Mobile, Alabama has the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the U.S.; it dates back to 1703. But these days, this destination just two hours northeast of New Orleans is blissfully under-the-radar, with 19th-century mansions, Spanish moss, and a beautiful waterfront. Where to Stay: The Victorian mansion Fort Conde Inn (above) puts you in a bygone era with in-room fireplaces and claw-foot tubs; you’ll still get modern day comforts like free WiFi and L’Occitane bath products. Visit the Mobile Museum of Art, which is hosting a Mardi Gras exhibit this fall. Price: from $157 a night, including breakfast. Book now.
If, like me, you’ve been rushing around before Sunday’s star-studded event to see this year’s batch of Academy Award-nominated films, then perhaps you’re craving a vacation. These five trips—all affordable and in the U.S.—are inspired by films nominated for Best Picture this year.
The T+L Trip: Suburban Massachusetts and Boston
The real life ABSCAM sting operation took place in New York and New Jersey, but much of David O. Russell’s crime drama was actually filmed in suburban Massachusetts. That dry cleaning branch? It’s Reliable Cleaners, between Natick and Framingham; Irving Rosenfeld’s modest house that he shares with wife Rosalyn is in tiny Medford. Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza makes a cameo (it’s where Irving and Lady Edith Greensly celebrate their newly launched London Associates partnership), and to mark the Academy Awards, the hotel is offering the Oscar Party Package. Rates from $759 include a stay in a one bedroom suite, popcorn snack, in-room champagne, and Red Carpet Bingo—or just pop into the hotel for a drink and a self-guided tour.
Travel + Leisure’s Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Savannah on the Weather Channel’s Wake Up with Al. Check out the video here.
1. Small Town Charms: Beaufort, South Carolina
On lists that rank the best small towns in America, Beaufort is always close to the top. Just 40 minutes north of Savannah, the enclave attracts former New Yorkers who love the relaxed vibe and Gothic architecture. Where to Stay Try the Rhett House Inn, set in a 190-year-old mansion, for the outdoor terrace where a complimentary southern breakfast (pictured) is served. Price $189 night, including breakfast, afternoon tea, bike rentals, pies for dessert, and more. Book Now www.rhetthouseinn.com
It's official: Every state in the continental US—minus Florida—has snowfall. And with a long weekend coming up, it's the perfect opportunity to head to the hills for some skiing. Sites like Liftopia, Snow.com, and GetSkiTickets.com are offering last minute deals all over the country. Our favorite savings? Liftopia's $14 ski pass for New Hampshire's Ragged Mountain tomorrow—that's a 79% discount. They're selling out fast though, so act fast!
Snowfall shouldn't stop you from getting away for the weekend. Whether you'd rather be lounging along Florida's coastline or skiing the slopes of the Berkshires in Massachusetts, T+L's Mark Orwoll has a set of affordable getaways perfect for February. Read on for where to go and stay during your visit.
This charming mountain town is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Nature is always nearby so don't be surprised if you have to stop your car to let an elk cross the road. Built with romance in mind, each of the 14 suites at the Della Terra Mountain Chateau have a fireplace, claw-foot tub, and private patio hot tub with a view. Rates from $185/night.
Device-free policies, gorgeous scenery and invigorating activities will leave you feeling recharged.
Pocahontas County, WV
The Place: West Virginia is one of our most beautiful states, full of rolling mountains, deep green valleys, picturesque farms, and endless options for outdoor recreation. Pocahontas County, on the state’s eastern end near the Virginia border, is no exception.
Three ways to get your Southern fix in and around Atlanta.
The Sanctuary: Piedmont Park Honking horns give way to birdsong in Piedmont Park’s dense hardwood forest—made more accessible by a new set of footbridges and paved trails. Next year the leafy 200-acre park, set among Midtown’s high-rises, celebrates its 110th anniversary by opening 12 1/2 more acres, plus open-air classrooms for courses on sustainability. Save some time for a stroll through the adjoining Atlanta Botanical Garden, where asters, goldenrods, and other fall blooms are opening this month.
The Neighborhood: Old Fourth Ward History meets hip in the O4W, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. A short walk—but worlds away—from MLK’s National Historic Site is kitschy bar Sister Louisa’s Church, where Owen Wilson and Lady Gaga have been spotted playing Ping-Pong. At local favorite 4th & Swift ($$$), chef Jay Swift puts an upscale spin on comfort food (pheasant-confit mac-and-cheese; pork loin with bourbon peaches). Need a pick-me-up? Head to Dancing Goats Coffee Shop(pictured) in the new food-centric Ponce City Market.
Centrally located in Yountville, this 13-room inn is within walking distance of the town’s holiday decorations, festive shops, and standout restaurants. Enjoy the inn’s complimentary wine and seasonal hors d’oeuvres each afternoon with cranberry-chocolate scones and carafes of hot cocoa. And since you’re in wine country, be sure to celebrate the holiday season by taking a tasting tour at some of the top vineyards in the country—some are in walking distance from the hotel. Doubles from $150/night.
Want to walk (or run frantically) in the footsteps of Katniss and Peeta? Consider venturing to Atlanta, the primary filming location for Hunger Games: Cathing Fire, which opened last night.
The city's convention and visitors bureau has prepared a self-guided, two-day Hunger Games Tour. The CVB even recommends a hotel: The Marriott Marquis, where multiple scenes were shot.
Braver souls might consider the Hunger Games Unoffical Fan Tours, which run Adventure Weekends recreating the book and film trilogy's creepy competition. The weekends include themed accommodations, survival training, a gala banquet, themed food, archery tag, and a Hunger Games simulation. Details of what exactly the simulation entails are scarce—all the better to keep participating Tributes on their guard.