A Year of Domestic Travel

At Vegas airport during our year of domestic travel

International trips was not in our cards this year! We spent much of our time turning a new house into our home. We planted fruit trees, put up a privacy fence, and decided where all our international souvenirs would go. We did, however, enjoy a year of domestic travel!

A year of domestic travel
A year of Domestic Travel

New Jersey/New York – April

Our first domestic trip took us to Jersey City, New Jersey where we spent a few days before heading over to Manhattan. We toured the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, visited with family and explored the vegan scene. It was our first time reaching Lady Liberty from the Jersey side (Liberty State Park) of the Upper New York Bay and I was so grateful that it was much less crowded than from the Manhattan side (Battery State Park).

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Mindy and her mother viewing the Statue of Liberty, the beacon of hope for Mindy’s Great Uncle Jack after surviving the Holocaust

We enjoyed trying the varied cuisine of Jersey City and found that we needed more time to get to all the places with vegan options. What a great problem to have!

We headed over to New York City, where I stayed for a week right across from the Metropolitan Opera House, one of my favorite places in the world. I had tickets to Wagner’s Ring Cycle, a series of four operas that I had never seen before. From the Rhine maidens to the Valkyries to the dragon to the “spear and magic helmet”, I was hooked the entire time!

Standing in front of a billboard advertising Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Met
An opportunity of a lifetime!

Connecticut – July

I spent a week in Connecticut in June where I was able to spend time with my friend Beth and go hiking and try some yummy vegan dishes. I hiked up Talcott Mountain and explored Heublin Tower (built in 1875), overlooking the valley below. Such beautiful views!

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Heublin Tower on Talcott Mountain in Simsbury, Connecticut
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Enjoying the view from Talcott Mountain in Simsbury, Connecticut

I also got to explore Penwood State Park in neighboring Bloomfield. With a plethora of trail options I could have spent all day there.

The biggest culinary treat in Connecticut was at ION Restaurant in Middletown. The restaurant specialized in vegan slow-cooked food and believe me, it was worth the wait!

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Meal from ION Restaurant in Middleton, CT: spinach and potato pierogi with summer squash, roasted garlic, local greens, basil pesto, fresh tomato sauce and garlic bread crumbs. Also got a side dish of pickled beets and red cabbage.

Minnesota – September

Traveling to Minnesota in September was an exciting trip as it involved camping and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area up in Ely. Getting to our put in point included exploring Indian burial mounds in St. Paul, a stop at Lake Superior, and an overnight in Duluth under the stars. What an adventure!

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Final selfie before going off the grid and into the Minnesota wilderness of the BWCA

Nevada – October

As a surprise 70th birthday trip, we traveled to Las Vegas with Mindy’s Mom. We spent most of the time on the Vegas Strip hopping from one casino to another.

Surprising Mindy’s Mom at the Las Vegas airport!

One day, I ventured off to Valley of Fire where I got to do a little hiking, see some mountain goats and enjoy some amazing desert panoramas.

Hiking in the Valley of Fire during my year of domestic travel
Hiking with my friend Ellen in the Valley of Fire
Beautiful rock formations at the Valley of Fire during my year of domestic travel
The Wave at Valley of Fire!
I got to see mountain goats in the Valley of Fire during my year of domestic travel
Mountain goats in the Valley of Fire, Nevada

Florida Road Trip – November

Mindy planned a surprise road trip for me across our home state of Florida, stopping in several locations on the way there and back. We began in Clearwater, Florida on the west coast of the Sunshine State and drove over to Titusville on the Space Coast. The itinerary included yummy meals at vegan restaurants, night kayaking in the Banana River with bioluminescent plankton (although we had to take a raincheck due to weather), a visit to a citrus grove and hiking.

Hiking in Florida during our year of domestic travel
Hiking in Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area in Christmas, Florida

Maryland – November

I visited family and friends in Maryland in November. I grew up in Maryland so I got to do some beautiful hiking in familiar familiar and nostalgic woods like in Patapsco Park in Ellicott City.

Beautiful woods during my year of domestic travel
Enjoyed a fall hike in Patapsco State Park in Ellicott City, Maryland

I also got to explore some new areas like Rocks State Park in Jarretsville, also known for their large fields of big sunflowers. It was late in the season and a weekday when I went hiking with my brother to Fallen Branch Falls so we were the only ones there.

Me in front of the falls during my year of domestic travel
Me at Fallen Branch Falls in Rocks State Park in Jarretsville, Maryland

California – December

The final domestic trip of 2019 brought Mindy to California’s Bay Area. She was able to visit with her friend Allyson, enjoy tasty meals at vegan restaurants, and sample a couple flights of beer from local breweries.

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The Killer B.L.A.T. from The Butcher’s Son in Berkeley, California is Mindy’s favorite sandwich from the Bay Area.
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Mindy celebrated her birthday at Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar, her favorite culinary experience in San Francisco.
Sampling beer during our year of domestic travel
Mindy sampling a beer from Gilman Brewing in Berkeley, California

What an amazing year it’s been! Although we didn’t travel abroad in 2019, we did get to experience some amazing places in our home country.

Where will your next domestic travel take you?

2 thoughts on “A Year of Domestic Travel

  1. Beth

    I was so happy to spend time with you in Bloomfield this year. I hope next year brings you more great trips- domestic or international.

  2. Nina | Lemons and Luggage

    Domestic travel in the USA seems to have endless possibilities. In some other countries, it might get boring if you don’t get to go abroad at all, but I’m sure this isn’t the case in the US. Looks like you had a great time. 🙂

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