When I have to get on an airplane, like all of us, I hunker down. I get out my battered Hartmann rollaway, from the days when wheels on suitcases were still new. If it’s a short enough trip to take just one bag and a purse, I put the laptop into a protective sleeve and slip it into the zippered compartment on the outside of my suitcase. Everything I need to access without fuss goes into my purse. My big purse. I buy water, magazines, gum, in the airport, and carry them on in the plastic bag from purchase. No one enforces the two bag rule on a flimsy white plastic sack.
If I am going for a long time, and need to pack so many shoes that my suitcase can’t fit the laptop, or traveling internationally, where by the time I clear immigration my bag will be on the carousel, I check the Hartmann, and carry a laptop bag and purse on board. Not to mention the white plastic bag. It’s quite handy.
That kind of travel is all about managing inconvenience. Sometimes, of course, I fall prey to the desire to look like someone with resources. Which can lead to designer goods battling each other on my person. But for the most part, I’m practical. Get to the destination without wanting to strangle myself, my fellow travelers, or whoever compelled me to make the trip in the first place.
Weekend travel is a completely different beast. Delicious. Constraints of convenience do not apply. And, when freed from convenience, style runs wild.
My weekend suitcase is from Mulholland Brothers. I like to throw it in the back of my car. The sound it makes hitting the trunk floor is so satisfying. I like the leather, brass hardware and latch, old fashioned shape. And, I confess, I like to look like I can afford my hotel. We have already established my flaws. Why on earth do I care what the bellhop thinks of my suitcase? Who knows. The thing is, this was a present from someone who has made their peace with my weaknesses. Suitcases, luckily, last a long time.
In the Bay Area, we have great weekend destinations. Right nearby in Napa, the Carneros Inn. A summer afternoon, pool, Sauvignon Blanc, a hamburger, sunscreen, vineyard views. If you’re willing to go further down the coast to stay at the most amazing place in the world, the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. Of course, it’s crazy expensive, but you can watch monarch butterflies flying 200 feet above the Pacific from your deck, and the vista extends over 180 degrees. Sierra Mar, the restaurant, is open to everyone. These days I just like to look at the pictures.
Don’t want to commit several mortgage payments to a weekend away? Me neither, these days. Just over the Santa Cruz mountains, in Half Moon Bay, is the Inn at Mavericks. Mavericks point is where crazy surfers ride really big winter waves. The hotel is just a little place with some bedrooms on the edge of the water. No restaurant, although there are several within small town walking distance. Also seagulls. Fog horns. You can pack your stuff in a brown paper bag and still, come night, sit outside on the deck, small bay waves below.