Category Archives: Restaurants

Home Again, Home Again, Hippity Hop

Friday, we drove through Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle and into New Mexico.  We passed cotton flowering.  They seemed like little bolls, but what do I know?  We did make one stop in Texas, to have a chicken fried steak lunch at a small restaurant that we found on the road.  Can’t travel this part of the country and not have chicken fried steak!

We arrived in Edgewood, NM around 6 p.m.  This was really our final destination on our journey.  My college friend, Vicky, just moved to Edgewood from Vancouver, WA and we wanted to visit and see her new house.  She, her daughter Kimberley, and Kimberley’s twin boys are living in a lovely New Mexico style home in Edgewood. Kim made us a delicious dinner and we had a wonderful visit.  Vicky had a plethora of points at the local Comfort Inn and treated us to our second to the last night on the road.  In the morning, we met to have a delicious New Mexico style breakfast.  Kathy finally got her Christmas style huevos rancheros and Vicky and I both had chili rellenos and fried eggs covered in green chili.  YUMMMMY!!!

We were on the road by 10 and planned to make it to Flagstaff for our last night on the road, but we made such good time that we made it to Kingman, AZ.  After a good night’s sleep, we hit the road and drove straight home, making it by 2:30 in the afternoon.  Sierra Madre had never looked so good.  The cottonwoods in the California desert were changing colors, too.  Few photos the last few days.  We were in a hurry to be home and to visit the people we were seeing.  So here is a shot:

IMG_3756

This first retirement journey by the Wild Wandering Women was blessed with good fortune.  We had no car trouble, no accidents, no one got sick or seriously injured, and everyone we met on the road was delightful.  No curmudgeons or sourpusses!!  We made contact with old friends and relatives that we haven’t seen in ages.  We fully understand what a beautiful country we live and how fortunate we are to be Americans. Despite all of our differences, most of us are good people, kind, thoughtful and want to do the right thing.  We made sure that we were home in time to vote as this is such a privilege in this world we live in.

Things that surprised us include how much open space there still is in the US.  As people who have lived in cities or suburbs all our lives, it’s easy to forget that not everyone lives this way.  I was blown away by the colors of the leaves changing, we really don’t see that in Southern California.  We were both impressed by how much forest there still is on the east coast.  We are spoiled in California by the produce and plenty that we have and were surprised that this isn’t true through out the country. There are still places that live and eat much more seasonally than we do, salads, fresh vegetables and fruits are not always available.  I think that we both discovered that we are truly California people.  We love visiting other places, but we want to live in Southern California.  As the weather turned to fall, and the temps were in the 40’s people kept talking about how wonderful the fall weather was.  We were freezing–it was as cold as it gets in the middle of the winter in SoCal.

Final journey statistics include:

Days on the road: 79
States: 28
Canadian Provinces: 2
Miles travelled: 10,454
Relatives visited: 38
Friends visited: 17

Brid
Days 77-79

Pennsylvania Dutch Country and More Cousins

It was late afternoon when we arrived in Lancaster, and we had not eaten lunch, so we interrupted our search for a hotel to find somewhere to have dinner,  We discovered the Good and Plenty, a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant that serves family style. We were seated at a long table with two other families. The meal started off with appetizers that included chow chow (sweet and sour vegetables), peppered cabbage (like a coleslaw with no mayo), chicken salad, apple sauce, homemade bread with butter, apple butter and cottage cheese.  Main meal was fried chicken, pot roast and a local sausage, with buttered corn, browned buttered noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, and carrots. This was followed by dessert of blueberry pie, shoo fly pie, cracker pudding, cheesecake and ice cream.  It was all you can eat….We thought the appetizers were good, the fried chicken was exactly what you want fried chicken to be, the corn and noodles were the highlight of the meal.  Both of us were underwhelmed by the desserts and wished we had chosen more noodles over the desserts.  The food was bountiful, but the only seasonings used were butter, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar, so it was a little one note for us.

With our tummies full the hotel hunt continued.  As we have been learning, there does not appear to be a slow time for many destinations…baby boomers are traveling.  It took quite a few stops to find a place that had a vacancy for the four days we planned to spend in the area. Finally, around 8 PM we found the Courtyard by Marriot and moved in just before the rain began.

IMG_3512
Cheryl Brooks, Bridget, and Kathy outside of Say Cheese!

Earlier in the week, I had contacted Cheryl Brooks, a friend from Sierra Madre who had moved to Bethlehem, PA about 15 years ago.  Luckily, she had Thursday free and we made arrangements to meet for lunch in Reading, PA.  Cheryl’s son, Greg and his wife and baby live in Reading, so he suggested that we meet at a little restaurant called Say Cheese.  I have known Cheryl since our children were very small.  We were both involved in early childhood religious education at St. Rita. It was so wonderful to spend time with her and to catch up with her.  We spent a few hours talking and eating. I am so glad that she had time to meet us.  I’m not sure, but I think we actually overdosed on cheese as every dish had cheese.    After we left Reading, we went to the farmers market in Bird-In-Hand, PA. Lots of meats, cheeses, crafts, jams, jellies and even some fruits and veggies. We tasted a few things and bought some fruit and veggies for the hotel room.

Friday, we made arrangements to take a buggy tour through Abe’s Buggy Rides.  Our tour guide, Sam, was a retired Amish farmer who thoroughly enjoyed telling us all about the Amish way of life and showing us Amish farms,

businesses and schools.

He told us about a wedding he had attended the day before, which lasted about 10 hours–along with prayers and two meals, there are two singing sessions that last 2-1/2 hours each, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

IMG_3610After the tour, we continued to explore the area on our own.  The scenery in Lancaster County is unbelievably beautiful.  We discovered a weaving and yarn shop and Kathy was lost for an hour or so looking at the the hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns (lots of new yarn, Christmas presents????[Kathy: No.]).  The weather was worsening with threats of torrential rains so we returned to the hotel in the late afternoon.

IMG_3618Saturday, we went to a weight watcher workshop in Lancaster, then out to breakfast at a local diner.  We took a wrong turn on the way home and had to go through a covered bridge.  Because the weather was so bad, we decided to take care of personal business for the rest of the day.  Three loads of laundry, working on the blog, and paying bills….fun stuff.

Bridget
Days 68-73

Give Our Regards to Broadway!

IMG_3398We didn’t leave the Cape until late afternoon, so we only drove as far as Providence, RI.  We stayed overnight in an extended stay motel ( I can’t remember the name). We had terrific Cambodian food — very similar to Thai, but somewhat different.  It was delicious. Next morning we got up and went to a WW workshop in Johnston, RI.  Good meeting, but not as good as #pasadena830!!!  We didn’t have breakfast before the meeting, so after we looked for a local place to try.  We discovered English Muffin, Inc.  YumYum!!! Eggs cooked perfectly, had a combo that came with French Toast, which was good and made great by the spiced apples that were an option over potatoes. And yes it came with a grilled English muffin, too. Really more brunch than lunch.

Then it was on to Queens, NY.  Traffic in NYC was as miserable as we had heard and I was personally delighted that we had decided to leave the car at JFK long term parking for our New York sojourn. As I didn’t want to drive, and because we were in NYC, we ordered Chinese delivery for dinner.  Got up early next morning to bring the car to the Bolt lot and meet our cousin, Lisa at the airport. Our connections were perfect, and IMG_3401within an hour, we were on our way to the Doubletree Times Square West which would be our home away from home for our 4 day stay in NYC.  Unfortunately, our rooms were not ready (it was only 11 so, not really surprised) so we had something to eat and then sat in the lobby for a couple of hours talking up a storm.  Finally got into our rooms around 1:30, and we were all beat, so we took naps.  While we were napping, our cousin, Laura arrived.  We met for dinner and took a Lyft to Katz Deli for a quintessential New York Deli experience.  IMG_3402Pastrami sandwiches, seltzer, pickles and potato salad–mmmmmm. Laura’s daughter Chelsea, who is a director in NYC joined us for dinner and was able to spend some time with us over the weekend, even though it was a busy weekend for her. She had a film being shown at the Chelsea Film Festival, and a Q&A after, and a play in the Fringe Festival as well as  a day of filming scheduled in Central Park for a film on which she is the AD.  And that was just on the weekend!

1020181710a1Saturday, Kathy and I had a lazy morning while Lisa and Laura went to the 9/11 memorial and museum.  I had been to the memorial on my first visit to NYC 2 years ago and there is really too much walking and standing in line for Kathy to navigate.  When Lisa and Laura returned, we met up to go see TORCH SONG at the Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway.  It was phenomenal and if you get to NYC, be sure to go see it! The whole cast was brilliant and the play is as timely today as TORCH SONG TRILOGY was in the 80’s.

Michael Urie was perfectly cast as Arnold Beckoff, drag queen and romantic, and Mercedes Ruehl was as terrific as always as his mother.  The supporting cast was also excellent.

While waiting for the play to start, Lisa realized her phone was missing.  I called the number, and someone answered.  He found the phone in the cab we had taken to the play.  He was on his way to a restaurant on the Upper East Side and offered to leave it with the hostess. I thanked him and said we would pick it up after the play.  Wasn’t till I hung up that it was pointed out that the phone would be on the Upper East Side, and we needed to get to Greenwich Village–I  should have bribed the cab driver to bring the phone to the theater.  Oh well, we were in for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  After the play, we waited for our Lyft, that never showed up and got to see the cast of the play as they left the theater.  When we finally gave up on Lyft, we caught a cab who was willing to make this crazy trip.  (of course, it was 5:00 so traffic was terrible!)  Raced from Broadway, to Upper East Side, grabbed the phone, raced to Greenwich Village, and actually arrived early for Chelsea’s play, SERVING BRULEE.

Sone Anandpara wrote SERVING BRULEE and starred in it with Ivy Hong. Our cousin, Chelsea Lockie directed the production.  The play was funny, very current, and thought provoking.  The actors were well suited to their roles. The play was about the first day of a cable TV cooking show.  The actual production took place in a school cafeteria, which made it feel like a cable show.  The title of the show comes from Crème Brulee and the premise is that Crème Brulee is the perfect dessert, and all women should try to “achieve brulee.” Life lessons ensue.

An actor friend of Chelsea’s, Mia Christo, joined us for the play and after it was over, we all went to Death Avenue for an interesting take on Greek food.  I had a wonderful lamb shank. Other foods ordered included a variety of sliders, including  pulled pork with a Greek BBQ sauce and a homemade Greek Sausage, eggplant tacos and Greek salads as well as oregano fries.  Food was very good.  Then back to the hotel and dreamland.

Cranberries and Alverno Girls

IMG_3344Monday was cold and rainy again. After weeks of traveling, we were tired of pre-made scrambled eggs, so we took ourselves to the Keltic Kitchen for breakfast (there appears to be a big Irish presence on the Cape).  They had real Irish bacon and made perfect fried eggs. After breakfast, we set out on our adventure.  First, we wanted to see the Edward Gorey Museum and buy scary gifts. Alas, it is only open on weekends, even the gift shop. So only an exterior photo of his home on Cape Cod.  Then we went searching for some beach plum jam to bring home. While we were driving to the store in Harwick that was supposed to have it, we looked through the trees and saw that there was a cranberry bog being harvested.  When our jam venture proved to be fruitless, we drove back to the bog (missing it twice) and took some pictures.  It was fun to see this in action—looked a little like the ocean spray commercial, without the farmers standing in the middle.  We became curious, so we booked a tour at a local organic bog for the next day.

IMG_3359In the afternoon, we took a trip to the Wampanoag Tribal Museum in Washpee. This was one of the few times that Mavis failed us.  She sent us to the tribal headquarters, rather than the museum, just a few miles out of the way.  The museum was small, but very well done.  The docent at the museum was one of the clan mothers and told the history of her people as if she was speaking of events that happened last week.  We were fascinated and very pleased that we had made the effort to go to the museum.

After a day out in the cold and rain, we were tired and cold so we  ordered a pizza for dinner (only the second time this trip).

Next morning, we took off for our cranberry bog tour.  Our tour guide was Andrea Cakounes, who along with her husband, Leo, owns and runs the largest organic cranberry bog on Cape Cod.  She takes groups around on an old bus that made the trip very handicapped accessible.  Her tour consists of telling a year in the life of a bog month by month. We learned the difference between wet and dry harvesting, saw someone actually hand sorting the cranberries (final sort, after the machine sort) and tasted both a raw (very sour) cranberry, and some that had been dried and processed (sweet). One of the things that we learned was that the fresh cranberries that we can find in the store are dry harvested while those that are used to make cranberry sauce, juice and dried cranberries are wet harvested. The commercial for Ocean Spray that shows the farmers in the bog is an actual cranberry bog, but there is really only one or two days per year that the bog looks like that.  We learned about sanding the bog, the extra steps that go into making a farm organic, and all about the animals on the farm.

After our bog tour, we decided to drive along 6A, considered the most beautiful drive on the Cape.  It really was beautiful.  Stopped for a late lunch at a diner and back to the hotel for naps.  Laundry in the evening. We were checking out tomorrow and then spending the day with an  old friend from Alverno Heights Academy, Mary Kay Wynn Fitzgerald.

Wednesday, we met up with Mary Kay.  She brought us to the Old Yarmouth Inn, the oldest inn on Cape Cod.  We had a wonderful lunch of squash soup and sandwiches. I had Crab Cake and Kathy and Mary Kay had beef dips.  Yummy wine to drink and carrot cake for desert.  It was so wonderful seeing Mary Kay. She had seen my Facebook post about eating at Wahlburgers and let us know that she only lived 10 minutes away in  Scituate, Ma.  We were able to arrange to meet in Cape Cod and spent a few hours catching up on the past 45+ years.  Wow, we Alverno Women really have had interesting and vital lives!  After lunch, Mary Kay showed us some of her favorite places on the Cape.  After we said our good byes, Kathy and I took off on our next adventure.  Next major stop, New York City!

img_3384.jpg

Brid  Day 59-61

 

Ask Not…, ARGGH!

We arrived in South Yarmouth on Cape Cod but were still so full from our late lunch at Wahlburgers that we skipped dinner. We have been feeling the effects of the hurricane in Florida and there has been a lot of rain and cloudy days.  Saturday morning continued that trend and we debated about what to do in the rain.  We finally decided to go to Hyannis and see the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum. Before we left for the Museum, Kathy called to see if they had a wheelchair that she could reserve as her knee was really acting up in the rain.  The phone system was a little confusing, but she finally got hold of a person named John who was delightful and was able to have the chair waiting for her when we arrived. Turns out that Kathy got hold of John L. Allen, the president of the museum foundation.  He met us when we arrived and gave us a quick orientation.  Everyone we met was charming!  The museum itself mission statement is that it “preserves and promotes the legacy of President Kennedy, his family, and their deep connection to Cape Cod.” The exhibits we saw were “Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe”, “JFK at 100: Life & Legacy” and “Robert F. Kennedy: Ripple of Hope”. We were so reminded of times of hope, courage and public service.  So much of the Kennedy legacy is so needed today. We were reminded of many events that we have lived through.  (Photography of exhibits was not allowed at either destinatio.)

IMG_3315

As we were leaving the museum, we asked the lovely lady at the front desk for recommendations for lunch. She suggested we go to Alberto’s Ristorante, so we tried it.  We had a wonderful dining experience.  Started with delicious appetizers, I had eggplant rotini and Kathy had chicken escarole soup. For our main course, Kathy had Scrod Francaise (in lemon sauce, asparagus, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms) with linguini.  I had chicken cacciatore with linguini.  For dessert we both had apple crisps.  All of the dishes were excellent! We are finding that on the east coast, apple dishes use a much tarter apple than on the west coast and we are enjoying them considerably.

1013181444_hdr.jpg

After we finished lunch, we decided to go to the Whydah Pirate Museum.  This museum tells the story of the Whydah, a pirate ship under the command of Black Sam Bellamy, that crashed off the coast of Wellfleet in 1717.  It was discovered by underwater explorer, Barry Clifford, in 1984 and remains the only pirate ship that has been positively identified.  The museum is a repository for many of the discoveries from the wreck and they are used to tell the story of the ship. Research and excavation continue today on the Whydah.  The museum is very well done and fun for both children and adults.  One of the interesting things we discovered about pirate ships is that they were very egalitarian, with ethnically diverse crews.

Bridget
Day 57

Exploring Our Past

IMG_3216
Bridget kindly letting me shoot the Atlantic Ocean behind her in four day stop at the Atlantis Beachfront Ocean Inn.

We spent four glorious days in Gloucester, taking day trips throughout the area.  I needed a few days at the ocean, my happy place, and Kathy was willing to spend some time there too. We found a great motel right on the coast and every room had a view and patio that looked out on the Atlantic. (The motel was called The Atlantis).

After our first restful night at the beach, we took in a WW workshop in Danvers, then went to breakfast at a little diner called the Peabody Diner.  We were looking for a cemetery called St. Mary’s in Salem.  We asked in the diner if they knew where it was, The young waitress had never heard of it, but went back to ask the owner.  One of the patrons pointed out that it was just cattycorner from the diner.  Unfortunately, the office was closed, but we spent an hour or so looking for graves of the McGinnis and Furey ancestors.  Kathy has information that some of them are buried in this cemetery, but we were not able to find any of them.  However, there is a stone and area in the cemetery that remembers those who died.

IMG_3220 2
This stone sits alone in an area of St. Mary’s Cemetary in Peabody, Massachusetts. It reads: FIELD OF RESERVATION IN MEMORY OF ALL WHO LIE AT REST HERE REQUIESCANT IN PACE I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies John 11:25

While we were in the Peabody/Salem area, we tracked down the probable church where our great-grandparents got married, and houses in Peabody and Salem where our Nana lived.

IMG_3222 2
33 Jacobs Street, Peabody, Massachusetts, today. It is still a two-family home.

This is 33 Jacobs Street, Peabody, Massachusetts where where our immigrant ancestors lived with their family.  They were John J. McGinnis, from Ireland, Teresa J. Ready, from Prince Edward Island, Canada, and their family.  By 14 June 1900, their family included our great-grandparents, Catherine Louisa McGinnis and Patrick Leo Furey and their daughter, my Nana, Grace Marie Furey.

After we were done with our ancestry trip, we continued into Salem to the Salem Witch Museum which told the story of the Salem witch trials, with a second exhibit on witchcraft today. Then it was back to the hotel and a nice walk along the beach

The next morning, we headed to Lynn and Swampscott, where our mother grew up.  Oh my these were lovely cities.  I never realized that they are both on the coast. Completely explained why the beach was Mom’s happy place.  We drove around the areas to get a feel for Mom’s childhood taking photos of  some of the house the family had lived in.  The first apartment house is 68 Chestnut Street, Lynn, Massachusetts, where our grandparents, Louis Roland Rondeau and Grace Marie Furey, lived with their first two children, Mary Lois and Laura Carol in the early thirties.  The middle home is 41 Orchard Circle, Swampscott, Massachusetts, where the whole family lived until they moved to New Hampshire for a year — by then the family also included Cynthia Ann, Richard Bruce, and Francis David.  The last home is 10 Bloomfield Street, Lynn, Massachusetts where Mae Rondeau (granddaddy’s sister) lived with her husband, John Laughlin, their children and Mae’s brother, Omer and Louis, before 1920.  Her mother, Laura Exilda Belleville, later moved in and they lived their lives out there.  When he was successful, Omer bought the home so his mother would always have a place to live.

We stopped for lunch in a restaurant in Lynn that was right on the ocean. Treated ourselves to a sangria (Kathy) and a prosecco (Bridget), shared an appetizer of empanadas and had lovely shrimp dishes for lunch (what, no scallops??). Back to the hotel and another walk along the ocean.

Woke up our third morning to lots of rain. We decided to drive up to Rockport and see more of the area, then drove back down to Danvers, where we made a Target run for lots of little things and a suitcase to take into New York in a couple of weeks. Explored the area some more and the back to the room to watch the ocean in the storm.

IMG_3292

Friday morning, we started down toward Cape Cod. On the way, we stopped at Minuteman National Historical Park and followed part of the trail of the start of the Revolutionary War. As a history buff, I was fascinated by seeing these areas.  We also went to the Wayside house, home of the Alcotts, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Sidley, author of The Five Little Peppers, and Walden Pond (photo at top of post).

 

After we left Concord, we drove to Hingham, MA to go to the original Wahlburgers. We both enjoy the TV show and have wanted to try their food.  Yummy lunch where we ate too much because we wanted to try everything!  The burgers are great. Then it was on to our next stop in Cape Cod.

Bridget
Days 52-56

A Week With Friends

The Kennebec Watershed
The Kennebec Watershed is on the border of Quebec and Maine. Maine is in the foreground and Quebec out near the clouds.

We spent a wonderful week with our dear friends, Jeanne Currier and Delmarie Carver. Kathy worked with Jeanne for many years at Mt Gleason, and got to know Delmarie through Jeanne.  And I got to know them through Kathy. A few years ago, they bought a summer home in Norway, Maine, where Jeanne was raised.  They are now spending  half the year in Maine and half the year in the L.A. area.  Now that I’m retired, we were finally able to see them in Norway.  Maine is an absolutely beautiful! We were there while the leaves were changing, so every day the scenery changed.  On our way to their home, we drove past a retaining wall of bird houses.  These were all made of reclaimed material.  They were fascinating.  We looked up this wall to find out the story behind them.  No one knows who put the first one up and they just keep appearing.  Great folk art.

Jeanne and Delmarie welcomed us with lobster rolls for our first night and we had a week filled with talking, laughter, storytelling, shellfish and BBQ. We saw where Jeanne was raised, St. Joseph’s, the college she attended, and spent some time with some of her friends and family.  Went out for great BBQ at Smokin Dave’s Backyard BBQ and Grill.  As good as any BBQ that we have had.  While we were there, other California friends, Cheri and Lea arrived adding to the laughter and fun.

We did go on a moose hunt, which was unsuccessful for moose, but we saw gorgeous scenery and went to Height of Land on the top of Spruce Mountain in Rangeley, ME. This spot provides one of the most stunning overlooks in New England, with magnificent views of Mooselookmeguntic and Richardson Lakes and the White Mountains.

IMG_2855IMG_2861IMG_3037IMG_3045IMG_3053IMG_3098

While we were in Maine, we took a day to go to Portland and see our cousin, Amybeth. We met for lunch at a yummy Thai restaurant and got caught up with each other’s lives. After we left Amybeth, we went to see the oldest lighthouse in Maine, the Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth. It was a stormy day and the Atlantic Ocean was wild. So beautiful and different from the Pacific.

One evening Jeanne and Lea made a wonderful lobster boil for us. My first lobster all by itself.  Cheri was kind enough to teach us how to pull it apart and enjoy it! So much fun that we are all going to get together in a couple of months in California to repeat the experience.   Another night we had a dining experience at 76 Pleasant Street. This is a very nice restaurant just a few minutes from Jeanne and Delmarie’s house.  It is in an old Victorian and the couple that runs it have done a beautiful job with the place.  The food was fabulous.  I had carrot, apple and ginger soup for a starter followed by grilled lamb with cannelini beans and harissa. It was perfectly seasoned and I didn’t even need salt or pepper.  Kathy had crab cakes with a seaweed-carrot salad and a remoulade and her main course was scallops with risotto and peas.  We shared a piece of limoncello cake for desert.  Everyone’s dinner was great. We will definitely go back next time we are in Norway.  (This was the only time that scallops were on a menu that I didn’t have them. I ate wonderful scallops at least 3, maybe 4 times in the week that we were in Maine.

Brid Days 42 through 49