April 26, 2007

I had a very pleasant morning with Riley today, up until the moment when we left the house and he saw JB’s truck and immediately began crying “DAA DA! DA DAAAAAAA!” over and over again, all the way to daycare. Next time JB leaves town, I’m going to make him park that goddamned truck out of view somewhere. Like maybe in the two car garage we had added to our house at great expense? Oh, excuse me, the shop. The shop that’s so full of equipment and gear the only car that could fit inside would have to be Matchbox-sized. Right.

Riley definitely misses his dad (he did a pathetic double take the other night when he heard something outside the front door, and plaintively said “Dada bye bye?”), but we’ve had a pretty good week. Other than the teething, I don’t know how in hell he could possibly have more teeth coming in because I swear he’s already got, I don’t know, NINE THOUSAND fucking teeth, but judging from all the drooling and snotting and the occasional WMD-grade tantrum, he’s working on something up in that gum line of his. Oh, and there was kind of a tragic diaper rash situation which involved the most awful post-poop torture-fests where I would wipe him and he would writhe and scream and I would have to wipe him some more and there would be more writhing and screaming, and of course when I mentioned the diaper rash to JB over IM he was all “That’s why I always use the powder” in what can only be described as a Smug Text-Based Tone. I’d like the record to show that when I was out of town and Riley got croup, I did not say to JB, “That’s why I always avoid the Laryngotracheobronchitis virus!”.

I’m glad that JB’s coming home tomorrow; although I’ve enjoyed having some solo time with Riley I’m looking forward to our little family unit being together again. Plus, I think Mr. I-Always-Use-the-Powder should have ample opportunity to do just that. As soon as he walks in the door? Diapering torch passed.

New comments section subject! Esteemed reader Shawna would like to get your input on a travel-related question: she has the opportunity to take a solo vacation (she’s got plenty of airline points and vacation time, and a husband who can’t leave his business right now but is willing to take care of their 15-month-old so Shawna can travel on her own), and would like some suggestions on where to go. She lives in Ottawa and has 3 to 5 days to invest in this vacation, and a flexible budget. I asked for more details on what she was interested in doing or places she’d like to see, and she said she’s basically open to whatever ideas people had.

So! Your mission is to tell Shawna where she should go on her vacation. I’m really interested in your responses because Seattle feels particularly dreary and non-springlike today and I could use a little mental vacation myself.

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Sarah
Sarah
15 years ago

Vegas or London England?

JEnE
JEnE
15 years ago

San Diego is the place to go! Warm, sunny, and tons to do. Between the ocean, the mountains, the zoo, the shopping, and the museums, a person on a solo vacation will never be alone. Try http://www.signonsandiego.com for a review of the city and check out the tourism websites for the city. I lived in San Diego for 4 years – 2 all by myself – and loved it.

ginger
ginger
15 years ago

Oh, dear, I think I see the problem: you are apparently diapering Riley with a torch, and that is a burn, not a rash.

Hmm. About Shawna’s question: Vegas is not as much fun solo. She’s just a bit too far away for the Bay Area plus Napa in 3 to 5 days. New York and Chicago are probably too close to make it feel really vacationy. Seattle and Portland are kind of awesome, and she could maybe even go to the Coast. LA is nicer than everyone says, as is San Diego, and both have actual sandy beaches.

Melissa
Melissa
15 years ago

I would suggest flying to California and driving up the coast. My husband and I did a trip of the Northern California coast and it was amazing. San Francisco and Big Sur are must sees in my book. Linda, I bet you and JB would love Big Sur…that is if you haven’t already been there.

I also love this quiet little place called Dafuskie Island in South Carolina. It’s very close to Hilton Head Island, SC and Savannah, GA. You can fly to Savannah and there is a ferry that will take you there. Best part is that you can’t drive a car on the island. You get around by renting a golf cart or walking. It’s a great escape!

mandy
15 years ago

Did I misread, or is her husband pro solo-vacation? May I ask Shawna, WHAT are you feeding him and where can I get some???

Kewl

serror
serror
15 years ago

Had I the opportunity for several days, I might just buzz on down to Mexico and soak up some sun.

But also Sante Fe, New Mexico is a town that is funto explore on your own, lots of art, great food and shopping. And close to lots of beautiful outdoors activities. I think that I would actually head there given the time of year. It is great in the spring…

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

California and Vegas both sound good to me!

Caitlin
Caitlin
15 years ago

New Orleans, New Orleans, New Orleans!!

We need the tourist dollars like WHAT, plus, contrary to mainstream news, there are plenty of cozy little BnBs where a woman travelling alone could stay safely. Food, music, gardens, parks, architecture, history, shopping–so much more than beer and boobs. Not that there’s anything wrong with beer and boobs, I’m just sayin’…

Ashley
15 years ago

First place that popped into my head was San Diego too. It is always temperate, great spas/hotels, great beaches, great food and nightlife, great touristy stuff…bases covered! I would kill to go sit on a warm beach with about 5 books…ahhhh

Ann
Ann
15 years ago

no doubt she should go to Red Mountain Spa in St. George Utah. By far the best vacation EVER!!!
http://www.redmountainspa.com

Tammy
Tammy
15 years ago

Gotta be Mexico..sun, sand, and a few cocktails..I mean a loner vacation would have to be somewhere where you don’t really want to bother being all sociable and stuff and what better way to do that then thongy half naked and face down on a beach…Don’t forget to use sunscreen on yer ass cheeks though..burnt butt cheeks hurt…ask Riley.

Trina
Trina
15 years ago

Siesta Key, FL. One of the top ten beaches in the WORLD (litterally: http://travel.discovery.com/ideas/best-beaches/guides/siesta-key.html). Otherwise Kauai, HI.

KT
KT
15 years ago

San Diego if she feels like the States, or Puerto Vallarta if she feels like Mexico! Two of the nicest vacations I’ve ever gone on! San Diego Wild Animal Park is not to be missed!

donna
donna
15 years ago

serror; our weather is sucking right now, cold then hot, always windy, wait till june or so for santa fe, but Caitlin, new 9rleans would be my pick too, and stay at oak alley, the most beautiful plantation ever, look it up online, and then the vieux carre during the day, take a cruise for a few hours on one of the paddlewheel boats. Very cool.
My hubby is another one of those I don’t want to go where you are going, so see ya….I’ve done vegas a couple of times, the grand canyon, relatives back east several times for two weeks at a time…..this is why I love him. I do weekend trips all the time, and am planning some hiking camping sleeping on the ground trips this summer for a weekend at a time with just me and my dogs. His idea of camping would be no cable tv in the hotel room. So he and I do cruises together which might be something else to look into. I love to plan trips and I love to travel, I can’t wait to retire.
Actually a cruise might be the best way to go, enough people around that you could interact with, or you don’t have to talk to anyone, just get a balcony room, they are the shit!

Melanie
15 years ago

We like the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I bet it’s a nice time of year for NYC, too, because it’s getting warm and gorgeous in this part of the world.

And torches are not for diapering. Just, you know, FYI.

Melissa
Melissa
15 years ago

By the way, I live in NYC and just had an awesome day with my daughter in Central Park. It’s beautiful here right now…New York is definitely a good option too! :)

Stephanie
Stephanie
15 years ago

If shes considering NY at all she should definitely consider the Catskills. The mountains are absolutely beautiful and there are so many spas and great outdoor places to be. The city might be nice, but to me a solo vacation just screams rest and relaxation-not things I think of when NYC is mentioned.

Lawyerish
15 years ago

I’m thinking if I had 3-5 days to kill solo, I would want to go somewhere and park my butt on a chaise longue with a pile of books and a personal masseuse, so to me that = spa. Canyon Ranch, maybe, either in Massachusetts or in Arizona, or something in Utah, AZ or New Mexico where you can do hiking/biking type stuff if you’re so inclined, or you can sit. And do nothing. And love it. Spafinder.com has lots of good ways to search for spas in various locations at all price ranges.

If you’re ok with a longish flight, go to Los Altos de Eros in Costa Rica. http://www.losaltosdeeros.com/ Oh, MAN, is it ever relaxing with an amazing spa and AMAZING food and great company, and you will never want to leave. And it’s reasonably priced.

On the other hand, if you want to putter about a new city with a guidebook and learn stuff and wander in and out of cute shops and restaurants, I think SF (with day trips to Marin County, Napa/Sonoma, and Monterey) would be great, as would Savannah/Charleston, Washington DC or my very own New York City.

Or, oooh, maybe somewhere in Alaska?

Diablevert
Diablevert
15 years ago

I wish to put in a good word for Dublin, which is green, temperate, the home of good beer and people happy to chat away with you while you drink it.

warcrygirl
15 years ago

I second San Diego; then again I’m totally biased because I grew up there. If I were in Shawna’s position I would totally go to London.

JennyM
JennyM
15 years ago

I’ll put in a plug for SC — we’re having some springlike weather (finally) and things are bursting into bloom and whatnot and I imagine Charleston is fabulous right now — not so hot and humid as it will be in a few weeks.

All the Western US suggestions sound great to me right now, though! Sun! Warm! Outdoors!

Oh, and one place I’m definitely going back some day (sigh — I guess when I’m 80) is Prague — there are occasionally very reasonable flights and you can find some really neat, affordable lodging in the Old Town. Prague is a really, really very cool city — fun and historic and whatnot, and I brought home some terrific artwork from the street markets.

m
m
15 years ago

I’m going to second New Orleans, for great food and drink and music and atmosphere. The weather’s beautiful this time of year (maybe azaleas blooming? Or maybe you should go to Savannah, because they are there!), and any bar or cafe will think nothing of you chilling all day with a book and a drink or a plate of beignets and listening to the crazy world pass you by.

I’m in NYC, and while it’s beautiful here now too, you’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck down south. You can have a beautiful bed and breakfast on Frenchman Street with lazy white curtains breezing in to wake you up for the same price as oh, one dinner here in the city. Though if you want to come here to do ritzy shopping and see a show, I can see the delight in that as well. They’re pretty dang good, too.

Sarah
15 years ago

Shawna should go to a wonderful healthful spa, possibly even one with exercise/yoga classes and hiking. There are lovely options in Arizona (think Sedona) and New Mexico and they run the gamut of prices.

And if she needs to stay closer to home, I suggest Hollyhock on Cortes Island in BC. It’s beautiful adn she will come back feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Lola
Lola
15 years ago

Springtime in Paris. ‘Nuff said.

Mama Ritchie
15 years ago

Three words: Miraval Spa Resort. Uh, Oprah goes there. Nuff said.

Seriously, the thought of traveling alone to Oprah’s favorite spa in toasty warm Arizona, sleeping on 800-thread count sheets, indulging in a Hydra-Quench Body Mask, eating healthy-yet-delicious food, reading a fantabulous book by the pool – where do I sign up?

Oh, right here: http://www.miravalresort.com/main.php

laughing mommy
15 years ago

Hawaii. Any resort with a spa in Hawaii.

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

If I had three days to kill, I’d head to a spa. One in the country with all the fixins.

Leah
15 years ago

I personally recommend Puerto Vallarta (for lounging about by the pool), or, if you don’t mind iffy weather and you want to be super active, good old San Francisco. You can’t go wrong.

angela
15 years ago

Oooh, I love the spa idea as well.

deanna
15 years ago

ok…so. im a happily living nyc resident who just returned from a jaunt down route 1 in california [the pacific coast highway] from san francisco dwon to san diego and back up to san francisco along route 5…

[1] dont do the california coast by yourself. i really enjoyed the trip, however is is most definitely enjoyed in the company of someone you love. the trip down route 1 [the pch] is GORGEOUS, but not worth it if you do it by yourself. there are amazing spots to sit and enjoy the views with someone you love, but you wont be able to enjoy it by yourself. DEFINITELY something to do in your lifetime, however.

[2] very much enjoyed both san diego AND san francisco–would recommend san francisco for a one-woman trip. there is more to do there on your own, esp if youre willing to investigate and enjoy all that city has to offer. [good cuisine, entertaining things to see—bike the park and the golden gate bridge, etc…] totally doable on you own without feeling like a shlub, as long as youre willing to dine by youself (which i honestly love sometimes!)

[3] san diego was good, but with the zoo and everything would really be enjoyable with the kids…. i would save this for a family trip as the zoo is a MUST SEE and definitely a family-oriented venture, on top of the great beaches and everything else that area has to offer. [i spent most of my time on coronado island….beautiful!]

[4] NYC IS TOTALLY DOABLE ON YOUR OWN. for much the same reason as the san francisco area. as a resident new yorker, however, i might be a little bit biased. but coming from ottawa, fly into laguardia on air canada [my friend has done this from toronto NUMEROUS times without a problem!] and then get yourself into the city and have a great time exploring everything we have to offer. the basic touristy stuff—statue of liberty, circle line boat tour of manhattan, empire state building, ground zero, shopping, EXCELLENT dining—-TOTALLY doable on your own, and even better with a toddler left at home. there are spas here in the city, not to mention broadway shows and everything else. do it without the kids while you can and then bring them back when theyre old enough to walk it on their own! the weather is almost PERFECT right now–not too hot and not too cold–and i can assure you that youll NEVER be bored.

[5] look for a spa vacation in any tropical area. a colleague of mine just took a short weekend trip by herself in upstate new york and totally enjoyed it. im SURE there are spas in a coastal area that offer trips designed for “singles” where you could get a relaxing vacation and tally enjoy yourself.

[6] if youre into biking (like i am) there are a NUMBER of companies that offer vacations where you cycle from place to place and they take care of all of the luggage transfers, etc, for you. i dont know of any companies off hand, but im sure an internet search would lead you in the right direction. im actually looking into one of these vacations for myself because it sounds like a blast.

[7] my friend recently also took a relatively inexpensive tour of EGYPT by himself with a tour group—-6 days and nights. he LOVED it and as a phd student he was able to afford it on his limited budget. im unsure of the exact company he used, but do a search and im sure something will come up. yay for google.

[8] you might also look into a cruise. i have a number of single aunts that totally adore cruising by themselves.

have a fabulous trip, whatever destination you choose!

Jan
Jan
15 years ago

It depends a great deal on what she enjoys doing but, given a few days to go anywhere, I would definitely go with an all-inclusive resort, probably in Mexico. She could relax and go to the spa, eat and drink as much as she wants, sunbathe and read every book she needs to catch up on. And there are also excursions and shopping if she decides she actually wants to get dressed and go somewhere. There are several companies that offer all-inclusive packages at great prices. I hope she has a wonderful, relaxing trip!

Christina
15 years ago

My first thought is a Spa trip to Napa or Northern coastal CA (like Monterey, Carmel, Santa Barbara, etc…) That is what I would do… I do not have any specific locations to tell her about and cost wise it would be pricey but truly it would be charming… Ah, mental break as I type it :)

However, if she is in Ottawa and wants to keep travel minimal, she may want to consider the FL Keys, coastal NC/SC/GA or a trip to Washington DC. We visited DC and it was awesome. There is a ton to do and see and eat and it is just a charming city in so many ways. Cost wise, you can do a ton in DC for very little or you can spend a lot and everything in between. I have heard good things about Savannah, Virginia Beach and several of the beach communities down in SC mostly.

GL with the planning and have fun fun fun!

CK
CK
15 years ago

I vote for San Francisco…you can be a tourist, or totally blend into the city when you go off the beaten path…you have sun, water, city, etc. All the things that make a mini getaway fun.

Also, my seond suggestion would be NYC…holy mother of god…what a great city and the things to do are so endless. And it’s so incredibly easy to get around. New York in spring – probably doesn’t get more beautiful.

Plus – ample spas in the area, if that would be part of her thing…

Sabine
15 years ago

I agree with the New Mexico and Arizona votes, and I will say that S. Texas has some really nice beaches (Port Aransas on Mustand Island is a well kept secret). DO NOT go to Mexico, the cartels are very active now even in the tourist areas – kidnappings and murders are occuring on a regular basis. I live within several hours of the border and I frequently work in oil fields right on the US, we hear horror stories on a daily basis. Even places like Cozumel and dangerous.

Sabine
15 years ago

Mustang Island, not Mustand. Duuurr.

Karl
Karl
15 years ago

For a warm-weather holiday, seriously consider Barbados. Stay on the south coast (e.g. the Blue Orchid, but there are plenty of places) for sand and fun, on the west coast if you’re high end, or the east coast for more solitude.

For high country and scenery, Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Yellowstone, Zion, Arches, or Grand Canyon are all easily good for 3-5 days, especially if she’s a hiker. Sequoia is also worth a few days. (Haven’t been to Yosemite.)

For a city trip, Dublin or London are the obvious candidates. San Francisco is nice in small doses (once was really enough for me, though); but for a US city I’d have to go with New Orleans. Chicago is actually pretty interesting too. Or, maybe DC with a side trip to one of the funky old spas in Berkeley Springs :).

Cavu
15 years ago

Isla Mujeres off the coast of the Mexican riviera. It’s easy to get to–you fly into Cancun (lots of nonstop flights), then immediately hop on a ferry out to a little gorgeous, relaxing, quiet island. Don’t let the word “Cancun” scare you–it’s nothing like Cancun–not wild or commercial-touristy. There are some spa/fancy hotels if you want them, as well as a plethora of condos for rent. There are very few cars, so most people get around on mopeds or golf carts.

It’s slow-paced, relaxing, really gorgeous. If you’re into spas, look for one on the north beach.

Operation Pink Herring
15 years ago

If she’s into outdoorsy stuff, I would highly recommend Whistler, BC (If they don’t have too much snow left). I went on vacation there two years ago, and also stayed in Vancouver. There is so much fantastic scenery, and lots of things that would be fun solo, like hiking, kyaking, just wandering around the city. Just the drive from Vancouver to Whistler was worth a trip… gorgeous!

Hooray for solo vacations. I really want to do one someday (soon).

ElizabethZ
15 years ago

Seem to be having an small problem w/ the comments this morning. Trying again:

Just wanted to recomment Triple Paste for the diaper rash if you haven’t already discovered the MAGIC that is Triple Paste. It is pricey, $17 for a 16oz tub at Target, but unbelievably worth it, trust me.

Please forgive me if this ends up being a dupe.

Christine
Christine
15 years ago

Since she probably does not want to break the bank *too* much, I’d suggest New York City. It’s a ~$300 air fare ride, and I know a few hotels in the $120-150 range/night. I’ve spent a few days there solo and really liked the time to walk walk walk all around Manhatten, go into museums and galleries, try on countless clothes, and have a cocktail at Tavern on the Green at dusk, just as the fairy lights come twinkling on… sigh. Good times.

NYC in the springtime is really nice. Very adult too.

OR — I know some good Cdn “last minute” travel deals that could probably get her a 4 day all inclusive Bermuda trip.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
15 years ago

My kid had diaper rash one time so bad that his little bottom was actually bleeding in places. The doctor gave us a prescription for “Magic Bottoms” with lidocaine, bactroban, and something else mixed in. It was a LIFE-SAVER. Once the lidocaine hit his bottom, he stopped screaming. I would definitely recommend asking your doc about it.

Steph
Steph
15 years ago

ABSOLUTELY USE TRIPLE PASTE! You will not regret spending the money because this stuff literally works over-night. My daughter had raw, bleeding patches on her bum that magically healed within 24 hours of using it. Plus, the tub lasts a good 6 months so the cost really isn’t that bad. Good luck!

Betsy
15 years ago

1. New Orleans. Just right for the amount of time she has, and super fun.

2. I completely agree on the Triple Paste. It’s expensive, but it’s totally worth it. I will never buy another kind of diaper cream again.

Daily Tragedies
15 years ago

Great topic! I, too, am looking for someplace to solo vacation…likely abroad…but I will diligently read everyone’s comments for suggestions.

I can’t get enough of NYC and it’s always busy enough to not feel like you’re alone. And then it’s heavenly to come back to the hotel, shut the door, and take a bath. Blissfully alone. Have a great time, Shawna!

Laurie
Laurie
15 years ago

As a single girl, I recommend San Francisco. I just came back from a solo trip there. Got a great and affordable 4-star Hotel via Hot Wire; no need to rent a car; easy airport and city transportation; direct flights to SFO or OAK; endless activities and sites to see; daytrips to all sorts of places; great shopping and culture for foul weather days; intimate, casual, fantastic restaurants where you don’t feel like a freak and no one will bug you when dining solo (unlike Chicago, LA or some resorts). And when you factor out real estate, it’s not expensive!

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

Spa getaway. I don’t have children, but I can imagine that “getting away” for a mother with a 15-mos old would entail going somewhere where you would be catered to and pampered and a place where no one needs you or askes you to do ANYTHING. No obligations. I would recommend the Golden Door Spa in Scottsdale. You don’t even have to worry about what to wear. I would go for maybe a long weekend as, if you are type A, you might start to get a little wiggy if much longer.

P.S. – Kudos to your husband who is no whining about your leaving AND offered to handle the child while you are gone.

gabby
gabby
15 years ago

New Mexico!!!

filakia
15 years ago

I just posted a comment, but it doesn’t seem to be here, so I apologize if this ends up being posted twice!

I enthusiastically suggest Charleston, SC. This is a great time of year in the Southeast, and an Ottawa resident might enjoy some of our warmth, sunshine, and flowers.

Charleston is unbelievably gorgeous and very walkable. Stay in the old (historic) part of the city and you will not need a car. Beaches are nearby (not walkable but you could probably get a taxi or bus). Right now, Travelzoo has a special for a hotel near the downtown area ($69/night). Hard to beat! Charleston also has lovely little B&Bs and Inns.

3-5 days is perfect for enjoying Charleston’s beauitful homes and gardens, shops, galleries, Low Country cuisine, and historic sites.

Her Ladyship
15 years ago

Barcelona or Reykjavik. Both very cool cities, with beautiful albeit different scenery and great nightlifes. Plus they’re just on the other side of the pond – you can get there on a red eye, have a few days to play, and then be home all refreshed.

Laurabelle
Laurabelle
15 years ago

Does Shawna watch House? That had some pretty good vacation ideas on it a couple of weeks ago. Really, anywhere is cool if you come back with an Ass of Fire tattoo.