Sunday, June 17, 2007

New England Vacation

Two weeks of my precious summer break have slipped by already. We spent the first week on vacation, which was much-needed, but not relaxing in the least. My mom, my sister, and I flew to Boston on June 2nd (the boys took a separate vacation out west in an RV--more later on that), where we had dinner with my sister's best friend, Beth, and her husband, Adam. They are the ones who got married in Newport last May. The next morning, we drove up to Jackson, New Hampshire to stay with Beth's parents, the Cantys. We've known their family since 1981, and they are like second parents to my sister and me. They do still live in Louisiana, but spend their summers in New Hampshire. I had never been there before, but the area was exactly as I pictured it would look. There were covered bridges, large country inns, wooden houses, and unique shops everywhere. We drove around a lot up there; it seems like most of New Hampshire is part of a national forest. It was very cool and foggy for most of our visit, but cleared up on our last day. We were able to see Mount Washington, which still had snow on the top, and where the "Old Man of the Mountain" used to be before he met his demise four years ago. We hiked to the Flume Gorge, which I don't recommend if you are pregnant and out of shape like I am, and did some shopping in Jackson and North Conway. We all bought lots of new clothes for my baby, since there is no sales tax there, and there were great sales at the Carter's outlet. We hoped to see some moose while we were there, but the only wildlife we were able to spot were a deer, rabbit, and beaver. We also saw some chipmunks on the Cantys' back deck, but they are unwanted pests there. We really enjoyed our time with them, especially all of the wonderful food that Mrs. Nancy fed us, but our time there was limited.

On Wednesday, we drove down to Newport, Rhode Island. I think it was supposed to be about five and a half hours, but the drive took us eight. We made a stop in North Conway for some more candy at Zeb's, drove through the lake district of New Hampshire, and stopped in Tilton at the outlets there. My sister and I were on the quest for a new Coach purse, and with no sales tax, we couldn't resist. Once we arrived in Newport, it took us about 45 minutes to find our hotel. Even the GPS, who we nicknamed Betty, couldn't help us. Once we did find it, it had a stunning view of the beach on one side, and the bay on the other. We drove around a bit that evening, and ate at the Brickyard, where some of us ate last summer. Thursday, we drove back over to the shopping area, walked around and shopped quite a bit, then boarded a trolley for a tour of the town. Our driver was a bit chauvinistic, and liked to tell Republican jokes. I thought my sister was going to lose it with him! We got off the trolley and toured Marble House, one of the mansions of the Vanderbilts. I wouldn't want to have to clean that house!Later that afternoon, we drove around and took pictures, then ate at a restaurant near our hotel.

Friday, we packed our things and headed for Boston. We checked into our hotel, then took a shuttle to the waterfront. Our shuttle driver arranged for us to take a duck tour with a questionable-looking shopkeeper. We were herded into a Town Car with a man from Finland and his two children. Four people do not fit into the back of one of those cars! As we were zooming toward Charlestown, we were all wondering if there really was a tour ahead of us. We were quickly dropped off by our driver, then waited for the duck tour to begin. Getting off the vehicle was one of the P.E. coaches from my school; what a small world it is! She was in Boston for someone's graduation from law school.

The duck tour was fun, but didn't go past a lot of the sights that we had hoped to see. It ended with a splash in the Charles River, where it went around the U.S.S. Constitution. Once we got off the tour, we wondered how we would get back to Boston. Luckily there was an inexpensive water taxi that took us back to the waterfront near the aquarium. My sister and I decided to take the subway, or T, back to our hotel. We had to convince Mom that we knew what we were doing, but she went along with it. When we got off, we had to walk over a mile through a questionable area to get to our hotel, but we made it back in one piece.

Beth picked us up around 7:45 for dinner. We planned to eat near the theater district, then meet Mr. Pete and Mrs. Nancy for dessert after their show. Dinner was at Maggiano's, which was wonderful, but the portions were enormous. I think Beth took home enough food to eat off of for a week. After dinner, we walked over to Finale, the dessert place, and Adam met us there. The Cantys joined us much later, and we had a wonderful time eating dessert and chatting. I sure wish I could have had some wine; I had to settle for hot chocolate. We got back to the hotel around midnight and passed out.

Saturday, we met the Cantys for breakfast, then headed to the airport. I was sad for our trip to be over, but anxious to get home and see Darren and Zach. I'll write about their trip later. I have Cub Scout camp really early in the morning, then a job interview tomorrow afternoon, so perhaps I ought to get to bed...

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