Highlights of 2016 : Top Travel Moments Outside Suburbia

Last year around this time we were making our way back from Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahiti. Needless to say it was a fabulous familymoon, we spent New Years on air in the Pacific ocean somewhere. This year we just retuned from a much needed relaxing and refreshing trip to Cabo, Mexico in California Baja Sur.

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Winter

This winter we went looking for tropical Santa and found him in Cabo, Mexico in California Baja Sur. Although there were not many swimmable beaches, the weather and the Farm to Fork and Sea to Table cuisine more than made up for it. When in Cabo a stop at El Arco is a must, touristy as it may be. It was good that we hired a private pantoon boat as the water was pretty choppy and we had to call it a day when one of the kids started getting seasick. We got a glimpse of a couple of humpback whales and a few sea lions and pelicans during our short voyage out on the Pacific waters.  We did enjoy lazy days at the beautiful Hilton property, we got to experience their new La Vista Club concept with a VIP experience coordinator that took care of organizing everything for us. The highlight of the trip to Cabo was our lunch at Flora Farms, easily the best Lunch of the year.  We had dinner at El Restaurante in the beautiful Rosewood property at Las Ventanas, it was the most romantic spot ever – under hundreds of twinkling stars and soothing live music.

The beautiful beach and rocks near our Hilton resort in Cabo

Best Lunch of the year at Flora Farm

Romantic Dinner for four under Twinkling lights and Sombreros at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Rosewood in Cabo

El Arco, Los Cabos

Fall

For the first time we travelled during Thanksgiving and got to see Fall colors in Italy and ate way too much truffle pasta. On the way to Milan, we stopped at the Big Apple briefly, stayed at the Knickerbocker in Time Square and spent a day getting lost in the Fall colors of Central Park. We were flexible with our itinerary and found dry land in Venice and narrowly escaped the Aqua Alta. We took hundreds of photos in picturesque Burano, the lace making fishing village of Veneto. We even took some Family Photos with Flytographer – what a wonder experience it was to make memories with the kids. We stayed the same hotel in Venice where we stayed 10 years ago and in the exact same room with a balcony overlooking the Grand canal. We drove to lake Garda, Bergamo, Lake Como and Milan. We loved our stay at Principe Di Savoia, a beautiful Dorchester hotel – we didn’t expect to like the hustle and bustle of the city but our stay at Principe made us fall in Love with Milan and can’t wait to go back soon.  We missed out on the big Turkey dinner this year but made up for it with lots of Pasta, since it was truffle season – we had quite a bit of Tagliatelle with truffle. We got to see our first Christmas market in the City of Love- Verona.  Although it was not the season to visit Lake Como, we did make a quick trip to Cernobbio.  We loved the little towns around Lake Garda and hope to visit them again soon.

 

First time visiting a Christmas market, so special to have seen them in Verona

Fall colors near Principe Di Savoia, Milan

Best café the kids loved this year – Bianco Latte in Milan

Flytographer photos in Venice

Colorful Burano, where we spent an entire afternoon photographing the village, this is my favorite shot of the year

Best meal we had this year has to be the truffle pasta at Hosteria in Milan, where our waiter generously shaved some white truffle on to our saffron risotto.

Best view was from The Knickerbocker in Time Square, NYC.  We had just 36 hours and picked this hotel as our base and had a nightcap with the perfect view

Tahoe was a quick work trip visit during September, I had the opportunity to visit the Heavenly Gondola before they shut down for summer and also went on a driving trip around the beautiful lake.  We had been here on a family trip years ago for a ski trip and went tubing and dogsledding and was a totally different landscape this time around.

A couple watching the sunset in Lake Tahoe, probably my Best Sunset of the year.. just a peaceful evening

Summer

In Summer 2016 we went on a roadtrip around Iceland and then stopped over at Denmark also did a quick trip to Sweden for some Fika.  In Iceland, we got to be lighthouse keepers at Dyrholaey and went snowmobiling on an icecap covering one of Iceland’s largest volcano (You might have heard of it – Katla, the one that shut down air traffic for a week in 2010), walked on moss covered lava fields, climbed basalt columns, hiked on glaciers, got up close to the glacier on a zodiac boat tour… we took a quick trip to Akureyri to experience the landscapes of the Northern Iceland.  Iceland had us getting in touch with our adventurous side.  We went on the famous Golden tour to see many a waterfalls and the shifting techno tic plates of  and stayed at the ION Luxury hotel in Thingvellir National Park.  Although we saw the midnight sun, where the sun sinks but never disappears – we would love to go back some day to possibly witness the northern lights dancing in the Icelandic skies.

Best Adventure of 2016 was this Snowmobile ride on Katla

Best hotel of 2016 was at Ion Adventure and Luxury Hotel in Iceland

Godafoss

Best tour was with Icelandic mountain Guides, Hiking on the Skaftafell Glacier in Iceland

A Fika in Sweden after a stop at this beautiful beach

Spring

During spring break we made our usual trip to the Hill country and stayed this time at the Hyatt Lost Pines resort near Austin.  We got to hang out with the alpacas, made smores by the firepit and explored the wilderness at Lost Pines.

Walking around the Lost Pines resort

Made it to Bermuda and visited the pink sand beaches and clear blue waters in Horseshoe bay on a Girls trip.  We did a tour of St.George and enjoyed Rum swizzles at Devils Isle café in Hamilton – did you know Bermuda was called “Isle of Devils,” thanks in part to its sometime stormy weather, its loud indigenous birds and its encircling treacherous ring of coral reef that bedeviled many an approaching ship. But we found the island and the islanders dressed in their Bermuda shorts very friendly and very European even though it is closer to North America.

Loved the pink sands of Bermuda

Local events and happenings

As always we always make a conscious effort to explore more of our city and play a tourist in our city of Dallas whenever schedule allows.  We got to attend the Plano Balloon festival, the Diner en Blanc event in Dallas and the Plano Magazine anniversary celebration.

Plano Balloons 2016Plano Balloon festival

Diner En Blanc event

Plano Magazine event – My article for the magazine comes out his month, pretty excited about it 🙂


Best Local Restaurant we loved this year has to be Sixty Vines, the wine country cuisine and 40 plus wines and 20 beers on tap make us feel like we are in Napa Valley( which is on the wishlist for 2017 by the way)

We have had a very fun and busy 2016 and looking forward to everything 2017 is going to be…. 2016 also had me growing my blog from just a personal travel journal to more of a online travel resource with features from other Family Travel Bloggers and Travel Providers. As I reflect back on this past year, it has been a wonderful journey… I have loved making friends in Instagram which continues to be my favorite social media platform but hoping to grow my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest presence too in the coming years.  If you follow me on these platforms or read my posts, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the support and for joining us as we share our travels.  I’m humbled to have that more that We hope in some way we have inspired you explore your Suburbia and beyond and put those vacation days and school holidays to good use.

Sometimes though I struggle with being that annoying parent that takes too many pictures of everything instead of just enjoying the experience.  This is why you won’t see me doing insta-stories or snapchat.  All our travels are family trips that are meant to create memories with our family – one thing is guaranteed though is what you see on Outside Suburbia is authentic travel experiences – nothing that is staged or edited beyond reality.  I have instances when a social media post has inspired me to make the trip somewhere only to find the water not as turquoise or the street art or much photographed mural being on a questionable alleyway.

I continue to contribute to Huffington Post and Top Flight Family, another resource for luxury family travel and soon on the South Asian Buzz, Lonely Planet and Plano Magazine. This year, I also had the honor of contributing to a book  “The Trip that changed My Life” where travelers from all over the world came together to write a book for charity.   The book is available on amazon if you fancy a read. The paperback version is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1535187867/ and the E-Book is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M2V3YZL.

We had to turn down a couple of sponsored trips last year because of school schedule but looking forward  to working with brands and travel resources that fit into our blog and travel style. We are always wishing to knock a few things off our bucket list this year like visiting Asia – Hong Kong, Bali and Tokyo are high on the list. Hoping to visit the land down under may be even catch New Year fireworks at Sydney… or perhaps a road trip around New Zealand. We are not big planners so who knows what the future hold… whatever it is, I know it is going to be awesome!

10 thoughts on “Highlights of 2016 : Top Travel Moments Outside Suburbia”

  1. Its seems you had an awesome time in 2016!! I love your experiences and you photos, Great post and so inspiring!! I hope the best for 2017 🙂

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