Seasonal Travel

Anyone who’s watched The Shining late-night has probably had at least one nightmare featuring hotel ghosts. (Truth be told, we watched it during broad daylight. And we were still terrified…) Whether you believe in paranormal encounters or not, be prepared to shiver from more than the autumnal chill in the air if you book at stay at one of these haunted hotels this Halloween.

The Place d’Armes Hotel, New Orleans

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New Orleans is famous for its paranormal activity, so the title of “most haunted” isn’t one to be taken lightly – and Place d’Armes Hotel, a popular spot on haunted walking tours, may just be that. The historic townhouses, centered around a pretty courtyard, that make up the hotel don’t show any signs of the ghastly fire that took the lives of several students and teachers when their school burned down on this site in the 1800s. But footsteps, children’s laughter, and the sound of furniture moving in unoccupied rooms are just the beginning of reported paranormal activity here. Resident ghosts include a young girl who asks where her grandmother is before vanishing into thin air, and an elderly bearded man dressed in old-fashioned clothes who gives a friendly nod of acknowledgment before he disappears.

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Halloween is just a little over a week away and the spooky holiday — filled with goblins, jack-o’-lanterns, and pranks — is not just for trick-or-treating tots. Kids can dress up as their favorite characters (expect to see a lot of Elsas this year), while adults…can do the same! Some of the best costume parties and Halloween events will be held at hotels this year; expect DJ-spun tracks, Halloween-inspired cocktails, and some elaborate costume choices. We’ve rounded up nine hotels that will be throwing epic Halloween bashes that may even bring out the kid in you; but don’t worry, they’re 21+, so you can successfully avoid the little ghosts and witches. From casual costume parties to elegant masquerades, these soirees will guarantee that you’ll have a hair-raising Halloween!

Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn

Wythe

With a hopping rooftop bar boasting jaw-dropping views of Manhattan, a wonderful restaurant, and cutting-edge industrial design, the Wythe is a destination unto itself. It’s located near the subway, as well as dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops in the heart of trendy Williamsburg. On Halloween, the hotel will be hosting a “Dia de los Terribles Halloween Party” from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. $20 will get you admittance and an hour-long open tequila bar. The Dia de los Muertos-themed event will include various DJ sets, a photo gallery of Day of the Dead rituals from around the world, and a screening of Under the Volcano.

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It seems like everyone we know is lacing on sneakers and hitting the ground running these days. With marathons picking up speed and popularity across the globe, we’re happy to call the host of one of the most popular –  The New York City Marathon — home. Runners will put their best (and fastest) feet forward this year on November 2nd, when just over 26 miles of ups and downs will route them through all five boroughs. Couldn’t summon the will power to train over the last six months? No worries; you can still participate by cheering on those who dragged themselves out of bed, trained tirelessly, and maybe even lost a few toenails in the process. We’ve got a list of the best places to stay along the NYC Marathon’s 2014 route, so you can peep, pep, and cheer on the runners. But walk, sprint, or jog quickly — because these prime spots are bound to fill up fast!

Hotel Le Bleu: Mile 7, Brooklyn

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This 48-room boutique hotel in the middle of the Brooklyn‘s Park Slope neighborhood makes up for its slim offering of amenities with delightfully modern rooms, balconies, free breakfasts — and a convenient location right by the Mile 7 marker. Rooms have contemporary decor in shades of white, blue, and brown, modern technology, and Egyptian cotton linens; glass-walled bathrooms are sleek but small, and lack privacy (they’re not separated from the rest of the room). The affordable rates may be the biggest draw; rooms at this outer-borough gem are around half the price as similarly stylish options in Manhattan.

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It’s game time, leaf peepers! We are in the midst of peak leaf-peeping season, and you don’t even need to be a binocular-bearing botanist to enjoy fall magic taking shape in the form of beautiful changing leaves across the country. From the White Mountains of New England to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest — we found plenty of foliage-friendly hotels that give guests a front row seat on the chlorophyll breakdown action. So, if you’re stumped on where to spy purple dogwoods, red sumacs, and orange maples  – look no further, leaf ogler. We branched out to find some of the best lookin’ treetops in the land!

Salish Lodge; Snoqualmie Valley, WA

Salish Lodge & Spa

The Salish Lodge & Spa offers breathtaking views of mother nature’s artwork. Thousands of leaf oglers swarm the Lodge every October to snap images of the bright orange Cascades and gushing waterfalls. The hotel is about 40-minute drive from Seattle  — so bring along that Starbucks pumpkin latte. Most of the property’s 84 rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and peek-a-boo bathrooms with two-person tubs.  Stone fireplaces, stacked firewood, and cashmere throws make this hotel super snuggle-worthy for couples looking for a romantic fall escape.

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beach--v2681489-1024 Here at Oyster, we believe summer should be a year-round celebration, so we’ve come up with an Endless Summer Series to satisfy our sand-and-sun dreamin’. It’s a simple idea based on the fact that no matter what month it is, it’s summer somewhere. And since we started off September on the hot sands of Palm Springs, we figure the next logical step should be on the sunny sands of St. Pete Beach, Florida, where flip flops and tank tops are still given a warm welcome — even in October. Click through the jump to get all the scoop on St. Pete Beach, Florida in October…and where to stay (on every budget) for your perfect SPB holiday >> Read More »

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Staying in a New England inn during foliage season is the quintessential fall vacation. If you’re conjuring up images of historic mansions, elegant antiques, thick oriental rugs, and cozy fireplaces for those crisp fall nights – well, you’re right on the money. These ten inns all have charm to spare.

Ale House Inn, New Hampshire

Ale House Inn

The cozy 10-room Ale House Inn — more suited to adults than families — is housed in a historic 130-year-old former brewery warehouse a block from downtown Portsmouth. Room decor is minimalist, hip, and chic, but there isn’t much to this boutique hotel other than a small lobby and common area with free snacks. There is no on-site restaurant or bar, but the Market Square District location means shops and dining are nearby. The hotel gives free tickets to the Seacoast Rep Theater, which is located on the ground floor, and a free local beer upon arrival. Each room is equipped with a pre-loaded iPad that includes a ton of information about Portsmouth.

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A crackling fireplace, hot apple cider, vibrant leaves…these are just a few of the (amazing) things we associate with fall. And taking a cue from the dropping temperatures, at this time of year, hotels begin to entice travelers not with their refreshing pools or sandy beaches, but with cozy autumn amenities. From bed-and-breakfasts perfect for prime foliage viewing to city hotels that successfully capture a country vibe with fun activities like pumpkin carving contests, these seven picks are sure to make the transition from summer to fall a pleasant one. Just save some pumpkin pie for us!

In-Room Fireplaces: Fifteen Beacon, Boston

Fifteen Beacon

A 63-room upscale hotel with exquisite service and sleek decor in residential Beacon Hill, Fifteen Beacon (or XV Beacon) offers a luxury boutique experience. The building, constructed in 1903, blends historic New England elegance with modern, minimalist design and high-tech amenities. Expert concierges, free chauffeur service in a Lexus, and a location at the top of Boston Common make this hotel a great fit for discerning business or leisure travelers. Rooms are spacious, with stylishly masculine decor, and our favorite feature for fall are the working gas fireplaces. There are switches conveniently by the bed to turn on both the fireplace and stereo, so you can stay cuddled under the covers.

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palm springsEven though we’ve been trying to embrace all things fall, we still can’t help but feel like summer came and went too quickly this year. And while fireplaces and fall reading and apple picking are all nice, we’d still love some time defined by warm weather, sandy shoes, and suntan lotion – especially as the temperatures start to drop, and drop, and drop some more. So we’ve come up with an Endless Summer Series to satisfy our sand-and-sun dreamin’. It’s a simple idea based on the fact that no matter what month it is, it’s summer somewhere. And since it doesn’t get much hotter than the desert, we figured that was a pretty good place to start sizzling. No need to throw in the (beach) towel on your warm weather wanderlust!

Click through the jump to get all the scoop on Palm Springs in September…and where to stay for every budget >>

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Today is the first official day of fall, and while saying goodbye to the summertime is no easy feat…well, we don’t really have a choice. But to be honest, we’re looking forward to the days of football and beer, leaves crunching under our boots, and crackling fireplaces. And nowhere in the country does the fall season better than New England. So whether you’re planning a getaway to Massachusetts or Rhode Island, Vermont or New Hampshire, or Connecticut or Maine, we have a fun fall activity to get you in the seasonal spirit!

Go: Pumpkin Picking in Vermont

VT pumpkin picking

New England is replete with pumpkin-picking patches and Vermont has some of the best. While Stowe is often associated with winter skiing, it’s also prime for fall picking. With tons of open space and rolling hills, it is home to numerous farms where visitors can pick apples, pumpkins, and other produce.

Stay: Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge is one of the top luxury properties in Vermont, and offers rustic elegance throughout — from the impressive lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows to the bright, contemporary rooms. This property has a lot in the way of amenities, particularly for the area: an inviting spa, big outdoor pool with mountain views, acclaimed restaurant, state-of-the-art fitness center, 18-hole golf course, and great children’s program. 

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Here at Oyster, we love a good book anytime of year – but there’s something about the fall that encourages us to curl up with a new read. Maybe it’s the shorter days and roaring fireplaces… And since travel and reading often go hand-in-hand (how many times have you gotten through an insanely long layover with a good book?!), we put together a list of worthy titles for your next trip — and paired them with a perfectly suited hotel, of course.  Let us know which books you’re loving this fall in the comments section below. Happy reading!

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

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Ms. Dunham’s hotly anticipated collection of personal essays has been tauted by some of the best in the business, including David Sedaris and Judy Blume.  Fans of HBO’s Girls are sure to love, and laugh at, Lena’s written take on everything from traveling in Israel to her childhood therapy sessions to dating at a liberal arts college in Ohio. The book is aimed to give Millennials life advice, but readers of all ages will recognize parts of themselves in this occasionally cringeworthy tell-all. The book hits stores on September 30th.

Read it here: Wythe Hotel, New York City

We suggest reading Not That Kind of Girl at the Wythe Hotel in cool-kid mecca Williamsburg for a taste of Girls favorite borough.

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