By the end of June when temps near 90 degrees daily in Florida I’m ready to escape.
Here is a quick summary of my 2017 travels and how I avoided much of the severe Florida summer. Hopefully it will provide some ideas for the future!
The first two weeks of July I spent in Killington Vermont at New Life Hiking Spa. This healthy getaway offers, accommodations, morning hikes and three healthy meals a days at very affordable prices. Mornings were 60 degrees with a breathtaking setting in the beautiful green mountains of Vermont. Each day you have your choice of three hikes of about five miles each.
Afternoons in the 70s or low 80s offered exercise classes or free time to read a book or tour the area. The accommodations are basic and the vibe super casual. You do as much or as little as you want.
Mid-July I took a few weeks to visit family and friends in New York/NJ. Seems like I am always offered the guest room and in return I always offer a “winter getaway” to our city to experience our amazing St. Pete.
In August I spent two weeks in the Pacific Northwest.
We flew into Seattle via direct flight on Alaska Air and stayed at the Thompson Seattle. Perfect location within walking distance to key sites like Pike Place Market, Chihuly Garden & Glass exhibit as well as the beautiful Seattle Waterfront. A short ride out of town, via uber, we had a delicious seafood dinner of fresh Wild King Salmon and Dungeness Crab. Ray’s Boathouse offers patio dining overlooking Puget Sound and provides sunglasses with Ray’s logo (if you forget yours and it’s nearing sunset)
I had my sunglasses with me but when I mentioned I was from Tampa Bay and would especially treasure the sunglasses I was offered a pair of “Rays” as a souvenir !
One afternoon we took a sailboard ride for a couple hours with a lively group of travelers around Puget Sound. We brought our own snacks/cocktails and relaxed with folks from various countries and parts of US.
One of my favorite parts of this trip was the experience of riding the Amtrak Cascades train to Vancouver BC. This option offers an enjoyable four or so hour ride up the coast along the water. The restaurant car offers good wines and beer and fairly good menu for breakfast or lunch. It’s roomy and relaxing, with wifi and few interruptions from loud announcements.
The other passengers were well traveled and there were many young backpackers crossing the US. This all makes for a thoroughly enjoyable trip.
We stayed at Hotel Blu in Vancouver, five minutes cab ride (no uber yet in BC) into the main part of downtown. Also, a great location for walking, shopping and restaurants. We spent an active three days visiting Stanley Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain. What’s amazing about Vancouver that besides it being a thriving, multi cultural city with great restaurants and shopping within a very short drive (30 minutes or less) you are in this paradise of outdoor parks, lakes, waterfront marinas, fisheries and perfect summer temperatures that beg you to stay outdoors. Stanley Park in the heart of Vancouver offers great hikes, biking, breakfast and lunch options with stunning water views. Our hike to Prospect Point offered dramatic vistas of the entire city and more great waterfront.There is so much to do whatever your interests. We only had three days and tried to see a little of everything. Best dining experience was Cadero’s waterfront/marine dining. Great views, good seafood and cool bar with live entertainment.
Another interesting dinner stop was Nicli Antica Pizzeria – “certified” Neapolitan style pizza. This designation is known as VPN (Versace Pizza Napoletana) guaranteed to make the pizza according to true Neapolitan tradition. Nicli is located in the trendy Gastown neighborhood of Vancouver.
We took the train back to Seattle but first stopped for a quick two night stay in Bellingham Washington where some good friends from Redington Beach, FL had recently relocated.
A great surprise of a quaint town, also with spectacular waterfront. We took a half day boat trip to San Juan Islands and spotted Orcas & sea otters. Hiked and packed a lunch visit to Mt. Baker and enjoyed a morning walk in Whatcom Falls Park.
The evening train to Seattle was a short two hour drive and we flew back to Tampa the next morning.