I’ve been a fortunate traveler this year, with jaunts to New York City, San Francisco, and Florida, as well as southern France. And I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to see the world for, well, the world. But the glory and adventure of sunbathing on Miami Beach, or spotting Martha Stewart in a Mission District bakery, or spending the night in a Le Corbusier–designed hotel are tempered by the hassles of long-distance travel: the alarm clock set for 4:45 a.m., the epic JFK security line, the ever-so-culturally appropriate Air France strike. Not to mention the anxiety of navigating unfamiliar systems or languages (my husband and I still laugh about the time I thought I was making arrangements to stay in a Provençal farmhouse when my phone skills had, in fact, taken me no further than our current host’s front desk).
By the time Minnesota summer hits its peak, my ideal destinations are those within the reach of a regional road trip. Instead of lugging a duffel or dragging a suitcase, I can pack as recklessly as I want so long as it fits in the trunk. There are no scheduled takeoffs or landings, no shoe removal or pat downs. Serendipitous pit stops are welcome.
If you’re looking to set your compass toward inspiration, our choice for 2015’s Vacation of the Year (p. 56) couldn’t be a more appealing spot. With a quirky mix of natural beauty, creature comforts, and historic nostalgia, it’s a site special enough to attract visitors from across the country. It’s a destination that, writer Tim Gihring explains, stirs one to grander ambitions. “If you didn’t have places like this to go on vacation, you would only have what you need, not what you want, and never
resolve to ride horses or read Unbroken or eat more maple syrup,” he writes.
It been far too long since I’ve made the pilgrimage to what has long been one of our state’s most sacred spots. Reading Gihring’s piece, I was primed to pack a couple bottles of something that goes with popcorn and strap the Wenonah to the roof of the car, as he instructs. Every Minnesotan should get this vacation on her bucket list—or carve out time to cross it off again.