Getting the flavor of...
Maine’s new federal preserve
Maine’s largest federally protected wilderness is now open to visitors, said Murray Carpenter in The New York Times. The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, designated by President Obama in late August, occupies 87,000 acres that were donated by Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby. The National Park Service will begin upgrades in a few years. Right now, the infrastructure mainly consists of a loop road and a few campsites, and highlights include fine views of nearby Mount Katahdin. Biking an old logging road beside Wassataquoik Stream, I spotted beavers clambering up the bank and a cow moose trotting into a birch grove. At the monument’s northern end, near adjacent Baxter State Park, I picnicked near a beaver flowage and watched nine snapping turtle hatchlings plod past me, then tumble, “carapace over teakettle,” into a gently flowing stream. That evening, I slept in Haskell Hut, a log cabin overlooking the Penobscot River.
Colorado’s mineral springs
Chasing after hot springs in western Colorado can be “the perfect vacation for a stressed-out couple,” said Sophia Dembling in DallasNews.com. My husband and I recently spent a week tracing part of the 720-mile Historic Hot Springs Loop, finding spectacular views, great beer, and relaxing mineral baths at every stop. We started in pretty Ouray (“the Switzerland of America”) before checking in at the Box Canyon Lodge and slipping into a bubbling outdoor tub that primed us for—“and I stand by this”—the greatest nap ever. Outside Ouray, we poked around Ironton, a magical ghost town, then headed for Ridgeway and Orvis Hot Springs, a clothing-optional site that proved to be “an intimate oasis” of stonelined pools and gardens. Hiking trails surround the town of Pagosa Springs, but because I wasn’t feeling adventurous, I headed right to the Springs Resort & Spa. The massage I had there left me “cockeyed with relaxation.”
Hotel of the week
In a city whose hotels “tend to skew over-the-top antebellum in vibe,” the Dewberry is something new, said Erin Florio in Condé Nast Traveler. Step inside the repurposed 1960s federal office building and you enter a “spot-on” midcentury mod–inspired enclave, rendered with impeccable taste. Danish sofas, palmetto-shaped chandeliers, and 1950s abstract paintings create a timeless atmosphere. Better yet, the Dewberry sits a short walk from “nearly every restaurant worth checking out.” For foodies visiting Charleston this season, “deciding where to stay is a no-brainer.” thedewberrycharleston.com; doubles from $309
Last-minute travel deals
A true African odyssey
This February, join a 54-day camping excursion across eight African countries. You’ll journey from Cape Town to Nairobi, enjoying safaris, canoe trips, and a stop at Victoria Falls, all for $6,799. Book by Nov. 30. For ages 18–39.
Explore Turkey on an 11-day tour in early 2017 and pay just $499 per person, double occupancy. The package, offered at a $400 savings, includes breakfasts. Book by Nov. 30, but consult U.S. State Department travel warnings before you do.
Christmas on the Danube
Save more than $1,000 per couple on a Danube River cruise during the Christmas market season. Water-and-land itineraries start at $2,200 per person, double occupancy, down from $3,319. The year’s final cruise departs Dec. 18.