2020 was a year that challenged us, forced us to look for happiness in placed we hadn’t before, and tested our patience. Although it wasn’t the year we anticipated, we enjoyed spending more time together, unplanned road trips, and discovering new interests. Determined not to let endless trip cancellations keep us down, we decided to explore the United States. If you haven’t seen much of us this year, we’ve been careful to follow the suggested guidelines of hibernating 14 days after our travels, watching sunsets in our backyard, or splashing around in our inflatable pool.
We bought a National Parks Pass, laced up our new hiking boots, and the outdoor adventures began. We explored 17 new states together in addition to repeated visits to some of our favorite places. We still prefer glamping but no longer cringe at the thought of camping, can confidently navigate without cell service, and are convinced all the moose have migrated from the U.S. to Canada. We hope everyone can find some memories to smile about when reflecting on 2020 after ringing in the new year and cheersing good riddance to the dumpster fire. We are excited to see what 2021 will bring. We predict some traveling in our future.
We spent New Year’s Eve sipping champagne while watching a dolphin play in Shem Creek, hearing ghost stories about local pirates, and exploring the picturesque streets in Charleston, South Carolina. Look for our $1 USD bill at The Griffin Pub!
We caught beads on Bourbon Street, cruised the Mississippi River, ate king cake in Mardi Gras World, paid our respects to the queen of voodoo in St. Louis Cemetery, and finally found 2 open seats at the carousel bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. We had no idea this would be our last time eating in a crowded restaurant, laughing with strangers, or standing at a bar for the unseeable future.
- Brewed and Distilled in New Orleans, Louisiana
- New Orleans, Louisiana: Beyond the Booze and the Beads
We brewed our second beer, Ale I Ever Wanted, a smokey Texan Chipotle Amber with notes of smokey 90’s hits. We perfected siphoning and bottled this brew in record time. Our small batch release party was all 90’s with trivia, childhood stories, and hit songs.
March – April CANCELLED
The Traveling Gingerbread was quarantined along with the rest of the world, reminiscing about past adventures and cancelling future travels. We became puzzle masters, got creative in the kitchen, played board games until we were bored, cleaned, ran through the empty streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, washed endless amounts of dishes, and finished the remainder of our wedding alcohol so we purchased more from a sketchy but surprisingly reliable website suggested by friends (thanks!). With the help of the pandemic and closed hockey rinks, Stephanie finally convinced Mitch to go for a run with her. His new PR, 8 miles!
We needed to Getaway and didn’t let snow flurries or 30 degree weather ruin our weekend plans. We spent the weekend in Lisbon, Ohio sitting by the fire in ski clothes and hiking in Raccoon Creek State Park. It may not have been Lisbon, Portugal but we took what we could get.
We brewed our third small batch beer, Essential Business, a roasty Mexican hot chocolate stout quarantined with chili pepper and cinnamon. It was enjoyed among friends in a very spacious outdoor circle.
We supported local breweries by ordering beers to go in Covington, Kentucky and created our own flights next to a campfire. Across the border in Cincinnati, Ohio and Aurora, Indiana we were back to ordering flights … in plastic cups with more than enough elbow room.
We packed up the car and drove through the green mountains in Vermont to the world’s tallest filing cabinet, Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard, and the Vermontasaurus. In New Hampshire, we hiked to the summit of Mt. Kearsarge before driving to the coast (where resident only parking is strictly enforced) and ended our adventure at Smuttynose Brewing Company. Search Smuttynose Island murders for a frightening tale.
Having beach withdrawals, we spent a long weekend with friends celebrating cancelled birthdays and soaking up the sun in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
We packed up our car again and drove from the college town of Providence to the Beavertail Lighthouse on Conanicut Island in Rhode Island. Before heading home, we explored castles, had our first taste of steamed burgers and New Haven style pizza, and watched the sunset on the coast of Connecticut.
With our shiny new National Parks Pass, we travelled West to Rapid City, South Dakota, explored Badlands National Park, rode a jackalope at Wall Drug, and beat the crowds to Mount Rushmore. Taking advantage of the long weekend, we continued exploring the unique landscapes and breweries in South Western North Dakota and North Western Nebraska.
- Day Trip to North Dakota From Rapid City, South Dakota
- Day Trip to Nebraska from Rapid City, South Dakota
- Off the Beaten Path in Western South Dakota
Our second adventure out West started in the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We were stunned by the beauty of Grand Teton National Park, took the scenic route through sand dunes and waterfalls in Idaho, and finally arrived at Yellowstone National Park. We visited the Garden of 1000 Buddhas on our way to Northern Montana where we hiked, rafted, and explored Glacier National Park. We haven’t seen water those shades of blue since our honeymoon in French Polynesia!
- First Stop Jackson Hole Then Grand Teton National Park
- Don’t Miss These Idaho Stops on Your Way to Yellowstone National Park
- Glacier National Park and Beyond
We glamped in Oregon near breathtaking Crater Lake before driving from the frigid coastal waters to the Painted Hills. Staying one day ahead of the wildfires surging through the west coast, we reached Washington and continued exploring national parks and monuments, sampling craft beer flights, and finally ended our adventures in Seattle just before smoke settled over the city.
We headed South to Nashville, Tennessee to see what all the hype is about. We had the same idea as everyone else in Tennessee to visit Smoky Mountains National Park on a perfect fall Saturday. What little of the park we saw was from our car while sitting in traffic. Determined to enjoy our remaining time in Tennessee, we spent a night in Knoxville and explored some beautiful state parks on our drive back to Music City. Neither of us expected to say… we loved Nashville!
Fulfilling our promise made 3+ years ago, we finally made the trip to visit a friend in Buffalo, New York. Although it was a battle with Google Maps not to cross the Rainbow Bridge into Canada, we made a quick stop at Niagara Falls before we were off to the breweries.
We were asked multiple times what we were doing in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. After seeing the Red Bluffs on Instagram, we had to go. Despite the recent damage caused by Hurricane Zeta the weekend before, we enjoyed visiting this certified retirement region and saw some beautiful sunsets.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Cheers to 2021!