Thursday, March 24, 2011

Travel Blog Day 5: Baaaahston

Initial thoughts on Boston: Frigid. Charming in its own sort of way. Old, but in a cool way. Filled with terrifying drivers. Closer to stereotypes than usual. Contains more US history in a few blocks than my entire home state, practically.

We started our day with a Fenway Park tour led by an 80-something year old man who embodied stereotypes of Boston and told jokes like someone from the Jungle Cruise. He started the tour by accusing us of being evil New Yorkers and made sure to pronounce the Green Monster like “Green Monstah”. We weren’t sure if he was imitating art or if art imitates him, but he was sure an incredible person to encounter during our first hour in Boston.

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The next thing on the agenda was walking the Freedom Trail around Boston to see the various historical sites. It was a pretty cool experience, really, to see everything so close together.

Holly standing by Samuel Adams’ grave:

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Paul Revere’s tombstone:

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The oldest pulpit in the United States:

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Inside the building where the Boston Tea Party started:

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Paul Revere’s house:

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Paul Revere’s midnight ride started when lanterns were hung outside this church’s steeple:

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The trail includes about 15 total stops, so this is just a sampling. Definitely cool for Holly especially to experience all this history.

The last stop of the day took us down to Harvard University to see the campus and enjoy a reunion over burgers with my college roommate and Evan and his girlfriend Jen.

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Tomorrow is Plymouth Rock and then off to New York! It will also include reunions with two more awesome friends, so this has been and will continue to be a wonderful trip. Can’t think of anything much better than getting to do all of this with my brother and my wife. The good times keep a-rollin’ but boy are we starting to get exhausted.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Travel Blog Day 4: When the Sun Shined Just Enough

Not a good sign for the day ahead of you when you look out your hotel window and it’s snowing 15 miles from the national park you’re about to visit. But hey, we were already here, so nothing is stopping us now. Who knew that 15 miles down the road in Acadia National Park the weather would look like this.

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The weather was overall spotty…sometimes the sun broke through like this and other times it was gloomy. But not even cloudiness and snow could take away from the natural beauty.

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Driving away from Acadia National Park we decided to take the “scenic route” despite the fact that it was once again dumping snow. That led us down towards Bucksport, Maine along the Penobscot River and noticed Fort Knox sitting on the hillside, which led to an awesome detour. Holly needed a flashlight to help navigate the scary passages of Fort Knox.

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The last stop of the day was a trip down to Portland (Maine variety) to see Portland Head Lighthouse, something I’ve wanted to see my whole life.

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Tomorrow is Boston and a reunion with a good friend!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Travel Blog Day 3: Where the White Mtns Were White, The Green Mtns Were Too, and We Found a Delicious Diner

I have a lifelong goal of seeing all 50 states if I can. Coming to the Northeast will get me massively closer to this goal. To my excitement I moved 6% closer to that goal today. In a day that not only myself, but David and Holly as well, saw Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine for the first time, we managed to have an amazing time despite having our maple farm plans ruins.

The day began in Saratoga Springs, New York and we ventured towards Vermont, where we found the Green Mountains to be snow-covered.

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The town of Woodstock, Vermont, was blanketed with literally feet of snow in some places, making getting to the remote maple farm impossible. Instead we settled in the absolutely picturesque town of Woodstock.

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Since Holly was really hoping to see the maple farm, we had to settle for buying Vermont maple syrup with some Vermont cheddar, which we enjoyed in the car (not the syrup…just the cheese).

While David threatened Holly with a cheese cleaver, I was excited they let me eat the wax.

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The next stop were the brilliant White Mountains in New Hampshire, which we saw via the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. Check out some of these amazing shots.

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Heck, Holly figured it was so nice that she decided to just camp out on this park bench.

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The final stop in the final state of the day came at the A1 Diner in Gardiner, Maine, where we had an amazing and hilarious time at dumpy looking diner car on steel support beams. We tried our first fried haddock, New England clam chowder actually in New England, and a lamb burger. Our waiter joked and talked with us the whole time and earned his place not only in our memories, but also in the blog as well (along with Guy, of course).

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Great great day! Tomorrow we hit up Acadia National Park and then it’s on to Boston!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Travel Blog Day 2: No Blizzard Will Keep Us From the Hall of Fame

Today is a day I have dreamt of my entire life, as I got to see my personal Disney World: the Baseball Hall of Fame. Located in the relatively remote town of Cooperstown, NY, the Hall of Fame has always been a distant goal, and thanks to being stationed in Ohio I was finally able to get there today.

The weather certainly wasn’t trying to make things easy on us. This is what we woke up to.

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But this will not stop us! We arrived in snowy but beautiful Cooperstown ready to have a great time.

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This is Holly by the bat Babe Ruth used to call his shot:

 

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Here’s me by Stan Musial’s locker room:

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Here’s me disrespecting current Yankees memorabilia:

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Ted Williams’ plaque:

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Part of the Hall of Fame wall.

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There’s a lot of pictures so I won’t post all of them. I’ll share a few special ones though. There’s a special Latin American baseball exhibit there right now, so we got a chance to see a small Edgar Martinez (my favorite player) exhibit. This is the jersey he wore at his last game, which we went to.

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Another cool thing was when a friendly curator was wheeling around a cart of items he was scheduled to clean. We asked him what they were and he casually drops the “oh this is Bobby Thomson’s bat from the World Series”. So yes, I present the famous Shot Heard ‘Round the World bat, very up close, and not through glass.

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Finally, we had a chance to see Dave Niehaus’ plaque. :-(

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That wasn’t all we did today though! We made it to Saratoga Springs, NY, just in time to make a special trip out to Saratoga National Battlefield (“the turning of the Revolutionary War”).

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We saw this awesome house:

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And we ate at the wonderfully atmosphered Hattie’s Chicken Shack:

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Oh, and one more thing. I found the room that they are saving for when the Mariners finally win the World Series. ;-)

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Travel Blog Day 1: The Rubino’s Learn to Love James Garfield

Sometimes the things that are the most surprising are the places that you don’t have the highest expectations for. Today we had two experiences just like that.

But first, we had ourselves a stop at a place that we already knew we loved: DDD-approved Geraci’s, a local Italian joint in Cleveland Heights, OH. This is a particular favorite of Holly’s, as I surmise she’d be perfectly content spooning the marinara into her mouth as an appetizer.

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The next stop was the house of President James Garfield at the James A. Garfield National Historical Site. What began as a random stopoff to learn a little about a random president quickly turned into a 1.5 journey of exceeded expectations.

And nothing starts off a tour like a sweet video!

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We learned that James Garfield was an egotistical child that might have passed for emo these days with his moody diary entries about the thunder burning within him. We also learned that he has a pretty sweet house.

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It was from this house that the very first “front porch campaign” was conducted. Inside the house was an array of ornate d├ęcor and actual non-replica things. I’ve never seen such a display of preservation, and I made sure the tour guide knew how much better his tour was than the Harry Truman house. Needless to say our group was quite happy with the site, and our tour guide informed us that his gift shop HAD been beating the Harry Truman gift shop in sales.

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Another surprise today was our sudden bathroom break in Westfield, NY. Remember the story about the little girl who wrote to Lincoln telling him he should grow his beard out? The story goes that Lincoln took her advice, and when campaigning managed to meet the little girl. I never knew where this was until we accidentally found the monument celebrating it just a little ways down the road from the Welch’s plant in the “Grape Juice Capital of the World”.

Random, eh?

What else did we learn today? If you’ve never eaten at a Checker’s, don’t bother. This is my advice.

Tomorrow is a day I’ve been waiting for for a long time. It’s the Baseball Hall of Fame. Can’t wait to share some pictures!