5 East Coast ski resorts for the snow novice

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 3:35 PM

We've highlighted five excellent options, all of which will provide an ideal winter escape Sugarloaf Ski Resort, Maine Whiteface Mountain Lake Placid Ski Resort, New York Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, West Virginia Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont Cannon Mountain Ski Resort, New Hampshire

As “Game of Thrones” fans would say, winter is coming. And while the snow and ice won't hit most of the South as hard as other parts of the country (and the White Walkers are almost certain not to be a threat), it's about time to start planning for the season.

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If you're thinking about a winter ski trip, instead of heading west to Colorado, why not consider trekking east? Whether your'e a novice or a skilled skier, there are lots of great resorts providing the perfect place to hit the eastern slopes this season.

We've highlighted five excellent options, all of which will provide an ideal winter escape:

1. Sugarloaf Ski Resort, Maine

Phone: (207) 237-2000

As the East Rockies largest ski resort, Sugarloaf Ski Resort is a paradise for snowboarders and skiers alike. With 146 total runs and a 2,820 feet vertical drop, you're sure to find fun and adventure.

For daredevils, the resort features three terrain parks, a super-pipe and a snowboardcross course designed by Seth Wescot, an Olympic gold medalist.

Rates: One-day lift tickets range from $85 to $95 (adults), $75 to $79 (teens) and $65 to $69 (juniors/seniors), depending on the date. The daily price goes down with each additional day booked (up to seven days).

2. Whiteface Mountain Lake Placid Ski Resort, New York

Phone: (518) 946-2223

Situated in the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain boasts the Northeast's tallest mountain. In addition to 87 ski trails (a third of which are reserved for experts), you can enjoy bobsledding with a professional brakeman or check out the Olympic ski-jumping complex.

Rates: The ski resort has numerous lift ticket deals if you book online, with one day passes available for less than $40. Five to seven day tickets can be booked for less than $200.

Snowboarders at Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort(Joint Base Langley-Eustis/For the AJC)
3. Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, West Virginia

Phone: (877) 441-4386

Snowshoe Moutain Ski Resort is located in the Alleghenies and offers skiers and boarders a rugged terrain to enjoy. For the experienced (and brave), Shay's Revenge has previously been named the region's most challenging run. In February, the resorts host the Cupp Run Challenge, a giant slalom race for expert skiers and snowboarders.

But don't worry, there are also plenty of slopes for novice and intermediate skiers.

Rates: One-day lift tickets range from $79 to $99 (adults), $66 to $82 (teens) and $10 to $30 (juniors/seniors), depending on the day.

4. Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

Phone: (888) 253-4849

Stowe Mountain Resort is home to Vermont's tallest peak, Mount Mansfield. The resort offers skiers six distinct zones, including a freestyle terrain park, which includes rails, jumps, bonks and ramps.

For the less adventurous (or for those who wish to relax at the end of a long day), the resort's Cliff House restaurant at the summit offers a range of regional cuisine. Enjoy your meal while taking in the incredible view!

Rates: One-day lift tickets range from $94 to $99 (adults) and $80 to $84 (children 5-12), depending on the date. The daily price goes down with each additional day booked (up to seven days).

Skiers enjoying Cannon Mountains slopes(WikiMedia/For the AJC)

5. Cannon Mountain Ski Resort, New Hampshire

Phone: (603) 823-8800

Calling itself "the living legend", Cannon Mountain Ski Resort boasts 87 acres of back country as well as New Hampshire's highest vertical slope. Considered a classic alternative to the mega resorts, Cannon Mountain promises some truly incredible vistas from the top.

Rates: One-day lift tickets cost $77 (adults), $64 (teens 13-17) and $55 (children 6-12). Multiple day deals are available as well.

U.S. issues ‘do not travel’ advisory for 5 states in Mexico

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

‘Do Not Travel Advisory’ To Five Mexico States Issued By U.S.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory urging citizens to use increased caution when traveling to five states in Mexico.

USA Today reported that the new warning from the government has increased the Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas states to a level 4, the highest level of potential danger. 

The warning for the states, issued Thursday, was raised due to crime.

>> Read more trending news 

The State Department already recommends that travelers use “increased caution” when in Mexico because of widespread crime, such as kidnapping, homicide, carjacking and robbery, USA Today reported.

The department recommends that those who decide to travel to Mexico to use toll roads, avoid night driving, be extra vigilant when visiting banks and ATMs, use caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs and casinos, and to avoid displaying signs of wealth. Travelers are also urged to enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to make locating easier in an emergency and to have an emergency contingency plan. Travelers should also review crime and safety reports for Mexico.

More information on the travel advisory can be found at travel.state.gov.

Try your luck: 10 tips on beating the odds on your first casino trip

Published: Monday, January 08, 2018 @ 10:50 AM

Man Wins Over $1 Million At Texas Casino On Christmas

There's just something appealing about a casino vacation, whether you're dreaming of the luxury of the world's most extravagant casino resorts or playing roulette at one of Yahoo's top-ranked casinos outside of Vegas. Or maybe you're just longing for a day playing the slots at a smaller place like the Mardis Gras Casino and Resort in West Virginia.

»RELATED: Feeling lucky? Travel to these four casinos closest to Atlanta

While the Las Vegas strip topped the list as "the king of gaming, boasting the most revenue from casinos in the world," according to The Richest, Atlantic City, Chicago and Detroit weren't far behind.

If this is the year you'd like to join in on the action, great! Just take it slow and do your research if you want maximum enjoyment from your first visit to a casino. 

Whether you're mesmerized by the televised World Series of Poker, intrigued by the high-stakes poker in the 2017 movie Molly's Game, or obsessed with playing slots or blackjack online, understand one thing: when you get out of the entertainment world and step into a real-life casino, everything's different.

Here are 10 tips for anyone making a first-time trip to a casino, drawing from the combined knowledge of gambling and travel experts:

•Learn the games

"You wouldn't offer to play Kobe Bryant a little one-on-one basketball for $1,000, would you?" ThoughtCo. asked. "Well, your odds of beating him are probably about the same as winning at a casino game you've never played or read about, and while reading about Kobe won't help you beat him, learning about a new game first will really help!"

You can pick up the game basics at a site like WhereTraveler

•Try free lessons when you get there

Many casinos offer free, live instruction in blackjack, craps, roulette, pai gow, pai gow poker, mini-baccarat and poker in an effort to entice you to play more. Not only do the lessons teach you the rules of the game, they can boost your confidence with lessons on the etiquette and jargon associated with each game. Check directly with the casino to find out what gaming lessons are offered and at what time.

Vegas Hotel Special also has a list of the Vegas casinos that offer free gaming lessons.

•Take your time deciding what to play

This advice from the Party Poker blog applies to all the casino rooms. "If you can't work out what is being played, ask a dealer or the floor manager, as they'll be more than happy to talk you through it."

•Don't be embarrassed if you can only afford a minimum buy-in

"Remember, you are paying to play in a recreational activity for your own enjoyment," noted Party Poker. "The establishment wants you to come back, so they should be very helpful and accommodating. If all of the games being played are too expensive, the floor manager can suggest more affordable games at alternate times."

(CMG)

•Know the odds

It's simple and complicated at the same time. Simple in that odds merely determine the chances that a player will win over other players (in games like Texas Hold 'Em) or the house (in games like Blackjack.) But complicated in that odds are a huge business, and vary wildly per game, according to Wise Geek. "Some games have relatively low gambling odds for the house, ranging from less than 1 percent in their favor for games like blackjack, to more than 20 percent for games like Big Six or keno."

Dummies.com recommended certain games and tactics for newbie players, including:

  • Jacks or Better video poker (the 9/6 version): "The 9/6 version of Jacks or Better is considered full pay because you get a payout of 9 for 1 for a full house and 6 for 1 for a flush." Make sure you're playing 9/6 by looking at the Full House/Flush payouts for one coin. Also never keep a kicker (a high card along with a pair) and throw away a small pair (tens or lower) if you have four cards to a flush or three cards to a royal flush.
  • Blackjack: Increase the already (relatively) good odds by playing the table with the least amount of decks, staying away from gimmick games like 6-5 blackjack, Spanish 21, or Super Fun blackjack and never take insurance.
  • Craps: The smartest strategy is to stick to the following bets in craps: Pass line bet with odds bet, come bet with odds, don't pass bet with odds, don't come bet with odds.

•Skip the bonus bets

Keep in mind that main bets (such as pass line at craps, banker bet at baccarat, ante bet at Three Card Poker) have the smallest house edge, according to ThoughtCo. Avoid the extra (or bonus) bets, since the house edge might be as much as five times higher.

•Know your limit

"Money management is a really boring subject and many people have trouble keeping track of what they have spent after a few hours of casino action," ThoughtCo. noted. "Make things easy on yourself by deciding on what you can afford to lose before you start playing. If you actually win, great, and don't be afraid to go home with the bucks. The casino will be open tomorrow, too!"

•Check out the hospitality standards before you go

If you're heading to Las Vegas, odds are good that you'll be able to hit a casino that offers free alcohol. Many will also have discounted rooms. Outside of Vegas, many of the tiny casinos or ones with little competition or state prohibitions (like Harrah's Cherokee in North Carolina) don't have free drinks.

•Play the free liquor game like a champ

According to WhereTraveler, it's a good idea to wait until the cocktail waitress approaches you at places with free liquor, instead of hitting a bar on the way in. "And if you're hitting the clubs later, start your drinking on the casino floor so there's less you have to spend - for any type of performance, even a DJ spinning, you'll get hit with an additional live entertainment tax. Better to start early!"

Avoid peak dinner times

To really enjoy your day of gambling, avoid the huge lines at peak dinner time. Instead, opt to eat between 5 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.-9 p.m. to avoid hours of waiting.

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6 top tiny home vacation rentals that won’t cost you your mortgage

Published: Friday, January 05, 2018 @ 8:13 AM

Here are six tiny home vacation rentals that offer lots of fun per square foot Four-season cottage near Awenda provincial park Tiny House on the Bay Sand Pebble Cottage Victorian cottage Laurel Escape Serenity Now

Need a vacation that isn't followed by a barrage of credit card bills?

Tiny home vacation rentals are a wallet-friendly option, with beach, mountain and ranch locations available. Renting a small space for a weekend getaway or weeklong adventure is also a great way to test drive the tiny home concept. 

»RELATED: Here's what a $1 million house looks like in 7 major US cities

»Here are six tiny home vacation rentals that offer lots of fun per square foot:

(Via VRBO)

Four-season cottage near Awenda provincial park

Ontario, Canada

$119 average per night

Right across from Farlain Lake with its sandy beach and shallow waters, this tiny vacation rental is also close to many ski and snow mobile trails, parks and lakes.

(AirBnB)

Tiny House on the Bay

Olympia, Washington

Around $89 per night

Set on a hill by Puget Sound, this extra tiny 160-square-foot vacation rental comes with a window seat, full-size sleeping loft under a skylight and mini gas fireplace. Oh, yes, and trail access to a private beach.

(AirBnb)

Sand Pebble Cottage

Dennis Port, Massachusetts

Around $70 per night

Just 300 square feet, this Cape Cod cottage is just a short walk from the ocean beach and near restaurants (including Sundae School Ice-Cream). 

Victorian cottage

Canyon Lake, Texas

Around $202 average per night

Perfect for a romantic lake getaway, this Victorian cottage is made from reclaimed building materials and features vintage stained glass windows.

(Via Mountain Laurel Cabin Rentals)

Laurel Escape 

Mineral Bluff, Georgia

Prices start at $99 per night

Ah, the mountains! This is a perfect - and perfectly affordable - way to enjoy the North Georgia mountain air. The 480-square-foot cabin boasts amenities like a king-size bed, fire pit, hot tub and stainless appliances and granite countertops.

Serenity Now

Alpharetta, Georgia

Average $83 per night 

Yes, you can have a ranch vacation at tiny house rental prices. This custom-built tiny house rests on a 4-acre mini horse farm. It features two lofts and complimentary continental breakfast with biscuits.

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Woman sues hotel after she claims she was charged $350 after negative review

Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 @ 4:48 AM

Woman Files Lawsuit After Hotel Charges Her For Bad Review

An Indiana woman is taking a hotel to court saying that she was charged $350 for a negative online review and the hotel claims it has a right to charge customers who give them bad reviews.

Katrina Arthur and her husband stayed at Abbey Inn & Suites in March 2016.

Arthur alleges that when they arrived, the room was not cleaned. She said she found hair and dirt in the sheets. The air conditioner didn’t work and the room smelled like sewage. She also said there was little water pressure, WRTV reported.

>> Read more trending news 

“We didn’t see anybody we could talk with, so I decided to call the number that goes to the front desk and it automatically went to a lawyer’s or something weird like that,” Arthur told WRTV.

She told the television station that she cleaned the room herself.

After the stay, she said she received an email asking for an online review. 

“I was honest. I wanted people to know not to waste their money because I know people save their money for special occasions,” Arthur told WRTV.

That’s when Arthur said she was charged $350 and received a letter from the hotel’s lawyer that threatened legal action.

She ended up deleting her review.

But then she did some checking and found out that she may not have been alone and filed a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General to get her $350 back.

The Attorney General filed a lawsuit this month against Abbey Management, the hotel’s owners at the time of Arthur’s stay, WRTV reported.

The lawsuit alleges that for more than a year, Abbey Inn had rules that allowed them to charge customers if they left a negative review. The policy was posted on the hotel’s website, but customers were not given a hard copy of the rule, and it was not posted in hotel common areas or rooms, according to the Attorney General.

The email that solicited reviews also made no mention of the fine, WRTV reported.

The lawsuit also alleges that there were no employees at the hotel to handle issues, but rather a sign instructed lodgers to call an overnight phone number. If there was no emergency and the number was called, the hotel would charge the guest $100.

The current owner did not answer WRTV’S attempts to get a response about the pending lawsuit, but a woman who, along with her husband, have been trying to buy the Abbey Inn since January told WRTV that she was unaware of any litigation against the owners. She told WRTV that they are attempting to improve the hotel.