Traveling is a way of life for me. It was part of my career for almost 25 years as a flight attendant. Now, I travel for fun and not just as part of my job. This year, my trips were altered a little due to family responsibilities, but I found time to sneak away to some unexpected places.
Let’s start with a little ol’ town in East Tennessee called Jonesborough. This town was established seventeen years before Tennessee was even granted statehood and is the county seat of Washington County. It’s a small and unique town filled with lots of beauty and historical architecture that is best known as the storytelling capital.
Things To Do In Jonesborough
Main Street alone will take you on a journey of the past with its diverse history and markings of all those that have come to make the town so special. We were able to explore the famous Chester Inn State History Museum. It walks you through the history of this quaint town. The welcome center offers town tours, which is a great way to learn more about its incredible history. The Watauga Valley Railroad Museum displays a unique rebuilt train car. This is the perfect stop for all you train buffs.
One event I missed but may need to go to next year is The National Storytelling Festival. It’s the largest event in Jonesborough. The weaving of stories old and new is fascinating and fun for all ages.
Best Restaurants In Jonesborough
We had plenty of dining options but settled on Main Street Café. It’s in the center of town next to the courthouse. We ordered a burger, a veggie sandwich, and hot crispy fries. Of course, I had to try a flight of local beers. We just missed out on Brews & Tunes featuring local music, craft beer, cider, and good eats.
Overall our visit was amazing and incredibly interesting and educational. Although we went to take care of some family business, it turned out to be an educational experience.
Vancouver, British Columbia
I took this trip with two friends as a last-minute getaway. Ticket prices weren’t the best, but I think if you planned, you could find a great deal.
Pro Tip: I suggest checking the weather report to ensure you have the proper clothing during your visit. Vancouver’s temperatures tend to vary.
Where To Stay
Our hotel of choice was the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront with views of the harbor. You are steps away from downtown with some amazing views. There are tons of food choices and public transportation. We decided to use Uber or walk. We did use a local taxi for our departure and return to the airport. The price is fixed and can be paid in cash (local currency) or by credit card.
Things To Do In Vancouver
Stanley Park is the oldest park and a must-see for any trip to Vancouver. The Suspension Bridge Park is another stop I recommend. This bridge is 110 feet above the Capilano River and takes a little time to cross, but it is beautiful.
One of the highlights to do is the FlyOver Canada located at Canada Place. This simulated flying experience takes you high above Canada and is something you’ll talk about for a long time. The Vancouver Art Gallery will be good for a rainy, cold day activity. The gallery has so many unique exhibits.
Enjoying nature is a must for Canada so I’d suggest The Sea to Sky Gondola. Once at the top, you will be amazed by the breathtaking views of the landscape. Make sure you check the website if you’re going during the winter months. They occasionally close early due to the weather.
Pro Tip: The Christmas market was being set up during our visit so we didn’t get to experience it. However, this may be a reason to return next year!
Best Restaurants In Vancouver
Food is plentiful and there is something for any palate. If I had to pick my top spots, they would be Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House, Rodney’s Oyster House, and Earls Test Kitchen and Bar. One of my favorites is Rice and Noodle in West End. I ordered the most delicious noodle bowl. You pretty much can’t go wrong with any option. If afternoon happy hour is on your list, I would suggest CAVO Bar + Kitchen. Everything is so good and the happy hour menu is excellent.
We also made it a point to find some local goodies and snacks for our hotel room. We talked to the locals about goodies we should try and take home. We returned to the store several times for ketchup chips!
How can you go wrong in Hawaii? This is one of my favorite get-up-and-go places. I can’t speak enough about how it makes you feel before, during, and after your visit.
Where To Stay
I’ve stayed in hotels, Airbnbs, and with friends while there. However, my favorite spot is Wailea Beach Resort. It may seem a little pricey but is well worth the value. It’s great not worrying about having a credit card or cash on me. You just wear a wristband and everything is charged to your room (and I didn’t have to worry about losing my wallet).
I suggest renting a car while there. Toro was our choice but there are other options as well. To take advantage of seeing all this island has to offer, you will want to drive while you’re there.
Things To Do In Maui
Of course, the beach scene is always good, but I’ve found several things to do that would enhance your stay and make great memories.
Best Restaurants In Maui
As for eats, drinks, and treats, I typically just look for suggestions online so it’s a different experience every time! I haven’t had one bad experience with food while in Maui. I typically try to find locally owned restaurants. My go-to is Manoli’s Pizza Company. However, don’t expect the cheapest food you’ve ever eaten! Maui does come with a cost, but the sheer beauty and fantastic food will hopefully overshadow the price. The memories are priceless!