Last week, I asked for help generating ideas for a women-only weekend away. Thank you to the many who responded. The greatest thing about your suggestions? They'd work well for couples, families — and groups of friends, no matter the gender.

Denver, New York City, Albuquerque and others came up. But one city dominated: Charleston, S.C. (Read all of the recommendations at

Here is part of an e-mail from Mary Blankenship, of Anoka. Her praise of Charleston was the most informative and persuasive of the bunch: "It is a beautiful, very compact, walkable city. The streets are filled with picturesque homes, gardens and American history. In the early days Charleston was one of the four largest cities in the country and the center of wealth and culture. Signs of this still remain. Walking tours abound as do horse-drawn carriage rides and culinary tours. The food is to die for and most restaurants have hidden garden patios. Sightseeing cruises in the harbor and to Fort Sumter are available. Shopping can be high-end, or handcrafted at the extensive market. There is an aquarium and museum within walking distance … [Nearby] are plantations with gardens that are indescribably beautiful in early April when the azaleas are in bloom. The climate is mild all year, though quite humid in summer. The only downside is that I'm not aware of any nonstop flights to Charleston."

As for the woman who initiated this all by asking for my recommendations: She and her friends are homing in on Austin, Texas, informed in part by an article written by Star Tribune music critic and frequent Austin visitor Chris Riemenschneider. Find it here:

Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.