Friday, February 27, 2015

Favorite Travel Destinations

For our final Travel Week post, we asked a handful of seasoned travelers their favorite destinations and I love the wonderful descriptions they gave:

"I would have to say that going to North Haven, Maine is my favorite vacation destination.  Although, now, after so many years of going, it feels like I am going home again.  The minute the ferry leaves the dock I'm happy.  I love the local people.  I love the many friends that I only see in August.  The sun (if it's out) is brilliant.  There's light everywhere.  There's never a dull moment.  Lazy breakfasts with children running in and out of the house.  Boat picnics.  Afternoon naps. And delicious feasts every night with many, many (sometimes too many) family members.  Sleeping by the sea is sublime.  And then it starts all over again.  Same routine but somehow always different."

"Thailand: culture, food, history, beaches… it has it all and on a budget.  I’m happy that I did Southeast Asia when I was young and child free, because there’s just something special about meeting other backpackers from around the world while drinking cheap Thai whiskey out of a plastic bucket.  Now that I have kids, it’s at the top of my list to take them as well, because visiting temples, riding trains, exploring markets, snorkeling and relaxing on the beach are all kid friendly.  Even though it’s an exotic destination when you’re from North America, it’s an easy place to travel and so many people do it.  Oh, and I can’t say enough about the people.  They’re so helpful and it’s called the land of smiles for a reason!"

"Venice.  Because, obviously.  The first time I went to Venice was for a few hours; I figured that was enough, that I’d seen it and I didn’t need to go back.  But then we were lucky enough to live near the "water city” for a couple of years, and each time we visited, it became more magical.  With three small boys, it was fantastic to ride the water taxi for hours, visiting all the stops on the island of Venice as well as neighboring islands, with no whining or complaining, because, well, we were on a boat - cool!"
[**You can see Cori's amazing pictures of Venice on her website, here]

"Camping in France.  We left from Cologne, drove south through Lyon, Avignon, Marseilles and Nice.  At one campground, the owners came by in the evening on their golf cart to take orders for morning baking.  Croissant?  Baguette?  And some local preserves to go with that?  At another, we camped on a beach across the bay from St. Tropez, and the restaurant served a lovely meal of clams in wine sauce.  Fresh and local?  You bet!  You don’t need to bring a can of beans to camp in France. Most campsites have a restaurant and many have pools.  We did this with a one year old and it was a great family holiday."

"Imagine standing on a station platform, looking down the track to your left. In the distance, growing larger, is the headlight of the train that is going to take you on an adventure away from your structured life, and the excitement begins right there. It doesn't matter whether it's a 3.5 hour ride to NYC or 10 days traveling around the country on the trails. Both journeys provide an escape from the day to day. Both journeys provide time for reading, reflecting and napping without interruption or a nagging sense that you should be doing something. The longer, overnight trip has the added benefit of an opportunity to meet interesting people in the dining car: a mother going to help her daughter shear sheep on her ranch in Nevada, a retired policeman from Louisville, the former pilot for Pan America flight #1 (around the world), an actor playing opposite Brian Dennehy in the play 'Death of a Salesman', a husband and wife who run a vineyard in Sonoma, CA. Most travelogues that describe train travel talk about the scenery outside the train. Actually, for me, the scenery is inside the train. Furthermore, the communication that springs up between passengers is not going to grow into a relationship that makes demands on each other. It's just for now, and then it's gone.
"My favorite place to travel is Italy. Anywhere in Italy. I love the relaxed culture with its emphasis on a slower life with lots of pasta. I love listening to people speak Italian. I love the beautiful, old cities and towns, and popping into churches while wandering around or sitting at a cafe with a spritz, people watching. And most of all, I love Italian food."

"Bonaire has been one of the most idyllic places that I've traveled to over the past decade. As one of the ABC islands located off the coast of Venezuela, it's securely nestled in a relatively safe area free from the frequent hurricanes. I originally planned my trip to Bonaire because of its incredible scuba diving, but once I arrived on this fantastically manicured Dutch island, I discovered that it also had a rich slave and salt mining history. The little slave huts located near the salt mines are an incredible reminder of the harsh living conditions of the slaves who were essentially housed in what looks like dog houses. The best part of my trip though, was the scuba diving. There are innumerable off-shore dive sites with beautiful coral reefs and magnificent marine life. We saw frog fish, moray eels of ginormous sizes, dolphins and loggerhead turtles. There are also a number of expats and artisans who live on the island, and there are some fantastic restaurants."

"North Haven, Maine is my most favorite place in the world. I love the little island that generations of family have called home in the summer; the sound of the fog horn on a brisk August night; fresh lobster from the crate hanging off our dock; eating oysters from the farm down the road and throwing the shells back into the ocean; the accent of a hardened Mainer; waving to each driver on the road; the Camden Hills; and fond memories of treasure hunts up the Knob when the fog was too thick to see Vinalhaven."

Where are your favorite places to travel? We'd love to hear....
 And, if you missed them, here's the first Travel Week post on our favorite travel memories and the second on how we travel.

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