Archive for the ‘family travel’ Category

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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Hilton Hotels Revitalize the California Road Trip

April 20, 2017
CA-SF-SummOfLove_041217_306e2(c) Karen Rubin-DeYoungMuseum

Take advantage of Hilton’s California Road Trip program at Hilton hotels in San Francisco and join in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love, with special tours of Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love Experience at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

ANAHEIM, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO and SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. ––Summer travel is already underway In California and travelers from around the globe this summer can enjoy the ultimate Golden State adventure with Hilton’s “California Road Trip,” a destination package that inspires thrill-seekers and value-minded explorers. Discover an array of adventures and authentic experiences with rates starting at $149 per night.  The package highlights premier destination cities such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Anaheim and San Diego with special rates available through Labor Day Weekend 2017. To book, visit California Road Trip Package  and take a Virtual California Road Trip on Hilton’s YouTube channel.

Participating properties include: Parc 55 San Francisco—A Hilton Hotel, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, The Fess Parker—A DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara, Hilton Anaheim, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

With the California Road Trip package, Hilton aims to provide guests added value inside the hotel with a variety of inclusions to make your trip memorable while highlighting California as a premier destination for family fun, exploration and adventure, and exceptional hospitality through a unique partnership with its local conventions and visitors bureaus.   

“With some of the best Hilton properties on the map, ‘California Road Trip’ is the ultimate vacation package for families and friends who want to create memorable experiences on the road with spectacular scenery, fun and adventure along the way,” said Steve Cowan, general manager of Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 San Francisco.

The California Road Trip package, featuring exclusive rates and added value inside and outside the hotel, will be available for purchase beginning now until Labor Day at Hilton.com as well as on the Special Offers page of each of the participating hotels’ property websites.

The California Road Trip package features savings of more than $125 per night, with exclusive discount of up to 15 percent on Enterprise/Alamo and National Car Rentals, $25 food and beverage credit (available in MIX Restaurant only), complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, unlimited access to the hotel’s Health Club & Spa and a California Road Trip Road Kit featuring exclusive discounts on local entertainment and attractions. Room rates start at $149 per night, tax not included.

California Road Trip packages at a glance:

Parc 55 San Francisco—A Hilton Hotel and Hilton San Francisco Union Square package includes (Rates starting at $265):

  • The San Francisco CityPASS®program which covers unlimited cable car rides, admission to four top attractions, priced 42 percent less than the same tickets purchased separately.  CityPASS® ticket book contains helpful information, including insider tips, an attraction location map, attraction and transportation details, directions and money-saving coupons. Books are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Includes:

o   3-Day Muni Cable Car and Bus Passport

o   California Academy of Sciences tickets

o   Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure tickets

o   Aquarium of the Bay tickets

o   Option Ticket: Exploratorium OR de Young Museum + Legion of Honor tickets

The Fess Parker—A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort package includes (Rates starting at $249):

  • Tote bag, Visitors Guide, Vintners Association and Urban Wine Trail Maps, Downtown Organization Map of Shopping and Cultural Attractions, Waterfront Map, Two for One Santa Barbara Sightseeing Trolley Passes, a Santa Barbara Organic Granola Bar and bag of Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. organic pistachios.

Hilton Anaheim package includes (Rates starting at $149):

  • Tote bag, bottled water, granola bars, $10 Starbucks gift card, Visit Anaheim drawstring bag, visitors guide and map, Visit Anaheim postcard with exclusive deals and discounts on local attractions and dining.

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront packages includes (Rates starting at $249):

  • Branded bag, San Diego Magazine Spring Visitors Guide w/ coupons, Where Map, Brewers Guild map, sunglasses and mints.

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, Hilton San Francisco Union Square is a high-energy, world-class hotel that features stunning views and international sophistication.  The hotel is steps from world-class shopping and under-the-radar locales rich with the history of theatre and jazz. Additionally, the hotel is convenient to the Powell Street cable car line, Moscone Convention Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, City Hall and the Civic Center. Featuring 1,919 guest rooms and 151 suites with city views, the hotel is home to a contemporary fitness center, one of the city’s only outdoor heated swimming pools and an array of food and beverage outlets with artisanal flare and modern atmospheres. Dining options include the grab-and-go marketplace, Herb N’ Kitchen, The Lobby Bar with signature hand crafted cocktails, gastropub Urban Tavern with international offerings and the 46th floor Cityscape Lounge with 360-degree panoramic views of the Bay Area and San Francisco’s most popular landmarks. As the West Coast’s largest hotel, the property boasts 134,500-square-feet of meeting and event space, including a 30,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, for scalable meetings from startups to Fortune 500 companies. For more information, please visit www.hiltonsanfranciscohotel.com. 

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, Hilton Parc 55 San Francisco is a boutique-style business-class hotel that features stunning views and universal sophistication. The hotel is steps from world-class shopping and under-the-radar locales rich with the history of theatre and jazz. Additionally, the hotel is convenient to the Powell Street cable car line, Moscone Convention Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, City Hall and the Civic Center. Featuring 1,024 guest rooms and 54 suites, with city views, the hotel is home to a contemporary fitness center, an array of food and beverage outlets and shared campus resources with neighboring Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Dining options include Cable 55, Michelin-rated Kin Khao Thai restaurant and Barbary Coast. As the third largest hotel in San Francisco, the property boasts 30,000-square-feet of meeting and event space. For more information, please visit www.parc55hotel.com.

The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara, an AAA Four Diamond property, is located at 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, steps from the beach and within ½ mile of downtown in one of the world’s most perfect climates. The 360 room guest rooms, with their own balcony or patio, overlook the Santa Ynez mountains, 24 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens or the Pacific Ocean.  Over 44,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the Parker Family Wine Experience and unique outdoor Plaza del Sol make this a quintessential California destination for weddings and events. 

Hilton Anaheim is located in the heart of Anaheim’s revitalized Resort District and conveniently situated in the center of Southern California. Hilton Anaheim is just a short distance away from world-class beaches, sports stadiums and concert venues, ultra-trendy boutiques, action sports, lifestyle and tony shopping centers. Hilton Anaheim is approximately a one hour drive to downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica and South Orange County and an hour and a half drive to San Diego.

The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines offers a unique San Diego experience with a setting unlike any other in southern California. A coastal retreat situated atop the bluffs of La Jolla and overlooking the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course and the majestic Pacific Ocean, sits the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. With each of the spacious 394 guest rooms featuring a private balcony or patio with magnificent views of the golf course, ocean or beautiful hotel gardens, the resort offers a genuine San Diego experience. Minutes from the beautiful beach communities of La Jolla and Del Mar and 12 miles from the San Diego International Airport, the resort offers a feeling of seclusion, yet remains close to everything San Diego has to offer. Located at 10950 North Torrey Pines Road La Jolla, CA 92037. For additional information, please visit: www.hiltonlajollatorreypines.com.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 30-story, 1,190 room hotel, is located on the edge of the bay in downtown San Diego and situated on 12.79 acres of Bayfront land. The hotel boasts 165,000 square feet of meeting and event space, four restaurants, a 7,300 square foot health club and spa, 3,000 square feet of retail space, a 2,400 square foot business center along with San Diego’s first heated saltwater hotel swimming pool and nearly $2 million of commissioned public art. Hilton San Diego Bayfront is adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center and PETCO Park, located at One Park Boulevard, San Diego, 92101. For additional information, please visit www.hiltonsandiegobayfront.com. 

For more information about Hilton’s California Road Trip package, visit HiltonAnaheimRoadTrip.com 

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NY Times Travel Show is Place to Go for Family Travel Ideas; Admission Free for Kids

January 26, 2017
2014 New York Times Travel Show

Culture of the world comes to New York’s Javits Center for the New York Times Travel Show, Jan. 28 & 29 © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The 2017 New York Times Travel Show will feature numerous presentations for attendees interested in activities for younger travelers. On Saturday (1/28) and Sunday (1/29), admission for children (18 and under) is free.

In its 14th year, the Travel Show doors open to the public on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 28-29) for two days of on-site deals and offers, travel seminars, tips from professionals at Meet the Experts programs, stage performances, and other features.

The Travel Show is also presenting a new feature, the Family Travel Pavilion, a dedicated area divided into exhibit booth space, a Presentation stage and a Kids demonstration area, where kids can experience culinary classes, arts & crafts projects, face painting and travel-related activities. The pavilion will also showcase leading players in the Family travel space, including lodges, resorts, destinations, cruise lines and dude ranches.

Some of presentations of the Family Travel Pavilion include:

  • Ross Levi, Vice President of I LOVE NY, who will share top destinations for families to travel within the state of New York.
  • Learn about the hidden gems and can’t-miss experiences of Southcentral Alaska.
  • Lebanese cuisine culinary star and PBS personality Julie Taboulie takes kids on a creative, colorful and culinary exploration of fresh flavors from the Finger Lakes region, presented by Visit Syracuse. Book signing to follow.
  • Taste the Dumplings Before You Travel: Travel to Ukraine welcomes participants and their families to discover varenyky — a Ukrainian traditional dish — presented by Veselka restaurant located in N.Y.C.’s East Village. Book signing to follow.
  • Sally Black, acclaimed author and owner of Vacation Kids Travel Agency, will provide insights on how travel agents can really help parents plan the ultimate family getaway.
  • How to plan an Amazon Family Adventure: From upscale river cruises to rustic lodges, International Expeditions’ experts discuss options to reconnect with nature in the Amazon rain forest.
  • Ranjana Armstrong, Founder of nugget.travel, a community of family explorers making aspirational trips achievable and ordinary trips more enjoyable, will provide hacks on how to successfully travel with children.
  • “Getting Around Family Travel Roadblocks: Top Challenges Keeping Families from Traveling — and How to Overcome Them.” Experts will share personal insights and tips about how to overcome those challenges for families with diverse interests, budgets, desires and needs.
  • Fresh From Florida: Chef Justin Timineri provides culinary travel tips for families that want to make better food choices while vacationing in the Sunshine State — and invites participants to enjoy a fun, fresh and kid-centric demonstration and tasting.
  • Georgia Aquarium: Over 10 Years of Awe-Inspiring Wonder: Learn about Georgia Aquarium, their programs, events and exhibits and receive giveaways.
  • Kitchen Talk on L.G.B.T. Family Travel: Join celebrity chef Art Smith and his daughter, Zuky Francis Smith Salgueiro in the kitchen for tips on baking their favorite family chocolate cake — along with tips on L.G.B.T. family travel from Karen L. Christensen, the deputy assistant secretary for Overseas Citizens Services at the U.S. Department of State.

Some additional highlights at this year’s Show include a “Selfie Station” hosted by the Georgia Aquarium, where children can snap a picture under the sea; a LEGO®-building contest for kids under twelve, hosted by MSC Cruises; and the “Discover Costa Rica Challenge,” where participants can download an online program for activities and games throughout the Travel Show’s Kids Activity Zone, hosted by Il Viaggio Travel.

The New York Times Travel Show is proud to announce the Family Travel Association is an Industry Sponsor of the inaugural Family Travel Pavilion at the 2017 Show.

The Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America, featuring the Travel Industry Conference, Consumer Seminars, and an interactive Exhibition including more than 500 exhibitors from Africa, Asia, Australia/South Pacific, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Mexico and the United States.  In addition to discounts and special offers, the show provides educational seminars and live entertainment for families, individuals, couples and seniors.  Join the conversation and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest Travel Show news.

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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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