Five Favorite Places of 2023

Every year since Tom and I retired, I have written a blog post about our five favorite places.  Sometimes I have to expand the list a little, but I can usually narrow it down to five or six.  You can read each of the favorite places lists by searching for favorite places in the blog search bar.  After nine years, I’ve given up listing them each individually in this post.  Here is the list of my five favorite places from 2023.

One of the five favorite places is a place we are going to go this afternoon.  I love East Beach on St. Simons Island in Georgia.  The beach changes all the time.  A few years ago we came back to St. Simons and the beach had changed so much that there was a river in a totally new place.  Each time a hurricane hits, the beach rearranges.  I love to see the birds and dolphins and people watch as we walk by.  The beach is a restful place and the sound of the ocean is soothing.  Always the same and, at the same time, new every day.

East Beach

Another of the five favorite places in 2023 also had to do with water:  Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Kentucky.  Although we were only there for a day, Cumberland Falls is a beautiful place with its powerful waterfall and great hiking trails.  The lodge or cabins would be a wonderful place to stay for a week while exploring the area.  I think I took a picture of Cumberland Falls from every viewpoint.  If we had time, it would have been fun to float on the river.  One of the things that made it even more fun was having Robin Smith along for the ride.

Cumberland Falls

Speaking of Cumberland, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was tops among the new places of 2023.  Getting to spend four months there meant we walked just about every trail, explored every corner, and did every activity.  Cumberland Gap is one of the larger places we have worked and it was impressive to see the variety of trails.  Being a historical park, it also has a variety of history and it was fun to tell all the different stories.  Some days we lived in 1775 and some days it was 1863.  Some days we interpreted 1920 and other days we were in the cave and it was 2023.

Tom’s favorite place at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is the Pinnacle.  Tom got to give Pinnacle talks and he never tired of the view.  We loved seeing the fog creep through the Gap and enjoyed it on clear days when you could see all the way to the Smoky Mountains.  My favorite place at Cumberland Gap was more mundane.  I loved having my own living history room.  On days when I did living history, I could just climb the stairs, unlock the door, and be ready to go.  I didn’t have to haul stuff in and out.  Cumberland Gap National Historical Park had all the flax processing equipment and it was really fun to do that hands-on over the summer.

Fogfall from the Pinnacle

Included in thinking of Cumberland Gap as a favorite place was the campground.  The campground at Cumberland Gap turned out to be a great place to live during the summer.  We enjoyed the proximity to other people (usually) and it was nice to have the worship service in the campground.  Several hiking trails led away from the campground and we could get a variety of experiences without climbing in the car.  We especially enjoyed Ranger Stormy, who was in charge of the campground, and the campground hosts that lived next to us.

The town of Cumberland Gap, located in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, helped to make it a favorite place.  The town always had something going on.  Even though it was just a little place, the restaurants, stores, and Farmers Market made it a favorite place to go.

Another of my five favorite places in 2023 was the Dutch Treat Country Store in Rose Hill, Virginia.  Tom and I went to Dutch Treat every week we were at Cumberland Gap.  It was a little bit of a drive for a sandwich, but the sandwiches were so good!  And the other treats were also delicious.  I think we sampled most of them by the end of our time there.  Whenever anyone came to visit, Dutch Treat was high on our list of places to show them.  Tom and I miss our weekly grilled cheese sandwiches and Tom has suggested driving down there several times.  Perhaps a little far to go for grilled cheese, but that highlights how good it was.

Dutch Treat Country Store

The final place of the five favorite places is our little house in Genoa Township, Ohio.  The longer Tom and I live there, the more we like it.  It is conveniently located close to family, stores, and restaurants.  The best part of the location is the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail and Char-Mar Ridge Park across the street.  Every day we enjoy heading out the door and having these beautiful places within walking or riding distance.  We are enjoying our house so much that it is getting harder to pack up the RV and head out for months at a time.  We feel like we picked the perfect home for us for years to come.

Our wonderful little house

Those are my five favorite places for 2023.  What was the favorite place you visited in 2023?  Is there a place you would recommend for our must-see list?