Favorite Travel Moments Of 2016
Picking my favorite travel moments of 2016 was quite a hard task; I traveled 75% of the year and saw some amazing things. From trying my first oysters, to my first helicopter ride, and visiting new states, it has been a pivotal year for my career and travel life. It will be a hard year to top! Here are my favorite travel moments of 2016.
#1 Exploring Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay in Talbot County
If you have never traveled to the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, you are missing out! I found Talbot County to be a wealth of fun and home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the US. The community’s relaxed feel will lower your blood pressure, heighten your senses, and delight your taste buds. There is an abundance of wildlife, shopping, history, and charm. Uber fresh Lobster Rolls or Crab Cakes, anyone?
#2 House swapping with a friend in Coronado Bay, Panama
My husband, Eddie, and I did a house exchange with a couple who owns a house in Playa Coronado, about 60 minutes from Panama City, Panama. We pretty much had the entire place to ourselves since it was the offseason. What a nice romantic interlude! Our penthouse apartment afforded stellar views and amazing outdoor pools. We bonded with local restaurant owners while indulging in their yummy cuisine. My most treasured memory was watching the ocean and light show from a wicked storm on our expansive balcony.
#3 Attending our sixth annual CMA Music Fest in Nashville, TN
Since Nashville and country music are two of my favorite things, it should come as no surprise that my annual visit to the incredible 4 days and night country music festival is one of the year’s most anticipated events. After six years, I am a pro. This year’s highlight was meeting Old Dominion and Jake Owen plus getting to see Chris Stapleton live. Though we have been to Nashville at least 70 times, we never tire of Nashville’s tried and true offerings.
#4 An Impromptu Trip to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos with Eddie
Eddie and I were invited on a press trip to Provo, Turks and Caicos to review two luxury resorts and their restaurants. Providenciales is home to one of the world’s best and most gorgeous beaches, Grace Bay. This is truly a tropical paradise. Our accommodations were incredible and the food, utterly amazing. Eddie and I had a wonderful time enjoying the hotel’s amenities, fabulous swimming pools, and working on our tan. We would do it all over again!
#5 Visiting Portland, Oregon, a destination on my bucket list for years
Some friends invited me to visit them in Portland, Oregon and I jumped at the chance. What wonderful tour guides they were! My quick trip was packed full of fun, frolic, history, and a wide array of food and spirits. We explored not only the distinct neighborhoods of Portland but spent a day traveling the scenic areas around Portland, such as Oregon City. Oregon’s scenery blew me away. The Lewis and Clark historic areas and kick-ass waterfalls were a real treat. Seriously, visit Oregon!
#6 Falling in love with Texas Hill County
My family took a vacation to the Texas Hill Country in the spring. We were totally unfamiliar with the area and welcomed not having a set schedule. While visiting the small towns of Gruene, Fredericksburg, and New Braunfels, I decided that I could easily live in Texas; I am still considering it. The people were so friendly and nature was unsurpassable. I could not believe how laid-back and fun these places were. I loved visiting the wineries scattered throughout the countryside.
It was a wonderful day when Taylor agreed to travel to California with me for more than 2 weeks, the longest ever that just the two of us had been together. We began our trip visiting wineries and enjoying the charms of Carmel and then made our way to San Luis Obispo. I loved the coolness and affordability of this quaint city. We traveled via the majestic Pacific Coast Highway, admiring all of the sea lions and photo-ops along the way. The Reagan Presidential Library and Hearst Castle were highlights for us.
Next, we drove to Irvine for a blog conference and spent a day at Disneyland theme park during their 60th anniversary. We had a blast! Those memories will be etched in my mind and heart forever. Those of you who are mothers will understand this best.
#8 Delighted by Delaware
My goal is to visit all 50 states before turning 50. Delaware was one that I needed and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance. What a fantastic trip! I and a group of journalists explored the entire state, from Wilmington down to the beautiful Rehoboth Beach. My favorite parts were visiting the Nemours Mansion, eating some of the best seafood ever, and learning all about how alcohol and beer are made. We visited a slew of breweries and distilleries and I came away with the knowledge to start my own beer or liquor empire. Enjoy the rocking chairs at the Plaza Hotel while watching the waves crash in front of you.
Grapevine, Texas is the quintessential Norman Rockwell looking town that will capture your heart in a single visit. I learned this from a late summer visit, when we dove into the history and what sets Grapevine apart from her metropolitan sister cities. The Gaylord Texan was the perfect host for my trip and a great home base for enjoying this delightful town.
A second trip to take part in Grapevine’s 1400 Christmas events in 40 days, confirmed my love for this place. Grapevine is the Christmas Capital of Texas and they honor that title proudly. Six other bloggers and I shared dozens of laughs, memories, and holiday happenings here. I encourage anyone who is looking for a relaxing getaway, a family fun weekend visit, or a hankering for holiday fun to get to know Grapevine. It is truly impressive!
#10 Cruising to the Dominican Republic and Cuba with Fathom and friends
Fathom Cruise Lines invited me and nearly 20 other influencers on a cruise this summer to the Dominican Republic. We took part in impact activities, but the real fun of our trip was the camaraderie between the group of us. The Dominican Republic has picture-perfect beaches and their cruise port is done up right.
In the late fall, 8 of us joined Fathom a second time to explore Cuba. Though Cuba was not originally on my bucket list, I am so glad to have witnessed this beautiful country in the infancy stage of Americans traveling there. I was shocked by how clean and safe it was, plus intrigued by the 1950’s coolness of this foreign land. The Cuban people were welcoming and glad to see us. My favorite travel moments of 2016 memory bank runneth over from the fun time’s thanks to my fellow bloggers who shared these trips with me and Fathom.
It’s Been a Great Year
I am blessed to have visited so many cool places this year. I hope you enjoyed my favorite travel moments of 2016, a privilege to write. It is also a dream to travel this wonderful world with my husband, daughters, and friends; especially my travel blogger friends have become an integral part of my life over the past few months. I wonder where 2017 will take me?
Have you traveled anywhere noteworthy this year? I would love to hear about it!
How does this year compare to my last year’s travels? 2015 Version