Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Summary of My 2016 Travel Adventures

At the beginning of every new year I like to look back at the previous year and review my favorite outfits, and remember all the home, garden, and crafting projects I took on, and also all our travel adventures.  Our travel adventures is always my favorite to review because I remember such happy times.  I also think one tends to forget vacations so quickly, so it's nice to go back and look at pictures and re-live them through memories.

Here is where I traveled this year!

This year was the first time in probably over thirty years where I traveled by plane alone.  I must admit, I had a lot of anxiety about it.  So did my husband.  He said over and over again "Just come back to me!"  He was so afraid I would die in a plane crash.  I don't know why.  But, I made it to Florida safely and back, and it was a really good experience for me to do that all by myself.  I went to Florida for two weeks to see my son and daughter.  We had so much fun and crammed so much into that two week period is was ridiculous!  Here are some of the highlights of that trip:

                                       Florida Adventures

Cape Canaveral National Seashore
Cape Canaveral was one of my favorite Florida beaches.  I love the natural setting and the absence of the typical tourist stuff you see on most beaches.

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
Seeing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was one of the highlights of this vacation.  I've never been much of a Harry Potter fan until I went I'm a Harry Potter fan fanatic!

Disney Springs

Disney Springs is such a beautiful place to spend an evening.  

The 16th Annual Orlando Wetlands Festival

Hands down our favorite activity of this trip was the Orlando Wetlands Festival.  It was one of the happiest days of my life.  My son loved it so much he wants to " ...go back and take Dad!"  I don't know if that will ever be possible as it is only one day during the year, but who knows?  Maybe when he retires someday?
Cocoa Beach
Even though Cocoa Beach is probably my least favorite beach in Florida, it was still fun to see all the "I Dream of Jeannie" memorabilia and the cruise ships.

Mead Botanical Gardens
Mead Gardens was a bit rustic, but we sure enjoyed the pre-historic size palms!  Plus, I captured this great photo of my son.

The Albin Polasek Museume and Sculpture Gardens
This was such a beautiful and tranquil garden!

Harry P. Leu Gardens

We loved the giant bamboo in the Harry P. Leu Gardens.

Kraft Azalea Park

The magic of Kraft Azalea Park was beautiful

My children have since moved back to Illinois and even though everyone says it's nice to have them closer to home again, I am going to miss going to Florida.  I absolutely love that beautiful state!

In 2016 I only took two "big" solo trip to Florida and our road trip out west, but we had a lot of fun weekend adventures.

In February we went to Minneapolis to see the Broadway Tour of "Newsies".  We rented a hotel room and had a wonderful romantic night.  You can read about that adventure HERE.

Easter arrived early this year, and we did our usual trek to Milwaukee to see our home church's Easter Musical.  We also visited with our lifelong friends Kirk and Shannon and enjoyed a movie in a historic theatre!  You can read all about that fun weekend HERE.

We also went to Stillwater, Minnesota in the spring to hunt for treasures for my new beauty room!

The month of May brought our biggest road trip ever:  3500 miles to Las Vegas, Nevada!  We spent three days in Vegas, but had a lot of fun on the way there and back too!

Our first stop was in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where we enjoyed hot springs for the first time in our lives.  You can read about that experience HERE.

After checking into our hotel in Fruita, Colorado for the night, we took a stroll on top of Dinosaur Hill.

But perhaps our favorite part of this trip was just the jaw-dropping scenery to get there!  Read all about our adventures of driving Scenic 1-70 West HERE.

In Vegas we enjoyed our stay at the Flamingo Hotel, shopped till we dropped, saw Celine Dion in concert, admired all the flowers and gardens,  and walked around the strip admiring all the lights.

We took a fun bus trip from Vegas to see the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon West.

On the way home from Las Vegas we stopped at Arches National Park where we hiked one of the most difficult trails of our lives, yet found this park one of the most beautiful places on earth!

And our final day of this amazing road trip was spent in Vail, Colorado;  one of the prettiest mountain towns I ever did see!  I felt I was in Europe, not America!

In July we went tent camping with the kids for five whole days!  We saw lots of waterfalls at Copper Falls State Park, Amnicon Falls State Park and Pattison State Park, The Black River National Scenic Byway,  and we visited the cities of Ashland,  Bayfield, and Hayward.

I also attending my very first Blogger Meet-Up with Karen from "She Thought She Could So She Did" in Minnehaha Park, Minnesota

In late summer my husband and I had a blast at the Minnesota State Fair and Wildwoods Wildlife Zoo!

This year we had an unusually long and warm fall, so we took advantage of it and went hiking somewhere every weekend.

We went to Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area

We combined a convention in St. Paul, Minnesota with a visit to Vermilion Falls Park on the way home.

On our second attempt, we successfully hiked Barn Bluff in Red Wing, Minnesota

And we visited the sweet historic town of Galena, Illinois (post coming next week!)

We don't travel as much during the winter because of winter road conditions and we also can't leave our house longer than one day or it freezes up (we heat with wood).  But we were able to visit the kids for a couple of days during Thanksgiving Week (Jackson's First Car Trip) and we made our annual trip to the Mall of America where I got lots of new goodies including my first pair of OTK boots!

As always, as I complete this post I feel extremely grateful.  Many of you know we had planned to take more vacations this year but had to cancel them due to an unplanned medical bill (thanks ObamaCare!  Looking forward to the GOP "Repealing and Replacing" it).  So instead of taking long vacations in far away places we did a lot more locally and a lot of weekend trips.  It's been not only fun, but I've discovered things in my own neck of the woods I didn't even know existed.

I'm really looking forward to 2017 and a lot more opportunities to travel.  We already planned our spring vacation and we got a ocean front room on Myrtle Beach for five days and we will also be swinging through Charleston on the way home.  We still hope to take that vacation out west to see Mt. Rushmore and maybe we will make it back to Branson and elsewhere too.... we'll see!  Here's to good health and no more medical bills!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


  1. I'm from Florida but I no longer live there. I still want to visit Harry Potter World.

  2. Amy, what an awesome look back at your trips in 2016! I loved the detailed accounts you gave with accompanying photos!! I shall look forward to more of your adventures in the new year. Have a blessed, happy 2017 and thanks for linking up with me today!

  3. Great recap of all your fun travels my friend! And thanks for the shout out!!

    1. Thanks Karen! You looked like you had a blast in Texas this past week!

  4. You had some amazing adventures last year! Looking forward to more of your travel posts, we've wanted to go to the Myrtle Beach area/ Charleston for some time now but still didn't make it...

    1. Thanks Elli! I've never been there before and I have been reading so many mixed reviews I'm nervous.

  5. What a wonderful year of travel! So fun to see your recap!

    Doused In Pink

  6. So many amazing adventures, lady! :)

    Le Stylo Rouge

  7. You had a lot of great trips! I hope you can take your husband to the Wetlands Festival! I have never been to Cocoa Beach in FL, but have been to many of their beaches. I have NEVER, ever flown alone, so I feel your anxiety!


    1. Thanks Carrie, it's good to know I'm not alone in feeling anxiety flying alone.

  8. That beach looks pretty good right now! It's been so cold and rainy here!


    1. It's below freezing in Wisconsin right now so that beach looks pretty good to me too!

  9. Such fun memories of last year! Traveling is a lot of fun and always holds great memories for me!


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