I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that traveled quite a bit, and I’ve been lucky enough to carry the hobby into adulthood. Taylor and I rang in the new year in Las Vegas with my family, and the topic of 2018 trips came up, so I thought it would be fun to recap my 2017 travels (there were quite a few) and share a little bit about each of the places I visited.
Fort Myers, FL in April
My friend Lindsay and I visited our friend Anna (and her sweet family) at her home in Fort Myers. It’s was our second-annual reunion, and we’re already planning our trip for this year. Lindsay and I rented a small beach house within walking distance of Fort Myers beach and restaurants, shops, and bars. It was the perfect place for Lindsay and I to stay at night and for Anna and the kiddos to call home base during our afternoons spent at the beach/pool. We spent a night out in downtown Fort Myers (such a cute, fun scene) and spent our days soaking up the sun, catching up, and laughing a ton.
Pro tips and words of wisdom: Rent a car at the airport if you won’t have one at your disposal during your visit. We took cabs and Ubers a few times, but it can get expensive – especially if you’re doing a lot of back and forth between Fort Myers proper and the beach. Also, flying into RSW airport is pricey, but it’s truly the closest airport to Fort Myers. Not really a way around it, unfortunately.
Seattle, WA in May
I’m so happy Taylor and I decided on Seattle for our first trip together (talk about a big first trip! None of that quick, long weekend stuff here). I had passed through Seattle once before, but only for about 24 hours before boarding a cruise to Alaska, si this was my first extended visit to the city. We LOVED it. It was seriously the perfect trip. We spent our days and nights drinking coffee, wandering around, seeing the sights, and getting to know each other in a way that only happens when you travel with your partner. I wouldn’t change a thing if we did it all over again!
Some of my Seattle favorites: The Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pike Place Market (specifically Ellenos, Pike Place Chowder, Beecher’s Cheese, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, and Jack’s Fish Spot), Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour (in Everett, WA – completely worth the 90-minute round trip – AMAZING), the Fremont Troll, Fremont Brewing, Gas Works Park (best view in Seattle), harbor cruise, Starbucks (specifically the very first one in Pike Place Market, the headquarters (there’s a store in the building with merchandise that can only be bought on the campus), and the Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room), Local 360, Pie Bar (in Belltown – such a weird, hole-in-the-wall dive, but super yummy and cool), Pike Street Press, The Great Gum Wall, Lola, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Theo Chocolate Factory tour (last-minute decision and quite possibly the best $10 we spent the whole time we were there), Uneeda Burger (in Fremont), Shug’s (near Pike Place Market), Bedlam Coffee (in Belltown), The Bear and The Bee, CJ’s Eatery (for breakfast), Via Tribulani (we went to the one in Fremont)
Pro tips and words of wisdom: We went the Airbnb route instead of staying in a hotel, and it really worked out well. We chose a charming studio in an old building in Belltown (lots of character and an elevator from 1918!), and the location could not have been better – within walking distance of great restaurants, The Space Needle/Chihuly/Pike Place Market/etc., and clean and comfortable. A few things to note: Belltown is a neighborhood of trendy restaurants, boutiques, nightclubs, and residential towers as well as warehouses and art galleries, which means it has a busy nightlife. Super fun, but not ideal for those who need silence to sleep at night. It was noisy, but didn’t bother us much. On the same note, many places in Seattle don’t have interior AC; it’s window units or nothing at all. We went over Memorial Day weekend, and it was perfect to have the windows open (which did amplify the noise from the street), but it’s something to take into account when planning your trip and booking your accommodations. We also did not rent a car. We took the train (very nice!) to and from the airport and either walked or took Ubers everywhere else. Ubers were a significant cost of our trip, but parking a car everywhere would have been a bear and even more expensive. There’s a big homeless population in Seattle and – just like in almost every major city – areas go from safe to sketchy and back again within a matter of a few blocks. I never felt unsafe there, but it’s always a good idea to pay attention to your surroundings, especially if you’re out and about at night. We bought the CityPass for Seattle, which gets you into the city’s top attractions for discounted ticket prices. Most major cities offer a CityPass, and it’s a really great deal if you plan to see most of the included attractions. We purchased ours in person at the first attraction (which happened to be The Space Needle) once we arrived. The aquarium was fine; not bad, but not the best one we’ve ever been to. Pioneer Square and the Underground Tour were incredibly overrated. We wouldn’t do them again if we went back. Final thing: wear/bring layers. We totally lucked out and didn’t have any rain at all while we were there; that’s totally unheard of for Seattle! Still, it was cool in the evenings and the temperature fluctuated during the day. My denim jacket was my best friend. Just kidding, one more thing: Seattle is organized by neighborhoods, so be sure to plan your days to see everything in a neighborhood all at once. Fremont was probably our favorite.
I did a lot more travel in the second half of 2017 than I did in the first half, but I’m going to wrap up the year in a second post! Where did you travel to last year? Have you been to Fort Myers or Seattle? What were some of your must-sees, eats, and dos? I’d love to know!