Category Archives: Travel

A Few Days in the Big Apple

After our visit to West Point, we headed back down to New York City to spend a long weekend.  We stayed right in Manhattan in the Mid-town area and were complete tourists, hitting many of the major attractions during our short stay.  It was our first visit to the Big Apple, and even though we have been to many big cities around the world, NYC is in a league all by itself.  It is unique, chaotic, vibrant, crowded, overwhelming, charming, diverse…so many things.

We wasted no time jumping into tourist mode, heading straight for the top of the Empire State Building to take in the fantastic views of the New York City area.

We went to Times Square to people-watch and to try to get discount tickets to a Broadway show.   Continue reading

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A Visit to West Point

We are home from our visit to West Point to retrieve our oldest son and our whirlwind tour of New York City.  Arriving at the Newark airport last Thursday morning, we hopped in our rental car, only to find that our GPS device that we had brought along was dead and the charger was not working.  With no good maps and only basic directions from West Point literature, we headed out on to the New Jersey turnpike.  Needless to say, the congestion and stop-and-go traffic made for a stressful introduction to the New York area.

After several hours stuck in traffic, we finally made our way up to the Palisades Interstate Highway and arrived at West Point just in time to take the last tour of the day.  West Point is a beautiful and historic campus located on the Hudson River.

Originally founded as a fortress during the Revolutionary War, West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America. Continue reading

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New York, New York

We are off to the airport in the morning to fly out to New York City to meet up with our oldest son who we sent off to summer camp at West Point last Saturday.  After landing in Newark, we will drive up to West Point and spend the night nearby so that we can attend the closing ceremony on Friday morning.  I look forward to hearing about his experiences, thoughts and impressions.  You know those teenage boys, they love to lay their thoughts and feelings out on the table…especially for mom.  I will ask anyhow.  I cannot help myself.

Friday afternoon we will head in to New York City and be tourists for the weekend.  We have never been to the big apple before and spending a long weekend with our oldest before sending him on another airplane to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs sounds fantastic.

So, we will leave this lovely place behind for a few days…

…to go have some adventures off the farm.

See you next week!

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Spring Escape South of the Border – Puerto Vallarta

We are home from a brief escape from this seemingly never-ending Minnesota winter.  Our destination was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The weather was warm, the scenery beautiful and the food fresh and delicious.

Puerto Vallarta is on the Pacific side of Mexico and has a much different landscape from the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean side, where we have previously traveled.  It is mountainous and more lush in vegetation.  Although it does not quite compare to the beautiful white sand and turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, the ocean here is still stunning and you can’t avoid feeling relaxed listening to the crashing waves.

We chose to not go the all-inclusive route on this vacation, as we were traveling without the kids (they are still bitter) and wanted to have more dining options.  Our hotel was lovely with a great pool and very well-manicured grounds.   We enjoyed lunch every day in the restaurant near the pool, taking in the views.

The familiar beach vendors set up every morning just outside of the hotel beach area.  Each time someone walks by they call out,  “Amiga, necklace? Bracelet?  T-shirt?”  Uniformly dressed in white, they seemed less aggressive than others we have encountered.  In fact, it almost seemed as though there may have even been some type of rules they were following in their sales.

Prior to departing, we heard horror stories about the high pressure time-share sales people in Puerto Vallarta.  Having experienced them in earlier travels to Mexico, I thought we were prepared.  We would not fall prey to their tactics!  After arriving at the airport and gathering our luggage, we proceeded towards the exit to catch a taxi.  We were shuffled through a tunnel of time-share people on both sides of us, all trying to get our attention.  It was quite shocking!  We managed to walk straight ahead, ignoring them all.  Ah, we felt so smug.

Thinking we had escaped the time-share people, we checked into our hotel, explored a bit, and then headed to the marina area to have some dinner.  The views were beautiful in the marina and we enjoyed a nice dinner.  At the end of the meal, a “waitress” came to clear our table and started making small talk with us, asking when we had arrived and what we planned on doing while in Puerto Vallarta.  She was so friendly and helpful, full of information and advice.  After mentioning that we were thinking of going on a zip-line tour, she perked up and launched into a sales pitch about the great discount she could give us if we went to this time-share presentation.  It would only take an hour of our time, and just look at all the money we would save, this was a new and exclusive property, etc., etc.  About 20 minutes later, we had finally convinced her that we would NOT commit to a presentation, but that she could give us her name and we might call if we change our mind.  Of course, we never called.  The take-away lesson was to always be on guard!

Our time in Puerto Vallarta was mainly spent by the pool, walking on the beach, sitting on our patio reading, and enjoying relaxing dinners in the evenings by ourselves.  It has been several years since we have escaped without the kids, and even though I felt a little guilty (just a little), I also realize how important it is to get away and spend time as a couple.  We have crazy busy lives and it was so rejuvenating to escape to the sunshine together.

So we are home from our escape south of the border, feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever is left of this Minnesota winter and spring.

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Spring Fever

It’s official.  It’s that time of year.  The time of year when you can hardly wait for spring.  When thoughts of spring, basking in the warmth of the sun, green grass, bountiful gardens, and fresh flowers take over your mind.  But we need to wait.

The garden is waiting, waiting for the sun, so full of potential.  Waiting, waiting, waiting….

And the raspberry plants, they’re waiting too.  Waiting for the soil to warm so their leaves can burst out and set blossoms.

And the chickens.  The chickens are also waiting.  They are so patient, but they have spring fever too.  Afraid to hop out of the coop  on the snow all winter, they seriously contemplate it at this time of year.  They stand in the door of the coop, gazing outside, the strength of the sun enticing them, until…

…they can’t stand it anymore.  They finally take the plunge, after encouraging each other, and jump down on that scary snow (at least I think that is their thought process).

Spring fever makes even chickens do the craziest things.

The cats have spring fever too.  Waiting anxiously at the door each morning, they spend their days outside.  They lay on the porch basking in the sun.  Sometimes they go exploring, navigating through the melting snow, ice, and puddles.

And so we are all waiting for spring to arrive.  It feels closer every day.

I am not as patient as the gardens, chickens and cats though.  So I planned a trip to Mexico with my husband.  We leave tomorrow…and I can’t wait.

I hope that when we arrive home next week that spring is closer.  After a few days in the sun, I think I’ll be capable of a lot more patience.  Until next week….

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Filed under Chickens, Daily life, Gardens, Travel, Vegetable