Amy Artisan

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Category: Sister Trips (page 1 of 3)

Visiting Anne

(seeing how this week is 1 year since we were in PEI, it’s high time to continue sharing our adventures…)

Indeed, Anne of Green Gables was the catalyst for our trip to PEI. Rebecca is a huge Anne book fan (and is proud of never seeing the onscreen adaptations). Our goal was to see some of the Anne sites but also find the right balance with just enjoying the island for its own charm.

On Tuesday evening, we headed towards Charlottetown to enjoy a preview performance of Anne of Green Gables – The Musical a clever and fun send-up of Anne in a classic musical format. This production was in its 53rd season. For dinner before the show, we enjoyed patio dining at a farm to table restaurant, Terre Rouge Craft Kitchen – the clouds looked ominous as we were seated but the rain managed to hold off until the last bites of our meal. It was a packed theater for the performance and it was fun to see the multi-generation family groups partaking in their annual tradition of the show and also see the varied audience there to enjoy some classic fun. The laughter and reactions of a gentleman across the aisle from us can only be described as pure joy & added to our enjoyment of the evening.

Our PEI home was essentially across the street from the Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace – so our first stop on Wednesday morning was this house. We were the first visitors of the day – after an introduction presentation, we wandered through the rooms of the house on our own. I picked up a couple of non-Anne books & was treated to them being stamped by a special museum stamp.

Our next Anne destination had us driving over the Lake of Shining Waters and to the Anne of Green Gables Museum. Descendants of LMM still own this house and it is filled with family heirlooms – some of which inspired elements of Lucy’s stories. Rebecca also enjoyed the Silver Bush novels and said it was very evident that this house was Silver Bush.

From the museum, we headed towards Cavendish and the Green Gable Heritage Place. This was the “most crowded” place we visited and even that crowding was minimal.  We wandered through the house that has been decorated as Green Gables is described in the novels. In Anne’s room, we smiled at the brown puff sleeve dress hanging on the closet door. After touring the house, we ventured a bit down the 2 paths on the property: Lovers Lane and the Haunted Trail.

After a morning and early afternoon with Anne, we decided it was time to get lunch. When our first choice restaurant option had a full parking lot and people waiting outside we went with plan B – look for nearby restaurants via the map search feature on the phone. In just a few minutes, we were at By the River Bakery & Café. We each opted for a soup and sandwich combo: for me, the seafood chowder & roast beef sandwich were the perfect choice; for Rebecca, the corn chowder and a ham & cheese sandwich. On our way out the door, we picked up some scones for future breakfasts (& boy were they delicious…even as they aged).

After lunch, we were in the mood to just drive and explore so we headed toward the town of Summerside. While it no longer evokes the charm Rebecca read about with Anne, we did enjoy a walk along their recently refurbished boardwalk/shoreline park. Then, a quick stop at a grocery store for some breakfast basics and some island honey to bring home. On our way out of town we spotted a cute coffee shack so we treated ourselves to iced coffees from Jo Momma’s Coffee Hut.

Back at home, we enjoyed a bit of relaxing and reading before it was time to go next door for dinner at The Table, an amazing evening that deserves its own post…

Previous stops on this adventure: Acadian Adventures & Meandering to PEI

Meandering to PEI

(…picking up with tales from the great Sisters Road Trip with Rebecca in June…first to Acadia National Park and then to Prince Edward Island…the adventures continue…)

On Monday morning, we packed up to depart Acadia and begin working our way towards PEI. We knew we needed to be on PEI by Tuesday afternoon but we didn’t have anything specific on the itinerary for our driving routes on Monday & Tuesday – other than a planned Monday evening stopover in St. John NB.

As we left Twilite, Chuck offered up a few suggestions for things to see in our Maine meandering.Breakfast was at a cute café in Ellsworth – Flexit Bakery & Café. After fried seafood weekend suppers and big, sweet blueberry desserts, our veggie laden breakfasts were just what we needed to start the day.

Leaving Twitlite and a veggie fuel-up!

As we left Ellsworth and headed out on US 1, we decided to drop-down to wander through the Schoodic Peninsula portion of Acadia National Park. The park was mostly empty and we enjoyed pulling off the road at several pretty spots before getting back on the road towards Canada.

Exploring the Schoodic Peninsula

We passed through the HQ town for “Wreaths Across America” – little did we know that we would be a wreath recipient 6 months later…

In Machias, we detoured to Jasper Beach at Chuck’s suggestion. We spent almost as much time navigating out of our parking spot as we did on the beach – but it was still a beautiful stop with a few rocks added to our collections.

A quick stop at Jasper Beach

Late Monday afternoon, we easily crossed the border into Canada and in short order we were pulling into our Airbnb for Monday evening. For dinner, we went to a local pub, Britt’s Pub & Eatery, for a tasty meal and local ciders. Rebecca had a burger and corn chowder; my salmon with a blueberry sauce was delicious. The evening was for reading and enjoying the breezes coming through the open windows at our stay.

Now, into Canada

On Tuesday morning, we were up and out the door by about 7:30 – our first stop was Tim Horton’s for breakfast and coffee and we also picked up a couple of donuts for a mid-morning break. Then we headed out of town on Route 11 to see the Bay of Fundy. The Fundy Trail was a great way to experience this amazing space. Because we were there early, it was almost 2 hours before we encountered any other visitors at any of our stops. Since it was low tide, at the end of the trail we were able to walk out on Long Beach and pick up a few more rocks for our collections.

Exploring along the Fundy trail

After enjoying our donuts with a final view of the bay, we wound along back roads to reach NB-1 and continue to PEI.

Down along the Bay of Fundy shoreline

At our fuel stop in Petitcodiac, the cashier noticed my Green Bay Packers front license frame and asked if we were from Wisconsin. Her dream trip is to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder locations (in Wisconsin and beyond) – so she thought our trip to PEI was pretty cool.

By mid-afternoon, we were crossing the Confederation Bridge to “finally” arrive on Prince Edward Island. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center (and picked up our PEI oval decals for the cars) and then made our way to our charming farmhouse rental, Summer House. As we arrived to our home, we were surprised to discover that next door was “The Table” where we had reservations for Wednesday evening.

The Confederation Bridge is an impressive engineering feat; Summer House – our charming rental

Now that we were on the island, it was time for some Anne of Green Gables adventures…

(more tales to be shared in the next installment of Travel Tuesday…)

Visiting Vermeer

Over the Christmas break, I surprised my sister with a day trip to  Washington DC – the objective for the day was to explore the Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. A great Artisan family Thanksgiving was 1995 when we were able see the remarkable Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. In November I saw  an article about this latest exhibit and plotted how we might be able to see it. I had a voucher for a free companion air ticket and the fares were “right” so I booked us on a “one day there & back” and told Rebecca to hold the Tuesday before Christmas for a fun day. (And definitely had her curiosity piqued since I wouldn’t give details.)

An early start to the day

On Tuesday morning, we were to the airport early and had no issues breezing through TSA Precheck to get to our gate. It was a beautiful sunrise as we departed and in no time we were descending into DC (with the Washington Monument in view).

Ready to enter the exhibit

A quick Uber ride brought us to the National Gallery of Art about 10 minutes before the museum opened. We were the 2nd and 3rd people in line for the exhibit – the weather was just fine for standing outside for a few minutes and watching the city scurry to work around us. A few minutes before 10:00AM, those in line for the exhibit were ushered in for a slight “early entry” – we quickly checked our tote bag with our jackets in coat check and followed the ropes up to the entrance of the exhibit. We enjoyed being close up with the paintings (but also observing proper museum viewing etiquette) and definitely learned some new information about Vermeer and the other painters in the exhibit. Rebecca is already notating where in her lesson plans this art/info will appear next year.

In the Vermeer exhibit

After we finished our time in the exhibit, we spent the rest of the day exploring one of our favorite museums. In summer 2016, Rebecca did a one week teacher residency workshop at the gallery with a focus on Renaissance art so she was completely in her element as we strolled through the Renaissance galleries and it was a treat to hear her explain “little known details” about some of the art on display.

Rebecca & the Renaissance

For lunch, we treated ourselves to the Vermeer-inspired menu in the Garden Cafe (instead of the food court, like we typically do when there). It was a delicious meal to “refuel” for exploring the rest of the gallery. After lunch we wandered through more of the galleries in the West building and saw some of our favorite works from previous visits and also discovered some new favorites.

Wandering the West Galleries

When we’d exhausted exploring the West building (& were a bit exhausted ourselves), we paused for some gelato and iced coffee along the concourse before heading to the East building to wander through the more modern artwork.

In the Concourse

In the East Galleries

After wandering the East galleries and as closing time approached and the day was getting dark, it was time to head back to the airport. It was a beautiful drive, even in “rush” hour traffic.

Back to the Airport

Time to Jet back to GA

A bit of shopping at the Smithsonian shop in the terminal, a bit of enjoying the carolers singing and a bit of splitting Qdoba chicken nachos for supper and then it was time to go through security and await our flight. As we prepared to wing our way back to Georgia, some of the iconic DC skyline sites were on full display.  All in all, it was a pretty special day with my sister. (And it was great fun to keep it a secret from her until just before the trip!)

A pretty great day

(In this new year…I’m starting a new “Travel Tuesday” focus to finally be sharing many travel adventures that have yet to be shared…)

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…


Bucket List Birthday

Ten years ago, I celebrated a decade turning birthday in Chicago in lots of different ways – culminating with drinks and dinner at the top of the Hancock Building with dear girlfriends. Looking back on the last 10 years, I know that as we enjoyed the city and lake views with our celebration I didn’t have a glimpse into how the next 10 years would progress and indeed how I would celebrate the next decade turning birthday. While I don’t have a formal bucket list, per se, as I look at the last 10 years there have been some pretty incredible experiences that have filled my bucket. So, it seemed appropriate to celebrate this decade turning birthday in Wisconsin with a bucket list experience – it was finally to see a Packers game at Lambeau. And not just any game – the latest installment of the Packers vs. Bears rivalry in prime time. This time last weekend, I was in the midst of enjoying a fantastic birthday celebration weekend with dear ones back in Wisconsin.

As the sun was setting on Sunday afternoon, we loaded into the van to head towards the game. All week we had been watching the weather forecast and so we made sure that we had plenty of layer options to wear & carry in so that we wouldn’t be frozen fans – in the end, we didn’t even deploy all the layers we brought with us. In no time, we were parking about 5 blocks from the stadium and adding layers to our ensembles before walking to the stadium. Along the way, we passed a lot of tailgating and cheering fans in the neighborhood that surrounds the stadium. As we reached the stadium we were swept up into the throngs of fans as we worked our way around to the front entrances and the new Lambeau Leap statue. (Trivia: C & V were at the game where the 1st Lambeau Leap was experienced) After capturing the appropriate leap pictures, it was time to enter the stadium and find our seats.

We pushed through the crowds and climbed the steps to our seats. Before long we were settling into our seats in the end zone, near the Packers tunnel. The pre-game festivities were stirring – it seemed appropriate that we were there for a great show of military service appreciation. We all dutifully held up our blue cards for the Card Stunts. And then, it was time for the game to start. Before long, the Packers were in the end zone and we were jumping up and down screaming & high-fiving with those in the seats around us. Early in the game, it was evident that it was not going to be a good night to be a Bears fan – the 20-something Bears fans in the seats in front of us quickly realized they needed to just embrace the Lambeau experience. As the Packers continued to score, we joked that it would be great for them to at least score as many points as there were candles on my cake this year. Little did we know they would surpass that by halftime.

As the game continued into the second half, it was obvious that we were lucky enough to be witnessing an incredible game in this longstanding rivalry. Even as seats around us started to empty, we stayed to the very end. There were still plenty of opportunities to scream and holler and cheer as great play continued. I had started losing my voice on Saturday but that didn’t stop me from cheering with the best of them during the game. As we headed back to the van after the game we all were floating just a bit from the excitement of a great game and a great evening.

While the game on Sunday night was definitely the highlight of the weekend, it was an all around great time with dear ones. My flight path to WI included connecting through Atlanta so I “picked up” Rebecca to join the celebration. The WI family picked us up in Milwaukee and we had our “normal” road trip fun including lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and Kwik Trip stops. Saturday evening, the grown-ups enjoyed a very grown-up dinner of Concrete Mixers from Culvers. On Sunday morning we headed up to the land in the UP in the midst of a few snowflakes. Sunday supper happened at lunchtime & included cold weather grilling and a tasty birthday cake. On Monday, a pretty snowfall came down outside the living room picture window as we enjoyed hanging out before it was time for Rebecca to head back to GA. Monday lunch was at my favorite Blue Bike Burrito – it had been a while since I’d been there but it is always so fun to walk in & be greeted by name. On Tuesday, I was back in the office there as the snow started to stick more before it was time to fly back to PA.

And now, the decade has turned. Who knows what these next 10 years will hold. But based on the adventures the previous decades have held, I look forward to seeing what unfolds.

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