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Top five off-peak destinations for winter 2007/2008


Many people are tired of traveling after the holidays, but come late January, the travel bug (and cold weather) may spur you into taking an impromptu trip. Plus, two long holiday weekends make jetting off on a mini-break a perfect excuse to travel. If you’re willing to look beyond typical wintertime destinations (i.e., Florida or the Caribbean), you’ll save big bucks on everything from airfare to accommodations to attractions. Since the dollar is getting trounced in many countries abroad, this winter’s picks include three stateside destinations, with one exception in each of Canada and Europe.

Santa Fe

Artsy Santa Fe was named one of the 10 favorite U.S. cities by Travel + Leisure magazine this year, and winter is a particularly special time to visit. Restaurants, galleries, and museums stay open year-round, but Santa Fe is free from the visitors that can clog its streets at other times of year. Plus, you can save up to 40 percent on accommodations while having the city to yourself.

Native American and Christian traditions are both displayed in Santa Fe around Christmas. On December 24, Canyon Road and the Plaza are decorated with farolitos, small sand-filled bags lit by votive candles, and residents and visitors enjoy the lights with caroling and hot cider. Pueblos near Santa Fe perform annual animal dances around the holidays that visitors are welcome to experience. January, February, and March are also good times to visit the pueblos and experience the various dances and ceremonies performed there each year.

ARTfeast, a popular festival dedicated to food, wine, art, fashion, and homes, runs from February 21 to 24. Highlights include a Friday night edible art tour through 30 downtown art galleries, an afternoon of wine and jazz, and an art tour through notable homes in Santa Fe.

Accommodations specials galore are available this winter. Properties including Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa, Inn on the Alameda, Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza, La Posada de Santa Fe, and Santa Fe Sage Inn, are all offering seasonal specials, and I found savings of as much as $50 on off-peak hotel rates at several B&Bs.

Hotel Room type Off-peak rate Peak rate
AdobeStar Inn O’Keefe room $139 (January through June and September through December) $149 (July and August)
Garrett’s Desert Inn One queen bed $69 (January 1 to February 29, 2008) $119 (July 1 through August 31, 2008)
Madeleine Inn Geranium room $110 (November 1 to January 31) $140 (May 1 to October 31)
Rancho Manzana One queen bed $95 (November 1 to May 31) $115 (June 1 to October 31)

Prices are per night, per room based on double occupancy, and were found on each provider’s website.

For comprehensive vacation-planning tips, visit the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website, and be sure to request a free visitors guide before you go.

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