AK Monthly Recap: September 2022

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September is one of my favorite months of the year to travel. You have fantastic weather in both Europe and New England, it’s still beach time in slightly warmer areas, and the kids are back in school, so it’s far less busy.

Like most years, we had a September full of travel plans. But this year, we had some very good times and very bad times.

This month was filled with celebrations and reunions. My sister’s long-awaited wedding on Cape Cod. A friend’s milestone birthday celebration in the UK. A conference filled with friends, just down the road from Prague in Brno.

And then we got hit with COVID for the first time since the pandemic began. First it came for Charlie. A week later, it came for me. I’m still testing positive as I type this out, waiting to recover so I can leave quarantine already.

Let’s take a look at the month!

Kate stands on a sandy beach in Martha's Vineyard. She wears a long leopard print skirt, denim jacket, and sunglasses and holds her hair back while looking at the large waves.
I finally made it to Martha’s Vineyard!

Destinations Visited

Prague, Soběhrdy, and Brno, Czech Republic

Brighton, Watford, and Amersham, England

Reading, Malden, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Provincetown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Aquinnah, Chilmark (including Menemsha), Edgartown (including Chappaquiddick), West Tisbury, and Woburn, Massachusetts

Nashua, New Hampshire

Kate in a long gray dress with her arms around her sister, with blonde wavy hair and a white embroidered dress, and Matt in a white shirt and dark tie. They are on a dance floor at a wedding.
Me with the bride and groom!

Highlights

Celebrating my sister’s and brother-in-law’s wedding on the Cape. Sarah and Matt actually got married in 2020, but this was their long-awaited BIG celebration. This was one of the best weddings I have EVER been to (actually, probably THE best?!) and I loved how it was filled with so much love and fun.

I was the maid of honor, and Sarah and Matt brought together an amazing collection of family and friends in a true party setting. One of the highlights was the favors — Cape-themed temporary tattoos in lighthouses, hydrangeas, clams, and sharks! We had so much fun with them!

The wedding was at the Nauset Beach Inn in Orleans, which was wonderful in every way (and set on the Cape’s best beach, Nauset Beach). Also want to give a shout-out to One Step Ahead, an outstanding band that kept us dancing to Lizzo, Montell Jordan, and Earth, Wind and Fire!

A teeny tiny ferry that just barely fits three cars crossing a channel to an island.
Yes, we actually took our car on this.

Visiting Martha’s Vineyard for the first time ever. For more than a decade I’ve joked that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are my two biggest oversights as a Massachusetts native who travels for a living. FINALLY, I made it to the Vineyard.

And it was a great trip. I was genuinely shocked at how not-crowded it was in September, and we enjoyed gorgeous early fall weather — think sunshine, blue skies, and jean jackets at night.

We covered the island in depth, gawking over the multicolored Aquinnah cliffs, strolling through the candy-colored Victorian houses of Oak Bluffs, taking the tiny Chappy Ferry to Chappaquiddick Island.

We stayed at Nobnocket Boutique Inn in Vineyard Haven, who hosted us, and if you’re looking for a nice place to stay, I adored it here. We had an enormous suite with a sitting room, the breakfasts were delicious and gorgeously plated each morning, they brought turndown cookies each night, and it was just a short walk from downtown Vineyard Haven, much more chilled out than the other big towns. I could have stayed there for weeks.

Much more on the Vineyard is coming to the blog soon!

Several people standing around a bonfire in the dark, including one girl in a 50s dress and head wrap, some swirling around sparklers.
Bonfire night came early this year!

Celebrating a close friend’s milestone birthday in the UK. Charlie’s best friend Aeon throws a bonfire party in November every year, but this year threw one two months earlier for his birthday. It was so much fun — friends, food, costumes thrown together at the last minute, enjoying our time in a historic home outside London.

Charlie and I flew into Gatwick, so we decided to go to Brighton for a night, as it’s a short train ride from the airport. I’ve wanted to visit Brighton for such a long time, and really loved it! Such a cool seaside city with beautiful laneways, an amusement park-topped pier, interesting architecture, fun pubs, and a proudly queer scene. I can’t wait to write about it.

Our time in Watford coincided with a retro train trip nearby. An old-fashioned train from the 1930s made a trip from Amersham to Watford and back, so a few of us got tickets for the ride. It was a fun vintage trip for transportation geeks!

An aerial view over the city of Brno with lots of pastel-colored buildings, most with orange terra cotta roofs, and parks on hills.
Brno is a lovely little city worth exploring.

Returning to my first Traverse conference since 2019. I love Traverse — Charlie and I met at Traverse in Trentino! — and it was so good to see so many friends. I saw several inspiring talks and learned a ton.

Brno is a really cool city, and has amazing cafes and bars. It’s sandwiched right between Prague and Vienna, so it makes a great place for a visit! For me, the big highlight was Villa Tugendaht, a spectacularly functionalist home. Get tickets WAY in advance.

And Cailin came and stayed with us in Prague for some of that time, so it was so nice to have a visit with her.

Good times in Prague. What did we get up to this month? Festivals! September brings some of the best food festivals in the city, like Americká Fest, a wine fest on JZP (they actually had Moldovan red wine, which Charlie and I were so excited about!), and Pivo a Burger, a beer and burger fest right in our neighborhood.

We also took our friend and his two-year-old daughter to Farmapark, a kids’ park outside Prague with farm animals, playgrounds, trampolines, and more. They even have camels you can feed! A great place to visit with kids if you have a car.

Crowds of people walking down a street in Prague topped with Mexican paper flags, and a street kiosk serving wine.
September brings the GOOD festivals.

Challenges

Charlie and I finally got COVID. We avoided it for 2.5 years, but it finally happened. We actually got it a week apart — it took him down first, then me.

I am grateful that our symptoms were mild. I am beyond grateful I made it to my sister’s wedding. (I tested twice a day leading up to the wedding, including a PCR test the day before. My positive test came the Tuesday after.)

I started feeling symptoms and tested positive while in Martha’s Vineyard; we had seen a ton of the island already, but I really wish I had been able to explore Oak Bluffs and Edgartown more. We then moved to quarantine at a hotel in Woburn for a few days, then went back to my dad’s to finish the quarantine.

Some things I need to share about COVID:

You’re probably swabbing incorrectly. In the Czech Republic, our home tests are saliva tests. In the US, home tests are swab tests. The swab tests tell you to only swab your nostrils.

But I recently learned from these tweets that swabbing just your nostrils isn’t enough. In order to get more accurate results, you should be swabbing your throat and cheeks as well. (Your nasopharyngeal region is best, WAY up your nose, but I know most people won’t be able to go all the way up — just go as far up as you can stand.)

Just do throat, cheeks, nose, as far up the nose as you can go.

Don’t expect two partners to have the same COVID experience. It went through Charlie rapid-fire. So far it’s taking much longer to go through me. We expected me to follow his timeline, but nope.

Assume that any large indoor gathering will be a superspreader event and plan accordingly. Like a conference, a party, a wedding, even a night out at a bar. If you knew for certain that it would be a superspreader event, how would that change your actions?

You could choose not to go. You could choose to go, and mask the whole time (and skip unmasked parts like post-event drinks). You could choose to go, unmasked, and clear your schedule for the next two weeks or so.

Knowing what I know now, I’m going to be much pickier with the events I attend. And I am NEVER going to plan two events in a row again. Going to a conference followed by a wedding led to so much incredible stress.

Lewis and Murray, two gray tabby cats, curled up on clothes piles on the bed with a mouse toy between them.
Lewis and Murray are as cute as ever.

Blog Posts of the Month

My Actual Iceland Trip Cost: Detailed Budget Breakdown — The most detailed budgeting and trip cost post I’ve ever published, with tons of information about how much Amanda and I spent on our two-week Iceland trip.

45 Fabulous Free Things to Do in NYC — A hugely comprehensive list of fabulous and fun NYC activities, with submissions from many of my blogger colleagues.

Tips for Visiting Kvernufoss Waterfall, Iceland — Kvernufoss was my favorite waterfall in Iceland, but it’s not nearly as popular as some of its neighbors! Here’s what to know before you go.

Kate and her three best female friends wearing formal dresses and standing on a lawn with the ocean in the distance behind them.
Me and my three best friends from high school: the Brood! Still the tannest one in the bunch.

This Month on Patreon

On the Adventurous Kate Patreon, I publish exclusive content and never-told stories that you can access for $6 per month. We also have a private Facebook group and members get free access to the Book Club each month.

This month’s long-form post was about how to throw a wedding that REALLY works well — using my sister’s wedding as inspiration (and lots of pics).

I had a hell of a story to tell from the Brno conference, but that will be for this month, plus some Iceland stuff too. Unfortunately I felt too exhausted to get it out this month.

A narrow pedestrian-only street in Brighton lined with cute shops, brightly colored bunting stretched between them.
I fell in love with Brighton’s lanes right away!

Book Club This Month

I had to reschedule this month’s book club due to my COVID and not feeling up for running an event, even if online. Our next Book Club will be on Sunday, October 23, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time! We will be reading Of Women and Salt, a novel by Cuban- and Mexican-American author Gabriela Garcia.

“Five generations of women, linked by blood and circumstance, by the secrets they share, and by a single book passed down through a family, with an affirmation scrawled in its margins: We are force. We are more than we think we are.

1866, Cuba: Maria Isabel is the only woman employed at a cigar factory, where each day the workers find strength in daily readings of Victor Hugo. But these are dangerous political times, and as Maria begins to see marriage and motherhood as her only options, the sounds of war are approaching.

1959, Cuba: Dolores watches her husband make for the mountains in answer to Fidel Castro’s call to arms. What Dolores knows, though, is that to survive, she must win her own war, and commit an act of violence that threatens to destroy her daughter Carmen’s world.

2016, Miami: Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, is shocked when her daughter Jeanette announces her plans to travel to Cuba to see her grandmother Dolores. In the walls of her crumbling home lies a secret, one that will link Jeanette to her past, and to this fearless line of women.

From nineteenth-century cigar factories to present-day detention centres, from Cuba to the United States to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt follows Latina women of fierce pride, bound by the stories passed between them. It is a haunting meditation on the choices of mothers and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their truth despite those who wish to silence them.”

You can sign up here. Patreon members get access in the private Patreon group.

A sign in a forest directing people to Ripley Falls, Arethusa Falls, and various hiking trails.
Hiking Trails in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Way Update

Last month, I hit 25k sessions within 30 days on New Hampshire Way and applied to Mediavine — but Mediavine was unable to review my application because they can’t read Google Analytics 4 (which Google assigns automatically to new sites these days). They asked me to install Universal Analytics, wait 30 days, and apply again.

30 days later, I reapplied on September 19 (37k sessions in the last 30 days). I got the news on September 28 — I was ACCEPTED! As I write this, they’re preparing to get the ads on.

This has been the BIG goal I’ve been working toward since starting the site. I’ve been making money from hotel bookings and occasional tours and activities, but it’s not enough to sustain the site. Mediavine ads will bring in significant income for the first time, allowing me to recoup my sizable investment.

Here are some New Hampshire Way posts from this month:

New Hampshire Fall Foliage 2022: Where and When to Go — A guide to the best foliage spots, and how to time your trip for the best fall colors.

Best Bed and Breakfasts in North Conway, NH — North Conway is THE fall getaway in New Hampshire, and there are many wonderful B&Bs to choose from.

What I Watched This Month

Not a lot to share this month, but I did watch the remake of Father of the Bride with Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan and really enjoyed it! A sweet 2022 version of the story, transported to Miami with a big Cuban family, but with Nancy Myers-esque touches. It’s on HBO Max.

Oh, and Great British Bake Off is back! Have any favorites? So far I really like Syabira, Janusz, and Sandro. Sandro, OMG, he’s a hot nanny from East London who works out twice a day and teaches baking to autistic kids! HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE THIS GUY?

And Charlie and I started watching a show neither of us have seen: The Sopranos. By now it’s a period piece!

A view from above of Prague's Old Town Square, surrounded by castle towers and candy-colored houses.
Looking forward to some chilled out time in Prague.

Coming Up in October 2022

This month was supposed to begin in New Hampshire, doing more research and getting foliage photos for New Hampshire Way. We had to cancel part of the trip due to my COVID, but as soon as I recover, we will be heading up to the White Mountains.

Beyond that, I’ll try to fit in what we can! Maybe going to the Frank Lloyd Wright houses and all the breweries I haven’t been to in Manchester, NH. Maybe Salem, Mass, which goes nuts in October. Maybe somewhere else in New England.

I head back to Prague in mid-October and that will begin a month with ZERO travel plans. Honestly, I have been looking forward to this break for months!

I overdid the travels this summer: three weeks of Piemonte-Milan-Liguria-Sardinia in June and July, a July UK trip, two weeks in Iceland in August, another UK trip in September, the conference in Brno, then 3.5 weeks in the States. Great trips, none of which I regret, but it was too much.

Maybe it wouldn’t be too much for 26-year-old Kate, but it was definitely too much for 38-year-old Kate who has a home, fiancé, and cats. I’m looking forward to some much-needed cozy time at home with kitty snuggles.

What are you looking forward to this month? Share away!

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