September 2020 Real Traveler Stories: A Summer 2020 Road Trip

Real Traveler Stories: A Summer 2020 Road Trip

The Blair family on vacation.
The Blair family on vacation.
Photo by David Blair 
How one family turned a cancelled European vacation into a closer-to-home adventure.  

With six children ranging from ages 8 to 23, Maryland-based health-care industry executive David Blair and his wife, Mikel, look for places to visit where everyone can do things together outdoors – hiking in Montana’s Glacier National Park, skiing, and “anything on the water.” After Covid-19 canceled their trip to Europe in June, they turned to their longtime travel advisor, Katie McCormack Krinkie, to plan a road trip with their two youngest sons.
The road trip was very much a departure from our typical travel style. My wife and I drew a large circle on the map around Washington, D.C., and told Katie we didn’t want to drive more than seven hours a day, and we wanted to stay at rural properties that felt safer to us due to the virus.
She came back with half a dozen options to consider, and as we refined it with her, she’d make additional suggestions. We ended up heading south through the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains. The first stop was Primland resort in Virginia’s Meadows of Dan, and then the new Blackberry Mountain resort near Walland, Tennessee.
The best surprise of the trip was discovering Blackberry Mountain and the area around it. The hiking trails are phenomenal – there’s one hike up to a fire watchtower that’s pretty intense, and the views are stunning.
We probably hunkered down at the resort a little too much, and for appropriate reasons, but there’s more to do in the surrounding area than we thought – and what looked like some really nice restaurants for the next time we visit. After this experience, it’s more than likely our next vacation will be a driving one too.