all-american salute: winter travel in the united states

November 10th, 2008

Following the excitement of the debates, polls, and elections of the last 21 months, citizens of all parties are proud to be American. Embrace the right to travel at some top All-American destinations this winter.

Walk Down Memory Lane: Washington, D.C.

It’s no surprise that visitors to Washington, D.C., often feel a surge of patriotism just by wandering the wide avenues, with all the history the city has seen.  Soak in the memory of our nation’s founders and the men and women who have served our country since then – it’s quite easy with the abundant monuments and tributes on every street corner.

STAY: Right in the thick of the action near Embassy Row, the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian, and several national monuments, is the Park Hyatt Washington, a favorite gathering spot of politicians and in-the-know travelers alike.  Hit the Blue Duck Tavern during power lunch hour and try to snatch a glimpse of the political movers and shakers known to frequent the restaurant‘s signature glass-enclosed booths.

Obamapalooza: Chicago, IL

Now is as good a time as any to visit the hometown of our soon-to-be 44th president (not to mention the birthplace of the modern skyscraper, the Twinkie, the Ferris wheel, and the Oprah Winfrey Show!).  Stroll beneath the towering skyscrapers designed by architectural greats like Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright or stop for shopping along the Magnificent Mile.

STAY: Park Hyatt Chicago on Water Tower Square is nestled among Chicago’s finest retail shopping, cultural institutions, nightlife, and architectural landmarks, offering breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Ski Vermont: Woodstock, VT

A historic town with 19th century Federal-style buildings, white steepled churches, covered bridges, and fine old homes, Woodstock is straight out of the Norman Rockwell era.  Hearken back to that idyllic past and explore what was once home to Laurance Rockefeller, another of America’s influential leaders.  (Rockefeller helped shape the conservation legacy that the town is still known for today – channel his family’s philanthropic efforts by visiting the Rockefeller Mansion on the grounds of Vermont’s only national park or the working Billings Farm nearby.)  Woodstock also makes the perfect “home base” for winter sports enthusiasts, as there are scores of cross country skiing trails in town, and two larger ski resorts – Okemo and Killington – within a thirty minute drive.

STAY: Located right on the town green is The Woodstock Inn & Resort, proprietor to nearby Suicide Six ski resort, which offers crowd-free and family-friendly skiing. The Inn’s newly opened restaurant, the Red Rooster, celebrates fresh local fare and is managed by New York’s Blue Ribbon Group; another recent addition is a room renovation by interior design firm Champalimaud.

An Island Winter: Nantucket, MA

While Nantucket may be known for its peak summer season, it’s worth visiting the former whaling capital of the world when the locals come out of the woodwork.  Investigate authentic coastal New England with nature walks through the moors, windswept beach strolls, and local sales galore in the historic, cobblestoned downtown.  The annual Christmas Stroll (December 5-7), is the final, festive hurrah before the quiet winter season. Main Street closes for Victorian carolers, a parade of trees decorated by local organizations, and Santa Claus arriving on a Coast Guard vessel.

STAY: The White Elephant and the Jared Coffin House are classic Nantucket options during December. As the White Elephant closes following the Stroll, there are plenty of special rates and deals (including 50% off dinner at the Brant Point Grill on Sunday, December 7). The Jared Coffin House, a restored whaling captain’s brick mansion, stays open year-round.  Both properties are located within town, so guests can do much of their exploring on foot.

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