Lauren Portee, ’17

On the road (with mom)

July 4, 2023


By Amy Ogle, '26
We’re closer to friends, and sometimes I feel like I’m her mom.

Maryland native Lauren Portee, ’17, knows the value of getting out of town for a weekend. She's turned her love for it into a PBS travel show.

On her days off from her position as a pediatric occupational therapist, Portee is co-host of Get Out of Town, a production of WETA, which serves the Washington, D.C., area. She takes viewers to places across the mid-Atlantic region — from central Pennsylvania to, yes, Richmond. Traveling with a buddy makes these trips even more memorable, especially since Portee’s co-host and partner in crime is her mother, Laurita.

Since both are adults now, “we’re closer to friends,” Portee says. “And sometimes I feel like I’m her mom.”

Their traveling partnership began when they went to France for Portee’s 16th birthday and discovered their compatibility as travel buddies. Years later, the show’s trips are as memorable as that first one; however, these moments are more than memory-makers. Since her mom is retired and Portee works full time, their chances to see each other are limited. These weekend trips allow them to spend more precious time together.

Get Out of Town offers new perspectives, too. While the businesses and activities are important, the show prides itself on introducing “the residents, business owners, historians, trail and river guides, chefs, artists, and others who make each destination special,” according to its website.

Portee has long valued these experiences. As an undergraduate, she decided to use travel to gain a broader worldview. She hopes to eventually move away from Maryland while continuing her regional travels — and international ones. She wants to see the Seven Wonders of the World, go on her dream vacation, and visit France again.

Unlike on her first trip, she can drink wine, too.