Brooke served as the Washington, D.C., editor for Where and is now the associate editor of National Geographic Traveler. Raised in Virginia and the Middle East by globe-trotting parents, Brooke had no choice but to become a travel addict. Wanderlust has taken her to far-flung destinations, but she proudly calls the D.C. area home.
Brooke’s Take on D.C: World-class art and culture fill the Smithsonian museums, as well as off-the-Mall theaters and galleries. Embassies add to the cosmopolitan vibe, while entrepreneurs revitalize neighborhoods with buzz-worthy restaurants and bars. Yet zones of tranquility remain, like the wooded trails on Roosevelt Island.
Brooke’s Take on Baltimore: It’s a small city with big personality. I appreciate the quirky side, plus the exuberance for baseball, blue crabs and craft beer. From Fort McHenry I like to survey the Inner Harbor and imagine the scene when Francis Scott Key penned “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Brooke’s Take on Virginia: Northern Virginia claims many identities, from Civil War hallowed ground to luxury and discount shopping mecca. Fall weekends are great for road tripping to Loudoun County’s horse country and wineries.
Most memorable travel experience: Varanasi, India. In this city holy to Hindus, the sights, smells and sounds are overwhelming and unforgettable. From a wooden boat in the Ganges River, I watched smoke rise from cremation fires while chaotic masses of the living poured into the water to wash away their sins. It was a magical and mind-blowing reminder that there are cultures vastly different from my own.
Last notable trip: Istanbul, Turkey. I stayed for 10 days, visiting places I had long yearned to see and lingering for hours. Each day I made it to only one or two sites, but no matter. By the end of my sojourn, when shopkeepers started to recognize me, I felt almost like a local.
Place you always return to visit: Sanibel Island, Florida. For nearly a dozen years, my mom and I have spent a long weekend in January there. We reconnect through our shared love of nature and specifically the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where the elegant wading birds practically pose for the camera.