Looking Ahead

John Laudando
The Jefferson Memorial on the banks of the Potomac.

So many of us who love to travel are wondering when it will again be possible, since fears of contagion abound. But planning ahead right now can give us something to look forward to when we no longer need to stay home to be safe. Rather than planning international trips at this time, we thought we’d consider places closer to home, which for us is East Hampton. Here’s our current list.

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Founded in the mid-1660s, Annapolis is much more than the home of the U.S. Naval Academy, although the academy’s Beaux Arts campus is said to be well worth seeing and even includes the crypt of John Paul Jones. It’s “a charming town, with brick-lined streets and structures that date back centuries,” situated on Chesapeake Bay. And don’t forget those Maryland crab cakes!

BOSTON, MA — Massachusetts’ capital is the largest city in New England and a cradle of our country’s revolutionary history. It abounds with historical sights, museums, and live performances. No wonder it’s one of America’s 10 most popular tourist locations. From the classic to the contemporary, you can explore Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, and Paul Revere’s home, then head to more modern attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts. It’s a great walking town, and food choices are far more varied than those famous baked beans and clam chowder.

CHARLESTON, SC — There are so many reasons to visit Charleston, but its proximity to the water and a stroll amongst the beautiful homes that line its waterfront top the list. You can enjoy excellent restaurants, the Marion Square Farmers Market every Saturday from April to December, and limitless southern charm. Did you know that, for jazz buffs, Charleston is considered a close second to New Orleans? And its annual Charleston Festival of Houses and Gardens is high on our bucket list, though Charleston is chock-a-block full of historic homes and gardens you can visit most days of the year.

DELAWARE — It’s a small state with big things to offer. For us, one plus is that it’s part of the Delmarva Peninsula, which we were charmed by on a driving trip many years ago. The DuPont family owned three of Northern Delaware’s main attractions — Nemours, Winterthur, and Hagley. Although most of us may attribute the slogan “Better Living Through Chemistry” to DuPont, that’s actually evolved, from its actual and longer slogan, into a wry comment. But the DuPonts certainly did have access to better living, as their homes, gardens, and library so clearly illustrate. Delaware’s coastline offers many small towns and villages that would make a lovely day on the road.

PHILADELPHIA, PA — A city I’m happy to visit often! Just the art museums available in Philly make it worth the trip. The Philadelphia Museum of Art — that of the famous steps — offers amazing exhibitions that often do not make their way to New York. And, just an hour before it was closing, a friend and I discovered the Barnes Foundation with a huge collection of Renoir. And don’t miss the wildly colorful Magic Gardens, one man’s fantasy. Philadelphia is a very walkable city, and its food choices are amazing. I sometimes dream of going back to DiNic’s Roast Pork in the Reading Terminal Market now that I know that the “greens” you can add to their incredible pork sandwich are, in fact, broccoli rabe — yum! And Philadelphia’s historic sites — too many to mention.

WASHINGTON D.C. — You name it, D.C. has it. History, art, food, culture, cherry trees, monuments, history, monuments, and a river running through it. And, like Philadelphia, it’s easy to reach on a pleasant train ride from New York City. They say the best things in life are free, and so are an unbelievable amount of the best things to see in our nation’s capital. You may think of the Smithsonian as that old-style building you’ve seen in photos, but it includes many of the finest museums in the nation, for free. Each one is easily as interesting as the last, and they’re mostly located a short walk from the National Mall. As a result, D.C. is one of the very best budget vacations for a family. Restaurants there offer cuisines from as many nationalities as you could imagine, and some of the most interesting and affordable can be found as part of those wonderful free museums.

While you’re home, why not make your own wish list of places you’d like to visit?

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