Travel

A Year of Adventures – Best of Travel 2019

What a year in travel! Since 2020 is here, I thought I’d take a minute to recap the best of travel moments here this year.

Almost all the trips I took this year were sponsored by the destinations here. Post may also contain affiliate links.

Family Travel, Girl’s Trips and Romance

A lot of travel bloggers and writers reflect on their adventures at year’s end, so it’s time to revisit some of my favourite memories this year and tell you a bit more about why they were MY favourites. Maybe you will find inspiration to read more about these destinations and perhaps you will go ahead and book your own adventure right now. The Hotels Combined widget in this post works brilliantly and is secure should you want to book ahead now.

Ellicottville, New York

January started with a quick two nights in Ellicottville, New York. We were hunting for something enjoyable to do at the end of our Christmas vacation, so before the kids went back to school we drove to Ellicottville and skied Holiday Valley for the first time. The weather was a bit mild when we got there, but still we enjoyed the change. Loved the variety of trails there as they give you room to breathe and stretch your skiing. It definitely makes my best of travel list for the year.

holiday_valley_ellicottville

New York City

At the end of January, I was back to New York for the International Media Marketplace, a travel writer and destinations forum. There’s a great speed dating style format that works brilliantly. It was a busy day and I got a lot of great ideas about destinations I wanted to cover in 2019/2020.

Ice Fishing in York Durham Headwaters

Later that winter, my younger daughter and I drove to York Durham Headwaters and we tried our hands at ice fishing and tubing. Amazing spot for a winter getaway.

paula_ainsley_briars

Then we raced home for one night, packed all of our skiing gear and loaded the van for the long drive to Vermont. Our 12-day March adventure was epic. The best of travel moments for the entire year launched here in Vermont first stop Okemo.

Vermont – Okemo

All The Pretty Things Indeed. Okemo is gorgeous. It is undeniably spectacular and I’d drop everything to go ski there again.

Sugarbush Vermont

Immediately from Okemo we headed to Sugarbush, one of our happiest places in Vermont. Sugarbush people are always so friendly and the resort itself features exceptional terrain. So glad we got to celebrate their 60th anniversary together as a family at Sugarbush. I live for JESTER from the top and need to return to do that run over and over again. We were first there in 2017 and we were still learning, as we are even still, but oh boy what a dramatic difference two years makes! From nervous skier to competent skier in two years.

Maine – Sunday River Ski Resort

Together, after three days at Sugarbush with amazing cold snowy conditions, we headed over through New Hampshire and on to Sunday River Maine. If you are hunting for great ski resort options, you should give Sunday River serious consideration. Loved the range of mountains they had and the terrain was varied if not quite as scenic as Sugarbush and Okemo.

Indeed Sunday River has family friendly written all over it, with spectacular accommodations and ski in ski out access as well as great food. Lobster Roll, anyone? YUM.

Book Your Own Adventure Here – >

Hôtel de Glace and Valcartier in Quebec

Three days and nights of skiing at Sunday River for a total of seven or eight days skiing in a row ended with us driving up through Quebec. Normally, we are all over the skiing in Quebec but this time we had a different agenda. We drove straight to Valcartier and got ready to do out night inside the Hôtel de Glace!

hotel_de_glace_sculpture_owl_suspended_from_ceiling_woman_bright_red_coat_peering_up

If you have never seen Canada’s ice hotel, make it your mission to do so. If you have a chance to stay overnight in the ice hotel, do it. This was in my top three events of the year here. My entire family made it through the night in the ice hotel and let me just say that was no small thing as my older daughter was a bit anxious about the experience. Read more about our Hôtel de Glace stay here.

lake_of_the_ozarks_from_above

Central Missouri and Lake of the Ozarks

Helicopter rides, bass fishing and learning to golf! Central Missouri was a spectacular girl’s getaway. This time I took my youngest daughter with me, sporty spice in grade nine, and she was in heaven. The PR team there knocked this out of the park and she connected with Marjorie and Jo and genuinely loved spending time with them. Missouri and Lake of the Ozarks was a highlight on my best of travel 2019 list.

Vermont – Smugglers’ Notch

We have been to Vermont yearly for several winters, but until this season we hadn’t ever been in the summer months. There’s so much to do in Vermont in the summer and the hiking is wonderful too.

Oregon – Tualatin Valley

Wine country Tualatin Valley pulls so much from multicultural influences in the area. That’s something I never would have expected actually, until seeing it and tasting it for myself.

woman in sunflower field

Rochester

At the end of the summer I thought I’d take a bit of time with both of my girls. They worked hard last summer, so it was time to take a break. Rochester was just the right ticket for the three of us.

Finger Lakes – Corning and Watkins Glen

corning New York

Immediately after Rochester, we drove to Watkins Glen and hiked Watkins Glen State Park. Just 24 hours in Watkins Glen was not remotely enough time and the wineries!! I can’t wait to return with my husband for a romantic getaway. The next day we drove to Corning and visited the Corning Museum of Glass. Corning’s New Glass exhibit was breathtaking.

Cody_wyoming_wild_west_street_performers

Wyoming

In September, I flew to Billings, Montana for TBEX travel blogger’s exchange conference, and then on to Cody Wyoming for a trip through the Wild West.

Montana and Yellowstone National Park

OH MY. If you never do anything else, go book the time to see Yellowstone. It is otherworldly. I did this trip with Austin Adventures as a group trip and it was stunning and memorable and challenging at times too.

old faithful Yellowstone

October was a quiet month on purpose because after all that travel I needed to get some writing done.

New Orleans

WE ended the year on a high note with a 12-day girl’s getaway that began in New Orleans. Three days in NOLA for the first time ever and we were sated. The food, the atmosphere, the burlesque brunch. New Orleans is larger than life in every way.

New Orleans Girl's Trip

So many of my favourite travel experiences have been with my family, but sometimes it’s such a treat to travel with your friends instead. Four women over 40 on a 12-day trip through the Gulf Coast. Magic.

Louisiana Northshore

Not even 45 minutes outside of NOLA is Louisiana Northshore and Tammany Parish. What a peaceful place along the shore.

Coastal Mississippi coast and causeway

Coastal Mississippi

NEVER had I ever been to Coastal Mississippi before. Here’s my take on the Romance of Coastal Mississippi.

Mobile Alabama

The food tour alone was worth the visit, but there’s so much more to Mobile Alabama than just food. We stayed at the Renaissance Riverview Mobile Alabama and I can’t say enough about the service there. Mobile was charming.

Gulf Shores Alabama

Back in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area again after a trip there in 2017! I was thrilled to end the trip at the beach in a gorgeous beach house with good friends.

Any one of these destinations would be a great choice for 2020. Depending on what type of trip you are looking for….

What Do You Seek in 2020?

Romance? Coastal Mississippi. Oregon for wining and dining and a bit of outdoor adventure. Vermont and Maine for skiing. Gulf Shores for the beach always. You can’t argue with their gorgeous sunsets.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

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