Featured image is of Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine – credit to Jeff Gunn

Spring is near, ushering in new beginnings and resuscitation of the natural world. We begin to pack our bags with great expectations. Much like the natural world, we awaken and ready to experience new things. If you’re in the Northeast, the snow begins to thaw and the spring’s glow beckons. And if you’re not in the region, now might be a good time to start thinking about coming here. I’ve compiled a short list of great, lesser known gems and one that you should know about for you to fancy. Have a look.

Credit to David Brooks

Pier in Beacon, New York – credit to David Brooks

1. Beacon, New York

An hour’s drive north of New York City, Beacon plays host to many events, like the Second Saturday Night Out, which is where shops, galleries and restaurants stay open late and special attractions are set up. But no matter when they visit, travelers can look through some interesting antiques, grab a bite to eat or listen closely to live music. On Sundays you have the Beacon Farmers Market where you can pick up good quality, local produce and support the community there. A walk through the riverside lets you take in from the beautiful scenery – pay attention to the historical sites there. For example, the mysterious ruins of Bannerman’s Castle, just round the Hudson River – it once housed ammunition and military surplus (visitors can still spot the holes where cannons were placed throughout the towers).

Credit to Russ Nelson

Rondout Creek, Rosendale – credit to Russ Nelson

2. Rosendale, New York

Less than a couple of hours from New York City, Hartford and Albany, Rosendale is an idyllic small-town getaway for people of all ages. With comfy and unpretentious cafés, taverns and boutiques and the looming Catskill Mountains and Rondout Creek winding about the background, civilization and nature work in perfect harmony. Most of these buildings were constructed at the beginning of the 1900s after a major fire in 1895 destroyed half the town. Since the Woodstock music festival days, an increasing number of artists and entrepreneurs are moving from New York to Rosendale, establishing a thriving arts culture and online business community – it will be the only place to catch a form of art performance in the abandoned limestone mine. The town also hosts frequent town-wide street festivals, mixing historic attractions with new community-minded businesses.

Credit to Brian Holland

Hammondsport, New York – credit to Brian Holland

3. Hammondsport, New York

Hammondsport, N.Y., stands out as the recycling capital of America – not garbage recycling (though they do that, too). We’re talking about the vintage seaplanes restored and flown with the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. This town knows how to repurpose: the birdhouses made out of scrap wood before the Aroma Coffee Art Gallery; the cypress panelling (repurposed from old wine barrels) in the Bully Hill Vineyard’s lower diner. It’s not just about loving history. You get the sense of who the individuals here are.

The city is full of history. For example, the Pleasant Valley Wine Company was the first inside the Finger Lakes region. Another winery, Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera’s Wine Cellars innovatively planted European grapes in the colder New York climate. Today, both those wineries—and several more—are mainstays of the landscape. Dr. Frank’s winery, for example, sits through an impossibly green chunk of property overlooking its vineyards and sparkling, Y-shaped Keuka Lake. After all these years, tastings at Dr. Frank’s are still free. In fact, many of the best things in Hammondsport are: sunbathing on condo-less Keuka Lake, kicking back around the town square for outdoor summer concerts on Thursday nights, and jam sessions in the basement of the Union Block Italian Bistro which also provides delicious meals like the linguini and clam sauce. For a place to stay, the spiral staircase, crown mouldings, and pieces of vintage wallpaper in the octagonal 1859 home converted into the Black Sheep Inn will ensnare visitors with intrigue and history.

Credit to Stanley

Ohiopyle State Park – credit to Stanley

4. Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania

The South western Pennsylvania’s Ohiopyle State Park is the place to visit if you’re looking for all-inclusive activities. Looking for waterfalls? It has four! Trails? Hikers get 79 miles of them—plus 27 miles for cyclists, 11 for all those on horseback, and nearly 40 more for cross-country skiers. And why not add in a natural water slide or two? The lifeblood through the 20,000-acre park, however, is the Youghiogheny River Gorge—a.k.a. the Yough. The Middle Yough, which flows to Ohiopyle from Confluence, Pa., is the gentler section, with Class I and II rapids for rafters and kayakers; the Lower Yough, downstream, gets more aggressive as Class IV white-water runs tempt adrenaline seekers. It’s no wonder that the park attracts over a million visitors each year.

The quietest campsites in Ohiopyle’s Kentuck campground include the walk-in sites; however, many people have found the camp’s firm 9 p.m. quiet hours too restrictive. If your crew is likely to get livelier deeper into the night, look at a vacation rental in Hidden Valley, Pa., or Seven Springs, Pa. – both are under 30 miles on the northeast. These two ski towns have a solid selection of rental condos and homes that might be deeply discounted in the off-season.

Fort Preble, Maine - credit to Yzukerman

Fort Preble, Maine – credit to Yzukerman

5. Southern Maine

Southern Maine is the perfect spring holiday spot: have beautiful, peaceful, and well-maintained beaches with numerous coastal towns brimming with shops and restaurants. And while there, why not indulge in fresh lobster? Getting hungry yet? To get away from the popular and touristy areas, head over to Portland or Kennebunkport.

6. Philadelphia

With New York on the north and D.C. to the south, springtime vacationers often overlook Philly. The city is brimming with history, including Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, as well as First Bank of the U.S. While there, try cheesesteaks at both Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks and pit these rivals against each other – let your taste buds do the judging.

Lion's Head Rock - credit to takomabibelot

Lion’s Head Rock – credit to takomabibelot

7. Falmouth, Massachusetts

It’s a quaint New England town with beautiful beaches and harbors, especially at sunset. It’s quiet, but there’s a lot to do here: surfing, kite-surfing, sailing, swimming, and paddle-boarding throughout the great beaches – spring might be a little too cold but you can start a polar club and get in the water anyway! Here, you’ll discover many historical landmarks such as the old house of Katharine Lee Bates, author of “America the Beautiful.” There’s also a wonderful bike path named after her here. Can you find it? The world’s first aquarium, in Woods Hole, is also be nearby. And if you wanted to get some shopping done, downtown Falmouth will surprise you with its many cute shops.

Where are you heading to this Spring? Wherever that might be, travel on my friends!

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Traveler, travelers, stay a while and listen here. I’ll tell you of a place you’ll want to hear. Outside Vancouver’s downtown limits, up north and east a short way is a place secluded from the daily toll, where the morning fog lingers at the tree line and the calm water soothes the soul. The quiet neighborhood along the waterfront basks in the morning lights. And the views – oh the views will take up all your camera’s megabytes.

Walkers, joggers, and runners, too, all beat to the rhythm of the bobbing water blue. Look! There’s a couple intertwined, walking down the pier with their hearts aligned. And in the distance a kayaker sets out to explore Deep Cove; perhaps he’ll return with loot from a treasure trove.

 

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So this was the scene which we found ourselves in early January, 30 minutes from the busy streets and bustling shops of Downtown Vancouver. The drive was smooth once we got out of the city. It seemed we were the only ones driving up here, at least at this time of the year. I’m sure in the summer Deep Cove would attract locals and tourists alike.

 

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The air was at that perfect cold temperature that refreshes you and doesn’t hurt you. We made it out to the pier as sunlight invaded the cove and stood there admiring the idyllic scenery until our faces told us to get warmth. Standing at the end of the waterfront, a kayak rental shop stayed closed. This would be an epic spot to come back in the summer, I thought.

 

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You can rent the kayaks and go deep into the cove (I guess that’s why it’s called Deep Cove). From the pier you’d be able to paddle all the way up to Croker Island and Iron Bay. I wonder what kind of natural beauty lay beyond the pier and the horizon in front of us, but I intend to find out this summer. Perhaps I could commandeer one of the boats docked along the pier but that would require me knowing how to commandeer things and how to drive a boat.

 

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We left the pier and headed to Arms Reach Bistro. The staff was very nice and gave us seating outside accompanied by warm blankets. I’ve been to Vancouver many times and have eaten in many excellent restaurants, but the spicy pasta from Arms Reach Bistro has to rank up there in the top 3 dishes I’ve eaten in the Greater Vancouver area. It’s just the right amount of spicy and the flavoring was delicious. I’m definitely coming back here.

 

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After lunch we said our good-byes to this sleepy and picturesque little town. I felt unsatisfied. That water looked too nice to be left un-swam in, un-kayaked, and unexplored. The adventurer in me will not rest until Deep Cove has been thoroughly traversed.

 

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Leaving Deep Cove, we stopped by Cates Park along the way. There are several small beaches here and a boat ramp that overlook an industrial Vancouver on the other side. We walked out on the pier and discovered that many locals had congregated here to try their luck catching crabs. They didn’t need luck at all actually. With homemade crab traps, crabbers young and old were tossing them in and reeling them back with crabs crawling all over. Most of them were thrown back because they didn’t meet size specifications, but I was amazed at how easy it was to catch one. Cates Park was a short visit but was memorable. I truly liked how people here lived. I could picture myself living in this small town atmosphere so close to the metropolis that is Vancouver.

 

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If you’re ever in Vancouver, put Deep Cove on your itinerary – you’ll be pleasantly surprised. For another side trip outside of downtown Vancouver, read Easy hike, amazing rewards – off the beaten path in Vancouver, BC.

Travel on my friends!

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I walked up to the stage and gracefully accepted the Liebster Award nomination. Taking a little pause, I scanned the audience. The applause simmered down. I walked over to the mic and proceeded to blow everyone’s mind. 

WOW! I don’t know what to say. First, what an honor! Second, there will be an afterparty and it will be epic. I want to thank Rachael from Crumbs on My Map for passing this award onto me. I want to thank my agent Chester who also plays the role of my cat and my traveling partner in crime, Lina Jiang, whom I will be marrying come December this year. I also want to thank the director Steven Hindenburger for his vision, the talented cast, and of course the fans! To all the fans out there, this award is for you as much as it is for me. Let’s make 2016 great! We’re going streaking!

If you didn’t know, the Liebster Award is a blogging passing-of-the-torch between bloggers to recognize excellence, hard work, and dedication to the craft of weaving adventures into stories that astound, amaze and inspire readers near and far. It is also an opportunity to give more exposure to bloggers and connect the blogging community.

 

In accordance with the Liebster Award ordinance 2.4(c) section 5, nominated bloggers must (thanks Rachael, I just took this straight from your post):

  • Acknowledge and thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog
  • Answer the questions they have been asked
  • Choose 11 other bloggers they think deserve the award
  • Think of 11 questions for their nominees
  • Combine all of the above into one blog post

 

Hence, here are my answers to Rachael’s racy (hyperbole much? yes, this is what I do…) questions:

  • Where are you headed next?

Just came back from Maui and learned some incredible stuff from talking with native Hawaiians there. I’ll be sharing those later. But I have nothing planned from March-June (OMG I need to book something). In July I’ll be going to Banff! Epic adventure time to ensue. Then a long stretch of nothingness that needs to be filled until December when I’ll be getting married (I’ll be sharing our destination wedding decision on here as well – just in case you’re wondering if you should do the same). Hoping to do a trip every month like last year but we’ll see how things pan out this year.

  • What was your favorite country you’ve visited?

Can’t put my finger on a single country as each country has its own charm, history, attractions, and people that never cease to amaze me wherever I go. My favorite planet is Earth though – so at least I’ve narrowed it down to that much.

  • What is your favorite article you’ve written?

Good question. I don’t know. I started out with really detailed posts to give readers everything they would ever need to travel in a particular destination that I’ve been in like 33 Cool Tips for First Timers to Iceland. Then I discovered that I really enjoyed talking to other travelers and have been doing interviews all the time. I truly love doing those posts because I learn so much from other travelers. Then recently I’ve been experimenting with writing travel posts as a short story such as Easy hike, amazing rewards – off the beaten path in Vancouver, BC. I like all three styles so I guess I’ll just march forth with all those styles.

  • What is the number one place you’d love to get published?

I’m not too particularly interested in getting published on some well-known platform. I’m more focused on connecting with other travelers and writers. My passion isn’t to be famous. My passion is to build meaningful relationships with people I have a connection with.

  • Are you a full time traveler or do you take short trips?

I am an enginerd by trade. For the last several years, my fiancé and I have been traveling the world together, taking off once a month to some random place. While the thought of leaving everything behind to travel full time is interesting, I don’t know if that’s what I really want to do. I enjoy being home as much as I do on the road as long as there are people I can interact with.

  • When did you start your blog?

Travel blogging has been on my mind for a very long time but I didn’t commit until November of last year (2015) – so here we are.

  • Do you know or are you learning any other languages?

I can speak Vietnamese and un peu Francais and I’ve been meaning to learn Chinese and Japanese but I’ve been too preoccupied with procrastination and laziness. The two latter things are so much easier to do.

  • Do you prefer solo travel or traveling with friends?

I love doing both but when it comes down to traveling in groups, I prefer to keep it small otherwise we’d be stuck in the same conversations and questions everyday: “What do you wanna do?” “No, what do YOU wanna do?” Stalemates like that turn me into a green monster – not the Hulk but maybe a giant beanstalk. Muwahahaha.

  • What’s one tip you would give to someone who wants to start a blog?

What are you insane? Do you know how hard it is to do a blog? Do you understand the effort and dedication that must be placed into such an endeavor – please, you’re going to fail. After reading that, if you say, “I understand and I AM CRAZY, let’s do this!” then you should start a blog. Otherwise, start a business selling t-shirts instead – it’s easier than doing a blog.

  • If you had to pick a place to settle down, where would it be?

I haven’t been to a place that I haven’t thought would be an excellent place to settle down in, except the Los Angeles area – I can’t handle that traffic.

  • What do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Making a bucket list, checking it twice, going to find out who’s naughty who’s nice, Santa Claus is coming… to town.

 

I hope I answered those questions with grace and dignity. And to the spirit of the Liebster Award, I am passing the torch to these excellent blogs (in no particular order):

 

Here are my 11 questions for you (if you’re not already tired of my questions):

  1. Do you have FOMT (Fear of Missing Travel)?
  2. Have a million dollars but you’d have to stay still or you can travel and be broke, which would you choose?
  3. How much of your time is spent looking up travel deals while you should be working (if you have a full time job elsewhere)?
  4. What’s your favorite beach and why?
  5. Travel slow or try to see as many things as humanly possible?
  6. What’s your favorite travel website for deals?
  7. What is your blog about?
  8. Are you open to collaborations?
  9. What’s your number one travel wish this year?
  10. Do you prefer cool or warm weather destinations?
  11. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

 

Travel on my friends!

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