Posts Tagged ‘holiday travel’

Accuweather: Christmas Eve, Day Winter Storm to Snarl Traffic in Midwestern and Northeastern US

December 21, 2017

Accuweather 122317

AccuWeather Global Headquarters – December 21, 2017 – As millions take to the roads or prepare to fly to their destinations for the Christmas holiday, winter storms will be on the prowl in the central and eastern United States through Christmas morning, AccuWeather forecasts.

A record 107.3 million people will take to planes, trains, aircraft and buses during the period from Saturday, Dec. 23, through Monday, Jan 1, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

While no intense storms are forecast, there will be areas of rain, ice and snow affecting heavily populated areas and popular travel routes.

The first storm will move on to target areas from the upper Gulf coast to the lower Great Lakes, central and southern Appalachians and the Interstate 95 corridor of the Northeast with rain from Friday to Saturday.

Snow, ice and treacherous travel from the first storm will spread from the central Great Lakes to part of the central Appalachians and New England into Saturday.

Another storm to blanket Rockies, Plains and Upper Midwest with snow into Christmas Eve

accuweather122417

The second storm of concern will bring accumulating snow to the central Rockies, including the Denver area on Saturday, before turning eastward Saturday night and Sunday.

It is this second storm that has the greatest potential to leave some snow on the ground for a white Christmas in parts of the central Plains, Ohio Valley states and central Appalachians.

Airline delays will be possible due to deicing operations while portions of I-25, I-35, I-69, I-70, I-74, I-75, I-77, I-80 and I-90 will be slippery.

Accumulating snow is forecast in Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis; Chicago; Indianapolis; Detroit; Cleveland and Toronto as it rolls out Saturday night and Christmas Eve. Snow may cover the ground in Evansville, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, Ohio.

Snow showers may linger over the central and northern Rockies in the wake of the storm.

The same storm is also projected to spread snow into parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and western New York at night on Christmas Eve.

It is after dark on Christmas Eve, when the storm from the Midwest will attempt to join up with a budding storm along the Atlantic coast.

Third storm to bring snow to part of mid-Atlantic, New England Sunday night to Christmas Day

The track and strength of the storm, as well as the speed at which much colder air arrives, will determine the form of precipitation from parts of eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey to southeastern New England from Sunday night to early Christmas Day.

At this time, all or mostly rain is forecast from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

However, snow and sleet are likely to mix in toward the end of the storm from near Allentown and Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Trenton, New Jersey; New York City; Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; and Boston late Sunday night to Christmas morning.

If the two storms merge together and strengthen at a fast pace, then accumulating snow may fall as far to the southwest as Washington, D.C.

The storms are likely to come together fast enough to bring a heavy snowfall for much of central and northwestern New England and northeastern New York state on Christmas Day. It is in these areas where travel to church services, friends and family may be difficult.

Elsewhere, dry weather and a wildfire risk will continue in California, while a couple of storms may bring rounds of mixed precipitation to the coastal Northwest into Christmas Day.

Much colder air entering the middle of the nation during the weekend prior to Christmas will be just the start of a frigid weather pattern for many. Aside from storms, a broadening blast of cold air will be a major factor in the weather during the week of Christmas.

The frigid air will unleash bands of lake-effect snow and may pave the way for snow and ice as additional storms are likely to come about.

By Alex Sosnowski, Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com

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2017 Best Places for Christmas Celebrations

December 20, 2017
Holidays in New York

New York City is one of the top-ranked places for Christmas Celebrations by WalletHub © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With Christmas being the most popular holiday in the U.S. and one of the most expensive – Americans plan to spend up to $682 billion over the holiday season this year – the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2017’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations.

To help Americans celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest cities across 29 key metrics. The data set ranges from Christmas events per capita to average price per Christmas party ticket to shopping centers and outlets per capita.

Best Cities for Christmas Celebrations  
1 Chicago, IL   11 St. Louis, MO
2 San Francisco, CA   12 Dallas, TX
3 Pittsburgh, PA   13 Cincinnati, OH
4 New York, NY   14 Los Angeles, CA
5 Seattle, WA   15 Denver, CO
6 Orlando, FL   16 Birmingham, AL
7 Atlanta, GA   17 San Diego, CA
8 Washington, DC   18 Houston, TX
9 Las Vegas, NV   19 Oklahoma City, OK
10 Portland, OR   20 Miami, FL
           

Key Stats

  • Durham, North Carolina, has the lowest average price for a Christmas party ticket, $8.27, which is six times lower than in Las Vegas, the city with the highest at $49.99.
  • San Francisco has the most Christmas events (per square root of the population), 0.038, which is 38 times more than in Tucson, Arizona, the city with the fewest at 0.001.
  • Miami has the most Christmas tree farms (per square root of the population), 0.024, which is 24 times more than in Fort Worth, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.001.
  • San Francisco, California, has the most gift shops (per square root of the population), 0.209, which is 104.5 times more than in Garland, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.002.
  • New York has the most toy stores (per square root of the population), 0.145, which is 72.5 times more than in Detroit, the city with the fewest at 0.002.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-places-for-christmas/41924/

More from WalletHub

See also:

Nighttime Stroll of New York City’s Holiday Lights

 

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New-York Historical Society Has Score of Exhibits for Holidays into New Year

December 18, 2017
NYHS_20171114_024e2 (c) Karen Rubin

Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection is a highlight of the holidays at the New-York Historical Society © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The New-York Historical Society is presenting its traditional holiday display of toys and trains. But the holidays also offer a last-chance to view an exhibit about John F. Kennedy, and Arthur Szyk, Soldier in Art. The museum has a huge range of exhibits as well as special programming and events, including: 

Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection, now on view through February 25, 2018. A magical wonderland awaits visitors with the return of this holiday tradition. Featuring hundreds of toy trains, figurines, and miniature models from the renowned Jerni Collection, the exhibition’s immersive scenes and displays transport young and old alike to a bygone era. Holiday Express begins at the West 77th Street entrance, where trains appear to roar through the Museum with the help of four large-scale multimedia screens, and extends through large swaths of the first floor.

Arthur Szyk: Soldier in Art, on view through January 21, 2018. Arthur Szyk, the great 20th-century activist in art, confronted the threats that filled the years around World War II—Nazism, the escalating plight of European Jews, Fascism, Japanese militarism, and racism—with forceful artistic depictions caricaturing Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito as the evil architects of their regimes’ destructive and inhumane policies. More than 40 politically incisive works on view underscore the Polish-born artist’s role as a “one man army” fighting odious policies and protagonists and advocating for civil and human rights. 

American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times,  on view through January 7, 2018. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth, American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times brings together more than 75 images that capture the dramatic scope of Kennedy’s life culled from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Getty Images, private collections, and the Kennedy family archives. No single politician was photographed more than Kennedy—from his first congressional bid as a decorated war hero in 1946 and his fairy-tale wedding to Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953 to his run for the White House in 1960, his subsequent role as commander-in-chief, and his tragic death in Dallas in 1963.

Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence, now on view through March 11, 2018, showcases hand-drawn and engraved maps from the 18th and early 19th centuries that illuminate the tremendous changes—geographic, political, and economic—that occurred before, during, and just after the Revolutionary War. The exhibition features rarely displayed manuscripts and printed maps from New-York Historical’s own premier collection, including the original manuscript surveys of Robert Erskine, Geographer and Surveyor General of the Continental Army, and his successor Simeon De Witt. Also on display is John Jay’s personal copy of John Mitchell’s Map of the British and French Dominions in North America (1755) to which red lines representing proposed boundaries were added during the negotiations of the Treaty of Paris, 1782–83. This exhibition was organized by the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library as We Are One: Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence .

Hotbed, on view through March 25, 2018. In the early 20th century, Greenwich Village was a hotbed of political activism and social change—where men and women joined forces across the boundaries of class and race to fight for a better world. At the heart of the downtown radicals’ crusade lay women’s rights: to control their own bodies, to do meaningful work, and above all, to vote. Celebrating the centennial of women’s right to vote in New York and on view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, Hotbed features immersive installations and more than 100 artifacts and images—drawn from New-York Historical’s archives and several private collections—that bring to life the neighborhood’s bohemian scene and energetic activist spirit.

The Vietnam War: 1945 – 1975, on view through April 22, 2018. A groundbreaking look at one of the most controversial events of the 20th century. Featuring interpretive displays, digital media, artwork, artifacts, photographs, and documents, The Vietnam War: 1945 – 1975 provides an enlightening account of the causes, progression, and impact of the war. Spanning the duration of U.S. involvement in Indochina, the narrative incorporates perspectives covering both the home and the war fronts. Displays touch upon the Cold War, the draft, military campaigns initiated by both sides, the growth of the antiwar movement, the role of the president, and the loss of political consensus. Throughout the exhibition, visitors explore themes of patriotism, duty, and citizenship. Key objects include a troopship berthing unit, interactive murals, vibrant antiwar posters, artwork by Vietnam vets, a Viet Cong bicycle, the Pentagon Papers, and news and film clips.

Audubon’s Birds of America Focus Gallery. In this intimate gallery, visitors see first-hand John James Audubon’s spectacular watercolor models for the 435 plates of The Birds of America (1827–38) with their corresponding plates from the double-elephant-folio series, engraved by Robert Havell Jr. Each month, the exhibition rotates to highlight new species—featured in the order they appear in Audubon’s publication—which showcase the artist’s creative process and his contributions to ornithological illustration. Other works from New-York Historical’s collection, the world’s largest repository of Auduboniana, illuminate Audubon’s process, and bird calls, courtesy of The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, echoing through the gallery animate the environment. In December, we welcome the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and in January, Prothonotary Warbler will be on display (ongoing).

New Fourth Floor: Objects Tell Stories, the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps, and More. Explore American history through stunning exhibitions and captivating interactive media on our transformed fourth floor. Themed displays in the North Gallery present a variety of topics—such as slavery, war, infrastructure, childhood, recreation, and 9/11—offering unexpected and surprising perspectives on collection highlights. Touchscreens and interactive kiosks allow visitors to explore American history and engage with objects like never before. As the centerpiece of the fourth floor, the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps features 100 illuminated Tiffany lampshades from our spectacular collection displayed within a dramatically lit jewel-like space. Within our new Center for Women’s History, visitors discover the hidden connections among exceptional and unknown women who left their mark on New York and the nation with the multimedia digital installation, Women’s Voices, and through rotating exhibitions in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery. Objects from the Billie Jean King Archive are also on view (ongoing).

Collector’s Choice: Highlights from the Permanent Collection. Since 1804, the New-York Historical Society has been welcoming to its collection some of the most esteemed artworks of the modern world. Collector’s Choice: Highlights from the Permanent Collection showcases a selection of paintings that reflect the individual tastes of several New York City collectors who donated their holdings to New-York Historical. Joining Picasso’s Le Tricorne ballet curtain are featured American and European masterpieces spanning the 14th through the 21st centuries from Luman Reed, Thomas Jefferson Bryan, and Robert L. Stuart, including colonial portraits of children, marine and maritime subjects, and an installation showcasing recently collected contemporary works (ongoing).

The Museum will be closed on Monday, December 25 and will close at 3 pm on December 24 and 31. The Museum will be open on Monday, January 1 and on Monday, January 15, 2018. The Museum will open at 3 pm on Saturday, January 20.

Admission: Adults: $21; Teachers and Seniors: $16; Students: $13; Children (5–13): $6;  Children (4 and under): Free; Pay-as-you-wish Fridays from 6 pm – 8 pm.

New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (at 77th Street), New York, NY 10024, www.nyhistory.org, (212) 873-3400. 

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Vermont Ski Resorts Ready for Holidays as December Storm Drops 2 Feet of Snow

December 14, 2017
Stowe Mtn 121317e2 Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

Stowe Mountain Resort on December 13, 2016 (photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur).

Just in time for the holiday season, Mother Nature has gifted Vermont’s slopes with up to two feet of snow this week. This abundant early season snowfall allows for expanding open terrain at resorts and has enticed above average amounts of mid-week visitors. With resorts dropping ropes and making snow, and most of the remaining Vermont ski and snowboard areas planning to open this weekend, Vermont’s open terrain will double over the next week and could be close to 100% open over the holiday.

Mount Snow Resort held their annual Founders Day Celebration on Tuesday, December 12 with crowds that rivaled a busy Saturday afternoon. “In what has become a Mount Snow Founders Day tradition, we once again saw a 10”+ powder day correspond with our $12 lift tickets. This meant that our guests paid roughly $1 per inch of powder on Tuesday. Not a bad deal!” said Jamie Storrs, Communications Manager at Mount Snow.

Further north, Burke Mountain saw a 60% increase in open terrain from Tuesday to Wednesday thanks to 15 inches of snow overnight. Nearby at Jay Peak Resort, reservations jumped 30% as the storm rolled in with visitors booking for this coming weekend as well as the holiday period. Similarly, in Southern Vermont, 18 inches of fresh snow at Stratton Mountain Resort resulted in an increase in mid-week and holiday reservations.

Stowe Mountain Resort, now part of Vail Resorts and its Epic Pass, has had an exceptional start to their season with mid-week skiers and snowboarders expanding beyond Vermont residents to guests from states to the south and north of the border. Director of Communications at Stowe Mountain Resort, Jeff Wise, said that the early season snowfall and cooler temperatures have them planning to open 100% of their terrain by Christmas.

At Sugarbush Resort, President and Owner, Win Smith said that thanks to the cooler weather, “we have had terrific snowmaking temperatures and have already blown over two thirds of what we do in a normal year. And now Mother Nature has given us over a foot of snow to add icing to the cake!”

Other Vermont resorts that have relished in Mother Nature’s bounty this week include Bromley Mountain, Smugglers’ Notch Resort and Okemo Mountain Resort. Smugglers’ Notch Resort will have top to bottom skiing and snowboarding on all three of their mountains, Morse, Madonna and Sterling come this weekend. Okemo Mountain Resort expects to double their trail count from last Saturday, December 8th to this Saturday, December 16th and Bromley Mountain began their weeklong operations a day early thanks to the natural snowfall.

Vermont’s cross country centers welcomed over 15 inches of snow to their trails, too. Centers like Trapp Family Lodge and Blueberry Hill Outdoor Center reported winter wonderlands on their properties, with Trapp Family Lodge operating 8 km of trails and Blueberry Hill operating 57.3 km. Kingdom Trail Association and Rikert Nordic Center are 100% open, with many other cross country centers opening more terrain in the coming days with added snowfall.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Vermont resorts like Mad River Glen, Pico Mountain and Middlebury Snowbowl are avidly awaiting opening day on Friday, December 15th and looking forward to opening with more terrain than previously anticipated. General Manager of the Middlebury Snow Bowl, Peter Mackey said thanks to the 14” of snowfall, “we’ll be able to open two trails on just natural snow this weekend that we hadn’t planned on.”

As the snow continues to fall across the Green Mountain State, stay up to date with Vermont’s most recent trail conditions and weather alerts at SkiVermont.com and explore resort information, deals and events via the Ski Vermont Resort Finder.

See also:

Bubble Chairs, Great Snowmaking Give Okemo Mountain Resort an Edge

Mount Snow’s First Ever Devin Logan Experience Provides Template for New Women’s Programs

 

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Snow Resorts are Magical Places for Winter Holidays

December 8, 2017
Whistler-Blackcomb-Mitchell-Winton e2

Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada (© Mitchell Winton)

Snow-covered mountain resorts are particularly magical at the holidays, and they go all out.

“The quintessential holiday vacation is a ski trip in the mountains,” says CMO at Ski.com and industry veteran, Dan Sherman. “From elaborate light displays in quaint mountain villages and Santa races to holiday markets and torchlight parades, mountain destinations offer the epitome of an idyllic holiday atmosphere.”

Here are just a few examples:

Stowe, Vermont An idyllic New England town, Stowe is a winter wonderland. The streets of historic downtown come to life during the holidays with a local artisan market. From candy cane-making demos to the annual winter-themed ice carving, there is plenty to do off the mountain. Catch a holiday concert at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center or take the kids to a community screening of It’s a Wonderful Life. Ring in the New Year with Stowe’s on-mountain Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Show over Spruce Peak.

Vail, Colorado: Vail’s Holidays are held from November 29th through December 31st. The festivities kick off with the annual Kris Kringle Market, an outdoor market featuring 34 local and regional Colorado vendors, where travelers can pick up unique last minute gifts. On the evening of December 17th, join the Mayor and take in the Town of Vail Tree Lighting by the Covered Bridge, while the Vail Children’s Choir sings. On December 22nd, Vail Winterfest Ice Theater hosts their Grand Opening Celebration. Ice Sculptor Paul Wertin creates oversized ice chairs where travelers can kick back and relax while enjoying film projects, such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, ski instructors and locals form a glowing train down the mountain, while fireworks bring in the new year, lighting up Vail’s iconic setting. Other activities include ice skating, lantern making, holiday sweater runs to burn off some extra calories and children’s cookies and tea parties.

Whistler Blackcomb, Canada Dress like Santa and Ms. Claus and ski for free on the annual Santa Ski Day, this December in Whistler. The first 75 guests to arrive at the Garibaldi Lift Company dressed in holiday garb will be awarded a free lift ticket. The iconic Fire & Ice shows light up the town every Sunday evening as skiers and snowboarders hit a big air jump through a ring of fire. The 34th annual Christmas Eve Carol Service takes place at the Westin Resort and Spa, bringing to life the story of the birth of Christ along with traditional carols and music. In addition, children can ice skate with Santa throughout the holiday season at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Vorderstadt Kitzb¸hel

Kitzbühel, Austria (© Markus Mitterer)

Kitzbuhel, Austria An ultimate holiday destination for skiing and festivities, the town of Kitzbuhel transforms into a Christmas market and winter wonderland from November 30th through December 26th. Featuring traditional Tyrolean crafts, food and traditions, the market celebrates the holidays with a variety of musical acts featuring local choirs and musicians, Christmas readings, petting zoos and pony rides for the children. On January 1st, thousands of locals and visitors ring in the New Year with a torch skiing and flame jumping show, complete with the 64th annual fireworks show put on by fireworks champion, Armin Lukasser.

Squaw Valley, California: The holidays kick off in Squaw and Alpine Meadows on December 16th with the Opening Ceremonies. The Ceremonies include a glow stick parade, lead by the one and only Santa. The parade meanders through Squaw’s “Ye Olde Christmas Village” and the “Merry Wonderland” (a transformed Olympic Village Lodge). Check out the Ice Garden and performances by the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus. Participants will also enjoy the “Taste of Squaw,” where local dining establishments provide free bites of signature items. Santa continues his visits throughout the week, stopping at the Merry Wonderland, the Ice Garden, Village at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. On December 21st, visitors can enjoy a concert put on by the Squaw Valley Institute featuring blues-infused covers of classics by likes of BB King, Kat King Cole, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton and more. Other festivities include Ugly Sweater parties, brunch with Santa and skiing with Santa on December 25th.

Innsbruck, Austria: From mid-November through early January, the capitol of Tyrol is awash with Christmas festivities. The neighborhood of Alstadt features popular Medieval houses on the narrow Kiebachgasse street. Brothers Grimm characters peer down from the widows and tickle the imagination of children and the young at heart. Vendor booths are laden with festive goods like gingerbread, wooden toys and hand-blown ornaments. Every day at dusk, trumpeters perform traditional carols on the 500-year-old Golden Roof. Don’t miss Kiachln, a traditional Advent doughnut served with hot cranberry sauce. Take a ride up the funicular to Hafelekar, located just outside of Innsbruck to enjoy the twinkling city below.

Sun Valley-Kevin-Syms e2

Sun Valley, Idaho (© Kevin Syms)

Sun Valley, Idaho The birthplace of skiing in the U.S., Sun Valley, Idaho is a small town with five-star amenities, but without the crowds. Christmas festivities start early with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 16th. Santa will be present, as well as the Sun Valley Carolers, an ice carving demo and free cookies and hot chocolate. Carolers perform daily performances throughout the Sun Valley Village and at various Sun Valley restaurants through the holidays. A European-style open-air market on the Sun Valley Lawn features vendors and holiday goodies. On Christmas Eve, enjoy the Winter Wonderland Ice Show while warming up with free hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies at the Lodge. Don’t miss Christmas Eve fireworks and a sky-illuminating torchlight parade down Dollar Mountain. Take sleigh rides to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner or amble down Main Street in Ketchum, lit up with a festive holiday gallery walk and festive decorations on all of the beautiful lodges.

Aspen, Colorado: The 12 Days of Aspen usher in the holidays in Aspen, Colorado. On December 20th, kids can make their parents a special gift at the St. Regis, while LeAnn Rimes will perform at the Belly Up that evening. The following day, Santa will be at the Winer Wonderland with his live reindeer. Come meet St. Nick and enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies while getting your picture taken. Santa will also be conducting sleigh rides throughout the 12 Days through town with Mrs. Claus; visitors can reserve spots in advance to take a ride. During the afternoons the spirited Hotel Jerome will be hosting carolers for visitors and locals alike. On the 23rd, everyone’s favorite characters from Peanuts come to life at the Wheeler Opera House with a presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas. And finally, on the 31st, ring in the New Year with an astounding fireworks show over Aspen Mountain. The Infamous Stringdusters will cap off the evening with a performance at the Wheeler Opera House.

For assistance making travel arrangements, visit Ski.com (you can do an on-line chat with a specialist) or call 800-908-5000 or 970-429-3099.

 

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

December 5, 2017
Capitol Building at Night, Washington DC

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

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

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

Among special packages and events:

SEASONAL HOTEL PACKAGES

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

ICE SKATING RINKS

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

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND TOURS

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

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

SHOPPING

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

PERFORMANCES AND ATTRACTIONS

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

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE

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

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

Visit washington.org.
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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.

 

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.

 

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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