Pizza and Pups

I am currently sitting on a bed in my pj’s at the Ramada in Clarks Summit, PA.  I just had a yummy patty melt from the restaurant next door for dinner and am watching the World Series on low (so I don’t have to listen to Joe Buck).  About two hours ago, I nearly had a meltdown in the MoHo so my situation has much improved since 6:30pm – more on what transpired later…

During my last post, I alluded to my plan of hitting Mystic Pizza while Juno was getting groomed (also in Mystic).  Well, mission accomplished!  They have the movie playing on a flat screen in the back of the restaurant and all sorts of autographed photos adorn the walls.  But most importantly, the pizza was damn tasty.  I got the buffalo chicken (blue cheese dressing on the side for dipping) and yeah, I pretty much ate the whole thing.  Evidence below:

After lunch, I cruised back to Mystic Clippers to pick up Juno and it was Bedlington Terrier madness!  The owners of the shop have two Bedlingtons: Marquis and Paris.  I don’t think Juno was nearly as excited as I was but I ended up hanging out a good 30 minutes playing with them.  So… can you find the Snug??????

The next day, I found myself in New Haven.  Juno and I had a nice stroll around the Yale campus which has the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen (picture below left).  What is hard to tell from the picture is there there are two buildings – the tall one in the back contains the stacks. Seriously. Amazing.

After walking around the campus, I made my way over to Pepe’s Pizza.  I was told about Pepe’s when I was in Bristol during my first pass thru CT so thought it was important to check it out.  As it turns out, there’s a reason people talk about Pepe’s all over the state.  It is that good.  This time I managed to get a picture BEFORE I consumed the whole thing.  And while the spinach mushroom side was delish, the quatro frommagio side was unreal.  I’d also like to point out the truck in front of the restaurant – rocking an Alaska license plate and a Raiders shield. Yep – we’re everywhere… (Side note: slightly upset that the year I leave town is the year the Raiders start playing well again but I’m okay with it.  Still can’t believe we’re leading the AFC West!!)

I  parked in a cozy neighborhood in New Haven on Friday night and in Greenwich on Saturday night.  Parking was a bit of a challenge in Greenwich because there’s very little street parking – I guess they don’t need street parking because people’s homes are so huge, they can easily accommodate 50 cars on their driveway.  I looked on Zillow and saw several homes in the 8 figure range for sale.  Check out this one:

http://www.davidogilvy.com/property-detail/725142/1-harbor-drive-greenwich-ct-06830

Today started out as a great day.  My friend Lori came out from NorCal and was kind enough to take the train up from Manhattan and meet me in Greenwich (which I renamed Moneyville) for some lunch and shopping.  It was so much fun catching up though we were having problems taking a decent selfie – these are the top 3:

While we were taking silly pictures, Juno made a new friend too!

Rain was imminent so after saying goodbye to Lori, Juno and departed for PA. It rained most of the way but I still managed a good picture of the Pennsylvania Welcomes You sign:

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So I had called an RV campground this morning located outside of Scranton and confirmed they had availability.  Sadly, Google Maps Lady put me in the wrong spot.  I called to get correct directions and was told that I was only 5 minutes away.  More like 30 minutes – down a dirt road – and in the middle of nowhere.  And the guy was already gone when I arrived.  I called again to get info on where to park…

“Go down to the right past the gravel pile to the bottom of the hill and make a left.  Any of the spots you see are open.  Oh – and please leave $40 under the office door.”

This place was frightening.  Broken down RVs and I’m all by myself.  It was something out of a horror movie.  And $40?  Uhhhh… no.  So I left.  This is when I had the pseudo-breakdown.  Because it was now dark, I’m literally in the middle of nowhere and have no clue where to go.  Fortunately, there was a pet-friendly Ramada back in town and they had a cozy room available for $79.  Free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and a fitness room. Worth every penny.  So once again, I am a happy camper.  Now if only Joe Buck would get sudden laryngitis, life would be perfect.

State count:  22

 

 

Blackjack!

My time in Massachusetts ended on Tuesday morning when I departed the Crowne Plaza, paid one last toll on Mass Pike (I can’t begin to add up the amount of money I spent on tolls in MA) and headed south for Rhode Island.  I had thought about heading to Cape Cod or taking the ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard but with temperatures dropping, I figured sitting on a ferry and then wandering around an island probably wouldn’t be a lot of fun.  So will have to see these places another time.

I’m proud to announce that Rhode Island is my 21st state on this journey!  And even though it’s the smallest state in the union (even smaller than Hawaii), the capital is quite impressive and the downtown Providence area quite pretty.

After a quick stop to the visitors center for advice, I re-parked the MoHo and Juno and I had a lovely stroll around historic Providence.  The church is the oldest Baptist church in America, founded in 1638.  The building here was open for business beginning in 1775  – and clearly in much better shape than the poor Mayflower 2 in Plymouth which is falling apart after only 60 years.

Just up the hill from the church is Brown University so that was our next stop.  Side note:   I had applied to Brown early admission but wasn’t accepted.  I found this interesting considering I had never visited the campus.  Not sure why I chose this school for admittance but think how different my life would have been had I been accepted.  Maybe I’d feel better about living in a place that has real winters had I gone there?  Then again, maybe not.

The campus was beautiful – more picturesque than Harvard, IMO.  The main gates are only open twice a year – inward on the first day of school and outward on the last day.  Despite my four years of Latin, no clue what the sign on the bottom right meant, so I looked it up:

“Haec studia adolescentium alunt, senectutem oblectant, secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solacium praebent,” translated, “These studies fortify one’s youth, delight one’s old age; amid success they are an ornament, in failure they are a refuge and a comfort.”    The quote is from Cicero

The nice thing about Rhode Island is because it’s so small, it only takes a few minutes to drive across the state.   I posted up in Narragansett for the last two nights at a nice state park that only cost $25 per night.

I spent all day yesterday in Newport and absolutely loved the town. I toured two of the Newport Mansions – The Breakers (upper left and top right) and Marble House (middle right). The house in the bottom pic is Rosecliff.  I wanted to see the Topiary Gardens but sadly those were closed for the season.

I should mention that trying to get a complete picture of The Breakers was basically impossible as the house is so gigantic that I couldn’t fit the entire thing into the frame.  The tours are self-guided and I learned a lot about the Vanderbilts, as well as the house and how it was kept up.  For example, there was a footman whose only job was to wind the clocks.  Here are a few of the pictures of the interior – the entry hall, the dining room, the kitchen, the view from the second story and the morning room (the muses are accented with platinum which is why they have never faded):

Marble House, while not nearly as large as The Breakers, was still impressive in its own right.  The Gothic Room was truly unique and the grand salon is done in actual 22-carat gold. The picture in the lower right details the amount of staff required to run the house.

Anyway, it was a really good thing I spent yesterday in Newport because today the temperature hasn’t gotten out of the 30’s and it’s raining.  I’m back in Connecticut now and Juno is getting groomed today in Mystic.  I foresee a visit to Mystic Pizza in my future… But for now, I’m drinking tea in the MoHo and just trying to stay warm and dry.

State count: Blackjack!

Scentsory Overload

I’m coming to you live from the Crowne Plaza Boston-Natick hotel in Framingham, MA.  This is my last night before resuming my journey so taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi to do a new post about the weekend’s activities.

My friend Sarah arrived on the red-eye Saturday morning and after a quick shower and snooze, we jumped in her rental car and headed off to Plymouth for the day.  It was rainy, windy and cold but we made the most of it and managed to see a lot.  They had a Lobster Crawl going on which had nothing to do with eating lobster (sad) but instead were these painted lobsters scattered all over town.  These were the favorites – the one on the right was called Claws Monet (how brilliant is that?!?!):

Of course the big draw is Plymouth Rock.  If you think it looks small, you’re not wrong.  Apparently the rock was four times the size but over the years, people would chip away at it for souvenirs.  Finally, someone wised up and built a protective platform around it.

The other big tourist attraction is the Mayflower 2.  I had to think about that for awhile as I didn’t recall a Mayflower 2 in my studies of American History.  As it turns out, this is a replica built in the 1950’s.  And here’s the funniest part – there’s a campaign going on around town for “Save the Mayflower 2!”  Apparently the boat isn’t in great shape and is in need of repairs.  Scares and I opted NOT to take the tour and simply get a picture from the shore…

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After a lunch of chow-dah and onion rings from Crabbyshack, along with a cupcake from Cupcake Charlie’s, we meandered on back to the hotel.

We got up Sunday to insane winds and once we bundled up with hats, scarves and gloves, headed into Boston for the day.  We walked through the Boston Common and then did a portion of the Freedom Trail.  It is interesting to note that we found Bloody Mary’s (with shrimp!) along the Freedom Trail…

The other fun thing we saw (which I had also seen when I was in Boston a few weeks ago) was this, which is particularly apropos considering the upcoming election…  I did not know the history of the jackass and the elephant until I read the plaque!

The other big reason for our visit to Boston was to see Head of the Charles, a huge crew race that takes place over two days.  We managed to get a great spot on one of the bridges and watched the Men’s and Women’s Collegiate 4s and 8s.

I even took a short video of the Men’s Collegiate 8s – you can hear the coxswains yelling in the background!

There may have been a little shopping on Newbury Street after we finished watching the race.  From there, it was back to the hotel and dinner from Zaftig’s, a yummy deli just down the street.  I will admit here that we also had dinner there on Saturday night.  The latkes were terrific.

Sarah had to work today so Juno and I were on our own again.  While reading THE WEEK last night, I discovered the Yankee Candle company has a HUGE village in Deerfield, MA. Mind you, I don’t like a lot of smells and I never buy candles but I figured what the heck, it would be a fun outing.  So off we went!

There is a year-round Christmas village complete with falling snow every 4 minutes. There is also an RIP wall with all the scents that didn’t make it, a strange Camelot-looking castle, and a theater with animatronic figures singing songs (and people sitting on benches watching the show).  I found the “glass pickle” display intriguing as I’d never heard of this tradition.  Then again, I’m Jewish so what do I know?  And last but not least, there were over 200 different scents to smell – my nose was done after about 10. And I’m not saying that the candles were to blame but I’ve been sneezing non-stop for the last 10 minutes.  Bottom line,  being there was full-on sensory (or scentsory) overload.  I bought a car freshener that wasn’t too smelly and a piece of fudge.

That just about wraps it up.  The plan for the next few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving is as follows:  MA – CT – RI – PA – OH – MD – PA – NY….  Seems confusing but when you look at a map, it all makes sense.

Time for dinner!

 

 

What Purgatory Looks Like

When I left off last time, I had just gotten back to my Uncle Jerry’s house in upstate New York. I had planned to spend two nights there before heading back out on the road but I ended up spending an extra night for a couple of reasons: 1. There was a big horse auction on Monday in Saratoga Springs that I wanted to see  2. It is so nice hanging out with family that I just didn’t want to leave!  And not just because there’s a bathtub, a fridge full of food and laundry facilities.

The horse auction was really fascinating.  We watched the live auction for awhile and then wandered out to the warm-up ring and then around the stables.  A couple of the horses went for over $60,000 and $70,000 dollars but lots went for only $1,000 and several didn’t get bid on at all.  That made me a little sad.  I thought that maybe I’d trade the MoHo for a horse and finish the trip that way but Juno doesn’t like horses so I kept my hands in my lap for fear that even scratching my head would lead to an inadvertent purchase.

I took a short video of the horses being warmed-up in the ring outside before being led into the auction pavilion.  You can hear the auctioneer in the background – do they go to special auctioneer school to learn how to do that?

On Tuesday morning, I re-packed the MoHo and headed down Rte 87 for the CIA in Hyde Park.  Cooking-school CIA, not spooks CIA…  There are lots of restaurants on the campus (which is beyond gorgeous) and I ended up at the Apple Pie Bakery and Cafe.  Even though I was full from the curried carrot soup and grilled cheese sandwich (with prosciutto!) I still got dessert.  Presenting the peanut butter and jelly-filled donut.  They make the concord grape jelly from scratch.  And yes, it tasted as good as it looks.

I met up with my Aunt Renee at the FDR presidential museum and library after lunch.  Very informative – I could have spent all day there.  My favorite part was a wall with letters FDR received during his time as President.  The best one simply said “ATTABOY!”

After a rather warm night in New Paltz (it was in the 80’s the last two days), Juno and I took a walk over the Hudson River Pedestrian Bridge yesterday morning. The view was gorgeous and in the middle of the span, I met Amy and her husband Robert.  Amy was kind enough to take a picture of me and Juno.  Special shout-out to my mom who got me the awesome shirt I’m wearing when we were in Salem together.  Slightly hard to make out but it says:  Go on road trips, swim in the sea, count the stars, fall in love, be free. The final shot was taken while I was driving across the Mid-Hudson bridge which parallels the pedestrian bridge.

About 30 minutes later, I found myself in Connecticut!  Yay for a new state!!  There was a nice rest stop where we had lunch and a quick stroll before continuing onward.

The Carousel Museum in Bristol, CT was my destination for yesterday afternoon – another place mentioned in my Off the Beaten Path book.  Let me tell you – I am now full of knowledge on the subject of carousels… The museum had so much great info and I took far more pictures that I am posting here.  These are just my faves – note the carved horse head and the manatee – both still works-in-progress.  Fun fact – any animal that is NOT a horse is considered to be a part of the menagerie.

They apparently hold quite a few weddings here and people get married in front of the rooster (above) as this is the only animal that seats two!  Of course, the carousel museum wouldn’t be complete without an actual carousel and even though I was the only one there, I took a ride.  It was 2 minutes, 40 seconds and while I could have been done after 45 seconds, I stayed on til the end.

Today was another busy day.  Juno was due for some shots so we headed off to the vet.  From there, we moseyed up to Hartford to see the capital.  Very grand building:

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I had planned on going to the Mark Twain house afterward but when I got there, I discovered the tour was $19 (spendy) and the next one wouldn’t be leaving for close to an hour.  So I took a pass.  But I still got a few fun snaps of the house, of Lego Twain, and of a car I saw in the parking lot!

Back across the border to Massachusetts where I found myself in Purgatory.  Purgatory Chasm, that is!  Another OTBP suggestion and definitely a good one!  FYI – the picture of me in between the rocks – there’s maybe a foot of space between the rocks.  A tight squeeze and good thing I had a light lunch today.

I found a nice RV park here in Bellingham, MA where I’ll be for the evening.  My friend Sarah (Scares!!) is flying into Boston this weekend so I’ll be heading back there tomorrow and will there for the next 5-6 days.  Yay!

I’ll finish this post with a few more shots of the amazing fall colors  (and another round of Find the Snug!)  Never get tired of looking at the trees – I’m guessing in another week, it’ll all be over.

 

State count: 20!!

 

There and back again…

Let me start off my saying that Vermont is a scary place.  When you are driving on the highway, you are constantly reminded to remain alert for moose.  And then when I was in Burlington, I saw signs everywhere on the sides of apartment buildings that read “Not Responsible for Falling Ice and Snow.” In short, you are taking your life into your hands when you’re in Vermont.

Yesterday was a busy day.  I started out by taking the ferry from Charlotte, VT across Lake Champlain.  It was a beautiful (albeit crisp) morning and 25 minutes after departing the dock, we landed in Essex, NY.

My father recommended that I visit Ausable Chasm in upstate NY so that’s where I headed next.  The falls are nothing short of spectacular and deserve their own picture:

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All the adventure options (rafting, rock climbing, traversing rope bridges and so on) were closed for the season so I just did a couple of short hikes along the chasm and along the upper rim.  Slightly annoyed that the walk was $17.95 but it was very picturesque.  Please note the above picture was taken from the bridge and didn’t cost a dime.

When I was in Burlington, I met a very nice gentleman named Zed and his dachshund Chocolate Mousse while I was out walking Juno.  Zed suggested I visit Isle La Motte, home of the world’s oldest coral reef.  As it turns out, Isle La Motte was an hour north from Ausable so off we went.  I was so close to the Canadian border that I started seeing Maple Leaf flags and signs in both English and French.  But the other thing about Isle La Motte is that it’s in Vermont! So I drove over a bridge and boom, I was back in Vermont – the scary land of moose and falling ice.

Isle La Motte was an interesting place to visit and I’m glad that we took a walk around the Goodsell Ridge Preserve.  From there, it was back across the bridge to NY. So in case you’ve lost track, I started my day in VT, went to NY, went back to VT and then back again to NY. I’m guessing my fellow LOTR fans can appreciate the title of this post.

I stayed at the North Pole RV park last night in Wilmington (just outside of Lake Placid) and woke up to frost on the ground and a temperature of 28 degrees.  But it warmed up by time I got to Saranac Lake for a hike up Baker Mountain.  This is the lowest of the Saranac 6 and I do hope to go back to the Adirondacks in the not-too-distant future and hike the other 5 peaks.  The view from the bottom was just as incredible as the view from the top.

I’m now back at my uncle’s house outside of Albany and will be posted up here for the rest of the weekend trying to figure out a game plan for the next month.  With 99% of RV parks closing this weekend and temperatures dropping, I may need to speed up my timeline for heading south.  Everything is TBD but right now it’s just nice to sit here on the couch watching a movie with my uncle while a fire crackles away in the fireplace.

Nitey nite, y’all

 

Cider, cider and more cider!

The really good thing about New England is that the states are small and it’s easy to zip back and forth across state lines.  The bad thing about New England is having to see truckloads of people every day wearing Patriots gear.  There’s even a version where the “patriot” is a moose.  Tuck rule…  I’m still bitter.

Anyway, I finished up my time in New Hampshire yesterday and while my time in NH was short, I feel like I packed a lot in. I managed to get Juno out for a proper hike up to Greeley Ponds in the White Mountains and while we never did manage to see the ponds themselves, the leaves and trail were so beautiful that it didn’t matter.

I also did a quick stop at Lincoln Woods to gawk at the leaves and once again, the pictures don’t do it justice. The best part of the stop was the couple I saw on the bridge in the distance as I was leaving…  The girl was wearing short shorts and maybe it was in the mid 50’s (I was bundled up in a coat and hat).  I should mention here that the temperature dropped significantly the last couple of days – was in the 30’s the last two nights.  Frosty.

From the White Mountains, I proceeded to the Castle in the Air – a massive property built in the 20’s with incredible views.  There was a short stroll to a waterfall on the drive up so Juno got to join me for that part of the experience…  The house itself was nice – my favorite part were these “needle” showers that were installed.  Yes, yes, I’m all about bath time.  Can I say now how much I miss my Japanese toilet???

I spent a final night at Riverbend Campground near Moultonborough and the manager Jill had just won the Skillet Toss at the Sandwich Fair the previous weekend (she was proudly wearing her blue ribbon).  Please note that the Sandwich Fair has nothing to do with sandwiches – it’s just the name of the town. I find this slightly tragic as I would love to go to a fair that is about sandwiches.  Second note – Jill practiced her skillet tossing skills by throwing horseshoes in her spare time.

Yesterday had me crossing the state line to Vermont – yay!  I immediately drove to Montpelier for a stroll around the capital.  It warmed up and the last couple of days were just glorious. During our walk, I found some amusing building art…

From Montpelier, it was a quick jaunt up to Stowe, which I had heard was not to be missed. So true!  The town is adorable, the people are super friendly and I found a place to get a vanilla malted.  The funniest part of the afternoon was when I was stopped behind a couple while Juno was intently sniffing a rock.  I guess I had been standing behind these folks for a good 30 seconds when they felt my presence and finally turned around and looked at me.  I realized what I had done and apologized profusely… “I’m sorry!  I’m not pulling a Donald Trump, I swear!”  They laughed, I laughed… all was well.

I haven’t really mentioned the fall colors all that much but let me say here how they have surpassed my expectations.  These are colors that I’ve never seen before and cannot be simply described as red, orange and yellow.  They are truly glorious, as evidence here shows from two pictures taken yesterday afternoon in Stowe:

Today was another one of those awesome days.  After leaving Stowe, I had several stops scheduled in Waterbury – the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, the Cabot cheese factory store and Ben & Jerry’s!  The Cider Mill is a wealth of all things related to apples – they have cider jelly, cider mustard, cider donuts, hot apple cider – and the list goes on and on. As for me, one cider donut, a mug of hot apple cider, 10 different cheese samples and a small scoop of ice cream comprised my breakfast/lunch today.  Needless to say, I had an apple and green juice for dinner tonight.

I had been very excited about taking the Ben & Jerry’s tour but I’ll be honest, it was a little disappointing.  They charge $4, it’s 30 minutes and you basically see nothing of interest (we read Ben & Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop for book club so I know the company’s history). Small scoop of ice cream at the end and it’s over.  But I did manage to sort of get Juno to stick his head through the sign.  And we really didn’t get Broccoli ice cream – it was Strawberry Cheesecake.

After departing Waterbury, I found myself in Burlington which is where I’ll be hanging tonight and possibly tomorrow night before returning to New York.  Juno and I took a walk along the shore of Lake Champlain and the whole beach is covered with cairns!  Not sure how it started but will investigate further tomorrow.

That’s all for now.  It’s only supposed to get down to the 50’s tonight so I’m posted up on a nice residential street for the evening.  Tomorrow the forecast is calling for rain so I’ll be at the laundromat.  Good times…

State count: 19

 

 

The Clock is Ticking

The vacation from my vacation is officially over as I am writing this post not from a cozy hotel room but from the KOA in Woodstock, New Hampshire.  I arrived here awhile ago and I swear, this place is like one big Patriots tailgate. People have big-screen TVs set up outside and everyone is sitting around in their Pats gear drinking beer.  At the same time, there’s a Halloween parade type thing going on – all the kids are in their costumes going around the park and trick or treating. Mind you, it’s October 9th.  Here in New England, most of the schools are closed for Columbus Day so it’s a 3-day weekend. That explains why this place is so packed.  It’s all good though…

Anyway, the last few days of my vacation with my mom was jam-packed.  As previously mentioned, Boston was our home base for the final three nights we were together.  We drove out to Rockport on Thursday morning – a cute town with smaller fishing boats.  The barrels of haddock in the picture below is used for bait in the lobster traps.  The seagull is named Fred.  The picture on the top right is one of my faves – capturing the harbor perfectly!

We had asked the owner of the Risky Business lobster boat for advice on where to have lunch and he suggested Roy Moore Lobster Co. so after working up an appetite, we moseyed on over. The place is basically a shack with picnic tables in the back.  We both had lobster rolls for lunch (natch) and then I had the brilliant idea to get two more to go and have them back at the hotel for dinner.  Done and done.  Juno and Tiger were both given some tasty salmon and you gotta love the lobster trap love seat in front.  All the guys that work there are super friendly and I’m so glad we went there.  Needless to say, both lunch and dinner were fan-friggin-tastic.

Friday has us zipping across the Charles to Cambridge for a walk around Harvard.  The campus is beautiful, full of old brick buildings, historical landmarks every 20 feet and super smart kids racing to and from class.  Of course I got a picture of the John Harvard statue (which you all remember isn’t actually John Harvard).  I was pleased to see that even Harvard has a Little Free Library on campus.  I imagined I would open it up and see the collected works of Shakespeare, a few philosophy tomes and perhaps some Proust. What was actually in the LFL is in the picture below:

Yep, Tom Clancy and L.Ron Hubbard…  For the record, there were a couple of issues of The New Yorker on the bottom shelf. Personally, I thought this “collection” was hilarious.

I spent the rest of Friday afternoon at a hair salon getting my hair re-dyed blue (which you will see soon enough) and then my mom and I sat at the bar at Atlantic Fish Company and had a fantastic dinner.  I got my last lobster fix with a small bowl of bisque (not chowdah ((thanks for the video Clay!!)) ) and on the way back to the hotel, we saw this banner in front of a church.  Good luck with that…

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My mom and Tiger departed from Boston Logan yesterday afternoon (thank you again mom for a great week!!), at which point I cruised back up to New Hampshire.  My plan was to just meander around New England the next few weeks and enjoy the fall foliage as long as possible.  But it turns out that 99% of all RV parks in New England shut down on 10/15.  So the clock is ticking and I’ve had to accelerate my timeline.  Because as much as I love parking in towns, I still need RV parks every few days to refill my fresh water and dump my tanks.  Working on new plans now.

I posted up in Concord, NH last night.  The capital dome is under construction, similar to St Paul.  I should also mention that yesterday was Juno’s 7th birthday.  I gave him extra belly rubs, long strolls and a birthday cookie, which I may or may not have shared with him.

This morning had us venture off to the Sculptured Rocks in Groton, another place mentioned in Off the Beaten Path.  Totally in the middle of nowhere but sooooo worth the drive.  Bonus game:  Find the Frog!

But the best site of the day was early this afternoon.  I actually turned the MoHo around so I could get a proper picture. I think it speaks for itself…

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That does it for now.  I wonder if any of the Pats fans around here will be streaming the debate later?  I’m guessing not.

 

Maine-ly Lobster

Since my mom arrived on Saturday evening, I’ve basically been on vacation from my vacation.  Hotels every day, eating out every meal, taking hot baths every night… it’s pretty awesome.  Lobster was the backbone of our meals during our time in Maine.  It started with Portland Lobster Co where even the food buzzer is lobster-shaped!  The lobster rolls were tasty – but doubling down with the onion rings on top of the fries was a bit much.  Oof.

I’m not one for taking lots of food pictures – all I will say is that over the course of our time in Maine, I ate three lobster rolls, a lobster cobb salad, lobster stew and even lobster creme brulee.  (Just kidding about the creme brulee)  Please note that I have been offsetting my lobster consumption with trips to the gym every morning.

We meandered up to Bar Harbor on Sunday, with stops along the way in Rockland and Camden. Quick shout-out here to my friend Jordan who put together a fantastic New England itinerary for us.  The drive up was lovely – the further north we got, the more color change we saw along the highway.

Bar Harbor was crazy busy since it’s a big cruise ship destination.  Nevertheless, we had a great time wandering around and taking in the sites.  The first pic is the view from my room at Balance Rock Inn:

Monday afternoon had us exploring Acadia National Park and it is just gorgeous.  We did the loop and stopped to take a couple of “nature strolls” at Sand Beach and Jordan Pond.  I also saw an interesting relic so thought I’d take a picture as I figured no one would believe me… yep, an actual pay phone!

We drove back to Portland from Acadia and holed up there for an additional two nights.  We spent all day yesterday wandering around and just enjoying the town, the amazingly beautiful weather and one of the best lunches I’ve ever had at Eventide.  Selfie at lunch – the other picture pretty much sums up the day:

Another great day today in Portsmouth, NH en route down to Boston.  We’ll be chilling here the next few days but have day trips planned to Gloucester, Salem, and Rockport.  We also discussed hitting Harvard and seeing if any of the collective brilliance rubs off just by virtue of being on campus. I’m guessing not but worth a try.

I’d like to wrap up this post with a conversation I had last night with the person who handles room service as this was one of the more amusing interactions I’ve had in recent memory:

Me: “Hi, I’m wondering if you have a soup of the day?”

Room Service “No, we don’t serve any soup.”

Me: “But you have clam chowder listed on the room service menu.”

RS: “Well yeah, that’s chowder but we don’t have any soup soup.”

I guess chowder isn’t soup.  The rest of the discussion revolved around temperature control issues which is why they couldn’t serve soup soup.  They transferred me to the restaurant where I got a voicemail box, at which point I hung up.  Needless to say, I did not get soup last night.

Maybe you won’t find this exchange as funny as I did but it’s late, I’m tired and I need to go to bed.  So on that note, buh-bye from Boston.

 

 

From Sea to Shining Sea

This is going to be quick as I need to pick up my mom from the Portland (!!) airport in an hour…  The last few days were a little chaotic since I hadn’t really planned on being in upstate NY until later on in my trip.  I spoke to my dad and since he grew up in the area, he was very helpful.  He suggested I drive around the Finger Lakes and to also check out Howe Caverns.  Done and done!

No pictures of the Finger Lakes since it was too hard to capture but the drive around Seneca Lake was lovely.  There are tons of wineries in the area and I did stop at Red Tail Ridge and enjoyed a quick tasting and ended up with a bottle of their Blaufränkisch.  Delightful.  After a quick cruise over to Ithaca and a drive around the Cornell campus (there was literally no place to park), I ended up in Syracuse for the evening.  Gannon’s Ice Cream provided my dinner (milkshake) and all was well with the world.

Thursday morning, I was up early and made it to Howe Caverns for one of their guided tours.  For those keeping track, this was my fourth cave visit on this trip.  Interesting how every cave is totally different.  While I wouldn’t say this was necessarily my favorite, we did get to take a boat ride on the underground lake so that was pretty cool.  Here are a few snaps of the more interesting formations, including the dragon head and the Chinese Pagoda:

From Howe Caverns, it was off to Albany for a quick stop at the capital.  The building is friggin’ enormous.  I am also including a picture of a squirrel that was taunting Juno.

My next stop was to visit my Uncle Jerry and my cousin Susie, neither of who I had seen in over 30 years.  I got to meet my 2nd cousin Abby who gave me a wonderful hand massage. I had the most wonderful family dinner with Jerry, Renee, Susie, Mike and Abby – definitely one of the best evenings of the trip and I look forward to spending more time with them when I head back down south…

After a good night’s sleep, it was time to head north to Massachusetts!  Since I was on a tight schedule, I wasn’t able to do much but I did visit the Basketball Hall of Fame (gotta love the hand driers in the bathroom) and Old Sturbridge Village.  Doesn’t the sheep look just like Juno?!?!?!

Continuing my journey north, I crossed into New Hampshire for about 20 minutes and then I got to Maine.

I will admit, I got a little choked up when I hit Maine.  I know people drive across the country all the time – some even do it in 4 days – but I really felt a sense of accomplishment at driving across the country.  And even more exciting is the rain that had been falling non-stop since yesterday stopped once I got here.  Juno didn’t understand why I was crying so I rolled down the window and let him smell the crisp Maine air.

I immediately drove down to the water’s edge because it just didn’t seem like I had “officially” made it til I could see the Atlantic.  After that, I celebrated with a Green Tea Latte and a pumpkin cookie from Starbucks.

Time to hit the airport.  The next week, my mom and I will be cruising around New England – ME, NH, VT and MA.  We’ll be watching the leaves changing color, eating lots of lobster, celebrating the new year, and taking the tour at Ben & Jerry’s. My mom is bringing her dog Tiger so Juno will have a buddy to hang with too.  And no, we won’t be sleeping in the MoHo – staying in hotels for the next week.  You can guarantee I’ll be taking a hot bath every day.

State count: 16, 17, 18

Toodles!