A change is as good as a rest – here’s a fresh harvest of seasonal gems
● Leaf peeping season is synonymous with New England, but you can be sure of some truly stunning scenery on the 200-mile Amtrak Cascades route which relaunches on September 26, linking America’s Oregon with Canada’s Vancouver after a two-year hiatus.
The Pacific Northwest has among the finest topography in North America, and this once-daily round-trip train weaves its way between Seattle and Vancouver via five cities in Washington State – through Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon and Bellingham.
The train route winds its way past pristine Pacific coastlines, the Cascade Mountains and the snowcapped Olympic’s peaks – and all of this can be viewed from large picture windows.
The end-to-end journey takes around four hours and costs $45 each way, while its Cafe Car proudly promotes food and drink from the local regions.
And there's more: whale watching season in British Columbia typically runs through October, so don’t forget to pack your binoculars. amtrakcascades.com
● A combination of post-holiday blues and a daunting winter ahead is putting many in mind of booking a trip for next year, to have something to look forward to. Sunway, helpfully, has a range of payment plan offers for both short and long-haul destinations, to take the sting out of whatever comes our way in the Budget.
All holidays are eligible, and customers can choose how to spread their payment – regular monthly amounts or pay when you can – and prices are fixed, not subject to changing markets or foibles.
Highlights include a seven-night family trip to Fuerteventura from €289pp on May 23 (based on two adults and two children), or, for adults looking further afield, Thailand’s Phuket for seven nights from €1,211pp during summer period. sunway.ie
● The programme for this year’s Bram Stoker Festival (October 28-31; bramstokerfestival.com) remains under cloak and dagger for the next few weeks. But if the Dublin fright-fest is already on your radar, factor in a feast at Pickle restaurant on Camden Street Lower.
There, on October 28 and 29, Ireland’s best Indian restaurant (a big claim, but that’s my opinion) is hosting a pop-up tasting dinner with guest chef Sheik Mohideen from Savya Rasa, which has restaurants in Chennai, Pune and New Delhi, and champions flavours from India’s south. Pickle executive chef Sunil Ghai will return the favour in 2023.
There’ll be two sittings from Friday until Sunday – no à la carte – with four courses priced at €80pp. picklerestaurant.com
● But before then... if mindful movement is your thing, Corestate Pilates’ Audrey O’Connor is hosting a three-day Wellness Weekend at the Ice House Hotel, Co Mayo, on October 7-9.
Studio views of the River Moy are sure to encourage strength and flow during practice, with morning and evening pilates classes scheduled throughout the weekend, plus a journaling workshop, yoga, meditation and – for those so inclined – a bracing sea swim on nearby Enniscrone Beach. There’s plenty of free time too, to wallow in the hotel’s outdoor thermal suite or bumble around Ballina.
B&B from €535pp sharing, including dinners; extra activities include paddle boarding (€25), outdoor bathing treatments (€50) and spa treatments (from €80). icehousehotel.ie