Where should we go this summer?
May 10, 2013 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Girlfriend and I are looking to get away this August, and we're looking for destinations. We want to spend ~10 days relaxing, experiencing some natural beauty, being warm, eating delicious food (both of the restaurant variety and the pick-up-bread-and-cheese-from-the-local-vendor variety) and generally unplugging from day-to-day life. Not big partiers, but we'd frequent the local cafe/pub. Something like a little cottage in the south of France would be our dream, but we're working with a budget of ~$4000 all-inclusive, so France may have to wait. We're 30ish and live in Boston. Idea us please!
posted by violinflu to Travel & Transportation (28 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want to go far away? If not (necessarily), then Martha's Vineyard ticks all of your boxes nicely.
posted by lunasol at 8:43 AM on May 10, 2013

Montreal, and/or Quebec City? There are some nice resorts near each that might fulfill your cabin idea.
posted by rpfields at 8:47 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could also take the ferry in Connecticut to the east end of long island to do this also. You could split your 10 days between the east end of long island and NYC . YOu could take Amtrak to pen station if you do not want to drive.
posted by majortom1981 at 8:48 AM on May 10, 2013

Santa Fe, NM.
posted by rtha at 8:50 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Portland (OR) or Vancouver.
posted by Dansaman at 8:55 AM on May 10, 2013

I'm thinking a ski resort in the off season might do it. Lake Tahoe/Truckee is gorgeous in the summer.

Sedona, Arizona is great too. Or even Phoenix. You can get amazing deals on resorts that time of year. (It is as hot as the sun in Phoenix, Sedona is in the mountains and much cooler.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:01 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maine! We stayed in Bar Harbor for a few days a couple summers ago, and we never wanted to leave. It didn't feel too crowded, which surprised me, but obviously Maine is really big and there are towns that are way less busy than Bar Harbor.

If you want to go farther afield, there's Door County, Wisconsin (the Cape Cod of the Midwest, so they say). It's ridiculously beautiful - Cave Point County Park might be my favorite place in the universe, plus you've got Washington Island and Peninsula Park and of course the lake, and the bay, and lots of nice inland lakes. The towns are cute, with lots of goofy shops and good restaurants, and if you stay on the east side (Baileys Harbor, Jacksonport etc.) it's not too busy, even in August. There are a couple good theater companies if you're into that, and beaches and biking and weird museums. Renting a cabin on an inland lake is affordable and super relaxing - hang out on your hammock next to the dock, drinking weird fruit wine from one of the wineries on the peninsula... Man I love it. I would spend my whole summer there if I could.

(Similar, but even harder to get to, is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which is like 80% protected gorgeous natural areas, but arguably less to do/eat other than nature things.)
posted by goodbyewaffles at 9:01 AM on May 10, 2013 [5 favorites]

Rent a lake house in Ithaca, NY (for instance; for instance). You'll have plenty of money left over for fine dining (wine trail, downtown, farmers' market), and fine drinking at the many local pubs, bars, and beer gardens. You'll also have access to plenty of amazing trails, waterfalls, gorges, boating, biking, etc. Ithaca is a great mix of country and city, and it's outrageously beautiful in the summertime -- especially on the lake in August.
posted by ourobouros at 9:04 AM on May 10, 2013 [5 favorites]

A town in Maine that is "way less busy than Bar Harbor" would be Camden. Midcoast Maine in general (Belfast, Rockland, Boothbay Harbor) would probably fit the bill.
posted by seemoreglass at 9:05 AM on May 10, 2013

I found flights to Reykjavik for as little as $360 in August (before taxes and fees) from Boston through Icelandair, if you have any desire to look at geysers in Iceland. Cophenhagen, $500. Paris, $600. Etc. With a budget of $4000, you probably don't need to stay in North America.

But if you do want to stay in North America and have nice scenery to look at, I'd think Colorado and Vancouver B.C. could be nice. Or maybe going through California to look at the redwood reets and geysers and stuff.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:10 AM on May 10, 2013

I wouldn't rule out south of France. You can get tickets to Paris for < $800 if you stop over in Ireland or Iceland, and if you find a good deal at AirBnB, you could probably rent that dream cottage of yours and still have enough left over to eat out a few times at modest places and eat all the baguettes, cheese, and salamis you want.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 9:14 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

St. Martin - Sint Maarteen in Caribbean. Flights <$600 at that time of the year, can rent a condo and car for very cheap. Nice beaches combined with French cuisine, although I'd get a hurricane insurance that time of the year.
posted by zeikka at 9:14 AM on May 10, 2013

My SO would pitch Istanbul (hard), but I'd go with Nova Scotia.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 9:25 AM on May 10, 2013

Seconding ultraviolet, check out vrbo for rentals. They're usually pretty reasonable. Also consider Brittany or Normandy.
posted by shoesietart at 9:30 AM on May 10, 2013

Wow, I typed redwood reets and I meant redwood trees. That's a new kind of typo for me.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:52 AM on May 10, 2013

France (or Italy) might be do-able on $4K, certainly for $5K. Airfare for 2 around $2000, there are houses for as little as $100/night (but that's definitely at the low end), and for most rental houses you'll need a car. Add in a reasonable allowance for food & entertainment and that puts you around 5K. (BTW, most vacation rentals are by the week, especially in peak season)

Domestic rentals (the Cape, the Finger Lakes, etc.) are comparable, as is food and entertainment, but you're not spending $2k on air fare, and can use your own car.
posted by mr vino at 10:23 AM on May 10, 2013

Nth-ing the recommendation not to rule out France on your budget if that's what you really want. Flight costs are all over the map these days, but if you can get yourself there for under $2K total, you can have a pleasant time on your remaining $2K. You might also try Tuscany, which hits a lot of your requirements as well. (Friends of ours spent last August there, after doing a house swap with a family -- if you're open to that as well, it's one way to spend a long time and very little money in a new place. I suspect you would have no problems finding someone who would like to spend a couple of weeks in Boston.)
posted by chalkbored at 10:32 AM on May 10, 2013

For what it's worth re: France, pretty much everyone in Europe takes their vacation in August, which makes things crowded and weird (I.e. much of the normal local stuff in any given locale is shut down and the streets are crawling with a mish mash of international tourists). The beach areas are especially packed in August. It is not the month I personally would travel over there...
posted by feets at 10:36 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

This may not seem exciting enough given your geographical location, but I adored Vermont in August. Cheese and fruit and green green hills. You can take a day trip into Montreal if you want as well!
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:23 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rocky mountains in Canada! Banff, Jasper, & Waterton are all places I have visited and loved. Prices range from low to high for hotels, there is lots to do and beautiful scenery.
posted by photoexplorer at 11:41 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Costa Rica.
posted by empath at 11:44 AM on May 10, 2013

Chincoteague, assuming you've done Martha's Vineyard by now.
posted by vrakatar at 12:10 PM on May 10, 2013

Bishop, CA / Eastern Sierra

Amazing scenery, easy access to Yosemite, warm weather, Mono Lake, hot springs, Bodie, and a kick-ass bakery.
posted by amb at 12:13 PM on May 10, 2013

Seconding Ruthless Bunny's suggestion of Sedona, AZ.

I honeymooned there (right around this time last year), and it was incredible. So breathtakingly beautiful and there's a bunch to see and do.

We stayed at Las Posadas. Gourmet Breakfast, quiet, and beautiful rooms. Super nice.. they even sent me a copy of the guestbook we signed which I requested for Valentine's Day. My only regret of the honeymoon is that we stayed overnight in Vegas before we flew home. I got one of the penthouse suites at the Bellaggio, just to be able to say I did that, and while quite nice, it didn't hold a candle to the serene awesomeness that is Sedona.

If you ever end up in Sedona, I would highly recommend the Jeep Rental. There are certain trails that are right out of a Western, where you come out of a mountainous region and out into endless rolling hills. (I never drove a Jeep before, and while my adrenaline got going from time to time, it really wasn't that scary).
posted by Debaser626 at 1:06 PM on May 10, 2013

If you travel south of Sedona on 17, you can hit Montezuma Castle National Monument. It's ancient cliff dwellings and I love coming here. I've been on class field trips and on my own with friends.

You can fly in and out of Phoenix and rent a car, it's about a 2 hour drive and it's really, really beautiful. You can watch the terrain change as you gain altitude.

Check out Cottonwood one day, do a day trip to the Grand Canyon. Red Rock State Park and any nutty, new age, vortex thing you want to do.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:20 PM on May 10, 2013

I think you'd do well to look into Untours. They hook you up with vetted, qualified, reasonable places to stay in the cities they offer, they're completely in your price range, and they offer English-speaking guides to give you tips, tell you about the neighborhood you'll be in, and they usually run some events while you're there that you can attend, optionally. Definitely do France and Italy, etc.
posted by disillusioned at 2:46 PM on May 10, 2013

The south of France is marginally do-able on that budget. Your options increase a lot if you can go instead in July. feets is right, things in town close for the shopkeepers' holidays and that's usually in August.

It is the rare town where you can do without a car and at the same time have beaches and anything a notch above just good restaurant food too. There are some (Collioure, Cassis) but they are popular with the French and are priced accordingly. If you can find a village somewhat inland from the beaches that doesn't require you to get on an autoroute to go places then you might have what you're after. A lot of the little towns in Languedoc are pretty and you can take smaller roads to the beach.

If you plan to drive in France get your hands on a navi before you go. The rental cars are always not equipped with navis so they can rent you one at an obscene rate, and driving in France can be difficult because when you get into towns there are a lot of stimuli and hazards while the signs you would expect to find in the US are not there.
posted by jet_silver at 7:27 AM on May 11, 2013

This is my personal dream. Not quite what you are asking for, but probably a lot more affordable. I've visited the Venice Lagoon twice, and I'd love to stay there for a holiday.
South of France is vicious in August, to the extent it's not even glamorous or fun.
Also think of Portugal, or the northwestern part of Spain.
Personally, I haven't tried it, but all my friends are talking about Majorca. It's cheap to gt there because of hellish tourist facilities, but most of the Island is unspoilt and lovely. (Friends claim)
posted by mumimor at 2:50 PM on May 11, 2013

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