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Tips + Tricks: Maximizing Vacation Excitement

20 Feb

Hawaii beach reads
It’s not the destination but the journey.

One of my favorite things to do ahead of a vacation is to read up on my destination. But not just factual stuff about sites to see and the best places to eat. I certainly do that legwork too, but that’s really the provenance of my husband, the information-gatherer and map-lover. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love reading fiction based in favorite vacation spots. I think it’s a remnant from childhood when I loved reading historical fiction; I loved learning about the world without realizing it.

Before my honeymoon in Hawaii, I read two amazing books set in Maui, very close to where we stayed actually in Lahaina. Soon, I’ll dive into some set in the Palm Beach area. Not only does this give me a sense of the place before traveling, but it encourages a sort of deja-vu-like feeling once I’ve arrived. The shock of suddenly entering a new place is lessened and replaced with a friendlier, oh, it’s you, I-kind-of-already-know-you feeling that is awesome. And I can’t even express how wonderful it is to later re-read these books after a vacation. I’m always immediately brought back. It’s almost like I’ve extended the vacation and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t appreciate that?!

1. Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio

2. The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

Finally explored the Boston Harbor Islands

2 Nov


Err… island I suppose I should say. This has been on our to-do list for ages but it was very much a spur of the moment decision to finally go. We left a little late so after a quick pit-stop on Spectacle for lunch, we caught the last ferry over to Georges Island, home of Fort Warren.  It’s a really quick ride out to and between the islands, but sitting there in the sun, facing the harbor, Boston felt worlds away. It was incredibly peaceful. Georges is similar to Castle Island in South Boston in that the “castle” takes up most of the land; you can walk around both. Once Brian pried me from my gorgeous seaside spot in the sun, we invited ourselves onto a small free tour given by the rangers on the island. I recommend taking the tour if you go because the guides will take you into different areas of the fort, often behind locked doors, and usually have lots of interesting and fun little tidbits of info or lore. I could have done without the one about the haunted spots while we were in them though! All in all, it was a fun way to spend a day somewhere new without traveling too far. If you’re interested in going, here is where we found our planning information: