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No Ghosts, but Plenty of Charm: Hitting the Haunts in Old Savannah

Savannah, GA

They say Savannah is the most haunted city in America, and that may be true. But no matter how plentiful they are, those Southern ghosts sure are shy. Or, maybe bars weren't the best places to be looking for them.

I took my wife to Georgia's coolest city for her birthday. It was a short weekend trip, but the mild weather, laidback vibe, and friendly folks were exactly what we—angry, anxious New Yorkers—needed to forestall winter's icy lockdown. If you've never been to Savannah, I can't recommend it highly enough.

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Weekend Getaway: North Carolina Culinary Escape

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Looking for a high-cal way to usher in the eating season? Look no further than the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. The triangle offers a fantastic mix of affordable southern comfort food as well as outstanding forward-thinking fare. Here, my personal favorites for an early winter pre-hibernation feast.

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Fall Foliage Find: Douthat State Park, VA

Douthat State Park

Looking for a fall nature adventure that lands somewhere between "glamping" and actual camping? Look no further than Douthat State Park. Nestled in the Allegheny mountains of central Virginia, a four-and-a-half hour drive from Washington, DC, the 4,490-acre pet-friendly park offers charming cabins and plentiful hikes for the beginner leaf-peeper.

I cannot stress the "beginner" part enough. When we went last weekend, our party consisted of four couples, each lodging in a cabin outfitted with a full kitchen, working fireplaces, central heat and a/c, and clean simple bathrooms (with phenomenal hot water and pressure). The majority of our pre-hike-planning included a map-scan for the dirtiest sounding trail (our choice, Blue Suck Falls) and a very detailed après-walk drinking plan.

Must-pack necessities for the weekend: boardgames, whiskey, family dog, s'mores ingredients, food for the grill, hiking shoes (maybe).

Cabins range from $75 to $102 per night during this fall season, and include parking and park fees. Our cheapest cabin (#6) featured a queen bed and small communal space, while the more palatial options (#9 and #11) have capacious living rooms to enjoy the hearth. Larger groups should consider renting one of the property's three lodges (where, unfortunately, dogs are not allowed).

Charlotte Savino is Travel + Leisure's Listings Editor.

Photo courtesy of the author.

Just Back: Park City, Utah

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Utah and its frontiers for skiing and snowboarding have long been on my list for exploration, and my recent trip there did not disappoint. In fact, I was amazed at how easy it was to get there (a non-stop from JFK to SLC on Delta plus 35 minutes in my Enterprise rental car from the airport to Park City—with no harrowing mountain pass requiring tire chains). And it was so much fun (9,026 acres of skiing; hundreds of hotels to choose from, sunny skies, and, since 2009, no more “membership” necessary to enter a bar and buy a drink). One local told me he always felt like Park City was the redheaded stepchild of the U.S. ski areas, but I think it is soon to be (if not already) one of the favorites.

Favorite Runs:
Apex and Spider Monkey, The Canyons (lift ticket $85 a day)—trails here are generally fairly narrow, which made me feel immersed in nature, much like when I hike. Apex varies intermediate and advanced tilt down a thrilling ridge, and Spider Monkey bops beneath a cathedral of tall pines.

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Walk on Water: New Pedestrian Bridge Opens Over Hudson River

200910-b-walkway-2jpg For years I wondered about the rusting, abandoned old hulk of a railroad bridge that spans New York’s Hudson River between Poughkeepsie on the east bank and Lloyd on the west, about 70 miles north of Manhattan. Like a stark stretch of fishnet stocking linking the two shores, the underdeck truss bridge, built in 1888, was devastated by fire in 1974. Left to deteriorate for more than 30 years, the bridge symbolized the decline of Poughkeepsie itself.

No longer.

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Forget Orlando—Escape To Vero Beach

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Going to Disney World but want a break from overflowing Orlando? The comparatively crowdless seaside town of Vero Beach is a two hours’ drive from O-Town’s attractions and offers up clean beaches and affordable places to stay. One, the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa was recently purchased by Kimpton, which means all those perks we love about the punchy hotel brand (kid-sized bathrobes, goodie bags, in-room goldfish)—along with a cocktail hour for adults and a pet-friendly policy—are now in effect.

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Looking For Something To Do? Goby.com Can Help

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To keep Web surfers from drowning in endless oceans of information, task-focused search engines have been multiplying by the minute. Need to research a trip, or just looking for something to do on the weekend? Let Goby, which launched yesterday, do the fishing for you.

200909-b-goby-small.jpgWith not one, but three search bars (what you’d like to do, where and when), Goby helps travel planners reel in restaurant, activity and hotel recommendations in destinations all over the U.S. Results—sorted by relevance, distance or name—pop up with clickable tabs that provide additional images, pulled from Google and Flickr, and service information broken down in a neat table.

Like all new search engines, Goby is still working hard to iron out the kinks and to connect users with relevant results (the number one listing for a resort spa in Massachusetts? The Brahma Blue, a 12-acre “holistic oasis”…in Ambergis Caye, Belize). Only time will tell if they’ll  sink or swim, but we think they're off to a smart start.

Lisa Cheng is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.


Images courtesy of Goby

Do You Know "The Block"?

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Block Island? Isn’t that somewhere off the coast of Canada? Or one of the Thousand Islands? Nobody knows The Block. And that’s precisely what makes it so special (and what makes me hesitant to post this). Just off the coast of Rhode Island, this secret gem is a throwback to the mid-1800s: antique-filled Victorian inns, miles of pristine rolling hills, and towering cliffs with stunning views of the Atlantic.

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Cooperstown: A Father’s Day Itinerary / A Weekend Getaway

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Weekend getaways are more popular than ever—and why not? You get an overnight and two days of vacation without missing a beat. I recently spent time in Cooperstown, New York. It’s a 4-hour drive from New York City–but well worth the ride. Here, some suggested stops (and Father’s Day freebies):

The Otesaga Resort Hotel (above)
2009 marks the Federal-style grand dame’s 100th year. To celebrate, the hotel is putting its 1909 menu back in service, which means Rob Roys and Old-Fashioneds in the lobby bar; and crab Louie and crepes Suzette in the main dining room. The perfect reward for a round of golf at the meticulously kept Leatherstocking course (below) is an al fresco lunch at the Hawkeye Bar & Grill overlooking Otesego Lake (and the 18th hole).

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