February 3, 2021
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When I’m not DJing on Cincinnati’s Mix 94.9, you can find me traveling the world and sharing my journeys here.

Where do Cincy celebs like to travel to and spend their vacation time?

Local 12’s Sheila Gray’s Happy Place: Isle of Palms, SC (Photo: ExploreCharleston.com)


Last time on Jet with Jay, I got to share my top three happy places and travel destinations.  Since it was almost impossible to narrow it down to just gold, silver, and bronze, I added on three more of my favorite vacation spots.


It got me thinking… I wonder where some of our favorite Cincinnati personalities like to spend their vacation time?  So, I fired up the Zoom and asked them!

Thane Maynard

Director, Cincinnati Zoo

Happy Place: Suwannee River, Florida / Georgia

JAY: Hi Thane, tell us about your happy place!

THANE: I grew up in Central Florida, a long time ago before air conditioning, and so I really have a great sense of what the Southeast habitat looks like from South Carolina all the way to Florida. It’s filled with alligators and egrets, and so any chance I can spend outdoors, particularly in Florida, is a lot of fun.

I go on an annual canoe and camping trip with my daughter and some others down the Suwannee River which runs from south Georgia at the Okefenokee Swamp down across the Panhandle of Florida. That’s a tremendous amount of fun. We do it in the Winter, not because there are not mosquitos, snakes, and alligators, but because there are not any people around.  Floridians think it’s freezing when people from up here think it’s perfectly reasonable. It’s a lot of fun.


Kayaking or Canoeing the Suwannee River is an annual tradition for the Maynard Family.
Thane also finds himself alongside far-away bodies of water in places like Africa. (Photos: Thane Maynard)

JAY: It sounds like it, so what’s on your music playlist for that trip?

THANE: Well, you know, I’m an old fogey.  So, I’ll listen to everybody from Pete Seeger and guys like that through songs when I was in high school and college.  Folks like Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt.  Folks that, who knows how, but they all got old on me!  But their music is still great.

JAY: Love it – Solid choices!  When you’re packing your travel bags, what’s the most important item you take with you?

Troy Spring along the Suwannee River is home to trees, wildlife... and a sunken steam ship! (Photo: Russell Mick for VisitFlorida.com)

THANE: I take binoculars because as a naturalist, I’m keenly interested in what we might see.  And a lot of times, you can hear a bird but it’s not very close. So, by bringing your binoculars along, it gives you a good chance to really see and take note of what’s around you.

Sheila Gray

Morning News Anchor, Local 12

Happy Place: Isle of Palms, SC


JAY: Hi Sheila! I know you love to travel, so try to narrow it down to one place!


SHEILA: Let me tell you, I have never met a beach that I didn’t like.  But I’m picking one that’s really easy to get to from Cincinnati, Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky.  It’s Isle of Palms, South Carolina which is just off the coast of Charleston. It is idyllic.  

Perfect sunsets end perfect days in Isle of Palms, SC (Photo: ExploreCharleston.com)

JAY: Isle of Palms? That sounds nice!


SHEILA: It is. It’s beautiful! There’s a beautiful breeze that blows in from the beach. South Carolina weather is humid and really hot, but you don’t feel that way when you’re on Isle of Palms because there’s constantly this gorgeous breeze blowing.  It’s not all built up and commercialized like some beaches are. So you can have your own private space, you can rent a house or a condo.  Or you can stay in a more developed place like Wild Dunes, one of the developments there.  It has more of a hotel atmosphere and also private homes.


It’s very family friendly and it’s clean plus you have Charleston nearby so within 15 or 20 minutes you have the aquarium, you have incredible restaurants – they’re known for their food scene.  You can go to King Street and enjoy designer stores and all the shopping you can imagine. And you can also see the historic parts like the old market and old architecture and buildings of Charleston.  It has everything anyone could possibly want!

Endless family activities, including golf, await in Isle of Palms, SC. (Photo: ExploreCharleston.com)

JAY: Do you prefer an Airbnb or the resort?

SHEILA: I have rented a condo inside of Wild Dunes and I’ve been there a few times and rented different places.  I’ve also used VRBO and have found wonderful condos.

JAY: When you head out on a trip, what do you always bring with you on a flight?

SHEILA: I always have to take something to read.  Whether it’s a book for the plane, or a book on my Kindle, or a book for the beach, reading is how I escape from the world

It takes more than one day to see all of the Temples of Siem Reap

Christian Gill

Chef, Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

Happy Place: New Orleans, LA

JAY: Hey Christian! You’ve traveled around the world, been on hit TV shows, and currently cook up amazing food at Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey in downtown Cincinnati on Broadway.  So where do you go to relax?

CHRISTIAN: My favorite place is definitely New Orleans. Just being in New Orleans, the Crescent City, there’s something about it.  I love creole food.  I grew up with creole and Cajun food and my mom and grandmother cooked it a lot. Being there, and I’m not talking about Bourbon Street, being more in the French Quarter or in the Garden District, actually immersing yourself in other places than just the Strip – that’s what I love.

There’s something about finding a really cool, small, hip, dive bar like the tiki room at the Catahoula Hotel or The Hot Tin Roof.  Places like that, where there aren’t a lot of tourists and I don’t feel like a tourist – that’s the thing I love about New Orleans.

A tasty sampler platter and sandwich at Cochon Butcher
Cafe Du Monde has been a famous coffee stand for over 150 years. (Photo: Christian Gill)

JAY: As a chef, you obviously gravitate toward the amazing dining options, but what do you do after dinner?

CHRISTIAN: After a delicious meal, I normally go to The Pier and hang out there. It’s typically quieter there. You can still get some of the vibe of The Quarter or Warehouse District, but it’s just chill.  Watching the oilers and tankers go through, for me, it’s tranquil.

JAY: So, what’s your must-have travel item?

CHRISTIAN: Oh, Bluetooth headphones for sure! Noise-cancelling, isolated, Bluetooth headphones. I’ve travelled enough, trying to get from here to there for pilots and TV shows, I just like to be focused on podcasts or whatever it is that lets me continue to learn and be inspired about going to new places and hearing about new foods and techniques.


With locations across Louisiana, Drago’s serves up tasty dishes including their “Original Charbroiled Oyster.” (Photo: Christian Gill)

Thanks so much to all three of our guests! 

If you’re ready to travel and return to your Happy Place with CVG, submit a picture of your favorite vacation spot and you could win $500 in free airfare from CVG and participating airlines. Hurry, the deadline is February 21, 2021. Click here to enter!

And, don’t forget about the resoures available at CVG Airport:

  1. Fly Healthy resources and information – CVGairport.com/FlyHealthy
  2. My deals section – so many great options at low prices – check ’em out!

Let’s get back to our happy places this year!  Safe travels everyone! 


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