Going Places

by Rachel on March 18, 2011

Eric’s work schedule for the past five months is a schedule I wouldn’t wish on anyone — or anyone’s significant other. His final deadline is on Monday, and I couldn’t be happier for life to return to normal. Five months is a long time to be a supportive girlfriend. (Although, admittedly, sometimes I was less supportive than he would have liked.)

But the good news is, he realized last night that the best way to bounce back from five months of stress is with a vacation!

And…I need your input on where to go!

First, I’m not a beach person. I’m not opposed — I enjoy a day at the beach — but it’s not my first choice. Not only do I not really like the water, but it’s 80 and sunny in Houston right now, so I don’t feel like hot weather is synonymous with vacation anymore. But if we’re doing something hot and sunny, I’d prefer a great pool to a beautiful beach.

Second, I like my vacations to be a little bit busy. (That is probably the main reason I’m not a beach person.) The reason I love traveling abroad is because there are so many historic sites to visit, tours to go on, and things to do all day. And at night, there are a lot of drinks to be drunk and foreigners to flirt with.

my perfect vacation

  • Sleep in later than I ever would at home (because I was out all night the night before).
  • Sober up and/or rehash the shameless behavior of the night before.
  • Go out to lunch and then do one or two cultural/historic/touristy things in the afternoon.
  • Grab a snack from a street vendor or cafe and something to make for dinner from the grocery store and head back to the flat/hostel/hotel.
  • Take a late disco nap.
  • Have dinner and lots of drinks at the flat/hostel/hotel. (Go out to dinner at least once or twice during the trip.)
  • Go out all night. Do something shameless with someone forgettable.

Now, as fun as that agenda is, it is probably not the way I want to do vacation with my boyfriend, especially since we’re over the age of, um, 22, so let me update that a bit to express what I’d like to do on this vacation.

  • Don’t set an alarm, but naturally wake up kind of early. (Except for a few days when we were up all night the night before. In that case, sleep in late, have some morning sex, check the itinerary, and say, “Ooops, we missed the tour!” Then do nothing but read in bed until dinner.)
  • Go do something fun/relaxing (shopping, going for a walk through downtown) OR something cultural/historic/touristy.
  • Go out to lunch.
  • Do something cultural/historic/touristy OR something fun/relaxing.
  • Grab a snack and then head back to the hotel to change for dinner and have a couple drinks. Maybe work out if there is time, but probably not.
  • Go out to dinner someplace delicious and drink a little too much.
  • Go to a cool bar or do something cultural (show/concert/comedy club).
  • Have lots of sex.

My main thing is that I want to be sure we go some place with enough to do that I don’t feel bored, but I have no desire to be overscheduled. I’d rather be out and about in town than reading by the pool, but I’m sure Eric will want a few totally lazy days, in which case I’d like to go someplace where I can go off on my own when I want to.

And we definitely don’t have go to a big city; I’m mostly concerned with what there is to do and what the weather will be like in April (not very warm is fine; cold and rainy is not).

Oh, and two more things to keep in mind! We’re sticking to the US and we’re looking for something that would work over about five days (like a Wednesday to Sunday trip).

So, with that in mind, do you have any fabulous US cities to suggest? (And I mean US cities that don’t just happen to be your city. It’s not that I don’t want to hang out with you…it’s just that I only want to see you on this trip if you happen to live some place that fits in with all the other criterion! We haven’t decided if we want to go somewhere where we have friends to see, but if we do go that route, I’ll be pushing hard for D.C. or New York.) I have a few destinations in mind, but I’m not an experienced US traveler and I don’t know enough about all the great things to do here.

Oh and if anyone can tell me why I feel like Stacey McGill right now and where said baby-sitter decided to go when faced with the same situation, you’ll win major bonus points.


{ 136 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cat @ YoungHungryFoolish March 18, 2011 at 8:39 am

I hope you get to do DC! It would be perfect for this trip — tons of historical/cultural spots (duh) BUT FOR FREE! And if Eric wants some lazy time, take yourself to Georgetown (by way of Foggy Bottom Metro stop) and hit up the shopping that is amaaaaazing. The weather will be great too — not too hot and gross like DC circa July. My parents live about 1 1/2 away from DC and constantly take my friends/bf there for a day — you can never run out ofthings to do!! Now I miss my favorite city :( Good luck on your search!


2 Amanda March 18, 2011 at 9:11 am

My vote is for D.C. too! It is easy to take public transportation around, lots of historical sites and FREE museums (so when your feet are tired and you don’t want to stay for more than ten minutes, there is zero guilt about having paid an admission fee). It is a city of young people so there is great nightlife. AND I just happen to be able to get you and Eric free tickets to a Tony Award winning theater if you are so inclined…..


3 sarah March 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I vote DC as well. There are TONS to see and do. I’ve lived about a half hour away from there my entire life and I still feel like there is so much I haven’t experienced. There are so many types of food, places to shop, bars to hop (yeah… I ryhmed), and fantastic people watching. I echo the sentiments that a lot of it is free so no guilt when you are tired or bored. I definitely recommend staying in a hotel in DC rather than a couple miles out.

You will be able to hit up georgetown during the day for shopping and go out in adams morgan at night. You can eat a bagel and coffee on the steps of the lincoln memorial or take a jog around the monuments. You will soak up so much history there.


4 Ashley March 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm

DC is OK but don’t go anywhere near NoVA … the most soul-less suburbia you’ve ever seen


5 Kristina March 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Agreed…grew up in Arlington, VA but wouldn’t recommend crossing the D.C. borders into VA or MD (except for Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington or for a run down the Custis trail from D.C. into VA). Biking down the C&O Canal trail from Georgetown into MD can be fun too. If you stop for a cupcake, Georgetown Cupcake pwns Cakelove :)


6 Cindy March 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

Two summers ago my husband and I went to Chicago … we are diehard Phillies fans and we based the trip around seeing them play out there (Wrigley Field!). We stayed right on the Magnificent Mile and had an AMAZING five days. First time we ever did a vacation that wasn’t “beachy”.

There was so much to do, so much to just “see”, amazing food, relaxation and tons of walking around. We had the best time. So I guess I’d recommend … although I don’t know what the weather is like in April, hmmmmm.

We are currently planning another trip (this April – same as you) for San Diego … again to see the Phillies, but to also spend a couple days around what I hear is a great place to vacation! We’re definitely not going for the beach aspect … but more for everything else there is to see and do and eat and drink and just to relax. I’ve been doing a lot of reading/research and I’m hoping it will be another great getaway!


7 Rachel March 18, 2011 at 9:49 am

I LOVE Chicago, and initially I had it on the list, but because I’m from there originally and lived there in 2003 and have TONS of friends there, I know it wouldn’t feel as much like a vacation. I think I want to go there for my birthday this summer because it is definitely all the wonderful things you said!!


8 Lauren March 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Chi City Birthday? I can get behind that.


9 Heather March 18, 2011 at 8:41 am

Boston. GREAT food, cool bars, decent shopping (or window shopping, if you’re a cheap-ass like me), lots of historical-like tours, museums, charming city. Drawback: while it’s supposed to hit 70 degrees today, it’s usually pretty cold this time of year. Not a problem, though, if you’re in love with your fuzzy sweaters and leggings.


10 Kristina March 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Yay Boston! It can get nice over April vacation (starts on 4/18–also Marathon Monday). So much history and you can walk much of the city during the day.


11 Catherine March 18, 2011 at 8:42 am

San Francisco!!! Hands down the best vacation to a city that I have ever had. I was busy enough to feel like I didn’t miss out but relaxed enough to not be stressed out if we missed seeing something. Great food, lots of great sights to see, nice people (who can resist the gays in the Castro!) awesome…let me repeat awesome public transportation! I would recommend checking out the City Pass http://www.citypass.com/san-francisco it offers entry into some really neat places plus the bus/trolley pass! But totally put this city on your radar when thinking about your next vacation!


12 Alie March 18, 2011 at 8:46 am

I love DC but have always wanted to go to San Francisco. Tons of museums, sun, beach, clubs….
Hope you have fun whatever you do!


13 Julie @SavvyEats March 18, 2011 at 8:47 am

We did San Francisco a few years ago, and loved it. There’s lots to see and do, tons of great restaurants and shopping, but it is also a pretty laid-back city!


14 Dori March 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

I vote for Seattle, actually (if it isn’t going to be NYC). It is so laid back and awesome there. I am OBSESSED with Elliott Bay Bookstore and can spend hours and hours there. The Underground tour is a fun way to learn historical information about Seattle and then of course there is the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project and Pike’s Place Market (which you’ll really like if you’ve never been). You can take a gorgeous day trip on the ferry to Bainbridge Island which I highly recommend. And Seattle has TONS of breakfast restaurants. BREAKFAST RESTAURANTS. Please check out this one and swoon: http://www.portagebaycafe.com/Portage_Bay_Cafe/Seattle_Brunch,_Breakfast,_Lunch_Menus__Portage_Bay_Cafe.html Yeah. Seattle is my vote.


15 Kendra March 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I would definitely second this BUT spring time can be sketchy for weather. You might luck out and get a sunny week but most likely it will be raining.

If you do choose Seattle, I have a lot of really fun recommendations for you.


16 cameo March 19, 2011 at 7:00 am

Seattle would be a great get-away plus you could even rent a car and drive from there to Vancouver BC or down to Portland, OR, another cute city with a hip food and drink scene. It’s only a 2 or 3 hr drive. OR train. However, NYC, IMO, always is the best choice – but also amongst the priciest.


17 Stina March 18, 2011 at 8:51 am

I visited a friend in Santa Barbara a couple years ago, and I’ve been dying to go back (not just to see her either!) It’s not major city, but there’s plenty to do and see (and eat and drink!). The weather is usually really temperate.


18 Elizabeth March 18, 2011 at 11:52 am

Hmmm…born and raised (and still live in SB), lots of things for tourists here. Culture, nature, good food etc. Temp’s are very mild.


19 Rachel L March 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I, too, vote Santa Barbara. You can go up to Los Olivos to do wine tasting, too.

My boyfriend took me for a birthday weekend last year and I really, really loved it!


20 Rachel L March 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Oh, should have mentioned that for my bday this year, we’re planning a trip to San Fran. So I can’t weigh in on that one. I live in LA, so it’s not that big a trip to SB, but I still totally recommend it as a lovely getaway.


21 Stephanie March 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

I’m on board with San Francisco! I love this city. The people are great, the food is incredible as there is so much to do. We spent lazy days just wandering around the pier or watching street performers. You’ve got your touristy things like Alcatraz but you can also relax, grab a bite to eat and just enjoy the ocean view.


22 Gaby March 18, 2011 at 8:53 am

I just got back from San Francisco for a work trip but that’s a great place! I can tell you the perfect bed and breakfast. I always stay there and it’s adorable and perfect for staying in when you want, full access kitchen and food and coffee and drinks, adorable gay owners, 3 floors worth of comfy couches and bookshelves. Then SF of course has tons to do, places to drink and eat, and you could do a day trip to Napa Valley!
I wish I had a boyfriend to have this romantic getaway with actually. And SF never gets too warm, usually around 60’s.


23 Alicia at Poise in Parma March 18, 2011 at 8:59 am

I thank you for posting this today b/c I’m in the same need of vacation suggestions. I look forward to what your readers have to offer!

Personally, I REALLY want to get to the West coast for a wine trip either thru Cali wine country, or further north in to the Pacific Northwest. My BIL lives in Boston and you could definitely have a fabulous vacation there. I’ve been to Chicago several time and LOVE it. Would go back in a heart beat. Since you did say US, I couldn’t help but recommend Honolulu. Yes, I know it’s a journey, but is completely worth the time and money!

…and if you happen to end up in Cleveland, please know you have some where to stay with us!


24 Kristy March 18, 2011 at 8:59 am

HANDS DOWN: SAN FRAN and then do Pacific Coast Highway/Carmel. It completely SCREAMS romance.


25 Debbie @ Live from La Quinta March 18, 2011 at 8:59 am

Another vote for San Francisco. I love the city and the surrounding area.


26 Ashley Breton March 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

I went to New Orleans about 4 years ago and it was so much fun! I stayed there longer than 5 days because I was working on rebuilding some homes, so it was hardly a vacation, but I’ve always said that I would looove to go back for a real vacation.


27 Rachel March 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

New Orleans is on my life bucket list, so I am definitely thinking about it!!


28 Kristin March 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I was totally gonna say NOLA, too! It was nothing like I expected. Tons of history and culture, but insanely laid back. Friendliest people. AMAZING MINDBLOWING food. And drinks obvi, but it was nothing like the Bourbon St. party scene I thought it would be. I am dying to go back — I went over Christmas last year and now I’m obsessed!!! It’s so fun to ride around on the streetcars, rent a car and do a day visiting plantations (really kind of sobering and gave me goosebumps), walk all over, go in and out of little random shops, etc…totally go there!!!


29 Kathryn March 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm


It’s like going to Europe for the weekend…but minus the really long flight and lots of $$$.

There is SO much history and it’s easy to get around. There are swamp tours. Alligators. Haunted mansions. Booze. Bourbon Street. Booze. Amazing music. Oh, and booze!

And the food’s not half bad either. ;)

My vote is for Nola. :)


30 jenna March 21, 2011 at 12:02 am

my parents ADORE new orleans- mainly for the food :)


31 Jessica March 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

You lived in NYC, didn’t you?! It is the most amazing city in the US, but you guys should explore someplace new together. It would be so fun, and make the memories even more special. How about San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Baltimore, Niagara Falls, Durham (ahem), Charleston, Savannah, or Memphis? :)


32 Rachel March 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

Charleston and Savannah have been on my mind, but Niagra Falls is a new one!! I like!


33 Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing March 18, 2011 at 11:00 am

I was going to say Charleston or Savannah, too! Great food, lots of history, laid back…what more can you ask for. :)


34 Madelyn March 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Niagra Falls is fun, but Western New York weather in April is never a safe bet.


35 Michelle... March 18, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Agreed! That would be a better trip in the summer or fall.


36 Ashley March 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I vote for Savannah and not just because I’m 2.5 hours away (but I am, and you should know that).

It’s a laid-back Southern town, it’s historic, it’s cultured, it’s quaint, it’s got great food, the river is pretty, you could do a day trip to Hilton Head Island (20 minutes) away.


37 Kat March 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

How about Asheville, NC? Super cute downtown with tons of VERY foodie places, gorgeous mountains that you can just look at or actually hike in, the Biltmore House to tour (and winery, yum!) fun shopping, great music venues. Not hot, but not cold either. I lived there for 4 years, but don’t anymore, so I’m not even trying to get you to come see me!



38 Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing March 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

Oooohhh, now I’m torn. Rachel…seriously…Asheville is AWESOME!! VERY laid back, kind’ve hippi-ish, lots of good food, beautiful views. You could rent a cabin with a hot tub. (That’s what we’re doing in May.) We love Asheville so much that’s what we named our cat. Seriously.


39 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 10:58 am

Where are you renting a cabin? Is there a website for the place?


40 Krista March 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I’m from Asheville! (although I live 4 hrs away now) It’s truly an AWESOME place! Growing up there, I took it for granted and didn’t recognize it’s full awesomeness…now, going home for a visit is like a mini vacation! There’s soooooo much to do–hiking, biking, rafting, zip-lining, trolley tours, art museums, restaurants GALORE, theater, historic homes, spas, B&Bs, culture, etc. etc. I’m also partial to San Diego and Charleston, SC.


41 MelissaNibbles March 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

B oston!


42 melissa (fitnessnyc) March 18, 2011 at 9:12 am

I would say maybe Charleston, SC. It’s a really adorable historical town. It has good nightlight and shopping, and is close to several beaches. You can tour plantations, go on a pirates tour, check out a bunch or art galleries or local theaters. If you want both beach and some activity/nightlife and culture, it’s a good choice.


43 Sable March 18, 2011 at 9:13 am

I say DC! There is a TON to see and do and experience, great bars, great restaurants, great shopping. It’s also BREATHTAKING in the spring. Drawback: it’s a little pricey. Then again, so are most cities.


44 Bess March 18, 2011 at 9:15 am

I am going to suggest Charleston, SC. Small Southern city with lots to do. Amazing restaurants, fun bars, and nice weather in April. I actually think it’s one of the best months to visit. And, there are three beaches in the area, should you decide that you want to do the beach thing one day. Also, it’s one of the oldest cities in the US, so there are lots of cultural/historical things to do. And, Southwest flies direct from Houston to CHS, if you were planning on flying!


45 Rachel March 18, 2011 at 9:44 am

Charleston, SC is DEFINITELY on my short list! Thanks for this!!


46 Lori March 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I just came back a month ago from a long weekend in Charleston visiting my baby bro who lives on King Street. Seriously great food, great weather, awesome sites to see. The history around there is amazing, architecture right up there, and 32 Below is the best frozen yogurt I’ve ever had. Second vote for Charleston!


47 Bridget@LifeLibertyandme March 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

Don’t judge, but I really loved going to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Smokey Mountains. It might be a bit too relaxed, but it’s beautiful. I went to the aquarium, hiking, to historic cemeteries (not as creepy as it sounds…), saw bears (also not as creepy), and a lot of other stuff. I’ve been there twice, so let me know if you want details!


48 Summer March 18, 2011 at 9:35 am

Oh, my God—I was going to say this same thing! I’ve been going to Gburg since I was a little girl, and it’s really touristy but still lots of beautiful stuff to see. It’s perfect for couples, too :)


49 Elisabeth March 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

I must admit that I like Gatlinburg too. It is a little “touristy” though. =)


50 Kat March 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I grew up about 45 minutes from there. It’s fun…but VERY tourist-y. I love it in the winter, when you can get a chalet (that’s what they call the cabins in the mountains) and sit in the hot tub, enjoy the view and the snow.


51 jenna March 21, 2011 at 12:07 am

probably a bit too touristy, in my opinion. i’ve lived in east tennessee my whole life, and been to g-burg more times than i can count. now i’m only about an hour away in knoxville, and it’s a nice day or weekend trip, but probably not very much longer. but a city in the south is a must (maybe even knoxville ;) )!


52 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

@Bridget — I would LOVE details!!


53 [SMASH] March 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

NEW ORLEANS! This was one of my favorite vacations. Loads of amazing food, historical sites, city tours, swamp tours, Bourbon street, the casino. You have to go before it gets too hot and muggy there [I went in June… whoa.]. It’s an amazing city and perfect for what it sounds like you want.


54 Selina March 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I totally vote NOLA!!! Definitely a lot to see and do. I second the notion to getting here before June…hell, you may need to get here before May. It’s already hitting the 80’s on a daily basis now, but there have been a lot of really pretty days lately (think ever-so-slight breezes which make the warmth bearable.)

I’m trying to think of vacation spots too…so this tread is helping me out too!! :)


55 Sher March 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

SAN FRANCISCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Absolutely beautiful! We spent a week there and did Sonoma, Yosemite, Muir Woods, Sausalito …..Ate a LOT of good food. Walked around a lot….Drank a lot…..lazed on the beach a lot! Most romantic/ exhausting in a good way/ soul refreshing trip ever!!!! You will LOVE it Rachel!!!!


56 Melissa March 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

NYC hands down for me. Did a trip there in April a few years ago and had the BEST time! I am going to Seattle in April and I’m excited to see how a West Coast city compares! I just hope the weather is semi-decent!


57 Kate March 18, 2011 at 9:25 am

Asheville, NC isn’t a huge town but it is absolutely wonderful – especially the downtown area. There are several great hotels in that district, plus a ton of art galleries, beautiful architecture, shopping, and best of all – an amazing restaurant culture. Many of the restaurants in Asheville use organically grown local food, so whenever I visit I feel totally okay about indulging. There’s also the Orange Peel, which is a great music venue located downtown. Plus, Asheville was named as “Beer City USA” because of all the awesome craft breweries located there. (A lot of people are fond of the brewery tours.) Asheville is also home of the Biltmore Estate, which is definitely worth touring. Sorry to get so rambly, I just really love Asheville.


58 lisa March 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

I also agree with San Francisco. Take the audio tour of Alcatraz, it’s sweet!

As for the BSC reference… the only thing I can think of is when Stacey went to Fire Island to hang out with her boyfriend…


59 Rachel March 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

YES! Fire Island!!!


60 lisa March 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

I knew my obsession with those books would pay off someday! Now if only it would pay off monetarily… Why isn’t there ever a Babysitter’s Club Jeopardy category?


61 Anna March 18, 2011 at 9:33 am

I was surprised North Carolina hasn’t come up much yet! It’s GORGEOUS, especially in April (it will be warm but not gut-wrenchingly-so like Texas), the dogwood trees are blooming, and there really is tons to do. I’ll second the Asheville suggestion-the Biltmore is fabulous. There’s great food throughout NC (hello, best barbecue ever? I swear I’ve gained 5 pounds of bbq pork weight so far since I’ve moved here). I’ll also chime in to support Durham–it was ranked as one of the top 100 cities IN THE WORLD to visit by the New York Times, it’s gorgeous, has a cool indie street called 9th Street, it’s close to Civil War battlefields (historic!), great food/bars, and has the most gorgeous university in the country (ahem Duke).
North Carolina is also relatively cheap with tons to do! You won’t regret it :)


62 jessi March 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

I’m from NC and I’m so happy to see you said all of this! makes me proud :) and I definitely recommend going there!!


63 Jordan March 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I work right off Ninth Street (and am actually here now), and there are a lot of cool things around here in the area. Plus Cosmic Cantina is amaaaazing “Mexican” (texmex) food and open until four AM, perfect for post-bar food.


64 Anna March 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Just went to Cosmic last night! Seriously, I have no idea where I and other drunk Duke students would get our late-night-Mexican if Cosmic didn’t exist…


65 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

All this NC talk is sounding pretty good!!


66 Summer March 18, 2011 at 9:37 am

I like the idea of Boston or Seattle…but New Orleans might be a little closer your current home base. And also, like Bridget said—Gatlinburg, TN is a lot of fun. Weather is pretty nice this time of year, too. Oh, or the Biltmore would be nice.

It’s the day after St Pat’s and I’m still green—with jealousy ;) Have fun, you two deserve it!


67 Amandelin March 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

Seconding the vote for Chicago. I don’t live there, but every time I’ve gone I’ve been bowled over by how amazing and interesting and beautiful it is. And it’s super easy to get around, so you don’t have to worry about a car or anything. But…museums and music and history and many a fascinatingly-clad hipster!


68 Liz March 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

Vegas! First trip my Dh & I took together and it was great.


69 Emily March 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

Charleston or Nashville!


70 Elisabeth March 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

I’m not just saying this to lock in a meet-up, but you would seriously LOVE DC. There are tons of things to do during the day and night, and especially if you stay somewhere downtown (I suggest somewhere near Dupont Circle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dupont_Circle), you’ll be within walking distance to The White House, The Smithsonian Museums, The National Mall, The Ford Theater, The Reflecting Pool…everything.

I have lived in Maryland for 13 years, and I still take the metro into DC on the weekends just to check out the museums. I never get tired of DC.


71 Heather March 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

DC is my dream vacation. you are KILLING me with all this discussion – I need need need to get there STAT. (for 17 days. on my own. so i am not “that annoying girl I went to DC with once” for any friend/family member/etc. seriously, I get teary just thinking about the Jefferson Memorial – the JEFFERSON Memorial – that one’s not even that big! (TWSS) )


72 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

You girls are preaching to the choir — DC is my FAVORITE city in the US! I wish I lived there, honestly!! And the cherry blossom festival coming up? Um…yeah.


73 Ashley March 19, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I lived in Northern Virginia for all of three weeks … I’m telling you, you’d get sick of it. Baltimore is awesome, though.


74 Keri @ Iron Mountain Movement March 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

San Francisco hands down. Lots to see and do, the food and the people are great and the shopping is FANTASTIC!


75 Elisabeth March 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

Added bonus is that the cherry blossoms are just starting to peek out this week! =) Next week is actually the beginning of the Cherry Blossom Festival, so an AWESOME time to visit DC.


76 Elisabeth March 18, 2011 at 9:58 am


OK, I promise this is the end of lobbying session.


77 Bess March 18, 2011 at 10:09 am

My votes are with San Fran, NOLA or Charleston… I am a great resource on the first two cities (lived in NOLA for 4 years and been to San Fran a lot lately) and while I have never made it to Charleston, have heard great things!

If you did San Fran, you could also rent a car and do a night or 2 in Sonoma which I LOVE! (My sister got married there).


78 Ashley March 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I vote that you visit Charleston SC and Savannah … I’m pretty close to Savannah!


79 Jennifer March 18, 2011 at 10:13 am

I’d vote for Charleston or New Orleans. I’ve been to New Orleans and basically never saw daylight because we were out all night and slept all day. But there’s plenty to do during the day and amazing stores to wander around. And you can’t beat the food. I say Charleston because it’s on my bucket list! I’ve never been and I hear the city is gorgeous, the food amazing, and you could get to the beach for a day if you wanted to. Whatever you decide, I”m sure y’all will have a great time!! I could so use a vacay. Jealous!


80 betsy March 18, 2011 at 10:21 am

I live in Boston so more than willing to help suggest a hotel, restaurants, etc but one of my favorite places to visit is Chicago. It’s a great city with a lot to see, do and a fantastic food scene.


81 Christa March 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

Rachel, have you ever thought about Savannah?? You would love it! There is so much to see and do and the nightlife aint too shabby either…Hello Riverstreet!!! It is one of the greatest cities i have ever been to and i’m not just saying that because i live an hour south. It has everything you want to do: beaches, history, culture, and great food and entertainment. If you go you HAVE TO: take a ghost tour, go eat at the Lady and Sons (Paula Deen’s restaurant where fyi, they dont take reservations, but if you are alright sitting at the bar upstairs you will get seated pretty quickly), visit Savannah Candy Kitchen and Riverstreet Sweets and watch them make their homemade candies and chocolates, yawl can get romanitcal and take a horse and carriage ride at night. There are great tours and historic homes to visit like the Juilet Gordon Lowe house (she founded the Girl Scouts), the Johnny Mercer House, The Pink house. Not to mention there were some great movies filmed there…Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and a little flick called Forrest Gump. It is beyond great and I think you would really enjoy it. You could even take a day or two and go to Charleston since they are relatively close to each other (if you go to Charleston, you have got to visit the Battery and Rainbow Row!). Good luck deciding :)


82 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 11:13 am

Oh girl…I DO love Savannah! I have only been once, fulfilling my dream after reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and I loved it. It’s definitely my perfect kind of place: food, haunted stuff, etc. And Paula Deen apparently??! I also didn’t know it was that close to Charleston. Definitely going to add this to the shortlist.


83 Ashley March 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm

APPARENTLY?! Are you kidding me? Yes Paual Deen lives in Savannah! I use the restroom in her store every time I’m there


84 Jaclyn March 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

Definitely New Orleans! There’s tons of historical things to see (you can go on vampire and ghost tours, cemetery tours, horse and buggy rides, and lots of other stuff), there’s tons of amazing food to eat (uh, hello Cafe du Monde beignets and coffee, fried pickles, shrimp n’ grits, po’boys, muffulettas, and so and so on), and there’s no open container law, which means you can get your drinks in TO GO cups and drink out on the streets! There’s also street musicians, street arts, voodoo shops, amazing old architecture, and history for days. You also don’t need a car to get around–if you stay in the French Quarter you can just walk everywhere you want to go. New Orleans sounds like it would be right up your alley from what you’re describing!


85 Parita @ myinnershakti March 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

Boston, Chicago, DC, NYC, San Fran are obvious favorites. Charleston, somewhere in Maine, New Orleans are different choices that are also super fun! I’m excited for you guys! I love vacays!


86 cassie March 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

my two best US trips were New Orleans and San Francisco. the energy in New Orleans is amazing. great food, so much to see and the people are absolutely amazing. if you love music there are great music festivals that take place there including jazz fest and there’s a big one 4th of july weekend…

San Fran — just wonderful, i loved it there.. you can;t go wrong with san francisco… wine country is just breathtaking.. so many places to visit.

San Diego is also great…

if you decide on Chicago you should try and time it with the big taste of chicago foodie event.. it’s a big deal and super event..

charleston is great, my hubby took me there for my 30th birthday a few years ago, but it’s a bit quiet.. i did have the best truffle fried mac n cheese there :-)

good luck with your search.. i love vacations


87 jessi March 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

OK, I’m a Southern girl and here are some of my fave places to visit. They have lots to do, lots of history and culture but you can also relax.
1. Charleston, SC (beachy but not totally the beach)
2. Wilmington, NC (beachy but not totally the beach, again)
3. Asheville, NC (mountains)
4. New Orleans, LA (enough said)
5. St. Augustine, FL (gorgeous and super historic!)

They are all fabulous and not really expensive. If you end up going to any of the locations, I can recommend FAB places to eat/get drinks/visit! :)


88 Ashley March 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Love St Augustine! I live Jax but it would be totally worth the 50-minute commute to live in St Augustine/Crescent Beach/Verano Beach


89 Alexandra March 18, 2011 at 10:51 am

San Francisco is still one of my all-time favorite vacation spots. It’s chock-full of fabulous restaurants, shopping, touristy activities, cable cars!, walking around to people watch, etc…& since you live in an area with hot weather, you won’t be disappointed that San Fran isn’t necessarily HOT as in beach vaca—it’s actually perfect walking around weather. Some of my best memories are from trips to San Francisco! But most importantly, I had the best granola of my life when I was there.


90 Lauren at Keep It Sweet March 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

One of my favorite trips was San Francisco/Napa. The culture there is a lot of food and wine, but it is so much fun. San Fran you can do lots of touristy stuff, but Napa is so laid back. We did bike riding “tours” in both locations.


91 Simi March 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

Obviously NY, Los Angeles would be amazing too and you can drive an hour down to San Diego so you get 2 major cities in 1 :)


92 Jennifer March 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

I really second the motion for Santa Barbara/Carmel. Yes, it’s beach-y, but it is beautiful, there are wineries, and lots of day trips around the area.


93 Heather March 18, 2011 at 11:06 am

#1) Madison, Wisconsin. Obviously. (plus, with the current state of the government in the great state of Wisco, you run the awesome risk of ending up on CNN at some point. just saying.)

#2) St.Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Either of these top 2 places I’d be happy to create a list of fabulous possible stops for you along the time there.

I want to say Chicago, but I know that going some place you’ve lived before is probably not on the list of favorite ideas (it never really feels like “vacation” then, does it?)

Also –
St Louis, MO
Nashville, TN
Atlanta, GA
Baton Rouge, LA (v. drivable from houston)
Philadelphia, PA

ok. i will now stop making a list of my own travel wish list.


94 Ashley Breton March 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I agree with Heather — I lived in Philly for 2 years and loved it. Tons of cool bars, concerts, parks, etc.


95 Clare @ Fitting It All In March 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm

YAY for St. Louis!!


96 Kaytee March 18, 2011 at 11:07 am

NEW ORLEANS. That is all.


97 marie March 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

Either to the Jersey Shore or to the Washington Mall for another goddamn perm.

I know you said U.S. but are you opposed to Canada? I went to Vancouver as a kid and it is still one of the most memorable places I’ve ever been. We took the ferry and stayed in a cabin on Orcas Island. Went kayaking in the ocean and saw whales. It was pretty damn awesome.


98 Jackie March 18, 2011 at 11:29 am

Have you ever been to Tennessee? If you want a wide variety of things to do then check out Gatlinburg, TN or Pigeon Forge, TN. They are located in the Great Smokey Moutains! There are beautiful log cabins you can rent with awesome views of The Smokeys or you can stay in a hotel and be within walking distance of everything. And if you like amusement parks you can visit Dollywood (owned by Dolly Parton!) Your cowboy boots will fit right in!


99 Beth March 18, 2011 at 11:37 am

I think you should take a mini tour of Texas! Fredricksburg (can you say lots ‘o wine and CUUTE bed and breakfast hotels), enchanted rock (get sightseeing AND a workout!), and San Antonio (home of the Alamo, riverwalk, sea wold… and Tony Parker… Mmmm).


100 Phoebe March 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’d say New Orleans too. You can drive, although it might not be far away enough to make you feel like you’re totally on vacation. In addition to the numerous reasons everyone else has given, one nice thing about New Orleans is that a lot of the uniquely “New Orleans-y” things to do are versions of really just hanging out, so you can do the stuff and kick back at the same time, like seeing the Preservation Hall Jazz Band or just walking around in the French quarter. I would also suggest Nashville or Atlanta.


101 Heather March 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

While the usual suspects are great: SF, Chicago, Boston, DC, NY, there are also some “unsung heroes” that would also make great vacations, such as Portland Oregon – GREAT pinot noir, wonderful microbrews, phenomenal food, great vibe in the Pearl district, legendary Farmer’s Market (Thank you, James Beard, for that one), amazing coffee (hi Stumptown!)..l.not to mention the wine bars, the famous bookstore, the plethora of outdoor activities, and the decent weather this time of year. Also, same but different: Portland Maine (my hometown) is seriously phenomenal. Their food-scene is taking off, they have amazing seafood and cute beer gardens, Stonewall Kitchen, you can do ocean-y things, and it’s a pretty cheap vacation to have a great time compared to the other cities.


102 Jessica March 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I really loved Portland when I went with my boyfriend. A bike brewery tour (SO FUN), everything is walkable, and the food/wine was great.


103 Laura March 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I just went on a random weekendish trip this past weekend to Boston! My boyf and I found really sick deals on Orbitz for flights + hotel and ended up getting both for around $470 each. I have the same sort of vacation outlook, and Boston was a great place to be for that because there’s so much to do and see but also a lot of neighborhoods that were nice to just walk around in and eat, shop, or people watch.


104 Jessi March 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Why don’t you fly to Phoenix, where all kinds of scenery and weather is easily accessible? You can do Scottsdale first, which has its own historic section. Also, lots of hiking in Phoenix. I’ve done two mountains – it’s for any level. If you’re feeling some Ol West desert, drive a couple hours south to Tucson. If you’re wanting cooler temps and mountains, go up to Sedona / Flagstaff. Seriously. You go two hours north from desert to snowy mountain tops. Up there are the painted canyons and red rock gorges, through which you can take jeep tours.

I might be a bit biased because I moved here a while ago after living in Boston and Philly. It’s definitely not the east coast, and I love the desert weather and scenery!


105 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 11:18 am

One of my best friends from college moved to Scottsdale a couple years ago and loves it too! I will have to do some more research.


106 anon March 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Seattle has amazing food. It is a sort best kept secret for food, especially seafood. The weather is glorious in the summer, and the days are long, it doesn’t get dark until 10 in mid-summer. There is water everywhere you turn, just lakes and bays all over. And there is a really good music scene. Downtown is in the hills, so there is a chance you could get a hotel room with a view. A view in Seattle means mountains+ocean+lakes+cityscape. It really is exceptionally beautiful.


107 Lori March 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Nuts! No one mentioned Denver yet! Talk about outstanding vistas, great food and downtown area. SO many outdoor things to go see, including the must see Garden of the Gods down in the Colorado Springs area. The science museum is awesome as is the Zoo. If you like art, the Art Museum is a feast. You can do the Cog railroad up to Pikes Peak, hike any number of parks in the Denver area, and if the weather is awesome, a drive in the mountains is incredible.

Plus: the number of breweries around here is very nice. I hear the New Belgium brewery up in Fort Collins is awesome (they make Fat Tire… one of the best beers out there).


108 AnneWF March 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I’d go for DC or Boston. Both fab tourist destinations with a night life and shopping. Also close to other nifty places. If you go to Boston then you could drive an hour and a half to Cape Cod. So beautiful. DC can take you to places in Virginia like Richmond and Williamsburg.


109 Monika R March 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

One that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Newport, RI. There are mansions to visit, a lively night life, amazing restaurants, cute bed and breakfasts/hotels, events during the summer, local vineyards, and cute shops. I think maybe three days would be enough time to really see it but coupled with a trip to Providence, Boston, or Cape Cod it would be a lot of fun!


110 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write March 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Come to Portland! No sunshine here and a million things to do! I just moved here from Sunny San Diego, and we LOVE it. It’s a “real” city, which I’ve never lived in, with tons of hippies, artist types, and culture around every corner. Plus, the flight wouldn’t suck toooo bad from Texas. I bet you’d stop in Vegas or Denver, time to stretch legs, etc.

Whatever you do, you’ll have a great time, I’m sure!


111 Jessica March 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

My vote is for San Francisco. (i may be slightly bias…) but tons to do and see, lots of hotel options (I can hook you up with a sweet deal if you want). Tons of delishious food, and the famous cable cars! I can give you tons of tips on what to do and see here.


112 Nikki March 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Savannah, GA is perfect for an “adult” vacation in the US! Tons of great historic places, cemeteries, parks to visit, amazing food, great weather (especially right now!), you can fly into it, AND there’s a beach about 10 minutes away if you really want to spend a day there.


113 Ashley March 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm

It’s kind of a pain to fly in to Savannah … it might be cheaper to fly into Jacksonville (not just because I’m here … it genuinely would be)


114 Allie March 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm

San Franscisco! I took a trip their with my BF a few summers back, and it was great. We were able to do some city things, but also it’s close enough to Lake Tahoe to get a nature fix in. Also, they have so many great restaraunts out there to experience!


115 Allie March 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Also, I visited Savannah last year and it was great. I’m not sure it would be fun for five days, though. It would probably be a good two/three day trip, and if you wanted to spend the rest of the time at the beach, April is a good time to go the Carolina coast.


116 Hima March 18, 2011 at 3:36 pm

DC: I’m actually headed there in 2 weeks for the cherry blossoms … absolutely my favorite time to be there. There’s so many things I love about this city! Amazing museums (and not just the Smithsonians … a friend and I are considering the Int’l Spy Museum or Newseum on this next trip). Obviously, the monuments (One of my most favorite DC adventures involved a 3am drive around the monuments). Great ethnic restaurants (Highly recommend trying Ethiopian food if you haven’t already. Definitely order some tej – honey wine).

Boston: I did my undergrad at BU and this city forever has a part of my heart. It’s an easy city to get around whether by T or walking it. Some of my favorite things: the Italian restaurants in the North End, followed up with dessert at Mike’s Pastry, whale watching (you can take tours through the aquarium), Sox game @ Fenway (even if you’re not a baseball fan), walking the Freedom trail, shopping/restaurants/people watching on Newbury St.


117 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 11:20 am

DC is my favorite city in the US and this is making me want to go there more than ever!!


118 Clare @ Fitting It All In March 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Savannah, GA or Charleston, SC! Both beautiful, historic cities with tons to do and amazing places to eat (Umm Paula Dean!!) but also warm enough for some pool time if you’d like!


119 Morgan March 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm

+ 1 for San Francisco! You & bf can borrow my apartment (I have plenty of places to stay) and borrow my smart car convertible to wine country.


120 Becky March 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm

New Orleans – there is so much history, amazing food, and just an overall cool city!


121 Nicole March 18, 2011 at 8:21 pm

San Francisco; Portland; Seattle; New Orleans; Boulder; Santa Fe; Savannah

I have lived in seven different states & traveled to all but 15 [give or take]. I am obsessed with US trips. I love exotic destinations & travel as much as the next person – I lived in Europe for three years, but I love travel our country. It is so diverse & has some really awesome spots!


122 Michelle... March 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I know a bunch of people have said Boston, which is also where I live, but I have to say that the weather here can be really hit or miss this time of year. You might come and have sun and 50s and 60s, or it could be pouring rain and miserably cold the whole time you’re here. Unless you’re OK with that!

My other suggestion is to follow along with the other people voting for New Orleans. I visited for a friend’s wedding in Dec. ’09 and loved it.


123 magdi March 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm

i vote philly! i went for my senior trip, it was four days and there was so much to do! super fun city!


124 lynn @ the actor's diet March 19, 2011 at 12:02 am
125 Allison March 19, 2011 at 1:54 am

I was going to put in another vote for SF, which is definitely awesome, but I’ll be a little different and suggest California’s Central Coast. Maybe a mini-road trip from Monterey to Santa Barbara, if you’re up for that. I’ve never spent much time in Monterey except for the aquarium, but as you head south, there’s Hearst Castle, Paso Robles wine country (which has some really great wineries, my personal favorites are Peachy Canyon, Croad Vineyards, Jada, Castoro Cellars), San Luis Obispo has a great laidback vibe with a fun (small) downtown and some historical landmarks (spend a night at the Madonna Inn if you can), go to Shell Beach or Pismo Beach for your one beach day (and hit up the Cliffs Resort for their happy hour — $5 margaritas and all-you-can-eat tacos), and finally State Street in Santa Barbara has some of the best shopping. And this is all between SF and LA, so you could start/end in either of those cities as well.

Wow, I did not expect to totally go tour guide there! I went to school in SLO and head back for a weekend whenever I can.


126 Hannah March 19, 2011 at 3:06 am

Your ideal vacation sounds nice, both before and after becoming an “adult”!
As for vacation spots, Seattle or L.A. seem like cool places to go, with lots of things to do. But since you’re saying cooler weather, I’d go with Seattle


127 Katy March 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

What about Denver? Awesome weather (chilly but sunny 300 days a yr), can do great hikes in the foothills, tour breweries, see a concert at a small venue like the bluebird theater, go to boulder for a day and shop/eat on Pearl St, visit the little mountain towns like Breckenridge for a day or two for a dose of snow and small town charm, plus driving thru the mtns is beautiful! Oh and Colorado springs isn’t far for Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods.


128 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 11:53 am

Denver was the very first place Eric and I had thought of (like, independently), so it’s definitely on the list!


129 Emma March 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Okay, New Orleans and Savannah were on my list, but they’ve been suggested a bunch of times already. I also saw someone went for Philly, which I didn’t think of bc I grew up there so it’s not a vacay to me, but it IS an awesome city, despite the fact that it’s a little dirty – it has the historical aspects, and it’s also just a funky little city – so much culture and character. If you went with that, I have some places you’d HAVE to go.

Also wanted to throw Milwaukee onto the list, though, I don’t know it well enough to know if it could entertain for five days. It’s a cool city for at least two-three, but five might be a lot… And I’m not sure about the weather either.

And the Grand Canyon and/or Sedona area. Granted they’re something of a drive apart, but that could be part of the fun, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Beautiful. More of an outdoorsy trip than a city though.

Good luck choosing! So much fun stuff.


130 Rachel March 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

We definitely looked into the Sedona area!! I think Milwaukee would be cool but I think that is one that wouldn’t feel like a vaca to either of us, since we’re both from the Midwest. Right now, one of those Southern cities is probably going to be it!


131 Rachel March 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Boston, San Francisco, NYC, or Chicago. I’ve never been to Chicago but I’d love to go!


132 kate March 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I don’t have a suggestion. I’m just ridiculously jealous!!!


133 Chase [The Chase Project] March 21, 2011 at 6:38 am

DC is gorgeous in the spring – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a local. So much historical/cultural stuff to see and great nightlife. Plus you’ve got cherry blossoms and a ton of other bloggers to meet up with! That’s my $0.02. =D


134 Therese March 21, 2011 at 10:21 am

KEY WEST! I know it’s probably a warmer climate than you were thinking but it is the best of both worlds–plenty of historical things to do + a really fun night life!!!

The hubbie and I have been every spring for the last 4 years (except I had to go and get knocked up so we aren’t going this year) and have an absolute blast every time!


135 Holly March 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I’ve heard Portland is pretty amazing and has a surprisingly wonderful food scene :o)


136 Shefali March 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I would suggest Boulder/Denver, CO. I know it sounds kinda random and I’m not just saying that because I live here, but I am suggesting it because it is right up your alley based on the description above. You can combing healthy eating (Boulder is the Silicon Valley of natural and organic foods) healthy living (mountains! hiking, biking, skiing, boarding etc) with the awesome nightlife Denver has to offer. There are so many fun indoor/outdoor things to do in the Mile High city its unbelievable. You must visit!


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