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As 2014 winds down, I’ve again culled my favourite travel adventures from the past year to share with you all. In no particular order, they are:

Nova Scotia June 2014-59

1. The Historic Halliburton House Inn

In the heart of Atlantic Canada’s Halifax sits a converted row of early 1800’s heritage houses, now home to a boutique hotel near the waterfront. The hotel’s own Stories Restaurant includes freshly-hooked seafood as well as sustainably-sourced meat and game.

Peggy's Cove lighthouse
[The iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, Nova Scotia]

2. Peggy’s Cove Gems: Peggy of the Cove, Oceanstone Resort, Acadian Maple Shop

Peggy’s Cove is only an hour outside of Nova Scotia, yet the tranquil scenery and beauty of this little fishing village makes for a relaxing getaway, filled with artists who call this 1811 village home. Oceanstone Resort is a gorgeous spot right on the Atlantic, with quaint, cozy cottages containing decks that long for guests to enjoy, together with a good book and cup of tea or glass of wine.

Heading back to Halifax along Peggy’s Cove Road, don’t miss Peggy of the Cove, award-winning author Ivan Fraser’s dedication to all things Peggy in his sixth-generation family home. Bring home some great foodstuffs for maple-loving friends at Acadian Maple Products in Upper Tantallon. Check out their maple wine and Cumberland County maple coffee!

Sandes of Time B&B
[Sandes of Time B&B, interior]

3. Exploring Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory

From quaint, luxurious Sandes of Time B&B to bistros to craft breweries, Mt. Hood boasts a wide variety of adventures and natural beauty making for a great road trip.

Topping any Mt. Hood itinerary of course is a visit (and if you’re lucky, a stay) at the Timberline Lodge, a work of art built during America’s Great Depression. One of the most highly-touristed visitor attractions in Oregon, it also featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic The Shining, aerial and exterior shots of the lodge used in the film’s opening sequence.

Secrets Silversands Resort-34
[A view to die for: Riviera Cancun at Secrets Silversands]

4. Secrets Silversands Resort, Riviera Cancun, Mexico

This was our first adults-only, all-inclusive experience in Mexico and although I’d been to Acapulco many years back, this was a completely different experience. Staying at a resort along a large stretch of road filled with more resorts may not sound like your cup of tea, but once you’ve checked in and found your favourite pool, bartender, and method of ‘fun’, this can be a sweet, no-brainer vacation. Local artisans come to the resort to sell their wares on warm, balmy evenings, the perfect chance to lazily peruse their trinket-filled tables with a colourful, fruity drink in hand.

Restaurants are plentiful at Secrets Silversands, meals are well-prepared, artfully presented, and not served in huge portions, giving guests time to move on to a café for dessert, or to an additional restaurant if they so desire. For a day out to local ruins, there’s a café with grab-and-go sandwiches, hot and cold drinks, and all the great little pastries you could wish for in these parts.

San Francisco August 2014-12
[San Francisco, a Feast for the Senses ]

5. San Francisco, An Ever-Evolving Feast for the Senses

I did live here at one point in my life, so this is more a second home to me than an actual travel destination, but the pure joy of discovering so much in a city you left behind so many years ago is what makes the pilgrimage to San Francisco so special. You can take the girl out of San Francisco…

The stately downtown architecture and world-renowned Victorian homes in San Francisco’s neighbourhoods will never change, however the city has experienced so many evolutions with each passing decade that it’s worth revisiting for the abundance of restaurants, explorations, and cultural offerings in any given week of the year. Set aside a couple more days to explore Healdsburg, Sonoma, and Napa wine counties as well.

I’ve lots of destinations on the horizon and hope to discover even more gems into 2015. Happy trails to my readers!

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