Monday, November 9, 2020

November Date Day

 After a small, freakish October snowstorm, we were blessed with some unusually gorgeous weather for November.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hubby and I had instituted "Date Day".  Almost every Sunday, we would venture out to a new place where we could safely enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and reconnect with nature and each other.   Most often, we found trails in a State Park or Town Forest and our adventure was almost always capped off with a visit to a local ice cream stand.  

These Date Days have literally kept me sane.  Just getting outside, away from eveyrone and everything, and spending time with Hubby was the balm I needed during a stressful time.

So on this beautiful November Sunday, instead of walking in the woods, we headed up to the beaches of Maine.   First - over one of my favorite bridges....the Piscataqua River Bridge, which conncets New Hampshire to Maine on Route 95.

Usually we head straight for Route 1A to head into York, Maine.  But this time we decided to go even more back-roadish and we took Route 103.  We've passed Fort McLary before, but never stopped in.  But since it's Date Day (by definition, a day of exploration and adventure) we stopped in.

The fort, of course, had a lovely view of the ocean.

There was a replica vegetable garden from each century starting in the 1600's. 

We spent an enjoyable time checking out the different buildings and reading the history.  

The next stop on our ride up the coast was the Hartley Mason Reservation.  This is a lovely park and beach in York, Maine.   There is a nice grassy, hilly park area at the top with plenty of space to spread out a picnic lunch or relax in the shade.   And there's also a beautiful little beach at the bottom of the hill.

I did put toes in the water.....yes! it was cold!!

There were people wearing eveything from bathing suits to winter coats and hats!  There were people sunbathing and there were a few hardy children testing out the water.  

Continuing up Route 1A, we stopped at Long Beach in York, then of course had to stop at Nubble Lighthouse and take the obligatory photo.  (We must have dozens of them! In fact, there is a photo out there somewhere  - I will have to find it - of myself, Mom and Dad and my siblings at Nubble back in 1967 or so.)

All along the way, we had been searching for ice cream.  Everything was closed!  C'mon Maine - keep those ice cream stands open year round!!  We took a quick swing into Perkin's Cove because there is an ice cream place there  (closed).  But we chose not to walk along the Marginal Way - it's a very  narrow path and we would have had to keep our masks on the entire time.  So instead, we drove around to Ogunquit Beach.

Yes, my feet were bright red with cold by the time I got back to the car.  But it was worth it to have toes in the water for (probably!) the last time this year.  Being a New Englander (AND a Girl Scout!) I had socks and sneakers in the car to change into.

We finished off our day by driving down Route 1 to Kittery and stopping at Bob's Clam Shack.  We shared baskets of fried haddock and scallops.  We came very close to eating outside....but it was getting dark (4:30!) and they had no outdoor heaters.  

Beautiful Date Day with my Wonderful Hubby  -  Life is Good!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Summer Getaway

Hubby and I usually take two or three small long-weekend vacations each year.  It's a nice way to reconnect and relax from life's stress.

This year, being the "Year of Corona", we were unable to go on our planned trip to Canada with friends.  We had skipped what had become our annual trip to The Essex Culinary Resort in January, naively thinking we would go sometime later in the year.

As places began opening up again, I felt the need to get away with Hubby.   My colleague and friend, Marianne, had gone to a little B and B in NH, and said it was the best B and B she'd ever gone to.  That's all I needed to hear!! 

So Hubby and I went to the Follansbee Bed and Breakfast in North Sutton, NH.   Not very far away....but a whole lot different than home!

 We got there Friday early evening and couldn't wait to jump in the lake....literally!  The inn is on Kezar Lake - a small but very lovely lake.   The inn has some waterfront  beach per-se, but a dock and a nice area including lots of chairs, a picnic table and a hammock.

We spent some serious time just sitting and contemplating the lake!  After our swim, we checked with our host, Denis, for a good place to go and eat.   He recommended the Flying Goose, a short drive up route 114.    The food there was excellent!  Although I was disappointed at not getting a table outside on the lawn.

After sitting for a while and enjoying  the darkening sky, we went off to bed.

 Our Saturday morning breakfast at the Inn was wonderful.  Fresh strawberries and pineapple, frittata with asparagus and Gruyere cheese, delicious soft breakfast roll with butter and jam, and a very interesting maple glazed bacon with pecans.   They set up some outside seating, which they liked so much they decided they'd keep it.  The innkeeper's helper came along and took our photo...maybe we'll make their web page!

We knew they offered the use of bicycles, so we checked with Denis about riding around the lake.  He said, yes, there's a road all the way around, part of which goes through Wadleigh State Park.  Despite some inclines (where I had to get off and walk the bike up!!) we had a very pleasant ride all the way around the lake.

Then it was back into bathing suits for a nice swim, relax and read for a bit on the beach, and then came my favorite part of the trip.   The inn offers use of all kinds of boats - kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and pedal boat.  We chose to go out in a double kayak.

 If we'd had a video of Hubby and I trying to get in and out of the kayak, we could have sold it for a million dollars!  Suffice to say, it wasn't pretty but we managed to get in!   Later on, getting out was a whole 'nother story!!

Once we were in we were very comfortable paddling around.  We had heard that there was an island everyone called Blueberry Island that was laden with fresh blueberries.  We headed there and sure enough we were able to pick several handfuls of fresh New Hampshire blueberries! Yum!

We continued around the lake to the other side of the island where we'd been told there was an inlet.  After trying to kayak our way through a bunch of reeds, we finally found the opening to the inlet where we kayaked for about 10 minutes through absolutely silent waters to a defunct beaver dam where we turned around and went back.  On the rest of our cruise around the lake, we saw a mommy and daddy Loon and their baby!

Another nice swim and off to an early dinner.  We chose the Salt Hill Pub Shanty in Newbury, NH, which just alright....but we did get to sit out on the deck.

Back to the inn for a game of Scrabble and then off to an early bed.......we were exhausted!

For our second breakfast our innkeeper made blueberry waffles, ham and cheesy grits, and some watermelon.  They also make their own granola which was delicious!  We found this cozy spot to have breakfast:

Packed up and ready to go, we said good-bye to the Follansbee was a lovely place and we'll be sure to go back.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Valentine's Day Tradition

Hubby and I continued our annual tradition of visiting the New England Aquarium for Valentine's Day.  This started when Hubby and I were first married, and he planned a day in Boston at the Aquarium for me because he knows how much I love my penguins!

The salt water tank makes a beautiful, colorful tableau.

I was very sorry to see that the Little Blue Penguins were gone from the aquarium.  Thank goodness these guys are still there!

This diver is trying to feed the fish.  The manta rays were the most aggressive.  They wouldn't leave her alone!   Later on, there's a place where you can lean over and pat the Manta Rays in a special shallow tank.  I've done it many times before....but this time one of them flipped me off and soaked me from head to waist!

Hi Turtle!

We had a wonderful time staying at the Marriott Longwharf  Hotel right next door to the Aquarium.  They have a lovely pool there.  For supper, we hopped on the T and went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  (Another Boston tradition of ours.)   

Hubby couldn't decide which Valentine Card said it he got me three!

On Saturday we went to the JFK Library.   I had never been there before and always wanted to go.  It seemed like a good idea on a day when it was frigidly cold outside....not a good day to walk around the city!

The guard said this is the most photographed part of the exhibits.

A congratulatory note send to the newly elected President from the sailors on the Japanese boat that sunk  JFK's PT Boat.

A bit fancy for my dinner parties.

There were tons of videos of JFK speaking and photos of his family, campaigns and presidency.  Truly a sad thing that we lost him so young.  One wonders what our country would have been like if he'd been President for 8 years.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Chaos and Kindness

My favorite band, Recycled Percussion, has branched out into a brand called Chaos and Kindness.  Their idea is that, "In a world full of Chaos, be sure to spread some Kindness."   

They began by creating a TV show where they go around to different people who need some Kindness and offer to do something, or donate something to make their life a little better.  My friend Sylvie's nephew Jason was the first one depicted on the show.  He had endured some devastating losses so they took him to the Superbowl!  And it goes on from there.   They have a foundation that takes donations at Christmastime and they buy a warehouse full of toys, where families can come, no questions asked,  and let their child pick out a toy.

They decided recently to open a "Chaos and Kindness" store and experience.  They chose the the town of Laconia, NH for two reasons.  One is that Justin, the ringleader of the group, was born there.  And second because Laconia needed a bit of a boost.   So they chose the most run-down area in the hopes it might revive the town. Part of the goal as well is to use the store to show people a way of giving back to others.

Sylvie, her daughter Sara, granddaughter Maddie and I decided to brave the Chaos and go up to Laconia for the store Grand Opening.   Justin always goes for the biggest, best, craziest events, so we were prepared for a huge crowd of people.   They did a great job of having remote parking, and complimentary busses to bring you to the event.  

We were delighted when we got there to have almost no line to get into the store.  (although the line stretched down the sidewalk when we came out......good timing!)

The store is divided into 2 halves....Chaos and Kindness!  Of course, the Chaos side is much more fun!

The floor is covered in confetti

The band found out that the building they bought had belonged to a gentleman named Henry who was well-known around town for always having candy in his pockets to give out to children.  So in his honor, they have a huge bin of candy so children can take a piece for free.

Maddie and the big kid, Sylvie, sorting through for the best kind!

There are 100 etch-a-sketches on the wall for you to leave a picture or message.

Sara and I left messages.....mind said "I love Chaos"...upside down!

The bathrooms are is Chaos and one is Kindness.  The Kindness one is a normal bathroom...............

The Chaos side looks like this!  Those are slinkies hanging from the ceiling!

Also confetti on the ceiling.  

On the Chaos side you can also make your own slime, play giant Jenga and Connect Four, play pinball, and paint a big piece of glass and then smash it!

The Kindness side of the store is much more sedate. Most of the merchandise is on that side. (I bought a "legalize Kindness" T-shirt)  They do have a "Kindness Table" where you can sit and write a letter or draw a picture for whatever cause they are supporting that week .  (ie..writing letters to the troops)

After visiting the store, we went down to the area where there were food trucks and the big stage set up for the concert.   The band just bought a gigantic truck and had it pimped out in Chaos and Kindess decals. They'll use this truck to randomly drive around doing good deeds wherever they see the need.

The crowd got bigger as concert time approached.  I believe they estimated over 10,000 people for the concert.

The concert was crazy and manic as usual!!!  It was extra-fun for me because, despite their love for Chaos and Kindness, Sylvie and Sara had never seen Recycled Percussion play!!

And afterwards, as the band had advertised, was the biggest fireworks display New Hampshire had ever seen!

Awesome, Chaotic and Kindness-filled day!!!