Although I’ve never considered myself much of an adventurer, I’ve been very blessed to have had the opportunity to do some traveling (domestic and abroad) and see some really great sights. Because we’ve started the blog this year, it seems like a perfect platform for documenting travel adventures that we’ve taken in the past and trips that we expect to take during this next year. For this post, however, I’m going to just do a quick overview of some of the cool places that we’ve had the opportunity to visit during 2013.
As was mentioned in my last article, the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa is one of our favorite places to get away to in California. When reviewing our pictures from 2013, the first trip that we took out of state was to the SCW! We love, love, love the spa there and we can get some really outstanding deals on different spa treatments through our email coupons. My usual splurges are a manicure, or facial, or a massage. However, one of these days (if I get a coupon for it), then I’d love to try one of the body treatments. I’ve heard that the GrapeSeed Renewal is one of the best hydration treatments that also increases elasticity. (That’s for ME!) Part of the overall experience is the Vichy shower (which was originally only available in France), so I can only imagine that it makes you feel like you’re over there!
The Great Northwest — Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle
Another trip we took during 2013 was to the Great Northwest, including Victoria and Vancouver, Canada. This was the first time we’d ever been to that part of the country, and it was as beautiful as we’d expected. The scenic vistas of the ocean contrasted against the majestic mountains are unparalleled with anything we’d seen before. Add to that the clean ocean breezes that feel like soft silk on your skin and that is first impression of this part of Canada. To sum it all up, we loved it and will go back again when we get the chance.
Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is a place that both Ron and I fell in love with. We love it so much that we could actually live there. It’s accessible only by plane or ferry, but it’s not at all isolated. The downtown is a bustling metropolis – but still not so large as to be intimidating. Cuisine is locally grown produce, lots of fresh seafood, and European-style desserts. Open air markets filled with local artisans are plentiful, and there are also several really awesome vegan/vegetarian eateries within blocks of our timeshare. The city is the region’s major hub for cultural events, historic landmarks, national treasures, and, yes, lots of urban chic.
The city of Vancouver is also as advertised: absolutely stunningly beautiful. It’s a seaport on the mainland so we took the ferry across, which took maybe only an hour-and a half to get there. Vancouver is right on the ocean so it also has the contrasting views of the ocean water, rugged mountain ranges, and brilliant blue skies. This city is much more “urbanized” in that there are typical problems of homelessness, traffic congestion, and lots of crowds. But it also has the conveniences of a large city – multiple forms of public transportation, a hockey arena in the center of the city, large hospitals and medical centers, and every type of retail shopping one could imagine or hope for. We did a lot of sightseeing and a LOT of walking. From our downtown timeshare, we walked to several major attractions like Granville Island (again, MAGNIFICENT locally grown produce and lots of local artisan shops), Stanley Park (one of the world’s largest, with awesome bike and hiking trails), Olympic Park area (right off the ocean where the Olympic torch still stands), and many other great places.
From Vancouver, we took the Amtrak down to Seattle where we stayed a couple more days before returning home. Seattle, again, stole our hearts. It’s beautiful, modern, and trendy, with lots of European, Asian, Eskimo, and North American Indian influence. It’s a major epicenter for sporting venues (think Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners) as well as famous for many of its business entities (ie: Boeing and Starbucks). It is progress in high-rises and cutting-edge architecture, but seems to promote environmental awareness about eco-friendly “green” issues. The city has experience in having been a former Olympics site, yet seems to revere time-honored traditions such as are still alive and well in the Pike’s Market.
The end of the summer, Ron and I had the opportunity to go to Boston! We were very excited when we made the reservations and the trip was everything that we had expected it to be! What a GORGEOUS city! And there’s so much history in that area. Because it’s one of the oldest in the United States, so many famous people lived there and died there. The Boston Tea Party took place there, the Boston Marathon and the bombing took place there, Harvard and MIT are only two of many universities that are located there. The city is also known for its famous medical facilities (Tufts, New England Medical Center, and Massachusetts General), financial landmarks (Hancock Tower and Prudential Building), and, of course, the Green Monster known as Fenway Park is located there. If I were to describe this city, it would be “outstanding” but that word doesn’t really fit. So if I used “historic” it would be close – but how do you describe the Old North Church, or the USS Constitution, or the Freedom Trail where the Declaration of Independence was first read in Boston. Our impression of Boston is that it’s truly an impressive city in so many ways. We would absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone as one of America’s best!
Albuquerque is one of the great cities in the Great Southwest. It’s not a large metropolis, but it’s large enough that it has many of the amenities of cities much larger. We have always liked Albuquerque, not only because it always seemed to have such nice weather and skies unmatched by most any other city, but because we have family there. This city is modern, yet traditional. There’s an “Old Town” and a “downtown” as well as a “foothills” area. The Old Town is one of the main attractions because it’s it’s just that – one of the oldest parts of the city and State. Old Town isn’t as thriving as it once was, but there’s still lots to see. There are several historic hotels, authentic Mexican restaurants, boutique shops to pick up souvenirs, and a huge historic church right off the historic town square. For enthusiasts of the turquoise jewelry, this historic square is a great place to find some really awes I will respond to any comments you share and HAPPY NEW YEAR!