By Randee Dawn
Weekends race by fast – and if you don’t line up some plans, before you know it that brief window of freedom can get completely frittered away. Fortunately, ideas are everywhere for special themed weekends, so here’s some suggestions for livening up the our 48 hour (and sometimes more) weekly breaks. Start planning!
Time of year will factor in to the exciting things that can be done outdoors over a weekend, but there’s no shortage of ideas for people who want to stay active. Winthrop, Washington sits on the edge of both North Cascades National Park and fantastic wine country. Nestled in the small-town atmosphere are options for hiking, overnight backpacking, fat bike trails, climbing, fly-fishing, paddling and horseback riding on the trails. On the other side of the country, Lake Placid, New York is another outdoorsy dream space for hiking in the Adirondacks (try Gothics, the 10th highest peak in the state, for amazing views) or paddle a canoe through the many sparkling bodies of water. For those who want a less-traditional adventure, try Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg, Georgia – a park that features nine miles of zip lines and sky bridges, plus horseback riding, the world’s tallest freestanding climbing wall and a chance to commune with falcons and other birds of prey.
Winthrop, Washington http://winthropwashington.com/
Lake Placid, New York http://www.lakeplacid.com/
Historic Banning Mills http://www.historicbanningmills.com/
Leisure: Spa and Golfing
For those who don’t want to break a sweat, dipping into the green of a golf course or the capable hands of spa technicians is an ideal choice. The brand-new Mayton Inn in Cary, North Carolina (just outside Raleigh) is one of many out-of-the-way hotels that let visitors truly get away from it all – and get massaged while doing it. Links lovers will fall for Phoenix, Arizona, which features great golf destinations like Legacy Golf Resort, where green patches sprout right out of the desert. Plus, there are a number of non-golf outings nearby for visiting between rounds (like ancient Native American village Pueblo Grande). Or just combine your spa with your golf and go to Hershey, Pennsylvania. The Spa at the Hotel Hershey offers luxurious treatment like whipped cocoa baths and chocolate sugar scrubs – and there are three golf courses as part of the Hershey Country Club nearby.
Mayton Inn: https://maytoninn.com/
Legacy Golf Resort http://www.shellhospitality.com/the-legacy-golf-resort
Hershey, Pennsylvania http://www.hersheypa.com/things_to_do/spa_golf.php
We can’t possibly cover all the tremendous culinary options on offer around the U.S., but if you’re a foodie and have a spare weekend, here are a few you’ll want to taste: New Orleans, Louisiana is a feast for the senses in all ways possible. From the famous beignets at Café Du Monde to the fried alligator and chocolate peanut brittle ice cream sandwich at Cochon, you’ll be nice and full when you hit the French Quarter to start your drinking later on. Speaking of drinking, Louisville, Kentucky is famous for its bourbon – and for its Kentucky Hot Brown open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and Mornay sauce, best found at The Brown Hotel. Down home food, whether it’s pork and beans or chicken, has a special tang when it comes from the Bluegrass State. And don’t forget Houston, Texas: Rated the No. 1 best town for foodies in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure, Houston has a combination of home style cooking and haute cuisine that’s designed to tickle all taste buds. Don’t miss the Revival Market, full of local foodies or the Korean fried chicken from Dak & Bop.
New Orleans Dining Guide http://www.nola.com/dining-guide/
Louisville, Kentucky Dining Guide http://louisville.diningguide.com/
Houston, Texas Dining Guide http://www.houstonpress.com/restaurants
Why sit at home watching the game on TV when you can be out there in the thick of it? Companies like VIP Sports Getaway are designed to set you up with ultimate tailgate parties and special packages for games between the Dallas Cowboys and other NFC East teams (you will have to get to Dallas, Texas, however). If you want some participation along with your vacation, check out Park City, Utah’s Olympic Park Museum – then go skiing or snowboarding on some of the finest slopes in the country (and even try out the 2002 Olympic skeleton and bobsled courses). Or if baseball’s more your thing, The Inn at Cooperstown in Cooperstown, New York offers The Ultimate Baseball Hall of Fame Getaway Package, which gives you VIP access to the museum, a private reception and a commemorative bat (plus a place to stay while you’re in the charming small town).
VIP Sports Getaway http://vipsportsgetaway.com/
Olympic Park Museum http://utaholympiclegacy.org/