Never mind all the stuff that’s happening behind the scenes and behind closed doors in Washington these days. It’s still a great place for a little trip. In fact, with all the unseemly things going on, it’s actually a perfect time to go. Because D.C. is a shrine to everything that’s good about America. It’s a reminder of all the wonderful things that have been dreamed, designed, created, engineered and produced by Americans in America. I have to be honest- I needed the reminder. We are a nation of people who have pushed boundaries to overcome great adversity, invented innovative products and developed cutting-edge technology to solve complex problems, and created a vast array of arts and entertainment to enrich lives. We have found common ground during contentious times. Really, we have! If we can hold on to all the good, there’s no end to the amazing things that can happen right here on American soil. We just need to cut out the crazy. So, let’s cut out the crazy, ya’ll! It’s really distracting and we’ve got a lot of work to do. In the meantime, take a quick walk around town with me and I’ll show you why all of a sudden I feel a bit more hopeful. Remember the future is rooted in the past…
Ah, divine Providence. No, no… not God’s intervention in the world. Providence, Rhode Island. You know- that little city in that little state that you probably never think about. It’s ok, I don’t blame you. Why would you think about a smudge of a spot when the world is vast and amazing and full of wonderful places to visit? Why, indeed. Well, because it’s pretty wonderful in its own right, that’s why. No, really- I’m serious. I’ll share with you what a day in Providence might be like for you, and then maybe you’ll come see for yourself (and yes, you should come see for yourself).
So, that’s Providence in a nutshell. There’s lots more to see and do…well maybe not lots but at least a few more things to see and do..oh OH! like PV Donuts. How could I almost forget? On your way out of town, you have to stop at PV Donuts and treat yo’self to the craziest, yummiest, most creative, and stomach pain inducing (in a good way) donuts around. You’ll be glad you did!
Providence awaits! See ya’ll soon!
Holy moly- we made it! Today is the last day of the longest year there has ever been (except perhaps before we were measuring time in years). This was a year of sucker punches and gut-wrenching events and I for one and am not sorry to see it go. Even though we’re starting 2018 in much the same situation as we’re leaving 2017 it still seems like a fresh start. Maybe that’s what drew us to end the year in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy. Where it all began if you will. Our forefathers are probably rolling over in their graves right now, given the current state of government affairs, but the city of brotherly love is more fun than ever. Here are some pics from our short but sweet trip.
So, that’s how we wrapped up 2017. I hope the end of your year was just as lovely, and I hope that 2018 is better for everyone. I know a large part of that will have to do with what we do, so let’s get to it! Here’s our chance to move beyond anger, toward action. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do… insert your action item here.
This Thanksgiving we traded turkey, stuffing, and mashies for wine, cheese, bread and surprisingly good pub food. Bucking tradition to travel this year seemed to be a trend if my friend’s Insta and Facebook feeds are any indication. Lots of people headed north, south, east, and west to celebrate sans pumpkin pie or a doze in front of a football game. We opted to spend a few days in Paris and London before heading down to the middle of France, where we are fortunate enough to have lots of family to spend time with and a house to stay in. Our house doesn’t have wifi or a tv so an extra bonus is that the kids actually have to talk to us! Woohoo! They pretend to be annoyed by it, but it seems to me like they might actually enjoy our company. I know–weird, right? Anyway, here are some highlights and recommendations from our latest family adventure.
After London, we headed back to France. I think I’ll share some pics of that in a separate post because this one is getting kind of long, dontcha think? Stay tuned…
If you want to get away from it all for a while, I’ve got the place for you. Head on up to Manchester, Vermont where you can breathe deep and disconnect from everything. I felt lucky that I had minimal cell phone service and no wifi when I was there because it really forced me to enjoy the weekend for what it was- calming, peaceful and oh so far away from the noise and craziness of today’s world.
Last weekend some friends and I headed down to Long Island wine country for a little mini-break. None of us had ever been there, but we’d heard good things. And even though we normally plan a bit better, this is such a busy time for all of us that we didn’t put too much thought into the trip. We booked a house but pretty much left the rest of the weekend open to hap and circumstance. I don’t know if it was because of or despite that, but we had an amazing weekend. It is an absolutely beautiful spot to spend time in, and the quality of the wine is very, very good. And, if you’re not that into wine (um, what??) there are other things to do too–eating, shopping, antiquing, boating, swimming, bike riding, or just lounging– you name it, you can do it on the north fork of Long Island!
I’m going to tell you our story through pictures because I have like 400 of them on my phone. I may have been a bit snap-happy. But really, you’ll see why now:
A few days after the marathon we headed up to Portland, ME. We had been planning to make our annual trek to see Marc’s cousin and his family on Friday, but after everything that had happened on Monday we felt the need to flee. We just wanted to get away from everything- the news, the fb posts, the images that were playing over and over again inside our heads. We had never been to Portland and had always wanted to go. It seemed like a good time to embrace a “why put off til tomorrow what you can do today?” mentality. And it was on the way to Quebec.. well, sort of.
We didn’t make any plans for the two days we would spend there except to book the only hotel we could find in town that had an available room. Spur of the moment trips during a school vacation week leave you with limited options. Lucky for us, the Portland Harbor Hotel was great. My daughter was delighted- when she saw our room she said “this is the best hotel we’ve ever stayed in with walls”. Yes, we have been known to drag our kids to far flung places, often staying in lodging we like to describe as “adventurous”. The kids usually roll with it- never even noticing that there’s anything amiss. The wall-less hut we stayed in during last year’s trip to Mexico registered though, apparently. Don’t worry- it was a nice hut- very nice actually, plus the beach we were situated on was breathtaking and the food served family style was a culinary delight. It was a lovely trip, except that a giant tropical bug crawled in my son’s ear one night while he slept and had to be removed by an EN&T doctor when we got back to Boston, BUT that’s a different story.
AnYWay- back to Portland. We had no idea it was such a foodie hotspot. What a find! We all love to eat!! We soothed our spirits with meal after meal of some of the best Portland had to offer (try Gorgeous Gelato, David’s, Hot Suppa, and the Standard Baking Co if you ever find yourself in Portland) and we savored every moment of our time together. Literally all we did for two days was wander the streets, thinking about where our next meal would be. We held hands, we laughed with the kids, we talked, we listened. We just spent time together. The kids were great – especially considering that aside from a trip to the Children’s Museum we didn’t do much to entertain them. We just wanted to BE. And we were. Portland was good for the soul. Good for us. For the first time in a very long time our only focus was on each other.
It was a quiet, reflective few days. We missed all the madness happening in Boston- we didn’t tune in AT ALL. I didn’t even know the extent of what had happened Thursday night and Friday until we got up to Quebec and heard from Marc’s cousins. And even then, we didn’t talk much about it. It was all still too raw. We were still digesting the event and trying to come to terms with what had happened- to us and everyone else that was there. We were grieving for those that were lost, and those that were suffering so much- who faced such an uncertain future. And we were grieving for Boston. Boston is home. Boston is a huge part of who we are. The main streets and the back allys, the public figures and the neighborhood friends, the landmarks and the hole-in-the-wall eateries, the small celebrations and the big events- we know it all intimately and it belongs to us.
We didn’t do too much in Quebec either. If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll remember what happened last year when we visited. If not, you can read about it here. Well, luckily, nothing like that happened this time. Noone pooped or puked in anyone’s bed, and the weather wasn’t even that bad. Well, considering it was Quebec in April, I mean. The sun even peaked out a little bit. It’s been years since we’ve seen the sun in Quebec! We usually bring the worst kind of weather. But maybe God was smiling down on us.
It was nice to get away for a few days. It didn’t change what happened, and it didn’t make it better. But it made us better. Not totally better- I think that will only come with time- but at least it started us a path that will make us better. Better as indivuals, and better as a family. Maybe that’s the silver lining. You know there always has to be one.
If you read my post from Friday you’ll know that our weekend trip to Quebec didn’t get off to the best start. We resigned ourselves to trading the unseasonably warm, sunny Boston weather in favor of the cold damp April days Quebec offered because we were excited to see my husband’s cousins. It’s an annual trek we all look forward to, because for one, it’s an awesome city- beautiful and chock full of things to do. Plus, the kids love playing together and the adults never fail to have a good time. During the day there’s always something to do that appeals to everyone, and at night the kids run around like banshees while the adults enjoy long lingering conversations over a dinner table abundant with out-of-this-world food and wine a- plenty. My French isn’t good enough to follow everything, and after a few hours I give up trying and just drink the wine, which is something I always regret doing when I wake up slightly hungover. I then vow not to repeat the next night, but of course I do. Because it’s vacation. And, because it’s fun. And FUN is just what we needed. We were both still beating ourselves up about not running Boston (yep, STILL talking about that- I know it’s starting to get old, but don’t worry once I run NJ in a few weeks I will be cured of the guilt and regret that compel me to mention it every chance I can get). But anyway, that’s exactly how night one progressed.
And you know how that turned out- with our son pooping in their daughter’s bed. It was awesome. Really a great way to start the day on Friday.
Later that morning – after everything had been cleaned and the kids were settled into a controlled state of chaos- my husband went for his long run, and I went for the kind of run you need to cure your sluggish body of the evil you caused it the night before.
It was f’n COLD. And windy. I ran down by the St. Lawrence and the wind was coming at me from three directions. It was raw and grey and just plain nasty. It felt like a punishment and once again I cursed mother nature and myself for not running and GETTING IT DONE on Monday. Oh well..I slogged my way through 7 or so miles which left me feeling better and ready for anything (or so I thought).
We bagged our plans to visit Gros Isle and instead headed to the Aquarium. It was pretty cool- worth checking out if you’re in town. The polar bears were impressive and the sea lions had lots of personality. And, there was a mini version of TreeGO (an obstacle course type adventure playground) which the kids couldn’t get enough of. Even in drenching rain it was fun. Make note: lots of the Aquarium is outside. If you’re with people who live in Quebec and don’t seem to notice inclement weather you won’t be deterred. If you’re like everyone else in the world you might want to wait for a nicer day.
Later that night.. more wine, more food, more conversation that I could only half follow.. yadda yadda. Put the kids to bed. All is well.
I know what you’re thinking- poop again? Well… that would have been awful wouldn’t it? But no, nope, not poop, not this time. But what then? What could have happened that would be even worse? Puke you ask? Could it be? Well, why not? At just around 2:00 am everyone in the house was awoken to the sound of my son crying and puking in bed. In the bed we had just cleaned. White sheets, new fluffy duvet.. the works. Yep. Night two was even more exciting and disruptive than night one. How can this be? Who are these people who bring a pooping, puking maniac to soil the bedsheets at every opportunity?
That would be us.
He wasn’t sick. In fact he didn’t seemed phased at all. In the morning it was my husband and I who hung our heads in shame as another bag of drycleaning was loaded into the car. Our son continued to race around the house, humming Star Wars songs and demanding snacks every 15 seconds or so (I guess he was pretty hungry after emptying his entire digestive tract onto his cousin’s bed).
That day, after braving the elements to see the waterfall on the north side of the city (luckily a short lived experience as the weather was truly horrendous) we went to the Civilization Museum- also a great place to go when it’s raining. The exhibits are always interesting and there’s an entire area dedicated to kid stuff- a giant play area complete with costumes and things to climb. As we walked back to the car the rain turned to sleet and then snow. Did I ever tell you how much I hate to see snow in April? Well, I hate it.
Anyway.. I’ll fast forward. We went to bed Saturday wondering if our son was going to produce a hat trick. What would the late night hours bring us? We prepared for the worst. We made him sleep on the bare floor, with nothing to cover him but newspaper.
Ok, we weren’t that cruel, but we did make him sleep in our room with an air mattress and a sleeping bag. And, sure enough around 3 or 4 am I was jolted awake by the dreaded “mommmmmyyyyy…..” I sprinted out of bed and ran over to him. He said” I have to throw up!!! “ I grabbed him and ran as fast as I could to the bathroom, heart pounding, sweat breaking out over my brow. I put him in front of the toilet and forced him to bend over it. After a few seconds of nothing happening he said “oh, I think maybe I just have to pee”. So he did, and I brought him back to bed. That’s it. No accident. So ….that was ok.
On Sunday we left. Our hosts might have been slightly less sad to see us go than they normally are, but they hid it well. Maybe they’re devising a scheme to even things out when they come down our way in July. It poured the entire way home which made for a long ride (the longest 6 hour ride ever, my daughter pointed out) but the kids were actually really good. Despite what I may have led you to believe, my kids are really quite charrming and fun when they aren’t defecating on your furniture. It was nice hearing their laughter drift up from the backseat. And we had a great time telling jokes and playing trivia. Gavin progressed from calling the city we’d just visited “Appleback” to learning to say Quebec. Each kid only asked how much longer about 700 times.
All in all, it was not a bad weekend. But it sure is good to be home. And no one woke up last night- for any reason.