Key West is THE Place to Ring in the New Year

Sure, New Year's Eve is a time to let go of the old and ring in the new, to reflect, and to make resolutions. But, let's be honest: it's also a time to party. And, here in America, we like to party by watching things drop on New Year's Eve. While New Yorkers bundle up and flock to Time's Square to watch the ball drop at midnight, Georgians head to Atlanta's Underground to celebrate by watching a giant peach drop. Following tradition, Key West vacationers cut loose in bathing suits and flip-flops and choose from some of the country's most unique New Year's "drops."

The Country's Best Party:
A staple of Key West's New Year's celebration is the famous conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe's bar. Although Sloppy Joe's has been a New Year's tradition for sixteen years, it's not the only option in Key West. For a spicy celebration, Sushi, Key West's drag queen celebrity, is lowered from the Bourbon Street Pub balcony atop a giant, red, high-heel. And, as a pirate-inspired countdown, Key West's Historic Seaport drops a Pirate Wench from the mast of a schooner. Or course, all these options are best complimented by a dazzling fireworks display mirrored off of the Atlantic Ocean at the end of White Street Pier.

The Country's Best Vacation Town: Celebrating New Year's Eve in shorts and a t-shirt should be enough reason to travel to Key West this year. However, if the warm weather and laid-back vibe isn't enough to convince you, perhaps a look into the town's amenities will speak louder. Aside from its reputation as one of America's best party towns, Key West is also famous for its sunsets. Lined with bars, shops, and restaurants, Duval Street leads right into a huge pier on the Atlantic Ocean, creating the perfect spot to watch stellar sunsets. While the visual display is breathtaking, the accompanying activity of street buskers who dazzle the crowd with acrobats, contortions, magic, and music always provide good "background" entertainment as well. Of course, getting away from the crowd can sometimes be in order. Take a walk down Key West's famous Old Town lanes, where your senses will be overcome with the smell of jasmine. And, don't forget that Key West is a beach town. If you're a fish lover, rent a boat in Key West cast your hand at deep sea fishing in the Atlantic or fly fishing in the back country. Or, express your love for fish simply by sitting down to a fabulous dinner at one of Key West's famous seafood restaurants. Take a chartered trip to find dolphins, or dive and snorkel in beautiful coral reefs. Rent a kayak to cruise through the backcountry's water, or hop on a catamaran for exciting sailing. Whether you come to Key West for the party, the beauty, or the activity, you certainly won't be disappointed.

The Country's Easiest Vacation: Sure, New Orleans is known as the "Big Easy," but the term can certainly be true of Key West as well. You'll find yourself taking life a bit easier as soon as you get to town. And, to compliment this attitude, you can make your trip to Key West even easier just by taking advantage of the many rental options available. Not only can you rent boating and fishing gear, but you can find just about any beach item you'll need for rent, including Key West scooter rentals, roller blades, and even sandcastle-making supplies. But, perhaps the best rental option comes with your accommodation choices. Whether you're looking for a condo right on Duval Street or a quaint beach home, you'll find exactly what you're looking for in Key West. New Year's Eve is the world's best night to party. This year, don't just come to the right place to countdown the seconds until midnight, but also come to the best place to spend the first few days of the New Year. In all likelihood, your resolution will be to get back to Key West soon.


Maureen Dattilo


Telluride Offers the Best of Colorado

It's snowing in Telluride, and this fact has the whole town buzzing with excitement. Fresh powder means only one thing to this western Colorado vacation town--it's time to hit the slopes. With a summit elevation of 12,260 feet and 1,700 acres of skiable terrain, Telluride is a paradise for skiers and boarders. But, let's face it; Telluride does have a lot to offer other than its annual 300 inches of snow. If you're planning your next ski vacation, Telluride tops your destination list for many reasons.

Colorado's Favorite: The state of Colorado is synonymous with skiing, and for good reason. The Rocky Mountains fill the western half of the state with one ski town after another, leaving you with many destination choices for a ski vacation. So, what makes Telluride stand out among the best? The historic feel of Telluride will literally take you back to the days of the Wild West. Old saloons and historic buildings line Main Street, serving as sheltered remnants of the town's historic mining days. Still, new life comes to Telluride in the form of luxury hotels, fine spas, and five-star restaurants. But, the town knows how to combine the new with the old by blending simple, old-fashioned cheer with refined, elegant tastes.
The result is a town that knows how to have fun, both on the slopes and off, creating a laid-back vibe that immediately attaches itself to visitors. Still, what's best about Telluride is that it's off the beaten path. You won't fight long lines of tourist traffic on Main Street (in fact, the town's free gondola is the main mode of transportation), and you will finally get to experience what it's like to ski in peaceful (and often very private) beauty. Plus, with airports in Telluride and nearby Montrose (in addition to Grand Junction and Durango), access is easy.

A Skier's Delight:
Telluride has been called "the most beautiful place you'll ever ski" for good reason. Engulfed by the highest concentration of 14,000 foot peaks in all of North America, a mixture of terrain provides spectacular skiing for all levels. So, whether you're looking to practice your abilities on finely groomed runs or challenging moguls, you're sure to find yourself among the most breathtaking views while on the slopes of Telluride.
And, this year, Telluride releases the Black Iron Bowl, opening eight new runs in a hike-to area that is set to the stunning backdrop of Palmyra Peak. Of course, the mountain also hosts a dramatic setting for snowshoeing, sleigh ride dinners, mountain tours, NASTAR racing, and other competitions. Simultaneously, the town lights up with events and activities that will entertain your entire crew. The Comforts of Home: A mountain getaway is not complete without a cozy place to stay that will accommodate your entire group.

Whether you're planning a romantic weekend getaway with your spouse or a week-long vacation with the entire family, you'll want to find the accommodations that will best suit your needs. Fortunately, in Telluride, you have a lot of options. Renting a condo, townhome, or large vacation home is almost always a better bet than a room at the local hotel. Not only will you enjoy more space, but you'll also have the comforts of home such as a fully-equipped kitchen, dining area, and living room. Plus, you'll have the benefit of added features such as a fireplace, deck, hot tub, and even hotel-type amenities such as a pool and exercise room, in many cases. Beyond renting your cozy mountain cabin, you can rent just about anything you'll need to complete your Telluride vacation. In addition to the normal mountain rentals such as snowmobile rentals, skis or snowboards, you can even rent baby furniture and accessories to make travelling with tots much easier. Do yourself a favor.
Make your ski trip a real vacation this winter. By choosing Telluride, you're guaranteeing your crew world-class skiing in a world-class town. So many return visitors can't be wrong; Telluride is the Colorado mountain town for your next ski vacation.


Maureen Dattilo
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