Joyful Travel in 2018
Travel is often filled with hassles – luggage, bookings, budget overages, foreign languages, but there are times of sheer joy, that makes it all worthwhile. My top 10 Joyful Travel Experiences of 2018 below will inspire my first Unwind / Unwined blogs of this year.
1. Boogie board surfing in Hawaii.
I learned to body surf as a teenager when my Dad was stationed at Virginia Beach with NATO for the Canadian Forces.
When Colin and I visited Hapuna Beach on Hawaii, in December, I was amazed that 50 years later, I could still instinctively catch a wave and ride it all the way to the beach. What a thrill!
Beaches, snorkelling, volcanos, coffee, chocolate and so much more to enjoy in Hawaii
2, Come from Away.
We had premium seats to Come From Away in Toronto this December as a Christmas present to ourselves. The musical was inspiring – so big-hearted small-town real! Tears poured down my cheeks throughout even when it was funny.
I spent my first year in Canada in Gander, NL My Dad worked at the airport, My Mum taught figure skating, and we girls attended Gander Academy. I was so proud to have a tiny connection to that generous community. This day trip by train included discovering the underground PATH. We’ll be back for more theatre.
3 Destination Commital
Many people have”Destination Weddings” but my Dad who died in his 101st year planned for a Destination Commital. He wanted his closest family members to gather at his favourite vacation resort, the Hannafore Point Hotel, in Looe, Cornwall, UK, and scatter his ashes offshore. There were tears, of course, but also joy as far-flung family members spend two days together in this delightful Cornish seaport so dear to his heart. A joy-filled parting gift.
4. Four Days in St. Ives
My sisters and I had all visited the beautiful coastal town of St. Ives for day trips while touring in the Cornwall over the years but had yearned to stay longer. Following our Dad’s committal in Looe, we journeyed on to St. Ives for four days of healing time. We rented Kittiwake Cottage, one side of a sky-blue duplex halfway up the steep hillside. We spent our days exploring art galleries, museums and craft shops; drinking lattes, and Camel Valley wines, eating freshly caught fish, Cornish pasties, and anything topped with Cornish clotted cream. When our tired feet could no longer cope with the near perpendicular roads, we rented beach chairs on the harbourfront and just soaked up the beauty of the sea, finding a joy-filled peace.
See my second Unwind / Unwined post of 2019 Captivated by the Cornish Coast
5, Toronto Day Trips with the Grandkids
The grandkids were finally old enough to enjoy a day trip to downtown Toronto. They loved fine dining at the revolving Restaurant 360 at the top of Toronto’s CN Tower and its panoramic view of the city. The Ripley’s Aquarium was also jaw-dropping, especially the sharks and rays. We had a second day trip to the Toronto Zoo, that was a new experience for all of us. The animal-themed splash pad at the end of the Zoo trails was icing on the cake. Sharing their days of discovery will be a lifetime memory for all of us.
Expect blogs on grandkid day trips
6. Downtown Belleville Reborn
For the past four years, Belleville Ontario’s downtown has been in the throes of reconstruction. Navigating the downtown amounted to adventure tourism as all the infrastructure, electricity, water, sewage, and storm sewers were replaced. Although businesses stayed open, the sidewalks became ankle twisting obstacle courses with makeshift bridges over gaping craters where new service entrances were being hooked up. Late in 2018, the construction fences came down. Today, it is a joy walking along Front Street, admiring the architecture, browsing the shops and galleries and enjoying the restaurant fare.
See my related blog for Bay of Quinte Tourism Hidden Galleries of Downtown Belleville
7. Thousand Island Sunset Cruise
As a travel writer, I get some great invitations and one from 1000 Islands Tourism to spend a weekend in Gananoque in June far exceeded my expectation. There was so much to see and do: kayaking, helicopter flights, professional theatre and great shopping. topped off with a dinner cruise to Boldt Castle with Gananoque Boatlines. The dramatic sunset on the St Lawrence River on the return trip was breathtaking. Truly joyous.
There are at least 1000 reasons to visit Gananoque and I’ll share my top ten in my Ontario day trips series
8. Discovering Victoria
The Travel Media Association of Canada had their annual conference in Victoria, BC. One of the highlights was a three day local discovery pretour while staying at the Inn at Laurel Point Resort arguably the most beautiful hotel property I’ve ever visited. From my truly luxurious room, overlooking the resort’s lovely gardens, I had a spectacular view of Victoria harbour and the constant comings and goings of seaplanes, yachts, excursion boats, ferries and water taxis It was also a short walk to the flamboyantly colourful Fisherman’s Wharf.
Expect a blog on day tripping in and around Victoria in 2019.
9. Meet up in Algarve, Portugal
We left a lot of dear friends from Nova Scotia when we moved to Ontario in 2010. This April we had a reunion in Ohlos di Agua, on Portugal’s southern coast with many of them. It was joyous to reconnect and discover a new place together. Even better, my husband’s English aunt and cousins were staying in nearby Albufeira. More loved ones to reconnect and enjoy and no one had to play host, cook or be in charge.
Expect future blogs on Portugal and check out my related post. Put a Cork in It
10. Anne with an E in Millbrook, ON
L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables had a huge influence on my life choices growing up. Last winter, I was fortunate to be visiting Millbrook Ontario when they were shooting Anne with an E, for CBC. A small back street in this charming rural Ontario village was transformed into downtown Charlottetown PEI with trucked in red soil, horses and buggies and early 1880’s shop windows. Even when it’s not a film set, Millbridge was a delight to discover. That small side road had an excellent chocolaterie, a quilting shop/book store, two restaurants and a bakery. Joy of joys, I even met MaryBeth McNulty and Dalila Bela who play Anne and Diana while there.
Whether I’m wine-touring or unwinding in “unwined” travel stories. I hope you’ll check back to http;//thewinetourist.ca in 2019. It’s going to be a far more active year.