Posts Tagged ‘winter holidays’

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

November 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Best Holiday Illuminations in New Jersey

November 19, 2014
41st Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tour, taking place Dec. 6, 13 & 27, displays America’s largest collection of historic Victorian structures dressed in holiday finery. The self-guided tours will feature at least a dozen homes, inns, hotels and churches each evening.

41st Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tour, taking place Dec. 6, 13 & 27, displays America’s largest collection of historic Victorian structures dressed in holiday finery. The self-guided tours will feature at least a dozen homes, inns, hotels and churches each evening.

TRENTON, N.J. – The Garden State will sparkle with candlelight tours, glittery floating Christmas trees, finely festooned Victorian homes, and historic lighthouses decked with Yuletide greenery.  Across New Jersey’s neighborhoods, townships and seaside retreats, December is celebrated with tradition and 21st century twists. Check the list of festive offerings at www.visitnj.org.

Here is a look at some of the highlights of the season.

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse (Dec. 5, 5-7 p.m.) in Wildwood invites visitors to its annual Norman Rockwell-like Christmas tree lighting with Santa, music, refreshments and free admission.  The working lighthouse and museum is open to the public for guided and self-guided tours that give a glimpse of lighthouse keeping life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. www.visitnj.org/nj-events/hereford-inlet-lighthouse-christmas-tree-lighting-ceremony

41st Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tour (Saturdays. Dec. 6, 13 & 27, 5:30 – 8:30p.m.), displays America’s largest collection of historic Victorian structures dressed in holiday finery.  The self-guided tours will feature at least a dozen homes, inns, hotels and churches each evening, all decorated with Yuletide flair.  Carolers and strolling musicians, Victorian festooned trees and garlands, and welcoming hospitality centers with warm beverages and home-baked goodies enhance the merriment and good cheer. Ticket prices include admission to the historic Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, and “An Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” exhibit at Carriage House Gallery.  Plus, continuous shuttle service on heated trolleys. www.capemaymac.org/candlelighthousetours.html

Historic Smithville magically floats more than 120 lighted Christmas trees on Lake Meone (Nov. 28-Jan 1) the moment darkness falls.  The trees are constructed from more than 50,000 Christmas lights that are orchestrated with music.  The glittering trees reflect the water’s surface and appear to dance and chase each other across the lake.  Each store in Historic Smithville is outlined in white twinkle lights that inspire a visit to the welcoming winter wonderland setting of unique shops and enjoyable eateries. www.colonialinnsmithville.com/blog/december-in-smithville

Holiday Candlelight Tour of Rockingham Historic Site at Kingston (Dec. 14, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.), is a uniquely themed tour of George Washington’s final Revolutionary War headquarters and the small farmhouse that is preserved and interpreted as the temporary residence of George and Martha Washington. The candlelight tour will display 18th-century Christmas traditions and celebrate New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary. Holiday tour guests will learn about different aspects of New Jersey’s history as they pass from room to room, led and informed by the period-dressed Live Historians Club of Montgomery Township High School.  Period music will be presented by Practitioners of Musick, light refreshments will be available and the museum store open. Advance tour reservations are required, suggested admission donation is $5 and must be made by calling 609-683-7132 through Nov. 23 or 609-683-7136 after Nov. 23. www.visitnj.org/nj-events/holiday-candlelight-ours#sthash.XsceKLpO.dpuf

Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy with Lights (Nov. 28 – Dec. 30), has been a South Jersey Tradition for more than 25 years.  Santa Claus will appear in his chimney promptly at 5 p.m. daily and wave his magic wand to light the park with over one million lights.  All of Storybook Land rides, attractions and snack bars will be open.  Santa will be in his house and light the park each evening through Dec. 23. www.visitnj.org/nj-events/christmas-fantasy-lights#sthash.UAj6GDGN.dpuf

At 36 feet, Cranbury claims New Jersey’s largest Christmas tree with 46,000 lights – more than the Rockefeller Center tree in New York City!  Beginning Nov. 28, the entire holiday display of 120,000 lights will be choreographed with 19 songs – four new ones this year, and dance to the music for 70 minutes.  New Jersey’s Number One Christmas Display for Charity will light up Cranbury for those in need and 100 percent of all donations made given to the Local Food Bank. A way of giving back to community, one New Jersey family prepares and pays for the annual free holiday display and asks visitors to donate what might have been spent on a family night at the movies – all for a good cause. www.cranburychristmaslights.com.

 

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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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Enjoy a Classic Christmas at The Stafford London by Kempinski

November 2, 2011

Holiday spirit abounds at The Stafford London by Kempinski this season. Hundreds of Christmas trees and sparkling lights delicately incorporated into the décor accent the hotel’s recently redesigned lobby, lounge, and the new Lyttelton restaurant making it the ideal place to become immersed in festive cheer. Mixing age-old, seasonal traditions with new holiday offerings, The Stafford promises a Christmas to remember.

  • Christmas Feasting Executive Chef Brendan Fyldes brings a rustic touch to this year’s traditional 5-course Christmas Eve Dinner at The Lyttelton serving dishes including: Roast Scallops, Suckling Pig, Celeriac & Apple and the Roast Duck with Mulled Winter Fruits. Revellers will also take pleasure in the encore meal on Christmas Day with a menu featuring: Ballotine of Scottish Salmon; Officer’s Mulligatawny, Crab & Coconut Rice; Roast Goosnargh Turkey, Quince, Walnut & Fois Gras Stuffing with Seasonal Vegetables, Potatoes and Cranberry Relish. A Home Made Christmas Pudding with Brandy Sauce tops off the delicious experience. Christmas Eve Dinner priced at £95 per person; Christmas Day Lunch priced at £140 per person. Reservations required; guests staying at The Stafford will receive priority seating.
  • An Eve of Tradition – An annual, highly-anticipated event, guests can join the beloved Stafford team and a local church choir in yuletide carolling in the hotel’s historic wine cellar to celebrate the eve of Christmas. Mix and mingle with fellow carollers while enjoying complimentary roasted chestnuts and the American Bar’s famous mulled wine between songs. The evening festivities will then conclude with the long-standing hotel tradition of walking by torch light to the first mass of Christmas held at midnight at the nearby Guard’s Chapel.
  • There Really is a St. Nick – And he visits The Stafford every year to deliver a special gift to each room on Christmas morning. Guests can place the surprise under their own festively decorated tree, which is set-up in the room prior to arrival by the hotel’s team of “elves,” along with special amenities of holiday favourites such as: citrus fruits, nuts and mince pies.

The Stafford is offering special “presents” for those seeking a holiday getaway.

  • Christmas Feast Package – Designed for those coveting a traditional Christmas celebration, this package offers two guests the opportunity to enjoy a three night stay from December 24 to 27, full English breakfast each morning plus a four-course Boxing Day dinner on December 26 in The Lyttelton. Rates starting at £910 GBP inclusive of VAT ; package available 24 December to 27 December 2011 only; to book, contact the hotel directly at: +44 20 7493 0111
  • Wonder-Full Stafford Package – And for those who prefer to be home for the holidays but fancy a bit of British festive cheer prior, The Stafford has crafted the ultimate experience featuring an overnight stay in a double room and full English breakfast, a glass of delicious home-made mulled wine to warm up after exploring London and a gingerbread Christmas tree treat upon arrival. Guests who book online and opt to enjoy a holiday lunch in The Lyttelton during their stay will also receive an additional gift: a £20 credit towards their food bill. Rates begin at £398.32 per night, exclusive of VAT; package is available 1 December to 23 December 2011.

To book, +44 (0)207 4930111  or reservation.london@kempinski.com, http://www.kempinski.com.

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Celebrate the Holiday Season with Woodstock’s Winter Wassail Weekend, Dec. 9-11

October 12, 2011

Woodstock, Vermont celebrates the holiday season with its annual town-wide Wassail Weekend held December 9-11, 2011. The Woodstock Inn & Resort is offering a special package for guests to enjoy this enchanting holiday celebration including tickets to see the highly acclaimed Vienna Boys’ Choir.

Woodstock, Vermont celebrates the holiday season with its annual town-wide Wassail Weekend held December 9-11, 2011. The Woodstock Inn & Resort is offering a special package for guests to enjoy this enchanting holiday celebration including tickets to see the highly acclaimed Vienna Boys’ Choir in one of their only New England performances this year, indulge in a traditional holiday feast celebrating Charles Dickens and enjoy a performance of the play Scrooge! based on Charles Dickens’s, A Christmas Carol.

The resort’s Wassail Weekend package is available December 9-11, starting at $940 per couple for a two-night stay based on double occupancy. The package includes:

  • Accommodations (two night minimum stay required; tax and gratuities extra; other restrictins may apply).
  • Admission to Vienna Boys’ Choir at The Town Hall on Friday night
  • Wassail Feast on Saturday night at The Woodstock Inn & Resort
  • Tickets to Scrooge!, a play to be held at The Yoh Theater (follows the feast)
  • The Holiday Homes Tour on Saturday sponsored by Pentangle

The Woodstock Inn & Resort will be hosting a Charles Dickens-themed Wassail Feast Saturday evening followed by a play called Scrooge! by Leslie Bricusse based on Charles Dickens’s, A Christmas Carol. The Wassail Feast will feature traditional English fare with a local Vermont flavoring including Roasted Mutton (garlic studded leg of lamb with rosemary and caper sauce), Dicken’s Chicken (curry chicken and rice casserole), Tatties & Neeps (mashed turnips and potatoes with ginger) and Chocolate Bread Pudding.

With a history spanning over 500 years, the Vienna Boys’ Choir is one of the oldest and most renowned boys’ choirs in the world. On Friday, December 9, they will be performing contemporary and classic holiday favorites. Billings Farm & Museum, which is free to guests of The Woodstock Inn & Resort, will be showcasing Vermont life as it was during the 19th Century including an authentically decorated 1890 Farm House tour, traditional music and sleigh or wagon rides. Festival highlights also include a town-wide Wassail Parade on Saturday with more than fifty horses and riders dressed in holiday costumes and period dress from the early 19th Century. Woodstock’s most charming and historic houses open their doors for guests to experience their New England hospitality and holiday decorations during the Holiday Homes Tour on Saturday. Shops in the Village of Woodstock are often open late, providing guests’ ample opportunity to wrap up any last-minute holiday shopping.

Along with the Wassail Weekend activities, The Woodstock Inn & Resort provides guests with a number of recreational and dining options to enhance their stay. The Woodstock Inn & Resort is now home to a new 10,000 square-foot LEED-designed spa, offering a nature-inspired ambiance and featuring nourishing treatments and organic products. In celebration of Winter, guests can experience the 100-minute Deep Forest treatment which begins with an exfoliating body scrub and hydrating wrap and ends with a full-body massage. Guests can dine at The Red Rooster, the resort’s award-winning fine dining restaurant which emphasizes fresh, local ingredients sourced from the best purveyors in New England. Guests can also enjoy downtown Woodstock filled with antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, specialty food markets and more.

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 three 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, visit www.woodstockinn.com or call (888) 481-8802.

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