Leave the hassles of air travel behind on these all-American vacations.
1. Road Trip: Music, Mountains, and Monuments Westbound
G Adventures’ 8-day itinerary covers notable American cities—New York, D.C., Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans—and scenic roads like the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ll ride in a private van with a small group averaging about 10 people (typically 20- and 30-somethings). The trip includes entrance fees to all National Parks and National Monuments with hiking and walking excursions, plus orientation tours in D.C. and New York, and a visit to Arlington Cemetery. From $110/day per person, gadventures.com.
Fiery red, amber orange, golden yellow—these autumn colors are trademarks of the season, and the perfect excuse to plan a weekend getaway along New England's coast.
Maine’s striking foliage is still in its prime, and just an easy drive from Boston. Pack up the car and course along one of America’s best fall color drives to get there, or opt for a train ride to take in the hues. (Amtrak's Downeaster service departs five times daily from Boston to Portland.) Once you arrive, the fall viewing opportunities take to the sky, literally. Step onto a private plane with The Inn at Brunswick Station, whose “Fall Foliage Flyover” package offers for an hour-long aerial tour of Maine’s coastline. Or, take the Maine Eastern Railroad further north. Passengers will get an eyeful of colorful views on the 57-mile trip along state's scenic Mid-Coast, from Brunswick to Rockland.
Road trips are a blast with friends, furry or not. But there inevitably comes a point when you have to whine, “Are we there yet??” Teddy, the ecstatic dog above of pet parent and T+L Instagram follower, @lundec, journeyed several days from Duluth, MN to San Francisco—stopping midway at the pet-friendly Mountain Sky Guest Ranch for a well-deserved run-around. We asked for @lundec’s trick to keeping Teddy happy while driving the distance:
“Set up a cozy spot in the car. Give them occasional snacks during the trip such as a couple raw almonds, etc.”
Road trips with your pup just got a little safer, thanks to a new pack of crash-test dummy dogs. Partnering with Subaru, the Center for Pet Safety in Virginia used the dummies—which stimulated dogs from a 25-pound terrier to a 75-pound golden retriever—to test out seven different pet harnesses. Findings released last week “uncovered serious flaws in many of the popular pet restraints…with many resulting in catastrophic failure.”
“Selecting the wrong harness could be just as detrimental as not using one at all,” claims Michael Michale, Director of Communications at Subaru of America. While pet owners may get giddy at Fido hanging his head out of the window, pet advocacy groups insist this is a serious danger to both pet and passengers during a crash.
Here’s a fun exercise: Tell people you’re taking an island vacation…to Ohio. Then see how quickly they start measuring you for a straightjacket.
It turns out, though, that Ohiodoes have islands, floating in Lake Erie just a few miles from shore. And they’re not the single-palm-tree variety; these tree-filled expanses spread over hundreds of acres and feature parks, Victorian-era B&Bs, historic sites, shopping, and wineries (yes, wineries).
The Greenporter Hotel is in the heart of the North Fork's wine country, in historic Greenport, Long Island two hours from Manhattan by car. With floors of bright maple and sleek aluminum furnishings, the 30 rooms are all about cool minimalism and convey the feel of a comfortable beach house. The restaurant Cuvee Seafood & Grille highlights seasonal produce, seafood, game, and wine from vineyards and local purveyors. Sip rosé at Croteaux Vineyards in the shaded garden, visit McCall Wines, Long Island’s largest vineyard for Pinot Noir, or stroll around Paumanok Vineyards, known for its crisp, fruity Chenin Blanc. Fall rates start at $149 on weekdays and $239 on weekends.
Getting excited for one last hurrah this Labor Day? You’re not alone. Far from it, in fact.
According to travel club AAA, 34.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend. That’s up 4.2 percent from last year, and is the highest number since 2008, when a staggering 45.1 million took a vacation.
An “increasingly positive economic output and optimism in the housing market” are the main factors of this year’s higher numbers, says AAA president and CEO Robert Darbelnet. With home prices improving across much of the country, “more families are feeling comfortable about traveling.”
Last summer I took a road trip to “secret” Amish country—a little-known stretch of farms on route 772, east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. But how did I get away from the touristy version of Ye-Ancient-Country and experience the reality of America’s oldest locavore movement? We followed insider tips from the horse (-and-buggy)’s mouth: Joel Cliff, of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau: “The stretch of Rt. 772 that runs Southeast from Route 23 at Leola in the North to Route 340 at Intercourse in the South is chock full of authentic ‘finds’ without being a main tourist corridor.” Cliff was right. At the first roadside stand we pulled into, a twenty-something (barefoot!) couple sold us their homemade cheeses, mint tea, and the best cantaloupe I’ve ever tasted, all as their sweet-natured dogs lazed nearby in the sun. We asked what was down the side road that ran by their house, and the man answered: “Well, everything,” as if his whole world could be found along that gravel path. For two people from New York City, it was very nearly heaven.
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.