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New York City with the Grandkids + Some Other Intergenerational Travel Ideas

by Mitch Kaplan

So you're thinking you'd like to show you grandkids the Big Apple, let them see just how fascinating the big city can be, but you're a little intimidated by the cost and the logistics?

Well, one hotel company is set on making your life easier.

Affinia Hospitality (www.affinia.com; 1-866-AFFINIA) invites grandparents and their grandchildren for a special fun-filled and value-packed weekend in the Big Apple. Now available at all nine Affinia hotels, the Affinia Grandparents Package includes upon check-in:

  • "Power Pak" filled with New York essentials: a disposable camera, bottled water, pretzels, microwave popcorn, and a NYC transit map, all conveniently packaged in an Affinia insulated lunch bag.

  • Coupons for discounts to the Museum of Television and Radio and a list of kid-friendly restaurants and attractions in the city. The Museum of Television and Radio (www.mtr.org), located at 25 West 52nd Street, has an international collection of over 120,000 programs covering more than 80 years of television and radio history. There are Saturday and Sunday screenings of special interest to children and "Re-creating Radio" workshops on Saturday mornings for families with children.

  • Complimentary game cart available for use, stocked with Hasbro favorites including: Monopoly , Scrabble , the Game of Life , Connect Four , Chutes and Ladders , and more.

  • Complimentary video library available for use during stay.

  • Frommer's NYC with Kids guide and The Essential Grandparent: A Guide To Making A Difference available for use during stay.

    The Grandparents Package (also available for parents traveling with children) is valid weekends through December 31, 2004. Rates start at $175 per night for a studio suite, and $205 for a one- bedroom suite. After September 11, 2004, rates start at $199 per night. Prices are subject to availability; taxes not included.

    Affinia Hospitality's New York offerings include the Affinia Dumont, Beekman Tower Hotel, Eastgate Tower, Lyden Gardens, Plaza Fifty, Shelburne Murray Hill, Southgate Tower, Surrey Hotel and The Benjamin.

    Novotel New York

    Novotel New York (800- 221-3185; www.novotel.com), a Times Square fixture on 52nd and Broadway, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with 20% discounts. The Big Apple Anniversaries package offers 20% off room rates and 20% off food & beverage from May 24 - August 28, 2004, with rates starting at $199. This year is also the 100th anniversary of both Times Square and the New York City subway system, so the package also includes a one-day MTA Fun Pass for unlimited subway rides. In addition to 20% discounts on room rates and food and beverage, breakfast and dinner with the family are free for two children under 16 who share a room with parents or grandparents. Novotel puts guests close to the attractions of Times Square and its special anniversary celebrations, which include: "Taste of Times Square", June 14, outdoor food festival which showcases more than 50 Times Square restaurants, plus live entertainment; "Times Square Summer Fair", Aug. 7, a street fair with over 400 vendors of authentic ethnic foods, arts, crafts, antiques, jewelry and more!

    Lowes Hotels "Something magical happens when grandparents and grandchildren travel together," states the hotel chain's website (www.loweshotels.com). "To make these moments more memorable, Loews has created a program with amenities and services designed for sharing." Based on availability, Lowes offers adjoining rooms at half price, then tosses in a welcome pack that includes a photo memory album, a phone card to call home, matching luggage tags, a free movie and popcorn, a kids' cookbook, a kids' passport and a list of kid-friendly area attractions. Toys and video games are available, as well.

    Roots & Wings Excursions Intergenerational Travel

    Roots & Wings Excursions specializes in family trips, many of which are aimed at grandparents and grandchildren. Their "GrandTrips" include weekend jaunts to, among other destinations, Florida, Amish country, Civil War sites, and full-blown vacations to the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Hawaii, Chesapeake Bay, Britain and Italy. Info: 800-722-9005 or 703-834-7244.

    Grandtravel

    Grandtravel (800-247-7651; www.grandtrvl.com) is a tour operator/travel agent aimed at kids and grandparents. They offer domestic, international and even independent trips to places such as New York City, Alaska, various western destinations, London, Paris, Ireland, Kenya Italy and other destinations. This just may the most experienced organization in intergenerational travel.

    Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys & Cooper Spur Mountain Resort

    In the shadow of Oregon's Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys (www.zooraft.com) Cooper Spur Mountain Resort (800-366-2004; www.cooperspur.com) create a sensational center for outdoor activities - from rafting and wind surfing to golf, hiking and even summer skiing. Flowing south from Mt Adams are two extraordinary rivers, the White Salmon and Klickitat which are filled with beauty, adventure, history and life. The Zollers have a long history of rafting on the White Salmon river and were the first commercial rafting operation on the White Salmon, helping the White Salmon river become one of the most popular rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Now in their 3rd generation of family operation, Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys is the largest white water outfitter in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic area, catering to thousands of guests each year.

    Cooper Spur Mountain Resort's property includes a lodge (which contains three two-bedroom lodge condos and six hotel rooms), five deluxe two-bedroom cabins, a honeymoon cabin and a four- bedroom log home. On site are a spa with four hot tubs, a deck with a picnic area and barbecue grill, two massage therapy rooms and a tennis court. The resort is set on more than 750 acres of forest land adjacent to the Mt. Hood National Forest, with access to nearby hiking and mountain biking trails. Among their package offerings: Free Mountain Adventures - stay at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort this summer and river raft, golf or ride the Mt. Hood Railroad for free.

    Warren River Expeditions

    Warren River Expeditions (800-765-0421; raftidaho.com) offers whitewater raft trips for seniors on Idaho's Salmon River, passing through the Salmon River Canyon, and the Frank Church Wilderness Area, rife with wildlife. Grandparent/grandchild "lodge stay" expeditions are scheduled twice a summer with discount pricing for those over age 50 or under age 16. Lodges provides comfortable overnights. For summer, 2004, these intergenerational escapades are scheduled for July 30th and August 7th. Trips are limited to 12 guests, making early reservations imperative

    Dude Ranches

    Even for those who hate to ride - or for those who can't ride much because of "seniors' bones", many dude ranches can accommodate a huge variety of activities - from swimming and hiking to organized activities and terrific barbecues. A few resources:

  • Gordon's Guide, www.dude-ranches.gordonsguide.com
  • The Dude Ranchers' Association, www.duderanch.org
  • Ranch Web (based on the definitive guide book Gene Kilgore's Ranch Vacations), www.ranchweb.com
  • Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association, www.coloradoranch.com

    ...... Mitch Kaplan is the author of "The Unofficial Guide to the Mid-Atlantic with Kids," a contributor to "The Unofficial Guide to New England & New York with Kids," and the author of "The Cheapskate's Guide to Myrtle Beach" and "The Golf Book of Lists".

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