My Best Travel Moments of 2016
If you’re like me right about now you’re wondering just how the past year flew by so fast. I managed to make my goal of traveling at least once a month over the past year,all while working full time. Three countries, seven states and a whole lot of exploring Virginia provided a year’s worth of adventure. Without further ado, here are my best travel moments of 2016.
I started the year visiting family in Clearwater Florida; 80 degrees, palm trees and the Gulf of Mexico- there are certainly worse places to be in January. We took an afternoon boat cruise that left from Dunedin( IMHO the best small town in Florida) and we were rewarded with views of dolphins and this sunset.
What’s cooler than cool? An ice cold drink at Quebec’s Ice Hotel served in a glass made of (what else?) ice. Grab a cocktail made with Neige Ice Cider, a Quebecois specialty liqueur, though the Accident de Ski-doo (featuring spruce beer and topped with a spruce sprig) is a fun choice as well.
Most Luxurious Hotel
By far one of the nicest places I have ever stayed, Primland Resort( check out my experience here) offers up a luxurious retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Whether I was exploring the words on horseback, being pampered in the spa or just enjoying the views with a glass of wine in hand; I’m lucky to have the five-star luxury of Primland less than a five hour drive from my house.
Most breathtaking view
After an unexpected climb to the top of a 14,000 foot dormant volcano in Ecuador (and I’m happy to report I did not die) I was rewarded with this view that was worth every step .
Most fun you can have in the snow
When the winter months roll around most cities bundle up inside waiting for the warmer weather and bright blooms of spring, but Quebec City celebrates winter with a joie de vivre that can be found nowhere else. Check out the toboggan run right in the middle of town right in front of the iconic Le Chateau de Fronternac or enjoy the fun at the Winter Carnival (where yours truly became a human bowling ball).
Favorite Virginia LOVE sign
It’s no secret that Virginia is for lovers and one of the best things about traveling around my home state is finding all of the different LOVE signs, each with a different character representative of their destination. My favorite LOVE sign is in Cape Charles, on the southern tip of the Eastern Shore. I mean, how cute is this?
Best Fashion Accessory
My best fashion accessory from 2016 would be the llama chaps I wore as a chagrita (cowgirl) in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador.
Most underrated city
The one city that was a sleeper hit and quickly became one of my favorites was Milwaukee.
In this city once known for beer barons and motorcycles, the Fonz and a couple of girls named Laverne and Shirley, I found a new energy. Factories and warehouses once abandoned are finding a new life as vibrant neighborhoods housing a growing creative class. Independent boutiques, craft breweries and farm-to-table restaurants, old German taverns and Sicilian family bakeries; there’s room at Milwaukee’s table for everyone. Add to this the Milwaukee Art Museum, a prime position on the shores of Lake Michigan and a huge dose nice and you too will quickly fall in love with “the good land”.
Best adventure lodge
Located deep in the Andean cloud forest of Ecuador Mashpi Lodge packed some of my most unforgettable adventures in a three day stay. Birding, swimming underneath a pristine waterfall and hikes through the Jurassic Park-esque jungle filled my days while the modern lodge provided a luxurious retreat at night. Did I mention they have a sky bike?
Mexico City was full of surprises and one of my favorites was discovering the Museum of Anthroplogy. Hands down one of the world’s great museums, the Museum of Anthropology tells the fascinating history of Mexico’s indigenous cultures in one of the most architecturally striking spaces I’ve seen.
By far my best meal of the year was the chiles en nogada that I learned to prepare at La Villa Bonita, a cooking school located in the Mexican mountain town of Tepotzlan. This meal was a day long affair from gathering the ingredients from the local market, to preparing the meal over a leisurely afternoon with new friends this was a meal I will surely not forget.
Best Boutique Hotel
One of the most unique hotels I’ve seen, Milwaukee’s Brewhouse Inn and Suites started out life as the historic Pabst Brewery. The real showstopper, and something you won’t find in any other hotel, is the six original copper brew kettles on the second floor lobby. In their heyday these brew kettles helped make Pabst the biggest brewery in the world, today they offer a post-Victorian steampunk nod to Milwaukee’s past.
Most colorful church
Ecuador’s colonial capital of Quito held a lot of surprises including the colorful Metropolitan Cathedral. Serving Quito’s faithful since 1545, the interior of the cathedral is one of the most beautiful I’ve come across in my travels.
Best holiday destination
No where else knows how to light up the holidays quite like New York City.
May the next year be filled with lots of love, happiness and adventure for you all. I’d love to know where you’d like to go in 2017, please share below in the comments!