ALL excellent responses/thoughts/suggestions. Thank you so much. This has helped a lot. I tend to imagine myself taking pictures of rolling farmland, waterfalls, and water views using a tripod. Perhaps that's what I enjoy most. However, when I look at my photo collection, most are handheld taken on travel. You guys have convinced me to go VR. As for the zoom, to TBerryhill's point, a lot of times you can't put your feet where you'd like to so a zoom makes sense.
I've been considering various cameras and lenses for a while and my husband is sick of hearing my good/better/best analogies. The obvious answer is to buy a whole arsenal of lenses like most of you here have and take what works best for the shoot of the day