The end of another year has come, and with it, the rush of year-end Lists. Including this one, which recaps my favorite travel memories from 2013. Depending on when you ask me, I might say these experiences are listed chronologically, randomly, or in order of which I enjoyed most. The feeling changes daily. Each was so special, it’s hard to rank one above the other. (Though if you forced my hand, one certain Southern city played such a significant role in my life this year that it would win with little contest.) Here’s where I spent my 2013.
In January, I traveled to Barbados to check out Cobblers Cove. My visit to this Relais & Chateaux property felt more like a stay at the cozy beach home of a good friend – who also happens to be an awesome chef. My days in Barbados were spent exploring the island – including its rum plantations, windmills, and beaches – and relaxing by Cobblers Cove’s pool and on my patio to the sound of wind and waves. Heaven!
Have I told y’all that I have a little thing for this romantic Southern city? Yeah? I thought so. I made my first trip to the Holy City in March to visit Charleston Place hotel, and it was love at first sight (or perhaps more accurately, at first bite of pimento cheese). A horse-drawn-carriage ride through the city’s historic streets. Strolling its Palmetto-lined sidewalks. And savoring every last bite of its come-home-to-mama food. In October, I returned to Charleston for a weekend getaway and got engaged to my now fiancé there, forever cementing the city’s place in my heart. Someday I’ll live there. I just know it.
May took me to Seattle, which was a particularly special trip as I met up with my mom there for a girls’ weekend spent playing tourist, shopping, and tasting our way around the city. (And it was sunny the whole time!) We stayed at the Edgewater Hotel, took a ferry to Bainbridge Island, explored the quiet neighborhood of Fremont, snapped pics from the top of the Space Needle, and toured the city’s old underbelly (read: in tunnels underground). Of course, we stopped to smell fresh flowers and chat with fishmongers at Pike’s Place Market, too. I never got around to completing a blog post about the trip, but you can read the article I wrote here.)
Little Palm Island & Key West
I’ve had my fair share of battles with the state of Florida after living there for 18 months after college, but a return visit there in 2012 all but erased the awful memories I had of the place. I went back once again in June and was shocked to have one of my all-time-favorite hotel stays, at Little Palm Island. This magical spot is a wonderland of lush palms, soft sand, and turquoise sea and sky. Key deer roam freely (mostly) around the property, a fabulous spa offers hypnotic massages and body treatments, and its chef and restaurant serve incredible food that draws mainland and non-guest diners.
After our visit to Little Palm, we headed over to Key West. We stayed at Ocean Key Resort & Spa, whose location on Duval Street is just about impossible to beat. We rode bikes around town, toured Ernest Hemingway’s house, and marveled at the happy, eccentric mix of tourists and locals that were constantly milling around.
When I wasn’t traveling out of town/state/country, I spent time exploring right here in my own backyard. A few of my favorite excursions included a day trip north to Portsmouth, NH; an afternoon at Crane Beach, a favorite spot in Ipswich, MA; a trip to Plum Island, near Newburyport on Massachusetts’s North Shore; and even a long walk through a boiling-hot and humid Auburn Cemetery, just a few minutes from our home in Brighton.
Here’s to a fabulous year of travel in 2013, and new adventures to come in 2014 (including a honeymoon (!), whose destination is still TBD). Where did your travels take you this year?
Happy New Year, and happy travels!
(Oh, yeah, one last thing: All photos in this post were taken by me. Thanks for giving proper credit if you share them.)