Friday, November 30, 2012

Expanding Traditions: Sharing a Mid-Atlantic fall with my mom

After leaving Bob & Timmy's in Providence, RI we set out for the long haul to get back home to Virginia in order to pick my Mom up at Dulles airport. We should have had plenty of time, but the traffic between Connecticut and Pennsylvania (ie. nearly all of New York and New Jersey) was horrendous. We finally made it through though, and even managed a quick stop at home to quickly unpack enough stuff from the car for my Mom to squeeze in.

The next morning we arose and headed back to Pennsylvania with my Mom for the National Apple Festival in Adams County. Alison and I had been to the festival the last two years and wanted to show my Mom what the appleness was all about.

As was to be expected our day focused on food. We enjoyed Apple Cider, Apple Sausage, Apple Sauce, and Apple Jelly as well as sweet potato fries and wild Bills Soda. We did manage to take a few pictures along the way though. J

After leaving the Apple Festival we went to Gettsyburg where we made a quick trip to Little Round Top as the sun was setting so that I could share the story of what happened there on July 2, 1863. It was a memorable moment.

We were all pretty tired after having traveled so far the day before and spent the day at the Apple Festival, but we decided to persevere and tackle our favorite Corn Maze for the third year in a row. We were triumphant once again, and all three of us emerged with corn in our mouths!

On Sunday we took my Mom to our church in DC and then out to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants to enjoy some Thai food on Capitol Hill. Following a delicious meal complete with Thai ice tea we drove out to Culpeper to take advantage of the free stay at a B & B that my Mom won during the 75th anniversary of Shenandoah National Park last year. Alison and I had already disposed of the gift certificates my Mom won (which expired in May), but all three of us were able to take advantage of the stay at the B & B.

It was totally different than the Buttonwood Inn

where we stayed in New Hampshire. This B & B, known as the Perennial Inn, was situated on the Desiderata Farm, a common destination for fox hunters and horse enthusiasts.

We took advantage of the chance to relax for the next few days and enjoy the surrounding are, though I did have to spend time writing a paper for school which was due on Wednesday. We played cards and made a particular point to take advantage of fuzzy robes and the hot tub, which we sat in under the stars for a good hour both nights we were there.

We also toured 2/3 of Shenandoah National Park and visited the Culpeper History Museum, but for that story you’ll need to consult the Next Entry!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Enveloped in Northeastern Wonder: A Tea Party with the Adams Family and the Pilgrims on Cape Cod

Due to our numerous Detours in Maine it was nearly 10:00 pm when we arrived at Wompatuck State Park in Massachusetts. We again had the pleasure of both setting up and breaking camp in the rain, but were able to get a descent night’s sleep and still make it to the Visitor Center for Adams National Historical Park as soon as it opened the next morning.

John Adams Birthplace

Visiting the Adams site was one of our top priorities of our trip as both of us have a particular interest in the family, in part due to reading David McCullough’s book on John Adams. We greatly enjoyed the chance to see the houses in which John and John Quincy were born as well as the substantially larger and more ornate home the family inhabited after John’s stint as a foreign ambassador for the new nation. 

John Quincy Adams Birthplace

The "Old House"- home of three generations of the Adams Family

One of the particular highlights was the library on the grounds of the Old house, which still contains John Quincy’s substantial collection of reading material. 

The Adams National Historical Park is ideally situated right next to a stop on the “T” which we took into Boston in lieu of trying to drive into the city. We didn’t have long, but we wanted to at least pay a quick visit to the freedom trail and Quincy Market to enjoy some chowda’. We were quite successful despite a light rain, enjoying a particularly lovely lunch before making our way to the precise location Griffin’s Wharf used to occupy. What is Griffin’s Wharf you ask? Why, the very wharf upon which the tea laden ships were tied the night of the Boston Tea Party. 

Though the actual wharf no longer stands, we discovered a little water taxi station where we could walk out over the water. We proceeded to reenact our own version of the Tea Party with the assistance of a bag of Earl Grey Tea purchased for 34 cents at Starbucks. 

After our tea party we took the train back out to where our car was parked and continued south to Cape Cod where we spent the last night of our trip in the Bayside Resort (Alison had found a great deal for a single night a few weeks before we departed, so we planned our final days such that we could take advantage of it). We made one additional detour to pay our respects to the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, which we discovered to be notably less impressive than we expected!

After a lovely night in the resort complete with a trip to the hot tub and pool, the sun rose on the last day of our trip to New England. We began the day with breakfast at the hotel and a quick walk outside to appreciate our surroundings. 

We then made a quick trip up to the beginning of Cape Cod National Seashore. We didn’t have long, but we got enough of a taste that we decided we need to go back and appreciate the seashore properly. We did get to see the ocean and some beautiful lighthouses, and also learned that the pilgrims actually spent a month on the cape before landing at Plymouth. I never heard that part of the story in gradeschool!

Then it was time to head for home, but not before one last state was added to the roster. As we crossed the border into Rhode Island I officially checked my 49th state off the list. Now all I have to do is find a way to get to Alaska…

We did have one particular stop planned for Rhode Island, one that we executed successfully and tastily. This final destination was “Bob & Timmy’s Grilled Pizza” in Providence, RI.  Inspired by Adam Richman and Man vs. Food we couldn’t pass up the chance to enjoy the pizza you see pictured.

As we drove south and west across Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania we watched the sun set on our Northeastern adventure, but knew that a New Adventure was right around the corner…

For more pictures Click Here