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4sammy234 Jun 19th, 2017 10:05 AM

Where to take mom for 70th birthday?
My mom and I try to do a getaway every year. Somehow we always end up in NYC :) Just because we enjoy it so much . She will be 70 in January, and we would like to do something a little... BIGGER . I originally posted this in the Europe thread but open to other suggestions.

My first thought was London, simply because my mom is a total Anglophile. And since we have both been, 3 full days on the ground (plus the two travel days) would be perfect.

But - then again - maybe somewhere new? We are both totally, completely open so I'm looking to see what would be on your short list? We are thinking springtime but aren't set on timing and think a city is best.

We love history, scenery, good food, absorbing local culture. We love walking tours. Don't love most museums (some quirky ones are great, like the tenement museum in NYC but Smithsonian type - not really high on my list). Shopping is not a big thing.

And, it's weird for me to say, my mom is going to be 70. She defies any expectation I ever had of that age! Very active and no health issues, thank God - Mom can HANG. She travels extensively, has been almost everywhere, and is open to any new adventure .

London - Montreal - Madrid ... these are all cities we have discussed in Europe.
US cities - we have both been to New Orleans, NYC, San Francisco. So although those are great trip spots - we don't really want to go back for this occasion.

What would be on your list ?

MmePerdu Jun 19th, 2017 10:33 AM

It sounds as though you aren't thinking about anything other than cities or, if you are, you haven't said so. Also, have I missed where you've said where you'll be traveling from? If we knew we might suggest interesting non-city places closer to home that makes them no farther time-wise than the mentioned cities.

4sammy234 Jun 19th, 2017 10:41 AM

You're absolutely right, MmePerdu, and that is because I originally was thinking to "land" in a European city and hit the ground running. That was purely for timesaving reasons.

When I open it up to US / Canada and travel will take less time, that does add more "non-city" options.

We will be coming from Texas.

HappyTrvlr Jun 19th, 2017 01:23 PM

Vancouver is beautiful and is easy to explore. Great transit system. Terrific dining.
Beautiful scenery. One of my favorites and a big contrast from Texas.

Gardyloo Jun 19th, 2017 03:24 PM

I saw your companion thread on the Europe board, and while I totally understand wanting an "olive oil and cheese" destination, but only having a total of five days is very limiting; you'd be spending an awfully high portion of that time just getting there and getting back. Andalusia certainly fills the bill, as does Morocco, but getting there will require at least one plane change and most likely a drive, then the whole thing in reverse coming home. It can be pretty exhausting when all's said and done.

In North America, what about San Diego or Santa Barbara? Or farther up the coast in the Monterey Bay area? Go wine tasting or whale watching, visit the marvelous Spanish mission in Carmel or look at the gorgeous coastal scenery and wildlife at Point Lobos, visit redwoods at Big Basin or Henry Cowell state parks... You can fly to San Jose in a couple of hours and have five days rather than three. (Or fly to LAX or San Diego for Santa Barbara or San Diego.) The weather is generally reliable and warm, accommodations not overpriced, and the traveling is easy.

If you still are thinking about Europe in the spring, then Barcelona would be my preferred destination. There are nonstops to BCN from a couple of North American cities, thereby simplifying travel arrangements. From your wish list, Barcelona hits all the marks.

MmePerdu Jun 19th, 2017 04:08 PM

Have you been to Puerto Rico? I can imagine a fine few days at the Hotel El Convento in beautiful historic 16th century Old San Juan. I live in PR for 5 years and have always wanted to return to stay there:

ekscrunchy Jun 20th, 2017 01:56 AM

Any interest in game viewing in southern Africa?

jayne1973 Jun 20th, 2017 02:29 AM


bailey123 Jun 20th, 2017 03:50 AM

If I had only 5 days and not coming from the east coast, I would rule out anywhere except somewhere in the Americas. Vancouver is a great idea. I like the idea of Monterey and Napa/Sonoma as well but maybe you have already experienced that with your SF trip? Montreal hits all the marks, but you've already been. How about Seattle with a ferry to Vancouver Island and the English flavor of Victoria. Or maybe Mexico City? Or Havana?

ekscrunchy Jun 20th, 2017 05:09 AM

So sorry. I missed the 5-day Africa was a silly idea...

jayne1973 Jun 20th, 2017 05:15 AM

How about Boston? Great for an Angliophile, lots of history, good food, Freedom Trail, good public transportation.

Ackislander Jun 20th, 2017 05:50 AM

Virginia horse country

The Inn at Little Washington
Keswick Hall

The BBQ in Gordonsville (CIA grad came home) for lunch between the two.
Fried chicken for lunch at Wayside or Brown's in Charlottesville

History: Monticello, Ash Lawn, and Montpelier, three Presidents' houses, all unique

Wineries: start with Barbourville but there are lots of others

It won't be seriously cold in January, and there will be forsythia in February, if not leaves on the trees.

If this is too much country for you, go to Washington, DC, then overnight at the Inn at Little Washington (not in Washington) for luxury and award winning food.

sf7307 Jun 20th, 2017 06:50 AM

Noone has mentioned Chicago. It's a wonderful place to visit (going myself for the first time in a few years soon). Easy to fill 3 or 4 days there.

4sammy234 Jun 20th, 2017 07:18 AM

I'm sorry guys. Thanks so much. I feel like I'm being difficult, because I'm shooting some things down, but the truth is my mom travels A LOT. That doesn't rule out every place she's ever been - but we want this to be a special trip so it needs to be somewhere completely new and different or someplace she just absolutely loves.

San Fran / Northern CA - we have both done multiple times. DC - my brother lives there so she is up there a lot with his family and again we've both been there a lot .She just got back from Chicago. UGH. We are all going to be in Boston in August for a family trip (celebrating Dad's 70th, which was last fall).

I'm really not complaining - I hope it doesn't sound like I am, at all! - we have done some great trips and you all have provided some great input! You couldn't possibly know where all we've been and/or plan to go before this trip.

I'm definitely adding - Seattle / Vancouver. I have never been! That may be a great idea! And no, I have not been to Montreal - Mom has but loved it and wants to keep it on the short list .

OK so as of now the list is as follows (no order):

Seattle / Vancouver
and mom wants to put Paris back on the list .

cmstraf Jun 20th, 2017 07:50 AM

Of these choices, I'd go for Paris..because it's Paris (see my trip reports), even if you have been there before. Make it more special by staying in an especially nice hotel.

Or what about Venice towards the end of January (NOT during Carnavale). We spent 5 nights there in January this year and it was magical. Empty, cold but mostly sunny. I'd highly recommend the Pensione Academia unless you are going 5 star--it's where we spent our honeymoon in 1993 and we've been going back ever since. Great location, much charm. I could say more.

Could you spring for 5 nights at the Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii? Or the Hyatt in Kuaii?

I'm spending my own 70th birthday next April at the Ahwahnee/Majestic in Yosemite. I've been going since 1971, it's the home of my heart. I spent my 60th birthday there and plan to be there for my 80th birthday as well.

San Miguel di Allende or Oaxaca, Mexico? I don't know Mexico at all, but it's on my list.

suze Jun 20th, 2017 08:00 AM


Not Seattle, I live here, and if you like the buzz of NYC, Seattle will bore you to tears.

I love Mexico but wouldn't go there for such a short trip.

NewbE Jun 20th, 2017 08:08 AM

Paris is a no-brainer, as is London--I would choose the one that sounds most exciting to Mom.

Venice is one of my very favorite places on the planet so far in my travels, I think it is magical.

As much as I love many of the places mentioned in this thread, none of the others come close in Wow Factor.

(I haven't been to Spain, much to my chagrin, so can't comment on Madrid, but I know I'd love to go.)

4sammy234 Jun 20th, 2017 09:39 AM

NewbE, wow factor is exactly what Im looking for.

I am heavily leaning to London, Paris, or Montreal. Venice is wonderful, but we are crossing it off due to the additional distance. London, Paris, and Amsterdam are all under 10 hours and direct from DFW.

Now Mom gets the coin flip!

Gardyloo Jun 20th, 2017 09:49 AM

If thinking about Seattle/Vancouver, with just five days I'd probably pick one or the other. Note in the Alaska cruise season (May - September) Seattle hotels are astronomically expensive. Vancouver's aren't super cheap, but generally better value than in Seattle.

I'd probably go with Vancouver for a first visit. Not only is the city very enjoyable, but it has easy access to all sorts of beautiful areas in close proximity. For example the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler is one of the most beautiful roads in North America, and if you wanted a couple of laid back days in the country, the BC Sunshine Coast, accessed by ferry from Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver, is superb. Or in the city, take in a play at Bard on the Beach, Vancouver's Shakespeare festival, conducted in tents with the city skyline as a backdrop. (Google these things.)

One final thought if you're thinking about springtime, Portland and the Columbia River Gorge are marvelous destinations then. Portland is a terrific city, and the Gorge with its waterfalls and vista points will take your breath away. An hour east of the city, Hood River and the Hood River Valley is marvelous in the spring, with orchards in bloom and Mount Hood hovering over everything. It's a terrific day trip or overnight. Plus everything's very close at hand, making for a more efficient use of your time.

jamie99 Jun 20th, 2017 10:35 AM

I'd also choose Hawaii, January should be in the middle of whale season on Maui (not my favorite island) but sounds like you are leaning more toward a city vacation.

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