Germans are a notoriously practical and efficient bunch so when we heard rumors that the TT platform was expanding into an entire family we weren’t exactly surprised. What we weren’t prepare for, however, was just how stunning a more utilitarian TT could be.
Unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October, the TT Sportback Concept is a five-door take on the stunning two-door coupe. It takes everything we love about the TT, namely gorgeous design, focused handling, and athletic lines, and adds the convenience of two additional doors (five if you count the rear hatch). Credit to Audi for taking a coupe model and adding to its practicality—all while retaining the core sportiness of the original.
Under that taught hoot lurks a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that punches out 400 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox and Audi's trademark quattro® all-wheel-drive system. Audi claims that the powertrain combination will go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds, which sounds excitingly close to RS-level performance.
Despite its explicit distinction as a concept, the TT Sportback looks production ready. From stern to stern the body is incredibly handsome. It’s devoid of any real concept tinsel that would relegate it to being an automotive pipedream. The design is decidedly Audi, with a large, latticed grille, sweeping arched roofline, and signature rear LEDs.
Compared to coupe cousin, the Sportback Concept is a foot longer. It retains its compact proportions while measuring in 4.7-inches longer and two additional door. Those sleek looks come at least partially as the result of an overall height that sits 1.2 inches lower than the TT coupe.
While the TT Sportback Concept remains a design study for now, we’d be very surprised if we didn’t see a model (and a very similar looking one at that) make its way to showrooms in the near future. For now we’ll have to keep our fingers, and maybe even our toes, crossed until an official announcement is made.
New for 2015
Changes for the 2015 model year include several features, such as three-zone automatic climate control, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and the S Line appearance package, that were formerly optional as standard equipment. There are also new wheel designs and paint colors.
Setting the Standard
The 2015 Audi A4 sets the standard for style and luxury in the compact-sedan segment. Its exterior and interior are among the best looking in its class, and that style is backed up with the substance of sporty yet efficient powertrains, an impressive list of tech and convenience options, and the prestige of driving a car with four rings on the grille.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2015 Audi A4 features several powertrain options that combine efficiency and performance.
The A4 is equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It can be paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive, or Audi’s quattro® all-wheel drive, with either six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions.
With the CVT and front-wheel drive, the A4 will do 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds and return EPA-rated fuel economy of 27 mpg combined (24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway).* All A4 models can reach a top speed of 130 mph.
With all-wheel drive and the manual transmission, the sprint to 60 mph can be accomplished in 6.4 seconds, while fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg combined (22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway).* The automatic improves on that performance with a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.2 seconds, while EPA-rated fuel economy decreases slightly to 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway).*
Audi also makes the S4, which is an A4 with a 3.0-liter supercharged V6. The engine produces 333 hp and 325 lb-ft, getting the S4 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 155 mph. It returns 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway)* with the manual transmission, and 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway) with the automatic.*
Features and Trims
The 2015 Audi A4 is only available as a four-door, five-seat sedan, with a plethora of standard and available features starting at $35,500.**
The A4 Premium model comes equipped with LED daytime running lights, taillights, and external-mirror mounted turn signals, as well as leather seats with eight-way power adjustment in front, three-zone climate control, and a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, among other features.
In addition to those features the Premium Plus models gets heated front seats, keyless entry with an engine start-stop button, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with digital compass.
The top A4 model is the Prestige, which includes all of the applicable features from the Premium and Premium Plus models, as well as standard MMI Navigation with voice control, a 14-speaker ©Bang & Olufsen audio system, and a parking-assist system with rearview camera.
The A4’s potent powertrain and luxury amenities are wrapped in sheetmetal that’s sharp and stylish. It may be a few years old at this point, but the A4 is one of best looking luxury sedans on the road.
With the Audi-signature shield grille and LED daytime running lights, the front end presents a bold face. The rest of the exterior is handsome without being gaudy; it has a simple design that eschews the attention-seeking design flourishes of many of this Audi’s competitors. The addition of the S Line styling package as standard equipment for 2015 adds a touch of sportiness.
Step inside, and it’s easy to see why Audi is continually praised for having some of the best interiors in the business. Like the exterior, the design is clean, making it easy to find and use all of the controls. The standard four-spoke multifunction steering wheel is perfect for piloting the A4 down a twisty road.
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Audi A4 includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems, and front, thorax-side, and head-curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are optional, as is a Driver Assist package that adds a bundle of electronic driver aids.
While some cars advertise flashy styling and gimmicky gadgets, the 2015 Audi A4 is all about substance. It manages to be one of the best looking cars in its class without even trying, while providing the driver with a comfortable interior and an entertaining ride.
For more information, be sure to stop by or contact our dealership today.
*Prices listed are the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for the vehicle and options chosen by you. These prices do not include transportation, taxes, title, other options, dealer installation costs, or other dealer charges
** All fuel economy figures are EPA estimates unless otherwise noted. Your mileage will vary.
New “Fifty Shades of Grey” trailer premiered on November 13 and featured the Audi R8 V10 Spyder and Audi S7
With the sequels, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” the books have become a global phenomenon since their release and sold more than 100 million copies worldwide in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever. James prominently included Audi throughout her series of novels as the luxury car of choice for her characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, making the brand a natural fit for this cultural phenomenon’s film adaptation.
“We are happy to continue our strong partnership with the film industry with this highly-anticipated project, especially after already being part of the bestselling novel,” said Giovanni Perosino, Head of Marketing Communication at AUDI AG.
“It was a natural fit for Audi to be a part of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ as it’s brought to life in theaters,” added Loren Angelo, Director of Marketing for Audi of America. “Audi is a brand that symbolizes performance, technology and modern design. The natural inclusion of our hottest models in this series illustrates how Audi has become truly synonymous with sophisticated luxury.”
Audi vehicles featured in the film include:
- 2014 Audi R8 V10 Spyder quattro® S tronic 5.2L: A thrillseeker’s dream, the R8 V10 Spyder quattro goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds with the potential to reach a blistering top speed of up to 195 mph
- 2013 Audi S8 quattro Tiptronic® 4.0L TFSI: Delivers the incomparable luxury of Audi’s A8 flagship sedan combined with the unparalleled performance that defines the Audi brand
- 2012 Audi Q7 3.0L TDI® quattro Tiptronic: With its impressive, carlike handling, the vehicle is functional and comfortable for drivers and passengers alike
- 2013 Audi S7 quattro S tronic 4.0L TFSI: The five-door coupe is more than just striking in aesthetics. Its 4.0 liter engine delivers 420 horsepower, jumping from zero to 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds, providing performance and style
- 2014 Audi A3 S tronic TFSI 1.8L 4-cylinder (EU specification): The new offering in the rapidly-growing entry premium market does not compromise when it comes to design, performance or technology
Latest concept vehicle debuted at Los Angeles Auto Show
The debut of a new Audi show car at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show is hardly surprising—after all, the brand has excelled in claiming its own unique place in the luxury class with a succession of exciting releases. But the latest vehicle does have something that sets it apart from all other Audi vehicles to date: it is the first vehicle bearing the signature of new Head of Design Marc Lichte.
For his first show car, Lichte went back to the basics of the Audi brand: “sportiness, lightweight design and quattro drive.” Design and technology find a new harmony in the vehicle, which bears Lichte’s distinctive touch both inside and out.
While this is Lichte’s first vehicle for Audi, he is no stranger to innovative vehicle design. During his time as a student of transportation design at Pforzheim University, he started his career at Volkswagen AG. He worked as an exterior designer and eventually Head of the Exterior Design Studio, making his mark on models including the Golf 5, 6, and 7 and the Passat 6, 7, and 8.
The Los Angeles Auto Show held plenty of other great surprises for Audi fans, including the debut of the limited-edition Audi R8 Competition. For a look at the latest in today’s automotive design, visit our dealership today.
Driver-oriented interiors, sports-car performance and leading technology solidify the TT model line as an icon
“The original Audi TT set a new standard for automotive design with its quintessentially clean Bauhaus lines,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “The all-new TT combines incredible technology, performance and design that epitomizes our brand and sets a new standard all its own.”
The Audi TT Coupe and Roadster will feature a 2.0L TFSI engine with 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The sporty Audi TTS Coupe will feature a turbo 2.0L TFSI engine with 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. All models feature quattro permanent all-wheel drive for exceptional dynamics, excellent traction and superb grip with the Audi drive select system standard. The Audi drive select system allows the driver to adjust the shift points, throttle response, steering and the standard magnetic ride suspension on TTS, by selecting between dynamic, auto, comfort and individual modes. The quattro system has specifically been tuned for the TT/TTS to continuously shift power to the wheels that grip and has a rear-wheel bias when the Audi drive select is in the dynamic mode. The unique quattro calibration utilizes sensors that measure wheel slippage every 10 milliseconds to adjust power. This gives the quattro system the ability to shift up to 100% of power to the rear or the front axle when needed. Audi has vigorously updated the electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch, which uses software tailored to the TT and the TTS. Its slim design, which eliminates the pressure accumulator used in the previous generation, reduces the unit’s weight by 3.3 lbs.
The TT will be available as coupe and roadster and the TTS will be available as a coupe only. All TT models are available with a six-speed dual clutch S tronic® transmission that provides smooth, quick shifts.
The Audi TT revolutionizes the way the driver interacts with the vehicle through the innovative virtual cockpit. An entirely digital instrument cluster, the virtual cockpit replaces traditional gauges and interfaces for a customizable driving experience. Unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Show earlier this year, the virtual cockpit combines the functions of a central MMI monitor with a conventional instrument cluster in one unique, 12.3-inch TFT display with superb 3D graphics and brilliant clarity.
For seamless processing speed, the quadcore Tegra 30 processor from the Tegra 3 series from NVIDIA is utilized. With a processing speed of over one gigahertz, the four-core chip can work together with a special 3D graphics program to perform more than eight billion computing operations per second. The graphics processor generates 60 frames per second, ensuring that the needles of the speedometer, rev counter and navigation are displayed with absolute precision. Google Earth™ maps appear across the entire virtual cockpit and resolve instantaneously when zooming in and out or when making menu selections.
The all-new Audi TT will also feature the most advanced version of Audi connect®, including picture navigation, read-aloud news headlines, Facebook® and Twitter® alerts, access to more than 7,000 Web radio stations, personalized RSS news feeds and more. Audi connect is powered by 4G LTE and includes an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for passenger devices. A newly-designed MMI system streamlines the data entry process with an MMI Touch pad and MMI Navigation Plus with Bluetooth interface and voice control for compatible devices (not available on TT Roadster). The virtual cockpit is controlled by the multifunction steering wheel or via the MMI controls in the center console which includes the MMI touch pad integrated into the MMI rotary dial.
The third-generation Audi TT features the unmistakable profile of the iconic first-generation TT, with short overhangs, broad wheel arches and a lean a muscular stance. Standard full LED headlamps exude modern sports car appeal, with a broader and flatter Singleframe® grille, sharp contours across the hood, round exhaust tailpipes and rear spoiler. As with all Audi S models, the TTS receives additional differentiation that includes unique front splitter/diffuser, quad exhaust tips and alu optic mirrors as well as standard S model specific sport seats on the interior to mention a few. The S model design elements paired with the powerful engine and the standard magnetic ride suspension make the TTS a true performance car for everyday use. The all-new TT front end and floor assembly are made of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel components, while the superstructure comprises aluminum castings, extruded sections and panels. The luggage compartment of the coupe models has a capacity of 10.8 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks up. Folding down the split rear seats increases the cargo capacity to a highly functional 25.1 cubic feet.
New HVAC controls eliminate the need for a conventional dash console and integrate fan speed, air vent selection and temperature directly into the center of the three central vents further underlining the clean, uncluttered design of the interior. Controls for the available heated seat controls are also integrated in the air vents further eliminating buttons and switches from the interior. An available Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 680 watts features 5.1 Surround Sound, a 14-channel amplifier and 12 loudspeakers provides a stunning sonic experience. LED accent lighting surrounding the front door mounted speakers add to the interior ambiance.
The TT and TTS will arrive on US shores during the second half of 2015 as 2016 model year vehicles. Pricing and equipment will be announced closer to on sale date.
For more information about the Audi TT and TTS, please visitwww.audiusa.com.
Demand for the all-new Audi Q3 was strong for the month
Audi continued to maintain a robust record sales pace throughout 2014, with the best-ever October results. The previous October record was set in 2013 with sales of 13,001 vehicles.
To date, 2014 has produced eight of the ten best sales months in the history of Audi of America. Through October, 2014 Audi U.S. sales already stand as the second-best year for the brand on record. Audi set an annual record of 158,061 vehicles sold in 2013, topping the previous record of 139,310 vehicles sold in 2012.
“We can confidently predict that 2014 will end as the fifth-consecutive record year for Audi sales in the U.S.,” said Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “Our annual Season of Audi year-end sales event will bring a strong finish to a year distinguished by the successful launch of the Audi A3 models and sustained high demand for Audi SUV models.”
Sales of Audi SUV models remained strong in October, as they have throughout the year, resulting in lean inventories. For the January-October period, Audi Q5 sales rose 5.3%, leaving 29 days’ supply of inventory; Audi Q7 sales increased 21.9% and left 26 days’ supply; Audi Q3 sales-to-date were 2,018 and resulted in 14 days’ supply.
Ever since the U.S. sales debut of the 2015 Audi A3 family in April, it has maintained a solid and consistent sales pace. October 2014 resulted in 2,380 A3 sales, making these compact premium models one of the brand’s top sellers.
October is the 15th consecutive month of record sales for Audi Certified pre-owned. This month marked an increase of 13.7% and a total of 3,964 CPO vehicles sold; CPO sales year-to-date increased 18.3%.
- The 2015 Audi A3 models, including new sedan and Cabriolet variants, have generated sales of 17,049 units since the first of the family line models reached the U.S. in the spring.
- Sales of Audi premium category vehicles (Audi A6, Audi A7, Audi A8, and Audi Q7) increased 9% year-to-date, representing 31.1% of total Audi sales year-to-date and 20% of the Audi year-to-date sales gain.
- Sales mix for Audi S performance variants finished the month at 9.7% for the S3 sedan; 15.6% for the S4 sedan; 38.1% for the S5/ RS 5; 5.1% for the S6; 21.9% for the S7 / RS 7; 14.7% for the S8; 65.6% for the TTS Coupe and TTS Roadster, and 7.2% for the SQ5 crossover.
- October sales mix for Audi TDI models: Audi A3 TDI at 8%; Audi A6 TDI at 8.9%; Audi A7 TDI at 12.6%; A8 TDI at 7.7%; Audi Q5 TDI at 14.2%, Audi Q7 TDI at 21.7%, with an overall mix of 12.9% on 1,331 total TDI sales for October.
- Audi holds the longest running monthly record sales streak in the premium car market according to a competitive sales report from MotorIntelligence.com.
- End -
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered 1,575,500 vehicles to customers globally in 2013, and broke all-time company sales records for the 4th straight year in the U.S. Through 2018, AUDI AG will invest about $30 billion on new products, facilities and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.
Award-winning vehicles receive upgraded designs, technologies and more powerful engines for the 2016 model year
"The 2016 A6 and A7 model lines will continue to drive our momentum in the upper-premium market by elevating the standard for vehicle technology,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “These cars represent the perfect balance of beautiful design, efficiency and performance.”
The 2016 Audi A6 and A7 receive new front and rear designs for a more dynamic stance and greater presence on the road. A vibrant new front fascia includes new LED headlights design, Singleframe grill and bumpers. The rear of each vehicle features LED taillights and new trapezoidal tailpipes.
Inside, the A6 and A7 will offer new interior design selection combinations with Flint gray and Cedar brown. The new Arras red design selection interior is available on the S6 and S7 that includes carbon fiber inserts with a striking red thread weaved into the carbon fiber inserts. The S6 and S7 continue to offer the S model-specific cross-stitched seats standard. Also available are the ventilated comfort seats with massage functionality. The massage function gives the driver and passenger the ability to select from five massage programs to make traveling longer distances even more comfortable.
Both the A6 and A7 model lines receive significant engine updates for 2016 that offer more power and refinement. The available quattro® permanent all-wheel drive sport differential has been upgraded with new software algorithms to further improve responsiveness and provide even better agility.
The A6 continues to be offered with 2.0T, 3.0T and TDI® clean diesel engines along with the high-performance S6 variant. The A6 receives a new 2.0 TFSI four cylinder engine that generates 252 hp and 273 lb. ft. of torque. The powerful new engine is available in front-wheel drive with a seven-speed dual clutch S tronic transmission. The newly designed S tronic transmission requires less energy through the use of a electric lubrication pump and lubrication system while continuing to provide smooth and quick gear shifts. The A6 2.0T quattro continues to be paired with the smooth shifting and efficient 8-speed automatic Tiptronic® transmission.
The 3.0T has been enhanced to produce 333 hp, up by 23 hp from the previous version, 325 lb. ft. of torque, and a Tiptronic transmission. The A6 TDI will generate 240 hp and 428 lb. ft. of torque with a Tiptronic transmission. The high-performance S6 produces 450 hp, up 30 hp from the previous version, and 406 lb. ft. of torque. It is equipped with an S tronic transmission. All variants are offered with a quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The S6 and S7 also feature an available Sport Exhaust system with black oval tailpipes.
The A7 is offered with 3.0T and clean diesel TDI engines, along with the high-performance S7 and RS 7 variants. All have the same engines and transmissions used by the A6 and S6 models. Each vehicle has different calibration for the electronic stability control, ABS, and transmission shift points to ensure that the wider track and weight of the A7 model line meet Audi specifications. The RS 7 features the 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission and produces a powerful 560 hp, 516 lb. ft. of torque. All variants are offered with quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
Driver assistance systems help improve the driving experience of the A6 and A7 model lines. The A6 and A7 utilize engine start-stop efficiency technology. LED headlights are now standard on all A7 models that use less energy and provide lighting that virtually replicates daylight reducing strain on the eyes. Available Audi Side Assist and Active Lane Assist have been improved upon to provide steering input in the event that a vehicle is in the driver's blind spot. Secondary Collision Assist can automatically apply the brakes to help avoid secondary collisions and the available night vision system can now detect larger animals in addition to already offering pedestrian protection. The optional Head-Up Display projects all important driving information onto the windshield and has been redesigned to be better integrated into the dashboard.
The A6 and A7 also feature a faster, more innovative level of in-vehicle connectivity. The available MMI navigation plus with MMI touch displays on a power-retractable, eight-inch monitor and includes voice control, Audi music interface and Bluetooth integration. The Modular Infotainment Platform features NVIDIA® quad core technology and the Audi connect® system accesses the internet via a 4G LTE connection and includes an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices and a wide variety of infotainment components. Functions include online traffic info, Apple Siri® Eyes Free integration, internet radio streaming as well as picture navigation, read-aloud news headlines, Facebook® and Twitter® alerts and personalized news headlines, among other features.
For more information about A6 and A7, please visitwww.audiusa.com.
A simple guide to help you seek out the best incentives on new luxury cars
While advances in automotive technology offer cutting-edge features, most buyers are conscious of value for money, even in the luxury car market. Indeed, luxury cars are as competitive a class as any other. As such, it's not surprising to see incentives offered to buyers.
While luxury cars may once have sold themselves, this is no longer the case, and luxury dealers have to compete for buyers the same as any another. Incentives are no longer as hard to find on luxury cars as they once were, and they can make the luxury car market more accessible. Possible incentives include deals such as reduced interest rates on car loans, making it more affordable for you to spread the payments. So how do you track these deals down?
One of the best places to start is to go online. Auto dealers will advertise incentives online or you can find specialist sites that collect data on all the incentives that are currently available. Specialist sites make life a lot easier, as you will otherwise be forced to skip from one site to another.
Make sure to check out the scope of any incentives. Dealers often offer incentives to drive sales on models that are otherwise not selling as quickly or to help shift cars from the previous production year. For the average buyer, that's great news, because he or she can pick up a brand new car and pay over a longer period of time at a lower rate of interest. It is important, nonetheless, to understand that these deals may not be available on every model.
If you are an existing buyer, your dealer may contact you directly (email, text message or phone call, for example) to let you know about any incentives. Keep your contact details up to date so that you are the first to know.
Incentives can be a great way to help you buy a new luxury vehicle, without having to pay a lot of interest for finance. You may also be able to afford a car that was otherwise outside your budget. If you are looking to buy a new luxury car, talk to your dealer about any deals that are available.
The harsh weather of winter can seriously take its toll on your car's exterior. Freezing temperatures, ice, snow, and cold winds can all damage your car, so it pays to take precautions. Before the winter sets in, learn how to protect your car's exterior from the worst extremes of nature.
Your paint work is extremely vulnerable from the cold weather, so the best way to protect it is to apply an appropriate wax. Traditional car waxes based on carnauba and other materials are unlikely to be able to withstand the excesses of winter. Opt instead for a synthetic wax or sealant to protect your car's paint work. Products based on an acrylic resin will help seal against the salt and grit of winter roads. For more advice on the products that are suitable for your vehicle’s paint work, consult the service department at your local dealership.
If you wait too long, it can be very difficult to get the right finish on your wax. The low temperatures make it very hard to get the correct consistency. If you have a heated garage, however, it might be possible to top up your wax. You can also buy specialist sprays which will provide a quick top-up and basic protection to see you through until you can re-apply the wax.
Other exterior parts are vulnerable in the winter as well. Bumpers, trim, and rubber door seals are also affected. Extreme temperatures can stress and/or crack certain materials. The sun's ultraviolet radiation can also be a problem. During the winter months, the sun can be surprisingly fierce, especially when reflected by snow or ice. Ultraviolet radiation can fade these materials, or cause them to harden and crack. You can buy specialist products to treat these parts of the car, too, offering additional protection when the temperature drops. Rubber seals around the doors, hood, or trunk should also be treated with a special rubber spray to maintain their shape and elasticity.
Make sure that you wash your car frequently during the winter months. Salt spray from the road can quickly damage paint work, which could lead to costly repair work when the summer weather returns. Try to carefully flush the underside of your car with a high-pressure hose to remove accumulated dirt, debris, and salt deposits.
Wheel wax should be used on your alloy wheels throughout the year to protect them from brake dust. During the winter, a good wax or sealant will offer additional protection against salty deposits and spray from the road. Don't forget your tires, either. You can buy specialist products to seal and protect your tires against the harsh road conditions, which will help maintain performance. Like other parts of the car, your tires are susceptible to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, so ensure that they are fully protected on both sides.
Are you looking to broaden your horizons this holiday season with a truly memorable winter vacation? Whether you’re looking for a holiday vacation during Christmas or New Year’s week, there are some fabulous destinations where you and your family can have fun and create lasting memories.
Here some of the best destination getaways for the holiday season:
Walt Disney World
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and the gang really know how to celebrate the holidays. In November and December, the events calendar at Walt Disney World in Orlando is packed with a variety of special events that appeal to young and old. Heading the list is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which has faux “snow” falling on Main Street, complimentary Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, a Santa appearance, Christmas carols, and a fireworks display. Other events include the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, Holiday Sleigh Ride, Candlelight Processional, and Hollywood Holly-Day Parade.
With the smell of gingerbread wafting through the air and delicious treats like bratwurst, roasted chicken, and Gluhwein (wine served warm with cinnamon and other seasonings), German Christmas markets are one of the best ways in the world to get you in a holiday mood. If you yearn for a real traditional Christmas market atmosphere, Germany is the place to find it. Better still, you can purchase handmade Christmas gifts such as woodcarvings, candles, and toys. Some of the biggest and best Christmas markets are in Berlin, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, and Nuremburg.
New York City
Few places in the world put you in the holiday mood like New York City and its plethora of holiday events, performances, decorations, and shopping options. From ice-skating at Rockefeller Center to window-shopping at world-renowned department stores, New York City offers non-stop fun and excitement from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day. Among the more popular events are the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Show featuring the Rockettes, the Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet, Handel’s Messiah performed by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, and the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center.
Sun Valley, Idaho
A ski resort town in the central part of Idaho favored by celebrities like Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, and Jamie Lee Curtis, Sun Valley celebrates the holidays with parties, ski races, tree lighting, and caroling. Every year in early December, there’s a free lighting and caroling party at the Ketchum Town Plaza in Ketchum with free ice skating, hot chocolate, cookies, and an appearance by Santa, who arrives on a fire engine. For outdoor recreation fun, the Sun Valley Resort offers ice-skating, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. The Nutcracker on Ice, a world-class skating show, has a performance at the resort’s on-site rink.
New Hampshire Polar Express
The beautiful White Mountains in New Hampshire are the setting for the Polar Express Train Ride, which departs each December from two locations. The evening train ride, based on the The Polar Express written by Chris Van Allsburg, includes elves and Santa Claus. The trains depart from the villages of Lincoln and North Conway. An extremely popular attraction, it’s wise to inquire as early as September for tickets.
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A traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes a roasted turkey, bread stuffing, a myriad of potato dishes, and side dishes ranging from bean casserole to cranberry sauce. The luscious and bountiful feast is followed by dessert, most notably pumpkin pie. Such a feast exemplifies the fall harvest, the bounty grown in and raised on the Earth's soil. This year, you might want to keep to the spirit of this bounty by making your Thanksgiving dinner a more organic meal.
Farmed turkeys, raised for food, may be given food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These foods are designed to influence certain aspects of growth in the animal, such as larger breasts, and to increase the animal's resistance to disease. Such animal feed is not certified as organic.
An organically certified turkey is raised on organic feed, free of antibiotics, and contains no artificial ingredients, such as flavorings or colorings.
If you want an organic turkey for your table, read the label. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates organic certification and works with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate labeling. Look for organic certification, and absent that, at least turkeys free of antibiotics and artificial ingredients.
Cooking from Scratch
For a more organic Thanksgiving feast, forego boxed or instant mashed potatoes, stuffing from a box, canned vegetables, gravy from a jar or packet, and pre-made pies. Start with fresh ingredients and cook everything from scratch, using only those foods grown organically.
If the idea of cooking every side dish from scratch, including the spicy filling for your pumpkin pies, overwhelms you, minimize the tasks using foods grown organically and minimally processed.
Many canned foods, such as pie filling, don't require preservatives; the canning process serves as a natural preservative. Look for canned or frozen vegetables that are organically grown and processed without added preservatives, and use fresh ingredients wherever possible.
Your feast is filled with natural foods grown organically and free of preservatives. It's only right that such a meal is paired with beverages of equally high standards.
Growing grapes for wine or grains for beer isn't much different than other types of farming. The growers deal with pests and diseases that may negatively affect their yields. They opt to use either chemicals or organic methods for controlling pests and disease.
The labels for beer and wine tell you what ingredients are used to produce the final product, and if the USDA recognizes the product as organic. You may have to search for organic beverages, but if you're serving organic foods, you’ll want the drinks to be free of chemicals as well.
Sales Dept. Hours
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- Fri: 9am - 6pm
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- Sun: 12pm - 4pm
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- Sat: 8:30 - 12:30 pm
- Sun: Closed