Am I the only one that feels like pre-trip daydreaming is one of the best parts of a travel?
You guys might remember that last fall, I signed up for Trover and used it to help me decide whether Central America or Southeast Asia would be my next stop. (Non spoiler alert! Central ‘Merica won.) For those of you not yet on the Trovewagon, it’s basically the super addictive love child of Instagram, Pinterest, a guidebook, and that really well-dressed-and-traveled friend of a friend that you always email for tips when you’re heading somewhere new. Or, in less orgy-related terms, Trover is a social media based travel planning tool in which users share discoveries, which fellow users can curate into inspirational lists for their own future travels.
Right now, I’m using Trover to do two of my favorite things — plan upcoming trips and give you guys a preview of them. As usual, I can’t wait to hear your tip and ideas, and what you’re most excited to hear about from me.
In comparison to my current Central America wanderings, which are deliciously unplanned and spontaneous, my summer plans for the next four months are pretty definitively mapped out. And there are a lot of them — but it’s going to be the best kind of busy. I’m so energized looking at my upcoming calendar! As usual, New York will be my base camp while I wander, with my “home” time split between Albany and Brooklyn. Here’s what else is on the docket:
1 // New York State Scramble // Corning, Rochester and Ithaca
I always say that summer is my time to explore my own backyard, but I admit that statement is a bit of a stretch with Los Angeles a good 3,000 miles from Albany. But this time, I really mean it — I’m hitting the road to spend some quality time with my own home state of New York. It all started with my annual itch to go see my older sister in Rochester — and quickly snowballed to include stops to try glass blowing at the famous museum in Corning, and to go glamping in the famed gorgeous gorges of Ithaca (and heck yes I am buying that t-shirt!) And I timed the whole thing so that I’ll be able to attend both Albany’s Tulip Fest and Rochester’s Lilac version — festivities will include my first ever 10K. Wish me luck!
New York State Scramble – a photo list by Alexandra BaackesTrover Take: Not only did I definitively add Watkin’s Glen Waterfall to the Corning itinerary after seeing the Trover affinity for it, to my shock I even spotted a few places I need to check out in Albany! Try searching for your own hometown — you might be surprised what you find.
2 // My Old Classic // Martha’s Vineyard
It really amazes me how after twenty years of trips here, I still swoon at just the thought of Martha’s Vineyard. My old childhood vacation spot has taken over a whole new corner of my heart since my mom started making a home here. This summer, I have two trips planned — one with friends, and one with family — and a third up in the air. My major goal while I’m there this time is to write a budget guide for the island — I want everyone to experience Martha’s Vineyard! Martha’s Vineyard Memories – a photo list by Alexandra Baackes
Trover’s Take: There aren’t many discoveries for Martha’s Vineyard — which means it’s a place I’ll be focusing on adding a few tips for this summer! What I did find, however, was that a side trip to Falmouth needs to be in my future. Who knew all this cuteness was just a ferry ride away? Actually, that’s one of my favorite things about Trover — because of the way discoveries are arranged by distance from your intended destination, it’s easy to stumble upon must-do side trips that you otherwise might not have known about.
3 // Swinging South // Nashville and Lexington
Even before I became rabidly obsessed with the TV show by the same name, Nashville has topped my list of US cities I’m dying to visit. And this summer, I’ll finally get a first go at it — I’m going to go see my girl Kristin on her home turf! After a few days cruising around Music City, we’re heading to the Tennessee countryside to take on Bonaroo with a swoon-worthy crew including two of my favorite fellow writers, Kent and Canaan. I’ve developed a serious case of festival fever in the past few years, so I couldn’t be happier about checking out a new one — and doing it with such an awesome cast of characters to boot. (Speaking of boots — I need to acquire a kickass pair of cowgirl ones!)
Post-Bonaroo, we’ll trade those cowgirl boots for business suits and head to the PRSA’s 2015 Travel and Tourism conference in Lexington, Kentucky, where Kristin and I will both be speaking on panels. Two new states in one trip? Just thirty-one more to go!
Southern Swoop: Nashville and Lexington – a photo list by Alexandra BaackesTrover Take: While Kristin is basically the Queen of Nashville and I’m sure will have a fabulous itinerary planned, Trover uncovered a few places I will specially request, like Hatch Show Print letterpress shop and Jeni’s Ice Cream.
4 // Caribbean Queen // Bermuda, Bonaire and Aruba
The Caribbean is calling! I was always planning to end my current Central America trip with a week in Grand Cayman celebrating Batabano with travel bestie Heather — the perfect final stop en route to a summer stateside. Little did I know at the time it would be far from my only Caribbean island of the season! I made a conscious decision after my last blogaversary to be insanely picky with press trips and sponsored activities, and I’ve stuck to it, turning down truly amazing opportunities because they didn’t align just right with my goals or because they would have interfered with my independent travels. Which means that when I do say yes to something, it’s because it’s the perfect fit — like a diving trip to Bonaire with two of my favorite fellow mermaids, Kristin and Angie; or a weekend getaway to Bermuda, an unbelievably convenient hop from my summer base camp in New York. (Okay, technically Bermuda isn’t in the Caribbean… but it is an island floating around in that general-ish region. Close enough, no?) Bonaire has been on my diving bucket list for years, and I am giddy at the thought of a week spent exploring its waters — not to mention a couple days in Aruba afterwards to decompress. And Bermuda? I’ve been intrigued by it ever since I used to watch the Hamilton-bound cruise ships take off from Manhattan and marvel that the next day its inhabitants would be lounging on a pink sand beach. I’ll be staying in the newly renovated Fairmont Hamilton Princess — referred to locally as the Pink Palace — and can’t wait to soak up this classic slice of Bermuda. Caribbean Calling – a photo list by Alexandra Baackes
Trover Take: I was pleasantly surprised by how many discoveries there were for these tiny little islands! As my go-to guidebook series Lonely Planet doesn’t publish individual titles on the three, it was great to get a feel and overview for where I’m headed. Another bonus — some of the Trovers who uploaded great discoveries also linked to blog posts that I checked out with even more great info. Must sees? The salt flats in Bonaire (I’m a certified sodium addict), the pet cemetery in Aruba (morbid but sweet!), the crystal caves in Bermuda (even I need a break from the sun sometimes), and anywhere I can snap colorful photos of pink beaches or flamingos — Trover provides great inspiration for travel photographer.
5 // West is Best // All over!
One piece of news that will definitely be reshaping my stateside time over the next few years: my dad moved to LA! He was actually meant to retire this year but when an incredible career opportunity popped up, he decided to kiss Philadelphia goodbye (for now) and head west. And I’ll be following — I already have two trips planned to the City of Angels. One will be a quick jaunt for Father’s Day, but the other will be part of a much larger excursion. Because this summer…
…I’m going back to Burning Man! And this round, I’m going to make the most of my time in the region. In addition to Black Rock City, I’ll hit up Reno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and maybe even Seattle or San Francisco — I’m so lucky to have friends and family in so many amazing cities.
West is Best – a photo list by Alexandra BaackesTrover Take: First of all, can I say how impressed I am by the number of Troving Burners out there? Seeing their discoveries got me super excited to make my way back to the Playa. Also, out of all the cities I looked into, Trover is a goldmine for LA. I have to admit that despite never having been, I’ve always disliked LA in theory. And as excited as I’ve been for my dad, the idea of having him so far away from my normal US base camp has been hard to get used to (selfish, I know, when I spend so little time there). But I can honestly say, browsing through Trover was the first time I got genuinely excited about it. I can’t wait to check out some of these hidden gems — from restaurants to street art districts to cool architecture hotspots — with my dad.
6 // Newfoundland
I’m still throwing around dates and looking at flights for this one. But if all goes well, I’ll be making my first serious jaunt to Canada this summer. Considering Canadians are pretty universally accepted to be the nicest people in the world, I find it very telling that whenever Newfoundland comes up in conversation, everyone feels the need to point out that the people there are so nice! Snorkeling with whales, wandering the colorful streets of St. John, and hiking my heart out? Yes please. Finding Newfoundland – a photo list by Alexandra Baackes
Trover Take: In addition to the visual gems that had me basically packing my passport already, that famous Newfoundland niceness popped up even on Trover — within a day of me starting to put together my list, I had two friendly comments pop up, one from a local Trover offering any advice or travel planning help I might need.
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It’s going to be an amazing summer, and I’m literally squirming with excitement already. So… let’s hear it! What are your summer plans? Which of mine are you most excited to read about? Any post requests?
And I can’t wait to hear your tips and tricks — even better, upload them to Trover for everyone to enjoy. Share by signing up on Trover.com or downloading the app on Android or iPhone — and don’t forget to #TroveOn with me, too. Leave a link to your profile in the comments here so I can follow you!
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This post is branded content brought to you in collaboration with Trover. As with any post, you receive my honest opinions, thorough reviews, and sincere failed attempts at humor.