Archive for the ‘holiday travel shopping’ Category

Liftopia Offers Two Ways to Give the Gift of Ski This Holiday Season

December 18, 2015
Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado Rockies

Family skiing at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Liftopia makes it easy to give the Gift of Ski. © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With just a few shopping days to go until Christmas, there’s still time to give family and friends THE GIFT OF SKI, promising adventure, fresh mountain air, and powder days.

Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, offers two ways to give the gift of ski this holiday season:

  • Purchase date-specific lift tickets at more than 250 resorts in North America on Liftopia.com – perfect if you’re traveling with the recipient or know when they’d like to hit the slopes. Worried trip details may change? Buy Value Plus or Flexible tickets, offering the ability to change dates.
  • Load up a Liftopia Gift Card, which can be purchased at any amount from $5 to $1,000 and used toward lift tickets, lessons and more at any of Liftopia’s 250+ partner resorts. No extra fees, no expiration dates, and they can be sent digitally or printed.

A blog post detailing who the gift of ski is perfect for this holiday season can be found here.

As a reminder, with Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on a Friday this year, it’s the perfect time to plan a holiday weekend on the slopes. While everyone else is inside unwrapping presents on Dec. 25 or watching football (or nursing hangovers) on Jan. 1, ski areas will be free of crowds and long lift lines, meaning wide-open runs and more powder time! To draw people out of their homes and onto the slopes, Liftopia partner resorts offer some of the biggest discounts of the season on lift tickets, in some instances up to 85% off window rates when purchased online and in advance.

 

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

November 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a complete list of all Yuletide in Taos events or for lodging information and specials, visit taos.org.
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Winter Market in Munich Airport Center Features Exciting New Holiday Attractions

November 26, 2014

Who would imagine an airport being a destination, and a holiday destination at that! Each year, passengers, visitors, staff at Munich Airport and area residents look forward to an annual highlight: the popular Winter Market at the Munich Airport Center (MAC), between the two terminals, from November 22 to December 28, 2014. Once again, the MAC Forum is transformed into a winter wonderland. Visitors can take a stroll among the more than 40 stands offering gift ideas and seasonal treats and enjoy the pre-Christmas sights and smells. This year’s 16th edition has a few new attractions and activities in store. It’s enough to make you want to route your holiday travel through Munich Airport!

In addition to a larger ice skating and curling rink and a line-up of live entertainment on stage, this year’s Winter Market will introduce a spectacular ice slide. The curved track, 50 meters long and five meters wide, will be set up in the Airbräu Beer Garden. Another new attraction is the open air cinema, with free showings of popular movies presented every Monday on the MetaTwist Tower starting at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesdays are all about fun and games for children, with a wide variety of activities in Kinderland from 2–5 p.m., including treasure hunts, face painting, and arts and crafts works. (Advance reservations with Kinderland are required: Tel.: 089/975-25998 or e-mail: kinderland@munich-airport.de) Kicking off the Thursday activities are the “Winter Olympics”, starting at 4.00 p.m., featuring such disciplines as a sliding contest on the new ice slide. This will be followed at 6:00 p.m. by an after-work ice disco with a DJ. From Friday to Sunday, live bands will keep the skaters moving.

The Winter Market is open daily from 11 am until 9 pm, except on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), when the stands and the airport shops close at 5 pm.

For the full program of the Munich Airport Winter Market, visit http://www.munich-airport.de/en/consumer/erlebnis/events/mac_forum/wintermarkt2014

 

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Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem 5-Week Holiday Festival Begins Nov. 20 at Steelstacks; Tix on Sale

November 7, 2014
Festive Main Street, Bethlehem. A great place to stay is the historic Hotel Bethlehem.

Festive Main Street, Bethlehem. A great place to stay is the historic Hotel Bethlehem.

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, the popular holiday marketplace that takes place at PNC Plaza at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is set to return for its 22nd year, with 100 artisans and vendors, a special 50th anniversary celebration by Käthe Wohlfahrt and more. Advance discount tickets for the event, which takes place Thurs.-Sun., Nov. 20-Dec. 21, are now on sale at http://www.christmascity.org and 610-332-3378.

New this year is the Christkindlmarkt/Bethlehem: The Christmas City Movie combo ticket, which includes admission to the “Bethlehem: The Christmas City” film, highlighting Bethlehem’s rich history from its founding by the Moravians in 1741 through the present day.

Recognized as one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure, Christkindlmarkt is a delightful family event that features aisles of exquisite, handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans, the heartwarming sounds of live Christmas music, delicious German and Austrian food, and more.

Each weekend, dozens of vendors and artisans come to the marketplace from as far away as North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana and Illinois. Approximately 135 different vendors will attend the market over its five-week run, with nearly 20 percent of them appearing at the event for the first time.

Among the thousands of holiday gift ideas guest will discover are beautiful glass art, handmade jewelry, wheel-thrown pottery, gourmet foods and hand-crafted candles.

One of the highlights of Christkindlmarkt 2014 is the return of Käthe Wohlfahrt, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. In honor of the special occasion, the renowned German ornament and nutcracker maker is featuring a handful of special 50th Anniversary collectibles and ornaments, all available only in very limited quantities.

Other new attractions include the first limited-edition Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem collectible from Rich Connolly, the popular local artist known for his hand-painted chalkware figurines created with century-old antique candy molds; as well as the opportunity for guests to work with the glass artists at the Glassblowing Tent powered by Think Energy to create their own Stamped Glass Bethlehem Star, the perfect souvenir of their visit to the Christmas City.

Families attending Christkindlmarkt will also enjoy the ice sculpting demonstrations, giant playhouses created by area architects, and visits with the market’s authentic German St. Nicholas.  Plus, the popular “Breakfast with St. Nick” is back Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 and 13 at 9 a.m. During the events, which sell out each year, children and their families enjoy a delicious hot breakfast, goodie bag and arts & crafts, as well as a photos with the jolly, old man himself.
Christkindlmarkt hours are Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving), Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Advance tickets are $8 for ages 13 and older, $4 for ages 6-12, and admission is free for ages 5 and under. Advance season passes are $16 for ages 13 and older, and $8 for ages 6-12;

Tickets for Breakfast with St. Nick are  $14.95 for ages 11 and older; $11.95 for ages 2-10, and $6.95 for ages under 2.

For complete Christkindlmarkt information, as well as tickets and season passes, visit http://www.christmascity.org or call 610-332-3378.

 

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Ski New Hampshire Lift Ticket Packages, Snowsports Passport Make Ideal Holiday Gifts

December 3, 2013
Snowboarding at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Snowboarding at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Searching for gifts geared towards skiers and snowboarders? Ski NH’s Anywhere, Anytime Lift Ticket Packages offer one of the best gift ideas, especially for those that ski primarily on weekends and during holiday periods. The tickets offer savings of up to $26 off weekend & holiday rates at Ski NH member ski areas. The packages consist of the purchaser’s choice of fully-transferable lift tickets that are valid every day of the 2013-14 ski season. New for this season purchasers have the convenient option of printing their tickets at home or work, ideal for last-minute shopping.

Customers can choose their favorite ski areas or customize a mix of lift tickets to two or more ski areas; tickets are broken down into five price categories of $22, $32, $47, $60 and $70 per ticket. Packages begin at a minimum of six lift tickets and can be purchased in any increment above that. Ski areas included in the offer are Loon Mountain, Bretton Woods (sold out), Cannon Mountain (sold out), Waterville Valley, Mount Sunapee, Gunstock Mountain Resort, Cranmore Mountain, Pats Peak, Ragged Mountain, Black Mountain, King Pine Ski Area, Dartmouth Skiway, Granite Gorge, and McIntyre Ski Area. Ticket inventory is limited and many areas sell out quickly.  Currently less than 100 tickets remain for four ski areas.

The 4th and 5th Grade Snowsports Passport program is available to any 4th or 5th grade student, regardless of location. The passport costs $35, with a portion donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire. The passport consists of one, two, or three lift tickets or trail passes for each of the 33 member resorts of Ski NH, as well as savings on downhill lift tickets and cross country trail passes for parents and siblings, rental packages, lessons and more. To purchase a Ski NH Snowsports Passport, simply complete an application available on SkiNH.com and forward a copy of the child’s report card. Quantities are limited with only 4,000 Snowsports Passports available for the 2013-14 ski season, so it’s best to act sooner than later.

Lift ticket packages and the Snowsports Passport can both be purchased online at SkiNH.com, or by phone (phone orders are subject to a $10 shipping plus processing fee). For more details and to order, visit www.SkiNH.com or call 800-88-SKI-NH (800-887-5464).

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Bethlehem, Connecticut, Offers Festive Start to the Holiday Season

November 30, 2013

They call this little town in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut “Christmas Town” with good reason. Bethlehem’s 33rd annual Christmas Town Festival scheduled for December 6 and 7, is one of New England’s favorite ways to kick off the season. Wherever you turn, special treats are waiting, from the town green to the post office to the Abbey of Regina Laudis and the 1754 Bellamy-Ferriday House, and some of the distinctive attractions continue when the festival is over.

Bethlehem’s quaint town green, centered with a giant tree, is offers over 70 vendors with gift items, wreaths and foods for sale, strolling carolers and musicians. Santa is at the firehouse to pose for pictures and everyone is invited to climb aboard for hayrides offered in front of First Church. Collectors can garner this year’s unique limited edition Christmas Town pewter ornament, sold only during the Festival.

Bethlehem’s beautiful 18th century Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden is festively decorated and open for guided tours, hot cider and a scavenger hunt for children (9 Main Street North, www.ctlandmarks.org).

Hours for the Christmas Town Festival are Friday, December 6 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, see www.christmastownfestival.com or phone 203-266-7510, ext. 300.

Christmas Town Mailings at the Post Office

As you can imagine, the Bethlehem post office is especially busy in December serving the many who come every year to mail holiday cards with the special postmarks.  Visitors can select favorites among the “Christmas Cachet” designs, hand-stamp and mail these unique greetings to friends and family. The idea of the special stamps dates to 1938, when a local Postmaster, the late Earl Johnson, designed a “cachet,” a special rubber stamp featuring a tree and lettering that said “From the Little Town of Bethlehem, Christmas Greetings.” New cachets have been added almost every year since. Over 70 designs are now available and nearly 200,000 cards are mailed each year from this small post office.  Located at 34 East Street, the post office will have extended hours during the festival, Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Precious Crèches at the Abbey

One of Bethlehem’s not-to-be-missed jewels is open all month. The museum-quality 18th century Neapolitan crèche on view in a vintage barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis includes hundreds of beautiful hand-carved figures. Made of wood, terra cotta, and porcelain, the figures portray the Holy Family, angels, the Three Kings, merchants and peddlers, children, peasants and farm animals.  This fabulous gift from artist and philanthropist Loretta Hines Howard is similar to the one Howard donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it is prominently displayed every Christmas.

A second Crèche, The Lauren Ford Crèche, created by a favorite Connecticut artist, is displayed in a farm shed near the Lower Abbey Chapel. This charming rustic Nativity scene displays figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph dressed in typical New England garb.

The Monastic Art Shop on the property offers crafts, cheeses, jams, herbal teas, flavored vinegars, herbs and honey, and all created on site by the Abbey’s residents.

The Abbey of Regina Laudis, located at 249 Flanders Road, is open to visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.abbeyofreginalaudis.org

For more information, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, 860-567-4506, or visit www.visitwesternct.com.

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Princess Cruises Features Alaska Deals with “After Thanksgiving” Sale

November 22, 2011

A view of Mt McKinley in Denali National Park, Alaska and the sightseeing plane that takes you up close.Travelers dreaming of visiting the splendor of Alaska’s wilderness have an opportunity for savings on cruises and cruisetours to the 49th state with Princess Cruises’ first-ever After Thanksgiving Alaska Sale © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

 

Travelers dreaming of visiting the splendor of Alaska’s wilderness have an opportunity for savings on cruises and cruisetours to the 49th state with Princess Cruises’ first-ever After Thanksgiving Alaska Sale.

Running from November 25-29, the sale offers passengers up to $1,000 in savings and up to a $50 onboard credit on one of the cruise line’s popular cruisetour vacations, which combine a Gulf of Alaska cruise with rail travel to Denali and stays at Princess’ exclusive wilderness lodges. For those who opt to see Alaska by sea only, the sale provides a free balcony upgrade and up to $100 onboard credit.

“The breathtaking glaciers, pristine wilderness and amazing wildlife of Alaska have made it one of our passengers’ favorite destinations,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Cruisetour travelers will enjoy our own wilderness lodges and private rail cars during their land tours, which mesh perfectly with our popular Alaska cruises. And what better time to get the family together to plan next year’s travel than at Thanksgiving.”

Examples of sale fares available include:

  • 10-day Denali Explorer cruisetour starting at $1,213 in May; $1,740 for August departures
  • 13-day Off the Beaten Path cruisetour starting at $1,618 in May; $2,373 for August departures
  • 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise starting at $699 in May; $999 for August departures
  • 7-day Inside Passage cruise starting at $749 in May; $899 for August departures
The After Thanksgiving Alaska Sale begins on “Black Friday” November 25 at 12:00 am PST and runs through 11:59 pm PST on Tuesday, November 29. The sale is available to residents of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Reservations made during the sale require a non-refundable deposit.

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company’s website at www.princess.com.

See also:

RESEARCH & EARLY BOOKING ARE KEY TO GETTING THE MOST FROM ALASKA CRUISE

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