Celebrations and Libations at 5 Holiday Destinations

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Finger Lakes Region

Finger Lake festivities. (Photo credit: Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council)
Finger Lake festivities. (Photo credit: Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council)

On select dates throughout the holiday season, each of the 45+ wineries located along the Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake Wine Trails in central New York’s Finger Lakes region, will offer holiday wines and festive foods for sampling. Guests are encouraged to don their ugly Christmas sweaters as they explore the wineries, which will also be decked out in seasonal trimmings. Visitors to the Cayuga and Seneca Lake Wine Trails will receive a holiday-themed recipe book and collect ornaments to decorate their own handmade grapevine wreaths.

The Finger Lakes Wine Country features a variety of accommodations ranging from hotels to bed and breakfasts to budget-friendly properties to luxury resorts, including the Radisson Hotel Corning, located in the heart of Corning’s downtown Gaffer District, and the Hilton Garden Inn Elmira/Corning. Call for rates. For more information, visit fingerlakeswinecountry.com.

New York

The Kitano hotel in New York. (Photo credit: Kitano hotel)
New Year’s decorations at the Kitano hotel in New York. (Photo credit: Kitano hotel)

Every year on New Year’s Day, the Japanese-owned Kitano Hotel New York serves Otoso (a spiced, medicinal sake traditionally drunk during New Year celebrations to ensure health for the coming year) to all guests and visitors in the lobby.

Located on the famed Park Avenue in the historic Murray Hill district, the Kitano hotel blends traditional Asian hospitality with contemporary convenience, offering guests spacious accommodations with posh amenities, a signature restaurant serving Kaiseki cuisine and live entertainment on a nightly basis at JAZZ at KITANO. Rates start at $169 in December. For more information, call (212) 885-7000 or visit kitano.com.

Lexington, Kentucky

The tasting table at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo credit: KY Bourbon Trail)
The tasting table at the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky.

Now through New Year’s Eve, travelers can attend Woodford Reserve Distillery’s annual holiday feast in Lexington, Kentucky (a.k.a. the Birthplace of Bourbon). The lunch or dinner experience, led by James Beard nominated chef-in-residence Ouita Michel and chef de cuisine Nat Henton, begins with a Woodford Reserve Flavor Wheel tasting, sampling 200 different flavors, followed by a smorgasbord of Southern comfort foods. For more information, call (859) 879-1812 or visit woodfordreserve.com.

For accommodations, suggest the Hyatt Regency Lexington on West High Street. While the hotel is a 30-minute drive away from the distillery, it is ideally situated in the downtown area near The Square, a block of 16 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings that features shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, plus a theater and museum for children. Amenities include an indoor heated pool, an outdoor sun deck and the BlueFire Bar & Grill. Rates start at $129 in December. For more information, call (859) 253-1234 or visit lexington.regency.hyatt.com.

New Orleans

Le Salon at Windsor Court New Orleans. (Photo credit: Windsor Court New Orleans)
Le Salon at Windsor Court New Orleans. (Photo credit: Windsor Court New Orleans)

Stop by Le Salon at Windsor Court New Orleans now through Dec. 31 for the annual 3-course Holiday Tea service featuring a selection of rare season teas; holiday cocktails, such as the Windsor Poinsettia, Cranberry Mint Spiked Tea and the Cajun Milk Punch; plus light treats, including holiday-themed scones and sweet desserts. The hotel’s 19.5-ft. Christmas tree and gingerbread replica of the Windsor Castle in the lobby are sure to be the center of every guest’s tea time conversation. Rates start at $188 per night in December. For more information, call (504) 523-6000 or visit windsorcourthotel.com.

Puerto Rico

Gingerbread house display at The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. (Photo credit: The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa)
Gingerbread house display at The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. (Photo credit: The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa)

During the weeklong Parranda Night themed buffet at The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, guests can get a taste of coquito, a traditional Puerto Rican spiced treat that is made of rum, coconut milk, sweet condensed milk, egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

The beachfront resort is ideal for a winter getaway as it features more than 1-mile of golden beach and 500 acres of onsite amenities, including the Rio Mar Casino, two golf courses, miles of trails, and five eclectic restaurants and lounges. Rates start at $149 pp dbl per night for guests who book a minimum 4-night stay through April 15, 2017 using the promo code PKGCR250. These rates include a $250 food and beverage credit. For more information, visit wyndhamriomar.com.

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