Where should I take my mom on vacation?
October 9, 2016 8:53 PM   Subscribe

My mom and I are planning a trip for Veteran's Day weekend, but we haven't quite decided on where. Our main interests are cute shops with handmade items, historical sites, gardens and nature hikes, and delicious baked goods. Any suggestions?

We live in Florida, so the biggest restriction is that we want to go somewhere within a short plane ride so we don't spend too much time traveling (and my mom doesn't have a current passport, so we also need to stay within the U.S.).

We can rent a car, but would prefer to avoid stressful driving situations, so a bigger city with safe public transportation or smaller cities where it's easy to navigate and park are ideal.

We've been to Savannah, Asheville, Raleigh, and Nashville recently, and my mom has visited Chicago a few times, so we're looking to branch out.

I'd love to hear our suggestions of where to go, and also where to stay!
posted by cndelia to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Come to Minneapolis. We're cheap, we have all the stuff you mentioned, it's fall and all the leaves are pretty right now, the weather's still decent, and yet cool enough to justify all the pumpkin bread and pumpkin spice lattes you could want.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:16 PM on October 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Boston seems like it would hit all of your qualifications.
posted by mdonley at 9:56 PM on October 9, 2016

What about Kansas City or St. Louis? St. Louis I don't know as much about, but obviously there's the Arch, and the St. Louis Zoo is fantastic, and free, and it's surrounded by a beautiful park with plenty of nature-like walking paths. They also have a lovely botanical garden.

Kansas City I'm more familiar with, and they have a pretty great public transport system, especially the new streetcar which is free and takes you to some wonderful spots around downtown KC. These include things like Union Station, Kemper Arena, the Country Club Plaza (great shopping and cute restaurants) and the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. The Crossroads district is possibly on the line as well, and if it's not, it's close by. The Crossroads has some really amazing art galleries, handmade goods stores, and lovely restaurants. Also, KC BBQ!
posted by LonelyOnes at 10:04 PM on October 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lancaster, PA (and surrounding Amish country) fits this description to a T. You'd have to fly into the Philadelphia airport and drive out, but traffic's not bad if you avoid leaving Philly during rush hour.

There are great baked goods at the Lancaster Central Market, tons of homemade and handicrafted-goods shops dotted all over. I can recommend the Speedwell Forge Bed and Breakfast in Intercourse (wolf sanctuary! pretzel factory tours!), but there are lots of cute B&Bs and small hotels around.

If you go, definitely make time to drive south a bit and visit the amazing Longwood Gardens-- lots of interesting historical and horticultural stuff to see.
posted by Bardolph at 4:00 AM on October 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

Bardolph's Lancaster suggestion is terrific, and here's why: a good arts and culture scene; lots of good food, coffee, and neat little shops to explore (Here to Timbuktu is a favorite); Central Market three mornings a week; America's coolest small town, Lititz, is a short, easy drive away; the Delaware Art Museum and Longwood Gardens are within day-trip distance. Or go explore Lancaster County!

Take a look at the Lancaster Arts Hotel; there's also lots of lodging outside the city on Rt. 30. You may also be able to fly into Harrisburg, which I find a shorter and less stressful drive than the route from Philadelphia.

posted by MonkeyToes at 6:51 AM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Following up on MonkeyToes's comment, there are quite a number of public gardens and arboretums in the greater Philly area. Aside from Longwood Gardens, UPenn has an arboretum, the campus of Swarthmore college is an arboretum, etc. Checking out tourist info sites will lead you to more. However, November is pretty much after the fall foliage season, and mostly the gardens will be hunkering down for the winter.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:55 AM on October 10, 2016

There are some fantastic gardens and museums (former DuPont estates) in Delaware's Brandywine Valley, just outside Wilmington. Plus, tax free shopping!
posted by Morpeth at 9:58 AM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

You could get some pretty crap weather in Boston, Philly, etc by mid-November.

What about New Orleans (stay in the Garden District, not in the Quarter)? Austin?
posted by vunder at 10:45 AM on October 10, 2016

I went on what was supposed to be a weekend trip to DC with some friends last year. We stayed in Alexandria and ended up never making it to DC because we got sucked into shopping, walking around, and eating in Alexandria. There's also plenty of other options nearby in DC and environs.

Vets Day weekend might be a bad time to go, but sharing in case of future interest!
posted by marmago at 6:03 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

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