I just compared Travel & Leisure Magazine‘s top 10 destinations of 2016 with their best of 2021. What a difference five years make! COVID-19 has certainly devastated the travel industry. The main difference is that in 2016 seven of this magazine’s top ten recommendations were foreign. This year they are all domestic. This tells me as I prepare to get the vaccine and return to travel not to plan any overseas flights. Travel & Leisure‘s predictions of the best places to go this year will have to be reworked and published during 2021 if the current situation changes rapidly, which I see little chance of occurring. I can’t see the world opening up to American travelers any time during 2021. With the problems of getting available vaccines, waiting for the 2nd dose, and the inability to know who is safe to sit next to for a long flight, we will be lucky to see a few things in the USA this year.
Both of Travel & Leisure‘s (T&L) 10th choices were domestic and not that far from each other. In 2016 this magazine recommended going to Asbury Park, NJ. In 2021, it suggested we visit The Catskills in New York State. Ruth & I are familiar with the Adirondacks but know less about The Catskills. You can read about The Catskills on travelandleisure.com, but be warned that most of the entry is about accommodations not attractions.
T&L’s #9 choice in 2016 was Frankfurt, Germany. In 2021 it was another New Jersey destination, Cape May. This southern New Jersey seaport has devoted itself to Harriet Tubman. She worked there during the summer of 1852, and a museum devoted to her tells about her time there. Ruth & I thoroughly enjoyed The Tubman Museum in Macon, Georgia, in 2019. I was so impressed with it that I wrote about it and her in September, 2019 in “The Tubman Face on the $20 Bill”. Cape May became an important place in the history of the Underground Railroad thanks to her presence, and this year may be a good time to learn about her since interest in putting Tubman on US currency has been revived. The rest of the T&L entry is about Cape May accommodations. I would recommend taking the ferry to Lewes, DL from Cape May and exploring the current President’s state. Pronounced LOO-is, this Delaware seaport founded in 1631 by Dutch settlers has a museum called the Zwaanendael devoted to nautical things and local history. and it has several other attractions. Delaware is so small that a visit to its capital Dover is possible as is seeing the rich attractions in the north part of the state like Winterthur, Delaware’s biggest tourist lure, and the towns of Newark and New Castle.
Travel & Leisure‘s eighth choices were the Douro Valley in Portugal 5 years ago and Burlington, VT, in 2021. Douro will be hard to get to, but Burlington, Bernie Sanders home, is possible. On Lake Champlain, growing Burlington is Vermont’s largest city. The T&L entry focuses on bars, restaurants, and markets but is helpful. Burlington’s attractions include the Ethan Allen homestead and the vast Shelburne Museum devoted to Americana.
#7 in 2016 was 1 of the 4 cities in China that Ruth & I have been to, Hangzhou. It’s a great place to see but not, I think, in 2021. For this year T&L suggests you go instead to Buffalo, New York, which has the advantage of being close to Niagara Falls. This city is said to be both growing and losing population, depending upon whom you read and believe. Go and find out for yourself why it’s on Travel & Leisure‘s mind in 2021.