It's a big, wide (mostly) wonderful world. But these days some people are choosing to vacation right in New England, either because of global concerns or simply because they love this region. For both groups, here is a six-pack of offerings -- one from each state -- that illustrates New England's diverse attractions.
Rhode Island. Providence, home of historic Federal Hill and the acclaimed WaterFire outdoor spectacular, has a new spring/summer package, with hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions all part of the deal.
The Providence Getaway Package, valid through October, allows visitors to create their own daily itinerary. Included are one or two nights' area hotel accommodations, breakfast for two at the hotel, four attractions vouchers, a coupon book worth up to $300 in savings at Providence Place Mall, a 15 percent discount at select restaurants, and a gift of a Providence souvenir coffee mug and Rhode Island-made biscotti in a stylish bag. One-night rates range from $107 at the Comfort Inn in Woonsocket, to $256 at the Providence Biltmore. Packages may be purchased by calling a participating hotel and mentioning the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau Getaway Package.
(The fine print: Taxes and tips are not included.)
For rates, hotel phone numbers, and more information, visit www.goprovidence.com or call 800-233-1636.
New Hampshire. Loon Mountain says goodbye to the freezin' season with a final snowboarding showdown, called the Hike and Huck, on Saturday, May 10, featuring a jump and a rail set up just above the yurt in the park. But because the mountain is officially closed, contestants and spectators will need to hike up for the huck-fest. First prize is $500. Registration will be from 9 to 10 a.m. and the contest will start shortly afterward. The cost is $25, which includes a barbecue and lots of prizes and entertainment. A mini-ramp will be set up for an afternoon skateboard session.
Connecticut. Come on, admit it: You've always wanted to stay in a place called Udderly Woolly Acres. A certified organic farm and bed-and-breakfast in Glastonbury, the property is one of more than 280 farms, nurseries, and other agricultural businesses open to visitors seeking a rural getaway. For a free farm map from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, call 860-713-2503. The map can be used along with the Connecticut Office of Tourism website at www.ctbound.org to set up a personal itinerary.
For more information on Udderly Woolly Acres, where rates are $76-$99, call 860-633-4503.
Maine. From mid-May usually into October, the Birches Moose Cruise seeks after those sometimes elusive, always fascinating creatures. Departing from the marina of the Birches Resort in Rockwood, the cruise heads up the shore of Moosehead Lake for a chance to view moose, deer, bear, eagles, osprey, and peregrine falcons. The two-hour cruises take place morning and afternoon.
Prices are $28 for adults and $15 for children ages 3 to 11. A Moose Cruise Combo, which includes dinner in the Birches Dining Room, costs $48 for adults and $25 for children.
Call 800-825-WILD or visit www.birches.com.
Vermont. Through May 15, you can save 25 percent on spring rates with the Maple Season Deal at the Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden. Starting at $99 a person, double occupancy, the package provides a night's lodging, a hearty breakfast with maple ingredients, dinner in the inn's fireside Tavern restaurant, and the use of the hiking and biking trails and other facilities. All taxes, dining room tips, and resort service gratuities are included. Add-ons include a massage in the Day Spa for $85 an hour and champagne and chocolate truffles for $30.
Call 800-445-2100 or visit www.mountaintopinn.com.
Massachusetts. The Wauwinet on Nantucket, which opens for the season on May 1, will present a "Divine Wine & Dine" event Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3.
The weekend at The Wauwinet, a Relaix & Chateaux inn, will begin on Friday afternoon with a welcoming reception starring Christopher Calkins, vintner from the Destino Winery of Sonoma, Calif., and the Ancien Winery of Napa Valley, who will tell guests about his wines. Saturday evening will feature a five-course dinner at the award-winning Topper's, where executive chef Christopher Freeman's dishes will be paired with the appropriate red and white wines.
During the day, guests can participate in specially arranged "Taste of Nantucket" events, which celebrate spring on the island. Activities include four-wheel-drive tours to learn more about the island's rare habitats, tours of the 'Sconset area in a 1946 Ford woody wagon, and trips to Cisco Brewery.
The cost for this upscale adventure starts at $900 for two people and includes two nights' accommodations, full breakfast for two each morning, the vintner's reception, the Topper's tasting menu, Taste of Nantucket activities, and all gratuities. Tax is not included.
A "Dinner's on Us" deal, available at all Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts in the United States and Canada, is good May 1-Sept. 7.
At check-in, guests who have followed the procedure listed below will receive a dinner coupon for each night of their stay worth up to $24 per night ($12 per person maximum) in the hotel restaurant between 5 and 10 p.m. With the existing Kids Eat Free offering, children 12 and under dine at no cost when ordering from the hotel's Kids' Menu, if accompanied by a family member ordering from the regular menu.
Guests must request the special "Free Dinner" rate when reserving, by calling 800-HOLIDAY or visiting www.holiday-inn.com/freedinner, where they can print out a "Dinner's on Us" certificate to present at check-in.
From May 1-19, everything's coming up tulips in Ottawa. To celebrate the 2003 Canadian Tulip Festival, with 4 million of those fabulous flowers expected to be in bloom, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier has two packages.
The Awesome Blossom includes two tickets to myriad activities taking place at the official Festival Grounds, Major's Hill Park; a one-night stay; and overnight parking. Rates, based on double occupancy, start at $106 US. The Totally Tulip includes a one-night stay, a tulip amenity delivered to the room, and breakfast at the hotel. The package starts at $163.