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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.

RELATED: 8 of America’s most dazzling holiday parades

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.

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You'll soon be able to cruise Pittsburgh's three rivers on a Tiki boat

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 @ 2:30 AM

Stock photo of a Tiki hut at sunset. (Photo by mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com)
mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com
Stock photo of a Tiki hut at sunset. (Photo by mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com)(mbrinkley3717 / Pixabay.com)

When you think of Tiki bars and exotic tropical drinks, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh. But starting this spring, you’ll be able to cruise the three rivers – Tiki style.

>> Read more trending news 

Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh will offer two-hour sightseeing charters on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers starting in May. Each 16-foot boat fits six people. They’re BYOB and children are allowed.

As the sun sets on a dreary day in Pittsburgh, let’s look ahead to this spring and summer! Who’s ready to watch sunsets on one of the three rivers from one of our Cruisin’ Tiki boats? 🏝 #weownthesummer

Posted by Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh on Thursday, February 15, 2018
 

According to a comment on its Facebook page, a two-hour tour will likely cost $400 or about $67 per person. That includes the cost of the boat, the captain and possibly a crew member.

Cruisin' Tikis already operates service out of the following locations:

  • Carolina Beach, North Carolina
  • Exhuma, Bahamas
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Islamorada, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Lake George, New York
  • Madeira Beach, Florida
  • North Miami, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
If you plan on riding the three rivers, you'll get some great views of the city skyline and stadiums

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5 wine tours a lot closer to home than Napa

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 5:41 PM

What you should know about wine.

You can take some of the most lavish, expensive wine tours in the world in the Napa Valley, where wines are all about heritage, taste and sophistication.

»RELATED: Georgia: Whether you love beer or wine, there’s a destination for you

These days, though, even the snootiest oenophile can find a worthy wine tasting in places far from California. And the same goes for the Napa-style custom of wine tours. Travelers in the South or Southeast have lots of pleasurable wine tours to choose from, including self-guided forays, touristy excursions and exclusive itineraries presided over by the wine elite.

Georgia, Tennessee and Texas are just a few of the markets that have come into their own in recent decades and have the wine trails to prove it. While you won't be inundated with award-winners on a few of these tours, you can still find numerous high-ranked wines and others that are fun to sample. The vintners are typically small, but accessible, and it's exciting to see newer wineries just starting to make their mark.

For a taste of fine wine tours nowhere near Napa, consider these five:

Rocky Top Wine Trail

Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Free

All hail Appalachian winemakers. Five Tennessee wineries (and a distillery!) along 12 miles near the Great Smoky Mountains have banded together to present a free, self-guided tour. Each of the wineries is open all week for free tastings. They include Hillside Winery and Apple Barn Winery in Sevierville, Mountain Valley Winery and Mill Bridge Winery in Pigeon Forge and Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery and Sugarland Cellars in Gatlinburg. Plus, there's no law against catching Dollywood as part of your visit. And don't miss the Muscadine Spumante from Hillside Winery in Sevierville, which recently won the Governor's Cup at Wines of the South.

Dahlonega Wine Trail

Dahlonega, Georgia

Free or nominal charge tastings

A scenic drive through the Dahlonega mountains sets the tone for sampling wines from "the Heart of Georgia Wine Country." It's the grapes that make the difference: The growing conditions and mountain elevations are ideal for European, French hybrid and American wine grapes. The trail makes a great day trip from Atlanta, with a driving time of a little over an hour and plenty of chances to meet winemakers and sample their labors of love. Stops include Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery, Frogtown Cellars, Montaluce Winery & Estates, Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery and Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery.

Georgia Spring Wine Highway

Northeast Georgia

Starting at noon Friday, March 16 through 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, 2018 - 5 p.m.

$50

This annual shebang is a great way to visit lots of wineries and sample a few wine and food pairings, enjoy live music or other mini-wine tasting events. The Winegrowers Association of Georgia sponsors and Northeast Georgia plays host. Travelers pay at the first winery visited and then can enjoy any or all of the other participating winery offerings: Each place does its own format, along with filling up those "passport glasses" that commemorate each year's event. Participants range from Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay apple country to Fainting Goat Vineyards in Jasper, with dozens of other options around and about Northeast Georgia, all listed on the event website.

Texas Hill Country Wine and Wildflower Journey

Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfels and other points in between

April 6-22, 2018

Individuals $45, couples $75

Who says you have to be in California for a lavish wine country experience? The Texas Hill Country's annual wine trail celebrates the blooming wildflowers along with a full 17 days of sipping award-winning wines. Each ticket includes a tasting passport for each featured winery (limit four per day). A small sampling of participating wineries includes Lost Draw Cellars, Messina Hof Hill Country, Narrow Path Winery and Old Man Scary Cellars.

The Driftwood Estate winery in Texas Hill Country is just one of dozens in the area with phenomenal scenery.(Contributed by wayoutwestaustin.com/For the AJC.com)

Texas Hill Country wine trail day trip

Johnson City, Hye and Stonewall Texas

Tasting fees vary

An hour-long sashay that runs about 44 miles, this is a lovely way to enjoy part of Texas Hill wine country. Each place has its own personality and style of winemaking, even though the vintners are all neighbors. Enjoy escorting yourselves to Texas Hills Vineyard, Lewis Wines, Narrow Path Winery and seven others.

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Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 8:57 AM

Florida Beach Named the Best in the Nation

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.

>> See the full rankings here

The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016. 

>> Read more trending news 

Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.

>> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists

Get Paid $10,000 Per Month To ‘Experience’ Cancun

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5 places to go glamping in the Smoky Mountains - Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 5:06 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 5:06 PM

Asheville Glamping offers one-of-a-kind accommodations just outside the eclectic mountain town.
Photo via Asheville Glamping Facebook Page
Asheville Glamping offers one-of-a-kind accommodations just outside the eclectic mountain town.(Photo via Asheville Glamping Facebook Page)

Camping may be fun, but not everyone is cut out for roughing it. Some folks need a little more waiting for them after a long day of adventures than a sleeping bag and a flimsy tent. Here are five ways to experience the nature of the Smoky Mountains without pitching a tent yourself.

Falling Water Adventure Resort 10345 U.S. 19/74, Bryson City, N.C. 800-451-9972. fallingwatersresort.com

Those who aren't afraid to get their feet wet during the day (but prefer a cozy bed at night) will find an apt home away from home in Falling Water Adventure Resort, a North Carolina getaway that offers affordable yurt rentals to accommodate its sporty clientele. Activities at the resort include river rafting, canopy tours and zip lines, and visitors who choose to stay in the yurts can also enjoy amenities like fresh linens, a private fridge, and individual coffee maker. Those who stay will still get a taste of the campsite life — picnic tables, a shared bath house, and charcoal grills ensure that guests can still get their fix of the outdoors.

North Georgia Canopy Tours  5290 Harris Road, Lula, Ga. 770-869-7272. northgeorgiacanopytours.com

Don't knock tent camping until you try it with North Georgia Canopy Tours, whose tepees are fully equipped with electricity, running water, and air conditioning — a must for anyone who knows just how hot a Georgia summer can get. The accommodations range in size and can sleep up to 10 guests. Order breakfast at check-in for an additional bit of luxury and be sure to book a zip-line tour to experience the great Smoky Mountains from the trees.

Camp LeConte 1739 E. Parkway, Gatlinburg, Tenn. 865-436-8831. campleconte.com

The campsites at this East Tennessee getaway run the gamut from standard piece of land to luxury treehouse, offering a distinct experience for outdoorsy types of all ranges. Those who opt for the most decked-out digs will find themselves sleeping in the open air among the tree tops and enjoying a covered patio, full private bathroom, and a beautiful view of Mount LeConte. Free board game rental ensures you'll have plenty to do when you unplug, while free Wi-Fi ensures you'll have access to the outside world when and if you need it, too.

Asheville Glamping
Various sites. 828-450-9745. ashevilleglamping.com

There's a pretty long list of reasons to visit Asheville, N.C. The restaurants are incredible, breweries abound, and unique, friendly small businesses thrive in this laid-back mountain town. But one of the best things about Asheville is its proximity to nature. Within minutes, visitors can go from the downtown experience to a rustic mountain cabin, making this the ideal destination for groups with mixed intentions. Asheville Glamping offers accommodations that range from vintage Airstreams to mini yurts and picturesque domes. Each site offers an array of amenities, and those looking for comfortable, rustic sleeping arrangements will likely find something that suits them.

The Yurts at Sky Ridge 200 Sky Ridge Drive, Bryson City, N.C. 704-701-5696. skyridgeyurts.com

Most campers don't take vacations with the intention of sitting inside and watching television, but The Yurt at Sky Ridge folks aren't taking any chances: flat screen TVs, walk-in showers, kitchen appliances are among the amenities offered in these structures — and that's not taking into account the killer views.

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