Category Archives: Vacationing

Happy Holidays from Archival Designs!

During the Holiday season you may find yourself making family traditions the number one priority on your list. Making sure that everyone is taken care of and wishing that your family enjoys the time spent together is very important. Those hosting family members for the holiday season have one more item on their wish list, and that is space. AAA forecasts that 91.9million Americans will be traveling this holiday season! Now considering that the hotel industry does get a chunk of that business, most people are traveling to be with their families.  Finding accommodation for host and guest can seem to be nowhere in sight.  But utilizing spaces that where specified for one thing could be a perfect solution! Here are some of our favorite examples!

Lily Rose House Plan– This house plan has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms all within 3,330 sq. ft.  Even though this home seems big enough to accommodate everyone, it offers a play room area and a separated office area that can be doubled as a room just for the holidays!

Lily Rose House Plan- 3,330 sq. ft. with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Also featuring a 2nd Master bedroom on the 2nd floor!
Lily Rose House Plan- 3,330 sq. ft. with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Also featuring a 2nd Master bedroom on the 2nd floor!


Lady Rose House Plan– This house plan has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms! The Lady Rose also has a basement area that will be able entertain more family members

The Lady Rose House Plan- 3,331 sq. ft. with 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms.
The Lady Rose House Plan- 3,331 sq. ft. with 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms.


The Pepperwood House Plan– This house plan has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The Pepperwood also has an In-Law Suite. This will allow you to host family members but, they will be able to have their privacy!

The Pepperwood is 2,878 with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms
The Pepperwood is 2,878 with 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms


We hope our suggestions will make you holiday season go smoothly! If you want more information about these or other house plans visit Archival Designs today!

90m motor yacht PROJECT LIGHT by Nauta Yachts

I’ve shared luxury items with you such as swimming pools, airplanes, watches, and cars, to name a few. Today, let’s take a look at some luxury yachts.

The 90m motor yacht PROJECT LIGHT is the latest concept revealed by renowned Italian design studio Nauta Yachts. The main idea behind the PROJECT LIGHT 90M super yacht was to rethink the relationship between a superyacht and the environment around her.

90m motor yacht PROJECT LIGHT by Nauta Yachts

90m motor yacht PROJECT LIGHT by Nauta Yachts

Extraordinary outdoor spaces, breathtaking views from both inside and out, balance and cleanliness of lines, seamless inside/outside connection and harmony. The blending of these key elements makes for elegance and visual lightness: this is the essence of the Nauta luxury yacht PROJECT LIGHT, a project which gives body to the real lifestyle desires of VIP Owners.

90m superyacht PROJECT LIGHT

90m superyacht PROJECT LIGHT

With 1210 sq mt of open deck space and 960 sq mt of living spaces wrapped in 250 sq mt of glass, the mega yacht PROJECT LIGHT embodies a new concept in the super yacht world, one that brings the outdoors in.

First impressions count. The main deck has 285 sq mt of open space aft making for an impressive reception area that can also be used for lounging, sunbathing and al fresco dining by day or cocktails, dancing and moonlit dinners by night. The saloon on the main deck opens onto the outdoors through its transparent shell of glass: the space seems endless.

Nauta luxury yacht PROJECT LIGHT

Nauta´s luxury yacht PROJECT LIGHT

All five guest staterooms are on the main deck. Each cabin opens onto a permanent balcony so that guests can enjoy privacy, the yacht and its surroundings, all of which are key elements in the LIGHT philosophy.

From the aft main deck, twin staircases lead to the beach club on the lower deck. Here owners and guests can enjoy 70 sq mt of open teak deck then go into the impressive 170 sq mt enclosed Sea Lounge for a drink or snack. The Sea Lounge is also a true disco club with DJ professional consolle and cocktail bar.

PROJECT LIGHT superyacht - rear view

PROJECT LIGHT superyacht – rear view

Nauta luxury yacht PROJECT LIGHT by night

Nauta´s luxury yacht PROJECT LIGHT by night

The opening transom has folding stairs for easy access to the water, and Two side opening terraces furtherly enhance the contact with the sea and the environment.

Two convenient boarding lobbies are positioned amidships to port and starboard where guests and crew can board tenders without disturbing the bathing guests aft. Just forward of the beach club an enormous spa and wellness area has a hammam, gym and fitness centre, a mud treatment room, massage and relaxation area with Jacuzzi pool and a beauty parlour.

PROJECT LIGHT superyacht Swimming Pool

PROJECT LIGHT superyacht Swimming Pool

Superyacht PROJECT LIGHT Swimming Pool by night

Superyacht PROJECT LIGHT Swimming Pool by night

On the upper deck, which is mainly dedicated to the Owner, a partially shaded area has loungers and tables that can be left as are for light lunches or united to become a dining area for fourteen. This space flows into a saloon area with a bar and gambling tables.

Fully forward, there is the ample, full beam Owner’s Suite that has sweeping 270º forward looking views through no less than 27 sq mt. of glass. This stunning suite also has a private gym, a studio and a dressing room combined with en-suite bathroom facilities. The suite opens directly onto a private terrace from which five steps lead down to the Owner’s private sunning area with a flush-with-deck pool, sun beds and sofas. The Owner’s suite totalize 130 sq mt indoor and 120 sq mt outdoor spaces.

90m motor yacht PROJECT LIGHT Wheelhouse

90m motor yacht PROJECT LIGHT Wheelhouse

The pilothouse on the bridge deck guarantees that the Captain has the best visibility.

Aft on the bridge deck, panoramic outdoor and indoor lounges allow breathtaking views from on high over the seascape and offer more intimate spaces for meetings and conversation.

As the Nauta superyacht PROJECT LIGHT is a large yacht, a spiral staircase wraps around a glass-enclosed lift that links all decks. While this lift is for guest use only, there is another dedicated lift and stairway for crew positioned to port.

PROJECT LIGHT superyacht Salon

PROJECT LIGHT superyacht Salon

A huge 30 sq. mt professional galley is conveniently located on the lower deck, close to the cold rooms and food stores of the tank deck. Crew and Officers messes are also in the same area.

All paths of work on board and their ergonomics were carefully studied so that guests and crew have reciprocal privacy, with separate and independent areas that respect the differences in use that they will make of spaces aboard. Crew can do their various jobs without interfering with each other or with the guests. Serving crew has easy work paths to saloons and cabins, whereas elevator and corridors have been designed to allow trolleys to reach any guest area on the various decks, while, when boarding from tenders, the crew can use the efficient boarding lobby located on port side of the staircase trunk on the lower deck.

Superyacht PROJECT LIGHT Owner´s Cabin

Superyacht PROJECT LIGHT Owner´s Cabin

Large 9 mt. custom designed limo tenders are berthed on the main deck, or, in an alternative interior layout, positioned aft of the engine room on the lower deck and can be hauled and launched through symmetrical gull wing doors. In the alternative layout there is no spa area, but a comfortable gym has been planned between the two tender garages.

A huge double level air conditioned Engine Room, allowing also for an eventual Diesel Electric propulsion, host twin MTU  M71 engines and 3 x Lindenberg C18 Gensets.

PROJECT LIGHT is a yacht that meets and exceeds the expectations for beauty, comfort and efficiency of today’s superyacht owner not by imposing itself of the surrounding environment, but by immersing itself in it and enveloping owners and guests in the beauty and serenity that they have sought out.

Main Characteristics of the luxury motor yacht PROJECT LIGHT 90M by Nauta Yachts:

Construction Material: Steel/Aluminium
Class: LRS + MCA LY2
Length Overall: 90.00 mt.
Beam max: 14.00 mt.
Design draft: 4.00 mt.
Gross tonnage: approx. 2,990 GRT
Number of Decks: 6
Accommodation for Owner, VIP & Guest: 12 in 6 cabins
Accommodation for Captain, Crew and Staff: 24 in 14 cabins
Suites for Owner & Guests:  6
Interior Luxury spaces: approx. m2 1,000
Crew accommodation: approx. m2 385
Catering and service spaces: approx. m2 230
External furnished spaces: approx. m2 1,200
Propulsion Engines: 2 x MTU16V4000M71
Main Engines Max Power: 2 x 2465kW
Propellers: 2 x CPP
Cruising Speed (at Design Draft): approx. 17.0 kt.
Max Speed (at Design Draught & 100% max rated power): approx. 18.5 kt.
Nautical Range (at economic speed of 12kn): approx. 6000 NM
Generators: 3 x Lindenberg C18
Generators Max Power: 3 x 464 kW
Bow thruster: 1 x 300 kW
Stabilizers: 2 pair non-retractable, “zero-speed”
Rudders: 2 high-lift

Archival Designs’ Luxury House Plan, Whytock.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf. Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Diving Into Balcony Pools

The 24-story high indoor pool on Geekologie , is not the only hotel in this gravity-defying trend. These “hanging” pools allow swimmers to soak in the world around them, and they’re particularly handy for architects that want to provide swim-friendly amenities for clients short on space — especially in big cities. Take a dip in the Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao’s swimming pool past the break , and see other amazing, floating pools that require an adventurous spirit. pool1.jpg

Sky-high, glass-bottomed pool

The Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao’s indoor swimming pool is perched atop the 24-story building. While that itself is not so unusual for a big city natatorium, the part of the pool that protrudes from the building and suspends swimmers in mid-air, is. Singapore firm Chan Sau Yan Associates constructed the glass-bottomed pool, which allows swimmers and pedestrians to gaze at each other. The view is incredible — if you don’t have a fear of heights.


Residential, cantilevered pool

This Spanish residence is made entirely of precast beams — it’s cantilevered lap pool that rests on top of the house, included. The elongated swimming pool was inspired by a Hemeroscopium, which defies physical limits. As the designers explain it:

“For the Greek, Hemeroscopium is the place where the sun sets. An allusion to a place that exists only in our mind, in our senses, that is ever-changing and mutable, but is nonetheless real. It is delimited by the references of the horizon, by the physical limits, defined by light, and it happens in time.”


Floating balcony pool

Mumbai’s twin residential towers, dubbed the Aquaria Grande, isn’t building its balconies so people can feel the wind through their hair on a warm summer night. The 37-story building will feature the outdoor patios so residents can practice their backstroke. The planned complex is currently undergoing construction, which includes these amazing, three-sided balcony pools.


Curvy, transparent pool

The InterContinental Dubai Festival City is home to a curvy, transparent pool that extends beyond the edge of the hotel, overlooking Dubai’s skyline — full of incredible, contemporary architecture. If you want to feel like a vacationing Spider-Man, this is definitely where you should book a room.


Rooftop, saltwater pool

Melbourne’s Adelphi hotel provides guests with a 9-story, 25-meter, heated, saltwater pool that allows swimmers to peer down at the street through the clear Perspex floor. It juts over Flinders Lane in the Australian city’s central business district.

Suspended, urban pool

The Hilton Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand has a pool that is dramatically suspended between two buildings. The heated, outdoor lap pool features an underwater viewing point for adventurous swimmers and spectators. It’s a lovely, aqua oasis in the midst of the city’s concrete jungle.


Hanging infinity pool

These stunning Indonesian infinity pools are located at the Ubud Hanging Gardens resort in Bali. The large-scale, multilevel, curvaceous pools mirror the surrounding hills, making it a peaceful, tropical retreat. Guests even have a scenic view of the ancient Pura Penataran Dalem Segara temple. There are 38 private pools in total, each one accessed via an aerial ropeway. It sounds a little frightening, but the panoramic, nature-filled view seems totally worth it.


Breezy, cantilevered pool

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and this Dallas pool at the Joule Hotel is no different. It extends eight feet over the side of the building, on the tenth floor. A Plexiglas wall provides a killer view of the city. The hotel describes it as “breezy sophistication,” although we know a few fraidy cats who might disagree.


Suspended diving pool

Having a green roof wasn’t enough for these homeowners. They took swimming to the next level by adding a cantilevered pool with a walk-the-plank-style diving board. If you’re a wobbly sort, we suggest living vicariously through these daredevil occupants instead by looking at the nifty picture.


Sky pool

DCPP Arquitectos designed the Sky Condo for a developer who hasn’t started constructing yet, but their plans for the 20-floor tower in Lima immediately caught our attention. The Mexico City-based firm wanted to create transparency between the interior and exterior, so an entire facade of the building is see-through. “We believe that an apartment shouldn’t lack exterior spaces; this is why our main space in each apartment is the exterior public area which contains the pool and a series of terraces that bring dynamism to the whole tower,” the architects indicate on their website.


Death-defying pool

The Devil’s Pool in Victoria Falls — between Zambia and Zimbabwe — was created the old fashioned way: by Mother Nature. Hundreds of feet above the Zambezi River, this terrifying, naturally formed swimming pool creates a cringeworthy illusion. Swimmers appear as though they’ll be carried over the edge of the cliff by the current, but there’s a trick to the madness. Mirror writer Clive Andrews explained it in his 2003 account:

“I’m perched precariously on a slippery rock jutting out of the Zambezi. Just a few feet in front of me the mighty river cascades over the Victoria Falls, plunging 100 metres into the gorge below.

No matter how many times my guide, Vincent, insists that it’s safe to dive in, I just can’t see what’s going to stop me being swept over the edge and pureed on the jagged rocks at the bottom.

But it’s taken me nearly an hour of stumbling over boulders in temperatures of more than 40oC to get to Devil’s Pool and I’m not going to give in. So I grit my teeth and take the plunge — after Vincent jumps in first, of course.

The current takes hold immediately, carrying me towards the edge. But, before I can be dragged to a watery grave, I’m stopped by a natural rock wall just beneath the surface. As well as saving my life it allows me to peer over the edge and down into a deafening explosion of rainbow-coloured spray. A truly incredible sight.”

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.   Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 sf to 14,814 sf.  Our Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Mardi Gras Around the World!

“Mardi Gras” (pron.:/ˈmɑrdiɡrɑː/), “Mardi Gras season”, and “Carnival season”, in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. The day is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday, from the word shrive, meaning “confess.” Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent.


Popular practices include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition, as it is associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins.

In many areas, the term “Mardi Gras” has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. In some US cities, it is now called “Mardi Gras Day” or “Fat Tuesday”. The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras the entire period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year’s Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times parades were held on New Year’s Day.  Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Barranquilla, Colombia; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Quebec City, Canada; Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico; and New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European nations. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called “shrovetide”, ending on Shrove Tuesday. It has its popular celebratory aspects as well. Pancakes are a traditional food. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mardi Gras in Dakar, Senegal

Mardi Gras in Marseille, France

Mardi Gras in Binche, Belgium


In the Belgian city of Binche the Mardi Gras festival is the most important day of the year and the summit of the Carnival of Binche. Around 1000 Gilles dance throughout the city from morning until past dusk, whilst traditional carnival songs play. In 2003, the “Carnival of Binche” was proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.


Carnaval is the most famous Brazilian holiday. During this time period Brazil attracts 70% of its tourists. Variations in carnaval celebrations are observed throughout the multitude of Brazilian cities. Yet, a commonality observed among them is the incorporation of samba into the celebrations. The southeastern cities of Brazil have massive parades that take place in large sambadromes. The largest carnaval celebration in Brazil and the world occurs in Rio de Janeiro, where two million people are found celebrating in the city. The city of Salvador also holds a large carnaval celebration.


The celebration of Mardi Gras in Germany is called Karneval, Fastnacht, or Fasching. Fastnacht means “Eve of the Beginning of the Fast”, and is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday.

The most famous parades are held in Cologne, Mainz, and Düsseldorf on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, called Rosenmontag.


In Italy Mardi Gras is called Martedí Grasso (Fat Tuesday). It’s the main day of Carnival along with the Thursday before, called Giovedí Grasso (Fat Thursday), which ratifies the start of the celebrations. The most famous Carnivals in Italy are in Venice and in Viareggio. Italy is the birthplace of Carnival celebrations, having its origins in the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia. The Italian version of the festival is spelled Carnevale.


The Netherlands also has a festival similar to Mardi Gras. It’s called Carnaval and is similar to the Venice Carnival. The origin of the word Carnaval is ‘Carne Vale’ which means Goodbye to the meat in Latin. It marks the beginning of the sacred period that leads to Easter.

The real festival is held in the southern part of the Netherlands in the provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg, and in eastern parts of Twente and Groningen.


In Sweden the celebration is called Fettisdagen. It comes from the word “fett” (fat) and “tisdag” (Tuesday). Originally, this was the only day one should eat semlor. These are now sold in most grocery stores and bakeries preceding the holiday, and up until Easter.

United States

Mardi Gras 2010 celebrants in the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the traditional colors of purple, green, and gold. While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699, Lundi Gras. They did not yet know it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the west bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, and made camp. This was on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras, so in honor of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: “Mardi Gras Point”) and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1703 French settlers in Mobile established the first organized Mardi Gras celebration tradition in what was to become the United States. The first informal mystic society, or krewe, was formed in Mobile in 1711, the Boeuf Gras Society. By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French Mardi Gras customs had accompanied the colonists who settled there.

Knights of Revelry parade down Royal Street in Mobile during the 2010 Mardi Gras season.

In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans, founded in 1718. Mobile’s Cowbellion de Rakin Society was the first formally organized and masked mystic society in the United States to celebrate with a parade in 1830. The idea of mystic societies was exported to New Orleans in 1856 when six businessmen, three who were formerly of Mobile, gathered at a club room in New Orlean’s French Quarter to organize a secret society, inspired by the Cowbellion de Rakin Society, that would observe Mardi Gras with a formal parade. They founded New Orleans’ first and oldest krewe, the Mistick Krewe of Comus. The tradition in New Orleans expanded to the point that it became synonymous with the city in popular perception, and embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage. Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan, Laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll) and the nickname “Big Easy”. Other cities along the Gulf Coast with early French colonial heritage, from Pensacola, Florida to Lafayette, Louisiana, have active Mardi Gras celebrations. In the rural Acadiana area, many Cajuns celebrate with the Courir de Mardi Gras, a tradition that dates to medieval celebrations in France.

In the last decade of the 20th century, the rise in producing commercial videotapes catering to voyeurs helped encourage a tradition of women baring breasts in exchange for beads and trinkets.

Today’s home design photos of those of Archival DesignsCharleston House Plan.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and Palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 sf to 14,814 sf.  Our Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf. Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs or browse our photo gallery to get a sense of the many styles and types of house designs we offer.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Top 10 New Year’s Eve Locales

Where will you be when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2012? With the list of fabulous locations below, you can partake in have-to-do-it-at-least-once traditions, such as watching the ball drop at New York’s Times Square, serious street partying in Prague, participate in a “communal kiss” in Venice or watch fireworks in magnificent settings that include Niagara Falls and the Austrian Alps.




Las Vegas: Bacchanalia in the Desert

Reinforcing its status as a perennial party town, Las Vegas welcomes 300,000 revelers to ring in the New Year. Hotels, clubs and bars take it to the limit with special shows, but many lock their doors around the midnight hours, so you’ll need to decide whether you want to be in or out. We recommend out, since the four-mile-long Strip becomes a vehicle-free promenade where you can drink, mingle and watch fireworks shot off from surrounding rooftops. For a rockin’ good time, hit up The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel where the Black Keys will be performing. For something a tad mellower, enjoy the music of The Beatles with Cirque du Soleil’s New Year’s Eve performance of LOVE at the The Mirage … what better way to celebrate the hard day’s night that is New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas.




Mexico City: End-of-the-Year Fiesta

Mexico’s capital and largest city is sedate at the beginning of the night, as most denizens of “D.F.,” as locals call it, lay low at home and eat dinner with family members. But as the night goes on, debauchery ensues for the final day of the calendar year. If you like crowds, gravitate to the Zócalo around 9 p.m., the city’s main gathering point, where a street festival takes place. There are fireworks, dancing and music; tradition dictates that Zócalo attendees bring empty eggshells filled with confetti and colorful liquids. Likewise, the Zona Rosa neighborhood is similarly packed for plenty of partying. For something a tad less noisy and messy, have a late-night dinner at one of the trendy restaurants in the hip Condesa neighborhood.
Niagara Falls, Canada: Barreling into the New Year


Long gone are the days when the most exciting thing to do at Niagara Falls was keep your eyes peeled for a daredevil plummeting over the cascades in a barrel. The falls are now the site of one of the biggest outdoor New Year’s Eve parties in Canada. More than 30,000 people gather in Queen Victoria Park to eat, drink and enjoy the free New Year’s Eve Concert Extravaganza, organized by the Niagara Parks Commission. Festivities take place against the stunning backdrop of Niagara Falls, which is illuminated as part of the 30th annual Winter Festival of Lights, a November 3 to January 31 display of more than three million lights on a four-mile route. Brightening the night even further, the 9 p.m. and midnight fireworks over the falls are so much a part of the country’s New Year’s Eve tradition that they are televised nationwide.


Prague: Charles Bridge Fireworks

With a hand-held fireworks free-for-all competing with an official midnight display over Prague Castle and the Vltava River, Prague is rightly known for its wild New Year’s Eve. But this is a city that has something for everyone. All day long the Christmas Markets are still in full swing, as colorful wooden huts sell handicrafts, hot food and warm drinks in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Culture lovers can take in the morning or evening performance of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra at Rudolfinum and then attend the New Year’s Eve gala ball at the Prague State Opera. As for those who like their festivities on the rowdy side, the action is in the bars, clubs and prime fireworks viewing spots: Charles Bridge and the town squares. For crowd-controlled celebrations, dinner cruises ply the Vltava River with music and dancing into the wee hours. 



Kitzbühel, Austria: Heating up the Slopes

For New Year’s Eve in a quaint fairy tale setting, Kitzbühel is our top pick. This ninth-century town has been attracting glamorous revelers ever since Kirk Douglas and Coco Chanel put it on the see-and-be-seen map. A romantic mood takes over as the clock ticks toward midnight, with restaurants and hotels hosting gala dinners and horse-drawn sleighs jingling past medieval houses on traffic-free, cobblestone streets. The big draw, though, takes place on the Hahnenkamm race course. Drinking hot wine and singing folk songs, crowds gather at the base to watch members of the Rote Teufel ski school. Beneath a fireworks display (one of the best in the Alps) choreographed to music, the skiers welcome the New Year with an unforgettable torch-lit performance on the slopes.





Reykjavik, Iceland: Cold Temperatures, Hot Nightlife

In Iceland, New Year’s Eve traditions offer the chance to brighten up one of the darkest days of the year. With little more than four hours of daylight and sunset before 4 p.m. on December 31, the celebration starts early, beginning with 6 p.m. mass at Reykjavik Cathedral. Locals attend or listen in on the radio, then share a meal with family and friends before heading outdoors for neighborhood bonfires. Visitors wandering the city may easily come across one of these flame-fueled gatherings, where drinking, folk songs and even people dressed up as elves and trolls are not uncommon. While all of this may seem somewhat sedate, don’t underestimate a country where there are no restrictions on the holiday sale of fireworks. As for Icelanders wielding firecrackers, they’re not the only complement to Reykjavik’s official, spectacular pyrotechnics display. Sometimes the Northern Lights get in on the act as well.



Rhodes, Greece: All Rhodes Lead to the Celebrations

Throughout Greece, tradition plays a great role in New Year’s celebrations. But since you can only be in one place at a time, we recommend heading for the medieval district of Rhodes Town on the island of Rhodes. In this historic setting you can witness activities such as New Year’s carols or card games, the latter an opportunity for locals to enhance their luck for the upcoming year. Luck, in fact, plays a significant role in ringing in the New Year. The first person, usually a child, who steps foot over your doorstep on New Year’s Day will determine the year’s luck, and in most households, a vasilopita cake is prepared with a coin inside — the person who gets the piece with the coin will have good luck all year long. Be prepared for parties all over the island, as plazas, cafés, bars and hotels host special events that run from midnight until dawn. Then, on New Year’s Day, enjoy a ritual usually practiced on Christmas in other places around the world, as St. Basil (the Greek Santa Claus) delivers holiday gifts.



New York City: The City That Never Stops Partying

Cramming into NYC’s Times Square for concerts and to watch the ball drop with fellow tourists from all over the world is something everyone should do once. But for a more local end-of-the-year experience, party in the always-happening Meatpacking District by buying a Meatpacking District All-Access Pass. The pass allows for access to normally exclusive clubs as well as buffet dinners and DJ’ed performances. For something more sedate, make a reservation at one of the many great restaurants in New York that serve up memorable meals on the final evening of the year.
Venice, Italy: Romance and Fireworks on the Canals

For La Festa di San Silvestro (New Year’s Eve), Venice knows how to do things right. The music, fireworks and toast in St. Mark’s Square culminate with a communal kiss at midnight. Enjoy Concerto di Capodanno, the New Year’s concert at La Fenice Theater, to start your evening; then join the revelry that lasts until dawn, when locals watch the sunrise and take a dip at Lido Beach. Or party all night and catch the concert on New Year’s Day morning. Make sure to try a traditional lentil dish, which symbolizes good fortune, and beware of those few people still participating in the custom of throwing old things out windows to symbolize preparation for the New Year. If you’re still in town on the sixth, don’t miss the Befana races, where men clad like women race boats along the Grand Canal.




Goa, India: Stark Raving Mad Under the Stars

Gaining notoriety as a turn-on-tune-in-drop-out hippie paradise in the 1960s, Goa seems to use New Year’s Eve to keep its free-living reputation alive. Backpackers flock here for psychedelic trance raves in the open air — insiders tell us “The Hill Top” is the place to be. This Indian state is also a favorite destination for Bollywood stars, whose New Year’s Eve antics throughout Goa serve up plenty of fodder for the tabloids. As for the locals, they generally keep to their own traditions with New Year’s balls in nearly every brightly decorated village. If you’re lucky, you might be invited to share a glass of fenny, a regional brew made from guava, coconut or cashew nuts.

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