11 things: Places I've been

As I promised last month, I'm doing a post of 11 things on the 11th of the month. This month is another list of things you may not know about me, and I've taken the theme off 11 localities I've spent at least one night of my life beyond the obvious of where I've lived in my life (Bedford, Lynchburg and Richmond, Va.). Also, while these do have numbers, these are in no order of "favorites." I don't want any cities to get jealous out there.

1. Mystic, Connecticut One of the secrets of the Northeast has to be Mystic. I visited Mystic in the fall of 2006 on a mini-tour of the Northeast, including the Mystic Aquarium (above photo). From the outside it seemed like I was stepping back to the 1980s, but inside was pretty cool. If you go to Mystic, be sure to check out the nearby casinos.

2. Granger, Indiana Just outside of South Bend is Granger, where two of my cousins grew up. I've been there a few times in my life -- I think once when I was 6 months or so old and as recently as 2003. The highlight, though, was when I traveled there by myself when I was 18. A 12-hour drive by myself ... seems surreal now.

3. Amsterdam In the summer of 1999, I had an awesome college experience of going to London to study for three weeks then getting to go on a tour of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. The highlight was surprisingly Amsterdam. Such a great city for so many reasons.  Above is a scanned in photo of one of the canals in Amsterdam. Another city on this trip makes the list below.

4. Cortland, Ohio It's where my in-laws live.  I sort of have to stay there.

5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina I've seen a lot of ads for Myrtle Beach this year with a great tagline: Where America comes to play. Pretty good for an ad campaign. I have spent many, many nights in Myrtle Beach, ranging from my early teens to senior beach week in 1996 to visiting my sister when she lived there. I know the area very well, but it's been quite a few years since I've been there.

Outer Banks, running

6. Southern Shores, North Carolina Keeping with the beach theme ... the photo above isn't precisely Southern Shores, but it's close enough. A few summers ago a friend of mine got married on the beach in the Outer Banks. If you've never been, GO. Southern Shores is nice as it's kind of in between the popular section of Nags Head and the very cool Duck.

7. Hershey, Pennsylvania My wife and I made a stop on our honeymoon in 2004 in Hershey and we've been back twice for Dave Matthews Band concerts. (For the record, I've spent the night in several places for DMB concerts in addition to what's already been mentioned: Cherry Hill, N.J., for a concert in Philadelphia; Roanoke, Va.; Blacksburg, Va.; Virginia Beach; and Greensboro, N.C.) Anyway, Hershey is a must-see sometime in your life if you like chocolate.

8. Middletown, New York My first roommate from college lived in Middletown and a few of us went to his house for our first fall break in October 1996. It was truly my first road trip in college.

9. Brooklyn, New York My roommate mentioned above lived in Brooklyn for a while. In the winter of 2005 my wife and I drove to New York for a couple of Dave Matthews Band concerts at Madison Square Garden. While it was nice to have a free place to stay, I got what I felt was a true Brooklyn experience -- staying the night in an apartment above a shoe store, Brooklyn pizza and a local bar with drink five times what I'm used to paying. It was also winter, and it snowed, so I got to experience the city at a very awesome time of the year.

10. Birmingham, Alabama A couple of summers ago I got to spend some time at a social media seminar in Birmingham. It was much smaller than expected, but I got to experience true southern humidity. Sure it's bad in Virginia, but this stuff was thick.

11. Edinburgh, Scotland On my trip mentioned above, I spent a weekend in Scotland. It was amazing. Great weather, great castles, great whiskey ... it's on the top of my list of places I want to visit again. (So yeah, No. 11 is No. 1, but who's counting?)