My friend Heather and I had been talking about a girls getaway for a few months and the stars aligned for an early February trip. We bandied about a few ideas but when she mentioned that she wanted to try her hand at skiing I had the perfect place in mind-Wintergreen Resort.
“Whale watching in Virginia Beach?”
The looks from my friends were incredulous as I told them about my experience whale watching a few years ago. Every winter, from December to March, several pods of humpback whales migrate from their summer homes of the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia and spend the winter months feeding in the rich waters where the Chesapeake Bay opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Whale sightings have been plentiful and frequent the past few years but despite this, one of Virginia’s greatest winter experiences remains a secret even to many locals. On a clear but chilly January weekend I brought my friends down to the Virginia Aquarium for a winter wildlife boat trip so they could see the whales for themselves.
“Four score and seven years ago……..”
This famous speech from Abraham Lincoln is the introduction to Gettysburg most of us get in elementary school. Lincoln’s speech and the events that inspired them also inspire many people to visit this area of southern Pennsylvania. With a year round population of only 7,000 people Gettysburg has a staggering 4 million visitors a year with the bulk of them coming in the spring and summer. Winter? Well, that’s another story. On a quick weekend trip in January we practically had Gettysburg to ourselves. No traffic clogging the bucolic country roads and no fighting the crowds at the monuments. A weekend is just long enough to get a taste of Gettysburg, with one day focused on Gettysburg’s past and one day focused on Gettysburg’s present.
Every year during the holidays we head south to Florida, to sunny Tampa where we get to celebrate Christmas with Steve’s family with palm trees and 80 degree weather replacing pine trees and snow. Of course one of my favorite parts of our yearly Florida trip is spending time with my niece Morgan, a super fun kid who is growing up far too fast for my liking. When it came time for our girls’ day adventure we had tons of options, after all Tampa is famous for its white sand beaches and theme parks. This year, our choice was completely up to Morgan and she had one place in mind-Big Cat Rescue.
If you’re anything like me as soon as the fireworks and celebrations of New Year’s end the search for where to go in the coming year begins. I reached out to the travel blogging community for their suggestions on the top destinations for 2017 and the response was overwhelming. The 34 destinations on this year’s list span the globe; from Antarctica to the Azores, Fiji to Finland, Malawi to Mongolia these places will surely inspire your wanderlust. Without further ado, here is where to travel in 2017. Read More
As we all celebrate the start of a new year January 1 also marks the anniversary of when I first hit publish here at the Casual Travelist. I started writing three years ago as part of the healing process after my Mom passed away from early-onset Alzheimer’s and every day I’m amazed and grateful for all of you that have chosen to stop by my little corner of the internet. The past three years have been filled with opportunities and adventures that I couldn’t have imagined when I started writing but what I cherish the most is all of the new friends, both in person and online, that I’ve made along the way. You guys really are the best.
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.
The holiday season has rolled around again and figuring out what to get the travel savvy jet-setter on your list can be a bit daunting. I’ve combed the internet to find gifts that will inspire your wanderlust, brighten up your home or make travel a bit easier. My gift guide features gifts that are sure to delight any traveler in your life, but no one would blame you if you got a little something for yourself (because you certainly deserve it!).
I can’t believe how fast 2016 has flown by, as I write this thoughts of turkey and pumpkin pie dance in my head and visions of Christmas sales flash across my TV screen. Tensions still run high from one of the most contentious election seasons in history, but despite the doom that pops up in my news feed there is a lot that’s good and right in the world. I choose to focus on the positive and this year has generally been a good one for me. Here are a few things I’m thankful for this year.