Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bar Harbor

So, I need to actully make a blog entry for this day but I at least wanted to make a post with these pics.  We used the Joby Gorillapod to get a great shot of us.




Nantucket Day 2

Been Busy...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nantucket Day 1

With this being our first visit to New England, we really didn't know what to expect.  Prior to our visit, we booked a room at an inn called 76 Main http://www.76main.com/.  I called and talked to David, the innkeeper for the past 11 years.  He's a retired in his 70's and was really our only non-internet or travel guide source for information prior to the visit.  He convinced us not to go to Martha's Vineyard and to stay an extra night in Nantucket.  Turns out that our plan to make a day trip to MV didn't work since they no longer have day trip ferries between the islands.  So we were stuck on ACK (the airport code for Nantucket) for 3 days.
The evening we arrived, we got off the ferry and walked a few blocks up Main St where on the dark street somone called out my name.  I looked up to see David (had know idea what he looked like before that moment, but recognized the voice) on the sidewalk coming down to greet us.  We took us in, gave us a tour and then we slept.

Travel on ACK is interesting.  While people are encouraged not to bring cars to the island, there sure was a lot of traffic each day as cars came in off the ferry.  There are no street lights and it works well.  Drivers are very aware of pedestrians and courteous to each other at intersections.  I guess when it's the only system you have, it has to work smoothly.  Other travel options included bike, jeep or moped rentals, public bus system (WAVE http://www.nrtawave.com/) or foot.  We chose the later two.  The first day, we decided to get a day pass on the bus and ride various routes around the island to check out possible future biking locations.

It's amazing how deceptive maps can be.  ACK seemed very small on paper, but quite large when you are on foot on contemplating a 6 mile bike ride.  The first route we took was to the far east end of the island to the town of Siasconet ('Sconet to the locals).  Turns out that the "scenic" route would have been quite boring on a bike.  It was mostly trees with an occasional glimpse of the typical grey weathered cedar shake houses.  We were glad we chose to ride the bus.  We got off, ate lunch then walked to the beach.




The beach was nice and long and was quite a bit higher than the water.  We tested the water temp and decided that it was a bit to chilly for our southern bodies.  Instead we walked to shoreline then sat for a while.  According to our inkeeper, the entire shoreline of ACK is public and each year the residents walk the beach to commemerate their commitment to...I lost interest, but you get the idea.



After the beach we took a different route back, went to our room, napped then headed back out on the bus to Madaket on the far west side to watch the sunset.  I had my first lobser roll at Millies, the only eatery on that end of the island.  Then we sat on the beach for a while and watched the sun disappear.  It was so wonderful.  We even got to watch a seal bobbing out in the water.


It was a perfect day except for the fact that it was 80 degrees all day and we sweated much more than we were anticipating.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Boston

We landed in Boston arounf 12 PM and picked up a rental car.  Our ferry to Nantucket was leaving at 7 PM and it was about a 2 hour drive down in traffic so we decided to prioritize.  We picked 2 places to see in Boston before heading down - Harvard & the Cheers Bar (the Bull & Finch).  We tried to hit Cheers on the way, but we thought we could outsmart our map and ended up in Cambridge first.  I was very excited about Cambridge for 1 reason and it wasn't Harvard.  I'm a huge fan of NPR's car talk which started in Cambridge and who's mailing address is in Harvard Square.  So I decided to find it and did, well sorta.  In Cambridge Square, there's a building with a second floor window with lettering which reads "Dewey, Cheetham & Howe".  That's the production office for the show.  So I got my picture there and we moved on.  It's the little things.


We walked through the Harvard campus and I felt more liberal with each step.  Actually it was a lot less impressive than I thought.  It was nice, just not as big and prestigious as it comes across.  While in town we decided to have lunch. We happened to walk by place and I saw the burgers coming out to the patrons on the outside dining area and decided we needed to stop.  It's a place called Mr. Bartley's.  The burgers were $10 but worth it.  They were fantastic.  They all had clever names and the place was packed.  They set up a table within 1 ft of another table.  Seated there were these 2 ladies who we began chatting with while we were waiting.  They were in from Atlanta at a teacher's conference.  We had a great time with them.

From there, we headed to Cheers.  We found parking right in front and went in.  It was really dissappointing.  Norm wasn't anywhere to be found!  Megan used to go to bed each night as a kid when the Cheers theme came on.  When we first got married, we would watch it before going to bed so we are kinda attached to it.  Anyway, the downstairs bar that the show was based on is called the Bull and Finch.  It's down some stairs just like in the show but much less spacious.  We poked our heads in and walked back up.  Upstairs, there's something called the "Set Bar", which looked nothing like the set, and a gift shop with all things Cheers.  We spent all of 10 minutes there and moved on a little sadder.



After navigating downtown Boston at rush hour on a Friday, we managed to get out of town.  On the way down we noticed something new.  The side of the road that we call the "shoulder" is called the "breakdown lane".  Apparently from 3pm-7pm M-F you can drive on it.  So, as we are headed down, the 2 lane road becomes a 3 lane road.  Very strange.  Not sure where you go when you break down though.

We made it to the airport and dropped the car off and made it to the ferry on time.  We arrived in Nantucket and walked a few blocks through town to our inn, 76 Main, where we quickly collapsed from exhaustion.


New England

I am a few days behind on getting this started.  We've just been having so much fun.  Anyway, I'm going to break up these posts as if I'm actually writing them on the day they happen.

Ever since we've known Chuck and Elizabeth, they've talked about the farm in Vermont.  Apparently Elizabeth's family has a farm that she loves and wants everyone else to love so she has invited us to come up and fall in love with Vermont.  This year, we decided that we should go.  Megan figured that since we were already going to be in the area, why not spend a little bit more money and see all of the great places in New England.  I personally have been indifferent about the overall trip, other than getting to hang out with our best friends in a cool new place for a few days.  Truthfully, I thought Vermont was in the midwest and couldn't figure out why we would be flying into Boston.

So, we're in New England...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rome

Umm.. so, it's been several months since we got home from Europe and it's been bugging that I never posted anything about Rome.  Since Rome was our last stop, we were a bit worn down and just not in the mood to blog any more.  Well, I guess it's better late than never.

We left the farm in San Gimignano and went to Orvieto for a night before heading to Rome.  The drive was scenic but uneventful.  We caught the train from Orvieto the next morning and arrived in Rome ready to be pickpocketed.  We were on our guard quite a bit more than we had been elsewhere because we had heard so many bad things about crime in Rome.  Maybe we were just careful or maybe we were overly cautious.  Whatever it was, we didn't have any issues with theft.

Our apartment was great.  We were only about 2 blocks from the Colloseum and had a great view.  We think that we were in a local neighborhood as opposed to a tourist area with hotels.  There were a lot of great little restaurants in the area, especially this little pizza joint we stopped at a few times.  I think that the food in Rome was pretty good, not as good as Tuscany, but close.

From our hotel, we were able to walk to the Colloseum and to the Metro stations easily.  We got to see where history began.  There we were, walking around where so much history has taken place.  We heard it called the "Stratification of History" once.  I think that really sums it up.  From the Colloseum to the Forum to the various arches to the Vatican, there's just so much history.  Honestly, Megan and I not very excited to go to Rome, but felt like we had to since we were in Italy.  I think we were plesantly surprised.  It was just a great experience - everything except the heat!  We almost melted from the heat.

One trip that stands out was Vatican City.  We got passes in advance as recommended by the guide book.  Not only was it the smartest thing we did on the trip, but it also paid off tremendously.  When we arrived, there was a line 3 people wide wrapped around the city walls.  We got into the reservations line and literally walked right into the front doors without any delay. It saved us several hours.  Also, if you can get there before your reservation time, the didn't seem to care about the time, just that you had a reservation.  Once inside, we walked through the museum for a bit, which we weren't crazy about, then made our way to the Sistine Chapel.  We must have walked for several miles to get there.  There is a maze of hallways that you must navigate to get there.  Once inside, they ask that you be quiet, and don't take pictures.  I was able to sneak a few pictures though (just turn off the flash).  The ceiling was amazing.  We listened to Rick Steves' audio tour and it was very informative.  There's so much there.  It's worth the trip.  We also toured St. Peter's Basilica.  It was huge.  If you want to get a good idea of it, watch the Angels & Demons.  The ceiling is as high as a football field in places.  It was just huge.

Overall, it was a great way to end our tour.  We had a blast.  Well, that's about it for Europe.  I just wanted to get this into the blog.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Home Again

After a very long day in the air, we are finally home.  Megan walked in, opened the mail (which included her DPT license YAY!!) and crawled in bed. I think we've been awake for somewhere around 19 hours right now.  Maybe I'm still in travel mode or I've switched back to CST, but I'm not quite exhausted yet.

Anyway, our first trip overseas was a fantastic success!  We got to see and do just about everything we hoped (missed the Musee de Orsay in France) plus many little extras.  Megan and I got to really reconnect after 3 years of solitude with her studying 24/7.  December will mark 7 years of being married.  Sometimes I think about how Megan and don't share that many hobbies and wonder how that affects our marriage and how much we connect.  Our one main hobby that we always identify with is travel.  This trip really brought to light how much we enjoy the thrill of the unknown that travel brings - not knowing where to turn, almost getting run over by mopeds, negotiating the price of items in foreign  languages that we don't speak and succeeding.  These are just a few of the many wonderful things that you get to experience while travelling.  They way people connect is through shared experiences and after 3 weeks of being with Megan 24/7, I know that she's the only travel companion for me.

At the end of each trip, we always ask "where to next?"  Its hard to imagine travelling again soon, but I think that when we do, it will be somewhere domestic.  We have seen a good part of our ancient world history, now maybe we will head to somewhere in the US and explore our nations history.  As we flew into Newark airport this afternoon, we were able to see New York City, the Empire State Building and even the Statue of Liberty.  I started thinking about the millions of imigrants that saw the Statue of Liberty on their way over to help build our nation.  I'm not a big fan of history, but I've found that if I see it up close, it makes more impact than just reading about it in a book.

I'm getting sleepy and feel like I'm rambling.  I guess the bottom line is, we love traveling; it's what brings us close.  We had a blast, we're home safe now and thanks for following our adventure.

-Adam