Looking for ideas for a holiday getaway, someplace new to visit where grown-ups can leave the neighborhood Christmas lighting frenzy behind and celebrate at their own speed? Here are just a few of the possibilities you can research with a little time on the Internet.
Enjoy Christmas decorations amid the elegant surroundings of the Biltmore Estate which is advertising two Christmas packages at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, as well as getaways using other hotels in the area around scenic Asheville, N.C. Look for "Explore Biltmore" to get an advance look at America's largest home, including the house, gardens and the estate winery. And click on "Plan Your Visit" to learn about outdoor activities and to get the link to "Around Asheville" for other things to see and do in the area.
Or maybe you need just a few days of peace and quiet in a comfortable, possibly romantic little inn. Bed & Breakfast Inns Online provides links to B&B inns all around the country that advertise Christmas specials. You could try Pennsylvania's Mill Creek Homestead, at Bird-in-Hand in Amish country, or the Reluctant Panther Inn at Manchester Village, Vt., or maybe the DeVoe Mansion in Tacoma, Wash.
Something a little more energetic and glitzy? The Web site's emphasis is on New Year's Eve rather than Christmas, but Las Vegas is always good for a getaway. If you're really not sure what you could find to occupy your time, click on "Play" at the top of the page for help deciding on whether you want to focus on gambling, night clubs, shows such as Blue Man Group or Celine Dion, restaurants or shopping. Click on "Stay" for help picking out one of the city's many hotels, or try Las Vegas Central Reservations.
A little flash without the casinos? Go see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City and hang around for New Year's Eve in Times Square (huge crowd, tight security). Click on "Visitors" for the essential basics on Broadway shows, sightseeing and shopping, where you also need to read "scams to avoid."
Go for some heavy-duty relaxation by taking a holiday cruise. Visit one of the specialists on the Web, Cruise.com and look for Christmas under the "Shop by Holiday" heading. They list a variety of trips over Christmas, including ones to Hawaii, Mexico and various Caribbean ports. If you can't find an opening there that you like, browse through the longer list of New Year sailings. Just think about spending a week aboard a luxury ship sailing in tropical water, a few thousand miles from the nearest snowdrift. Cast your net a little wider with the help of icruise but you'll have to specify your dates and destination in their search menus.
You might also spend the holidays in the Caribbean with dry land under your feet. Visit Definitive Caribbean and look down along the right side of the page for "Christmas/New Year in Bardados."
Go west, to California's Monterey County and click on "Holiday Bounty" for hotels and inns that will give you a great relaxing holiday and a gift card good for savings on wine tastings, attractions, restaurants and shops. Then go back to the county's main page for suggestions on things to fill your time when you're not just relaxing.