Where should I take my wife for a birthday surprise?
August 29, 2012 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Help me plan an awesome and affordable surprise birthday trip for my pregnant wife between Christmas and New Years. Details inside.

My wife and I are exhausted and we need something really fun and exciting for just the two of us before our second child arrives in the spring of 2013. We live in NYC

Here is what I am thinking:
3-4 nights
apartment or B+B type lodging
A city that is walkable and offers great food, culture, beauty, inspiration, and wonder.
We love the water, but don't want a place where the beach is all.
Warm or Cold matter little. Nightlife is unimportant but great performances would be a plus. Our idea of a wonderful meal can range from provisions from the market to the best we can afford white tablecloth.
My budget is $1500, but I can increase that if necessary.
We will someday go to Asia, but this won't be that trip.

Cities that we already love: New York, Los Angeles, Istanbul, Mexico City, Jerusalem, Seattle, San Francisco, Berlin, Dublin.

I would love for us to go somewhere new that we can both explore together. We both fell in love exploring NYC and we hunger for more. It's just harder when we both work and have a 3 year old.

posted by avrobie to Travel & Transportation around Dubai, UAE (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you want something a little more quiet, Hartness House in Springfield, VT has a lot of lovely weekend escape packages. It would definitely fall in your budget, as well.

(Full disclosure: dr.e and I were married there, and I'm hoping we can go back for an anniversary weekend some time in the next few years ---- we absolutely loved our weekend there.)
posted by zizzle at 9:08 AM on August 29, 2012

Christmas and New Years is like of hard for the warm weather places because it's high season, also any place you have to go by plane, that's going to be a nightmare.

Perhaps a trip to Philly? Easy to get to by car or train. Lots to see and do, lots of restaurants for lovely meals. Your budget should accomodate a nice hotel.

San Diego might be another thought. But airfare at the holidays will prove prohibitive.

My first thought was an all inclusive Disney package. We spent the week between Christmas through New Year's in Orlando. The place was packed, but if you focus more on the resort aspects, and less on the parks, it can be very nice. The inclusive package made everything affordable.

St. Augustine, Charleston or Savannah are coastal options with history, restaurants and B&Bs.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:10 AM on August 29, 2012

When is she due exactly? If' it's March, I'd think New Year's would be too late to feel good about getting on a plane.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:12 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Portland, ME and Providence, RI are both fun, small cities not too far from you. Providence is accessible by Amtrak. Neither has as large or exciting a food scene as NYC (duh) but both have a lot of good options. Providence in particular has a good art and music scene for a small city (RISD is there) and a lot of colonial history. It's also one of the top cities for restaurants per capita.
posted by pompelmo at 9:25 AM on August 29, 2012

Also, the NY Times had a "36 hours in Providence" feature earlier this summer. (And here's an older one for Portland.)
posted by pompelmo at 9:28 AM on August 29, 2012

If you really don't mind the cold*, then you should check out Montreal and/or Quebec City!

* - As in -40C/F cold! Colder than the North Pole cold!
posted by Grither at 9:46 AM on August 29, 2012

I absolutely love Charlottesville, Virginia. It's set in the Shenandoah Mountains, has lovely vineyards, and the downtown city itself is really beautiful. There are some excellent high-end groceries that sell local merchants' wares, it has more bookstores per square mile than any other city in America, and some of the best damn dumplings I've had outside of Beijing. UVA itself may skew more conservative, but Charlottesville is home to a lot of liberal locavores who shop at the huge green market and patron all the middle- to high-end restaurants nearby. You can admire the architecture of the UVA campus and explore Monticello easily. It's a very walkable city with a free trolley system, though I'd suggest renting a car to go outside the Main St./UVA area.

Plus, winter in Charlottesville is extremely mild, especially for place in the mountains, and there's a nice holiday city market open during December and January.
posted by zoomorphic at 10:40 AM on August 29, 2012

I read an article about Miami several years ago and have been wanting to go ever since...
posted by hms71 at 8:05 PM on August 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the great suggestions! I'm definitely going to be looking South of the Mason-Dixon line. Exploring Savannah, Georgia right now...
posted by avrobie at 7:07 AM on September 4, 2012

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