Travels of 2015

So last year I started this blog to stay motivated to travel more and to have a place to share these travels. This year I’ve been doing just that, though not writing about it as much as I’d like to… but I’m in Graduate school… so I’m giving myself a pass on that. I’ll be graduating in May, so hopefully I’ll have more time for writing after that.

Since my first blog post in October of 2014 I have been to/traveled through:

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Georgetown Loop Railroad – Georgetown, Colorado
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Eldorado Canyon State Park, Colorado
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Trail to Blue Lake at Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Colorado
  1. Georgetown Loop Railroad, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Brainard Lake Recreation Area – Colorado

The Georgetown Loop Railroad was a really fun little train ride with a magnificent view of the Rocky Mountains that also took us to the Lebanon Silver Mine where we got to explore a bit. We went to Eldorado Canyon State Park in June. We had originally planned a hike to Boulder Falls, but the trail was closed. This place has a beautiful creek that runs through it as well as picnic spots, hiking and rock climbing.

The highlight of the year for me in Colorado was the Brainard Lake Recreation Area… it was so beautiful I literally cried a few times. I mean, it hit me harder than Rocky Mountain National Park and that’s saying something. This area has several lakes and hikes to choose from, August was lush and green and October brought autumn colors and a lot of wind.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

2. Albuquerque & Santa Fe – New Mexico

Albuquerque we only stopped at very briefly… long enough for my boyfriend to take a photo in front of the Breaking Bad house and to grab some food. Santa Fe we stopped at for an afternoon and visited the Loretto Chapel & walked around the downtown area.

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Grand Canyon, Arizona
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Downtown Flagstaff, Arizona
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Street Art in Flagstaff, Arizona

3. Grand Canyon National Park & Flagstaff – Arizona

We ended up staying 2 nights in Flagstaff because we liked it so much the first night. It has a forest-y chill feel and was really cute. I didn’t get much time in the Downtown area, but would love to go back at some point because of the great old buildings and lots of cool street art. Also, you can buy craft beer at the Mobil gas station, so that was awesome.

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? I only lived 8 hours from it most of my life and had never been, so as we drove through Arizona back to Colorado I made that a must do. So glad I did, it was awe-inspiring… and made me realize I’d need more than a day there to see all I wanted to see.

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4. Ft. Lauderdale – Florida

On the way to Costa Rica we used our 5 hour layover on sunrise at Ft. Lauderdale Beach… totally worth the uber ride and leaving the airport. Now I need to plan another trip to Florida for more beach time.

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La Fortuna Waterfall
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Jaco, Costa Rica Sunset
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San Jose, Costa Rica

5. La Fortuna, Jaco & San Jose – Costa Rica

Read all about my Costa Rica trip here.

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View of Seattle from the Space Needle
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Washington Park, Seattle, Washington
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Space Needle & the Chihuly Garden

6. Seattle – Washington

Writing this post made me realize how I haven’t posted about my Seattle trip last April! Seattle was one of my favorite trips this year. It included: American Planning Conference, lots of awesome friends, exploring the city, good beer and good food.

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Portland Waterfront on the river
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Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon

7. Portland – Oregon

Portland the boyfriend and I visited for a random weekend in October. I had heard lots of good things about the city, the beer and also have a few friends that live there so it seemed like a good idea. We had a nice time, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would… I think it’s probably because I didn’t have enough time to explore as much as I wanted. So we will have to plan another trip back.

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Near Jackson Square, New Orleans
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Bourbon Street, New Orleans
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View from Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River
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moss trees near Manchac, Louisiana

8. New Orleans & Manchac – Louisiana

New Orleans was one of the highlights of my year too. We headed down there for a friend’s wedding and all of our friends came for it. It was a gorgeous wedding and we stayed at an awesome airbnb spot with many of our friends. Bourbon Street & the French Quarter was like a crazy baby Vegas that was more interesting and cool than actual Vegas IMO. Also, a highlight for me was visiting the cemeteries… I wrote a bit about St. Louis Cemetery #1 here if you’re interested.  We stopped in Manchac, Lousiana as we drove north towards Memphis, Tennessee which was the second part of our trip.

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Downtown Jackson, Mississippi
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Jackson, Mississippi
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Just off the Natchez Trace Highway, Ridgeland, Mississippi

9. Jackson & Ridgeland – Mississippi

As we drove through Mississippi on a Sunday we decided to stop in the state capitol to look around and grab dinner with our friends. The cool thing about Jackson… there are some great art deco style buildings and interesting architecture. The not cool thing about Jackson… being that it’s Sunday literally NOTHING was open… nowhere to grab food or a bite to eat.

The streets were lined with cars, but there were hardly any people to be seen, except in this one park where people stared creepily at us as we walked down the street. It was like the zombie apocalypse had come through the town and we were the only people left. We literally just walked around in the middle of the streets because there were no cars or people anywhere. We finally gave up on eating in Jackson and headed to a restaurant in Ridgeland just off the Natchez Trace Highway where we could watch the sunset over the reservoir.

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Beale Street, Memphis
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Graceland, Home of Elvis Presley – Memphis, Tennessee
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National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee – where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated
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Downtown Memphis, Tennessee
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View of the Mississippi River, Memphis, Tennessee

10. Memphis – Tennessee (We drove into Arkansas for about 10 minutes, does that count? haha)

Finally we had 2 days in Memphis and really made the most of it. We visited Beale Street, Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum and Sun Studio as well as ate delicious BBQ the whole time and tried some local craft beer. Memphis surprised me by how much I liked it, its cool architecture and how friendly everyone was to us. I would really like to go back at some point.

Next year’s hopes for traveling:

  • Brooklyn & New York City, New York (end of March I think)
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park & road trip with my friends (end of May)
  • Europe… somewhere, anywhere! (maybe September or October)
  • Chicago, Illinois again maybe because the boyfriend hasn’t been yet
  • Savannah, Georgia and/or Charleston, South Carolina
  • Washington, D.C.
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