This past year I had the pleasure of going to several cool places around the country! So here is the list of my favorite trips:
1) Seattle – At the end of the summer I got to spend three weeks with my wifes family in the Great Northwest! I was welcomed up there by Q Cafe in order to do a small internship and learn more about running a nonprofit coffee cafe. While I was there I, of course, learned a lot about the coffee industry and making espresso beverages. I spent a lot of time in the Q and in other great coffeehouses in Seattle – Caffe Vita, Stumptown, Seattle Coffee Works, Cafe Vivace, Victrola, Zoka, and Bauhaus Coffe & Books. But other than coffee, I loved riding around the city, walking for miles downtown, visiting Bainbridge Island, hanging out in the public library (sounds nerdy, I know, but the building was amazing), reading in Elliot Bay Books, eating at the terriyaki place across from Q because it was the only place that would take my plastic, riding the 194 for a few hours everyday, watching people fish at the Des Moines pier, visiting Mt. Rainier with my wife’s uncle… Only part that really, really sucked – Amber wasn’t with me! You can read more about the trip here, here, and here.
2) Chattanooga – During Spring Break last year Amber and I visited Chattanooga. We stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo – a historic train station turned into a hotel. We had a great time and the first day we arrived it snowed, in April! Right now that probably doesn’t sound too great to most, but at that time we hadn’t seen snow in a while so it was a lot of fun! We spend a week exploring the small city. Our favorite spot was the North Shore area. It has an amazing park right on the river, a nice row of restaraunts and shops, and a warehouse district on the far end that has a lot of shops and condos. Chatty had a lot of charming little neighborhoods and plenty to do – aquarium, museums, and the popular Rock City! We are going back again this spring break! You can read more about the trip here and here.
3) Mountain Home – Yes, going back to our hometown was the third best trip last year – because we did it to surprise our parents on Father’s Day! We decided about a week before to drive home and that we would do it as a surprise. So we drove through the night and pulled up to my house at about 7 a.m. It was great because my dad was still sleeping and we woke him up! Next we surprise Amber’s mom and dad, both at work at the time! It was a fun time but it only lasted a weekend!
4) Florida Keys – This past fall the 6th grade at Explorer K-8 taught an interdisciplinary unit on coral reefs. So as a
group some of us teachers went down to the Keys to “study” coral reefs! We did some snorkeling and really did learn a lot about Florida’s coral reefs, got some real coral from a few shops, and took lots of pictures of the corals off of Key Largo. But we took the rest of the weekend to explore the Keys for ourselves with our friends the Fickleys (the trip was out of our own pocket by the way!). The picture at the top of the blog is from a sunset at the hotel we stayed at in Key Largo. If you are ever going through Key Largo then I would highly recommend stopping at Mrs. Mac’s (Amber would recommend the mimosa!). After staying a night in Key Largo we drove down to Key West. On the way we saw a water spout a few miles off shore as well as beautiful blue and green water! At Key West Amber and I rented a scooter and rode around the island. We ate at Sloppy Joe’s, stopped at the southernmost point where we were closer to Cuba than to Miami, saw Ernest Hemingway’s home, and had a margarita at Margaritaville! And just some FYI, if you ever go to Key West the ghost tour sucked!
5) Cocoa Beach – Amber and I actually went to Cocoa a couple of times but I loved it everytime because of the waves. You can ask Amber, I could ride the waves back in for hours and hours everyday. I am always stiff the next day of course but it is worth every minute of it!