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There’s no better time to visit New England than the end of summer and early fall. The crowds have died down and the quietness of nature envelopes you and forces relaxation. In late summer, you’ll still enjoy warm temperatures and long days, perfect for exploring beaches. Come early fall, the trees will burst with colors and the temperatures will slowly start to lower. You’ll be in a perfect position to take advantage of hundreds of mountainous hikes, small town explorations and walks along the beautiful Atlantic coastline. Best of all, it won’t cost you a fortune. We’ve rounded up the 8 best budget inns—and found rates for as little as $160/nightly on CheapTickets.com—for your next New England visit. 

ALSO: 8 awesome hostels for travelers over 35

 

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Photo by Cedar Crest Inn

Cedar Crest Inn: Camden, ME
Located in Camden, the Cedar Crest Inn is just a few blocks from the beach. At just $159 nightly, you’ll pay a small price for a great family beach trip!

 

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Photo by Glenmoor By The Sea

Glenmoor By The Sea: Lincolnville, ME
You’ll get ocean views for as low as $159 nightly at Glenmoor By The Sea. Set in the charming town of Lincolnville, the property is oceanfront and near plenty of outdoor activities. 

 

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Photo by vtskiandride.com

Killington Mountain Lodge: Killington, VT
In winter, Killington is swarming with snow bunnies eager to hit the slopes, but this town is just as popular in the off season. Stay at the Killington Mountain Lodge for $134 nightly and spend your days lounging by the pool or hiking nearby trails.

 

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Photo by The Stowehof 

The Stowehof: Stowe, VT
Stowe is perhaps the most charming town in Vermont and like many ski towns, it’s a great place to visit in the off season. At the Stowehof, you can explore the town and hit up locally owned boutiques and great restaurants for as little as $99 nightly. Our favorite is Prohibition Pig, just 10 minutes away in nearby Waterbury. 

 ALSO: You’ll be inn good spirits when you sign up for CheapCash and start earning points toward hotel stays.

 

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Photo by Nantasket Hotel at the Beach 

Nantasket Hotel at the Beach: Hull, MA
The only thing standing between you and sand between your toes at the Nantasket Hotel at the Beach is a short walk acrorss the street. Ocean views greet you each morning at this inn for only $155 nightly. 

 

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Photo by innpartners.com

The Inn at Thorn Hill
A charming inn and a spa? You can’t beat that! Sure, it’s a little over the $160 marker but with rates as low as $179 nightly, The Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa is worth the extra dough. 

 

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Photo by Admiral Weaver Inn

Admiral Weaver Inn
Newport is easily one of the cutest waterfront towns in the country. Sailing is a way of life here and you’re sure to find an outfitter eager to take you out on the water. Stay at the Admiral Weaver Inn for $149 nightly and spend the weekend exploring the town from land and from sea. 

 

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Photo by The Spa at Norwich Inn

The Spa at Norwich Inn: Norwich, CT
For $151 nightly, enjoy this charming boutique inn and spa. Sidewalks lined with flowers wind through The Spa at Norwich Inn and white adirondack chairs are peppers about, luring visitors to sit, sip a cocktail, and relax. 

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Tagged: Beach, Family, Off-season

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Hotel rooms typically include a bunch of free amenities that travelers never put to good use. It’s a pity.

Instead of rolling your eyes at the tiny bars of soap and miniature shampoos, get creative with them. After all, you’re surrounded by a treasure trove of hotel freebies that can be used to serve new purposes.

RELATED: Why Montenegro’s the cheap European destination of your dreams

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To inspire some on-the-road innovation, here are eight ways to maximize the value of those in-room goodies. Think of it as being one part frugal road warrior, one part MacGyver.

1. Tiny shampoos and gels

These bottles definitely meet the TSA regulation of 3–4 ounces for liquid carry-ons. Dump out the contents and save these plastic bottles for future trips (or, alternatively, save them and use them, then reuse those bottles). It’s always handy to have spares at home so that you can fill them with preferred shampoos, liquid soaps, etc., before your next journey.

2. Laundry bags

Most travelers don’t even realize that a sturdy, plastic laundry bag is likely hanging in their hotel room closet. These bags rock, people. Instead of stuffing it with clothes for the hotel to launder, use it as a personal storage for your dirty laundry, dirty shoes, etc. (Then you’ve got it all in one place for the return home, and it won’t co-mingle with the rest of the clean stuff in your luggage.) Hotel laundry bags also double as excellentmakeshift shower caps when one isn’t provided in the hotel room (see above).

Flickr CC: Harsha K R

Flickr CC: Harsha K R

3. Shower cap

When shower caps are provided, turn them into storage compartments for receipts while on business trips as it helps keeps everything in one place. Also consider using them as covers for the bottom of dirty shoes, so they don’t get the clothes in your suitcase dirty on the return trip home. (It’s OK to ring up the front desk and ask for more shower caps, FYI.)

4. Soap

Transform unused bars of soap into luggage potpourri. Just break it into two or three pieces and place it in the suitcase after packing. Voila! It helps to keep clothing smelling fresh on the journey home.

ALSO: These are the best deals on CheapTickets this week!

5. Towels

When you get the urge to practice yoga or do sit-ups in the privacy of your hotel room, don’t sweat on the floor, which may or may not have been vacuumed recently. Just grab some towels and spread two on the floor. Boom—you have a DIY yoga mat.

Flickr CC: John

Flickr CC: John

6. In-room coffee/tea

Save yourself the $5 on Starbucks and make your own damn coffee in the room. If you bring a thermos, even better: Fill it up so that it lasts the entire morning.

7. Ice (from the ice machine down the hall)

Most hotels have ice machines. Use them to keep your water COLD. Bring a water bottle or thermos and delicately shovel small ice cubes into these containers so that you have cold water for the day and night.

8. Toilet paper

Hotels abound with toilet paper, and chances are your hotel room bathroom has several rolls to spare. It’s worth tucking one into your backpack, especially if you’re doing an outdoor day-trip or traveling with kids—you never know when that spare roll will come in handy for wipes, sneezes and spills.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, FREE!, Tips & advice

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The fire of NFL football has been relit in Los Angeles. And the torch of the Rams stadium at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was lit (literally) in front of a massive crowd of football fans a few weeks ago. With over 91,000 tickets sold for the opening game against the Seattle Seahawks, the L.A. Rams (ooooh, nostalgia) claimed their first victory in 22 years.

So, now that the fallen angel has returned to the City of Angels, flocks of fans are heading west. Here are some tips on where to stay when you go, plus some other things to do in L.A. when you’re not wearing your melon heads and decades-old, pre-STL hats and T-shirts.

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The L.A. Hotel Downtown

The hotel: 

Modern. Sleek. SO L.A. This recently renovated modern oasis in the heart of downtown offers a special room package for Rams games. Oh, and an outdoor pool, so pack that swimsuit.

What’s nearby: 

It’s just 0.2 miles away from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where you can hear world-class stylings of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Los Angeles Central Library is also in walking distance, and is a major architectural landmark. It was even designated a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument. Free docent tours of the building and its art are given every day that the library is open for business, and on Saturday there is a tour of the Maguire Gardens, which surroundthe library. If you’re looking to experience a little culture with the fam or your footballin’ friends in the city of plastic surgery and fancy cars, these options are all touchdowns.

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Luxe City Center Hotel

The hotel: 

Get ready for the blitz of dining, shopping, nightlife and culture surrounding this 4 star “luxe” accommodation, also positioned right in the center of downtown L.A. The patiooverlooks L.A. LIVE. The rooms are chic, comfortable.

What’s nearby: 

The Arts District is just an onside kick away from the hotel, making it so easy to see tons of galleries, studios, artisanal crafts and architectural wonders. Fashionista sista? The Fashion District is also within a runway’s strut from the hotel. Shop wholesale, retail, designer style and everyday bargains at over 150 stores and vendors. Eat and drink in the Financial District, the commercial hub of the city. There really is a new, flashy experience at every turn, so even if you don’t have a gameplan set, you can just call the plays as you maneuver through the hustle and bustle.

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JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE

The hotel: 

Just over 5,280 yards from the LA Rams stadium sits this 4 star, highly recommended (by 91% of CheapTickets peeps) swanky hotel. Okay, sounds like a lot of yards, but it’s really only 3.4 miles away. Anyway, the contemporary décor and indulgent amenities will let you relax and kick back like a true LALALand VIP.

What’s nearby: 

And, you’ll be right in the midst of the exciting downtown action. Just moments away from The Staples Center and L.A. LIVE, be sure to check the calendar to see if there are any must-see shows or games taking place during your west-coast adventure. Definitely worth the extra yardage to take a pass at the L.A. Opera (just 5 minutes from the hotel), the fourth largest opera company in the entire country. So much to do. So much to see. OK, next…

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The Mayfair Hotel

The hotel:

Built during the roaring ‘20s, this hotel is a true historic gem. Though no longer a host to flapper girls and oil barons, the charismatic charm and energy has evolved into contemporary, modern vibes with a twist of old-timey intrigue.

What’s nearby:

This hotel sits at the gates of the Financial District, and is just a short stroll to the 7th Street Restaurant and Shopping Corridor. Want to explore more than DTLA (Downtown LA)? Head to the Metro station at 7th Street for a subway ride to whatever LA hotspot you want to explore next. Legendary Bev Hills shoppin’? Picturesque Santa Monica beaches? Panoramic Hollywood Hills? It’s all here for your vacationing pleasure, when you’re all done Rams rooting (oh yea, and The Mayfair is only, like, 3.8 miles away from the Coliseum. Like, totally awesome, right?!

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Hotel Normandie

The hotel:

Only 4.5 miles from the stadium, this boutique hotel was first developed in 1926 by renowned LA architects Albert R. Walker and Percy A. Eisen. The exterior boasted a Renaissance Revival motif and the interiors a Spanish Colonial Revival concept (surely you architecture buffs can appreciate all of these architecture words). Fast forward nine decades, and it’s time to expand, redo and update, whilst keeping the winning features from the old playbook.

What’s nearby:

So, wondering what lies in the backyard of this historic LA hotel? You guessed it…Koreatown! With a mix of Korean restaurants like Soowon Galbi (authentic Korean BBQ, MMM), attractions like The Wiltern (a top music venue for live entertainment with performances from big names like Alice In Chains and Glen Hansard), and kickin’ nightlife with spots like Café Brass Monkey (Korean karaoke EVERY night of the week), Koreatown is a must do, must see, must sing, must MUST. 15-yard penalty if you don’t.

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Tagged: Family, L.A., Sports

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It’s no secret that America has a love affair with Halloween. This beloved holiday inspires countless festivals and celebrations throughout the country every year, and each location has its own special brand of Halloween style… However, certain cities go the extra mile to make their haunted celebrations especially memorable. Here is our list of the four best Halloween festivals to fulfill your ghostly fantasies, in no particular order.

The Village Halloween Parade, New York City, NY

When: October 31, 7 p.m.
Where: On 6th AvenueNorth of Spring Street to 16th Street, New York City
Why it’s worth the trip:
The Village Halloween Parade is known for its huge community involvement and some serious theatrical aspects, which are to be expected when visiting NYC in the first place. All marching to live music from more than 50 bands, hundreds of haunting puppets, dancers and artists participate in this decades-old tradition. Not to mention the thousands of costumed civilians who join the parade each year, and are highly encouraged to do so.

This celebration is unique for how inclusive it strives to be, inviting Halloween enthusiasts of all walks of life, or death (get it?), to join in the fun. Need more convincing? This is a free event!

Here are the three steps you need to take to participate:

1. Wear your costume (duh)… Your most creative, creepy or crazy costume, to be exact.
2. Join the crowd at 6th Avenue and Canal Street.
3. Arrive between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. or risk missing the festivities entirely.

A common scene at the Village Halloween Parade in New York City: Revelers march in droves across the city, dressed head-to-toe in costumes, transforming the streets of New York into one of the best Halloween festivals in the country.

A common scene at the Village Halloween Parade in New York City, one of the most inclusive and best Halloween festivals. Photo credit: Joe Buglewicz. Provided by: NYC & Company

The Festival of the Dead, Salem, MA

When: The entire month! October features countless events here. The beset of the best take place towards the end of the month: the Witches’ Halloween Ball, Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo and The Dinner with the Dead.
Where: At various locations in Salem… Which, if you didn’t know, is where the infamous witch trials occurred in the 1600s.
Why it’s worth the trip:
Because of the city’s historical significance, the best part about Salem’s Festival of the Dead is its odd brand of authenticity. But if you’ve ever been curious about modern-day witchcraft—and who isn’t?—this is the place to be. According to the festival’s official website, the Festival of the Dead is “an annual event series that explores death’s macabre customs, heretical histories, and strange rituals.”

And although the entire month of October offers up such “strange rituals”—among them, seances and graveyard conjures which, let’s be honest, sound awesome—the festivities closely surrounding All Hallows Eve are considered the main attractions. These include the official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball, Mourning Tea, the Dumb Supper and the Salem Witches’ Magic Circle.

The Halloween Ball is perhaps the biggest draw, taking place on October 28. Held in the historic Hawthorne Hotel, it offers way more than your typical Halloween party—besides the costume contests, live music and performances, you’ll be treated to psychic readings, drum circles and ancient ‘magical’ rituals, among other things. And that, folks, is what makes this one of the best Halloween festivals around.

You can dance with the devil on the dance floor at the Witches' Ball, a highlight of the Festival of the Dead in Salem, Massachusetts.

The dance floor at the Witches’ ball during the Festival of the Dead in Salem, Massachusetts. Photo credit: Chad Champeaux, provided by Destination Salem

Krewe of Boo Parade and other festivities in New Orleans, LA

When: Halloween is celebrated throughout the month of October in New Orleans, but the celebrations truly pick up the two weeks before the actual holiday.
Where: At various locations in New Orleans
Why it’s worth the trip:
Of course we had to include the American capital of voodoo and hauntings on our list of best Halloween festivals. After all, the famously devilish New Orleans always brings the ghosts to the party for this yearly blowout, which is second only to Mardi Gras in the city.

And while ghost tours in the city are offered all year round, they’re particularly creepy during the Halloween season (naturally). You can catch one such tour in the French Quarter, or in Uptown and the Garden District. You can also visit the world-famous cemeteries, which feature eery above-ground tombs and boast hundreds of ghost-encounter stories.

The annual Krewe of Boo parade has been welcoming the spirit world since 2007, and each year it grows in size. One thing is certain: Be prepared to catch flying swag thrown from the elaborately designed floats, or risk getting hit in the head. The parade typically begins at Elysian Fields and progresses through the French Quarter, passing through N. Peters and Decatur Streets, to Jackson Square, and then towards theWarehouse District, and all the way up to the Convention Center. And don’t miss the official after-party at Howlin Wolf. Naturally, it’s a costume party, so unless you want to look like a complete dud, wear something flashy.

On Halloween proper, head to the streets—literally. On All Hallows Eve, the French Quarter comes alive with street parties, most notably in the Faubourg Marginy. And while you’re here, you might want to stop by a voodoo shop or two… Just be careful with that purchase…

The terrifying and fun parade floats alone are enough reason to attend the New Orleans Halloween parade. The city's sordid and mysterious past only fuels the party, making it one of the best Halloween festivals anywhere.

One of the many parade floats at the New Orleans Halloween parade. Photo credit: New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Long Beach, CA

When: September 30 through October 31. Dark Harbor is open 7 p.m. to midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Where: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach
Why it’s worth the trip:

Located on, and near, an already infamously haunted ship, it’s no wonder that the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is considered one of the best Halloween festivals in the country, offering a combination of interactive haunted house and themed carnival. Plus, tickets start at $20 online, meaning you can almost surely afford to get in, at least.

The inspiration for this frightening festival, the RMS Queen Mary, took her maiden voyage in 1936 and is the final resting place for souls from that era, or so it is said. Some sources say there are as many as 150 known spirits on the ship, and they have no intention of leaving. So the best thing you can do is show them a good time and hang out with them this October. You can even stay on the ship if you’re feeling very, very brave.

But that’s not all—Dark Harbor also offers some of the spookiest haunted mazes around. They’re so detailed that you may actually find yourself questioning what’s real and what’s fake…making it one of the best Halloween festivals, period.

Don't be surprised if you make a new friend or two at the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor. Photo provided by The ACE Agency and Queenmary.com

Don’t be surprised if you make a new friend or two at the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. Photo provided by The ACE Agency and Queenmary.com

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Tagged: Holidays

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The weather is starting to take a turn for the cold, meaning it’s time to start looking toward the tropics. San Juan, Puerto Rico is a place of beauty and rich, rich culture. Whether you want to beach yourself for a weekend in the sun, climb through the rainforest, explore streets laid centuries ago or drink to your heart’s content, San Juan has what you’re looking for. Our advice: The resorts are wonderful, but don’t miss out on the culture. Here’s what to do in Puerto Rico in October.

San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico by air. Photo: Roger W. – Flickr.

Train, plane or automobile — Since Puerto Rico is, in fact, an island, your best mode of transport is going to be by plane. A boat is an option if you’re on a cruise or a giant cargo ship (hint: sarcasm), but flights usually aren’t too outrageously priced. San Juan has two airports, but you’ll likely fly into Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, which is just outside San Juan, in neighboring municipality Carolina.

Tren Urbano

A station for the Tren Urbano in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Photo: Vxla – Flickr.

Cheap local transit — Most people recommend renting a car while in Puerto Rico, to get you out of San Juan and into some of the island’s richest forms of nature. Keep in mind, though, that the city has the highest density of cars on the road in the world, and congestion is common. Yet one of the reasons so many cars are on the road is because there doesn’t seem to be much faith in the public transportation system, Alternative de Transporte Integrado. That is the cheapest option though, with trips on buses, vans and trains all $0.75.There’s also a light-rail system called Tren Urbano.

Old San Juan

The colorful buildings in Old San Juan. Photo: Cogito Ergo Imago – Flickr.

Stroll through Old San Juan — When people who have never visited Puerto Rico envision San Juan, this neighborhood is probably what they see. The narrow streets are lined with vibrantly colored houses, many edged in gorgeous balconies with views. There are cafes on the street serving up authentic fare in the summer-like weather, and live music often springs up on the corners. It marks the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico, and history is everywhere. Even the streets themselves — made from a blue cobblestone brought over by the Spanish, who used it as a ballast in their ships — are historical.

Ocean Park Beach

Ocean Park Beach in San Juan. Photo: Alan Kotok – Flickr.

Bask on a beach — Many visitors come to Puerto Rico and see nothing but the beaches, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There are some small, noteworthy beach towns on the outskirts of the city, but let’s focus on the beaches around town. There’s a beach for every visitor, from chill and low-key to Miami fresh. Condado Beach is hip and trendy, with casinos near the water and lots of activity. La Playita in Condado has calm waters that make it very kid-friendly. Ocean Park Beach is more laid back. Or, stay in one of the many resorts surrounding the city and enjoy their beaches. The Balnearios are government-run beaches and are free except parking. No matter which beach you choose, the weather will be just about perfect—Puerto Rico in October sees average temps of 78 degrees.

rum

Rum is big in Puerto Rico, and mojitos reign. Photo: saragoldsmith – Flickr.

Revel in some rum — Puerto Rico is one of the world’s largest producers of rum, so what better place to indulge in a piña colada? Wherever you are, you won’t have to stray too far to find that sweet, sweet rum, but here are a couple of suggestions: Punto de Vista, on Calle Fortaleza in Old San Juan, is a bar on the roof of Hotel Milano—and visitors rave about their mojitos. Marilyn’s Place, on Calle de San Francisco, also has plenty of tasty, tropical options, along with a shaded street patio. Oh, and it’s very near the water.

Casa Blanca

Casa Blanca in San Juan. Photo: Roger W. – Flickr.

Experience some history — If you stay in Old San Juan, as we’ve discussed, history is all around you. The Catedral Metropolitana Basilica de San Juan Bautista is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan, and the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. Now it acts as the Archdiocese of San Juan. There’s La Fortaleza, built before 1540. There’s also Casa Blanca, the house built for the first governor of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de León and his family in the 1520s, which has been turned into a museum. The list goes on and on.

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Tagged: Beach, Caribbean, Food & drink, International, Tips & advice

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Fall brings a bumper crop of outdoor fun, including some of the country’s best corn mazes and pumpkin festivals—both great ways to enjoy the brisk fall weather and the season’s best activities on the cheap. Here are our top picks for doing exactly that.

Scott’s Maze AdventuresMount Dora, FL:

It’s hard to get in the fall spirit in Florida’s eternal summer. But this family farm—tucked away in a quaint town outside of Orlando—turns on the autumn charm with not one, but two, corn mazes. As you navigate the 1- and 7-acre fields, you’ll complete a game sheet to learn about this year’s theme. The property also features a hayrides, small fishing pond, playground and 60-foot super slide. It’s open Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 11; also Nov. 23 and 25.

Scott's Maze Adventures' winding corn mazes, as seen from above.

Scott’s Maze Adventures. Photo from LongAndScottFarms.com

Sever’s Fall FestivalShakopee, MN

Yes, there’s a corn maze. Yes, there’s a corn pit where you can roll around in the stuff. Yes, there’s something called the Gourd Walk. But that’s only the beginning. Admission to this Twin Cities-area festival includes live music, magic shows, an exotic petting zoo (giraffes!), pig races and so. Much. More. The event runs Fridays, Saturday and Sundays through Oct. 30. For a $1 off coupon, visit seversfallfestival.com.

A view from inside the corn maze at Sever's Fall Festival: A man and two small boys peek out from behind tall corn stalks.

Sever’s Fall Festival. Photo from seversfallfestival.com.

Happy Day FarmManalapan, NJ

Garden State pride is strong at this corn maze located about 40 miles south of Newark. Every year, the farm chooses a different theme (once, they cut homestate hero Bruce Springsteen’s mug into the field). This year’s maze honors Rutgers University, with a labyrinth full of trivia about the 250-year-old institution. Besides the corn maze, there’s a sunflower maze, hay maze and other attractions. The farm is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October.

Cox Farms Fall FestivalCentreville, VA:

It takes only about 15 minutes to walk through the Cornundrum, the kid-friendly corn maze ‘path’ at this farm about an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C. That leaves plenty of time for other amusements, like the hay ride, apple cider tastings, a half-dozen super slides and more. If you dare, return at night for Fields of Fear, a Halloween-themed event that includes the Cornightmare, Dark Side Hayride, bonfires and other mature fun.

Cox Farm Fall Festival. Photo by Eric Taylor.

Cox Farm Fall Festival. Photo by Eric Taylor.

Great Vermont Corn MazeDanville, VT:

In addition to being the self-proclaimed largest corn maze in New England, this place also boasts a farm animal petting zoo; “Kid Village” where little ones can pretend to be a sheriff or storekeeper; underground tunnel maze; Barnyard Golf and more. The 10-acre field contains 3 miles of trails, so wear comfy shoes and be prepared to stay awhile. And if you want time to solve the maze, enjoy a picnic and let the kids burn off steam in the play area, it’s best to arrive in the morning. The corn maze is open daily through Oct. 16.

Roloff FarmsHelvetia, OR:

Little people, big fun. You may recognize Matt and Amy Roloff from their TLC show. But before they were reality TV stars, they owned this family farm in suburban Portland. After you take your pick in the pumpkin patch, you can enjoy a corn maze, see exotic animals (tigers!), miniature golf, pony ride, face painting and more. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30.

Roloff Farm. Photo by jill, jellidonut... whatever/Flickr.

Roloff Farm. Photo by jill, jellidonut… whatever/Flickr.

Dewberry FarmBrookshire, TX:

Have some Texas-sized fun at this Houston-area farm that features an 8-acre corn maze plus an additional 8-acre pumpkin patch. After you play in the corn box and check out the carved pumpkin expo, turn your mind toward the holidays by riding the mile-long DewVille Express Railroad to Christmas Tree Forest, where you can scope out a Christmas tree and return during the holidays to take it home. Open weekends through Nov. 10.

Dewberry Farm. Photo by Tammy Ramirez/Flickr.

Dewberry Farm. Photo by Tammy Ramirez/Flickr.

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Tagged: Family, Festivals, Seasonal, Uncategorized

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If you’re a frugal traveler, the most expensive thing about traveling to Bali is … getting to Bali. No matter your gateway from the U.S., a flight to this tropical island in Indonesia will typically cost you more than $1,000.

But that’s where the big spending ends. The cost of things once you’re physically in Bali, assuming you aren’t traveling like a goddess with demanding diva-like tendencies, are considerably cheaper than what you’d find in, say, New York City.

In fact, a stay in Bali could very well be cheaper than one in New York City. Don’t believe me? Here’s a breakdown of what I paid during a recent stay in Bali, versus what it would normally cost me in the Big Apple. It just might inspire you to click “Purchase” on a flight to Denpasar, Bali.

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Accommodations

Bali: I paid $40 per night for a massive private room with en-suite bathroom in a gorgeous, centrally located villa in Ubud, Bali. It’s easy to score three- and four-star hotel accommodations here for less than $100 per night.

NYC: Good luck finding anything in the Big Apple for less than $100 per night. Three- and four-star hotels regularly fetch $250 or more.

Taxi ride to/from the airport

Bali: My first hotel arranged a taxi pickup after midnight for me for $16 (IDR 215,000) to my hotel in Kuta. (Although I’m sure I could have gotten a cheaper rate had I negotiated with a taxi driver on the spot at the airport – just didn’t want to deal with that after 30 hours of travel.)

NYC: It regularly costs $45-$50 to get to a Manhattan hotel from any of the New York airports.

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Vehicle rental

Bali: Motorbikes are the way to get around in Bali because the roads are so narrow and congested in the bigger towns. You can rent them for $2 to $4 per day – the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere in the world.

NYC: Renting a car in the Big Apple – kind of crazy, in my opinion – will set you back at least $55 per day.

Private driver

Bali: I paid $50 (IDR 650,000) for a private driver to spend a day driving me to temples across Bali, which included a few hours of driving in between destinations.

NYC: It would cost more than $300 to do something comparable for the day in New York City, whether through a private service or a shared-ride service.

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Biking tour

Bali: A full-day biking group tour, including breakfast and lunch, which took us through villages and rice fields, cost $40.

NYC: A guided group bike tour in NYC costs anywhere from $55 to $100.

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Top attractions

Bali: Admission to most temples across Bali cost anywhere from $1.50 (20,000 IDR) to $2.30 (30,000 IDR).

NYC: Tickets to attractions such as the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock cost $32 and $26, respectively. Popular museums admissions run $25.

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Yoga class

Bali: I paid $68 (900,000 IDR) for a 10-class pack at the world-famous Yoga Barn, which broke down to $7 per class.

NYC: Classes are regularly $20 to $30 in NYC.

Shows

Bali: Cultural performances at local temples, which involve dancing and fire-blowing, cost anywhere from $3.80 (50,000 IDR) to $6 (80,000 IDR) per person.

NYC: Popular Broadwayshows regularly fetch $100 or more per ticket, unless you go to the TKTS Booth and score a same day discount ticket at up to 50 percent off.)

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Private surf lesson

Bali: I paid $26 (IDR 350,000) for a private, two-hour surfing lesson in Kuta, Bali.

NYC: The same private lesson would cost $175. (And yes, you can take surfing lessons in Rockaway Beach, just outside of NYC.)

Pizza

Bali: I got an entire personal pizza for $3.40 (45,000 IDR) at Mamma Mia in Ubud, Bali.

NYC: While you could get a slice of pizza for that much in New York, an entire pizza will run you anywhere from $10 to $25.

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Cup of coffee

Bali: Bali serves up some of the best, freshest coffee anywhere in the world. I regularly paid $1.50 (20,000 IDR), sometimes less. (The island does have a few Starbucks cafes, but I avoided those.)

NYC: A cup of coffee at Starbucks will cost about $2.

Bottled water

Bali: It’s typically $0.75 (10,000 IDR).

NYC: In the Big Apple, the same runs $2-$4, depending on where it’s purchased.

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Sushi dinner

Bali: I paid $14 for a rainbow roll, chicken katsu, edamame and two sodas at an ocean-view Japanese restaurant called Sushi Tei Beachwalk in Kuta, Bali.

NYC: That entire meal would cost me more than $50 at my favorite sushi restaurant in New York, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. (The rainbow roll alone costs about $14.)

Parking

Bali: It’s often free, if you can squeeze into a spot on the crowded streets.

NYC: Ranges $20-$30 per day in a parking garage.

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Shopping

Bali: I found amazing designer shops, such as Marta Valbuena and Pygmees, that sell one-of-a-kind dresses for $35 to $50.

NYC: Similar dresses in New York City boutiques would easily fetch $200 or more. (Which is why I stocked up in Bali!)

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Tagged: Beach, Cheap Tips, International, Tips & advice

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The changing of seasons can sometimes inspire change within ourselves, especially when moving from summer to autumn. Leaves change color, from their uniform shade of green to various vibrant varieties of reds, oranges and yellows. The air has a certain crisp feel to it, no longer humid and heavy like in the summer. Maybe these drastic changes are what inspire the urge to take brisk morning hikes. If you are looking for a change, of scenery or self, here are six fall hikes you need to try on the East Coast.

McAfee’s Knob in Roanoke, Virginia

The McAfee’s Knob overlook, in Roanoke, Virginia, is one of themost photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. Just one look and it’s easy to see why. It offers a wide panoramic view of the Catawba Valley, North Mountain to the West, Tinker Cliffs to the North and the Roanoke Valley to the East.

The stunning view from McAfee Knob is part of why it's one of the most photographed spots along the Appalachian Trail. Photo credit: Bruce Henderson and Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge.

The stunning view from McAfee Knob is part of why it’s one of the most photographed spots along the Appalachian Trail. Photo credit: Bruce Henderson and Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

The hike to the knob, from the most popular starting place—the VA311 parking area—is a little more than four miles and is of an intermediate difficulty. Easy enough for the family but steep enough for a workout… It all depends on the pace of your group.

The trails winds through the densely wooded Virginia landscape and gives you a look into what this part of the country might have looked like before civilization. The colors of fall are unavoidable during this hike, and when you reach the top you’ll be greeted by a landscape so colorful you’ll swear it’s a painting.

Annapolis Rock near Boonsboro, Maryland

Another popular spot on the Appalachian Trail, Annapolis Rock offers a crazy-good view of the state of Maryland, which makes this hike one of the most popular in the state.

Annapolis Rock overlook. By Patorjk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Annapolis Rock overlook | Patorjk, via Wikimedia Commons

The hike to Annapolis Rock is around five miles long and is said to be of a moderate difficulty, yet kid friendly. The trail is accessible year-round, which means it is also a popular fall hike for all types of visitors.

If you are looking for an even more panoramic view with less traffic, you can hike one more mile to Black Rock Cliff. This rock is also a popular attraction for rock climbers.

If this extra mile is not for you and you’d like to stay by Annapolis Rock for the night, the campground nearby is a non-fee first come-first-serve campground.

The Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island

A different type of hike, the famous Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, combines natural beauty with architectural history. The walk features Rhode Island’s coastline and beautiful Newport mansions. The walk was made an official National Recreation Trail in 1975 and is open year-round.

View from Cliff Walk, Newport. Photo credit: Ken Gallager at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: View from Cliff Walk, Newport | Ken Gallager, via Wikimedia Commons

Hiking can take many forms—some hikers like their trails to be rough and natural, while other prefer a well-kept and preserved trail. But if you are looking for an experience that has a little taste of both, the Cliff Walk is for you.

Much of the walk is paved and easy to take, however, parts of it are quite rugged. The 3.5-mile walk/hike begins at First Beach on Memorial Boulevard, and you can exit the trail at various locations.

Although Newport was once known as a ‘summer playground’ of America’s wealthiest families, as seen by their huge mansions while on the Cliff Walk, fall offers an entirely new background for the incredible architecture. Mansions like ‘The Breakers,’ ‘Rosecliff’ and ‘Rough Point’ are complimented by fall colors and the scent of brisk sea air.

The mansions are available to tour, and one-house tickets are $16 for adults and $7. And if you’d like to see more than one of them, packages of two-house tickets and five-house tickets are also available.

Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

The Maryland Heights hike in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia is a very popular hike that attracts countless visitors during its peak season. So if you’re hoping to avoid the overcrowding, it’s a great autumn hike.

With a view of Harpers Ferry, tons of Civil War History and a moderately difficult trail, this hike is not short on entertainment value.

View of Harpers Ferry taken from the Maryland Heights trail overlook. Photo credit: Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.

View of Harpers Ferry taken from the Maryland Heights trail overlook. Photo credit: Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.

Maryland Heights Loop is almost five miles in total and features access to ruins of Union Civil War forts and infantry encampments, as well as views of the natural West Virginia landscape.

The first part of the hike is where you will see that overlook of Harpers Ferry, as well as the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Although the hike is said to be of moderate difficulty, it is quite steep and certainly calls for some patience and good pacing.You can always turn back once seeing the overlook, but the second leg of the hike is where you will find the Civil War history experience.

Bonus: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park also offers several other hikes and museums to further indulge your inner history buff.

Camel’s Hump State Park, Vermont

The Monroe Trail at Camel’s Hump State Park in Vermont is one of the longer, and more difficult hikes on this list. The nearly 7-mile, round-trip hike to the Camel’s Hump summit is not for the faint of heart, but the views are well worth the climb.

Of all the fall hikes on this list, this one's view is among the most gorgeous - pictured here are rolling green mountains as far as the eye can see.

Camel’s Hump. Photo credit: Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.

The majority of the Monroe Trail is within a hardwood forest of birch and maple, which you will see from above once reaching the summit.

It’ll be hard to believe that there is still so much wilderness in the USA’s East Coast. And although the trail is popular, you are sure to experience the solitude of the Appalachian trail while on this hike.

The hike begins in a parking lot at the end of Camel’s Hump Road, in North Duxbury. Because of its difficulty level, this trail requires more gear than other trails on this list. Be sure to bring shoes with ankle support and lots of water. You’ll have to sign in at the trail register once you have begun your hike.

Gorham Mountain Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine

Going along with the theme of ‘most popular fall hikes’, Gorham Mountain trail in Maine, is one of Acadia National Park’s most popular hikes. Although it is not the tallest peak in the park, the Gorham Mountain trail is popular for its views of the surrounding mountains and Maine’s coast.

This fall hike yields stunning views of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.

Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park. Photo Credit: Maine Office of Tourism.

Only two miles round trip, starting at the Gorham Trail parking lot on Park Loop Road, this hike is highly accessible. The ascent to the top is gradual and only 500 feet. The trail offers incredible views of Maine’s natural landscape from spring to fall.

Not long after beginning your hike, you will come across the mountain’s ‘faux summit,’ where you can see Otter Cliff, Baker Island and the Cranberry Islands.

Further up ahead is the actual summit of the hike, where you will see Sand Beach, the Beehive and Otter Point. While there, take is the sights, sounds and smells of Acadia National Park. In the fall, this means bright warm colors, the wind blowing across the ocean, and the fresh ocean spray in the air.

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Tagged: Seasonal, Tips & advice

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Hotel Deals for New York
MySuites
NY, USA
Jan 22 - Jan 22, 2019
per night from
$ 428
$ 171.2

If you’re making plans to head to the Big Apple, but you’re worried about spending too much in a notoriously expensive city, don’t stress! We’ve got some tips to help you stretch your dollar the farthest while still having a blast in the city that never sleeps.

Don’t take a cab from JFK to Manhattan.

Don't taxi from JFK to Manhattan - always opt for the subway instead!

Let’s start this trip out on the right foot. While cabs are the most convenient option, the flat rate from JFK to Manhattan is $52—that’s a lot of money just to get to your hotel! Instead of a cab, take the Airtrain directly from JFK to the subway—the Airtrain is $5, and the entrance to the subway system is $2.75. Oh look, you just saved $44. Nice!

Actually, take the subway everywhere.

m01229, http://bit.ly/2catHMh, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Forget taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber. The subway is hard to beat in NYC—it’s one of the best public transportation systems in the country, and tourists and locals alike use it daily. Even if you’re only going tobe in New York for a few days, the $31, 7-day Metrocard is worth it. You get unlimited rides, which will be very handy for zipping all over the city to see the sights. Bonus: the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which is an aerial tram that connects Roosevelt Island to the Upper East Side, is a cheap (and fun!) skyline tour on the MTA that costs as much as one subway ride. Score!

Revel in ambiance.

Paul Hudson, http://bit.ly/2c6iXQF, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: Central Park | Paul Hudson, Flickr CC

Some of the best things to see and do in New York Cityare 100% free. Take a long walk through Central Park (duh), gawk at the neon displays in Times Square, and take in high culture at the Museum of Modern Art on Friday nights (free entrance from 4-8 p.m.) You can take a free ferry to Governor’s Island, kayak for free at the Downtown Boathouse, and take the Staten Island Ferry for free, if you’re looking for some water views. Oh, and guess what else? All public parks are equipped with free wi-fi! Is NYC…a secret free paradise?

Street food is your friend.

Britt Reints, http://bit.ly/2cEaHFb, Attribution CC BY 2.0

Photo: New York City 214 | Britt Reints, Flickr CC

It may seem obvious, but this one of the best cheap NY tips: Those ubiquitous hot dog stands? There’s a reason those are everywhere—the hot dogs are delicious and cheap. The pizza places advertising $1 slices? They’re great—fold up a slice like the locals do and chomp as you walk. Macbar has outrageously tasty, generous portions of specialty mac n’ cheese for under $9 a plate, Vanessa’s Dumplings will give you eight basil-and-chicken dumplings for $4.99, and GaiaItalian Cafe has big $5 paninis with mozzarella and tomatoes dripping out the sides. In short: you’ve got cheap eating options.

Skip the Ritz.

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There’s no need to stay at a high-end hotel in Manhattan—there are actually plenty of hostels where you can stay for way under $50 a night! If hostel living isn’t quite your style, check out the options for under-$100 rooms on Cheaptickets—the Bowery Grand Hotel has rooms for $72 per night, and New World Hotel in the East Village is $79 per night. Step away from the $350-a-night hotels!

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Tagged: City, Food & drink, FREE!, New York City, Tips & advice

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“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.”

So said George Frederick Will, a true American, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of two best-selling books about baseball. But enough about Mr. Will. Onto baseball. Specifically, the National League and the best baseball cities. Okay, brief history…go!

It was established in 1876 with eight charter members, but by 1880, six of the eight original teams had folded. The two remaining NL (National League) franchises were Boston and Chicago—still going strong today as the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are the only charter member to continuously play in the same city. And to continuously have the worst “luck” (but maybe that’ll change this year…and maybe not.)

In 1903, the stubborn National League officially accepted the American League as an equal partner in Major League Baseball—difficult as it was for them to recognize another league in the same “league” as their own (A League of Their Own? Best. Movie. Ever. Btw.) The National League clearly was not a fan of change—it remained the same 8-team league for 60 years. In 1969, after some long-overdue expansion, the National League was reorganized into two divisions of 6 teams (East and West). And, in 1994, after expanding to 14 teams, the NL was re-orged again into three divisions: East, West and Central—all currently represented by five teams.

OK, done with the history lesson! On to the best baseball cities in America.

Which teams are the best? We’ve got the answer—but not in standings or history so much as their placement in the most fantastic, fanatic baseball cities. These are the teams that have the most entertaining stadiums to visit with the yummiest hotdogs…the important stuff. Plus, fun and affordable hotels to stay at when you go cheer ‘em on.

Photo: St Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium | Francisco Diez, Flickr CC

Photo: St Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium | Francisco Diez, Flickr CC

St. Louis Cardinals @ Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri

This NL (National League) Central Division gang is one of the most successful franchises in baseball history, winning 11 World Series Championships, 19 National League pennants and 13 division titles. So, they pretty much make everyone else look bad. Or, they have as big a budget as the Yankees (yeah, right)…

One thing everyone knows: Ballpark Village, the new dining and entertainment attraction right next to Busch Stadium, is hoppin’. All the time. The beers are hoppin’, the beats are bumpin’, the live shows are jumpin’, the food is yummin’. It’s the perfect pre- or post-game hang time. They hit it out of the park with this one (had to do it), making it without doubt one of the best baseball cities in the country.

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Where to stay: Casino Queen

It’s called a Cardinals Preferred Hotel for a reason. Stay at the Casino Queen and you’ll be right on the river, close to the arch, a dice throw away from the onsite table games, and, most importantly, less than 2 miles from BS (Busch Stadium—pretty sure no one actually calls it BS). If you buy a St. Louis Cardinals Package, you get a deluxe room, up to 4 tix to the game, transport to and from the stadium and a couple other treats—starting at $109. Crazy, right?

Photo: ATT Park | Lisa Suender, Flickr CC

Photo: ATT Park | Lisa Suender, Flickr CC

San Francisco Giants @ AT&T Park in San Francisco, California

Originally known as the New York Gothams, then the New York Giants, the San Francisco Giants are one of the longest-established and most successful pro baseball teams, having won the most games of any team in the history of American baseball. They’ve won 23 NL pennants and have played in 20 World Series competitions, both of which are NL records. Since arriving in San Fran in 1958, the Giants have won six pennants and three World Series. Plus, the charm, character and breathtaking views at AT&T Park put it at the top of the must-see-stadiums list. And forget best baseball cities—San Francisco’s culture and beauty make it one of America’s best cities, period.

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Where to stay: The Inn at Union Square

97% of CheapTickets guests (that’s 835.17 people) recommend you stay at this stylish three-and-a-half-star boutique hotel, located a mere 1.3 miles from AT&T Park. Its gorgeous rooms feature hints of Victorian charm, plus the hotel offers complimentary breakfast and daily evening wine-and-cheese plates beside a wood-burning fireplace. Oh, and it’s within walking distance of Lombard Street and the famous Fisherman’s Wharf.

Photo: Wrigley Field | PandemicPhoto.com, Flickr CC

Photo: Wrigley Field | PandamicPhoto.com, Flickr CC

Chicago Cubs @ Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Cubs were a founding member of the NL in 1876, and won back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908, becoming the very first Major League team to play in three consecutive World Series, and the first to win it twice. Totally impressive, right? But, that’s a distant memory now. The Cubs have not won the World Series in 107 years—a record drought in Major League Baseball. That’s a long time for increasingly anxious fans to wait for something winning to happen. But every year, Chicagoans root and hope and pray and get disappointed by this team. Different year, same story. For 107 years, and counting (but this could be the year, they say)…

Wrigley Field is baseball’s second-oldest ballpark, where fans can see ivy-covered outfield walls, the classic hand-operated scoreboard and the brick wall behind home plate. Stepping inside Wrigley Field is like stepping back in time; you have to be there to appreciate all of the ancient wonder and old-fashioned goodness of baseball’s storied and beloved past.

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Where to stay: The Majestic Hotel

Boutique flair. Classic charm. Upscale decor. Okay, but what do all these yummy words mean? The Majestic is reminiscent of an English manor country estate. With a fire-lit lobby.And 24-hour coffee and tea service in the lobby. And freshly baked cookies, complimentary breakfast and a vigilant, caring crew of staff. Most importantly, this boutique Chicago hotel is a mere seven-tenths of a mile away from iconic Wrigley Field. Bloody fabulous!

 

Photo: Coors Field | Heath Alseike, Flickr CC

Photo: Coors Field | Heath Alseike, Flickr CC

Colorado Rockies @ Coors Field in Denver, Colorado

April 26th, 1995 marks the first game ever played at Coors Field. When the stadium opened, it became the first baseball-only stadium built since Dodger Stadium in 1962. Visitors can see dramatic views of the Rockies, hand-laid brick and the clock tower, all delivering the nostalgic feel of a 1920’s urban ballpark. Fun fact: So as not to impose on its neighboring neighborhood buildings, the field is actually located 21 feet below street level. And here’s another fact: Coors Field’s is ranked as one of the most picturesque ballparks.

Although the Rockies won one National League championship in 2007, they are one of only two franchises that have never won a division title. So, if you’re a glass-half-full kind of guy or gal, you see that fans still have some excitingfirsts to celebrate in the future of this Rockies franchise!

hotel

Where to stay: Queen Anne Bed And Breakfast

The Queen Ann is a three-and-a-half-star, adults-only B&B in Denver’s historic district, just three-quarters of a mile from Coors Field. Here, you’ll find an added bonus: This locally minded hotel is striving to become a no-waste property, and offers amenities and eats from local businesses. In short,it’s stylish comfort meets eco-sensitivity.

And the rooms themselves? Art lovers can stay in a room decorated by a talented local artist. Romantics can turn up the passion with a room that features a private hot tub and expansive downtown views for two. Every room is different, so finding one that fits your needs and finds your vibe is a slam dunk…uhh, we mean home run!

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Tagged: Seasonal, Sports