March 8, 2010

Best spots on earth

Dear Blog, since Davie was under the weather Saturday night, I spent three hours doing what I love to do best:  watching HGTV.  Well, not the best exactly, but it's definitely my fallback position. 

The evening's programming featured people either making over their homes to be the best spots on earth, or seeking homes that were the best spots on earth. So I got to thinking, if you really did live in the best spot on earth, would you ever want to leave it, Blog? One of the things I enjoy most about vacations is staying in beautiful, fun accommodations.  It's great to just live in a new environment for awhile. 

So I thought I'd share with you my Top Ten Places I've Stayed.  Think of you as a hotel hunter and me as Suzanne Whang, only for hotels instead of houses.  Bing-bong, it's "Hotel Hunters"!  Will we find the amenities we're looking for?  Let's start the countdown....

10.  Landmark Resort, Egg Harbor, Door County, Wisconsin, May 2005.

I won a weekend stay here by making a Jedi costume for my office Halloween competition.  Who says it doesn't pay to be a geek?  Lovely rooms, but mostly awesome (as is so often the case) because of the incredible view from our balcony.

9.  DeSoto House Hotel, Galena, Illinois, June 2004. 

This great, historic establishment was celebrating its 150th anniversary, and we our tenth. You see here the beautifully restored lobby.  It served as headquarters for Ulysses S. Grant's presidential campaign after the Civil War, and was host to Abraham Lincoln, too.  A great location right on Galena's main street. 

8. Illinois Beach Resort, Zion, Illinois, August 2008.

Now there's a whole lotta not a lotta stuff to do in Zion, Illinois, but the resort itself has great hiking trails and a terrific beach on Lake Michigan.  Room wasn't fancy, but it was nice, and the resort had a cute restaurant and an updated-60s feel.  This place mostly makes the list for the beach and (again) the fantastic view from our balcony.

7.  Crowne Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2007.

We did our INKYTNMO (Indiana/ Kentucky/ Tennessee/ Missouri) roadtrip on the cheap. However, I got an amazing rate on this upscale hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Beautiful place, excellent room...and then my daughters stepped out on the balcony to discover a little, er, big surprise: the view.  Here they are showing their shock and delight at seeing our pal Archie.  (Note Katie's patented "WTF" look, and Manzi's patented "cracking up at my sister" look.)

Come see the rest via the link below....

6. Sundara Spa, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, September 2005.

We splurged on one night at this terrific spa, and enjoyed all kinds of fun water treatments, healthy food, and a bed that was actually too comfortable. The grounds were gorgeous as you can see.

5. Church Hill Inn, Sister Bay, Door County, Wisconsin, June 1994.

We carefully scouted out the best (affordable) bed & breakfast for our honeymoon in DoCo, and this was it.  See the blushing bride aka me, totally digging having a window seat.  Better even than this beautiful room was the breakfast, which remains to this day the best I've ever had.

4. Abe's Spring Street Guest House, Galena, Illinois, October 2008.

This two-unit B&B (we stayed in Albert's Glen) was built in 1876 and renovated and decorated by the owners, a very talented artist and his wife (for example, he made the fireplace tiles). Abe's is gorgeous, unique and quirky, in a lovely part of town close to Main Street. Our hosts were delightful (and so was breakfast!).

3. and 2. (tie) Lynfred Winery, Roselle, Illinois, June 2009. 

We stayed in the American Suite at this beautiful winery and four-unit B&B, in honor of our 15th anniversary.  It's not cheap but worth every penny.  There is everything but a view here, but you don't need one, believe me.  The food, the wine, the private tour, and the absolute best service we've experienced anywhere...and, well, look at it!  I want to live there.

2. and 3. (tie) Vdara Hotel and Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 2010.

As you can see from the photo (it's dawn and Davie's asleep), it was again the view that made this place amazing.  That said, it was also beautiful, perfectly planned, and superbly comfortable.  The hotel was peaceful and elegant, in a great location.  And the service was superb.  Want to actually be able to see the room?  You're in luck, there's a video.

1. Point Beach State Forest, Two Rivers, Wisconsin, almost every summer 1961-77 and 2002-present.

I'm not gonna lie, it's truly my favorite spot on earth.  You see here Campsite 43, our perennial fave in the forest adjacent to Lake Michigan, where I have been camping since I was six. Now my daughters are 27 and 30, and they love it too.

So that's the top ten.  Not that I don't always love coming home again, Blog.  Quoth the girl with the scotty dog: "There's no place like home." Quoth the girl with a lunatic blog: "But some places are still pretty damn nice to visit."

Have a favorite spot of your own?  Please comment, and maybe share a link so Blog and I can see.


  1. The view from your MO hotel room looks awesome. How fun.

  2. It was breathtaking all right! And there was a rooftop pool with an even BETTER view too.

  3. Love the "whole lotta not a lotta" shout out ;) And that picture of Z and I in St. Louis RULES!

  4. I try to make use of the best of the vernacular of you young'uns. :-) And YES I love that picture! It so captures the sentiments of the moment, and it was a great moment.