Tell me where to go for vacation

The details:

I have 10 days off, from leaving work July 20th to walking back in the door Monday, July 30th. Now, I could stay at home and sit on my rear, but that’s not any fun, and besides, I want to go somewhere. (I hope my dates are right. I’m going through calendar stupidity lately.)

The rules:

  1. Not too expensive-the tickets in particular. Hotel rooms I’ll manage.
  2. I’d love to be able to take the train, since I haven’t been on a long distance train trip in six years.
  3. Ideally, I’d be back that Saturday, the 28th, so I have a day to recover.
  4. I’d like to avoid renting a car if possible.
  5. I do not want to go to NYC.

I’m thinking about 3 places, but I am definately open to suggestions.

  1. New Orleans. $142 on the train. I’d hope to get a hotel in the French Quarter, and avoid renting a car if possible. I have spent time there in the past for work, but I’ve never just hung out there and explored the city. I know July is miserably hot there, but I’ll have to put up with it if I go.

  2. Washington DC/Baltimore. I have good friends there, and could stay with them. I’ve not spent a significant amount of time there in years, but I’ve loved it when I’ve visited.

  3. Boston area. My brother and his wife live there, along with friends from college. I’ve never spent a lot of time there, but it seems like it would be neat to explore.

My travels in the Southern US have been extensive, but mostly for work. I’m not opposed to other parts of the country(I’ve never been west of Shreveport, Louisiana, for example), or overseas(for the right price). Someplace that I can really explore on my own, basically.


I like your DC idea. The nice thing about DC is how much is FREE. You can go back to museums for repeat visits, or walk out after 15 minutes if you’re bored, and never be annoyed over the cash you spent to get in. There’s also a lot to do–and even if you got bored (which I doubt) there’s Baltimore as you’ve mentioned.

DC in summertime can be annoying thanks to the heat and the gazillion other people vacationing there. But it’s still a great spot to spend time.

I would vote for New Orleans. I went to college there and it is still one of my favorite places to go on vacation. You are right that it will be hotter than Hades but it is also off tourist season so it will be less crowded and you can probably get a good deal on a hotel.

I live in Boston now and it has a lot to offer in the way of American history if you like that sort of thing. If you decide to come to New England, you should really see Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont as part of your trip. They are beautiful this time of year and would be quite different for you.

Based on my (limited) experiences, it would depend on whether or not you are traveling with someone.

I found New Orleans to be a blast with a friend to join you, but if travelling alone, would much prefer Washington DC. This is so that I can take my time through the museums, see what “I” want to see, and spend as much time at any one exhibit as I’d like. Since New Orleans is more of a party atmosphere (AND can be dangerous), going with a friend would seem much wiser.

Of course, historic Boston is fantastic with or without a friend. Just make sure you DON’T have to drive through there (old city=no street planning=hell to get around).

Thanks, y’all. I’m still debating-it hit me that I could go to the caribbean as well, though I checked prices on that and it looks doubtful-especially since it’s just me. Right now, I’m leaning toward DC, but the debate continues.

Shagnasty, I know how beautiful New England is-I went to college in Maine, but I just never spent much time in Boston, other than at South Station and Logan.

I would be interested in some ideas as well. I don’t have to work until September.
Some suggestions:

Boston - Pretty good place to hang out. Plus, it’s close to Vermont, Maine, Cape Cod, Newport RI, Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun Casinos, Mystic Seaport and Aquarium

New York City - Its New York City. Also near the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City.

Las Vegas - Vegas baby! This vacation doesn’t cost money, it makes money!

Warning! Very Biased Opinion

There’s a great big country north of you called Canada. Your money goes far here, very far. My home town is Montreal. Too bad you’d be here too late for the Jazz Festival or the Comedy Festival but there’s a Fireworks Festival that drags on all summer and it’s totally free from a gazillion vantage points around the city. Summer’s short here so we have festivals and cavort in the streets between Canada Day (July 1st, sheesh) and Labour Day (note the outrageous spelling we use, are we crazy fun people or what?). We almost all speak english and stop pretending not to when you tell us you’re not from English Canada. It’s heaven for food, and way, way safer than New Orleans. Sitting on a terrasse, sipping a cool drink…can’t you just picture it?

There’s also Quebec City which is gorgeous and historic and everything is within walking distance.

Stay away from Toronto, it’s a hole. (considering a smiley…nah!)

I was checking ticket prices to Montreal yesterday evening and they were decent-only around $190, so that has become another consideration.

Is Montreal the kind of town where I’d need a rental car or could I get around without one? I’m having to figure approximate cost, and a rental car expense is one that I definately don’t want for this trip.

More than you could see in ten days is within walking distance of a downtown hotel. Public transportation via Metro (the clean, safe, hip (maybe I’m pushing it), subway system) to other attractions such as the Olympic Stadium (go Expos?), the Botanical Gardens, the La Ronde amusement park, the (tax-free) Casino, and many interesting neighbourhoods is cheap and efficient. I haven’t given much back to the SDMB other than dumb jokes so far, but if your plans become more concrete, I’m sure you could count on me and local Dopers to conspire to bombard you with more suggestions than you need for five vacations.

If ever I’m in your neck of the woods, though, I’ll expect you to point me to the good crackhouses and bordellos, and hint to me what bird to bet on at the cockfights. Deal?

You’re here in Atlanta, right? If so, you could take the Crescent up to DC, spend a little time, then continue on via the new Acela service to Boston, then do the same in reverse. Presumably, you could also stop in Philadelphia briefly if you were so inclined.

I love Boston. I spent most of the summer of 1985 in Cambridge, and return whenever possible (which has been pretty often, since I’ve been in technology for the last ten years or so and the two main trade shows for my sector, the Seybold Seminars and MacWorld, were there in the spring and late summer, respectively, for many years). I’ve usually arranged my travel so that I stay through the weekend after the show so that I can enjoy hanging out in Boston for a few days.

The things I love most about Boston are the ease with which you can get around without a car and the literary culture. I could easily spend a week just browsing the bookstores of Newbury Street and Harvard Square. And during the two months I spent in Cambridge, I did everything I wanted to do and only got into an automobile (buses included) three times (and one of those was a bus trip across the river to get to the airport as a result of flooding at Kendall Square station – otherwise, I’d have taken the Red Line). Everything else was on foot or on the T.

On several occasions, I’ve started the day in the Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market area, wandered from there over into the North End up to Old North Church, down to the North End Playground on the water, back into the Government Center/Scollay Square area, down through the Common and the Public Garden, down Boylston or Newbury (or, if I’m not in the mood to shop, Beacon or Commonweath) to Mass. Ave., across into Cambridge and all the way down Mass. Ave. to Harvard Square. On one occassion I actually started down at the Computer Museum before following the rest of that itinerary. A lot of walking (probably close to eight miles, all told), and the stretch between MIT and Harvard Square gets a bit tiresome, but doable (even for a fat out-of-shape guy like me who’s just spent five days on his feet at a trade show). And you could always hop on the Red Line at Kendall Square and take it to Central Square or even all the way to Harvard Square). You can find plenty of places to stop and refresh along the way (I became a real fan of iced coffee during my first sojourn in Cambridge), and can always break it up into two or more days. Or you can be a sheep and just follow the Freedom Trail, which takes you along many of the same points. Of course, you still need to make time for the Museum of Fine Arts, the Gardner Museum, and any number of other interesting sites.

It’s definitely warm in Boston at that time of year, but usually not unbearable. And the number of people out on the streets in the North End, Quincy Market, Newbury Street, and Harvard Square makes it well worth being out and about. When I first arrived in Harvard Square after flying in late on a Saturday night in June of 1985, I dropped my stuff in my room and went looking for a pay phone to call my parents and let them know I’d arrived safely. It was 11:30 on a Saturday night, and within a block I was surround by people out walking around, street musicians, coffee and ice cream shops doing a booming business, etc. Not what you find even in more cosmopolitan parts of Arkansas, and I’ve never felt more at home or comfortable so quickly anywhere else. Even finding that my room was not air-conditioned didn’t damp my enthusiasm.

I’ve only been to Philadephia once, also for a trade show many years ago, but I liked it a lot more than I’d expected to. There’s plenty to do for a one or two day stopover, and most of the cool stuff is also accessible on foot from the center of the downtown area. I’m fascinated with pretty much anything to do with Ben Franklin, so I had no trouble amusing myself there.

DC, it goes without saying, is all that has been suggested by earlier posters, and is second only to Boston in the ease with which one can get around without a car. My wife and I spent several days there about five years ago, staying in the suburbs, taking the Metro into DC each day and walking nearly everywhere. Of course, it’s pretty hot in the summer as well, but there’s air conditioned museums all over that you can walk into for nothing.

I’ve done New Orleans in July. It’s more miserable than you can imagine. I love NO, but nearly any other time of year would be better. It’s also not a great place to go by yourself; I’ve always felt less safe (even in the Quarter) there than anywhere else I’ve been. Partly that’s because it’s the only place where anyone I know has actually been mugged (they picked the wrong guy – a former major college linebacker/trained dancer/martial artist, who kicked the crap out of the two guys who tried to steal his watch, but still). But I’ve heard from lots of others who point out that the daytime is the dangerous time in the quarter – fewer people around – and that the NO Police Department is scarcely better than the people they arrest.

It is in fact better that you not rent a car if you’re in Montreal. Eunoia has a good description of this. Our metro is cheap and easy to figure out.

And if you do come to Mtl, let me know first! :slight_smile:

Ok, right now, my mother and I are seriously looking at Montreal. I mentioned it to her and she said “Oh! that would be neat! I’ve never been to Canada.”

So she thinks it would be cool.

Any hotel suggestions? Not too expensive, but reasonably close to places. Is it cheaper to stay near the airport? Are there areas to avoid when booking a hotel?

Now, I have a passport-which I know is not required for Americans entering Canada. My mother does not. Any clue what documents she needs for entry? (I’m off to hunt this down in just a minute too-so this one doesn’t necessarily need to be answered.)

:slight_smile: Now I’m getting excited-because it’s something new and different, not a place I’ve been before.

Definitely not near the airport. Downtown would be your best bet. Now for hotels, check this site. Et bienvenue au Québec !

Well, the tickets are bought. Mom is finding a hotel (I gave her your link, detop.)

We fly from Atlanta to Montreal July 21, and back to Atlanta the 27th.

I am so glad I thought to ask her if she wanted to go-I think she’s as excited as I am. She’s already asked for her birth certificate from the state of Tennessee, and I can hear it in her voice.

Dang. She never just goes anywhere for vacation. I can’t believe how happy I am about making her happy.

Montreal Dopefest!

Help Plan Lsura’s Montreal Vacation

Now that I suckered you in, I guess I have to put my money where my mouth is, and make sure you have a great vacation!