It’s that time of year again for reflection of the past year and start looking forward to the year ahead. Even though this was the second year of the pandemic, there were more opportunities for travel and adventure, from vaccine availability to international borders reopening. I was lucky enough to do some more traveling this year than in 2020, mostly domestic adventures with one trip abroad. Here’s my list of my top 10 adventures of 2021 in no particular order!
Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, CT
We managed to score a two night stay at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut! My husband loves NASCAR and the New Hampshire race we went to back in summer of 2020 was offering a two night free stay if we renewed our tickets for 2021. So, why not?! Even though I’m not into gambling, it was an incredible weekend getaway, and so needed after over a year of social distancing. We went during this past summer and enjoyed the outdoor pool, luxury bowling, ziplining off one of the towers, and exploring all of the dining options in the resort. It was refreshing to experience a mini getaway and some night life again, even if briefly.
SUP Yoga, New Castle, New Hampshire
I’ve been wanting to try SUP yoga for at least 5 years now! Every summer I put this on my “summer bucket list” yet, I’ve never found the time to try it out. Well, just before the end of the summer, I finally gave this a try right before everywhere closed for the season! It was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be to balance on the board, especially when attempting poses, such as downward dog. It was still an amazing experience that I would love to try again next summer!
Treasure Hunting throughout the state of Maine
For those just tuning into my blog, this past spring and early summer, I had embarked on a real-life treasure hunt throughout the state of Maine! As a way to celebrate the state of Maine’s bicentennial/200th year anniversary, a couple had hidden $20,000 somewhere in the state and created Dirigo Treasure Hunt (to learn more about the treasure hunt itself, you can read about it in my previous blog post)! While the game became a lot more convoluted than originally advertised, with an additional three levels not advertised (the treasure still has not been found to this date), the original premise of the game was a wonderful way to explore during these pandemic times.
I found myself on both solo road trips, as well as road trips with my husband, Sean and pup, Sophie, to places in Maine I never heard of and probably never would have experienced. From visiting the easternmost point of the continental United States, to getting lost in the woods through a creepy art sculpture trail, to running around a bog in torrential downpours, my weekends became a lot more interesting for the first time in over a year! Unfortunately I lost the urge to stop playing after reaching level 4 (when all of the locations were found) and getting stuck ciphering a cryptic paragraph. But I’m hoping to write these adventures down as short stories sometime in 2022 (before I forget these wonderful and adventurous memories).
Running a half marathon, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
I’ll be honest, this was no easy feat for me. And with a few physical (and psychological) setbacks, I didn’t think I was actually going to commit to finishing the race. But I did it! When I turned 30 in the mist of the pandemic in 2020, I knew I wanted to attempt a half marathon, once it became safer to do so. While I turned 31 a few weeks before this race, it was an amazing accomplishment and was something I never thought I would do five years ago. You can read more about my experience on my new blog, The Unlikely Athlete!
Hiking in the Adirondacks, Lake Placid, New York
Our long weekend to Lake Placid, New York had been our first trip out of New England since the pandemic hit in March 2020, almost a year and a half. It was also our first long weekend getaway with our new dog, Sophie, who we adopted back in October 2020. The Adirondacks ended up being the perfect place to vacation with our dog, who loves to hike and explore (I’d say even more so than we do!). It ended up being a colder than normal Memorial Day weekend, so we layered up, visited some mountain peaks, and relaxed at Lake Placid Brewery.
Snorkeling in Catalina Islands, Costa Rica
My trip to Costa Rica was a semi-spontaneous one and was one I ended up booking as soon as I became fully vaccinated (and before variants such as Delta and Omicron kept me back to more domestic trips). It was a mostly-guided adventure with FTLO Travel, with one free day to do as we please. I love the ocean and wanted to something water-based, so what better way than to spend the day swimming with the sea life! The half day snorkel tour with Pacific Coast Dive Center was spent exploring Catalina Islands, with two 40 minute snorkel sessions. It was the perfect amount of time spent out on the water, swimming with the fish and sea eels!
Learning to surf, Tamarindo, Costa Rica and Hampton, New Hampshire
One summer I will get to spend more time learning to surf more than twice a year. But I’m just glad I was able to get out there a couple of times, between the warm Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica to the ice cold Atlantic Ocean in New Hampshire. There is something relaxing about spending time in the ocean, even if I’m wiping out on my board most of the time!
Solo “she-shed” retreat, Bucksport, Maine
I happened to find myself one weekend in Bucksport, Maine (which is a 3 hour drive from my hometown, in mid-coast Maine) as part of my treasure hunt endeavors playing the Dirigo Treasures game. My husband had to work that weekend, so what better way than to plan a solo weekend getaway. I ended up booking this AirBNB “she-shed” right on a lake and it was the perfect way to wind down and relax. A “no-thrills”, no Wi-Fi kind of accommodation, it was the perfect place to connect with nature. When I wasn’t out treasure hunting, I spent the day kayaking on the lake and reading travel memoirs while watching the sunset.
Ziplining, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
I love ziplining and always take advantage of going whenever I get the chance! During my time in Costa Rica, we spent one full day in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. The National Park includes an active volcano, hot springs, and plenty of jungle to hike or zip your way through. We had an action-packed day with Guachipelin Adventure Volcano Zipline Tours, in which they had us going down slides, jump off a Tarzan swing, rock climb, and zipline upside down!
Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
I have been wanting to visit Harry Potter World ever since it opened at Universal Studios back in 2010. My sister-in-law has also been wanting to visit and is a huge fan of the Wizarding World. We were both itching for a trip and thought what better way than to spend 3 nights and 4 days in Orlando! We had a blast wandering and casting spells through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, and getting our thrills on with all of the rides throughout Universal Studios!