10 great places for memories with Mom

ByUSA Today
May 7, 2009, 7:21 PM

— -- Take Mom on a getaway for Mother's Day and the memories will keep on giving long after you return. Marybeth Bond, author of 50 Best Girlfriend Getaways, (gutsytraveler.com), and her 91-year-old mother often reminisce about the rafting trip they took together 20 years ago. Bond shares her choices with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY.

AlexandriaVirginia "This chic town is steeped in history," Bond says. "You can walk everywhere or ride on the free trolley" in Old Town. Moms can have their photo taken with Martha Washington at the Spring Garden party she's hosting at her home, Mount Vernon, 8 miles to the south. The event includes a tour of the house, wagon rides through George's orchard, heritage gardening seminars and a free seed packet. 800-429-1520, mountvernon.org

Door County Wisconsin "Three hundred miles of coast with dunes and historic lighthouses surround this 75-mile peninsula between Lake Michigan and Green Bay," Bond says. "Often called the 'Cape Cod of the Midwest,' there's great antiquing, art, food and outdoor fun." Everyone else in the family can get creative with paint, glass, metal, wood and clay at Hands On Art Studio, housed in a converted barn. All skill levels welcome. 888-868-9311; handsonartstudio.com

AustinTexas "Unwind with Mom in this ranch-style setting amid the rolling hills of central Texas," Bond says of the area's Lake Austin Spa Resort. "Attend lectures or exercise classes in the Treehouse or on the yoga dock." Among the many classes in the spa's Discovery Program, you can learn the art of gardening, healthy cooking or de-stressing techniques. Guilt-free gourmet meals incorporating vegetables from the property's organic garden make this feel like the Garden of Eden. 800-847-5637; lakeaustin.com

Quebec CityQuebec, Canada "Canada is a bargain again with an exchange rate favoring the U.S. dollar," Bond says. "A vacation here feels like being in France. Mom will love Old Town's vibrant street life and boutique shopping." Fairmont's Le Château Frontenac, an iconic hotel, is offering a 'Pamper Mommy! Package,' and it includes Mother's Day brunch at Le Champlain restaurant overlooking the St. Lawrence River. 800-441-1414; Fairmont.com/frontenac

Canadian RockiesAlberta, Canada "Share your love of mountains, wildflower meadows and pristine backcountry, the glamorous way," Bond says. "Have a helicopter drop you off at a remote mountain lodge, then use it as a base to go hiking in the Canadian Rockies on a summer heli-hiking adventure you will always remember." Run by Canadian Mountain Holidays, the lodge, exclusive to you and 40 other guests, features a cocktail hour and communal meals. 800-661-0252; cmhhike.com

LitchfieldConnecticut "There are no billboards or burger chains in this lovely New England town," Bond says. "You will find 18th-century homes, garden tours and daily vespers, open to the public, at the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis, all within a two-hour drive of New York City." On Saturday, Wisdom House Retreat, a 54-acre interfaith retreat and conference center, offers "Writing from Memory: For Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Friends." The panel lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., costs $41 a pair, and includes lunch (reservations required). 860-567-3163wisdomhouse.org

San Francisco BaySan Francisco "The springtime sunshine and promise of always finding something exciting to do make this city a great destination," Bond says. "Stroll the neighborhoods of North Beach, Fillmore, Chestnut and even Haight-Ashbury." Multi-generations of families can take Mom on a Hornblower brunch or dinner dance cruise around San Francisco Bay and be free to enjoy views of the city from the waterfront, see the Golden Gate Bridge up close, cruise along the Sausalito coast and around Alcatraz Island. 415-391-2000; onlyinsanfrancisco.com/taste

CharlestonSouth Carolina "There is so much to do in this easygoing city," Bond says. "There are spring garden tours and historic house tours as well as great nightlife. Take in the dazzling harbor view from the rooftop bar at the Market Pavilion Hotel." "Piccolo" means "small" in Italian, and Piccolo Spoleto is a Southeast-focused arts festival that runs concurrent with the international Spoleto USA (May 22-June 7). Many of the events are free. 843-853-8000; Charlestoncvb.com

AshlandOregon "Don't be fooled by this laid-back town, with pioneer-era buildings, Victorian houses and an outdoor Elizabethan theater," Bond says. "There are sophisticated B&Bs, top-notch dining options and fun art galleries. Ashland is not a physically demanding town, making it great for multi-generational family trips." The season (February-October) of 11 theater performances with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival includes something for every mood, from Macbeth and The Music Man to Dead Man's Cell Phone and Much Ado About Nothing. 800-219-8161; Osfashland.org

SeattleWashington "When the sun shines, the majestic beauty of Puget Sound will make you think you've found paradise," Bond says. "Take the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for the best views of the city skyline and the mountains." Enjoy tasting bliss on a Savor Seattle Food Tour. Try coffee-braised short ribs atop the Space Needle, sample mochachino cheesecake and ride the Seattle Monorail on the new Coffee Bites & Sights Tour." 888-987-2867; SavorSeattleTours.com