Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Getaways Part 1

Hard to believe but there are only 34 shopping days left until Christmas. Wouldn't it be great to spend the holiday traveling to a new place. Here are some destinations that do Christmas right:

Taos, New Mexico
This remote village on a high desert plain is especially magical at Christmas, thanks to its rich mix of cultural traditions. Not to miss: historic Ledoux Street all lit up with luminarias; the ceremonial reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter, called posadas; and the dramatic American Indian Christmas Eve celebration that takes over the main square in Taos Pueblo. Plus, you can ski all day long on Christmas Day at Taos Ski Resort, 18 miles away.

Best Place to Stay: Near the town square, El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa features objects from around the world culture in its spare, elegant rooms. Book a room with a fireplace to up the cozy factor. Doubles from $309. Have Christmas dinner on twinkling Ledoux Street, at the seven-table hideaway Byzantium, with dishes like shrimp ceviche and grilled pork scaloppine with apple, cabbage, and mustard-seed compote. Reservations are a must.

The Windy City embraces yuletide cheer to the max, with a million holiday lights along bustling Magnificent Mile; Christkindlmarket, a huge outdoor German crafts market with beer and fare like sausages to stoke your fire; a towering handmade Christmas tree; and Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, a holiday-themed amusement park and indoor skating rink.

Where to Stay: Peppy, tropical-themed Hotel Monaco Chicago is a Kimpton boutique hotel with verve and a sense of humor. Its wild combo of lime and plum is eye-popping, and there’s a free social hour with wine and nibbles from 5 to 6 p.m. daily. And, it’s in The Loop. Doubles from $129.

Holiday Dinner: Cozy wine-driven eatery the Cellar at Bin 36 is serving its creative, locally sourced menu ($110) from 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. Starter highlights like semolina-crusted soft-shell crab and Applewood smoked bacon sausage are followed by the likes of a star-anise duck-leg confit with crispy potato Rösti, grilled Angus New York strip steak with truffled celery purée, and wild-mushroom and Gruyère cannelloni. Expert wine pairings are, of course, de rigueur.

Stocking Stuffers: The Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop is a must for Chicago-centric fare like Frank Lloyd Wright notecards, Lego sets of iconic buildings, or a round Chicago-sewer doormat.

Suzanne Brevelle is from Lafayette and works at Avenues To Travel. You can contact her via email or telephone 337-231-5656. She is a Certified Specialist for Sandal’s and Beaches Resorts as well as Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Hawaii. Her specialty is couples and family vacations, groups, honeymoons and corporate travel.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.