Archive for the ‘holiday travel’ Category

Accuweather Thanksgiving Travel Forecast: Rain to Hug US East Coast; Lake-effect Snow to Slick Roads Near Great Lakes

November 21, 2017

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By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – November 21, 2017 – AccuWeather reports rain may slow travel for a time in part of the east coast of the United States, while significant travel delays are likely in the Northwest and near the Great Lakes leading up to Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day represent some of the busiest travel days of the year for all means of transportation, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

While the weather will cooperate for a large portion of the nation, there will be some areas of concern for holiday travel.

Rain to hug Atlantic coast

In lieu of a major storm, a weak storm is likely to brush part of the Atlantic Seaboard prior to Thanksgiving Day.

Wet weather is in store over much of Florida into Tuesday night. Rain is forecast to brush the coastal areas of the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic coast late Tuesday night and then coastal New England on Wednesday.

The greatest impact will be to motorists.

Wet road surfaces and blowing spray may require lower speeds.

“The combination of rain and a low cloud ceiling may also be enough to lead to airline delays in Boston and perhaps New York City for a time on Wednesday,” according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

How far west the rain extends will depend on how close to the coast the storm tracks. At this time any long-duration rain is not likely to occur west of Interstate 95 in the mid-Atlantic region. Areas right along the mid-Atlantic coast may get a few hours of light rain.

Drenching rain is mostly likely to occur in southeastern New England and eastern Long Island

A brief period of rain and snow may occur on the back side of the storm over the central and northern Appalachians and eastern Great Lakes from Tuesday night to early Wednesday.

“Regardless of the amount of rain and/or snow showers, gusty winds are likely to herald the return of the cold air on Wednesday,” Abrams said. “Winds may pose a problem as the massive balloons are inflated ahead of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.”

Another storm is forecast to bring more rain to parts of Florida on Thanksgiving Day, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Fait Eherts.

Snowy, windy episodes to pester Upper Midwest

A new burst of cold air and a weak storm are forecast to produce spotty snow for the northern tier of the Midwest into Thanksgiving Day.

The fresh batch of cold air will be accompanied by gusty winds over much of the North Central states. Winds may be strong enough to lead to airline delays even in the absence of any snow showers into Wednesday.

As a pocket of arctic air races southeastward, it will briefly renew lake-effect snow from northern Michigan to northern and western New York, western Pennsylvania and northeastern West Virginia into midweek.

Motorists should be prepared for sudden snow showers and rapidly changing road conditions on their travels in these areas.

From late Wednesday to early Thanksgiving Day, a brief period of snow and/or freezing drizzle will develop over the northern Plains and slice southeastward across the Great Lakes.

While only a small amount of wintry precipitation is anticipated, even a thin coating of snow or ice can cause great difficulty for motorists on crowded highways.

Throughout the Midwest, there will be a couple of episodes of gusty winds that may lead to minor airline delays and tricky crosswinds on the highways.

Storms to harass travelers in northwestern US

By far, poor travel conditions will be the most consistent in coastal areas of Washington and Oregon through Thanksgiving Day.

Motorists venturing along the Interstate 5 corridor in the Northwest can expect rounds of drenching rain and periods of fog, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliot.

Lesser rain is forecast east of the Cascades.

Snow levels are forecast to rise slowly into Thanksgiving Day.

Motorists may encounter slushy and slippery conditions into Tuesday over Snoqualmie Pass along I-90 in Washington. Milder conditions will allow plain rain to fall from Tuesday night to Thursday. However, fog may accompany the milder air over the mountains, where snow remains on the ground.

The milder air will allow rain to fall or a mixture of rain and snow to occur at most intermediate elevations of the northern Rockies, including many of the major passes.

Major weather-related travel disruptions unlikely over rest of US

It is possible that flights originating from the Northwest, coastal Northeast and Upper Midwest may cause minor delays elsewhere across the nation into Thanksgiving Day.

However, a large portion of the Southwest, South-Central and interior Southeast can expect good travel conditions.

Showers are forecast to retreat to the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas and Louisiana coasts beyond Tuesday night.

 

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Accuweather: Blinding Lake-effect Snow, Bitterly Cold Winds to cause Thanksgiving Travel Delays

November 15, 2017

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By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – Nov. 15, 2017 – AccuWeather reports  that following the mild, wet weather ending this week, progressively colder air will unleash rounds of lake-effect snow from the Upper Midwest to the interior Northeast for travel during the week of Thanksgiving.

Travel delays related to wind and/or snow are likely in parts of the midwestern and eastern United States.

“We expect two major pushes of cold air into the eastern half of the U.S. during the week of Thanksgiving,” according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

The weather pattern is giving mixed signals as to whether or not a storm will bring rain and snow to the East during the transition to the cold weather.

However, there will be a consequence as reinforcing waves of cold air pass over the Great Lakes.

As cold air passes over the relatively warm waters, streets of towering clouds form and deposit heavy snow along the downwind shoreline and dozens of miles inland.

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Where the bands of heavy snow persist, up to a foot of snow can fall. As many as two rounds of lake-effect snow are anticipated from Sunday through the Thanksgiving weekend.

The details of which communities will be hit the hardest on particular days has yet to be determined. A small variance in the wind direction can vary the bands of heavy snow by a dozen miles or more.

For example, a west-southwest wind off Lake Ontario would blast Watertown, New York, with intense snow, but a due west wind would potentially bury communities such as Barnes Corners and Sandy Creek, New York, several miles to the south.

“Motorists with plans on utilizing Interstate 90 from northern Indiana to western New York, I-81 in northern New York state and other highways immediately downwind of all of the Great Lakes should be prepared for travel delays and rapid changes in roadway visibility next week,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis.

One round of lake-effect snow associated with the first cold blast will erupt later this weekend into early next week.

Another round of lake-effect snow may begin during the middle of next week. There is still uncertainty as to the extent or intensity of that round of lake-effect snow.

Travel conditions will range from blinding snow and the potential for temporary road closures to sunny over a span of a few miles.

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At times, the bands of lake-effect snow may extend 200 miles or more to the central Appalachians. Motorists traveling through the higher terrain in West Virginia, western Maryland and western and northern Pennsylvania should expect locally blinding snow squalls and a quick accumulation on roads. This includes stretches of I-79 and I-80.

At times, wind gusts may be strong enough to lead to difficulty for high-profile vehicles. Strong crosswinds at airports from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic coast can lead to airline delays in lieu of any snow or a major storm.

Gusty winds to add to the pain of the cold air

“Blasts of cold air like this are not uncommon during the middle and latter part of November,” Duffey said. “However, following the warmth during most weeks of this autumn season, heating demand will be high.”

Temperatures are projected to average 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal during multiple days during the week of Thanksgiving from the Midwest to the Northeast, as well as much of the Southeast.

The anticipated weather pattern will translate to highs in the 20s over the northern tier to the 40s over the interior South on the coldest days. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures can dip to 20 degrees lower than the actual temperature at times.

Battling the wind on the highway may reduce fuel efficiency.

Regardless of wind, motorists can expect to pay much more at the pump for their Thanksgiving road trip. Strong consumer demand and lowering national inventory have pushed gasoline prices to nearly 40 cents a gallon higher than last year at this time, according to the American Automobile Association.

One positive of the cold weather pattern will be plenty of opportunities for ski resorts to make snow in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

What about the storm potential?

In terms of large-scale storms that may increase commute time, one storm projected to affect much of the eastern U.S. this weekend will likely be warm enough for rain in most areas and even gusty thunderstorms in part of the Midwest.

However, it is the same storm that will set into motion the first blast of cold air for next week.

“A second storm during the middle of next week has the potential to bring a period of rain along the Atlantic coast and snow over the Appalachians spanning Wednesday to Thanksgiving Day,” according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams. “Another scenario is the second storm may be so overwhelmed by cold, dry air that it is forced out to sea.”

Regardless of the nature of the storms, gone are the warm and tranquil conditions that graced much of the Midwest and East during October.

Motorists and airline passengers should anticipate delays and be ready to adjust their travel plans during the week of Thanksgiving.

 

Iconic 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Kicks off Holiday Season in NYC; Here’s What to Expect

November 9, 2017
NYC-MacysThanksgvParade 112410_128e2(c) Karen Rubin

Macy’s iconic Thanksgiving Parade that kicks off the winter holiday season actually starts the night before, with a gigantic blow-up event that has become a major festival experience, drawing tens of thousands of onlookers on the streets around the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park West © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –This Thanksgiving, a magical march returns to the streets of New York City and to homes across the U.S. as the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® kicks off the holiday season with its signature spectacle of wonder. On Thursday, Nov. 23 (9 a.m.-noon in all time zones), the streets of Manhattan will come alive at the sound of “Let’s Have a Parade!” Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” will host the broadcast. Telemundo will simulcast the parade in Spanish, with the event hosted by Carlos Ponce, Jessica Carrillo and Karim Mendiburu.

Ready to spread holiday cheer, the annual procession is sure to delight more than 3.5 million spectators and more than 50 million viewers nationwide with its traditional merriment. Since the first march in 1924, the Macy’s Parade has captivated audiences and become synonymous with the start of the holiday season. For the 91st edition, the line-up will feature 17 giant character balloons; 28 legacy balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands; and 6 performance groups.

The star power on parade will once again feature some of the nation’s most riveting performers. Taking to the streets of New York City on board one of Macy’s signature floating stages and thrilling the nation with their performances at Herald Square will be 98 Degrees, Lauren Alaina, Cam, Sabrina Carpenter, Andra Day & Common, Sara Evans, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Flo Rida, Goo Goo Dolls, Kat Graham, Andy Grammer, Angelica Hale, Olivia Holt, Nicky Jam, Wyclef Jean, Bravo’s Top Chef stars Padma Lakshmi & Tom Colicchio, Dustin Lynch, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast & Muppets of Sesame Street, Bebe Rexha, Smokey Robinson, Jojo Siwa and more.

On 34th Street, Broadway’s best shows will take a star turn in front of Macy’s famed flagship with special performances from the casts of “Anastasia,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Once On This Island” and “SpongeBob SquarePants – The Broadway Musical.” In addition, the show-stopping Radio City Rockettes®  will bring their signature high-kicking magic to Herald Square.

“The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of our great holiday traditions and we’re thrilled to be able to once again bring the pageantry and spectacle to viewers across the country,” said Doug Vaughan, Executive Vice President, Special Programs and Late Night, NBC Entertainment. “We can’t wait to see all the balloons, floats and high-end entertainment that have become such an integral part of this wonderful event.”

“For more than 90 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has signaled the start of the holiday season for millions of families. We are thrilled to once again come together as a nation to give this gift of joy and wonder to all,” said Susan Tercero, group vice-president of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She added, “Our incredible team has planned a fantastic spectacle featuring an amazing line-up of giant character balloons, floats of fantasy, the nation’s best marching bands and performance groups, a dazzling array of musical artists, all coming together to herald the arrival of the one-and-only Santa Claus.”

The Macy’s Parade is always a unique multi-level, magical march that provides spectators with different experiences, whether they watch it on television with friends and family or scout the perfect spot on the route to watch it unfold live. To give fans another unique viewing opportunity, Macy’s, along with NBCUniversal and Verizon will once again take viewers closer to the magic via up close and personal views of the event through a 360-degree livestream of the parade on Verizon’s YouTube page. The stream, found at www.youtube.com/verizon, will be synced with the start of the Parade.

Flying Icons

Taking flight on Turkey Day will be the Parade’s signature giant character helium balloons. Since their introduction in 1927, these giants of the sky have featured some of the world’s most beloved characters. This year four giant characters will debut, including Olaf from Disney’s “Frozen,” Illumination presents Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Jett from Super Wings™ and PAW Patrol®.

The balloon line-up will also feature the return of Harold the Baseball Player, a legacy Macy’s character prominently featured in Twentieth Century Fox’s iconic holiday film classic “Miracle on 34th Street.” In celebration of the film’s 70th anniversary, the Harold heritage balloon has been recreated for this year’s Parade, painted in hues of black, white and grey, to look exactly as it did on-screen during a memorable scene in the 1947 film. In addition to Harold, the famed spokesduck, the Aflac Duck, will debut as an all-new balloonicle (a Macy’s Parade innovation of hybrid cold-air balloon and vehicle) and is sure to have fans quacking with joy and laughter down the route.

Returning giant balloon characters include Angry Birds’ Red; Charlie Brown; Diary of a Wimpy Kid®;  Sinclair’s Dino®; the Elf on the Shelf®; Hello Kitty®; Ice Age’s Scrat and His Acorn; Pikachu™; Pillsbury Doughboy™; Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger; Ronald McDonald®; SpongeBob SquarePants; and DreamWorks’ Trolls.

Parade Floats

Floating down the route this Thanksgiving, the Parade’s signature floats transport spectators to worlds of wonder. Designed and created by the incredible artists of Macy’s Parade Studio, which include carpenters, painters, animators, sculptors, metal fabricators, scenic/costume designers and electricians, this year’s line-up of floats sets an unparalleled stage for entertainment. The painstaking process of creating a Macy’s Parade float is both a creative and technical endeavor. Macy’s Parade floats are often three-stories tall and several lanes of traffic wide, but must collapse to no more than 12½-feet tall and 8-feet wide in order to travel safely from the New Jersey home of the Parade Studio, to the Manhattan starting line via the Lincoln Tunnel each Thanksgiving eve. These creations are not only works of art, but also engineering marvels.

This year five new floats will debut including Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s® (Sara Evans), Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant® (Lauren Alaina), Parade Day Mischief by Sour Patch Kids® Candy (Nicky Jam), Shimmer and Shine by Nickelodeon (Jojo Siwa) and Universal Playground by Sprout® (Angelica Hale). A special float by Delta Air Lines will also debut to commemorate the season of togetherness with the perfect gift of song, as more than 125 Macy’s employees gather to form a one-of-a-kind cross-generational choir aboard the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree.

The returning float roster includes 1-2-3 Sesame Street by Sesame Street (Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast and Muppets of “Sesame Street“); The Aloha Spirit by King’s Hawaiian (Goo Goo Dolls), Big Apple by N.Y. Daily News (Bebe Rexha); Big City Cheer! by Spirit of America Productions (Miss America 2018 Cara Mund); Building a Better World by Girl Scouts of the USA (Andra Day and Common); The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC by Kentucky Fried Chicken (Dustin Lynch); The Cranberry Cooperative by Ocean Spray®; Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill® (Olivia Holt); Discover Adventure! by Build-A-Bear (Sabrina Carpenter); Frozen Fall Fun by Discover®/NHL (Wyclef Jean) and NHL Hockey Hall of Famers Ray Bourque & Bryan Trottier); Fun House by Krazy Glue® (Flo Rida); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel (98 Degrees); It’s All Rock & Roll by Gibson Brands (Jimmy Fallon & The Roots); Mount Rushmore’s American Pride by South Dakota Department of Tourism (Smokey Robinson); On The Roll Again by Homewood Suites by Hilton® (Andy Grammer); Santa’s Sleigh; Snoopy’s Doghouse by Peanuts Worldwide; Stirrin’ Up Sweet Sensations by Domino® Sugar (Cam); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Nickelodeon (Kat Graham); and Tom Turkey featuring Bravo’s Top Chef (Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio).

Drum Roll, Please…

Marching bands are a central piece of the Thanksgiving delights, bringing national excitement and hometown pride to the streets of the Big Apple, not to mention the musical beat to the holiday revelry. Twelve performance ensembles will take up the call of the baton and march down the streets of Manhattan. This year’s bands include Colony High School (Palmer, Alaska), Davis High School (Kaysville, Utah), Rosemount High School (Rosemount, Minn.), West Harrison High School (Gulfport, Miss.), Rockford High School (Rockford, Mich.), Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), Nation Ford High School (Fort Mill, S.C.), Trumbull High School (Trumbull, Conn.), Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, Texas), the United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard, Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States) and the NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY).

Specialty Parade entertainment always promises a unique, exciting, and sometimes humorous look at the nation’s finest performance groups. Returning to the line-up this year are the dancers and cheerleaders of Spirit of America Dance Stars and Spirit of America Cheer. These groups combined feature more than 1,000 of the nation’s very best performers recruited from small towns and big cities. Days before Thanksgiving, they will gather for the first time in NYC, ahead of their once-in-a-lifetime national spotlight. Adding to the dance floor revelry will be 34th & Phunk, a special group commissioned and produced by Macy’s with organizers from the United States Tournament of Dance. Choreographed by the legendary artist Willdabeast Adams and acclaimed dancer Janelle Ginestra, 34th & Phunk will be a one-of-a-kind hip-hop dance crew featuring performers of all ages and from all walks of life, who have a passion for dance and precision movement. Bringing a Broadway flair to the spectacle will be the talented kids of Camp Broadway, who this year have auditioned and selected dancers/singers from military bases around the nation, and who will pay tribute to America with their performance. Rounding out the performance group list are the zany Red Hot Mamas (Post Falls, Idaho) who will deliver their signature humorous take on the holiday season, along with the whimsical stars of the Big Apple Circus (New York, NY).

Interactive Fun

This year the magic of Macy’s iconic balloons and Parade artistry will head south for the winter to give fans an up close and personal experience for the holidays. Starting on Saturday, Nov. 18, Universal Orlando Resort’s destination-wide Holidays celebration begins, featuring the all-new “Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.” This one-of-a-kind experience is where merry and mayhem mesh to create a fantastic treat for park guests that features more than 15 incredibly detailed floats, colorful stilt-walkers and characters, and a specially created cast of all new Macy’s balloons that you can’t see anywhere else. Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s will run daily from Nov. 18 through Jan. 6.

The 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. from 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will march to Columbus Circle, turn onto Central Park South and march down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. At 34th Street, the Parade will make its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square. “A Holiday Treat for Children Everywhere” has been the guiding motto of this annual tradition for more than nine decades and is the mandate that continues to this day.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Brad Lachman Productions. Brad Lachman serves as executive producer, Bill Bracken will co-executive produce and Ryan Polito directs.

For more information on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,  visit www.macys.com/parade  or call the Parade hotline at 212-494-4495. Follow @macys on various social networks and join the conversation using #MacysParade.

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WalletHub Picks Best Credit Cards for Holiday Travel

October 21, 2017
JF Kennedy International Airport, NY

With the busiest travel season of the year upon us, WalletHub, a personal-finance website, names the best credit cards for travelers © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With some of the year’s busiest travel dates fast approaching, the personal-finance website WalletHub announced its selections for Winter 2017’s Best Travel Credit Cards, plus key money-saving tips for domestic and international travelers. Applying for the right card now will give people enough time to earn up to $625 in free travel, the company says.

Here’s an overview of WalletHub’s picks, which were selected from more than 1,000 offers due to their particularly attractive travel rewards.

  • Best Initial Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred – $625 in travel for spending $4,000 in the first three months; $95 annual fee starting year two.
  • Best All-Around Travel Rewards: Barclaycard Arrival Plus – $400 travel statement credit for spending $3,000 in the first three months; 2% back on all purchases when you redeem for travel and a 5% miles rebate; no annual fee in the first year ($89 thereafter).
  • Best Airline Rewards: Frontier Airlines Credit Card – 2 round-trip domestic tickets for spending $500 in the first 90 days; 2 miles per $1 spent on flyfrontier.com and 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else; $69 annual fee.
  • Best Hotel Rewards: Club Carlson Premier Rewards – 50,000 bonus points after first purchase and 35,000 points for spending $2,500 within 90 days of account opening, redeemable for up to 9 free nights; 40,000 bonus points on account anniversary, worth up to 4 free nights; $75 annual fee.

For the rest of the best offers as well as additional money-saving travel tips, visit: https://wallethub.com/best-travel-credit-cards/
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White Christmas for Lake Tahoe Means More Skiing, Festive Holiday Celebrations

December 18, 2016
Ski Heavenly

Heavenly Mountain Resort which already has a blanket of snow for great skiing, is set to host its annual Heavenly Holidays at Heavenly Village, a two-week festival featuring ice sculptors, live music, 16-foot snow globe inside which kids can get their picture taken with Santa, culminating with New year’s Eve concert, LED dance show, Gondola ball drop and dazzling fireworks show © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Lake Tahoe, Calif. & Nev. – Another round of snow-laden storms delivered close to two feet of fresh snow to the Northern Sierra, a timely gift atop the Christmas wish lists of Lake Tahoe-bound skiers and snowboarders. The entire destination has been transformed into a festive winter wonderland as the region readies to welcome holiday travelers and New Year’s Eve revelers during the action-packed weeks leading up to 2017.

Benefitting from an active weather pattern off the Pacific Coast over the last two months, Lake Tahoe resorts continue to open additional chairlifts and terrain with season snowfall totals recently surpassing the 100-inch mark. Powder-minded skiers and snowboarders will find plenty of fresh snow over the holiday season as forecasters are calling for a perfect blend of sunny skies and intermittent storms to freshen up the slopes.

“This latest round of storms ensures a White Christmas in Lake Tahoe with miles of open trails and skiing and snowboarding options for every ability level,” said Mike Pierce, President of Ski Lake Tahoe. “The beauty of Sierra Nevada storms is all it takes is one monster measured in feet rather than inches to open the entire mountain.”

The holiday season in Lake Tahoe is brimming with family-friendly celebrations and Santa sightings on the slopes, altogether creating winter vacation memories certain to last a lifetime. The festivities include torchlight parades, firework shows and East Coast NYE parties timed to celebrate the arrival of 2017 at 9:00pm PT so the younger revelers can still get their sleep before hitting the slopes the next day.

For the adult crowd, New Year’s Eve in Lake Tahoe is truly a sight to behold as the evening climaxes with the biggest slope-side block party on the planet with thousands of revelers spilling out into the Stateline casino corridor to celebrate the stroke of midnight. Music festivals, boundary-pushing nightclubs and Vegas-style entertainment await fun-seeking travelers who consider last chair to last call one of the high points of a great ski trip.

With new flights being added this season from important gateway air markets such as New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport now offers nonstop service from 23 major cities across the U.S. and Mexico with one-stop service from almost anywhere in the world. Destination travelers can visit www.SkiLakeTahoe.com for complete details on planning a winter getaway to Lake Tahoe and read on for an overview of festive events and fun-filled celebrations planned over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Festivities and Family-Friendly NYE Celebrations

Heavenly Mountain Resort is set to host its annual Heavenly Holidays at Heavenly Village, a two-week festival from December 19 through December 31 featuring ice sculptors, live music and a 16-foot, oversized snow globe inside which kids can get their picture taken with Santa. The two-week festival culminates on New Year’s Eve with an outdoor concert, LED dance show, 9:00pm Gondola ball drop and a dazzling firework show.

Skiing is believing at Homewood Mountain Resort as Santa Claus will take to the slopes each day from December 21-24 at 11:00am-2:00pm with the cobalt blue waters of Lake Tahoe serving as the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable Christmas card. The resort will also be celebrating the last runs of 2016 with its New Year’s Eve-ning celebration from 3-5:00pm on December 31 with live music, champagne toasts, s’mores, firepits, snowcat photo opportunities and poster signings by Homewood’s ski patrol dogs.

Taking advantage of its spectacular setting atop the Pacific Crest, Kirkwood Mountain Resort will be welcoming in the new year with its annual Torchlight Parade and New Year’s Eve Firework Show beginning at 6:00pm on December 31. The festivities include an on-snow bonfire and guests looking for the ultimate firework viewing experience can reserve a seat aboard the resort’s enclosed Expedition: Kirkwood snowcat for a ride to the top of Caples Crest for a complimentary champagne toast and hot chocolate.

Northstar California looks like a scene straight from a Charles Dickens novel as The Village Ice Rink and festive storefronts at the Village at Northstar have been decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and holiday garlands. Guests can enjoy Noel Nights on Thursdays in December with classic ways to celebrate the season including ice skating, sleigh rides and hot cocoa and s’mores beside a fire pit. These holiday traditions expand to nightly celebrations from December 15 through December 24 along with the addition of Santa Sightings and Ripperoo Parades. The resort will be ringing in 2017 on December 31 during its annual New Year’s Eve Fire & Ice Celebration featuring a David Bowie tribute band and a firework show at 9 pm.

Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe was one of the first Lake Tahoe resorts to get into the holiday spirit as hundreds of skiers and snowboarders dressed as Santa took over the slopes on December 10 to take part in the resort’s annual Santa Ski Day. Long known for its laidback atmosphere and family-friendly vibe, Mt. Rose will be celebrating New Year’s Eve from 4:30-6:30pm on December 31 with a kids’ torchlight parade, a snowcat parade and its crowd-pleasing firework show.

Tis the season to shred at Sierra-at-Tahoe as the resort is set to host its Holiday Hollapalooza, from 12-2:00pm on December 18, a festive GS race pitting families and friends dressed up as Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus in head-to-head heats. Sierra Saxmas also takes place on December 18 featuring some of California’s best saxophone players performing in the Solstice Plaza from 12-3:00pm. Sierra will be celebrating Christmas Eve on December 24 with an Apres Ski Ugly Sweater Party before Santa hits the slopes on Christmas Day, December 25.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is rolling out Santa’s red carpet to commemorate its first annual Merry Days & Holly Nights from December 17-31, two-weeks of fun-filled holiday festivities featuring ice sculptor demonstrations, moonlit snowshoe tours, farm-to-table dinners with Olympians and legends, horse drawn carriage rides, a mini-Polar Express train for kids and a giant singing Christmas Tree. Special performances will include two nights of the Holly Feet & Grinch’s Groove show featuring the Utah Ballroom Dance Company, Truckee Dance Factory and a Grinch Look-a-Like contest for kids judged by Santa True himself. Guests can ski or ride with Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley on select days and the two-week celebration climaxes with a New Year’s Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show on December 31.

SnowGlobe Music Festival, Boundary-Pushing NYE Parties

The Sixth Annual SnowGlobe Music Festival returns to South Lake Tahoe from December 29-31 bringing together a passion for music and mountains with multiple stages of world-class DJs and headlining acts combined with big air exhibitions by local skiers and snowboarders. This year’s lineup has doubled in size with scheduled performances by The Chainsmokers, Flume, Major Lazer, Odesza and many more.

Most of the major resort casinos in and around Lake Tahoe will be hosting over-the-top, Vegas-style New Year’s Eve parties with live music, international DJs, VIP booth service and no shortage of go-go dancers. The entire Stateline casino corridor turns into the biggest slope-side block party on the planet as thousands of revelers spill out into the barricaded streets to celebrate the arrival of 2017.

On New Year’s Eve, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will be hosting an 80’s Flashback Party featuring Glam Cobra in its Vinyl Event Venue as well as a DJ Extravaganza and Plaza Countdown. MontBleu Resort Casino will be throwing three parties for the price of one in its Blu and Opal Ultra Nightclubs as well as its newly renovated 16,000 square foot convention center. Four Color Zack will be behind the turntables at the Edge Nightclub in the Peppermill Reno with complimentary champagne toasts and a massive balloon drop at midnight.

Surrounding North America’s largest alpine lake, the collection of resorts that make up Ski Lake Tahoe are Heavenly, Homewood, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, Northstar California, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows. Lake Tahoe boasts some of the highest annual snowfall totals in the entire country while still averaging more than 300 days of sunshine each year. The seven resorts, all offering breathtaking lake views and panoramic mountains vistas, are conveniently located near the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. For further information on how to book airfare, lodging, lift tickets and transportation for Ski Lake Tahoe resorts and their travel partners, visit www.SkiLakeTahoe.com

 

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San Diego’s Westgate Hotel Puts on ‘Return to Versailles Palace’ Masquerade for New Year’s Eve (Costumes Encouraged)

December 14, 2016

(San Diego, CA)– San Diego’s very own Parisian palace, The Westgate Hotel, invites guests to ring in the New Year by stepping back into the 18th century for an alluring evening of timeless decadence with a Masquerade Night in Versailles. A five-course dinner, elegant masked ball, Moët & Chandon Champagne toasts, and luxurious guest rooms to sleep in late on New Year’s Day are all part of the experience.

Upon arrival, guests will make their way up the Westgate’s grand staircase to be whisked away from the modern age and transported to a haven of French aristocratic elegance. The Versailles Court will begin check-in at 7 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. guests will indulge in French crafted libations such as Champagne, French 75 and Side Cars. Following the reception, at 8:30 p.m., guests will sit down to a lavish five-course Parisian Royale Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Fabrice Hardel, accompanied by flutes of Moët & Chandon, France’s very own 18th century Champagne creation; live music from a quintet combining French standard, contemporary, jazz and more; dancing; and masked opulence. Masked revelers can dance the night away to welcome 2017 with a champagne toast.

“We are beyond excited to be throwing the most elegant and memorable New Year’s event San Diego has seen,” said Richard Cox, General Manager at The Westgate Hotel. “A masquerade ball set in Versailles couldn’t be done anywhere but here. Guests will truly get the sense of 18th century France as it was, and ring in 2017 in a very special way.”

It is the perfect occasion to transform yourself into a French Royale, King, or Queen – someone Marie Antoinette herself couldn’t resist. Costumes and masks are encouraged. The cost to attend is $259 per person. Tax and gratuity are additional.

Overnight accommodations are available for guests interested in extending the party to New Year’s Day. Luxurious guestroom and amenity options include:

  • Le Versailles: One night stay in a premier room, five-course wine pairing dinner for two for $850.
  • Marie Antoinette: One night stay in a premier room, five-course wine pairing dinner for two, brunch for two, Versailles snack delivered at midnight and in-room party favors for $1,055.
  • Forever Your King: Overnight stay in the Presidential Suite or Governor Suite, five-course wine pairing dinner for two, macaroons and a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne for $3,500.

Following the night’s merriment, the Westgate will welcome 2017 with a New Year’s Day Brunch in Le Fontainebleau Room on January 1. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. guests will enjoy a special menu priced at $69 per person.

Toom prices include gratuity and valet parking with room tax additional. Rooms can be booked at www.westgatehotel.com.

Tickets to The Westgate’s Masquerade Night in Versailles are limited and early reservations are encouraged. For reservations, call 619.238.1818.

The AAA Four Diamond-rated Westgate Hotel is an iconic property in the heart of downtown San Diego designed to rival the mythical palaces of Europe. From its 223 elegantly appointed guest rooms to the contemporary cuisine of the award-winning Westgate Room, guests truly experience a memorable difference while enjoying European décor, attentive service, exquisite cuisine and artistic cocktails.

The Westgate Hotel is part of the Grand America Hotels & Resorts collection which features Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley, Idaho (twice selected by readers of SKI magazine as the nation’s top ski facility), Snowbasin Ski Resort, just outside Salt Lake City (site of the 2002 Olympic Downhill and Super G Races), The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City (a AAA Five Diamond rated hotel) and Little America Hotel properties in Arizona and Wyoming.

 

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Sugartooth’s Holiday Market Dessert Tours Sweeten Visits to NYC

December 14, 2016
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Sugartooth begins its Holiday Market Dessert Tour at Herald Square to take in the windows at Macy’s © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Celebrate the season by indulging your sweet tooth on Sugartooth’s Holiday Market Dessert Tour, enjoying the best seasonal sweets and treats New York City has to offer.

The tour, an annual favorite, starts in Herald Square near Macy’s, whose holiday window displays are iconic symbols of the holiday season in the city. Learn about the history behind the store’s famous holiday window displays while sampling some of the area’s most delectable desserts.

Stopping at some of the lesser-known hidden gem bakeries in the NYC area, guests will experience the culinary traditions of a wide variety of countries, including France, Germany, and Belgium, as they taste hot chocolate, gingerbread cookies, and so much more! The tour concludes at the Union Square Holiday Market, the area’s most exciting holiday market for shopping and other holiday treats. An added bonus of taking the tour; guests get to skip the long lines at the culinary booths!

From the sweets to the imagery, this tour captures the magical essence of New York during the holiday season, making it the perfect festive activity for visitors and locals alike. “The holidays are all about spending time with the people most important to us. Our annual Sugartooth Holiday Market Dessert Tour provides a unique opportunity for friends and families to come together to enjoy the city’s sweetest festive treats and get into the holiday spirit,” said Sugartooth Tours co-owner Sarah Rolleston.

For those unable to make the tour, Sugartooth Tours’ gift certificates make a delectable stocking stuffer idea. Give a one of a kind culinary experience as a gift to your favorite foodie or sweet-tooth, by purchasing a gift certificate on the company’s website. Gift certificates are good for any tour and can be used year round.

Tickets are $50 and include all tastings. Gift certificates and tickets may be purchased on the company’s website http://www.sugartoothtours.com. This year’s holiday tour will be offered on Sundays at 2:00 pm from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and by request for groups of three or more on weekend afternoons from Thanksgiving to December 23rd. Please check the company’s website calendar for an updated schedule.

For more information on the Sugartooth Holiday Market Dessert Tour or Sugartooth Tours, visit www.sugartoothtours.com,  email info@sugartoothtours.com or call 917-856-67671.

 

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Hornblower Classic Cable Cars Introduce Holiday Nights and Sights Tours of San Francisco

December 6, 2016
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Hornblower Classic Cable Cars is featuring a holiday tradition aboard a San Francisco classic with its Holiday Nights and Sights tours.

(San Francisco, CA) — Hornblower Classic Cable Cars is featuring a holiday tradition aboard a San Francisco classic with its Holiday Nights and Sights tours.

The 70-minute tour aboard one of the Classic Cable Cars includes a festive journey to view the city’s sights and lights; complimentary Santa hat; blankets on loan to stay warm; and a jolly driver who will facilitate a round of Christmas Carols.

Priced at $39 per adult (16+) and $29 for children (age 5-15), the special holiday tour is available until December 23, 2016. Tours are available at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm Sunday-Thursday. Guests will check in at Taylor and Jefferson Streets, across from the famous Fisherman’s Wharf sign, 2766 Taylor Street.

Reservations are required for individuals and groups and can be made by calling 844-922-2532, visit www.classiccablecar.com, or in person at 2766 Taylor Street, San Francisco.

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Holly Jolly Christmas and Holiday Events in Orlando

December 6, 2016
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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at DisneyWorld’s Magic Kingdom (photo by Cory O’Born)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Christmas Town’ at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

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

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

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

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