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Pursuitist’s Guide to Unique Holiday Travel and Experiences

Pursuitist’s Guide to Unique Holiday Travel and Experiences

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If winter brings on your wanderlust, you may enjoy some of these events offered in some exciting and exquisite locations around the world. From personal tuck-ins with Santa to relishing the finest selections of champagne and cuisine in the French Alps, Pursuitist has a sleigh full of holiday offerings this season to unite family and friends, and take you off the beaten path (before tucking into the presents!).


Christmas at Blithewold, Bristol, R.I.

Blithewold, formerly home to the Van Wickle family, is a 45-room English-style manor mansion filled with family heirlooms, framed by a series of lovely gardens and arboretum on Narragansett Bay.  It has been ranked as one of the five best public gardens in New England, and during the holidays, decorative embellishments transform it into another era.

This year, the Christmas theme, “You Are Invited” celebrates the Van Wickle family’s love for entertaining. Each room in the mansion will interpret a festive occasion at Blithewold in the early 1900’s.  Visitors enjoy the illuminated gardens and Greenhouse, breathe in the crisp Christmas air, and join Blithewold’s carolers as they spread holiday cheer. There will be music, hot cocoa, and roasted marshmallows around roaring bonfires in Blithewold’s Enclosed Garden through Jan. 2, 2015.


Merry Merry at the Mandarin Oriental, New York, N.Y.

Mandarin Oriental, New York invites guests to celebrate a cheerful season at one of Manhattan’s favorite celebration destinations. Guests of all ages will enjoy the Five-Star property’s festive assortment of holiday offerings, including:

o   Nutcracker Tea:  After a long morning filled with shopping and admiring the city’s holiday lights and sights, guests are invited to relax and take in the panoramic views of snow-covered Central Park with the Lobby Lounge’sAnnual Holiday Nutcracker Tea. Featuring an array of festive sandwiches and sweet confections, guests can add a celebratory element to the experience with a glass of champagne.

o   Champagne & Caviar Cart: Indulge the senses with a decadent pairing from the Lobby Lounge’s Champagne & Caviar Cart complemented by sweeping panoramic views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. Choose from an exquisite selection of champagnes and caviars, including Krug Grande Cuvée MV and Louis Roederer Cristal 2006 as well as Tsar Imperial Shassetra or Alverta President Caviar, or choose to enjoy a flight of three caviar and three champagne selections. For a musically festive evening, visit the hotel on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. for ‘Evening Sessions,’ featuring live music from talented Juilliard Jazz musicians.

o   Christmas Dinners: Guests can gather with loved ones at signature Asiate for a decadent dining experience to celebrate the Christmas holiday. On Christmas Eve, an indulgent dinner from Chef de Cuisine Angie Berry will feature Winter Truffle Dumplings with fromage d’affinois and chestnuts; Long Island Duck with Spiced Pomegranate and cardamom; and Atlantic Halibut with Squid Ink, Saffron and Smoked Chili. Guests can celebrate Christmas Day with a special brunch featuring Maine Lobster with Meyer Lemon and Leek CompoteWinter Squash Gratin with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Sweet and Sour Apples; and Snakeriver Farms Wagyu Beef with Short Rib Bread Pudding and Red Wine Reduction.

Family Festivities at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London Holiday Offerings, London

This Christmas, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London will welcome the much loved Bear, Paddington to spend the festive season at the hotel, creating a magical ‘Christmas Family’ program.  Guests are invited to embracing the hotel’s unparalleled warmth, hospitality and service and spend a time-honored British Christmas with all the trimmings, in one of the most iconic buildings in Knightsbridge.

Savor the delights of a Festive Afternoon Tea, including a dedication to Paddington’s little fans with a bespoke Paddington tea and home-made marmalade delights. The Mandarin Bar will be offering a festive Chocolatina, for children spending the holiday with Paddington Bear.

With the help of the hotel’s dedicated concierge, guests can continue on Paddington’s adventure of Knightsbridge and explore the most popular traditional Christmas festivities in the area.  As part of the Christmas fairy tale, Neil Birks, one of London’s renowned florists, will festively transform the public spaces of the hotel including the marble Lobby, The Mandarin Bar, The Rosebery, and Bar Boulud.


A Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, N.H.

Celebrating its 10th exciting season, Vintage Christmas helps people of all ages ring in the season with the warmth, the light and the collective memories of holidays in generations past. City-wide festivities are presented by both the historic working seaport of Portsmouth’s Strawbery Banke Museum and The Music Hall.

Events include the awe-inspiring Candlelight Stroll on museum grounds, live holiday shows, opera broadcasts and films in both The Music Hall’s landmark 1878 Historic Theater and the intimate Music Hall Loft on Congress Street. Travelers can get in the holiday spirit with free trolley rides through downtown, specifically the red-bricked Market Square, followed by a snowflake stroll to the many eclectic boutique shops and world-class restaurants that Portsmouth has to offer.


Luxe Holidays at L’apogée Courchevel, Courchevel

Spend the holidays in the glamorous French Alps at the Oetker Collection’s L’Apogée Courchevel, a resort that invites guests to celebrate Christmas Eve with cocktails, dinner and dancing at Le Comptoir de L’Apogée, the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant with picture windows overlooking the pristine ski slopes.

Santa Claus arrives early the following morning to spread Christmas cheer aboard his horse-drawn sleigh.  And… to ring in the New Year, L’Apogee Courchevel hosts an extraordinary affair with a specialized menu (starting at $1,000 per guest). The evening will commence with cocktails and dinner accompanied by a French jazz band before dancing the night away under the stars.


Have a Historic Holiday with Yuletide in the Lowcountry, Charleston, S.C.

Experience the feasts, decorations and local traditions of Historic Charleston Foundation’s two museum houses, the Nathaniel Russell House, constructed in 1808 and the circa 1820 Aiken-Rhett House. You’ll enjoy Christmases past and learn the evolution of holiday traditions in Charleston through the display Yuletide in the Lowcountry.

Beginning at the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, guests will learn about elegant early 19th century family gatherings replete with holiday embellishments collected from local flora.  Observe the time-honored Victorian trimmings of a Lowcountry Christmas dinner in 1860 at the Aiken-Rhett House Museum.


Santa Tuck-Ins at Atlantis, Nassau Paradise Island

Kids staying at Atlantis, Paradise Island this Christmas will have the opportunity to be tucked-in by Santa Claus himself — he’ll visit their room, share his favorite holiday stories, bring sweet treats and take photos.

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Season’s Greetings in the Stockyards, Fort Worth, Texas

A national historic district, the Fort Worth Stockyards hosts its holiday-themed family fun with a Wild West spin.  Activities in this year’s celebration include a Fort Worth Herd Cow Camp as well as chicken roping, pony rides, a petting zoo, holiday caroling, the lighting of the Stockyards’ Christmas Tree and an appearance by the one and only Cowboy Santa.


Holiday Happenings in Willamsburg, Va., Williamsburg, Va.

This Christmas, step out of your usual tradition and join Williamsburg, VA in a unique and festive take on the holiday. Colonial Williamsburg’s special programs, stunning fresh decoration and lively culinary traditions indulge guests in the best the season has to offer.

Joy, laughter and cheer are in the air at Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town where the merriment of the season is spotlighted with Broadway-style shows and millions of twinkling lights.

Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center continue the tradition of A Colonial Christmas with a glimpse of 17th and 18th century holiday traditions with special programs. At the Yorktown Victory Center, guests can hear accounts of Christmas and winter in military encampments during the American Revolution and glimpse holiday preparations on a 1780s farm.  Colonial Williamsburg serves up music, dance and merriment with a multitude of holiday events including a Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration. In Historic Yorktown, visitors can join the Christmas Tree Lighting procession, Yorktown Market Days, and The Toyland Parade, complete with Santa, Mrs. Claus and a ride on The Polar Express.

baden baden

Bask in Merry and Bright at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden

Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, located amidst a sprawling private park in Baden-Baden, Germany, invites guests to create lasting memories this holiday season with an array of festive offerings, including of the most exciting markets — and one of the most relaxing strolls.

After spectacular seasonal shopping, explore the enchanting beauty of the Black Forest on a winter wonderland stroll — you’ll walk along the beautiful wooded mountain range before enjoy refreshments at the quintessential Scherrhof Woodland Inn. 


See 100 Miles of Lights, Throughout Va.

Travelers can share the glow of the season and experience millions of lights and hundreds of events from Virginia’s capital city to the Atlantic Ocean. 100 Miles of Lights features holiday events in RichmondWilliamsburgNewportNewsHamptonNorfolkPortsmouth and Virginia Beach. Drive-through and walk-through light shows will dazzle and shine with more than two million lights, providing a colorful backdrop to the wide range of events and activities for the young and young-at-heart. Lighted boat parades, city illuminations, festivals, living history re-enactments, caroling, dining events, music and dance are among the many activities occurring throughout the region.

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