The Advisability of Taking a Winter Vacation

R. P. CHESTER February 1 1910

The Advisability of Taking a Winter Vacation

R. P. CHESTER February 1 1910

The Advisability of Taking a Winter Vacation



YOUNG Canada’s delight in the rigors of the northern winter has been so often painted in picture, song and story that it has come to be part and parcel of the world’s conception of this young nation’s life. Youths and maidens, boys and girls, revelling in snow, tobogganing down icy slopes, skating on frozen ponds, tramping over snowy drifts, would seem to indicate that Canadians love their long and oftentimes severe winter. In a sense this is true. But just as the glory of the sun-bathed landscape has its converse in the depressing aspect of gloomy, rain-soaked nature, so there is another and a trying side to our winter season. There are days of penetrating dampness, there are weeks when epidemics of colds are prevalent, there are seasons of excessive frigidity. At these times, and particularly during that long period of transition from winter to spring, the mind turns longingly backward or forward to the solaces of summer.

Why should not those Canadians who are able, escape from the bondage of winter, if bondage it be to them, and flee to warmer climes? The habit of always taking one’s vacation in summer has no reasonable ground for support. The proper time to take a holiday is when mind and body grow weary and, to many a worker, the period of greatest depression and consequently of greatest need is during the latter portion of the winter season,

when broken weather may be expected and when sickness is so rife.

From winter to winter, the little army of Canadians, who cross the border and journey southward to the resorts in the southern States, to the Bermudas, to the West Indies, to Mexico and California, is on the increase. From year to year, the popularity of these resorts is growing. And well it may. The contrast between the chill, damp weather so frequently encountered in March and April in Canada and the balmy breezes of the south, between the snow-clad landscapes of the north and the verdant vistas of the south, conjures up all sorts of delightful sensations in the mind of the northerner.

The nearest resorts to eastern Canada are to be found along the ocean shores of New Jersey, and amid the pines of North Carolina. Atlantic City has earned international fame as an all-year sanitarium and is probably

better known to and more frequented by Canadians than any other southern resort. Its splendid hotels, its spacious board walk and its social activities give scope to any one's desires.

Lakewood, N.J., has developed in the last few years into an ideal winter resort. The tonic of the balsams and the pines gives it a special charm. Walks and drives have been construct-

ed and are maintained at great expense by the hotelkeepers. Sight-seeing trips are run daily to Asbury Park, Allaire, Point Pleasant and other objective points by touring car companies, while devotees of the royal game of golf have every opportunity to indulge their passion on some of the finest links in the world. Two attractive and cosey tea houses have

been constructed at convenient spots, whither pedestrians may direct their steps. All the large hotels maintain private bowling alleys and game rooms, while concerts, dances and theatricals are frequently provided.

Old Point Comfort on the shores of historic Hampton Roads, is a resort much patronized by friends and admirers of the American navy, and in all the functions there, the sailorman finds a place. For those fond of yachting, the hotels provide staunch yachts which cruise around Hampton Roa 1s daily. A big sight-seeing car also makes daily trips to points of historic interest. Salt-water baths are available, while seafood menus are provided. Wild ducks are plentiful in the neighborhood, affording hunters an opportunity for a little exciting sport.

An ideal place to escape the extremes of winter and yet not become plunged into too warm weather is the western section of North Carolina. A territory of six thousand square miles is covered by this region, every portion of which possesses great natural beauty and is appropriately named “The Land of the Sky.” Asheville is the centre and from this point many interesting places — Hot Springs, Waynesville, White Sulphur Springs, Lake Toxaway, etc. — may be reached. Asheville is a great tourist centre all the year round, for in summer the southerners come there to cool off, and in winter the northerners come there to get warm. All the luxuries and advantages of New York are to be had in Asheville’s hotels, and special attention is paid to the c isine,

for the mountain air creates great appetites.

Hot Springs is another famous resort of this region. For more than a century it has been famed as a water cure, and for the invalid especially it offers great attractions. Hendersonville, twenty miles from Asheville, and in the heart of the mountains, is the rendezvous for travelers en route for the Beautiful Sapphire Country. This region has been compared to the English lake district, but it is on a grander scale even than the beautiful English resort. Lakes Toxaway, Fairfield and Sapphire, cradled in the mountains, are the finest sheets of water in the south.

Pinehurst, in North Carolina, has a great vogue, particularly for cottage residents. The cottage colony is growing from year to year. But the transient visitor is by no means neglected, and numerous hotels supply his needs. Golf is very popular here, and two nine-hole courses and three eighteenhole courses have been laid out.

Passing southward, the traveler’s

goal will probably be Palm Beach, Florida, the queen of all winter resorts. Its magnificent hotels are the temporary homes of thousands of pleasure-loving people, not only from America, but from the old world as well. Men and women even cross the ocean to enjoy its incomparable beauty, its perfect climate and its round of pleasures.

Miami, sixty-eight miles further south, possesses much of the attractiveness of Palm Beach. Fine, hard roads extend in all directions to beauty spots of rare interest. The Florida everglades are one of the country’s most unique possessions, and in their fastnesses the Miami river takes its rise. On the banks of this river hundreds of visitors annually picnic. Biscayne Bay, into which it empties, has long been the favorite haunt of yachtsmen, and here the tarpon, gamiest of all fish, is to be encountered.

St. Augustine, the oldest resort in the country, becomes more attractive every year. From here many of the other resorts in Florida may be reach-

ed. An inland canal has recently been completed, which connects St. Augustine to Miami, and Biscayne Bay. This crosses several rivers and other canals and gives a system of waterways between all the principal resorts.

Ormond, not far away, has a famous ocean beach, very broad and more than eighteen miles in length. Daytona, six miles away, has been the scene of motor races, establishing world’s records during the last five years.

At the uppermost tip of the east coast is Atlantic Beach, where the home-going vacationist breaks his journey north. The beach here is forty miles long and is also the scene of motor races.

Crossing over to the Bahamas, we come to Nassau, a charming resort established by the English Government years ago. A tri-weekly steamship service is operated between Miami and Nassau. During the season beautiful Nassau harbor is visited by many of the largest and finest yachts in the

world, and frequently a British warship casts anchor there. Sea bathing is extremely popular and may be indulged in almost every day of the year.

Jamaica, the pearl of the Antilles, will appeal to Canadians, for there the traveler will rest under the Union Jack. The island lies about four degrees within the tropics and ninety miles south of Cuba. It is about 1,500 miles from New York, and may be reached in a little under five days. The climate may be described as perpetual summer. Seen from the sea nothing can be grander than the coast line in opalescent morning or evening haze, with range upon ranges of forest-clad mountains towering in the background till they culminate in the Blue Mountain Peak, bathed in clouds. Ferns grow everywhere on the island and flowers blossom in profusion. Orchids are seen in all directions, and dainty humming birds and gorgeous butterflies flit from flower to flower. Kingston, the capital, is the chief point of interest, though some visitors prefer

to land at Port Antonio, on the north shore, where there is a fine hotel and where sea bathing is the best in the West Indies. Mandeville, 2,000 feet up in the Manchester Mountains, in the heart of the cofifee and orange plantations, has good accommodation. Spanish Town, the old capital, Montego Bay and Chester Vale are three other popular resorts.

Cuba has naturally become a favorite winter resort for Americans, and Havana is alwavs crowded with visi-

tors during the season. In this city the municipal government spends $30,000 on the entertainment of visitors each winter. The roads in the island being excellent, motoring has come to be a favorite pastime, though horse-racing has its devotees as well.

The beautiful Bermudas, situated about two days’ sail southeast of New York, have a delightful climate. Rarely does the thermometer go below 60 in the winter or above 80 degrees in summer. Vegetation is very rapid

and the soil is clad in a perpetual mantle of green. The transparency of the water is remarkable. On a still day, the bottom at depths of from fifteen to thirty feet can be distinctly seen, revealing a myriad of wonders. There is ample accommodation to be had at the three large hotels in Hamilton and in many minor hotels as well.

In writing of winter resorts, mention should not be omitted of the resorts in the west. To many, Colorado and

California and Mexico are names that conjure up delightful visions. The land of sunshine and flowers—Southern California—possesses powerful attractions. Los Angeles is its centre, and from this city all other points are easily reached—Pasadena, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Riverside, Redlands and San Bernardino.

Los Angeles is favored with beaches as no other city in the country. Full fifty miles of sand stretch out to the north and south of the city, easily

reached at any point by perhaps the most elaborate system of trolley lines to be found in the world. The cement walk at Santa Monica rivals the board walk at Atlantic City, Ostrich, alligator and pigeon farms are curiosities in the district.

One hundred and twenty-seven miles south of Los Angeles and fifteen

miles from the boundary of Mexico is Coronado Beach, where is located the Hotel del Coronado, the largest resort in the world open all the year round.

Those who desire novelty and have the explorer’s fever will now feel inclined to cross the border and take a run down into Mexico. This interest-

mg republic possesses many attractions for the traveler, which a visit to Mexico City will satisfy to a certain extent.

Returning into the United States, the quaint old-world city of New Orleans, which is rapidly becoming one of the most favored winter resorts in America, claims attention. The city is full of historic associations, which will keep the visitor interested for many days. Its hotel service is excellent. From New Orleans to Mobile, along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, are scattered a number of the most attractive winter resorts in the south. From Bay St. Louis, the first resort out of New Orleans, to Scranton, nearly fifty miles away, is an almost continuous string of cottages and hotels. Mobile itself, the second in age of all the cities on the southern coast, is a progressive place. Here the carnival street parade had its origin and to-day it vies with New Orleans in the beauty and splendor of its Mardi Gras display.

Only a few of the winter resorts of the south have been touched upon.

The number is enormous, testifying to the fact that the people of the northern States appreciate the advantages of a holiday in the south. Canadians in larger numbers might do well to follow their example and enjoy the delights of a warmer climate, and exhilarating sports and pastimes.

But, impossible as it may appear at first sight, it is none the less true that a Canadian need not leave the soil of his own country to escape the trying winter. The western coast of British Columbia, with its equable climate, attracts annually many Canadians from Winnipeg and the western plains. Vancouver is becoming an all-the-year round resort and its surroundings are just as charming in the winter months as in the summer months. For eastern Canadians, the accessibility of the southern resorts and the long journey to the coast may militate against any very general trend of winter tourist travel in that direction, but for the people of the Northwest, Vancouver and its neighboring cities and towns should become increasingly popular.