Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 9/home!

We left our friends' home around 9:30 eastern yesterday morning and got home around 10:40 central last night. About 12 hours. Travels were pretty smooth. PA has some beautiful scenery.  We stopped every two hours or so to stretch our legs, use the bathroom and switch drivers. We learned there are 24 hour Starbucks! Ihad never  heard of 24 hour ones before! I was quite excited. We also learned Siri doesn't always know what she is talking about. She couldn't find Panera (even though she told us it was there), she   took us 8 miles off the highway into a really small town and told us we had arrived at Panera. So we went back to the highway and tried again by looking up Panera locations on paneras website first.  
Indiana is horrible for rest stops. 
Today we mostly unpacked and I laundered what seemed like our entire wardrobes. We tried out our LL bean purchase today!  

Bring on the apples! This baby cores, peels and slices the apples. 

We go back to reality tomorrow. My research class begins for my masters program so I apologize if this blog is nothing but crickets.  
And I start back with students on the 26th. I have mixed emotions on beginning the school year... And seeing all my students from last year who will be asking if I had my baby. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 8 again!

We left NYC yesterday morning and went to our friends home in Hershey, PA. 

I got a good picture of the PA sign this time!

We got to their house a little before 3pm, they had just moved the day before! We were absolutely spoiled while we stayed with them. They took us to The Hershey Story which is a museum of the Hershey family and company and then there is a Chocolate  Lab. 
When driving to the museum we saw the street lights had Hershey candy on the top (they are still there grandma). 

We did the Chocolate lab first, you go into this science cooking lab and sit at small tables. Each table has a sink and a supply counter. We learned about the history of Hershey and how we get the cocoa and then made our own chocolate bar. 

We spooned chocolate into our plastic mold which had a sugar transfer already in it.  And then we could add salt or graham cracker crumbs to the top. 
We had to be official and wear aprons and hair nets... Jason had a beard cover as well. 

Here is the end product! This is the sugar transfer that you see. I sprinkled salt on the other side. 

We toured the museum afterwards and then went back to Jenna and Mark's house. 

We got to tell them all about Ellie! They moved to PA the week before Ellie's party so we haven't seen them in a while.   After dinner Jenna made brownies and had pink candles for Ellie's 1 month birthday! 

This morning we had coffee together and then needed to get on the road... Jenna and Mark made a comment about sending snacks with us but couldn't find a bag... The next thing we know we are being handed this

I got Jason back! Bad photos! 

We have a tub full of food! Next time we head east we will definitely head to Hotel J & M! 

Day 9!!
We are actually headed home right now. We decided to cut the trip a little short. We are ready to be home. It is bitter sweet. It has been really good for us to be away from home and away from the sadness. Even though the sadness was with us during our trip it was just covered up. I felt sick to my stomach as I laid in bed thinking about going home to an empty house, Ellie isn't going to be there. 
We are healing and life is getting easier but there is a huge void that I can't explain. 

A new school year is starting for me and life will get busy and I hope people don't forget about Ellie because her life seems like such a short moment. It's hard to believe she was here sometimes. 

*please don't copy and paste Ellie's photo. If you want a picture just ask. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 8

I don't have great Internet right now and will try posting more tomorrow. We're in Hershey, PA for the night. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 7...!

Uuf-dah We are feeling the weariness of traveling by car. We left Maine this morning : ( 
Through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, & Connecticut ( about 6 hours).... We spent this afternoon/evening in NYC. Our plan was to see Central Park, Times Square, and then the 9/11 Memorial. After checking into our 5th hotel we left for Central Park. Our first NYC rookie mistake, not looking up good parking before we left!! Palm to forehead. First(!), we waited in traffic for a $13 toll for almost an hour just to get into Manhattan. We then crawled through Manhattan traffic for another hour looking for parking, we were stressed to the max. Finally we found a parking garage that was walking distance to Central Park and Times Square. Second rookie mistake, not reading how parking garage prices can jump by leaving your car there for 2 or more hours... OUCH. They cleverly only display their cheapest rate/shortest stay. 
Central Park is very pretty and makes for some great people watching. Sorry no's a park with trees and grass... Right below sky scrapers. : ) did I paint a nice picture? 
We then walked to Times Square, even better people watching. We took a few pictures as we were walking... Please excuse the poor iPhone quality...

After dinner at Guy Fieri's, Guy's American kitchen and bar we made our way back to our car. 
Then drove about 20 minutes to 9/11 Memorial... 3rd rookie mistake, go during tour hours. We drove by a fenced in area because it is still under construction and could see nothing. Maybe if we had been more adventurous and drove a bit more we could have seen something but it was after 9pm and we were exhausted and tired of the car. So we drove another 25 minutes to our hotel. 

Tomorrow we are off to Hershey, PA to spend some time with 2 fabulous people. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 6!

Maine is beautiful! We will definitely come back again. 
We have spent quite a bit of time in Freeport which is less than 30 min from Portland. Freeport is home to LL Bean and has many outlet stores. We spent the morning and afternoon shopping and eating lunch in Freeport, our credit cards may be smoking. 
Later in the afternoon we went and put on our fancy clothes to head downtown Portland to have a date night. We took a 90 min lighthouse cruise through the Casco Bay/ocean at 4:30pm. 

Our big tour boat did a full turn around in this little canal... Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the full boat. 

Portland Head light is in Cape Elizabeth, the wealthiest town in Maine. 

This ship drilled for crude oil and was then sent through a 236 mile pipeline to Canada. 

"Half Rock" - do you see the seals on the right side, lying on the rock? And you can see one swimming. 
We had dinner at DiMillo's, which is a floating restaurant that used to be a working ferry. 

We found ice cream at Captain Sam's on Commercial Dr. YUM! I realized I needed to start saying restaurant names so we can remember for next time. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 5!

First full day in Maine was fabulous! 
Lazy morning at our hotel and then we headed to Wolfe's neck state park. It was about a 15 min drive from our hotel. We chose the longest hiking trail which was a 1.8 mile loop with some steep and uneven terrain. 
Over looking the Atlantic Ocean. 

We saw a lot of these bright red orange mushrooms, against all of the dirt and green leaves these guys stuck out like a sore thumb. We assumed the bright color meant do not touch.

It took us about 2 hours to finish the hike. 

Later in the afternoon we went to check out a local lighthouse. It was at the end of a string of islands. 

You can't see Portland on the map but we drove around the coast following rt 1 and then 24 south through Harpswell, Orrs Island and then drove all the way to the end of Bailey Island. 

Once we got to the end of the road there was a gift shop appropriately called "Lands End". We stood on some rocks looking for the lighthouse and realized the lighthouse is so far off of the coast we could barely make it out... Oops, probably should have looked more into it before we drove 45 min. We learned it is best seen by boat or chartered plane. So we enjoyed the view for a little bit and then went and did some shopping in Lands Ends. 

I found a sweatshirt and wanted to try it on, I asked Jason to take a picture so I could see it on since there weren't any mirrors. So I know my face didn't matter in the picture but a camera was pointed my way so of course I smiled... Here are the lovely photos my sweet husband took... 

It's hard to notice the sweatshirt when you look like an eager puppy or in the middle of a sneeze. 

And we couldn't leave Lands End without some saltwater taffy, YUM! 

Here are a few photos from the scenic drive home/hotel...

We had dinner at a local place and then walked around a couple blocks checking out the shops. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 4!

Massachusetts, New Hampshire & Maine.

We left Jason's youth pastors in MA a little before 11 and were in Boston by 12:30. We walked around a couple blocks and then wandered through the Wharf. We had lunch at a hole in the wall sandwich shop and then drove aimlessly around Boston's financial district and then around Beacon Hill's residential area. So pretty!

Sorry, I am not skilled at taking drive-by photos. 
We then battled Boston's crazy drivers out of Boston. 

We crossed into New Hampshire at 2:40 and by 2:53....
I would have missed the Maine state line if I hadn't been looking at the map to know how close it was. And still Jason had to warn me how quickly it was coming. 

We are spending 2 nights in Portland for sure, possibly a third...that's the fun of this trip, we don't have to be anywhere at a specific date or time. 

Jason had his first taste of Maine lobster tonight. Granted it was in a lobster roll so not straight lobster but he said it was good. I fell in love with L.L. Bean's home department store, grabbed a couple of their catalogs to re-decorate my house look at in the car. 

Tomorrow we want to explore Wolfe's Neck wood state park in Freeport. I am hoping to make time to wander around the outlet stores that are just a few minutes away from our hotel. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 3!

We left Niagara Falls around 10:30am headed for Springfield, MA. We had plans to visit Jason's youth pastor from high school. 

Today was a lot of driving, had pretty much the whole span of NY to cross and then a part of MA. 

We crossed the border around 4:30pm. We got to Springfield around 5:30. Jason's youth pastor and family invited us into their home for dinner and to spend the night.

Tomorrow we plan to spend some time in  Boston and then head to Portland, ME. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 2!

We were on our way out of Cleveland by 11am. Hit Pennsylvania around 12:30, I  missed the state welcome sign because I was doing something really important...Facebook-ing : / my bad. hopefully I can get the picture somehow later on. 

I got a really bad PA sign as we were leaving and entering NY...

We made reservations for a hotel in Niagra Falls, NY this morning. 

NY! @ 1pm
Sorry, not a great photo. 
About an hour and a half to Niagra Falls from the border. 

Driving to our NY hotel...
Yay for traffic...
As we were driving along we could see Canada across the Niagara River which flows into Lake Erie. 

We got to our hotel and Jason was searching for coffee and this is what his phone location was...
Apparently our hotel is in the river.  We are right on the river...

Niagara Falls was definitely worth the stop. We walked all through the state park on Goat Island and decided to try the Cave of the Winds. 
Above is looking over the falls and into Canada's skyline. 

Cave of the Winds is down below, all of the decking on the left side of the photo. 

We took an elevator down 15 stories. 

We followed the decks to the Hurricane Deck... you can't really pull your camera out up there though. 

Tomorrow we are headed to Massachusetts.