Acadian Adventures

My sister has a milestone birthday this summer. To celebrate, we decided to take a road trip to Acadia National Park and on up to Prince Edward Island. As the spring progressed, we booked our Airbnb stays…we built our itinerary…and before we knew it, Rebecca arrived to Pennsylvania on a Friday evening in late June for our adventures to begin.


On Saturday morning, we loaded up my car (aka Annie), picked up large iced coffees and were ready to hit the road. The trip odometer was set to 0, a new notebook was at the ready to capture the license plate game. A quick selfie was snapped. And we were off! As we hit the road, we came up with a few meal rules for the trip: No US chain restaurants – although Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee is a given; focus on local establishments; In Canada, enjoy uniquely Canadian eats.

Ready to hit the road!
The first day was a long haul drive to reach Acadia National Park. Traffic sailed through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. In Connecticut, it became heavy and that continued pretty much through Massachusetts and New Hampshire until we reached the Maine state line.

On the road!
What is a road trip without homemade treats? Rebecca brought a bag of Mom’s classic road trip cookie – Colonial Rocks – with her & they were enjoyed throughout the trip.

Mom’s cookies for a road trip!
It was early evening on Saturday when we arrived to our motel, The Twilite Inn, a classic roadside motor inn that we found via Airbnb. As we checked in, we discovered our innkeeper was a Packers fan…Supper was seafood from a roadside lobster pound – a lobster roll and fish sandwich definitely said we had arrived to Maine.

Our classic Americana accommodations
On our way back to the motel, we decided to stop at a local dairy bar for ice cream. The “small” Wild Maine Blueberry ice cream cones were delicious – even more so after waiting 25 minutes from order to cone in hand (the teen boys behind the counter were struggling mightily with a large group of customers).

Glad we only ordered small cones!
On Sunday we headed into Acadia National Park. Our first stop was the visitors center – in addition to a few souvenirs, we also picked up the Audio Tour CD and used that as the basis for our wandering through the park. Once we pressed play on the audio tour, we were off and proceeded to spend most of the day looping around the park. Words can’t adequately describe the views that we enjoyed – I’ll let a few picture highlights do the talking. The color of the water is a gorgeous navy-teal.


It was mid-afternoon by the time we reached Cadillac Mountain. The views from up top were pretty spectacular – but we both agreed that being right along the coastline was what we enjoyed more.

As the audio tour ended we made our way to Northwest Harbor and then over towards Southwest Harbor and the lighthouse there before just driving around the island.

For dinner, it was another roadside seafood shack – this time, fried clams and fried shrimp. After a bit more driving around we tracked down the last piece of blueberry pie at a local restaurant to end the day.

Sunday eats
Next up…meandering through Maine and New Brunswick, Canada towards Prince Edward Island…

 

Weekending…Down the Road…

This summer has been filled with all sorts of busy as a big work project nears a Labor Day weekend deadline. In the midst of this, my Texas crew relocated to Pennsylvania and we have been trying to figure out when a visit would occur before school started – either them to see me or me to see them. This past weekend, I “mostly” took a break so that I could head northwest in the state to hang out with my girlies in their new home and new town. After a busy Friday morning in the office, I finally left around lunchtime with a goal of quality time with some of my favorite people.

Blue Skies

It was a beautiful day for a drive and the scenery was great. In no time at all I was there. The girls and dog ran outside to greet me as I pulled into “my” parking space and before long they were giving me the tour of their new home and amazing yard.

yard

Friday evening included a great meal at Happy Valley Brewing Co – then a driving tour around Penn State – then we stopped into the Creamery on campus for delicious ice cream cones to end a lovely summer evening. The August Pie flavor of the week that I chose was a perfect taste of summer. We all chuckled that the littlest in our crew got the largest ice cream cone…AND she managed to eat it all!

Ice CreamAfter the girls were in bed, it was great to catch up with the grown-ups over tasty after dinner drinks. And then, Riley the dog graciously let me sleep in the guest room that she has claimed as her room in the new house – she stayed with me all night.

Riley

I was awake early on Saturday morning & did a bit of work before the 2 youngest girls tiptoed downstairs and into my room. The morning included a visit to one of the great farmers markets where we loaded up on an assortment of beautiful produce and treats. Saturday afternoon started with a visit to the Boal Mansion and Columbus Chapel for the local Herb & Garlic Festival.

Grange

Then we headed a bit down the road to experience the 142nd annual Grange Fair. The girls had a great time on the midway rides. Because it was the last day, most of the animal exhibits were already empty so we didn’t get the “full” fair experience. We did enjoy strolling through the streets of the tent camp that has been a staple of this fair.

Bumper Cars

Saturday evening meant homemade pizzas and dinner on the patio under the pergola. As the sun set and the soundtrack of nighttime nature kicked in we stayed around the table for quite a while talking all sorts of serious and silly topics with the ever curious girls. Since pizza on the patio was a frequent evening during Texas visits, I commented that we must be home since we were enjoying pizza on the patio at their new place!

Pergola

Sunday morning started with a seemingly never ending round of Uno with the girls before breakfast that included some delicious treats from a bakery stand at Saturday’s market. We then visited a local church which reminded me of their Texas church home. After lunch, the girls insisted on washing my car which yielded some soggy girls.

Wash

Before long, it was time to load up and head home. It was another beautiful day for my drive towards home. It is an easy and scenic drive between our homes and I anticipate there will be many trips between our towns as the days and months go by.

Texas Time

In typical Amy fashion, work trips & fun trips ended up stacking up in early March. After being home from Wisconsin for 3 1/2 days, it was time to head to Texas for a long overdue extended weekend with my girlies. When I arrived on Wednesday evening, the girls were already asleep; however, as I settled into Miss M’s room for the weekend it was evident that someone was excited I was there: I was welcomed into the Hotel M’Amy suite that included many reminders of being in Miss M’s life.

Welcome to Hotel M'Amy!
Welcome to Hotel M’Amy!
Thursday was a low key day – plenty of playtime with the girls. Miss V was initially a bit shy to me but in no time all was normal and she was even reading to me. (Following in her sisters’ footsteps in the reading, for sure.) Miss M & Miss K treated me to a piano concert as they practiced – including a duet. And where we used to leave the little girls behind to spend time shopping, this time Maya & I took a backseat to 3 girls with definite opinions as they were clothes shopping.

18 months was too long
18 months was too long

Now it's Miss V's turn to read to me!
Now it’s Miss V’s turn to read to me!

Piano concerts from the girls
Piano concerts from the girls
Friday had us on the road right away to head into Dallas. After telling me about it for years, the girls were able to finally share the Perot Museum of Nature & Science experience. We started with a fun 3D flick about chipmunks preparing for winter and then headed to the top level and began working our way down through the levels. This curious gal had so much fun exploring with my curious gals – we were battling spring break crowds so we didn’t get to do everything but how fun it was to step back & watch them explore.

3D movie fun
3D movie fun

No tulips this spring break - but we like sea turtles, too!
No tulips this spring break – but we like sea turtles, too!

Finding the microscopic worms
Finding the microscopic worms
Saturday started with homemade pancake breakfast and then playing at home. Later in the morning, Miss M decided I needed a sparkly spa pedicure. After lunch, we went to a local pottery place & had some painting fun. I look forward to incorporating my new plate into my decor – each of the girls painted a flower for it.

Painting a "M'Amy's Girls" plate
Painting a “M’Amy’s Girls” plate
After days of gray & rain, Saturday was beautiful weather so instead of going out for dinner we decided to open the patio dining season at home. Grilled steak and chicken and veggies were delicious as we sat at the patio dining table surrounded by twinkle lights and the beautiful backyard. The clear sky and sight of stars and the moon sparked conversation about space exploration from the girls, including “has a woman ever walked on the moon?” Dinner was topped off with s’mores made in the outdoor fireplace.

Pondering space exploration while dining under the stars
Pondering space exploration while dining under the stars

Ending the evening with s'mores
Ending the evening with s’mores
Sunday started slower as we sprung ahead. Another gorgeous day had dawned and so we spent plenty of time outside – walking the dog, flying kites in the open lot across the street, at one point, Miss K & Miss V decided it was time to jump in the swimming pool.

Giving the pool a try
Giving the pool a try
Before long, final hugs were being given and it was time to head to the airport. As we backed out of the driveway, this sweet scene was bidding me a reluctant farewell.

goodbyeThe days with these girls were just what I needed! I’m so lucky to have these 3 delightful little ladies in my life!

A Week in Pictures

The combination of a planned weekend with the WI-fam & a work project out there meant I had a week+ back in Marinette. The time seemed to follow a “work hard, play hard” mentality – lots of work during the days paired with family fun for evenings & weekends. Here, a few scenes from the trip…

MKE

…Friday was for an early flight from Philly – a layover in Atlanta – and flying into Milwaukee and trekking north…for heading to Grandma & Grandpa’s house for an amazing Friday Fish Fry (some of the fish had been swimming under the ice that morning)…for “picking up where we left off” in family time…

Cake

…Saturday night was for celebrating a new marriage…with cake and cupcakes and a great DJ and lots and lots of dancing by the littlest cousins & nieces…

Tamale Pie

…Sunday meant all sorts of things…a lazy start to the day after the late night party…wandering Walmart to figure out our Sunday Supper menu: Tamale Pie, WI style with ground venison – roasted green beans for dipping in salsa – spinach salad…picking up double cheeseburgers from Mickey-Lu’s Bar-B-Q for lunch…mid-afternoon as snow arrived it meant another Walmart run, dropping a kid at the ice rink, and when in WI you drive to Culver’s in a snowstorm to pick up Oreo concretes for the adults for dessert…Sunday evening is for starting to read aloud The One and Only Ivan to the 4th grader (with Mom & Dad enjoying the story, too)…

Apples

…Monday was for Disney Apples to Apples with the whole family – after a quickly pulled together Amy supper…Monday is also for finishing up the “Ivan” read aloud and completing an unanticipated book report…

…Tuesday didn’t yield pictures but included a “normal” evening of tasty supper and homework and hanging out…

Lighthouse

…Wednesday meant a work team dinner and a bit of time to kill before the reservation…so I headed to a favorite spot to capture another seasonal shot of the lighthouse…

Football Pizza

…Thursday was for driving “so far away” to pick up a favorite pizza: the 30″ football – topped in thirds…

Blurble…Friday was for the whole family heading to Dexter’s for supper (amazing stuffed shrimp!) and then home for family game night as the snow moved in…a flurry of Blurble was followed by an intense round of spoons…

Snowy

…Saturday morning started with a tranquil view of the fresh snowfall and some reading on my Kindle before the house awoke…French Toast and coffee and conversation…

Zingers

…and then once the rental was cleared off and packed up, it was time to pick up one last coffee from my favorite Zinger Coffee & Tea and hit the road back down to Milwaukee to fly out…

And just like that…the trip was over…and I was back to PA, at least for a few days…

Bucketful of Summer…Revisited

Labor Day has passed, Columbus Day is around the corner…schools have been back in session for 4-8 weeks…the sunlight is starting to change…morning temps have already flirted down into the 40s a few times…meteorological summer has given way to autumn…leaves are falling and the season has changed. At the start of summer, a Ten on Tuesday prompt was for things I’d like to do before autumn rolls in. So, as the seasons change, a check-in on the list…

Summer Bucket Scenes

 

  • Continue to exercise konmari as I tackle the stuff in my house. I recently read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” While I didn’t progress as quickly as I would have hoped, the #konmari is happening in my house. My bedroom and bathroom are complete. The kitchen is almost done. Next it is time to head into my office/guest room and start tackling books and then everything else. To date, a lot of things have exited the house: 12 bags of clothes; a large bag of sample and travel toiletries to a local women’s shelter; kitchen appliances & more that I “had to have” & realize now I don’t need & don’t fit in with life these days; in addition to pulling items for donation, it has also sparked joy to see some items leave my house & go to friends that will enjoy them.
  • See a movie at a drive-in theater. Our intention was good…but the timing didn’t work out to enjoy a kid friendly movie under the stars this summer…there’s always next year.
  • Take in another Iron Pigs baseball game. The last Sunday in June was a perfect day to take in a double header from the Bacon Strip
  • Add another presidential library to the “I’ve visited” list. (Truman, Carter, Reagan, Bush 2) Yes and no. The intent was to tour the FDR library as our family vacation in New York began. We ended up not having the time to tour – but post cards were picked up. It is on our list to do another time.
  • Can some jam. Definitely achieved – through 2 canning adventures. The first time was a Sunday afternoon with Gretchen and her girls at their house. Later on, a couple of hours in my kitchen yielded tomato jam. Now, I have jars stored in the closet for gift giving and meal enhancement as the seasons change and the summer produce becomes a distant memory.
  • Enjoy some family vacation time at summer camp in upstate New York. Most definitely achieved! This is a week that is staying with all of us and definitely goes in the pantheon of great family vacations.
  • Send a pack of t-shirts away to become a t-shirt quilt. My pack of t-shirts has returned to me from a visit to the textile factory in Massachusetts and is now a cozy quilt for cooler days ahead. I’ll share the quilt in another post.  
  • Achieve my “summer reading challenge” at the local library. My target is 12 books – of course, they consider summer to end on August 18th. Where’s my reading ribbon? I completed a baker’s dozen by Labor Day. Reading is a year round sport for me and I have several reads going at any one time. I set a 2015 reading goal on GoodReads for 40 books in 2015 and I’m well on track to meeting (& maybe surpassing?) that goal.
  • Spend some time coloring in my copy of “the” Secret Garden coloring book I picked up in London last summer. While I didn’t color in the Secret Garden, I have had fun coloring in the Paige Tate coloring books. This is an activity that is staying in rotation.
  • Complete a photobook for 2013 or 2014 with the Shutterfly Photo Story app. So this didn’t happen. While I have both photobooks started, I just didn’t find the spark to dive in and complete them this summer. Historically, I’ve been more productive with scrapbooking in cooler months…I’m anticipating this item will happen as the temps drop.

While I didn’t completely fill my summer bucket list – without a doubt the bucket has been filled with fun (&productive) times. As the seasons change and routines shift, I’m pulling together new items for my list – it will be fun to see what happens as the pages of the calendar keep marching onward.

What was on your list of goals for the summer? Did you achieve them? What is on your list for autumn and winter?