a tale of two afc championship cities

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What do Kansas City & Nashville have in common? Well, they are both cities in which I have lived, and they’re also home to the two teams that will face off in the AFC Championship game this weekend.  It’s very exciting (read: EXCITING OMG HOLY S).  I, of course, am rooting for the Chiefs, as I have been to far more Chiefs games than Titans games, but it would soften the blow of defeat if the Titans pulled off the upset.

I’ve written extensively about these two cities, KC here, here and, here and Nashville here and here (try to visit them in alternating years), and seriously, if you haven’t visited them, where have you been?  Both cities top travel lists of great American destinations, so what are you waiting for?

Chiefs x Titans, a battle for the ages, and a battle for my heart.

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the maine event: portland

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Happy New Year!  I did not get to post last week because I was out of the country and I definitely locked myself out of the account because of deleting cookies and not trusting public wifi (travel tip: you shouldn’t).  But I’m back and ready to go!  I’m not a big resolutions person (other than drink more water which never happens, coffee is just so much better), but my goals always involve wanting to travel to new places.  I have a few places and experiences on the horizon for 2020, and hopefully you do, too!

And at least I’m one state closer to reaching my 50 states visited now that I’ve been to beautiful Maine.  I was able to road trip from Boston and enjoy a crisp, autumn day with the wind whipping my hair, pretending that I was in a moody novel from the 1800s.

maine line some lobsters with me…

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Happy Holidays!

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Xmas cheer at DFW

‘Tis the season, hope your holiday travels are going off without a hitch (although by the looks of the weather patterns across the US, eesh probably not).  By now, the holiday travel season is in full swing — I’ve already survived two trips to airports in the past few days, mainly by helping myself to many Diet Cokes from the airport lounges.

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the least wonderful travel time of the year at LAX

It’s always a test of patience this time of year, but lines and delays keep you humble and it’s not the airline worker’s fault.  Remember to Airborne, always use sanitizer and that the headrests and tray tables are not typically cleaned well during the turnaround.

This year was the year of the Cs, commencing with Cuba and the Caribbean:

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havana ooh na na

coupled with a Canadian autumn…

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and culminating in another trip to the Caribbean.

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virgin islands national park might be the low-key frontrunner for beautiful parks

Somehow I also fit in quick trips to Las Vegas, KC, Nashville and Indianapolis.

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I added Maine to my states visited list (3 left!)…

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he’s my lobster

and finally broke my Disney moratorium, traveling to a galaxy, far, far away.

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And the best was that I got to see so many friends when they came through my town! I wish I had traveled more this year (I traveled plenty, but I’m greedy), but I do have “a job,” and someone has to “pay the bills.”  Good thing I’ve already planned out a couple of trips already so it should be a full 2020 (will be full of P’s, both literally and hopefully figuratively).

Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season, and a happy New Year!

 

 

 

know before you go: STT USVI

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No, that’s not a bunch of f Roman numerals.  STT is the airport code for Cyril King Airport of St. Thomas, one of the main destinations in the US Virgin Islands.  The busiest airport of the islands, many traveling will use it to hop to nearby St. John and the BVI. If you’re like me, and you have always romanticized jetting down to the islands like some New York socialite wearing a caftan and drinking gimlets whilst perched on a Mortician Adams wicker peacock chair, then wintering in the Caribbean is for you!

I mean, what’s not to love about exchanging frigid temperatures and the stress of the holidays for sandy beaches and margaritas?  Beach hair, don’t care.

STT is a tiny airport with one terminal.  There are flights to and from the US quite frequently during this season on American, Delta, Frontier, United and JetBlue.

Remember: ✈️ = Extra virgin to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ =  If you like pina coladas

Convenience to the city:✈️✈️✈️ (3 miles from Charlotte Amalie, downtown)

Ease of navigating through terminals:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (it’s not a big airport)

Convenience of check in/security lines:  ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (Customs check so they recommend getting there at least 3 hours ahead)

Dining:✈️✈️ (free shots when you arrive, but not much else)

Restrooms: ✈️✈️✈️ (Small airport, but a lot of stalls)

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️ (free wifi available)

Amenities: ✈️✈️ (Did I mention free shots? Also free tote bags from the downtown jewelry stores.  Verrrrry slow baggage claim, so plan accordingly)

know the facts: Halifax

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Facts: Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia.  Sidney Crosby is from Halifax.  Halifax rules.

Halifax is one of the economic hubs of this region, with a ton of history as a bustling seaport.  The site of the Halifax explosion of 1917 and also the closest land to the Titanic wreck, this city has seen its fair share of disastrous events.  It’s also home to one of the most iconic sights of Canada, Peggy Cove lighthouse.

facts on ‘fax

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into the hinterlands: Sa Pa, Vietnam

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Vietnam is a beautiful country with sprawling coastline, bustling cities and agrarian villages.  It’s a very popular destination amongst travelers for its hospitality, great food and historic value.  And while Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay, and its venerable beach cities are probably the main draw, consideration should also be made for its Northern Highlands.

Sa Pa is a city in the northwest of Vietnam, very close to the China border.  Inhabited by indigenous tribes of Hmong, Tay and Dao, this area is surrounded by rolling green hills noted for their rice field terraces and petroglyphs.  It’s a photographer’s dream, and totally worth the arduous journey to get there.

Sa Pa away, doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore?

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Plymouth rocking

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Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!  One of the busiest travel weeks of the year, often coinciding with horrible weather.  What could go wrong? 😉

The juice is often worth the squeeze though, and you get to enjoy a lovely meal and reflect on the things for which you’re grateful.  And I guess you get to spend time with your family (whatever definition you choose), too.  Gather around the hearth y’all, for this short week, here is the story of one of America’s folklore icons, the Plymouth rock.

Everyone’s basically heard of the Pilgrims, right?  They were a group of mostly Puritan separatists who sailed from England in 1620.  They were seeking religious freedom by heading to the New World, and they were trying to get to Virginia, where the first successful settlement of Jamestown was founded in 1607.

Obviously, if you’re ever looked at a map of the U.S., you’ll know that Massachusetts and Virginia are nowhere near each other, so they clearly didn’t reach their intended destination.  Storms forced them to anchor near what is now Provincetown, at the hook of Cape Cod.  This is where there was infighting and almost mutiny, so the Mayflower Compact was devised and signed, creating a new government that still gave sovereignty to the king, while enacting a social agreement wherein everyone would play by the community rules.  This happened around mid-November to December 1620, and thus ’tis the reason for the season.

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nothing says america quite like “gift shops”

After exploring the area and having some ill-advised encounters with the native peoples (likely stealing the indigenous peoples’ food and stores), they settled in Plymouth.  This area had been inhabited by the Wampanoag people, however this particular area had been devastated by smallpox (brought over by…you guessed it, previous European explorers/colonizers), and thus made a convenient place to stop.

The Pilgrims success was aided by the Wamponoags, whose prominent leaders, Chief Massasoit and ambassador Squanto, saved their weary butts.  Squanto helped teach the settlers how to eel/fish and cultivate corn before he too succumbed to the plague.  Interestingly enough, Squanto had avoided the previous death wave that killed many of his people as he had been captured as a slave and was in Europe being converted to Christianity at the time.  The more you know, folks.

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Anyway, this was the site of their Plymouth Colony, which by the next year had a successful harvest season.  And what comes before Pilgrim Part B?  Pilgrim Part-A.  And that’s how we got the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving.  Attended by the 50 or so remaining settlers and 90 Native Americans, they ate corn and wild turkey and now so do we.

 

Nowadays, the small town of Plymouth, Massachusetts (40 miles from Boston) is still very keen on their history pertaining to these early settlers.  “America’s Hometown” has the Pilgrim Historical State Park, which has reproduction ship called the Mayflower II that sits in the bay, Plimoth Plantation (living history museum), and of course, the famed Plymouth rock.

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You’ll note that I haven’t mentioned this famed monolith yet.  That’s because the pilgrims didn’t mention it either.  This boulder merely represents the site where the Pilgrims first disembarked, a stepping stone if you will.

Anyway, it is the cornerstone of the Pilgrim State Park, and sits under a very fancy neoclassical portico.  A true American icon, representing strength and resiliency, we’re all truly like a rock.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

the other Sydney (Nova Scotia)

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Sydney, Canada has very little in common with its shared name cousin from down under.  For one, it is quite small, being located in the peninsular province of Nova Scotia.  There are no wallabys or koalas, but there is certainly an abundance of natural beauty.

Sydney, more of a community than actual city, is located Cape Breton Island (no relation to Breton crackers, I don’t think).  This island is located at the far Northeastern tip of the province, and has experienced a boom in tourism over the years due to said natural beauty.

This was the place to see some of the most beautiful fall foliage.  I mean, the roads along the famed Cabot Trail and up in the highlands (the Scots were attracted to this place for a reason) were lined with vibrant hues from the frostbitten leaves.

And yes there is another Canadian Sidney from Nova Scotia, but we’ll get to him later…

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i heart hartford

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Hartford, Connecticut is an elder statesmen of cities in America.  The well-preserved grandeur of many of its old buildings alludes to its history as one of the former richest cities in the country.  Home to the oldest art museum in the U.S. and a very beautiful, sprawling central park, Hartford has firmly written itself into the fabric of American history by being home to many of our nation’s greatest literary minds.

Mark Twain once said of Hartford, “Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief. ”

He hearted Hartford, and so will you…

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oh canada: p.e.i. showing some mussels

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Prince Edward Island, Canada is the smallest province in the great white north.  What it lacks in size, it makes up in character, history and abundance of amazing seafood.

That’s right, the home of P.E.I. mussels.  Sweet, tender, they’re a great little representative for this region of Canada.  The whole island is very charming and idyllic, with farms and vast greenery.  It is the very picture of rustic, pastoral tranquility with a sea salt mist.

put a little mussel into it

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