Where’s your home away from home?
My bet is that you have at least one place in this great big world that, for whatever reason, just fits you perfectly. These places may hold great memories of your childhood, may have special meanings for you and your spouse, or it just might be the place where you can go to truly relax. I am lucky enough to have two such places that, after traveling for hours to get there, really feel like home when I arrive.
Innisbrook, outside of Tampa, Florida, is the first of these places that I discovered. When I was just a rookie entering the travel business in 1980, I was asked by United Airlines to attend a golf outing at Innisbrook. (This is waaaaay back when the airlines use to wine and dine travel agencies. The wining and dining by airlines ended several decades ago and has since been replaced mostly by whining.)
Since that first trip to Innisbrook all of those years ago, I bet I have been back at least 20 times. The 1,000 acre resort just has a great feel to me. There are four very strong golf courses with a great practice area. A new spa has recently been added, which I hear from the ladies in my life is very nice. More swimming pools than you can count can be found around the resort. The dated condo buildings have all been refurbished and are now up to 2010 standards, but are still scattered in relative seclusion around the heavily wooded property.
Another such favorite place of mine is about as far from Tampa as you can get on the West Coast. I have been to Monterey, CA many times and I have to say it is still the prettiest spot on the planet. No, I have not seen all of the pretty spots on the planet, but of the ones I have seen, Monterey is at the top of my list.
Yes, I am a golfer and that is one of the attractions of Monterey; but, even if golf had never found its way to Pebble Beach it would still be the prettiest spot on the planet to me. I bet I have driven that 17 mile stretch so many times that it is now a 1,000 mile drive for me. And, I am still like a little kid looking at all of the sites.
I was in San Jose, CA last week for meetings, and after the meetings were over Friday afternoon my wife and I drove to Monterey. We did not arrive until around 4pm and the sun was just starting to set behind the clouds. A rain shower was blowing in, the surf was very high and all seemed right with the world. At sunset every night The Inn at Spanish Bay has a bagpiper that marches down a fairway on their golf course between the resort and the ocean. If I live to be 100 I will not ever tire of seeing this. The combination of the sound of the bagpipe, the Monterey Peninsula, and the setting sun makes for a very memorable experience. I highly recommend this experience while seated at a fireplace at the outside bar with your favorite adult beverage and your favorite person.
Every time I return to both Innisbrook and Monterey, two places that, for all intents and purposes, could be on different planets, I get the same unique happy feeling we all get when we go to places we really find comfortable. It is similar to going home, and goodness, gracious, going home should be the best feeling of all. It is wonderful to feel that relief when you both arrive and depart from your destination. Being able to experience these same places over and over again, and the constant search for new additions to the list, is the reason I love the travel industry. And it certainly is the reason why we all work so darn hard, isn’t it?