As 2022 comes to a close, I’m looking back on my travels from this year. It was a busy year of travel and one where things seemed just a bit more normal than 2021. I finally did get to take some trips that were originally scheduled for 2020. I can’t believe I was still making up travel from that crazy year, but it definitely did feel great to take these long-awaited trips.
I started the year in the Big Apple! Somewhat last-minute, at the end of November 2021, I was thinking of how to spend New Year’s (you know something different than sitting on my couch alone) and realized I had enough Hilton points for a free hotel room in New York City and that Amtrak had some cheap train fares. So, I did something I have been wanting to do for a while and signed up for the Midnight Run.
The Midnight Run is a 4-mile race thru Central Park that starts right at midnight. I had all these plans on being healthier in 2022, so I thought it would be a great way to start the year. Still need to work on the being healthier part, hopefully 2023 is the year for that!
The race was a lot of fun and I definitely lucked out with great weather, it was still 50 degrees at midnight when the race started! On New Year’s Day, I was treated to a quiet and much less busy than normal NYC which was so nice, especially since we were in the midst of Omicron wreaking havoc in the world. It was a lot of fun to see the New Year’s Eve ball the following day minus all the New Year’s Eve crowds.
In mid-January, I headed to Disney World for a long weekend trip with my sister and brother-in-law. It was a well-timed trip as one of my best friends also happened to be there at the same time.
We had a lot of fun in the parks and especially checking out Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts. There was a lot of great food and art at the festival, and we definitely made sure to take advantage of all the fun photo ops.
In February, I headed south to Alabama to run state number 38 in my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. The Mercedes Half Marathon took place in Birmingham, Alabama. After a flight delay (lots of these issues in 2022) that left me in Reagan National Airport in DC for hours, I finally arrived in Alabama very late Friday night (or really early Saturday morning).
I spent Saturday visiting the Civil Rights sites in Birmingham. It was a very educational experience visiting Birmingham and I highly recommend people visit.
Sunday, I ran the half marathon that was as always, hilly than I expected and then headed home.
At the end of February, I headed back to Disney World for my favorite weekend of the year, Princess Half Marathon Weekend!
It was the first Princess Half Marathon since the one in February 2020, just weeks before the world shut down. I cannot even express just how happy I was to be running down Main Street USA and thru Cinderella’s Castle again for the first time in two years!
Finally in March I was able to take my trip to Ireland that I had originally planned for May 2020. It ended up that postponing the trip meant that I would end up arriving in Dublin on my birthday, this definitely made it worth the two year wait!
I celebrated my birthday in Dublin with a lot of Guinness and Irish Whiskey. During my weekend in Dublin, I visited Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells and the Long Room, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Phoenix Park.
Since I’m not comfortable driving on the left side of the road, I decided to visit Ireland as part of a tour. I must say I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. As a solo traveler, my favorite part of traveling is meeting new people and a tour is a great place to meet and really get to know some wonderful people.
Our tour left Dublin and headed west to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. I had dreamed of visiting the Cliffs of Moher for years, so this was definitely my favorite day of the week (minus the motion sickness on the bus getting there, biggest downfall to a bus tour). It definitely lived up to my expectations!
The next day we headed out for a ride along the Ring of Kerry before spending the night in Killarney. I loved seeing the scenery along the Ring of Kerry, it was just like I dreamed Ireland would look. We took a Jaunting Car Ride in Killarney which was a lot of fun.
As you can see from the pictures, we luckily did not get the typical grey rainy Ireland weather you hear about, not one drop of rain the whole week and a lot of time with sunny skies!
The next couple of days were spent in Blarney, Waterford and Kilkenny before heading back to Dublin for a night and then flying home. While I didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone, I did walk to the top of the castle to see it. In Waterford we were treated to a great private concert in an old historic pub and in Kilkenny, I explored the castle.
Hard to believe, but back in March, we still had to take a covid test before flying home. One man in my tour group tested positive. He ended up stuck in Ireland for 7 days. Even though I tested negative and also did 3 other times at home, I started feeling a bit sick on the flight home and was sick for the next few days. I’m going to guess it was covid even though I never had a positive test, no matter what illness it was, thank god it waited til after the trip!
I started April back at Disney for a brand-new race weekend, the Springtime Surprise race weekend. Each year they offer a different theme, in 2022, the theme was races from the past. I ran the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. I had always wanted to run this race as the Tower of Terror is one of my favorite rides. While it wasn’t a night race like it used to be (which I would have loved as a night owl!), it was still so much fun. The course was one of the best runDisney courses I had ever run.
At the end of April, I took the train down to Wilmington Delaware to run state 39. I spent the first day there enjoying the Wilmington Riverfront. It was a great spot on a cool spring day, I might have to head back there in the summer, it would be even better to explore it then. The next day I ran the half marathon at the Delaware Running Festival which started at the riverfront and went thru some really beautiful parks in Wilmington.
In May, I headed south to Connecticut to run my 40th state at the Mystic Half Marathon. I spent the day before the race carb loading on beer by exploring some breweries in town, including Bank & Bridge Brewing Co. which is located in a former bank, it was a pretty interesting place. But I didn’t only carb load on beer, I also made sure to hit up Mystic Pizza because you just must when visiting Mystic! The weather for the race was pretty gloomy but definitely made for some pretty New England scenery.
I also headed back to Disney again at the end of the month for the International Flower and Garden Festival. The weather was pretty perfect when I was there and I finally got to hug my fav Mexican Donald Duck for the first time in 2 years!
June came with the dreaded flight delays that plagued the US and I was not immune to this. I headed to Minnesota to finally run the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, my 41st state! I was supposed to run this race in 2020 and was really excited to finally be able to visit Minnesota! Well, my morning flight ended up being delayed due to flight crew who had arrived late the night before. And then we were delayed even further due to some fuel they needed to get rid of as the plane we were taking was originally supposed to go to the west coast the previous night.
Finally, three hours late, I arrived in Minneapolis. I managed to take a quick stop to see Minnehaha Falls and then headed up to Duluth.
It was a whirlwind weekend in Duluth with a mixture of weather. Luckily the race weather was perfect. But later that day, the clouds moved in and by evening it was not only raining but also quite cold for June, in the 40s, while it was supposed to be in the 90s the next day when I was in Minneapolis just two hours south. I was happy to see the sites near Duluth though, it’s a beautiful area to visit with so much outdoor activities on Lake Superior. I enjoyed visiting Split Rock Lighthouse and kayaking at Glensheen Mansion.
The next day I headed back to Minneapolis for a whirlwind afternoon and evening of trying to see as much as I could. My flight was to leave the following evening, but I had a connection and had just started a new job 4 days before this trip and with all the flight delays and cancellations, I just couldn’t risk it, so I changed to a non-stop flight in the morning instead. I did manage to see Mall of America, Sculpture Garden and Mill Ruins Park.
July started out with a big family trip to Chicago for the 4th of July weekend for my cousins wedding (another long awaited trip, it was originally supposed to be in 2021).
The weekend started with seeing the Red Sox play the Cubs at Wrigley Field on my father’s birthday. It was definitely a fun coincidence that they were in town that day!
The wedding was beautiful, and it was the first time that all nine of us cousins were together in years! The views from the venue that the wedding was at were stunning.
There was definitely a lot of sightseeing that took place that weekend. Long walks along the Chicago River, a ride on the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, and a visit to the bean. And I really enjoyed all the skyline views all over the city.
I ended the month with a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard. I took the train down to Cape Cod and then headed over to the Vineyard on the ferry. It was a fun day trip with time seeing the sites on the island, like the Gingerbread Houses and relaxing on the beach.
I tend to not travel as much during the summer as others. Summer travel is hectic and since I don’t have kids and can travel most of the year, I avoid the busy summer travel season if I can. It’s also so beautiful at home in Boston with so much to do nearby, why leave then.
In August I set off on a day trip to Old Orchard Beach in Maine. I hadn’t been there since I was a child and had been wanting to take the train up there for quite some time. So, I took the Amtrak Downeaster from Boston and 2 hours later it dropped me off right across from the beach, very convenient! I have a feeling I’ll be making this an annual day trip.
While most people love Cape Cod, I much prefer a beach like Old Orchard Beach. There is so much to do right at the beach, it’s more than just the sand and the surf. The pier is great to walk along and check out the shops and restaurants. There are also many shops and restaurants on the blocks leading up to the beach. Getting beach pizza is a must while here, something about pizza at a beach just makes it taste better.
There are also amusement rides and games right next to the beach. It’s definitely a great family location, with plenty to do for people of all ages.
September was a pretty busy travel month. It started with a Labor Day Weekend trip to Disney World. For the first time, I stayed at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and I really loved it. It’s a great place to stay if you are a Marriott Bonvoy member and want the points but also want to stay on Walt Disney World property. Bonus it’s just a short walk from Epcot, which was very convenient since I spent a lot of time there that weekend for the Food and Wine Festival.
In mid-September, I headed to Detroit to run state 42. The day before the race I visited the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. This was such an interesting museum that displayed many of the innovative inventions in the US and the full cycle of different types of cars in America starting with the first cars from Ford. They also had a temporary exhibit featuring Disney costumes.
Also located at the museum is Greenfield Village which will take you back in time. I even got to take a ride in a Model T, which was a lot of fun. Later that night I attended a Detroit Tigers game.
The next day after running the half marathon, I headed outside the city to visit Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s House and have a great dinner outside by the water to soak up the remaining warm weather up north.
From Detroit, I headed west to California for my annual travel agent conference. It was so great to catch up with fellow travel agents and the suppliers and learn more to help build my business. The conference was located at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. Along with the informative workshops and general sessions at the conference there was also an opening party complete with Disney characters and also time in Disneyland of course.
I really enjoyed staying at the Disneyland Hotel for the week. I even got to take a free tour of the hotel and learned a lot about its history. It was definitely very convenient just walking to Disneyland and California Adventure from the hotel, so much easier than at Disney World.
As a frequent Disney World visitor, I must admit, Disneyland is better in so many ways. First off, the fact that the two parks are so close, and you can easily walk between the two. But also, the rides at Disneyland are superior to those at Disney World. Being there in September, I was able experience Haunted Mansion Holiday. Each year from September until January, they redo the Haunted Mansion to a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. It was such a fun retheme of the ride and something they just don’t do at Disney World.
September also means Halloween at Disneyland and I absolutely loved all of the Halloween decorations and activities around the parks and resorts. I mean, I got to take my photo with the cutest Donald Duck dressed as a candy corn!
In mid-October, I headed west to New Mexico to run state 43. While in New Mexico I visited Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
In Albuquerque, I first headed to the mountains to take the Sandia Peak Tramway which is the longest aerial tram in the Americas. The views were stunning and there were even some fall colors which I hadn’t expected in New Mexico. After that I explored Old Town to get a taste of the Spanish and Mexican culture and take a ghost tour in one of the most haunted areas in the Southwest US.
In Santa Fe, I explored their Old Town, the historic churches and buildings downtown and browsed the many sculptures around town, including the sculpture garden at the capitol building. Since I was at a popular art city, I visited the immersive art experience, Meow Wolf. I didn’t quite understand it, but it was a fun way to spend a few hours. I also learned more about the Pueblo people at the Poeh Cultural Center and went on an unexpected hike to see some petroglyphs.
The following weekend, I headed to Nebraska to run my 44th state. While in Nebraska, I explored downtown Omaha and saw my second capitol building of the week in Lincoln.
I started the month with you guessed it another trip to Disney World. This time it was for the Wine and Dine 10K. The weekend was busy with the typical 3am wake up for the race and lots of food and drinks at the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. This was the first trip I took where I flew into the new terminal at Orlando International Airport. I’ll be seeing this terminal quite a lot as it’s the terminal JetBlue flies in and out of. It’s a large terminal that requires a lot of walking but it’s beautiful and so great to have so much space.
Just before Thanksgiving I took a long weekend trip to New York City. The main purpose of the trip was to see some Broadway shows. I was lucky that I had booked the trip and show tickets just before they announced that Phantom of the Opera on Broadway would be closing in early 2023. I had dreamed of seeing this show for years and it was so good to finally see it. But the real highlight of the weekend was seeing Funny Girl, it was probably one of the best Broadway shows I’ve seen so far.
I also started the holidays early by seeing the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. Before I saw it, I took and art and architecture tour of Rockefeller Center which was really interesting.
And of course, I had to end the year with one more visit to my favorite place, Disney World. I headed down there the weekend before Christmas to soak in all the holiday spirit. There truly is nothing like celebrating the most magical time of year at the most magical place on earth!
While there I spent a lot of time at Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays where I saw Neil Patrick Harris narrate the Candlelight Processional and enjoyed lots of cookies while participating in the cookie stroll.
I also made sure to head over to Disney Springs to check out all the trees on the Christmas Tree Stroll. It was definitely a great way to get more into the holiday spirit.
It was a great year of travel. I’m looking forward to my future travels in 2023. I have just 6 more states to run in and only 2 new ones to visit. I also hope to head over to Europe for a long vacation in the fall. Wishing happy travels to all in 2023!
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