Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Topic of the Day: Let’s Talk Vacations

Last summer kind of blew, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that we didn’t really go anywhere or do anything fun (save for a long weekend at a lake house with friends). Joanie was still a baby and difficult to travel with (not that she’s that much easier now, but last weekend we were able to take her to a restaurant for Drew’s birthday without her totally freaking out and ruining the experience, so that’s an improvement), and we were having some challenges with Jackson that made the idea of “family vacation” sort of an oxymoron. Things are better on all those fronts, and I feel optimistic that traveling together this year could be fun and, at the very least, a way to break up what would otherwise be a long, hot summer in New York City (and anyone who’s spent an entire summer in NYC can attest that you really need to break that shit up little bit).

Anyway, we’ve been thinking about where we might want to go — a trip to my parents’ is on the agenda, as well as a stay in Chicago later in the summer. We’re also thinking about a long weekend in South Carolina — specifically in or near Charleston. Are any of you from there? Have you vacationed there? I’m looking at the beaches nearby — Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah, etc. I thought we could stay on the beach for quick and easy access to sand and surf, but be close enough to drive (in a rental car) into Charleston two or three times while we’re there. If you have any insight or tips, I’d love to hear.

Do you have any vacations planned for this spring and summer? Any questions about places you’re considering? Maybe other DW readers can provide some insight. I loved our trip to Memphis back in 2010 and our visit to New Orleans a few months later. Of course, all of our international trips, most of which were taken before we became parents, are super memorable. Paris was one of my favorites, and I loved Spain, too, and Costa Rica for its laid-back vibe. Sometime in the future I’d love to get to Central and South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and all the states I have yet to visit. What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited, and what’s on your vacation bucket list?

42 comments… add one
  • GertietheDino April 13, 2017, 1:43 pm

    I go on a museum trip every year (visiting 7-10 museums in one week) but this year I’m taking a relaxation vacation: no schedule, no agenda to a hot springs resort here in Colorado. It’s going to be heavenly.

    Favorite places though: Toronto, London and Washington, DC.

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  • LadyinPurpleNotRed April 13, 2017, 1:48 pm

    I’m going to Greece next month and it cannot come fast enough! I’m running on empty right now and desperately need a vacation.

    My boyfriend and I went to New Orleans In January and it was amazing!!! Such a great time.

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    • Northern Star April 13, 2017, 3:49 pm

      Greece is amazing! The people are friendly, the food is tasty, the weather is lovely, the history is awe-inspiring. Went there two years ago—definitely my favorite trip. Be sure to hit the new Acropolis museum. 🙂

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed April 13, 2017, 7:17 pm

        I’m so excited. It’s a huge family trip. It’s my grandparent’s last year to really internationally travel (their words), so they are going to Italy and Greece because of the relatives. We’ve all done Italy, so we are all doing Greece now! I can’t wait. It’s going to be deliciously awesome.

  • jlyfsh April 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

    Hi Wendy! I highly recommend Charleston. I live north of there and love the area. I think Sullivans is probably your best bet island wise. The South Carolina Aquarium is great! There is also the Charleston Tea Plantation that while may be boring for kids also offers some open space to enjoy a picnic and it’s gorgeous. It was fun as an adult watching what goes in to making tea. I can’t remember if Jackson likes Fire Trucks but there is a museum (http://www.northcharlestonfiremuseum.org/) and there is a children’s museum in Charleston as well that I’ve heard good things about. Other cool places to visit are Charlestowne Landing and the other state parks. They have cool trails, beaches, educational opportunities and room for kids to run around. There is the open air market as well in downtown that is cool to walk through. If you’re there on the weekend stroll through the farmer’s market. It’s big and the produce is awesome. The tomatoes from Johns or James Island (I can’t remember which now) are almost too pretty to eat. There are a ton of other goods sold there too and it’s kid friendly with open space to wander and enjoy the downtown area. If Jackson likes history he might enjoy a horse drawn carriage tour. It’s a nice way to see more of Charleston without walking in the heat for too long. I usually recommend a ghost tour for adults or older teens because it’s so cool. I love seeing the cemetery where Annabelle Lee is buried. Food wise if you’re in Charleston check out Henry’s, Hominy Grill, Poe’s and Kaminsky’s (for dessert or coffee!). I also highly recommend the Vendue Inn Rooftop bar usually but I don’t know how much kids would get out of that 🙂 I really like the Fat Hen restaurant but it’s outside of the city itself, it’s a local farm to table restaurant that has an awesome outdoor eating area and bar and room for kids out there too. (although it will be HOT so inside seating may be better unfortunately). Other tips more sunblock than you think you need, bug spray and lots of water. Summers are brutal but gorgeous.

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    • Dear Wendy April 13, 2017, 2:13 pm

      These are great tips — thank you!!
      So you recommend Sullivans over Folly Beach? How come?
      We’re looking at the second weekend of June (Jackson has a couple days off from school so we can make it a long weekend), if that matters. Lodging at Sullivan’s seems to be mostly booked already, but there are a few cute places still available at FB. I gather that Fb is more college kids and surfer dudes and Sullivan’s is a little more grown-ups and families? Correct me if I’m wrong! I really don’t know much about SC at all except what I read in Pat Conroy novels when I was a teenager and the little bit I’ve researched the past few days or so…

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      • jlyfsh April 13, 2017, 2:26 pm

        Yes, when I think of Kiawah I think golf, Folly more partying and Sullivans more family. However, I don’t think your vacation would be ruined by staying in Folly or anything like that! And you will be a tourist so the lens you experience the area through will be different anyway. If you end up staying on Folly definitely get breakfast at Lost Dog 🙂 Or if you wait until Charleston check out Callie’s Hot Biscuit. I could probably come up with a different place to check out each time, so I’ll stop there, hah.

      • ktfran April 13, 2017, 4:33 pm

        Poogan’s Porch has an absolutely delicious brunch. It was the food highlight of my trip while visiting Charleston.

        We also quite enjoyed a horse carriage ride around town. You learn a little history and get to see some of the amazing houses and it’s a rest from walking all day.

        I was in Charleston last April. And I’ve only been one other time. My cousin lives in Savannah and they visit Charleston quite frequently.

      • ktfran April 13, 2017, 4:42 pm

        Oh, and we had drinks/apps at Vendue! It was a very nice, sunny afternoon and the I loved the view.

      • jlyfsh April 13, 2017, 4:45 pm

        Can’t believe I forgot Poogan’s Porch! They are good and they have a ghost story of their own! 🙂

    • Vathena April 13, 2017, 2:23 pm

      I spent a semester abroad in college, and one of my roommates was the daughter of the guy who runs the tea plantation! She called it her heaven. Charleston is definitely on my vacation to-do list!

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    • freckles April 13, 2017, 3:58 pm

      I don’t have anything to add other than the fact that I LOVE Charleston. It was one of my favorite US cities I’ve visited.

      Savannah was also in my top.

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    • carolann April 13, 2017, 8:53 pm

      I would suggest Sullivan’s also. My oldest daughter lived there until recently…her name is Annabelle. I named her after Annabelle Lee.

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      • carolann April 13, 2017, 9:00 pm

        I think it is actually spelled “Annabel” but I liked the other spelling better.

      • jlyfsh April 14, 2017, 6:01 am

        You are right, I always type it the other way without thinking. I prefer the way it looks too, haha.

  • kmtthat April 13, 2017, 2:28 pm

    My boyfriend and I are heading to the UK in two weeks for his MBA graduation ceremony at Cambridge (he finished up before we met but still super proud of him!) We’re then staying in London a few days with his parents who are also flying out for the grad. Then he and I take off to Santorini and then Athens! I’m really excited and a little nervous to be sharing and Airbnb with his (awesome, totally relaxed) parents as we’re still in a fairly new but serious relationship. He and I travel very well together and are really looking forward to this trip!
    So if anyone has restaurant recommendations in Cambridge/London/Santorini/Athens let me know!

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  • Vathena April 13, 2017, 2:29 pm

    Last year, all of our “vacations: were just long weekends. No week-long vacations. Next month, we’re going to stay at my in-laws’ condo in New Smyrna Beach, FL. It’s right on the beach, and just a couple of blocks from the main street. We’ll be there for a whole week with nothing to do but hang out! I can’t wait. Now that we have a kid, most vacations aren’t super relaxing, and the vast majority are just to visit family (closest family is 900 miles away). But later this summer, we’re renting a house on Chincoteague Island with some friends with similar-age kids. It could be a disaster with multiple kids under 5, but I’m excited to have a vacation that is 1) within driving distance and 2) not because of family obligations.

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    • Steph April 13, 2017, 3:25 pm

      New Smyrna Beach is fun! The town is super cute – Flagler Ave has lots of cute restaurants. And Chases on the Beach is a bar, but it’s a lot of fun. They have a pool there as well – that is nice to get a break from the sand and salty water sometimes (I’m from Orlando and visit this beach quite often). Also – if you like seafood Dixie Crossroads is in Titusville – maybe a 45 minute drive, but they do awesome crab legs and rock shrimp!

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  • Steph April 13, 2017, 3:28 pm

    Last year I didn’t go on vacation so I’m itching for one. I was saving up to go to Ireland this year for 2 weeks (my top vacation spot on my bucket list) but my brother turns 30 this year and can’t afford to go – so we’re going Key West for a week for his birthday. I’m looking forward to that, but wished I was going to Ireland. I’ll get their eventually.
    However, I’m not going to make it until the end of July and need at least a long weekend getaway. Not sure where to go, being in Orlando I have plenty of beaches close. Was thinking maybe Savannah, GA. I’m always wanting to go to Hilton Head/Charleston, SC at some point. Not sure if I’ll make it this year or not.

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    • Portia April 14, 2017, 8:55 am

      I love Savannah and Hilton Head! We went last summer and are going there again this summer. We were in desperate need of a beach vacation and all the beaches we could find within driving distance from DC either only have week-long bookings, were really pricey, or aren’t that nice. So when a low-cost airline opened a route to Savannah, we tried it out. The beach at the north end of the island was really nice and we liked walking around Savannah for the few hours we spent there. This time we’re staying overnight in Savannah as well to get to see more things. I’d say it’s great for a long weekend – this year we’re going Thursday to Monday, but last time we did Friday to Monday.

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      • Lianne April 14, 2017, 6:40 pm

        We’re heading there in 2 weeks! My parents live there and I’m excited for a visit that will include several beach/pool days!

      • Portia April 14, 2017, 9:05 pm

        Have so much fun Lianne!! I feel like April/May would be perfect weather.

  • kare April 13, 2017, 4:06 pm

    I went to Iceland in October, and it was amazing! I highly recommend it to everyone. The only downside is that the food and drinks are expensive.

    I went to Hawaii in January, but got really sick on my third day. We just stayed on Oahu, and it was a bit of a cluster fuck since it was a family trip. I’d go back, but to a different island or an area less hectic than Honolulu.

    I’m going to Ireland sometime soon-ish. I don’t have much planned, but I’m thinking of doing a day trip to Scotland during my week there.

    Other places I’m considering going in the next couple of years: Norway, The Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, and Costa Rica. I’d love to go to Vietnam and Singapore, but I figure I’d need more than a week of vacation to go. Maybe one day!

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    • Janelle April 13, 2017, 4:31 pm

      I agree that Honolulu is not my fav. Very busy and you don’t really get that vacation feeling. The other islands provide much more relaxing in my opinion.

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  • anonymousse April 13, 2017, 4:28 pm

    Two days! That’s all I have to wait until we go away. We are going to the Olympic Peninsula and we are going to the beach and the Hoh Rainforest and hot springs. I’m so excited, and so ready to chill.

    We are also going east later this year for a big family trip, and who knows what else. Probably Whistler BC and possibly FL when it’s starting to get cold again.

    Wish me luck with my two toddlers sharing a room for the first time ever….oh boy.

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    • K April 14, 2017, 10:38 am

      I was there in 2010, have a great time! The Hoh Rainforest is magical.

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  • Janelle April 13, 2017, 4:29 pm

    Thanks to my lack of mobility due to my car accident, the ex (still best friends and he is truly my favorite travel buddy ever-we just work well together when traveling) is taking me and the dogs to the beach for the weekend. Points get us a lovely villa with a private pool for the normal room rate ($120 no joke!). Of course we live about 5 miles from the beach but getting away from home will be so nice and needed. Minimal movement and the Dr. finally cleared me for a massage. We even get to take the dogs! Can’t wait!

    I also realized from time stamps on my digital camera that my last REAL vacation was in 2012. Oh dear. Planning something this summer for sure. I need a legit vacation so badly.

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  • Ange April 13, 2017, 4:33 pm

    After the month in America last year this is ‘little holiday’ year. We’re thinking Vanuatu, they have a gorgeous looking adults only resort that’s pretty inexpensive. I have to work all Easter as well so I’m taking the days back in July and having a long weekend in Darwin, Queens of the Stone Age have decided to put on a show there. It’s not often bands of that calibre go to little ole Darwin so it’s a great excuse to go visit friends and enjoy a smaller venue show.

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  • ktfran April 13, 2017, 4:39 pm

    This is my first winter in Chicago where I didn’t take a Feb/March trip. Thank god the winter was mild and the gloom didn’t stretch for weeks at a time. We have so much going on right now, like closing on our condo next week, that a trip wasn’t feasible. We also have tons of trips the second half of the year. New Orleans in June. Our wedding and honeymoon to Portugal/the Azores in September. Hawaii in November. And a couple trips to KC thrown in for my friend’s wedding. Not to mention a couple trips home for my niece’s birthday’s, a first communion and my mom’s 60th.

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    • MaterialsGirl April 16, 2017, 3:14 pm

      Ooo Hawaii November, Us too. Where ya going?

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      • ktfran April 17, 2017, 7:33 am

        Maui and Kauai. The fiancé and his parents have decided to go every five years for the basketball tournament. So two days will be spent doing that. The rest, fun!!!! Where are you guys going?

      • MaterialsGirl April 17, 2017, 11:20 am

        not sure yet but was thinking kauai and two nights in honolulu to do pearl harbor

  • RedRoverRedRover April 13, 2017, 7:23 pm

    Ugh, I need a vacation so bad. It’s been like 2 years since we’ve gone on one. But 2 years ago we bought our “family home”, so of course that year all our resources went to the house, then the next year I got pregnant and we didn’t want to take a trip knowing how tight finances would be while I was on leave. I start back at work next month, which I’m not particularly excited about actually, but at least we’ll have more money rolling in. We’ll be paying double daycare but only till September when my son starts school, so after that things will loosen up quite a bit. Maybe this winter we can take a trip, it’ll be the first one for my daughter. 🙂

    Best vacation I’ve ever had – Galapagos Islands. We’re definitely going back with the kids, probably in 10 years or so when they’re old enough to appreciate it. For a relaxing on the beach vacation – Tobago.

    Dream vacation – Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul. Well, now that Istanbul isn’t all that stable, maybe not anymore. But I could still go as far as, like, Romania. It’s not cheap though, $20k or so last time I checked, not including flights. But the Orient Express!!!! I kind of wonder if I’ve traded having kids for ever doing that vacation. Maybe I have. Because I’d feel bad spending that kind of money on myself instead of helping them through school or something. Maybe when we retire we can do it, if we’ve saved enough.

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    • Portia April 14, 2017, 9:15 pm

      That sounds like a magical train ride. Really luxurious! I’d heard of the Orient Express, but I think from an Agatha Christie book, not what it actually was.

      One of our bucket list items is the Trans-Siberian Railroad. With Russia being what it is I’m not sure about it right now, but I feel like it’d be an adventure. Plus I’d love to follow the path of where my ancestors came from (my ancestry is like half Russian, including some Siberian).

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  • Kate April 14, 2017, 6:24 am

    I was going to go to Scotland with my parents in May, but some shit came up so that’s postponed. On my dad’s side we’re very Scottish, and his side of the family are really into the family tree and know what Highland clan we were in and all that, and I wanted to go see it.

    I’d love to go to Greece too! I took so much Art History in school, plus the beach! I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy, but never Greece.

    In the summer we just go to Cape Cod for weekends. My parents have a condo down there. A Mexican restaurant went in next door a few years ago, and you can walk to everything, or bike to the beach.

    And we go to Mexico… a lot.

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    • ktfran April 14, 2017, 11:13 am

      I want to go to Cape Cod or Nantucket for a long weekend at some point in my life.

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      • Kate April 16, 2017, 3:47 pm

        Yeah, or Martha’s Vineyard. You should!

      • Kate April 16, 2017, 4:00 pm

        Since it’s you, and you’re not dangerous, lmk if you’re ever out this way! My parents tell us what weekends they won’t be there, and we can take over. It’s so chill, and there’s a ridiculous amount of delicious seafood (and tacos!!!) in close proximity. And bikes.

      • ktfran April 17, 2017, 7:31 am

        That would be amazing. I’ll definitely get a hold of you if we’re ever out that way, which we will be. The fiancé likes it over there.

  • Gym5ive April 14, 2017, 7:18 am

    I loved Kiawah Island! I grew up in Atlanta and my family used to hit up all the GA/SC beaches. The Outer Banks are also amazing. Most of the tips here have been discussed but: bring sand toys! My parents would always lug along a huge box of shovels, buckets, etc which would keep us occupied for hours.

    On the travel front, I have no idea how I’m ever going to finish my bucket list. My parents love to take the whole family traveling on an international trip every year, which is very generous of them to do. I was in New Zealand over Christmas/NYE, which was incredible. I’m spending a week in Mongolia this summer and Australia this Christmas/New Year’s. And next year, I’m most likely getting married and thinking of South Africa/Botswana for our honeymoon. We’ll probably have kids after that and not travel for the next 20 years 🙁

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  • K April 14, 2017, 10:42 am

    My favorite topic 🙂 My boyfriend and I are going to Washington and Oregon in August. We’ll be out there for the total solar eclipse, and central Oregon is supposed to be one of the best spots to view it, due to the lack of clouds at that time of year. We’ll be visiting Mt. Rainier and Crater Lake National Parks, doing some wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, visiting the Oregon coast – can’t wait! Other weekend trips we have planned this year are camping and wine tastng in the Finger Lakes and camping on an island in Lake George

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  • MaterialsGirl April 16, 2017, 3:13 pm

    Missed this, but Charleston is great! What a fun city with history and amazing food. I would agree that Kiawah is more golf type.. although no matter where you go it will be fun. There are some cool military stuff (carrier.. fort Sumter) as well. Hominy grill!! Yum!! We also went to Hank’s, coast, and Magnolia. Pretty much good options all over
    We are heading to Croatia over Memorial Day weekend for ten days. SUPER excited!! This is another trip pie for via points. Thanks work travel! We are doing Hawaii in November/December.. any tips? Hoping I’ll be pregnant but either way it will be a relaxing trip.

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