Summer Road Trips: Every Man’s Nightmare

Is there a weekend getaway that will satisfy husband and wife?

“Every weekend we go to one of the same two restaurants at the Shore,” said my friend L., looking listless as we ate lunch. “Before we got married, we used to just jump in my car and start driving on a Saturday, and stay overnight wherever we ended up.” L. added that she’s been fantasizing lately about Jeep-ing her way through Sub-Saharan Africa. She’s guessing, though, that her husband will probably vote for Sea Isle City over South Africa.

Up at our house, goals are more modest for August: I’ve envisioned jaunts to the Liberty Bell, Chinatown, Lancaster County, and these great caves a friend just dragged her daughter to. But since the kids are also craving downtime and aren’t eager to schlep all over the place, I’ve realized I have to scale back on the plans and do one or two things that they’ll probably love, like visiting Eagles’ training camp and hitting an excellent ice cream stand in Bucks County. Among boys ages 11 and 13, road trips seem to be greeted with the same interest they’d feel toward, say, a full staging of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.[SIGNUP]

This weekend, I’m hoping to convince my husband that an hour’s drive to Lambertville would be a passport to incredible fun and adventure. Once a summer, I get obsessed with the idea of going to Lambertville, and John agrees, because he’s very sweet. One summer, I convinced him to do a double road trip to New York City and a Connecticut inn; he loved the New York part, but up in the countryside, it turned out there were no cell phone towers. Poor John reminisced glowingly about the great restaurants and shops we’d visited in SoHo while we roamed the woods near the inn, searching in vain for a signal on his Blackberry.

Then again, not all men resist road trips like a colonoscopy. Another friend, B., has spent the past few weekends in caves and white-watering her way down rivers on mini-trips devised by her husband. In their relationship, he’s the planner of Trips Only One Person Thinks Will Be Fun. She usually has a fine time, but would never have picked up a paddle without a nudge from him. I guess in every relationship, there’s one person who thinks spelunking in Lehigh County sounds like a blast, one who’s horrified by the idea, and you meet in the middle by driving to Lambertville for dinner.