Amy Artisan

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Category: Stateside Tourist (page 1 of 4)

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…


MKE Moments

As I’ve mentioned before, the last several months have included many trips to Milwaukee for work on a big project. When east coast vacation plans with the WI-fam in early August had to be delayed and I saw another MKE trip on the calendar for mid-month, all things aligned for me to fly out there earlier for a weekend of WI-fam fun before work. Here, a few snapshots along the way.


Saturday @ 6:25 AM – Wide awake early, so I decide to make some iced coffee & read for a while to start the day. “Can I get some non-decaf coffee packets?” That was my question as I went down to the front desk once I discovered the in-room coffee service only had decaf. “You mean regular coffee?” was the response. Umm…yes – evidently I do need some caffeine to ease into this day.


Saturday @ 2:01 PM – As we were out and about on Saturday morning, late afternoon supper plans were finalized. So when the shopping was done, we resumed the great Milwaukee custard tour with a stop at Leon’s Frozen Custard. For some of us, custard might have been our entire lunch. Another delicious vanilla cone – the heat of the day made this a fast melting and messy treat.
golfSaturday @ 6:57 PM – Mini golf with the cousins on a summer evening. It has been decades since I played. Fierce competition gave way to silliness among our 3 teams. By the end, my team of 4 (including the 3 year old) only had 2 golf balls to play among us all – so the adults would tee off and our littlest team member then made a game of getting the ball into the hole. From my play, evidently the stress of the last couple of weeks of work was working its way out via some horrible shots…

more custard

Saturday @ 7:47 PM – To beat the heat after mini golf we all headed to Kopp’s for more frozen custard. Truth, the LaCroix was more satisfying at that point in time after a filling supper and a hot round of golf. I only ate about 4 more bites of custard after this pic…but of course, since this was vacation I had to have custard twice in 1 day…

sleepy Will

Saturday @ 9:45 PM – Tuckered out from a full day…for the youngest in our crew, it was too much effort to stay awake for the final Phelps medal ceremony…watching the Olympics together & cheering on our favorites was a great end to the day…


Sunday @ 5:07 PM – After saying farewell to the WI-fam &  settling into the work hotel, I walked 2 blocks to the Milwaukee Public Market. Finally a chance to stop into the market after walking by it on every trip so far…a few provisions for a light supper & breakfast options for the mornings…

Monday morning

Monday @ 7:17 AM – Waking up to a view like this over the lakefront doesn’t jive with the “MKE travel advisory” email in my inbox from corporate security. Praying for peace here in this town!

beirhausTuesday @ 6:10 PM – A team celebration dinner to end an all day workshop meant a taste of Milwaukee at the Bavarian Beirhaus – complete with accordion music.
23rd floorTuesday @ 9:21 PM – Ending the day with drinks on the 23rd floor – the picture can’t capture the amazing view of the moon reflecting on the calm lake waters. A great jazz trio playing in the corner & plenty of laughter with colleagues.

The trip was quick; however, plenty of fun moments were had both “at play” and “at work” behind the cheddar curtain.

Adirondack Adventures

Since last October, the Artisan family had been planning for a July vacation. Our church in Georgia planned to spend a week “at camp” in the Adirondack Mountains and we decided that we would join them. By the time camp rolled around, a total of 51 of us made the trek to Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, NY.

As we left our Poughkeepsie Play, It was an easy drive north on the NY State Thruway towards camp – early afternoon we left that roadway in New Amsterdam and had a quick lunch, a quick Walgreen’s stop & filled up the tanks before the final hour drive up through the mountains to camp.

The first view of the lake...amazing!

The first view of the lake…amazing!

By mid-afternoon, we had made our way into the mountains and were checking into camp. As Mom & Dad settled into their adorable cabin with the screened in porch and Rebecca & I were settling into our room in the longhouse, Rebecca’s phone was abuzz with others from our church group arriving. Before long we were all gathering at our group of tables in the dining hall & our camp adventures began.

The sunsets were spectacular. Our first night there, as we came out of the great concert we were treated to a beautiful sky and a view of the new moon and Venus.

A few of the amazing sunset views from the week...

A few of the amazing sunset views from the week…

Where to begin with recounting the time that was our camp vacation? Our pastor likened it to a “landlocked cruise” in that there were more activities than you could possibly do and you could choose as many or as few of them as you wanted and make the week your own.

The daily chapel sessions were powerful – the speakers for the week were Dr. Ravi Zachariah and Dr. Nabeel Qureshi and each time they spoke you were filled with new insights. And my virtual book stack grew with several titles from them and that they mentioned.

The music programming was top notch – great singing during chapel sessions and so much more. Stellar concerts from the camp music staff: on Saturday night the concert included selections from “Oklahoma!” which made us smile; on Thursday evening a great recital from some of the staff; to close out camp on Friday evening another great concert which featured “Phantom of the Opera” selections. The sounds of Brass on the Beach filled the air several times during the week.

Artisan sisters having ceramic fun in the arts & crafts cabin!

Artisan sisters having ceramic fun in the arts & crafts cabin!

After morning chapel, the days were wide open and the possible activities vast. A couple of mornings, we wandered over to the “Tee Pee” & picked up some of their famous cinnamon rolls and cups of coffee for a late morning snack at the lakefront tables. A few afternoons, we ended up at the beach of the gorgeous lake – our group had “a spot” staked out in front of the accommodations of one of the families so we always a place to enjoy the sun, sand and water.

The Monday afternoon canoe race to the island & back

The Monday afternoon canoe race to the island & back

On Monday afternoon, Mom & I cheered on Rebecca & several others from our crew that were doing the canoe race out to an island in the lake and back to shore. A couple afternoons, the Arts & Crafts cabin provided fun in the form of painting ceramics. One afternoon, I spent time with our pastor’s wife and she taught me shuffleboard. There was always the lure of the fabulous screened-in porch at the folks’ cabin – I didn’t read nearly as much as I had hoped, but just being in that porch was so restorative.

So much to do & so much nature to just enjoy!

So much to do & so much nature to just enjoy!

As we confirmed plans for the week at camp, I was only able to stay through Tuesday morning chapel – work commitments required me to be back in the office for the rest of the week…or so I thought…when I got to the office on Wednesday morning, the big item got rescheduled and so I decided to turn around and go back to camp. Since I had done camp laundry (but not unpacked the rest) on Tuesday evening, I was able to quickly load the car on Wednesday afternoon and head northward – I pulled into camp around 8:30 and in no time was around the campfire with the church group. Thursday and Friday at camp were definitely bonus days of fun and family for me.

Not a bad "office" on a Friday morning...

Not a bad “office” on a Friday morning…

Friday morning I had to do a little bit of work before starting my day. So I grabbed my laptop & went to the TeePee for coffee, a pastry & a stronger wifi connection. The view from this “office” was pretty inspiring and in no time, my work was done so that I could enjoy the rest of the day.

A quick family pic...maybe a Christmas card contender?

A quick family pic…maybe a Christmas card contender?

After Friday morning chapel, our family loaded in my car for a bit of local exploring – we picked up a few souvenirs at the fun department store in town and picked up delicious iced coffee from the local café – then we decided to drive for a bit and enjoy the scenery. Right about the time we needed to find a spot to turn around to head back to camp, a sign appear for a scenic stop overlooking a beautiful lake – so, we pulled in and found a great spot to snap some family selfies, listen to the sound of the water against the shoreline below us and just take in the scenery.

Our last night of camp included a large crew of us piled into several vehicles and ran into town for one last vacation ice cream at Lakeside Licks. Much too quickly, we arrived at Saturday morning and it was time for everyone to scatter from camp. Rebecca was the first to leave at 7AM – she was riding/driving back to Georgia with a family who first needed to deliver some folks to the Syracuse airport to catch flights back to Atlanta. After one last meal in the dining hall & picking up our glazed ceramics from the arts & crafts room, our vehicles were loaded and we reluctantly pulled out of camp – at the camp entrance/exit, I turned right to follow my route back to PA and Mom & Dad turned left to head west to visit family in Ohio.

Family fun at the camp carnival!

Family fun at the camp carnival!

One of the families in our church has been going to this camp yearly for more than 30 years. After our week there, we can see how this becomes a family tradition. We all hope to return there in future summers for additional spectacular weeks in Speculator, NY. Since camp, it is amazing how often it peppers our conversations – without a doubt, we are hooked.

What summer camp adventures have you had? 

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