Drumroll please... I'm excited to announce my first annual Travel by Kris "editors' picks". I was extra fortunate with a travel filled year in 2018... so I admit - narrowing this down to 10 was a little difficult! Also, since I live in a vacation destination - I wanted to include some of my faves from Colorado this year too.
So here it goes... in no particular order. 😉 Hope you enjoy!
CAMPING ON A FARM BREWERY
This was one of my favorite experiences of the year! In July I camped for the weekend on a farm in southern Colorado. This family owned business is not your typical farm; it's the only one in the U.S. that grows their own grain, brews their beer on site and has a brewery open to the public. We enjoyed sweeping views of the San Luis Valley and Sangre de Cristo Mountains (it's also a short drive to Sand Dunes National Park), drank beer with the friendly locals and enjoyed the hospitality of the family owners during our stay at The Colorado Farm Brewery. I highly recommend the Chinook IPA!
POSTCARD MOMENTS IN THE UPPER RHINE RIVER VALLEY
In July we visited my husband's family in The Netherlands for the first time since he moved to the States a few years ago. We took a detour to Germany for a couple days and with no set plan we landed in the lovely Rhine River Valley. When you look up picturesque - it's a photo of this area! With it's rolling hills, lush vineyards, quaint villages and castles overlooking the Rhine - put this Unesco World Heritage site on your bucket list!
EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED IN DEATH VALLEY
During t first road trip in our motorhome last spring - my husband and I saw and experienced so many incredible things... but one place stands out. After visiting some of the western U.S. National Parks - Death Valley wasn't really on our radar as a must visit. But, when weather changed our plans - we made a last minute decision to drive there and we're so happy we did! From sand dunes, mountains, badlands... to the salt flats - I was blown away by the beauty of this landscape!
ROAD TRIPPING HIGHWAY 1
After a road trip to San Diego to visit my daughter who's in college there - we ventured along Highway 1, following the coast all the way to San Luis Obispo. What a drive! So many highlights... camping on the beach, surviving the LA traffic in our motorhome (a huge shoutout to my hubby for that!), soaking in the amazing sunsets from Rincon and watching the sea otters playing in Morro Bay. Now that the rest of the Pacific Coast Highway is open - we'll be back to drive the northern portion!
THE ART OF DOING NOTHING IN PUERTO VALLARTA
This was another place that exceeded my expectations in 2018! A spur of the moment getaway turned out to be one of my favorite weeks of the year. A beach vacation usually isn't top on my list... but this trip really made me slow down, relax and enjoy the moments. Those Pacific Ocean sunsets, friendly people and $1 Coronas won me over! For me - traveling is about making discoveries, meeting new people, visiting different places... (and also touring resorts and documenting everything for my clients and business). This vacation I boycotted social media, read paper books and unplugged! (Ok - confession, I did make a Travel by Kris video and wrote an article about the Marriott I stayed at 😉 ).
HIKING TO A TROLL IN BRECKENRIDGE
Sometimes the most unique things are in our own backyards. Living in Colorado there's never a shortage of things to see and do, but the "Isak Heartstone Troll" by Danish artist Thomas Dambo was truly a special piece of artwork! The larger than life size sculpture was made from locally recycled and reclaimed wood. The Breckenridge International Festival of Arts is a not to miss event every year in mid August.
A TASTE OF EUROPE IN SOLVANG
So many people recommended we go to Solvang on our trip to California that we decided to take their advice. A short drive from Santa Barbara this area quickly became a favorite! With it's wooden buildings, wind mills and Danish bakeries - Solvang is a little slice of Europe in California! My husband was in heaven with all the traditional European style meals (sausages! schnitzel!). My personal recommendation is the cinnamon rolls at Mortensen's Bakery! I look forward to sharing more about this area with you in the future.
ICE CREAM INDULGENCE IN EPEN
How many miles would you travel for ice cream?! 4964? Maybe that sounds a little extreme... but I'm guessing that's only because you haven't tasted (yet!) the homemade ice cream from Wingbergerhoeve farm. It's creamy deliciousness topped with their local fresh fruit... and a bargain at only a few Euros! You can read more about my favorite area in The Netherlands here.
DOCK DIVING DOGS AT THE GOPRO GAMES
I've lived in the mountains of Colorado for 5 years and this was the first time I've attended the GoPro Games in Vail. What a great day!! So fun to watch the pros rock climbing, slack lining and kayaking... but in reality - I went for the dogs! It's hard to think of something more fun to watch. 😉
2018 is the year I rediscovered a love of my home country! After a 5 week driving trip through the western U.S. last spring and visiting numerous new places - it's fueled a desire in me to see and experience more of our 50 states! Next up - I'll be escaping mud season (we skip spring here in the Colorado high country!) and venturing south for a few weeks in April.
Cheers to 2018! Please feel free to share your own "editor picks" - I want to hear your stories!
Now... onward to starting those new 2019 travels, experiences and discoveries. 🙂
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!