5 Places to Visit for the 2019 Holidays

If you are at all like me, you love traveling for the holidays. I don’t always have the time to travel but it is always in the forefront of my mind every year.  The destination is not always the focus either. I can just as easily celebrate on a beach as I can in a European city. I just love being on the go.

 

Below are five ideas you may find agreeable for holiday travel this year. All are great for solo travel, family travel, or group travel. Each of them offer more than ample opportunities for a great holiday season!

 

Asheville, NC

250-ish miles west of the capital city of Raleigh, Asheville has the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains as a stunning backdrop. Christmas time is a great time to visit because you can enjoy the gorgeous Biltmore Estate in its holiday glory.

 

Building the Biltmore was no small feat. It began in 1889 and took six years for completion. A 250-room French Renaissance chateau, George Vanderbilt’s dream encompassed four acres and included 35 rooms, 46 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. Vanderbilt lived in the massive home with his wife and daughter until his death in 1914.

 

The estate has had an interesting history during its lifetime but it remains a sight to see for visitors. Guests have the option of staying at the Village Hotel, The Inn on Biltmore Estate, or The Cottage on Biltmore Estate.

 

The Biltmore is reported to be haunted as well as other places in town. The Omni Grove Park Inn was built in 1913 and has reports of a spirit woman that remains in the hotel. Her identity is up for debate however she has made herself known to guests by tickling their feet when they sleep.

 

Trip suggestions:

  • Dickens in the Village Festival;

  • Christmas at the Biltmore;

  • Deck the Trees in Black Mountain; and

  • Festival of Lights at Lake Julian.

Hotel recommendations:

  • The Residences at Biltmore;

  • Omni Grove Park Inn;

  • DoubleTree by Hilton; and

  • 1880 WhiteGate Inn & Cottage.

Rome

Rome is a place that many dream of. My family and I were fortunate enough to first visit Rome back in 2016. The five of us embarked on a three country adventure with Italy being our second stop. We stayed in the Monti district and enjoyed being surrounded by history.

 

You can go to St. Peter’s Square for Midnight Mass with the Pope or the Pantheon for Christmas Eve Mass. If Mass is not your thing, there is the Christmas Market at Piazza Navona for your holiday enjoyment.

 

I personally love old churches and cathedrals so visiting them in their Christmas glory is high on my list. I love the historical as well as the religious significance regardless of the religious affiliation.

 

When we stayed in the Monti District, the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Fonte was just around the corner from our apartment. It was not a large church by any means and it stood out from all of the other buildings because it was so incongruent with the surrounding architecture.

 

Trip suggestions:

  • Christmas Market;

  • Mass with the Pope;

  • Nativity scenes throughout the city;

  • Food, food, food!

Hotel recommendations:

  • NH Collection Roma Vittorio Veneto;

  • Fifteen Keys Hotel;

  • Palazzo Manfredi;

  • Rizedenza Paolo VI Hotel; and

  • Pepoli9

 

San Antonio

One of my favorite cities is home to the Alamo. No, it isn’t because I am a Texas girl. I love the San Antonio’s culture, food, and energy. I don’t know if it is because of the colleges and universities, maybe it is seeing new military recruits, or maybe it is just the sounds of happy, hungry people on the Riverwalk. Whatever it is, the city has always been a fun, youthful place for me….and the holidays make it even more so.

 

The Riverwalk is a great place to visit and seeing it dressed up in holiday lights is my absolute favorite time to go. You can still eat outside but, even with heaters that many of the restaurants use, it can still be more than a tad chilly (especially at night). The Fiesta de las Luminarias gives it a magical feeling for kids of all ages.

 

If can’t make it during the Christmas season, New Year’s Eve is a fun time. The first time I went for NYE was when Y2K was the big deal. I figured if the world was going to blow up, I may as well be having fun. I laugh when I think of it now but it was ludicrous logic.

 

Since then I have enjoyed many NYE celebrations and will likely do it again in the future. Regardless of when you go, be sure to enjoy some good food…….there is plenty of it available!!!

 

Trip suggestions:

  • Fiesta de las Luminarias;

  • Holiday boat caroling;

  • Christmas at Natural Bridge Caverns; and

  • Posada at Pearl.

Hotel recommendations:

  • Hilton Palacio del Rio;

  • Menger Hotel (possibly haunted);

  • Mokara Hotel & Spa;

  • Omni La Mansion del Rio (possibly haunted);

  • Hotel Emma (possibly haunted);

  • La Cantera Resort & Spa;

  • Marriot; Rivercenter; and

  • JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.

 

Copenhagen

It only took one visit to Copenhagen for it to become one of my favorite cities. So many historic hotels with character and charm, so many interesting restaurants, so much diversity!

 

If you want something fun to do at Christmas time, you should consider Saint Lucy’s Kayak Parade. Imagine going out on a kayak trimmed in Christmas lights through the Copenhagen Harbour while singing Christmas Carols. If kayaking is not your thing, strolling through the Christmas Markets and drinking mulled wine is a great option.

 

Tivoli Gardens has an ice rink you can enjoy and is a short walk from Copenhagen Central Station. The Copenhagen Plaza is right across the street from the train station making it a truly convenient location if Tivoli Gardens is one of your points of interest.

 

Adding museums, theatres, palaces, and canal tours gives you plenty of options for your visit. Personally we enjoyed walking all around city center and found the locals to be amazingly friendly.

 

Trip suggestions:

  • St. Lucy’s Kayak Parade;

  • Christmas Markets; and

  • Kronprinsensgade;

Hotel recommendations:

  • Hotel Plaza;

  • Scandic Palace;

  • Nobis Hotel Copenhagen; and

  • Manon Les Suites.

 

Taos

There are three things that I think of when hear the word “Taos.” Those three things are ski, wine, and ghosts. I mean what else could you possibly want? In reality, there is so much more than that in Taos but that is a great start in my opinion.

 

Ski Valley is great year round but it surely becomes a beautiful winter wonderland once snow hits the ground. Peanut loves the ski lift—we could ride around for a few hours before she gets bored.

 

 

 

Stay at the Blake, enjoy some New Mexico wines, and snuggle up in front of a fire after a day of skiing or snowshoeing. There is an adaptive ski program available for people with disabilities with a variety of adaptive aids available.

 

Trip suggestions:

  • Electric Light Parade;

  • Taos Holiday Market; and

  • Festival of Trees.

Hotel recommendations:

  • El Monte Sagrado;

  • The Blake;

  • Hacienda del Sol (possibly haunted); and

  • Inn on La Loma Plaza.

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There are so many great places you can visit for the holidays. I am not sure where we will end up yet. We may just stay at home and rest up for our 2020 adventures. Who knows? Whatever you decide to do, make the most of this holiday season and have some fun!

Annette


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