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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Crossing A Major Bucket List Destination Off My List in 2018

It's no secret that Josh and I love the Northeast, especially coastal destinations. We've made it a point to explore as much of this little corner of the world as we can. And as much as we love traveling and want to start to see the rest of the world (we've never even been to Europe), with all these amazing places to visit within four hours from us, it makes it hard to go anywhere else.

It's not the Northeast or a coastal town, but the first major vacation Josh and I took together was Mexico. We've been twice, and our first excursion was Cozumel and the second, the Maya Riviera, staying at all-inclusives both times. We had an absolute blast - there's no vacation quite like laying around at a pool or an ocean all day, and day-drinking right after breakfast because everyone else is. And as much fun as the all-inclusives were, we did venture off our resort grounds quite a bit to experience as much of the culture as we could. We even successfully ordered a meal in Spanish one time (which, for me, was tough seeing as though I never took Spanish classes, so I considered it quite an achievement). We also took the collectivo, got lost on rural streets on our way to a destination, walked through a crocodile pit and swam with the dolphins (of which we have no pictures for the most part because we refused to pay the exorbitant fee for them). We also explored the beauty of Tulum, which was an amazing experience in and of itself.




The first long weekend getaway we took together was Vermont at a quaint little B&B near Manchester, shortly after we moved in together in 2005. We've since gone back to explore Dover, where we honeymooned, Shelburne, Stowe and Burlington. We even celebrated Josh's 30th birthday in Vermont with friends and family, so it has extra special memories attached to it. We've loved every little place we've been to in Vermont and often go back when we need a getaway without distractions. I've done a blog post about the Shelburne/Burlington/Stowe area here. And I'm excited this winter to explore the Woodstock, VT area, since Josh's Christmas present to me was a pottery class at Farmhouse Pottery.


We've explored a small portion of Maine, starting with Portland and Cape Elizabeth, ventured up to Bar Harbor to hike and camp in Acadia, and then landed in Kennebunkport before coming home. Maine is absolutely incredible and I kind of envy those who live there and get to experience these destinations regularly.


Block Island was an amazing little getaway with beautiful scenery that made us feel like we were a million miles away from the rest of the world. We always say we want to go back because it was a truly perfect vacation. We biked all around the island, walked deserted streets at night and were able to completely unwind from everyday life. You can read our recap here.


And of course, there's Cape Cod and the islands: Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Everyone who knows us knows our love for the Cape runs deep. It's our happy place. It's where we feel relaxed, but also invigorated and quintessentially New England. This is the place we travel to the most for so many reasons, and I'll stop there because I could go on and on. You can find my ultimate Cape Cod travel guide here, our Martha's Vineyard recap here, my love letter to Nantucket here, and my Nantucket Christmas Stroll Recap here.


We've also adventured to Salem, MA during the month of October, and took a side trip to Rockport, MA for an afternoon, which was so beautiful. In Salem, we went to a psychic just to say that we had done it, and you know what he said? He saw a lot of land in our future. We thought he was way off base, but we ended up buying a house with 25 acres which wasn't something we were looking to do. In Rockport, we found a spot where one of my favorite romantic comedies was filmed (hint, stars Betty White with a certain Deadpool) and Josh took my picture there. The only copy we have of it now is an old, low-res Instagram photo. I was so excited to go see this spot, but the little town, also where parts of the movie were filmed, was so lovely. I want to go back and spend a weekend here.


There are a lot of places on my travel bucket list that span the entire world, with Italy, Greece and the French Polynesia being my top three. London and the UK being Josh's biggest bucket list destinations. And our 2018 travel plans probably don't seem that exciting to most people, but for me, it's kind of a dream come true.

In July, we plan to take a road trip through Maine, with a final destination of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

You see, I grew up daydreaming of Prince Edward Island. I read all the Anne of Green Gables books and loved the characters and the descriptions of the Canadian coastlines (I think my love of coastal destinations began here). My mom, sister and I always had a date to watch Avonlea every week on our couch together (My mom still talks about how cute Gus Pike was). When I had sleepovers at my grandma's house, she would rent the Anne of Green Gables movies for us to watch together. She would make popcorn from her air popper, put together her pull out couch bed for me, and she'd always go to sleep before the movie ended, and let me me stay up late watching the rest of it. All of these things were huge parts of my life in the very best way.

When we were talking about our anniversary trip for next September (it'll be 9 years married for us!), we threw around a lot of ideas (many included going back to a few of the above destinations), and our goal was to keep it drivable so that we could save on airfare and continue to stay on-budget for our bathroom reno. Maine kept coming up because we loved it so much, but Josh just came out and said, "Maybe we should just go to Prince Edward Island, too." And I almost peed my pants.

We originally planned on going in September because, well, you don't mess around with our July Cape Cod summer vacation. But, after a lot of consideration and research, we decided to flip our vacations. PEI is further north, and we worried that water temperatures would be a little too cool in mid-September. One thing we knew we really wanted to explore were the PEI beaches. On top of that, we've always wanted to explore the Cape during off season. When we went to Martha's Vineyard in September for a few days, the water and air temperatures were still warm, but it was far less crowded. So, it was an easy solution for us to just flip the two vacations.

The Itinerary
We had to do a lot of research to plan out this trip, and honestly, we're still in research mode. We plan to drive the whole way, and really wanted to make the most of every destination while still visiting as many places as possible. We plan to drive up through Maine, stopping to camp in our tent for a night in Acadia National Park, which we did during our last trip to Maine and loved it. The next morning, we may try to see the sun rise at the top of Cadillac Mountain again if the weather allows (that experience was so amazing the first time around, so doing it again would be such a treat). Then, we'll depart for PEI. We're staying on the island for four nights, and then heading to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to either camp for two nights or find a cheap AirBnB. On our journey back home, we plan to stop at the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, and then camp for a night somewhere in New Brunswick (exact area TBD, may depend on how tired we are). The next morning, head to Kennebunkport for two nights in an AirBnB or hotel, and then make our final journey home. It'll be about a total of 10 days, and we're packing a lot in, but, we're so excited about it. Long car drives and adventures like this are some of our favorite ways to spend quality time together (until I get weird and stir crazy in the car and Josh can't wait for me to pass out in the passenger seat so he has peace and quiet).

The more I researched, the more I desperately wanted to make it up to Newfoundland, especially to do some glacier sight seeing. I fell in love with the scenery I was seeing in pictures online, but didn't realize how far away it is from PEI - I mean, it's really up there, closer to Greenland (which, by the way, is also on my travel list). So, we had to table that destination for a while, and maybe someday, we'll make it up there to see both Greenland and Newfoundland. I may be crossing one destination off my list, but I totally added a new one to it.

If anyone's interested, here are my top 15 travel destinations, in order of priority, and not including this trip:

1. Italy (Tuscany, specifically)
2. Greece
3. French Polynesia
4. California/Pacific Northwest Coast/Napa (we'd do it all in one trip)
5. African Safari/Benguerra Island
6. Australia/New Zealand/Rottnest Island (to see the quokkas!)
7. Greenland/Newfoundland
8. The Grand Canyon
9. Glacier National Park
10. Hawaii
11. Croatia
12. The Maldives
13. Machu Picchu
14. Iceland
15. Galapagos Islands

10 comments:

  1. PEI has always intrigued me as well. You and Josh need to come south!! I think you would love Savannah, my husband's hometown. We have been traveling a lot to Birmingham, about 1 1/2 hours away and we are beginning to love this steel town. Of course, Gulf Shores, AL is another favorite destination. Happy Travels.

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    1. We always say we're going to go to Savannah every Spring and we never make it because we'd rather save the airfare money for our renovations! But I'm desperate to go. Crossing my fingers for next Spring :) When we plan to go, I'll have to pick your brain!

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  2. Oh my goodness, one of my must-sees, as well! Grew up on the Anne books, and still re-read them occasionally, 40 years later. (And all the other Montgomery's for that matter) PEI sounds like paradise to me! The while of Canada is on my To-Do list; my husband loves Vancouver, told me Lake Louise and Banff is the most beautiful place on Earth and I want to see Quebec at Christmas!

    You might enjoy this blog to whet your PEI appetite as you research, especially her gardens, which are magnificent.

    NO affiliation, just really enjoy her blog! (It's mainly a home-and-garden blog, but she does show pics of the island often!)

    http://warrengrovegarden.blogspot.com/

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    1. Oh, I want to visit Vancouver so much! And Josh really wants to visit Montreal (Especially at Christmas). Montreal we can totally drive to, so hopefully one of these days.

      I'm so thankful for the blog recommendation! Thank you! I'm actually kind of overwhelmed right now with planning this trip because I want to cram so much in, but also want time to relax. I'm so excited to read this (especially because it's also about gardens, which is also overwhelming me right now!).

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    2. Some random(and unsolicited!) garden advice.

      Think about how you want to utilize your outdoor space before worrying about how it looks ( flowers and such) It will be much, much easier to plan your flower beds and shrubs etc, once you get the outdoor living areas in.

      Always think and plan from the inside-out; give yourself beautiful views! Especially from the windows you look out of most often.

      Make your paths and walk-ways wider than you think they ought to be.

      I have probably recommended these to you before, but Four Season Landscape by Susan Roth (and Weekend Gardening) as well as the two Mrs Greenthumbs books by Cassandra Danz are really excellent books. CassandraDanz' have the added benefit of being funny as all get out!

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  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing Sam. I always look forward to your posts. I miss your videos but at least we have this! Your travel bucket list is right on point with what me and my husband plan t do. We live in California and have gone to the Pacific Northwest- plan to move there. It’s just gorgeous! If my family were out east I would love to be your neighbor! Too hard to move that far though. I hope you make it to all your dream vacations. We’ve been to Bora Bora (honeymoon), all up and down the California coast (got engaged there by Hearst Castle and married in Paso Robles) and Italy for our 2nd year anniversary stayed in Rome and took a train to Florence/Tuscany for a day of wine tasting. It was fabulous. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have on my travels. I know sometimes planning can be daunting. Also, on my list is your corner of the country -Cape Cod would take the place of California on your list. Thank you for all the travel information you share with us. It’s so helpful and fun!

    Also - Happy New Year!!

    mml962 / Shirley :)

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    1. Ohhhhhh, I'm so jealous about your Bora Bora and Italy adventures! I hope someday we can go. I'm so happy you've made a point to visit these places (I strongly feel like traveling feeds the soul in many important ways and opens your eyes to different perspectives). If you ever visit the Cape, be sure to reach out to me! :)

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  4. I just love your travel style! I have been a fan of your vlogs since doing some youtube research for a Cape Cod trip a few years ago, and still watch them for some vaca nostalgia sometimes. I always thought that you and I had some similar taste in travel, and now I know it's true because I'm also planning a trip to Nova Scotia this summer! There's just so many things I want to see and do while we're there for a week, it's almost overwhelming (in the best way!) Look forward to maybe reading about your travel plans, and of course your post-trip experiences. On a side note, thank you for being such a down to earth person in this craziness that is the internet. You're inspiring, comforting, and just plain fun to follow :)

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  5. Sam I am so excited for you and envious!! But you deserve this trip! I look forward to your pictures and blog about this special bucket list trip! As a fan of Anne of Green Gables myself, what is your favorite scene in the movie? I also want to add that you have been such a BIG part in my wanting to discover more of New England while I am here. It was such a hard and still is at times transition when I moved up here and was depressed alot of the time but when I discovered that you lived in the area and had a passion for this part of the states it was the light I needed and gave my a whole different perspective on living here. I can't thank you enough!

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  6. Hi there I think you will love Prince Edward Island. We have a house there and go whenever we can. Let me know if you want any tips on where to go on the island....Eva

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