2015 in Review…the Travel

It’s been a little while since I posted to my blog, mostly due to being so busy with work, the holidays, and a really busy life.  So I went back through my photos to see what I had missed in the fall and holiday season.  What I found was that I had missed a lot all year!

2015 was a year of intense travel for both work and personal trips.  All year long I found myself in the presence of natural beauty, amazing food, profoundly good music and countless connections with great people.

Over this final week of 2015 I will share some of the highlights in 4 sections, travel, food, music, and a look ahead to what 2016 has in store.  It is a glimpse at some of the adventures that went down in 2015 that I have not had time to post.  Let me know which items you want to hear more about and I will create more detailed postings.

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Washington, DC is my home base and many of my postings in 2015 covered the DC area. This photo was taken from my window seat on board a flight out of Reagan National Airport.

Travel

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One of several spectacular views at the Whirlwind Golf Club at the Wild Horse Pass Resort in Chandler, AZ. This corporate golf outing was a pretty good reminder that it is indeed a wonderful life!

I work for a company that is based in Arizona so I get out there frequently.  I think I made about half a dozen trips this year in all seasons.  I love visiting the Phoenix area.  I have family there, the geography is completely different than Virginia, and I occasionally get to play golf as part of my job!  This year I visited the Whirlwind Golf Club at the Wild Horse Pass Resort in Chandler, AZ.

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A storm of controversy as the Arizona desert shows its support of gay rights.

IMG_1344For Thanksgiving this year my loving and generous mom sponsored a trip to the Bahamas for our extended family of 16 people.  For a week we made tough decisions like “ocean or pool?”, “hammock or lounge chair?”, “beer or rum?”

We stayed at a perfect low-key resort, the Sandy Port Beaches Resort; and I will definitely post a mid-winter piece on this trip because it was everything one would hope for in a tropical vacation!

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A look toward Europe from the Sandy Port Beaches Resort in the Bahamas

One of my favorite features of our resort was a modest beach bar on the property that featured cold beer, made-to-order meals, and a character named Chef Cleveland who presided over the bar with lively political debate and aggressively strong opinions on sports!

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Chef Cleveland’s Beach Bar, Sandy Port Beaches Resort, Bahamas

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Each day on this trip we had to make tough choices like whether to lounge in a chaise by the pool or in one of the many comfy hammocks around the property

In June I attended a Hitachi Data Systems conference in Jamestown, VA at a resort called Kingsmill.  Overlooking the James River, this was another “work” assignment that required golf clubs and featured fabulous food.

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Kingsmill is a massive golf resort with restaurants, vacation homes, rental properties and 36 extraordinary holes of golf.  This trip was a corporate scramble, which favors my game…that is, the good shots count, the bad ones don’t (and there’s a lot of bad ones).

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The Kingsmill resort on the banks of the James River. Not exactly the view Captain John Smith saw as he sailed up the river in the 1600’s!

An HP conference took me to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  This one was a quick overnight but reminded me of how fun the Fells Point section of town is and how I need to visit more often.  It’s an easy hour north of where I live.

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The view from my hotel of Baltimore’s inner Harbor

One of the nicer spots I visited this year was Orange County’s Dana Point, CA.  This was yet another conference (Cisco this time) held at the posh St Regis at Monarch Beach.  That trip was a whole crazy story that ended with a doctor’s visit to my hotel room but prior to all hell breaking loose I took a walk down to Salt Creek Beach.  People were surfing, there were gorgeous expensive homes.  I had woken up in Virginia that morning and here I was looking at the Pacific ocean.

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Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point, CA

In June I needed one more Marriott stay to get to a certain status level so my wife and I headed out across the rolling Virginia piedmont to Winchester.  In addition to being the birthplace of Patsy Cline, Winchester was a Civil War hot potato being held alternately by both Union and Confederate troops.  The result is a lot of history, artifacts, and museums.  There was also a surprise gem known as the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, which included six acres of amazing gardens.

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Winchester, VA has a southern charm and a lot of history which made for a fun weekend getaway.

There were several weekend getaways and as you read this you might wonder what I need to get away from!  It is nice though, to go to the country and relax now and then and in July the spot was a friend’s house on the Shenandoah River.

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The porch on my friend’s weekend house on the Shenandoah River, Charles Town, WV.

Each year I also join a group of friends for an annual golf trip.  We rent a house somewhere, make our own meals and play golf for 4 days in a row.  (There is also the occasional cocktail).

This year the location was Myrtle Beach.  Our place was a block from the ocean and the golf location offered four courses.  We have played in Arizona, Alabama, and Texas and South Carolina proved up to the task!

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This path to the beach was a block from our rented house at an October golf trip to Myrtle Beach.

I attend a lot of conferences but the mac-daddy of them all is Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.  Each year in early October Oracle pretty much takes over San Francisco and brings in 50,000 – 70,000 people from around the world.  A lot of business gets done and new products unveiled and at the end of the week Oracle throws the biggest party most people will ever see.  The event is a concert featuring a couple huge acts every year.  This year it was Beck, and Elton John.

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The sun setting on San Francisco and the Bay Bridge as viewed from Treasure Island. As the sun sets on 2015 I will look back this week on the highlights of a fantastic year!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post in the next section of 2015 in Review, The Food.

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