Today, on the last day of the year, I like to share our 2019 five favorite places. I do this every year as a way to review where we have been and hit the highlights. You can read the previous lists for 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
This year’s list of five favorite places starts off with the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, knocking St. Simon’s Island off its first place position of the last two years. We had a wonderful summer in the Laurel Highlands, exploring, eating, and welcoming a record number of personal visitors. We were surprised and pleased at all the people who came to see us. From Ohiopyle to Fallingwater to Fort Ligonier to the Coverlet Museum and the GAP Trail, we saw it all! We played in the water, rode our bike, and enjoyed the variety of activities available to us. Best of all, because of the elevation, the temperature wasn’t too bad, with few days over 90. We loved working at Fort Necessity, learning its story, and showing off our knowledge with visitors and rangers. It was the perfect place to spend the summer.
But the perfect place to spend the winter is still on our list of five favorite places. St. Simons Island comes in at #2 this year because we were there for the third time. I can’t think of any place better to be in the winter. There is plenty to do but it is still a residential island instead of a tourist hotspot. We love working with the rangers at Fort Frederica. I also love being able to get out and walk every day: along the beach or the salt marshes or in the gardens. We spent a lot more time on Jekyll Island this year and really enjoyed that as well. Because you can see one from the other, I am lumping them both together. We keep going back to St. Simons because we can’t think of a better place to get away from the northern cold.
Number 3 on our 2019 five favorite places list is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We didn’t actually spend a huge amount of time in Harrisburg, but we loved the three weeks we spent doing day trips and exploring the area. Harrisburg was a great hub for us with good shopping, good internet, and easy access highways. Plenty of parks and green spaces gave us lots of places to get outdoors. How can you not like a city with a HUGE chocolate factory? It is a very livable city, once you figure out how to navigate the roads!
Amelia Island gets the number 4 spot on our list. We liked it so much after the first visit that we took my parents! More wonderful beaches and a cute and eclectic downtown make this a fun place to visit. We also loved Fort Clinch and its marvelous, lengthy history. The only bad thing about Amelia Island is all the construction traffic you have to drive through to get there.
And our final 2019 five favorite places? My parents’ house. I usually get Ohio on the list somewhere but this year it is two specific spots in Ohio. We spent time at my parents’ old house in Lexington and at their new house in Mansfield. I grew up loving the old house, but am enjoying the time we spend in the new house also. Why? Because my parents are there! It doesn’t matter where they live. Going to visit them will always make my list of favorite places. We love and enjoy each other and that is a good thing to have at any age.
How about you? What was your favorite place of 2019? What makes a place special to you?