SEASONAL SIGNS: While the indicators that August is about to wrap up are plentiful -- students heading back to college campuses, Labor Day sales in the papers, people bemoaning that one last blast of heat -- we look to a particularly Californian sign that the traditional summer stretch is just about the wrap: the Bracebridge Dinners. The Bracebridge, that long-running ye olde Christmas spectacular that has unfurled at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park every year since 1927, springs to our mind every late August because that's very often when the packages go on sale. It's funny to us, to now tie warm-weather to cold, but since the Bracebridge Dinner is full of merriment and jests, the mismatch fits. Eager to attend the dinner, which now expands over a handful of mid-December nights? Get your info now on ye olde packages, because they do book up.
THE STORY: The Bracebridge itself is a sumptuous feast that summons the spirit of a 17th century English manor. That means actors in grand, be-ruffed costumes, and diners in their Christmas best, are part of the scene. The menu is elaborate, as is the show that is happening before the tables, which is one reason why so many people book months ahead. Now, those packages? You can stay at the Ahwahnee, where the action takes place; Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and the Wawona are the two other choices. A one-night package at the Ahwahnee is $1125, based on double occupancy (there are a few to-knows, so read all). More than anything, it makes us feel especially merry in August to be planning our holiday getaways. And is there anything more holiday than sitting in a grand Yosemite hotel, playing at ye olde Christmastime, complete with all the trimmings? In the Golden State, that's about as yuletide-y as things come.