Ten Favorite Photos From 2021

With Christmas pretty much over and done with for this year (I still have some presents left to deliver in the coming days!) I’ve been spending most of my time looking back on 2021 while simultaneously planning and preparing for the New Year ahead. It’s hard to believe that 2022 is only just a couple of days away- especially when reflecting on all of my adventures and photographs I captured throughout these past twelve months.

In the wake of how disastrous 2020 had been, I spent much of 2021 making up for lost time as a result of the pandemic and traveling to both familiar and brand new destinations, meeting new people and experiencing new things- sometimes with friends and family beside me and other times completely on my own. Many of the photos I narrowed down from the literal hundreds upon hundreds that were taken this year are from those travels- snapshots into my living my life to the fullest and as fearlessly as possible given how uncertain and scary things continue to be in the world and in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

I digress! Picking only ten photos from this year was challenging all in itself, but ranking them was a whole other grueling process entirely- but I’m proud of this collection and have been motivated to take even more photos in 2022- hopefully in places that were just as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the ones I visited in 2021!

Links to the posts with more information about the locations/pictures will be listed below, but here are my ‘Ten Favorite Photos’ from this year!

10. Cheers To The New Year! (January 2021) To celebrate the end of 2020, I had gone all out with an extended and extravagant weekend in Newport, Rhode Island for New Year’s- and given the lasting trauma from all events that took place the year before, I made sure to treat myself to a delicious, multi-course dinner at the oldest restaurant in the country while I was there.

I snapped this photo shortly after my arrival at The White Horse Tavern– where I had been seated near their cozy fireplace and twinkling Christmas lights that were still up for the occasion. While I definitely took a lot of photos of food throughout 2021, this was one of my favorites to revisit because I remember how content and optimistic for the year ahead I was while I sat there with my cocktail and browsed a seriously impressive menu.

[ SEE THE POST ]

9. The Return To Live Music (September 2021) 2021 saw the highly anticipated return of crowds to not only movie theaters and sporting events again- but to live music, as well. Despite being fully vaccinated, I was erring on the side of caution for most of the year until the Fall rolled around and I mustered up the nerve to take a road trip to Delaware for Firefly Festival.

The reason for my trip was not only to see my first live music festival since 2019- but to reunite with friends, too- some I hadn’t been able to spend time with since before the pandemic hit. Together we got to watch The Killers, Cage The Elephant, Band of Horses, Arlo Parks, Taking Back Sunday and so many more over the course of a bright and sunny afternoon and well into the evening/night.

I had an amazing time- and cannot wait to start seeing more live shows again!

[ SEE THE POST ]

8. Reach For The Sky (March 2021) As the sun was rising over the Nevada desert this past Spring, Troy and I were making our way to Seven Magic Mountains in the middle of a “48-Hour-True-Vegas-Experience-Weekend” together. I had been in town visiting Andrew and the kids prior to that, and took a couple of days to show Troy around my favorite spots in Sin City since he’d never been before and had driven in from his home in California to say hello and look around.

This early morning trip to the art installation was not only to avoid the sun and the heat- but the crowds, as well- and sure enough we were able to capture some wonderful photos of the rocks and ourselves running around them before the temperatures started to rise and more people began to show up.

I snapped this photo while there were still some clouds in the sky- and it remains one of my favorites from the set.

[ SEE THE POST ]

7. Peace & Love (April 2021)In “Things I Had No Idea Existed Near Me” news of 2021, my friend and photographer Dan brought me to The New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Massachusetts for the very first time in the Spring for a photo shoot- and I was immediately dumbfounded by how gorgeous and huge it was. Not only was the structure itself absolutely stunning, but the surrounding gardens and buildings, too! It truly is a well-maintained and lovingly cared for place of peace and beauty.

I took this photo by a small pond as Dan and I were wrapping up the shoot and getting ready to head back into town, and although it looks like I’m standing right next to the Pagoda- I was actually quite a distance away!

[ SEE THE POST ]

6. “Hoover? Like The Vacuum Guy?” (March 2021) During my aforementioned stay in Las Vegas in March of 2021, Troy and I decided that we wanted to take some time to visit a destination/location that neither of us had ever been to before so we could experience it for the first time together. That destination was the Hoover Dam- and while I can be pretty daring and maybe even courageous from time to time- looking down over the edge of certain parts had me feeling a little woozy given how high up we were and how strong the wind was!

The dam is, of course, a marvel to behold- and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a really great view and some educational;/informative excitement.

Just make sure you don’t drop anything.

[ SEE THE POST ]

5. Glamping in Western Texas (August 2021) Of all the impulsive and spontaneous travel plans I made in 2021, driving across the state of Texas to spend a week in Marfa was right up there at the top of the list. The trip was planned on a whim and ended up being one of the most fun things I’ve ever done- thanks in part to the unique places I stayed at/in during my trip.

I fell in love with my little pink camper during a couple of nights at El Cosmico, but I couldn’t help but wonder what a night in a tepee would have been like- before I promptly vowed to find out during my next stay when I returned to the area (and I absolutely plan on coming back someday.)

I snapped this photo shortly after my arrival and while I was working my way up the trail to my campsite for the very first time.

[ SEE THE POST ]

4. Just Perpetually Attracted To Heights… (October 2021)If you thought that Troy and I kept our love of being WAY too high up in the air limited to the trip to the Hoover Dam- think again! In October of this year, after we’d both met up in Chicago for a work trip/mini vacation, we’d stopped by the Willis Tower to check out the infamous Skydeck. With a panoramic view of the city and a glass floor just to make things extra scary- I reluctantly stepped out for a quick photo while Troy remained confident and completely cool.

And while I didn’t take this picture the way I did with all the others on this list (there was a camera above the deck specifically to capture visitors)– this one was too funny not to include.

I look absolutely terrified- and he’s all grins. Typical.

[ SEE THE POST ]

3. The Best Place For a Rainy Day (May 2021)I was absolutely ecstatic when one of my favorite bookstores (and restaurants) opened back up this past Spring following a long COVID-19-related hiatus throughout 2020. The Montague Bookmill is, by far, one of the coziest and most beautiful places to visit/dine/photograph- and I stopped by during a rainy Saturday to pick up a Mother’s Day gift for my mom this year.

While it was pouring outside, I took this photo in one of the bookmill’s many nooks- and it has remained an aesthetically pleasing picture ever since- from the lighting to the comfy chair to the vines growing along the wall.

I fully intend to head back there for a more in-depth look at their fantastic restaurant in 2022, but for now- this picture serves as a reminder of what a gem the location is!

[ SEE THE POST ]

2. The BEAN! (October 2021)While spending time in Chicago this Fall, there were stretches of hours where I would be on my own while Troy attended his work conference/trade show. During one of those afternoons, shortly after I’d left the Art Institute down the street from our hotel- I stumbled on Cloud Gate and went into full-on tourist mode- snapping photos (and selfies) in front of it.

Of all the pictures I took, however- this one is my favorite. The clouds, the skyline, and that big reflective bean in the middle of it- surrounded by people enjoying a breezy Autumn day. It was such a wonderful time.

[ SEE THE POST ]

1. “And I Am a Material Girl…” (August 2021) And finally, with the help of my tripod- this was my favorite photo I took in 2021. On a desolate road about 30 miles outside of Marfa, Texas- I found the famed Prada Marfa art installation and got to see it, photograph it, pose in front of it and just savor the scenery of the surrounding desert by myself for nearly an hour before other tourists arrived with the same goals in mind.

My solo trip to Texas remains one of the most freeing and fun experiences of my life- something I will always look back on fondly and cherish forever. I felt like this photo encapsulated my experience- just me, the road and a street-side oddity- and I am so proud of it and of myself for pulling off such an awesome adventure on my own.

[ SEE THE POST ]

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And that’s the list, everyone! Ten photos that I truly feel capture some of the more wonderful parts of my 2021- much of which was spent traveling around my region and around the country. I truly hope to keep up that momentum well into 2022 and beyond, and have actively been making plans while being mindful of current events so that I can (hopefully) cross more things off of my Vacation/Destination “Bucket List.”

At the end of this week, I’ll have my full and in-depth look back on 2021 in it’s entirety, and will be sharing my New Year’s Eve/Day plans and resolutions, as well! It’s taken me quite a while to write it- but I hope you’ll all enjoy it!

xo

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Hi! I'm Ashley. I'm a blogger and a radio personality with a makeup and shoe addiction based out of Boston and the Pioneer Valley. These are my (mis)adventures.

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