Please help with travel plans!
Replies: 32 - Last Post: Mar 6, 2013 6:09 PM Last Post By: trekker502
Mar 2, 2013 8:59 PM
Please help with travel plans!Hello!
I was hoping to get some help with my husband and I's travel plans. We are flying to New York, arriving from Sydney at the end of December. We are flying home mid-January from San Francisco.
We like laid-back art-y/literary places with decent food. I know Portland is not ideal in winter but it is somewhere I would like to visit and may not get another opportunity - worth it? We would have liked to visit New Orleans and drive to Austin but, say what you will, we had concerns about we would feel uncomfortable walking beyond the main drag.
We are hiring a car to drive between Austin and SF.
Please let us know what you think!
5 nights - New York
Flying to Austin, Texas - 3 nights
2 nights - Marfa
4 nights - Santa Fe (Taos etc)
1 night - Sedona
3 nights - Las Vegas
1 night - Cambria
1 night - SF
Flying to Portland, Oregon - 2 nights
4 nights, SF
Fly out of SF.
Any advice is very much appreciated!
Mar 3, 2013 2:22 AM
1Welcome to the forum - Ian in Melbourne. Some comments:
5 nights NYC - good length
3 nights Austin - sounds about right (not been there)
2 nights Marfa - presumably for its modern art scene - would one be enough?
Alternatively, two evenly spread stops between Austin and Santa Fe
4 nights Santa Fe / Taos - again, about right - it's great, but even three total might be enough
Have a night at the Grand Canyon South Rim (pre or post Sedona), and only two in Las Vegas
3 night Las Vegas - two is enough, and Sun-Thur is much cheaper
1 night Cambria - a long 670km haul from Las Vegas, and you'll see so little
1 night San Francisco - stay somewhere south of the city, for the flight the next day
2 nights Portland - it's lovely, but not outstanding - so a long haul for a short thrill
I would drop Portland altogether, and add one back to the Big Sur Coast
And I would add the other back between Santa Fe and Las Vegas
Hope that helps - and even though you're Australian, it's not good to under-estimate the distances involved in some of the stages above (plus traffic!) - and more importantly - how fantastically scenic so much of it is, and that you'll really want to give it some time.
Mar 3, 2013 5:07 AM
2Or, after Portland, you could drive along the Pacific Coast, Highway #101 to Highway #1, through the redwoods and stop for one night in the town of Mendocino, then continue driving south along the coast to San Francisco. I have not been to Portland, but I think that it is somewhat like Berkeley -- similar university student vibes. When you are driving along Highway #1, you could turn inland at Jenner and the Russian River on Highway #116, then Highway #12 through Santa Rosa to see the renowned wineries of Sonoma and Napa. Maybe spend the night in the town of Sonoma, or the town of Calistoga at a hot springs spa.
Mar 3, 2013 5:40 AM
3Marfa is small. If you leave the morning of the first day, you can get there in the early afternoon, spend some time, then spend the next morning before leaving.
You can then spend the next night around Carlsbad.
Santa Fe may lose a day.
You might want an extra day in Sedona.
You might want to stop in San Luis Obispo rather than Cambria if it's a Thursday night. There is a market there that is part farmers market, part music fest.
I don't think Portland is worth the time, relative to your time and the rest of the possible destinations on your route.
If you drop it, that would give you three nights (the two from Portland and that random split SF night) to give to New Orleans.
You likely won't find yourself in areas of New Orleans you don't want to be.
Mar 3, 2013 7:07 AM
Mar 3, 2013 10:31 AM
5Just in terms of weather, we experienced widespread snow, and -5°F at the Grand Canyon South Rim and -8°F in Taos, late one December. These were bone-shakingly cold for a couple of Aussies more at home on the beach - but still, it was a great experience worth having once.
Also, if you were to drop Portland OR, I think it would be unwise to cram New Orleans back into the mix. Rather, use the three nights gained to soften some of the very rushed days on your itinerary. Or - if New Orleans and Portland really are priorities, then plan your trip around them, dropping other places. Sometimes (indeed, quite often) less is more.
Mar 3, 2013 12:31 PM
6Thank you so much - your advice has meant that we are planning on cutting out Portland/Santa Fe and spending more time around Big Sur.
One last question, do you guys prefer Austin or Portland? If we only went to one?
Mar 3, 2013 1:26 PM
7We like laid-back art-y/literary places with decent food.
With these interests, I would still include Santa Fe / Taos (if the cold won't bother you too much) - Santa Fe is a truly unique place of its type in the US. I haven't been to Austin, but it seems to me Portland - while one of the most "Australian" style cities we have visited in the US, and very attractive - makes much more sense to visit if it is part of a longer trip to the Pacific Northwest, which has a number of other extremely good destinations.
Also - a road-trip Austin > Carlsbad > Santa Fe over two days will be (mostly) rewarding - especially the second half. New Mexico is beautiful in many ways ... I-10 less so of course.
Mar 3, 2013 4:06 PM
8I would take out Portland - not worth going out of your way like you are. I would add those nights to the coast, i.e. after Vegas, go to Santa Barbara for 1 night. Then go to Cambria from there. You can stay 2 nights in Cambria giving you a bit more time to explore the area.
Mar 3, 2013 5:07 PM
9Christmas Eve in Santa Fe --join the festivities along Canyon Road -- all of the art galleries are open, some serving hot drinks and treats. Carolers gather at various sites along the route -- some around a bonfire. The roofs of all buildings throughout Canyon Road and downtown Santa Fe are lit with luminarias consisting of candles inside a brown paper bag weighted down with sand. Those lining the hotel roofs are actually artificial simulations, which are fireproof. Some of the walkways to the front doors of the art galleries are also lined with the luminarias. Traffic is blocked and many pedestrians can walk easily along the road. The weeks previous to Christmas, there are opportunities to join carolers at various churches, including at the Cathedral, where there was an ecumenical celebration.
For Christmas dinner, I highly recommend Bishop's Lodge restaurant, with a delicious buffet dinner.
Mar 3, 2013 5:43 PM
10I can attest to experiencing a (very cold) Christmas Eve in Santa Fe, and strolling along Canyon Road and having a nice time indeed. And then a great Christmas Dinner at our hostel the next day (after a trip up to the nearby ski resort in the morning). However I don't think our OP will reach Santa Fe by Christmas Eve - in fact, they might be leaving Australia after Christmas Day.
Mar 3, 2013 7:00 PM
A day stolen from there is adequate for the coast, and dropping from Portland can give you time elsewhere.
Instead of 2 nights Marfa, 4 nights Santa Fe, 5 nights SF, and 2 nights Portland, then can do 1-2 nights Marfa, 3 nights Santa Fe, 4 nights SF, 3 nights New Orleans, 1 extra night on the coast.
But it's up to them whether they want to tack on the extra driving involved.
Mar 3, 2013 8:50 PM
Mar 4, 2013 12:19 AM
Mar 4, 2013 6:05 AM
As I said, it's up to them, but they seem to not want to, so it's moot now.
OP, is there a particular reason the Grand Canyon isn't on this list? I know you say arty and food places, but you're passing right by it.
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