If you truly want to escape from it all with your sweetheart, there's no place like a romantic getaway in Montana. The state's awesome beauty and wide-open skies provide plenty of ways to share quality time enjoying outdoor adventures. Montana's fascinating history provides for many interesting attractions, as well as a number of charming inns and B&Bs. Here are some recommended lodging choices for your romantic getaway in Montana.
You'll find magnificent displays of holiday lights at locations around Oregon every Christmas season. Most light shows offer holiday-themed snacks and entertainments in addition to the sparkling decor. Here are some of the holiday light displays that you can enjoy around the state of Oregon:
- Ashland Festival of Light Celebration - stroll and shop among over 1 million holiday lights in downtown Ashland
- Magic at the Mill - lights, entertainment, shopping and Santa! at the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill in Salem
- Shores Acres Holiday Lights - this Oregon state park near Coos Bay features 300,000 sparkling lights in the park's formal garden
- Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights -take in the lights along a drive in Roseburg's River Forks Park
Holiday lights abound in Oregon's big city, Portland, with amazing displays at The Grotto, the Oregon Zoo, and the Portland International Raceway.
(photo courtesy of Ashland, Oregon Chamber of Commerce/Orville's Photography)
The Northwest's state parks are amazing places. They preserve historic sites such as lighthouses, shipwrecks, and military facilities. They house and maintain fascinating museums and visitor centers. Most of all, they give us a place to experience nature and enjoy outdoor recreation, whether along the ocean coast, in the forest, or even within city limits. Unfortunately, the state parks in the Northwest have been severely impacted by diminishing state budgets, forcing them to limit facilities and maintenance or to close down. Giving an annual state park pass or permit as a holiday gift is a great way to provide financial support. It also give you great motivation to take advantage of all these wonderful places during the coming year. Get a pass for yourself, your family, and your friends - it will be a gift that will keep on giving for months and years to come.
The Nutcracker is a popular Christmas-time tradition in Seattle and around the world. Pacific Northwest Ballet's version of The Nutcracker, considered among the best, features spectacular sets and colorful costumes designed by children's book creator Maurice Sendak. There are many reasons that you should attend a performance of PNB's The Nutcracker during the holiday season. I've put together a list of 10 great reasons you should go.
(Photo © Angela Sterling/PNB)
Some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery can best be seen from the sea, making Alaska a great cruise destination. Cruising is one of the most popular ways to visit Alaska, with more people taking advantage of the opportunity every year. Many of the northbound and round trip itineraries leave out of the Port of Seattle; others, from Vancouver BC. About.com's guide to "Cruises" has put together her annual roundup of the opportunities that are available for the 2014 Alaska cruise season.
The mountains and forests of Washington State provide the perfect playground for winter sports, including snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and snowmobiling. Downhill skiing and snowboarding hills are scattered around Washington, often located within a 1-2 hour drive of the state's major cities. Combine this snowy fun with the cozy lodgings, awesome dining, and charming shops and attractions found in many Washington state destinations and you have everything you need for a wonderful wintertime vacation. Here are my recommendations for winter getaways in Washington.
(photo courtesy of Washington State Tourism)
The day after Thanksgiving seems to be the official kickoff for the Christmas and winter holiday season. Cities and towns throughout Idaho find a whole lot of fun ways to start celebrating during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Here are a few highlights:
- Coeur d'Alene Resort Holiday Light Show - the post-Thanksgiving celebrations start off with a bang and continue into the New Year
- St. Alphonsus Festival of Trees (Boise) - a brilliant display of decorated trees and wreathes, and it all goes to benefit Women's Mobile Health Clinic this year
- "A Home Grown Christmas" Night Lights Parade (Pocatello) -colorful holiday lights parading through the streets of downtown Pocatello
- Holidays in Sandpoint - Sandpoint's season-long holiday event kicks off with a tree lighting ceremony
- more about Christmas in Idaho
Downtown Portland, with its varied selection of shops and no sales tax, is a wonderful place for a holiday shopping getaway. Most people find Portland's downtown area to be extremely walkable. Throw in its many parks and plazas, along with its food carts, coffee shops, and great restaurants, and downtown Portland has all you need for a fun shopping excursion. If you stay in a downtown hotel, you'll have a base to unload and refresh. After your day of shopping, take in a performance of The Nutcracker by the Oregon Ballet Theatre or the It's a Wonderful Life musical at the Brunish Theatre, both located downtown.
A grand and gorgeous 88-foot tall Engelmann Spruce from the Colville National Forest in Eastern Washington has been selected as the 2013 US Capitol Christmas Tree. That spruce will soon be on its way to Washington DC. On its journey to the US Capitol, it will go on a 20-day tour taking it to stops around Washington State and across the nation. The tree is a gift from the people of Washington State, who will also supply tree decorations. If you're a Washingtonian between the ages of 5 and 19, you are invited to submit a hand-crafted ornament.
For the next few days it will remain in the town of Colville, Washington, before hitting the road. Here are the 2013 US Capitol Christmas Tree's planned stops in the Northwest:
- Nov 5 - Spokane, WA
- Nov 6 - Republic and Wenatchee, WA
- Nov 7 - Yakima, WA
- Nov 8 - Everett and Olympia, WA
- Nov 9 - Vancouver and Kennewick, WA
- Nov 10 - Mountain Home, ID
The 2013 US Capitol Christmas Tree from Washington's Colville National Forest is scheduled to arrive in Washington DC on Monday, November 25.
Aviation and aerospace attractions, grand waterfront scenery, and fun shopping opportunities are among the many fun ways visitors can spend time in Everett and surrounding Snohomish County. There are also hospitable casinos offering gaming, good food, and live entertainment. Fabulous parks and recreation trails provide places to enjoy time in the beautiful outdoors.
- Attractions in Everett & Snohomish County
- Parks & Outdoor Recreation in Snohomish County
- Shopping in Snohomish County
- Events & Festivals in Snohomish County