2021 was a year of celebrations, showers, parties, weddings, and gatherings. We dusted off our suits and dresses and put on our fancy masks. We enjoyed the additional time with family and friends and returning to some of our favorite places as restrictions were lifted. We continued our adventures around the United States during another year of international cancellations. We explored 8 new states together and visited new cities in some of our favorites. Stephanie became PADI Open Water certified and now she can explore under the world underwater with Mitch.
We explored some awesome state parks with caves, sand dunes, salt plains, and glossy mountains before wandering along the Bricktown River in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We won’t say Prairie Artisan Ales was the reason we went to Oklahoma, but it was love at first sip when we found Seasick Crocodile, a sour ale with cranberries, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, at a beer distributor in Pittsburgh.
We spent most of the month snowed in, but one beautiful day the sun shined as we celebrate our friends and attend our first wedding as Mr. and Mrs.
We hiked through empty state parks and National Forests of Northern Arkansas before ordering a flight so large at Superior Bathhouse Brewing in Hot Springs, it’s named the Beer Bath.
After celebrating Mitchell’s birthday relaxing on the beach and searching for the best tacos in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, we took the longest bus ride in the history of bus rides to Chichen Itza. It was our first trip out of the country since our honeymoon in September 2019!
We brewed our 4th beer, Polly Wants a Pretzel, a chocolate wrapped pretzel porter baked with sweet cocoa nibs and sprinkled with celebratory sea salt. We were a little out of practice nearly a year since our last brew, but we still enjoyed the birthday party.
We celebrated Stephanie’s birthday in Cape May, New Jersey sipping wine, walking along the beach, and hiking near Cape May Lighthouse before a quick stop at Wildwood, New Jersey for some mini golf.
We spent a weekend of brewery hopping, laughs, and eating delicious pizza with friends in Austin, Texas. After returning to Pittsburgh, we were contacted by Voyage Austin to be part of their Change Makers: Stories that Inspire. Check out our interview here.
We drove over 1,000 miles in Wisconsin from Madison and Milwaukee to Bay Field and Superior. We cruised the Apostol Islands, drank wine in Door County, ate dinner outside Lambeau Field, and hiked in Devils Lake State Park.
We spent the weekend hiking in Shenandoah National Park and Natural Bridges State Park. Then we rehydrated and the birthday celebrations for Stephanie’s sister began at craft breweries and wineries throughout Virginia where we had our first (and hopefully last) experience with cicadas.
We hiked 53 miles through Southern Utah in sand, through a river, up the sides of cliffs, in and out of canyons, across the desert, and scrambled up large boulders during record breaking temperatures in elevations up to 10,460 feet. We woke up every day by 4:00am to start our first hike before sunrise to avoid the crowds and afternoon heat. It was challenging, hot, and exhausting, but our most rewarding adventure yet. Utah quickly became one of our favorites states to visit.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary. We saw our first concert in over a year, sipped cocktails in hidden speakeasies, and found some unique breweries at the Baltimore, Maryland inner harbor.
We grabbed a friend, our raincoats, and boarded our flight to Hilton Head, South Carolina. We had too much fun playing pirate themed mini golf and soaked up what little sun we could before returning to Savannah, Georgia to wander the haunted, cobblestone streets.
We finally made it to Colorado! After seeing a Rockies’ game at Coors Field in Denver, we started our drive West to relax in Palisade wine country, hike to breathtaking lakes along the way, and explore charming ski towns. After a quick trip to Northeast Utah for dinosaur hunting, we headed back East to the Rocky Mountains where rutting season was underway.
Our 3rd attempt to visit Maine was a success, but not without some challenges. Deciding not to sit in the JFK airport for 6 hours after a delayed connection, we changed our plans, reserved a large pickup truck from the limited overpriced rental options, and drove through the rain along the coast of Maine to Portland. We visited the largest Paul Bunyan statue in the world, hiked up the side of mountains in Acadia National Park, learned how to properly pronounce Bangor, and pulled over every chance we had to watch the waves crash against the rocky coastline.
Realizing our vacation days and funds aren’t unlimited, we took a month off from traveling to spent time with friends and family.
We met up with friends to snorkel, paddle board, and bar hop through the Florida Keys. Stephanie experienced her first ocean dive since becoming certified in August! Before our flight we made a final stop to see the artsy side of Miami.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Cheers to 2022!