Travel and Dish

About Renee Sklarew

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I’m a freelance writer living in the Washington DC Area, who has written about destinations and food culture since 2007. My work appears regularly in print and online publications—including The Washington Post Travel   and AAA Traveler Worldwise

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Rachel Cooper and Renee Sklarew, featured authors at the Gaithersburg Book Festival 2018 image by Bruce Guthrie Photos  [Click here] 
I am a tour leader and presenter for Smithsonian Associates, an editor for the “Oh Ranger” Guides published by the American Park Network, and a regular contributor to the outdoor recreation site. I’ve created content and images for  Destination DC both online and for their annual travel guide. I write reviews of hotels and restaurants for  and serve as Dining Editor for VivaTysons and VivaReston Magazines. My story about Silicon Valley tourism was featured in The Washington Post Travel section in August, 2017.

60 WashDC_3edMy book 60 Hikes With 60 Miles of Washington DC co-written with Rachel Cooper is now available on Amazon.  To read about some of the region’s best hikes check out Facebook  and this blog post  Read an interview featuring my book at Getaways for Grownups.

In 2016, I coauthored the Unofficial Guide to Washington DC with practical advice on how to navigate DC’s best attractions, find family-friendly hotels, as well as choose convenient transportation in and around DC. The book can help readers design a memorable, low cost vacation in our Nation’s Capital. Released in February 2016,  order the guidebook now UG WASHDC book cover 2015r $12.99 on Amazon. You will learn so much about your own city, even if you live here, just by reading this book! The book won “Best Travel Guidebook of 2016” at the Eastern Conference of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). I also partner with Touring Plans on a new podcast that explores different Washington DC museums and strategies on what to see in each.UG WASHDC book cover 2015

Renee Sklarew Travel Writer 2018Here are links to recent writing and photography:

I worked with Fodor’s editorial team, contributing to the 2013 and 2014 Fodor’s Washington DC Guidebook – specifically, researching and reporting on Neighborhoods, Hotels, Sports, Recreation and Museums. I have also written newsworthy travel blogs for One travel post on received close to 1000 likes on Facebook and was tweeted more than 1,900 times: Visit Shenandoah Valley

I am a member of Society of Travel Writers (SATW) and participate in the MidAtlantic Travel and Public Relations Association (MATPRA). I have written extensively about restaurants, farms and food outlets for various publications. Read my food stories in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and in VivaTysons and Reston Lifestyle. From 2010 – 2012, AOL published my weekly restaurant reviews for Patch.Bethesda and Patch.ChevyChase

My features have appeared in a wide variety of publications and websites including  DC Examiner, Adventure Biking, Running Times, Park & Recreation Magazine, Maryland Life.I also published a chapter in Chicken Soup for the Soul Stay at Home Moms and a monthly column in Northern Virginia Magazine  called “Kin” from September 2006 until August 2012 which delved into challenges faced by parents including mental health issues, adoption, divorce and nutrition.

As a photography enthusiast, my photos have appeared in Boston Globe, USAToday, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Washington Post, VivaTysons, AOL Travel and Northern Virginia Magazine.


The Unofficial Guide of Washington DC was awarded “Best Travel Guidebook of 2016” at the Eastern Conference of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)  judged by the University of North Carolina School of Journalism.

In 2008, the Virginia Press Award for Lifestyle Writing recognized my September 2008 cover story (co-written with Kathryn McKay) on traveling the region: “High Tech to Low Country.”  “Why I Love My Hometown” was a winner in The Washington Post’s essay challenge.

Education and Career Experience

I graduated from Indiana University in English and Journalism, and worked in television at Entertainment Tonight (New York Bureau), then in radio in St Louis’s KMOX. I moved onto communications and development for nonprofit health organizations, including the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Maryland Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. I served as Executive Director of the Combined Health Appeal of the National Capital Area. I attended Catholic University’s graduate program for a Masters in Social Work.


My passion for travel developed early, as my family and I explored new places–both exotic and local–from home bases in Washington DC, Zurich, New York, St. Louis, Colorado Springs and London. When I visit a place, I love walking the streets, sampling native delicacies, and meeting locals. For the last several years, my extended family has gone on holiday together, and consequently, I’ve learned a lot about what works for multigenerational travel.

To contact me please write to


Vanessa Stolarski, formerly managing editor for Northern Virginia Magazine writes:
“Renee’s enthusiasm for the written word propels her drive to tackle a diverse cadre of assignments. From travel writing to complex stories in headline news, Renee embraces the chance to challenge her skills, & is consequently always perfecting her craft. Her thorough reporting, attention to detail & commitment to deadlines, make her a valuable addition to any masthead. She is one of the rare freelance writers who make an editor’s job easy.”
I have published two articles in Parks & Recreation Magazine that have garnered positive reviews including one from the editor of Parks & Recreation Magazine, Cassandra Franklin-Barbajosa:
“I highly recommend Renee Sklarew as a freelance writer. During my tenure as Executive Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine, I hired her to write two articles: Potomac Heritage Trails and the National Arboretum. She followed directions well, including some of her own photography, and wrote articles that made the reader want to go out and experience these special places. She takes editorial comments with professionalism and positive energy as she strives to meet the stated goals. Her talent as a writer make her a natural for feature articles that set a scene and draw the reader in. I hope to have the opportunity to work with her in the future.”
Year first hired: 2009 (hired more than once)
Top Qualities: Great Results, Personable, High Integrity
My interviews with local political figures and community leaders are indepth looks at their dreams, hopes and accomplishments. Chap Peterson, Fairfax County’s State Senator writes:
“In all the furor over the Fairfax “City vs. County” debate, I totally forgot to post the link to the interview of yours truly in the most recent edition of NoVA Magazine. Thanks to Renee Sklarew who wrote the article and made my rambling thoughts at least semi-comprehensible.”

In this month’s Northern Virginia Magazine, author Renee Sklarew wrote a comprehensive and thought provoking article on teens titled, “the Secret Lives of Teens.” The piece addresses the social, emotional, academic and family life realities and concerns for teens growing up in Northern Virginia. Sklarew does a great job of juxtaposing the opinions of Northern Virginia mental health professionals alongside those of the teens she interviewed.  Dr. Oberschneider addresses the impact of the economy and screen time on teens.  We invite you to pick up the August 2010 edition of Northern Virginia Magazine to read the article in it’s entirety.  You can also read the article at:

10 Replies to “About Renee Sklarew”

  1. Mom:
    I LOVE THIS! You are smart, nice and creative!
    p.s. For those who are reading this website, I am Renee’s daughter who had a heart transplant!


    1. Greetings Niki, fellow hiker and phenomenal blogger! Thank you for mentioning the rewrite on 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Washington DC. I would love to talk to you about your impressions of various hikes around the area. We are whittling down the list, and would like to add new ones and possibly drop old ones. If you’re available please email me so we can connect via phone.


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