Who doesn’t love this time of year? Bright morning sunshine, leaves on the floor and an unlimited supply of pumpkin spice latte’s make fall one of our all-time favorite seasons!
But still, we all dream of a sneaky getaway every now and then, and whether you prefer a winter wonderland or a hot, sunny retreat, late fall into early winter is the perfect time to relax, refresh and recharge our batteries just before the holiday madness begins.
No matter your preference, city-explorer or sun-seeker, we have rounded up the five best places for you to travel, stay and eat at this season.
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St. Pete/Clearwater, Florida
Avoid the crowds in Miami and Orlando and venture to St. Pete/Clearwater – an often-overlooked warm-weather getaway. With a record-breaking 361 days of sunshine per year, this destination is the perfect escape from the creeping, colder winter temperatures.
Fenway Hotel, opening this October in Dunedin. This hotel is an icon of the jazz age. The walls echo with reminders of musical legacy as it earned a place in history serving as the county’s first radio station. The boutique hotel features 83 rooms and suites, a Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar overlooking St. Joseph Sound, an expansive front lawn complete with lawn games, and HEW Parlor & Chophouse.
Visitors can indulge in an emerging food scene sampling award-winning eats at FarmTable Cucina, Ichicoro Ane and the Reading Room. Quickly gaining a reputation as a craft beer destination, check out over 30 independent breweries making up the St. Pete/Clearwater Craft Beer Trail, all within an hour’s drive.
In addition to the water sports and outdoor activities, such as swimming with horses and see-through kayaking with manatees, St. Pete is an epicenter for arts and culture. Starting on December 15th, check out Magritte and Dali at the Dali Museum – a first-of-its-kind special exhibition dedicated to the world’s two most celebrated surrealists – or explore the new Jewels of the Imagination exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art.
With cheaper flights and less crowds, London in the winter allows easy access to all the main attractions, and plenty of Christmas events and markets.
From December 16, 2018 until January 7, 2019 guests can book the Festive Sparkle package at One Aldwych, located in London’s iconic Covent Garden neighborhood, to experience the magic of the holiday season. Starting at £375 per night, the package includes accommodation for two people, a full English breakfast for two, fresh fruit and flowers delivered daily, complimentary Wi-Fi and access to The Health Club and Lounge at One. In addition, guests can sip on one of The Lobby Bar’s five exciting festive Showtime Cocktails inspired by opera classics.
Indulge in xiao long bao (steamed soup pork dumplings) at Din Tai Fung, the first dim sum restaurant in Europe, opening this October. For a memorable dining, floral and shopping experience combined, a must-visit is the recently opened Petersham Nurseries. With two new restaurants, La Goccia includes an element of drama and theater in its ambience. The Petersham offers a focus on the finest seasonal produce, quality ingredients and Italian flavors.
From November 22, 2018 – January 6, 2018 get into the holiday spirit at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, one of the city’s landmark events complete with ice skating, shows, rides, street food stalls, festive bars and live music. Take a picturesque winter stroll in the park then head to Somerset House to check out Good Grief, Charlie Brown!, a new exhibit that brings together Charles M. Schulz original Peanuts cartoons with work from a wide range of acclaimed contemporary artists and designers.
With many new restaurants and hotels opening in downtown Detroit, now is the perfect time to book at trip to the Motor City.
This winter, book a stay at the highly anticipated Shinola Hotel opening in downtown Detroit this December. The first hospitality concept of its kind from two iconic Detroit-based brands, luxury watchmaker, Shinola and real estate firm, Bedrock. The 129-room property will feature designs from Gachot Studios and Kraemer Design Group plus innovative food and beverage programming from Chef Andrew Carmellini.
For seasonal, locally sourced small plates and craft cocktails, head over to Selden Standard and enjoy a great meal in a rustic and casual setting. After dinner, pop into Bad Luck Bar (if you can find it) and explore their craft cocktails.
Stroll through the Downtown Detroit Markets (open November 14, 2018 – January 13, 2019) in Capitol Park and Cadillac Square to buy unique products and gifts from nearly 30 small businesses. To fully get into the holiday spirit, head over to the One Campus Martius lobby to get your picture taken with Santa, attend Noel Night, a cultural Center-wide holiday open house that presents free activities, including horse-drawn carriage rides, family craft activities and performances; Or check out the Menorah in the D Celebration to see the 8th annual lighting of the Detroit Menorah as well as food trucks, bonfires, crafts and photo opportunities.
Located at the heart of the Green Mountain State, the quaint city of Burlington sits on the edge of Lake Champlain and embraces all things during Vermont’s annual Stick Season.
Book a stay at Hotel Vermont and be captivated by the lobby’s wood burning fireplace and weekend local cider/spirits samplings as soon as you walk through the door. The rustic, yet modern accommodation, local artwork and numerous Vermont partnerships add even more charm to every visit. Pro tip: book a top floor king room with a whirlpool tub and an in-room fireplace! After a day of adventure, snuggle up in Vermont Flannel robes with in-room hot toddies from the hotel’s exclusive Bedtime Menu.
Juniper Bar & Restaurant focuses on partners rooted in farming, foraging, and fishing – check out the wine list for a refreshing selection of Apple & Orange natural wines from the state. This year’s semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant, Honey Road is not to be missed in addition to Oyster Hour at Hen of the Wood. Want something more hands on? Check out Brot Bakery for a bread making class.
Hit the hip South End Arts District and grab an energizing juice at TomGirl Juice Company, or check out the tasting room at Citizen Cider. Pop into art galleries and shops along Pine Street and don’t forget to stop in ArtsRiot’s warehouse for a show. Take a walk down Church Street to browse more established shops & boutiques. Don’t miss: Common Deer or Frog Hollow for Vermont made goods & gifts.
Avoid the crowds and tourists at Stowe, and stay in quaint Manchester. Nestled in the heart of the Green and Taconic mountain ranges, Manchester, VT is a small-town ideal for an outdoorsy escape.
Kimpton Taconic, cozy by nature, boasts expansive views of the Taconic and Green Mountain ranges, in-room fireplaces, custom hotel puzzles, plush plaid blankets and a social hour in the evenings on rocking chairs out front.
Stumble into The Copper Grouse after social hour to grab authentic local fare celebrating the bounty of the state’s four seasons and cultural heritage. New for this winter season only, The Copper Grouse has been selected to host a Miracle Bar, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting.
Manchester is the perfect hub for skiers looking to hit the slopes of Bromley or Stratton. If that’s not your cup of hot chocolate, take a tour of the Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home. Need to get some winter shopping done? The Manchester Outlets offer high-end outlets in a cozy cottage style setting that is unique to the area.
We can’t wait to try out some of these top five getaways, getting us excited for the holiday season!