Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pedicures for all!

It was raining today so we decided to spend our time indoors - shopping and getting pedicures. Ken wasn't too hard to convince but it wasn't until Rich heard us exclaiming about the awesome massage chairs that he decided to join us! It was so much fun to get them done together!
Ken went a little crazy when she was scrubbing the bottom of his foot with a loofa. It was hilarious!! Watch out, Rich - you're next!

Aren't we beautiful??? We couldn't talk the boys into getting color so they went all-natural - but Susan and I were colorful enough for all four of us. We spent the rest of the afternoon shoe shopping followed by an enjoyable evening at home playing Phase Ten (Thanks Jim & Brenda!) It was a great way to spend a rainy day!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mount Willard

We woke up to another clear crisp day so we hit the road early to make it up to Mount Willard before the clouds came in. It was a fabulous hike - about 2 miles each way. We made it to the top and the view was SPECTACULAR!!

There were several people up there enjoying the view and we hung out for quite a while - enjoying a picnic lunch and exploring a little more. We found a patch of blueberries that we added to our lunch. They were yummy!

The terrain was a little rocky which I discovered was a lot harder for me going down than going up because of my poor depth of vision. My good buddy, Rich, was kind enough to turn around and make sure I had a hand if I needed one. It's so good to have friends!

It was incredible to look up at the rock from whence we had come and realize we climbed all the way to the top. Of course, we took the easier path from the other side of the mountain - but we still made it to the top of that rock!
We stopped at the Willey House Historical Site for more scenic views of "our" mountain! Then we were off for a swim in Diana's Baths. We were hotter than yesterday due to our challenging workout so we thought it would feel refreshing!

However, it was still WICKED chilly!! Susan was the first to brave the cold - I was quite impressed.
After climbing around on the rocks for a while, I managed to force myself into the water. I think I was numb enough by that time to be able to tolerate the cold. It was certainly refreshing - and shocking!
We took advantage of the clear day to drive around and look at some of the "scenic" (pronounced with two hard c's) views. From the top of one mountain, you could see the valley where we biked - right past the strawberry fields!
We wanted to get in one last bike ride before Diana left so we biked over to Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf for a round of putt-putt.
Of course, Rich blew us out of the water (literally) but he was also the score keeper so who knows??? :) He is also the only one that actually plays golf - though I'm not sure that helps on a miniature golf course. It was a fun evening with lots of laughter and a few mishaps - those darn water pits!
Silliness ensued late into the evening thanks to Diana and her gags. These are definitely my type of people!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ripley Falls and Diana Bathes

We had a very full day! We started the day trying to hike up Mount Willard but it started to rain just as we started so we turned around and decided to waste some time seeing the first cog railway in the world. It is on Mount Washington which is the highest peak in the Appalachians. It was fun to watch as it went up the mountain but it cost $59 and there were LOTS of clouds so it seemed like a waste of money. :)
We did see a cute little red fox who wasn't afraid of anything. They have several packs that live on the property but they warned you to stay away from them - they are still wild!
Just outside the cog railway, we stopped at a place on the river where people jump off the rocks into the rushing water. We even enjoyed watching a few people jump - though none of us were even tempted to attempt it. It looked a bit scary to me! The place was absolutely beautiful and we spent a good bit of time just enjoying the scenery and the entertainment. I did manage to drop my lens cap in the river and Rich was ready to go in after it but we stopped him. What a good friend!
We decided we had waited too long to get in our original hike so we did a short hike up to Ripley Falls. It was a fairly easy hike and the falls were gorgeous!! Thankfully, someone else was at the Falls when we got there so we managed to get a group picture.

We stopped at the local ice cream shop for some refreshments after our hard day of hiking! Yum, yum!

Lucy wasn't feeling well so we took her back to the condo and then we went over to Diana's Baths. It was just a half hour hike off the road and it was a part of the river with lots of big rocks so we did a lot of climbing. It was a little chilly to swim but we did wade a bit. We are definitely going back there - maybe tomorrow - when it's warmer and we can play in the water. There are "swimming holes" or "baths" all over the place as you climb up the hill over the rocks. FUN!

We made it to the top and felt very accomplished.

We treated ourselves to dinner out at the Homestead. Diana decided she needed to try the east coast lobster which was entertaining. It was a great day!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A ride to remember

We got up early and went over to the bike rental place to get bikes for Diana, Rich and myself. They had three left so it was perfect. We put on our helmets, packed a backpack of supplies and headed out on our first bike ride around North Conway. Susan led us to a covered bridge with a little swimming hole where we could cool off but it was a bit too chilly. Diana was the only one that managed to really swim - the rest of us just waded in as far as we could handle. It was a 13 mile ride round trip which was just about perfect for the first time on a bike on about 15 years. I had forgotton how much I loved biking - though I tend to be a little bit leisurely about it. I like to see what I'm passing! It is definitely time to get myself a bike again! I did learn that if you don't drink enough water, your muscles will REBEL!! I have never had such pain in my legs as I did that evening and I knew it wasn't normal soreness. I was out walking the streets of North Conway at midnight because I wasn't sure how to get them to stop hurting. However, when I woke up in the morning, they were fine. Whew!! Definitely will drink more water next time! We made it back to the condo in time to meet Lucy who drove up from Boston for join us for a few days. If we only had Lesa with us - we'd be complete!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Diva Day to Drive-Ins

Some of our group went to the local Catholic church this morning and the rest of us went to the "church of the inside of her eyelids." After a quick bite to eat, we went to the outlet mall for "'Diva Day." They were doing belly dancing, hand massages, Tarot readings, wine tasting, free chocolate and henna tattoos.

The girls got tattoos on the back of our neck while the boys enjoyed the belly dancing.
Ken and Susan drove us around and took us to some of the prettiest spots in the area. We watched people swimming and jumping off rocks - watched one mom chase her son down the river as he was swept up by the current. He made it all the way to the bottom and was fine - just a little shaken up.

We had to stop for a photo opportunity with our friend, "Smokey Bear." Only YOU can stop forest fires!
We did a little hiking around this gorge - they don't allow swimming here because of an accident that happened many years ago where a girl was trapped under the rapids for 3.5 hours and they rescued her alive. Amazing!
By this time, we were famished so we went to the Red Parka (or Red Parker with a Boston accent) Steak house for dinner. It was quite tasty if I do say so myself!
We decided it would be fun to go to Bridgton, Maine to the drive-in. We didn't come prepared for how cool it would be, though, so I'm not sure it was as enjoyable as it could have been. We saw Wall-E and The Dark Knight. I slept through most of Wall-E but I enjoyed Batman - even though it was a bit long. It was a fun thing to do with a group of friends - and certainly not something I expected to do on this journey.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mountains of New Hampshire

I woke up early despite a VERY late night which seems to be happening a lot! I am sure I am just excited to be going to New Hampshire and spending the week with my Red Cross buddies. It took us a little while to load up all the stuff we needed to take with us but we managed to get on the road by 11. We filled up the cars - the gas stations in this part of the country charge a higher price if you use a credit card which just drives me crazy – and were on our way.
We stopped in Tilton, NH for lunch at the Tilt’n Diner. We had a fun waitress, Charlie, who figured out quickly how to deal with Ken. Our next stop was the state liquor store (it’s a New Hampshire thing) for some provisions. I found a bright orange bottle of red wine (it’s good for the heart ;)) so I had to get it. We’ll see if it makes it home in one piece.
The drive through Mount Washington was beautiful. We stopped at a scenic overlook and took our picture but it’s hard to capture the beauty of the mountains! The road was following the river and every once in a while you would see a place where cars were parked and people were playing in the river. We are definitely going to do that this week! As we were driving, Susan said the river looked chock-a-block full. I’m learning so many new words. :) We made it to the condo at 5:03 and discovered that the frozen lemonade shop below our condo closed at 5. Susan was looking forward to some “wicked puckery” (that’s my favorite new phrase) lemonade but it will have to wait until Monday. We got all our stuff unloaded and unpacked and checked out the wireless internet in the main lobby as well as the pool, exercise equipment (very limited) and the indoor & outdoor hottubs. This very cute penguin was in the lobby so, of course, I had to take my picture with him. We went to Shaw’s grocery store for our edible provisions for the week and then came home and made supper. Ken grilled up some bison hotdogs, chicken and salmon and Susan made a big salad. It was perfect! We sat around and talked until the wee hours of the morning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Plymouth Rock

It was a beautiful morning so Diana and I took a 3 mile walk around town. When we got back to the house, Brenda was ready to whip up some omelets as well as the bagels we bought at Stew Leonards - complete with French Vanilla coffee. My, my, it is going to be hard to leave! We visited well through noon so then she brought out the bowl of fruit. We had a great time just sitting around talking. They are such fun people! We even played a few card games - they introduced Diana to Phase Ten and she introduced them to Spoons. It took Jimmy a couple of rounds but he finally got the hang of it. They even gave us their Phase 10 deck to take with us.
Jimmy is like a big brother to me. He was in college in Marshall when we moved there (I was five) and he used to take my sister and I to the park. He said Jo always acted up but I was the good kid. Oh yea!! :) It was sad to say goodbye but soon it was time to head to Boston. I'm glad we didn't wait any longer than we did because traffic was horrible with all the people heading to Cape Cod for the weekend.

We met our friend's, Ken & Susan, at the Sunrise Assisted Living where Susan's mom is living and they had a parking space right in front that was obviously meant for me! They tried to tell me it had something to do with salting the roads when it snowed but I didn't believe them.
We followed them to their house so we could unload and were joined by our friends, Rich, (from KC) and Lucy (also from Boston) and then we headed to Plymouth. We had dinner at the Weathervane (fish & chips appropriately!) and walked over to see Plymouth Rock.

The Rock was under some sort of restoration or construction but I managed to get a picture of it - it's better if you just don't ask! It wasn't exactly what I expected from Plymouth Rock but it was still an experience - and, of course, it was great to be with friends.

We stopped for some ice cream at Ziggy's and I discovered that they have a street named after me - what a great place!

We went to the biker bar (not really - that's just what Ken called it) and listened to a great band! Rich, Susan and I watched them from the top deck and danced a little. We had a fabulous view of the harbor with a great orange moon. The picture just doesn't do it justice but it's the best I could do. I'm so excited to have a week with my Red Cross buddies because regardless of where we are or what we are doing, I know it will be memorable!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From NYC to Connecticut

We had an interesting time getting out of NYC this morning. Actually, it went smoother than I anticipated considering neither one of us really knew what we were doing. We loaded up our bags and said goodbye to our B&B. We caught the #96 bus across Central Park and the #10 south to Penn Station. It dropped us off right at the door. We got inside and bought our ticket with 10 minutes to spare, jumped on the NJ Transit and we were on our way! It was perfect until Diana decided to go to the bathroom at the very moment that the train pulled in to Princeton Junction. I panicked and grabbed ALL our stuff (which wasn't easy) and hauled it down to door. The conductor was yelling at me to get off but I begged him to hold it because my friend was in the bathroom. Needless to say, we missed our stop. They don't hold the train for anyone! :) We got off at the next stop, crossed the tracks and came back. The conductor for that train was very kind. We managed to find our way to the Dinky and got back to Princeton. Diana stayed with the bags while I hiked it back to Miriam's and picked up my car. It was nice to not be loaded down with backpacks! We quickly repacked my car and were on our way to New England. It was in interesting drive getting through NYC but we finally made it to Stratford, CT - our destination for the night.

Brenda and Jim were waiting for us and Brenda had cooked a delicious lasagna! She is definitely blessed with the gift of hospitality. Her niece was visiting so we had fun playing with her before we took her back to her parents.
Then they decided to introduce us to Stew Leonard's Market which is a really cool grocery store. I managed to snap a few pictures before the store manager came by to inform me that camera's were not allowed in the store. Whatever!
I had fun playing with this cow. You pull the rope and he moo's. It was fabulous!
They have cute decorations all over the store (I guess they don't want anyone to steal their ideas - so don't go hanging this boar's head hot air balloon in any other grocery stores!)

Jim and Brenda gave us a tour of the area - including the school where Brenda works and the beach. It was beautiful and we had a gorgeous sunset. I only wish I had more time - there is so much to see and do. Maybe next time...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

I absolutely LOVE our B&B!! It's on 93rd street between 5th Ave & Madison which is a perfect location. Our NYC tour bus has a pick-up stop just around the corner and we are just a block from Central Park. Diana and I walked around the neighborhood this morning - picking up coffee & a scone from Yura's deli. Then we walked down 5th Ave to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we caught our tour bus over to the Plaza hotel.
We couldn't be that close to the Plaza and not go inside so we went exploring. I stopped to ask about their "high tea" but it was either $60 or $100 depending upon the menu you selected so we decided to pass. We used their bathroom instead! It was certainly a beautiful place!! We took pictures across the street at the "Friends" fountain (pictured in the opening of the TV show, Friends) and the Paris movie theatre which was featured in Sex and the City. We walked down Fifth Ave and stopped at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. It is gorgeous!! Nothing was going on in the church so we were able to go in and look around. Wow!! They are getting ready for their 200th year celebration. Amazing!

We walked over to Times Square and got in the TKTS line for a matinee. We ended up buying tickets for "I love you, You're perfect, Now change." It was really cute but not what I expected. It didn't seem any more elaborate than shows I see in Kansas City - in fact, it looked like something you would see at the New Theatre. I enjoyed it immensely but it doesn't take much to please me - I love the theatre! We were planning to catch the last bus for the uptown tour before our tickets expired but after waiting 45 minutes, a bus came by that said "out of service" but I jumped in front of it (ok, not really) and asked why they weren't coming. It was 5:15 and they said the last bus left the first stop at 5pm. In my mind, that means several buses should still be coming past stop 24 but apparently that's not the case. I DO NOT recommend NYC Sightseeing (Gray Line). Every time we were waiting for a bus, we saw several City Sights NY buses pass by. They must have a much larger fleet! We did enjoy our Water Taxi tour but next time, I'm going with City Sights!

We were just wandering down the street and happened to pass the theatre where Mary Poppins was playing so we stopped in to see what tickets they still had available. They happened to have three seats on the very end of the Mezzanine for 50% off because they had a partially obstructed view. I was so thrilled to get to see it again (I saw it in London in 2006) and the other two have never seen it. We had a little time to kill before the show so Diana and I walked over to Macy's for a little shopping. She found this fabulous jacket but it was a little too expensive. :)

We met Miriam at the Amsterdam theatre and went in for the show. It was just as stupendous as it was in London. I had goosebumps AND tears - what could be better than that? I'm so glad our last show was a big Broadway musical!
When we came out of the show it was pouring down rain but we decided to walk over to Rockefeller Center and go to the top of the Rock. Unfortunately, even though they say it's open until midnight, they don't let anyone go up after 11:15 and we arrived at 11:22. Sadness!! Oh well - something to look forward to next time.