Four Fantasy Holiday Weekend Getaways


The holiday season is in full swing, filled with shopping, parties and meals, surrounded by friends, family and assorted loved and liked ones.

Could there be a more perfect time to plot an escape?

Not to get all bah-humbug, but let's be honest: Long before the decorations come down, and possibly at this very moment, you're going to want a little time to decompress. A get-away can renew your holiday spirit before the season is over, and it doesn't have to ransack your gift-buying budget, either. Many peaceful destinations are offering deals in December.

Longing for the good ol' days? If classic Christmas movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" have made you long for the days before Wii, Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, is all about the bygone era. A 90-minute drive from New York City, Mohonk is a rambling Victorian-style inn set on a mountain, curling around a lake on one side and overlooking a valley with the Catskill mountains on the other. Think old-fashioned pleasures here: afternoon tea with cookies, playing board games by a crackling fireplace, ice skating on a 9,000-square-foot rink. But keep in mind, there are no televisions in the rooms. Midweek specials in December begin at $165 a person, including meals.

Too much running around? At the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, you can drive up to the hotel, hand over the keys to your car and be perfectly entertained until it's time to check out. This resort, which dates to 1916, is on 3,000 acres at the base of the Cheyenne Mountain, and offers everything from golf to horseback riding to painting classes. The Broadmoor has an old-world resort feel to it, but it has much to offer in the way of modernity, including a first-run movie theater, and Summit, a sleek restaurant by famed designer Adam Tihany. Specials are available through Dec. 30, which include suite discounts of up to 30% off, and packages starting at $85 a person.

Too much socializing? A bed & breakfast isn't typically what you'd choose if you're not in the mood for chit-chat on your vacation, since these stays typically involve getting familiar with other guests, at least at the morning meal. But at Honor Mansion in Healdsburg, Calif., pains are taken to give you privacy. Each morning, a basket is delivered outside your door that contains a choice of morning beverage, the newspaper and fresh biscotti. Thus fortified, you can decide whether you feel like eating your breakfast (served in a buffet style) in a dining room with other guests, your room or a nook on the property. Specials that offer one or two free nights are available online.

Too much "same old, same old?" If you want to be in a place that's removed from the typical U.S. city or suburban milieu, there aren't too many places in the country that can beat Santa Fe, N.M., with its adobe architecture, piñon pine-scented air and improbably blue skies. You'll get authentic New Mexico décor and a convenient location at the newly renovated Old Santa Fe Inn. (There are Web discounts available if you book online. Midweek rooms are as low as $89.)

For the holiday, the city is decorated with farolitos, candles in paper bags weighted with sand, although there are modern versions that use electric lights. Stroll around the plaza, duck in and out of galleries on Canyon Road --you may just be tempted to stick around for the famous farolito and art walk on Christmas eve. Either way, get back into the holiday spirit by ordering both red and green chile on your chorizo breakfast burrito at Café Pasqual's. The proper way to do that is to ask for it "Christmas."

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