Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Memphis on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.
1. CULTURE SPOT: Bentonville, AR This small city is being transformed into a world-class arts destination, thanks in part to the Crystal Bridges Museum, which opened in 2011. It’s owned by Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton, and houses her collection of American art. WHERE TO STAY The new 21C Museum Hotel, just off the city’s town square, has contemporary art from the 21st-century—hence the name—and a buzzy restaurant, The Hive. PRICE $175 a night. BOOK NOW
2. FOODIE ESCAPE: Greenwood, MS Inspired to see the locations from the film The Help? Try Greenwood, a low-key culinary mecca just two hours south of Memphis. WHERE TO STAY The Alluvian hotel is home to 45 rooms, five suites, a Viking Cooking School, and Giardina’s restaurant, a southern spot that’s been open since 1936. PRICE $205 a night. BOOK NOW
3. MUSIC HAVEN: Nashville, TN Music City has that perfect mix of old-school Southern class and modern country flair. It’s also known for its friendly people. And we’re in the middle of Vanderbilt University’s basketball season! WHERE TO STAY The Hutton Hotel debuted on the T+L 500 list this year. A secret: there’s a complimentary wine hour from 5–6 p.m. PRICE $249 a night. BOOK NOW
Farecompare founder Rick Seaney has great advice for people traveling in a group (including families): save money by searching for airfare one person at a time. We’d explain here, but best to just go straight to his brilliant USA Today column. (AF)
Oh, the people you'll meet. Novelist Nathaniel Rich finds himself sharing intimacies, aspirations, and a little bit of heartbreak with his fellow passengers on a two-day journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles on the Sunset Limited train in this weekend's New York Times Magazine. (AF)
What's more lonely than being in a strange hotel in a strange city all by yourself? Being without your beloved $8 M&Ms. In an essay in The Atlantic, journalist David Samuels laments the demise of the hotel mini bar. (AF)
From beachfront hotels to snowy mountain retreats, we have an easy—and affordable—weekend getaway for you.
Southeast: Florida Coast Stay:B Ocean Fort Lauderdale The 240 rooms at this hotel come with white-on-white leather furnishings and equally fabulous ocean views. There's a heated infinity pool, a spa suite, a fitness center, and a few dining options including Saia, a sushi restaurant. Guests are also treated to complimentary Wi-Fi, iPad rentals, and Aveda bath products. Doubles from $199/night on weekends.
Northeast: Catskills, NY Stay:The Graham & Co., Phoenicia, NY A three-hour drive from New York City, the Graham & Co. is a new retro-chic inn that's great for families. The décor has a Brooklyn-feel to it, notably the hanging Edison lights and reclaimed-wood tables. There's an outside fire pit, and bikes available to borrow. Special winter offers include discount ski tickets at nearby Hunter Mountain. Doubles from $99/night on weekends.
Their couples' Spellbound Massage, available only February 14–17, uses products containing pheromones—those naturally occurring chemicals that are elemental in occurrences of natural "chemistry."
It's $175–$250 for the 60- or 90-minute versions; on V-Day itself you and your partner can even opt to have the treatment in a "Valentine Suite" decked out with (what else?) candles, rose petals, soft music, and chocolate truffles.
From the spa it's just a few steps to the hotel's fantastic restaurant, Culina, Modern Italian for the special four-course menu ($85 per person) featuring oysters and lobster. (Look for Larry Flint—he's a regular). And from there, of course, you're just steps away from the spacious rooms upstairs overlooking the City of Angels.
Mark Orwoll shares travel websites and apps that will make it easier to book your next trip.
Backbid: Reverse hotel bids Post a reservation request (dates, location, number of stars) with maximum rate you're willing to pay. Hotels in that destination will bid for your business, presenting the lowest rates they can offer. Unlike other bidding sites, you know the specific hotel where you'll be staying using Backbid. When I tried it, I got my first reverse bid within two minutes at a savings of more than 10 percent of what I would have paid on the hotel's own website.
Tingo: Automated hotel rebooking at lower rates Book your hotel through Tingo and if the rates go down, Tingo automatically rebooks you at the lower rate. It's great for those travelers who know which hotel they want to stay at but are concerned whether they really got the "best" rate at time of booking. Tingo only rebooks if there are no rebooking or cancellation penalties and the price difference is refunded automatically to your credit card. All you have to do is enjoy your hotel stay.