by DJ Wilson – “For how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?”
The quote above is from author John Steinbeck’s travelogue entitled “Travels with Charley: In Search of America.” Written in 1960, it depicts his personal road trip around the United States. Accompanied by his French standard poodle named Charley, Steinbeck sets out to explore America in search of answers about the land and people. Traveling in his camper named Rocinante, named for Don Quixote’s horse; he departs Long Island, New York and follows the outer border of the United States on a trip encompassing 10,000 miles. The occasionally controversial author claimed to be moved by a desire to see his country since he made a living writing about it. His eldest son intimates the actual reason for the trip was that Steinbeck knew he was dying and wished to see his country one last time. The book is highly thought to be enhanced by Steinbeck’s skills as a novelist. Many believe his unique observations and conversations, real or imagined, show various levels of insight. Steinbeck’s above quote shares the importance of contrasts in nature and in life. The often cold and stark winter makes us appreciate the summer. I’m certain the opposite holds true, too.
To be sure, let’s explore 5 fantastic winter destinations:
Manhattan, New York: The Big Apple is home to some of the most expensive hotel rooms in America. Now that the Times Square Ball has dropped, the winter holiday peak season is over.
What does this mean for you? Less expensive hotel rooms and cheaper flights in and out of the city! Where to stay? If money is no concern, I’d recommend the elegant New York Palace in the borough of Manhattan. This upscale Madison Avenue hotel offers luxury accommodations, excellent dining options and superior location. From the moment you step inside, you’ll be wowed by the royal elegance of the Grand Lobby. The rooms are well-appointed, some offering stunning views of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. If watching the budget, consider a stay at the Holiday Inn Midtown 57th Street. Not quite as fancy as the Palace, this 3-star hotel provides travelers with a more affordable place to stay. Accommodations feature high-speed internet access and comfortable rooms with cable TVs. What to do? See a show on Broadway; dine in some of NYC’s many ethnic restaurants, witness views of the Empire State Building and the beautiful skyline at Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock. Save time to drink hot cocoa and ice skate in Bryant Park. Ride Le Carrousel featuring delightful replicas of animals and creatures which move to the tune of French cabaret music. Couples will delight in a romantic carriage ride through Central Park. Fuel your imagination by visiting New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and The American Museum of Natural History. Window shop along Fifth Avenue and see some of the most prestigious and expensive shopping boutiques in the world. The excitement never ends in New York City.
Boyne Falls, Michigan: With an average temperature of 20°F in January, the wintertime often brings a good deal of snow to the northern Michigan town of Boyne Falls.
What does this mean for you? You won’t have any trouble finding great resorts that highlight winter activities. Where to stay? If skiing is your thing, enjoy a ski and stay package at the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa. Offers include overnight lodging, unlimited lift ticket at Boyne Mountain with complimentary passes starting at 4pm on night of arrival, breakfast buffet and more. The Mountain Grand Lodge offers rooms designed and inspired to reflect the feel of the inns of Austria and Switzerland. You’ll be welcomed by a massive wood-burning fireplace in the lobby. Special touches, from wrought iron gates to natural knotted pine, are found throughout the lodge. Guests will enjoy dining in the Bavarian style atmosphere at Everett’s. The menu offers a large variety of American cuisine, including mouthwatering steaks, seafood, pasta dishes and more. The bar features an extensive wine list and Michigan-made products. Guests may cozy up to the fireplace with a hot chocolate in hand or sit by the 600 gallon fish tank housing trout from the Boyne River. What to do? Snowmobiling is just one of the many popular sporting activities offered in the Boyne Falls region. Northern Michigan is the perfect place to hop on a sled and take off on rolling hills and on trails which wind through pine forests. Skiing and tubing are optimal winter sports as the hotel is steps from the village center and ski base area. Not a skier? No problem! Enjoy quality time at the full service Solace Spa or have a family adventure at the Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, Michigan’s biggest indoor waterpark. Both are conveniently connected to the hotel. Guests will appreciate the indoor/outdoor heated pool with hot tubs and a fitness center. From action on the slopes to indoor relaxation, you’ll find it all here at the Mountain Grand Lodge.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Looking for some southwestern fun? Head to Albuquerque!
What does this mean for you? On your trip to New Mexico, you’ll view some of the most intriguing topography in the world. Enjoy breathtaking plateaus, mesas, mountain ranges, canyons and arroyos. Although it’s a desert location, don’t expect heat in the winter. Albuquerque is in the “high desert” due to its elevation, which helps keep it cool. The average high temperature in January is 47° F. Where to stay? Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town is a delightful landmark hotel located in the heart of the historic district. Offering luxurious accommodations with a unique blend of authentic southwest style, guest will enjoy a bounty of amenities including rooms with private balconies. The location is central to top attractions, shopping and restaurants, and is within walking distance to many downtown landmarks. As a bonus, it’s convenient to Albuquerque International Sunport Airport. The hotel boasts their on-site restaurant and bars, a large outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center and more. What to do? On your trip, explore Historic Old Town, where you’ll see ten blocks of historic adobe buildings. Visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which highlights Native American art, history, culture and dance. Check out Albuquerque’s Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum to explore history, science and the art of all types of ballooning. Visit the landscape of symbols at Petroglyph National Monument and explore an abundance of Archeological ruins and sites throughout the region. Be sure to ride the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, where visitors will be transported above deep canyons to an observation deck high atop Sandia Peak in the Cibola National Forest. It’s bound to be a memorable trip.
Park City, Utah: Have an Olympic spirit for adventure? Check out Park City, a renowned vacation and ski destination.
What does this mean for you? Excitement awaits you in this breathtaking mountain environment, just 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City. Where to stay? Enjoy a luxurious sojourn at the intimate Park City Hotel. The hotel is ideally located at the base of Park City Mountain on the city’s most popular golf course. Playing upon the modern lodge theme, hotel guests will love the elegant furnishings, the stone fireplaces and complete kitchen areas. Cozy suites include a jetted tub and a choice of rooms overlooking the golf course, the heated outdoor pool or the mountains. Be sure to experience the on-premises spa and fine dining at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the hotel’s signature restaurant. What to do? Enjoy winter sports including world-class alpine skiing, Nordic/cross-country skiing, snowmobiling or the Alpine slide. Check out the Olympic Park, as Park City was home to the 2002 Olympics, where you can get a guided tour. Go for the ride of your life on the TitleComet Bobsled Ride, where in less than a mile you’ll rip through 15 turns, reach speeds up to 80 mph and experience up to 5 G’s of force. Learn to curl by taking lessons from certified instructors. Explore Olympic and skiing history while visiting Museums at Utah Olympic Park. Described by as one of the prettiest towns in America, a trip downtown should not be missed.
Bangor, Maine: Charm abounds in this New England town, whose streets date to the early 19th century.
What does this mean for you? You’ll feel at home in this lively and historic town, located 30 miles from Penobscot Bay. Where to stay? The Fairfield Inn Bangor is a newly-renovated hotel near the Bangor International Airport and offers comfortable guest rooms at superior value. Included in your stay is a complimentary breakfast with freshly-brewed coffee, fresh fruit, cereal, waffles and more. Take advantage of the hotel fitness center’s cardiovascular equipment, the indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna and solarium. What to do? Don’t judge Bangor solely by its dark portrayal in Steven King’s stories. The town has a thriving art scene, boasting galleries, museums, theatres, restaurant, pubs, and a symphony orchestra. Visit the Broadway Historic District, an area filled with homes built by lumber barons of the 1800s. Be sure to see the 31-foot Statue of Paul Bunyan. The town is considered a gateway to winter adventures, boasting a dozen downhill and Nordic ski areas nearby. Non-skiers may prefer the Bangor Mall to the slopes. Ice fishing, snow tubing, snowmobiling, dog sledding and cross-country are popular activities. Visit a vast number of museums, including the Maine Discovery Museum displaying three stories worth of interactive exhibits perfect for all ages. Art lovers will be enthralled with the galleries at the University of Maine’s Museum of Art. Learn about Bangor’s important role in the lumber industry at the Maine Forest & Logging Museum. For those interested in transportation, the Cole Land Transport Museum features articles of land transportation in Maine and houses the largest collection of snow plows under one roof. Seems there’s something for everyone in Bangor!