That wasn’t the only surprise. The country club restaurant had one of the most flavorful, homemade-style meatloaves I’d ever tried, and the riverside James Grill banged out delightful coconut shrimp. I didn’t come here expecting gourmet meals, but my expectations were exceeded. The resort also offers both an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as a lazy river for kids, a full-service spa, tennis courts, and of course plenty of nature.
WILLIAMSBURG, VA TO WASHINGTON DC
I’m a big fan of destination resorts, so I checked into Salamander Resort (500 North Pendleton Street, Tel: 540-687.3710. salamanderhotels.com), an ultra-luxurious country resort about 47 miles west of Washington DC The 340-acre, 168-room hideaway is in the heart of Virginia’s horse and wine country, so don’t be surprised to find a 22-stall horse barn for trail rides, impressive local wines, and plenty of romantic and scenic hiking and riding trails through beautiful pastures.
Americans today are driving state to state, and coast to coast, documenting their journeys on social media and crossing off bucket lists.
Ruby was a magnet to the sprawling green lawns, which seemed to unfurl for miles, and I’ll never forget her excitement as she chased after squirrels while the sun set. If you’re an “indoor” person, the 23,000-square-foot spa (with indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, fitness classes and gym) is one of the state’s best. Harrimans, the signature restaurant had great energy, and was filled with natural light from large windows and a skylight. The Wagyu filet from nearby Ovoka Farms is an indulgence one should only order if you’re looking to treat yourself handsomely. Rooms, all equipped with walk-out balconies, start at 545 square feet, but I upgraded to one of the 17 suites with a fireplace and stone balcony.
It’s was only natural that I stop in Washington DC, one of my favorite places in America, and an essential stop for any East Coast road-tripper. The nation’s capital, thriving with the highest LGBTQ population in the U.S., is rapidly expanding, from luxury hotel openings to upgrades and extensions in its public transportation system. Anyone who hasn’t visited iconic national landmarks, such as the Lincoln Memorial, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Natural History, the U.S Capitol, and the Library of Congress (all of which are free) can tick them off their bucket list during their visit here.
Washington DC is home to some of the best hotels on the East Coast, and new ones continue to open every year. While The Dupont Circle (1500 New Hampshire Avenue, Tel: 202-483-6000. doylecollection.com) isn’t new, it recently underwent a significant, multi-million-dollar transformation, including a new lobby designed by Clodagh (known for her trademark “hedonistic life enhancing minimalism”) as well as a stylish restaurant, bar, and new suites. The Dupont Circle is conveniently located in the Dupont Circle “gayborhood,” making it a popular choice for LGBTQ travelers. The suites here boast commanding city views from spacious, private, landscaped terraces with sliding glass doors. I loved that the suites have a residential feel but with a touch of elegance, including the custom-made glamorous interiors paying homage to the building’s mid-century beginnings: think bold colors and varying textures, precious artwork, and oversized bathrooms with marble baths.
WASHINGTON D.C. TO BROOKLYN, NY
There’s nothing scenic on the route from Washington DC to Brooklyn, but I don’t mind, for it’s the end of a road trip where memories stir. It’s my time to zone out, allowing road trips to do what they’re meant to do: deliver the nostalgia it promises. On my way back to the city, I remembered how it really was my high school friends who introduced to me the real rules of driving. My neighbor Casey taught me the left lane on the highway is the fast lane, and I should never use it unless I drive at least 70 mph. My friend Jodi, terrified of eight-wheelers, always kept a distance of 200 feet, a technique I still practice today. I remember, when I was 18, driving up north from Atlanta to Boston, where I would go to college. The one-way trip was a 14-hour drive with two of my closest friends. It was my very first road trip, forever stored in my memories that are gently nudged when I’m on a road trip now.