Disclaimer: As much as I would like Lowe’s Ventana Canyon Resort to shower me with fifties for what I’m about to say, this post is completely independent. All opinions are my own and, sadly, uncompensated.
Two years ago I became possessed. There I was, minding my own business, when I was suddenly consumed by an overpowering urge to escape the Midwest and go somewhere for my spring break two weeks hence – somewhere warm, sunny, and snowless. Somewhere that had healthy green plants thriving outdoors. Someplace where I could linger outside without several layers of wool, flannel, and down. Somewhere that didn’t simultaneously whimper “dreary” and scream “cold!”
Having perfected the art of spending my spring breaks puttering around the house alone – grey skies, dead grass, and dirty snow piles my only companions – the cause of this fixation is still a mystery. In any case, the husband, who did not suffer from the same affliction before his own spring break two weeks earlier, could see that trying to stop me would only result in bodily harm. For days, all household chores ceased as I found myself in the grip of a travel-planning frenzy the likes of which I had never experienced.
In the end, I found myself in Tucson, and it was exactly what I was looking for.
Before I elaborate, let’s explore vacation styles. Some people can quite happily plant themselves on a beach or poolside lounge chair, barely moving for an entire week. Others, I have found, simply can’t abide these kinds of vacations. Three minutes stretched out under the sun – even with a book and a cocktail – and they start to get antsy and look for an escape route. Me? I’m right in the middle of these two extremes.
With that in mind, I ended up booking a stay at Lowe’s Ventana Canyon Resort, which is nestled into the base of Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains.
As I alluded to a moment ago, I prefer to intersperse my poolside repose (fully slathered in SPF 50 with a massive umbrella overhead, of course) with bouts of physical activity, and that’s exactly what I got. The resort has a fitness center, though you’ll probably find your smallest closet more spacious. Nonetheless, it exists and I did use it once or twice. But the greatest draw of this particular property, which ties into its proximity to a deserty-mountainous recreation area, is its shuttle bus. Call the front desk, request a shuttle, hop on, and five minutes later you’re at the gates of the Santa Catalina Recreation Area, which abounds with hiking trails. Add to that the resort’s two pools, two restaurants, hot tub and sauna, and my room with a balcony facing a cactus-studded hill, then throw in a ridiculously overpriced but-what-the-hell-I’m-on-vacation pay-per-view Oscar® nominated movie in bed each night and I was in paradise.
Fast forward to present day. Without meaning to, I recently got infected with the late winter/early spring travel bug again. The husband had invited some friends over to watch the Arsenal game, and one of them is a frequent traveler. Listening to him talk about his recent journeys flipped my envy switch, and I could feel that pre-spring break tension appear out of nowhere and start zipping through my winter-weary veins. For several hours – having dropped whatever it was I had planned on doing that day to scour travel websites – I was certain I was going to embark on another last-minute bank-balance-bruising vacation. Eventually, though, I realized that all the deals that looked so amazing online were actually for the beginning of the shoulder season, which doesn’t start until right after my spring break (naturally).
Taking several deep breaths, I consulted my long-as-my-arm spring break To Do list, which contains such crucial and joy-filled activities as “wipe down kitchen cupboards” and “buy more pants for work.” (As someone who is perennially between sizes, always 10 pounds shy of that perfect fit, buying pants is a torturous experience – about as fun as swimsuit shopping. Or knife-swallowing.) After one more deep breath (more of a resigned sigh, actually), I gave in to the fact that I would be at home for this year’s spring break, awash in ill-fitting new pants, fingerprint-free cupboards, and Midwestern drear.
Though I officially – and tearfully – broke up with the idea of a spontaneous 2019 trip, I also put my hand on my heart and formally vowed that next year, dammit, I am going somewhere. So look out bank account and look out world… nothing is going to stop me.
And that’s where you come in, helpful reader. I am hoping you’ll be able to share some destinations you think I should consider.
When I asked for travel suggestions for our upcoming wedding anniversary trip, many of you weighed in with useful ideas and opinions. In that post, I outlined certain parameters and then went further, narrowing down the list to about a half dozen places that were under serious consideration.
This time, I’m being a bit more flexible.
What I can tell you is that I’m looking for someplace reasonably comfortable, temperature-wise. I realize that’s very subjective, so I’ll be more specific: at least in the 70s. Like the place in Tucson, it needs to be very close to great hiking. I’m not talking about full-day, set-out-before-dawn, Colorado 14er hiking here. Just moderate hiking is fine. A shuttle service would be ideal, but I might be able to live without it, depending the circumstances. A combination of beach and mountains would be great, but a warm place with a pool near mountains could do the trick as well. It doesn’t have to be in the US, but I’ll probably go no further than the northern reaches of the Caribbean or Central America. Probably.
Oh, and as an introvert looking for a quiet getaway, anything I saw on the travel deals websites that touted a “party vibe” got deleted straightaway. Just sayin’.
And finally, I’m not being lazy. I promise. I’ve already given a cursory glace at a few possibilities: Sedona? Phoenix? Santa Barbara? San Diego? It’s just that I know there must be places I’m not thinking of… I just don’t know what they are!
So, if this request is making that one perfect place pop into your head, please do share in the comments section. I’m happy to return the favor if ever I can. 🙂