October 15, 2012 by pfrancis207
An annual ritual of rampant rampantness, spring break (usually held within the first few weeks of March) has turned into a cultural phenomenon in the United States, thanks to such media outlets as MTV glorifying the partying culture of the beach getaway in March.
As a gentleman who enjoys his leisure time, I can say that spring break is generally a relaxing affair, as I’m the type who appreciates the company of family during this time of year (and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to boot). However, I can also say that, even if I was to go on a week long trip in March, Panama City Beach, Florida would probably not be my destination.
Nevermind the cost for a plane ticket these days, the cost to go to a vacation resort in Florida or the Caribbean is astronomical. Fortunately for you, my gentlemanly patrons, I have come up with a list of places to go, things to do and methods of transportation that are sure to lead to an enjoyable getaway from school.
– Known worldwide as “The Music City”, Nashville is the second largest city in the state of Tennessee to Memphis and an assured good time if you choose to make the march there in March. Tons of attractions to be seen and drank, as the city is home to hundreds of bars and honky tonks that will bring the country out of anybody (see my last post for my take on the importance of country music to the gentleman of today).
However, Nashville’s true value lies in two major attractions: The Grand Ole Opry and the Jack Daniel’s distillery in nearby Lynchburg.
For $44, you can snag a ticket for a night of country music unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Just one look at the calender of this legendary venue will give you all the convincing you need to reserve tickets for a show that week. Imagine sitting in the same concert hall where Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and anyone whose someone in country music history, played? Talk about Instagram gold.
And just a short hour and a half drive down interstate 24 and route 10 lay the holy grail for anyone who considers themselves a connoisseur of fine liquor, the distillery for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey in Lynchburg. Tours are given every 15 minutes from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM and are quite an arduous process, involving lots of outdoor walking. However, the pain is worth the pleasure because, for a nominal fee, you can sample the goods. And for anyone who appreciates home brewed luxury, it gets no better than this.
A large metro bus system enables visitors to Nashville the opportunity to access the city from the suburbs and near the airport, should you choose to fly in and lodge there. And Nashville’s proximity to the major east coast cities is closer than you think (800 miles/ 13 hrs from Philly, 886 miles/14 hrs from NYC, 1,110/18 hrs from Boston), making the drive roadtrip gold.
– If you like oceans more than dirt, and the idea of slamming beers with Brad Paisley and Brantley Gilbert isn’t appealing to you, Savannah, Georgia might be more of your bag. A beautiful coastal city in southeastern Georgia, Savannah is relatively small in size (about 160,000 people) but large on history.
For the scholarly gentleman, Savannah is a gold mine, as there are numerous civil war era forts and attractions that will satisfy any history buff’s lust for knowledge. Combine that with lots of interesting religious sites (including the First African Baptist Church, one of the first black baptist churches in the US, and Temple Mickve Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in the country), beautiful victorian architecture and some good ol’ southern hospitality, and you have all of the makings of a wonderful snapshot of the Southeastern United States, past and present.
However, most people go on spring break to get away from learning for awhile, and as such, want to find a destination in which they can let loose and avoid our good friend sobriety for a little while. And since any true gentleman likes to do so (responsibly), Savannah is a great town to chill on a long neck and warm up the band in.
Another advantage for Savannah as a spring break getaway is it’s rail access. For around $150, one could take a 14 hour train ride from New York to Savannah, which would take less time than driving and cost less. And for the American gentleman, cost efficiency is key.
– For those gentlemen out there who wish to enjoy an out of country spring fling, sharpen up your French and book a trip to Montreal, the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec, and the capital of the Francophone world in the western hemisphere (Montreal is the largest French-speaking city in the world aside from Paris, France). A huge city bursting with culture, excitement and innumerable gentlemanly pursuits, Montreal has all the makings of an amazing spring break, if you can stand the cold of course (average temperature in March is 30 degrees fahrenheit).
With a legendary bar scene (and a drinking age of 18), Montreal would be an ideal getaway for younger gentleman who want to enjoy the high life in a way that they cannot legally enjoy yet stateside. St. Catherine street, a major downtown artery of the city, is considered by many to be a snapshot of Montreal, as it is relatively close to the major educational institutions of the city (McGill University, Concordia University, Dawson College, etc), along with the Place Des Arts, the city’s biggest concert hall, among many other things going on in town.
Travel can be a challenge, as you’ll need a passport (something every gentleman should acquire if their funds are in order). However, the options for travelling into Montreal are numerous. Driving time is relatively short for New England gentlemen (only 5 hours from Boston), but travellers from New York and other mid-atlantic cities may be inclined to take the Adirondack amtrak line, which travels direct from Penn Station to the Gare Centrale in Montreal in 10 hours for around $60.
Two issues you may encounter during the trip, however. One, while you may not speak a word of french, it helps to have a small pocket dictionary or translator, as many street names and destinations are in French, and lots of folks in the city speak only french (only 56% of residents are fluent in English and French). Another issue is that, since the US dollar is doing poorly right now, the exchange rate is going to be less than anticipated once you cross the border, meaning that this could be a very expensive vacation for some gentlemen out there.
However, if money isn’t a concern and you are able to parlez vous francais with relative ease, Montreal would be a picturesque getaway for you and your swashbuckling band of international men of mystery this spring break.