Sure, by the time you read this the government could be up and running. But there could also be snow on the Equator and martian antennae growing from my skull.
So why not plan on taking your mind off all things Boehner and Barack and get thee to Expedia? For October isn't just the month to carve a pumpkin and throw on the witch hat; it's the time to plan your winter or early spring getaway. Prices are the cheapest if you fly January or February so grab your passport, your sweetie and your parka, and find your carpe diem.
Here are five fabulous getaways:
- New York City - or as the locals call it, just "New York". If you want to be fancy, say Manhattan. Don't just hob nob amongst the tourists in Midtown, but venture out to Soho, take a subway up to the Upper West Side (UWS), venture into Harlem and throw back some martinis in DUMBO (Brooklyn). For you new in town, that would be Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Soho top spot: Puck Fair on Lafayette for some fine Irish atmosphere, including some Guinness Fish & Chips.
- Paris - oui, bien sur. It's lovely to fly over in late January, walk along the Seine and stop to sip a cafe au lait. Every block is memorable, from the first inhalation of freshly baked croissants in the morning to that loud horde of smoking teens whizzing by you on scooters at night. Don't expect to take the Metro too late at night, though (this Examiner ended up walking about five arrondissements one summer when she made that mistake, and couldn't find a cab.) Don't make the mistake of taking a taxi without knowing your destination, as they may take you for a ride - in Paris, the cabbies are paid by the minute, not by the mile (made that mistake, too.) But enjoy the wash of color, the symphonic lilt of a city so rich you'll be scooping it up in metaphors.
- Cheyenne, Wyo. is a little like a still from a western. You won't believe you're in the same country that produces traffic jams, government shutdowns and Kardashians when you find it. Hop off I-80 as I did, even if your car didn't break down or you aren't running from the law. Sure, some might say there's not a lot to do here, but those are the same people who'd shop on Thanksgiving. This sweet spot punctuates a trip to Jackson Hole or even point further east. Wyoming, with its red hills and rodeos, has earned its award as one of America's Best Places to Live in the West (2009, Cowboy Magazine). If you come back in July, make sure to hit Cheyenne Frontier Days, pardner.
- Tarbert, Ireland and its neighboring village, Glin, is pure storybook. Fly into Shannon and take a car out through the winding, verdant hills. A green so vivid you'll imagine it's been colorized. But no, this is about as far from phony as you'll ever get. Wander into a pub and meet the locals, from pig farmers to old-fashioned gentlemen. Eat some mushy peas and enjoy a tall Guinness. Ladies, try not to go in alone, though. It's frowned upon. Recommended lodging includes any number of fine B&Bs. You can't go wrong: everyone is friendly, the music is always playing and the food is delicious. You'll see several castles as you criss-cross the countryside.
- Chicago, where President Obama calls home and Oprah once broadcast a popular show. Here in the heart of the Midwest you'll find a beautiful lake (looks like the ocean), friendly people, an excellent fertility clinic, spectacular hot dogs and a million other delicacies. This is the New York for someone who likes easier-going people and a stronger winter punch (note, don't travel here in Jan. unless you like blizzards...wait till Spring). You must see the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, and highly recommended is the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, a prestigious institution that recently produced two Nobel Laureates.
Tip: Avoid even thinking about traveling to DC right now, unless you're being paid to do so. You want a vacation, not an ulcer. Hopefully, by cherry blossom season, it'll all be put to rights.