Destinations often call to mind other locales. Quebec City has a whiff of Paris to it, Laguna Beach can feel vaguely Italian, and the horse farms of New York’s Hudson Valley offer whispers of the English countryside. But Williamsburg and environs is hard to compare with anywhere else. Here are 11 things I loved about this picturesque region of Virginia.
The Archaearium at Historic Jamestowne is all about reality, warts and all. Some of the museum’s exhibits feature relics that shed light on the darkest moments of the settlement’s early days–including the skeletal remains of “Jane,” which many believe proved that the colonists resorted to cannibalism in the winter of 1609. After viewing the skull, which had been found, discarded carelessly in a cellar, in 2013, I was told it was “clear from the beginning that she was processed to be eaten.”
Some artistic efforts have the ability to powerfully move you, while others are meant to be enjoyed for enjoyment’s sake. I encountered both in Williamsburg, a town that has long attracted an intellectually curious crowd partly owing to the fact that America’s second-oldest university, the College of William and Mary, is located there.
The greater Williamsburg area is a fantastic place to be outdoors. During my stay I rented a bike, took long walks, sipped wine in a spectacular setting, and boarded a boat for a cruise down the James River. Exploring the land from different perspectives gave me a greater appreciation for the complexities of America in its earliest stages–and the spirited community that occupies the site of its earliest permanent English settlement today.
If you’re an American history nut, there’s a good chance you’ve been to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. But as I discovered on a recent visit, Williamsburg is much more well-rounded–and upscale–than its reputation lets on. The locals, far from standing still, are opening great restaurants, producing award-winning wines and beers, and creating an environment capable of luring big-city dwellers to this relaxing southern city.
While I have an unabashed appreciation for all things Los Angeles, it’s carefree Santa Monica that hooks me every time. I don’t worry about what I’m eating, what I’m breathing, or about the carbon footprint I’m leaving behind when I’m in in Santa Monica, where sustainability and organic, healthy living are top of mind.
In 1888, two things I love were born: the National Geographic Society (obvious bias here) and the Hotel del Coronado. I realized the coincidence as I stood in the Del’s wood-paneled lobby, where, on the surface, little appears to have changed in the past 126 years except for the attire of the crowds passing through. But this American classic isn’t frozen in time.
When I know I’m going on a trip, I immediately start canvassing my network of friends around the world for advice about what to see and do. So when I heard I’d be heading to San Diego, I went straight to Nat Geo Travel’s digital director, Carolyn Fox, who grew up a few miles north of the city, in Del Mar. Here’s her idea of a perfect day in San Diego County–and what I found along the way as a visitor armed with her recommendations.
I set off from Miami without an agenda. I was headed south to Key West on the famous Overseas Highway and wanted to let serendipity lead the way. With only a short amount of time on my hands, I didn’t want to be saddled with an endless list of to-dos. Here’s what I found on my…
The Miami of today may not look like any place my grandparents would recognize–at least from the outside. But Magic City’s big heart and carousing spirit are here to stay.
“Have a seat by the window; it’s better to watch the wildlife that way,” the host at Osteria del Teatro said with a wink as he led me to a table with a view. Before long, I was enjoying the show–a parade of people streaming toward Washington Avenue, one of the most happening thoroughfares in Miami’s…
Fort Lauderdale used to be known as a raucous spring break haven in the 1980s, with hundreds of thousands of college coeds descending upon the city each year for a 24-7 celebration of all things frivolous and decadent. But after the locals finally put their foot down and declared, “Enough!,” the binge-drinking crowd has all but vanished, paving way for new, more grown-up kind of place. Here’s why I love it.