New Years Resolutions

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I’ll admit to it, I’m one of those weirdos who writes up a list of New Year’s resolutions every year.  This year is no exception except I’ve decided to make a list of new places/experiences I’d like to complete and hope that by publicizing it here, I’ll be forced to comply.   Let me know you what you think of  of the list: any suggestions, comments, or ideas.

1)      Travel Abroad:

I’d never been out of the country (Bermuda and Canada, by my own admission, don’t count).    My number one goal this year is to change that.  I have three months free in the summer and have been putting aside funds to make this possible.  I’m going to start asking around and seeing if I have any interested friends, but if not will possible make this my first solo trek.  Out of all the things on my list, this is the one I feel needs to be done.     There are a million places I’d like to see, but for my first foray abroad, I’ve narrowed my choices to Ireland or Iceland.

I saw a television special on Iceland one rare Friday when I was staying in sick and have had on the top of my travel list ever since.   It’s reasonably priced (due to the recession), has almost twenty four hours of light, is a world renowned party destination and has great adventure travel.  I’ve done some research on Iceland and one appealing way to see the country is to take a Jeep tour.  I’ll be posting the research I do on both locales as I delve more into this.

Ireland is self explanatory. It will almost feel criminal if this isn’t the first foreign country I see.  I live and breathe all things Irish (and St. Patrick’s Day related).  I haven’t done as much research the past year into Ireland as I have with Iceland (maybe because I have much more base knowledge of the country) but will start doing and posting that as well in the near future.

2)      Maine/New England Roadtrip:

My buddies and I were supposed to take a trip to Millinocket Maine this fall for a skydiving/white water rafting trip (www.jumpandraft.com).   Irene forced us to relocate to Pittsburgh for a sky diving/ATV/bar-hopping tour. Even though our sky diving was cancelled due to windage, I wasn’t mad.  It was a great trip and Pittsburgh’s one of my favorite destinations.

I did extensive summer-long research on both jumpandraft.com and possible itineraries up to Maine and got excited about the region.  I’d like to convince a group of friends to take a New England road trip up to Maine for a few days in the summer.  Here’s my ideal itinerary.

Millinocket is a nine hour drive from New York City (I was going with friends from Hoboken).  Ten hours is a long time in the car, even with people I like, so I’d rather split the drive up.  Our tentative plans for last year were to stop in Boston, but since I was in Boston for Halloween and will be up there again come St. Pat’s, I’d like to see somewhere else.  My brother, also doing research for our doomed fall venture really liked Portland, Maine.  It’s a harbor town, known for its plethora of microbreweries (including Shipyard, who makes the Pumpkinhead Ale that destroyed me Halloween weekend), cheaper hotels than Boston, and I bet I could find a killer lobster roll.  We’d spend the weekend at jumpandraft (you could find all inclusive packages for under $500.00 which includes sky-diving, rafting, food, and camping…of course they don’t include booze).  After a adventure and booze filled weekend no one’s going to want to make the ten hour trip again so I’d like to pit-stop in Cape Cod, maybe even take the ferry out to Martha’s Vineyard for the day.

 

3)      Windsurfing Lessons:

I first got it into my head to take windsurfing lessons when I went kayaking at Marsh Creek State park, located a half hour from my Lancaster home base near West Chester.  They offer 90 minute windsurfing instruction for $125.00.

Now half the reason I wanted to do this was because I thought taking windsurfing classes in Pennsylvania would be a funny story (I mean..we are landlocked).  However, after doing some research I find out that not only was modern windsurfing invented in PA, but in NEPA.  A guy from Wilkes Barre patented the first modern windsurfing board that he used on the Susquehanna River.  Who would’ve thought?   Now I feel like it’s my cultural duty  to go through with this.  A bonus: the same guy was quoted as calling windsurfing, “surfing’s ginger cousin.”
I was surprised to find that the several windsurfing classes/rentals exist close to my.  Ebbtidewindsurfing is another option, just north of Phillly.

 

4)      Kayak the Chesapeake Bay:

When my brother lived in Media we discussed taking a day trip to kayak the Chesapeake Bay, as we figured it wasn’t a bad trip from there.  I recently map quested it.  You can reach Havre De Grace, MD where they have bay kayaking in an hour and seven minutes from the Philly area.  It’s an hour and eleven minutes from Lancaster.

Havre De Grace is where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay and is a reasonable drive for a daytrip.  There are several kayaking outfitters located in town ranging from hourly kayak rentals to guided historical tours from the water.   .  I’m also a sucker for MD crab dip (even though my favorite is from New Deck Tavern in Philadelphia).

5)      Zipline at Night:

I’ve been zip-lining twice, once in the snow at Hunter Mountain, Ny and another time in the fall at Spring Mt. PA.  Spring Mountain was the better of the two experiences.  They offer nighttime “Heart of Darkness” canopy tours which includes a hike up the darkened mountain.  This is key for one main major reason: I’m terrified of heights.  Now, I could zipline and appear brave with depth perception eliminated.  It sounds like a perfect Sunday night summer activity to me—especially if it’s a full moon.

 

6)      Experience Pittsburgh In the Summer:

I’ve been to Pittsburgh twice and am more impressed with the city each time.  I know I’m going again in February for my little cousin’s 21st birthday, but want to experience the city in the summer months.  The Allegheny and Monongahela rivers are a part of Pittsburgh and I’m sure the city has a great riverside bar scene.  I’m also interested in kayaking viewing skyline by water.  My brother mentioned he heard they have kayak pubcrawls.

Ohiopyle State park, an hour southeast of Pittsburgh offers what looks like good white water rafting.  My brother is going to Pitt Law School next year, so I’m thinking a trip to look for housing is a definite this summer.

 

7)      Southern Road Trip:

I’ve been saying for years I wanted to do a deep south bar crawl, like Swamp people style deep south.  I’ve played around with a few itineraries before but have ammended my ways after viewing the video to my current favorite tune, One More Drinking Song.   Check out the link, and check out the pedal bar in the video.   Immediately after viewing this photo for the first time I knew I needed to involved myself in the pedal bar: it.   I did some research and found that the pedal bar featured in the video is based in Nashville, TN so ammended my initial deep south road trip to be more of a northern route in order to include Nashville.  Not only does Nashville have the Pedal Bar, but an incredible live music scene and is the capital of country music, which I’m increasingly into.

Nashville will be the last stop on my dream southern roadtrip.  The first will be Asheville North Carolina.  Ashville’s not your typical tourist desination and truthfully I’m not even sure where I first heard of it, but it looks awesome.  Ashville’s a small city situated in western North Carolina and is appealing to me for the following reason:

  • It’s the white water rafting capital of the south (it’s also big with disc golfers which I’m not thrilled with)
  • The city is supposedly pretty haunted and one of the bigger TripAdvisor suggestions is the haunted comedy BYOB bus tour.
  • Ashville boasts one of the first ziplining facilities in the U.S
  • They have a weekly city wide drum circle every Friday

It just looks like a cool not very publicized city.   I’d like to drive down to Ashville, spend a few days there, then take the Blue Ride Highway over to Nashville, stopping for rafting and hiking on the way (and hopefully a couple of scary/fascinating southern redneck bars).

 

8)      Cross Country Ski Trip:

I’m an avid Cross Country skier and going to Lake Placid this weekend.   I read a magazine article about Crystal Lake Ski Center over the summer.    There’s not really anywhere to go in the Lancaster area, and I’d like to expand my cross country ski repertoire outside NEPA.

 

9)      Visit a Shooting Range:

I’ve never fired a gun and for the longest time have never had the urge.  However, my friend Eric and I were intrigued when a LivingSocial Adventure went on sale for shooting and tequila tasting (great combo, right?).  Unfortunately we had a Christmas party obligation the weekend it was going on.  He’s been bothering me to set something up for us involving guns and alcohol, and I could always stand to look a little more badass than usual.

10)   Kayak or Jetski The Susquehanna River:

Every time I go running by the river there are people boating or jet skiing. I’m close enough that I’d be pissed if I never took advantage of this.  Maybe I’ll windsurf it if I get that out of the way first.

 

11)   Southern PA Brewery Tour:

Southern PA has a ton of breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs (Yuengling arguably being the most famous).  I’d like to set aside a Saturday to try and see as many of them as possible.

 

12)   Quebec or Montreal:

It’s a drivable weekend trip where people don’t speak the language.  I’ve heard awesome things about Montreal nightlife.  Maybe I could check this off when I’m up in Maine.

 

13)   See Bruce Springsteen Live:

Bruce announced he’s going back on tour and I’ll be there at some point.  The man is 63 and still crowdsurfs (and not in a desperate way): there’s a reason he’s been dubbed “The Boss.”  That, and “Rosalita” live is life changing.  I’m seeing Dropkick Murphy’s on St. Patrick’s Day in Lowell, MA and I’m praying Bruce makes another cameo; this might make me start going to mass again.

 

14)   Visit Centralia:

Centralia is PA’s resident ghost town (technically it has a population of 10) and I need to make a detour.  Centralia was a booming metropolis of 1000 in 1981 when the mines below it caught fire.  It was subsequently abandoned and is one of the few real “ghost  towns” in the US.  Allegedly it’s not more than paved roads running through fields, but it’s only a short detour off of 81 on my back to NEPA and one of those things I keep saying “I’ll stop and see next time.”

 

15)   Hit Up At Least One Booze Cruise:

There really are few things better than getting a bunch of friends together to drink on a boat.  Last year I had an absolutely devastating time in Sea Isle City.  Philly, NY, and even Lake Wallenpaupack all have booze cruises.

 

16)   Lancaster to Philadelphia Bar Crawl:

Route 30, between Lancaster and Philly is one of the weirdest roads I’ve ever been to.  I’ve driven it a dozen times since I’ve been down here but never stopped to sample the goods.  It’s reminiscent of a route 66 situation, with tons of tiny hotels I wonder how make their ends meet, Amish carriage rides, and bizarre looking restaurants, bars, and flea markets.  I can’t even properly describe it other than I always see one thing that genuinely makes me think “what the hell.” I need to take a day here sometime soon.

 

17)   Visit Austin Texas:

I’ve been wanting to visit Austin, Texas since learning it’s unofficial motto is “keep Austin” weird.  It’s also known for its dive bars, food trucks, live music scene, and the only nude beach in Texas is located near the city limits…really, what more could you ask for?

 

18)   Go Old School Camping:

My friends and I go camping every summer at Kittatiny Camp Grounds in Barryville New York. While this is always a great and inexpensive trip, it’s basically fake camping. Our cars are a couple of feet away with anything we need, we usually have way more food than we could eat, the campground has bathroom facilities, and instead of stories around the campfire, every year we inevitably take a trip to the local bar.

My friends and I used to go legitimate camping every once in a while in high school/summer break during college.  There’s an old stone quarry near where I grew up.  We would have to walk about a mile up into the woods, carrying just what we could.  We only ever stayed a night, but it was fun.   There was absolutely no place to pitch a tent, so it’d inevitably end up just a punch of us in sleeping bags around a fire.  Maybe I’m getting nostalgic as I approach my late twenties, but I miss it and hope I could con a few friends into relieving those earlier years.

19)   Go to a Music Festival:

A tertiary New Years Resolution is to see more concerts.   What I’ve never been to is a music festival where one price covers multiple acts (Warped Tour and Preakness don’t count).   I was set to attend a mini-Irish festival this past September, but an impromptu bar tour squashed that pretty quick.

 

 

20)    Take Boxing Lessons:

I enjoy new athletic endeavors.  Last year I attempted, and became a fan of, both paddle boarding and more recently yoga.  This year I’d like to tackle boxing.   We have a punching bag in my basement back home and it’s an intense workout.  I recently saw a deal on Living Social for a boxing course in Philly which re-piqued my interest in it.  I haven’t done much research into this yet and it’s the number twenty spot on my list for a reason.  I workout pretty consistently already and don’t really need to get in shape.  This might be something I try for a month in the summer when I have the time to give it my all.

3 comments on “New Years Resolutions”

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