Hi there! I’m Ross, and I’m a travel and lifestyle blogger from a small village in Fife, Scotland. I’m a full-time Senior Multimedia Designer for a technology company specialising in eLearning and regularly blog as a creative outlet where I can share my photos and adventures. I’m a huge lover of travel and small, Read More
2017 is upon us, and I’m well in truly in travel planning mode! I’ve got a few trips in the pipeline, and I wanted to share with you some of the content which I’ll be sharing in the coming months. Looking back, 2016 was a quiet year for me, in fact, I never actually left the UK! I’ve missed blogging. I’ve got lots more firm plans this year and will also be posting some content from my trip to the Western USA with Trek America in 2015.
With this in mind here are my 2017 travel plans:
First up, I’m heading stateside in April, going on Trek America’s Northeastern BLT. I’ll be ticking off some of the biggest highlights of the Northeastern USA and Canada. It’s been on my list for a while to visit Canada, and I’ll be seeing a lot of it over the next year or so. I cannot wait to get road tripping with Trek America again. Some of the stops on this trek include Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Boston & Stowe.
I’ve visited Niagara Falls before so it’ll be my second trip to the falls. Only a few years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of seeing the falls once, never mind twice! I have no problems coming back here. It’s such an incredible natural wonder – the power of nature is just insane. We’ll get the opportunity to see the Falls illuminated at night – which I didn’t see the last time and I’m excited to experience. I’m hoping the weather will be a bit brighter than the last time I visited! After Niagara Falls we cross the border into Canada.
Canada is Lonely Planet’s top country to visit in 2017. My taster of the country includes Toronto and Montreal, which is home to the largest French-speaking community outside of Paris. Montreal naturally has many European influences which show in everything from its architecture to food. It’s also home to the famous O’noir restaurant, where you dine in the dark, and the waiters are blind! Awesome.
Heading back to the United States I’ll head to the ‘Ski Capital of the East’, Stowe. I’m not entirely sure there will still be snow in April, but either way, it’ll be pretty epic. If skiing or snowshoeing aren’t options, I’d love to get out on a mountain bike and explore the local trails. Another bonus, in Stowe we have an included visit to the original Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory which should be fun – not to mention lots of delicious ice cream!
Boston is the last stop on the Northeastern BLT. This stop brings a dose of history as we explore the Freedom Trail and visit the famous Harvard University. I’m also hoping I’ll have the chance to visit a baseball or football game here. I had the opportunity to see a baseball game in Chicago a couple of years ago, and the atmosphere was epic! Don’t understand the rules but that doesn’t matter does it!
After Boston, the tour finishes back in New York. I’ve decided to spend three days in the city that never sleeps! I’ll be celebrating my birthday here which will be an amazing experience. It’s also the first time I’ll have been away from home for my birthday.
I’ve spent a few days in New York before and saw most of the big tourist hotspots – The Empire State Building, Central Park & Top Of The Rock to name a few. This time round I want to visit some of the less touristy areas. I’m staying in the West Village, at the Jane Hotel.
I spent some time researching the best affordable places to stay in Manhattan, and this hotel came out the top. It’s affordable and in a trendy, safe area near the Meatpacking District. The hotel is steeped in history and has views of the Hudson River. It was once used by the surviving sailors of the Titanic while the inquest into the sinking took place. The hotel, furnished in the style of the era of the Titanic, features staff in traditional dress. The bedrooms are tiny but practical, and there are communal bathrooms. I can’t wait – it’s going to be a unique experience! I’ll review the hotel here after I’ve visited.
Back home in Scotland, I’ll be spending a week in the West Highland’s, soaking up the sun (fingers crossed) and exploring the rugged coastline between Arisaig and Morar. Morar is famous for its stunning series of silver sand beaches and crystal clear waters. With views out to the small isles including Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna it’s a pretty magical setting for a break back home.
I’ve explored the West Highlands before, but mainly on day trips from Central Scotland so have never actually spent lots of time here. It’ll be great to get to know the area. On the top of my list of activities to do while here is to take the ferry from Mallaig, just 2 miles up the road, to Britain’s last wilderness – the Knoydart Peninsula.
The Knoydart Peninsula is only accessible by boat or an 18-mile hike over Munros (a Scottish Mountain)! Amongst other things, it is famous as the location of Britain’s most remote pub – The Old Forge. The bar is said to be amongst the ten best bars for beer in the world. I can’t wait to try their venison!
Back on dry land, I’ll be ticking off another bucket list item from here in Scotland. I’m going to take a trip on The Jacobite, the steam train which runs on the West Highland line from Fort William to Mallaig. The route is known as the greatest railway journey in the world. The train is instantly recognisable as the ‘Hogwarts Express’ from the Harry Potter movies, where it crosses the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct. A truly incredible journey which I would highly recommend. I have previously travelled the same route on the standard public transit service (Scotrail), and the views are remarkable. The experience on the steam train will be incredible, and worth it I’m sure.
Looking further ahead, I’m excited that I already have confirmed travel plans for 2018. In July of 2018, I’m heading off to Vancouver for a two-week trek around British Columbia and Alberta. Canada has been at the top of my travel plans for a while now, and I’m pleased to be able to make it happen finally. The Canadian wilderness is incredibly stunning. I’ve seen so many videos, and epic Insta’s that I’ve decided I can’t put it off any longer!
The Mountie is a 12-day camping trip which leaves from Vancouver and heads on an epic trip around the Canadian Rockies in what is still a real wilderness. Highlights of the Trek include a guided walk on the Athabasca Glacier (which I might be a bit nervous about!) and white water rafting on the Kicking Horse River which will be amazing. I’ve been white water rafting once before, on the New River, Virginia while on the Best Of The East and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Well, there you have it, my travel plans for 2017 (and 2018!). I’ve got a lot to look forward to, and I can’t wait to hit the road again with Trek America. So what can you expect on the blog? This year you can look forward to a new series of blog posts on Trek America’s Northeastern BLT with all the usual content you’ve come to expect here including detailed trip reports. As well as this I’d like to include more hostel and budget accommodation reviews, (keep an eye out for my review of The Jane, NYC), photography and Instagram tips. I’ll also be posting content from my trip to the West Highlands.
Want to keep up to date with my last travel images? I’ve been very active on Instagram at the moment where I’ve shared some of my favourite images from earlier Trek America trips to get you in the mood for an all-American road trip. Why not Follow me on Instagram?