Friday, August 31, 2007

Wow, it's been a whirlwind of a month!

I don't think I will write much more about Boston- I have forgotten much and, really, it's just soooo history. One interesting last thing we did, that I will mention, is on our drive back to Ithaca we stopped in Concord. The site where "the shot that was heard around the world" was heard. That was pretty cool.

Oh, one other thing about Boston! We got to tour the famous ship known as "Old Ironsides!" That was cool, too. I was disgusted to learn about the "lively water" that sailors had to drink but otherwise I really enjoyed the short tour.

Well, my family is back home again. Unbelievable! We had looked forward to their visit for months and months and now it's over and done with. Kinda reminds me of my wedding. You plan and plan and then snap, it's here and gone. Life does go by fast. Well, I had six extra people in my house. It was overwhelming for me. Our house is usually quiet and in order but with four boys and my brother that was a little chaotic. My sister-in-law was wonderful. She helped me a lot. I could not have kept most of my sanity without her. Shane had to work that week, so he helped as much as possible. He was so sweet to entertain the boys in the evenings. He took them to the park and to the aquatic center nearby. I'm sure they had fun.

I took them to many sites they wanted to see and others that I thought they should see while here.

The Smithfield Plantation
Virginia Tech
The Blue Ridge Parkway
Maybry Mill
Claytor Lake
Tubing down the New River
Mountain Lake (the site where Dirty Dancing was filmed)
The Cascades trail
Homestyle Restaurant- in Catawba

On the day I could not join them they went to the Natural Bridge and also visited a Haunted House. They had lots of fun, in spite of being caught out in the rain. That day there was a thunderstorm that came in suddenly. Apparently they were on a short wilderness trail near the Natural Bridge. The only shelter they found were port-a-potties! Yuck!! It will be something for them to look back and laugh at!

After they left Blacksburg, the journey continued on to DC. On the way we stopped in Charlottesville to check out Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house. Amazing. I really enjoyed the tour. The visit included a tour of the plantation with stories about the slaves that had worked for Mr. Jefferson. Although it was hot and muggy I was really interested by the storytelling.

When we got to DC, the plan was to visit the Smithsonian. My brother and family were so excited to see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial wall, the Capitol, the White House and other museums of interest. They really did a lot on this vacation. They started out in New York and ended up in DC. My brother and sister-in-law were brave to do it all with four kids! Ages ranging from 7 to 15. I hope the boys will never forget all that they saw and the history that they learned. Pretty cool. I am so happy they came out to see us and that I could join them on their trip to DC.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The reason we were in Boston was to attend our friend Stephen's wedding. - Stephen and Rachel welcome to the club! :)

Well, we arrived on Thursday night. Friday morning we got up and headed straight to town. We started walking the Freedom Trail. Then we bought tickets to a trolley tour. It was nice not to have to walk very much. The tour allowed us to hop on and off at different parts so that was very convenient. It rained at some point and I really appreciated the ability to get around on a trolley. Our tickets allowed to ride again on Sunday, so we didn't complete the tour. We had to get back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

We were invited to the rehearsal dinner. It was very nice. Lots of family and close friends. It was a small reunion for Shane and some of his old Caltech buddies. Funny stories were told about the couple. Their's is going to be an exciting marriage!

Saturday, we continued our walk on the freedom trail. We met up with Kurt and his baby, mom, stepdad, and aunt. We walked around some cemetery that gave us a few chuckles. There were tombstones with names like Increase, Patience, Obedience, and Dorkas! Unbelievable.

We walked towards the North Church where the signal was given that started Paul Revere's famous journey- announcing the British were coming. We visited there for a while then went our separate ways. Shane and I proceeded walking to Paul Revere's old house, little Italy, then Haymarket. Haymarket was a humongous outdoor market where fruits and vegetables were sold. It was totally awesome! I wish we had one here. The fruit was super cheap. The catch was that you couldn't pick your own fruit you had to tell them how much you wanted and they bagged it for you. I bought three nectarines. The guy tried to give me a mushed up one but I was quick to tell him I didn't want that one. So he switched it for a better one.

We then returned to the hotel to get ready for the 4 o'clock wedding. It was a rather warm day. The wedding was really nice. They really didn't have to decorate much because it was a gorgeous church. The color scheme was red, orange and yellow. Very cheery. I liked it. I don't know the name of the flower, maybe mums? They were big daisy-like flowers. Really pretty. During the ceremony the bride's brother, father and future brother-in-law played an instrumental song on guitar. It was her song. I thought that was really sweet.

At the reception, again there was a mini Caltech reunion. It was really neat to be there. We mostly hung out with Kurt and Jen. I enjoyed seeing them so much.

Sunday- Tuesday to be continued....

Current Events:

My family is visiting from CA. Yay! My brother, his wife and kids got here Saturday morning. It's been a crazy busy time for me and Shane.

VT just started it's fall semester so Shane taught a class on Monday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Flyin' and Road trippin'

Shane and I just returned from a nice journey up north. He had a workshop to attend in Ithaca, NY. They put us up at a bed and breakfast. Niiiice. While he worked I got to watch lots of tv. A treat, since we don't get much tv reception here. We refuse to get cable.

We arrived late Sunday night. (We flew in to an airport even smaller than the one here in Roanoke!) Our hotel was near the Commons area (downtown shops and restaurants) so we took a walk to explore and look for dinner. We settled on Thai. I had som tum (a green papaya salad). So good!

On Monday, we took a driving tour around the area before Shane had to go check-in to his workshop at Cornell U. I then drove around some more looking for the ever-so-famous Wegman's store. I forgot the map and directions at the hotel so I ended up driving really far and apparently nowhere near it. I managed to get back in time for dinner with Shane and company. The workshop group had dinner at a really nice bistro in town. It was called Dijon Bistro. It was a really cute small yet elegant place. A hole in the wall at a really not-so-nice looking shopping center.

On Tuesday I went out and explored. I walked over to a nearby farmer's market (YUM!!! it was pretty cool- much cooler than ours!). While there, I ran into our friend, Laura. She, her husband, and kids live in Ithaca. (They are Shane's friends from back in Caltech.) We had wanted to get together sometime during our stay, so this was a pleasant surprise to run into her. We ended up hanging out all afternoon. They have the most beautiful children. Later that evening, I found Wegman's! Pretty impressive. I explored it a little and bought some snacks for dinner.

Wednesday, I walked around town again. I was determined to walk up a hill towards the university. It was pretty brutal. I then walked back through a gorge that is near the university. So pretty. Apparently there are many gorges in the area. Souvenir shirts say " Ithaca is Gorges." yea, yea... hippies. I walked back into the Commons area. Ithaca sort of reminded me a little bit of Berkeley. The commons area had many hippie-type establishments. Overall it was nice.

That evening Shane and I went to Wegmans for dinner. I just had to show Wegmans to Shane. It's a mini-adventure you just can't miss. We had pizza. Then later we went over to Matt and Laura's place for dessert. It was nice to finally visit with them.

Thursday, we left our bed and breakfast and hopped in our rental car for our drive to Boston.

To be continued....