Hello, heroines! January is made for recaps and contemplation about the year. I did my first travel recap in 2016 and another one in 2017, which means it’s about time for another! They help me keep track of all the places I visit throughout the year and also give me the opportunity to provide recommendations about food and sights in some of the areas that wouldn’t warrant an entire blog post.
We didn’t make it out of Cincinnati once in the first three months of the year. I’m amazed! As in, I just scrolled back through all my photos from last year to verify because I am that amazed.
Our first trip of the year was a long weekend road trip down to Athens to meet up with friends. We brought a Cincinnati friend with us, so he could try out some of our Georgia beers and experience the majesty of Taco Mac.
Eats Brewery: Creature Comforts Brewing Co.| This is the cutest, chillest brewery with solid beers. I’m a big fan of Athena, their Berliner Weisse, which you can get with all kinds of syrups and juices. Spencer recommends the Tropicália, an American IPA.
Best Tourist Spot: Georgia Theatre Rooftop | The perfect little spot for more good brews and Athens views!
St. Augustine, Florida
My cousin John got married in April, and Spencer and I were fortunate enough to spend the weekend in St. Augustine, celebrating with him and his wife Jackie. It was a beautiful wedding with amazing food and even better company! The bride looked beautiful, I cried buckets of tears, and there were plenty of glow-in-the-dark accessories to go around at the reception.
Favorite Eats: Prohibition Kitchen | We popped in here for late night festivities after the rehearsal dinner and then again the next day for lunch with family. It’s right off St. George Street and serves great upscale pub fare!
Best Tourist Spot: St. Augustine Distillery | We didn’t get to take the tour (because there were exciting things like weddings to attend!), but we did sample some good whiskey, and I still regret not buying the earl grey bitters.
National Harbor, Maryland
Surprise, surprise. I spent the week of Memorial Day in National Harbor, watching whiz kids spell crazy difficult words on national television! We spend basically no time outside of the Gaylord National during the week, but that first night is always a time to take a breath together (over some delicious tacos!), and Molly and I try to find time for a morning run when we can.
Favorite Eats: Rosa Mexicano | Just some good, authentic Mexican food right up against the Potomac.
Best Tourist Attraction : The Capital Wheel | Okay, no. I’ve never managed to actually make it up in the wheel, but this will be the year! And it’s just so beautiful all lit up at night.
Technically, we were all over Arizona (and you can read my entire guide to Arizona to learn more about the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Scottsdale, and Flagstaff), but Phoenix was our home base. I loved the feel of the city and how incredibly warm and dry it was, and will definitely be back!
Favorite Eats: Angel’s Trumpet Ale House | Great beer selection at this little beer garden plus some fantastic food! If you don’t finish it off with a chocolate-dipped cookie dough ice cream creation, I just can’t help you.
Best Tourist Spot: We spent our tourist time outside of the city (think Grand Canyon, brewery hopping in Flagstaff, etc.), so check out the full guide.
Grand Cayman & Cozumel
In July, we took a cruise with Spencer’s parents to two places I’d never visited before: Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The main highlight of the trip for me? Getting to see Chichén Itzá, which has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember.
This was only my second cruise, but I can now definitively say I prefer all-inclusive resorts. The four of us had a great time together nonetheless!
Best Tourist Spot: Chichén Itzá | We went as part of a shore excursion through Carnival, and our tour guide was fantastic! I only wish we’d been able to spend more than an hour exploring the ruins before hopping back on the bus for another two-hour ride back to Cozumel.
Greenwood, South Carolina
More weddings! My cousin Justin married his adorable bride Autumn (who was an English major, too. Be still, my heart!) in her hometown of Greenwood in July, and we were excited to be a part of their big day.
Greenwood is tiny and quaint, and if I hadn’t been so hungover post-rehearsal dinner, I’d have more picturesque photos to share!
Best Tourist Spot: Sundance Gallery | I don’t know if this is a public gallery or only an event space, but it was the perfect place for a ceremony and reception!
My Big got married! Bailey got hitched to her now-husband Erik in the most beautiful spot in all of Michigan (not that I’m well-versed in Michigan, but it was a truly beautiful spot). It was lovely to see so many college friends in one place, and I’m glad I make the drive (even if Spencer had to stay home sick).
Best Tourist Spot: Meadow Brook Hall | I adore old manor homes, and this one was breathtaking! The wedding itself took place outside on the grounds, but we got to explore a bit during cocktail hour, and I would come back to Rochester just to get the full tour. Also, the house was built by John Dodge’s widow who sounds like a female pioneer, for sure.
I was only in Indy for a number of hours, but I’m putting it on here because WE SAW TAYLOR SWIFT’S REPUTATION TOUR. Cybelle, Corrie, and I drove up for the evening, had our faces blown off by T Swift in all her glory, and then came home the next day. Not a long time, but enough to make some first-rate memories!
Favorite Eats: The Garden Table | We had waited so long for a table, but I still think this place would’ve blown me away. Everything we had was fresh and clean and simple. Would recommend.
And finally, we made it back to Georgia in the fall. It was our first trip to SunTrust Park (RIP, Turner Field), and we watched the Braves clinch the division! Then we sat in hours of traffic before making it to the Fox just in time to see Aladdin, my birthday present from Spencer this year.
Favorite Eats: Takorea | Who doesn’t love some good fusion food? Korean tacos are a thing made in heaven, and the sesame fries are the best thing ever.
Best Tourist Spot: The Fox Theatre | I adore the fabulous Fox. So many of my very best memories growing up were seeing musicals here, and I truly believe it’s worth the drive just for that beautiful ceiling!