If you find yourself in Bangkok over New Year's (and really, it's a much warmer choice than icy Boston), the Tower Club at Lebua, one of the city's most luxurious hotels, is offering specialty menus at its restaurants, Mezzaluna, Sirocco, Breeze and Distil, all high up in the skyscraper hotel and carrying pretty sky-high prices.
Available for one night only, the menu features things like Japanese Kyushu beef, Petrossian Imperial caviar, red king crab from the Okhotsk Sea and New Caledonia Pacific Ocean blue shrimp. The experience starts with free champagne at Flute Bar on the 64th floor, with spectacular views of the Chao Phraya River and city skyline. Prices are $980 per person at Mezzaluna, $903 at Breeze, $829 at Sirocco and $678 at Distil
Most of us will likely spend more than we probably want to on other people this holiday season. But there are a bunch of travel deals this time of year where the money you spend will at least be on yourself. And OK, on those you love, if you take someone along.
Down in DC, The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel’s Edgar Bar & Kitchen celebrates its first Thanksgiving with a holiday menu conceptualized by Chef Andrew Morrison, formerly of the Fairmont Pittsburgh, and Maison Blanche and Le Mistral in our nation’s capital. Edgar opened last December, and the Thanksgiving menu features, naturally, turkey, and some more creative things like butternut squash and apple bisque, along with themed drinks such as “Pass the Turkey,” with Wild Turkey 101, cider, cranberry jelly, sage and thyme. Dinner is $45 per person, and the hotel (named after the historically famous ship that led to our nation’s very first thanksgiving), is running a “Stay for Breakfast” package as well for the weekend, rates starting at $139. For info, visit www.RenaissanceMayflower.com, and for info on Edgar check out www.edgarbarandkitchen.com
Up in New Hampshire, travelers can kick off the shopping season with deals at hotels and shopping centers throughout the state, including at the Centennial Hotel in Concord (Black Friday rate of $109 a night and free breakfast); Saco River Motor Lodge in Center Conway, rates from $69; the historic Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa in New Castle, with rates from $209; and a shopping spree contest that will dole out three $500 sprees, including two-night lodging and dining. For all info, check out www.visitnh.gov.
Martha’s Vineyard off season is less crowded – and way cheaper. The historic Harbor View Hotel, sitting atop a picturesque bluff in Edgartown, is running a deal for those booking stays between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2. You can save 20 percent off room rates on one- or two-night stays and 30 percent on three-night stays for travel between Dec. 1 and July 10. The hotel is noted for Water Street, its signature restaurant with smashing water views, and Henry’s Hotel Bar. Visit www.harbor-view.com for information.
The Big Apple has seasonal deals, too, notably The Muse Hotel and 70 Park Avenue, with The Muse’s extended Cyber Monday package for travel throughout January and available for booking Dec. 2-15, offering 20 percent off the best-available room rate; and the “Power Shopper” program at 70 Park Avenue, which offers car service to shops, unlimited coffee from the hotel’s new Silverleaf Coffee and Tea Café, where you also get two wind-down cocktails after all that shopping, and a 30-minute stretching session. The package is available through the end of December and rates run from $629 a night. Visit www.themusehotel.com and www.70parkave.com for details.
If you’re thinking warmer, and this time of year, who isn’t, there are deals to be had in toastier climes including at Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina in the Bahamas, with its exclusive 24-hour offer from midnight Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, which nets you the resort’s new “Turtle Crawl” experience with a minimum four-night stay, a $500 value. The offer is valid for travel through March 31, 2014. For information, check out www.abacobeachresort.com
A deal can be had at Ocean Club Resorts in Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, where if you book at www.oceanclubresorts.com and use promo code “CYBER,” you get 20 percent off all room categories and a $200 hotel credit for stays of five or more nights from Jan. 3-Feb. 7, or 25 percent off junior, one-, two- and three-bedroom rooms and $200 credit for five or more nights from May 1-Dec. 18. Ocean Club was named among Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Best Hotels in the World, which also named it the top hotel for Caribbean locations. Ocean Club has two properties in Turks and Caicos, a mile apart from each other on Grace Bay Beach, where guests at one can use the services and amenities of the other as well.
Over in Bermuda, travelers get a third, fourth or fifth night free on stays booked through April 25, for stays Dec. 1 through the end of April. Third-night free hotels include Clearview Suites & Villas, Elbow Beach Bermuda, and Rosewood Tuckers Point Resort, among others. You can get a fourth-night free deal at Cambridge Beaches, Pompano Beach Club and The Reefs Resort & Club, and a fifth night at Mazarine by the Sea, Rosedon Hotel Bermuda, The Royal Palms and Coral Beach Club. For all info, visit www.gotobermuda.com
Also in the Bahamas, Nassau Paradise Island hosts the third annual Bahamas Speed Week Revival Dec. 4-8, a unique event showcasing some of the world’s most iconic race cars. This year, racing returns to Nassau for the first time in nearly 50 years with the running of a Formula Junior race, and Austin Healey race, a classic/vintage mini race and an “All-comers” race. In addition to racing other cars, enthusiasts can race the clock in the Fort Charlotte Hill Climb overlooking Nassau Harbor. When booking an air-inclusive minimum four-night stay at any of Nassau Paradise Island’s participating hotels, visitors get $250 in instant savings. Select properties also offer other promotions during speed week. Bookings must be made before Dec. 2. For information on racing stuff, visit www.bahamasspeedweek.com, and for lodging, www.nassauparadiseisland.com
Last year, I spent New Year’s at Panama City Beach in Florida, and joined the Panama City Beach Biggest Loser RunWalk. And I wasn’t alone: About 40,000 folks gathered for the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop alone. This year, the run-walk happens Dec. 29, the ball drop, Dec. 31, and other events will include the 2013 Run for the Redfish Half Marathon and 5K on Dec. 7; the “Optimist Christmas Parade” Dec. 14; and New Year’s Sail Dec. 31 where you relax on a boat offshore watching fireworks. Hotel deals can be had at the Bay Point Wyndham Resort, with 20 percent off regular rates; Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort, with rates running from $79 a night from Dec. 27-Jan. 2; and the Watercrest Resort with rates from $169 a night through Dec. 31. For all info, lodging and deals, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com
New Haven hosts its 11th installment of its popular bi-annual restaurant week Nov. 3-18, with 30 of the city's eateries taking part by offering three-course prix fixe meals for lunch and dinner, the former costing $18, the latter $32, not including tax, tip or beverages. All the restaurants are also offering their regular menu items, and urge that reservations be made due to the popularity of the program.
Participating restaurants include 116 Crown, Basta Trattoria, Caseus, Heirloom, Ibiza, John Davenport’s, Oaxaca Kitchen, Thali, and Zinc. For a full listing, check out www.infonewhaven.com/restaurantweek, and follow on Twitter with hashtag #NHRW13
If you've never had johnny cakes, you don't know what you're missing. The little crispy treats are made with stone-ground corn meal, boiling water (sometimes milk), a little bit of sugar and salt, and then poured onto a hot griddle for frying. Plop some butter atop, slather it with real maple syrup and you're good to go.
They hail the johnny cake (derived from "journey cake" in colonial times, when they were made and packed for long trips) at the annual Johnny Cake Festival Oct. 19 and 20, which also celebrates fall, down at Kenyon's Grist Mill in the Usquepaugh village of South Kingstown, R.I. Admission is $3 per person, children under five free, and you can get free samples of said johnny cakes (Kenyon's is an ancient mill that still grinds its own meal), sweets, craft beer, wine and more. There will be more than 125 participants at this year's festival, including farmers, artisans and restaurateurs, along with live music and animals, historians and demonstraters of old-world skills. The event benefits the Jonnycake Center, R.I. Breast Cancer Coalition and more than 20 other nonprofits.
Visit www.johnnycakefestival.com for information. And bring your appetite, johnny cakes are addictive.
The Marti Istanbul Hotel is offering a special “culture package” to celebrate the 13th Istanbul Biennial, which runs through Oct. 20, and fills five venues in the city's downtown, bringing together 88 artists from around the world. The package, which starts at approximately $350 a night, includes the stay, buffet breakfast, half-day sight-seeing tour of Istanbul's old city or a museum pass valid for 72 hours, reflexology massage at SpaSoul, and a box of Turkish treats from the hotel's Gourmet Stop store.
The five-star hotel opened earlier this year in the cultural and commercial heart of the city, with interiors designed by Turkish designer, Zeynep Fadillioglu, and Turkish art. For information, visit www.martiistanbulhotel.com
Wild game is the focus of a Thanksgiving dinner at Water Street, the signature restaurant at Harbor View Hotel on Martha's Vineyard this year. Created by Executive Chef Nathan Gould, the buffet, prices at $59 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under, includes local meats (venison and boar, for example, and of course, turkey), artisan breads and cheeses, salads, soups, seafood and seasonal desserts. The buffet runs from 11:30 a.m. To 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. For information and to check out the menu, visit www.harbor-view.com
The Lake Placid Lodge in Lake Placid, N.Y., is holding its annual “Gastro Getaway Weekend” Nov. 7-10, in conjunction with Lexus. The weekend highlights the combined talents of Executive Chef Nathan Rich of the lodge, and Executive Chef James Hackney of Wequasset Resort & Golf Club on Cape Cod. There will also be eight Lexus vehicles on property, and three will be available to guests to test drive during their stay. The weekend also features products of Miner Vineyards and Taittinger Champagne House.
During the weekend, guests can participate in various culinary and spirits-oriented events, including wine and champagne tastings, culinary demos and pairings, cocktail muddling and mixing classes, one-on-ones with chefs, a brewery tour, craft beer tastings and more. The weekend will also showcase local talent and Olympic-themed activities, including curling.
The lodge is also offering an extra night free when booking three nights for the weekend. Rates start at $799 a night, and include all “Gastro Weekend” events and activities.
For info and booking, visit www.lakeplacidlodge.com
Listening to music through earphones while running isn't unusual. Having a live band play that music for you while you run might be. But that's the set up for the 3rd annual Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon on Sept. 29, which features live, local bands each mile of the 13.1-mile journey through city streets and neighborhoods.
Running start at the State House, and the course winds through historic Benefit Street and past the Roger Williams National Memorial as well as three of the city's universities. It also goes for several miles along the Seekonk River waterfront and India Point Park, before winding back to the finish. As runners cross the line, they can hang out and relax with the band, Atlas Genius, at a post-race concert.
New this year is the “Mini Marathon,” a timed, three-mile intro to distance running. The weekend kicks off Sept. 28 with a free health and fitness expo at the Rhode Island Convention Center. For all information and to register, visit www.runrocknroll.com/providence
Another sign summer is drawing to a close: NewportFILM is holding its last outdoor film screening for the summer with the documentary “Diner En Blanc,” a film about the famous secret pop-up white dinner parties that started in Parish 25 years ago. The event is being held Sept. 5 at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, R.I., with two options for participating. The first is a “white” cocktail party with wines by Jonathan Edwards Winery at the sanctuary's Paradise Farmhouse, with live music by brother-sister duo, Honey Hollow, followed by the screening. Cost is $30 per person and runs 6-7 p.m. The second option is showing up for the film at 7:15 p.m., with free admission, though there is a $5 suggested donation.
If you opt for option one, all-white attire is encouraged, in keeping with the film's theme. Director Jennifer Ash Rudick will be on hand at the cocktail party and a post-film Q&A. If you go, you're free to bring your own food, though there will be food available for purchase.
The film is about the pop-up parties, where more than 13,000 people, dressed elaborately in white, show up for the pop-up dinners, positioning 4,000 tables, miles of linen and crystal and laying out sterling silver and food. According to the promotion, “they eat, drink and dance until midnight when they depart as swiftly as they arrived.” The documentary shows the evolution, orchestration and challenges of organizing what is said to be the world's largest dinner.
By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent
Vacation Express seeks to send two “Social Savvy Stars” on a rock-star tour.
The company is holding a search through Facebook, and two winners will be chosen for their creative social-savvy skills by answering: Why they should go on the rock-star tour, why social media is important, and how will they showcase themselves as social-savvy stars.
Once chosen on Aug. 27, the two winners face off to compete for a second trip to Punta Cana after they first get a trip to Las Vegas.FULL ENTRY
Norfolk, Virginia is one of those delightfully surprising places for someone who hasn’t been there or heard much about it, home to a gigantic naval base for which it’s most widely known. But it’s also a place with a devotion to culture: The 31st Annual Norfolk Jazz Festival runs this year from July 19-21, adding a third day to the popular event this year. The setting is the downtown waterfront, along the Elizabeth River at Down Point Park.Performers this year include Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Norman Brown, Jonathan Butler, Sheila E., Elan Trotman appearing as Souls of Summer, The Jae Sinnett Trio and Stanley Jordan. Tickets start at $28 per day for general admission and $49 for a three-day weekend general admission. For information, visit www.festevents.org/mini-site/jazz-music-festival And for all-things Norfolk, including lodging and dining options and available packages, check out www.visitnorfolktoday.com
Got $40,000 to spend on a drink? We didn’t think so. But for $18, you can sip something much cheaper but with the same theme.It’s all part of the White Barn Inn’s 40th anniversary weekend May 31-June 2, when the luxury Kennebunkport, Maine is holding events such as a nine-course dinner, wine from 1973 and charity auction. Part of it is a $40,000 ruby cocktail that indeed comes with a four-carat ruby, which is the 40th-anniversary gemstone. The one in the drink is a lasting keepsake for those ordering, and the drink is available through the end of the year. If you don’t want to spend that much, the inn offers a Ruby Rose martini for $18, Hangar One vodka, St. Germain Elderflower, fresh grapefruit juice, pomegranate and a spoonful of rosewater. The menu for the nine-course dinner will be created by Chef Jonathan Cartwright, and costs $400 per person, served on June 1, with the dishes taking diners back 40 years to mark the occasion, Cartwright said. With dinner, guests will drink a 1973 D’Oliveiras Verdelho wine. And during the dinner, there will be an auction of a bottle of 1973 Hanzell Vineyards pinot noir, with proceeds going to “Share Our Strength,” which fights childhood hunger. The bottle is valued at approximately $200. There will also be a special VIP cocktail reception May 31, and on June 1 at 11 a.m., a historic tour of Kennebunk with food and drink along the way. Through the end of June, the inn offers room specials and a $40 spa service. For information, visit www.whitebarninn.com
Newport is known for old stuff, such as the oldest continuing tavern, lending library, synagogue and Fourth of July celebration. But each year, more new comes to Newport, and this year is no exception.
The Doris Duke Monument Foundation between Thames Street and Trinity Church unveils a $3.5 million revitalization of Queen Anne Square, designed by Maya Lin. Entitled “The Meeting Room,” the installation includes three shallow foundations to illustrate the history of the property and provide community gathering spots. The project will bring more green space, seating, trees and lighting to Queen Anne Square. It is intended to honor the memory of Doris Duke, who championed Newport’s historic preservation. Check it out at www.ddmf.org
The old, elegant mansion of Newport have added thing, including the Elms with a new audio tour which includes new information about recent restoration projects in the house and servant life. In addition, Mandarin translations of the audio tours at The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff will be added as Chinese-speaking visitors are the fastest growing segment of foreign visitors to the mansions. The 2013 costume exhibition at Rosecliff features 20th century highlights from the Newport Preservation Society's collection, and highlights designer pieces by Chanel, Givenchy and Halston. The exhibition runs through November 22. Visit www.newportmansions.org for information
For the adventurous, there is a new Fort Adams zip line, where you can strap in and dive off walls of the fort, North America’s largest coastal fortress, on the 430-foot-long zip line. You start at 50 feet up, sail over the fort’s complex and land on the ground. You can go solo or with a friend on a tandem zip line. Visit www.fortadams.org for info.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame exhibit, “Tennis and Hollywood,” showcases the popularity of the sport of tennis with Hollywood’s elite. A social sport that initially catered to an upscale crowd, tennis became a natural pastime for many big screen stars in the early 1900s. Legends including Alice Marble and Frank Parker were known to share their expertise by giving lessons to stars including Dinah Shore, Charlton Heston, Dustin Hoffman, Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin. The exhibit will be displayed for one year.
Also, the hall will host the first and only viewing of “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, which proved to be an event that created heightened awareness for gender equality, in honor of its 40th anniversary. King will be present at the special screening on July 14 to introduce the broadcast footage and then discuss her memories of key moments in the match, what the match meant to her personally, and reflect on its lasting impact. Check both hall events out at www.tennisfame.com
The International Yacht Restoration School and Museum of Yachting 2013 exhibition features a diverse collection of Newport yachting and coastal scenes including artwork in various mediums from the 19th century to today. Exhibition opens June 1. Check out www.iyrs.edu for information.
The Newport Dinner Train introduces The Ice Cream Train, a family-friendly experience aboard Rhode Island’s only moving ice cream parlor. During this scenic ride, families get entertainment aboard air-conditioned rail cars as the they travel along the coast while having soft-serve ice cream or sundaes. The train departs Thursdays through Saturdays from the Newport Train Depot, 19 America's Cup Avenue. For information, visit www.newportdinnertrain.com/docs/schedule.htm
Samuel Whitehorne House, a museum of 18th- and early 19th-century Newport and Rhode Island furniture, will feature a new exhibit this year of high chests including one on loan from the Ott family of Providence. For information, visit www.newportrestoration.org/visit/whitehorne
The inaugural Newport Sharkfest Swim will take place Sept. 28 along the waterfront beginning at the harbormaster’s dock at Perotti Park, proceeding past anchored sailboats on the right side of the swimming channel, and continuing for a total 1500 meters to finish on the beach at King Park. This event is for experienced open-water swimmers only. For info, visit www.sharkfestswim.com
As to new lodging, check out the Crow’s Nest Newport, with new lodging at Seamen’s Church Institute, a non-profit with a mission to service those connected to the sea, in its National Register historic building. The space is remodeled and includes 10 guest rooms in the heart of the waterfront. For information, visit www.crowsnestnewport.com
There’s also a new transportation option this year as the Block Island Ferry introduces seasonal high-speed ferry service from Newport to Block Island starting the end of June. Travel time between the two ports will take about one hour on a hi-speed aluminum catamaran ferry, to run several times a day. Visit www.blockislandferry.com for information.
For information on all Newport offerings, visit www.discovernewport.org
By Jan Shepherd, Globe correspondent
All eyes will be on the silver ball in Thursday's (May 16) free “Pinballapalooza” in Toronto. Organized by the Stratford Festival to herald its new staging of “The Who’s Tommy,” the day-long event features an attempt to set a Guinness World Record when 100 pinball machines are played simultaneously at 12:40 p.m. Even if you’re not a pinball wizard, the 9 a.m.-6 p.m. celebration at First Canadian Place offers games, ticket deals at a pop-up box office, and performances by “Tommy” cast members. The rock opera about a boy who becomes a pinball wizard despite being blind, deaf and unable to speak is the largest musical ever staged by the Festival. Using 21st century technology to enhance the visual “bells and whistles,” the production is led by Des McAnuff who co-created the rock opera with The Who’s Pete Townshend and directed the Tony Award winning Broadway production 20 years ago. The musical is part of the Festival’s 61st season of diverse repertory presented on four stages in Stratford, a city 2 hours west of Toronto. Visit www. stratfordfestival.ca for information on tickets and performances of “Tommy” and other plays and musicals in the season that runs through Oct. 20. For information on May 16 event, visit www. stratfordfestival.ca/pinball.
By Jan Shepherd, Globe Correspondent
The Worcester Center for Crafts "Pottery Invitational" is an annual rite of spring for contemporary crafts collectors. Curated by potters Hayne Bayless of Connecticut and Hannah Niswonger of Massachusetts, the April 5-7 Show and Sale celebrates 21 top New England artists working in a variety of clays, techniques and styles. Serious and wannabe collectors know to head to Friday's opening reception (5:30-8:30 p.m.) in order to get first dibs on one-of-a-kind and other new work. The sale continues Saturday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) and includes pottery demonstrations and a "Five Buck Cup Raffle" to benefit the center. Admission is free. WCC is at 25 Sagamore Road, Worcester. 508-752-8183. www.worcester.edu/wcc
Pottery by Kristen Kieffer
Romantic options abound this time of year, with Valentine's Day specials in warm and not-so-warm climates.
At a new destination, Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina in the British Virgin Islands, the BVI's newest resort in 15 years, they offer a "Be My Valentine Private Island Escape," available from Feb. 8-14, which includes luxury accommodations for three nights, a bottle of champagne, selection of chocolates, a 60-minute couples massage, and private continental breakfast for two in the Ixora Spa, and a romantic dinner at the fine dining restaurant, Caravela, with stunning ocean and sunset views. Guests get unlimited ferry access to Trellis Bay on Tortola, personal concierge service and free use of kayaks, fitness center and hiking trails. Rates start at $2,160 for three nights. Check it out at www.scrubisland.com or call 888-678-8912.
In Bonaire, Harbour Village Beach Club has a romance package, starting at $1,435 per person, which gets you seven nights, a torch-lit dinner on the beach, aromatherapy couples massage, reserved double hammock on the beach, a resort scuba experience for non-certified divers or a day of diving for those who are, full daily breakfast, use of the resort's fitness center, tennis courts and kayaks, and free airport transfers. Visit www.harbourvillage.com/offers.html for more information.
Bermuda is holding a 50-percent off "Pink Sale," a limited-time promotion that cuts half off the rates of five hotels, with a three-night minimum stay. Booking must be made by Feb. 3 and is valid for travel through May 7. Participating hotels are the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Fairmont Southampton Hotel, Grotto Bay Beach Hotel, Newstead Belmont Hills, Royal Palms and Cambridge Beaches. For reservations or information, visit www.gotobermuda.com
Hotels in Santa Fe, New Mexico, are offering romantic getaways that can be used on and around Feb. 14, including a "Fifty Shades of Santa Fe" at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, which starts at $150 a night, and includes a room, checklist of 50 romantic things to do and see in the city, a copy of "Santa Fe Icons, 50 Symbols of the city Different," and a $50 spa credit. Use promo code FIFTY when booking at www.innatloretto.com or calling 866-582-1646. La Posada in Santa Fe is offering a package, starting at $239 a night that includes a room, champagne, chocolate and strawberries upon arrival, daily breakfast in bed and two, 50-minute Swedish massages. Visit www.laposadadesantafe.com or call 855-278-5276 for information. The city's landmark hotel, La Fonda on the Plaza, has a special starting at $159 a night, with room, local chocolates and choice of champagne, wine or cider upon arrival, breakfast in bed and early check-in and late check out. See all that at www.lafondasantafe.com or call 505-982-5511. For all Santa Fe info, visit www.santafe.org
Down in Norfolk, Virginia, the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel has a Valentine's special, starting at $135 a night that gets you a bottle of bubbly and chocolates delivered to your room, full American breakfast in bed for two daily, free valet parking and 4 p.m. checkout. For info, visit www.sheratonnorfolkwaterside.com or call 866-716-8115.
Big Apple romance can be had at Kimpton's The Muse hotel in New York City, which is near the city's fabled theater district and Times Square with rates starting at $249, and spa-suite rates at $399. Rates include the room and breakfast in bed for couples (singles can nosh at the hotel's Nios restaurant, with choice of bottomless mimosas or bloody Mary's). Visit www.themusehotel.com or call 877-692-6873, using rate code PVAL.
Closer to Hub home, Chef Nuno Alves of Tavolo on Dorchester's Dot Ave. (Dorchester Avenue, for out of towners) is offering a Valentine's Day menu from Feb. 14-17, and also programs for couples, including a couples cooking class Feb. 16, and weekly Italian cooking classes. Tavolo also has romantic live acoustic guitar events, with Ryan Beke on Feb. 16, with no cover, and most Tuesday nights year round. Check out the popular eatery at www.tavoloristorante.com, or call Alves to suggest your own custom itinerary, at 617-822-1918.
Down in historic Bristol, R.I., Bristol House Bed and Breakfast has a "Romance for Two" package, valid throughout February, which includes a two-night stay, choice of two spa treatments at the Alayne White Spa, bottle of champagne and chocolate truffles at check-in, breakfast each morning and a $20 shopping certificate to Revival Boutique. Total cost is $549. Check www.bristolhousebnb.com or call 401-396-9066 for details. Also, the Bristol Harbor Inn has a Valentine's package from Feb. 8-17, which for $235 gets you a night at the inn (fireplace rooms available), $100 dinner allowance at DeWolf Tavern, bottle of Crane Lake Brut and Lindor Chocolate Truffles, and breakfast for two. Visit www.bristolharborinn.com or call 401-254-1444 for info.
Also in Rhode Island, the towering, seaside Ocean House in Watch Hill has a "Romance by the Sea" package for Feb. 8-10, with rates starting at $1,150 with two-night minimum stay. This giant, yellow AAA Five Diamond resort is perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean, and the package includes room, welcome bottle of champagne, a Valentine's dinner with the Salt Marsh Opera on Feb. 9, breakfast for two on Feb. 9 and jazz brunch for two on Feb. 10. Visit www.oceanhouseri.com or call 401-584-7000 for information.
Up in New Hampshire, where it's chilly this time of year, you can warm each other up with a variety of hotel packages, including at the Inn at East Hill in Troy, where for a $282 overnight package you get a room, three-course dinner for two, and breakfast and lunch the next day. Check out www.east-hill-farm.com or call 603-242-6495 for information. At Coppertoppe Inn & Retreat Center in Hebron, packages start at $389 for a room and $499 for a suite, where a two-night stay gets you flowers, chocolates, candles, date movies and breakfast in room or at the inn's dining area. There is no set menu; instead, chefs cook what guests like. Visit www.coppertoppe.com or call 603-744-3636 for information.
For romantic outdoor fun in the Granite State, Bretton Woods and Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center are hosting a chocolate tour through the White Mountain National Forest. Guests decide which inns and lodges to stop for chocolate, which can include the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, Omni Bretton Arms Inn, The Lodge, the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center, the Yurt and the Bretton Woods Nordic Center. Visit www.brettonwoods.com or call 603-278-1000 for information. a $10 fee does apply and all participants must have a nordic center trail pass.
For something completely different, take a trip with Muddy Paw Dog Sled in Jefferson, which is hosting a Valentine's adventure for guests and a team of rescue sled dogs, three hours covering up to 22 miles of back-woods trails. It's being run Feb. 11-14, and costs $350 per sled. Mention "Puppy Love" deal on booking and get a 10-percent discount. For information, check out www.dogslednh.com or call 603-545-4533.
There are a myriad of travel deals this holiday season, from inexpensive to extravagant.
Lake Placid Lodge in New York, an arts-and-crafts-style Relais & Chateaux property and only hotel on the lake is offering Cyber Monday deals, which include $25 for a $50 credit on food and beverages; one night free when booking three, plus a $75 resort credit; 50 percent off best available rate for Owl's Head or any two-bedroom cabin; and a "Check in Sunday and Monday is On Us" deal, from Dec. 1-March 30, except for blackout dates. Reservations for these deals, and others the hotel is offering, are bookable online at www.lakeplacidlodge.com from Nov. 26-30. Regular rates start at $400 a night.
Kimpton's 70 Park Avenue in New York City is offering a "Black Friday Blowout" package, which offers door-to-door service to the city's busiest stores, discounted shipping for purchased gifts and specialty cocktails. The deal also includes two nights at the hotel. Rates for the package, valid through Dec. 2, start at $800 a night. For info and reservations, call 877-707-2752 or visit http://www.kimptonhotels.com/boutique-hotel/70-park-avenue-hotel-new-york/
Down the coast a bit, in Norfolk, Virginia, the Norfolk Plaza Hotel, through Jan. 21, offers a package starting at $99 a night, which includes breakfast for two, free parking and ice-skating tickets for two at MacArthur on Ice. Fun winter stuff in the city includes Santa and The Palace, a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow and prehistoric herd from the "Ice Age" film, through Dec. 24. Check out the hotel deal at www.thenorfolkplaza.com or by calling 757-802-9283. For info on all Norfolk activities, see www.visitnorfolktoday.com
For much warmer weather, the Sands at Grace Bay in Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean has a resort and scuba dive deal now through Dec. 22, offering a fourth-night free program valid on all rooms. Rates are from $169 a night, down from high-season rates of $344. Travelers can also buy a discounted scuba trip priced at $133 a day. Guests also get free use of watersports equipment, bikes, three pools and a weekly happy hour. The resort was recently named one of the "Top 30 Hotels in the Caribbean" by Conde Nast Traveler's readers. For info and booking, visit www.thesandstc.com
Miraval Resorts & Spa in Tucson is offering an all-inclusive three-night stay for two that includes an extra $500 in resort credits. Book from Nov. 26 through Dec. 2, for a stay up to June 15, 2013, and get 20-percent off a double room. Included are all meals, snacks, smoothies and non-alcoholic beverages, unlimited participation in regularly scheduled daily self-discovery activities, access to resort fitness center and Life in Balance Spa, shuttle service from and to the airport, and a welcome gift. Check it out at www.miravalresorts.com or by calling 800.232.3969.
For a holiday getaway with a decided winter feel, The Resort at Paws Up in Montana has "The Last Best Christmas Package at Paws Up" for families, available Dec. 22-29 which includes five nights for a family of four in a luxury home at the resort, located on 37,000 acres of Montana wilderness; all meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages; a personal Santa to hand deliver gifts to the kids; special Christmas Eve and Christmas night dinners; a decorated tree in your home (you decorate it or they'll do it for you); horse-drawn sleigh rides; a ginger bread house building contest; and other activities. Rates start at $10,697, including all taxes and tips, airport transfers and on-site transportation. Check it out at www.PawsUp.com or call 800-473-0601.
Put a little speed in your holiday with a two-day only, Orlando-based Exotic Driving Experience at the legendary Daytona International Speedway, featuring supercars by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Audi, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The infield course showcases fast straight-aways and sharp turns, which necessitates the precise handling of these cars, which run up to $295,000. The event includes six-lap driving experiences, starting at $169, and two-lap "thrill rides," where you ride shotgun with a pro driver, starting at $99. Reservations are required for all driving experiences, but not thrill rides, those you can buy in advance or at the track. For info, visit www.exoticdriving.com or call 855-822-1049.
The California properties of Montage Hotels & Resorts are offering a Cyber Monday deal starting at midnight when Montage Laguna Beach and Montage Beverly Hills shave 40 percent off reservations for Dec. 1-20, and will kick in a free bottle of champagne besides. For info, check out www.montagehotels.com/cybermonday
Vail Resorts is offering a bunch of deals, available through Nov. 25 at Beaver Creek, Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, Antlers at Vail, The Sebastian Vail and Lion Square Lodge, with savings and discounts. For all of it, visit www.snow.com/fourdaysale
Colorado-based Destination Hotels & Resorts has a Cyber Monday deal offering up to 50 percent off at many of its U.S. holdings, bookable only for 24 hours on Monday. More than 15 properties are taking part, from Wild Dunes Resort near Charleston, S.C., to Miramonte Resort & Spa in Palm Springs Valley, Calif. to Lansdowne Resort on the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. For the deals, visit www.destinationhotels.com/CyberMonday
Faraway and exotic holiday travel could include Thailand. Peresa Resort in Phuket has a few packages for the Christmas season: A five-day, four-night package for $3,636 per person; a seven-day, six-night deal for $5,442 per person; and a 12-day, 11-night package for $9,485 per person. The higher the price, the more you get, but all include airport transfer, massage, breakfast, Thai cooking class and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners. The resort is perched on the cliffs of Kamala, comprised of hideaway-style luxury pool villas and suites with views of the Andaman Sea. For info, visit www.paresaresorts.com
Contortionists, jugglers, acrobats and more can be found in Boston at Faneuil Hall Marketplace's first Street Theater Festival Oct. 20-21. Scheduled to appear are Alakazam, aka "The Human Knot," who puts on what is billed as a self-contained freak show as he twists his body into pretzel shapes. Wacky Chad is scheduled to be there as well, a guy who does comedy with tricks and pogo-stick stunts, who has bounced on programs like 'America's Got Talent" and "Live with Regis & Kelly." Also on hand will be magician/juggler/comic/mind reader/fire eater Lucky Bob, and Jason Escape who lives up to his name by wriggling out of constraints, a Houdiniesque display of magic that features him wrapped in 75 feet of rope and hung by his ankles by audience members.
The two-day festival runs 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is free to all. Check out the full listing of events at www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/info/streetperformers
The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council is hosting its annual Fall Foliage and Shopping Train Excursion Oct. 20 aboard the Providence and Worcester Railroad, which leaves the Woonsocket train depot in Rhode Island at 9 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. The foliage train travels through historic Blackstone River Valley to the many antique shops, restaurants and gift shops in Putnam, Conn., where there will be an arts and crafts fair, music, sidewalk sales, a pumpkin festival, bazaar and luncheon, at the Putnam Congregational Church. The train leaves Putnam at 2:15 and chugs back to Woonsocket by 4:30 p.m.
Ticket prices run from $28 to $58. There is a snack bar on the train, and passengers can also bring their own, though no alcoholic beverages are allowed. For information and reservations, visit www.tourblackstone.com or call 401-724-2200.