Trip Coach: July 31, 2007
Patricia Schultz, author of '1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die,' answered your questions.
Patricia Schultz: Hi! This is Patricia Schultz, and I greatly look forward to chatting with you today about traveling in the USA & Canada. We still have a few weeks before the back-to-school mindset takes over us (even if we haven't seen the inside of a schoolroom in a while!), so get going!
Let's get started!
San Bernardino: Ok, so I'm having a snag in planning a girl's get-away for six individuals - ages range from 28 to 88 years old (youngest is my niece and oldest is my mom). Each year we plan a get-away ranging from San Diego, Napa Valley, Hawaii, Chicago, Indiana, Las Vegas. I need help planning something that everyone can equally enjoy - from the young to the old. Was thinking about Taos, New Mexico but not sure what to do there - any ideas? Please help! ! Audrey
Patricia Schultz: I would suggest you park yourselves in the wonderful city of Santa Fe, New Mexico instead, where there is so much more to do for all ages and interests (and take a fun day trip to Taos for lunch and a museum stop). This summer celebrates the 10th year anniversary of the unusual Georgia O'Keefe Museum, and there is also world-class opera through August at the stunning indoor-outdoor Santa Fe Opera just a few miles outside of town. There are endless art galleries whose works often showcase the prominent Native American presence in the city and surrounding Four Corners area (with various festivals celebrating the Native American culture and arts as well) and great restaurants and cafes that remind you how the delicious Southwest regional cuisine took root here in the 1980s. And don't miss the East-Meets-West Ten Thousand Waves spa just outside of town whose spa treatments (including alfresco thermal soaks) have been drawing folks from around the world for decades.
Abingdon, Maryland: Four or five mature (40's and 50's) ladies would like to get away for a weekend. Thinking of a spa weekend, casino or maybe N.Y. Any suggestions?
Patricia Schultz: You're not so far by car from Atlantic City (N.J.) where, if you go between now and September, you can enjoy the beach as well (something Vegas cannot boast)! Of course, A.C. is all about gaming, but if you stay at the new-ish Borgata Hotel and Resort, a little bit of over-the-top Vegas (the most expensive hotel/casino ever built in A.C.), there's enough to keep you busy without going near the slot machines: a gorgeous spa, an entertainment schedule for August that includes everyone from Aerosmith to Martin Short, swank restaurants (a steak or lobster dinner at The Homestead will make you feel like a high roller) as well as impressive all-you-can-eat buffets that are so much a part of the Vegas scene. The Boardwalk is like a stroll back in time (the Steel Pier! salt water taffy! bicycles built for two! ) or jump in the car for an easy and lovely day trip to Cape May New Jersey, whose historical collection of beautifuly-preserved and fancifully painted Victorian structures house B&Bs, inns, restaurants and shops. Go for lunch and rent bikes afterwards to tool around town and ride it off, or hire a horse and buggy and relive the golden days of America's first seaside resort.
Sonora, CA: This fall I will be in Quebec City, Quebec for only 2 days. What would you recommend as the best things to see?
Patricia Schultz: You could just wander about for weeks and not take it all in! This handsome, walled city is one of the oldest European settlements in North America (settled by the French in 1608), and if you keep thinking you've wound up in Paris you'll be excused the sense of spatial displacement! Outdoor cafes, patisseries, chic boutiques, 19th-century homes, the winding hilly streets of Haute-Ville, French spoken everywhere, lovely folks. Take the funicular to Basse-Ville below, the old port district, and the Place Royale, the city's public market area since the 17th century. Consider staying--or at least stopping by for high tea--at the Chateau Frontenac: built in 1893 on the highest point in town, it still promises a strong dose of old-world France minus the jet-lag.
Colorado Springs, CO: We are traveling for one week to the far NW corner of WA (Lynden) on 10-6-07. What are some not to miss sights? Ideas such as San Juan Islands, Cascade Mountains and Victoria Vancouver come to mind, but we (3 of us) have never been to this part of the country. We love the outdoors, can pass on shopping. We will be flying in and out of Seattle (we think! ) unless other recommendations are made. Thank you!
Patricia Schultz: Seattle is a great city, and an easy place to set off for awesome nearby destinations in every direction. Ferries from Anacortes connect you to four of the San Juan Islands (there are hundreds of them, some nothing more than large, green-covered outcroppings) on Kenmore air--they have a fleet of both fixed-leg aircraft or seaplanes that service the San Juans regularly and make for awesome flight-seeing on the way. Orcas Island is said to be the most beautiful - rolling farmland, a resident summertime pod of 60-90 orca whales (frequently seen from shore though whale-watching excursions are far more fun; Oracas, Lopez, and San Juan Islands are all great for biking, hiking, sea kayaking, excellent seafood, etc. Kenmore also flies from Seattle to the veddy British city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Exploring the island can take you a few--or many--days, and it offers a surprisingly sophisticated gastronomic scene(the Sooke Harbour House and Restaurant) as well as hotel scene (The Wickaninnish Inn near Tofino, 200 miles north of Victoria--even popular in the winter months for those who come from all parts to hole up and pray for dramatic winter storms to roll in!)--though all varieties of options are available. And oh, that wild Northwest Pacific scenery! It's majestic.
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