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Where would you go in March?

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Dec 16th, 2017, 01:45 PM
  #1
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Where would you go in March?

I have 5 to 8 days in the middle of March when I could conceivably get away. While I could name a dozen cities in Europe I'd love to visit in March when they wouldn't be crowded I'd rather save that for a longer trip.

I live in the Baltimore/Washington area and have been to most of the states on the Eastern Seaboard. I love museums, good restaurants, the performing arts, dramatic scenery, and any of the sitting down sports (kayaking, sailing, horseback riding, etc.). I would NOT expect to find all of these things in any one location!

I do not care about chasing warm weather.

Since this is a short trip I'd like to stay within North America.

A few ideas that I'm pondering:

Asheville & the Smoky mountains: restaurants, dramatic scenery, maybe some horseback riding

Death Valley: I've wanted to go for years but it looks the hotels in the park are under renovation.

Joshua Tree: the scenery! again, its been on my wish list for years.

Big Sur: I was all set to go a couple of summers ago as part of a longer trip to Northern California but forest fires interfered. Maybe its time to try again?

Boston: I've been to the city and would love to revisit it — museums, libraries, good restaurants, the symphony. March might not be a typical month to visit but is close and I would plan on spending most of my time inside.

Key West: My travel companion has long wanted to drive the overseas highway and I like the idea of fresh seafood, sailing, and scenery.

Favorite previous trips within the United States have been to Charleston and the low country, northern California and San Fransisco, and Santa Fe and the surrounding area, anywhere in northern New England.

Do have ideas for destinations I haven't considered? Are there places on (or off) this list that you would especially recommend in March? Previous trip reports that might help me make up my mind? I'm all ears!
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Dec 16th, 2017, 02:20 PM
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wrote a long response . . . and the site froze up. Here is the quick and dirty version . . .

Do be aware that while the top half of Big Sur is open/accessible, you cannot drive the complete length. Closed last winter due to slides and bridge washouts and the full route won't be re-opend for many months.

That being said, there is PLENTY to fill 4 or 5 days between Carmel, Monterey, Point Lobos, Big Sur, Monterey Bay, wineries/wine tasting, fabulous scenery, wonderful kayaking and also whale watching trips. Blue Gray and Humpback - March is a little early for Orca. Very good dining in Carmel/Pacific Grove/etc.
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Dec 16th, 2017, 02:20 PM
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All your choices sound good.

I would go to Death Valley anytime, March should be warm but not beastly hot as it would be later.. If the main lodging is not available, look nearby and make a reservation you can cancel and keep calling for in the park. Try Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Beatty , etc. If you don't plan on hiking much, probably in 2 or 3 days you could see most of the highlights. You could fly in/out of Vegas and add a couple of other NPs like Grand Canyon and/or Zion, Bryce (would probably still have snow on the trails but the road and pull outs for views would be ok)

Boston has most of what you want. Northern New England will be either winter or mud season, so I'd not plan on that in March.

Check with the California folks on the state of Big Sur regarding road washouts and fire problems. That part of the coast is always a spectacular place to visit.

Have fun planning.
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Dec 16th, 2017, 04:20 PM
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I agree with emalloy. Fly to Las Vegas and see Death Valley, Red Rocks, Valley Of Fire, Hoover Dam and maybe the South Rim of the Grand Canyon if the weather is good.
Car rental prices are good in Las Vegas.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 01:48 PM
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Ditto the idea of taking advantage of Las Vegas air/car prices from just about anywhere in order so that you can get to nearby Death Valley in convenient fashion.

Though I didn't sense too much urge to stay and explore Death Valley, I am still sure it is a spot one should visit when the opportunity arises.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 02:04 PM
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We spent a lovely Spring Break in the Smokey Mountains a few years back. We did a half day horseback ride in Sevierville, found some nice restaurants in Gaitlinburg and hiked in several places. The drive from Gaitlinburg to Cherokee National Forest was beautiful and their is a Cherokee Native American Museum there that was well done as well.
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Dec 17th, 2017, 03:27 PM
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>>Death Valley: I've wanted to go for years but it looks the hotels in the park are under renovation.<<<

They are under renovation but it looks like the Inn will re-open on February 1st. Give them a call to verify. Staying outside the park is a reasonable option as well, although it's a huge park so that will increase your driving times.

>>Asheville & the Smoky mountains: restaurants, dramatic scenery, maybe some horseback riding<<

I would suspect you'll have a pretty good chance of snow in the Smokies in March. If you're ok with that, go for it.

>>Boston: I've been to the city and would love to revisit it <<

You have several new places on your list, so that (plus the possibility of wet/cold weather) would rule out Boston for me.

Personally I would pick Key West if I could avoid a peak Spring Break week. I have never been there though, so that would be a motivating factor. For you, Death Valley and/or Joshua Tree would make a lot of sense since they seem the most different from anything you've done before.
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Dec 18th, 2017, 12:27 AM
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I agree with janisj and March is our 'green season' and wilflower season on the central coast.later in March is best.

Big Sur being closed might be a good thing. If you're done with the Monterey,northern Big Sur sites you can head south on 101 to The Pinnacles. March is when we like to go as they open the bat cave and you get to hike through it. Some nice hiking along beautifully colored rock formations. It's part of a volcano that has moved north with the shifting plates.

If you're into John Steinbeck, there is the Steinbeck Museum in Salinas. I'm a big fan so enjoyed it and years ago got to eat lunch at his childhood home. Don't know if they still do that.

If you continue South on the 101 into Paso Robles, the rolling green hills are called the Irish Hills in March. Then you have the wine tasting there. Too much to do maybe, but that's a good thing. Won't get bored for sure,
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Dec 18th, 2017, 08:40 AM
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It is shorter to fly to Europe than it is to West Coast and several things you have suggested demand also driving.
What about Venice (a zoo much of the year), stay only there and enjoy the Piazza San Marco and the mosaics of the cathedral with the locals?

I know this is out of the box....
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Dec 19th, 2017, 07:00 AM
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I would suspect you'll have a pretty good chance of snow in the Smokies in March. If you're ok with that, go for it.

IF you did, it would be gone in a day!! It could be chilly but not bone chilling.
There is another post here about asheville that lists about 15 restaurants--lots of artsy stuff to do. Pretty travels up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Dec 19th, 2017, 07:01 AM
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Among the better restaurants in Asheville are: The Admiral, Posana, Chestnut, The Market Place, Cucina 24, Bouchon, Limones, Isa's, Bull and Beggar, Curate, Nightbell, Rhubarb, Jargon, Sovereign Remedies, All Souls Pizza, Nine Mile, Taco Billy, Pizza Mind, White Lab -- tough choice with only 24 hours. All depends on what you feel like. AVL is a foodie town.

For coffee and pastries: Karen Donatelli or OWL. Donuts: The Hole. Ice cream: The Hop. For tea: Dobra.

Then of course there are breweries - lots of them all through town.

Another activity is music: Isis, Orange Peel, Grey Eagle, Jack of the Woods, lots of others - just depends on your taste. Checkout Mountain Express for what is happening while your here. https://mountainx.com/
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Dec 19th, 2017, 07:10 AM
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Re snow in Asheville in March - there's always the chance of snow, but it would be very rare in mid-March. Very. About every third year we can be some snow/ice between March 15 and 25, but as Gretchen said it will be melted in a day. Late March is spring.

The Keys drive would be fun!

I would fly into ABQ and drive up through Santa Fe and Taos and maybe into southwestern Colorado. Have you been to Mesa Verde NP? The weather may be cool but it's simply gorgeous.
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Dec 19th, 2017, 07:50 AM
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Palm Springs. Joshua Tree NP is an easy day trip, the PS art museum is a wee gem, you can ride the gondola up to (maybe) snow, have date milk shakes and terrific Mexican food in Indio, go antiquing in PS, enjoy fabulous mid-century ring-a-ding-ding architecture, gamble at Indian casinos, head out to parts of old Route 66 including Bagdad, eat wonderful deli food at Sherman's...

There's a huge selection of accommodations ranging from luxe to budget, more food options than you can count, outlet mall shopping nearby if that floats your boat, and easy access either from Palm Springs own airport (nonstops from various places) or from Ontario airport closer to LA. Or it's a 2 hour drive from LAX.
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Dec 19th, 2017, 07:56 AM
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Ooooh, New Mexico would call me if I had all the wherewhithal.
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Dec 19th, 2017, 10:02 AM
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I guess I was referring to snow in the higher elevations of the Smokies, not necessarily Asheville itself.
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Dec 19th, 2017, 10:27 AM
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Asheville is IN the Smokies. Not sure of the distinction you are making. Yes, sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway may be shut down IF there is snow because the road is not maintained for snow. But snow falling even in the highest elevations of the Smokies is rare that late in March. Can it happen? Sure. Will it happen? The odds are low. March 25 is my date to de-winterize because (knock on wood) spring has sprung and snow is gone.
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Dec 19th, 2017, 10:32 AM
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Here's last March with historical averages -
https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/as...weather/329813

60s, 70s and even 80 degrees is far more likely than days in the 30s (3).
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Dec 19th, 2017, 02:21 PM
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I like the idea of Venice, Italy, although the OP explains why Europe isn't in the cards this time.

I am not an Asheville fan, myself. Nice place to live, but as a visitor, couple of days and I'm done. Weather there in March isn't appealing, to me anyway.

1. Palm Springs/ Joshua Tree, b/c I've always wanted to go, too, but haven't yet managed it
2. Big Sur and the Monterey Bay area, with road closures taken into account, b/c it's gorgeous and has good food and wine and a temperate climate
3. Boston 3rd b/c weather might be rainy and cold, but there's so much culture to enjoy

Them's my two cents!
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Dec 22nd, 2017, 12:42 PM
  #19
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OP here: Thanks for the help. The weather info from locals is particularly helpful — I always find that weather averages disguise so much! Still not sure what I'm going to do but I shall have fun deciding!
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Dec 22nd, 2017, 01:34 PM
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The reason I couldn't resist suggesting Venice is that from D.C.,it is no longer a trip than to West Coast. ...And I'm a Venice freak.

I will add, though, that Monterey and Big Sur should be beautiful in March. Be careful to avoid Easter crowds (i.e. go earlier in the month if you can).
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