Welcome in the New Year Outside-the-box options for a special holiday By Kaitlin Walter
New Year's Eve is right around the corner, so where are you planning on ringing in 2011? There are plenty of excellent options, from relaxing getaways at bed and breakfasts both near and far, as well as elegant options in the Cincinnati area.
After weeks of hectic holiday planning, the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls promises a gourmet celebration dinner and relaxing overnight stay for guests wanting to avoid the noisy crowds on New Year's Eve.
"Our guests really like a low-key evening mingling with other couples, so we've kept it that way for 23 years," says Ellen Grinsfelder, owner and innkeeper.
Before dinner, work up an appetite hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the area's waterfalls, caves and forests, or enjoy a few of the Inn's spa services including hot stone massages, facials or couple's massage. The afternoon is the perfect time to visit the outdoor firepit or indoor Fireside Lounge.
"The Fireside Lounge is a place where guests check their e-mail, read a book, or enjoy a glass of wine," Grinsfelder says.
Afterward, head to the Inn's dining room for fine dining with dishes such as shrimp bisque and poached pear and almond cake. Call ahead of time to have chocolate-dipped strawberries and champagne waiting for you in your room.
Kentucky offers its share of historical, luxurious bed and breakfasts. Located 30 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn allows guests to choose from two award-winning, historically restored properties: the William Rouse log cabin or the Willis Graves Federal brick homestead.
Homemade cookies and plush terry robes welcome you to your room. With plenty of a la carte add-ons and package options, the Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn allows you to specialize your entire New Year's Eve experience. Reserve the entire building for a family reunion or get your friends on board for a group New Year's getaway.
Whether you choose to head out to celebrate or stay warm and cozy at the Inn, expect superior service and lodgings from the moment of your arrival.
Louisville — less than two hours away from downtown Cincinnati — offers more getaway options.
Louisville's DuPont Mansion, built in 1879, offers a taste of historic luxury with all the conveniences and entertainment of the 21st century.
"This is a great place for anyone looking to relax in splendor," says owner Gayle Warren. "The building is such a romantic place, as well."
Enjoy a complimentary bottle of champagne or sparkling cider and a plate of hand-dipped chocolate strawberries waiting in your room in honor of New Year's Eve. Capitalize on the mansion's romantic atmosphere with the romance package, which features a 30-minute couple's massage and turndown service with rose petals. After checking in, spend your day exploring the city. Perhaps a trip to the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs and dinner at Buck's. "Buck's is a block away, and is a linen table cloth restaurant that makes you feel like you've walked onto the set of Casablanca," Warren says.
After dinner, make your way to the New Year's Eve bash at Fourth Street Live! At the end of the night, return to DuPont's quiet elegance and look forward to a gourmet breakfast in the formal dining room.
Closer to home, the immediate Cincinnati area has plenty to offer this year for New Year's Eve entertainment, from a swanky club with a view to riverboat cruises.
Known for its incredible skyline view from Mount Adams, Pavilion offers a modern, artsy vibe for your New Year's Eve experience. With the doors opening at 9 p.m., look forward to dancing in style, says marketing director Morri McDowell. Featuring two DJs (one for each floor), guests can enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast at midnight, as well as New Year's-inspired party favors. Tables can be reserved, and group rates are available.
For classical music lovers, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will hold its annual New Year's Eve concert and ball. This year's concert, "Gershwin: From New York to Paris," conducted by Thomas Wilkins, will feature dancers and singers performing the composer's most loved arrangements. After being musically dazzled, the Music Hall Ballroom transports guests to a Parisian promenade for the "American in Paris Ball." The event features dinner, drinks, a silent auction and live music provided by the band Randomonium. Tickets are sold separately for the two events.
On the river
Finally, BB Riverboats' New Year's Eve cruise lets guests dance and dine 2010 away on the Ohio River. The Cincinnati skyline is the backdrop to an evening on the water as you party onboard a historic, spacious riverboat. An extensive three-entrée buffet, late-night snack bar and party favors are capped with a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight. Boarding begins at 8 p.m. with the boat departing at 9 p.m. and returning to Newport's Riverboat Row around 1 a.m.
Couples might consider following the cruise with a night at Christopher's Bed & Breakfast in Bellevue. Christopher's offers a New Year's Eve package that includes two adult tickets onboard BB Riverboats' cruise and an overnight stay in the Loretta or Beverly Rose room.