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8 Summer Getaways You Can Easily Pull Off in a Weekend

8 Summer Getaways You Can Easily Pull Off in a Weekend
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Summer weekends are a precious commodity—you don’t want to waste a single one! So we reached out to longtime travel pro (and former One Kings Lane editor) Kelly Lack, who’s now heading up content and community at the gorgeous travel app Spot for her take on some easy getaway goodness. Here she shares eight destinations—organized below from west to east—that will make for an incredible weekender. There are desert hideouts, coastal escapes, on-the-verge cities—all hitting their stride with the arrival of some seriously chic hotels, eateries, and shops. Next weekend is going to be your best weekend yet.

Take the less traveled wine-country path to Guerneville, CA, a tiny town that’s packed with charm and perfect for slowing down. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Take the less traveled wine-country path to Guerneville, CA, a tiny town that’s packed with charm and perfect for slowing down. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Airstreams designed by Lauren Geremia are the new must-experience places to stay. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Airstreams designed by Lauren Geremia are the new must-experience places to stay. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Guerneville, CA

Tucked into a leisurely crook of the Russian River, this wine-country town has a main street and not much else—but that’s kind of the point. Especially when it packs a wallop of charm into those few blocks, from a new Airstream hotel to a hip coffeeshop to an artisan collective housed in a historic building.

STAY
“Rooms” at the soon-to-open AutoCamp Hotel are Airstreams done up in chic finishes by Lauren Geremia, the go-to designer behind Instagram’s and Dropbox’s offices. Another always-great option is Boon Hotel + Spa, which has cottages (and glamping tents each summer) surrounding a chilled-out pool with a rustic wood bar channeling some faraway beach shack.

EAT
On-point eateries—Boon Eat + Drink, Seaside Metal Oyster Bar, Dick Blomster’s Korean Diner—line the main drag. But the one to beat is Revival, which just soft-opened in the Applewood Inn with modern-rustic digs and a kitchen helmed by a chef who did time at vaunted foodie destinations Noma and the Willows Inn.

Chic finds and beautiful textiles are on display at the delightful home shop Commerce Fine Goods. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Chic finds and beautiful textiles are on display at the delightful home shop Commerce Fine Goods. Photo by Kelly Lack.

The revamped Guerneville Bank Club, which houses Commerce, is also home to the famed Chile Pies Baking Co. Photo by Kelly Lack.

The revamped Guerneville Bank Club, which houses Commerce, is also home to the famed Chile Pies Baking Co. Photo by Kelly Lack.

PLAY
This, after all, is wine country, and Korbel’s lovely brick heritage estate is just up the road with rose gardens and generous pours of bubbly. Swing into Commerce Fine Goods (within the Guerneville Bank Club) for brass candlesticks, indigo linens, and air plants galore. For antiques, the Sonoma Nesting Co. is smartly curated by owners with an obvious eye for style. And since the town is right on the Russian River, you’ll want to spend at least a couple of hours sunning on Johnson’s Beach.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
Pop by coffeeshop-slash-café Big Bottom Market for a gourmet bag lunch (less bologna and mayo, more curry-chicken salad), then drive up the river to Forestville, where Burke’s Canoe Trips will arrange a lovely daylong canoe trip for you.

The magical Korakia Pensione resort is an utterly transporting escape unlike anything else you’ll encounter in Palm Springs, CA. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione.

The magical Korakia Pensione resort is an utterly transporting escape unlike anything else you’ll encounter in Palm Springs, CA. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione.

Romantic rooms conjure up the grand exotic beauty of Moroccan villas. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione.

Romantic rooms conjure up the grand exotic beauty of Moroccan villas. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione.

Palm Springs, CA

Some will say that the heyday of this sun-kissed oasis was when life resembled a Slim Aarons Palm Springs photo, all bouffants, big sunglasses, and Ol’ Blue Eyes on the radio. But we disagree. With an influx of great hotels and restaurants, a creative community putting a new spin on the past, and plenty of cocktail-fueled pool parties, Palm Springs is as much an adult playground as it ever was.

STAY
New to town is Arrive, which has all the absolute necessities from ping-pong to an ice-cream shop to nighttime movie viewing from the pool. And then there’s magical Korakia Pensione, which, breaking from the midcentury mold, is all sexy Mediterranean stylings with arched doorways and trailing bougainvilleas.

Midcentury buildings punctuate Palm Springs’ sprawling desert landscape. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Midcentury buildings punctuate Palm Springs’ sprawling desert landscape. Photo by Kelly Lack.

EAT
With its green velour banquettes, dashing black-and-white striped floor, and geodesic mirrored ceiling, Mr. Lyons is the sexier, better-dressed version of the Lyons English Grille that once inhabited the same space. But the old Lyons prime rib is still on the menu (along with pan-roasted rock cod, crispy brussels sprouts, and hamachi crudo), and martinis are still the play.

PLAY
Don’t let the town’s languid vibes coax you into a poolside cocoon from which you can’t rouse. For shopping, the Uptown Design District is burgeoning (a few great new restaurants have recently waltzed into the party too): The Shops at 1354 is a collection of permanent shops that buzz with as much excitement as a pop-up, and the vintage-clothing wonderland Yucca Valley is a worth-it day trip. For a bird’s-eye view of the Coachella Valley, sun-soaked and stunning, take the 10-minute aerial tramway up to its peak of 8,516 feet. Once there you can hike Mount San Jacinto State Park.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
Palm Springs is a time capsule of midcentury architecture—blocky buildings colored pastel and set off by soaring palms. Self-tour with a map from the visitors’ center, or let longtime guide Robert Imber show you around.

Breathtaking ocean scenes are just one of the highlights of a weekend drive along the Oregon Coast. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Breathtaking ocean scenes are just one of the highlights of a weekend drive along the Oregon Coast. Photo by Kelly Lack.

A perfect vantage point with a clear view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Photo by Kelly Lack.

A perfect vantage point with a clear view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Oregon Coast

Road-tripping the southern Oregon coast will make your two days off feel like a whole lot more. While everyone else is driving the California stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll be cruising traffic-free, pulling up to no-wait seafood shacks, digging your toes into the sand of heart-wrenchingly beautiful beaches, and considering asking for just one more day off. If you take the coast, the drive down from Portland to Gold Beach is about six-and-a-half hours of stunning scenery.

STAY
This is the land of small, sweet inns, where the owner remembers your name, cooks you breakfast, and offers you the kind of insider tips that make a trip. Perched cliffside near Yachats, the working 1894 Heceta Head Lighthouse is actually a B&B where you can stay overnight in the Queen Anne-style lighthouse keeper’s home. Or if you make it all the way down to Gold Beach in a day, the Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge is all high-low: rustic-chic charm with locavore cuisine and some rooms with outdoor soaking tubs.

The Queen Anne-style keeper’s home, also a homey bed-and-breakfast, adjacent the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Photo by Kelly Lack.

The Queen Anne-style keeper’s home, also a homey bed-and-breakfast, adjacent the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Photo by Kelly Lack.

EAT
Lincoln City’s Bay House has pinch-yourself views from a glass-walled 1937 building, Newport’s Local Ocean Seafoods buys its seafood from the boats anchored right out front, Ona Restaurant & Lounge is the Yachats restaurant the locals congregate at, and Bandon has a handful of tackle-shops-turned-cafés turning out rich chowders, just-shucked oysters, and fresh crab.

PLAY
No itineraries are needed—this is the place to drive at leisure, pulling over for viewing soits, grabbing a picnic blanket and hitting pocket beaches, taking short hikes, and utterly exhausting your camera battery. But know that Bandon Beach has striking rock formations, and between Florence and North Dune the landscape is dominated by otherworldly sand dunes.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
Once a private estate, Shore Acres State Park is a botanical garden right on the water filled with blooming roses come summertime.

Step inside Denver’s Union Station and make your way to the sweet flower shop in the high-ceilinged main hall amid cafés and stunning architecture. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Step inside Denver’s Union Station and make your way to the sweet flower shop in the high-ceilinged main hall amid cafés and stunning architecture. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Denver

Like a quaint mountain town that’s all grown up, Denver is coming into its own. There are the seriously sophisticated hotels. The game-changing restaurants. The straight-out-of-your-dreams shops. The whole city exudes as much cool as those snowcapped Rockies in the distance. And—sorry to say, Philly—but it’s always sunny in Denver. Three hundred days a year to be exact.

The facade of Denver’s theatrical Union Station, a historic landmark that was recently revitalized. Photo by Kelly Lack.

The facade of Denver’s theatrical Union Station, a historic landmark that was recently revitalized. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Mercantile, a high-low concept restaurant and market in Union Station, serves up elevated comfort food and seasonally inspired fare in a casual space. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Mercantile, a high-low concept restaurant and market in Union Station, serves up elevated comfort food and seasonally inspired fare in a casual space. Photo by Kelly Lack.

STAY
In a sleek building covered with wall-to-wall original art, The Art, a Hotel has a buzzy rooftop patio lit by twinkling lights and warmed, on those crisp Colorado nights, by fire pits.

EAT
The Source is like a food court gone swanky in a former 1880s brick foundry. Look left, it’s Mexico City-style street tacos and crisp cocktails at Comida; look right, it’s grilled octopus and smoked pork shoulder at Acorn; and straight ahead it’s artisanal coffee, brewery, and bakery.

PLAY
Tourist-laden but undeniably beautiful, Denver’s Union Station is more than worth a meander for the modern larder that is Mercantile Dining & Provision, the sweet flower shop in the soaring main hall, the kids giggling in the fountains out front, and the brand-new Plaza Beer Garden. Perfectly turned-out Queen City General Store is rock-and-roll, smudged eyeshadow, and just the right amount of fringe; it’s the kind of vibe-y place you wander into unaware and wander out hours later dreamily holding bags of curios, apothecary items, vintage textiles, and a new shirt for your fellow while contemplating your need for a peacock chair. As for art museums, the Clyfford Still (named for the abstract expressionist whose work it holds) is what locals will tell you to hit.

Get lost in Denver’s must-visit boutique, Queen City General Store, and its wide-ranging stylish offerings that span cool fashions to fab home furnishings and accents. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Get lost in Denver’s must-visit boutique, Queen City General Store, and its wide-ranging stylish offerings that span cool fashions to fab home furnishings and accents. Photo by Kelly Lack.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
Cupped by dusky, striated rock formations, the naturally formed Red Rocks Amphitheatre gives you epic live shows in a soul-stirring setting.

It’s time to make for Marfa, where the new place to be is the Hotel Saint George, a 55-room art-filled hotel and local hot spot ensconced in a converted 1930 stucco building. Photo courtesy of Hotel Saint George/Casey Dunn.

It’s time to make for Marfa, where the new place to be is the Hotel Saint George, a 55-room art-filled hotel and local hot spot ensconced in a converted 1930 stucco building. Photo courtesy of Hotel Saint George/Casey Dunn.

Marfa, TX

Maybe you’ve been to Marfa, in all its sun-baked, far-out, fiercely artistic glory, and stayed at the famed El Cosmico and checked out Prada Marfa, a recreation of a Prada store surrounded by nothing but desolate West Texas desert. Well, now you have a reason to go back.

The lobby of the Hotel Saint George is also the new home for local favorite Marfa Book Company. Throughout the hotel you’ll find hundreds of original art by regional artists, including works by Christopher Wool and Jeff Elrod. Photo courtesy of Hotel Saint George/Casey Dunn.

The lobby of the Hotel Saint George is also the new home for local favorite Marfa Book Company. Throughout the hotel you’ll find hundreds of original art by regional artists, including works by Christopher Wool and Jeff Elrod. Photo courtesy of Hotel Saint George/Casey Dunn.

STAY
The Hotel Saint George is the new kid on the block; it holds an epic art collection and the new location of the Marfa Book Company, a creative collective that’s part bookstore, part event space. You can also reserve the just-opened Faxonia, a retro-glam rental in a former church opened by the folks behind the Wrong shop.

EAT
The Marfa restaurant scene resembles a game of musical chairs with longstanding favorites such as the roving Grilled Cheese Parlour and Boyz 2 Men Tacos moving into new locations. Gorgeous, barnlike event space The Capri hosts various restaurant pop-ups depending on the weekend. Vietnamese Marpho is now slinging banh mi and pho. And the Saint George’s restaurant LaVenture is a stark, elegant affair with pops of art and French- and Italian-influenced cuisine.

If you’re seeking out a more adventurous, outdoorsy Marfa, check in at El Cosmico, the famed 21-acre wandering hotel and campground where you can stay in a yurt, a trailer, or your own tent. Photo courtesy of El Cosmico/Nick Simonite.

If you’re seeking out a more adventurous, outdoorsy Marfa, check in at El Cosmico, the famed 21-acre wandering hotel and campground where you can stay in a yurt, a trailer, or your own tent. Photo courtesy of El Cosmico/Nick Simonite.

PLAY
If Marfa were its first and Texas its last, Art would be the town’s middle name. It can be experienced at the Chinati Foundation, which has huge-scale works spread throughout 15 buildings across 340 acres. Another dynamite art space is Ballroom Marfa, housed in a converted 1920s dance hall. And the plugged-in folks behind Faxonia have started offering an engaging architectural tour of the city’s desert design.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
Mysterious “ghost” lights have been spotted hovering near the horizon southeast of the city for as long as even the old-timers can remember. Head out to the official Marfa Lights Viewing Area, nine miles east of town on Highway 90, to see if you can spy them yourself. As they say, “bring an open mind” (and we’d also suggest a bottle of wine).

A spot that captures the deep-rooted glamour of New Orleans, the Soniat House is a hotel occupying three 18th-century cottages that overlooks the city’s bustling French Quarter. Photo by Kelly Lack.

A spot that captures the deep-rooted glamour of New Orleans, the Soniat House is a hotel occupying three 18th-century cottages that overlooks the city’s bustling French Quarter. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Perfect mornings at the Soniat House start with fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits and coffee poured from an antique silver service. Photo by Kelly Lack.

Perfect mornings at the Soniat House start with fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits and coffee poured from an antique silver service. Photo by Kelly Lack.

New Orleans

On one hand, the Crescent City is awash in faded glamour presented, with a practiced curtsy, in the crumble of old buildings within the French Quarter and the euphoric traditions to which the city clings, from the pageantry of Friday lunches to the constant parade of parades. On the other hand, the city is experiencing a fast-building buzz apparent in the revamped art district, a spate of new hotels and restaurants (each seemingly better than the last), and an emergent artisan contingent.

STAY
Within New Orleans’s warehouse-turned-arts district you’ll find just-opened hotels doing things devastatingly right: The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery is nestled in three 19th-century warehouses, and everybody’s favorite hipster hotel chain, The Ace, strikes again in a handsome historic space. But if the “hot new [blank]” is not your bag, drop your bags at the classic Soniat House, where days start with fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits and the on-site antiques store makes a joke out of most hotels’ lobby shops.

The Caribbean Room in the revamped Pontchartrain Hotel is the talk of the town thanks to its star-chef-helmed menu, palm-laden interiors, and lush murals preserved as a nod to its former famed incarnation. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Room.

The Caribbean Room in the revamped Pontchartrain Hotel is the talk of the town thanks to its star-chef-helmed menu, palm-laden interiors, and lush murals preserved as a nod to its former famed incarnation. Photo courtesy of the Caribbean Room.

EAT
Things take a turn for the tropical at the Caribbean Room within the revamped Pontchartrain Hotel. Reimagined by celeb chefs John Besh and Chris Lusk, the restaurant drips in palm fronds, from the lushly patterned carpet to the hanging plants.

PLAY
Days are for wandering, sniffing out local haunts in the French Quarter and the trending Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods, stopping by Krewe du Optic for a pair of celeb-favorite sunglasses, unearthing gems at Greg’s Antiques, and saying cheers to cocktail hour at least a couple of times a day. Nights are for jazz played by old hands and new devotees alike on Frenchmen Street. There are certain places you should hit—Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and d.b.a. to name names—but drifting down the street drawn into venues by the music alone is really the way to go.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
The city’s subtle, sultry charms are best experienced by foot, especially around the Garden District, where you’ll want to play Peeping Tom to take in the mansions with their vine-covered trellises, gracious porches, and sumptuous gardens. Go it alone, or hook up with a tour operator such as Gray Line, which offers a more structured option that also includes Lafayette Cemetery.

If you’ve never been to Nashville (and even if you have), the place to drop your bags is Urban Cowboy, sister to the hip Brooklyn hotel of the same name. Photo courtesy of Urban Cowboy.

If you’ve never been to Nashville (and even if you have), the place to drop your bags is Urban Cowboy, sister to the hip Brooklyn hotel of the same name. Photo courtesy of Urban Cowboy.

Nashville, TN

So what if they canceled the show—the city for which it was named keeps getting better and better. It’s hip, soulful hotels, design-forward restaurants, modern-day general stores, foot-stomping honky tonks, and hallowed concert halls, all presented with an irresistible Southern swagger.

STAY
At the Nashville cousin of Brooklyn’s Urban Cowboy, the custom geometric woodwork is the first thing you’ll notice, then the tufted leather banquettes, well worn in a way that few things are. Then it’s off to your room, where it’s all about the sumptuous beds and the sit-soak-and-stay-awhile claw-foot tubs.

EAT
The hot tip is the hot chicken—Nashville’s signature spicy fried chicken—at Hattie B’s. Also good to have on your list is the Treehouse Restaurant, an upscale eatery partially situated in a jaunty tree house with a new chef whipping up inventive dishes that lean heavily on heritage veggies and prime cuts of meat. Also for dinner, Charleston transplant Butcher & Bee is doing locally sourced grub served with a wink (note the “Mmm… This Is a Tasty Burger!” cheeseburger) in a sexy industrial space. And when it comes time for a nightcap, Old Glory, in an old boiler room with 60-foot ceilings, is one of the most atmospheric drinking dens you’ve ever set eyes on.

With their open floor plans, big comfy beds, and claw-foot tubs for relaxing soaks at the end of a long day, the suites at Urban Cowboy play up a calm and cool vibe. Photo courtesy of Urban Cowboy.

With their open floor plans, big comfy beds, and claw-foot tubs for relaxing soaks at the end of a long day, the suites at Urban Cowboy play up a calm and cool vibe. Photo courtesy of Urban Cowboy.

PLAY
Nashville possesses more addictive, ruthlessly curated shops than you’ll be able to hit in a half-dozen trips, but you can’t go wrong with anything Holly Williams, namely her shops H. Audrey and White’s Mercantile. Also, drop by Two Son, the hip concept shop recently unveiled by James Kicinski-McCoy, the blogger babe behind Bleubird. Losing yourself to the sweet sounds of some country crooner is half the reason you come to Nashville, so catch a show at the 90-seat Bluebird Cafe or the Ryman Auditorium, both as legendary as their performers. Skull’s Rainbow Room, which has hosted Elvis and Johnny Cash, also recently reopened.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
Day-trip out to the nearby town of Franklin, which has one of those postcard-perfect old-timey Main Streets rarely seen outside 1950s sitcoms.

Portland, ME, is rivaling Montauk with its swirl of winning restaurants (like boundary-pushing Central Provisions), chic hotels (the Press Hotel, shown above), stylish shops, and scenic, easy-to-bike peninsular setting. Photo courtesy of The Press Hotel/Irvin Serrano.

Portland, ME, is rivaling Montauk with its swirl of winning restaurants (like boundary-pushing Central Provisions), chic hotels (the Press Hotel, shown above), stylish shops, and scenic, easy-to-bike peninsular setting. Photo courtesy of The Press Hotel/Irvin Serrano.

A wall installation of typewriters in the Press Hotel pays homage to the building’s former life as a newspaper office and printing plant. Photo courtesy of The Press Hotel/Irvin Serrano.

A wall installation of typewriters in the Press Hotel pays homage to the building’s former life as a newspaper office and printing plant. Photo courtesy of The Press Hotel/Irvin Serrano.

Portland, ME

Craggy, quirky, utterly charming, and wildly scenic, Maine is being called the new Montauk for all the clued-in New Yorkers drawn north by its charms, which include quintessential scenes (wild blueberry bushes, fresh seafood, picturesque towns), stylish new hotels, and newbie restaurants opened by veteran chefs. Ground zero is Portland, home base for your Maine weekender.

STAY
In an elegant stone building that housed the Portland Press Herald in a former life, the new Press Hotel has common areas filled with local art, sharp-dressed rooms inspired by 1920s writers’ offices, and an espresso bar, a cocktail joint, and a refined restaurant.

EAT
Central Provisions is winning at the small-plates game with Maine ingredients spun up in tapas presentations, while Duckfat takes a highbrow approach to lowbrow standards, offering the likes of poutines doused in “duck gravy” and gelato milkshakes. Drifters Wife is a darling wine bar tacked onto a wine shop. And one town over, in Yarmouth, the Royal River Grill House, decorated by Nicola Manganello of design firm and shop Nicola’s Home, is a sight to behold, from the basket lighting to the wingback chairs upholstered in French linens.

PLAY
Claim one of the hotel’s free bicycles and take a spin around the city, which is easily navigable thanks to its peninsular setting. Portland’s artistic bent is best experienced during the city’s First Friday Art Walks and in venues such as the Portland Museum of Art. And we can’t say enough about the shopping: Expect small shops with big style such as More & Co. and tons of antiques.

IF YOU WERE TO DO JUST ONE THING…
Rugged but refined Maine retailer L.L. Bean has an Outdoor Discovery School nearby. Hook up with it for kayaking trips around nearby (and heart-poundingly beautiful) Casco Bay, dotted with islands and frequented by whales.

Want more great getaway ideas?
Check out more of Kelly’s up-and-coming travel picks →

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

One Response to “8 Summer Getaways You Can Easily Pull Off in a Weekend”

  1. Otto Willis says:

    A great time to plan a trip to Guerneville on the Russian River is around 1st Friday Art Walk. We have over a dozen art & handmade goods related businesses, galleries and open studios. A chance to meet local artists, complimentary refreshments n nosh. During the afternoon you will find street artists & music buskers. Prime time is 5-8pm for artist receptions. You will find our banner and guide map out front of Sonoma Nesting co

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