Looking for a family winter adventure? Consider a visit to Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias and a vast wilderness area. During the late fall and winter months, however, it hosts a variety of indoor activities in addition to nordic skiing, cross country skiing and other outdoor offerings.
During January and February, Yosenite's luxury hotel, the Ahwahnee is hosting a series of three-day long programs featuring nationally renowned guest chefs. Called "Chef's Holidays", each program features culinary demonstrations and behind-the-scenes kitchen tours hosted by the guest chefs. Included in the package is a gala dinner in the Ahwahnee Dining Room, featuring a five-course gourmet meal highlighting each guest chef's unique specialties paired with complement of wines. Guest packages include lodging in addition to each of the events tied into the Chefs' Holidays. For example, on January 27th and 28th, competitors from Bravo TV's Top Chef will be featured, including Ryan Scott (of Ryan Scott 2 Go in San Francisco), Ariane Duarte (of CulinAriane in Montclaire, N.J.) and Carla Hall (of Alchemy Caterers in Wheaton, Md.).
Between early November and early December each year, the Ahwahnee Hotel hosts Vintners' Holidays which showcase California winemakers. Guests enjoy expert-led tasting seminars and a gala dinner in the Ahwahnee DiningRoom featuring an elegant five-course gourmet meal specially prepared to complement the wines made by the guest vintners. Two and three night lodging packages are offered to guests wanting to participate.
If outdoor adventure is more to your liking, Yosemite is home to Badger Pass, the very first ski resort built in the Sierra Nevada range. Open since 1935, the ski resort is geared toward families who want to learn how to ski or hone their skills. Indeed, Badger Pass offers one of the best ski schools in the country with a wide selection of beginner and intermediate slopes to choose from (there's also one expert run).
Built in 1927, the Ahwahnee Hotel is known for its magnificent façade, and architecture. It offers 123 handsomely appointed guest rooms, including 99 hotel rooms, parlors and suites and 24 cottages. The lodge has bell service, a full-time concierge, daily maid service with evening turndowns, room service, afternoon tea service.
Ahwahnee Hotel amenities include a year-round outdoor heated swimming pool and seasonal tennis courts. Rates for 2010 range from $424 to $1,134 per night.
The easiest way to get to Yosemite by air is to fly into Fresno Yosemite National Airport, which is a two hour drive from the park.
Gallery: More from Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel