Driving into the quaint town of Luray, Virginia, was a much-needed reprieve from 4.5 hours spent driving mostly highways from New Jersey. My sister and I arrived in town, found parking in the lot provided by Hotel Laurance, and happily jumped out to mask up, check in and stretch our legs.
We rang the Nest doorbell of the hotel and were welcomed inside, checked in and given our key codes along with a quick tour of the boutique hotel’s community seating area, also known as The Keeping Room, and back patio.
Each of our two rooms offered a private entrance separate from the hotel’s main lobby, so we could come and go as we pleased without walking through hotel common areas — a nice touch for two out-of-towners traveling cautiously during a pandemic.
My room, named The Tucker, was like a small apartment with a full kitchen with a mix of retro and modern touches. I walked through to the small seating area complete with a smart TV and plenty of books to read by the window, and around the corner through a short hallway leading into a queen bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. The space felt cozy but open with a window in every room. The décor was something out of a Southern charm handbook, including upscale finishes, vintage-style furniture and chic, old-fashioned touches in every room.
My sister’s room next door, The Meranda, opened into a larger living room with a nice-sized sectional sleeper sofa, TV and an antique-luggage-turned-coffee-table at the center. Off of the living room was a fully tiled bathroom, boasting a large shower and beautiful vintage accessories, including one of the prettiest trashcans I’ve ever seen. On either side of the living room was the full kitchen with a large, 1950s-style sink, coffee bar with two antique stools, and a chic, modern-meets-old-world bedroom with a vintage-style wooden desk to work from and plenty of closet space. For a longer weekend exploring town and enjoying long hiking days, I could see this space being a much-needed refuge for two (or more with the sleeper sofa) at the end of the day. Take advantage of the perks of home, fill the fridge and enjoy some homecooked meals in this home away after a long day of hiking, climbing and exploring.
Other than the hotel’s eclectic décor and charm, its other highlights are the friendly staff and great location for a hiking trip. Guests can easily walk to local eateries, walking paths, quaint shops and attractions in town, or hop in the car and drive 15 minutes to Shenandoah National Park or about 30 minutes to Shenandoah Caverns — two top attractions in the area.
After some helpful suggestions by the hotel concierge, my sister and I were on the road to the Thornton Gap entrance of Shenandoah National Park — we were on the trails in less than 15 minutes and watching the sunset over Mary’s Rock.
Not a bad way to start the first evening of a two-day hiking trip in Virginia.
The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, boasts a new self-guided audio tour that takes guests on an auditory journey through the museum’s four floors. It also offers a deeper dive into some of the Mob’s events and personalities. At a running time of up to 85 minutes, more than 40 stops on the audio tour include stories narrated by museum volunteers with anecdotes from former Mob defense attorney and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
Lawnstarter, an outdoor services provider, recently conducted a study on the best cities for living without a car for 2021. The company analyzed data of 20 key indicators, including walking routes, share of residents using public transportation and average sunshine across the 150 biggest cities in the United States.
If the winter months have you craving a snowy retreat surrounded by off-season island fun and warm fireplaces, The Bungalow at Greydon House should be on your list. An iconic stay in Nantucket, Massachusetts, The Bungalow offers a two-bedroom, three-bathroom retreat in the heart of historic downtown.
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Imagine traveling the world and finding the love of your life at the same time. Does The Bachelor franchise come to mind? Due to the global pandemic, the show’s filming was put on hold and production had to get creative, filming at only one resort, instead of traveling the world, as in previous seasons. If you need your Bachelor nation fix, check out some resorts they’ve filmed in before, and book a stay for yourself.