Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Road Trip!

AAA estimates that 32.4 million people will travel at least 50 miles away from home for Memorial Day weekend this year. That number is up 1.5% from last year. Are you going to be some of those 32.4 million people? If so, here are some suggestions for trips near and far:

SAN DIEGO - My favorite left coast city in the continental US. There's so much to do there: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Padres (at home Memorial Day weekend), LegoLand (in Carlsbad), the reefs and shopping at quaint little places in La Jolla, Balboa Park, the Gaslamp District, and Sea World. Not far away is the Mexican border (passports are now required for entry into Mexico and back into the US). You can get great deals on sterling silver for that special someone and you can also browse the Mexican shops in Tijuana and Rosarita Beach.

WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA - Step back into history in this 1770s colonial village. Original and restored buildings are hosted by costumed 'interpreters'. Enjoy the sites, sounds and smells of 18th century living. Also nearby are Jamestown and Yorktown. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement and Yorktown is where civil war battles were fought. Only a short 10 to 11 hour drive from Nashville, it's perfect for a long weekend. When you're in Williamsburg, don't forget the gingerbread cookies at The Raleigh Tavern Bakery.

FALL CREEK FALLS, TENNESSEE - My favorite spot to hike, backpack and camp in Tennessee. Only about a 75-minute drive from Nashville. For those who don't want to tote a 30 pound pack on their backs, there are campsites you can rent for a night or longer. Complete with fire pit, you can enjoy your freshly grilled hot dogs and s'mores sitting around the campfire at night. You can also wander through the nature museum there and enjoy the maps of the area. Breathtaking views of the falls are worth the overnight stay in a tent.

HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS - One of my favorite places to visit, Hot Springs is loaded with history. Once known as the 'Gangster Capital of the South', you'll find the The Gangster Museum of America interesting as it cites places where Al Capone and other famous gangsters owned and spent their time. You can also enjoy a massage and bath at one of the local bath houses, searching for quartz crystals, enjoying meals at (my favorite barbecue place) McClard's Bar-B-Q, see the boyhood home of former president Bill Clinton, and more. Only five hours from Nashville, it's a unexpected Arkansas jewel.

CHICAGO - One of my favorite cities to visit (and I lived there, too), is Chicago. Only eight hours by car, this incredible city has more to do than you have time or money for. You can start your tour with the Sears or Hancock buildings, the Navy Pier, State Street shopping, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, the American Girl Place (museum), Shedd's Aquarium, or Grant Park. The Cubs aren't in town Memorial Day weekend, but the White Sox are. And if you're looking for great places to eat, you'll need to try Chicago pizza at Edwardo's, hot dogs at Portillo's, and an authentic diner experience at Ed Debevic's on Wells Street. You can't go wrong with Chicago.

Can't decide what to do or need someplace less expensive? Then check out
NASHVILLE. The Grand Ole Opry is a sure bet on the weekend nights, and the Grand Ole Opry Museum is nearby. You can always take in a trip to one of the lakes or just enjoy time away from home at a local hotel. Anything to get that much needed break from the daily routine.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, enjoy .....

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