Monday, August 17, 2009

Vacation Journal Part 2

(Note: In the comments, Rush ~ you asked for more pictures. If you look at the top buttons on my blog. Click on Picasa Pictures. There are two folders for this trip in my Picasa pictures, because Picasa has a limit of how many pictures you can put in each folder. I'll add the link to both folders on the Part 3 in case you want to wait. But the pictures are there for viewing right now. Ummmm, LOTS of pictures, ok? Also, there are some funny quotes that I added under some of the pictures.)

Day 3 – Unexpected Window Shopping and Duck Tour

Day Three ~ Rush to the Duck Tour. We waddled our way through Boston streets, thinking it was only a 10 minute walk, but more like 20 minutes and then thinking we were going to be late (when the night before, I thought it was an afternoon tour and Dad said - no, it was a morning tour).... to get to the tour.... to find out... after all that rushing.... that it was indeed an AFTERNOON tour. Which left us with the morning to ummm, do something, but we didn't want to walk all that way back to the hotel and then back again. Dad suggested going into the Prudential Center to do some shopping.

Ummm, yeah, shopping. Window Shopping. Mom said, "Your Dad must have planned this on purpose. He gets us to a place to do shopping when the stores aren't open and even by the time they are open we don't have much time to spend there AND it's way too expensive to shop there!" That said, I enjoyed the flowers and gardens around the mall, very pretty.

I was tickled with this picture! I was able to get the bee on the flower.

To the Duck Tours we went in a yellow "Duck" (WW II style amphibious landing vehicle). We boarded and then, waited. And waited. Everyone was seated and it was a warm day. One of the ladies in front of us started singing, "It's gettin' hot in here, so take off all your cloths." Greg and I giggled because we know that song and will sing it. He found it on his iphone and turned it up, the lady turned around and laughed. At another point, while still waiting, the same lady sneezed and Greg said loudly, "So yeah, did they ever find the cure to the swine flu?" Everyone laughed and the group that the lady was with told Greg he should drive the bus and be our tour guide.

Eventually, our guide did arrive and did a fly by, as if he had to make up for being late and not wanting to come back late. It was definitely a fly down the roads, didn't even slow down for pictures type of experience. I'm sure other guides were better, but I can't speak highly for ours. The neat part though, was going from land to water. Cool and it was a quick change, not like he had to do much to make it a water ride. It was worth it for the water experience. (Also worth it, because our tour guide had the distinct Boston accent, which Greg wanted to hear. You know the, “We pahked the cah and went to the bah.” Sound of not pronouncing the “r’s”.)

I like this next picture. When the city built new buildings, they didn't want to lose sight of history. So, the new buildings have that "mirrored" look and it was made to "reflect" the old building onto the new building. That's a reflection.

After the Duck Tour, we went to the Common Gardens to see the cute little Duck Statues and walk around. It was late in the afternoon, so the pictures aren't as crisp as I'd like them, but I'm glad we went.

Day 4 – Iron, Witches and Whales

For Day Four, we only had one thing planned, whale watching. By this time, the group was ribbing Dad about the itinerary. Dad - you did a great job and wow - we had a full experience of the area. Before we left New Orleans, I had typed up an outline of what we would be doing on the trip and Greg shared the outline with his Mom. She said, "Lester missed his calling and should have been a travel agent!" Hehe.

So, we headed for Gloucester (you know, where the movie "the Perfect Storm" was made).

Before whale watching, Mom wanted to stop in Salem, Massachusetts. But to find Salem, Greg saw a sign along the way for Saugus Information Center. We figured that the information center in Saugus would have something about Salem. There were two signs, one for Saugus Information Center and another for Saugus Iron Works.

What a fun stop at the Iron Works! The Puritans first settled Saugus in 1629. The Saugus Iron Works was in operation from 1646 to 1668 and was the first integrated iron works in North America. And this time, Greg was our tour guide. The historical site allowed you to walk around the artifacts and waterwheels and mill machinery, including a blast furnace, forge and slitting mill. Greg walked to each of the pieces and showed Mom and I how the machinery worked.

At one point he moved a huge bellow fan instrument in the furnace and we didn't realize that it would actually work and heat up the coals that were on the other side! The furnace smelted locally mined bog ore and gabbo into cast iron "pig" bars - the shape made this on the furnace floor. Impurities were removed from the pig bars in the forge. Greg showed us how they used equipment to lift it up and move it. He also demonstrated how the iron bars were reheated and flattened through rollers. It was neat to see how much Greg enjoyed it and made the sight enjoyable for us! Because Scottish prisoners were brought in for labor and this did not work well within the Puritan way of life, the Iron Works did not continue.

Oh and yes, the Saugus Iron Works did have brochures and information about Salem. Only, we were running short on time. We wanted to see something about the witches in Salem and decided to drive there before going to Gloucester. What a fiasco!

The lady at the Salem Witch Museum told Mom the show started at 11, which was only 5 minutes away, but when I looked at the sign, it said, "Next Show Time: 11:30" and the lady apologized. This meant that we had 30 minutes and Dad wanted to get something to eat. We walked around and found the Hawthorne hotel (named after Hawthorne, who wrote the "Scarlett Letter"). It was cool and elegant and Mom asked the waitress, "What can be made very quickly, we only have 30 minutes to get back to the museum." We ordered what she suggested, a chicken club sandwich (Rob ordered the fish)... and it took 30 minutes to get the food ready, of course, we couldn't eat it, so we had them box the food. Greg grabbed the six boxes and we took it to the museum. We didn't eat it then, we just held on to the food.

I liked the show, though it was weird to realize that three girls started the “witch hunt.” The show was dark and eerie and had a very fitting voice that narrated the story of Salem. It gave me a creepy feeling and afterwards, Rob said, "I'd want to come back to Salem. There's a lot of history here."

Maybe Salem didn't like that it was mostly known for the witch trials, because the show ended with saying that so many innocent people were jailed and killed, but our country was lucky because the people in America suffered much less than those that happened in Europe. And that America was lucky because it only happened one brief time in history. Lucky??

Thus ended our quick visit to Salem. I felt as if the ghosts hurried us along and out. It really is a strange town, as they embrace the history, but yes ~ I'd like to return there as well one day.

To Gloucester we went (eating the sandwiches on the way) and just in time to board the Yankee Freedom boat. Rob immediately took two Dramamine tablets, but I declined. My motion sickness seems a lot less these days. I don't need the meds for flights any more, though I did need it for the really rough night on the Alaskan cruise a couple of years ago, so time to time it rears up. I was a little worried that I might get sick, because I knew the boat would go fast (up and down) to reach the whales.

I LOVED the boat ride, in fact, I went to the front of the boat and laughed and laughed as it went up and down, feeling the wind in my face and riding the waves. Greg said, "Maybe we should get a boat. You really do take to water." Yes, Yes, Yes. But poor Roda... she didn't take any meds and wasn't feeling well at all. For most of the ride until we found whales, she had her head down on the table (she did take a pill, but that takes time to work). And Rob, well, two might have been too much for him. They slept a good part of the trip.

Thankfully for them, when we spotted whales, the boat came to a stop and everyone was outside for the view. AND WOW - did we see Whales! My cousin, Holly, told me that one their whale watching tour, they were disappointed, because they only got to see seals. Not us - whales were happy to display their tails. We had to go 27 miles out (when normally it would only take a 12 mile trip), but this boat promises you whales and they delivered!

I had so much fun! I was smiling all day. And I got some sun on this trip, let me tell you. Mom was afraid I would burn, but I now have a "farmer's tan." Hehe Greg said, "You look like the little girl in the pictures when you were younger and went swimming during the summer." Yes, I had freckles.

Our captain took us out far and ended up making the tour an hour longer than normal. It was so worth it - from the whales to the lighthouses that we saw along the way, other boats and all the fun waves! Had a blast and you'll have to forgive me, I took TONS of pictures! I made friends with the setting "Release Mode Continuous" on the camera, while Mom snapped shots on her camera and said, "I don't know what I have, I don't know what I have on my camera."

The whale tails flipped all over the place AND... AND... we saw a breach! I couldn't swing the camera around quick enough, Darn. And Roda was in too much shock of seeing it to take the picture. People went around the boat asking who saw it and if anyone had it on camera. Nobody said they did... All in all, an eventful and great trip - Yah, Dad!

Thus far, we were still in Massachusetts (Boston, Saugus, Salem, and Gloucester)...

From there we drove out to Rockland, Maine ~ the culprit of the trip. You see, when planning this vacation, Dad found out that there was a Lobster Festival in Maine and that's what started this trip idea. From there it bloomed to, "Well, if we are in the area, why not fly into Boston and see some history and since we are so close, let's also go to Niagara Falls." And there you go, Lester the Travel Agent at work!

Already, we had driven a lot that day and by the time we got off of the whale watching boat tour, we were tired. R&R slept and Greg, Mom and Dad were getting a little loopy. We didn't get to the B&B until midnight and during the end of the ride, Greg was telling my parents about his reoccurring dream. He described a bridge and how it almost went straight up in his dream and then he said, "And I was nekked." Dad replied, "You had me until that point. Don't want to hear any more. That's not a dream, that's a nightmare!"

They (Dad and Greg) started singing on the drive. We had Elvis impersonators in the vehicle and Mom and I groaned. We made it, tired and sleepy but to the Rockland Maine B&B we arrived at the Captain Lindsey House. Then we found out ~ we had three flights of stairs to go up to our rooms. "CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNK" went the luggage as we tried our best to be quiet, giggling all the while as Greg is shushing us that there were other guests in the house . Ah well, we were worried that the rooms wouldn't cool down, but ours did very nicely and I slept like a baby in the sumptuous down bedding.

Day 5 Lobster Festival and Owl’s Head

If you're going to be in the area ~ THIS ~ is the place to stay, at the Captain Lindsey B&B. You felt more like a guest in someone's home, with the kitchen open at all times with treats, goodies and drinks. Each night you had some kind of desert waiting for you and one night was the best, absolutely, most delicious blue berry pie we have ever tried. OMG good - fresh Maine blueberries are so yummy! Each morning we woke up to the smell of hot breakfast being cooked with scrambled eggs, sometimes quiche, sometimes egg casserole, always fresh fruit and toast or biscuits. You woke up each morning and wondered, "Ohh, what's for breakfast today" because you just knew it was going to be good.

We even were able to meet the current owners, Ken and Ellen Barnes (both were full time sea captains and decorated the house with the findings over the years.) A little history on the home that Ken and Ellen shared with us:

It was originally built in 1835 and was the home of George Lindsey, a Rockland sea captain. Years later it became Rockland's first inn. Then in 1924, became the headquarters for a local water company. Ken and Ellen purchased and restored it to its 19th century elegance. We went into the house library and found some cool articles about the home and also about Ken and Ellen - how they have won many awards for the pie baking. There was even an article about how certain B&B's would open during the winter months for pie sharing - people would go from B&B to B&B and try the pies and take home the guarded recipes! Oh, if I could get the blueberry pie recipe - OHHHHH.... There was also an article that said Captain Lindsey haunted the house and his ghost was often seen in the parlor (where the guests were served port. I tried some, not something I'd try again, but Greg said it was expensive port.)

Our first day in Maine, we walked to the Lobster Festival. There were lots of craft tents and rides and food booths. They also had a huge area for the steamed lobsters. That's right, they steam the lobsters and they don't add any seasoning. They don't have it. Talk about some of the best lobsters you can taste. Dad said, "We buried 24 lobsters in two days." You read that correctly, TWENTY FOUR lobsters and I'll add, I only had 1 and a half of the 24 and Greg didn't have any (he's allergic to shellfish). Which meant the rest of the group where little piggies. Hehe. Rob was in his glory. He could eat lobster morning, noon and night! One day he said he was full of lobster and wanted something different for supper and when we went to the restaurant, what did he order? Lobster!

But back to the Festival, they did a great job of moving people quickly and having plenty of space to sit and enjoy. Greg took pictures and caught my "Awww, poor thing" look in one shot as I held up a lobster. Dad called them, "Mudbugs on Steroids." Hehe.

That day, we also toured some museums. I loved going to the lighthouse museum, seeing those beautiful, massive lights. It was at the museum that I bought my crystal lighthouse, to add to the crystal collection at home. The lady there was very helpful and told us about the two lighthouses that were close by. We decided to go to one that afternoon.

Owl's Head Lighthouse was the first one we went to. Oh man, can the weather change quickly! By the time we parked the car to get out and make the trek up to the lighthouse, it had turned cold and foggy! People walking there were grumbling that they wouldn't be able to see anything with the fog and what was the use of going there. Whereas, we all thought it was cool, kind of goes with the experience - you know, lighthouses, fog... Anyway, when we get there, we could hear the foghorns! If the fog hadn't been there, we wouldn't have heard it.... very loudly... 2 horn blasts every 20 seconds. Greg took out his iphone and measured the decibel sound - 110. Way cool! I was happy for the fog and the jacket weather.

That night, I loaded up the pictures on my laptop to take a look see of what we had thus far. Rob and Greg were discussing where to go for supper and they heard me say, "OH MY GOD! I think Mom got the breach!" Greg jumped up and looked over my shoulder. I zoomed closer on the shot and Greg said, "Don't tell your Mom. She'll never let us live it down."

What happens when we go to my parents' room? Greg announces, "Lester, you have one heck of a wife! The blind person in the group and WHO gets the Breach picture? Gay does!" Mom was in tickled pink and proud as a peacock. I was happy she got the picture and I'm hoping to get it enlarged. Go Ma! Go Ma! Woo Hoo!

Day 6 Breakwater Lighthouse and Sailboat Ride (In the picture below - look ALLLL the way to the right. See that little bitty house? That's the lighthouse we had to walk to!)

Day Six, yes, only day 6 on a 13 day vacation, just about half way through and there's a lot more we did! Day Six found us at the Breakwater Lighthouse. Well, not all of us. We drove to the point where you park the car, walked to the area of the breakwater wall and only two people in our group of six decided to walk the one mile to the lighthouse and the one mile back. Guess who did it? No way could Mom and Dad do this, with Mom's vision, she couldn't see between the granite pieces and the way the rocks went up and down, it wasn't a smooth wall. And Dad had a bad knee. R&R started the trek but turned around not far into it, blaming it on the weather. Yes, that's right, Greg and I were the only ones who made it there and back!

We had fun! You had to be careful with your steps, because of the spaces. We saw lots of seagulls; they weren't afraid to be near you and people in their boats setting traps and even a jogger. I thought she was nuts, running along the vastly crevasse uneven path!

Greg was so sweet, saying, "I'm really proud of you, Aleta. I didn't know if you'd want to make this walk, but you are very sure footed, keeping a steady pace and have good endurance." Awww, even when it lightly rained, I asked if we should turn around, Greg said, "We're closer to the lighthouse, might as well keep going at this point, besides so what if we get wet. It will make for a funny story." It was just a light rain and it didn’t last long, but fun still. When we reached the lighthouse, I felt so accomplished and Greg said, "We are the 1/3 of our party to do it!" Then I looked back at the land and thought, "Oh my God, we have to walk all the way back." Haha. It was worth it and when I see pictures of the lighthouse, I think, "Yeah, we did it!"

That afternoon I thought of the trip thus far and said, "It's been a water vacation - cruise in Boston, duck tour in Boston, Whale Watching in Gloucester, Walking the breakwater and a sailboat ride to take in Maine..and then the big water works in Canada (Niagara Falls)."

Still on Day Six, that afternoon we had a sailboat ride in Maine. We had a sunset ride on the "Morning in Maine" as the ketch glided through the Penobscott Bay. Captain Bob even let me steer for a little while - fun. Oh and the co-pilot was Poco, Captain Bob's dog. The weather was perfect. When Greg said, “Here’s the camera, Aleta.” I took it and the guy next to me said to Greg, “She didn’t hesitate at all with that big camera.” Greg replied, “She’s good.” That made me feel good.

What was really cool about the sailboat ride was that we passed in front of both of the lighthouses that we toured. We were able to see the Owl's Head and the Breakwater Lighthouse from the water. I'm so glad we did the tour of the lighthouses first, because it made seeing them all the more special on the sailboat. We looked at the Breakwater Wall and I turned to Greg saying, "Oh my gosh, we WALKED that!" You just have to see that long wall to get the feel of it, 1 mile of granite stone pieces.... The sailboat ride was a perfect ending to the day, nice, relaxing and oh man, when we got away from the docks, it was like someone had turned on the AC! Felt sooooo good! I loved the sound of the waves lapping on the side of the boat in the water… very relaxing.

Day 7 Driving to Canada

I was a little sad to leave the B&B; I had such a good time there, but off we went. Day Seven was our "driving" day, not like we didn't drive a lot already, but we left Maine at 9am and drove until midnight to arrive in Niagara Falls, Canada side. During the drive, Dad and Mom sat on the second row of seats in the vehicle. Dad was on the computer, doing end of month reports and I was on the phone with the office making sure all was going well with their part of the reports. Greg and I were up front and it was raining. Greg said that he would rather it rain on a day we had to drive, versus a day that we were touring an area. He got rain alright, saying about some clouds, "Looks ominous." I took out my camera and took a picture of the clouds. The flash went off with the camera and Mom screamed! She said, "Did you see that?!" She thought the lightening was inside the car. Sorry, I had to laugh, but I am sorry so scaring her...

Of course, on the drive, we had some silly conversations...

Dad: "Where's my mouse pad?"
Mom: "I don't know."

Dad: "I gave it to you."
Mom: "No, you didn't."

Dad: "I gave it to you and you put it in the bag."
Mom: "Well, the bag is in the trash." (insert Mom's laughter)

Dad:: "You threw away my mouse pad!"
Mom: "No, I didn't!"

Dad: "Where's the mouse pad, Gay!"
Mom: "In the bag.. and Greg threw the bag out with the trash, which I gave to him to throw out!"
Dad: "You threw out my mouse pad, I can't believe it!"

Greg: "That's enough! Don't make me pull this car over! I Will! I'll turn it around right now!" (in his parental tone) and everyone laughed.

Another conversation... this was a 13 hour drive and Greg drove the entire way. At one point, Mom kept asking if Greg wanted Lester or Rob to drive and Greg said, "No, I'm fine." She kept asking... a lot (because she cares).. a lot. Hehe.


Mom: "Are you sure you don't want Lester to drive?"
Greg: "I'm Ok, Gay."

Then, we all hear Mom "whisper" to Dad: "I think you should drive. Greg is tired."
Greg said, "Eleanor! I'm fine!"

I laughed and said, "Oh OH, it went from Gay to Eleanor!"
Greg: "Well, she said it like 27 times."

Mom: "Blah, Blah! I don't want to hear it Greg!"
Greg: "Good! Neither do I!"
Lots of laughter....
Will post Part 3 (final journal entry) and the links to the Picasa pictures as well in a few days!


Dr. Wifey said...

great pictures! you make me want to go to Boston - and Maine - and Canada. wow, that's a lot of territory to cover LOL

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

You did cover a lot of miles, and drove past our house (nearly!) on your way to the Falls!

Rush said...

lol...greg looked hidden witall the food packets.
i loved the whale close up on the boat ride and the lobster treat...we had similiar experiences...ur travelogue has been absolute fun!!
THanks for sharing the pictures, will check them out riteaway!!

Grand Pooba said...

Wow the pics that you got of the whale are breathtaking!

Last time we went, we saw those duck tours but never got to go on one.

Mmmmm lobster! I wanna go back now!

Mari said...

You took so many great pictures that I can't pick a favorite. What a fun trip. We were in a few of those places about 20 years ago. We enjoyed Salem too.
PS - you need to stop over at my regular blog (Mari's little corner). I had a blog makeover by Jill of Sneaky Momma, thanks to you! When you got yours done, I started checking her work out. I love it, so thanks for the recommendation!

Darlene said...

My gosh it sounds like y'all had a FABULOUS vacation!! Maybe we need to let you plan our next one!!! I absolutely LOVE seeing those whale pictures. I would love to go whale watching someday.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Wow! What a great trip. Whales (the pics are amazing!), Elvis AND lobsters! What more could a girl ask for. Thanks for sharing.

aforestfrolic said...

What an awesome trip...I've never been there. The duck tour looks fun! Whale watching too, now that's something I'd love to do too. The way they built the new buildings to reflect the old is really neat. Thanks for sharing and stopping by my blog earlier!

Jamie :)

carma said...

Ahhhhh yes, I see that Greg is not shy at speaking in public. Love the lobster pic :D

Muthering Heights and Other Senseless Sensibility said...

Wow, it looks like an AMAZING vacation!

My name is PJ. said...

What a trip! The photos are wonderful! Thanks for stopping by my blog - I really appreciate it!

Sabine, La Marquise des anges said...

geat pictures ALETA. thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us ... I feel like i just traveled ... thanks to you ...

Grace said...

right, so the duck tour sounds awesome--i really wanted to go on one when i visited boston but wasn't able to. even better would be the witch history--i'm so fascinated by that! but the highlight for me would have to be the whales--how amazing! great pictures and commentary. :)

Kavi said...

Great pictures and a wondeful account. Very alluring and insightful.

Someday, i will give you an account of how it was for me to travel the same path !


*Akilah Sakai* said...

Simply amazing!

I'm so glad you and Greg took the walk to Breakwater. Two lovebirds traversing the wacky granite. How sweet is that?! And then to see it from a sailboat ...

Thanks so much again for taking the time to write such a detailed travel journal so your audience can enjoy it and almost feel like they were with you.

The Peach Tart said...

What a fabulous sounding trip. It makes me want to travel to some of these spots. The pictures were all great. I especially liked the whale pics. The Salem Witch museum sounds interesting. I'll have to put that on my must do list.

Rashikaps said...

Lovely pictures.. You're a great narrator. Felt like I was watching parts of a movie.

{Kiki} said...

I have visited Mass., Maine and Canada, but never saw the splendor or experienced the adventure in your pictures. Beautiful pictures of your travels. It is as if I am there too. I'm super jealous. I want to go back now and do it all over again. I would like to try the Duck Tour. Have a wonderful day and take care.

Kim said...

That sucks that your DUCK tour guide wasn't so great. Ours was hilarious! You should head back to Seattle and ride one of their DUCKS, you could even request Greg's! But oh, the whale watching. I am feeling very envious. I thought about doing it while we were over in Seattle but we just didn't have the time and I wasn't sure that we'd actually see any. Now I'm really regretting that! Aren't vacations fun though?!

Dan said...

Greg would have loved it if you got further up to Vermont. Caint git thar from har, noah - Can't get there from here, nope.

The Forscheins said...

Whales are amazing to see like that, aren't they. I love the pitty picture of you with the lobster... It's cute. The bee in the flower is a beautiful one too.

Cherie said...

Aleta I have never been to this area of the country and it is amazing. It makes me want to plan a trip. Your pictures are so wonderful I feel like I went on the trip with you!
Your hubby sounds like quite a character I loved his comments on the Duck tour.
The reflection of the old building in the new one is my favorite picture - Love that!
You look great with a lobster bib on - ha ha - Yummy!! I bet it was good!!

I'll have to check out all of your pictures on Picasa :D

Holly said...

If you were ever to come back to Salem, Halloween would be the time to do it - lots stuff going on then!

Lobster. My absolute favorite meal. Ever. Hands down. I could eat my weight in lobster I think, although all that melted butter would probably give me a coronary on the spot. Not to mention seriously mess with my digestive system, since I lack a gall bladder (thank you Parker!).