Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Delaware/DC trip

I flew back to the East Coast a few weeks after my New Hampshire trip for a work conference in Washington DC. I am the regional coordinator for a federally funded Alzheimer's caregiver support program in Portland and it was my year to attend and see what others' are doing with their grant money. It was really inspiring and I also reconnected with some of my peers and mentors from the academic world. It was just what I needed to get myself motivated to work on dementia publications.

When I left Portland, it was beautiful. I was able to see all three mountains to the north from the plane. In the picture below, you can see Rainier and Adams. I love where I live.
I flew out 4 days before the conference started so I could visit with one of my best friends, Jessica. We went to grad school together, drove across the country, traveled through Europe for 7 weeks, and now I would finally get to meet her little man, Robbie.

He is such a cute kid and a great dancer!
Jessica and her family live in Bethany Beach, Delaware. I was feeling really fortunate to be able to spend 4 days at the beach! We took walks, ate good food, and just enjoyed summer life at the beach.

This is the Bethany Beach boardwalk.
Bethany Surf Shop..... I had been to this beach before, but it was just a drive through. I had fun this time with the name being everywhere....
Jess and I at the beach.
More Bethany name madness.....
There was an air show in Ocean City, Maryland and a stealth bomber flew overhead. It was my first sighting. This picture doesn't do it justice.
On another walk back from the beach with Mom and Dad.
Beach time.
I couldn't leave this area without eating RITA's water ice. Seriously, I love this stuff so much, I looked at how much it would cost to start a franchise in Portland. Only $400,000..... hmm... gonna have to think about that one.
Robbie at the playground.
Photo fun.

One last photo before driving West to DC. This was where my trip started to go a bit weird.... My computer charger had died, so I was in a hurry to get to an Apple store in Annapolis, Maryland. A radio station broadcast that there was hours of traffic on the bay bridge, which would definitely endanger my ability to pick up a charger, which meant I wouldn't be able to enter grades for my classes!!! Panic!!!! So, what did I do? I floored it about 10 seconds after hearing that report. Wouldn't you know, there was a small town police officer waiting for me to speed by. It was terrible. I told him my story and he decreased the speeding offense so my fine wouldn't be so much. Thanks guy. Did I mention that while he was talking, it was difficult to not laugh because honest to God he looked and sounded like a hybrid of Boss Hogg and George W Bush Junior? While he was talking, I was thinking, "I didn't know Maryland folks had this accent?".... Thankfully, I did end up getting my charger and made it to the rental car place and hotel area in pretty good time.
Once I arrived at the hotel, I was given this room. It was the size of about 3 rooms. It had a wet bar, two flat screens, a full dining room table. Cool right?? No. It had no bed. All I wanted was a big, plushy hotel bed.... Not in this room. I went downstairs to get a different room, which they did. While I was making my room switch, I got stuck in the elevator- for 50 minutes. I was by myself, and luckily had my cell phone to keep me company. It was about 90 degrees in DC and Air conditioning would have been nice. It was stuffy and my non-existent fear of small spaces was becoming more existent... They finally got me out and were falling all over themselves to make me happy.
They started with a free $50 meal. It was delicious. I also managed to get free internet for my entire stay(yeah...nice hotels charge for internet these days!!!) and they took one night off my final bill, which is good because my salary is paid from the same pot.
This is what 3 days of this conference looked like. There were good sessions and bad sessions.
I managed to get out for a nice dinner with a colleague. Yummo.
My flight was scheduled to depart the day after the conference, giving me nearly 8 hours of tourist time. I'm ashamed to admit that I lived 2 1/2 hours from DC for 3 years and I never saw the sights. It was one of those things where you keep saying you will go, but never make the time because you have nothing but time.... lame, I know.

I made a nice walking loop around DC. My first visit was to see Mr. Abe.
Then the Korean War Monument.
That is a wall of stars in the picture above. Please see the picture below to get goose bumps.
My Grandmother's first husband represents one of those people. Thinking of her heartbreak made me tear up.

Next stop was the Washington Monument. This picture is looking straight up. The lines and angles of this structure were fascinating.

I then made my way to the museums. Here are some photos of some of my favorite pieces I saw along the way. Art is cool.

Then to the Smithsonian. I couldn't help but think of my nephew and his future in aeronautical engineering. I'm so proud of Christian! He is going to Embry-Riddle University in Prescott, Arizona in August, with a scholarship!
Wouldn't you know, the suit in this picture is the first suit to ever enter space? I'm not going to lie- I have a recent infatuation with space, the stars, planets, galaxies, etc..... The Smithsonian was a real treat.

My very favorite stop on this trip was the National Museum of the American Indian. I LOVED this museum. A definite must see if you go to DC.

I couldn't resist standing in traffic to take this photo. This is how they use the bike lanes in Washington DC.
I saw Samuel L. Jackson? Well, I saw his wax twin....
This is a pretty representative photo of DC architecture. I walked for 8 hours straight and my feet were aching, but there was so much to see!
The Capitol Building...
And President Obama's house! Finally- My tour was complete!
The next morning at the airport, I had my last Dunkin Donuts coffee. I love Dunkin Donuts. I'm so glad they aren't out West, because I would spend a lot of money there.
This was a nice welcome home- Mama Hood and all her glory.
It was a great trip. I'm a lucky girl.

Friday, July 1, 2011

10 days in New Hampshire

Bill and I made a trip to New Hampshire and Maine during the last week of May to visit Bill's family and also to see where he grew up. I thought it was going to be nice trip, but it ended up exceeding all my expectations. First- Bill's family is wonderful! I had a chance to meet his immediate and extended family and they were all so kind and generous!!

We had a very busy 10 days and instead of giving a play-by-play, I have uploaded some of my favorite photos in chronological order and will use those to point out highlights.

We started out with a tour of Concord, New Hampshire. This is the capitol of New Hampshire and also where Bill's Mom and Stepdad live, as well as his sister and her family.

We drove to Bristol (the small town that Billy grew up in) and made a visit to the beautiful New Found Lake. This is a pic of where a tree and rope swing used to be.... memories....
So I thought we needed to add the Emergency Room to our New Hampshire tour. Bill was taking me to the vacation village where he became a handyman. I was so excited, I forgot to remove my hand from the car door before closing it. I cut my finger pretty bad. Nice job beth.
My first stitch! It was pretty cool actually.
That is fatty tissue on the OUTSIDE of my finger!
All better, until the pain meds wore off.

After fixing up my finger, we drove back to New Found Lake to have a proper tour of the area. It became clear to me at this time that Billy grew up in an outdoor wonderland. The lake was pretty fantastic!He also took me to the Sculptured rocks area. This was another frequented swimming hole for Billy.

We stopped at this market (established in 1799-holy crap) for a beverage and a keepsake. I also saw my first whoopie pie here.
We finally made our way back to the lakeside cottages where Bill developed and refined his handyman skills.

We ended the day with a trip to the house that Bill grew up in. His Stepmom welcomed us and we sorted through several of Bill's old belongings. I learned so much about Bill and his upbringing just by visiting this super cozy house. I wish we had more room to bring stuff home. These are pics of a table that Bill built several years ago and is gorgeous!

The following day we went to Portland, Maine. This city felt like home, and not just because it is named Portland. It had the same hippie, keep it weird, eclectic feel. I loved it. We visited the waterfront and I had my first Lobster- right off the boat!

We opted to forgo the restaurant for a more authentic experience. It was also a cheaper and more fun!
YUMMO-LICIOUS! Lobster is good, but Dungeness crab is still better. Sorry New England.
I couldn't resist. It was a big claw!

Portland proper.
The wood trim on this church building was completed by Bill several years ago. Impressive detail!
Ha-ha. This sign reminded me of Portland, Oregon. Keep Portland Weird.
Maine also had gorgeous beaches. This little spot was only 20 minutes from Downtown Portland.
Gorgeous rock formations.
New Hampshire sunset on our drive home from Maine.
After traveling during the day, Bill and I spent nearly every night hanging out with his Sister. She lives a block down the street from his Mother. We enjoyed the warm nights outside and Bill also managed to make some major repairs to his Sister's garage door.
Bill's sister, Jill and her boyfriend.
Bill's Mom and Sister live in a neighborhood called turtle pond village. I thought that was just cute name until we found this snapping turtle in the yard! I love turtles!
We also spent some time in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This bridge looked just like the Hawthorne Bridge.
It was a very charming town.

More fun at Jill's house!
We took a 3 day trip to see Aunt Pat and Uncle Harry up north. We drove through the White Mountains on the way and they were impressive. This is also the location of the now destroyed, 'old man of the mountain' landmark.
Bill's Aunt lives in the Connecticut lakes area, which borders Canada. It was a long drive, but completely worth it for the family time and scenery along the way. My main goal on this part of the trip was to see a moose.

There were gorgeous lakes in this area.

And finally..... a moose! Such a cool animal! This moose crossed the street in front of our car and I was mesmerized by the length of their legs!
Bill's Aunt and Uncle lived 10 miles up a dirt road that literally bordered Canada. We saw border patrol vehicles several times a day. There was also a very unique circular house on the road that I was very curious about. Luckily, Bill's Aunt and Uncle are friends with the owner of the house. We attended their 10am weekly coffee and donuts event and Bill and I found ourselves touring every inch of the house and the adjacent 300 acres.
We climbed up onto the roof for a stunning view.
Then, he put Bill and I on the back of his 4-wheeler and basically drove up and down several VERY steep hills to give us a tour of all the water features he had created on his land. It was almost like watching a show on the discovery channel about creating a self-sustaining water ecosystem equipped with trout, beavers, deer and other fascinating wildlife species.
This is a photo from Aunt Pat's front yard. The Canadian border marker is across the street in that small body of water.
Bill with Aunt Pat and Uncle Harry.
Time to plan out our return trip.
This photo didn't really capture how cool the large storm cell clouds were. I tried though.
On our way home, we stopped at a popular vacation spot and found a white moose.
For those who haven't been to New Hampshire, it is a state that is FULL of lakes. Lakes are around every corner!
And..... Back at Jill's for more fun!
Bill and his Stepdad, Steve.
This is Braydon. He is the cutest little guy ever and lives with Bill's sister.

Our last family event was a day at Bow Lake with Bill's Cousins and Aunt.

There were big fish in Bow Lake!
We did a little kayaking.

Sunset at Bow Lake.
Bill and his cousins.
This big guy kept trying to get in through the screen. I thought it was a bat, until I turned on the lights and saw that it was a beautiful shade of green. Google told me that it's a Luna Moth. I couldn't stop watching this beautiful insect. I took about 37 pictures, but thought I would just post one.
We paid our respects on the Memorial holiday weekend.
This is Bill's Mom, Margie. She is a very cool woman and we were fortunate to spend a lot of time with her and Steve. They were also the best hosts I have ever had. Fresh fruit and breakfast were waiting for us every morning. Staying at their place was like being on vacation, so if you are reading: Thank you SO MUCH for having us!
The trip was perfect and I look forward to going back someday sooner than later. New Hampshire is gorgeous and maybe next time I'll see it when it is frozen?? We shall see.