Don’t forget your mom!

What's that? That's a freaking Azalea Topiary, that's what that is.No matter where you’re traveling this May 10th (cough cough that’s Mother’s Day), it’s easy to send flowers to your mom and any other moms in your life who are special. You don’t even have to call 1-800-FLOWERS, you can just go to 1-800-FLOWERS.com.

They’re making it extra easy this year with their Spot a Mom project. Moms are divided into types like New Mom, Green Thumb Mom, Foodie Mom, Pet Lover Mom, and so on. Just pick your mom’s type and they’ll recommend a bouquet.

Also on spotamom.com, you can submit stories about moms you know for a chance to win the daily $100 gift certificate prize. And, if your story is picked, you might even win a Beaches Resorts trip to Jamaica or the Turks and Caicos — just get lots of people to vote for you.

Don’t. Forget. Mother’s. Day. Yes, you can order this far in advance. Do it now.

Bring mom to flowers for Mother’s Day

Several botanical gardens are having Mother’s Day events this Sunday. One of the advantages of going to a botanical garden, I’ve found, is that they usually have wonderful gift shops that are perfect places for picking up that last minute present.

If you’ve forgotten to buy your mother a gift, when she’s not looking, perhaps, when she’s basking in the fragrance of a floral paradise, slip into the shop to buy her a little something. Since the wedding season is upon us, pick up a wedding gift as well. Here are the first 10 botanical gardens I came across that listed a Mother’s Day happening. Nine are in the U.S. and one is not.

(This photo is from a tribute to redbuds and mothers at the Children’s Garden at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. My mom taught me to love redbuds too, so I thought this fitting.)

  1. Botanical Conservatory, Ft. Wayne, Indiana: Free admission and enjoy the butterflies besides.
  2. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine: Free admission to moms and there’s a special brunch. While your mom is eating, slip out to buy that gift.
  3. Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Cleveland, Ohio: Like the Web site says, the redbuds are in bloom and they’re gorgeous
  4. Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, Belmont, North Carolina: Moms get in free with a paid admission and the first 250 moms get a potted plant.
  5. Denver Botanical Gardens, Denver, Colorado: The Mother’s Day brunch is sold out but you can bring your own picnic.
  6. Fernwood Botanical Gardens, Niles, Michigan: Enjoy music, food and a plant sale.
  7. Huntsville Botanical Gardens, Huntsville, Alabama: Moms can get a hydrangea, as long as they are available. There’s a dinosaur theme going on, but this has nothing to do with your mother.
  8. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, Virginia: Free family photo for moms while supplies last and free plants to the first 500 moms who come.
  9. Tuscon Botanical Gardens, Tuscon, Arizona: Mom might like to learn about the dinosaurs here as well.
  10. And one not in the United States: Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. If you took your mother to Australia for brunch, would she be impressed.

If you take your mother somewhere else on Sunday–or if you are a mom–ask for a discount. I got into a museum for free in Lugang, Taiwan once on Mother’s Day because I could claim motherhood. The museum gave me a rose as well. The one catch is, I think you probably need to have your child with you.

One for the Road: Chat with “50 Best Girlfriend Getaways” Author

We’ve looked at a variety of travel books this week that focus on moms who move — for fun, for survival, for family. To wrap things up, I thought it would be nice to have an actual chat with a travel-loving writer mom. A few days ago I spoke with Gutsy Traveler Marybeth Bond, author/editor of several women-focused travel books, including two specifically written for moms: Gutsy Mamas and A Mother’s World.

We chatted about Marybeth’s newest book, 50 Best Girlfriend Getaways in North America, which contains 70 stories and dozens of “female friendly” travel ideas. Chapters are centered around significant passages in the lives of women: where to celebrate special birthday bashes, where to embark on a true adventure vacation, and the ideal locations for healing after a relationship has ended.

I specifically wanted to ask Marybeth about mother/daughter trips and the chapter on “Family Bonding”, although almost any of the book’s suggested itineraries could work for moms and daughters who want to get away. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Can you share with Gadling readers some of the places you suggest as ideal locations for mothers and daughters to visit together?

Charleston, South Carolina is an easy city, with wonderful museums and gardens to explore. Hiking hut to hut in Aspen, Colorado is another excellent option. And the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon is a great choice. In the book, I feature a group of women from three generations of the same family who gather to enjoy the festivities together. Some other suggestions include an Alaskan cruise or a visit to Boston, MA, and there are stories and travel tips included for all these locations.

What is unique about the mother-daughter travel bonding experience?

The parent-child paradigm shifts. As the physical location changes, so too does the way in which mothers and daughters relate to each other. And this happens regardless of age — a change in surroundings definitely impacts mother/daughter interactions, and most often, for the better. These trips can be nourishing for the souls. What you want when you travel with your daughter or your mother is lots of unstructured time to talk. The longer you’re together, the deeper it will go.

In the book, you include several personal travel tales about trips taken with your mom. Can you share some additional details about your own mother/daughter travel adventures?

I live in California, and my mom lives in Ohio, so we don’t see each other often. Besides this, even when we do visit with each other, we never have alone time — there is always another family member around. So there existed between us both physical and emotional distance.

My mother had always dreamed of rafting the Grand Canyon. This trip was a chance for us to regenerate and reconnect. My mom, 68 and suffering from arthritis, climbed right along with me on a 9-mile hike in 100 degree August heat. We also camped along the river and slept outdoors without a tent, a first for my mother. To take this trip, just the two of us, was a rare gift.

What about trips with your two daughters?

Several years ago the three of us did a camping trip by horseback with a native Navajo guide. And we’ve taken countless spirit-boosting road trips.

This July, my 16-year-old and I will be participating in a Mother/Daughter Rafting Adventure on the Lower Kern River in Sequoia National Park. (There are still spots available for anyone interested.) During the trip, I’ll be leading separate half-hour workshops for moms and daughters that focus on unique ways to capture memories from the special travel experience.

What’s up next? Will there be additional books featuring more Girlfriend Getaways?

Yes, a similar selection of girlfriend travel adventures focused on European locations is due for release in March 2008.

Excellent — Thanks for taking the time to talk more about your book and your own mother/daughter travel experiences. Have a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Marybeth Bond’s 50 Best Girlfriends Getaways in North America ($15.95; National Geographic) was published in March 2007.

One for the Road: Bold Spirit

Sometimes I get to read the One for the Road books that I mention before writing about them here at Gadling. Other times, I simply share basic info about a book that I think may appeal to some of our readers, without having read it myself. I know that not every book mentioned will interest all — frankly, some don’t even interest me, but I try to offer up a mix that hopefully resonates with a variety of Gadling readers.

Today’s book is one that personally peaks my interest, and will be added to my own “want to read” list right away. It’s a book that I wish I had read before telling you about it, but since it fits nicely with our weekly Mother’s Day theme, now is a good time to share it with you: Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America is a captivating true story of a mother and daughter who walked across the US in 1896. Helga and her daughter Clara traveled by foot from Spokane to New York, hoping to win a $10,000 prize that was essential for the survival of her family’s farm.

The story of these two women was lost for many years, because no journals, letters or personal accounts of their trip were saved. But author Linda Lawrence Hunt pieced together as much of the story as possible through careful research and compilation of newspaper articles. The result is a moving tale that has received warm reviews. I’m quite eager to get my hands on a copy of this one, and imagine that other readers with an interest in courageous female travelers may be drawn to this extraordinary mother/daughter travel tale.

One for the Road: Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children

I think it’s safe to say that Maureen Wheeler is the mother of the modern-day travel guide. Her publishing partnership with husband Tony has created a company that continues to inspire, guide and connect travelers worldwide.

Through the years, Lonely Planet has introduced all sorts of creative travel titles, in addition to their traditional shoestring guides. One of these alternative guides is Travel with Children, which Maureen originally wrote back in the 1980’s. On the most recent 2002 edition, she teamed up with author Cathy Lanigan.

The result is a practical guide for parents on how to have meaningful travel experiences with children, whether toddlers or teens. Besides the usual particulars (tips on packing, planning and prep), this handy guide includes advice on breastfeeding, pregnant travel and on-the-road health. The country profiles, while useful, receive poor marks from some reviewers as not meeting the level of detail expected from the LP brand. But they do feature the best kid-friendly sights and educational opportunities in some less obvious family destinations like Bhutan and Cairo. There’s also a little first-hand advice from the Wheeler’s well-traveled kids, Kieran and Tashi.

Although mom might want a vacation FROM the kids on Mother’s Day, this book has the potential to make her and dad look at family travel in a whole new way.