Two big themes for our 2022 travels: local exploration and work travel.
In January, we braved the cold and traveled upstate, visiting the colorful ice castle in Lake George. A recurring theme here in Upstate NY is cold winters (foreshadowing). There were many tears the night we visited the castle, but they quickly froze and the beautiful pictures and hot cocoa afterwards helped us forget all that.
In February, we didn’t travel much, because we were having work done on our house and that work cost money. We thought it would be wise to cool our spending jets. I did grow a beard that month, though, if that counts for anything. (And shaved it off in March, at my wife’s behest.)
In March, we thought it would be a good idea, for some reason, to visit Lake Placid for the first time — in a blizzard (recurring theme). We watched dogsleds racing across the lake. I hiked with snowshoes in sub-zero temperatures to catch the sunrise on Whiteface and got my van stuck in a snowbank. If only I still had a beard to keep me warm. I also visited the News Corp building for work and got some beautiful shots of midtown Manhattan — its monumental skyline, its slot-canyon avenues, and its chaotic underbelly. I also enjoyed the most expensive meal I’ve ever tasted at Per Se thanks to the generosity of a friend.
In April, we drove south to visit Jessica’s brother who lives near Nashville and made a proper excursion of out it. We wound through the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. We lounged around the Asheville’s River Arts District, shopping and eating like kings — shout out to the Marquee and the White Duck Taco Shop. We drove through the Smokies, discovering strange little shops, roadside barns, countless tunnels, a mama bear and two cubs. We even endured a few tourist attractions in Pigeon Forge (the Jersey Shore of the South, and not in a good way) before spending the week with family. On our way back home, we stopped by the one-and-only Hot Dog Johnny’s for some hot dog, birch beer in iced mugs, and connecting with old friends.
The family didn’t travel much in May, but I did — a lot. I needed to fly out to LA for work, but before I did, I went to Philadelphia with my dad for a Jacob Collier concert. Walking the streets of Philly at night looking for a restaurants still serving food, helping a man who spoke no English deal with a flat tire — we made some really good memories there. I also had a big hike coming up later in the month, so I spent considerable time in LA hiking around Beverly Hills in preparation. And much to my surprise, I fell in love with LA, against all odds: the smell of its vegetation, the variety of its topography, the outrageous opulence against rugged landscape.
May was also my big hike! My friend Arjen and I got inspired by Bill Bryson’s book and decided to tackle part of the Appalachian Trail. We spent a week or so and hiked most of Massachusetts, from the southern border to the Mount Greylock, about 70 miles or so.
In June, Jessica and I took an anniversary trip to New York City. I mentioned some of the details in a previous post, but here’s a few more interesting details. In Greenwich Village, our food tour took us by the Stonewall Inn the day before the annual Pride parade. We walked through Bryant Park just before the big protest about the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling. At MoMA, the first art we happened upon was Starry Night; it was a delightful little surprise, especially since it’s one of Jessica’s favorite paintings and we had no idea it was housed there. We also happened to be in town during a Manhattan-henge event, which is somewhat rare.
July found us again in the Adirondacks. I took the boys on day trip to Lake George, playing some mini-golf and cruising around the lake on the Minne-Ha-Ha. We also spent a wet weekend at Caroga Lake camping with some good friends that seem to have a knack for attracting thunderstorms. Later that month, I again flew out to Los Angeles for my final work trip. Since I knew it would be my last trip, I set aside some time to hike around Griffith Park, visiting the observatory there and snapping a photo of the Hollywood sign at sunset.
In August, we took our yearly trip to Ocean City, New Jersey. This will be our family’s 12th year spending a week there. At this point, nearly all of the things we do there hold some kind of “tradition” status for our family: the first excited trip to the ocean, early morning sunrise at the beach, a sweaty visit to the Cape May Zoo, cheese-tasting night, evenings at the amusement park, boat rides around Egg Harbor Bay, bird-watching at sunset, lazy strolls along the boardwalk.
Because of school starting, we didn’t get any travel in during the month of September, unless you count the evening constitutionals we took around nearby farms. We kayaked a bit in nearby lakes and rivers, but by October, we were feeling rather cooped up. So we decided on a rather spur-of-the-moment hiking trip to Mount Jo the Adirondacks, and were pleasantly surprised to find that we arrived right around peak leaf season. Then, I caught peak leaf season again in Pennsylvania when I traveled to Ricketts Glen State Park with a couple of friends for a photography trip.
Travel starts to slow down and get closer to home as winter approaches (recurring theme) — but we still have fun! In November, I went to Darlingside concert Saratoga Springs with my Dad. In December, our family started going to the Empire State Plaza ice rink for family skating. And we kept rather busy in November fulfilling candle orders. Finally, we celebrated New Year’s Eve with a bash at my sister’s house. Jessica and I planned and emceed 5 hours worth of activities for nearly 30 people: a Lego building competition, a candle-blowing competition, a game called Fishbowl, an UNO tournament (with a tense final match), and a dance party. We even took time to have everyone write out goals for the new year and put them into a time capsule to review with their families next year.
Strong finish to a very good year. Just goes to show you don’t necessarily have to travel a lot to have a good time.
May your 2023 be filled with adventure! 💕