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Taking the Stress out of the Holidays

Written by  Frances J. Folsom

US-holidays
The holiday season, from Thanksgiving to Hanukah to Christmas and New Years is a beautiful and busy time of year. Here are a few suggestions for your clients that are looking for a slower pace of holiday traditions in cities and towns in New Hampshire
and Pennsylvania.

New Hampshire
The village of North Conway is loaded with charm, particularly during the holiday season. This is the place to be if your clients want to ride the Polar Express train on its Journey to the North Pole (weekends, November 20th - December 22nd) and participate in an old fashioned Inn to Inn cookie tour.
Board the Polar Express at the village’s 19th century train station. On the way to the North Pole chefs in starched white aprons and toques will serve homemade cookies and hot chocolate. Elves carrying lanterns meet the train and guide visitors to Santa’s Village strung with hundreds of lights, including Santa’s Workshop where you can watch the elves at work. There’s performances of Scrooge in his nightcap reading from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and visits with Santa Claus.
Your clients can take advantage of the Polar Express Package at Cranmore Mountain Lodge (www.cranmoremountainlodge.com). Rates start at $413 and include a two night stay, breakfasts, Polar Express tickets, discount passes for dining, shopping, the Cranmore coaster, complimentary tubing and cross country skiing. For further information call 800-232-5251 or visit
www.conwayscenic.com/events/event/journey-to-the-north-pole
During the holidays cookies are at the top of the food chain. People give tins of them as gifts, host cookie swaps and there is the Inn to Inn Cookie and Candy Tour (December 12th - 13th) in the villages of the Mt. Washington Valley.
Since 1996 the eleven inns that make up the Country Inns of the White Mountains have hosted the tour. A portion of the ticket proceeds is donated to local schools and charities. Tickets purchases include a map for this self-driving tour covering seven towns. Along with noshing homemade cookies and candies your clients can take tours of each of the exquisitely decorated inns. All the inns will be offering a two-night Cookie Tour Package starting at $178 per couple that includes; breakfasts, two tour tickets and a map ($60 value), a Cookie Tour ornament and a ticket to a drawing for a $250 Country Inns of the White Mountains gift certificate.
For further information www.countryinnsinthewhitemountains.com/holiday_cookie_tour_packages.htm

Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh has come a long way from its steel mill city days when smog and dust covered nearly everything. Today the city shines and has been voted one of the greenest cities in America. Healthcare, robotics and high tech companies, think Google, Apple, Uber and Intel, have taken the place of the steel mills.
Technology is used in the city’s kick off to the holiday season, Light Up Night (November 20th) celebrating its fifty-fifth year. Amidst holiday musical performances and carolers, city officials will flip a switch lighting up the downtown area for miles around.  Adding to the festivities is the Holiday Market at Market Square. Just like the Christkindlmarkts in Germany there’s decorated outdoor wooden chalets of local artisans selling their crafts.
The Fairmont Pittsburgh (www.fairmont.com/pittsburgh) is offering a Holiday Fire and Ice package that includes tickets for skating at PPG rink along with hot cocoa and cookies at the hotel. Prices start at $259 per night.
For further information on Light Up the Night or the Holiday Markets call the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, 412-566-4190, www.downtownpittsburgh.com or Visit Pittsburgh at 412-281-7711, www.visitpittsburgh.com
A 90-minute drive from Pittsburgh brings you to the Laurel Highlands where your clients can experience country style holiday festivities.

Ligonier
This pretty little town with its intricately carved bandstand on the diamond shaped town green, dates to 1758. That same year General John Forbes built Fort Ligonier. It was here that a young Lieutenant George Washington was stationed during the French and Indian War.
The reconstructed Fort Ligonier is spread out over eight acres of the original fort. The museum holds the largest collection of French and Indian War artifacts in Pennsylvania, the only complete intact uniform of a British officer in the country and, the George Washington pistols, a gift to the general from the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Revolution.
Advise clients not to miss the art gallery with works by Rembrandt Peale, Allan Ramsay and Sir Joshua Reynolds. On December 5th & 6th the fort will be hosting a Holiday Open House with free admission to the museum from 12pm - 4pm.
Ligonier’s Town Hall will be ablaze with holiday lights for the Festival of Lights (December 6th - 9th). Since the first festival in 1985 this event has been standing room only each year. The room will be filled with lighted trees, wreaths and other unique decorations all of which are for sale.

Laughintown
The Compass Inn Museum is a faithfully restored 1799 stagecoach stop on the National Register of Historic Places. Each Saturday and Sunday from November 28th to December 13th the Ligonier Valley Historical Society hosts candlelit tours with docents giving the history of the inn and describing the 18th century holiday decorations. The Thistledown at Seger House, the Ligonier Inn, and the Colonial House on Main Bed & Breakfast are open year round.  For more options, visit the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau at www.laurelhighlands.org

Farmington
In 1987 businessman Joseph Hardy attended a land auction where he purchased 550 acres and a 10-room hunting lodge. Over the years he expanded the Lodge, built the Lafayette Chateau, and added more accommodation venues, an award winning golf course, and many other amenities including more land.
Today, Nemocolin Woodlands Resort sits on 2,000 rolling green and wooded acres. Your clients can choose to stay in a private home, a townhouse condo, the Lodge or the Chateau Lafayette. If their choice is one of the executive suites in the Chateau they will have a private butler catering to their wants and needs.
The resort offers a myriad of winter activities; indoor pool, spa and holistic treatments, horse drawn carriage rides, skeet shooting, dog sledding, tubing, cross country and downhill skiing. The Wildlife Academy is home to lions, bears, zebras and foxes, rabbits and reptiles. Children have the Kidz Club for a night out, adults have the casino.
During the holidays Nemocolin takes on a beautiful aura of lights and spectacular decorations. There are visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, an elf bearing gifts will read to children at bedtime (reserve well in advance), wine cellar tours and tastings, and art tours of Mr. Hardy’s $45 million art collection.
Your clients should not miss the tours of two nearby architectural gems, Falling Water and Kentuck Knob. Both houses were designed by world renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Nemocolin has several holiday packages, 724-329-8555, www.nemocolin.com

 

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