Traveling at Home!

Recently, a few of my friends journeyed to England. I followed their photographs religiously as they went from one Jane Austen site to another. My heart filled with the joy of discovery as I vicariously packed my bags and went with them. Thank you, Christina Boyd, Claudine Pepe, and Dung Vu for sharing your trip on social media. I swooned and sighed with each lovely vista.

Then, it occurred to me, how often the people living in England drive by these sites without paying any particular attention to them at all. Why did my mind go there? Because I lived 20 miles from the Pacific ocean for the majority of my life and rarely went to the beach. For the past three years, we have lived two miles from Wildlife Safari, an outstanding drive-through game park. Do you know how many times we have been? Not once. Yet, both places are destinations of choice for many, many tourists.

So, I have a new plan. Since we will not be traveling to England or even Ecuador in the near future, this summer John and I will become tourists in our own back yard. We will take the wine tour of our county, visit lakes and streams, hike trails, and let the sand filter through our toes. Yes, we will even go to the beach and drive through the Wildlife Safari.

What places in your area would you take first-time visitors to see? Where is your heart longing to travel? I’d love to know.


  • Anna

    We’ve lived in Maryland for 16 years and haven’t visited any of the national monuments or battlefields. We hope to change that this summer. And we live so close to Philadelphia and Gettysburg but haven’t traveled there either. I hope we get to do some sightseeing while we’re doing college tours with our daughter in July!

      • Anna

        Very true! We’re also always so busy with work and other activities that we often don’t get the chance to do day trips. And saving for school has made traveling difficult as well. Our trip to Kiawah Island/Charleston, S.C., last summer was our first vacation in 4 years!

  • Marie jones

    It’s true. We live within a 100 miles of what you suggested ,plus Crater Lake, Diamond Lake ,big city shopping ,green trees ,wild flowers ,animals in pastures,and just think. Just 1mile from Noah’s ark. No wonder people want to come here

  • Sheila L. Majczan

    As a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader as well as when I was a mother of young children I did take them or go with them as a chaperone to many local and not so local sites: Independence Hall, Philadelphia Zoo, Trexler Game Preserve, Betsy Ross House, Historic Williamsburg VA, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Benjamin Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, etc. I can only think that we have NOT hiked the Appalachian Trail which is about 1.5 hours away in its central Pennsylvania location. There is even a town set up and running as it did in Colonial times which the fifth grade visited here in PA. It was very educational and interesting.(Old Mill Village, I think is the name.) And, of course, Gettysburg Battle grounds was included. My daughter got extra credit in her history course for making that trip.

  • Maureen C

    My husband and I are kind of the opposite. We have done a lot of “stay-cations” and not many big trips. I live in the heart of PA Dutch Country, so there are lots of great places to go nearby. When people come to our area, the Hershey attractions are popular, and of course people like to see the Amish. One of my favorite places to go is Longwood Gardens, not too far from Philadelphia. It’s a beautiful place to spend a few hours walking outdoors with all sorts of gardens and in the huge indoor conservatory.I’m pretty sure Lizzy Bennet would approve. 🙂

    Of course my dream vacation is to the UK….but I’m pretty excited to be going to New Hampshire in the near future!

    • J "Joy" Dawn King

      Ahhhhhh, Hersheys! We have been all over the world, Maureen, but the trip that took our breath away was when we ended up in upstate New York in October. We came around a corner to a vista of autumn-toned hillsides. We had to pull over and almost couldn’t breathe it was so beautiful. I’ll never forget it.

  • Carole in Canada

    Whenever we have company from near or far, we take them on the wine tours through Prince Edward County. Then, of course, we go to Sandbanks beach on the shores of Lake Ontario. With the grandchildren, we go to Fort Henry in Kingston. That is probably the only time we tend to check out local history!

    My dream trip would be to ‘walk in the footsteps’ of Jane Austen in England. There is just so much history to absorb.

      • Carole in Canada

        Yes, Maureen it is! We rented a houseboat when the kids were little through the 1000 Islands! My husband’s parents came too! It was lovely!

      • Carole in Canada

        Haha! No we don’t but we have the usual deer, fox, bunny and now huge snapping turtles laying their eggs in the sand/gravel at the side of the road! We would have to go further north towards my daughter’s (6 hrs. French River/Sudbury area)) to see a sighting! I haven’t seen one yet though. I’ll keep you posted!

  • Fawn George

    Jon and I need to go to the Beach. We have not been for years and it’s at our back door practically. Chuck McKinley is getting Married again this Saturday in Bandon. Are you going? Maybe will go to the Beach afterward. We also need to go to the little lakes close by. It would be fun to go for a day and have a picnic. Jon and I also talked about going to the Winery’s for fun. So much we want to do.

    • J "Joy" Dawn King

      I completely understand how you can live so close and not see the beach. It happens. No, we can’t come to Bandon this weekend. Too much to do here. I think your idea of taking along a picnic is wonderful, Fawn. I hope you and Jon can take advantage of the lovely areas surrounding you.

  • Anji

    We live in the spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, which has it’s own interesting history, especially from Victorian times when it became fashionable to “take the waters” here. But have I ever set foot inside the Pump Room Museum? No! Must remedy that one day.

    Our house is on the western edge of town, so ten minutes in the car and we’re in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Indeed, I drive that way on many of my commutes, (listening to a JAFF audiobook, of course) so I consider myself very lucky in that respect. A bit longer journey northwards takes us into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. The World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is maybe 20 minutes away. Hubby is retired and I only work maybe three days a week, so we try to get out into to the aforementioned countryside with our dogs at least twice a week, depending on the lovely British weather!

    The coast is not so easy, two to three hours away. Doesn’t matter whether we go east or west as we’re almost in the centre of the country at our latitude. Usually we reserve that for visiting my Auntie, who lives four or five hours drive away in North Norfolk. We’ll be down there in a couple of weeks time for a few days.

    Sadly, visiting “Austen country” isn’t something we do very often as it’s maybe six hours drive to Hampshire. We have friends in Southampton but only get down there once every year or two and as the only Janeite in the company, it’s difficult to persuade the others that a trip to Chawton etc is a good thing to do for a day out! I have managed it once, though. Lyme Park and Chatsworth are only a couple of hours drive away from home, so they’re more manageable but somehow, we never seem to manage it.

    We’ve seen some amazing places in North America, though we’ve only ever visted twice. Washington DC, Cape Cod, Boston, Niagara Falls, Ontario, San Francisco, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (not my cup of tea) and New York. Would love to see your neck of the woods, Joy, and many places in the Pacific Northwest ok e day.

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