A Supposedly Fun Thing I Never Want To Do in the First Place
July 31, 2010 7:50 PM   Subscribe

My mom wants to take a cruise with me. I would rather not. She doesn't care very much about the destination - it's being on the cruise ship that she likes. Is there a way to plan a vacation in New England or New York that will replicate the things that she likes about being on a cruise ship, at a similar price? I have this vision of a woodsy resort in the Catskills or the Berkshires where she could relax and be able to stay for a whole week without getting bored, but I'm having a hard time finding it.

My mom has a severe anxiety disorder that makes her agoraphobic and generally afraid of novelty. Sightseeing and playing the tourist are extremely stressful to her. The things she enjoys about cruise ships are the wide variety of foods, non-threatening entertainment, pretty views and getting to sit around and relax and read a book without any obligations, all in one self-contained ship that she never has to leave.

I've looked at all-inclusive resorts, and they all seem to be way more expensive than a cruise, and they're all in sun-and-sand type places like Florida or the Bahamas.
posted by freshwater_pr0n to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request -- jessamyn

How much are you willing to spend? One of those family-style resorts kind of like they had in Dirty Dancing might be nice. The Mohonk Mountain House is one I know of -- not cheap by any means, but it has a lot of what you've listed included in the price.
posted by Madamina at 8:02 PM on July 31, 2010

We enjoyed The Hedges greatly. It gave us the "resort experience" but in a much more rustic setting, if that makes any sense. It's pretty popular too, we had to be on a waiting list for our room.
posted by Oktober at 8:17 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

A 7-day cruise to Bermuda seems to cost about $600 to $1000 per person.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 8:17 PM on July 31, 2010

I can appreciate you might not want to take the cruise for various reasons, but if your mom loves it, then why not accommodate her and then use the stops in ports of call to go out on your own and explore? Then your mom gets what she wants, you get some time away from mom, and you both have a good time.
posted by thorny at 8:21 PM on July 31, 2010 [6 favorites]

Don't fight it. Just take her on the cruise. Do the best to amuse yourself. I agree with the previous comment.
posted by america4 at 8:36 PM on July 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

What about The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado? For your mom there are stunning views of Rocky Mountain National Park, and cute town with music festivals and shopping. Also, nice cool mountain weather.
And for you? The fact that this is the hotel that inspired Steven King to write The Shining, and Kubrick's film version on a 24 hour loop on the hotel's tv system!
posted by pickypicky at 8:39 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Catskills of "Dirty Dancing" is largely gone. The resorts that are left, aside from Mohonk Mountain House, which is very pricey, are terrible. There are three of them left, I believe. My family did this a few years ago at the Nevele, for the (supposed) reason that it was going to be easier to stay somewhere where we'd already paid for our meals than having to cart a large number of people around for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it was miserable because these places are old and decayed and run down and future similar attempts at togetherness have ensued in us doing just that because it was so miserable.

It would help if we knew what your objections to a cruise are, and also where you live. Cruise ships now depart from Bayonne and Baltimore, and there are 5 day cruises, which are much more manageable. There are not that many ports of call between Place X and Bermuda, so you can't get away that much, but a ship is big, and there are many places to go where you cannot be found easily.

That said, there are resorts in many other places where she could do what you describe above. I would explore the web sites of the various hotel chains - SPG, Hilton and Hyatt come to mind, although there are plenty of 'independent' non-chain resorts out there too, but once you identified a likely location, resort + [locale] in your favorite search engine would help you find it.
posted by micawber at 8:41 PM on July 31, 2010

It certainly isn't in New England, but the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia is a big place, with a lot of on-site (or very close to it) activities. They have golf, shopping, a casino, horseback riding—even falconry! There's a full list here...

They have 12 different restaurants, bars, and cafes.

I don't know how it compares to a cruise, but it looks like a "standard" room is $259 a night; $309 on Fridays and Saturday nights. Some activities are extra; however, if she is mostly interested in the sitting around and reading sort of activities, that may not be a concern.
posted by Silly Ashles at 8:57 PM on July 31, 2010

Replicating the variety of food will probably be the most difficult because of the comparative size between most resorts and a cruise ship, but the rest of the things you mentioned are obtainable... Woodloch Resort out in my area has all-inclusive rates, which vary widely but aren't completely horrible; if you can combine packages, for example, you could get go over Labor Day (Sept 4-10) for about $873 per person. Montecito Sequoia Lodge might be a trifle rustic for you, but is nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Another vote for the Greenbrier, which I enjoyed very much about ten years ago.
The Winter Clove Inn in the Catskills looks charming, but I've never been there.
Mountain Lake Hotel
New Age Health Spa
Maybe even something like the Country Inn in interesting little Berkeley Springs (meals not included), across from the hot springs state park with its inexpensive spa treatments. Some nice B&Bs and cabins in the area, as well.
posted by notquitemaryann at 9:55 PM on July 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Well, it's a "sun and sand" location, but how about the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:59 PM on July 31, 2010

I'm with those who say take the cruise. For a lady with a significant problem, she has shown courage in deciding that a cruise will be her best way to accommodate it. Give her the credit she is due.
posted by yclipse at 4:23 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I went to a conference once at the Sagamore, and it strikes me as the sort of place you might be looking for.
posted by mneekadon at 4:35 AM on August 1, 2010

She might like the Samoset Resort in Camden, Maine, but I agree with the other commenters here: cruises are not SO bad. If she's agoraphobic, it could be that she thinks of the entire cruise ship as her "house" and so its not stressful for her. (Like a big hotel with a huge porch.) Your question makes it sound like she's gone on cruises before, and already loves them.

Don't try to push something new on her just for your comfort. Honestly, unless your issue is that you get devastatingly seasick, you will probably find a cruise to be not nearly as bad as you think. (Try to select one that is more oriented to younger people, maybe young families.)
posted by anastasiav at 5:14 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go on the cruise with the promise that you can do "your" vacation in the future. You only have one Mom. Let her have her way this time. You'll have a good time! It is only a week out of your life.
posted by naplesyellow at 9:48 AM on August 1, 2010

I'm in the camp that you should try the cruise. Keep an open mind and I bet you will find something about it to enjoy the lest of which is time spent with your mother and reading more of David Foster Wallace. While I'd normally be the first to pitch my native West Virginia's Greenbrier (Secret Cold War Bomb Shelter for Congress!) I think your mom's condition seems to dictate going with her flow. Plus, you'd be hard pressed to get the breadth of things a cruise offers at a similar price point without going severely outside of her comfort zone. How about picking a cruise to a destination that you'd like to see, say Alaska and treat it as a sociology experiment?
posted by mmascolino at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2010

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