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, 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, 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 a place unique. Our style of travel is characterized by backroads 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 universities, and exploration travel on the backroads of Europe. Along with these core areas of expertise, we increasingly plan exploration travel in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and other parts of North America. Explore Up Close is a natural fit for curious and adventurous residents of the Carolinas and the Southeast, and for organizations - located anywhere - that seek unique travel experiences for their constituents.
Meet the Explore Up Close team
Founder Chumley Cope grew up with a jeep and a passion for exploration. With degrees in history from the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University, he worked as an educator before deciding to channel his passion for history and exploration travel into his own company in 2004. Chumley loves mapping out creative itineraries to new places and sharing interesting stories on location with his travelers. He lives with his family in the South Carolina Upstate.
Explore Up Close Founder, Chumley Cope
Chumley's daughter Caroline joined the Explore Up Close team in 2017 as Travel and Marketing Coordinator. Caroline graduated from the University of North Carolina with degrees in Art History, Global Studies, and French. In addition to her knack for maintaining lively communications with our travelers and ironing out trip details, Caroline brings a passion for all things cultural to the company.
Travel and Marketing Coordinator, Caroline Cope