Our little family hopped in our car and saw the Northeast for 9 days back in October. I thought I should write a bit about it, seeing as how we’re knocking on the door of another epic trip here soon.
DISCLAIMER: This is not a comprehensive travelogue. It’s probably not even chronological. I just wanted to put some highlights down on paper. 🙂
Never normal, but normal can be over-rated dontcha know
We started with seeing a few historic sites for our church. Of course, we didn’t do the traditional thing and show up during visitor center hours, take tours, etc. We did it, Bean-style:
Our first stop was the Kirtland temple. It’s no longer owned by our church, but there is a nice visitor’s center there for the church that DOES own it, and there are also a lot of historic buildings beautifully maintained by our church nearby. It all closes at 7 pm.
By the time Scott got back from class, we packed up the car, made sure Mackenzie was fed and clean, and made the long drive to Kirtland, it was 6:50 pm.
No sweat, we’ll just breeze right in and right out and catch the highlights. (We thought.)
Google maps sent us to a senior center instead of the temple. So we ticked down the last 10 minutes sitting in a deserted parking lot, tapping away at my iPhone trying to see where we went wrong. It turned out we were only 2 minutes away, but of course it took 10 minutes to discover that. So we found a bathroom, fed Mackenzie (not IN the bathroom, c’mon now), and made our way to the temple anyway. It ended up being very peaceful and pretty, just walking around the outside and peeking in the windows. We were the only ones in sight and it was a beautiful night. It had just rained and the air was damp and fresh and still.
We drove a bit further and crashed that night at a Residence Inn. (Man, I love those!)
It costs $2 but the shower is free!
We knew we had to check-in the next day at our Bed & Breakfast fairly early in the afternoon (due to a town get-together thrown by our hostess). However, the pull of nearby Niagara Falls was too strong and we just zipped over (a few hours out of our way) to see it for a second.
We did see it for a second, which was fun. But then we ALSO saw people near the bottom, where the action was. We discovered you can pay $10 to get on a boat with all the other tourists (in their wussy ponchos)… or you could pay $1 each (poncho not included) and get a ride down in the same elevator and dumped off on a little path to the base of the falls. We couldn’t spot anyone on the path, despite the bargain price, but somehow that didn’t bother us.
(The Crazies take a left, we were soon to discover.)
You can watch the action here, in four separate parts. We remembered our happy snappy camera took short video clips, so we whipped it out. However, we forgot it drops the last 10 seconds or so of each clip. And, I have yet to figure out how to stitch clips together… so enjoy:
I could live in Palmyra
We were going to be late to the Bed and Breakfast, so we changed Mackenzie into warm clothes and then tore off in the car, Scott and I still sopping wet. After checking in, we were desperate to find a place to eat. We found four, total, in the entire town: A pizza place, another pizza place, a subway, and a charming restaurant in a Victorian house overlooking mainstreet. Yeah we went with the restaurant and we were the only patrons. On a Saturday night. But the food was delicious and we had the unique pleasure of having the chef and the only waitress join us for dinner. 😉
The next morning, after church, we did what we came to Palmyra to do: We took a walk in the Sacred Grove. It’s a beautiful preserve of trees with many walking paths and open year round to the public. It’s also the place where Joseph Smith (the founder of our church) went to pray as a young boy. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in that grove of trees, so you can imagine the feeling of walking through there. It’s so utterly peaceful and beautiful, we spent over an hour wandering down the paths among the falling leaves and telling Mackenzie the beautiful history.
In case you were wondering, Lake George is a summer town
Our next stop was in Lake George. A beautiful lake, for sure, but the town was completely dead. We crashed at the hotel and then spent the next day making the gorgeous drive around the lake and stealing peeks at the insanely lavish mansions on the shore.
On to Stowe, Vermont
We stayed at the historic Green Mountain Inn and took a “ghost tour” with lanterns. I had way too much fun playing with the camera:
(See the green ghost in the top right corner of that last one?)
(No, we had not yet purchased her mittens. Fear not, though, we are bringing mittens on this next trip so the sock pictures should see a sharp decline in frequency.)
Hull, which is like Boston but better
We stayed outside of Boston in this little strip of land (searching for appropriate geographical term here, and I’m leaning towards “spit”) and took a ferry in to see the city in the morning.
Chinatown may just be the site of Scott’s future medical practice:
Seriously, though. What could possibly be on sale at a doctor’s office?
We almost stopped to get Mackenzie a cut and style around the corner, but weren’t sure the look was quite right for her:
Here she is, in all her hair glory:
And a close-up, because I can:
Boston was cold and windy, and it’s tricky to navigate a city with a Wee One and no public bathrooms or real shelter from the cold.
However, we did end up spending a few hours in the privileged 5th floor of the State Capitol building, with our very own key. Someone had the brilliant idea to make a Mother’s lounge up there, and when Scott asked the people at the information desk if there was a private place for me to feed Mackenzie (other than the bathroom), they took pity on us and used their keycard to escort us to the room. “Take as long as you like” they said, and handed us the key.
Mackenzie ate and then passed out… for two hours. Scott read a book and we just sat and listened to the hustle and bustle of people in the hallway. We tried to be inconspicuous on our way out of the building, but I saw a few familiar faces and some raised eyebrows. 🙂
Hull was gorgeous, and Scott got his ocean fix:
That third frame is my favorite because it’s that inevitable moment where the waves sneak up and lap your feet without your permission. Instinctively, you jump back and come away with a soggy foot and big grin on your face.
I said “just the highlights”
We only took a few other pictures, so this post is fast drawing to a close, but the days were really packed. I’m really fortunate to be madly in love with my best friend and together we ALWAYS manage to make memories. Adding Mackenzie made trips 2.7 times more exciting. Here’s a quick list of other memories from this trip, and a rare picture I took of scenery (no people):
- Finding out the state park we wanted to explore was closed “for the season” but determining it wasn’t THAT cold and wet so we hiked up an hour anyway in what became a downpour. It was beautiful though, and once again, we were utterly alone to enjoy it.
Even if Scott was nervous the whole time that an angry park ranger would hunt us down.
- Seeing Mackenzie’s excitement as she experienced new things. Every hotel room made her face light up with wonder. We took her swimming in an indoor pool, and she was thrilled (and so cute in her pink tankini!)
- Watching a thoughtful hostess at a Vietnamese restaurant quietly make things comfortable for Mackenzie. She gave her the seat with the best view of the fishtank, handed her a spoon and her own small cup, and even mentioned that one of the dishes I was considering would be too spicy for M. Unlike many people we met, she didn’t gush about how precious Mackenzie was… she simply treated her like she was. (Her tip was large.)
- Going, even though people said we’d miss the fall colors. We figured we’d have fun no matter what. 🙂