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The Getaway Mavens gain inspiration and information from other bloggers who cover specific areas of the Northeast USA (Virginia to Maine), and in this interview series we plan to tap into our favorite bloggers’ expertise and motivation.
Jim Cheney has been “uncovering” Pennsylvania one attraction at a time for six years now, and he’s a fount of information about all things weird and wonderful in PA. If you are into waterfalls, you’ll be doubly enthused. Jim is a self-proclaimed “waterfall junkie.”
Name: Jim Cheney
Niche: Iconic and Off the Radar Attractions in the State of Pennsylvania
Q. Tell us a bit about your website/blog and when and why you launched it.
I launched UncoveringPA.com six years ago because I knew there had to be stuff to do in Pennsylvania, but it was really hard to find spots to check out. I had been a travel blogger for a few years to explore the area around my new home in Harrisburg, PA. Since then, I’ve visited over 1,000 different places in the state, including multiple spots in every county, and shared more than 750 of them on my site.
With that same idea in mind, I recently started UncoveringNewYork.com. I enjoy traveling in New York, but whenever I’d go there for vacation, I’d become frustrated with how hard it was to find information on places to visit, so I decided to solve that problem for others.
Q. People travel for different reasons. What do you consider the primary purpose of travel? Why do you travel?
I don’t travel for any lofty reason. I just really like exploring new places and discovering things that most people don’t know about. While I do feel like my travels, especially my international travels to more than 30 countries, have opened my mind and changed my world view, for me that’s simply a byproduct of my insatiable wanderlust.
Q. Name one USA travel destination that you believe everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.
Philadelphia, without a doubt. There are many fantastic spots to visit, just in Pennsylvania alone, but Philadelphia is one of the country’s top spots. Not only can you see where the United States was founded at Independence Hall, but you can also experience some of the world’s best art galleries and food (nothing beats a real Philly cheesesteak).
Q. Where would you go next if you had unlimited vacation time? And what about when short on time, what’s a favorite weekend getaway destination?
That’s a really hard question to answer as there are so many places that I want to go. To name a few, I’d love to get to the National Parks in the western United States, revisit Iceland, travel around Western Europe, etc.
For a short getaway, I love exploring Pittsburgh. It’s such an underrated city and there are so many great museums, breweries, and the skyline is one of the world’s most beautiful.
Q. The Getaway Mavens focus on places to visit in Northeast USA (New England and Mid-Atlantic). Elaborate on a place here that you’d like to return to, and why.
I’m always drawn back to the Finger Lakes in New York and particularly the area around Ithaca. As a waterfall junkie, there are a ton Ithaca waterfalls to explore. The area is also full of great wineries and breweries. Plus, the city itself has a lot of fun spots to explore.
Q. What are some of your favorite things to do on a romantic getaway?
With two young kids, romantic getaways are few and far between. When my wife and I can get away, it’s fun to do things we can’t do with the kids, so things like breweries and difficult hikes. Very romantic.
Q. What are some of your favorite things to do on a road trip?
When it comes to travel, I’m a research junkie, so for road trips, I’m always planning my route weeks in advance and finding as many hidden gems along the way as I can. Nothing gets me more excited when I can find something that even the locals don’t know about.
As for stops, I’m always on the lookout for waterfalls, quirky museums, and just weird stuff on the side of the road.
Q. What’s next for Jim Cheney?
Right now I’m working on building up my new site, UncoveringNewYork.com and finishing up writing a book about Pennsylvania waterfalls that should be out in the Spring of 2020.