2009 has been a banner year for the bucket list. There was some strange confluence of events that made it not only my biggest year for freelance writing gigs, but also a superlative year for getting the chance to experience a host of things I’d been wanting to do for some time. So rather than kick off the merry month of December by counting down the 12 days of Christmas, I’m going to take this time to briefly look back on 12 months of fortuitous travel. Ho, ho, ho.
IRELAND: Despite the bone-chilling cold and broken water pipes, greeting the first sunrise of 2009 as it dawned over Carlingford Loch and the mountains of Mourne was the perfect start to the year. I had friends from Ireland and America over to the house for a bust-up party made even more special by the surprise absence of running water.
SCOTTSDALE: I wanted to see stars in an unblemished desert sky and finally got the chance to do so while staying at Scottsdale’s venerable Camelback Inn. It recently put the finishing touches on a two-year renovation that involved virtually every aspect of a resort that’s hosted a Who’s Who of famous faces since opening in the 1930’s. As a bonus, there was the trek up the twin peaks of Camelback Mountain – seen here from the pool in my over-the-top suite.
SINT MAARTEN: Having visited the dirty, down-at-heel Dutch side of St. Maarten the year before, I knew it was a place I need never revisit. Yet an opportunity to check out the French side of the bi-national island in the dregs of a New York winter was too good to pass up. I’m glad I jumped: I discovered an experience more akin to St. Tropez than your bog-standard Caribbean island. Even the Radisson here had an unexpected panache. And the food….mon dieu!