2012: The Year in Travel.

2012 was the year of Chicago. The year of Florida. The year of scenic business trips. The year of domestic travel, minus some time in southern Ontario. It was even the year of coffee.

San Francisco

The highlight of my travel year was San Francisco and the Bay Area. I was there for a Yahoo technology conference and extended my stay. I hung out along the PCH and on the Golden Gate Bridge, in Capitola, on Yahoo’s campus in the heart of Silicon Valley and everywhere in between. It never gets old getting an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista in San Francisco, grabbing a coffee at Mr. Toots in Capitola, staring at the Pacific from Ocean Beach or seeing the strawberries and chocolate at Pier 39.

San Francisco skyline from Coit Tower


For another geeky conference I went to Chicago via train. It was my first travels by train since I was in elementary school. While in the Windy City I spent an evening on a yacht on Lake Michigan overlooking the skyline. I walked up and down the lakeshore and went to technology vendor parties at some great restaurants around town. I especially loved the dessert, views and variety of mojitos at ZED451 and the tacos, salsa and other Mexican cuisine and drinks at Mercadito Chicago. I also hung out with Pola of Jetting Around at The Wormhole Coffee in Wicker Park and got a little tour of the area.

Chicago skyline at dusk from Lake Michigan

It wasn’t just work that brought me to Chicago this year. I took a random day trip there in the winter and hung out at the beach and at Gino’s East. On a day trip to Milwaukee, I stopped in the Windy City and hung out in Wrigleyville in the morning.

Chicago, Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville

I also came to town for a day for the #WindyCityTweetup. Several travel bloggers and I got deep-dish pizza at Exchequer Pub (hidden gem), waited an obscenely long time (but fun time) for donuts (we might still be in line), had cocktails in The Palmer House Hilton, went on an architectural boat tour and made weird poses around The Bean. It was great meeting and getting to know Raul, Leah, Ted, Lola, Francesca and the aforementioned Pola.

Chicago The Bean, Cloud Gate

Speaking of Milwaukee, when I got there I hung out at various points along Lake Michigan and grabbed one of the best burgers I’ve ever had from AJ Bombers.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin burgers, AJ Bombers

The Gulf Coast of Florida

I took two trips to Florida with my girlfriend in a few week period of time to see family. First we went to Pensacola and neighboring Alabama. I was introduced to Flora-Bama and the Bushwacker. Oh boy!

Pensacola, Florida, Alabama, Flora-Bama, bushwackers

The next trip was to Punta Gorda and Sarasota for the Fourth of July weekend. We saw fireworks off Charlotte Harbor and hung out with tropical drinks along Sarasota Bay. I love the Gulf of Mexico!

Sarasota Bay, Florida

Ontario, Canada

My only International travel was spent in Canada across the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Leamington and along Lake Erie in southern Ontario. I became hooked on whiskey after getting a tour of the Canadian Club headquarters. I also went to the southern most point in Canada, Point Pelee.

Essex, Leamington, Point Peele, Ontario, Canada - Lake Erie

Day Trips

Numerous day trips to Cleveland involved coffee house and neighborhood hopping during a traveling work day, hanging out at West Side Market and A Christmas Story house and capturing the skyline at every chance.

West Side Market, Ohio City neighborhood, Cleveland

Day trips also involved Erie, PA and New York to hangout along Lake Erie and at various parks. I took some evening drives to the west coast of Michigan to checkout various lighthouses and piers along Lake Michigan, including in Grand Haven. Several day trips to Findlay, Ohio were nade to enjoy specialty coffee, worldly mac ‘n cheese, Irish food and beverages and Japanese hibachi.

Grand Haven pier, lighthouse, Michigan, Lake Michigan

Detroit and Atlanta

What about the two places I call home? In Detroit, I spent lots of time both working and relaxing in various coffee houses in Mexicantown, Midtown, Eastern Market and Downtown, recently checking out the holiday scene. In Atlanta it was Piedmont Park and the Little Five Points, Virginia Highlands, East Atlanta Village, Midtown and Downtown neighborhoods. Lot’s of coffee was flowing.

Detroit, Mexicantown neighborhood, bakery

Piedmont Park, Midtown, Atlanta

I also took a road trip between the two, hanging out at some of my favorite spots in Chattanooga and Knoxville. On the same trip I spent the day working, coffeehouse hopping in Lexington, Kentucky. Common Grounds Coffee House was one of my stops.

Common Grounds Coffee House, Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky

Coffee, coffee and more coffee

2012 will also be remembered as the start of my extreme coffeehouse hopping. From Georgia and Michigan, to Cleveland, Chicago and San Francisco I don’t want to know how many non-chain coffee houses I was in and how many lattes, Spanish coffees and holiday beverages I consumed. Along with The Wormhole Coffee in Chicago, Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco was a highlight. More posts ahead on the coffee front. πŸ™‚

Coffee in California


Back to Atlanta and Georgia I went tubing down the Chattahoochee River, captured the holiday scene, neighborhood bar hopped, consumed lots of Fellini’s Pizza and captured the Midtown and Downtown skylines from every place imaginable. In between lots of time was spent at various wineries in North Georgia Wine Country. Great wine, times and family fun.

Midtown Atlanta

What might be ahead?

I might not have ventured far a lot of the time but I sure packed in a lot. It’s amazing what you can see not to far from the homestead. Who knows what 2013 will bring? NYC, Charleston, Niagara Falls, Wellington, somewhere tropical, who knows. πŸ™‚ Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and the Midwest will have their place as will several new coffeehouse stops and day trips I’m sure.

2013 is almost here. Maybe I will see you out on the open road. How would you summarize your 2012 travels? What are you thinking for the coming year?

12 responses to “2012: The Year in Travel.

  1. It is amazing what you can see not all that far from home (which is the point of Midwest Guest).
    We’re trying to get back down to Cleveland soon ourselves. I’ve been longing to visit the market again!

    • Definitely! I was actually at West Side Market on Monday and picked up a bunch of veggies. Hope you guys get there soon. πŸ™‚

  2. Sounds like a great year and here’s to lots of travels in 2013! I didn’t get away quite as much as I’d like to this year (though when do I ever!) but just booked my first big trip for next year to Las Vegas and around the US Southwest.

  3. I think you may be single-handedly driving up the price of coffee futures! Great trips this year all over the country for you! And I never thought Canada had a southernmost point – lol!

    • Yeah it seems like all coffee all the time for me these days lol. Always on the lookout for a coffee house or cafΓ© wherever at. Most people dont know that Windsor, Ontario and Canada are actually south of Detroit. πŸ™‚

  4. Looks like a great year. Glad to have been a part of it and thanks for the link. Great picture of the Chicago Windy City tweet-up.

  5. What a fun year! You’re right – traveling near home can be fun and eventful too. And of course I love your “coffeehouse hopping” idea. πŸ˜€ Let’s grab a latte somewhere in 2013, cheers!

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