Hipmunk Hotels: Venturing South of the Mason Dixon Line

Image by Mr.TinDC via Flickr.com

I have actually been south of New Jersey, I promise. I’ve even been all the way through Maryland, along the Chesapeake Bay into Virginia.

I’m terribly guilty of venturing around the world and completely ignoring what’s basically in my own backyard.

This is the year, though. This is the year for my exploration of America. I’m getting in my car and I’m driving past that horrible truck stop, South of the Border, and I’m going to keep driving. Okay, maybe I’ll book a flight.

Here’s where I’m thinking.

Grand Prairie, Texas

I want to go to Texas. I want to go to real Texas. A few nights in a hotel in Grand Prairie seems like the perfect introduction to this fascinating state. I can go to my first horserace, check out the lake which has a cute little beach, and shop Texas-style at Traders Village, an incredible market with over 3,500 vendors. It’s a place full of locals, people with stories to tell about life in Texas. Those are the people I want to meet, and maybe share a drink with at the local bar.

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond is a city I’ve wanted to explore for a long time. The boutique hotels in Richmond somehow manage to maintain an elegant historical exterior while filling the interior with modern and chic decor. There are top restaurants and amazing shopping as well as having loads of craft beer breweries within the city. It’s also full of civil war history, which this history-geek and her nerdy boyfriend would absolutely love. History and craft beer? When’s my flight?

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

Did you know Arkansas has hot springs? Me neither. You can check into one of the hotels in Hot Springs Village where they pump in the spring water or head to the lake to do some bass fishing. I’ve gotten Luke totally hooked on fishing, so it’s become one of our favorite outdoor activities when we go on vacation. Hot Springs Village is a town set amid the Ouachita Mountains where we could spend some time hiking. It sounds like the perfect outdoorsy getaway.

Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis is a beautiful city on the Chesapeake Bay. Although I’ve driven by it on the highway countless times on my way to visit my brother in Virginia, I’ve never spent a night in anAnnapolis hotel. It’s time that changed. You can get out on the water in a sailboat or simply rent a kayak. There’s a lot of post-civil war history here, too. Plenty to do indoors and out, an all-around winner.

Augusta, Georgia

When I searched Augusta, the first thing that came up was “what to eat in Augusta.” Any city known for its food is a city I want to visit. There are beautiful museums and galleries to explore, walking and cycling trails, and a river walk that looks like the perfect sunset stroll. There seems to be a strong art scene in the city as well, which would be really great to explore. The trouble is, how do you choose from all the great hotels in Augusta?

The US is a huge country. It’s full of amazing cities, beautiful landscapes, small towns full of character, and history that I’m yearning to learn. The trouble is, once I start visiting these cities, I’m not going to want to stop.

Laura Bronner

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