A new year brings new opportunities to fulfill your travel wish list. Whether you want to go near or far, now's the time to plan your bucket-list trips for 2019. Here are five destinations, both domestic and international, that you shouldn't miss.
Italy: Go on a Culinary Tour
Calling all foodies! Embrace the Slow Food Movement in its birthplace, the Piedmont region of Italy. Savor every step by meeting artisanal beekeepers, vintners, and cheese makers; sampling world-class wines in renowned cellars; searching for truffles with an expert forager; taking a grappa tour with a local family; and making pasta during a cooking class at a farmhouse restaurant or wood-fired pizza at a country retreat. Be sure to try the legendary sheep cheese — made in the metodo tradizionale with milk from Langhe ewes.
Along the way you'll follow ancient trails and stop in walled hilltop towns that have followed the same culinary traditions for centuries. The Piedmont is a feast of Italian culture and cuisine. Take it slow and buon appetito!
Fantastical fjords. Thundering waterfalls. Remote fishing villages. Enjoy all these and more on a tour of Iceland, where the dramatic scenery and show-stopping landscapes of this bucket-list destination are on full display.
Soak in Reykjavik's famous Blue Lagoon, a comfy 98-104°F year-round. Visit the island of Heimaey, the Pompeii of the North, covered in ash by a catastrophic 1973 eruption. Take a polar flight to Grimsey Island and stand half in, half out of the Arctic Circle. Spend the night in Seydisfjordur with its colorful historic houses imported from Norway by wealthy merchants at the turn of the 20th century. And admire the rainbow-colored beauty of Godafoss, known as the "Waterfall of the Gods." Consider yourself lucky to enjoy experiences you won't soon forget.
Immerse yourself in a storybook world of rose-trellised cottages, bucolic sheep pastures, sparkling lakes, and gently rolling hills. See why the scenic Lake District inspired the likes of painter J.M.W. Turner and writers William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, and Beatrix Potter.
Let the region's literary legacy come to life during a tour of Wordsworth's Rydal Mount country home. Walk past the remains of prehistoric settlements in Lake District National Park and visit the Celtic-era village of Pooley Bridge, where you can partake of traditional drink, food, and hospitality. Stroll through one of the region's prettiest dales, skirting the lakeshores of Grasmere and Rydal Water. Venture to the scenic Langdale Pikes, the Lake District's highest mountains, and walk between the hamlets of Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater into the valley of Great Langdale. Along the way, enjoy towns with homey pubs and shop-lined streets, where the welcome mat is always out.
Alaska's spectacular scenery is in a class of its own — from glaciers and fjords to native villages.
Visit Ketchikan, a former mining supply outpost for Skagway-bound adventurers. Wander among the world's largest totem pole collection before feasting on Chinook salmon paired with a side of sourdough bread and a local microbrew. Admire the glaciated slopes and ice floes of Alaska's Misty Fjords, Tracy and Endicott Arms, and Kenai Fjords, while keeping an eye out for the telltale spray and black fins of orca pods. Disembark in Seward and ride a deluxe domed train inland to Fairbanks and six-million-acre Denali National Park, where you might spot caribou, foxes, Dall sheep, grizzlies, and wolves. Take a journey to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and explore the Russian heritage of Sitka embodied in its St. Michael's Cathedral, the earliest Orthodox cathedral in the New World. From natural beauty to historical touchstones, Alaska delivers a world-class punch.
Coastal New England: Bike the Byways of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard
Cycle the easy scenic paths of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. Collect Insta-worthy moments at charming lighthouses, gingerbread cottages, and artists' colonies. Stop and reflect on unspoiled beaches, sweeping dunes, and serene marshes. Each day you'll relish the bracing salt air and ocean breezes before sitting down to tasty seafood plucked right from the sea.
Ride the Cape Cod Rail Trail and enjoy its lovely vistas. Pause for a picnic lunch along the Cape Cod National Seashore. On Martha's Vineyard, explore the State Beach bike path and cycle through the bucolic Correllus State Forest. Pedal along the island's soaring Aquinnah cliffs and through Menemsha village. You'll not soon forget this lovely corner of New England.
By Joan Casanova, Bonnie Plants,
Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Plants, Inc.
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