Embrace the Mini Vacation

New York, New York in Las Vegas | Brian Trigilio

We live in the age of the short, the small, the quick and fast, the compact, the time-saving, the quickie, the: Mini.

Mini-cars—of course. Mini-me, of movie fame. Mini-ice cream portions from HaagenDazs.

The idea is to make life compact, like living in a Manhattan apartment. The idea is that a mini of anything can be as satisfying, as economical, as fulfilling, as a full portion of anything. In keeping with this train of thought and the cover photo of a mini-car, we offer a suggestion: Why not mini-vacations and mini-trips?

Really, isn’t it annoying to have to pack for two weeks and a lifetime, just to go to Paris or Mexico City for a couple of weeks?

Do you have to rack your brains about where to go, how much to take in and what to skip. Gosh, 14 nights in a hotel and a Broadway show are really going to get expensive.

Why not, instead, keep it short, direct and focused? Yes, you can.

Speaking of Mexico City (or elsewhere, like Dublin or Las Vegas), yes, you can keep it short and sweet. Pick your hotel, get picked up at the airport, and choose to do or see not 20 things but, say, only three things starting from your hotel in Mexico City. We live in the age of direct flights, and yes, you can get there fast, directly and come back just as fast, all in a matter of days, instead of weeks.
A mini-vacation in Mexico City just for two of you, can be focused, direct and surely romantic. Focus.
But then, you might be thinking that even with direct flights, there’s the frisking, the long lines, the food, getting in and out.

Why not haves a mini-vacation by car, like seeing the USA in your Chevrolet, or your high-mileage Mini or Mini Cooper, depending on how many people are coming.

Speaking of New York, you can drive there, or take a train and actually see one or two plays. Check out to see if “Spider Man” is really that bad or great and see the Disneyfied Broadway. Find Stage Deli, one block east of the Ed Sullivan Theater, or settle for Hello Deli, well know to Letterman watchers. Go to MOMA and all the great museums in New York, but remember that in D.C., they’re free.

You don’t have to go that far by car—quick trips for specific occasions are all around. We live after all in an area that’s inter-connected from D.C. to Baltimore to Northern Virginia and every town, village, city or neighborhood worthy of the name will have a party, a celebration, a commemoration, an anniversary or a festival at some point.

That includes the upcoming commemoration of the War of 1812, the Star-Spangled Banner and Francis Scott Key in Baltimore, a music festival in the Shenondoahs in July, a special arts and crafts festival in Reston, a yearly festival in Herndon, just to name a few. More than that, while Washington may have the upper hand in culture, the country side lacks in nothing for finding your way to the rich history of the area—from Colonial to Revolutionary to Federal days in Williamsburg (complete with nearby theme park), to the endless battlefield sites, or the joys of sailing near Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, home also to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Just go out into the country by car—stop overnight and discover the joys not of big city hotels but small town bed-and-breakfasts, where you can capture the flavor of a particular town, or area with an a one or two night stay. That’s why God made Mini-cars and local crab apples or crafts.

If the Nats are out of town, catch a ballgame or go to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The Orioles this year are hot for as yet unexplained reasons, and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are vying for last place for as yet unexplained reasons.

If you want to get really basic, go for a walk. That’s as mini as you can get.

In Washington, D.C., you can go for a walk—or take a bus, or run, or ride the Metro, and end up going around the world. This is a city in the middle of the month-long Passport D.C., still in progress, showcasing the world’s embassies which are a special feature for the city’s residents.

If you want to pretend to be traveling while staying at home—take the wife, husband, significant other, partner, to a downtown hotel and stay for a couple of days and explore your immediate surroundings.
Something’s always going on at the National Mall. The Folklife Festival is coming soon, for instance, and every museum has not only what’s good to know and seek but also special events, concerts, movies and lectures.

In Washington, it doesn’t hurt to act like a tourist, and then explore other neighborhoods in the city—the rising downtown, Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, the H Street Corridor and the revitalized 14th Street.

That’s a whole new concept of mini-travel: take a hike, as they say, and visit Georgetown and if you live in other parts of town. Walk there by way of Rock Creek Park, and then have a magnificent dinner or stroll along the canal.

Another quick mini—ride a boat to ports of call along the Potomac River—Old Town Alexandria, the Gaylord National and National Harbor.

In this town, you can get there from here. By direct flights, by train (I love New York if not Newark), by car beyond the Beltway, and by foot as far as they’ll take you.

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