Friday May 03, 2024

Top Ten Places to Return

Top Ten Places to Return

On this episode of Go See Do Explore, Ashleigh and Christopher share their top 10 places they would like to return to and reminisce about past travels from onboard the California Zephyr from Chicago to California. Shoutout to the Lou Mongello and the WDW Radio Show for inspiration for this episode. 

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Christopher's #1: Mount Desert Island, Maine

Christopher's first choice is Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park in Maine. He feels like he didn't get enough time to hike all the trails and see everything he wanted to when they visited in 2019. Ashleigh agrees and suggests bringing their kayaks to explore the ponds and lakes.

Ashleigh's #1: The Black Hills, South Dakota

Ashleigh's first pick is the Black Hills of South Dakota. When they spent a week there in 2022, she feels like they only scratched the surface. She wants to dig deeper into Custer State Park and see more of Badlands National Park. She also suggests camping in Custer State Park next time.

Christopher's #2: Traverse City, Michigan

Christopher's second choice is Traverse City, Michigan. It's an easy drive from their home in Michigan, but he loves the natural beauty and wineries. He says it feels like home. 

Ashleigh's #2: Washington, D.C.

Ashleigh surprises Christopher with her second pick of Washington, D.C. They only spent one day seeing the monuments when they were in college. She wants to see the cherry blossoms in spring, explore the Smithsonian museums, and sample the international cuisine.

Wine Break: Texas Wine

The hosts take a wine break, as is tradition on their train journeys. They are drinking a Malbec from William Chris Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. They discuss the growing Texas wine industry and how it produces unique wines from warmer climate grapes like Tempranillo and Albarino.

Christopher's #3: Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Christopher chooses the Valle de Guadalupe wine region in Baja California, near Ensenada, Mexico. They discovered it on a cruise excursion last year. He loved the beautiful scenery, excellent wine, and olive groves. It's harder to access from the U.S. but he has an elaborate plan to return.

Ashleigh's #3: St. Maarten

Ashleigh picks the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean. She fell in love with the French side of the island, especially the seaside village of Grand Case. She reminisces about an incredible meal at a restaurant called Nice SXM, where she first discovered her love of pesto.

Christopher's #4: Toledo, Spain

Christopher chooses Toledo, Spain for his fourth destination. He loves how old and historic it is compared to cities in the U.S. The friendly locals, fun restaurants and the ability to explore at night when the day tourists leave make it special. He tells the funny story about their meal being served in a cocktail shaker.

Ashleigh's #4: Azores, Portugal

Ashleigh is shocked Christopher didn't include the Azores islands of Portugal on his list. They only got a small taste on a cruise shore excursion, but loved the tea plantation, geothermal cooking, mineral springs, and the beautiful scenery of places like Lagoa do Fogo.

Christopher's #5: Puerto Rico

Christopher picks Puerto Rico as his final destination. He explains all of the reasons he loves it - the beaches, rainforests, history of Old San Juan, and the food and culture. He even looks at real estate listings there frequently. Ashleigh agrees Old San Juan is one of her favorite cities.

Ashleigh's #5: Douro Valley, Portugal

Ashleigh closes her list with the Douro Valley wine region of Portugal. She wants to take the scenic train from Porto through the valley and spend more time in the countryside and wineries.

Final Segment: Book Recommendation

Ashleigh recommends the book Wine Trails of the U.S. and Canada by Lonely Planet. It has guided them to excellent wineries during their wine travels everywhere except Michigan. Christopher suggests they should write a Michigan wine guidebook.

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