Tuesday, August 31, 2010
We have just spent two days in Arnold, MD right outside of Annapolis with Joel's cousin Jill and her husband Dino and lovable daughter Lexie...what a great time they showed us!! I will start there and work backwards as our fun/down time with family was way more fun than the riding time to get there:) We arrived mid afternoon on Sunday and were immediately greeted with hugs and snacks! After a delicious dinner of steamed/spiced shrimp and burgers and corn and a salad we headed to a local beach to watch a sunset and of course look for beach glass...found some! By the way, Jill is a more accomplished collector than I; her house is filled with jars and bowls of beautiful shards. She and Lexie were so kind to give me a purple piece...Thanks! On Monday, Lexie had to go to school and Jill to work and we were treated to a day of touring the Chesapeake Bay region with Dino who took us over the Bay Bridge (4 miles of spectacular vistas) to the Eastern shore of Maryland and Terrapin Park where we walked through marsh trails to the waterfront. Joel snapped some great photos my favorite being the butterfly (remember La Mariposa??) and the blue crab. Oh, and we found more beach glass...lots! Dino is very knowledgeable of the area and so much fun to be with! Once the girls got home we took right off again and headed into Annapolis to poke through the shops and galleries, enjoy a nice meal, and tour through the prestigious Naval Academy; quite impressive. Lexie showed us her skills as a budding gymnast as she flipped and twirled around the HIGH bars on campus. Bravo! Home again in time for brownies and ice cream before bed for all. What a day! Thanks so much to the Delvisco family:)
Ok, back to the ride on Sunday to get to Arnold. A couple of things stick out in my mind...first of all, early on in our day we cycled past the McCormick Spice Factory near Monkton, MD and our senses were tickled by the fragrances of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon etc as well as basil and oregano and the like. Later on in the day we came upon the city of Baltimore. We missed a turn at some point and were helped back on our way by an energetic woman cyclist whose great grandparents lived in and are buried in Rome! She took us right through the campus of John's Hopkins University which is exceptionally stunning. The two negative things in our day were the oppressive heat (for me at least!) and the terrifying bridge we had to cross to get out of Baltimore. The heavy traffic combined with the shaky steel structure really rattled my nerves! The latter part of the ride, however, was delightful because we were on two long trails that led us towards Annapolis. We met two great men on bikes who rode and chatted with us for several miles before we took a break to have a shaved Hawaiian Ice! Only 44 miles for the day but it seemed like forever. Thank goodness for Jill and Dino and Lexie at the end!!
Saturday, August 28, 2010
So sorry for the posting hiatus, but we have been quite busy with mostly good things as well as some minor setbacks. Taking up where I left off, in Philly, we thoroughly enjoyed our second day there. Our hotel, The Pennsview, was perfectly located near the Delaware River and all sorts of good eateries. The staff there cannot be beat, and our room was the most elegant and comfy so far. We spent the morning exploring the Museum of Fine Arts and viewing a Renoir exhibit. I also found my way back to the Modern wing and just had to see my most favorite work, a three dimensional piece by Marcel Duchamp, again! Joel and Paige know which one I am talking about!! We had lunch at the Waterworks overlooking boathouse row...that is a hot air balloon from the zoo in the background. Dinner was at an organic place called Farmicia...yummy. Leaving Philly was quite a trip! Let's just say we encountered planes, trains, and automobiles (trolleys and buses as well!) Luckily we quickly got on a trail that paralleled Route 95 and headed on down south. We buzzed through Delaware without even stopping, although we did have to slow down in Newark, home of the University of Delaware. We were on a street much like SU's Marshall Street and it was hoppin! As soon as we crossed the border into Maryland we found our Hampton and called it a day. The traffic and noise of the day was exhausting. Unfortunately the only dining choice within walking distance was a Cracker Barrel which did not agree with Holly. Good thing that the next day's ride was short mileage wise (although there were plenty of hills) because nausea and muscle fatigue was slowing us down. Joel has also been experiencing some pain in his shoulder as it keeps popping out of it's socket...ala Paige. Not to worry, though, we keep bouncing right back. We were assisted into the port town of Havre de Grace, MD by a terrific person named Walter Biller. He and his wife, Mara, own and operate a bike shop over the bridge as well as provide a shuttle service over the Susquehanna River because pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed to cross. This couple, and their cats Mike and Ike, are wonderful. They serviced our bikes and gave us all sorts of information about the Greenway throughout the area and what to do and see in Havre de Grace. Lucky thing they are open to 6 pm because after we checked into our Inn and were sitting on the porch reading, Joel's back tire just exploded and he had to trek back to the shop for a repair! The ride today from Havre de Grace to Monkton was probably one of the prettiest (although not the easiest...those darn hills!) so far. We got to pedal through lush green valleys and pass by sunflower fields. The sun was brilliant and the temperature was just right. Oh, and best of all, we were treated to a seven mile paved path called the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail which brought us to within a few miles of our hotel. Another 43 miles done. In just a few days we will be at the halfway mark!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
OMG as they say! We have had a wonderful time in Philadelphia so far. Let me start at the end and work backwards. We just got back to our hotel on the Delaware River after an absolutely fabulous dinner at an Israeli restaurant in Society Hill called Zahav. It was recommended to us by my Mom's cousin Welthie (more about her later!) and was it ever the best. We enjoyed a Merlot/Cabernet from Galilee, tapas dishes of beets, eggplant, watermelon and feta, okra, challah and egg, and sea bass. The chef came out to say hello when he heard we had ridden nearly 900 miles to enjoy his food. Our day was spent cycling into the city (we arrived at about 11 am after biking 30 miles from Yardley/Langhorne), then we immediately headed to a museum called the National Liberty Museum. Joel thought of his brother Jeff and his wife Anita and their kids, and Holly thought of her friend Joanne as we toured this wonderful place. It is a four story tribute to heroes, tolerance, liberty, freedom, and art. Each exhibit is accompanied by a beautiful and interesting work of glass perfection. The piece de resistance is a 21 foot red glass "flame of liberty" by the artist Dale Chihuly....amazing! As we made our way to Reading Terminal Market to meet my Mom and Dad and Mom's cousin Welthie and her husband Walter for lunch, we came across the Hard Rock Cafe and had to dash inside to see if we could procure a birthday gift for Ervis...success! Lunch was wonderful as each of us wandered around the Market and found the food we desired then met back at a table for a reunion. We haven't seen these relatives for several years, and it was fun to hear what they have been up to recently! They both, along with her daughter, oversee an independant company called Musicology which brings music to the schoolchildren of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Very neat! As we walked back to our hotel to regroup for the evening we strolled past Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Mint, several historic neighborhoods, and some very old inner city cemeteries. It all felt very familiar and we both agreed that today was a very good day!
Monday, August 23, 2010
We are in Pennsylvania! On Sunday morning we boarded a PATH train (bikes and all!)from the World Trade Center area over the river into New Jersey, Newark to be exact.
I snapped this picture of Joel, but it didn't come out so well due to the glare off of our reflectors which ended up being a good thing because now we know what cars with headlights might see as they approach us! Anyway, the ride through Newark and environs was uneventful...we did get to pedal through the Rutgers campus, though, which was cool. The day was quite humid and overcast, and we did get some rain, but nothing to worry about. We met back up with Mom and Dad in North Brunswick and had a needed reorganization day with clothes and and gear and paperwork. They are heading back home to Rome for a bit so we are on our own until their return...during that time, though, we visit with Joel's cousin Jill and her family and our friend Scott in DC. Can't wait:)
Today's ride from North Brunswick to the Trenton area (we actually kept cycling and ended up across the Delaware River in Langhorne, PA) was very pleasant. There were no hills (!) and we were on two very nice trails for several miles. As we approached the very end of our journey with our hotel in sight we were passed by a woman in a car with a flat front tire. Joel's immediate reaction was "we need to help her" and as she pulled over into a parking lot up the road we followed her in and Joel changed her tire. She was delightful and so appreciative. When she heard the story of our journey she invited us to her home not far away to meet her husband and share a glass of wine. Of course we accepted! What a wonderful evening:) Harold and Helene Koslow are a very special, warm and generous couple. We loved learning about their kids and grand kids, and I know they enjoyed meeting us as well.
Tomorrow we journey down to Philadelphia, our old stomping grounds. Can't wait!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
The ride from New Haven to Westchester County, NY on Thursday was extremely pretty as we hugged the Connecticut coast of the Long Island Sound most of the way. We enjoyed lunch at a snack shack at a beach just beyond Fairfield and met a fellow
East Coast Greenway rider who gave us high fives and accolades...quite a nice boost on a very hot and sunny day with many miles to complete before day's end. Another kind and motivating individual that we encountered on this long ride was a shop owner who gave us free watermelon to cool us down. We finally made it to Rye by dinner time and were very happy to tuck in for the night.
Perhaps our most awe inspiring day was on Friday as we pedalled into the great city of New York. We had some challenges along the way like the tree that lay across the trail just north of the city. Joel had to hoist both bikes over it and fight vines and brush not to mention poison ivy. How fun it was to cycle under the George Washington Bridge! Our ride down the West Side Bike Path was full of adventure as we had to join with and dodge at the same time other cyclists, runners, roller bladers, and walkers. Holly began to lag behind and feel sluggish all for good reason...a flat! Joel was able to fix it in record time which was good because it was way past lunch time and someone was getting cranky:) There is a wonderful eatery right on the trail called the Boat Basin Cafe which had great salads and sandwiches. Got to our hotel way down in the Financial District just in time to shower and head back uptown to The Campbell's Apartment in Grand Central Station where we met Mom and Dad and Sam and Nancy Hester and Sheila Vandeveer for fancy cocktails. We then headed back to their hotel for a fabulous dinner. Fun!!
Saturday, blessedly, was a rest and play day and boy did we pack it in! We began by meeting Bruce Miller, Hamilton class of 1985 and long lost friend of Holly's, for breakfast and conversation. It was wonderful to catch up on the years that have gone by and learn how healthy and happy Bruce is in New York! The fun continued at noontime when Holly's brother Chris and his family, wife Susan, kids Meredith, Emily, and CJ along with our very own Paige came into the city to share our adventure. The day was perfectly beautiful with sunshine and a little breeze. We spent most of the day in Central Park floating around in row boats, riding the carousel, visiting Strawberry Fields...the mosaic in memory of John Lennon, and just plain soaking up the essence of the city. We met up with the rest of the gang, the Kehoes, the Hesters, and Sheila, for dinner at a terrific place called the Beacon Restaurant. They had spent the day at the Metropolitan Museum and a Broadway show. Quite a day:) Spectacular in fact. As we enter New Jersey tomorrow we have put another state behind us and have completed roughly one third of our trip. Hard to believe!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
OK...so the ride from Putnam/Woodstock Hill Inn to Willimantic was pleasant but hilly. I kept hearing Joel singing that song called Spinning Wheel...you know, what goes up, must come down, behind me:) The good news is that we were on trails for a good majority of the trip and it was peaceful and pretty. Willimantic is not so pretty, but we did have a delicious lunch there before we headed to our hotel a few miles away in Mansfield Center. We met Mom and Dad there and enjoyed dinner and a movie at a local Mall...Inception...really good! On Tuesday we headed out in a humid fog that turned into a scorching heat as we made our way to Hartford. On the way we saw this huge sunflower and just had to take a photo to see if our friend Adam's plant has grown this big yet!! Our destination in Hartford was Joel's college roommate's home...Dan Mara and his wife Leslie (their two children, Ben and Kate, were at camp so we missed them). We haven't seen them in over 15 years and boy was it wonderful to pull into their driveway just as Dan was coming home from work...he offered us both a cold Sam Adams. Nothing ever tasted so good! We so enjoyed spending the evening with them catching up on all those lost years and dining on a fine, healthy meal...especially Dan's grilled veggie tart with goat cheese and feta...gourmet group beware:) We must not let so much time elapse between visits in the future! We added another 50 miles each for these two days as well as an additional 50 from Hartford to New Haven. Today's ride was pristine. We had a couple of decent hills, but for the most part we were on a Greenway trail called the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail...over 15 miles of paved, off road riding. Now that's what we have been waiting for! So many people were enjoying the path on bikes or roller blades or on foot. We were able to get into the city of New Haven, right through the Yale University campus on a trail! Our hotel is perfect, and we enjoyed a terrific dinner on the waterfront at a place called Leon's. I would like to leave you all with an observation...we have witnessed that patriotism is alive and well in Northeast America. So many of the towns and villages that we have cycled through are celebrating the birth of America...there are flags on the street lights, bunting on the porches of old colonial homes, dogs with flag bandannas on their necks and even painted middle street lines of red, white, and blue! It is a good feeling to be an American!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
So it is August 15th and Joel has turned the big five oh...he even activated his AARP card before we left home! No worries, though. It is only a number and he is feeling younger than ever:) We left Providence early this morning (thanks again to the Deans who so kindly opened up their home to us. We have known Rachael since she was born and so enjoyed their wedding last July. Best of luck to them in their studies at Brown!) and began our trek to Connecticut. Today's ride was very peaceful and enjoyable...sure we had hills, but they were rolling/not steep. The weather was perfect and the traffic was light because it was Sunday. Our destination was Putnam, quoted as being a sleepy little town in a quiet quarter of Connecticut. Well, not today! As luck would have it, Putnam was hosting a car show and motocross demonstration event that attracted hundreds of spectators. What fun! There had to be at least 400 antique or souped up vehicles and their proud owners. Michael Brickey (Rachael's Dad and our good friend) would have been in paradise as he enjoys vintage cars. Anyway, we spent a good amount of time soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying a delicious lunch at a place called 85 with Mom and Dad. We only had 5 more miles to travel after our siesta to our Inn in Woodstock, but it was literally all up hill. Added on another 37 miles today and got the reward at the end of the trail...a beautiful country estate with a gourmet restaurant to celebrate Joel's big day. He was so pleased to receive calls from both Joel Rhein and Paige and his Dad and a sing-o-gram from his Mom and brothers Tom and Jeff and Anita, Anika, Jake, and Erv.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
After a fairly uneventful ride into and stay in Worcester, MA we entered the state of Rhode Island and were treated to a very fun weekend in Providence. We were extremely lucky to be the guests of Rachael and Doug Dean who have a lovely home on a hill overlooking the city and very close to the Brown University campus. Over the course of two days we toured the grounds of the college, enjoyed the Federal Hill District which is a haven for Italian bakeries, cafes, and restaurants and where Joel was serenaded by quite a character for his almost 50th birthday, and we were mesmerized by Water Fire on Saturday night which brings the whole community out for Peace and non-violence. We also ate dinner both nights at Hemenways on the river upon the recommendation of our friends Bernie and Linc...delicious! We really needed the day off of riding as our legs are quite tired. When we pedal off tomorrow and cross over into Connecticut we will have four states behind us. Thanks again to Mom and Dad who have been there every step of the way and who shared Providence with us! Thanks also to the Dean's neighbor Maureen who was a wealth of knowledge and a breath of fresh air:)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Our trip into Boston from Manchester was only a little more than 20 miles so we arrived before lunchtime, but not without experiencing many wrong turns and confusion over the directions. What seems to be happening to us a lot lately is as we compare Greenway directions with Google bike directions along with GPSing us on the Droid, we get conflicting results. Many streets have more than one name and more than once the signs have been turned, shooting us the wrong way. Still and all we get where we need to be! The hysterical thing about winding our way into Boston was that every traffic cop or city cop we stopped to ask directions from sounded just like Bill Kennedy, our friend from Rome who now lives in Florida but grew up in Massachusetts!! After we found our hotel and checked in, we headed right out again on a very pleasant walk to Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market where we had lunch at where else but Cheers! Shopping and people watching in a big city is always so unique and fun. The sights, sounds, and smells are so much more intense than little ole Rome, NY! We decided to dress up a bit and head to a fancy hotel called the Liberty for a pre dinner cocktail. Their lounge is called Alibi and is rather swanky. As we relaxed we noticed excessive numbers of well dressed people parading through the hotel lobby with dogs on leashes or in their arms. We couldn't resist asking our waitress what was going on and she told us that once a week the Liberty sponsors "Yappy Hour" in their outside patio area. Of course we had to check it out! What a riot...all the owners eating and drinking and chatting while their dogs ran around and socialized as well. Made me miss Andre and Peyton, but with a big smile on my face! So, onto dinner which was heavenly. L'Osteria is in the North End and has the best veal we have ever eaten:) Couldn't resist a night time skyline photo on our walk home...
Hit the road kind of early today to reach Worcester at a decent hour and it is a good thing we did because Joel had another flat and we were plagued once again with hills! These inclines were not as steep as those we battled in Maine, but rather long uphills that kept on coming. We logged one in at over two miles long. Before we hit the hills, however, we were treated to a terrific nine mile bike/pedestrian pathway along the Charles River which got us safely out of the city. We rode right by Boston University on our left, Harvard across the river on our right, and I am pretty sure BC further up on our left. Oh, and then we passed the Northeastern University Rowing House. Many sculls were out with their coaching boats nearby. We were able to get off the road two more times which is always a relief...there is a rail trail called the Assabet River Rail Trail and another delightful off road pathway called the Blue Heron. Would love to take another look at the College of Holy Cross (we took Paige there on a visit 3 years ago), but once you dismount from the bike for the day it is awfully hard to get back on! Think we will walk across the street for dinner instead:)
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Once again so much has happened in the last few days that it is going to be a fun whirlwind to relay it all. We headed out from Wells, ME bright and early on Monday because we had decided to go all the way to Massachusetts and skip camping in New Hampshire...see a pattern yet?! But really, it was scorching hot and they were calling for evening thunderstorms so it is better to be safe than sorry, right? Our ride did not start out so well, though. Just a few miles in, our directions told us to take a left on a road that was dirt which turned to stones and dirt then rocks and mud then a nearly impassable, hilly trail. We were in the woods for nearly three miles and it was getting kind of scary, needless to say very tiring as we had to walk our bikes, not ride them. Finally we emerged back onto a road and made up some time as we rolled down the coast through funky resort towns. Mom and Dad met us at the very elegant Wentworth Mansion by the Sea in Portsmouth, NH for lunch which was a nice halfway point in our 50 mile day. We were treated to sweeping vistas of the Atlantic all the way down the NH coast and ended our journey in the very quaint town of Newburyport, MA home to Jeff Woodburn, yet another childhood friend whom we haven't seen in years. He showed us such a fantastic time with drinks along the Merrimac River and dinner at a Mexican restaurant on the third floor of an old brick building in town. The laughs just kept on coming! The next day Jeff's Mom, Sandy, who is Holly's Mom's other best friend from college, came into town to have lunch with us and wander through the cute shops. After lunch, Joel hopped on his bike to pedal the 25 miles to our overnight destination while Holly and her parents went back to Sandy's house in Ipswich to say hello to her older son Graig and husband Bob. Many wonderful weekends were spent on Riverbank Lane, and it was fun to see the house perched on the hill overlooking the river! Dad drove Holly and her bike on the back rack to the neighboring town of Manchester where Joel was already chatting with Julie Hester Janowicz and her kids, Nick, Sarah, and Will. Her husband, Mark, who works in Boston, got home in time to join us all for an evening walk on the beach. Once again we found tons of sea glass including two blue pieces...extremely rare:) Joel took a plunge into the ocean and said it felt great after all the riding. Both Julie and Mark are from Rome and have lived in New England for many years. We thank them for the delicious dinner and rousing game of Bananas!! We are now in Boston, but it is time for dinner so I will report on today's adventures in a future post!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Quite a bit has happened in the last four days, and I will try to convey it all as best I can going backwards from today...Sunday. We are currently in Wells, Maine on the coast. The weather has been spectacular; very sunny and warm but not too humid. Actually, even when it is hot and muggy, as you cycle you experience a "perceived" wind and it cools you down. The hills have pretty much flattened out, and Holly is much happier!! Today we got to drive along our favorite coastal route between Ogunquit and York and enjoy lunch at a lobster pound that we used to frequent with the kids. Dinner was at Tides Inn By The Sea at Goose Rocks Beach, also a place we have enjoyed with Joel and Paige. It was fun sharing these spots with Mom and Dad!
Our weekend was spent in Portland with Holly's maid of Honor, Julie Finn and her husband Rob and their two great daughters, Becca and Bailey. What a great time we had celebrating Becca's 15th birthday on Friday, visiting the farmers market,the Old Port, and the Beach on Saturday where, by the way Julie and Holly struck gold by finding lots of sea glass:) The highlight of the visit was on Saturday night when Rob and Julie put on a lobster feast and brought together Julie and Holly's parents who have been best of friends since their college days. It was wonderful to see Julie's sister, Meredith, who also lives in Portland. The photo albums were dragged out and the memories flowed!
Before we made our way to Portland we were in Lewiston, home of Bates College. We stayed in a neat Bed and Breakfast and were so lucky to be able to spend the evening with Joel's Aunt Mary Faith and her husband Tom. They live in the Albany area but summer at Sebago Lake. We found this trendy bistro called Fuel and spent hours catching up on family affairs. They have 7 children and 16 grandchildren between them, so there was a lot of ground to cover!
As we leave the state of Maine, (hard to believe our first leg is almost complete!) we have nothing but positive feelings about our adventure. Sure, some of those hills were killers, but the people here are friendly and helpful, and we just can't get enough of that lobster and those blueberries:)