Hello and happy Friday! If you’re reading the title and thinking to yourself Now just a minute, does this girl own a calendar? please be assured that, yes, I am fully aware that today is the second Friday of the month. 🙂 With last Friday being the 4th, Hubby and I – as well as most other folks I imagine – were celebrating Independence Day with family and friends, so I decided to put the blog on hold until now. So please excuse my tardiness!
Last weekend, Hubby and I spent a wonderfully relaxing 4 days on the in Ocean City off the coast of Maryland with Hubby’s family. The 13-hour drives there and back were totally worth it! We enjoyed far too much delicious food thanks to the amazing chefs Mom, Mary & Aunt Kimmie, including an amazing clam, shrimp, and lobster bake for dinner on the 4th. We braved the crowds to do a little shopping at the outlets, explored the sights and sounds of the board walk, and basked in the sun on a perfect day at the beach. We talked tons, laughed lots, ate great food (constantly), and generally enjoyed every minute of our time together. Oh, and did I mention I checked 2 more novels off of my summer reading list? Both The Ghost of Hannah Mendes and Bridge to Haven were fantastic!
Perhaps the cherry to top it all off was that Hubby’s cousin and her family flew in from Cypress for a visit home to the U.S. and were able to be there for the weekend too! Hubby and I have vacationed in Ocean City with his family for the 4th of July for the past 4 years. In fact, my first visit to O.C. in 2011 was where Hubby introduced me to his family for the first time! And a good thing too, because we got engaged just 3 weeks after that!
So, with that begins my list of top 5 places to visit or live. They aren’t necessarily in any order – because honestly too many of them tie for No. 1 – but each are places that not only mean something to me on a personal level, but that have a draw all their own that many are sure to enjoy.
No. 1 ~ Ocean City, Maryland: Hopefully I’ve already given you a taste of what O.C. has to offer, but it really is a great place to visit whether you’re a beach bunny, boating enthusiast, or simply love the laid-back life of a beach town. The seafood is incredible, and the town has done a good job of keeping itself family-friendly. Should you tire of the beach and need some time out of the sun, there’s cute shops, mini-golf, bowling, movie theaters, and so much more. If you visit the boardwalk, be sure to stop by one of the Dumser’s Dairyland shops for some to-die-for ice cream and take a ride on the (in)famous Zipper carnival ride pictured below!
No. 2 ~ Centerville, Ohio: During my first 2 years in the Air Force I was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, and absolutely loved it there! I think the lush green landscape in Dayton and the surrounding area is so beautiful, and the city had just the right amount of small-town feel. Dayton is actually made up of a handful of townships, each of which had their own distinct character and vibe. My favorite of these townships was Centerville with it’s old-timey atmosphere and beautiful older neighborhoods. If Hubby and I ever end up moving back to Dayton, I’d love to live in this part of town. The main street through Centerville is lined with century-old stone homes and equally cute row houses that now house quirky shops and cafes. My favorite haunts in the area were Loralei’s Boutique, an up-scale clothing consignment shop, and Home2Home, a huge furniture consignment store where I both bought a lot of the furniture for my first apartment and subsequently sold off a decent amount before moving away. Be sure to stop by City Barbecue for the best BBQ around, and top it off with a scoop of Graeter’s Ice Cream next door.
No. 3 ~ Pike National Forest, Colorado: My family’s cabin lies in a little mountain town to the west of Pikes Peak, and backs right up to 40,000 acres of national forest. The whole area is so peaceful, especially since cell coverage it basically nonexistent. It’s the perfect reason to leave the busy world behind and simply enjoy God’s creation. There’s plenty of open space for hiking and exploring, as well as fishing, canoeing on the lake, and hunting if that’s your thing! My favorite part of visiting the cabin is the hike over the ridge to the Platte River.
No. 4 ~ St. Augustine, Florida: This is another place that means a lot to me, since it’s where Hubby and I got engaged almost 3 years ago. This old city is so rich with history, with the Castillo de San Marco fort and Spanish colonial homestead, Ponce de Leon’s famed Fountain of Youth, the St. Augustine lighthouse, and more. And don’t forget the not-so-historic but ever-so-fun Alligator Farm animal park! So many good memories here.
No. 5 ~ Seattle, Washington: Hubby and I got a chance to visit the Pacific Northwest for the first time last February to attend the wedding of one of Hubby’s college buddies. Because several of his other good friends from college were there with their wives as well, we extended a stay through the week and took a little vacation all together. Seattle was such and interesting and vibrant place, from the quite beauty of the fern-floored redwood forest, to the hustle and bustle of Pikes Place Market, to the odd combination of so quirky an atmosphere with such delicious food at Pink Door restaurant. Definitely a place that was worth the visit. And if it weren’t so a)rainy and b)so expensive to live there, we might at some point have considered moving to the Seattle…but that’s probably not going to happen! Until then, it’s a great place to visit!
So what about you? What are some of your favorite places?