It started as a birthday celebration, special anniversary, or, maybe, a reunion of old friends. You had so much fun that you decided to do it again the next year. Now, it’s become a tradition you never miss. Year after year, you land in the same town or check in at the same resort, and although that place holds some of your favorite memories, you’re ready to find a new spot.
Here are a few alternative ideas to consider as you pencil in this year’s annual getaway.
Trade Wine for Spirits
If your getaway always ends up in wine country with tours of vineyards and tasting reds and whites until your face is flush, try bourbon country instead.
In the heart of Kentucky, within the Bardstown area, you’ll find the place where 95 percent of all bourbon made. You can tour small and large-scale distilleries, like Willet and Heaven Hill, respectively, with many others in a 20-mile radius.
If you’re looking for a fusion of information and entertainment or just a plain ol’ good time, the bourbon trail allows for both. I didn’t get a chance to visit all of them, but a girlfriend and I took a few days to explore the countryside and a circuit of six different distilleries.
I was surprised by how different each one is from the others. Although there are common practices in bourbon making, the distilleries have come up with individual tour experiences as unique as the spirits they create. At each company I visited, a lively guide made their particular tour fun and interactive.
You’ll go behind the scenes and have an opportunity to observe bourbon in the making. You’ll also get to taste the unfinished product, at various stages in the process. At the end, you’ll sample bourbons of differing ages and varieties for a well-rounded comparison.
Take a long weekend to enjoy the rolling hills of Kentucky and discover the precise bourbon that suits your palate, whether you prefer a mixed drink or sipping and savoring.
Trade West Coast for East Coast
If you usually plan your reunion in sunny California, how about switching to the East Coast instead? If sunsets and seaside towns are what you’re after, hit up the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.
Rent an apartment by the water, within walking distance of shopping and culinary hotspots in Key West. You can fill your days in the southernmost city sightseeing the haunts of Hemingway or enjoying activities like jet skiing, kayaking, and dolphin watching.
Finish your day with a sunset cruise. If you’re used to sundown in the west, you don’t want to miss a Key West sunset and the daily carnival in Mallory Square.
I’m partial to Florida, especially Key West and Destin in the panhandle; however, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia also offer exquisite coastal towns with plenty of options for making new traditions on the Eastern Seaboard.
Trade Stateside Resorts for Offshore Resorts
Maybe resorts are your preference. If your special trip has tired of repeat visits to the same stateside resort, perhaps you’ll consider an offshore resort in the Caribbean.
You may think Cancun is for spring breakers and honeymooners, but I also found it to be a resort lover’s vacation destination. You’ll find a variety of luxury resorts in the hotel zone, literally steps from the Caribbean Sea. With amenities like fine dining restaurants, upscale bars, full-service spas, and adult-only pools, you’ll have all-inclusive conveniences at your fingertips.
Another option is the eastern Caribbean island of St. Kitts. St. Kitts is less touristy than Cancun and a bit more rugged. In addition to its shoreline splashed with turquoise water, it also has mountains and rainforest with an abundance of Green Vervet monkeys. Hang on to your cocktails; the monkeys are known to roam the island, stealing unattended food and drink from unsuspecting visitors.
If you decide to leave the resort in St. Kitts, you can hike a dormant volcano or tour the island with a local guide who’ll take you to the stunning Black Rocks or an overlook where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.
Wherever you choose to travel in celebration of your momentous event, a change in location may be the prompt that starts another new tradition.
All photos are courtesy of the author except lead photo by mikebrown59.