I don't know about you, but a long, relaxing summer vacation just isn't in the cards for me this year. After being laid-off and living on unemployment for several months, I still haven't made up for all the money I lost, and I'm still figuring out how to afford health insurance on my own now that I'm freelancing. Then again, I've gone for years without a real vacation, but this year I feel I need (and possibly deserve) it more than ever. While exotic destinations and romantic European tours are clearly out of my reach, it seems the airlines have been feeling my pain. While some companies and publications peddle "stay-cations" in light of recent economic crisis, those of us that have already spent plenty of time at home are looking for something to take us away.
It's just my luck that several airlines have caught on and are offering special deals on flights to major cities like Washington D.C., Chicago, and Atlanta, hoping to entice the bank poor such as myself to book a flight. Since I am more than happy to hit a city just to try the food, fares that low make it possible for people like me to book a few nights at a cheap hotel (or on a friend's couch) and take a culinary vacation (my favorite kind). While I won't be feeling the soft white sand under my toes or the glare of warm Mediterranean sun on my cheeks, I'll be plenty satisfied in my ability to sleep in and skip the continental breakfast, knowing that I have early lunch reservations at a fabulous new restaurant instead of an exhausting tour of monuments, ruins or a museum ahead of me. Not to mention the late dinner at that other critically acclaimed restaurant I'll have reservations for, only after a leisurely afternoon of coffee and tea at the city's latest bakery/tea house/cupcake heaven. If I'm lucky and not destitute by that point I can cap off the evening with a concert or late show, not that I'll care because I'll get to sleep in again the next day and continue to take in the city like a four star meal--at the slow and deliberate pace in which it should be absorbed.
I sound pretty convincing now, but surely the first mention of a co-workers vacation to the Maldives will eventually set me off into a depressive fit. But for now, rest assured that I will find a way to take a vacation from my stove, my job and my rapidly thinning wallet, to explore all that food has to offer within the confines of our wonderful nation (at least until round trips fares for international flights drop below 100 bucks). I don't quite have a time or destination picked out yet, but any food adventures of note will of course show up here. I'd love to hear any suggestions on where to to go and where to eat around the country by you, my fellow foodies. Will any of you be forgoing traditional beach vacations for a culinary tour, or other mini-vacations? Please do share, I'd love to know that I'm not alone!