Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

Experts share favorite Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants for holiday celebrations

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 25, 2017) – As millions of people make plans to travel this holiday season, hotels and restaurants are unpacking decorations and spicing up menus to help their guests get into the holiday spirit. Travelers and diners looking for the comforts of home without the stress of hosting during the holidays can find festive and family-friendly activities, extravagant light displays and décor, sensational seasonal menus and much more at properties across the United States and Canada.

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To help those travelers who are looking for a little extra holiday magic, AAA’s professional inspectors, who conduct annual evaluations of nearly 59,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels and restaurants, have selected 12 of their favorite festive Diamond Rated properties to visit this holiday season.

Hotels with Holiday Cheer for the Entire Family – Go ice skating, take a sleigh ride or join in a “reindog” parade. These AAA inspector picks offer visitors hands-on ways to enjoy the holidays away from home throughout the season.

Set at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, this gorgeous property is perfect for skiers. Activities in the nearby village include sleigh rides, ice skating and plenty of options for shopping and dining. Visitors can also enjoy daily holiday arts and crafts and other family-friendly activities, a special Christmas dinner, as well as an adults-only New Year’s Eve gala. –Inspector #450

Northern California’s wine region is open for business – wineries and resorts are ready to welcome visitors this holiday season despite recent wildfires. And one of the best things people can do to support the people of Napa is by spending time in the region, helping local businesses get back on their feet. On weekend afternoons in December, hop aboard a festively decorated trolley playing seasonal music, which runs between destination spots like the Oxbow Market and Historic Napa Mill. This cozy bed and breakfast, near the heart of Napa, has a cheerful holiday environment with a beautifully decorated tree and miniature town. –Inspector #569

This property, centrally located in the winter wonderland of Aspen, is lavishly adorned with holiday décor and complete with a mini-gingerbread village. Visitors can enjoy carriage rides through town with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the hotel provides treats for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve. –Inspector #599

This exclusive, luxury resort features a full calendar of family-friendly offerings, including holiday movie screenings, elf tuck-ins, ornament decorating, a “reindog” parade, gingerbread house and ornament decorating, a Christmas Eve yule log ceremony, Christmas Day brunch and much more. –Inspector #43

Bright Lights, Winter Wonderland – Immerse yourself in extravagant light displays and décor that create a magical environment. Decked out with hundreds of thousands of lights, ornaments and garlands, these AAA inspector picks offer a holiday feast for the eyes.

AAA’s inspector recommends planning your visit after the first week in December, when this beautifully restored historic country inn is turned into a holiday wonderland. The public areas and guestrooms are charmingly decorated with decked-out Christmas trees, a not-so-small collection of Santa figurines and a lighted village display. Guests are welcomed with eggnog and holiday-decorated cookies throughout the season. –Inspector #87

Located just steps from Rockefeller Center, this hotel is regally decorated for the holidays with its own 30-foot Christmas tree featuring 30,000 ornaments and more than 70,000 lights. Enjoy a cup of eggnog or spiced cider, go for a spin around the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink, then stroll by the spectacularly decorated department store windows nearby. –Inspector #592

  • AAA Five Diamond Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada

With seasonal sculptures created from thousands of fresh flowers and plants, the resort’s 14,000-square-foot conservatory is a floral fairytale. During the holidays, visitors can enjoy the florally crafted enormous polar bears, life-size snow globes and penguins on display. The lobby and shopping areas are also festively decorated. –Inspector #39

This luxurious resort creates a winter dreamscape with nearly 200,000 lights, ribbons, garlands, wreaths and gloriously decorated trees. Guests can take part in myriad activities, 12 days of holiday themed events and Christmas Day brunch or dinner. –Inspector #76

Holiday Delights for Foodies and More – Sensational holiday-themed menus and settings at these Diamond Rated restaurants and hotels offer festive treats for the discerning foodie to the casual diner looking for a flavorful escape from the usual.

Each Sunday and Wednesday in December, the inn offers a Dickens Dinner with roast duck and pheasant accompanied by a reading from Dickens’ novel, “A Christmas Carol.” Guests can go for a stroll along wooded trails adorned with icicles and lovely buildings set among the Hocking Hills. –Inspector #10

The beautiful dining room’s upscale western flair is transformed with festive decorations and seasonal menus for the holiday season. Sleigh rides at night take guests through a winter light display, complete with hot chocolate and blankets for snuggling. –Inspector #450

  • AAA Four Diamond Circa 1886 in Charleston, South Carolina

This renovated carriage house at the historic Wentworth Mansion offers an intimate dining setting. An annual Dickens Dinner includes a retelling of “A Christmas Carol” with a four-course dinner prepared by the award-winning chef. –Inspector #43

This charming Victorian home decorates every square inch with tasteful holiday décor. Diners can warm up and enjoy a holiday-themed tea with options like gingerbread cheesecake and tea sandwiches with roasted turkey and apple cranberry mustard. –Inspector #593

The year-end holiday season is one of the busiest times of year, when millions of travelers take to the roads and air to spend time with family and friends. To help those who will set out on a holiday getaway this year, AAA’s travel experts offer these travel tips:

  • Plan ahead – Book early for the best deals and availability on hotels, airfare, car rentals and more.
  • Work with a travel agent – Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits to help plan a magical holiday getaway. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
  • Be flexible – If your schedule permits, consider traveling on the holiday itself to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.
  • Safety first – Get plenty of rest before setting out on a holiday trip. If driving, schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.
  • Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Motorists should check the car battery and windshield wipers, inspect tires and pack a winter emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle.
  • Pack your patience – The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for traveling. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

For more information to plan a holiday getaway, visit AAA.com/HolidayDiamonds.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

AAA: Americans Are Falling for Autumn Travel

September 19th, 2017 by AAA

Fewer crowds, mild weather and budget-friendly options attract fall travelers

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 19, 2017) – Summer’s over and kids are back in school, but many people are making plans for at least one more getaway this fall, before the arrival of another busy holiday season. According to a new survey from AAA, more than one in four Americans (28 percent) expects to take a vacation this year between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

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  • Infographics: 1 | 2 | 3

“We have seen strong demand for travel throughout the course of the year, and Americans are discovering that traveling during the fall season is a best kept secret,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “Travelers increasingly prioritize immersive travel experiences and autumn offers more opportunities for them to explore a destination’s local culture, thanks to fewer crowds and mild weather.”

In fact, Americans say the top benefits of taking a fall trip include:

  • Fewer crowds and children (68 percent);
  • Weather that is more favorable (63 percent); and,
  • The opportunity to find better value for the cost of their trip (55 percent).

 

“Savvy travelers can often find lower prices on everything from airfare and hotels to cruises and vacation packages, as travel companies offer incentives to fill their vacancies during the fall,” continued Sutherland.

Road trips are the preferred activity for fall travelers, with 62 percent of those planning a vacation intending to pack up their cars and hit the road. Thanks to milder weather, outdoor events such as fall festivals and visits to national and state parks are particularly popular with travelers this time of year. Twenty-six percent of those who are planning a fall vacation will take a trip to view fall foliage, a favorite pastime from the northeast and New England, to the mountains of North Carolina and Colorado.

The majority of fall travelers will stay within the United States, with Orlando, southern California, Hawaii and New York the most popular domestic travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings. Approximately one-third of fall travelers are planning an international vacation, with European destinations including Rome and London especially popular this time of year. This year’s top fall destinations based on AAA Travel bookings include:

 

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Anaheim, California
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. New York City
  6. Las Vegas, Nevada
  7. London, England
  8. Dublin, Ireland
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Cancun, Mexico

 

Before setting out on a fall getaway, travelers should contact their local AAA office for the expert advice of a trusted travel advisor who can provide personalized service and in-depth destination knowledge to create a memorable vacation experience. For more information about fall travel or to begin planning a trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.

AAA’s report presents the findings of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,011 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted August 3-6, 2017. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

ORLANDO, Fla., September 9, 2011

For leaf peepers planning to explore this year’s foliage, AAA experts suggest hotels that enhance the experience. 

Heather HunterFrom September to October each year, trees across many areas of the U.S. and Canada put on a brilliant show of color, from dazzling reds to brilliant oranges and vibrant yellows. To help travelers plan where to stay, AAA polled its professional inspectors for ideas on notable hotels that enhance the experience. Read the highlights of their 10 top picks across the continent, coast to coast, beginning in the West.

Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, Ore., AAA Four Diamond Resort Hotel

Early October is an excellent time to visit as the nights are cold and crisp but you awake most mornings to brilliant sunshine and days that can still get into the ‘70s. Go for an early morning bike ride on the miles of paved paths. Keep your eyes peeled for the deer that are silently eating, and watch as their exhaled breath makes a cold misty cloud that disappears almost instantly. To see Sunriver’s best fall colors up close, go for a canoe ride on the Deschutes River where the groves of golden leaved aspen wave from the shores.

Penticton Lakeside Resort, Convention Centre & Casino, Penticon, British Columbia, AAA/CAA Three Diamond Casino Hotel

The highlight of the rooms are their spacious balconies, each with comfortable chairs and a small table, made for stepping outside to enjoy the view. The property is located on the shoreline of huge Okanagan Lake. To one side, where local wineries dot the hills, see row upon row of neatly manicured grapevines changing color. In the other direction, enjoy the contrasting view of wild, untamed rocky hillsides featuring stubby trees, dry grasses and steep cliffs. Walk along the paved path that follows the lakeshore, or head straight out the front doors to the downtown area for shopping and wine tasting.

Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais, Minn., AAA Three Diamond Vacation Rental House

Fall in the North Woods provides a full palate of foliage colors from a blend of maple, birch, aspen and evergreen trees, among others. Immerse yourself in the colors by hiking on one of the numerous trails at the lodge or nearby. The property’s fall color tour package includes naturalist escorted hikes. You can also view the foliage by horseback on a trail ride from the lodge’s own stables or by canoe.All of the cabins have fireplaces to take away the chill in the air, and severalhave private outdoor hot tubs.

The Leavenworth Inn, Leavenworth, Ind., AAA Three Diamond Historic Bed & Breakfast

This charming converted 1890s farmhouse offers views of the Ohio River and rolling river valley. Take in the picture-perfect view of fall foliage while rocking away your cares on the front porch. The smell of fresh-baked cookies entices guests to venture inside where you’ll find a variety of rooms, all with scenic views. This off-the-beaten-path bed & breakfast offers a peaceful getaway in Southern Indiana.

Hôtel Quintessence, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, AAA/CAA Four Diamond Boutique Hotel

The entire ski area offers stunning scenery during the peak fall foliage weeks (usually from mid- to late-September through the first week in October, depending on the temperature. On some nights the hotel lights a lakeside fire so guests can roast marshmallows or just sit around and enjoy the setting. A variety of trees, including maple and birch, provide a steady flush of color. In the center of the quaint resort village, an exterior cable lift takes visitors on a scenic trip to the top of the village in an open-air gondola.  

Kineo View Motor Lodge, Greenville, Maine, AAA Two Diamond Motel

This family-run two-story motel, which offers exterior entrances and continental breakfast, is for the more budget-minded traveler. Located in a secluded area on vast acreage, guests will enjoy the spectacular hillside and distant lake view. Each room has a private deck with the top floor units offering not only a greater view but a quieter room as well.

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, Whitefield, N.H., AAA Four Diamond Classic Historic Hotel

This historic resort sits on a hill in the center of the White Mountains, providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and foliage. The expanded verandah is a very popular spot to relax and take in the amazing view. One of the main attractions is the spa that features a private tower with an infinity soaking tub offering 360-degree views of the mountains. This is a huge WOW factor that would be amazing during the fall.

Antietam Overlook Farm and B&B, Keedysville, Md., AAA Three Diamond Bed & Breakfast

Views from the property, set on a mountain ridge overlooking 95 acres, seem to go on forever. See the rolling hills of four states: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the historic Antietam Battlefield in the valley below. Each of the five rooms are individually decorated with a country air. Some rooms have a screened-in balcony or porch or a large soaking tub, and all have gas fireplaces. Feeders scattered around the around the grounds attract a wide variety of birds.

 

The Homestead, Hot Springs, Va., AAA Four Diamond Resort Hotel

Nestled in the mountains, The Homestead offers views of fall foliage in all directions. Enjoy the scenery while relaxing in a rocking chair on the veranda or while partaking in one of the resort’s many recreational opportunities. Breathtaking beauty is the only way to describe what you’ll experience. Additional pluses include the incredible history of the property, which dates back to 1766 and has hosted many Presidents, and the outstanding fall backdrop along the wonderful country mountain drive from Bath County.

The Red Horse Inn, Landrum, S.C., AAA Four Diamond Bed & Breakfast

Location and quality of accommodations are the rule here, not to mention the top-notch innkeepers. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the nearly 200 acre mountaintop property offers breathtaking views of the natural surroundings, rock formations and foliage. Miles of paths surrounding the property provide ample opportunities for leisurely strolls or vigorous exercise.

Read the complete list of inspector picks on AAA’s travel blog at AAATravelViews.com. Find detailed listings for AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels in the AAA TourBook® guides, online at AAA.com/Travel and from smartphones using the free AAA TripTik® Mobile app or AAA Mobile Web. In addition, AAA members can download free digital eTourBookSM guides at AAA.com/ebooks.

About AAA Inspections

2011 marks AAA’s 75th year of conducting in-person property evaluations and publishing the results. AAA’s professional inspectors use published guidelines to evaluate, Approve and rate more properties than any other rating entity. AAA’s is the only rating system that covers the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and is one of only two that conduct physical, on-site evaluations. AAA Approved hotels and restaurants are assigned a rating of one to five AAA Diamonds.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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