Facebook envy ups the ante for fall thrill seekers
by Candyce Stapen, USA TODAY, 9:19 pm EDT September 12, 2013
Although a quiet walk through dappled woods on a crisp fall day is nice, a forest stroll lacks the excitement to spark a series of “wows” from one’s social media friends and followers. But taking in the fall colors via biplane, zipline, hot air balloon or raft delivers thrill-worthy posts almost guaranteed to get “likes.”
“If you are going to keep on, you have to change with the times,” says Mary White founder of BnBFinder, a search engine for bed and breakfasts worldwide. “We all have Facebook pages and we want really cool photos on our pages. When you have younger travelers, they want more than just a getaway. They want to create an experience and take it to the next level. They want to add excitement.”
Facebook envy is powerful. To meet the needs of those seeking to bask in its glow, savvy lodgings, from small bed and breakfasts to major hotel chains, are adding adventures, even to such formerly tranquil getaways as leaf-peeping weekends. Listed below are foliage outings whose heart-pumping adrenaline rushes just might make your followers jealous.
Biplane flights, Orange, Va.
From the open-cockpit of your piloted biplane, see the Blue Ridge Mountains billow with reds, oranges and yellows and watch the sun glint off the Shenandoah River. The one-hour flight aboard the three-seater, 1942 Waco ZPF-7 makes you feel like a World War II ace. Afterward, wrap your complimentary white silk aviator scarf around your neck as a badge of honor, and relax in front of the fire at the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast, a circa 1830, historic home with six guest bedrooms.
Ziplines, Hollister, Mo.
Take in the Ozark Mountains as you whoop and holler on Vigilante Extreme Ziprider at 50-mph. At its highest point, the zipline perches you 170-feet above the hillsides. Take in more views from the blufftop Cameron’s Crag Bed and Breakfast, a four-room lodging overlooking Lake Taneycomo and Branson, three miles away.
Hot-air balloons, Stowe, Vt.
Float in a hot air balloon above the classic New England panorama of white church steeples and mountain slopes blazing with reds, rusts and golds. At Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, choose a bird’s-eye view of the Green Mountains while either tethered to the ground or wafting with the breeze. The AAA Four-Diamond resort has 120 guest rooms, 58 townhouses and a top-rated, 50,000-square-foot spa.
Details: Autumn Glow package: from $229 per night with a two-night minimum, includes daily breakfast, and 20% spa discount. Available Sundays through Thursdays through Oct. 31, 2013. Balloon flight or tether $525 for up to two people. Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa.
Rock climb, raft and zipline, Asheville, N.C.
Amp up your foliage fun by rock climbing, rafting or ziplining on a guided adventure with the Nantahala Outdoor Center, conveniently based at Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn. Nestled in the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the 100-year-old, AAA Four-Diamond property also offers golf and a spa.
Details: from $405 per night, double occupancy, includes breakfast buffet and half-day of rock climbing, rafting or ziplining. Omni Grove Park Inn & Spa.