Monday, November 17, 2008

Rhode Island!

Providence, Rhode Island.....

Probably the most confusing city to drive in. Seriously. It was horrible. And I wasn't even driving. Every road splits off into two, maybe 3 separate roads. Those 2 or 3 separate roads also refused to have street signs telling us which street was which. Rude. Being named "Map Girl" by my niece, I was in charge of all things directions. For someone who gets car sick very easily, this city was a daunting task. But we all made it alive!!! Barely.

The city of Providence was way more "big city" than I had expected. My mom being a huge fan of the tv show Providence also felt the same way. She thought it would be more of a small town feeling. It was way more urban than we pictured it to be. However, there was so much history there and we were definitely some amazing parts.

Some Pictures of Downtown Providence:

Jamestown & Newport Rhode Island-

Since we were in Providence for 2 nights, we decided that we needed to get out of the city for the 2nd day. We decided to go on a lighthouse search. Being "map girl", I had already noted that there were a ton of lighthouses in Jamestown and Newport. So again, we set sail in our Sebring to find new places.

Jamestown is a very small island off the coast of Rhode Island. We took highway 138 which took us over a bridge to Jamestown. On the bridge, we spotted our first lighthouse. It was a small lighthouse in the middle of the water. Once in Jamestown, we went south to Beavertail Light. This was our very first lighthouse stop! Woo hoo!

Beavertail Lighthouse, Jamestown Rhode Island

From Jamestown, we drove over another small bridge which took us to Newport, Rhode Island. Newport is another small island. Pretty easy to navigate. This is where we found Castle Hill Lighthouse and our new house. ;-)

Castle Hill Lighthouse

My new house and front yard....

After our second night in Rhode Island, it was time to pack up the Sebring again and move on to our next destination. We became pro at packing up the car knowing what we were going to need in the back seat for my niece and what we could shove in the trunk. I have to say, there are so many amazing things out there for kids now adays. She is a great traveler. As long as we had the dvd player, an iPod full of Dora and Backyardigans and her Leapster books to read, she was all set. She kept herself busy with the exception of me needing to select the new shows on her dvd's and iPod.

Our next destination was Maine. However, we made a small stop in New Hampshire. We saw the visitor's bureau from the freeway and decided to stop. We found out that Portsmouth, New Hampshire was near by and decided to go there. It was a great stop. We found a nice little downtown area with shops and restaurants. It was very cute and very festive for the fall time of year.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Next Stop.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


New England road trip continued......

Connecticut! Day 2 & 3

Packed in our Sebring, we drove from New York to Mystic, Connecticut. The drive was only about 1 1/2 hours long. We arrived at our home for the next 2 nights. The Residence Inn Mystic Groton Turned out to be a great place to stay! The rooms are meant for long term stays. Each room has a bed, living room area with a sofa bed and a small kitchenette. The kitchenette has a full size fridge, dishwasher and microwave. The stay includes free internet, parking and breakfast. Very economic! It is also very close to Mystic Seaport and downtown Mystic.

I really loved Mystic. Some of the things that should not be missed are:

Mystic Seaport- A seaport with a beautiful view. It is free to stop by and look but if you want to go into the museum and onto the boats it will cost you.
Mystic Seaport- A Museum of America and the Sea- $18.50 for adults & $13 for children 6-17

Mystic River Drawbridge- Takes you to downtown Mystic (Mystic Pizza is here). We actually saw the drawbridge lift to let a boat go through. I was kicked out of the car to go take pictures. I'm serious. This actually happened quite a bit through out our trip. ;-)

Downtown Mystic- Shops, restaurants, a few bars and home of Mystic Pizza where they filmed the movie with the same name. Starring of course, Julia Roberts. We did get to dine in Mystic Pizza and it was very yummy. It is filled with tons of memorabilia from the movie and actually plays the movie on the tv's. A must see for movie fans.

Old Mistick Village- Very cute old town shopping village. A small movie theatre, coffee houses, chocolate and candy stores, gift shops, restaurants and great landscaping. Old Mistick Village was the beginning of our New England leaf collecting adventure. My mom was collecting different types of leaves for herself and I promised a friend I would bring her leaves that would remind her of where she grew up on the east coast. Old Mistick Village was a great place to start our collection.

Clyde's Cider Mill- OMG a must see for a cider lover like me!!! I love hot apple cider and hard cider. FYI, Hard Cider = alcholic beverage. And for those of you who think hard cider is a "girly" drink at the actually has more alcohol than beer! So do not judge!!!! ;-) Okayyy?! Clyde's is the oldest steam powered cider mill in the United States! Only open from September to late December so plan accordingly. They have cider making demonstrations and a gift shop where you can purchase the cider and other specialties to go. They also serve hot cider, hot apple pie, candy apples and apple cider donuts. These apple cider donuts must have been delicious because there was a 30 minute or longer wait for them! I guess I'll just have to go back. I did try the apple pie and cider and both were delicious.

**My mom and I actually got the chance to go to the movies at Old Mistick Village. Funny thing is that the latest movie started at 7:10pm! They definitely shut down early in small town Mystic! We saw the movie, The Secret Lives of Bees. I had just read the book and was dying to see the movie. The movie was pretty much exactly like the book. Both were amazing! Check them out!

**I started a game with my niece in New York. I bought her an I Love NY button for her back pack. To get her involved in the trip, we told her to collect a button from each state she went to. This became a game for her and she was so excited each time she found a new button. She would tell everyone about her buttons and which states she already had and which states she still needed. She is 4 but she is super smart. She listed the states we were visiting in correct order each time. I would say 70% of the trip she was involved in her leapster computer, her books, her dvd player or my brother's iPod that was filled with Dora and Backyardigans. These all kept her busy and let us gawk at the scenery without complaints. 20% of her time was spent playing around these different cities and the last 10% was spent on finding buttons. She had a blast with it. One minor problem occured when we lost the New York button in the airport. We thought it was gone forever. About an hour later, we found it. Thank goodness. I did not want to see the meltdown that would have occured had we not found it. Ek!

Next Stop........
Rhode Island!

Travel Girl's Connecticut Movie:
Mystic Pizza

Travel Girl Reads:
The Secret Lives of Bees: by Sue Monk Kidd

Monday, November 10, 2008

New England Trip- NYC

So first blog for my New England trip! So much has been going on with the Presidential elections and everything. And of course, my computer still being a biatch. ;-)

Anyway, it was the perfect time of year to take a New England road trip! October. Seriously. It was so beautiful! It was a quick paced whirlwind trip, but soooo worth it. Let's start from the beginning. :-)

Day 1-

Long Beach to JFK. For those of you who have not experienced Long Beach Airport, let me tell you. A-Maz-Ing. There are only 2 gates, 1 baggage claim and you have to walk out onto the tarmac to get on to your plane. It's simple and quick. Not to mention, like 10 minutes from my parent's house where I can leave my car.....for FREE!

We flew on Jet Blue which is my favorite domestic airline. The seats are leather and nice, each person gets their own tv with cable and they give you free treats and drinks! Anytime you get a chance to fly on Jet Blue, I highly recommend it.

We did not arrive in New York until 9pm. We were kind of starving since we missed a few meals with the flight and the time difference. We didn't think there would be anything near the hotel so we opted to have pizza in the airport. I was traveling with my mom, sister in law and one of my nieces who is 4 years old. My niece got to experience her first "New York pizza"! Even if it was in the middle of JFK Airport. ;-)

While waiting in line for a taxi (a very long line mind you), my niece yells, "I love New York!". Everyone near us in line starts laughing and one older lady replys, "She's the only one." Welcome to New York! ha ha.

Day 2-
We didn't have to pick the rental car up until 3pm so we woke up early and decided to go into the city. To get there, we took a bus which took us near a subway. We then took the subway into Times Square. Now I have been to NYC about 5 times, so I am very comfortable taking subways and getting around the city. I know most of the streets and how they run. I know what main sites are in what areas and I know if things are "walkable" or not. For instance, I knew if we started in Times Square that we would be able to walk to Rockafeller Plaza, walk by St. Patrick's Cathedral and walk to Central Park giving us enough time to get back to the hotel and back to rent the car by 3pm. We did just that. We also stopped for breakfast/lunch at a diner that I most likely mentioned on my NYC blog a while back. Ellen's Stardust Diner. I thought it would be a fun place for my niece and sister in law. I had previously taken my mom there on a different trip. It's a fun diner where the servers all perform songs. They perform mainly oldies and show tunes. Very lively, crowded and lots of fun. Our server even came over to my niece during his performance in which she hid under the table. That's ok, I probably would have done the same thing. ha ha.

My niece really loved the whole "public transportation thing". She loved the bus, subway and the taxis. It was hilarious.

I absolutely love New York City and wish I could have spent more time there this trip. But this was a trip about places that I have never been before so we had to be on our way. Unfortunately we did not run into any tapings of Law & Order: SVU to the dismay of myself and my sister in law. Probably a good thing because I probably would have flipped out if I saw Benson or Stabler. Seriously. It is actually very common to run into a film/tv set in New York. They are everywhere.

We made it to the rental car place and found our lovely red Sebring waiting for us. So there are 4 of us traveling together with luggage and enough "stuff" to occupy a 4 year old for 8 days all packed into a Sebring. Um the math. It doesn't add up. We knew this was going to be an issue but we made it happen. 2 big suitcases in the trunk, sister in law driving, mom in passenger seat, 1 suitcase and huge backpack and snack bag behind driver, niece in booster seat in the middle and me squished behind the passenger side with my maps ready to navigate.

Next Stop...... Mystic, Connecticut!

Travel Girl's New York TV:

Law & Order: SVU

Lipstick Jungle

Without a Trace

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm a slacker.....

New England post coming soon.....

My computer is a biatch and I've been preoccupied with following the Election '08!