Where to Go Labor Day Weekend: Fun Places Off of the Beaten Path
Here's the question of the year: What would be fun to do for Labor Day Weekend? It's a great question and I've got some great answers!
We all talk about the wonderful places we've visited and many times they are places that are full of tourists and are crowded. So instead of "beating the crowd" for the weekend, here are some "out of the way" places to visit that will fill this holiday weekend with memories for years to come.
For history buffs, this is the ultimate small town getaway filled with more history per square foot that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. St. Augustine, Florida is fast becoming an oasis for people looking for a weekend getaway. It's the oldest city in the United States, established in 1565 and located about fifty miles south of Jacksonville, Florida. One of the highlights of a visit to St. Augustine is The Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish fort which has never fallen to an attack in its history. There's too much to mention here but I will say the waterways are gorgeous and the shopping is unique!
Mount Dora, Florida is known as the "festival city" that boasts a spring art festival and a fall craft festival not to be beaten. This small town is between Daytona and Orlando to the west and has been called a "mecca" for antique hunters. Don't miss their boat shows and a yearly sailing regatta. The shopping in Mount Dora has an array of art galleries, boutiques, theatre and cafes in a quiet atmosphere for exploring this beautiful town.
Ah, to visit the wine country of California. Calistoga is located at the northern edge of Napa Valley. This small town has a relaxing atmosphere of vineyards, spas, great restaurants, excellent shopping and plenty of things to do. Most people have never been here, so it's still a quiet, peaceful place to uncork a bottle of your favorite Napa vintage and enjoy!
Located at almost equal distances from Boston, Massachusetts and New York City, Mystic, Connecticut is a ship lover's dream! This small town, established in the early 1600s was the hub for shipbuilding. Over 600 ships were built here and although its industry has changed over the years, you can find one of the world's largest exhibits of maritime photography and artifacts here at the Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America. While you're there, also visit the Mystic Aquarium, showcasing life in the deep. Mystic will provide a romantic getaway with plenty of entertainment, a great nightlife including casinos.
An old mining town in the San Juan Mountains called Silverton, Colorado will take you back to the gold rush days of the West. With beautiful lakes, clean air and the natural beauty that surrounds this mountainous area, this small town of 500 is friendly and
welcomes visitors. You can become adventurous and hike through the San Juan National Forest, the Weminuche Wilderness. There are thousands of acres of open land filled with recreational activities or quiet, whichever you prefer!
When you think of Henry Ford, what comes to mind? Cars, cars and more cars! For a car lover, this town is not one to miss! Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford's hometown, world headquarters of The Ford Motor Company and home of the Henry Ford Museum, is located just outside of Detroit, Michigan. A weekend tour of Dearborn should include Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, known as The Henry Ford. See the Wright Brothers Cycle Shop and one of Thomas Edison's laboratories. Looking amazingly like Independence Hall in Philadelphia, The Henry Ford Museum contains some of the world's most famous vehicles. One of the most famous cars is the Lincoln limousine that President Kennedy was riding in when he was shot, and this is only one of several presidential vehicles on display. A new IMAX theater has just been built and tours of the technologically new Ford Rouge Complex boasts a cutting edge manufacturing facility.
With beautiful rolling hills and valleys, this getaway spot is great just for the scenery, although there is much more to the village of Sugarcreek, Ohio. Home of the Ohio Swiss Festival held the fourth week after Labor Day, the diverse cultures of the Swiss, German and Amish lifestyles are here to explore. Sugarcreek is located northeast in the Tuscarawas Valley and is home to scrumptious regional foods such as cheeses, wines, bologna, the bratwurst sandwich
(a German favorite) and homemade Amish cooking. The Amish lifestyle here has been a major draw to this area for the last 10 years. You will see Amish buggies everywhere and get a glimpse of the Amish culture. You can also take a scenic train ride through the Ohio Valley area. There are many unique shops including Amish handcrafted wares and many bed and breakfasts to choose from for this adventure.
If you've never been to a small fishing village, Vermillion, Ohio is the place for a getaway. A small, quaint city along Lake Erie, Vermillion takes you back in time to simpler days, with a downtown filled with unique shops, including a soda shop where you can order any type of ice cream treat you can think of, including egg creams and sodas. Its beautiful little homes line a marina that juts out to Lake Erie. Visit the Seas Maritime Museum which is located in the former Wakefield Mansion whose theme is "Harbourtown 1834."
Beautiful horse farms line the roads outside of this small town called Paris, Kentucky, located outside of Lexington. In years gone by, tobacco supported the families of this farming town, and you can still see the old tobacco warehouse as you drive through Paris. Known for its beautiful scenic byways, horse farms and fantastic Southern hospitality and home-cooking, this small town is a great spot for a peaceful, quiet weekend. Paris is also known for its famous horse farm, Claiborne, where the thoroughbred racing horse Secretariat was bred and raised. Take a tour of the farm, see and pet the horses and take lots of pictures!
New Melle, Missouri is a village located just outside of the St. Louis area. With a population of 124 in the 2000 census, their downtown area is filled with quaint businesses. New Melle was named for a town in Germany, with almost 50% of their population being German. This is also an area for fishing, hunting, boating, swimming and horseback riding, with three state parks in the area. New Melle is near Defiance, Missouri, which is the historical site of Daniel Boone's last homestead.
Take a tour to see and learn about Daniel Boone's accomplishments in Missouri with tour guides in costume. Afterwards, stop by the New Melle Antiques & Tea Room for lunch. The Montelle Winery is also nearby for you to taste and learn about the local wines of Missouri.
It's a little like Mayberry, U.S.A. Good Hope, Alabama is a small town of around 2,000 people, with a quaint and interesting downtown area that has been renovated beautifully. Good Hope was established in 1962, so it's a fairly new area in southern Alabama that gives a true look at southern living here. Lewis Smith Lake is nearby, which is a great place for fishing, water sports, hiking and all types of weekend recreation. This scenic area is in the Appalachian plateau province and has many rolling hills and flat pasturelands.
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, is known for its abundant wineries, local farmer's markets, boutique shopping and dining in Old Town with gorgeous scenic landscapes along Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Old Town, lined with Victorian and Georgian architecture with waterfront parks and surrounding vineyards, is a must-see weekend adventure. Niagara-on-the-Lake was once Ontario's capital and is filled with historical sites including the Fort George National historic site complete with costumed tour guides. Another highlight is the Laura Secord Homestead, who was the famed heroine of the War of 1812. From April through December the Shaw Festival Theatre is well-known for its seasonal ongoing theatre festival.
However you choose to spend your Labor Day weekend, enjoy it!