Asheville is a beautiful city in the mountains of western North Carolina. It is a town full of art, eclectic shops, and breweries. There are also numerous wineries within 30 minutes of the city center. We were visiting family here in March 2020, when COVID-19 shut down the world. Therefore, we had to quickly get a long term Airbnb and hunker down, while doing some East Coast job-searching. We ended up remaining in the area for several months, unable to return to California. Although many places were not open, we were able to explore some delicious eateries (via take-out) and venture on a few gorgeous mountain hikes. We definitely miss our freedom to travel but are making the most out of this time to explore places close to “home” and spend time with one another.
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While in Canada, and so close to the US border, we decided to visit Niagara Falls! We first looked into staying directly near the falls. However, we decided to be a little farther from the hustle and bustle of tourists and looked into nearby towns. During this mini trip, we were able to sight-see and do some wine tasting!
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After all of our travels throughout Europe, we thought it was time to finally venture to one of our bordering countries in North America, Canada. We have a few friends from Toronto, where Brian has previously visited, so we thought it would be a nice place to start. It was a fun adventure exploring the city and visiting friends.
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Last April, we took a cruise around the Caribbean with family. My parents had never been on a cruise before, so this made it all the more enjoyable. We sailed on a Celebrity Cruise ship, and I highly recommend upgrading to Aqua Class, if you do. This allows for less crowded dining halls, larger staterooms, and other added benefits and services that we all thoroughly enjoyed. Our cruise made four stops. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather throughout the week. It was definitely a good idea to travel before the heat waves started moving in and hurricane season began.
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Before boarding our Caribbean cruise, Brian and I chose to explore Miami (where our ship was docked) for a few days. We both had been to Miami so decided to try something on the outskirts, specifically Coconut Grove. We had a fun couple of days touring the town, drinking wine, and enjoying the delicious food, all in great weather.
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Although not as populated or touristy as some of the other islands in Hawaii, the Big Island remains our favorite Hawaiian destination. We choose to stay near Waikoloa Beach on the Kona side. We love the low traffic volume and abundant sunshine it offers. There are many beach days to be had on this side of the island, while only a 2 hour drive to the Hilo side takes you to the lush rainforest-like views and volcano. We have family that has a house on the island, and are so grateful to be able to stay here during our visits!
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Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
This is a wonderful beach community along the East Coast. In our opinion, it is quieter, cleaner, and more family friendly than other beaches we have visited in the Carolinas, so it just depends on what you are looking for. Our families have both been going here on family vacations since we were young. We are fortunate that now we have family living down there and can visit the island whenever we are able!
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Carmel is a small city by the sea on the Monterey Peninsula. Brian and I discovered this town eight years ago when we first moved to California from Virginia. It was our first real weekend getaway on the west coast, and has remained a favorite ever sense. We love the small town vibe, being outside the hustle and bustle of Monterey, and the wide selection of farm-to-table restaurants and fine wine choices. We go at least twice a year and have so many fond memories, including getting engaged at Point Lobos.
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