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THE SEASON TO GO

THE BALTIMORE SUN

This is the season to travel. But why limit yourself to Grandmother's house? Why not go over the river on a luxurious Mediterranean cruise? Or through the woods to a powder-covered slope perfect for a downhill run? As we head into the holidays, there are more travel discounts and deals than there are side dishes on the Thanksgiving table. Below is just a sampling of the seasonal goodies. Take a peek and then plan your holiday escape. And take Grandma with you.

Ski deals

Triple treat. : Here's a triple treat for season-pass holders to some area ski resorts. Unlimited Season Passholders at Wisp Resort in Western Maryland, and Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort in Pennyslvania, will each receive a free full day lift ticket and a 50 percent discount on regular priced lift tickets for any additional visit to either of the other two resorts, excluding Saturdays and holiday periods. Details at wispresort.com, 7springs.com or hiddenvalleyresort.com.

Vail value. : The "Spa, Savor & Snowshoe" package at The Lodge at Vail has rates starting at $423 per night - a 25 percent discount - through April 20. The package includes a three-night minimum stay, $300 spa credit, half-day guided snowshoe excursion for two, a dinner for two and daily breakfast. Rates are based on double occupancy. Go to rockresorts.com or call 877-528-7625.

Tree and ski. : Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vt., offers the "Night Before ..." package with rates starting at $199 per night from the day before Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. The offer includes traditional holiday amenities from hot chocolate to shopping discounts to a take-home tree or wreath from Murray Hill Tree Farm in nearby Waterbury Center. Call 800-451-8686 or go to topnotchresort.com.

Get a lift. : Waterville Valley Resort & Ski Area in Waterville Valley, N.H., has a "Ski and Stay" package that includes a two-night stay and two days of lift tickets. Rates are $80 per person, per night but rooms require double occupancy. The resort, located in the White Mountains, is about a two-hour drive from Boston and also offers an indoor pool, ice skating and shuttle bus. Call 800-468-2553 or go to visitwatervillevalley.com.

Black Friday special. : Take $75 off when you book a four-night Colorado ski vacation at Travelocity.com by Nov. 30 and travel by Dec. 31. Use promo code COLORADO75.

Hotel deals

Boston bash. : Go to a real tea party. Join Boston revelers as they mark the anniversary of the Dec. 13, 1773, Boston Tea Party. The Liberty Hotel offers a "Re-enactment Package" that includes an overnight stay, two tickets to the re-enactment and breakfast for two starting at $315, based on double occupancy. Call 617-224-4000 or go to libertyhotel.com.

Virginia your way. : The Lansdowne Resort near Leesburg, Va., has a "Create Your Own" New Year's package starting at $129 per night. Guests can choose a room, choose a four-course dinner, add an "after party" and a room amenity (champagne and chocolates, a Virginia wine basket or spa products). Call 877-509-8400 or go to lansdowneresort.com.

Pays to stay. : Guests who stay overnight in Lancaster County in December receive a $25 cash gift card at check-in at participating hotels. Stay two or more nights and receive a $50 cash gift card. Make your lodging reservation online at www.padutchcountry.com/paystostay or call 800-723-8824. The reservation must be for a stay between Nov. 29 and Dec. 30. Just under 100 gift cards are available.

Shop the Poconos. : Stay overnight at the Fernwood Hotels & Resort in Bushkill, Pa., and earn $50 toward holiday shopping at the nearby Crossings Premium Outlets. Stay two nights and receive $100, three nights gets you $150. Crossings Premium has more than 100 designer shops and outlets. To reserve the "Shopper Package," call 888-337-6966 or go to FernwoodHotel.com.

Shop the mall. : Planning a shop hop to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.? Le Bourget Aero Suites, located about five miles from the mall, is offering overnight rates of $99, a 20 percent savings off standard rates, through the end of December. Go to ascendcollection.com or call 877-424-6423.

Escape to the woods. : Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania has an "Eleventh Hour Escape" package, including a one-night stay and a $200 resort credit for dining, shopping, spa services and more. The offer is valid for stays Dec. 10-13 or Jan. 7-10. The rate is $339 for the lodge and includes taxes and the daily resort fee. Call 866-344-6957 or go to nemacolin.com.

Sporting holiday. : The "Holiday Unlimited Activities Package" at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., includes free ice skating, bowling, falconry, golf, horseback riding and other activities. There's also the Holiday Lights & Ice display. Rates are $249 per room, based on double occupancy. Each additional adult or child over age 6 in the room is $50. Taxes and resort fees are additional. A "room only" rate - no activities - is $149. Offer good through Dec. 22. Go to thehomestead.com or call 866-354-4653.

New Orleans Noel. : "Papa Noel" (that's Santa Claus to you) rates start at $89 per night at the New Orleans Marriott, where guests can celebrate the holiday at the hotel's 5 Fifty 5 restaurant with a six-course reveillon dinner, for $45 per person. The term "reveillon" comes from the French word for "awakening," and was originally a meal served after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Call 888-364-1200. For more "Papa Noel" hotel offers go to neworleansonline.com/christmas.

Maryland deals

One for you, one for me. : Give the gift of a stay at the Brampton Inn in Chestertown and receive your very own reward. Buy a gift certificate of $200 or more and receive a $100 rewards certificate to be used toward a future two-night stay during January through April. The rewards certificate cannot be used in conjunction with a gift certificate or on holiday weekends. Rates start at $169 per night. Gift certificate must be purchased by Dec. 31. Call 866-305-1860 or go to bramptoninn.com.

Holiday on the Shore. : Book two weekend nights in December and get the second night at half price at the Old Brick Inn in St. Michaels. The bed and breakfast offers a full, hot homemade breakfast, free wireless Internet and afternoon tea. Weekend rates start at about $150. Call 410-745-3323.

Ice that's nice. : Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor in Prince George's County is celebrating Christmas on the Potomac, through Jan. 3, including Ice!, a new attraction featuring 10 different holiday scenes carved from about 2 million pounds of ice. Shivery. The "Ice! Family Fun Package" starts at $249 and includes overnight stay, admission to Ice! for a family of four (two adult tickets and two child - ages 4-12), four tickets to the ice skating rink, free kids breakfast, free parking and a waived resort fee. Guests can add a second night for $120. The resort also has a package that caters to grandparents, who can stay one night and get the second night free. Call 877-432-8674 or visit gaylordnational.com.

Caribbean/island deals

Free night in Bermuda. : Stay three nights and get the fourth night free at the Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa in Bermuda. The package from the AAA Four-Diamond resort also includes daily breakfast and afternoon tea. Rates start at $305 per night. Book by Dec. 31 for travel through April 15. Call 800-468-7300 or go to cambridgebeaches.com. Ask for offer code CBBDA4.

Stay cheap. : CheapCaribbean.com has savings of $300, $400 or $500 off a three-night, four-night or five-night package on Grand Bahama Island, including hotel and airfare. For example, a three-night stay at Radisson Our Lucaya resort starts at $359 with the discount. (Taxes and fees are extra.) Book by Wednesday online or call 800-915-2322.

Friend me. : Become a Facebook fan of a Hilton Caribbean island hotel and receive a $50 resort credit for use by Jan. 31 at Hilton hotels in Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad, Barbados and more. Go to facebook.com/HiltonCaribbean.

Puerto Rico premiere. : The Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino is marking its grand opening with a package of discounts, ranging from 35 percent off room rates and dining to 15 percent off spa services and golf. The 503-room hotel in San Juan offers a casino, spa, fitness center and multiple pools. The offer is for Starwood Preferred Guest members and you will need to sign up for the program to reserve this package. Rates start at $139 per night through Jan. 31. Call 866-924-8704 or go to starwoodhotels.com/sheraton.

Tahitian treat. : Save 30 percent on airfare to French Polynesia with the "Tahiti Christmas Fare." Fly round trip on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles for $998 per person for Dec. 9-12 departures with return dates of Dec. 25-26. The offer includes taxes and fees. You'll need to book a separate flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles, but with competitive fares on that route, the savings is worth it. A round-trip flight to Tahiti from BWI Marshall is easily more than $2,000. Book by Tuesday. Call 877-824-4846 or go to airtahitinui-usa.com and click on "Airfare Specials." Package deals for couples retreats to Tahiti, including hotel and air from Los Angeles, start at $1,699 per person, based on double occupancy, for select dates at tahititourism.com or call 877-468-2448. Book by Monday.

Jamaica in January. : Air Jamaica's "Winter Sale" offers round-trip airfare from Baltimore to Kingston or Montego Bay for $198 per person. Taxes and fees are additional. The fares are available for travel Jan. 1 to Feb. 11 and must be booked by Thursday. Call 800-523-5586 or go to airjamaica.com. For more vacation deals, go to visitjamaica.com, which has a listing of hotels offering up to 60 percent off.

Holiday in paradise. : The Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas has a two-night package for $199 per night that includes golf, a dolphin or sea lion interaction, a day at a private pool, drinks, water park admission and more. (Taxes and fees are extra - as much as $53 per night.) Book by Nov. 30 for stays through Dec. 20. Go to atlantis.com and click on "Special Offers."

Casino deals

Atlantic City holiday. : The Tropicana in Atlantic City has a holiday package starting at $89 per room that includes an overnight stay, two tickets to see the musical "Miracle on 34th Street" and a $40 dining or shopping credit when you stay Sunday-Wednesday through Dec. 19. Call 800-345-8767 or go to tropicana.net.

Vegas two ways. : Are you feeling naughty or nice? Either way, the Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas has you covered with two deals available through Dec. 28. The "naughty" package includes a discount at the Crazy Horse Paris, admission to Studio 54 or Tabu Ultra Lounge, a $75 beverage credit and a vodka bar welcome amenity. The "nice" package includes a discount at Cirque du Soleil, breakfast in bed, a $25 spa credit and champagne and strawberries welcome amenity. Use booking code PKG021 or PKG022 and call 877-727-0007.

Cruise deals

Air is free. : The Yachts of Seabourn is offering free round-trip airfare when you book a seven-day Mediterranean cruise aboard one of its luxurious small ships. Transfers between the airport and the terminal are also included. The fares include either economy or business class, depending upon which cabin category is booked. The cruises all depart between May and June and have fares that start at $3,799 per person. Cruise must be booked by Nov. 30. Call 800-929-9391 or go to seabourn.com.

Bahamas bound. : A seven-day Bahamas cruise aboard the Carnival Pride departing the port of Baltimore Dec. 13 has ocean-view rooms available from $599 per person. Go to carnival.com.

Bay by boat. : Cruise the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore to Jamestown, Va., aboard the American Glory and save $200 per person when you book by Dec. 31. The cruise is part of Smithsonian Journeys and features an onboard historian who leads discussions. Discounted rates start at $4,045 for the May 21-29 cruise package. Go to smithsonianjourneys.org/tours or call 877-338-8687.

Vacation package deals

Free Disney cruise. : Book an Adventures by Disney vacation package and receive a free three-night Disney cruise to the Bahamas. Adventures by Disney offers guided group vacations for families with destinations ranging from Europe to Costa Rica to China. Rates start at about $2,300. The package, available for select dates, must be purchased at the nondiscounted rate no later than Jan. 15 and must depart by October 2010. Guests have until 2011 to take the free cruise. Call 877-728-7282 or go to adventuresbydisney.com/freecruise.

Coach class. : Book an escorted trip to Ireland or Britain with CIE Tours International for travel May through August and save $400 per couple. Travelers must book a motor-coach tour of at least nine days together with round-trip flights on Aer Lingus by Nov. 30 to be eligible for the discount. Call 800-243-8687 or go to www.cietours.com and use promo code 113009EI200.

$222 on No. 2. : Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina offers a package that includes overnight stay at The Carolina hotel, breakfast and a round of golf on the resort's famed Pinehurst No. 2 - site of the 1999, 2005 and 2014 U.S. Open Championships - for $222. The walk-up greens fee for No. 2 can be more than $400 - without a hotel stay. If you don't do golf, the round can be substituted with a spa treatment. The offer is good through Feb. 25. Call 800-487-4653 or go to pinehurst.com.

Military deals

Members of the military can stay at Shell Island resort on North Carolina's Wrightsville Beach, now through April 30 for rates starting at $89 per night (Sunday to Thursday). The package includes one bedroom, oceanfront suites with a private walkout balcony. Call 800-689-6765 and ask for the "CVB Military Rate." For information, visit shellisland.com.

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