Don’t get me wrong: this Examiner loves Mom, apple pie and fireworks as much as the next guy. I even get all warm and fuzzy at the site of those obnoxious roadside sparkler stands, where kids promise pleasures that may involve a severed thumb or two. Great American tradition.
Let’s get real: there are so many lovely places to go, countries where the real July holiday is Bastille Day or where America is just an average ’70s rock band.
Here are a few recommendations for where to go all Snowdeny and show that while you may have the national interest at heart, you prefer to go rogue this Fourth of July:
- Montréal: Bienvenue. This idyllic and historic city in Quebec (“Keh-beck”) is equal parts romance and adventure. Eco-friendly, quaint, elegant, vibrant and French couldn’t even begin to define Montréal. Come for Old Town but stay for downtown. Hit Festival de Jazz going on now thru July 7, or check out the glorious botanical competition Les Mosaïcultures through Sept. 29. You’ll forget all about those cheesy suburban fireworks in no time. Click here for a bevvy of recommended accommodations. Best bet: Air Canada for seamless booking and that bottomless glass of Merlot that seems to appear whenever the steward walks past.
- Cape Town: Located on the stunning southern African shore at Camps Bay, it may seem daunting but you can be here in just a day via London. Once here, spend some time taking in the rugged terrain, stunning water vistas, sea smells, and intoxicating sunsets. The culture is a mix of British-meet Busmen-meet tribal splendor, and the sustenance of the day comes from the area’s rich winery culture. A hand-me-down from the Huguenots, who settled the region. US travelers visiting for fewer than 90 days do not require a visa, according to the Cape Town web site. Check with your airline for regulations. Recommended: fly British Airways to London and then on to South Africa.
- Bora Bora: It’s adorable that they called it the Romantic Island, as if the others in the French Polynesian chain are a real turn-off. This seven-million-year-old island ensconsed by coral reefs boasts water so azure even Frank ‘ole blue eyes’ Sinatra would have felt inadequate here. Come to see Mount Otemanu (Monte Otemanu), an unnecessary exclamation mark to an already storybook setting. Cynics not welcome: Bora Bora’s a draw for not only Americans, but Brits and Europeans, Africans, Asians, you name it. Usually you could stay at Hotel Bora Bora, which in 1961 originated the stilts-over-the-lagoon experience, but as of this writing it’s closed for renovation. You’ll be just as happy visiting the Four Seasons, which followed suit and built its charming bungalows over the turquoise water. Choose an airline that will connect you with Air Tahiti; then obtain all local information regarding water taxis.
Enjoy your “un-Fourth” in style, everyone.
For budget fares:
Low-cost airfares: Expedia, Kayak and Travelocity
The Good Food & Wine Show has already traveled to Cape Town, but it’s coming next to Durban Aug. 8 through 11. This is a two-day drive, but well worth it should you wish to extend your trip.
Note: An earlier version said Cape Town was along Cable, not Camps, Bay. That would be incorrect: it’s New Zealand that is near Cable Bay.