Showing Biggest Increase in Bookings

February 23, 2019
Greece

Meteora, Greece. Travel to Greece is on the upswing. © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK – The global luxury travel network Virtuoso® is revealing the around-the-world locations where upscale travelers plan to spend their spring breaks this year, including destinations showing renewed strength following down periods. A leading trend forecaster, Virtuoso has examined its $49.5 billion in transactions to showcase the top destinations for March and April. With holidays occurring deeper into April this year, the prolonged spring travel period will allow visitors to enjoy warmer temps in many of these must-have destinations. 

The Virtuoso Top 10:

The most popular destinations for spring travel based on future bookings.

  1. United States                                                   6. Israel
  2. Italy                                                                 7. Japan
  3. France                                                             8. Australia
  4. United Kingdom                                              9. Spain
  5. New Zealand                                                   10. China

 The Top 10 analysis: Americans are staying closer to home this spring, seeking the sun in cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando. Eternally desirable Europe holds four spots on the list; Italy and France exhibit year-round popularity. U.S. travelers are benefiting from a favorable exchange rate against the euro and pound, and spring’s shoulder season is ideal for enjoying the continent minus the summer crowds. New Zealand and Australia beckon families this time of year with their pleasant temperatures and abundance of active experiences. As the birthplace of major world religions, Israel holds great appeal as an educational family destination, with spring a peak season due to Easter and Passover celebrations. Travelers wanting to see Japan’s famed cherry blossoms are heading there in increasing numbers, as the country is also the top emerging destination of 2019, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report.

The Virtuoso Hot 10:

The countries that have seen the largest percentage of growth in year-over-year bookings.

  1. Switzerland (+589%)                                      6. Spain (+112%)
  2. Greece (+312%)                                              7. Turks and Caicos (+90%)
  3. Morocco (+302%)                                          8. New Zealand (+84%)
  4. Japan (+220%)                                                9. Chile (+78%)
  5. United Arab Emirates (+197%)                      10. Puerto Rico (+70%)

The Hot 10 analysis: Switzerland is riding a wave of mounting popularity among upscale Americans for its exquisite scenery, abundance of world-class hotels and outdoor activities. Greece continues the upward trajectory Virtuoso first noted for last summer, as the country started emerging from financial challenges. Also returning strongly: North Africa and Middle East destinations such as Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. Growth in bookings to the region, first observed last fall, continues from luxury travelers. Another comeback story is the Caribbean, represented on the list by Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico. Chile is emerging as a culinary destination, and numerous grape harvest festivals attract wine fans during March and April.

Data is obtained from Virtuoso’s U.S. travel agency members and displays future travel for March and April 2019. 

Virtuoso® is a leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 20,000 elite travel advisors in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with over 1,800 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. More than $26.4 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.

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Apple Vacations Offers Kids-Stay Free Deals at 50 All-Inclusives in Caribbean, Mexico & Central America

February 22, 2019
mex-rivieramaya-052908 223e2 (c) Karen Rubin-xcaret-dancer

Families will delight in a visit to Xcaret archeological themepark to learn about Mexican heritage during a stay on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Apple Vacations is offering kids-stay free deals at all-inclusives in Mexico, Caribbean and Central America © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Newtown Square, PA–With bookings surging for spring and summer family travel, Apple Vacations is offering kids-stay-free offers at more than 50 all-inclusive properties throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Sample promotional offers include:

Caribbean

  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Dominicus La Romana*in the Dominican Republic
  • Up to two kids 12 and under stay free at Melia Caribe Tropical Resort**and The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical** in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • Kids and teens aged 4 – 17 stay free at Moon Palace Jamaica*** in Ocho Rios
  • Two kids stay free at Now Larimar Punta Cana*and Now Onyx Punta Cana* in the Dominican Republic
  • Up to two kids 12 and under stay free at Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort**and The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana** in the Dominican Republic
  • Kids stay free at Riu Negril****or Riu Ocho Rios**** in Jamaica
  • Two kids stay free at Sunscape Cove Montego Bay*and Sunscape Splash Montego Bay* in Jamaica
  • Two kids stay free at Sunscape Puerto Plata*in the Dominican Republic

 Mexico

  • Kids and teens aged 4 – 17 stay free at Cozumel Palace***
  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa*
  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta*
  • Kids and teens aged 4 – 17 stay free at Moon Palace Cancun***and The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun***
  • Two kids stay free at Now Amber Puerto Vallarta*
  • Two kids stay free at Reflect Krystal Grand Los Cabos*
  • Two kids stay free at Reflect Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta*in Riviera Nayarit
  • Two kids stay free at Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa*

 Central America

  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica*
  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Playa Bonita Panama*
  • Kids stay free at Riu Guanacaste**** in Costa Rica
  • Kids stay free at Riu Playa Blanca****in Panama

* Valid for select travel dates Aug. 18 – Dec. 22, 2019 on bookings received anytime

** Valid for select travel dates May 1 – Dec. 21, 2019 on bookings received by Feb. 15, 2019

*** Valid for bookings and travel on select dates now through Dec. 23, 2019

**** Valid for bookings and travel on select dates May 1 – Dec. 23, 2019

Visit www.AppleVacations.com for a full list of participating resorts and other enticing offers designed to create lasting memories for the entire family without breaking the bank.

 

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No Roads, No Towns, No Connectivity: Families Focus on Nature and Whitewater Rafting the Green River in Utah’s Desolation Canyon

May 31, 2018
Western River Raft-family1e

Western River Expeditions’ offers a 5 Day Desolation Canyon family rafting vacation on the Green River.

SALT LAKE CITY –  Utah’s Desolation Canyon, carved over millennia by the 730-mile Green River that is spawned by glacial melts on the Continental Divide in the wilds of northern Wyoming, is one of the most remote (no roads, no towns, no cell or data service) destinations in the continental United States. It also tops the list when it comes to family rafting vacations.

From June 1 through Aug. 8, a small plane transports guests from Moab, Utah, on a scenic, 40-minute flight to a desert plateau overlooking the Green River where after a short hike, Western River Expeditions’ 5 Day Desolation Canyon family rafting vacation begins.

The Green is less strident than the Grand Canyon’s rollicking Colorado River. Instead of the world-class rapids on the Colorado, whitewater on the Green is playful, marked by over 60 warm-water Class I-III rapids, packed with more than enough splash to elicit excitement for ages 5 and up.

While paddling on the Green, guests typically surrender their senses to twisted mountains, dramatic cliffs, and towering plateaus carved by an ancient inland sea. Rates are $1,645 for ages 16 and up and $1,025 for ages 5-15 including…

  • exploring 88 river miles
  • the option to paddle two-person inflatable kayaks
  • or, relax in a guide-powered oar boat
  • witnessing 40 million years of geologic history
  • maneuvering 60+ fun-filled Class I-III rapids. One of the greatest features of this expedition is that the rapids are spread fairly evenly throughout the length of the trip so the action keeps it exciting all journey long.
  • visiting famous Wild West outlaw hideouts. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch found that the rugged terrain here offered a perfect hideaway.
  • wondering about the past at now-derelict homesteads built of native materials
  • getting to know an ancient culture that both foraged and planted corn from the 7th to the 13th centuries, leaving behind Fremont Native American petroglyphs
  • hiking off-river with a seasoned guide well-versed in the region’s history and geology
  • deluxe camping on broad, sandy beaches along the river bank
  • enjoying host-prepared adult and children’s meals sourced from local farmers and producers
  • sunbathing on and off the water shaded by ancient cottonwoods
  • watching a Trip Jester entertain the children so parents have some down time

On its journey south through Utah towards the confluence with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park, the Green has created such an unforgettable universe that Desolation Canyon has been singled out as a National Register of Historic Places.

Calling this “the ultimate, back-country family river trip,” Jason Taylor, an operations manager who oversees all of Western River Expeditions’ trips in Utah, noted that the five-day program is appropriate for children as young as 5. It’s also a great river trip for extended families and first-time rafters. Five guides are assigned to trips that accommodate up to 25.

One plus that families come to love is the fact that in this remote environment cell and data service are non-existent. Instead of connecting to electronic devices, the connection is with family, guides and other guests. Children focus on the designated Trip Jester who, in a fun and informative way, shares insights with kids of all ages into this world of wonder. Creative games, swimming, arts and crafts are all part of the fun.

While some time- and career-stressed parents may have difficulty connecting with their own children, Taylor said that by trip’s end, they’re melding with their families and creating stronger family bonds and memories.

“We see children transform from being needy and whiney to independent and happy. Everybody grows on this trip. In fact, this truly is the perfect family vacation. Some families come back every couple of years,” he said.

For more details on this trip see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2018 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit http://www.westernriver.com/.

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. From March through October, the operatort escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its Moab Adventure Center division (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for fourteen consecutive years (2004-2017).

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Sandy Pines Camping Resort in Kennebunkport Opens Second Season with New Glamping Accommodations, Programming

May 11, 2018
Sandy Pines Campground. Kennebunkport, Maine.

New custom-designed glamping accommodations open at Sandy Pines Campground, Kennebunkport, Maine, in its second season (photo by Douglas Merriam)

Kennebunkport, ME Sandy Pines Campground opens May 11, 2018 for its second season with a roster of curated new experiences, custom designed glamping accommodations and engaging programming benefiting every level and style of camper – from RVers and traditional tent campers to glampers.

“When guests come to Sandy Pines, we aim to immerse them in the best of Maine – its natural beauty, nostalgic charm, a feeling of community – and set the stage for making new memories each time they visit,” said co-founder and hotelier Tim Harrington. “During our first season, we took note of what campers enjoyed most and built on those types of offerings for 2018.”

Sandy Pines opened in June 2017 with a plethora of resort-level amenities, including a rustic Grand Lodge, General Store stocked with local Maine provisions and a dedicated s’mores section, heated saltwater pool, Kids’ Kamp, lawn games and more.

For Summer 2018, campers can look forward to weekly entertainment like TBT Movie Nights by the Pool, screening throwback flicks served with popcorn and ice cream bars; Saturday Night Fever, where campers can convene for live music, a burger bash and cocktails – mixers provided, BYOB; and Sundae Funday ice cream buffet complete with toppings bar.

The Snack Bar will offer tasty breakfast options such as freshly baked pastries and breakfast burritos, plus grab-and-go salads and sandwiches, perfect for easy outdoor dining. A Maine visit isn’t complete without lobster and Sandy Pines campers can pre-order lobster dinners for delivery, which include steamed lobster, butter, sides, dessert and utensils. 

Grownups don’t get all the fun! New Kids’ Kamp activities will keep tiny tykes busy crafting dreamcatchers, learning to build teepee shelters, tie-dying keepsake t-shirts and more. Parents can loosen the leash on their free-roaming pre-teens but ensure they’re well-fed with Camper Cash, redeemable for ice cream, the snack bar or other in-park activities.

Glamping

Nature enthusiasts angling for elevated accommodations can choose from several new options available for nightly rental, beginning late June 2018. 

This season, Sandy Pines will unveil 12 Camp Carriages, akin to stylish cottages on wheels. These retreats are uniquely decorated by Kennebunkport designer Krista Stokes and are outfitted with king-size beds, A/C, exterior window shutters, fire pits and seating areas.  Krista also collaborated on designing 12 Hideaway Huts, wooden A-frames that are sleek and modern, yet rustic. The cozy structures feature full-size beds and lighting with outdoor seating areas and fire pits.

Lastly, Sandy Pines will add four more of their popular safari-style Glamp Tents, bringing the total to 16 professionally decorated accommodations, each with unique elements like antiques, four-post beds, chandeliers and more. Kennebunkport’s Louise Hurlbutt designed the four new tents, named Tradewinds, Robin’s Nest, Elements and Under the Stars.

Themed Weekends

Sandy Pines will expand their experiential park programming with new themed weekends. The first is Vintage Camping Weekend, June 15-17 during Father’s Day weekend, where owners of restored, DIY and unique campers will converge to swap stories, play games, enjoy live music, BBQ and the Great Outdoors. All park guests are invited to get in on the fun and tour the vintage campers.

To celebrate the Fall Equinox on September 22, Sandy Pines will host a family-focused “Great Maine Camp Out.” Campers of all ages are invited to spend the night, take an astronomy class, learn techniques for campfire cooking, listen to fireside storytelling by local authors and more.

Located minutes from Goose Rocks Beach in charming Kennebunkport, Sandy Pines Campground provides an experience that is authentically Maine, embodying the best of the Pine Tree State’s coast – natural beauty, salty breezes and a small-town ambiance. New England charm is infused throughout the grounds, from the rustic Grand Lodge to the General Store stocked with Maine provisions, including a section solely for s’mores creations, and a multitude of outdoor activities. The park’s campsites cater to traditional tent campers and RVers along with the option of booking professionally-decorated Glamp Tents, Camp Carriages and Hideaway Huts for nightly rental or purchasing a park model RV “tiny home.”

Sandy Pines Campground, 277 Mills Road, Kennebunkport, Maine 04046, www.sandypinescamping.com or call (207) 967-2483. Follow on Facebook at Sandy Pines Maine and on Instagram at @sandypinesmaine.

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Timely Couponsforfun Savings at Family and Cultural Attractions for Presidents Day Weekend, Spring Break

February 12, 2018
nashville-082307 007e2 (c) Karen Rubin-Jackson-Hermitage

Visit The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee to walk through Andrew Jackson’s life and home with Couponsforfun discount © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Presidents Day is a time to remember past Presidents and also kicks off Spring Break around the country. Couponsforfun.com is a family and cultural attractions website, where you can take advantage of timely savings at Presidential libraries, historic homes and museums to thrilling theme parks, zoos and sport adventures.

Though new attractions are added all the time, especially in time for Presidents Day weekend, visitors will find savings at many Presidential libraries and homes.  For May’s Memorial Day weekend there are savings at many other patriotic sites including historic battleships, aviation museums, war museums and sites that played a part in America’s freedom. And visitors will find historic homes from many of America’s movers and shakers of their time.

Couponsforfun.com has savings coupons for attractions in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. No registration, or prepayment, is required. Simply choose the state or theme, then print out the coupon—some allow coupons to be shown on smartphones (noted on coupons).

Many of of the attractions included in Couponsforfun.com are not found on other discount websites, which take commission. Participating family and cultural attractions do not pay to participate, but are encouraged to supply good offers.

Find savings for youngsters at many children’s museums, zoos and aquariums; for school age kids at science and discovery museums, caverns, Indian villages, dinosaur museums, historic ships, air museums and theme parks; adventurers will find zip lines, white water rafting, whale watching,  kayaking and Everglade rides; and those more culturally inclined will find many museums, gardens, historic homes and sites. And many more types of family and cultural attractions.

Here are details of timely offers at Presidential Libraries and homes currently on couponsforfun.com:

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM – Springfield, IL – A visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, the heart of the Lincoln legacy, is an inspiring experience for all ages. In a stunning combination of scholarship and showmanship, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum immerses you in Lincoln’s world and time. From a rustic Indiana cabin to the White House, follow the fate of America’s 16th president and share the joys and sorrows of a family – and a nation.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN LIBRARY & MUSEUM – Harrogate, TN – The Library and Museum is situated in the area’s First Frontier region and houses one of the finest Lincoln and Civil War collections in the world. Over 30,000 items rotate in displays telling the life story of our revered 16th President, his personal rendezvous with history, and the devastation of war. Lincoln helped shape our nation during this country’s Civil War. This story of tragedy and triumph is included in exhibit areas and Museum programming.

THE LINCOLN MUSEUM – Hodgenville, KY – Kentucky’s official Lincoln Museum, the main exhibit includes twelve dioramas (life-size wax figures set in three dimensional displays) showing pivotal times in Abraham Lincoln’s life-from his boyhood in Kentucky to his assassination. Other exhibits include rare newspaper clippings, campaign posters and Lincoln memorabilia. An art gallery on the second floor features original paintings, drawings and other artwork portraying Lincoln.

MARY TODD LINCOLN HOUSE – Lexington, KY – The family home of Mrs. Lincoln opened to the public in 1977. Mary Todd, born in December 1818, resided at the house until she moved to Springfield, Illinois in 1839 to live with her elder sister. There she met and married Abraham Lincoln, whom she brought to visit this home in the fall of 1847. Today, the 14-room house contains period furniture, family portraits, and furnishings from the Todds as well as the Lincolns.

ANDREW JACKSON

ANDREW JACKSON’S HERMITAGE – Nashville, TN – Visit The Hermitage in Nashville, Tennessee to walk through Andrew Jackson’s life and home. Explore a beautiful, vintage Tennessee farm and experience an important piece of Nashville and our nation. Rated the third best Presidential Site in the nation by USA TODAY, this is a must see for any visitor to Music City! Don’t miss “Andrew Jackson: Born for a Storm,” the all new visitor experience and exhibit.

HARRY S. TRUMAN 

HARRY S. TRUMAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM – Independence, MO – One of 13 U.S. Presidential libraries administered by the National Archives & Records Administration, the Library & Museum features interactive exhibits on the life and times of Harry S. Truman and his presidency. Among the exhibits, find a replica of the White House Oval Office and Truman’s working office in the Library. See the grave sites of Harry and Bess Truman, a Thomas Hart Benton mural, and a 45-minute documentary.

RONALD REAGAN

RONALD REAGAN BOYHOOD HOME – Dixon, IL – Tour the home where our 40th president grew up, a 4 room presidential timeline of photos, quotes and trivia and a 10 minute video (includes footage of Ronald Reagan talking about his youth here). More than 8,000 visitors a year – from across the country and around the world come to explore and to learn more about the roots of one of America’s most beloved leaders. Seasonal: April – December.

GEORGE W. BUSH 

GEORGE W. BUSH CHILDHOOD HOME – Midland, TX – Listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites and restored to the 1950s period when the Bush family lived in the home, this home is a unique landmark as the home of two future American presidents. You’ll see a 1950s restoration with period furnishings, learn about Midland in the 1950s and hear about the Bush family and their impact on Midland and the country. Visit our gift shop for interesting souvenirs, gifts, books and clothing.

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15 Restaurants Offer Meal Deals for Kids Night on Broadway Feb 27

February 6, 2018
NYC-Broadway_20160216_213147786e2 (c) Karen Rubin

Fifteen Times Square area restaurants will be participating in the 22nd Kids’ Night on Broadway, which will take place Tuesday, February 27, 2018 © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York, NY – Fifteen Times Square area restaurants will be participating in the 22nd Kids’ Night on Broadway, which will take place Tuesday, February 27, 2018, The Broadway League announced. Each eatery will offer specials for Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket-holders, including free entrees for young theatergoers. Check KidsNight.Broadway for more dining details, as well as parking offers.

Christy AltomareEthan Slater, and Lea Salonga will serve as ambassadors. Christy Altomare is appearing in the role of Anya in Anastasia. Ethan Slater can now be seen making his Broadway debut in the title role in SpongeBob SquarePants the musical. Lea Salonga, a Tony Award® winning actress, is currently starring in Once On This Island in the role of Erzulie.

Participating 2018 restaurants include: Basera Indian Bistro, Glass House Tavern, Ikinari Steak, Nizza, Planet Hollywood, Playwright Celtic Pub, Playwright Tavern, Schnippers, Sen Sakana, Southern Hospitality Restaurant, Toloache Restaurant, Tony’s Di Napoli, Utsav, Virgil’s Real Barbecue, and 5 Napkin Burger (subject to change). 

Participating 2018 shows to date include: AladdinAnastasiaThe Band’s VisitBeautiful: The Carole King MusicalA Bronx TaleCome From AwayChicagoFarinelli and the KingKinky BootsThe Lion KingOnce On This IslandThe Phantom of the OperaThe Play That Goes WrongSchool of RockSpongeBob SquarePants, and Wicked (subject to change).

Kids’ Night on Broadway is an annual event where kids 18 and under can attend participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. A Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket includes restaurant discounts, parking discounts, activities, and more. On Tuesday, February 27 2018, select shows will offer in-theatre activities for kids including talkbacks, Kids’ Night on Broadway activity books, and more events still to be announced!

Kids’ Night on Broadway will also take place in multiple cities around the country, with different shows and venues putting their own spin on the event, on numerous dates throughout the year.

Kids’ Night on Broadway is a program of The Broadway League. It is generously presented by The New York Times and is sponsored by WABC-TV with additional support from Turnstyle and Westchester Family.

 

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Harry Potter, Batman Themed Lodging? Eviivo Online Links Travelers with Fiction-Fantasy BnBs in UK

January 8, 2018
harry potter bed

Canongate Luxury Apartment in Edinburgh is a Harry Potter themed apartment, complete with a Hogwarts Express carriage room, and a Gryffindor dormitory common room and bedroom. Kitted out with artifacts, including a desk and a mirror both previously owned by J K Rowling herself, this B&B is a delight for any ‘Sirius’ Potter fan.

Britain-based online booking specialist eviivo has compiled an extraordinary selection of fiction-book themed B&Bs in the UK, including Harry Potter, Famous Five and Batman-themed establishments, perfect for fantasy holiday makers who are hunting for their next experience.

“The popularity of theme parks and adventure holidays has increased in recent years, and can turn an average holiday into an exciting and unique experience, but an expensive one,” Ruth Whitehead, a director at eviivo, said “Now, for less than the cost of a family cinema trip to London’s West End, adventurous families can live out the fantasies immortalised in works of fiction with a stay at a B&B.”

Canongate Luxury Apartment in Edinburgh is a Harry Potter themed apartment, complete with a Hogwarts Express carriage room, and a Gryffindor dormitory common room and bedroom. Kitted out with artifacts, including a desk and a mirror both previously owned by J K Rowling herself, this B&B is a delight for any ‘Sirius’ Potter fan.

A sign outside reads ‘Wizards welcome’, but Ruth Whitehead assures potential guests that “muggles will be let through the Dumble-door too!”

Built in the 1700s, the property already has an old and rustic feel and the owner has made numerous creative modifications to evoke J K Rowling’s fantasy world, including authentic bookshelf style wall paper, and an intricate display of potions bottles. One of the rooms boasts a real wood burner, perfect for snuggling up with a hot espresso-patronum.

This magical experience is conveniently located amongst some of Edinburgh’s best Harry Potter tourist spots, including The Elephant House Café where J K Rowling wrote many of her early novels.

For holidaymakers looking for an action comic experience, the ‘Joker Boat’ is a buoy wonder. Docked in Liverpool, this swanky barge was brought over from LA and restored to accommodate 6 people, after originally being made exclusively for Jack Nicholson for his role as the Joker in Batman.

The boat is kitted out in Gotham-style noirish luxury, complete with leather seats, purple velvet bedding and a 3D 52in LCD TV.  It is the perfect cosy spot for a dark Knight.

Making your way from the airport to your accommodation can be the ‘Bane’ of your existence, but in true Hollywood style, the owner is offering an optional chauffeur service from the airport, in the choice of either a Hummer or a Rolls Royce Phantom.

Families looking to escape to the fantasy world of the mid-20th century British countryside are advised to visit Enid Blyton-inspired Widbrook Barns.  Situated in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside, this accommodation features a tuck shop, an original gypsy bow-top wagon and a shepherds hut, and comes complete with ‘lashings of ginger beer’ and ‘pick ‘n’ mix’, that will fuel any child’s adventures.

Ruth Whitehead added “Fortunately this accommodation sleeps up to 23, so even more than five can have a wonderful time”.

eviivo is a leading online booking specialist for independent hotels and B&Bs across Europe. Through leading-edge technology, hospitality owners can manage their bookings and sell their rooms online in the highly competitive global marketplace on an equal footing with leading international hotel chains.  Its diverse portfolio represents the best of independent hosts and hoteliers with over 6,600 small hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals across Europe, offering over 60,000 rooms.  Accommodations span B&Bs, guest houses, pubs and inns, restaurants with rooms, serviced apartments, villas and cottages, hostels, and even boats, castles and windmills. For more information visit www.eviivo.com.

 

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What a Stocking Stuffer! Kids’ Night on Broadway Tickets Now on Sale

December 6, 2017
NYC-Bdway_20160216_213153915e2 (c) Karen Rubin

Tickets are now on sale for Kids’ Night on Broadway®. Kids’ Night on Broadway will take place in New York City on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

New York, NY – What a stocking stuffer! Tickets are now on sale for Kids’ Night on Broadway®. Kids’ Night on Broadway will take place in New York City on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

Participating shows include: AladdinAnastasiaThe Band’s VisitBeautiful: The Carole King MusicalA Bronx TaleCome From AwayChicagoFarinelli and the KingKinky BootsThe Lion KingOnce On This IslandThe Phantom of the OperaSchool of RockSpongeBob SquarePants, and Wicked. Shows are subject to change.

Kids’ Night on Broadway is an annual event where kids 18 and under can attend participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult (all guests must have a ticket to attend shows; offer is applied as 50% off each ticket; no additional ‘free’ tickets are added to orders).

A Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket includes restaurant discounts, parking discounts, activities, and more. On Tuesday, February 27, 2018, select shows will offer in-theatre activities for kids including talkbacks, Kids’ Night on Broadway activity books, and more events still to be announced! Restaurants and parking discounts will be announced in January.

Kids’ Night on Broadway will also take place in multiple cities around the country, with different shows and venues putting their own spin on the event, on numerous dates throughout the year.

Kids’ Night on Broadway is a program of The Broadway League. It is generously presented by The New York Times and is sponsored by WABC-TV with additional support from Turnstyle and Westchester Family.

 

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Gaylord National Resort Announces More Thrills and Chills This Holiday Season

December 5, 2017
Opryland's ICE!

The thrill of coming down the ice slide at Gaylord National’s ice sculpture attraction, ICE! during the resort’s fabulous Christmas on the Potomac festival © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(National Harbor, Md)– The holiday festivities are already underway at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside of the nation’s capital. Christmas on the Potomac, presented by FUJIFILM INSTAX® features its famous ice sculpture attraction, an indoor Christmas village, ice skating experience and more.

No holiday season would be complete without the resort’s famous ice sculpture attraction, ICE!, presented by Pepsi, featuring a brand new theme. Families and friends can relive the beloved 1964 TV classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, as they walk through 13 scenes of more than two million pounds of colorful ice sculptures that tell the story of how Rudolph’s red-nose first helped Santa guide his sleigh.  Kept at a chilly nine degrees, visitors also can enjoy four thrilling ice slides and a crystal clear, breathtaking Nativity scene.

ICE! opens daily from November 18, 2017 through January 1, 2018. Discounted ticket pricing is available now through October 1 on select days starting at $28 for adults ages 12 and older and $20 for children ages 4 to 11. Tickets after October 1 start at $32 for adults and $24 for children on value days; $38 for adults and $31 for children on general admission days; and $39 for adult and $32 for children on peak days. Kids 3 and younger are free. Military and group ticket pricing is available. Hours vary and can be found at www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com.

If a winter wonderland of ice sculptures wasn’t enough, the resort also is introducing a new Glacier Glide Ice Skating experience. The young and young at heart will delight in this timeless holiday tradition in the resort’s ornate Christmas Village. Ice Skating costs $16.99 for all ages.

The Christmas Village also is home to a variety of warmer, family-friendly entertainment including Cookies with Mrs. Claus, a carousel, miniature train ride, photos with Santa and Gingerbread Decorating Corner presented by Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas.

The resort also is bringing back its Build-A-Bear Workshop® experience where guests make their very own furry winter friend – a cuddly, cute polar bear plush, designed exclusively for Gaylord Hotels that can be personalized with cozy winter clothing and accessories. For even more fun, families can work together to solve the Build-A-Bear Workshop® Scavenger Hunt to gain a “beary” special prize.

To enjoy multiple experiences at a reduced price, the resort has bundled several attractions in its Play and Save packages. The packages include a gingerbread man decorating kit, scavenger hunt, unlimited rides on the train and carousel and the option to add-on an ICE! ticket. Without ICE!, the package starts at $29.45 for all ages. With an ICE! ticket, the prices vary depending on the day of visit.

The Christmas Village isn’t the only area to experience holiday cheer within the resort. New this year, Gaylord National is introducing a live entertainment show, JOY – A Holiday Spectacular, set within its stunning 19-story atrium. Visitors can enjoy the rich harmonies of classic and modern songs that celebrate the joy of the holiday season performed by Gaylord National singers. The show is immediately followed by a spectacular Tree Lighting Show that includes laser lights, a dancing water fountain, indoor snowfall and holiday music – all centered on the resort’s suspended Starlight Christmas Tree. To reserve VIP seating for JOY, tickets costs $19.99 for all ages.

Gaylord National also will offer a new family breakfast experience featuring the star of ICE!, Rudolph! Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Breakfast is a one-of-a-kind interactive character breakfast experience featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Clarice. Children of all ages will enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, play reindeer games and sing-a-long to favorite music from the beloved television special. Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Breakfast is offered on select days and costs $39.99 for adults ages 12 and older and $26.99 for children ages 4 to 11. Kids 3 and younger are free.

To experience the best of Christmas in the Capital Region, the resort offers overnight packages that offer unlimited priority entry to ICE! Packages include:

ICE! Is Nice Package

  • One night room accommodations
  • Unlimited, priority entry tickets to experience ICE!featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Package starts at $219 for two people.

Christmas on the Potomac Package

  • One night room accommodations
  • Unlimited, priority entry tickets to experience ICE!featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • $100 resort credit per night for hotel dining and Relâche Spa services
  • One (1) complimentary souvenir ICE!photo

Package starts at $279 for two people.

For more information on Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort and to book a package or tickets to ICE!, visit www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com or call 301-965-4000.

 

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Capital Christmas: A December Vacation in Washington, DC Checks Every Box on a Holiday Wish List

December 5, 2017
Capitol Building at Night, Washington DC

December is an enchanting time to visit Washington DC. Destination DC can help plan a visit © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Washington, DC) –- Destination DC (DDC), the official marketing organization for Washington, DC is primed to help travelers plan unforgettable December holidays in the nation’s capital. Washington.org is packed with seasonal inspiration on a holiday landing page including hotel packages and deals, festive menus, ice skating rinks, Christmas markets, can’t-miss events and more. Scroll instant inspiration on DDC’s Instagram and Facebook accounts or speak with a travel concierge (1-800-422-8644), Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm EST.

“Whether your ideal December getaway includes a family photo with the National Christmas tree and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre or a morning at the MLK Memorial, an afternoon of ice skating at the National Gallery of Art’s rink and a Michelin-star dinner, we can help you plan an unforgettable holiday in Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of DDC.

Among special packages and events:

SEASONAL HOTEL PACKAGES

Between Nov. 28-Dec. 20, the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC displays lavish holiday décor from 20 area designers. The luxury Georgetown hotel treats travelers with 30% off suites, Dec. 4-31, 2017.
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s Deck the Halls offer includes Santa’s milk and cookies at turn-down and an in-suite holiday tree. The Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC welcomes guests to Savor the Season with a 30-foot gingerbread Washington Monument and a $50 food and beverage credit.
Winter packages at the Willard InterContinental include a delicious welcome amenity and the official 2017 White House Christmas ornament thru Dec. 31.

ICE SKATING RINKS

Twirl around the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s rink thru March 11, 2018. Warm up inside the Pavilion Café and visit Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry in the West Building thru Jan. 21, 2018. FREE
New: The Potomac-side rink at The Wharf in SW DC joins the party of neighborhood rinks in Georgetown and Capitol Riverfront.
New: Glide on iceless”rinks at the Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown and the Watergate Hotel.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND TOURS

ZooLights animates the National Zoo with more than 500,000 LED lights, snowless tubing and concerts between 5-9pm until Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24, 25, 31). FREE

George Washington’s Mount Vernon offers character-guided candlelit tours, 18th century dancing and fireside caroling, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 17.
Holiday in the Park illuminates Six Flags America with lights, rides and s’mores Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-23, 26- Jan. 1.
Tour America’s roadside attractions in miniature at Seasons Greenings: National Parks and Historic Parks at the U.S. Botanic Gardens thru Jan. 2. FREE
The National Christmas tree in President’s Park on the Ellipse is attended by 56 decorated trees, Santa’s Workshop and musical performances thru Dec. 31. FREE
The National Menorah will be lit on the Ellipse throughout Hanukah. On Dec. 12 at 4pm, the American Friends of Lubavitch celebrates with dreidels and donuts. FREE

SHOPPING

Find only-in-DC gifts at Made in DC, a new store in Dupont Circle and Steadfast Supply in Capitol Riverfront. Pop-up Christmas markets: Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter and Union Market’s Brief Assembly run thru Dec. 23.
CityCenterDC, the Penn Quarter’s luxury shopping and restaurant destination, dresses up with a giant reindeer, a sky-high tree for the season. Between Dec. 1-3, a 12-foot-high igloo adds to the Instagram fun.
Georgetown Glow, an outdoor exhibition of light-art installations dots the historic shopping district between 5-10pm, Dec. 8, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018. FREE

PERFORMANCES AND ATTRACTIONS

New: Digital gallery Artechouse welcomes The Imaginary World of the Nutcracker, Dec. 7, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018.
The Kennedy Center hosts seasonal shows including Merry Tubachristmas! (Dec. 11, FREE), Second City’s Twist Your Dickens (Dec. 5-31) and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 14-17).
The Washington Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker (thru Dec. 24) swaps George Washington for the Nutcracker Prince at Warner Theatre.
A richly dressed A Christmas Carol (thru Dec. 31) takes over Ford’s Theatre.
New: Christmas Illuminated is one of many exhibits at the Museum of the Bible.

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE

Toasts the season at Drink Company’s Miracle on Seventh Street, a trio of over-the-top pop-up bars thru Dec. 31.
Find lavish holiday teas in the Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC and Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington DC. The St. Regis Washington D.C. celebrates 12 days of Champagne (Dec. 12-24).
Among the city’s New Year’s Eve delights, Michelin-starred chef José Andrés offers tasting menus at China Chilcano, Jaleo and Oyamel.

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.

Visit washington.org.
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