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Travel & Escape

Eight affordable fall foliage getaways




From the West Coast to the Northeast and, beyond, in Europe, fall is a season to savour the transformation of leaves from shades of green to hues of red, gold, amber and yellow.

While leaf peeping is undoubtedly a tried and true tourist activity, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one: plenty of hotels around the United States and abroad have attractively-priced packages for travellers who want to experience the spectacular fall foliage.

Vancouver, Shenandoah Valley, New Hampshire, Colorado and Maine feature autumn destinations for travellers.
Vancouver, Shenandoah Valley, New Hampshire, Colorado and Maine feature autumn destinations for travellers.  (Dreamstime / TNS)

Package deals in the Shenandoah Valley

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, home to the Shenandoah National Park and about a 2-hour drive from Washington, is a prime mid-Atlantic destination for fall foliage. Two hotels in the town of Staunton, situated in the heart of the valley, are offering packages for visitors to the area.

The recently renovated Stonewall Jackson Hotel, originally built in 1924, has a “Sweater Weather” promotion for October where guests receive a 30 per cent discount off usual nightly rates. Bookings start at $149 (U.S.) a night.

Blackburn Inn, which opened in May, is offering a “Our First Fall” promotion, which includes 15 per cent off starting rates when booked 14 days in advance and a $15 daily food and beverage credit. Available from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. Bookings start at $169 a night.

Mountain views in New Hampshire

Up north, in North Conway, New Hampshire, The White Mountain Hotel & Resort, in the heart of Mount Washington Valley and with views of mountain scenery that shows of the stunning New England foliage, has a “Fall Foliage Escape.” The offer includes two nights of accommodations, breakfast and one dinner at the property’s elegant Ledges Restaurant. Bookings from $148 a person.

Coastal beauty in Maine

Even further up the seaboard, Cliff House Maine, a coastal resort in Southern Maine, has a “Fall in Love with Fall in Maine” package. It includes accommodations, a map of the area’s best fall foliage spots, a $200 credit to the on-site spa, two tickets for a local food tour, a bag of locally made maple candy and a blanket. Bookings start at $519 a night, and the promotion is valid from Sept. 22 to Nov. 30.

Zip line through the leaves in Georgia

A zip line ride through autumnal leaves? It’s possible in the North Georgia mountains. Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge has an “Elevate Your View” package that gives guests the chance to get an up close sight of the changing of the leaves by ziplining past them in Aerial Adventure Park. The package includes accommodations and a zip line tour in the park. Bookings start from $99 a person.

Food, wine and foliage in Michigan

The prime season for Mackinac Island, in Michigan, may be summer, but visitors who come in the fall will get a feast of foliage as they hike on miles of trails as well as go on horseback and bike rides. Mission Point, an 18-acre lakefront property, has a two-night “Fall Foliage, Food & Wine” package that includes accommodations, a welcome amenity of a glass of wine per adult, breakfast, one dinner with a bottle of wine, a half- day rental of two bikes with a boxed lunch and a private horse and carriage ride. Bookings from $380 a night.

Embracing “Gold Season” in Colorado

Telluride, Colorado, might be known as a skiers getaway, but its so-called gold season in the fall is an ideal time to see the mountains transform into shades of deep gold and red. Travellers can experience the colours by riding the free gondola, going on a hike or booking a four-wheel drive tour. There are several options for accommodations in the area. Bookings at the Mountainside Inn, in the town of Telluride, for one, start at $119 a night. has a range of additional options in the area.

Cruise through the colours in Vancouver

In the Pacific Northwest, American Queen Steamboat Co. has several five-day round-trip “Autumn in the Pacific Northwest” cruises from Vancouver, Wash., on the Columbia River. Onboard the American Empress, shore excursions include Astoria, Ore., where travellers can go on a scenic six-mile walk along the river and Dalles, Oregon, where the explorers Lewis and Clark camped at Rock Fort during their famous expedition. Tickets start from $599 a person, inclusive of shore tours in all ports, meals and wine and beer with dinner.

Enjoy the fall foliage on the Emerald Isle

Leaf peeping is an Irish tradition, too: Lough Eske Castle, in County Donegal in northwest Ireland, has a “Autumn Eskape Offer,” which gives guests the opportunity to take in the abundance of fall hues in the surrounding countryside. The deal includes accommodations, an Irish breakfast, a 20-euro ($23) food credit per person, one alcoholic drink per adult and 30 per cent off spa treatments. Bookings start from 179 euros a night.


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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)




(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel




(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!




Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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