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queen anne bed and breakfast denverHere’s the answer to last week’s “How Much Is This Hotel?” quiz. Play along with future hotel quizzes by subscribing to our blog.

We have a winner! The correct answer to last week’s How Much Is This Hotel? contest is $215 per night. Greti, who gave the first correct answer, has won an IndependentTraveler.com travel mug.

The room pictured was Local Artist Suite 2 at the Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast in Denver, Colorado. It’s one of several suites designed by local artists (this one was the work of Tuyet Nguyen). The Queen Anne is a haven for eco-friendly travelers, with 100 percent organic cotton bedding, recycled paper products and low-flow showerheads. (Even the mattresses are sustainable, made of recycled metal coils and green tea insulation foam.) But the hotel doesn’t scrimp on perks like hot tubs, fireplaces and park views.

To check rates and read about other properties in Colorado’s capital city, see our favorite Denver Hotels.

— written by Sarah Schlichter

Rocky Mountain National Park, ColoradoToday is August 1, which means two things: Your rent is due, and it’s Colorado’s birthday. One hundred thirty-five years ago today, President Grant, er, granted statehood to Colorado. (It’s known as the Centennial State because it joined the union roughly a month after the 100-year anniversary of the U.S.)

A fan of Celestial Seasonings Tea, Denver microbrews and Rocky Mountain skiing, I’m planning to crack open a Coors and eat an extra portion of frozen dessert today in celebration of this momentous occasion. (I think rocky road ice cream would be appropriate.) But I’m not the only one observing Colorado’s big day. A few airlines have rolled out Colorado fare sales with a nod to the state’s anniversary, and some surprisingly cheap flights are on offer. Here’s what’s on sale:

Southwest Airlines is running a one-day Colorado sale, with discounted fares between select U.S. gateways and Denver. Fares start at $24 each way plus taxes and fees and are valid for travel in September and November. This sale expires today, so travelers looking to book shouldn’t wait.

– We’re practically drooling over these next-to-nothing Colorado Day fares from Frontier Airlines, which start at just $9.99 each way plus taxes and fees. Travel dates are pretty wide-ranging, too. You can fly through mid-December, but you’ll get the lowest prices by traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

To find more discounted plane tickets, see our Airfare Deals.

— written by Caroline Costello

Food, wine, parades, live music and finally getting outdoors after a long winter … what’s not to love about the spring festival season? If you’re seeking inspiration for a last-minute spring trip, don’t miss the festivities going on around the U.S. in celebration of everything from strawberries to Cinco de Mayo. Read on for info on our five favorite upcoming spring festivals.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: New Orleans, LA
Despite its name, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival showcases much more than just jazz music; headliners this year include Jimmy Buffett, Robert Plant & the Band of Joy, Cyndi Lauper, Wilco, Wyclef Jean and dozens of other artists in every musical genre you can imagine. In addition to live concerts every day, the festival — which runs for 10 days from April 29 through May 8 — also offers a Louisiana Folklife Village and a Native American Village where visitors can watch crafts demonstrations and enjoy traditional local music. And don’t forget the food! This is your chance to sample N’awlins favorites like muffuletta, red beans and rice, po’boys, and crawfish pie.

big sams funky nation new orleans jazz festival 2010

California Strawberry Festival: Oxnard, CA
Whether you like ’em baked into a shortcake, dipped in chocolate, slathered with whipped cream or even tossed on top of a pizza, strawberries are the center of the action at Oxnard, California’s annual Strawberry Festival on May 21 and 22. Check out the Strawberry Promenade to watch cooking demonstrations and take in an informative exhibit on the “Life of a Strawberry.” Live music, a kids’ area, and locally made arts and crafts round out the offerings.

california strawberry festival oxnard ca

Cinco in the Park: Denver, CO
Denver celebrates Mexican culture and heritage with its annual Cinco in the Park festival, scheduled this year for May 7 and 8. The holiday of Cinco de Mayo commemorates a battle in which the Mexican town of Puebla overcame the French back in 1862; in modern-day Denver, the fiesta includes music, dancing, a parade and a Green Chili Bowl Cook-Off, in which local restaurants duke it out over who has the best spicy recipe.

cinco de mayo dancers denver

Nantucket Daffodil Festival: Nantucket, MA
After a long and snowy winter, the island of Nantucket celebrates the spring thaw each year with its colorful Nantucket Daffodil Festival. This year’s festivities, which run from April 29 through May 1, will feature annual events such as the antique car parade (the vehicles are, of course, bedecked with daffodil blooms), the daffy hat pageant (how many flowers can you fit onto your baseball cap?) and the daffy dog parade (a daffodil-decorated Fido might lack a little dignity, but he’ll sure look pretty).

nantucket daffodil festival daffy hat

Vidalia Onion Festival: Vidalia, GA
Did you know that the Vidalia sweet onion is Georgia’s official state vegetable? Help celebrate all things onion at the 34th annual Vidalia Onion Festival, which runs from April 28 through May 1. The town goes all out for the festivities, which include an air show, a concert (with “American Idol” alum Kellie Pickler as the headliner), a Miss Vidalia Onion pageant, a rodeo, a motorcycle rally and, of course, plenty of opportunities to sample those yummy onions! Try the sweet onion rings, available downtown all day during the festival, or attend the Vidalia Onion Culinary Extravaganza with a local chef and cookbook author. Those with iron stomachs can join the onion eating contest.

vidalia onion festival air show

For more ideas, see our Top 10 Stunning Spring Destinations.

— written by Sarah Schlichter

Snow is still blanketing much of the country. But I’m not complaining.

In fact, I was deeply grateful for the soft, yielding snow when I was violently thrown from my dog sled. During a recent excursion in Colorado, my sled tipped over and I was dragged several yards through the snow before I tumbled off, only to be left face-down in the powder as the dogs bounded away. I couldn’t stop laughing. Besides, who could be mad at this face?


It wasn’t the canines’ fault that I went catapulting from the sled. My travel companion, who had taken the reins of the two-person sled, hadn’t quite gotten a feel for the contraption and leaned too far to the right as we rounded a sharp curve, causing the sled to capsize. The dogs know what they’re doing. It’s the humans who are responsible for keeping the sled from tipping, by balancing their weight properly as they’re pulled through twisting trails.

I was in Breckenridge, Colorado — the ski resort town that’s home to spine-chilling vertical drops at 13,000 feet. But I got my biggest adrenaline rush off the slopes, being tugged through the woods by a team of speedy Siberian huskies. I was surprised to discover that recreational dog sledding is, well, a bit treacherous. Tumbles and spills are to be expected — which is exactly why those piles of powdery snow come in handy.

We booked our excursion with Good Times Adventures, the only local dog sledding operation in the Breckenridge area. The hour-long ride through the gorgeous Swan River Valley cost $70 per person. Below are some more photos of the adorable dogs at Good Times.

husky sled dogs

sled dogs

sled dogs

Have you been dog sledding? Tell us about it!

— written by Caroline Costello