2019: A Year in Review

By December 29, 2019RV Adventures, Travel

Without a doubt this has been one of the craziest, busiest, most fun years of my life! We have had the absolute pleasure of getting to travel the country while also finishing medical school and starting my new job as an event planner! Talk about an insane but amazing opportunity! I wanted to take a moment and highlight a few of the amazing moments that have happened over 2019 during our trailer adventures!

Seattle/Oregon

Our first stop was Seattle, Washington! Which was without doubt the most beautiful state I had ever been to. To say I was in love at first sight is an understatement. The Pacific Northwest might host some of the most gorgeous views in the world. I spent every spare moment exploring and trying to enjoy every view imaginable. I’ve pulled together my top places to visit in Seattle for you below!

  • Mount Rainier National Park -If you are going to travel anywhere around Seattle, Mount Rainier is a must. It is a vast park full of beautiful waterfalls, lakes, and mountain views. I would highly recommend going to Mount Rainier in the summer when the snow is mostly gone and you can get to all areas of the park.
  • Snoqualmie Falls – The most gorgeous waterfall with the cutest hotel and restaurant overlooking the falls. Snoqualmie Falls is a completely free attraction and there are several vantage points to view it. This is a great choice for those who want a relaxing sightseeing day.
  • Olympic National Park – The thing I love about this park was that we were able to drive up to the most gorgeous view. So for those who don’t want to hike you can literally drive to see some of my favorite views in the state! Hurricane Ridge at the top of Olympic National Park was the best birthday view I could have asked for. It overlooked a range of mountains covered in snow, couple that with a cup of hot cocoa and you have yourself a perfect day!
  • Downtown Seattle – Below are my top picks for the next time you are in downtown Seattle.
    • The Space Needle is a true work of art in Seattle. 360 degree views of the city and surrounding mountains gives you an outstanding view worth the cost.
    • Pikes Place market is the iconic vendor market. Pikes Place hosts some amazing local cuisine, art and local flowers that you would need. It’s a must for anyone visiting the Seattle area.
    • A Mariners or a Seahawks game is definitely a must, such a fun experience and worth the money to get to see these sporting events.
    • Lastly, take a kayak ride along Lake Union. It is so much fun and gives you a unique perspective of the city.

Sugar Beach, St. Lucia

St. Lucia was a wonderful and gorgeous place to visit. So thankful for every moment that I spent there. Even though this was a work related trip and most of my time was spent working or making sure everyone had a smooth trip, I was still able to spend some time by myself enjoying the area. Below are my tips to visiting St. Lucia.

  • Work through an agency or a destination management company. It’s a small island, but it’s helpful to have someone to guide you along and also help with your safety. The biggest issue to keep in mind when traveling out of the country is to keep yourself safe at all times. Do everything you can do to keep yourself in safe situations and using a reliable destination company is a good way to keep that safety.
  • Choose a hotel with everything you will need. Make sure you choose a hotel that is on the beach, has restaurants and has good reviews. I highly recommend an all inclusive resort if you are on a budget as this is an island that has to import most of their materials. If you don’t choose an all inclusive resort, look up menu prices ahead of time so you can budget appropriately.
  • Plan excursions ahead of time and look up reviews and weather plans before booking. My favorite excursions are whale/dolphin watching, mud baths, and zip-lining. There are a ton of options available to you, just be sure to plan ahead and be ready for a weather change if need be. Be sure to look up the round trip distance from your hotel as well. Our resort, Sugar Beach, was just minutes away from all 3 of our excursions making it incredibly easy to get to and from.

Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville is our core rotation spot for my husbands 4th year of medical school. This means that we spent two months here this year and will be spending three months there in 2020. Jacksonville is a widespread town so planning ahead is key because distance between attractions is further than you think. If you are planning to visit, here are a few spots in Jacksonville that I highly recommend.

  • Jacksonville Beach – I can say with 100% certainty that this beach is one of the best ones in the state. It hosts free parking, expansive beaches and clean family friendly areas to relax. The water and beach is exquisite making it a great place if you are looking for a relaxing beach.
  • St. Augustine – While not in the Jacksonville limits, just south of the city is the gorgeous town of St. Augustine. The Alligator Farm that takes in gators from all over gave my husband the biggest smile I’d ever seen on his face. He absolutely loved seeing all the various gators and getting to hold one. Without doubt so much fun to see him smile like that! For me, St. Augustine is worth the trip to experience the local shops and cuisine. St. George street is eclectic and full of unique shops for you to peruse.
  • Safe Harbor Seafood – If you are going to go anywhere in Jacksonville. This. Is. The. Place. I am not a big fan of seafood, but their shrimp nachos might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. They are so so good and worth every penny! Be prepared to wait though as this restaurant always has a line out the door of people waiting to order. And for those who are big seafood fans, my husband as loved every item on the menu so far as everything is fresh and cooked to order.

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta was not a place that we went to together in the RV. This was a trip through my work, where we were able to get the unique experience of an on field tour and batting practice at the Atlanta Braves. The Atlanta Braves stadium and restaurant area is a wonder to be seen. They really made this a special area for anyone who is a baseball fan, especially a fan of the Braves. Between the huge screen outside the Omni for fans to view home and away games, a huge baseball hanging in the air, and baseball themed shops and restaurants surrounding the area. The Braves stadium is gorgeous and definitely worth a trip if you are going to Atlanta.

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh was an unexpected gem. I had no idea when we arrived in Pittsburgh just how much we would love it. We loved all the greenery, the nature and the old style feel of the city. Top that off with three major sporting teams, tons of lakes and rivers and a 5 hour drive to Indiana and we were sold. Pittsburgh really stole our hearts for so many reasons. The people that we had the pleasure of meeting we so kind and welcoming to us. Pittsburgh is a city that will welcome you if you come. A couple of my recommendations when you visit are below.

  • Pittsburgh Zoo – The Pittsburgh Zoo was incredible and so much fun to visit. It’s not the biggest zoo we’ve ever been to, but it host all the animals you would want to see and is fun for the whole family!
  • Grandview Avenue/Upper Platform – For the best view of Pittsburgh, head up to the Grandview Avenue and take in some amazing views! This would be a great spot with a cup of coffee in the morning and I highly recommend adding it to your list. There are also some gorgeous churches along the way to stop and look at!
  • Major League Game- Honestly, any of the sporting events would be a blast in Pittsburgh. Between the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins, there is always something to experience in the city. While we were only able to make it to a pirates game, I can attest that the energy during these games is electric. It’s worth every penny and the views from the park are amazing!

Colorado Springs, CO

This was another one of my work events that ended up being such a blast! We were at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and let me just tell you it is worth a trip! It was a phenomenal hotel with gorgeous suites and even better views. I didn’t get to go out and explore a lot of the Colorado Springs area, but the hotel we were at was so inclusive and beautiful you could stay here and never be bored. Between the view of the mountains, the spa, the extensive outdoor activities you can schedule, the bowling alley and the pool; you and your family will always have something to do. If it’s possible, try to get upgraded to one of their suites, they are so gorgeous and will make the trip that much better. *Also, they make all their chocolate in house, so be sure to grab some before you leave!

Washington, DC

Washington might be one of the most surprising areas for us to visit. There is so literally so much to do! Almost all the museums in the DC are free admission and there are a ton of outdoor monuments to view as well. I wrote an entire blog post with all my DC must see attractions. You can see that blog by clicking here. My biggest takeaway from our time in DC is remembering how important it is that we are all kind to one another. We may have our political differences, but we are all human and deserving of love, kindness and respect. When you visit DC just remember to treat everyone with kindness!

Fort Lauderdale & Boynton Beach, FL

South Florida is a totally different experience than Orlando or Jacksonville. The extent of tourists at the beach and the overcrowded neighborhoods and cities are a bit overwhelming. However, it also has amazing beaches, tons of things to do, and some great people as well. One of our favorite experiences was getting to see the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, which opened its new guitar hotel this year. An amazing site for those to see and if you get the opportunity it would be a great place to stay at. On a completely unrelated note: this year also hosted my favorite Halloween costume. Because we are living full time in a trailer, it seemed like the perfect time to dress up as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. I’ve never had so much fun with a costume. It just felt right!

Orlando, FL

Orlando was our number one choice when we first started looking at residencies. It just had that perfect fit that we were looking for. The year-long nice weather was perfect for my husband and the parks and insane amount of things to do in Orlando would keep me busy during his long work days. And Orlando definitely lived up to its expectations. While being an incredibly busy city that is always filled with tourists, there are some of the cutest towns around for you to live in or visit. I have endless recommendations and places I want to visit in the future, but for now here are a few of my favorites.

  • Disney World – While Disney is ridiculously busy and expensive, it is still incredible the amount of magic that they bring to the park. The way the staff carry themselves is enough to give you the joy you experienced in your youth. You can check out my blog on Disney here.
  • Universal Studios – Without doubt my favorite place in Orlando. Perfect for anyone who wants to experience magic, adrenaline rushes and more adult oriented fun. The rides are much more of an adrenaline rush than those at Disney and their Harry Potter world is phenomenal. Even my husband who is not a Harry Potter fan was impressed with how realistic and how well they replicated those areas were. When you are there, be sure to grab a cup of butterbeer for me!
  • Winter Garden — Winter Garden is where we stayed in Orlando and it has the cutest little shops, Saturday business markets and restaurants to visit. It’s one of many towns that are incredibly charming and worth the drive.
  • Outside of the main parks, there are a ton of smaller amusement areas, helicopter rides, mini golf areas, and tons of activities to keep you entertained. The next time you go to Orlando, spend one day trying something you haven’t done before. I promise you will find something incredible!

Overall, 2019 was a year that will go down in history for us. I couldn’t be more thankful for all the adventures we got to take this year. And while it has been a hard year, with financial and mechanical issues, we got through it and I am so proud of how far we came. Life is never going to be perfect or go the way you envisioned. So embrace the opportunities given to you and enjoy every moment!

Let me know your favorite moment from 2019 in the comments below!

kaldridge

Author kaldridge

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