The Best of 2012

Without a doubt, 2012 was filled with many wonderful travel experiences.   I cruised (for the first time) to the Yucatan peninsula on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Sea.  I tented in Caledonia State Park in wicked thunderstorms and visited the battlefield at Gettysburg.  As a 20th anniversary/graduation celebration, I spent nine glorious days in southern California.  Over Labor Day weekend, I played at the beach with my family in Ocean City, Maryland.  And finally, I ended the year with 1600 miles of wandering in Arizona.  Although I’ve already shared some of my experiences here at Wandrin’ Round, just for fun I thought I’d showcase some of my tippy-top, cream-of-the-crop favorites and the unexpected treasures of traveling in 2012.  Not surprisingly, many of my choices involve food. What can I say? I love to eat.

Travel Highlights of 2012

  • Everything about the Chacchoben ruins tour: our guide Jesus, the army ants carrying leaves along well-worn trails, the eerie flute music played by a local merchant, the history of the Mayans, and the fastidiously maintained ruins themselves.


  • Watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico from the deck of the Jewel .


  • Eating burgers al fresco and listening to The Lambasters play gritty blues music on the back porch of Danny’s All American Diner in Tampa.


  • Biking the Union side of the battlefield at Gettysburg.



  • Sunset at the Gliderport in La Jolla.  Sublime….


  • Fresh roasted corn soup, homemade tortillas and guacamole, and Black and Blue Brambles by the fireplace at Mustangs and Burros, the wonderful little outdoor restaurant at The Estancia in La Jolla.


  • Hiking The Slot in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with an air temperature of 113º.  A surreal experience no matter how you look at it.


  • Playing in the ocean with my family at Fenwick Island State Beach.


  • Fourteen degrees and snow at Desert View on the southeastern rim of the Grand Canyon.  The fireplace in the Watchtower smelled heavenly and a lunch of chili and hot chocolate from the snack bar provided the happily ever after.


  • Hiking Castle Rock in Sedona – a satisfying challenge that paid back in an ego boost and breathtaking views of Red Rock country.  Lunch at the Blue Moon Cafe in Oak Creek was the perfect ending – friendly service, delicious sandwiches, homemade chips and fries (including sweet potato), and tons of old photos and memorabilia about the area.



  • The BrushFire BBQ Co. in Tucson – a tiny joint in a little strip mall dishing out some of the best brisket, pulled pork, and ribs we’ve ever had.  Lip-smacking, finger-licking good!



* These highlights are listed in no particular order.  It was hard enough choosing the best of the best.  Ranking them would have sent me to the funny farm.*

**Obviously, some photos were taken by Jay.  🙂 **

It really was a great year of travel; sometimes I just  have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

What are some of your 2012 travel highlights? 

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