STATES UNITED print by beauchamping

My family is pretty serious about gift giving. When I was a little kid, getting ready for any gift-giving opportunity - whether it be Christmas, a birthday, or Mother's Day (HINT) - meant crafting long lists of possible gifts and their corresponding prices...pre-401(k) I was limited to my kid-size allowance, and budgeting was key. Now I have Google Docs and a slightly higher budget, but the main theme is still the same: it's not about the cost or the quantity, it's the feeling behind the gift that really matters. We always value experiences over tangible goods, and everything is given with a story.

Mother's Day is on Sunday, and instead of a mug that says "World's Best Mom" (even though she is) or yet another home spa kit with lotion and bath salts (that one I might get for myself), show your mama how much she means to you by spending the day together. I've compiled a list of great locales all over the country, so you have plenty of ideas on how to treat your mom to a day with her favorite child - c'mon, you know it's you.


There's nowhere else in Los Angeles that does a better job of blending art & history in a beautiful setting than the Huntington Library. Admire works of art like Pinkie & Blue Boy, the Brangelina of the art world, or stroll the gardens taking in the California sun. You even have your choice of tea rooms if you need a snack - a Western setting in a rose garden, or a Chinese tea house with a fabulous Cantonese menu.


D.C. is a beautiful city, but sometimes you need something a little more bucolic for true relaxation - treat your mom to a day of wineries in Loudon county, about an hour outside D.C. Virginia's coming up in the American wine world, and the rolling hills of the Commonwealth countryside are on par with Napa's views. Many wineries have at least cheese and crackers for sale to go with your tastings, and do you really need anything more?


Pull a Ferris Bueller and play hooky for the day at the fabulous Art Institute of Chicago. Current exhibitions range from Byzantine mosaics, Andean paintings, Irish cultural collections, and...puppets. After your cultural excursion (maybe skip the puppets), head to The Gage for a thoroughly modern gastropub experience. Make sure you try the venison burger - sorry, Bambi.


Historic Concord

This one goes out to my own mom - she and my dad did a lot of traveling on the east coast while I was in college in Virginia, and they loved touring historic properties all over the south. Take your mom on a beautiful walking tour of historic Charlotte or nearby Concord - you'll pass by house museums and cafes, retail opportunities and so much history. It's perfect for a day of hanging out and enjoying each other's company.

Can't be there in person on Sunday? Send your mom a card from inkly, an app that takes your handwriting and digitally places it in a card, prints and sends it to the location of your choice. Up the ante by avoiding the big box florists (and make your siblings look bad) by sending flowers from BloomNation, which pulls up reputable local florists from pretty much anywhere in the US.


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