Hello, dear readers! It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. And it’s especially hard to believe that it’s nearly 2020. Remember when 2020 seemed so far away and very, very futuristic??? Well, it’s knocking on the door right now and ready to make its grand entrance!
As the year comes to an end, I want to wish you all a very happy holiday season now, as I’ll be taking a break until the New Year. I hope that 2019 has treated you well and that you’ve been able to go on some wonderful adventures this year. I’ve definitely enjoyed all that I’ve seen and done in 2019, and my list of places to visit in 2020 is ever-growing!
I also want to thank all of you for joining me on my journeys this year. I hope you’ve found some useful tips and information in my posts and that they’ve inspired you to seek out some of the wonderfully unique and unusual destinations in your own backyard.
Last week, I featured our favorite places that we were fortunate to visit in 2019. And as we say goodbye to yet another year, here’s a wrap-up of your favorite posts from 2019!
#10. Driving West Virginia’s Highland Scenic Highway
During our summer road trip through OH, KY, and WV, we had an opportunity to drive along West Virginia’s Highland Scenic Highway in the Monongahela National Forest. This beautiful road includes several stunning overlooks and many interesting places to pull off for a hike such as the unique Cranberry Glades Boardwalk and the Falls of Hills Creek. You can’t beat West Virginia’s natural beauty, and this drive takes you through one of the prettiest sections of the state. If you’ve never visited WV, put this scenic highway on your list!
#9. A Walk Inside the World of a Genius: M.C. Escher
Earlier in the year, there was a very cool exhibit at Industry City in Brooklyn that highlighted the art and genius of M.C. Escher. In addition to getting to admire all of his unique and creative artwork, there were hands-on exhibits where you could put yourself into Escher’s artwork, too! The exhibition was extended several times before finally closing in May of 2019, and though it’s no longer in Brooklyn, keep an eye out, as the exhibit may appear in a city near you sometime in the future!
#8. A Garden Oasis in Yonkers, NY: The Untermyer Park and Gardens
This was one of my favorite places we visited in 2019, and Visit All the Places’ readers have also been fascinated by this hidden gem in Yonkers, NY. Now a gorgeous city park, the Untermyer Park and Gardens is located at the former Greystone estate, built in the early 1900s. Not much of the original estate remains, but several beautiful features have been preserved and restored, and you can see it all now for free!
#7. Touring the Angel’s Envy Distillery: America’s Most Unique Bourbon
Another stop on our summer road trip, this family-owned craft distillery was the brainchild of master distiller Lincoln Henderson and his son, Wes. Lincoln is known for creating whiskeys such as Woodford Reserve, Gentleman Jack, and more, and the bourbon they’re making at Angel’s Envy is just as special. It’s finished off in ruby port wine barrels (which makes it a little controversial in the bourbon world), and the final product is unique and insanely delicious. We enjoyed touring their downtown Louisville distillery this summer, and you can visit them, too! Just be sure to sign up in advance because their tours sell out quickly.
#6. Visiting Beautiful Churchill Downs – Home of the Kentucky Derby
Before we visited Angel’s Envy this summer, we made a stop of the very lovely Churchill Downs racetrack, which is best known as the home of the Kentucky Derby! We didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but we enjoyed the two-floor museum and the basic tour of the track (including walking through the very same tunnel that every Kentucky Derby winner has walked through before starting the race). If you have more time, though, they have several tours that allow you to go behind the scenes and get up close and personal with some of the gorgeous thoroughbreds who race at Churchill Downs.
#5. Marveling at Another NYC Wonder Theater: The United Palace
The New York Metro area is home to five “wonder” theaters that were built near the end of the 1920s. This year, we were lucky to be able to visit one of these theaters: the United Palace. Located in Washington Heights, the United Palace still occasionally shows movies, but they also hold church services, graduations, weddings, dance and vocal performances, and concerts by internationally-known recording artists. The United Palace is the fourth-largest theater in Manhattan and, by far, the most beautiful!
#4. A Road Trip through Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia
It’s been a little surprising to me, but five of our top ten posts have all been related to our summer road trip through Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia! I have a personal connection to the area and wanted to show my husband around a bit, but clearly, a lot of you want to learn more about this beautiful section of the United States, too! In one week, we covered more than 1,800 miles and enjoyed both major cities and the great outdoors. If you haven’t been to this part of the country yet, check out our post for ideas on how to experience the best of what this area has to offer.
#3. Finding Bottles and Bones at Brooklyn’s Glass Bottle Beach and Dead Horse Bay
Dead Horse Bay is perhaps one of the most fascinating places in New York City! There was once a place called Barren Island where horses were turned to glue and fish were turned to fertilizer. Robert Moses had Barren Island connected to the rest of Brooklyn with landfill, but it wasn’t properly covered. So now, all the garbage and debris from decades past has risen up to the surface and has become a treasure trove for scavengers. In addition to shoes, toys, dishes, horse bones and even a kitchen sink, one of the most common items you’ll find are old glass bottles, many of which are still fully intact (hence, Glass Bottle Beach). Bring some boots and gloves and see what treasures you can find!
#2. Going on Safari…in Ohio: The Wilds
This place was so much fun! And I’m glad that so many of you are interested in learning more about the great work that The Wilds is doing to preserve threatened and endangered species. Located on nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed mining land, The Wilds allows guests to take an open-air safari where you can catch glimpses (and even have very close encounters!) with several different animal species. From rhinos to giraffes to camels and cheetahs, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy at The Wilds. They even have yurts and cabins if you want to stay the night, as well as specialty tours that allow you to feed and meet the animals.
And finally…the most popular post on the blog in 2019 is…..
#1. Exploring the Abandoned Buildings of Long Island’s Welwyn Preserve
People love abandoned spaces and places, so I suppose it’s no surprise that our most-read post in 2019 was about some abandoned buildings on an estate in Glen Cove, Long Island. The Welwyn Preserve is located at what used to be one of the Pratt family’s Gold Coast estates, Welwyn. Though the mansion still exists (it’s currently home to the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County), the old greenhouses were not preserved and now serve as the perfect canvas for graffiti artists! It’s free to visit the Welwyn Preserve, and you can stroll by the Sound or on one of the multiple trails throughout the woods. The greenhouses can be a little tricky to get to if you don’t know where you’re going, so check out our post for tips on how to find them!
That’s all folks! And if you’re curious about what you missed last year, you can check out our Top 10 posts from 2018, too!
Happy Holidays! See you next year!