Seen and Noted 2018: Our Most Viewed Posts of the Year

Aglow in morning light, a lone tethered boat stands ready.
A man in Chefchaouen sweeps off the walkway in front of his door.

Although not in our top five Most Viewed posts, Morocco was perhaps our Number One destination in 2018.

It was about this time last year that those nice folks at Gallivance (Terri and James Vance) published Best of the Blog: The Top 10 Faves, and ever since then, we’ve wondered what you, our readers, would find fascinating among our ramblings for 2018.  After all, we’ve been near (our home town of Knoxville) and far (Maine and Morocco), but never really thought of what you enjoyed reading about the most . . . until now.

Come to think of it, looking back is a good thing.  We just may want to do less of one place and more of another based upon what you like.  (Now there’s a concept — pleasing our readers!)

So, with thanks to the Vances for inspiration (good writing, humor, great photos, too), here are our top five Most Viewed posts of 2018.  Ta-da!!!

Most Viewed Number 5:  “Food, glorious food:  West End Market, Cleveland, Ohio”

Now, this one was no surprise to us:  everyone we know who travels seems to love eating food of the area.  And after a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the house in A Christmas Story, we decided that a big market like West Side was just what we needed to see (and sample).  With a plethora of fresh veggies piled high for the taking and some regional specialties we just don’t get that often in Tennessee (think perogies, apple provolone stuffed tenderloin, and pizza bagels), it was definitely love at first sight — and first bite — at West Side Market.

And we were glad that the market was ginormous.  It gave us an opportunity to walk off what we sampled — from macarons to ginger snaps and then some.

You can be sure we’ll be frequenting more Farmers Markets in 2019.  In fact, you can hardly beat the Knoxville’s Saturday set-up in our downtown Market Square.  So watch for more food, glorious food.

Most Viewed Number 4: “Sunrise at Acadia Dock”

Shoulda known this one would be in the Top Five.  Sunrise photos rank right up there with puppies in a basket and cuddly babies in knitted caps as favorites.  But these sunrises were special to us.  We woke early almost every morning during the month we spent in Castine, Maine, just to walk to the dock and stand with the locals in silent reverence for God’s paintings on the water.

Sunrise: Castine Harbor.

Sunrise: Castine Harbor.

We loved it all — from boats tied up and waiting, to watching lobstermen hard at work before dawn, to the launch each day of the Maine Maritime Academy’s training boat, the Bowdoin.

Bowdoin, training vessel for Maine Maritime Academy

Bowdoin, training vessel for Maine Maritime Academy

In fact, those early morning strolls down the street, cup of coffee in hand and jacket zipped up, remain some of our fondest memories.  But coming in at a close second after clapping for the sunrise was hiking up the main drag to enter MarKel’s Bakehouse for a whiff of those moist right-out-of-the-oven blueberry scones.  Would go back in a heartbeat!

Morning light: Castine, Maine.

Morning light: Castine, Maine.

Most Viewed Number 3: Out of this world:  Monhegan Island, Maine

Speaking of going back — one night in Monhegan is definitely not enough.  From the boat trip on choppy waters to the laid-back, no-improvements-needed landscape of this little island Down East, it was, hands-down, one of our sites and sights to remember from all of our U. S. travels.

Main road in Monhegan - pleasantly untouched.

Main road in Monhegan – pleasantly untouched.

Just like our early morning adventures in Castine, Maine, we wanted to see Monhegan at dawn.  So getting up early and trekking to the top of the hill where the original lighthouse and Monhegan museum stand was a no-brainer.  We had to do it, and we did.  And the reward? A panorama of houses and unmanicured yards and dirt paths leading up the road apiece.  It’s life as it was fifty years ago, and that’s why people come to see it. And it’s what keeps the locals there even through brutal winters.

Greeting the sun: buildings at Monhegan Island Light

Greeting the sun: buildings at Monhegan Island Light

If you’re ever in Maine wondering whether to spend a couple of days in Monhegan or not, we say, “Go for it.”  It’s artistry, community, and raw beauty all in one — something you can’t find packaged together much anymore. If this post isn’t enough of Monhegan (and one post really isn’t), try taking a look at this one as well:  “Five places to see: Monhegan Island, Maine.” 

Most Viewed Number 2:  “Variations on a Theme: Island Cottages, St. George Island”

Near Apalachicola, Florida, lies an expanse of beach that, although lined with residences, doesn’t seem crowded at all.  It’s because the founding fathers or the current municipal fathers (or both) have seen fit to leave St. George Island almost untouched.  You rarely see a restaurant.  And there are few rental places, few beach shops selling air-brush t-shirts, and almost no dune buggies whizzing past.  Just beach.  And that’s the beauty of it.

But there are viewing spots — now, more than ever.  Island cottages are nestled in and among the older beach houses so that we who want to visit St. George can get a glimpse, no matter how high up, of that beautiful blue water and untouched sand beach.

Lined up for your island vacation at St. George

So, here’s to the skinny houses, the ones that seem precariously perched on stilts so that residents can sit on skinny porches, raise their binoculars and search for dolphins swimming by.

All in a row: cottages lined up in St. George Island

All in a row: St. George Island

This was one of those posts we put together for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, and we must admit that we miss those weekly suggestions for posting sent to us by the WordPress folks.  It only takes a few words from the blog people to make the photo bugs within us search our memories (and our hard drives) for just the right thing. But since that’s no longer done for us, we probably need to do that on our own a little more often.

Most Viewed Number 1:  Weekly Photo Challenge:  Silence in a Garden”

And here it is:  Number One!  Again it was a WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge response that catapulted this little three-photo post to the Most Viewed status among our blogs in 2018!  Perhaps readers share our desire to “sit a spell” in a relaxing place, like a garden, and let the cares of the world pass us by, even if just for a short while.

A weathered garden bench invites visitors to sit a spell and enjoy the quiet.

A weathered garden bench invites visitors to sit a spell and enjoy the quiet.

Or perhaps it’s the power of WordPress to help us network and share posts with so many people who blog on a regular basis.  Whatever the reason, we are delighted that a garden spot in Knoxville, Tennessee, was the Most Viewed Post of 2018.

And maybe we need to rethink big trips — like the one we took to Morocco — for popular posts.  Not one of our Morocco posts landed in the Top Five; instead, viewers liked sunrises, beaches, and gardens more.  (And we love those as well.)

We've been photo bombed -- by a cat in Meknes, Morocco. Oh, well.

We’ve been photo bombed — by a cat in Meknes, Morocco. Oh, well.

Thanks to you, our viewers, we look forward to another year of blogging.  We’ll finish up our series Marvelous Morocco just in time to head to Southeast Asia for a January 2019 itinerary that includes meandering the streets of Hanoi, sleeping two nights on a junk in Halong Bay, snapping endless photos of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, and reveling in the colorful city of Bangkok.

We wish for all of you a very happy 2019 — whether you travel far or near.  It’s all good when you love where you are in the world.

Thanks for following Oh, the Places We See.

Rusha and Bert Sams

19 thoughts on “Seen and Noted 2018: Our Most Viewed Posts of the Year


    Rusha, we just published our Best of the Blog post and we gave you and Bert a shout-out and a link to your year-end post. As always, we had some surprises and some potential ideas for going forward. Have a Great New Year and thanks again for continuing to follow along. ~James

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks so much for the link! I enjoyed the look-back that you inspired and may even do it again next year. You’re great blogosphere leaders, and it’s always fun to read your posts. Best wishes for a rewarding new year filled with safe travels and good eyes to catch the humor and the unusual everywhere!

  2. Pingback: Best of the Blog 2018: The Top 10 Faves | GALLIVANCE

  3. Sue Slaght

    Always fascinating to look back on what readers were interested in. What seems to happen for us is that the older posts often become the most viewed at internet searches take over. Wishing you all the very best and Happy new Year!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      You do have a good point. Maybe in time, more of the Morocco posts will get read. If not, it’s a good lesson for us. Determining content, impact of titles, date to post, etc. takes time, and I’m not sure I’ll ever figure it all out! Happy New Year!

      1. Sue Slaght

        It’s a huge ongoing learning I have found. Most of all I think it is important to enjoy what you are doing. I have to keep reminding myself from time to time.


    Rusha, thanks so much for your kind words and the links to our post and blog. From a blogging standpoint, these year-end posts are a good idea for lots of reasons, but on top of that, we always enjoy comparing what we think is most popular with what actually ends up being at the top of the list. There are always a few surprises which get added to our mental “For Future Reference” file. Best of luck to you both and Happy Blogging in 2019. ~James & Terri

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