A Recap of January 2019

The first month of the year flew by even with a few rounds of snow that came to town. The year started off with a New Years party I hosted, complete with a colorful streamer photo wall, plenty of bubbly, and some dancing.

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New Years Eve!

My friend Lauren and I had decided to take advantage of the year-long membership I have to Shenandoah National Park and did an overnight Bed and Breakfast stay in Luray, Virginia, a town nearby, before hiking the next morning.

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Mayneview Bed and Breakfast in Luray, Virginia

The Mayneview Bed and Breakfast in Luray was wonderful – we were able to soak in a hot tub overlooking the town and as the only guests, had a home-cooked breakfast to ourselves the next morning. I would definitely like to do a return trip to the B&B in the spring.

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Atop a mountain in Shenandoah National Park

With the government shutdown, Shenandoah National Park was open but without facilities (ie. bathrooms) when we visited. It was a bit sad to see the normal busy visitor centers a bit more quiet and some areas of the park roped off. Nonetheless, there were still other hikers we encountered on our 3.6 mile hike on the Snead Farm Loop Trail.

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Shenandoah National Park as seen from Skyline Drive

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After our getaway to Luray and Shenandoah, we made it home just in time for it to start snowing. We actually got snow a few times this month so I’ve had my fair share of shoveling. This is my first winter with my new car (a Honda Fit), so I’m also figuring out how well it can do in the snow – and how well the heater works!

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Snowfall in my neighborhood

I did get a brief respite from the snow later in January however, as Mark was in Georgia for a work trip and I decided to fly down to visit him. We spent an afternoon in Tybee Island, Georgia and went out at night in Savannah. It was a quick and laid back trip and the slightly warmer weather was a nice respite.

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Mark and I at Tybee Island, Georgia
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The Crab Shack on Tybee Island, Georgia
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Alligators (in a fenced area) in Tybee Island, Georgia

February is looking to be a bit more adventurous as I have a work trip to Oahu, Hawaii coming up and some friends from out of town visiting.

What did you get into in January? What are your plans for February?

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10 Photos from December 2018

During the holiday season this past December, my mom, myself and Markell went to Santa Fe, New Mexico as well as Boulder and Denver, Colorado. Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

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My 29th birthday lunch!

My birthday fell during the first full day of our trip which is also when we arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hungry for an authentic New Mexican lunch, we went to a restaurant where I got a assorted platter (taco, enchilada, beans, etc) and a verrrryyy boozy margarita. It was a great way to get my birthday started!

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Mom, Markell, and I in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Despite what so many people think, northern New Mexico can get really cold in winter – snow included. It actually snowed on my birthday and we had to leave New Mexico early because of a blizzard that was heading that way. In the meantime though, we had about a day and a half of good weather to explore.

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Markell using his new camera

Markell and I went on a quest just outside Santa Fe to see a petroglyph site. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that the petroglyphs required about a mile and a half of rock scrambling, which was a bit risky in the snow (and without hiking or snow boots on). Markell enjoyed taking photos with his new camera he got from his grandpa for Christmas.

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Petroglyphs outside Santa Fe, New Mexico

We found two boulders with petroglyphs. It is always fascinating to me how these drawings have been there for hundreds of years. Who drew them? And why?

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Boulder, Colorado

Next on our trip was Boulder, Colorado. A friend of mine had raved about the town so we thought it was worth a visit. We ate on Pearl Street which is the main street in town, and then went to the Celestial Seasonings Factory which is based in the town!

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Snazzy hair nets as part of our Celestial Seasonings Factory tour

The Celestial Seasonings Factory tour in Boulder, Colorado, is free to visitors. Better yet, as you wait for your turn on the tour, there are several teas you can sample. Celestial Seasonings is a true operating factory so we were able to see their manufacturing processes (as someone who studied Products and Process in grad school, I was so excited for this!) and learn more about the company’s operations and history.

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Eldorado Canyon, Colorado

The next day I went on a early morning solo hike on the Fowler Trail at Eldorado Canyon near Boulder. Eldorado Canyon is truly one of the most beautiful places I went on the trip, as the trail had constant views overlooking the canyon. It was a bit nerve wracking though as parts of the trail were snowing and icy, so I had to tread carefully. It was worth it for the surroundings though!

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Argo Gold Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado

Into the mountains, we spent the afternoon in Idaho Springs, Colorado at the Argo Gold Mine. This was an functioning mine up to the 1940s when a massive flood made it impossible to continue operations. We were shown how to pan for gold, learned about the history of gold mining in the area, and went into the beginning of the tunnel for the former mine (you don’t go into the actual mine as it still has several feet of water).

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Markell and I in Red Rocks Park, Denver

No visit to the Denver is complete without going to Red Rocks Park. Markell and I had been to see the amphitheater when we in Colorado in 2015, so this time we went for a hike with a guide on the Trading Post Trail. The hike was fun and Markell enjoyed posing on the rocks for a few photos!

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Posing on the red rocks!

And that’s a rap on our Colorado and New Mexico trip. Colorado is such a stunning state and now that I’ve been three times in winter, the goal is to go in a (warmer) season next time!

x Noelle

Soundside Nature Trail at Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Jockey’s Ridge State Park is the largest state park in the North Carolina state park system and is situated in beautiful Nags Head, North Carolina, a city that is part of the greater Outer Banks region. While staying in nearby Kill Devil Hills with my family, I decided to go for a hike along the Soundside Nature Trail in Jockey’s Ridge. Continue reading “Soundside Nature Trail at Jockey’s Ridge State Park”

Small City Charm in Marietta, Ohio

Marietta, Ohio is the kind of place that once you’ve been, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make it there sooner. Named as one of “Ohio’s Best Hometowns” by Ohio Magazine, Marietta is the kind of place where you come for the charm but stay for the community. Continue reading “Small City Charm in Marietta, Ohio”

Historic Charm at The Hackett Hotel in Marietta, Ohio

Never having been to the state of Ohio before, it became one of my goals this year to cross the state off my traveled list. The town of Marietta, Ohio came under my radar because of its historical past as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Terrority and its waterfront location along the Ohio River. In modern days, Marietta has a charming downtown filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants. And thus, with a destination in mind, arrangements were made with the boutique Hackett Hotel for a stay over a long weekend. Here is my experience at the hotel.
Continue reading “Historic Charm at The Hackett Hotel in Marietta, Ohio”