When I look back at our 2019 travel, it’s funny, I keep feeling as if we traveled far less than in previous years — it’s as if we didn’t really go anywhere. Except we went to 24 cities, 13 states, and 2 countries. But, we didn’t leave North America and that’s certainly something we’ll have to remedy in 2020.
Of the 24 cities we visited, 8 were new-to-me. I knocked off a few of those cities and states that it seemed crazy I’d never visited: Colorado and New Orleans, specifically.
I kicked off 2019 with a quick trip down to Richmond for my sister’s baby shower. I took Amtrak up in the morning and back that evening — it’s a mode of transportation I’d love to take more often, but I find that often the tickets are a bit more expensive than I’m hoping to pay.
As the month trekked on, I went on a dream winter trip to Québec City. I’m one of those crazy people whose favorite season is winter and nothing makes me happier than frolicking through snow-covered streets. We stayed at a real-life fairytale castle, Château Frontenac, and we ended up there one night longer than we expected due to a blizzard that left us snowed in (it also meant we cut off the second part of our trip, so we need to plan a time to get back to Montréal!).
And, because 2 trips in one month is never enough, we rounded out January with my first trip to Disney. I was hesitant, to say the least. I was never into Disney as a kid and I hate amusement parks, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well-run the park is — I’m not saying I’m dying to go back, but, if it came up, I might.
February brought our annual ranch weekend in western Pennsylvania, Vowinckel, to be exact. My brother-in-law’s family has a place tucked away in a tiny rural mountain town. We’re always hoping for snow and this year delivered.
On our way back to DC from Vowinckel, we spent 24 hours exploring Pittsburgh, a city that neither Adam nor I had ever visited. Unfortunately, we discovered that man of the Pittsburgh museums are closed on Mondays, but that just gives us a reason to go back?! We loved the food scene — and the prices.
Then, as soon as I got back from Pittsburgh, I turned around for a quick work trip to Chicago. Previously, I’d had to go to the suburbs of Chicago for work, but, this time, I stayed right downtown. I didn’t have much time for myself but was still able to fit in a bit of wandering about.
March kept us in town for a few weeks before we headed out to sunny California for an epic Indian wedding weekend celebrating one of Adam’s high school friends. We spent 5 days in charming Carmel-by-the-Sea, where we stayed at the coziest boutique inn, Vagabond’s House Inn.
This was one of our best trips of the year — the picturesque town, the salty Pacific air, the amazing celebration — I swear, every time we go out to California, I wonder why we have to come back (then, I remember it’s the one place we could go where life would be more expensive than DC).
In April, we bought our first home together…and decided it was a good idea to leave town just a few days after closing. We spent 3 days in New York City with Adam’s parents eating delicious food and getting in 20,000+ steps a day.
We went down to Locust Hill, VA, near Urbanna, to my parent’s river house over Mother’s Day weekend to enjoy a lovely spring weekend on the water and swung by Richmond on the way back for a surprise Mother’s Day brunch with all of my sisters.
I headed up to Baltimore for a night to visit my old roommate and enjoy one of my favorite cities on the East Coast (seriously, Baltimore doesn’t get enough credit!).
And, at the end of May, Adam and I headed out to Austin for our nephew’s bris.
June took us on a quick overnight trip to Fredericksburg, VA, a city I had never spent time exploring. I’d driven through it many, many times, lamenting the frustration of the heavy traffic in the area, but spending time in this charming (large) town has now made it a pitstop on our drive from Richmond to DC and back. This trip turned out to be one of the highlights of our summer travel.
I headed up to Jersey City in July to visit friends and get a much-needed break from the swamp that is DC in the summer. If you’re in the area, Jersey City is a surprisingly vibrant city right across the river from New York and definitely worth checking out for its restaurants and slightly more laid-back vibe than Manhattan.
At the end of July, Adam returned from Saipan and we almost immediately turned around and took a quick flight over to Bermuda for a friend (and former roommate!)’s wedding. Bermuda is surprisingly close to DC — it’s the easiest tropical (well, not officially tropical) getaway from the East Coast.
In August, we went down to the river again and then spent a week out in Colorado (one of the places I hadn’t been before!). I would love to go in the winter someday, but there’s a surprising amount to do in Vail during the summer. The weather was gorgeous — sunny, mild, and low humidity — and we were able to stay super active, which is key when traveling for more than a day or two.
Our summer didn’t end with the start of September — we spent a few days visiting friends in Alabama and did a tour of the Gulf Coast from Mobile to Orange Beach to Fairhope. In just three days, we saw totally different regions of the state of Alabama.
We also squeezed in a staycation in Old Town Alexandria, a quick jaunt down to Charlottesville to catch a Hoos win— and, no surprise, get a Riverside Lunch burger and, at the end of the month, went down to Richmond for my cousin’s wedding.
Our October trip was an off-season getaway to the Hamptons. I can’t believe how cheap direct flights are to ISP from BWI on Southwest and I’m definitely not ruling out this same trip again next year. We stayed at the Southampton Inn and you can check out my full itinerary here.
We stayed put for the first few weeks of November, before heading out to Austin and Lampasas, TX for a week for Thanksgiving. We were out at the ranch for longer than we’ve been in past years, which meant I got to explore a few of the small Hill Country towns that hadn’t been on my radar before, including San Saba.
This trip kicked off a month of never being home for more than 4-5 days at a time.
In December, we were milking the very last days of our Southwest Companion Pass and booked New Orleans as an anniversary trip and Nashville to visit friends. I can’t recommend visiting New Orleans during the winter enough — the weather was perfect (I’ll have a travel guide up sometime this month!). I won’t do another full guide to Nashville, but I’ll have a snapshot post up this week.
We went to my parents’ river house to start the Christmas break, and then spent 4 days in Richmond before heading back to DC.
WHERE WE’RE HEADED NEXT
So, where is 2020 taking us? As of right now, we’re headed up to NJ and NYC for one last 2019 trip, then we’re headed to the Greenbrier in mid-January. I have a girls’ getaway over MLK weekend to Miami, February will take us out to the annual Vowinckel, PA trip, then there’s Texas, California, Las Vegas, Colorado, South Carolina and more already on the books. Stay tuned to see what else ends up on the 2020 travel itinerary!