As lockdowns are lifted, getting the green light to resume activities is bound to impact each of us differently. Just because we’re told it’s ok to sally forth doesn’t mean that our sensibilities and comfort level will be ready. When we board that first post-pandemic flight, where will it be? Might take some time. Rather than delay, let’s stay-cay. America The Beautiful is calling…road trip! Let’s wander without leaving home. With countless attractions in easy reach, short hops are gaining appeal. What better time to explore the bounty within our borders?
While my perusal virtually continues, scoping out old and new areas of interest, here are a few pearls to ponder, a mere tankful of gas away for many of us. Consider these hidden gems in the months ahead, refreshing holidays with drivable options along and between both coasts.
Alabaster cities gleaming ~ Looking for history and charm? Make the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel your harborside home, a convenient base for exploring Maryland’s capital which proudly sparkles as our nation’s sailing mecca. Fresh catch and native crabs served in every style imaginable await your plate in nearby restaurants. The US Naval Academy, boutique shopping, including local pottery and crafts, are all walkable within this scenic jewel.
Sea to shining sea ~ Savor a slice of Atlantic coastal life and pack your beach bags for Wrightsville Beach, NC where the Blockade Runner stretches between piers on sugary sand. Hunger meets happiness with a range of fresh, local seafood and farm to fork cuisine. For Pacific coasters, a sunset haven awaits at Post Ranch Inn, sitting cliffside in Big Sur, CA. Branch out for a walk, hike, visit a lighthouse, enjoy some choice regional cuisine, or simply relax and recharge atop this picturesque coastal bluff.
Purple mountain majesties ~ Head to the hills of the Blue Ridge, explore its biodiversity with a rejuvenating stay at Wintergreen Resort (Virginia). Pick a fragrant mountain trail among hundreds on site or along the adjacent AT/Appalachian Trail. Friendly Nelson County proudly lays claim to the “Red, White and Brew Trail”, as a wine lover and foodie paradise, complete with French bistro in the heart of Nellysford. In and beyond the resort, enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities and soul soothing spa options.
Looking for plush ambience? Mosey further South on the easy paced, truck-free BRP (Blue Ridge Parkway) where Inn at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. properly welcomes guests. Set in an exquisite park-like setting in the iconic Smoky Mountains, this resort boasts a plethora of food and wine enticements, along with hiking, biking, falconry, and high tea, plus full spa facilities. Hopping across the map, Southwestern folks can settle into a sweet retreat under desert skies at Inn Of The Anasazi in Sante Fe, NM. Framed by the Sangro de Cristo mountains and centerpiece of an artist colony, this elegantly cozy sanctuary provides the ultimate in a stress free stay with aromatherapy spa and heritage cuisine.
Urban itch? Try The Ballantyne in Charlotte, NC, a cityside resort where golf, spa and Uptown Charlotte life intersect. Want some sweet South? Head to Savannah for a comfy stay at Perry Lane Hotel where historical and architectural tours will keep you busy, or enjoy strolling around. Riverside near Savannah, soak up low country highlights at Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC for golf, paddle boarding and full spa facilities set in an idyllic nature preserve.
Thinking ahead…got Viking cruise credits? Ponder a stateside voyage on the aptly named Mississippi, scheduled to launch in 2022. This cozy 386 passenger floating resort with all balcony cabins and infinity plunge pool will be calling on ports between New Orleans and St Paul. Skittish about cruises? Consider this one, a small ship experience touting supreme service without the crowds or venturing far from home. Currently being built in Louisiana, this Viking vessel will earn its “made in the USA” badge. Past Viking guests presently have exclusive access to advance bookings; I’ve got more details to share, including promo discounts.
Given evolving state to state guidelines and wide ranging rollout dates for hotel reopenings and local services such as restaurants, all destinations require diligent research. A professional travel advisor has never been more essential to plan accordingly and travel smartly. Innovative journeys within hospitable distances can feed our wanderlust while providing a boost for local economies and entrepreneurial businesses.
Let’s hitch our wagons to homegrown destinations, filling our senses with sites both comfortably familiar and inspiringly unknown. Patriotic adventures help neighbors near and far. We’ll all be richer for the experience.