At the end of every year, since I retired, I write about the favorite places we visited in the previous year. You can read the previous years’ posts here for 2015 and 2016. You can also see where we have been in a year by clicking on the maps at the top of this page. I try to keep the list down to five places, because otherwise the post gets too long. But this year Tom and I went so many fabulous places that we couldn’t keep the list down to five. So here are our six favorite places for 2017.
First is St. Simon’s Island and Fort Frederica in Georgia. St. Simon’s makes the list of six favorite places because it has such a lovely winter climate. We spent the winter working, riding our bike, walking along the beach, and enjoying wonderful and unique restaurants. Mom and Dad spent a month with us on St. Simon’s, which meant we enjoyed it even more. We felt like we were making a difference at Fort Frederica National Historic Park because we helped build a living history program. We are looking forward to going back this year and moving that program along.
Second is San Juan Island in Washington, the most scenic place we have ever lived. We loved the temperate summer climate, the abundant sunshine, and the hiking paths along the ocean or up a mountain. We enjoyed the other volunteers we worked with and being in charge of English Camp. We never ran out of places to explore and delighted in watching eagles, osprey, foxes, rabbits, harbor seals, and orcas from the island. Because of the ferry ride and the complicated travel arrangements, San Juan felt like the most remote place we have worked. You couldn’t just drive away. But we were well connected with friendly Friday Harbor, good cell service, and lots of places to eat.
Our third out of the six favorite places are the volcanoes in Hawaii. This is cheating a little because we visited three very distinct volcanoes. I liked the volcano on the Big Island because it is still active. Knowing we could see lava flowing was fascinating to me. Tom liked Haleakala on Maui best because of the 36 mile twisty road to the top. The views from the top were spectacular. We both liked hiking up the Diamond Head caldera on Oahu even though it was hot and crowded. It has the best view of Waikiki and Honolulu of anyplace on the island.
Fourth are the “twin peaks” of Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens in Washington. Because the mountains were similar in height and only a few miles apart, they were indistinguishable before the eruption of St. Helens. I liked St. Helens better because of the stories of people who were caught in the eruption. The before and after pictures intrigued me. We could see how the landscape had changed and felt a bit of the power of nature. Tom liked Mt. Rainier better and enjoyed the hike up much more than I did. He thought the views were awesome.
Fifth of our six favorite places of 2017 is Stehekin in Washington. Talk about remote! No cell service, no grocery store, and a four hour ferry ride to get there. We loved visiting the town and the wonderful hiking in the area. We enjoyed using public transportation. The bakery and the restaurant were good. Because of the extremely limited services, however, our overnight stay was long enough for me. Everyone should experience this remote and wild place in the heart of Washington.
Our final favorite place was Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. The landscape was surreal. The middle of Idaho is an odd place to find lava beds. The park did the best job of interpretation we have ever experienced. Super interesting with great hiking.
This concludes the list of our six favorite places for 2017. Which place that we visited was your favorite? What favorite place did you visit in 2017? I’d love to hear from you!