I can't imagine how anyone would forget their anniversary. I believe that marriage and love deserves to be celebrated, that it's something to prioritize, work on, protect, and hold in high esteem. When some friends of mine recently came over to my house to talk about decor and furniture and how to improve our little spaces we call home, I realized something about my personality. While I dream about a home that I would feel comfortable asking Martha Stewart over to dinner in, my husband and I prioritize, and therefor spend our money on, experiences. One of the biggest "experiences" we plan and look forward to each year is our anniversary. So much expectation and joy goes into selecting and preparing for our annual trip that I've fondly picked up the habit of calling it my honeymoon each year!
OUR HONEYMOONS OVER THE YEARS
This year was our 5th honeymoon, and we wanted to make it truly special for this milestone year. For our original, first honeymoon we went on a trip through New England and then to Canada, but our very favorite part of the trip was the time spent in Portsmouth, NH. As soon as we came home from "eating our way through New England" as my mom put it, we dreamed of going back someday. With high hopes and a big glass jar to collect pennies in, we believed in faith that God would give us the provisions to go back for year 5.
Year 2 we spent a weekend in Pittsburgh exploring the city, year 3 we stayed close to home and decided to just exchange gifts since my dad was so sick. He actually passed away three days later. I thank God that He put that on my heart that we needed to stay home that year. Year 4 we had a blissful and serene 31 hours away from civilization in a cabin on the river, and now in year 5 I am overjoyed and so humbled that God provided the way for us to go back to Portsmouth. And we didn't even have to use our penny jar.
HOW YOU CAN TAKE A HONEYMOON EVERY YEAR
So enough about me. You may be wondering "how can I have a honeymoon each year?" Our honeymoons are built around the things that we love to do together, the things that our souls need, the things we look forward to the most about every day life, only enhanced. Maybe you and your spouse love to try craft brews. Visit a brewery in another city! Maybe you like to watch football - follow your favorite team for an away game in a nearby city or state! Do you have busy schedules and just need time to rest and unplug? Air BNB has lots of places that fit the bill! With a little planning and a lot of love, even something silly like visiting coffee shops and thrifting can be exhilarating if you can get creative. Places like TripAdvisor, Groupon, Yelp, Instagram, and good 'ol Google can be invaluable while planning your honeymoon. Go as big or as small as you want!
I PLANNED OUR TRIP AROUND MACARONS AND STREET ART
If you've read this far, you obviously care about me and probably would love to hear more about my trip, right? So glad you've kept reading, because I can't wait to share my first travel blog! I certainly felt SUPER weird pulling out my gigantic camera and pointing it at all of my food at the restaurant, but I did it all for YOU! If you're a regular reader of the JGP blogs, you may have caught the post about Instagram being the unsung hero of search engines for exploring new places (if not, read it here!) Using this same strategy, we found some incredible street art in Salem where our trip first started. Keeping with the whole "new and exciting" thing, we wanted to add in a place we've never been before.
FIRST STOP: SALEM, MA
Salem is an hour from Portsmouth, and even though I realized too late that we would be there in October and close to Friday the 13th, we had lots of fun! I'm not really big on the touristy museums (a past Gettysburg trip was a testament to my love for my husband), so we had fun exploring and "living like a local" for most of our time there! We had incredible crepes from a place we found on TripAdvisor, toured the cemetery where voyagers on the Mayflower were buried, ate macarons (of course), and checked out the local thrift and antique stores. The best part, and my husband is so sweet to indulge in my obsession, was finding the street art! Recently, Salem's Point district got a major facelift thanks in part to a handful of talented mural artists. I always admire the larger-than-life and often quirky and thought-provoking masterpieces these artists create. This shouldn't surprise anyone, though, if you've seen the rest of my webpage. Give me all the color! We ended our time in Salem at the incredible Far From The Tree hard cider and tap room, where we left thoroughly delighted and bogged down by 3 growlers to share back home!
NEXT UP: PORTSMOUTH, NH
Public service announcement: tapas restaurants are not for the frugal, friends. Nor are they for the frugal AND hungry. After leaving Salem and it's delightful street art, we checked into our Air BNB in Portsmouth and went out for tapas at an awesome restaurant called Moxy, and followed it up with ice cream from Annabelle's - which is apparently pretty famous! I told you we ate our way through New England!! Day two of our trip was full of walking and shopping, starting off the morning with some amazing popovers at Popovers on the Square, followed by a "3 hour tour" (Gilligan's Island, anyone!?) of the harbor via Portsmouth Harbor Cruises. Much like our original honeymoon, I did not pack correctly, but did not let my "wife-cicle" discomfort inhibit the breath taking views of the harbor!
Other than street art scavenging and local food, something else I like to do when I travel is do some Christmas gift shopping. While it's really easy to hop on amazon on December 23rd and knock out your list in your PJ's (trust me, I'm an Amazon fangirl!), there's something so thoughtful and intentional about perusing local wares and finding something that reminds you of a loved one at home. We had a blast finding just the right unique gifts as we walked the beautiful colonial style streets and store fronts.
Then, the moment that was 5 years in the making, our anniversary dinner! When we first visited Portsmouth, we had an amazing dinner at Portsmouth's most celebrated restaurant, The Black Trumpet. I think I made our reservations for this year in like, August. We talked about this meal for literal years. Experiencing chef Evan Mallett's restaurant 5 years after talking about our experience over and over again made me realize that sometimes, the anticipation of something is better than the actual thing. Remember your high school prom? You might have had a better time thinking about it, picking out a dress, and getting ready for it than you did at the actual prom. This is kind of like that. The atmosphere was incredible, the food was great, but man, I wanted it to be the best thing I ever ate ever. And I've eaten at a lot of great places (we love experiences and food after all)! We were really delighted with our free dessert, however! We ended the night at Latchkey, a super-cool (cooler than us) speakeasy style club with lots of amazing seating and even better cocktails!
our last day in kittery, ME
If you know me, you know that me "shutting my brain off" from work, church, and my business is almost impossible. But dang, I was so proud of myself for doing so on this trip. Sometimes on the last day of a vacation where you can "escape", the impending doom of normalcy can taint even the most amazing experiences. God really blessed both of us with not only the provisions to take this trip, but the mental clarity to enjoy it thoroughly. Even the last day.
I can confidently say that I had the best BREAKFAST I ever had at The Friendly Toast in Market Square in Portsmouth, and after a bit more shopping, we hopped in the car and went on another Instagram inspired adventure to find some apple cider donuts. Unfortunately Lil's Cafe didn't have the precious pastry, but they did have some bomb.com pumpkin cruellers and a really unique and tasty rose tea latte.
A recent love of mine when exploring a new city is finding thrift stores and nabbing some great clothes for not a lot of money. After all, I need all the funds for macarons I can get! Kittery had an awesome place called Lost Cost Treasures where I found a great dress and shirt!
The beautiful drive home
Route 1A is the most gorgeous drive on the planet, I'm convinced. After leaving Kittery, we headed south along this amazingly scenic road, stopping to admire the beaches along the way. We were spoiled enough to stop for dinner at The Beach Plum, voted NH's best Lobster Roll, and ate it beach side at Rye beach right across the street. Realizing that we couldn't extend our honeymoon forever, the 10 hour drive barreling down on us, we cued up a podcast and headed home.
Once we accepted that our trip was over, my mind went back into "do-er" mode (it was about an hour into the trip home as I sent email after email), but realizing that "home is a good place filled with good people" makes coming back to Indiana a good second act to the amazing honeymoon God blessed us with.