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Going Back to School in San Antonio September 8, 2010

Posted by julieoro in Moving, Relocation, Resilience, San Antonio life.
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Finding a Higher Education that will Work for You

If you’ve ever considered going back to school to complete a bachelor’s degree, professional certification, or master’s degree, this is the perfect time to begin.  You’ll make new friends in your new city and create professional opportunities for yourself.

San Antonio hosts a wide variety of colleges and universities, not to mention online universities.  With so many options, it’s wise to first set career goals for yourself.  Do you need a degree to reach your goals?  Do you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree?  Are professional certifications necessary in your field?  Do employers hire from specific universities?  Are online degrees acceptable in your field?

People often think they cannot afford to return to college.  Websites such as www.salary.com and www.glassceiling.com offer average salary information on virtually every career path.    Before you enroll, find out what your earning potential will be if you complete your degree.  Any amount above your projected earnings without the degree is the return on your investment.  Going back to school makes financial sense if the tuition is less than this return amount and you can make the tuition or student loan payments until that new salary kicks in.

San Antonio is a great place to be when you want to go back to school.  With more than 20 higher-education organizations in the greater San Antonio area, you can select the school that is the best fit for you and your budget.  There are many reputable rankings of colleges and universities.  US News and World Reports (http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges) is one of the most well-known.   It is a good idea to collect information on schools you are considering from a wide variety of sources, and to visit several schools yourself before applying.  Talk to students who go to school and work full-time, if that is your plan, to see how much time is needed to complete homework and class requirements.

Consider entrance exams, academic requirements and prerequisites.  Select a couple of colleges or universities you would really like to attend, as well as a few back-up schools.  Apply early; make sure your application is complete and thoughtful.  Well-written application essays and high entrance exam scores often qualify you for scholarships.  Apply for financial aid and scholarships early, sometimes deadlines are long before you’ve received an acceptance letter.

Going back to school is an investment in yourself.  It shows that you are motivated to continue learning and adapting to your environment.  For active duty military, there’s nothing better you could do to prepare for work in the private sector after retirement.  For civilians, continuing your education makes you more competitive for promotions and shifts to new positions.

Whether you decide to go back to school or not, never stop learning.  It’s an important part of taking care of yourself; it improves your self-esteem and energizes you to try new things.

Colleges and Universities in San Antonio, Texas

University of Texas www.UTSA.edu
Los Alamos Colleges www.Alamo.edu
University of the Incarnate Word www.UIW.edu
Trinity University www.Trinity.edu
St. Mary’s University www.StMaryTX.edu
Hallmark College www.HallmarkCollege.edu
Our Lady of the Lake San Antonio www.Ollusa.edu
Kaplan College www.Kaplan.edu
Career Point College www.CareerPointCollege.edu
Sanford Brown www.SanfordBrown.edu
International Bible College www.IBCTX.org
Galen College www.GalenEd.com
Everest College www.Everest.edu
Southern Careers Institute www.SCITexas.edu
University of Phoenix www.Phoenix.edu
Baptist School of Health Professionals www.BSHP.edu
ITT Technical Institute www.ITT-Tech.edu
Mexican American Catholic College www.MACCSA.org
International Academy of Design and Technology www.IADTSanAntonio.com
Culinary Institute of America www.CIAchef.edu
Texas Institute of Religion www.IDSCES.org
Wayland Baptist University www.SA.wbu.edu
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BRAC is here … Are you ready? July 6, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Resilience, Tools.
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Another Great Free Training Opportunity is Available for BRAC Impacted Workers located in Virginia.

Training is provided by the Department of Labor with a special BRAC grant.

Networking and Interviewing for Success Presented by Alan DeBack July 29th – August 24th – September 22nd.

During this workshop you’ll learn effective strategies for both and practice some of the key competencies critical to success. You will walk away from the workshop with a solid overview of how networking and interviewing skills will contribute to your successful job search.

Career Success in the federal Government Presented by Derrick T. Dortch July 15th – August 12th – September 16th.

This workshop will teach you how to: develop a “Federal Career Success Strategy”;  show you how to find the right federal job for you; assist you in developing powerful, persuasive and targeted Federal Resumes, KSAs, ECQs, and Cover Letters that will win interviews; provide you with insight to how the screening and selection process works; teach you about networking on the federal level; provide you advice on interviewing on the federal level; assist you in identifying and developing the skills needed to win the job you wanted and advance; and answer any questions you have about the federal job search. This workshop is designed to open doors, win interviews, and sell yourself to win the federal job you desire.

Developing KSAs & Resumes for the Federal Employment Application Process Presented by Kathryn K. Troutman July 28th– August 4th– September 7th.

The workshop will help you write attention-getting KSAs including an introduction to the CCAR Model for writing outstanding KSAs. Also you will learn how to answer KSAs and essay questions with the best format and content. Also learn how to write Federal Resumes for both USAJOBS and CPOL Resumix format.

For more information on how to register contact Ms. Nell Richardson at nrichardson@arlingtonva.us.

Please contact IMCOMBPA@conus.army.mil or Anne Graham (anne.graham@us.army.mil) if you require any other assistance as you transition due to BRAC.

(more…)

Resume workshop helps IMCOM employees and spouses prepare for employment transition June 21, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, HR Plan, Moving, Relocation, Tools.
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Who:

IMCOM G-1 and Arlington BRAC Transition Office provides opportunities for transitioners to receive the latest information and training on how to develop Federal resumes and use electronic search tools to apply for Federal positions.  One of the opportunities is a 6-hour Resume Workshop.  The workshop, held 12 May and 15 June are designed specifically for IMCOM transitioners with a capacity of 20 participants to allow time for hands-on learning as well as one-on-one instruction. The Arlington BRAC transition office counselors are on site at the workshop to provide insight into the San Antonio job market and information on similar services provided by the state of Texas for BRAC-affected employees. Participants are provided laptop computers for use during the workshop, a resume workbook authored by Kathryn Troutman, a well known trainer and writer on Federal employment strategies and a computer thumb drive to save work completed.

When:

Two workshops are scheduled for 23 and 28 June.  A stand-by list is available due to the tremendous popularity of the workshops.  More workshops are being planned for July.

How:

Contact:  IMCOMBPA@conus.army.mil with Employee and Spouse Resumes Writing and Application Tools (BTC) in the subject of the email for additional information.

Discover an A+ Education June 8, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Resilience, San Antonio life, Tools.
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San Antonio Public Schools

We here at the Installation Management Community believe it’s important for our Soldiers, Civilians and Families to get the most from the community where they live.  Sometimes a community is only as good as the schools you’ll find there.  We understand a child’s education is the key to their success in the future.

Finding the right school can be daunting, especially with 19 school districts to choose from in Bexar County and its surrounding area.  This article is designed to help navigate through the chaos and give your Family an inside look at San Antonio’s finest and brightest public elementary, middle and high schools. 

Before making a permanent decision about a home purchase, be sure to research, read reviews and ask questions to confirm the neighborhood schools are right for you and your Family.

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”

—     Plato

The San Antonio School District & Public School List

 

Resilience through an active lifestyle May 20, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Resilience, Road Trip, San Antonio life, Tools.
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The Installation Management Community will continue to provide services and infrastructure that support resilience, spirited fitness and well-being to enable strong Soldiers, Civilians and Families for a mission-ready Army.

When it comes to people with active lifestyles, Washington, DC, has a tendency to spoil.

Its unique location features a smorgasbord of historical venues and scenic terrain, making it easily accessible and passionately loved by outdoor enthusiasts.  Although DC is strong with its activity scene, San Antonio has much to offer to those with an active lifestyle as well.

Hiking

San Antonio offers about 109 miles worth of scenic and metro-area hiking trails, according to LocalHikes.com.  A hike deep in the heart of San Antonio is the San Antonio River Walk Loop.  It meanders 6.1 miles along the San Antonio River and will take the average walker 2.5 hours to complete.  It’s listed as an easy hike and allows the walker to visit shops, restaurants and historic landmarks, such as the Alamo, along the way.

Bicycle Riding

If you’re looking for a faster pace, San Antonio and its surrounding areas offer more than 1,200 miles of road that bikers frequently pedal. Ranging from 6.8 to 96 miles, the longest route listed on SABikeRides.com begins in Comfort and ends in Fredericksburg.  The site gives viewers detailed maps, places to stop for refreshments, and elevation levels.

If racing is your passion, visit the Cycling section at RunSanAntonio.com to view a list of races in the South Texas region.

As you can probably tell by the scarcity of stops, these are long rides out in the middle of nowhere. These are great if you want to lose yourself in the countryside and not see much city all day long.”

―SABikeRides.com regarding the Comfort to Fredericksburg route

Running

The Army Ten-Miler is one of DC’s most anticipated races. It took just 35 hours for the Army Ten-Miler to fill its 30,000 runner field – shattering last year’s registration record of six days.  If you missed the signup for this year’s race, no worries; Fort Sam Houston has its own Army Ten-Miler in January.  San Antonio hosts a variety of races, from 5Ks to marathons. You and your Family can sign up for these races by visiting the links below or visiting RunSanAnotonio.com.

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Triathlon

For those with a truly competitive spirit and who enjoy swimming, biking and running all within one race, San Antonio hosts triathlons that fit almost every active skill level.

“This was my first half-iron distance [triathlon] and I heard it was not an easy one to start with, but I had a blast and look forward to breaking my time next year.”

―Active.com member I’mTri-Ing! about the 2010 Tall Texan Triathlon

Triathlon, bicycle and running races can be found on Active.com.

Miscellaneous

There are many outdoor activists’ groups available on the Internet. Sites such as Meetup.com offer groups including:

Remember: Safety – First, last, and all the time. Always identify and assess risks involved when planning to run, bike ride or take part in any physical activity. Be aware of your surroundings, and if you decide to join an online activity group, be sure the group is legitimate.

DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Relocation Bookshelf: DFAS resources May 12, 2010

Posted by Neal Snyder in Moving, Relocation, Tools.
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The Defense Finance and Accounting Service Permanent Duty Travel page offers remarkably clean and straightforward access to the information you need to file for travel reimbursement. Start with (and keep referring to) the Relocation Entitlements Brief, but don’t miss any of the other resources on the page.  “How to complete the DD Form 1351-2 for civilian PCS” is especially handy.  

DFAS PDT Travel Page

Decision: Rent v. Buy May 11, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, HR Plan, Moving, Real Estate, Relocation, San Antonio Economy, San Antonio life, Tools, Transformation.
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Illustration by Sarah Samoraj

For all who plan on making the move out west to San Antonio, one thing is essential: finding a place to live.

Deciding whether to buy or rent may be easy to some, but not for all. Whichever you choose, here are some websites to help you and your Family   decide which route is best.

Here’s to your future life in San Antonio!

I don’t want to make the commitment of purchasing something until I become comfortable with the various neighborhoods and find out where I want to live.”

– Tamara Elston, Transition Center Program Manager, U.S. Army Installation Management Command

MSN Money Article

The Basics: Why it’s smarter to buy than rent

Zillow.com

An online real estate site where you can search for homes for sale, find home prices, see home values, view recently sold homes and check mortgage rates.

TexasRealEstate.com

This website serves as a guide for people planning to move to Texas.

[Moving to San Antonio] is a good opportunity for me to own a home.  … I think my quality of life will improve, definitely.  I’ll be able to do something in the afternoons besides go to bed.”

— Andrea Pratt, Human Resources Specialist, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (currently commutes about four hours a day to and from work)

Rent.com

A website allowing you to search apartment listings.

ApartmentRatings.com

This website lists renters’ reviews on apartments.

Rentals.com

A website that lists rental homes and apartments.

Greatschools.org

“Involved parents. Successful kids.” Learn about a school through parent ratings and reviews.

SchoolsK-12.com

This site is designed around the needs of a relocating family with school-age children.  “Finding the right San Antonio schools in the right neighborhood has never been easier.”

San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department

This website lists parks and recreation places around San Antonio.

CrimeSpot.com

This site lists crimes such as robbery, burglary and theft by date, time and place.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Database

This website allows searches for risk levels and addresses of sexual offenders in San Antonio and surrounding area neighborhoods.

DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Destination: San Antonio April 28, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Road Trip, Tools, Uncategorized.
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A guide to planning your road trip from Washington, DC, to San Antonio

By this time of the journey, the Appalachian Mountains are behind us and the road trip begins to come to a close.  San Antonio is swiftly approaching.

Depending on the route chosen, you may have been stunned by the enormity of Nashville’s Parthenon or found time to unwind by relishing in the peaceful serenity of DeSoto Falls. Either way, the next and final part of this series offers a variety of places to visit before arriving to your destination.

Here’s to safe travels, many adventures and a new life with the US Army Installation Management Command in the Heart of Texas.  Thanks for all you do for Soldiers, Civilians and Families!

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

― Japanese Poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Part 3 of 3: Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas

North Route Road Map (Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas)

Hot Springs National Park (Hot Springs, Ark. – North Route)

Nestled in rolling hills, Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park has been protected by Congress since 1832, some 40 years before Yellowstone became the world’s first national park. The park offers hiking trails, picnic areas, camping grounds, scenic overlooks and a row of luxurious stone and masonry bathhouses constructed in the early 1900s.  The Bathhouse Row structures are part of a National Historic Landmark District and represent the grandest collection of such bathhouses in North America.

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Crater of Diamonds State Park (Murfreesboro, Ark. – North Route)

Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only diamond-producing site in the world open to the public.  Diamonds up to 40.23 carats have been found in the park.  Uncle Sam, the largest diamond discovered in North America, was found here in 1924. Diamonds range in color from white, yellow, canary and brown. In 2009, 918 diamonds were found weighing a total of 182.97 carats.

Amon Carter Museum (Fort Worth – North Route)

Travel about five hours south west of Crater of Diamonds State Park on Interstate-30, you will hit the final recommended destination on Route 2. The Amon Carter Museum displays an array of art exhibits including Masterworks of American Photography: Popular Culture, Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light and American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White (photography).

This collection of art and sculpture by Charles Russell and Frederic Remington is very extensive, with excellent information alongside each to narrate the stories depicted. You may not be a fan of the cowboy life, but these illustrations keep it realistic, with all the everyday detail.  [The] Indian costumes are particularly interesting.”

― TripAdvisor.com member Debora4967 of Philadelphia.

South Route Map (Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas)

African American Military History Museum (Hattiesburg, Miss. – South Route)

The African American Military History Museum has been dedicated to America’s African American Soldiers since 1942.  “From their beginnings as Buffalo Soldiers to their modern-day service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, hundreds of artifacts, photos and unique displays tell the story, so that we may be inspired by their courage and patriotism,” the museum’s website notes.

Confederacy of Cruisers Bike Tours (New Orleans – South Route)

Confederacy of Cruisers is one of New Orleans’ premier tours. Listed as No. 1 of 297 on TripAdvisor.com’s popularity index in New Orleans attractions, Confederacy of Cruisers will give you an intimate, relaxing tour of the Big Easy. The tours are slow paced, allowing you time to soak up the local sights and color. The tour offers a friendly guide, tuned-up bicycles, safety helmets, water and an encyclopedic knowledge of the colorful past of the Big Easy.

The three-hour tour is a leisurely ride around the city, through several different neighborhoods and covering nearly every aspect of New Orleans history and culture. I don’t think I could have learned more living in the city for a year than I did in one afternoon on this tour.”

― TripAdvisor.com member Amanicen of Milwaukee, Wisc.

Creole Nature Trail Map

Creole Nature Trail (Lake Charles, La. – South Route)

Nestled along the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Louisiana is the Creole Nature Trail, one of America’s scenic byways.  Untouched wetlands stretch out across thousands of acres encompassing three wildlife refuges and a bird sanctuary.  Running westward parallel to Interstate 10, this Family-friendly byway offers more than 300 species of birds, toothy alligators and timeless tranquility.

…You will be enchanted by the entwining ecosystems of the coastland and the marshland.  So drive the trail through Louisiana’s very own outback and discover the culture, nature and history awaiting you there.”

― National Scenic Byways Program website

Houston Maritime Museum (Houston – South Route)

Exhibiting more than 150 ship models, 100 types of navigational instruments and numerous maritime artifacts, the Houston Maritime Museum captures and preserves the wonder and influence of maritime history.

It’s a tiny museum in a tiny house, dedicated to model ships and the history of seafaring. They have a remarkable collection of model ships (some quite large). … A friendly [man] gave us the tour and you could tell he really enjoys sharing his knowledge.”

― Yelp.com member Rebecca F. of Providence, R.I.


DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Destination: San Antonio April 26, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Road Trip, Tools, Uncategorized.
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Sunset at Morton's Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tenn.

A guide to planning your road trip from Washington, DC, to San Antonio

Part 2 of 3: Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama

With Virginia and North Carolina in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start the second leg of Destination: San Antonio.  If you enjoyed the history of Monticello or the adrenaline rush of Sliding Rock, just wait until you explore Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.  About a two-hour drive northwest of Sliding Rock and downtown Asheville is Gatlinburg, Tenn., the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains.

At this point of the journey, the roads diverge and you must decide which route you’d like to travel: south or north; Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi or central to western Texas and Arkansas.  Nevertheless, whichever way is right for you and your Family, the journey will be exciting and memorable.

North and South Routes

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Gatlinburg)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of opportunities for exploring the natural and cultural history of its ancient surroundings. The national park encompasses more than 800 square miles in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. No other area of equal size in a temperate climate can match the park’s diversity of plants, animals and invertebrates. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides countless activities such as scenic and historical drives, Elkmont’s synchronized fireflies and white water rafting.

Asheville, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Asheville, N.C., to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The Parthenon (Nashville – North Route)

Built in 1897 for Tennessee’s Centennial Exposition, Nashville’s Parthenon might have you thinking you’re in Greece. Both the building and a 42-foot statue of Athena are full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.  The Parthenon, amongst hosting events such as proms and weddings, serves as the city’s art museum.

I’ve been to the Parthenon in Athens, and the experience of visiting the reproduction in Nashville is at least equal to and perhaps surpasses the original.”

―TripAdvisor.com member Snakebite_Survivor of Chapel Hill, N.C.

Graceland (Memphis – North Route)

Driving through Memphis won’t add extra hours to your driving time, so don’t fret! If Tennessee and Arkansas are ideal for your travels, you should visit the King’s Graceland Mansion.

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Many forget that Elvis served in the armed forces and historic items on display serve well to document this period in the King’s life. A visit to Graceland will leave you with a new found appreciation to the man we all know as the King.”

― Yelp.com member Hideki K. of New York, New York

Stone Mountain (Atlanta – South Route)

Frommer’s lists Stone Mountain as one of the 500 Places to Visit with Your Kids Before They Grow Up.  The park is home to the largest bas-relief in the world, which portrays three major figures of the Confederate States of America: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

DeSoto State Park (Fort Payne, Ala. — South Route)

Nestled atop scenic Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama, DeSoto State Park’s 3,502-acre wilderness is accented by rushing waterfalls and fragrant wildflowers. The park offers hiking, fishing, camping, swimming and horseback riding.  If you’re bringing your horses to Texas and want to stretch their legs – this is the place. DeSoto Falls, located in the state park, is more than 100-feet high and is one of the tallest and most visited waterfalls in Alabama.

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DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Destination: San Antonio April 22, 2010

Posted by Sarah in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Road Trip, Tools, Uncategorized.
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Monticello in Charlottesville, Va.

A guide to planning your road trip from Washington, DC, to San Antonio

The car is packed, gas tank full, kids buckled up, now it’s time to go West, Army Soldiers and Civilians, and join the Installation Management Command in San Antonio.

Don’t expect to get from Washington, DC, to San Antonio overnight. The most direct route runs the course of about 1,600 miles and goes through seven states, but don’t let this semi-cross-country drive get you down. There are many places to see along the way especially if you’re willing to use your four-and-a-half travel days to the fullest.

Below are a few natural and historic marvels to visit on your journey to San Antonio.

Part 1 of 3: Virginia and North Carolina

Virginia to North Carolina

Virginia Caves

Virginia is home to more than 60 caves, about 10 are open to tourists.  Most of these caves are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains along Interstate 81, which is a straight shot on your route to Texas.

Virginia Safari Park (Natural Bridge)

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Safari Park offers something most zoos don’t – an upfront animal encounter that you won’t have to leave your car for! The park offers hands-on animal encounters with gazelles, kangaroos, bison, zebras, camels and giraffes.

At [Virginia Safari Park], you’ll be able to see animals run and frolic with abandon … or block your path.”

―Virginia Safari Park website

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (Charlottesville, Va.)

Monticello is listed as one of the “8 Places Every American Should See,” according to Budget Travel.  Designed by Thomas Jefferson using neoclassical architecture, Monticello is an autobiographical masterpiece designed and redesigned, built and rebuilt for more than 40 years.

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.)

“Biltmore Estate provides the ideal location for romance with a century-old French Renaissance chateau. George W. Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre estate with its 250-room Biltmore House, 75 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, and the nation’s most visited winery offers plenty of opportunities.”

―RomanticAsheville.com

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North Carolina: (D) Biltmore Estate, (E) Looking Glass Falls and (F) Sliding Rock

Looking Glass Falls (Asheville, N.C.)

About four miles from Sliding Rock and nearly 60 feet tall is Looking Glass Falls, one of the most popular falls in North Carolina.  You can venture onto the rocks, wade and swim underneath the falling water, or just take in the surroundings while perched on a bolder.

Sliding Rock (Asheville, N.C.)

Fueled by 11, 000 gallons of chilly water flowing down the 60-foot flat, sloping bolder each minute, Sliding Rock is a natural hit for thousands of children and adults each summer.  This exhilarating favorite natural mountain waterfall is located in the Pisgah National Forest, near Asheville, N.C.

My family has been coming back to North Carolina for the last 20 years and we always make our pilgrimage to Sliding Rock.”“We do it in April and it is freezing cold, but darn well worth it. It helps to remind you of how alive you can feel!”

― TripAdvisor.com member Marine86297

DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Virginia Caves

Virginia is home to more than 60 caves, about 10 are open to tourists.  Most of these caves are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains along Interstate-81, which is a straight shot on your route to Texas.

Virginia Safari Park (Natural Bridge)

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Safari Park offers something most zoos don’t – an upfront animal encounter that you won’t have to leave your car for! The park offers hands-on animal encounters with gazelles, kangaroos, bison, zebras, camels and giraffes.

“At [Virginia Safari Park], you’ll be able to see animals run and frolic with abandon … or block your path.”

―Virginia Safari Park website

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (Charlottesville, Va.)

Monticello is listed as one of the “8 Places Every American Should See,” according to Budget Travel.  Designed by Thomas Jefferson using neoclassical architecture, Monticello is an autobiographical masterpiece designed and redesigned, built and rebuilt for more than 40 years.

Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.)