This classic 9-room inn a block from the Kennebunk River is hosting a pumpkin carving contest this Halloween. Pick up a pumpkin at nearby Patten’s Berry Farm and take it to the pumpkin carving station. The pumpkins will be displayed on Halloween night, when a panel of judges will select the winner. The prize is a free night’s stay to be used anytime between October 2012 and the end of April 2013. Doubles from $159/night. www.captainfairfield.com
The inspiration for Steven King’s The Shining, this hotel has an on-staff paranormal investigator who will take you on a five-hour ghost hunt—if you’re brave enough. There is a range of other ghost and history tours available, and the hotel puts on a Murder Mystery Dinner on Friday, October 26, and a Shining Ball on Saturday, October 27 ($89 per person). Doubles from $169/night. www.stanleyhotel.com
Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Orlando, FL
Book this package for a 3-night stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort (on-site at Universal Studios Orlando), a 2-day ticket to both Universal Orlando theme parks, early park admission to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and one night admission to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal, where you can experience mazes and haunted houses featuring “The Walking Dead: Dead Inside” based on AMC’s series and “Welcome to Silent Hill” based on the video games and film franchise. From $609/adult ($203/night per adult). www.loewshotels.com and www.halloweenhorrornights.com
Virginia Hotel, Cape May, NJ
A restored 1879 landmark building just a half a block from the beach, the Virginia Hotel has cottages as well as rooms in the main house. Its Creepy Cape May package includes continental breakfast, two drinks at the on-site Ebbit Room, special Fat Witch treats, and a Ghosts of Cape May Trolley Tour through the town’s Victorian streets with a guide who will relate the paranormal findings of ghost writer Craig McManus along the way. Doubles from $140/night. www.virginiahotel.com
We recently took a spellbinding 90-minute tour of Chelsea with David Behringer, founder of The Two Percent Gallery Tours(917/727-7687; $200 with a private group of three or less). The focus was his five favorite exhibitions—a godsend for art-world rookies—but also included some little-known facts about the area (for example: did you know 19th-street is filled with starchitecture by everyone from Frank Gehry to Jean Nouvel? And that the Oreo cookie was born in Chelsea market in 1912?). For more Behringer's favorite gallery stops, check out this Weekend Getaway. Here are some of the gallery highlights:
Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Boston on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.
FALL FOLIAGE: Quechee, Vermont Not only is Vermont a top spot for leaf peeping, but it’s also home to a cozy hotel just a few miles from Simon Pearce’s glassblowing factory. WHERE TO STAY The Woodstock Inn & Resort is right on Quechee’s town square, with yoga, hiking trails, and the Red Rooster restaurant for classic New England clam chowder, crab cakes, and whipped sweet potatoes. PRICE $340 a night. BOOK NOWwoodstockinn.com
SEASIDE ESCAPE: Camden, Maine Just 3.5 hours outside of Boston, this harbor-side town doesn’t close down in the wintertime, which means you can explore the coast without feeling like a castaway. WHERE TO STAY Camden Harbor Inn has two new renovated suites: now there are radiant floors and steam showers. The restaurant, Natalie’s, is also on the radar of New England foodies. PRICE $225 a night. BOOK NOWcamdenharbourinn.com
Memo to our friends in the UK: Maybe lay off the jokes about how we Yanks SuperSize all our meals, or walk around cradling two-liter bottles of soda.
In a recent Thomas Cook survey of British travelers, the good ol' U.S.A.—land of the deep-fried Twinkie—ranked only No. 4 as the most likely destination to make you gain weight. (Sure, we're still in the Top 5, but we'll take what we can get.)
Is San Francisco the new Munich? With a crop of new German-style drinking establishments in the city, it would seem so. At the uber-popular, 100-seat Biergarten(above) in Hayes Valley, you can sip your brew while sitting on one of the authentic German beer garden benches. There’s plenty of outdoor seating at the new Southern Pacific Brewing Company(below), a big, beautiful brewery that opened in a warehouse in an industrial corner of the Mission earlier this year.
For anyone who’s felt a certain despair when setting out for a transcontinental flight—after being offered nothing but a cardboard box of crackers, cheese and deli meat that most 2nd graders would find gastronomically unsatisfying—there is a vivid outlet for your culinary bitterness.
Airlinemeals.net actually started 10 years ago, when frequent flier Marco t'Hart decided to upload some shots of terrible meals he’s had (if not eaten) aloft, and invited other travelers to do the same.
Today the site has grown 26,000 images strong, and is reportedly getting more attention from airline catering companies, which are sifting through the reviews to help improve in-cabin dining—and which no doubt will enable coach-class food critics even more.