what’s your dream vacation?

In ALL, TRAVEL by Stephanie Klein104 Comments

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Phil and I want to plan a vacation, away, just us, for a week. We’ve thought about it, and neither of us wants a vacation where we lie out on the beach. We like being active… not hiking active, mind you, more like running around exploring local shops, restaurants, interesting places and people. We’re considering Japan but wonder if only a week is enough. Maybe Japan is for another time, when the kids are a bit older and we can stand to be away from them for a bit longer.

My dream vacation involves toothsome bites and opportunities for interesting photography. I kind of have no interest in hiking volcanos and taking photos of flowers. I don’t need a fancy hotel, either. If I’m vacationing "correctly," I won’t be spending much time in the hotel… except when we stumble in with food coma and aching feet, late at night. Any suggestions? If you could get away for a week, where would you go?

A YEAR AGO: The L.A. Song


  1. Wine country: but not Napa. Maybe central coast, santa barbara, etc? On the other hand, Montreal and Quebec City are fantastic, esp. if you did a fall trip.

  2. Tunisia! The Mediterranean views are stunning, and the Mediterranean food is even more stunning. The marketplace in downtown Tunis is straight out of a scene from Aladdin. If you take a look at the “Sidi Boud Said” article on Wikipedia, you just might book a plane ticket on the spot.

  3. Vienna is a wonderful walking town with incredible architecture and museums.

    Venice is mysterious if you get off the beaten path and away from the onslaught of tourists. Great, interesting food. Artisans. Architecture.

    Amsterdam is always a favorite of mine. I’ve beaten London to death but if you haven’t, it’s a really fabulous town to explore.

    Vancouver. I love Seattle in fall. Portland, OR.

    There is no more beautiful place to spend a week than Rome. Ah. Rome.

    Michael & I are heading to northwest Italy in two weeks, for 10 days. It’s a little bit of a trek for a week: fly to rome, connect to genoa, then driving to the little town. Staying here: http://www.baurbb.com and exploring the countryside.

    Wherever you go, enjoy.

  4. Well, I live near Glacier National Park in Montana. You could spend a couple days there driving, hiking some trails, taking pictures, etc. It’s near Whitefish, which is really pretty, lots of shops, nice town to walk around. Bigfork is at the other end of the Flathead Valley and is really small and you could take in a play. Lots of food, very pretty. Lots of stuff to look at. Lakeside and Somers are beautiful as well. Kalispell (where I live) is right smack dab in the middle and the biggest town of the area. Food, drinks, shops, Conrad Mansion. I don’t know if there is a ton of stuff to eat here. I’m a simple girl and everything makes me happy and the little things get me excited. Huckleberries are in season and a big deal here. Flathead Valley is also known for their cherries. If you come now, you may still be able to catch some. There are a boatload of little fruit stands all around Flathead Lake. :)

  5. Vancouver. Portland, Seattle and the San Juan Islands. Paris. Lucca and Sienna. I haven’t been to Baja but hear great things from my friends.

    1. Bali is definitely amazing and fun, but you need more than a week factoring in travel to and from the states. The trip takes around 24 hours…

  6. My latest obsession is Paris. But I’m stil a big fan of Italy.

    Two of my favorite European cities are Coppenhagen and Brugge. If you are going to a European location, I suggest staying put for a week rather than try to fit in like a 20 city tour.

  7. My first choice would be Paris. It has everything; food, art, history, interesting people and photo opportunities galore.

  8. I would go to Florence. You will love the food, shopping and people watching. While there, explore the wineries of Tuscany. Ideal times to go are early October or late April.

  9. Easy. Napa and Sonoma. Great wine, great food, beautiful beautiful beautiful.

    My husband and I just did a week there to celebrate my 50th B’day and it was fabulous. We stayed in Fairfield, just south of the town of Napa – it was a 15 minute very pretty drive to Napa in the mornings and saved us probably $200 per night! We stayed in a Homewood Suites and had a huge room.

  10. I would go back to Savannah. Its got a little bit of everything – old, historic down town, touristy, crazy strip by the river, museums, art galleries, restaurants galore, voodoo history, colonial history, ocean and swamp. It’s like a smaller, cleaner New Orleans. Do the haunted pub crawl – great way to get some interesting, creepy history of the old city and get your drink on. Plus, the tour guide walks backward the entire time. He’s amazing!

    I normally just lurk here, but I am jonesing for a vacation, too, so I had to comment!

    1. Well, I can’t speak for SK, but you’ve convinced me! I’ve been hanging on to a magazine write up about fooding one’s way along the SC low country islands, and this sounds like a great combo. Thx Amy!

      1. Glad I could help! My bill is in the mail. :)
        The low country islands are beautiful, too. Haven’t been in forever, but would love to go back. Hope you have a great trip!

  11. Well…I would beg for two weeks, and do a trip thru France with emphasis on Paris. Paris is great for one week, but how can you go there without visiting a couple castles in the Loire Valley, a winery, Mt. St. Michel on the Normandy coast and the American Cemetary on the Normandy beaches too???? Rick Steves has the perfect “Paris and the Heart of France” tour that takes 11 days. I think you could choose the same route, and plan the trip yourselves at your own pace. As for food, OH MY THERE IS NOTHING BETTER! Photography, also, out of this world. Love to hear what you two end up choosing! I’m sure the photography will be beautiful!

    1. I 3rd or 4th France. A little Paris and a lot of the countryside. Don’t forget the champagne caves & houses in Reims. So amazing.

  12. Stephanie

    Have you and Phil considered taking a cruise? The possibilities for seeing so many different locations is quite amazing. Restaurants aboard some ships are varied and you can socialize at night with other couples!
    Day trips off the ship will give you plenty of opportunity for photo’s and you will love the ease of travel without the taters. Check out some of the websites…

  13. In the states, either Northern California like Carmel or Sausalito, maybe Charleston, SC or Vermont. Outside of the states, somewhere in Spain or Paris. WHerever you go, enjoy!

  14. My sister just got back from the Algarve in Portugal and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. Her pictures are amazing and haven’t helped my constantly growing travel addiction. I’m driving cross-country next week, but those pictures are already in the back of my mind for my next adventure. My boyfriend’s sister also spent a month backpacking Europe and of all the amazing places she went, she rates Cinque Terre in Italy at the top. She extended her trip once she got there and realized she couldn’t tear herself away from the free-flowing wine, beautiful views, and what she claims to be the most friendly people she’s ever come across.

  15. Nicaragua was amazing. You can eat and travel very well for very little money, lots to explore, beautiful old spanish colonial towns, coffee plantations, amazing street food, wonderful friendly people, and it is probably only a two hour flight for you.

    1. Nica is an acquired taste. Great for surfers, people who can live without air conditioning, and those who don’t mind bunking with scorpions and walking miles in the dark of night because there is no transportation past sunset. I stayed there for a week (was even married on the beach there), but I would not be quick to romanticize Nicaragua or one of its best towns, San Juan Del Sur, specifically. You have to know what you’re getting into. Be ready to hitch hike and hold on tight to the pickup truck roll bar because of the unfinished/pothole-filled roads. And all of the street vendor goods are the same, probably made in China, and the sellers will not negotiate their prices. However, the surfing is superb in the spring.

      1. Don’t surf and didn’t hitch-hike. Rented a car and drove all over the country and aside from the capital, it was beautiful. A/C in every hotel I stayed in. Before replying, did you really think Stephanie would hitch-hike around Nicargua and stay in hostels? Please. For $100/day, you can stay in the nicest places, and eat well and see a completely different part of the world.

  16. Egypt! Spend a couple days in Cairo, a day trip to Giza for the pyramids, and then a 3 day cruise up the Nile to see the Valley of the Kings and Valley and the Queens among other historical sites. It has been one of my absolute favorite trips. You experience a completely different culture, great food, shopping in souks, museums, and one of the seven wonders of the world all rolled into one trip.

  17. My vote is for Seattle. They have everything. Museums, wine country, great weather, great restaurants…

  18. I moved to London for the bustle and activity. Never a shortage of food (or drink!) with access to lovely country walks between small English towns, as well the cultural awesome of the City. If you’ve done London, you might love Edinburgh instead.

  19. Two thoughts. First: Croatia & Bosnia. Dubrovnik is a gem, right on the Adriatic. (Fantastic seafood!) From there, a drive into Bosnia. Stunningly beautiful scenery. Go to Mostar and see the divers on the famous bridge. Second idea: the French Riviera. Find a place to stay in Cagnes sur Mer, a hilltop town above Nice, then drive the coast in both directions enjoying Monte Carlo, Cap Ferrat, Menton, and Cannes. Unbelievable coast, stunning mountaintop towns, and French and Italian foods and wines. Ahhh…!

  20. Spain. Spain Spain Spain! In a week you could do Madrid for a day or two, and then Barcelona, or Seville, Valencia, Bilbao, San Sebastian or Granada too! Toledo, near Madrid, is amazing for a day trip. The whole country is beautiful, the food and wine are incredible, the culture is so amazingly different, and the people are so sweet. I studied abroad there years ago and have been dying to return (in case you couldn’t tell!).

  21. What about Lisbon or Madrid? South of Spain is either interesting to visit. And this is the best season for going there.

  22. Come to England! I live in Brighton, a coastal city that is apparently like San Francisco; arty, full of interesting places to see but still cute, small & easy to navigate plus there is some beautiful countryside nearby to wander through and amazing shopping! It’s easy to get to London (45 mins on the train) so you can explore there too. http://twitter.com/visitbrighton or http://www.visitbrighton.com (and no I don’t work for them, just think this is a cool city)

  23. I’d go to Cape Cod. I love it there. It’s so laid back, easy going and relaxing it’s crazy. There are tons of places to take photos (the dunes at Provincetown are great) and there’s no better place for lots of great, locally owned, kitchy little shops. I plan on moving to the Cape someday, just wasting my life away on the beach, taking pictures and doing not much else.

  24. If you’re only going away for a 7 day stretch and aren’t interested in a long flight, Vegas is the place for you. My hubs and I have now been twice for a 7 day stretch, and when going in late summer or early fall you can get all the warmth and sun of the best Caribbean resort, with all the luxeries of being close to home. The food is some of the best in the world. Exploring can be done both indoors with various art galleries, boutiques and stores, and outdoors with Red Rock Canyon just a 40 minute drive, and the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon a bit further off course. Plus the people watching….oh the people watching is something else. It’s not all about gambling anymore, Nevada is actually one of my favourite places even without all the noise and flashing lights. And with so many hotels to choose from you’re guaranteed both a price range and accomidations to match your moods.

    I’m sure Paris is absolutely MAGICAL….but flying all the way to Europe for a just one week doesn’t sound like you’d even get your feet wet before you’d be on another 12 hour plane ride home…

  25. I second Cinque Terre – a week would be perfect, as you’ll be just starting to get tired of how small it is. I recommend Il Castello for food, it’s an actual castle set atop a hill overlooking Vernazza. Frickin’ amazing. Plus the pesto and local wine (a slightly sweet white called sciacchetra) are unbeatable.

    If you want to stay closer to home, what about Colorado? It’s not too cold in the fall, and there are amazing colors – go to Rocky Mountain National Park, about an hour outside of Denver, or drive up to Breckenridge or Vail. Fort Collins is a fun little town one hour north of Denver that generally revolves around the college, but has AMAZING microbreweries and pretty mountain drives nearby. You don’t have to hike if you don’t want!

  26. I spent 10 days in Kyoto, Japan, and it was wonderful and beautiful. There are limitless locations to explore. The people were very kind and helpful. It is the cleanest place I have ever been. I cannot say enough good things about it. You should go!

  27. LOVED reading these suggestions..have been to some places, will now be putting others on my list.

    Places I’ve LOVED (and would go back to) include Barcelona (hot, sexy, interesting, vibrant), Nice (warm, soft, slow and indulgent), New Orleans (energy, history, hope and charm) and Reyjkyavik (crisp, different, historic and rugged).

    Am soon (in just over a week) headed to Tokyo, Kyoto, Niijima and Chicago…I hope to create more great memories to report back.

    1. I just saw your comment – curious about your trip to Iceland? I’m planning a trip now, for March (not the BEST time, I know, but the only time we can go.) Any recommendations, etc?

  28. Funny to read this. I just looked through my last 5 years of photographs and was reflecting on my husband and my vacations which have all been about a week. I’m suggesting Portugal. Not with Spain. I had the best meal in memory in Porto. Everything is beautiful.

    Ugh, you have the same problem we do. My least favorite thing about Austin is that you have to connect to go anywhere. I hate to have three flights to get to a destination which has limited some of our travel. Where ever you decide to go, make sure it’s somewhere cooler than here!

  29. Sidi Bou Said is beautiful, but wouldn’t rate the rest of Tunisia, however harsh that might sound. You could do Sidi for fab restaurants & prettiness, as well as a bit of lying by pool to rest. Then bit of Carthage which is nearby, cos fascinating even if you’re not fascintated by Roman ruins, then a tour of the Sahara.
    For reference.

  30. Africa. My week witnessing the great migration in the Serengheti was life changing and beautiful.

  31. Spain, hands down.

    If that’s hard to swing with just a week, and you want to stay closer to home, British Columbia.

    Or, Alaska.

    Or. St John, which is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.

  32. If you are considering going out of the country then I highly, highly recommend Prague. Its beautiful, mysterious, alive. Austria (especially anywhere near the Rhine) is just too lovely for words. Prague has a certain darkness to it like Manhattan and is less touristy that most major cities in Europe. Ireland could not be more exciting and beautiful- and you would fit right in with that mess of red hair!

    1. Definitely NOT Prague if you’re looking for good food. I lived in Prague for 3+ years and … well, it’s not a city known for it’s cuisine, let’s just say that. Beautiful, indeed, and I took the most gorgeous photos of my life there, but food = bad. Shopping is god awful, also. All of us expats waited until we either visited home or traveled outside of the Czech Republic to do any sort of shopping. Even the “local” handcrafts are mass-produced crap now.

  33. I would NOT do Japan for only a week. You lose a day on either end of the trip for travel, and the 13 hour time difference is hard on the body.

    I just got back from Rome last month, which was amazing, but I believe you’ve already been there. Paris is my next favorite city. The people were not at all rude like I was told they would be. I actually received genuine applause from a waiter when I conjugated the verb “to have.” And, everyone was incredibly helpful with directions, suggestions, etc. Of course, the food and wine are simply orgasmic. My husband (then fiance) and I ate and drank our way though the city, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. They have carts of oysters on ice out on the street (seriously, like hot dog stands), and they were some of the best oysters I’ve ever had in my life. Each meal was better than the last. Plus, the art, shopping and scenery are some of the best in the world. What’s not to love?

  34. My husband and I sound similar to you and Phil when it comes to vacation considerations. We’re going to Ireland for our 5th anniversary.

  35. Sevilla, Madrid, Barcelona, or Florence.
    I did a travel blog during my four months in Italy that documents my trips (including Spain) – email me if you’re interested in checking that for ideas and an idea of what’s in those cities (I’d post it but it has my real name and I’m attempting to remain incog). Florence was a previous trip but remains one of my favorite.
    Thank you for posting this, by the way – I’m going to print out all of the comments for ideas. Love it.

  36. My husband and I did a North Sea cruise last year (Amsterdam, Brugge, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Hamburg). Each and every city was fabulous. They make great trips individually or all together.

  37. My parents just returned from a river boat cruise in Europe. The trip was for a week, they do offer 2 week ones though, and they could not stop raving. Not only are the rooms spacious on the boat, but the food they said was incredible. Being that it is a barge type boat it only holds about 200 passengers. Making it very intimate. Every day you are in a different city to explore so no lounging on the beach. Wherever you go have fun!

  38. I want to do Amsterdam. I want to see the Anne Frank house and the tree before it dies. I’m not sure about the food there though, but I’m sure the pot is good. I did Rome for my honeymoon and it was awesome!! Photo op around every corner and I was almost converted to a lesbian by the women there. The clothes and the attitudes are intoxicating! We spent some time on the Isle of Capri and Sorrento and I would recommend those too, as well as Rome. They make everything with Lemons in Sorrento. The swordfish we had at a little seaside restaurant was memorable, as well as the walk down the old-world streets to get there. We also did a litte Greece on that trip (we had 10 days.) The markets were fantastic in Athens. I should’ve bought more jewelry. Our hotel had a rooftop breakfast spot. You could eat melon and watch the sun over the Acropolis. Cities like Rome and Athens are great because you can travel just a bit and be at a remote village with all the character you can eat. Something closer to home that I really want to do is tour the river mansions around New Orleans. Or maybe head to Denali to catch some bears eating blueberries.

  39. I just returned from spending a few days in the south of Ireland and a few days in the center of Dublin. I would definitely suggest Ireland. There is an enormous amount of history, beautiful landscapes and architecture, no end to restaurants and shopping in the city and if you choose to stay in Dublin, the country is just a short car ride or train or what have you away. There are plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts etc. to choose from wherever you go. And the people are amazing.

  40. Hi,

    My choice is Hong Kong. You love NYC. Hong Kong is the only 24 hour city like NYC; it has the best shopping and best Chinese food in the world.


  41. I had the tremendous fortune of living abroad, in Prague, for 3 years and traveled A LOT.

    I said this here once before, and I’ll say it again: Turkey. Istanbul, of course, and south – Fethiye. Turkish cooking is said to rival the French, and it’s true. Their ingredients are fresh & bountiful and I’m sure it’s a departure from food you’re used to eating. As for photo ops, shops, and interesting people… Turkey has that, and some. AMAZING photo ops.

    Otherwise – Portugal is high up there on my list. I spent 3 weeks exploring Portugal & Spain. Lisbon is… well, it’s just downright magical. I had my very first fresh, right off the tree fig in Portugal. Again, photo ops, you can’t get much better. OR you can go up North to the Douro region of Portugal & Spain. SUPER FOODIE AREA. Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli is up there (though don’t expect to actually eat there. Impossible.) And it’s a famous wine region. AND you haven’t had Port until you’ve gotten it from the source. Portugal is also famous for it’s Vino Verde – a fresh, sparkling “green” wine from young grapes that comes from Portugal and I’ve found it duplicated nowhere nearly as good anywhere else. Shopping? Interesting people? It’s SPAIN AND PORTUGAL!!

    You’ve already done the US, and sorry but Italy is cliched and overdone… Someone mentioned Amsterdam – my all time favorite city but there’s only so much you can do there & not super known for a huge variety of food. Budapest & all those cities east, even my adopted Prague, are beautiful but the cuisine is kind of boring after a day.

    1. We spent 10 days in Istanbul many years ago, flying to Izmir/Ephesus, also travelling to Bursa. I LOVED every moment of that trip…..except for the horrible air pollution. I do think that a week isn’t long enough, however, due to the length of the flight each way.

  42. I have heard WONDERFUL things about Seattle, my hubby and I are trying to go sometime! We watch the different shows on the Travel Channel and Food Network and our mouths water!!!

    Great place to go for 1 week!!!!!

    BTW, LOVE YOUR BOOKS!!! And I am fellow red head from LI!

  43. I would recommend Croatia. I lived in Sarajevo (Bosnia) for 3 years and really enjoyed it Croatia and Bosnia. Slovenia is also worth a look at too! Once you are there, nowhere is far.

    1. If you’re going to Croatia, then hop down to Montenegro for a few days! We did it right after we got engaged, starting in Ljubljana and heading south. We went Ljubljana, Bled, Zagreb, Split, Hvar, Dubrovnik, Herceg Novi, Kotor, and ended in Budva. My recommendation – start in Split, see the islands, land in Dubrovnik, rent a car and drive to Kotor and also explore Mt. Lovcen. Gorgeous, beautiful, amazing countryside and such wonderful people! The food is Mediterranean and great, too.

  44. London, with a side-trip into the countryside. That could be Bath & environs, the Lake Country, the Cotswolds, etc. Cambridge is wonderful to visit & is just a short train ride from London. The food in England is cutting edge these days, the theatre is terrific, antiquing is a marvelous diversion, there are some positively wonderful country inns where you’ll feel cossetted and welcomed and you’re never at a loss for something to pique your interest, whether it’s one of the many, many museums, an excellent concert (classical) scene, a neighborhood pub, yada, yada, yada.

    I’ve been to England at many different times of the year, from summer to bone-chilling winter, and have loved it each & every time.

    1. I second the London/Bath suggestion. I know there are lots of quirky, hip places on the list, but you can never see all of London no matter how many times you’ve been, and Bath is just beautiful – great mix of shops and countryside (and a seriously beautiful man manning the cheesemonger’s shop last time I was there!).

  45. I adore, adore, ADORE Belize. Especially Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. And where you are, it’s an easy plane trip. It’s a fixed exchange of 2-1 so your money goes farther. The food is amazing. It is literally the most relaxed I’ve ever been in my life.

    Having grown up in the Northwest, I can vouch for Seattle, Anacortes and the San Juan Islands, and Vancouver. I grew up in Montana so it’s hard for me to think of Montana as a relaxing or fun time.

  46. my 2-cents: I feel like anything that requires 8 or more hrs on a plane is best done when you have 10-14 days in between (I lose so much just recovering from the flight/navigating the airports/travel, etc). I LOVE the SW for photography. Santa Fe would be top on my list for yummy food, colorful, varied culture (from traditional pueblos to the ultra chic), beautiful landscapes, people and art. Depending on when you’re going, Albuquerque is nearby, and the International Hot Air Balloon Festival is going on in early-mid October. I’ve always wanted to see that, figuring it’s beautiful (and they fire them up at night, too, which sounds pretty). Enjoy, whatever you do!

  47. Japan is amazing, but you are right, not ideal for a 7 day trip. I’d say Texas is a great jumping off spot to travel to South or Central America.

  48. I’ll second (or third) the nominations for the Pacific Northwest. I travelled to a wedding on Orcas Island this summer, and it was incredible. The seafood is amazing, and there are lots of special little shops and cafes. With a night in Seattle tacked on the end, this would make a great getaway (with or without kiddos).

  49. Either Seattle-make sure to see the San Juan Islands
    or my personal favorite San Francisco-a couple of days in city then
    wine country-great food, great wine, great city!

  50. Utah. Definitely. Salt Lake or Provo. You can experience delicacies such as green jello and salt water taffy. Take a tour of temple square, and I dare you to figure out the liquor laws. There will be none of that ‘civilized wine sipping’ whilst behind the Zion curtain.

  51. definitely stay in the same time zone +- 1-2 hrs max (+ stay away from hurricanes) , you don’t want to deal with jet lag and complicated schedules, that just complicates getting in touch with your tots. that still leaves you with plenty of choices, canada, or more attractive perhaps mexico and central america – how about Cartagena in Colombia? that would probably be my first choice, great architecture, beautiful people, and the caribbean !

  52. please go to cartagena, colombia. It’s magical and you have delicious food, Amazing opportunities for photography, getaway islands for beautiful water and tons of museum opportunities.

  53. Ireland! So beautiful, interesting people, rich culture, lots of things to do.

  54. Barcelona! A week is perfect. Even if it’s just for La Boqueria, the most amazing fresh produce market with fish so fresh and shiny it makes you weep. Food is amazing. Photo ops galore, with all the Gaudi architecture and fantastic old neighborhoods. I don’t know if you’ve been or not but has all the magic of Paris, but with a total different energy. People are relaxed and friendly. You could even venture out to Costa Brava. Make room in your suitcase for phenomenal wines and sausage! And of course stock up on Saffron. I’ve been there a multitude of times, twice last year and I still adore it. My best friends just came back and spent 10 days with a lovely Spaniard who took them to some amazing places and vineyards! If it is something you are interested in give me a shout and I’ll collect some info for you.

    1. On a totally unrelated note, I have been unable to access your site via Safari all day. Every time I open it it shuts my entire browser down. Finally tried through Firefox et voila. Just FYI, dunno if there is a bug or something.

      1. I find the site difficult to open sometimes too, it just hangs on IE. The load time is also huge compared to the previous design.

    2. Hi Dorit,

      Trying to plan a weekend in Barcelona (I’m studying abroad now) for October. Do you know what’s the weather like in October? Not the season for sunbathing, is it?


      1. Nope, definitely not sunbathing but still pleasant. I was there last year in November and it was in the 60’s. If you want me email me I would be happy to give you some tips on where to stay, restaurants etc doritsade@yahoo.com

  55. Rome Rome Rome. I was there in January and we rented an apartment (cheaper than a hotel). The photographic opportunities are limitless and the food is delicious. And the people are beautiful. I highly recommend it.

  56. What about Montreal?

    No jet lag. Everyone speaks French and English fluently. You can stay in the old city, walk for hours and eat the most amazing food. The hotels are wonderful. I love Hotel St. Paul.

  57. I vote for Montreal. Great food, great people, great exploring and finding little shops and whatnots. Plus, with all the French it feels like you’re traveling farther than North America. If you go overseas, I second the recommendation of Portugal.

  58. I would highly recommend Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. Art galleries, good restaurants, flowers everywhere, long walks on the beach, but it is usually cold so not a “beach vacation”. The San Juan Islands are fabulous too. Both would be romantic, not that far away from home and the kids, but far enough away that you would feel like you had a vacation.

  59. I’ll triple or quadruple the recommendation for the Pacific Northwest! Vancouver Island, B.C. is AMAZING! And Washington State has an outstanding wine country in Yakima Valley. Plan to go either June through early September out of their rainy season.

    Hubs and I went up there a couple of years ago and did everything we could…great, fresh, organic food, whale watching, two whole days of visiting vinyards and tasting wine, Mt. Rainier, Buchart Gardens, just wonderful!

  60. -Seattle/Vancouver/San Juan Islands are gorgeous! and many wonderful restuarants.
    – Never been to Montreal, but Gourmet (sp?) mag. did a whole issue on the city and its local food.
    – The Amatuer Gourmet went to Barcelona for a “foodie” trip and did a great description of it on his blog.
    – PBS’s “On the Road in Spain” – (is that the name of it?) – give you many ideas, if you can stand listening to Gwynnie.
    – Savannah, GA/Charlston, SC – never been there, but know people just love those cute cities with amazing restaurents.

  61. I am a corporate flight attendant and travel for a living.

    I agree with what everyone says about spain and portugal.
    2. Basel, switzerland is another idea plus you are just a short train ride from paris, berlin, zurich, geneva and several other cities 3. Vancouver is gorgeous
    4. I simply love london, you could probably spend a few days in london and then head to the highly over rated city of paris.

    Happy planning on whatever you decide

  62. south africa. ticks all the boxes
    -amazing photography opportunities – wild animals, beautiful nature
    -good food and wine – either the local restaurants or visit some wineries. incredibly cheap prices for decent wine
    -exploring options – pretty little towns, interesting major cities or mind-expanding visits to townships and apartheid historic areas
    -and the weather will be lovely.

    highly recommend it – although 10-14 days would be better than one week. for one week, stick around cape town and the wine district.

  63. I thought that Nikki’s suggestions were spot on…but I would add a little town in Sicily, Taoromina. It is one of the most beautiful spots in the world, high atop the mountains and overlooking the sea. Close to so many wonderful paces in Italy to Easily explore and has amzing history, shopping, resaurants…

  64. Dubrovnik Croatia! You can fly into Rome and take an overnight ferry (9 hours) to Dubrovnik. It’s gorgeous.

  65. Montreal has everything a European city has to offer, but is closer and likely cheaper… which means more money for the amazing food and clothes!

    There’s Au Pied de Cochon, The Queen Elizabeth’s Beaver Club, Entrecote St Jean, Mess Hall, Bistro on the Avenue, Restaurant Toque… and many more amazing food experiences.

    For shopping, downtown has everything, especially in the Cours Mont-Royal, the little shops in Westmount, and of course the Old Port.

    And there’s always something going on here, a festival, an exhibit, etc.

  66. If you only have a week, Portland Oregon. Beautiful city, great food, amazing shopping (Saturday market!) It has vibe similar to Austin but with lots more tats, bicycle riders and great people watching. And if you want additional chill time, fly into Portland, drive approximately 2 hours East to Sisters or Bend Oregon first, then spend a weekend in Portland. Enjoy some time together with Phil…

  67. If the question is where would I go … it would probably be somewhere in South America, because I haven’t made it there yet. But my favorite place that I have traveled so far is Italy. We stayed in Empoli (a tiny town in the Tuscan countryside) in a bed and breakfast on a family estate, surrounded by vineyards and sunflowers. i Melograni was the name of the property. The hosts, Sue & Riccardo Melani are gracious (we still keep in touch, 5 years later), there is ample opportunity to meet people from all over the world at breakfast or while exploring. We spent one day in Empoli, but the rest of the time we took day trips, which is easy to do from there. Pisa, Vinci, etc. are easy day trips by train. Wherever you go, have fun planning your trip!

  68. I know you have spent time in Italy already, but if you haven’t been there with Phil I think you should go there. I am biased of course, since I am Italian.
    I grew up in a lovely town near Venice, but my favorite area in the country is the one around Naples. Naples itself (very underrated city) is gorgeous and its location is breathtaking: the promenade on the sea with the medieval castle and the view on the Vesuvius cannot be beat. The beauty of the Amalfi Coast and the Sorrento Riviera cannot be described.
    On top of all this, I think (and my American husband agrees) that the Naples area has the most amazing food in the world. After tasting a real warm mozzarella straight from the cheese factory your life is never going to be the same.

  69. NO QUESTION — Foodie paradise and some of the most breathtaking scenery – Do Seattle a couple of days – then take a Sea Plane up to this resort for 3-4 days —


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