Our Favorite Moments of 2017
WHAT?? How is it time to reflect on another year already. Might I recommend taking some time to look back at all the things that happened in your life the past year. We have found it incredibly rewarding to take a look back. It amazes us that even the sad, rough, and downright ugly moments seem to bring blessings even as much as those happy, smooth, and gorgeous moments. So without further ado, here are some of our best or most memorable moments from the past twelve months.
JANUARY: Shortly after the new year, we arrived in the Sunshine State. We spent nearly three weeks “moochdocking” in the driveway of our friend’s house. Thanks Jay & Karen! While there were were able to celebrate a milestone birthday for Russ - the big 5 - 0! Wondering what we did to celebrate? A morning bike ride, an afternoon at the beach and ice cream for the birthday treat. In the past, we always enjoyed a long weekend trip to Florida to escape the cold Philadelphia winters. So getting to spend the whole month of January (and more) in Florida this year was an excellent way to ring in 2017.
FEBRUARY: February was the month of the alligator. No, I am not talking about the Chinese Zodiac calendar, rather our trip to the Everglades. Never did we expect to see 50+ gators all while enjoying a 15-mile bike ride. It was super cool and we will definitely stop at the Shark Valley Entrance again next time we are in the Everglades.
MARCH: We are thankful to have made it through the month of March to even be able to write about it. See we caught a pretty bad case of Keys Disease! The severe plague on organized activities and the ability to move projects ahead at any rate of speed. In its most infectious state it is capable of totally destroying the concept of a deadline. With that being said we enjoyed our time in the Florida Keys with our highlight likely being wading in the crystal clear water at Bahia Honda State Park. The month of March ended up being pretty beachy, as we spent many more days with our toes in the sand in South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral National Seashore, and Amelia Island. We then proceeded to have an excellent rest of the month, capping it off with several days with my parents in Charleston, a city we thoroughly enjoyed.
APRIL: In comparison to the first quarter of the year, April brought about many travel days. See it took us to the end of March to even get out of Florida. But in the month of April, we traveled from Florida to Connecticut. Yes, I know there are people who do that drive in two days, but that’s not how we roll. The bonus of this snail pace is we got the chance to see Russ’ Dad & all his siblings as well as Betsy’s parents and sister & her family. We celebrated Easter in Pennsylvania with the Gibbons Gang and then headed for Ohio for some time with the Dutts. Giving my mom a hug after a little health scare was just what we needed. It would be cheating to pick this time with family as our most memorable part of April because that is just too easy as it was most certainly the best part of the month. So, we will tell you about our second favorite thing in the month, our visit to Newport, Rhode Island. While we only had time for a mere afternoon there, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the rocky coastline and stunned by the mansions as we traversed the Newport Cliff Walk. Newport we will be back, but will you promise us warmer weather and boats that are not still shrink-wrapped?
MAY: While May is not often equated to a month known for its sweets, such a Valentine’s Candy in February or Trick or Treating in October, we would like to add May as the month of the Donut. We happened to land across a little, local place called The Holy Donut. This quickly escalated into our highlight in the month of May. Some of you may be thinking, wow your month must have been pretty lame if that was the best part of the month. But quite the contrary, these donuts were just THAT good, both the gluten-filled and the gluten-free version. We may or may not have stopped three times in just as many days! Russ and I have had the discussion multiple times about our preferred donut type. While he prefers a cake-type donut, I am all about a yeast raised donut. The beauty of The Holy Donut is that their donuts are sort of a blend of the two. The Holy Donut refers to their donuts as Maine potato donuts, which gives them this unique texture. Call them what you want, they were darn good donuts!
JUNE: While some months we had to debate a bit between our favorite things, June was pretty clear cut. The amazing part of the whole thing, is that our pick for the month including a 2:45 AM alarm. Shocking for two people who put sleep on a pretty high pedestal. We hopped out of bed, bundled up, brewed coffee, and grabbed a snack before heading out the door. We jumped in the car and headed for Acadia National Park with our ultimate goal the summit of Cadillac Mountain. We found a seat, plopped down a blanket and put on our stocking hats to enjoy the show that Mother Nature was broadcasting for the day. Due to the location, Cadillac Mountain is the first place to spot the sunrise in the Continental United States, with sunrise at exactly 4:49 AM. It was an incredible way to celebrate both the Summer Solstice and my birthday, one we will always remember!
JULY: Lucky for us, our month of July included visits from family and friends while we were in Maine. So well that beat out all other things in the month, we did really enjoy a July afternoon hike. Acadia National Park is chock-full of good hiking trails, but one you will read about often is the one that leads to Bubble Rock. It is a fairly easy & short hike to the top of South Bubble Mountain which stands at 768 feet. South Bubble is the home of Bubble Rock which is a “glacial erratic” piece of multi-ton granite which appears to be perched precariously on the edge of the mountain. Due to its coarse-grained white granite which differs from the pink granite which is commonly found on Mount Desert Island, the boulder is thought to have originated over 40 miles away near Lucerne, Maine. The power of the glaciers is brought to the forefront when you see things like the best-known boulder in the state of Maine. It makes us say, “WOW - that’s cool!”
AUGUST: Back in 2016, we had a bride and groom who are pretty special to us request ICED by Betsy cupcakes for their August 2017 wedding. So while I had vowed to never make cupcakes again, my streak of not baking one ended after 595 days. We made the road trip from Maine to Pennsylvania and fired up the ovens at the Workman’s farm house for some wedding cupcakes! We successfully got 300 cupcakes baked, cooled, filled, frosted, and displayed. It was a beautiful, relaxed & fun wedding and we are so glad we made the trip to be there, making this our favorite memory from the month of August. You will find Baker Betsy still hiding in hibernation!
SEPTEMBER: September marked our second trip to Schoodic Point, which was one of our favorite parts of Acadia National Park. This trip to the quiet, scenic point including beach chairs and the usual stop at the Winter Harbor Lobster Co-Op. We spent the entire afternoon, lounging in our chairs with a packed lunch and our books nearby. While we love reading by the sea, we often found ourselves losing our place after being distracted by the big booming spray of waves crashing against the rocky coast. It’s just beautiful my friends!!
OCTOBER: Our favorite memory from October comes down to something we actually did for the four months prior as well. We had the opportunity to have a pretty awesome job in Bar Harbor, Maine. We worked for Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking from May - October. Not only did we get to spend our days helping tourists enjoy their visit to Bar Harbor all summer, but got to do so with Acadia National Park right next door. From the owners to the managers to our fellow co-workers, you made our experience incredibly fun and enjoyable and without a doubt the highlight of our year was our lengthy visit to Maine.
NOVEMBER: So anytime you check something off your bucket list, it is likely to end up on your favorite thing for that month. That is the case for November’s highlight, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis! While Russ had been there before, he played the role of happy husband and joined me in the adventure to the top. While it is nothing fancy, I was pretty thrilled during the whole experience from the cute video while waiting, to the tiny pod you ride in to the top, to the aerial view you are rewarded with at the top of the Arch. We even caught a photo that shows the shadow of the Arch. I was trying to figure out why their was a shadow in the camera viewfinder and then got excited when I realized it was actually the shadow of the Arch. Pretty cool from 630 feet in the air.
DECEMBER: Since we are a little behind with our blog posts for this month, you haven’t gotten to hear about much of our December adventures. We’ve done just a bit of exploration in the Lone Star State and look forward to the chance to see and do Texas over the next year. So stay tuned for those escapades. But our favorite memory of December is a fresh one, happening just one week ago today. Most people would consider where we are in Port Lavaca to be in South Texas, but we traveled 4 more hours South to Mission, Texas. This is where we found our old campground neighbors from Maine, who also happen to be Russ’ sister and brother-in-law Mike and Annette! More on that visit in a future post, but our favorite part of the visit was a pontoon boat ride on the Rio Grande River with Captain Mike and First Mate Annette. Any day on a boat is a good day and we spotted a few cool birds during the cruise as well.
This wraps up our first full Calendar year as full-time RVers as we finish out our 19th month on the road. Thanks for being a part of our journey. Cheers to the New Year…. See you in 2018!