Travels with Bob

Travel Closer to Home


The Washington Metro is a great way to get around our nation’s capital.

As we approach yearend and prepare for several holiday gatherings with family and friends, it’s a great time to be thinking and talking about travel in the year ahead and considering potential vacations closer to home.

Most people tend to overlook nearby destinations. In North Carolina, for example, we have many options to rediscover our home state, whether it’s an extended vacation at the beach or in the mountains, or simply taking advantage of the many day-trip opportunities to places of interest somewhere in between.

With the presidential election behind us, 2017 may be a good time to visit our nation’s capital, especially if you haven’t been there since your high school senior trip. In addition to the iconic monuments, several new sites have been added since your last visit including the World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial and the Holocaust Museum. And, of course, you will want to visit Smithsonian Museum, “our nation’s closet”, as well as the Air and Space Museum now located near Dulles Airport.

I recommend northern Virginia hotels and using the Washington Metro subway system to get around the city. You won’t encounter D.C. traffic or parking issues if you elect this option. Yet, should you wish to stay in the city, my favorite hotel is The Jefferson, a luxury property located on 16th Street.

If you have not been to New York City in the past decade, I suggest considering a spring trip to the Big Apple. Stay in the Millennial Hotel in lower Manhattan near the 9-11 Memorial, George Washington’s Trinity Chapel, Wall Street and a subway line that will get you uptown in 10 to 15 minutes.

Allow time to linger in Central Park and on this trip, include an extended visit to the Metropolitan Museum to explore its world-renown collection. If you prefer to stay uptown, I recommend the Westin New York Grand Central, a few steps from the Oyster Bar on the lower level of Grand Central Station – especially if you love oysters and all kinds of seafood, as I do. And don’t overlook the world-class shopping available in the city.

Other drivable destinations to consider include historic Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, Va.; Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell; the music scene in Nashville; and Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame and its world-class aquarium. And I can think of dozens of other smaller cities that offer attractive vacation opportunities.

Millions of foreign travelers visit these cities and towns every year, while many of us completely overlook them when making vacation plans. Travel closer to home offers many advantages, so I urge you to consider opportunities to experience the destination gems right in your own back yard.