Best of Travel in 2013

Please, let me begin by apologizing.  I’ve been very neglectful of this little corner of the Internet for reasons which can almost all be attributed to the messiness of life.  The truth is, it was a quiet travel year with very few forays into uncharted territory.  In March, Jay and I traveled by train to New York City for a weekend of cultural enlightenment.  My parents invited my sister and me to stay with them for a few days in Ocean City, Maryland at the end of May.  The summer gave our family opportunities to camp at French Creek State Park outside of Philadelphia and relax in comfort at the OuterBanks in North Carolina.  I finished the summer with a girls’ trip to Ocean City, New Jersey.  Finally, our last last bit of traveling took us to The Omni Bedford Springs in Bedford, Pennsylvania for an escapist weekend in October.

Just because we engaged in mostly tame escapades doesn’t mean we didn’t have memorable experiences.  Here’s a look back at my top picks for travel in 2013.

Best for Natural Beauty: Assategue Island, Maryland

Wild, uncommercialized beaches and even wilder horses.  What a combination!  I wouldn’t mind spending some serious time hiking and biking this national seashore.

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  • Honorable Mention: Outer Banks, North Carolina

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Best for Culture: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

No contest here.  I absolutely loved this place and look foward to spening more time wandering around in here.

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Best for History: Valley Forge National Historic Park, Pennsylvania

A lovely park that commemorates the winter 1777 – 78 encampment of the Continental Army.  It’s filled with historic buildings, authentically reproducted huts, imposing monuments numerous hiking and biking trails, and plenty of wide open spaces.  I especially enjoyed touring the George Washington House, where the general stayed during that difficult time.

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Honorable Mentions for History:

  • Hopewell Furnace, Pennsylvania

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  • Omni Bedford Springs Resort, Pennsylvania

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Best for Relaxation: Outer Banks, North Carolina

This bi-annual extended family trip always equates to long hours spent on the beach and in the water, delicious home-cooked meals eaten in good company, and a lot of general silliness.  It is the true meaning of “No Worries”.

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Honorable Mention for Relaxation:

  • Omni Bedford Springs Resort, Pennsylvania

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  • The campfire at French Creek State Park, Pennsylvania

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Best for View: The Marriott Marquis on Times Square, New York City

A completely unexpected and delightful surprise.  When I booked the room for a conference, I had no idea the treat I was getting with the view.  It would be the perfect place to watch the New Year’s Eve festivities but I bet it would cost a pretty penny.

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Honorable Mention for View:

  • Top of the Rock, New York City

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  • Outer Banks, North Carolina

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Best for Dining: Ellen’s Stardust Diner, New York City

This was the perfect combination of  atmoshpere, food and entertainment that could really only happen in New York City.  I’m so glad we decided to stop in.  It ended up being a highlight of our trip.

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Honorable Mentions for Dining (Sorry – no photos.  I was too busy eating!):

  • The View at the Mariott Marquis (New York) – rotating restaurant with exceptional view of Manhattan
  • The Hobbit (Ocean City, MD) – sunset view over the bay with fantastic food

I hope you enjoyed reading the list as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It helped me to realize that I packed more travel into the last year than I originally thought.  Being able to travel and experience this world is such an incredible gift and I am thankful for it every day.  And now, I’ll tuck all these memories away for safekeeping and begin to look forward with excited anticipation for what’s coming next.  Stay tuned.  I’ll be sharing my travel plans for 2014.  I think it’s going to be a fantastic year of exploration and new experiences.

Any favorite travel experinces you’d like to share?

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