Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween, Salem MA, Snow and NYC

I've been anticipating Halloween all week -- loved what I saw at "Haunted Happenings" in Salem. But S-N-O-W in New York City in October? This is ridiculous. And it's C-O-L-D.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Halloween Festivity: Sight and Sound

Salem, MA was absolutely crazy with tourists this past weekend with more fright fests, witch parades, and costumes than you could imagine, even at the NYC Halloween Parade. I'm going out now to decorate the apartment door in preparation for the kiddies who go trick-or-treating in Manhattan buildings -- it's an entirely different experience here. We also have lots of houses decorated in NYC, too, with fabulous lights, but mostly for Christmas. I wanted to share with you this wonderful Halloween sight-and-sound set-up that's taken YouTube by storm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Haunted Happenings in Salem, Massachusetts

For a real Halloween experience, I always go back to the source of all things witchy: Salem, Massachusetts. This season marks the thirtieth year of Haunted Happenings in this most haunted city, known for its dark history and the Salem Witch Trials.

There’s something to scare (or entertain) everyone in the next two weeks. Some of the fun happenings include The Stop by for a Spell Children’s Costume Brunch at the very-haunted Hawthorne Hotel (October 23), pumpkin decorating with Halloween treats, and music. Taking advantage of the city’s myriad historical venues, the month also offers the Pumpkin Festival and Hay Bale Maze on Salem Common, and the Sea Shanties at the Ship Stage event at Derby Wharf with theater performances and singing.

A stone’s throw from the Salem Witch Museum, the Haunted Movie Series on Salem Common will be featuring the classic Halloween films Hocus Pocus on October 22 and Beetlejuice on October 29. All movies are free; age discretion is advised.

For older kids, there are plenty of spooks at several haunted houses, cornfield mazes and other eerie attractions.

Somewhat less frightful, Salem Common’s Family Fun Days, on October 22-23 and October 29-30, will entice the little ones with rides, face painting, and other Halloween fun. All proceeds benefit local non-profit organizations such as Salem Main Streets and the Salem Common Neighborhood Association.

Finishing up the month of fright, through October 31, are the Carnival on Derby Street, and trick-or-treating at historic Pioneer Village on October 29-30 and the Phillips House on October 31. All ages are welcome.

A full list of entertainment and event information can be found at

Looking for a place to stay? Check out the Hawthorne Hotel (Member of Historic Hotels of America, on Salem Common), Salem Waterfront Hotel (on Pickering Wharf), and the Salem Inn (near the Salem Witch Museum) – you might even see a wandering ghost down their corridors. If you’re hungry, stop by Capt's Waterfront Grille & Pub (with its fabulous deck) or Finz Seafood & Grille on Pickering Wharf – they’re both within shouting distance of the “office” of Salem’s Official Witch, Laurie Cabot (her paranormal workshop is on October 28, for those of you who are curious). I’ve been told that lobster and a good local brew keep the goblins away! Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Alarm Clocks, Housekeeping and Hotel Stays: Forewarned Is Forearmed

I just learned an invaluable lesson in hotel travel -- always check the alarm clock in your room. It's an unwelcome surprise when the alarm goes off at 6am and you've planned to sleep until 9 or later. On a similar note, don't forget to leave the "Do Not Disturb" door hanger outside if you'd like to sleep in. I had a one-two-three punch this morning: the alarm sounded at 7, the snooze feature made it re-sound at 8,and housekeeping arrived at 9. My first appointment was scheduled for 10:30am. My dumb luck.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Das Best Oktoberfest -- Where to Celebrate in NYC

If I can’t make it to Germany (like last year), I love celebrating Oktoberfest in New York City. This year there’s a full-day celebration on October 22 - Das Best Oktoberfest- that has me salivating for pretzels, spaetzle, beer and other treats. You don’t have to attend all day – in fact, you choose one of two sessions – and then go to party, see who will be crowned Miss Oktoberfest, and enjoy a variety of other German hilarity. I’ll be at the evening session if you’re planning to attend.

The one-day mash-up of authentic oompah, German bands and fun contests happens at La Venue and The Tunnel in West Chelsea (608 West 28th St. between 11th and 28th), on Saturday. There you'll find unlimited samplings of more than 150 international and craft beers, wines and schnapps, plus German-inspired cuisine.

You can buy tickets for either or both of the two sessions: 12 Noon- 4pm or 5:30pm-9:30pm, for $65 in advance or $80 at the door. You must be 21 or over to attend. A Grand Oompah Tasting Session is also available at $150 for a limit of 100 brave souls who care to attend both sessions and are interested in attending a special German Tasting Seminar.

To entertain you while you eat and drink, there will several photo-worthy contests, and winners each win $100. The Beer Belly Competition calls out the gentlemen who think they have the best ‘figure’ with judging based on appearance and personality; the Miss Oktoberfest Contest critiques the best merry maid on her appearance, costume and knowledge of Oktoberfest; and the Pretzel Necklace Competition shows off food and creativity.

This over-the-top taste, eat and dance experience is dubbed as ‘das’ best day of beer sippin’, sausage tastin’, music listenin’, and lederhosen wearin’ (at least on this side of the Atlantic). Tickets and additional information are available online at