Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Break Ideas: So Cal

As much as I love Northern California, unless I'm thinking about skiing, I don't want to head there in February. Since I live in New York, in an ideal world (read, fantasy), I would want to go somewhere that is 70 degrees and upwards, and has a pool that is nicely heated. Here are some spots that I wouldn't say no to...

The Ace Hotel, Palm Springs
We got married here 14 years ago, and haven't ever been back with Clara. I think it's time. And the place we stayed way back when, L'Horizon, doesn't take kids, so I can dispense with nostalgia, and head straight to the Ace, which I think looks like the perfect spot for us.

Venice Beach Eco Cottages
I haven't stayed here, but I sure would love to stay in walking distance of Abbot Kinney where two of my favorite restaurants, Gjelina and Shima, and two of my favorite stores, A+R and Tortoise, are.

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego
This just looks like a great family resort, that has all of the old-school-ness that I love.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Break Ideas: Florida

I'm always desperate to get away to somewhere warm for the February break...but really, who isn't? Which is why pretty much every year we end up going somewhere that isn't warm, but maybe has an indoor pool, and lots of good indoor activities in close proximity. (Last year it was Philadelphia.) Because as much as I like to plan, the proximity of holiday planning to winter break planning is just too close, and the holidays win out. Will I ever learn that you book winter break trips a year in advance? Anyway, here are some places that look good to me, in Florida. I'll try to post a couple of other winter break roundups this week, in other warm-weather states.

Postcard Inn, Islamorada (The closest key to Miami!) Last year I recommended their place in St. Petersburg, and several families I know went and loved it. This looks pretty fantastic.

The Colony Hotel and Cabana Club, Delray Beach

The Pelican Inn, Dog Island (Panhandle)

The Gasparilla Inn and Club (Gulf side, near-ish to Fort Myers)
Yes, this one is the most expensive one I will list. I am dying to go here.

Seaside (Florida Panhandle)

Casa Marina in Jacksonville, Florida

Everglades Rod and Gun Club ( Everglades City--a backwater fried-fish type of place. You can take fan boats around the Everglades and see alligators and giant snakes and beautiful migratory birds.)

Hawks Cay
This is a resort with a capital R. Normally I'm not a fan of places like this, but I have friends who went there, and don't like resorts, and were crazy for it. Not cheap.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Over the holidays, we went to the Omni Mount Washington, for four nights. I had no idea what to expect, and since it was a really long drive (about 6 hours from NYC), I was really crossing my fingers.

We fell in love.

It is one of those resorts that is so totally all-around great, that you can't imagine that anyone wouldn't like it, at any time of the year. And while I'm kind of allergic to saying "family-friendly", it is probably the most FF place ever. Have you ever heard of a hotel that does a New Year's Eve celebration that is catered to the kids, with a 10pm midnight countdown? And a life-size gingerbread house?
 Then there's the kids club, which is a nice 'mixer' for the kids, when they first arrive. And the outdoor heated pool, which kids often run down to in their swimsuit in the frigid air, then jump around trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues.
I loved the old-school band that played at dinner in the fancy dining room. And yes, people get dressed for dinner, even the under 70 set. (But if you don't want to, you can go to the more casual restaurants.)
And I love that there are several restaurants to choose from, so we never got bored.

The skiing was just down the road, and although we were there when it was unseasonably warm and without snow, it was still great for a beginner. (Yes, Clara learned to ski there!)
(that's not the bretton woods ski area-but the view from the back of the hotel. that one center stripe with a line up the middle of it is the cog railroad that runs in the summer..)

Being married to a collector/antique/food obsessed guy, we also made some discoveries around the property. Littleton is a sweet town that has some nice shopping (Just L our favorite) and a good diner. The Santa's Village which was open on New Year's Eve for a special celebration was fantastic. And the antiquing in Lancaster and Bethlehem was great. We loved the lunch at Grandma's Kitchen in Whitefield (mostly homemade everything). And if we had planned ahead, we would have built in a visit to the Garnet Hill outlet in Franconia (it's only open on weekends).
(above: santa's village)
(antiquing in bethlehem and lancaster)
 (chudders in littleton: the longest candy counter in the world!)
(the foot suspension bridge in littleton-fun to walk over)

I haven't even touched on how fantastic the property is, and how great it's history is...but in a very tiny small nutshell...it was built in 1902 as a getaway for the elite New Yorkers who would take a train up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for the summer. It was actually one of many such properties, but sadly, being that most were wood structures, they either burned, or closed because tastes changed, and not enough people travelled there anymore. It's so lucky that it's still around—the recent renovation in the last year or two had a lot of money put into it, and it shows. We LOVED this place, and want to go back and see it in the summer.
 (the bretton arms is a small inn which is part of the mount washington--it has a great restaurant.)