CLEVELAND, Ohio — We cannot travel now, or at least we should not. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream of travel later, after the coronavirus pandemic starts to fade.
How much later? That’s not entirely clear, but hopefully by this summer, if not sooner, we’ll feel safe enough to venture out again.
So where should we go? Should we stick close to home, or fly across the ocean? Revisit long-time favorite destinations or explore places we’ve never been before?
We posed those questions to readers of The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com last week, asking: Where should we travel when we can travel again?
And we heard from many of you, all eager to hit the road as soon as it’s safe, and offering suggestions on places you hope to visit in the months ahead.
A selection of responses:
I had so many things canceled due to the coronavirus! A trip to Ireland, a major band concert, my parents’ interment at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Equine Affaire at the Ohio State fairgrounds, a wedding shower AND the wedding! Once this is over, I’m going to Cincinnati, booking a room at the Cincinnatian Hotel, and going to the zoo! I have wanted to see Fiona the hippo ever since she was born and dang it, I’m doing it this year. I’ll also go to the National Underground Railroad Museum and visit one of my former cello teachers.
—Maureen H. Wightman , Avon Lake
When we are rid of this awful virus, I would love to go on a cruise again to the Caribbean islands of St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Cruising is my favorite form of travel as I love being on the open ocean. My vacation would start by flying down to either Miami or Fort Lauderdale the night before and spending a day at the beach, followed by a night out.
The next day we would board a very large ship, preferably with Royal Caribbean. All of my cares would drift away as we pull out of port, because I know that for the next seven days my only job is to RELAX. We would make stops at the beautiful islands of St. Thomas and St. Maarten, perhaps stopping at the Bahamas on the way. We would enjoy days at the beach and days at the shops. Nights would follow with great dinners and fun at the bars and casino. I surely hope I can do this again one fine day!
—Linda and Gary Hauck, North Olmsted
I want to leave the gray clouds of Cleveland for the sunny skies of Surprise, Arizona. This would be more of a family-visit trip, staying with my brother and sister-in-law, whom I have not seen since 2012. Taking in the stunning red sandstone formations of Sedona, browsing the upscale shops of Scottsdale, and visiting the spring training center of the Indians in Goodyear would be on my agenda. It would be wonderful taking these one-day trips with them and spending family time catching up and reminiscing.
—Linda Evers, Garfield Heights
If this crisis ends by early summer and there is a baseball season this year, my travel plans would be to visit as many baseball stadiums near Cleveland as possible. This is the first time that I will be deprived of baseball for an extended period of time since the 1994/1995 strike!
My trip would start with the Akron RubberDucks, down to see the Columbus Clippers, our AAA team, then south to Cincinnati for the Reds, back north to Dayton to see the Dragons. Fort Wayne would be my next stop to see the TinCaps where I have never been, then east to Toledo to see the Mud Hens. Next stop: Avon to see the Lake Erie Crushers, pass through Cleveland to Eastlake for a Lake County Captains game. Then on to Erie for the Erie SeaWolves. South to Pittsburgh for the Pirates, back to Ohio to Niles for a Mahoning Valley Scrappers encounter.
Finally, the trip ends in Cleveland for an Indians game. If time wasn’t a problem, I would include Detroit for a Tigers game. I am a huge baseball fan and travel for many games all over the state. That would be my dream trip!
—Bob Berdys, Brooklyn
Our daughter met a Kiwi and lived in New Zealand for seven years. We went there six times during that period. Queenstown is our favorite town on Earth. We are supposed to go on a cruise next January starting in Auckland and visiting various ports around New Zealand and finally ending up in Sydney, Australia. Tauranga is the first stop on the cruise, which is where our son-in-law’s parents currently live. New Zealand is an awesome country with wonderful people. We hope our dream trip will happen after all this mess is over.
—Gary and Elaine Casterline, Warren
RVing across the West
Last spring I purchased an RV and went to North Dakota and eastern Montana. Hopefully this year, I will be able to travel to Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches and Capitol Reef national parks. Last year, my wife couldn’t go so hopefully this year she will be able to, but our yellow lab Cooper always travels with me.
—Mark Grimm, North Royalton
My wife (Christine) and I have had our 2020 travel plans put on hold. Rather than travel to the Netherlands and Belgium in mid-May, we are hoping to go in late summer.
Our Netherlands trip will be our eighth to that country — each time, a self-supported cycling trip, traveling from village to village, staying in bed and breakfasts. While the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, that’s only apparent in the big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague. The rest of the country is generally rural, with hundreds of miles of bike lanes throughout farmland and national parks, along canals and rivers. After a week of cycling, we will be taking a train to Belgium, for a week exploring the walkable cities of Ghent and Brussels.
—Gary Mikitin, Mayfield Heights
Jensen Beach, Florida
As we prepare for an extended social distancing experience, my wife Helen and I are dreaming of relaxing in quiet Jensen Beach, Florida. While we may be battling hurricane season in early October, this is the ocean/beach scene to forget about these crazy times. With a hotel steps from the beach, great restaurants within walking distance and pleasant surroundings, Jensen Beach will cure what ails you!
We had to cancel a May bucket trip – flying to Portland, Oregon, and driving down the West Coast to San Francisco… maybe next year!
—Helen and Scott McCance, Broadview Heights
Hilton Head, South Carolina
For me it’s quite simple: Hilton Head, South Carolina. The warmest beach ever! Really hoping to go back in September. My sister and I typically take a “sister” trip every year. In 2018, we stayed at the Omni Hilton Head Resort. In 2019, we switched it up and decided to go to Naples, Florida, which was cool…. but we absolutely loved Hilton Head. The beach was amazing! We decided to make it our annual “sister” trip going forward.
—Stacy Frazier, Cleveland
I’m a Clevelander living abroad in Kaiserslautern, Germany, for work purposes until 2023. My next travel plans are a visit to Kilmarnock, Scotland, to visit some friends. It’s not a popular tourist destination compared to Glasgow or Edinburgh, but is still a quaint little Scottish town full of amazingly friendly people.
—Stephen Moose, Germany
When I can travel again, I’ll return to Paimpol, a small fishing port in Brittany, France. For the last five years, I’ve been making regular trips there to interview witnesses to World War II for a series of documentary movies about life in France during the German Occupation and the American Liberation. The area was liberated in August, 1944, by George Patton’s Third Army, and there are still lots of residents who are willing to tell me what it was like. I had a trip scheduled for this month to do more video interviewing but had to cancel it, of course.
When I’m able to return, this summer I hope, I’ll have a new series of questions to ask, focusing on how those who lived through four years of ever-severer rationing and privation during the Occupation, as well as a curfew, view the current coronavirus restrictions in France, which are stricter than those imposed even here in Ohio. I’m in contact with some of my witnesses by email, videoconferencing, and Facebook, and they are already starting to make comparisons.
—Richard M. Berrong, Cuyahoga Falls
We are postponing a combined wedding anniversary/high school graduation gift to Austria. We were planning for late July-early August for two weeks and while this crisis may subside by then and we could possibly go, it takes planning now, which we are reluctant to do until we know for certain that it’s safe.
We planned to visit Vienna and Salzburg for the touristy part of the itinerary. Main goal of the trip is to visit Lienz, where my dad, his parents and three siblings lived in a displaced persons camp and survived a repatriation effort back to the Soviet Union, which also resulted in a massacre at the camp. There is a memorial cemetery and archives and I always wanted to pay my respects and gather more information. The last part of the trip is to visit my contact at the University of Innsbruck, who has documents and research on the camp and that awful day.
My uncle Alex (the youngest of the four children and last living one) and my cousin were supposed to go to Lienz at the end of May/early June because that is when there is a yearly memorial service as well as an exhibit. They were also going to a small town in Northern Italy, where the family lived after they left the Soviet Union, were driven away by Italian partisans, and ended up in Lienz. My cousin is a Hollywood photographer/producer and has been researching, interviewing and filming family members and family friends, who were also there, for a potential documentary. That is also on hold for now.
We will get there — hopefully next summer.
—Natalie Isvarin-Love, Shaker Heights
For places to go, I would vote for Alsace, in eastern France, a region that I have visited several times. It offers the most sublime mix of German and French culture and cuisine (can you say choucroute garnie, tarte flambee, or flammekueche?). The Route du Vin (wine road) runs between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine, and takes one by a series of utterly charming villages.
My favorite is Eguisheim, just outside Colmar. It’s a little less touristy than Ribeauville or Riquewihr, and the best time to visit is late September when the crowds thin out and the grape harvest is coming in. The white wines produced there are a revelation to many Americans, and favorites include Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Crémant d’Alsace (a sparkling wine). The route begins around Strasbourg in the north and meanders along the foothills of the Vosges down to the area around Mulhouse. Strasbourg has the stately charm of a once-walled city with medieval roots, and its cathedral merits a visit, as does the canal-laced petite venise (little Venice).
—Jim Edmonson, Cleveland Heights
I have a huge love of animals. All my life I dreamed of going to Steve Irwin’s zoo (the Australian Zoo in Queensland) because of his lifelong work to save animals, help the injured and give animals facing extinction a voice. My dear husband, Steve, made my No. 1 bucket list trip come true in 2012. When I retired, my gift from him was a trip to Irwin’s zoo, where we were zookeepers for the day, which meant we got to go behind the scenes, hold, pet and feed every kind of animal you can imagine known to Australia and elsewhere.
One of the highlights of the day was being able to “walk the tigers.” This picture shows us with Kaitlyn. She was like a sweet little cat. We also enjoyed touring the awesome hospital at the zoo that on a daily basis treats hundreds of animals. Their goal is to always return them to the wild when possible.
What is my dream trip? To go back to the Australian Zoo because once was not enough! A very magical place, it’s worth the 22-hour plane trip. The people of Australia are so friendly. Truly a dream trip I hope to do again.
—Eileen Brubaker, Medina