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!
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).
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.