Friday, December 13, 2013

Photo Friday

Today I'm linking up with Sarah for my first Photo Friday! She told me on Tuesday that she would be co-hosting this link up so I used it as an opportunity to get out and have a little lunch time adventure with my camera in tow. I visited a nearby state park and soaked in the chilly, gloomy day while enjoying some beautiful reflections on a little pond and a stroll through the woods.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Travel Diaries: New England Day 4

Time for the grand finale of my New England vacation: our day trip to NYC! I hate to play favorites because, really, I was ecstatic about the entire trip, but I was definitely most excited for New York. Since we took the train from New Haven I got to see a little bit of the Yale campus, which gives Harvard some seriously stiff competition, as far as beautiful campuses go.

Our train ended up being about 30 minutes late getting into the city. Pretty annoying when time is already limited, but we hopped in a cab and headed straight to our first destination, the 9/11 memorial. We got lucky and there was absolutely no line so we were able to walk right in. The memorial is gorgeous and definitely worth seeing if you're ever in the area.

From the memorial we worked our way north on the subway to Washington Square Park, which was one of my personal must-sees. I fell in love the second we saw it and I'm now determined to go back and enjoy the park in nicer weather.

Since Jade and I were obviously pros at navigating the subway after our one ride, (ha, not really) we took the train further north to Bryant Park. There was a cute little Christmas fair type setup, complete with a merry-go-round, ice skating rink and heated area for sipping spiked cider. We warmed up for a bit while enjoying a cannoli, then walked just around the corner to Times Square. At the risk of sounding like a hater, Times Square is what it is. I was glad to see it but we pretty much walked through, looked around for a second then ditched the hustle and bustle.

After popping into Laduree for macarons, we met up with my friend Taylor for dinner at Haven Rooftop. A rooftop restaurant sounds crazy for how cold it was, but they had the area enclosed so we were perfectly warm. Our dinner was excellent and the company was even better. Again, I was so glad for the opportunity to visit with another friend!

After dinner we booked it to the train station and before I knew it, we were saying goodbye to the city. Early the next morning I bid adieu to my gracious hostess and began a long day of travel home, including a stop in snowy Chicago where the plane had to be de-iced.

One long post later - I have to say I really had a great time and can't wait for another trip to New England someday! I think I'll have to visit Boston and NYC each on their own and definitely go during warmer weather. If you followed along, thank you! If you're reading my blog for the first time, you can read about the rest of my trip here and here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Travel Diaries: New England Day 3

Saturday morning Jade and I let ourselves sleep in until 8, which was a nice break from 6 or earlier. We took our time getting ready for the day then stopped by the Christmas festival at the Franciscan Life Center where she interns. Jade picked up her favorite Franciscan breads and we canoodled with some sheep before hitting the road for our main destination: Boston!

A quick two hours in the car was all it took to get there, and even though I missed the fall foliage, the drive was beautiful. I was set on seeing Harvard so we drove straight there, since it's just outside of downtown Boston. The campus is amazing and like nothing I'd ever seen before. We were even lucky enough to run across a turkey wandering around Harvard Square. With the help of my good friend google, I've learned that the stray fowl are actually from the nearby Mt. Auburn Cemetery where they make their homes. I would be lying if I didn't say I chased the thing across the street trying to take its picture...And yes, I am an adult (a guy did it after me so I felt justified). I could have wandered around the campus all day but we had other places to be.

We decided to get our history lesson on and headed to the Boston Tea Party Museum. We pretended to be part of a rowdy, treasonous crowd and even got to throw fake boxes of tea over the side of the ship. Honestly, aside from tea being thrown in the harbor, I barely remember anything about the Boston Tea Party so it was nice for the refresher course. There's even a box from the actual night of treason 240 years ago on display. A little crazy to think what that seemingly silly act later triggered (insert USA chant here).

After committing faux treason, Jade and I met up with my friend Danielle for dinner in the Back Bay area. Danielle and I met in Dallas through mutual friends and, although our time there only overlapped by about three or so months before she moved, I was glad for the opportunity to see her and catch up. Coincidentally, we ate dinner right near the site of the Boston Marathon bombing. Of course, nothing looked out of place, but it was a little chilling to think about. Dinner seemed to end way too quickly and Jade and I had to hop back in the car for our ride home.

I was sad to say bye to both my friend and Boston so soon, but the visit definitely whetted my appetite. Eventually I'll make it back to see more! It did start to snow just a little on our way home so that was a pretty amazing end to a long day.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Travel Diaries: New England Days 1 & 2

I'm nearly two weeks late with a recap post of my trip to New England, but for good reason. Jade and I were up at the crack of dawn every morning and in bed late every night so by the time I got back home, I just wanted to rest. After a couple of days of work I took full advantage of a few days of nothing but family time over the Thanksgiving holiday. So far this week has been busy, but I finally have some time, so here we go!

I was rewarded at the end of a full day of travel with a beautiful sunset from the plane, and landed in Hartford with enough time left in the day for a delicious Friendsgiving meal with my oldest friend.

Jade nannies two days a week and because of my timing, we got to share our first couple of days with the twins. Since I still had some work to do on Thursday, we took things easy and only left for a play group at a library in Farmington and lunch at an adorable little cafe nearby. Farmington is a charming town that is one of the oldest in the state and even played an active part in the Underground Railroad. There's your fun fact for the day!

Friday we took the boys to the Mystic Aquarium where they had a total blast. The twins are almost two and it was their first time at an aquarium. It was the most adorable thing to watch them run from tank to tank exclaiming at everything in site! The aquarium has a few beluga whales that were super entertaining for all of us and we even got to watch them eat and play with their trainers.

We rounded out the trip to Mystic by taking the scenic route back to Hartford and it was just gorgeous! I couldn't get over all the history in that part of the country, and I kept trying to picture what things must have been like in the colonial days. Makes me wish I could take a history class now that I would actually appreciate it a little more.

Friday night Jade surprised me with tickets to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and we were both stoked. The movie was excellent and did not disappoint at all! They actually stuck to the book pretty well, but we both agreed we would have sat through another two hours for even more detail. After the movie it was time to hit the hay before our busy Saturday...but more on that in another post. Stay tuned!