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Favorite Travel Spots

In the next post in our series of staff blogs at Main Street Arts we share some of our favorite travel spots with you. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.

Brad

Sarah and I have been fortunate to travel to some amazing places. We didn’t get our passports until just a few years ago, so all of our travels have been in the US for the most part. Living in upstate New York, we are lucky to have access to such natural beauty and we don’t have to go far to “get away”.

8th Ave Dog Beach, Asbury Park, NJ

We’ve done a lot of road trips, camping, we’re no strangers to a good spa, and we’ve driven our dogs to the ocean—let’s face it, we drove ourselves there and they were forced to come along for the ride. We found that sleeping in your car with 120lbs worth of panting dogs in July is not as great as it sounds, so the 36 hour trip to the ocean won’t happen again any time too soon.

Port Orford, on the southern coast of Oregon from 2015 west coast trip

One of my favorite places that we’ve traveled to is the area between the southern coast of Oregon and northern coast of California. We were on an epic road trip starting in Portland, OR and continuing down to Big Sur, CA. We then turned around, drove through Napa Valley and met up with a friend to spend some time in Seattle. The whole trip was a great adventure and a lot of driving but some of the best views I’ve seen were on the west coast. I’d like to go back again soon.

The west coast, somewhere between southern Oregon and Northern California

Sarah has famously said “It’s not a vacation unless I get to see the ocean”. We don’t know when or where our next trip will be but when the time comes, I am hoping for a trip that involves the salty sea air hitting me in the face and never-ending views.


Sarah

Three months after Brad and I got married, we went to Maui for our honeymoon. We left the February weather of Rochester early in the morning and landed in Hawaii in the late evening. By the time we arrived it was dark outside.

Our first day on Maui in February 2008

We were fortunate enough to be able to stay with a family member on Brad’s dad’s side of the family. It’s kind of funny showing up to someone’s house on an island in the middle of an ocean, someone who you have never met but who has opened their home to you. Charlie was so welcoming and kind, and it was like we’ve known him all along.

A view of the West Maui Mountains from a boat as we headed out for a snorkeling trip

The next morning, we were in shock. It was gorgeous everywhere we looked. Driving in the dark the night before we had no idea the beauty that surrounded us—the West Maui Mountains in the distance, Haleakalā behind us. We did a lot of driving in our very expensive rental car (we were under 25 so the rental fee was crazy high for a very basic compact car) and rushed around to see a lot of the island in the 13 days we were there.

Ke‘anae Point in 2008, where we ate PB&J sandwiches

One location still stands out to me as my favorite place — the Ke‘anae Point on the Hana Highway. When I think of our trip to Hawaii, I think of this place. The dark lava rock, the blue of the ocean, the contrast between the two as the waves hit the rocks. We sat under a tree at the edge of the rocks and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch that day. There were maybe two other people there at the time.

What is more relaxing that wandering around a lavender farm? In the distance, the West Maui Mountains.

This past September, Brad and I went back. This time around, we took our time around the island. We went to a different beach each day (some days many), we did less rushing, more relaxing, we hiked in Haleakalā National Park and watched the sunset from the summit instead of the sunrise as we did the first trip.

Waiting above the clouds for the sun to set at the summit of Haleakalā during our 2019 trip

A lot changes in 12 years, and while it’s still a very beautiful place, there are many more people than when we were there before. We spent two nights in Hana on this last trip and on our drive back down the Hana Highway we stopped at Ke‘anae Point. It felt very different this time because of all the tour vans and people. The Ke‘anae Point I visited 12 years ago is still my favorite place I’ve ever been.

Trying to find a spot with no people during our stop at Ke‘anae Point in Sept. 2019

Maria

In 2006 I studied abroad in Venice for 2 months. I studied Painting, Printmaking and Art History. This is definitely one of my most memorable and special travel experiences. I enjoyed the bright light, the ancient architecture and the spirituality. I hope to bring my children here someday and elsewhere in Europe.

More recently my family and I have made shorter journeys which are equally as meaningful. We have made it a tradition to travel to Sylvan Beach each June and play and explore.

We also like to travel to new and exciting hiking destinations. We’ve recently discovered Watkins Glen and Ganondagan.

Someday we hope to travel nationally and abroad, but for now we make the best of what Upstate New York has to offer!


Rachel

My son is an only child and his birthday always falls during school’s February break––birthdays can get lonely and you have to get a little creative about celebrating amid the winter blues in Rochester. So when we can, we make sure that it’s the one time a year we travel. And when Trump started the No Muslim Ban his first year in office, I knew we wanted to go to a Muslim country.––so we spent ten days in Morocco and finished up the trip in Madrid, watching futbol in a bar and going to the del Prado. 

Jake, in front of the Sahara

This trip was wild: we landed in Tangier, we stayed our first night in the Imperial City of Fes, we camped several nights in the Sahara, traveled through the Atlas Mountains and the Todra Gorge to get to Marrakesh, Casablanca (not a fan aside from the Hassan Mosque which was the point of the trip), flew out of the capital of Rabat, and spent a little more than two days in Madrid. 

There’s something special about traveling with children. They’re curious and they’re keenly observant. They pick up languages and, at least my son Jake, has a “When in Rome” mentality. New food, new words, new etiquette––it’s all embraced. My son was telling me to call things “zwin” instead of “beautiful” by day two. 

There are a lot of little stories I could tell within this trip, but it’s challenging to tell any one of them, here. I’ll just say that almost all of our photos are of the Sahara and our stay with the Berber people. They treated us like family––like most places we’ve been to, they’d never had tourists bring a child before (Jake was turning 11 at the time). 

Our host Said he loved making my son laugh by driving the Jeep sideways up the Erg Chebbi dunes and scaring mom. 

The stars are unlike anything you’ve seen––I never knew how many stars were in the sky. Every couple of minutes you see a meteor. And the sunrise over the dunes is the most spiritual experience I’ve had in my life. It’s a lot to recap in here but I write about the Sahara a lot since I’ve been and I’d like to go back again, some day. 

Jake on camelback!

Of course, we loved Madrid. my son has always had an interest in Spanish and at ten years-old he got to see the works of Goya, Bosch, and Greco in person.

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