Another year coming to an end. As with every year of life; there is good and bad. Hard moments, such as loosing two pets; and fun moments of joy. Those fun moments are usually surrounding travels or taking a day and doing something fun. Here is my countdown of my top 10 experiences or travels of 2023.
10. Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
I fell in love with attending the PA state Renfaire at a pretty young age. The time frame, the costumes, and the shows always make for a fun day. Luckily we have some friends who also enjoy this spectacle and we try to visit ever year (some years we fail). This year's day trip did not disappoint, as it was a fun relaxing day of entertainment. We went earlier in the season and on a Sunday; the opposite of our norm. The weather was warmer but it paid off with lower crowds. The bonus was spending time with that group of friends we don't get to see as often. If you've never been I would look into it and plan a day in or weekend in 2024. The property has a lot to offer year round.
9. Inn Boonsboro
This makes my list most years, as I already did a blog post about it being one of my happy places (I think I have 3 happy places now). This Inn owned by Nora Roberts is a beautiful building is a warm hug that pulls at my heart every time I step through the doors. This year I went, as usual, with my friend Kacy for a nice relaxing girls weekend. We stayed in probably my favorite room, Titania and Oberon (each room there is uniquely themed based on a couple in literature). The weekend was used to catch up on our friendship and our reading. Soaking in the enormous tub below was a bonus!
8. Wine Tasting around Pennsylvania
Steve and I have really gotten into wine in recent years. Us and our wine loving friend, Rob, have spent many weekends this past year visiting and exploring wineries the state of Pennsylvania has to offer. Our wonderful home state has really stepped up their wine game, and we think its time to start discussing it. Watch for the launch of something new this spring that the 3 of us are working specifically around PA wines!
A highlight of our adventures was doing both the spring and holiday Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trails. These two events offer a nice way to visit 17 wineries, get a free tasting and a gift; for a reasonable price. I recommend watching their site to see if they do them in 2024.
7. Waterfall Exploring the Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap is a National Recreation Area that covers part of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, running along the Delaware River that divides the states. There are lots of opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature in this area. We of course went for the waterfalls. We enjoyed a day of hiking around to visit three area waterfalls: Dingmans Falls, Raymondskill Falls, and Bushkill Falls. The last one, Bushkill Falls, is the tallest waterfall in PA. Note their is a cost to visit this waterfall (blog post to come about it soon).
6. Anniversary at The Lodge at Woodloch
I first visited The Lodge at Woodloch a couple of years ago with my friend Val for a girls' weekend. I did a blog post about it you can find here (Note they have made some changes and prices have gone up since that first blog post). I fell in love with the place that first visit and had been itching to return ever since. I booked a couple night stay for Steve and I for our anniversary. I was worried if the place would be as magical as the first time; and it definitely was. The moment I stepped onto the property, I felt completely relaxed without a care in the world. Even though rain limited some of our activities, Steve and I had a wonderful anniversary filled with wooded beauty, spa treatments, relaxation, and delicious food. This place is becoming number 2 of my 3 happy places I mentioned.
5. Revisiting Vegas
We had visited Las Vegas a few times in the past, but our last trip was in 2018, well before the pandemic. I like to visit Vegas and spend a few days every couple years. Its not one of those places I want to dedicate a whole week vacation though. The strip is definitely designed to get you to spend tons of money. However, I don't mind spending a few days around all the glitz and indulging. There is so much to see and do, that you can never do it all in one trip. Though I gamble a little, my favorite things are the food and the shows. This years highlights were trying the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace; and attending a comedy show at Brad Garrett's Comedy Club. This club is located in MGM Grand and we were lucky enough to have Brad himself hosting that night.
4. Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT
My last of my 3 happy places is Disney. Who would have known that first trip in 2019 would turn me and my husband into such Disney fans? We love visiting the most magical place on earth, and probably will keep visiting. The highlight from our 2023 trip was riding the new Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. We both loved this ride so much. In fact we have started to love EPCOT. We were not the biggest fans during our first visit but with all the changes in recent years; its our second favorite park at Disney World now.
3. St. Augustine, Florida
Claiming to be the oldest city in U.S., this Florida town has a lot to offer. From the historic downtown area to the beaches; there is something for everyone to find and enjoy. We had a wonderful few days soaking up the sun, sand, and spending time with family. I did a blog post about our trip not too long ago you can find easily on this site.
2. Vermont Vacation
I could have easily broken down this vacation and made half this year end list the things we did on this vacation. Stowe, where we stayed, offered wonderful hiking, scenery, restaurants, and shops. We visited nearby Ben & Jerry's for a factory tour. Two other big highlights stood out on this trip. One, the Shelburne Museum near Burlington. This unique museum offers a property of buildings and artefacts you can easily spend a day exploring. The second was a day trip to the town of Woodstock, VT. This idyllic town is what you think when someone says adorable Vermont town. You can read more about what to do in Stowe on my blog post about it here.
1. Zion National Park
Opinions about our country can be divisive these days, but I think we can all agree that we have some stunningly beautiful and unique National Parks. Zion National Park is a wonderful example of what God and nature can create. I never met a single person who has visited this place and not raved about its beauty. We visited in January, a time when the park is empty and you can drive around the park itself (busy months you have to take a shuttle around). While others were around, we had plenty of areas to ourselves to soak in our surroundings. Their was some light snow that day that enhanced the landscape and added to the serenity of the area.
What were some of your 2023 highlights? Let me know!
Published 12/31/23 and all photos taken by me during our travels, unless noted.