2016 has been whirlwind of a year. We will always remember it as the year we turned our dream into a reality. A couple weeks ago, Mike and I were eating dinner at a BBQ restaurant in Houston, TX and started reflecting about our favorite things from the past year. We thought we would share our list with you.
Best Attraction: Acadia National Park
One of the questions that we get asked the most is what was our favorite place that we have been to so far. Mike and I will answer in unison: Acadia National Park in Maine! It was our first National Park of the trip and it is so beautiful there! The landscape varies so much – from rocky cliffs, to the blue ocean, to forest, to sand beaches and beaches that are made of large smooth rocks. Amazing is the only way to describe it. We went there twice in two weeks and would love to go back again someday. Definitely a place you should add to your bucket list. Read more about our trips to Acadia here.
Best Hike/Walk/Bike: Ocean Path Acadia National Park
We have done our share of hiking, walking, and even biking this year, but our favorite activity was walking the Ocean Path in Acadia. It was a beautiful day with beautiful scenery and both our spirits were high. It will be a day that we will always remember.
At this point, we have stayed the night in 14 states. We’ve stayed in a total of 12 RV Parks – some really nice, some that were real dumps, and many that were somewhere in the middle. We’ve also stayed in a few driveways as well, and even overnight in a Cracker Barrel parking lot.
Favorite RV Park: Moorings Oceanfront RV Resort, Belfast, ME
This campground was on the expensive side, but it was well worth it. The best part, of course, is that it was right on the ocean, the Penobscot Bay to be exact. It has a private beach, which I utilized quite a bit with my daily yoga sessions. I loved hearing the buoy bells ringing in the distance. The campground was quiet and other campers were very friendly. A happy hour was organized every Friday and they had donuts in the office on Sundays. But most of all location, location, location! Read more about are time at Moorings here.
Best Stay: Fennville, MI at Mike’s friend Dominic’s lake house
Part of our feelings about this being the “best stay” have to do with the fact that is was our first stop outside our comfort zone. Michigan is when it began to feel real that we were really doing this! It was also awesome to have a free place to stay right on the water. The house is located on small lake called Hutchins Lake. Mike’s friend Dominic took us out on the lake in his boat several times on the weekend when he was there. When we as gone during the week, he generously left the jet ski and paddle boat at our disposal. There was a lot to do in the area, and although we were only there a week, it seemed much longer because we did so much! You can read about our week in Fennville, MI here.
Most Scenic Drive: Vermont
I know that Mike had a little bit of trepidation about driving through the mountains pulling the RV, but the mountains in Vermont turned out to be one of the highlights of our travel. I loved seeing the foggy mountain tops out the window and driving through the quaintest little towns. I wanted to stop at all of them!
A lot of our travel experiences center around food and drink. Here are some of our favorites in that category.
Best Meal: Coop’s Place, New Orleans
Mike can’t stop talking about the fried chicken that he ate there. I got the “Taste Plate” which had a little of everything – gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, creole shrimp, and fried chicken. All of it was so good!
Most Memorable Meal: Young’s Lobster Pound, Belfast, ME
Being from the Midwest, we had no idea what a lobster pound was, and we were glad a couple at the RV park tipped us off to this place. We ordered two lobster meals that were made fresh to order. We ate them on outside on a picnic table overlooking Belfast Bay while drinking a bottle of wine. The sun was setting and it was beautiful to look out over the water. We ended up sitting next to some friendly people who lived nearby and had some great conversation with them.
Best Beer: Southern Pecan
Our friends, Carly and Bryan, got us this bottle cap map as a going away present. We love trying local beers and filling in the spaces on our map. Southern Pecan is an English Brown Ale that is brewed with whole roasted pecans. It’s made by Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company in Kiln, MS. We first tried it at a restaurant called Rusty’s in Vicksburg, MS and had it several more times during our stay in Mississippi.
Best Brewery/Distillery/Winery: Cathead Distillery, Jackson, MS
We have gone to many places that make their own alcohol in our travels. Breweries, wineries, and distilleries are a unique way to get to know an area that we are staying in. When thinking back in the year, Cathead, a vodka distillery in Jackson, MS, stood out to us. We took their tour and got do a tasting of their vodka and gin at the end. It was the only distillery that we visited last year, but what stood out was the great atmosphere. It was a big warehouse space. In addition to the distillery and the tasting area, they also had a bar and yard games like giant jenga, giant connect four, bags (or cornhole), and this thing called carpet ball that was like a shuffle board with pool balls on it. It was a great place to spend an evening.
We have had a lot of really cool experiences in the past year. Some stuff has been planned, but sometimes the best things happen when we aren’t expecting them, so we have two favorites in the category of “Best Unexpected Experience.”
Best Unexpected Experience #1 : Schooner Festival in Gloucester, MA
One of our favorite unexpected experiences took place in Gloucester, MA. We went whale watching that afternoon, which was a really awesome experience in itself. But then, that evening, we found out that their Annual Schooner Festival was going on. We took some camping chairs down to the beach and enjoyed a parade of boats all decorated up with lights, followed by the fireworks show. It was a great way to end a great day!
Best Unexpected Experience #2 : Hanging out with 2People1Life
We unexpectedly met a really cool couple in while in Maine. I had followed Lisa and Alex of 2people1life on social media for quite sometime because they traveled in their camper van for 5 years having over 70 marriage ceremonies in different countries around the world. They are from England but they ended up settling down in Maine last November. I reached out to them on Facebook, and they ended up inviting us over for dinner and drinks! We talked about travel, food, and family and just generally had a good time until late in the evening.
Best Sporting Event: Game 5 of the World Series
The category of “Best Sporting Event” was also kind of an unexpected experience. We went to several sporting events this year, but I didn’t think that we would be going to a World Series game! Going to Game 5 of the World Series at the Wrigley Rooftops was definitely the best sporting event of the year!
2016 will be a year to remember, and I can’t imagine what 2017 will bring!
We will probably be doing another post about what we have learned in our first 6 months living in a RV soon as well as answering some questions about what it’s like living on the road. Let us know if you have any questions for us.