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Green RuleTRIP PLANNING GUIDE—WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU, A HOTEL, B&B, SPA, RESORT OR HOUSE RENTAL? Green Rule

Green Line

You’ve got vacation time piled up and—gas prices be darned—you’ve decided to take a week’s worth of your time and head for New England. You made the right decision, so greetings to you, your family and/or a pal. Now that you’ve decided to come up here, you’re not quite sure what type of accommodation is ideal for you, a spa or resort, hotel/motel (see below), a B&B inn or rent a vacation house. We offer below a few helpful insights to help you decide what type of lodging is best for you.

SINGLES AND COUPLES LOOKING TO DESTRESS

For singles and couples with A-type personalities with megaton stress onboard, we highly recommend doing some homework to look at the many spas and resorts we have in the region. They are designed as ultimate destressors, and offer all kinds of exquisite pampering, from the best dark chocolate on your pillow and towels rolled and shaped into small animals to integrative medical remedies for what ails you.

THE FAMILY PERSPECTIVE

If you’re a family, we need to look at things from a wider perspective. We’ll start by using the "nuclear family" as our example: husband, wife and 2.3 kids (I don’t make up the numbers folks, I just get the demographic reports, but I do want to meet that .3 child). By using an arguably accurate norm, we should be able to help you narrow your choices.

HOW LONG WILL YOU STAY?

First, we need to know how long are you planning your stay. Twelve days and eleven nights are about the max. When you’ve been away that long, you need to take a vacation from your vacation. Usually six nights and five days give you what you need to have some fun. The smart thing is to get away at a time that’s nowhere near a holiday or weekend. So, let’s say we’ll choose five weekday nights and six weekdays. There are myriad advantages to weekday as opposed to weekend getaways, especially for skiing, shorter lift lines and more free mountain to ski among them.

THE SKI AND FOLIAGE SEASONS ARE NOT THE BUSIEST TIMES OF THE YEAR

The understandably errant assumption is that the ski and foliage seasons are when New England becomes like a giant mall the day after Thanksgiving. In reality, from Memorial Day through Labor Day is when the most tourists flock to the region—even those who live inside the region head for other states within it.

But as the seasons change, so do the rates, and if you’re looking for lower rates in the summer, surprise! And if you think the ski areas are enjoying a nice summer respite, wait until your kids find out about the Alpine Slide from the brochure stand near the front desk. The slide and a growing number of other rides are available if you stay near a big ski resort. The Alpine Slide alone will set you back $19 a throw, on average. For that, you ride up the mountain on a gondola or chairlift, make your way to the start of the track and whip down the mountain only to have the kids demand, "Let’s do it again, Daddy."

PETS

Next, are you planning on bringing any pets, a dog, cat, boa constrictor? Let’s say Spike, your Chihuahua, will be making the trip. While there are many pet-friendly places to stay, our hairy family members often aren’t welcome at many hotels unless it’s a no-tell motel that’ll rent you an 8-by-10-foot cabin for $49 a night, in which you can’t get the fold-up bed to stay up, so it becomes your table.

WHERE DO YOU MOST WANT TO BE?

Is being close to a single terrain type or attraction important, or will you be heading for the many sandy beaches that outline the eastern section of the region or to the mountains of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont? Would you rather be near a lake? No matter where you go, let’s look at the different types of accommodations. Where you spend the night and how well you sleep are critical for a restful vacation.

HOTELS/MOTELS

We make finding a room in a hotel, motel and other types of accommodations through our relationship with IHS, a highly reputable business that works to get you the very best rates available. All you have to do is click on the state of your choice and the names of cities and towns within that state will appear. Choose your city or town and you'll be presented with the various lodging available there. You'll see that pricing is easy to spot and you can find various activities, shops and things to do in and around wherever you stay. Pick the hotel or accommodation at which you'd like to stay and make your reservation. You can start your journey with the list of states below.

Room rates at hotels and motels typically range from $159 a night to $349 a night. So it pays to do your homework. If you like to look at some of our choice accommodations, you can do so on our Lodging Page. Hotels offer more amenities than do smaller lodging places, such as indoor pools and the customary piece of chocolate on your pillow.

Many of the lodging entities cut deals with various ski resorts and providers of seasonal activities to provide you with stay-and-ski or stay-and-play packages that can work well for you budget-wise.

B&B INN

B&B InnsThese really run the gamut from being breathtakingly romantic and luxurious to being a spare room in someone’s house.

Rules. Some B&B innkeepers seem to busy themselves in the morning thinking up new ones. They love them. Some are uber strict—one in Vermont, for instance, demands that guests, "not sit on the bed." Oh, okay so how exactly does one get into bed without sitting on the edge? At this place, I guess you have to dive into the sack.

While their prices are comparable to hotels and motels, you can find some great deals at B&B inns, and like hotels, many of them offer stay-and-play packages. One very enterprising and considerate inn in Manchester, NH, the Ash Street Inn is offering a $20 nightly savings on a two-night minimum, weekday stay to help their guests offset the cost of gas from their day-trip-friendly location. And on one of those day trips, the inn will prepare and pack a gourmet lunch in an insulated picnic bag guests can keep, as well as provide them with coupon books and maps, and send them on their way.

But, some B&B inns are notorious for not allowing pets to stay unless it’s a dog- (or small-mammal) friendly inn, of which there is a growing number. Second, the thing about B&B getaways is that they are sometimes geared more toward romantically minded guests—those who bring that all-important shiny rock as a prop for the big question. They’re also geared to shakers, not the Utopian group, people who are so stressed and shaking so hard they can barely fill out the register. These guests are looking to destress in absolute silence, and if Spike is a barker, the stay could turn into a challenge.

The rooms are often frilly, but very nice and you want to find an inn with a nice host or hostess. You can tell the difference immediately when they pick up the phone. I don’t know of any small- or medium-sized B&B where the owner doesn’t answer the phone him or herself. If they scream, "What," head for the next on the list.

The best thing to do is to tell an innkeeper that you will be bringing your son, daughter and Spike along, and if they don’t growl or hang up, that’s good news. While you get a room and breakfast (thus the name), some also serve dinner.

Those with larger dining rooms rent space to chefs who prepare marvelous delicacies for the discerning palates of inn guests as well as diners not staying at the inn. BB&Ds, though, are very rare and you’re still on your own for lunch, but you can always get that $25 hamburger and $14 soda at the base lodge when you want a skiing break or to tear the kids away from the Alpine Slide.

In all seriousness, while there are many superb B&B getaway deals out there, they do tend to be geared more toward adults than they are to families because there’s usually one bed per room. They won’t turn you away, but it may not be the ideal place to stay for your son and daughter, who would have to sleep on roll-out cots or in another room, thus doubling the fare.

HOUSE OR CONDO RENTAL

Ignoring timeshares for this article leaves us with renting a house or condo for the week. This is a hybrid mix of a hotel and B&B sans the pillow chocolate, but with all kinds of room and total privacy. The owners often have rules posted, and you must be absolutely certain you obey them or no refrain next year.

It’s great having a whole house to yourself and you don’t have to walk out into a hallway with an ice bucket to fill from a less-than-sanitary container. You can eat without having to go out, you can sleep in if you want without some lady with a cart knocking on your door to make your bed.

HouseThere are really two kinds of rental housing: a house in the proximity of a ski area or tourist area, or a condo right on a mountain or on lake or beaches. If you’re not comfortable driving in snow, then a trailside condo will be your best choice if you’re here to ski.

During the spring (after mud season—don’t visit Northern New England during mud season. Take my word for it.), you can drive anywhere and spend the bulk of your time sightseeing. Houses can also offer the best deals. In towns with a ski area, houses and condos start at about $150 per night depending on when you go—again, avoid holidays and weekends—and can charge as much as $500 a night depending upon where they are. Usually, the closer they are to a major attraction, the more expensive they are if it’s a big house, but that’s not always the case with condos.

In the final analysis, renting a house or condo could be a good bet. At $150 a night, that’s $750 for five nights.

Here’s a good tip: If you’re not exhausted from your drive, you might want to stop at a local supermarket and load up for the week to get it out of the way so you can relax. There’s nothing worse than waking up to no coffee and an empty fridge.

Most houses have most of the latest (or near-latest) electronics, so your 2.3 children can bring some favorite tapes or DVDs along.

It’s not all perfect. Some homeowners insist that you to change the sheets on the beds, wash the sheets you used and leave the house as neat as you found it. But if that’s the worst you have to do to enjoy some relaxation and do-what-you-want-when-you-want freedom, this is the way to go. Just make sure Spike doesn’t leave his mark on the carpets.

OUR FRIENDS

Stoweflake Resort & Spa

Located in one of America's most sensational, natural paradises, the Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa in Stowe, Vermont offers the ultimate, year-round vacation experience. With its celebrated world-class spa, luxurious accommodations, award-winning restaurants and friendly, attentive staff, the Stoweflake is unrivaled as New England's premier spa/resort destination.


Since 1865, Mountain View has offered visitors a memorable experience. Following a $20 million restoration in 2002, the Mountain View once again welcomes guests in grand style with all the state of the art amenities that today's travelers expect from a Four-Diamond destination resort.


INSIDE

QuickStart Guide

Four Simple Steps to Planning the Perfect New England Getaway or Vacation.

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