Archive for the ‘winter holidays’ Category

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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CardHub Picks Best Credit Cards for Winter, Holiday Travel

November 7, 2014

cardhub-credit card

CardHub.com, a leading credit card comparison website, announced its picks for Best Travel Credit Cards for Winter 2014.

“While American wallets are getting a bit of a break these days thanks to low oil and gas prices, a volatile stock market and economic growth concerns are likely to send consumers searching for deals. Initial rewards bonuses, in particular, have displayed impressive and continued growth in the post-Great Recession environment. It is now possible to get $400 cash, a couple of free flights, or weeks of free hotel nights just by opening the right new credit card.

“But in order to leverage plastic to maximum benefit this winter travel season, you’ll need to find a card that complements your spending and payment habits and then open it far enough in advance of your trip to qualify for your rewards bounty.”

CardHub compared more than 1,000 credit card offers (some are CardHub advertising partners) in order to identify the most rewarding cards for winter and holiday travel.

Here is a summary of CardHub’s Editor’s Picks. For more information about each card as well as CardHub’s money-saving travel tips and expert insights on the outlook for winter and holiday travel, visit: http://www.cardhub.com/best-travel-credit-cards/

Best All-Around Cards

Best Airline Credit Cards

Best Hotel Credit Cards

  • Club Carlson Premier Rewards: 85,000 bonus points = up to 18 free nights, 10 points per $1 at Carlson properties, 40,000 bonus points each account anniversary
  • HHonors Surpass Credit Card: 60,000 bonus points = up to 12 free nights, 12 points per $1 at Hilton properties
  • IHG Credit Card: 60,000 bonus points = 12 free nights, 1 free night on account anniversary, 5 points per $1 spent at IHG hotel chains, 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card: 25,000 bonus points, redeemable for up to 8 free nights, and 2 points per $1 spent at SPG properties

Best Roadtrip Credit Cards

Best Cards for Financing Travel

Buy More Time to Pay for Winter Travel:

Reduce Your Existing Debt Burden:

 

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Study Shows 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel

November 7, 2014
The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With Americans spending $53 billion every year on winter-related travel and gear and nearly a third of them planning to increase their leisure travel spending in the coming months, a leading personal finance social network, WalletHub, conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel. This study supplements the money-saving reports on Currency Conversion and Best Travel Credit Cards available through a sister site, CardHub.

In anticipation of the holiday season, WalletHub identified the best and worst winter travel destinations and departure points, based on 16 different metrics such as airfare costs, flight times, the number of flight connections and hotel costs.

Best US Departure Points for Domestic Travel:

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Salt Lake City
  3. Metrolina
  4. Valley of the Sun
  5. Denver

Best US Departure Points for International Travel

  1. Miami
  2. Atlanta
  3. Washington DC
  4. Metrolina
  5. Greater Twin Cities

Top Domestic Destinations

  1. New York
  2. Las Vegas Valley
  3. Greater Orlando
  4. Southland
  5. San Francisco

Top International Destinations

  1. Riviera Maya, Mexico
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. London, UK
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Paris France.

Here are more of the findings:

  • The best overall points of departure are Atlanta (GA), Metrolina, Miami (FL) and Greater Twin Cities.
  • The average international flight to a popular destination costs $2,318, takes 18 hours and has one connection.
  • The average domestic flight to a popular destination costs $1,056, lasts a little more than 7 hours and has 0.66 connections.
  • Despite LAX being the third-busiest airport in the U.S., California cities average a dismal ranking of No. 43 in terms of international travel affordability. This can be attributed to the popularity of European and Caribbean vacations over Asian getaways among U.S. winter travelers.
  • Atlanta (GA) is not only home to the busiest airport in the U.S. but also the most affordable East Coast departure port for winter travelers. It ranks No. 1 in terms of domestic flight affordability, No. 2 for international affordability and No. 1 overall.
  • Of the top 10 most popular winter destinations on our list, New York ranks as the No. 1 domestic destination, whereas Maui (HI), ranks last. For foreign destinations, Riviera Maya, Mexico, snags the top spot, while Sydney, Australia, falls to the bottom.

For the full report and key stats and to see where your city ranks, visit:
http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-winter-travel/7930/

 

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Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center to Open at Historic Woodstock Inn & Resort This Winter

October 24, 2014

The historic Woodstock Inn & Resort, in the quintessentially New England village of Woodstock, is opening a Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center this winter to offer new outdoor activities for guests.

Tubbs Snowshoes is opening its first Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center at The historic Woodstock Inn & Resort, in the quintessentially New England village of Woodstock this winter, adding a whole new dimension of outdoor activities for guests. Woodstock Inn already offers skiing on its own Suicide Six mountain (despite the name, is very family-friendly), and cross-country skiing.

Tubbs Snowshoes has deep roots in New England from its founding in Maine in the early 1900’s and its previous World Headquarters in Vermont, before relocating to Seattle, WA, in 2003.

“Tubbs Snowshoes, with its comfortable and innovative equipment, coupled with the expertise of the Tubbs Certified Guides, is an ideal partner to offer enhanced outdoor experiences for the Woodstock guest,” said President and General Manager Gary Thulander. “From a hike up Mt. Peg to a more leisurely trek along our grounds, guests at every skill level will find a whole new way to experience and enjoy the great outdoors this winter.”

The Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center will feature expert-led tours, group teambuilding exercises, and family-friendly scavenger hunts. Enhanced experiences are also available, including special moonlight treks for dinner in the resort’s cozy cabin in the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Beginners and experts alike will find the Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center and 30 kilometers of trails challenging yet comfortable and relaxing against the backdrop of the Resort’s expansive grounds.

Woodstock Inn & Resort has designed a series of winter adventure-themed vacation packages built around the Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center. From romantic to adventurous, the value-packed getaways are designed for an exhilarating way to experience the peace and tranquility of Woodstock in winter.

New winter packages include:

Tubbs Snowshoes Romance Excursion Package

  • Luxury accommodations for two nights
  • Welcome gift basket
  • Breakfast-in-Bed one morning
  • Breakfast at the Red Rooster Restaurant
  • Four course dinner for two at the Red Rooster Restaurant
  • Guided snowshoe trek to a four course chef’s dinner at the Mt. Tom Cabin
  • Tubbs Snowshoes rental and Nordic Center trail passes for two
  • Horse-drawn sleigh ride at Billings Farm
  • Package rates start at $1,799 per couple in a Woodstock King room; two night minimum is required

Tubbs Snowshoes Total Tranquility Package

  • Luxury accommodations for one night
  • Welcome gift
  • One 50 minute massage per guest at The Spa; includes use of steam room, sauna and jacuzzi
  • Tubbs Snowshoes rental and Nordic Center trail passes for two
  • Package rates start at $588

Certified Tubbs Snowshoes instructors and guides will be onsite at the Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center to lead tours for beginners to advanced outdoor explorers. They will also offer snowshoe fittings for guests purchasing the latest Tubbs snowshoes from the on-site ski shop. Trail passes, rentals and lessons will also be available.

Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center fees include:

Trail Passes

Inn Guests: Free Sunday-Thursday; $22 Friday, Saturday & Holiday Dates

Day Visitors: Adults $22 • Junior (13-17) $15 • Child (6-12) $10 • Senior (65+) $18

Tubbs Snowshoes Rentals (includes poles)

Adults: $25 • Children (6-17): $15

Tubbs Snowshoes Lessons (per person)

Private Lesson $80 per hour

Semi-Private Lesson $50 per hour

Located in idyllic Woodstock, Vermont, The Woodstock Inn & Resort defines country sophistication in one of New England’s most charming and popular year-round vacation destinations.  The 142-room, AAA Four Diamond Resort and member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, offers award-winning dining in two restaurants, ranked among the finest in New England.  The Woodstock Inn & Resort is owned and operated by The Woodstock Foundation, Inc.  Proceeds from Resort operations support The Woodstock Foundation and Billings Farm & Museum education and conservation programs.

For more information on the Tubbs Snowshoes Adventure Center, including detailed vacation packages, visit www.woodstockinn.com. For information on the latest collection of Tubbs Snowshoes, visit tubbssnowshoes.com.

 

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Wyndham Hotel Group Entices Holiday Travelers with Savings up to 30%

December 18, 2013

Wyndham Hotel Group is giving travelers plenty of reasons to pack their bags and hit the road this holiday season, offering great deals across the company’s portfolio of over 7,400 hotels, with savings of up to 30 percent off, plus additional offers for Wyndham Rewards® members.

Whether it’s a week-long resort getaway full of sun and sand or just a comfortable place to rest your head after a long day’s travels, Wyndham Hotel Group and its 15 brands have  hotels to fit virtually any travel need. Among the deals:

Book Early, Save Up to 30 Percent

Book seven days in advance and save up to 30 percent off the best available rate at participating TRYP by Wyndham® properties; up to 25 percent off at participating Wyndham Hotels and Resorts® properties; or 15 percent off at participating Baymont Inn & Suites®, Days Inn®, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham®, Howard Johnson®, Knights Inn®, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham®, Super 8®, Travelodge® and Wingate by Wyndham® properties. Travelers save 10 percent off at participating Dream® Hotels and Night® properties.

Stay 3 Nights, Save Up to 30 Percent

Book three consecutive nights or more and save 30 percent off at participating Wyndham Hotels and Resorts properties or 20 percent off at participating Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Ramada®, Travelodge and Wingate by Wyndham properties.

Stay 2 Nights, Save 15 Percent

Book two consecutive nights or more and save 15 percent off at participating Knights Inn, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham, Travelodge and Wingate by Wyndham properties.

In addition to the above savings, travelers can also take advantage of special promotions available through Wyndham Hotel Group’s free-to-join Wyndham Rewards loyalty program. Current offers include:

• Celebrate with 2,014 Bonus Points
Wyndham Rewards members who register for the “Celebrate with 2,014 Bonus Points” promotion can earn 2,014 bonus points in addition to the standard 10 points per U.S. dollar spent starting with their second qualified stay. Bonus can be earned up to five times for a total of 10,070 bonus points.

• Gas for Life Sweepstakes
Through January 31, 2014, Wyndham Rewards members can enter for their chance to win gas for life, awarded in the form of a $2,000 cash annuity for 50 years. To enter, visit www.wyndhamrewards.com/gasforlife.

For more information visit www.hotelfortheholidays.com. Wyndham Rewards terms and conditions are available at www.wyndhamrewards.com.

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Winter events, holiday happenings in Lake George Area in New York’s Adirondacks

December 10, 2013
The high-speed gondola at Gore Mountain.

The high-speed gondola at Gore Mountain.

Winter has arrived in the Lake George Area in New York’s Adirondacks. From scores of winter events, including festivals and unique holiday happenings, to unparalleled outdoor adventure in the Adirondack wilderness, plan a visit this winter to experience the Lake George Area’s easily-accessible winter wonderland offering enjoyment for everyone, both indoors and out.

Find new improvements and winter fun at these popular Lake George Area staples:

  • Ski or ride the slopes at North Creek’s Gore Mountain, where nearby North Creek Ski Bowl is celebrating 80 years of winter recreation. Arrive on the famed snow train and enjoy easy, full mountain access with free shuttle service to and from the mountain.
  • Swing into West Mountain Ski Area for a friendly day on the slopes! For over 50 years, West has offered downhill adventure to skiers and riders of all ages and abilities in addition to snow tubing. With a new operator in place for the 2013 – 2014 season, improvements are underway in the base lodge, snowmaking efforts are being ramped up, and WiFi will now be available for all guests.
  • A glacier ice bar will premier this winter at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing when 18,000 pounds of ice will be transformed into an outdoor bar and lounge. The spectacular waterfront location of the Sagamore is guaranteed to provide a winter wonderland experience – a wintry attraction not to be missed!

Bundle up for a winter adventure – and save a bundle, too! With a variety of affordable mid-week lodging deals and Adirondack weekend getaway options, the Lake George Area invites you to journey and explore this winter without breaking the bank.

Reward yourself and enter for a chance to win an overnight stay for two in the Lake George Area!  Lucky winners will receive an all-inclusive getaway that includes lodging, breakfast, indoor and outdoor winter activities, and more. Enter by visiting http://county.visitlakegeorge.com/contest/.

The Lake George Area in New York’s Adirondacks is an easy-to-reach, affordable, year round vacation destination for the whole family. For information on lodging, camping, dining, events, recreation and activities call 800-365-1050 X5100 or head to http://www.VisitLakeGeorge.com. Four great seasons – one outstanding destination!

See also:

NYS entices skiers, riders with special deals, world-class venues throughout state

Lake Placid, NYS’s winter resort, where you ski and bobsled like an Olympian (Photos)

Lake Placid remains New York’s quintessential winter destination (Photos)

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort proves perfect hub for enjoying Lake Placid, NY (Photos)

Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort

November 19, 2013
The Gaylord National Resort is the "capital of Christmas" with its "Christmas on the Potomac" festival, featuring nightly fountain shows and a new edition of ICE! © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Gaylord National Resort is the “capital of Christmas” with its “Christmas on the Potomac” festival, featuring nightly fountain shows and a new edition of ICE! © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From indoor snowfalls to a 60-foot-tall glass Christmas tree to 12 miles of dazzling lights, every year Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is transformed into the Washington, D.C. region’s “Capital of Christmas.” The sixth annual Christmas on the Potomac is a 52-day celebration running from November 15 through January 5 at Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland (just eight miles south of Washington, D.C.).

Marvel at the hotel’s largest, award-winning indoor attraction, ICE! featuring a brand-new theme, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Hand-carved from more than two million pounds of colorful ice (all kept at a frigid 9 degrees), Clement Moore’s classic American holiday poem is brought to life in an icy wonderland. The attraction includes beloved scenes such as Ma in her kerchief, Pa in his cap, visions of Sugar Plums, and Saint Nick with his eight reindeer – all hand-carved into life-size ice sculptures. Children and adults alike thrill going down the 20-foot-tall ice slides. New this year: “Christmas in New York City,” bringing to life the iconic sights and sounds of the Big Apple at Christmastime, and featuring the tallest ice sculptures ever created at ICE!

ICE! is open daily and can be accessed at its new location, connected to the resort and entered from inside the hotel’s 19-story atrium. Tickets start at $27 for adults ages 12 and older, $19 for children ages 3 to 11 and free for kids ages 2 and younger.

For the ultimate ICE! experience, overnight guests at the hotel who book the “Christmas on the Potomac” Hotel Package receive unlimited admission to the attraction available at any time during daily operating hours throughout their stay. The package also includes one-night accommodations, a souvenir photo and $100 resort credit that can be used on-site toward dining, seasonal spa treatments, Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating and additional activities. The package is available for select dates from November 15 through January 5 and starts at $269** for two guests. To make a reservation, call 301-965-4000 or book online at www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com.

Additional hotel offerings include: Gingy’s Gingerbread Decorating, Brunch with Santa, DreamWorks’ Madagascar Crack’ A Lackin’ Cook-in Character Breakfast, a new Gourmet Holiday Cake Pop Experience, PEEPS & COMPANY Potomac Express Train Rides, Photos with Santa Claus, Tree of Light and Nightly Tree Lighting Show; and DreamWorks Themed Scavenger Hunt and Seasonal Spa Treatments at Reláche Spa

Also, each night, from 5 to 9 pm, there are four free Holiday Fountain Shows and Nightly Indoor Snowfalls. These feature a narration of the classic Christmas story during the Brightest Star Fountain Show, or both modern and classical Christmas carols during the Sounds & Songs of Christmas Show. Each show also features an indoor snowfall within the 72 degree atrium.

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is the largest, non-gaming hotel and convention center on the Eastern Coast, located along the banks of the Potomac River in National Harbor, Maryland. Opened in April 2008 and only eight miles from Washington, D.C., the AAA-Four Diamond resort offers 2,000 rooms including 110 suites; a 19-story atrium; 470,000 square-feet of convention space; acclaimed restaurants including Old Hickory Steakhouse; a modern resort spa, Relache Spa and Salon; and Pose Rooftop Lounge.

For additional information on Christmas on the Potomac and its offerings, visit www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com or call 301-965-4000.

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Celebrate Holidays in the Rockies in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado

November 8, 2012

A snowy mountain backdrop, lots of good cheer and plenty of unforgettable activities for all ages combine to create amazing holiday moments in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colo.  The season for snowy fun kicks off just in time, with Crested Butte Nordic Center opening Nov. 17 and Crested Butte Mountain Resort opening Nov. 21.

November Rings in the Season

The 38th Annual Sugar Plum Festival is a prime stop for handmade gifts such as wreaths made out of sagebrush, Christmas decor, stained glass, pottery, jewelry and canned goods on Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center.  Carols and a visit from Santa also make the Sugar Plum Festival a sweet experience.  Call (970) 641-6931.

Work off turkey dinner and all the trimmings with the Crested Butte Nordic Council’s annual Thanksgiving Training Camp on Nov. 22 – 24. Beginner, intermediate and advanced skate and classic clinics as well as clinics for women and master racers are planned. Pilates classes for Nordic skiers also will be offered. Anyone is invited to watch ski movies at Crested Butte Center for the Arts at a cost of $10 that benefits the Crested Butte Nordic Center. On Saturday night, a Nordic Season Kick-Off Party & Silent Auction at Montanya Distillers begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for kids ages 5 – 18, and free for children under 5.  Call (970) 349-1707 and visit http://www.cbnordic.org to register and for more information.

Gunnison will formally usher in the Christmas season with Night of Lights held downtown on Nov, 30 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Admire lighted displays, warm up at bonfires for roasting marshmallows and booths for hot cocoa and other free treats, and enjoy local entertainment groups at various downtown venues. Santa will arrive at 6:30 p.m., escort the crowd to the community tree lighting and greet children at the Elk’s Lodge.

December Holidays Happenings

Holiday Open Houses will be held Dec. 1 and 2 at downtown Gunnison merchants, complete with shopping specials and refreshments from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon – 4 p.m. on Sunday.  For Night of Lights and the open houses, contact the Gunnison Country Chamber of Commerce at (970) 641-1501.

Shop for great gifts at the annual Crested Butte Community School Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The bazaar features handcrafted items, tasty baked goods and more.  For information, call (954) 614-9562.  There’s more great gift buying and browsing at Gunnison’s First Friday Artwalk & Music on Dec. 7 from 5 – 8 p.m.  Call Gunnison Gallery at (970) 641-6111.

Kids can make their own presents at The Trailhead Children’s Museum, located at the ski area base, during Gift Making Workshops on Dec. 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The price is based on the project selected.  On Dec 21, join Santa and his elves for holiday crafts, science projects, storytelling, caroling and more during Santa’s Workshop at the museum from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.  The cost is $5 per person.  Call (970) 349-7160 or visit http://www.trailheadkids.org.

Nationally recognized ice sculptors will be back from Dec. 15 – 22 to decorate Mountaineer Square and other locations around Crested Butte Mountain Resort with beautifully crafted ice creations. Local carolers will add to the festive scene at the ski area base throughout the season.

Light Up Night on Crested Butte’s historic Elk Avenue is all about lighting the community Christmas tree, hearing favorite holiday tunes performed by local musicians and a bell choir and enjoying visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus and Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Bubba and Betty Bear.  The festivities are scheduled for Dec. 15, 5 – 6 p.m., and will take place between Second and Third Streets. For information, call the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce at (970) 349-6438 or visit http://www.cbchamber.com.

Crested Butte Mountain Theatre’s annual holiday production on Dec. 20 – 23 and 27 – 29 will be “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” a book and play by Barbara Robinson.  Six delinquent children go to church for the first time and are given roles in the Sunday school’s Christmas play.  The story ends up being told in a nonconventional and hilarious fashion.  Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students.  For times and to purchase tickets, call (970) 349-0366 or visit http://www.cbmountaintheatre.org.

The Art Studio of the Center of the Arts, located in downtown Crested Butte on Elk Avenue, is offering fun for all ages during Holiday Paint Your Own Pottery events on Dec. 21 and 29 from 2 – 5 p.m.  Choose from a wide selection of holiday pottery, ornaments, mugs, bowls, plates, kids’ items and more.  Prices range from $4 to $45 based on pottery selected.  Call (970) 349-7044 or visit http://www.crestedbuttearts.org.

Embark on an easy snowshoe or cross-county ski (approximately one mile with guides available) to the Crested Butte Nordic Center’s Magic Meadows Yurt and feast on a five-course gourmet meal for a Pre-Christmas Yurt Dinner on Dec. 23 and Full Moon Dinner on Dec. 28.  Dinner is prepared by local chef Josephine Kellett of Creative Catering and served at 6:30 p.m.  The cost is $70 for adults and $35 for children (under age 12) and includes a trail pass and equipment rental; alcohol and gratuity are extra.  For reservations, visit http://www.cbnordic.org or call (970) 349-1707.

On Christmas Eve, it’s exquisite to watch skiers and boarders winding down the slopes with lights during the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  A few days later, gather up the family and enjoy moonlit trails during CBMR’s Moonlight Snowshoe Tour on Dec. 28. Catch a ride from a snowcat to the top of Red Lady Express chairlift and traverse trails bathed in the moonshine to the base area on this magical outing that runs from 7 – 9 p.m.  For reservations and cost, contact (800) 544-8448 or visit http://www.skicb.com.

New this year is the Gunnison Nordic Club’s Full Moon Hartman Rocks Ski/Snowshoe Tour on Dec. 28 at 6:30 p.m.  Bring the entire family and enjoy a beautiful ski or snowshoe on trails with club guides. Hot chocolate and treats will be served indoors on Hartman Rocks Road after the tour.  The event is free and open to all skill levels.  Bring your own equipment.

New Year’s Eve Magic, Dec. 31

Kids Rock – Noon Year’s Eve from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. will launch the celebrating for families with a concert, kid-friendly cuisine and hands-on art and science activities.  Presented By The Trailhead Children’s Museum, Crested Butte Music Festival and Crested Butte Center for the Arts, the event will be held at Lodge at Mountaineer Square Ballroom in Mt. Crested Butte.  The cost is $10 per person.  Call (970) 349-7160 or visit http://www.trailheadkids.org.

Greet 2013 in style by visiting the wide array of art galleries in downtown Crested Butte during ArtWalk Evening from 5 – 8 p.m.  Light refreshments, music and on-site artists are part of the fun.  Visit http://www.awearts.org.   The New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks on the slopes of Crested Butte Mountain Resort in early evening also is a great way to celebrate for all ages before heading out for dinner.  For information, visit http://www.skicb.com.

Join the Crested Butte Nordic Center for its New Year’s Eve Yurt Dinner by skiing or snowshoeing to the fun at Magic Meadows that begins at 7 p.m.  Enjoy a five-course dinner prepared by Josephine Kellett of Creative Catering, wine, beer and live music by Alpine Soul for a cost of $90 per person.  Also included is a trail pass and rental equipment.  A New Year’s Eve Yurt Party will begin at 10:30 p.m. and includes wine, beer, snacks, DJ music and a trail pass, all for $35.  For information and reservations, visit http://www.cbnordic.org or call (970) 349-1707.

Holiday Vacation Packages

The Grandest Christmas package features four nights of lodging at Grand Lodge in Mt. Crested Butte, three days of skiing or riding, and Adventure Park access for tubing, mini golf and bungee trampolines at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  The $999 package is for two adults and two children, ages 17 or younger, and is good for travel from Dec. 14 to Dec. 23, 2012.  This deal must be booked by Dec. 16, cannot be combined with other offers, and is subject to availability and prior to all fees and taxes.  Call Crested Butte Vacations at (800) 600-2803 and visit http://www.skicb.com.

Take advantage of the Gunnison Getaway package for great ski vacation rates over the holidays. When not skiing or snowboarding at nearby Crested Butte Mountain Resort, ice skate on the three rinks at Jorgensen Park (indoor, covered and Pac-Man Pond), stop by the Gunnison Arts Center, and rock climb, swim and more at the recreation center.  Prices ranges from $61.50 at Wanderlust Hostel to $99.50 at Holiday Inn Express & Suites per adult, per night (includes a lift ticket at Crested Butte Mountain Resort) from Dec. 14, 2012 – Jan. 4, 2013.  Price is based on double occupancy with two adult lift tickets and does not include taxes. Young adult and children’s lift tickets can be purchased when booking the stay, and properties may charge fees for children and other additional occupants staying in the room.  Go to http://www.gunnisongetaway.com.

Visitor Information & Personalized Vacation Packages

To find out more, call the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association’s toll-free line, (800) 814-8893, or visit http://www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com.  Find the Tourism Association on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gcbta or follow us on http://www.twitter.com/gcbta.  The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is served by United Airlines year-round and by American Airlines during winter.

About Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado

Gunnison-Crested Butte is nestled among almost two million acres of pristine wilderness in southwest Colorado.  Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing.  Gunnison-Crested Butte is also a haven for outdoor summer activities.  In the warmer months, visitors can choose from recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding.  Year-round visitors enjoy distinctive restaurants, unique shops and stimulating cultural opportunities, and have a wide range of lodging options — from rustic inns to guest cabins and bed-and-breakfasts to full-service resort hotels.

Gunnison, county seat and a real western town, is home to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, Gunnison Whitewater Park, Gunnison Valley Observatory, Pioneer Museum and Western State Colorado University, which offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional fields.  Both Crested Butte and Gunnison have thriving historic central business districts packed with shopping and dining opportunities.

Recognized as the “Official Wildflower Capital of Colorado” by the Colorado Legislature and one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” in 2008, Crested Butte is 28 miles from Gunnison and the site of rich mining, ranching and skiing heritage and home to the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.  Only three miles up the road is the resort village of Mt. Crested Butte, home to the ski area, an active base area, the area’s conference center, and outstanding hiking and biking trails.

Marble is located in the Upper Crystal River Valley along the Elk Mountains and is the gateway to nearby Crystal, home to one of the most photographed mill sites in the country. Marble has seven sites on the National Register of Historic Places and is the location of the Yule Marble Quarry.

In Gunnison County, visitors will find the Curecanti National Recreation Area, where dinosaur fossils were recently discovered; the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water and home to the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States; and The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, one of our country’s newest national parks.  Gunnison County includes the quaint and historic towns of Pitkin, Gothic, Tin Cup, Powderhorn, Almont and Crystal, plus the better-known communities of Gunnison, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte.  Gunnison County is part of the West Elk Loop and Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byways.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin

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