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 Vacations are precious investments of time with your loved ones.  

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Editor's Letter,
December 2017
We are inundated every day all day with negative messages from the media. Often I feel battered before I've finished my first cup of coffee in the morning! The 24 hour news cycle has us all on edge. We get the news on the radios in our car on the way to work, we get the News Alert notifications popping up on our smart phone screens when we least expect it, and we can't stop ourselves from paying attention to the constant drama of politics as it plays out on our TV screens, newspaper headlines, Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Let's all breathe a collective sigh. How do you face each day? Some of us have young kids and grandkids who remind us that life can be simple and sweet and filled with wonder. That's a joy. Some of us have turned to yoga, massage, meditation, relaxation retreats, spa and exercise to work out our ever-present anxieties. And, some of us travel!!! Nothing better than to push the eject button, reset our lives, and get our energy and positivity back online. And to do this with loved ones is even better. 

We recently went to a launch party for Life is Good Vacations. The founder of Life is Good, John Jacobs, from nearby Needham, Massachusetts, spoke about the power of travel and how it opens up doors to positivity and new experiences that can impact your outlook on life. Life is Good not only encourages you to put that smile on but they put their money where their mouth is and they give 10% of their proceeds to help sick children.

ActiveTravels is doing our part to help as well. We have chosen the charity of One Caribbean Family this year. We will donate half of all the proceeds we receive from new memberships this month to this charity which is helping to restore and rebuild the Caribbean's tourism infrastructure after the devastating effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  Tourism actually employs 2.4 million in the Caribbean.  Give a membership to a friend or family member as part of our Gift of Travel promotion and an extra benefit will be helping the people of this hurricane-ravaged area.

Now, on to our exciting newsletter this month! Read on to find out our five favorite ski-in and ski-out lodges in North America, learn about the new adventure travel venture called Life is Good Vacations, take a quick trip to Grand Cayman and discover how to get discounted hotels in New York City.

Stay positive and h appy travels,

Steve & Lisa
News from the Road: 
Six Ski-in Ski-out Resorts in North America 
Our Members Love

There's nothing like waking up in the morning, grabbing your skis and breathing in the brisk fresh mountain air. If you want to be close to the slopes to make your first tracks, try these member-recommended favorites:

The home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler has many upscale accommodations like the Fairmont and Westin. Yet, one step inside the limestone and granite lobby of the Four Seasons and you've been transported to a state of relaxation, where your every whim seems to be taken care of. The resort will have your waxed skis and pre-warmed boots waiting at the hotel's Ski Concierge Shop at the base of Blackcomb each morning. They also feature a Ski Elite Program with one-on-one instruction for skiers and a concierge that works solely with teenagers. The hotel is conveniently located about a 15-minute walk to all the restaurants and shops in the center of town.   

Utah's 14 ski resorts had a record-breaking ski season last winter, welcoming 4.5 million visitors. This year, you can expect the same level of traffic thanks to a steady stream of direct flights into Salt Lake City. If you're headed to Park City, our clients relish the space at the condos offered at Silver Star. Their 2-bedroom condos and town homes feature spacious kitchens, gas fireplaces, and private hot tubs. In Deer Valley, stay mid-mountain near the lifts at the ultra-sybaritic   Stein Eriksen Lodge. The 39 condos and 15 houses feature panoramas of the mountains, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center, restaurant and lounge area.
Lake Tahoe's location has produced record snowfall the past 5 years, channeling powerful winter storms into deep powder. If you're looking for a mountain where the whole family can ski blue cruisers to gnarly black diamonds, check out Northstar. The same Ritz-Carlton team that helped transform Colorado's Beaver Creek from Vail's forgotten little sister into one of the finest family-friendly mountains in the country descended on Northstar mid-mountain, surrounded by a greatly expanded teaching area and a Burton Snowboard Academy. The resort, complete with a 5,000 square-foot spa, lifted Northstar out of the shadows to challenge Squaw Creek and Heavenly as one of Tahoe's premier ski areas.

Located in the heart of Beaver Creek Village, the Park Hyatt continues to set the standard for comfort in the Rockies. All 190 newly renovated guest rooms are tastefully appointed with down comforters and marble bath amenities. Pamper yourself with the signature ski valet service steps from the gondola. Afterwards, visit Experience 8100, an après-ski bar and grill specializing in local organic fare and Colorado's best microbrews. Or snag one of the 23 treatment rooms at the Allegria Spa to get those weary legs ready for the next day. New this year is the snow-cave party. Built by local adventure company Paragon Guides, the 10-person snow cave, located 15 minutes from the hotel by snowshoe, will serve intimate dinners.

The most sybaritic ski-in/ski-out resort in New England, the 312-room Stowe Mountain Lodge has the feel of a ski lodge in Jackson Hole, especially when you enter the lobby with its towering two-story high ceiling. The resort uses indigenous wares everywhere you look, so there's real Vermont birch twisting around the columns and Lake Champlain marble on stairs leading to the après-ski bar, Hourglass. They have been on a serious building spree since their inception, creating a stylish spa with heated outdoor pool in winter that rewards you with views of the mountain you just conquered, the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center to see live music, a skating rink, and a climbing wall and recreation center for kids. The après-ski scene consists of kids making s'mores around fire pits while the adults swig their Switchback Ales at the Hourglass bar. 

Located at the foot of Aspen Mountain, this gem of a hotel is a star. Actually, five stars. Not only is it ski-in and ski-out, offering the perks of a ski valet just 50 feet from the gondola, but this boutique hotel (less than 100 rooms and suites) is a Relais and Chateaux resort with a fabulous restaurant and wine menu. Another perk is their First Tracks program. Sign up when you arrive and you can be one of the lucky few that get to go on the first gondola in the morning and enjoy the mountain crowd-free.

Contact ActiveTravels to get started!
Outfitters We Recommend:
Austin Adventures Joins Forces with Life is Good

We recently attended a launch party in Boston to announce the start of a great new partnership in the active travel world. We've written about Austin Adventures several times in our newsletters, we've personally travelled with them to the Canadian Rockies and Colorado, and we've sent many clients on their active and engaging active trips. Now this wonderful family-run company is partnering with another well-known family run outfit, the clothing company, Life Is Good to present their Life is Good Vacations.
Austin Adventures founder, Dan Austin, said "Life is Good Vacations will allow us to combine our love and respect for the outdoors with Life is Good's mission to approach each day with positivity. We will work together to design multi-sport itineraries, with activities including hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and mountain top yoga, infused with expressions of gratitude and optimism."
At the event, John Jacobs, co-founder with his brother Bert, of Life is Good spoke about how travel inspired the start of their highly-successful clothing brand centered on the beret-wearing, smiling stick figure named Jake. The brothers believe that life is a road trip, smile, be positive, be good to yourselves and each other and just enjoy the ride.
We are truly excited about this new venture. In 2018, Austin plans to offer six family and adult Life Is Good Vacations in Montana, Utah, the Canadian Rockies and Costa Rica.

Contact ActiveTravels and we can sign you up for one of their new trip offerings!

Deal of the Month: 
Seventh Annual Hotel Week in Manhattan January 5-15, 2018
If you want to visit New York at a discount, then head to the city during their Seventh Annual Hotel Week NYC in early January. Gansevoort Meatpacking, the Refinery Hotel, Library Hotel, James New York, Viceroy Central Park, and Archer New York are just a handful of top-tier properties that will cut their rates considerably during this time. 

For example, the Paul Hotel NYC will only be $100 a night, more than 50% off their usual rate. Created by PR maven Nancy J. Friedman in 2010, Hotel Week NYC™ offers great deals to travelers to alleviate the occupancy dip most hotels experience after the holiday season. It's a perfect time to visit Manhattan without the crowds. Here's some events going on in early January to check out:
Give ActiveTravels a shout, if you want to plan a last-minute trip to the Big Apple.
Tried & True Travel Tips:
Tickets to Sport Events
Interested in heading out to the big game? If you're hoping to see the Super Bowl or that elusive Premier League game in the UK, we can set you up. If you've always wanted to view the US Open, the Masters, or even wear your most elegant hat to the Kentucky Derby, we can arrange it (though you'll need to provide the hat). 

We work with several companies that can get you that elusive ticket as well as flights, hotel and transportation to get there. From checking out spring training in Arizona or  Florida to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, we can get you in and having a ball in no time. 

What's on your bucket list?

Quick Escape:
Grand Cayman

With direct flights from most cities on the East Coast and Chicago, Grand Cayman is the perfect Caribbean escape come winter. Thankfully, the island escaped the latest round of hurricanes unscathed. 

Grand Cayman's legendary underwater reputation stems from its countless diving and snorkeling sites, warm waters, and crystal clear visibility. A must stop is Stingray City, where you get up close and personal with countless stingrays (our daughter Melanie even kissed one). 

Afterward, head to the Ritz-Carlton, which invokes memories of the colonial Caribbean when gin and tonics on the veranda were a tourist's most strenuous activity.  Eric Ripert, of Le Bernardin fame in Manhattan, has opened a seafood restaurant in the hotel, Blue, so expect to see more fish-this time on a plate. There's also a 20,000 square-foot spa, La Prairie, for a much needed couples massage after carrying the weight of oxygen tanks on your backs all morning. 

Lovers of the Kimpton Hotels brand will want to know that Kimpton opened their first international property on Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach last winter. Kimpton Seafire is also the first new hotel to make its debut on Grand Cayman in more than a decade. The 266-room resort is home to an 8,500 square-foot spa, oceanfront bungalows, mega-sized pool, and the restaurant, Avecita, which is already starting to garner attention on an island known for its restaurants. Expect tapas-style small plates with local fish and vegetables, flavored on a wood grill. 

Call  ActiveTravels to plan your Grand Cayman getaway.
©2017 Active Travels