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Anne & jeff grand adventure 2013

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Notes and photos from our big trip north, September-October 2013

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Anne & jeff grand adventure 2013

  1. 1. Anne and Jeff’s Grand 2013 Northbound Adventure Tuesday, September 24th Left Barnardsville by way of some errands in Asheville, then made it to Jonesborough with time to look around and have lunch before the matinee at the International Storytelling Center and meeting with executive director, Kiran Sirah. Very excited about the possibility of future work and writing/speaking opportunities with this organization. Wednesday, September 25th After dinner at the Mill Room in Stauton, VA (artichoke chicken and salmon salad), we spend the night in the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel. The next morning we toured the town on foot. Nice architecture, especially around the old train station. We headed north through the Shenandoah National Park, but didn’t see the area that we remember from our last trip to New Jersey. It must be nearby.... but we didn’t want to be too late getting to NYC. As it was, we came in in the dark and went to the wrong apartment building! Thanks to Fergie, we corrected the error of our ways and successfully parked (on the street!) in the Bronx.
  2. 2. Thursday, September 26th Up early for a meeting in Times Square with Eddie (with the folks behind Angry Birds.. really!), then some touring on our own before taking transit to Queens to meet with Fergie and his team at LaGuardia Community College. Lunch was swanky and delicious, but interrupted by a situation back at the school. Glad we got to tour a bit on our own ahead of time. Afterwards, we took the train back to the Grand Central Station area where we did some hipster shopping for Jeff (great new sweater) and worked a while in the food court. Quiet evening at the “Pixel” (Ed is recovering from surgery) and a great night’s sleep! Friday, September 27th Living the NYC lifestyle by working at the apartment with Ed all day. Exactly the experience we were hoping for! The apartment is great, many additions to the decor since I was there last. Delicious dinner of carrot soup and smoked chicken, care of Edwardo, and a high school football game viewed from 18 floors above.
  3. 3. Saturday, September 28th Morning ‘round the apartment (complete with Columbia University marching band serenade), then “entrepreneurs’ brunch” at New Leaf before hitting the road for Providence. The drive through Connecticut was gorgeous, really highlighting the fall leaves. It was good to travel some new roads. Saw several beautiful bridges, and Mystic is as magical as ever.
  4. 4. Arrived in Providence in the late afternoon and had to run off like crazy kids to find all our old haunts. The apartment building is somewhat changed (washers and dryers in the basement and Star Market is now a Whole Foods!), but College Hill is still familiar. Downtown, however, is completely changed. Uncovering the canal is just one detail, the whole place is crazy busy with a real tourist focus (who’d a thunk it possible?). We had a dinner with Antonio Peters at Bravo. What a gentleman! We had a great time and he tolerated the “old timers” quite well! ADRP friends thought we were crazy to miss Waterfire, but we knew we could see that on Tuesday.
  5. 5. Sunday, September 29th Our first full day apart. Anne was up and out of the room before 8:00am and we didn’t see one another again until after dinner, around 9:00pm. Anne’s whole day was dedicated to the ADRP board meeting (good, but not the best we’ve had... it started to drag on. I do enjoy seeing these friends. Patricia is determined to lure us to Detroit; Jeff would prefer a visit to Ashleigh in Montreal. Jeff setting up Heurista- and home-away-fromhome central at the Providence Omni. Monday, September 30th Conference in full swing, and knocking a big dent in the day for Anne (and Jeff). Jeff busy keeping the Heurista juggernaut in action while taking some time to explore the area. Interesting having Robin at the table at breakfast (we acknowledged one another, but no more). Dinner at Aspire with Nina and Emily from College of Charleston. A little too fancy for our liking (really, who needs beet foam?) Bummed that there wasn’t time to work in a visit to Big Nazo puppet theater; we’ll have to make sure to get there when we’re back in two weeks. Jeff is property shopping everywhere we go. The Dynamo on Weybossett Street is a little more than anyone can handle, but this florist compound on Hope Street, just before Thayer Street, might just fit the Heurista bill!
  6. 6. Tuesday, October 1st More of the conference, but the pace is picking up. Anne scrambling to keep all the plans she made straight. RISDiversity presentation was a huge hit! A little bummed that we missed the festivities at the cocktail party, but we had a very nice dinner at New Rivers with Julia Emlen. Local fare, fancy but not silly. Anne is super excited about being asked to participate in top level think-tank about the profession led by Julia. And, as a Rhode Islander, she gave us a primer in what’s what in the “new” Providence. After dinner, we met Ashleigh, two folks from her McGill University team and Kourtney (for a total of four Canadian women... you know Jeff was happy) for a gondola ride in the Providence River and in and around the Waterfire. Wow, is that well done! The gondola driver sings and tells stories and they have great music at the “burn”. A real highlight of the trip. Wednesday, October 2nd This was the “big day” for Anne at the conference, even though it was the shortest. Two presentations (first with the Newseum, then with the Darla Moore School of Business) went well. And sweet Jeff got us out of the Providence hotel and into a little roadside motel, the Surfside at Charlestown Beach in southern Rhode Island. It was a great way to change gears, see more of the state and have a long, much needed night of sleep before heading into the second phase of the trip. Thursday, October 3rd Decided to travel the slow route north through Newport, and so very glad that we did! It is obviously not much changed, but we never really took the time to explore when we were there. We saw lots of sights, including the old town shopping area, the docks (who knew there’s an International Yacht Restoration School?) and many a mansion. We were curious about Salve Regina University and will
  7. 7. be looking into that further. Great lunch in a streetside café; Anne had fish and chips and Jeff had an Italian chicken sandwich. Hard to decide which was better. Got on the road a little later than we’d meant to and got in some big-time traffic in Boston. We hear it is like that all the time, but wow, what a mess. Anne was on a call as we were going through tunnels and a tangle of bridges that make Atlanta’s Spaghetti Junction look straightforward! Good ‘ole Jeff got us through! We arrived in Portland, ME right at dark, finding our AirBnB house with relative ease. Folks have laughed at the queen-sized bunk bed in our studio room, but we loved it (Jeff was just really tired)! It got Anne day-dreaming about living that way again (although I don’t know that sharing a bathroom with the folks next door is a long-term plan). Jeff joked that he felt like he was staying with a cousin he didn’t really know. We had fun walking around Portland (the hipsters there give Portland, OR, Asheville and Brooklyn a run for their money!). Our beef ramen at Miyake was good and different from any we’d had before, and Anne got really excited about the Baby Jimmy’s cider, so much so that we visited the Urban Farm Fermentory before leaving town! The fish market was a highlight, and we enjoyed imagining all the properties we might buy.
  8. 8. Friday, October 4th Leaving the “big” city of Portland behind, Friday was the start of our rural Maine exploration, and we loved it! We didn’t realize Maine is so close to Rhode Island... why were we never here before? In every town we passed through we found beautiful buildings we talk about buying (none really rational considerations, and some downright fantasy-based conversations, but boy is it fun!) We stopped so many times (and could’ve stopped so many more), that if we were doing it again, we’d stay over somewhere between Portland and Bar Harbor. We had a great lunch in the waterfront park in Bath; glad we didn’t rush by that.
  9. 9. We rolled into Bar Harbor at nearly 8pm, checking into our very Victorian B&B, the Mira Monte Inn. Our room is so quaint, including a woodstove, balcony and lace curtains. Thanks to Jeff’s good planning, we had a delicious picnic of smoked turkey, apples, cheese and cocktails in our own room and fell into the fluffy bed for a great night’s sleep. Saturday, October 5th Up in time to enjoy breakfast with our very “Maine” hostess (bossy...., but really just forthright) and fellow housemates. Delicious pear ginger muffins, organic oatmeal with homemade granola and maple syrup and baked eggs. We didn’t yet try the steamed (not boiled) egg; we’ll save that for tomorrow morning. Luckily, our hostess has no fear of circumnavigating the government shut down that would keep us out of the Acadia National Park (you won’t be able to see it either, as they shut down the website, too!) We received several pointers on where and
  10. 10. how to drive through state roads that traverse the park or walk in on private trails that then meet the park. Our one foray into that, at the Rockerfeller carriage roads near Seal Harbor, was pretty but tame, very manicured gravel roads and ponds. It was nowhere near as enjoyable as our accidental find at the Cooksey Road coastline overlook! We were able to climb all the way down to the water, walk in the woods and see the lobster boats at work. That is an experience that we wouldn’t trade for any amount of Acadia Park driving tour. We’ll be headed back to the park tomorrow to see what we can sneak into! Oh, and we may have to go back to gape at Ravenscleft, Jeff’s biggest lust property yet!
  11. 11. We “lunched” (after 2:00) at Stewman’s Lobster Pound in downtown Bar Harbor, where we could watch the water taxis and tour boats. Anne went for the traditional lobster bake (complete with chowder, mussels, corn and potatoes) and Jeff had the Seafood Basket (fry up everything and serve it with fries). We washed that deliciousness down with local beers and
  12. 12. topped it off with blueberry pie ala mode (it came with the meal, or we would’ve deferred)! We had to walk that off by strolling through the tourist shopping area downtown, looking at other properties as we went along. A young woman at one shop explained that she’ll be leaving town for the ski resorts soon. She says, “It’s too cold to even go outside here in the winter!” Our hostess, a native of the area with most of a century’s experience behind her wrinkled facade said, “Oh, she must be a tourist!” Sunday, October 6th This morning Jeff braved the steamed egg, which was basically a boiled egg that required the overtly hands-on-your-food intervention of our hostess for it to be peeled her way! Anne opted for the waffle with real maple syrup... and the baked eggs, the blue berry muffin and a sliver of the apple caramel cake and some coffee. (Don’t worry, we later hiked it off.) After packing up our stuff (which by now had grown to an embarrassing number of bags), we visited College of the Atlantic, one of the schools we learned about in looking for progressive liberal arts colleges with Rachel. The campus is beautiful and proud of their eco-friendly principles in action. We were impressed by the community bike collection (take any one, just put it back) and sad to have missed the Starship Enterprise, which we saw pulling away from the pier as we arrived.
  13. 13. On the road north, we happened upon what turned out to be one of the best adventures of the whole trip. Having had such good luck with the Cooksey Road Overlook, we took the quick turn onto the gravel when we saw a sign for the Bog Brook Preserve. Looking at the simple sign there, we discovered that it was a 1.3 mile hike in, with the promise of a beach at the other end. Knowing us, we were a little concerned about hunters (given the “are you wearing orange sign), time and terrain, but in we went anyway. It
  14. 14. was a magnificent hike through lots of different terrain, with spectacular vistas, fun log bridges through the bogs and a spectacular beach on the very chilly Atlantic! The drive north took us by a lot of small villages where people live and work of the ocean or the trees, not tourists, wide expanses of old mountains and blueberry farms. We watched (with secret glee) as our cell service and all roadside signs disappeared.
  15. 15. Just before sunset, we arrived at the Whale Watch Motel on Campobello Island, one short bridge over the border into Canada. Every bit the “motel” (sliding glass doors looking onto the parking lot with two plastic whales), we had a great time there because the proprietor was so nice. Her first instructions: “If you hurry, you can get out to the lighthouse before dark. You’re not going to be able to do that in the morning.” So, without unpacking the car or even acknowledging a desire to see the lighthouse, we set off. Luckily we paid a little attention to the remainder of the instructions: “The stairs will be slippery, follow the orange dots and don’t stay out there more than an hour.” What you can’t fully comprehend from the photos is the fact that the tide in the Bay of Fundy is so dramatic, that for a short window at low tide, it is possible to walk across the bottom of the bay - 28 feet below the parking lot. Yes, that is seaweed we are walking through!
  16. 16. Monday, October 7th Monday morning started with a little panic over how to participate in an international conference call, but our hostess came to the rescue yet again, letting me use her landline. The weather thwarted our plans to go whale watching, which was a bit of a disappointment, as they had been having such good luck with the sightings. However, it made for a very dramatic drive around the island and visit to the cliffs.
  17. 17. As we left Campobello, Jeff spied a whole group of seals in the water near the bridge. Because the ferry was closed for the season, we drove to Saint Stephen to cross into Canada, headed for St. John. Saint John turned out to be more industrial than we’d anticipated (think Tacoma, Washington), but we loved the architecture and the grittiness of the areas outside the tourist zone. Our third floor room in the Chipman Suites was great! That night we went out for dinner. If you find yourself in the Saint John’s Ale House, I heartily recommend the roasted cauliflower, with sardines and capers, and Andrew (yes, Canada has hipsters, too!) was great at recommending local beers.
  18. 18. Tuesday, October 8th The next morning we set out to give the area around us a better look. We were right in the heart of all things touristy, with nice parks, and a waterfront. The restaurants are right on the pier, in a shopping mall that also includes the convention center, museum and the town library. Jeff was impressed by the community input sessions about a future development project going on while we were there. Anne was intrigued by the fact that everything was connected in ways that would allow one to move around without going outside... and into the snow. We visited Market Square, the oldest market in Canada for some shopping, including groceries for our in-out-room pasta later that night. And we like our hotel so much, we decided to fix a picnic lunch there, too, outside on the picnic table. The house was really fancy, and while our room was small, it was quaint
  19. 19. and well appointed. We loved the fancy windows. Anne’s guess is that it used to be a study. We ended our sight-seeing for day with what has been called, “The Ugliest Tourist Attraction Ever” – the reversing rapids of the St. John River. Again, because the Bay of Fundy is such a wild and dramatic place, this is a rocky stretch of river where tectonic plates meet in such a dramatic way that the river literally changes course at low tide, creating a dramatic churning of water and some awesome whirlpools. The problem is, someone decided that it would also be a really convenient spot for a pulp mill. So, there we found ourselves, with two bus loads of tourists, watching the sunset over a river (which only flowed one way while we were there). Impressive... well, in theory anyway! We were even less impressed as we left the next morning to see all of the foam discharged onto the river (now flowing towards the city) by the mill.
  20. 20. Wednesday, October 9th In all honesty, it would be an unfair recounting if our travels if we did not admit that by this point we were becoming a little testy with one another, with the car, the bags and the travel. But, being Anne and Jeff, we rose above it (or at least spattted just a bit, laughed it off and kept on driving). This was one of the “big travel days”, roughly 8 hours from St. John’s to Laconia, New Hampshire. We had a tense moment coming back into the United States when the car was opened by the border guard looking for firearms, tobacco, alcohol, fresh fruit or veggies. He made no complaint about the Honduran banana, which in fact we had brought into Canada without question but he was quite
  21. 21. suspicious about the feather Jeff had on the dashboard. When we clarified that it was found on the U.S. side of the border, we were allowed to pass, feather intact (now why was this guy working, but the rest of the U.S. government is shut down?) We arrived at our lakeside destination just as the sun was setting, another motel, this one named the “Lazy E”. Jeff was skeptical, but Anne was instantly in love. It is a 1940’s roadside attraction that includes six motel rooms, several cabins and a couple of “suites” tucked up under the office, all looking out on Lake Winnipesaukee, the sixth largest lake in the U.S., after the Great Lakes. It was just as hokey as it could be, but then, so was the whole Wiers Beach community! Anyone would have to admit, the bring your own beverage outdoor “lounge” with a 50” television fitted into an old boat is pretty darn cool! Thursday, October 10th After sleeping in, we put up a pretty good front working for a while, then did a tour of lakeside homes from the car. There were beautiful cabins, and the lake is pretty, but this area was too touristy for our tastes. The New Hampshire vacation destination equivalent of Pigeon Forge, complete with pancake houses and putt-putt golf, all recently closed for the season. And the weather was beginning to follow suit. The evening was cold, grey and blustery. We decided to invest the evening in a movie a the theater, a rarity for those who live way out in Barnardsville! We saw Gravity, which was good and well-attended in the world’s tiniest threescreen first run theater.
  22. 22. When we got back to the Lazy E, Anne was determined to get in the hot tub. After interrupting the proprietor’s dinner to get him to open it up, we blew a big blast of visible breath from our balcony and headed in. Wasn’t it sweet of Jeff to join in? (He really didn’t want to, but he sure loves Anne.)
  23. 23. Friday, October 11th The day started as only Anne would start it... with a swim in Lake Winnipesaukee! That lasted less than 30 seconds because it was W-A-A-A-A-Y too cold! This time, Jeff was a spectator only. After thawing, we hit the road for travel south to Providence, stopping along the way for apples and the apple cider donuts Heather urged us to find (and oh, what a delicious recommendation that was!). We stopped for Bob & Timmy’s wood-fired pizza (as recommended, by Antonio), which was fabulous! After checking in at the RISD event, we headed for our AirBnB “apartment” in Warren, RI, now our favorite of all our accommodations on the trip! The house is adorable and apparently decorated by our soul brother and sister. Anne fell in love with the crazy crocheted flower throw on the couch, and Jeff perked up to the sounds of some Friday night guitar practice. During a run to the local post office and a Ned’s frozen lemonade (a local delicacy), we decided to forego the evening activities in Providence because we were so enjoying Warren and the surrounding areas. We took a drive, visited Colt State Park, found lots of property and boats for Jeff to lust after and hit the grocery store for a made in “our” apartment dinner of farm stand corn, zucchini and tomatoes with pork chops.
  24. 24. Saturday, October 12th Okay, today we made up for any shortage on our exercise quota for the trip! We were out of bed and at RISD by 8am. We did a bit of walking on our own, later followed by a guided historical tour of the campus, followed by more walking, followed by walking through the six floors and three buildings of the RISD Museum,
  25. 25. followed by a walk around downtown and then a walk along the river for Waterfire. All total, we were pretty much on our feet for 8 hours or so our of an 11 hour outing! Seeing the school was fun and the event was very well attended, but I really didn’t encounter anyone I remembered until we met up with Erminio Pinque of Big Nazo Puppets! He seemed to recognize me and was astonished that Jeff remembered seeing him in Rome... in 1986! That was the highlight of the “reunion”.
  26. 26. Sunday, October 13th Dedicated to rest and relaxation, today we woke up late, ate breakfast in (cheddar cheese and pears from the New Hampshire farm stand) and went to the laundromat and car wash to put ourselves back in order. With that done, we headed into Providence, thinking we’d check out some things we’d missed. What we found was the Columbus Day celebration on Federal Hill, which we knew about, but hadn’t really planned to attend. The Italian community in Providence uses this holiday to invite the whole diverse city up to the top of the hill for cheesy music, spectacular food and the best people (and pet) watching ever. We ate oysters and spicy lobster wantons followed by a visit to Pastiche for three desserts for two people, plus cappuccino and hot chocolate. Back to the Warren apartment too fat and happy to do anything but watch some Netflix. Monday, October 14th We left Warren, still in a “we should travel the road less traveled” mentality. Between Rhode Island and Connecticut, that was less impressive than one would’ve thought. We didn’t really stop to take in the highlights as we should, and we’ll regret missing some spots like East Beach in Rhode Island (a favorite when we lived there) and the quaint seaport town of Mystic, CT.
  27. 27. We visited with Tina and John at their beautiful home on the river in Deep River, CT. It was good to get to see them there, as they say that they will soon be moving to build their own home on hillside property across the road, careful to avoid a highly-taxed view of the water. Leaving there, Anne’s wanderlust took us on a new route, west through more of Pennsylvania. Enjoyed the Blue Colony Diner in Sandy Hook, CT, were amazed by the Hudson River, and had to push (hard) to make it as far as Harrisburg, PA for the night. Tuesday, October 15th We woke up, determined to find something fun to do. Harrisburg was not a scheduled stop and we knew nothing about it. The National Civil War Museum sounded worthwhile, but a bit further out of our way and
  28. 28. not very uplifting. Next on the online list of top hits was the Capitol... an unusual stop for us, but pretty darn impressive! And we found a great stop for urban breakfast right near by. As we left town, we were craning our necks to look at the various bridges and islands in the Susquehanna River. We’ll make plans to come back. With that, we hit the road for the long drive home. The Shenandoah Valley is beautiful, but we’d seen it before and it stood between us and home. Jeff is the superhero who does most of the driving, yet he was willing to make a significant stop at a great “antiques” mall and then lunch at the Southern Diner in New Market, VA. Once we got back in the car after that, it was rest stops and gas alone, as the couch... then our OWN BED were calling! Nonetheless, Jeff had to stop for his lottery ticket habit, and went straight for the guitars when we got in the door!