Explore Up Close, LLC, is a family-owned travel company, specializing in exploration of the historic, cultural, and natural world. Founded by Chumley Cope in 2004, the company has always been an extension of a family impulse to explore an unknown road or trail (occasionally trespassing), and to hear an interesting story from a stranger. New roads remain alluring to this day, and "strangers" pass into memory as friends, characters, and purveyors of fascinating and enlightening stories. Today, most Explore Up Close trips still follow our characteristic style -- whether it's exploring chateaux country by bicycle, Civil War battlefields by bus, or horse-and-Bourbon countryside by van. Explore Up Close was designed to bring you an in-depth view that goes beneath the surface, a celebration of the sharing of human stories, and an emphasis on the camaraderie of traveling (and the friends we meet along the way).
Explore Up Close is about finding an authentic sense of place, and uncovering the natural, cultural, and historic elements that make any place unique. Our style of travel is characterized by backroads (and back streets) exploration, boutique lodging, audiences with local experts, occasional private site visits, and an interest in the local. Our specialties include planning and guiding themed travel for affinity groups, educational travel for schools and colleges, exploration of the southeastern U.S., and small group touring on the backroads of Europe. As we branch out from these core areas of expertise, we increasingly plan exploration travel in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and other parts of North America.
Founder Chumley Cope lives with his family in the South Carolina Upstate. Explore Up Close is a natural fit for curious and adventurous residents in the Carolinas and Georgia, and for organizations - located anywhere - that seek unique travel experiences for their constituents.
Explore Up Close Founder, Chumley Cope