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A Day Together and Never Turning on the Radio

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I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him and would not let him go… Song of Solomon

Some say a soulmate never tires of holding your hand. A soulmate isn’t completely the same, but they have the same core beliefs and values. It is someone you cannot imagine your life without. Someone who knows what you’re thinking without having to say a word. They make you feel safe and secure.

Here is my not so Dear John-

Dear John letter,

While walking along a path we were holding hands and I could see a woman staring at us. She looked at us longingly while picking up her pace she reached out for her partner’s hand. He took her hand and they walked on down the path and she smiled leaning into him. I’m always happy to hold your hand… in the car… in the sanctuary… on a walk… in a store… even while you sleep.

We are so very different in our abilities and talents, but we are so much the same. There is no debate of political ideals or religious beliefs. There is no dispute over raising our children. Maybe it’s because we’ve been together for twenty years, but even when we were in high school I simply could not imagine my life without you in it. I can feel it in your shoulders and see it in your expressions… you can hear it in my breathing or see it in my brow when something is wrong even in the slightest of difficulties. I know it in your twinges and the patterns of your breath when you are starting to fall asleep next to me. In all the difficulties and triumphs of my life I have reached out for your voice and your embrace. You have brought me such peace. I know that little curve of your shoulder where I place my head every night to fall asleep was carved out just for me.

I look into your deep blue eyes and I know the truth. I can imagine my life traveling to many places. I can imagine my life with more money or less money. I can imagine my life with more activity or less…. I can imagine it any way, but without you.

I found who my soul loves. I will hold you and not let go – there will always be room on my door for two and it will still float. 

XOXO – Porgy

11 Stops on Rt. 11 for #11

We made an interesting trip yesterday for our 11th wedding anniversary. We had many people do a double take when we said we were out for our 11th anniversary. We were 22 and 23 when we married. In today’s terms I suppose that’s rather young or maybe we look young…. shoot maybe we are young for being married 11 years. 

Stop #1 – My friend Crystal insisted that if she was watching the kids for us for the day we had to stop at 52 Weeks of Romance for our anniversary. It’s an adult novelty store. I wont show you pictures on this one… leave it to your own imagination. We had a funny time and giggled a lot. I tried on lots of outfits. I haven’t tried on any lingerie since my surgery…. before then nothing fit. It was entertaining to find some things were too big. That’s never happened before.

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Stop #2 –  We stopped at Happy’s which is a local flea market. I’m sure in its prime was awesome- now it’s just sketchy. We grabbed some guitar strings and managed a sunburn while we were there. John played a banjo for a bit. He still makes his guitar face even on a banjo… not sure why we were expecting  a different face.

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Stop #3 – Lunch at a local Mexican restaurant called Alejandro’s.

We managed to laugh at each other’s funny faces.

IMG_6519This is my “Oh my -there was a hidden jalapeno in there!!!” While John is just laughing making me freeze to take pictures… Steam is coming out of my ears!

It’s okay he followed it by getting brain freeze so I made sure I took an equally lovely picture of him. IMG_6460

Stop #4 – Apple Barn II in Troutville, Virginia. This is a little shop with collectables and candles. We grabbed a few candles and a birthday present for Maggie.

IMG_6469 This was one of our favorite stops because the clerk at the store was just a super nice person and had such wonderful hospitality.

Stop #5 – Fincastle Winery – We did a wine tasting. My favorite was their Hybrid Vigor and John’s was a buttery tasting Chardonnay. We bought a glass and sat in the shade of the wrap around porch in some super comfy white rocking chairs and enjoyed their sweet dog Max. We bought a bottle of each one for Crystal and one for us.  IMG_6474 IMG_6478 IMG_6477 IMG_6521

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Stop #6 – Purgatory Emporium in Buchanan, Virginia. It’s this cute little antique shop named after the large and dangerous mountain nearby coined Purgatory Mountain. We got a cute wine rack and some blackberry preserves made in another nearby town. Blackberry preserves are my absolute favorite.

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Stop #7 – Buchanan Grill- We stopped and got a scoop of ice cream which really was like four scoops of ice cream. Just an FYI- Both stop 6 and 7 take cash only, but there is an ATM nearby.

IMG_6486 IMG_6482 Our favorite ice creams- butter pecan and mint chocolate chip. Yum. It’s an old school diner style place… very quaint.

Stop #8 – Natural Bridge one of the Natural Wonders of the World. I hadn’t been there since kindergarten and John hadn’t been there since he was a child. It is breath taking and it was agreed upon as our favorite stop. I ran into a childhood friend and her mother while I was there. It was quiet and peaceful in the nature. I enjoyed walking along with John taking it all in. Finding a turkey was just extra perks.

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Stop #9 – Foam Henge – It’s this hilarious thing right up the road from the Natural Bridge where someone took the time and money to make a foam replica of Stone Henge. We enjoyed it, but we were glad it was free too.

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Stop#10 – Swinging Bridge in Buchanan, Virginia. I’m afraid of heights over water… but I managed to make it halfway to halfway across. Yeah that’s only a fourth…. shh let’s not talk about it.

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Stop #11 – Lew’s Restaurant. We stopped for a drink and a basket of fries before picking up the kids. At this point we were sunburned and tired.

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Overall we had a lovely day and without Crystal and her family it would not have been possible. I’m so glad that we can spend such wonderful time together and enjoy the company of each other. Our kids climbed in the car and asked us to turn on radio and we realized we had left it off all day and had talked to each other all day with no noise at all. Maybe that’s simply what we needed some R and R and each other.

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Lindenhurst

photo (92)On Saturday the 6th of July, we got up really early to visit some friends of mine in Lindenhurst, NY. Lindenhurst is along the south shore of Long Island. We got on the Long Island Rail Road from Penn station. It took about an hour.

The first place we went was to my friends the Picciano family. When I was in 8th grade my best friend, who I remained close to even into adulthood, was Nina the eldest child of four. Her parents, Suzie and Dino, were a major support for me in my adolescence. They would have given me anything I needed and would have taken me in as one of their own forever if I had ever needed it. They moved away from my hometown at the beginning of our 9th grade year, but I still visited them in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The last time I had visited them was 8 years ago now, but like old friends that you love with all your heart we just walk in and feel at home.


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Their home was damaged very badly but Super Storm Sandy. They were still lacking a kitchen, but we didn’t let that bother us. We cracked open early drinks and headed out in the boat on the water. They also had a jet ski too and we were off to go clamming. Off the South shore there are these shallow watered areas and they just hook their boats together with their friends then anchor in and they quickly hop off digging their toes in the sand looking for clams. I found one or two and John found a few more. Nina’s little brother Julian was there and took John and I out separately on the jet ski taking it to full speed. I have never been brave enough to try one. For some reason I trusted this kid, who I’ve known since he was about 6 or so, to take me out on the water. I had a blast and neither John nor myself have really let that one sink in and admit that I really did it.
I wasn’t there but for a few hours, but I could have stayed a year. With our skin we didn’t have any business being out there long, but we adore them and it was hard to leave. Being with the Picciano family is a comfort like no other to me. Luckily, we know they wont mind and we’ll be back to visit them with the kids. It’s all too wonderful and I adore them. Dino drove John and I back to the house on the jet ski. We were soaked and we had a blast, but I had some other business to attend to on this trip.

The next part of our day is honestly hard to write about. I’m afraid I will sum it up too short or go on too long. It’s a story worthy of a book and yet it’s supposed to fit here on my blog. So I will do the very best that I can to say it right and make it short. I promise to revisit this story, but for now it’s too emotional and I don’t have the time or energy to embrace it.

As many of you know, my sweet aunt Peggy passed away in November of 2010. She was 38, married with three boys. She wasn’t really an aunt she was more like a cousin since we were so close in age. She died very suddenly of a brain aneurysm spreading shock among the family. I traveled with my sister Summer to bring my mother four hours away to be by her baby sisters’ side. There were over ten family members there with her that day. We waited hours to hear if there was any brain activity and sadly there was not. I remember sitting with my grandmother who was sick with grief and hope. I distinctly remember holding her in the waiting room; my arms were wrapped around her, but not squeezing her tight. I had already lifted this day up to God, because I knew that it was out of all of our hands and that God would take care of my sweet aunt. All I could do for my grandmother in that moment was pray. That’s all I could do. I prayed for God to give her strength in what was ahead for her more than anyone to get through this. I said all of these prayers in my head and just held her. My grandmother turned to me a moment later and said, “Thank you for that.” I know she wasn’t talking about holding her… we both knew it.

Once we reached the 6 hour mark of no brain activity… I think it was six. They pulled us into a conference room. We were very quickly told that there was no activity showing up and we were greeted by an organ donation representative. They went over the details. We paced… we cried… we prayed and my uncle, her husband, basically did a vote. We were either all in or not in at all. We went around the biggest table I think I’ve ever been seated to… all sharing our thoughts and our vote. As we worked our way around the table my grandmother sealed the deal when she said, “We should do it. That’s what Peggy would have wanted.” So with the amazing leadership of my aunts grieving husband we went all in and upped the ante on someone else’s life.

So what in the world does this have to do with our vacation…. We chose, as a family, to do an open donation. This means that we have the willingness as a group to contact and be contacted by the persons who live on with the love and hope given by our precious Peggy. Shortly after the donations went through, we all received word of the donations and then my uncle was contacted by a man named Vito. Vito is the man that was so ill that without a new heart he could not go on living. He had about two days before his heart was expected to give out when hope rang in from his angel. God works in ways we will never understand and I try not to question it, because I often end up puzzled and answerless. Last year we met Vito. He and his wife Margaret came to us this exact week last year. So this year I was already going to the town of Lindenhurst to visit my fabulous friends the Piccianos and, as luck would have it, Vito and Margaret only live about 5 minutes of a drive away.photo (99)

So after my time in the water getting soaking wet on a jet ski, I was picked up by Vito and taken to his home. I was greeted by an assortment of friends and extended family. We spent the evening together chatting, eating, joking to take the edge off, and some serious talk about how that day happened, my memories of my wonderful aunt, and our road towards healing. Meeting his daughter and grand daughters was probably the most moving moment for me. All you have to do is see it in their eyes…. just look in their eyes. They don’t have to say a thing.

It’s hard. I wont lie. I would give anything to have my aunt back, but that’s not going to happen and wasn’t whether or not we had upped the ante. Meeting his family and knowing him reminds me of what a wonderful person we lost and reminds me that if I question it I will come up empty answered.

May God continue to bless our two families in our friendship and bond that we now have for things we can’t answer and certainly can’t explain. As my grandmother said, “It’s what Peggy would have wanted.” May we continue to seek peace and healing through the hand we were dealt. May you put that heart symbol on your driver’s license and be ready and willing to up the ante when and if the time comes.

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That’s a Recipe for Making Love ~ Harry Connick Jr.

We woke the morning after the 4th of July to being married for 10 full years. It was strange to think about how long it has been, but we filled it with doing things we both wanted to do.

We woke early to do something I really wanted to do and that was to complete my couch to 5k workout program by running a full 5k which is 3.1 miles. It wasn’t intentional to reach such an accomplishment on our actual anniversary, but I figured I might as well finish in Central Park. No better place I could think of and I just so happened to be in NYC.

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I was still physically tired, but had at least rested up a bit from actually getting sleep from the night before. So we headed uptown and got off at 86th street at the Museum of Natural History to give ourselves a starting point. Off we went but I had trouble this time with keeping the focus in my mind and not on my legs.

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My pandora app had trouble keeping a connection so I listened to the Avett Brothers on my itunes… which just wasn’t doing it for me this time. I needed Justin Timberlake to keep my focus in my mind and not how exhausted my legs were at the time. I now realize I need more on my itunes. It was a hard run. I won’t lie. The 5k I had managed in Cape Cod on Wednesday and all of the physical activity from this trip I was wiped out and managed to finish the 5k in 47 minutes. Regardless, I finished it and I’m proud of how far I have come. photo (83)photo (82)

As far as my personal goals- I’m going to start the couch to 10k program from the beginning and work on speed. As far as our anniversary… I’m not sure what else says love than to get up on your vacation on your 10th anniversary at 7am and catch train to Central Park for a run.photo (72) I can’t thank my husband enough for his support in this.

Here is a link to my previous blog regarding my running journey.

After sweating it up together, we went back to the Canal Park Inn and had breakfast hosted by Sarah-Doe. It had all the carbs we needed after our run and the charming atmosphere was wonderful. We rested, showered, and headed out for some shopping. John had it in his mind that I had to have a new shirt for our evening festivities and I agreed. We had lunch/dinner at a deliciously perfect Greek restaurant on 42nd street. We were so annoyed with America right then as we had passed all of these chains… lines out the door at Mc Donalds, Burger King, Duncan Donuts. I mean it’s not like I never need a quick bite to eat, but the Greek place was nearly empty with lots of servers… the food and service were great. The prices were probably the best we came upon the entire trip. So I encourage you to try something new and step out of the box. You might be surprised. photo (69)photo (78)

photo (75)We left the restaurant and headed on the subway to Yankee Stadium. John loves the Yankees so what a treat for him. I have never been to a major league game. Too bad Jeter wasn’t there in all of his cuteness, but alas I went anyway. I’m joking. I really enjoyed the game and the atmosphere.  I am very impressed with the new stadium. It was a drab game in the beginning until the bottom of the 9th, when the Yankees won and there was tons of energy. John is convinced it was because of his rally cap. photo (77)I’m not sure that’s true but it didn’t pick up until he did it so I will give him that one.

The song when we were announced Mr. and Mrs. Bryant was Harry Connick Jr’s. Recipe for Making Love that goes something like this- “A little bit of me and a whole lot of you… Add a dash of starlight and a dozen roses too….That’s the recipe for making love.” 

Me and John in my new Yankees gear he was certain I should have.

Me and John – my new Yankees gear he was certain I should have.

NYC’s Sizzle Sizzle Pop turns Sizzle Fizzle Plop

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We arrived in NYC the afternoon of July 4th to a heat wave. We came in through Penn Station and took the C train to the Canal Park Inn on Canal Street. The Inn is connected to the Canal Park Playhouse and both are run by the Osborne family. The home was built in 1826 and has many updates but many of the original framework remains making for a quaint stay. The staircases would proved difficult for many, but the stay is well worth all of your efforts. The Osborne family purchased the home on the edge of Soho around 1980 and made furniture there while raising their daughter. We met Sarah-Doe and Kipp for breakfast and it was just absolutely delightful. They made your breakfast in a waffle iron in the Waffle Iron Cafe, but the best part was the conversation and hospitality of the father-daughter duo.

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The bedrooms were cute with original beams and bricks in the walls and some more along the ceiling of the room. The bed was extremely comfortable and it was the first place I really slept the entire vacation.

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Once we settled in and freshened up we decided to walk close enough to take a picture of the Statue of Liberty for our son.  We decided to walk along West St and we happened upon Pier 25. This was really nice because it had mini golf, a splash park, volley ball and more for the young and the young at heart. We were impressed by the activity and environment created there. It was nice to see so much happening right there.photo (85)

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West Street follows the west side of Manhattan with a pedestrian and a separate bike path which we just strolled along with ease. Maybe too much of an ease because we quickly found ourselves at the Freedom Tower and peering up to the needle touching the sky… sounds very amazing until I mention again that it was the 4th of July and in a heat wave! I had to get the heck out of there! It was hot and crowded and unbelievably uncomfortable. We had managed to move ourselves a mile from the Canal Park Inn! Now we were tired and hot. So we grabbed a few drinks and dinner. I was overheated and exhausted. So we headed back to the Inn and I plopped myself on the bed at 7 and set an alarm to wake for the fireworks. We chose a place right on the west side so we could see the Macy’s fireworks display over the Hudson. At 10pm John woke me to go see the fireworks… my alarm had never gone off… we slept through them!!!!!

I don’t know how, but we managed to watch them on the news though. I quickly fell back to sleep and almost slept until 7. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve been waking at 4 to 5 every day unable to sleep. So big thumbs up to sound sleep at this B&B…. you sleep so soundly even through one of the biggest 4th of July fireworks displays in the U.S.

Here are some pictures and video of what we slept through. *Train riding again forgive me for the errors.

~Cape Cod~

photo (57)Monday we rented a car out of Boston and drove to Duxbury, Massachusetts. Many think we named our son Alden John after the pilgrim John Alden and that’s not true. We found the name in a baby book and it was the name of a character from a movie John was in year ago. We just liked it. In Duxbury, Massachusetts you can visit John Alden’s house and surprisingly it’s in amazing condition. You can also visit his gravesite, but we didn’t do that. We visited a local restaurant, the post office, and an antique store. It’s a cute little town. photo (47)

View from our room

We drove onto the cape and into Barnstable, Massachusetts to our bed and breakfast the Lamb and Lion Inn. Our room was very comfortable… not fancy and not drab either… just comfortable. It has a direct door straight to the pool which is not offered by all of the other rooms. The hosts Ali and Tom were around when we needed them, talkative, friendly and left us alone as well. The breakfast was good with a variety of options between bagels, cereal, coffee cake, yogurt and fresh fruits. My favorite part was the pool and hot tub.

Walking on the beach near Hyannis Port

Walking on the beach near Hyannis Port

I did my running on the cape for the couch to 5k program. I ran along Main Street in Barnstable. We ran on both Monday and Wednesday, but in oposite directions from the inn. I started jogging on Wednesday and although I moved slow I was able to jog and entire 5k without stopping. The jog along the road wasn’t easy because it is a tiny paved path that only fit one of us single file. There were bumps, cracks, sand and mud along the way with lots of hills as well. This was a big deal for me as I have made such a great amount of progress even in the last month and since I have only allowed myself to train on the treadmill. I will walk on the greenway in Roanoke and around the Grandin Rd area, but for my actual couch to 5k I found it best to stick to the treadmill. It was important for my bruised heel that I didn’t change the incline too much so this was a big deal for me to branch out like this. I am at the end of the program and only have one workout left. After I complete the program I’m supposed to run a 5k, but I don’t see one coming soon- let me know if you know something I don’t. I will continue working on my 5k speed and endurance for a while and I plan on picking up the couch to 10k program since being on a program like that keeps me focused, but I am not in any hurry or trying to get in over my head either. photo (51)

Ok… back to the vacation. We checked in at the inn and then went out to a terrible dinner… I’m not one to complain about service but we didn’t have a good experience as our waitress took a long time, my chicken wasn’t cooked all the way, John’s thin crust pizza was served on a tortilla shell, there was no apology and it was overall disappointing. Then we went to the nearby beach and relaxed. photo (50)Tuesday we did laundry at this cute place with wifi and we watched Louis CK on the laptop- fancy I know. We stopped by the beach and had dinner at a fabulous pizza place called Mike’s Pizza this time our food was perfect. photo (55)We took a joy ride down the cape and cranked up the Avett Brothers Carpenter album with the windows rolled down…ahhhh. We enjoyed time in the pool and the hot tub as well. Wednesday we went to a cute beach called Seagull beach and then did some shopping in Hyannis.

Crazy piles of seashells on SeaGull beach

Crazy piles of seashells on SeaGull Beach

John is there on the rocks looking like Rocky

John is there on the rocks looking like Rocky

We packed and got ready for our departure. Relaxed in the pool and hot tub and had a lovely dinner at Black Sheep Bah & Grill.

We are currently on a train bound for NYC where we will enjoy the Macy’s 4th of July festivities.

Again forgive me for my errors as I am typing on a bouncy train.

Happy 4th of July my friends.

The Boston Trek

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We left Philadelphia, via Amtrak, on Saturday midday and arrived about 6pm that evening into Boston. Doing a multi-city trip like this, I did some research and planning, but left a lot of our trip to just a whim. I had planned for us to walk from the Amtrak station at BackBay to our guest house and it worked out. I’m so thankful for our iphones because we’ve used them to guide us all over the place from walking directions to restaurants. It’s pretty sweet to be able to get the subway apps and know when the next train will arrive and what it’s supposed to be labeled as when you get on it… pretty sweet.Image

ImageSo we walked to the Union Park Guest House and arrived in our warming yellow room. The house was impressively updated and yet these beautiful lights and many antique features remain. The entire time I was at the home I not once saw anyone. They provided coffee, but no other food. It was really nice to just come and go as you please and just feel alone even though I could hear that others were there. It was super clean and a totally enjoyable place to stay. It was near all kinds of formal restaurants in the south end. We didn’t want to eat at a fancy restaurant. We really wanted a bar atmosphere and chill spot after traveling for 6 plus hours. So we wandered around looking for a place nearby that didn’t require reservations and was relaxing too. We just so happened to come upon Picco Restaurant. Luckily, we got in the door with no wait and had a great server. We split a calzone and a salad with beer and wine. Yum. We really enjoyed it and walked around afterwards burning some of it off. We knew we had big plans for Sunday so we crashed. I am having no trouble falling asleep on this vacation…. but staying asleep is a different story… seriously waking at 4am.

Sunday started early around 7 and we were hitting the streets with some serious walking ahead. We really enjoyed the South End Buttery for breakfast. They have a few locations in the south end, but they had fresh fruit cups, chobani yogurt and coffee- I’m in. ImageBy 9am we had walked to the Prudential Center and walked by the tragic bombing locations down Boylston Street. So sad but it was important to take a moment and reflect on it and appreciate what a beautiful city we were in. John remarked – you understand while you are there the sense of community and embrace Boston Strong. Boston is absolutely the following- clean, historic, amazing water views, beautiful gardens and parks, and an organized subway system that actually makes sense. Visiting Boston is worthy of more future trips. By 10 am we were ready for our Duck Tour. We needed a quick rundown of the history of Boston knowing we only had this one full day so what better way to do that than to go in a real WWII amphibious vehicle- I can’t think of one!

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It was nice to just sit and listen to our conducktor, Jersey Shorline, tell us all kinds of facts while sitting and relaxing. I wore 60spf and got quite a few freckles during that tour. It’s awesome to go into the water and drive around the Charles river… I’d have more pictures but I was 1 enjoying it and 2 afraid I’d drop my phone in the Charles…

I did learn however that John does not know how to make duck lips and instead does a good kissy fish face….

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After the tour, we attempted to hit up the Sam Adams Brewery and take our first outing on the subway- only one problem- Sam Adams was closed and the restaurants nearby were packed. So we rode the subway back and walked aimlessly looking for past due food. Image

I did manage to get a picture of it. I bet it’s amazing and fun- definitely an excuse to return… not on a Sunday- travelers moronic mistake.

So with my tail between my legs and a very hungry belly I was off for food. So we walked and walked and walked okay no freaking kidding we walked forever! Finally, made our way back to the south end and no one had lunch they were still eating brunch- the last thing I wanted was eggs and toast. Please— after my Sam Adams tour debacle, all I wanted was a midday cocktail and a burger.  So we went into Aquitaine with white tablecloths- I really didn’t want to go there I was sweaty and covered in sticky sunscreen…

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I didn’t fit the part but thankfully they allowed me in the door. They were still serving brunch- but they had a burger… Oh my it was amazing. I got my burger and cocktail that I was searching for. I ordered a $10 Beesknees- made with gin, citrus and honey. It also happened to be the tiniest drink and didn’t last long in its delicious glory.

We departed our absolutely filling and tasty lunch still exhausted and headed back to the room after no kidding- 2 hours of walking even with the duck tour and subway ride as well.

Sunday evening, we headed out for a long walk and again in search of food before our evening reservations. Places were packed and no where was really appealing to us as we walked. We headed on towards the Esplanade a park by the Charles. We took a turn and found the Cheers bar. No wait… no fuss… no fancy- we’re in. It felt cheesy, touristy, and dumb – it pretty much was, but we weren’t starving this time!Image We took a stroll through Boston Common which we saw on the duck tour and it’s breathtaking. My mom would love all the flowers.

We walked and got lost a little exhausting ourselves in yet another walk. Seriously- Sunday we probably walked at least 3.5 hours. It allowed us to see Boston though and work off that burger too. Finally, we made it to the Esplanade and relaxed by the water. It was just overwhelmingly relaxing and calm. I enjoyed the atmosphere of runners, cyclist, and kids feeding ducks. ImageImage

The weather was perfect for our romantic evening plans. We decided to do something we’ve never done before and something completely different and made reservations for a gondola tour along the Charles. Our gondolier Anthony was fabulous and honestly just left us alone. We had the 9pm tour so it was dark out and there was cheesy Italian music on, but other than that it was seriously amazing. We had cheese and crackers, mouthwatering chocolates and split a bottle of wine. The gondola is a real one made by hand in Venice with very ornate carvings. The tours required kiss under every bridge was easy to follow. The ducks were floating by, while frogs jump from lily pads along the waters edge and this only added to the atmosphere. The Boston night skyline reflecting onto the water made for an impressive viewpoint… John remarked that even traffic looked peaceful from there.

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We left the tour completely relaxed and walked our way back from the Esplanade to Union Park. Monday, after much confusion, we rented a car and drove down to Cape Cod. We will be here for a few days at the Lamb and Lion Inn in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Star City of the South to the City of Brotherly Love

Friday, we left for our 10 year anniversary trip. The next few entries will be sharing our trip with you.

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Thursday- our kids were picked up and the pets were prepped and I had everything organized (darn cranes). So we visited the Village Grill and had some drinks.Image

Friday -we were up and out the door by 5:15 and we rode the bus from downtown Roanoke, Virginia to Lynchburg, Virginia then onto Amtrak heading to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We took time to talk, read and listen to music. Getting to Philadelphia was a breeze. Once there though, man we were confused by where the heck we were going, but it was really fabulous. Yes, lost and confused in Philadelphia and fabulous…. The 30th street station is absolutely amazing and beautiful. The problem was we didn’t understand that to catch the subway you had to walk outside and cross the street to the subway station. Super helpful people helped us along the way. Just random people willing to help – One helped get my bag unstuck from the door. We took the stair exit once and were attempting to carry our baggage up a huge flight of stairs, but do not distress… you are in the city of brotherly love and along comes a gentlemen who carried my luggage. I could keep going but I wont. I was afraid to say anything for fear of a “jinks” in my impression of Philadelphia, but really every single elevator that could be held was… every ticket person… every store owner… every waitress…  I mean truly every single person we encountered was inviting, helpful and kind.

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We stayed at a lovely small hotel right near the water and it was right next to the highway, but you couldn’t hear it. Not wheelchair friendly, I would say, but it was right there near everything we wanted to see and a block from the subway line that took us directly where we needed to go.

I love history… especially American history. We knew that getting married the day after the 4th of July would be fun and yet pose certain challenges when it came to celebrate our marriage. For me that normally means doing something that involves history. Yes! So having never been the Philadelphia and knowing we only had a short window of time to see things I made a very short list- Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The goal for Philadelphia was to see those two things, take a break from train riding and most importantly relax.

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We walked up to the Liberty Bell, but the line was the longest the attendent said he’d seen in ages. So we walked to Independence Hall which was sold out for the day which was fine I just liked looking at it and just simply being there.

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So we decided to stroll some more and took a walk to Washington Square and I’m pretty sure this is where Philadelphia stole my heart. The park is shaded with huge trees and lots of benches filled with people reading and relaxing. The centerpiece of Washington Square is the tomb of the unknown soldier. Image That is when it began to rain. But it’s not like us to let a little rain ruin our day so we decided to go have some beer before our dinner reservations. I should add that all of the places we visit on our trip we have vowed only to eat local and no national chains. So we had drinks at Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant on 2nd street. I sampled a local beer by Brew Works called Steelgaarden made in Bethlehem, PA. It was delicious and so was the restaurants hummus appetizer.

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We then set off to get ready for our dinner reservations at Panorama Ristorante. It was absolutely out of our element and wonderful. We’ve never paid that much for a meal even for all four us, but we were not at all disappointed! We even had dessert we never do that.

After dinner, we walked down 2nd street and visited a cute little wine shop called Pinot. We bought a bottle of very sweet white wine called Whitewash by Paradocx Vineyard located in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

This morning, we got up and had a wonderful breakfast at the hotel. They had tons of fresh fruit which was awesome. Then we made our way to the Liberty Bell and this time the line was very short. We went through and it was simply amazing. It doesn’t really look real. I guess it’s gone through so much restoration, but it’s pretty awesome regardless.

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We are currently back on the train and heading to Boston. I loved Philadelphia and I’m digging Amtrak as well.

I’m sure there are a ton of weird errors in this post and I will fix them later when the screen isn’t jiggling on a train~ until then forgive me.

Soaked in the elevator, but having a blast.

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