Reflections from 2019 – An Epic Year of Travel

This was an epic year of travel for me – the best ever. I was very fortunate to be able to go somewhere special each month.

I visited National Parks in the US  as well as a few new places in my home country. I had a completely unique experience as a volunteer citizen scientist in Kenya. And my feet touched the soil of South America for the first time. To top it all off, I was totally spoiled on a one of a kind barge cruise on the Burgundy Canal in France. I don’t think any year in travel can get much better.

I was also fortunate to work with some great brands and destinations this year which resulted in many one -of-kind-experiences.  As in past years, I am sharing my reflection photos (literal and figurative) from all my travels in 2019. Photographically, I am always attracted to the symmetry and geometry of reflections, so I have many to share.

Park City, UT – Jan.

The year started with my family’s annual ski trip – this time to Park City, Utah. My husband enjoyed the slopes and I enjoyed the après skiing activities – hot chocolate and Baileys by the fire. Even though we went skiing during the Sundance Film Festival, the slopes were not busy, even though the town was packed.

At Jordanelle State Park just outside of Park City.

Jordanelle State Park Utah


Frederick, MD – Feb.

I spent my birthday weekend exploring Frederick, Maryland and the surrounding countryside, and also experiencing the fun Fire In Ice festival. Thanks to Visit Frederick for providing such a special birthday weekend.

The Monacacy Aqueduct is part of the C&O National Historic Park near Frederick, MD.

Monocacy aqueduct

A spectacular sunset over the lighted boats on Carroll Creek in Frederick.


Kenya – Feb.

I was very pleased to be able to go back to Kenya, one of my favorite countries. This time, I visited as a volunteer citizen scientist with Biospheres Expeditions, helping to collect biodeversity data in the Enonkishu Conservancy in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. A big thank you to Biospheres Expeditions for giving me this truly unique opportunity to put my science background to such beneficial use in the Maasai Mara.

Watching Zebra getting a drink from an observation blind.

I also discovered Jacaranda Beach on Kenya’s sunny and warm Indian Ocean coast.


Nashville – March

I visited Nashville for the first time and found great food, history, and of course, a variety of amazing musical performances, including being in the audience for the Ken Burns History of Country Music concert.

The Nashville courthouse in downtown Nashville on a perfect spring day.


Chicago – April

I grew up in Chicago, and even though I have been away longer than I lived there, it will always feel like home. Love going back whenever I can and visiting all my favorite sights.

The sculpture nicknamed “The Bean” in Millennium Park has become an unofficial symbol for Chicago. Not sure why when there is so much other interesting art and architecture in the Windy City.

Reflection of the ferris wheel at Navy Pier.


Niagara Falls, NY – May

It’s been many years since I last visited Niagara Falls. I especially enjoyed exploring the natural scenery on the American side of the falls this time. Thanks Niagara Falls USA for a great press trip as part of the 2019 NATJA conference.

Niagara Falls at night as seen from the American side.


Italy – June

Venice attracts all the crowds, but my favorite will always be the small island of Burano in the Venetian Lagoon.

Loved my day in Burano.

Burano, Italy

The classic view of Venice.

In the evening, once the day trippers have left, St. Mark’s square becomes quiet and peaceful.

St. Mark's Square Venice at night


France – June

A barge cruise on the Burgundy canal  was one of the most memorable  luxury experiences I have ever had. I experienced amazing food and wine and historic sights all while being pampered with the most attentive service ever. A huge thank you to European Waterways for providing such a memorable and restorative experience at a time when I needed it most.

Cruising on the beautifully restored La Belle Epoque on the Burgundy Canal in  France.


Kew Gardens,  London – June

I stopped in London on my way home from Europe for the sole purpose of seeing the Chihuly Exhibition at Kew Gardens.  I am a huge fan of the work of master glass artist Dale Chihuly and try to see it in my travels whenever I can.


Oregon – July

I spent two weeks exploring Oregon. From Portland to the Columbia River Valley, along the coast and then into central Oregon, it is a beautifully scenic state. I also experienced my first overnight rafting trip on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River – a truly fun and relaxing adventure thanks to ROW Adventures . And, I had the chance to cover the Sisters, OR Outdoor Quilt Show for the print magazine, Quiltmania.

A gorgeous Mt. Hood sunset.

On the Oregon Coast at sunset.

Rafting in the Rogue River Wilderness with ROW Adventures. 


Alaska – July

Alaska is a huge state, and even though I’ve been a few times, I’ve barely seen a small portion of it. This summer I explored Fairbanks under the midnight sun and also took a  Princess cruise-tour to Denali National Park  and through Glacier Bay National Park and Alaska’s inside passage-always a beautiful experience. Thanks to Explore Fairbanks for hosting a wonderful experience in the midnight sun – one of my top bucket list things to do. And thanks to Princess Cruises for the on board credit.

Midnight in July at Chena Lake Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Cruising on a Princess ship is the easiest way to see beautiful Glacier Bay National Park.

Hubbard Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park.

The sun came out as our ship cruised out of Glacier Bay. Mother Nature’s Rorschach Test – what do you see?


Chicago – Aug.

I passed through Chicago again on my way back to the east coast from Alaska. It’s been a long time since I explored this city in the summer and I loved every minute.

Millennium Park is always fun in the summer.

Growing up I used to bike along the lakefront during the summer. I think it is still the best way to experience the best views of Chicago.


Grand Teton National Park – Sept.

Grand Teton is one of my favorite National Parks. What’s not to love about majestic mountains reflected in a meandering river. Thanks to the Hatchet Resort for hosting my stay while visiting the park.

The Teton Range as seen from Oxbow Bend at sunrise.

Early morning view at Oxbow Bend.

Beautiful views at Schwabacher Landing.

At Jackson Lake.

Sunset at Oxbow Bend.

Milky Way at midnight at Oxbow Bend.


Yellowstone National Park – Sept.

I spent four days exploring Yellowstone National Park. It was my second time there, but still could have spent more time exploring all the sights.

Lake Yellowstone  in the morning.

Lake Yellowstone at sunset.

Sunset over the Great Fountain Geyser.

The Grand Prismatic Spring.

The boardwalk at the Grand Prismatic Spring.


Peru – Oct.

My trip to Peru was a top bucket list destination. Of course Machu Pichu was on the itinerary, but so was the Peruvin coast, the Andes, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon. There were so many wonderful and unforgettable experiences.

At the beautiful Hotel Paracas on the Peruvian coast.

In the central Plaza de Armas in Arequippa

Our host Pablo shows us around his home on Lake Titicaca

Exploring Peru’s southern Amazon region on the Tambapato River


London – Nov. and Dec.

I spent Thanksgiving and the first week of December in London, enjoying the holiday decorations and the seasonal spirit. I also enjoyed day trips to  the Warner Brothers Studio and Blenheim Palace in Oxford, places I had not been to before. And I experienced Belmond’s British Pullman again on a day trip to the Winchester Christmas market. All this was a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the holiday season.

The lower level of Covent Garden is reflected in one of the large Christmas Ornaments hanging from the roof.

Blenheim Palace and one of the pools in the palace garden.

Winchester Cathedral reflection in a fountain.

Statue in the crypt of Winchester Cathedral.

Hampton Court and its ice rink


Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania – Dec.

I don’t live far from Longwood Garden in southeastern Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley. As one of the country’s premier gardens, Longwood is beautiful to visit any time of year, and especially at Christmas. I almost didn’t go this year. I’ve been going every year since we moved here (I have 23 years of photos to prove it) and I did not think there was much new to see there. I was quite wrong. This year’s Christmas display in the conservatory was one of my favorites.

A Longwood Christmas  in 2019.


I don’t know if 2020 will have as many wonderful travel experiences, but I will be happy with whatever comes my way. In the meantime, I have huge backlog of stories to write and photos to process.

To all my readers and followers, thank you for your patronage in 2019 and wishing you all nothing but health, happiness and safe journeys in 2020.

To all the brands and destinations that worked with me in 2019, thank you for providing amazing experiences that were so easy to enjoy, write about and promote.

And as always, thanks for visiting.