Where I Went in 2016

Patrick Landre and JP Oullette, two volunteer guides on the mountain.
Patrick Landre and JP Oullette, two volunteer guides on the Mont Tremblant, Quebec.

My travel year began up in Montreal Canada where I spent a few days touring the city and feasting on the great food. Then we drove two hours north to Mount Tremblant where we skied the big mountain and got to see the beautiful Laurentians up close.

A highlight was a nighttime snowshoe hike where we tromped around up at the summit with headlamps and then walked to a cozy cabin for fondue. Then we took the steep route down the mountain following each other on snowshoes.

Early morning tidepool exploring at Treasure Island Park in Laguna Beach.
Early morning tidepool exploring at Treasure Island Park in Laguna Beach, California.

In February, we took our annual California road trip to visit three new cities–Long Beach, Palm Springs and Laguna Beach. Each of these cities has their own unique personality, we were especially impressed with how little-known Long Beach is, with its affordable rents and sparkling waterfront.

We drove up to Palm Springs in time for their annual Midcentury Modernism Week, when the wonderful 1950s and ’60s houses there are all on display, and seeing these, including Frank Sinatra’s house, was a hoot!

Laguna is the ultimate beach town and some time on the warm sand warmed us up enough to return to frigid February in Massachusetts.

My travels took me to downtown Las Vegas in April, and it was great seeing how much of Vegas there is beyond the Strip.  A music festival happening at the same time gave me a chance to wander many venues around downtown and see different bands, and a dinner at a classic mobster restaurant was also a treat.

In May I was happy to accept an invitation to a small island off the coast of Croatia called Losinj, and be there for the opening of a new museum, celebrating a newly restored statue, a treasure once lost in the ocean, called Apoxymenos. Flying in a small plane above Venice to this sparkling oceanside island was a travel highlight of the year.

The Hole in the Wall near Whale Cove, Grand Manan Island New Brunswick. Mary Gilman photos.
The Hole in the Wall near Whale Cove, Grand Manan Island New Brunswick. Mary Gilman photos.

I joined many friends in PR at the annual Public Relations Society of America travel conference in Houston, where I discovered a lot to love about this the most diverse city in the USA, where more than 90 anguages are spoken, by riding my bike around the city’s river and park.

The following month, it was off to New Orleans to join hundreds of overseas travel writers for the annual IPW meeting with a party in the Super Dome.

Wonderful New Brunswick

One of the year’s biggest and best surprises awaited us up in New Brunswick, Canada when we drove to St. Andrews-by-the-Sea.  This wonderful seaside village has excellent whale watching and a bike trail that winds around next the ocean, plus a golf course with dazzling ocean views.

The ritual of handwashing with a special ladle is demonstrated at the Senso-Ji Temple at the Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo.
The ritual of handwashing with a special ladle is demonstrated at the Senso-Ji Temple at the Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo.

Our excursion for a few days to Grand Manan Island, a 90-minute ferry ride away, opened our eyes to how fun it is to visit a seaside island with virtually no tourists, and no crowds. In our own car.
We came back gushing about what a marvelous and undiscovered place it is!

I finished the year by returning to a favorite place, Japan, for a weeklong trip that included many trips on the famous Shinkensen bullet train, and we visited some less-traveled parts of the country in the Japanese Alps.  Tokyo’s Edo-Tokyo museum was especially notable, such a long history and fascinating culture.

My last trip was to London, where I spent time visiting tourism folks at the World Travel Market and spent a few days in lovely Sussex, in the far southwest.

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