Archive for the ‘Seasonal’ Category

Are You Ready for The Winter Olympics? Tips for a Front Row View (Whether You Are Traveling or Not)

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The upcoming 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will feature some of the greatest demonstrations of athleticism and skill in the Games’ history.

Travel Warning for Those Heading to Sochi

If you are packing your babushka and making the trip to Russia next month for the Winter Olympics, be advised that the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Americans planning to attend the Games. United States intelligence officials are considering recent threats from terror groups against the Olympics to be very serious.

  • Sign up for the STEP program (allows the US government to better contact you with information during overseas travel) and keep up on important Visitor information for Travel to the Olympic Games.
  • The State Department also said that Americans should consider buying private medical evacuation insurance as medical facilities are “untested” in Sochi.
  • An additional warning was also made for Americans to be wary of common criminal activity, which tends to increase at most large gatherings around the world. Here are a few tips on how to keep money safe when traveling abroad that we posted a few years ago here on Travel Smart Blog.

Safety Precaution: Ban on ALL Liquids
Most people heading to Sochi will travel through one of Moscow’s two main international airports. A flat ban on all carry-on liquids as part of a mass security clampdown has been announced, and the ban covers “all liquids, including personal hygiene items, cosmetics, medicines, liquids, sprays and gels in any amount.”

Watch Every Competition as it Happens

Thanks to amazing sports production, the best seat in the house may literally be in your living room. And this year, that statement couldn’t be more truthful.  You can have a rink-side seat to all the Winter Games thanks to NBCOlympics.com.  NBC will broadcast ALL competitions online as they happen. With more than 1,000 hours of live streaming coverage, combined with the 539 hours scheduled to be televised on NBC and its affiliate stations, next month’s coverage of the 2014 Olympics will be more than the coverage of the past two Winter Olympics combined.

The NBC Olympics Twitter handle and Vine app will be great for real-time Olympic news and athlete interviews once the games begin on February 6th.

  • If you do want to stream the Games live, you’ll have to register your satellite or cable TV subscription with NBC’s Live Extra site.
  • The NBC Sports Live Extra App is another option if you have a paid-TV subscription, as the app allows for live streaming and full event replays on your phone. The app, which is free, is available for both iOS and Android operating systems.

Do Not Miss

  • 12 new events have been added to this year’s Games including the women’s Ski Jump, and Ski Half Pipe and Ski Slope Style are two new freestyle skiing events for both men and women.
  • Men’s and Women’s Figure Skating. It’s always popular but the U.S. Team is already packing its own controversies, which will make chasing Gold that much harder.
  • Men’s Hockey. Rumor has it that of all events in the Games, this is the one that host-country Russia really cares about.
 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

Mulled Wine, Snowshoes and Ice Climbing – Best Ways to Brighten Your Winter Months

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Skiing and snowboarding may be winter’s top activities but there are plenty of other fun ways to embrace the cooler temps. If you’re looking for something to do this winter, whether with friends, on a date, or just some family fun, try a few of these winter must-do’s.

  1. Drink hot buttered rum and mulled wine – and hot chocolate for the kiddos, of course.
  2. Hot tubbing – Kick back in an outdoor Hot Tub. Is there really anything better?
  3. Take a carriage ride through downtown – Assuming that the weather outside is above zero, take a romantic carriage ride through a downtown near you.  By day or by night, there’s something special about snuggling with blankets and the gentle jingle of bells tinkling to the stride of strapping horses.Snowmobiler Driving Through Snow
  4. Ride on a snowmobile – A snowmobile is winter’s convertible.
  5. Take a trip to Reno - The city’s proximity to ski resorts and other recreational areas make Reno a top winter vacation spot. You can find 18 ski resorts in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area.
  6. Stay in the Québec Ice Hotel - The Hôtel de Glace is a must-see attraction to discover each winter. With its huge snow vaults and its crystalline ice sculptures, the Hôtel de Glace impresses by its dazzling decor. From January 5th to March 23th, enter this magical universe and live an incredible experience by visiting this ephemeral work of art.
  7. Strap on some snowshoes – Even your backyard can become a new adventure.  Local outdoor stores have hourly rentals for a one-time extravaganza.
  8. Try ice climbing – Learn to climb waterfall ice in New Hampshire. There are multiple guide companies to help you get your crampons.
  9. Visit Old Faithful and Yellowstone National Park - The famed national park is even more splendid in the. For a very unique experience stay at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. The only way to get there is by a commercial snow coach.
  10. Watch the 2014 Olympic Winter Games – A great excuse to veg out on the couch and cuddle up by the fire in the dreariest month of the winter.

 

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

Warm Weather Escapes to Beat the Winter Woes

Friday, January 10th, 2014

The New Year has certainly started off with a chilly beginning. The record freezing temps that terrorized much of the US earlier this week may just be the beginning of what Ol’ Man Winter has in store for 2014. That leaves me with the need for a warm weather escape. If you’re feeling the same way, pack up your sunglasses and swimsuits and chart a course for warmer weather at one of these amazing hotels.

Montage Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach, CA
The Montage Laguna Beach makes it easy to put your winter woes behind you. This craftsman-style luxury resort in arts-oriented Laguna Beach offers ocean-view rooms and suites, seasonal artisanal cuisine, and a nature-based spa. The service and staff of the large resort make it feel like a boutique property. The resort also has children and teen programs.

The Atlantic Resort & Spa Hotel
Fort Lauderdale, FL
The Atlantic Hotel is a great place to put your frostbitten toes in the sand. The beachfront hotel has 124 guest rooms with private terraces with ocean views, as well as kitchenettes and BOSE sound systems. The guest reviews are overly positive raving on the stellar customer service, amenities, and overall stay experiences. Will you join them?
TSB INSIDER TIP: Flying into Fort Lauderdale’s airport (FLL) can often be easier and more affordable than flying into busy Miami International (MIA).

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
Scottsdale, AZ
You’ll forget you are in Arizona when you set foot in this five-star, 35-acre, Spanish-inspired retreat. Made up of four “villages” featuring fountain-filled courtyards, pools, a full-service spa and health club. Set up against Camelback Mountain, you’ll be winter warm poolside at this Scottsdale retreat.

Jake’s Hotel
Treasure Beach, Jamaica
An eco-chic bohemian hotel that is as fun as it is functional and affordable, Jake’s Hotel is on Jamaica’s southern coast and is a unique family-run hotel features 35 hippy-chic cottages on Jamaica’s Treasure Beach. The restaurant at Jake’s uses only locally-sourced ingredients and serves up some of the tastiest meals on the entire island. The hotel’s Driftwood Spa is naturally elegant and therapeutic. It’s a true treasure on Treasure Beach!

Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Honolulu, HI
Want Hawaii on a budget? It can be done. The Aston Waikiki makes it possible with rates that tend to range between $100 and $150 a night. Free breakfast, ocean front views, and lots of attractions such as the Zoo and Aquarium are within walking distance.
TSB INSIDER TIP: Set up a fare alert on airfarewatchdog.com from your origination city to Oahu to get the jump on Hawaiian airfare deals.

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Hotel
Vero Beach, FL
On Florida’s Atlantic Coast, and less than two hours southwest from the Magic Kingdom is where you’ll find a Disney beachfront family oasis. The resort features four restaurants, mini putt-putt, a sing-a-long campfire, pools, and more. And in the winter, temperatures rarely drop below 65° in this balmy Florida city. 

Hotels.com is featuring some great deals in California and Arizona for warm-weather hotels and resorts. So, shovel out the driveway and get planning your winter vacay today!

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

Hotels To Inspire Your Travel for the New Year

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

If you’re like me, then you’re already thinking about all the places you want to visit in 2014. But we can all use a dose of travel inspiration. And maybe it’s not where you go, but where you stay that needs that inspiration. Hotels.com® recently recognized some of the most outstanding hotels based on insights from the more than 10 million verified Guest Reviews found on the leading hotel booking website.

Best Ski Hotels

YMs68xaP7RI-C_SFKLgT1iF9fPYsbEzLYY_0k22nVtkThe Arrabelle at Vail Square in Vail, Colo. was rated 4.8 out of 5 by Hotels.com guests and for good reason; it has an ice skating rink on site! Hotel Madeline in Telluride is another excellent choice in Colorado, rated 4.7 by Hotels.com Guests, featuring everything from a ski valet to a wintertime hot chocolate bar. In Jackson, WY, The Rustic Inn Creekside Resort and Spa is the place to go, with several acres to explore on ski, foot, sled, or snowmobile – it’s the winter outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Best Spa Hotels

Relaxation-seekers will be hard pressed to find any better places to kick-off 2014 than at any of the top spa hotel picks from Hotels.com. The Guerlain Spa at The Roosevelt New Orleans (4.6 rating) is one of only three in the country and has a 180 year tradition in beauty and relaxation. New spas, like the one in the 2-year-old Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta (4.8 rating), are also offering unparalleled services that receive high marks from Hotels.com guests. In San Diego, the 4.9 rated Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa is an award-winning wellness oasis that includes a Yoga Pavilion, Pilates studio, advanced exercise programs and retreats.

Best Casino Hotels

The Wynn Las Vegas (4.7 rating) is among the most glamorous destinations on the Las Vegas Strip. Along with its sister property Encore at Wynn Las Vegas (4.6 rating), the two hotels offer a luxurious high-limit gaming experience with quality complimentary drinks and a number of high limit table games. The all-suite Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino (4.6 rating) is the largest building in the U.S. after New York’s World Trade Center Towers (according to The Real Deal real estate magazine in New York City) and offers the most standard accommodations on the Strip.

Best Golf HotelssqJqTapHKWzo6Xj9V35EtH7Fzbohv6ucpw7LsXHz-Ws

The Mediterranean-inspired Grand Del Mar – San Diego (5.0 rating) offers everything from practice facilities and an instructional golf academy, to golf-hotel packages and a junior course for youth. The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (4.8 rating) features two striking golf courses that traverse around granite rock and boulder piles outside of Scottsdale, Ariz. The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (4.8 rating) boasts three 18-hole championship golf courses amidst the island’s natural beauty and even offers unique activities such as yoga for golfers.

Best Bed & Breakfasts

The Almondy Inn (4.9 rating) in Newport, R.I. is one of the top bed and breakfasts in New England, serving up afternoon wine and cheese within steps of famed Bannister’s Wharf. Visitors to Cape Cod’s Provincetown can stay in the luxurious rooms of the Revere Guest House (4.9 rating). Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn (4.9 rating) in San Antonio offers guests in-room massages, as well as afternoon and evening desserts.

Feel Inspired? I sure do. Happy and Safe Travel for the New Year!

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

Travel Sticky Situation: Delayed/Stranded by Winter Weather

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Tis the season to be traveling, so as we prepare for another holiday travel week, let’s review the top winter travel tips. The good news is that The Weather Channel is not predicting any major snowstorms in the U.S. over Christmas. Nevertheless, Mother Nature is never beyond a good storm surprise, so let’s be ready for whatever she throws at us this winter.

Trouble Ahead! Travel To-Dos

AA046865When winter storms approach, airlines begin preemptively waiving change fees in order to avoid stranded travelers.  If you have a trip on the horizon, DO stay tuned to national weather forecasts and check the travel advisories of your airline for delays, cancellations and rescheduling policies to see how any of it may affect your trip. You may not need to cancel your trip yet, but you should be aware of the possibility and begin considering alternate plans.

You are your best advocate. DO always have the hotel phone number, airline number, all of your confirmation numbers, and directions ON PAPER in addition to stored in your smart phone. You never know when you’ll be without battery, coverage or a charger.

If you are heading to your destination and get delayed, DO be sure to keep your hotel informed of your situation so you do not incur unnecessary charges for a no-show. If you are heading home and find yourself needing to stay an extra night, check availability as soon as you can to avoid having to scramble for other accommodations.

If You Get Stranded…

Remember when weather puts your trip to sleep, it doesn’t mean the airline owes you a good night’s rest in a hotel.   If you are already at the airport when delays or cancellations occur, DO be sure to have enough of the essentials to get you through a day… or two. For me, that’s contact solution, my phone charger, laptop and cord.

  • DO pack your patience: you are not the only one trying to cancel and rebook – be kind, don’t give up.
  • DO claim any reimbursement you are entitled to (for example, accidental charges for change fees) in writing and keep a copy. File claims as soon as possible.
  • DO forward copies of all documents to your travel insurer, if you have one.

Road-Trip To-Dos

And if you are behind the wheel this winter, possibly one of the best to-DO suggestions is to make a trip plan.  Pilots file a flight plan before takeoff, so driving our cars shouldn’t be any different. Make sure you DO advise someone of your trip plans.  DO call ahead to your destination and let someone know when you intend to leave, what route you will be traveling and your expected time of arrival.  If someone at your starting point and someone at your destination know your plans, help can reach you much more quickly, in the event of an emergency.

Safe Travels throughout the holidays and a merry and bright 2014!

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

City of the Month: Costa Rica… Yes, It’s a Republic Not a City.

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

TSBCotM

 

 

 

 

0_1672R-39304
Each month Travel Smart Blog features a city to explore and inspire future travels. This month, I wanted to focus on Costa Rica but choosing just one city was impossible. In fact, the tiny republic of Costa Rica only has a population of 4.6 Million people, which is half the size of New York City, so I figured why not just profile the whole country!

Situated between Nicaragua and Panama on the Central American Isthmus, the country has three distinct regions influenced by their locations: the Pacific coast, the Caribbean and the Central Region.

What used to truly be a place to live like Robinson Crusoe has captivated the imaginations of surfers, yogis and eco-tourists. In fact, Starbucks recently bought nearly 600 acres of land near the Poas Volcano (an easy day-trip from San Jose), to establish a laboratory to experiment with new varieties of coffee. While the road infrastructure is still a bit primitive and can make traveling to some of the areas a bit more challenging, Costa Rica is for adventure seekers, families, couples and those looking to relax. More and more hotels, resorts, yoga and surf camps, and eco-tourism attractions pop up every month making Costa Rica a must-add-destination to your vacation list.

Getting Around
As I referenced above, the roads in Costa Rica are pretty bad and car rentals can be pricey. So believe it or not, cheap flights between cities are often the best way to see the country. Check out this local airline Nature Air. There are currently two international airports in Costa Rica. Juan Santamaria Airport is the oldest and centrally located north of San José. Liberia (LIR) opened two years ago and is the gateway airport to the beaches of the Guanacaste region and the Nicoya Peninsula. Flying into Liberia saves you a 5 hour drive to the beaches.

Climate
Costa Rica’s Central Valley is famous for having some of the best weather in the world, due to its’ mountainous location yet only 9 degrees from the equator. But the difference in the mountains or on the beaches can vary by 20 degrees. Look out for these micro-climates. The high mountain areas (Monteverde, Savegre, Poás Volcano, etc.) can get chilly – pack a light sweater or jacket.

Cities to Visit in Costa Rica

San José
Spend a few days in the capital city of San José and embrace the history and culture of Costa Rica. The introduction of coffee to the Central Valley in the early nineteenth century fueled San José’s prosperity as the city embraced capitalism. San José is like any big city, although relatively casual: stick to long pants (dresses and skirts also work for women). Most visitors spend a day or two here before venturing to the jungles and beaches. Be sure to see the Plaza de la Cultura, the Museos del Banco Central de Costa Rica, and see if you can get tickets for a performance at the Teatro Nacional.

0_109765118Santa Teresa and the Pacific Coast
To the North you’ll find the beach towns of the Nicoya Peninsula in the southwestern part of Guancaste province, which are some of the best surfing spots imaginable. This is why the area is gaining in popularity and experiencing explosive growth. Despite new development, the region’s natural beauty remains intact. None is more beautiful than the beaches of Santa Teresa. But nearby Jaco, Tamarindo, and in the South Dominical beckon to beachgoers for R&R or a surfer’s paradise.

Monteverde and the Central Region
The mountain region of Costa Rica is made up of many small towns including Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio. Monteverde is home to the Cloud Forests. Cloud forests are unique highland forests characterized by 100% humidity. A visit to this region inspires the imagination for all that is natural and sustainable. Be ready for some zip-line fun and spend a day or two at an eco-lodge of which I’ll recommend a few in an upcoming post.

Primary Language: Spanish

Currency: Costa Rican Colon

Capital: San José

Population: 4,695,900+

 

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

America’s Newest Holiday: Thankshopping Day!

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The appeal of Black Friday is at a five year high, with 55% of shoppers saying they’re likely to shop the holiday kickoff event. And 38% told consulting firm Accenture that they plan to shop on Thanksgiving this year, and that of those, 41% said they’ll be out between 6 p.m. on the holiday and 5 a.m. on Black Friday. Perhaps we should just rename the whole event “Thankshopping Day.”

0_117085750I’ll admit it! I’ve gotten into Black Friday shopping and perhaps not for the reason you think. Sure, it started out as a quest for a few great deals but it has become something more. Actually, I like that I can leave my house at 3AM (yes, I know I am missing a ton of deals this year and I may reconsider) and spend a few fun hours alone or perhaps with a friend without feeling guilty about missing out on family time because my kids and husband are sleeping.

If crowds aren’t your thing, a new report from analytics firm ShopperTrak pegs Wednesday, Dec. 4, as the best day to shop with the least amount of store traffic during this year’s holiday season. Not to alarm you but you have one less weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to last year, which will mean more crowds and fewer shopping days. Online sneak-peak ads for Black Friday are already out. Here are a few tips to help you score big during the new holiday tradition of Thankshopping: holiday shopping steals!

  • Use the Internet to compare prices, not just the Black Friday ads but also retailers’ regular websites. Doing this ahead of time will help you know if the prices are just inflated to make it look like you are getting a deal or to know if it really is a steal.
  • Take the ad with you so that you can find the exact item at the price advertised. In fact, you may want to check the items out at the store ahead of time just to be sure it is something that you actually want to buy and don’t just get caught up in the frenzy.
  • Follow your favorite travel companies on Facebook and Twitter to get access to Black Friday codes that unlock deals and discounts. Monitor tweets tagged #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday. And, sign up for email alerts that could get your coupons for the nation’s shopping holiday.

Top 3 Black Friday Shopping Cities

  1. 1.     New York City
  2. 2.     Houston, TX
  3. 3.     Minneapolis, MN

How many hotel rooms could you book for the cost of an item from Hotels.com’s Christmas Shopping Basket? Keep checking back on Hotels.com for special holiday promotions.

Will you be taking part in Thankshopping this year? If so, what’s your plan for shopping success?

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

College Football Rivalry Week!

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

The long Thanksgiving weekend is most sports fans’ favorite holiday time with NFL football games, the NBA season underway and the exciting Rivalry Weekend of NCAA college football. If you’ve been riding the college football roller coaster this season then you know that Rivalry Weekend takes intensity to a fever pitch that divides colleagues, friends, families and even spouses.

Detail of a FootballTraveling for college football is full of tradition and revelry. It’s a different experience than cheering for an NFL team, because it’s more than just a game. There are the college towns, the bands, the students and alumni, the history and the future that make attending a rivalry week matchup something special. In fact, as much as airports prepare for holiday travel, many regional US airports prepare each fall weekend to transport the players and fans of college football.

The recent success of the University of Alabama’s football program has led Alabama’s Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) to roll out the crimson carpet. In fact, during last year’s national championship game, the airport added 27 additional flights to its flight schedule. Last year, the airport even brought in musicians to play for passengers while they waited to depart for the title game.

  • Many airlines offer last minute football fares that get fans in before kick-off and home that night or the next day. Follow your favorite airlines on Facebook and Twitter to scout any available deals.
  • Hotel rooms in a college town can often be harder to come by than the tickets. Hotels.com shows you the distance to a location so you can judge just how far from the stadium or the college town you will be.
  • While going to the game is ideal, simply being present for the college tailgate is worthy of the trip.

Rivalries Worth the Travel
If you’ve been meaning to travel to a college football game to see what all the hype is about, there probably is not a better weekend than Rivalry Weekend. And even though this season has thrown some perennial stand-outs a few shocking losses, these typical in-state rivalries are as contentious as they are packed with tradition, honor, and a whole lot of fun. Here are a few of the leading match-ups this year.

The Bayou Classic: Southern vs. Grambling
This Louisiana rivalry is so big that it is the first and only black college football game to get prime-time, major network coverage every year on Thanksgiving weekend. This season has been somewhat disastrous for Grambling. Hopefully both teams show up for the game but more importantly, hope they don’t leave the brands behind as these two coordinated groups often steal the show. The Bayou Classic — Southern University vs. Grambling State – Nov. 30 at 2:30pm on NBC.

Royalty Free stockSouth Carolina vs. Clemson
In Columbia this year, #8 Clemson heads to its in-state rival #11 The University of South Carolina. Under the “Old Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier, this game between the Gamecocks and the Tigers has taken on added importance on Rivalry Weekend, which means added intensity and competition between the two schools who are equally matched for the first time in a long time.

Florida vs. Florida State
This was THE rivalry of college football throughout the 80s and 90s, which often decided who went to the national championship. During Rivalry Weekend, the #2 FSU Seminoles head to the Swamp to take on the unranked Florida Gators. It is still among college footballs best rivalries, and will determine which team has in-state supremacy for another year.

The Civil War: Oregon vs. Oregon State
First played in the rain in 1894, this rivalry is anything but civil. Like FSU-UF, this game has emerged in recent decades to capture the American imagination. #6 Oregon has won the last five meet-ups, let’s see what Rivalry Weekend 2013 has in store.

What is your favorite college football rivalry? Have you ever been to the game to experience it first hand? Tell us about it here on TSB!

 

 

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

100 Days Until Sochi!

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

0_129222827Yesterday marked 100 days until the city of Sochi, Russia will hold the XXII Olympic Games from February 7-23rd next year.

Team USA Celebrates 100 Days In NYC today!

Team USA’s Road to Sochi 100 Day Countdown event took place yesterday, Oct. 29th in Times Square. Approximately 40 Team USA hopefuls for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (teams for each sport are named in January) participated in the celebratory countdown that turned Times Square into a mini Olympic village for one remarkable day.

About Host City Sochi

The host city Sochi is part of what is called the Russian Riviera located on the Black Sea coast. It has a population of 400,000 people and is situated in Krasnodar, which is the third largest region in Russia. Unlike most Olympic Games, all the events will take place within 30 minutes of each other. Many people don’t realize that these events are often quite spread out to other surrounding cities making the venues often difficult to travel between.  There will be a coastal cluster for ice events in Sochi, and a mountain cluster for the snow events located in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains.

0_107478903The Sochi Olympic Park is being built along the Black Sea coast, for the ice venues such as the Bolshoi Ice Palace, the Maly Ice Palace, the Olympic Oval, the Sochi Olympic Skating Centre, the Olympic Curling Centre, the Central Stadium, the Main Olympic Village and the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre, will be (all new!) for the 2014 Games. The mountain cluster in Krasnaya Polyana will be home to all the skiing and sliding sports. Again, getting between the coastal and the mountain venues is going to be very easy for these Olympic Games.

Where is the Olympic Torch?

I enjoy following the torch relays of the Olympic Games.  The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay began in Moscow on October 7th and will end, of course, at the Opening Ceremonies on February 7th carried around Russia by more than 14,000 Torchbearers.  In fact, just this weekend the torch reached the North Pole!

Learn more on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay here! 

 

 

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found
 

 

City of the Month: Niagara Falls Wanderlust

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

TSBCotM

Did you know that Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S?

How about that it was once the scene of one of the most famous battles of the War of 1812? And, did you know it was a pivotal stop on the Underground Railroad?

0_73070662For most visitors, the Falls are the big attraction but there is much to explore and learn in this historic park.

Old Fort Niagara, the longest operational fort in North America, features the oldest original buildings on the Great Lakes and is the place to teach the kids a little history. The fort played an important role in the struggles of France, Great Britain, and the United States to control the Great Lakes region. Especially in summer, there are battle demonstrations and living history programs, though the Fort is open all year. Come and learn about the Fort’s ghost at Halloween and celebrate the holidays with two special weekends in December.

There’s no match for the experience of standing under the thundering American Falls on the Hurricane Deck. You can do this on the Cave of the Winds tour and on the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour, which I mentioned in my post earlier this week. Then, you should grab lunch or dinner at the Top of the Falls Restaurant. There’s not a bad view in the place, with floor-to-ceiling views of the Falls from every table.

But the Falls are not the only game in town. The Niagara region of Ontario, Canada is also becoming renowned for its wines. 25 wineries are within a 20-minute drive north of the Falls. The Niagara Wine Trail showcases not only wine but the beautiful countryside. Niagara Falls is well known in Canada for its Icewine, a dessert wine made from grapes frozen on the vines. In fact, every January there is the Niagara Icewine Festival.

stk213274rkeNightlife

Nightlife options are aplenty on both the US and Canada sides of the Falls from local pubs to nightclubs for late night dancing. The legal drinking age in Canada is 19 and many of the nightclubs caters to the energy of this crowd. And for those who want to test their luck, casinos are located a little further down the road. Major casinos include the Casino Niagara and the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Ontario and the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in New York.

Hotel recommendations for your visit to Niagara Falls are coming up tomorrow.

 

 

 

 
 

 

Similar Posts:
    None Found