Thursday, June 7, 2012

The list of love

The internet has made us all list crazy and I'm just as susceptible to checking out the latest goofy list as the next guy. Huffington Post Destinations recently had a piece about a list that was compiled by a dating site called Miss Travel, whose mission in life appears to be matching lonely, wealthy men with attractive women who in HP's words; want to explore exciting destinations but lack the means.

Since I'm neither an attractive woman nor a wealthy man, until now this site has slipped under my radar.

Anyway, according to HuffPost, more than 20,000 trips across the United States have been either taken or planned through the site, and Miss Travel has put together a list of the twenty top destinations for these romantic getaways.

You probably can guess that some of the destinations, as well as some omissions are shall I say, surprising.

Typical for lists such as these, this one starts at the bottom and works its way to the top. Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list, the 20th most popular destination for wealthy men and attractive women of limited means according to Miss Travel is, drum roll please, Cleveland, Ohio. Getting past the burning river jokes and its unfortunate moniker; "The Mistake on the Lake", Cleveland is still a pretty cool city with lots going for it. I just never thought of Cleveland as particularly romantic, maybe I missed something. Granted, according to Miss Travel anywaythere are 19 more popular romantic getaways in the States, but there are lots of places in the United States that are less romantic than Cleveland. Who would have thought?

Take Niagara Falls for example. Niagara Falls used to be THE destination for honeymooners back in the day, my parents in fact went there on their honeymoon. Of course that was over 50 years ago and times have changed. Niagara Falls sadly didn't make the cut.

Number 19 on the list is Sedona, Arizona. With its spectacular red sandstone rocks glistening in the late afternoon sun, Sedona is truly one of the loveliest places imaginable. Had it not been so darn complicated, my wife and I would have gotten married in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built high into the rocks overlooking the glorious Central Arizona landscape. If that weren't enough, Sedona is the Harmonic Convergence and Crystal Capital of the world making it essentially the Vatican for New Age spirituality. I'm surprised it didn't finish much higher on the list.

Thinking about Sedona made me think of another goto place in Arizona that along with Niagara Falls, is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, The Grand Canyon. Alas like Niagara Falls, The Grand Canyon didn't make the list.

The list is heavily weighted toward large cities. Other than Sedona, the only other places on the list with populations of under 150,000 are Santa Barbara, and Napa Vally, CA. Apparently if you're going on a trip with a complete stranger, there's comfort in big numbers.

Sun Belt cities are well represented on the list but not as much as I would expect. Florida alone has three, Tampa (number 18), Orlando (number 8), and Miami (number 3). Texas has two cities that I wouldn't consider at all romantic, Dallas (number 12) and Houston (number 17), while Austin which constantly rates as one of the hippest cities in America, didn't make the list. I guess sipping a Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Vally (number 11) is more romantic that throwing back a PBR in Austin. I was amazed that other large Sun Belt cities like Atlanta, Santa Fe, Phoenix and Tucson were also shut out of the list.

California, not surprisingly is the state with the greatest number of romantic places. In addition to Napa Valley and Santa Barbara (number 9), were San Diego (number 13), Los Angeles (number 7) and San Francisco which would be number one on my list of romantic American cities, but on this list finished only in fourth place.

I must say that my faith in the human race was restored as Chicago, which lost its claim to being this nation's second city (in population) years ago to LA, beat out Tinseltown, coming in at number 5.

So what is the number one romantic destination according to Miss Travel? Well I would have guessed New York City, and would have been wrong.

New York City finished second to, ahem, Las Vegas.

So much for my faith in the human race.

Here's the entire list, this time from top to bottom:
  1. Las Vegas
  2. New York City
  3. Miami
  4. San Francisco
  5. Chicago
  6. Honolulu
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Orlando
  9. Santa Barbara
  10. Washington D.C.
  11. Napa Valley
  12. Dallas
  13. San Diego
  14. Boston
  15. New Orleans
  16. Philadelphia
  17. Houston
  18. Tampa
  19. Sedona
  20. Cleveland

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