Category Archives: travel

Happy anniversary to us!

Today is our 1 year wedding anniversary…though we’ve been together for much longer.

View More: http://sarasmilephotography.pass.us/jocelyneric

For our present to each other, we’ve decided that travel is a good choice. Right now, it is either a summer cruise to Canada or a trip to Iceland..both have their pluses and minuses…
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  • Canada is very close by, so the trip would be easy
  • There are actually direct cruises out of Boston, so the price is fairly cheap as well
  • I’ve wanted to go back to Halifax since 2012 when I had the chance to work there for 2 days with Parks Canada. I would love to do a little bit of exploring.
  • Canadians are some of my favorite visitors 🙂
  • I figure I can bring back at least one big bottle of my favorite whiskey, maple syrup flavored whiskey. YUM

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  • Iceland looks absolutely beautiful in photographs
  • It is a mere 5 hour direct flight from here, which is excellent
  • Going to a fjord would make me so happy, its one of my favorite words
  • I might be able to see the northern lights there
  • I’m not sure anyone else I know has ever or will ever go there

So, its pretty even in my head…lots of ideas, never enough time or money!

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Hawaii…

Not being a beach girl, I didn’t think that I would enjoy Hawaii as much as other people.  What I didn’t realize is that Hawaii is awesome.

From the multiple black sand beaches to others with hot as lava when you walk across it sand to the one just steps outside of our hotel room, they were all awesome.  We saw fish, all kinds of weird birds, and multiple green sea turtles.

Of course, I did get a humongous burn the very first full day we were there. Oops…but my husband got it worse with blisters forming on his. 

Everything else on HI was awesome. It is a strange state…saw a feral donkey and goat hanging out together, chickens were everywhere in Kauai, signs for watching for cracks in the road. Just awesome.

 

Photos under the cut.

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Spectacle Island

Many of my adventures have taken me onto boats for this summer…and my trip to Spectacle Island was no different.

Spectacle Island is a 15-20 minute ferry ride out of Long Wharf in Boston and is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Today’s island has been reshaped over the years with dumping, erosion, and the fill from the Big Dig to become one of the highest points in Boston Harbor.

The National Park has a green visitor center that has CLIVUS toilets, expansive views of the city, and covered picnic area.

There are a number of trails to walk along and view the city or the lighthouse.  One of these trails takes people along the shore that is scattered with rocks and the occasional dead fish:

The other main feature of the island is the trash that is coming out of the ground and washing up on the shore…seaglass and pottery shards. As an archaeologist, I am always looking down on the sand at the beach for seaglass and random things. At Spectacle, you don’t even have to search…it is all there, but not for the taking.

The ferry to the islands is almost done, just about another month. I hope to get back out to George’s sometime before then to find the dark space again!

Mahna Mahna

If you have time, I strongly suggest that you go over to the Museum of National Heritage in Lexington to check out the “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” exhibit. It runs through June 27, 2010 and is awesome if only for the ability to be near a bunch of actual Muppet puppets.  I had already seen Oscar up close and I think I get to count Big Bird since I met and shook hands with Carroll Spinney, but I also got to see Kermit, Bert/Ernie, Rowlf, and my favs the Mahna Mahna guy and the Snowths.  There were also a few others that I did not recognize immediately because they were used for commercials, but had many features of later Muppets.

Now, you aren’t supposed to take photographs (Even though it is an exhibit by the Smithsonian and they let you take gazillions of photos) but I still did. I’m sneaky like that 🙂

A short description:

The Museum is pleased to announce that we will host “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World” from April 3, 2010 through June 27, 2010.  The exhibition features 100 original artworks, including drawings, cartoons and storyboards that illustrate Henson’s talent as a storyteller and visionary. Among the variety of exhibition objects are puppets and television and movie props, photographs of Henson and his collaborators at work and original video productions, including excerpts from Henson’s early career and experimental films.”
You can also download a podcast about the exhibit or borrow a player for free from the people at the museum. You just have to leave your ID with them.


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I love that Ernie has his Rubber Duckie with him. They should have put bottlecaps in for Bert.

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This now adorns my cell phone wall paper. I love Rowlf…he is a wonderful straight line guy.

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Love love love!!!

Summer Plans

I enjoy planning trips very far in advance…gives me something to look forward to.

At the moment, we are going to Ireland in the spring sometime and then, its onto our regular mountain climbing days. The mountains we plan to summit this year are:

  1. Tom
  2. Field
  3. Willey
  4. Hale
  5. Waumbek
  6. Whiteface
  7. Mossilauke

Also in the works are trips to the Cape, a trip to Boston Light, Saint Gaudens and Marsh Billings, the paper house in Ipswich. Who knows what else. I have 2 days off next week so I might just go somehwere then so I can get some of this travel bug out of me!

Lowell National Historical Park

Yet another field trip to another National Park, this time Lowell. Not a lot of people would think that Lowell would have a National Park, but it is a great example of what happened all around the country during the Industrial Revolution.  Not only are a lot of the buildings still there, many of them have been revitalized into new spaces.

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Excavated by two of my professors (One from UMass Boston and another from Boston University) the Boott Cotton Mills Museum presents the history of the Industrial Revolution in a way everyone can understand. By using the oral histories left behind by former workers and actual artifacts from that time period, you can really get the feel of what it might have felt like.  Inside the Boott is a room with a number of machines that are needed in the process of the creation of fabric.  Here is a video that has only a few of the machines running:

Lowell is also known for having one of the best education centers in the National Park Service and they provide a huge variety of programs for children to attend and learn math, history, language arts, and science during.  One of the programs has children weaving on a loom:
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They are also in possession of Jack Kerouac’s backpack from when he went off on his tour of America. Not only was Kerouac an important poet and writer, he was also a native son. At one event, they gave away bobbleheads of him 🙂
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There is also a lot of artwork in the surrounding area and a stage for performances during the summer.
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All in all, Lowell is an awesome National Park and quite worthy of a visit. Go in the spring when you can ride the canal!

Saugus Iron Works

Another National Park here in Massachusetts is Saugus Iron Works. Located in Saugus, MA it encompasses one of the first Iron works in the colonies and created some of the best iron outside of Spain.

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There is a collection of buildings that can be visited including a nail forge as demonstrated by Ranger Brandon here:

One of my favorite pieces of this park was the small map of the original site. Reminded me of a similar map I saw in Munich…

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There is also a project to get the river cleaned up by taking out the phragmites that are choking the river. By taking them out, the river will flow quicker and take out the sediment that has settled on the bottom. It will make the river healthier and bring back even more animals. When I was there, they had orioles, frogs, eels, little fishes, and signs of groundhogs. So well on their way.

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Saugus Iron Works is open until the end of the month and is free.

Crime…

So, if you read Universalhub.com on a regular basis, you would probably think that everyone in East Boston is being mugged, shot, stabbed, punched, and generally living in a combat zone. Out of the last 10 reports on Eastie, 8 have to do with crime.

I know that crime happens in East Boston, however, our major crime has been in decline over the last few years (As seen in this pdf here (East Boston is the A-7 district)).

It would be nice if Eastie were mentioned for some of the great things to do…perhaps some help is needed in finding those out?

  1. Constitution Beach: I would not suggest swimming here because it is a fairly enclosed body of water with airplanes flying overhead, but it is a great place to go play frisbee or to watch planes take off and land. They also have a great little playground for kids of all different ages and an ice skating rink that has public skating. (Bennington Street near Orient Heights)
  2. Belle Isle Marsh: The last of the salt marshes in Boston proper, Belle Isle is not only people friendly but dog friendly. A great big area for dogs to run around, just watch out for ticks and the occasional coyote or skunk. It is also a great place to go birdwatching. There is ample parking and is T accessible from Suffolk Downs.
  3. East Boston Piers Park: Beautiful park! Lovely views of the skyline and a bunch of interesting art installations.
  4. Madonna Queen National Shrine: 35 foot tall statue of the Madonna. It is an interesting statue and has a great view of the city and airport.
  5. Temple Ohabei Shalom Cemetery: A coworker told me that the name translates to “Those who love peace” . This cemetery was created in 1844 as the first legally established Jewish cemetery in the state.  Because there was no sacred ground in the area, Jews were sent to Rhode Island, the West Indies, or Europe for burial.  This is a historic cemetery, but still used and is tucked away.  The building next to it used to be a small school and the congregation is located in Brookline.(Information taken/adapted from The Bostonian Society) (Wordsworth and Horace Streets)

And then there is the food:

  • Rincon Limeño Restaurant: Great Peruvian food…who knew they put their food on top of french fries? Brilliant! (Chelsea Street)
  • Belle Isle Lobster and Seafood: Where else in the city can you eat your food while feeling like you are in a scene from Wayne’s World (the part when the plane flies over them and they are arguing)? Great food, but they only take cash. (Saratoga Street going into Winthrop (RT 145)).
  • El Paisa: Tasty tasty Colombian food. They change the menu every once in a while and are now serving brunch. (Bennington Street)
  • 303 Cafe: Have not been here yet, but they have a strong focus on craft beers and have trivia. (Maverick Square)
  • Betty Ann Food Shop: Where else can you get donuts that are cooked in a coal fired stove for next to nothing? They have lemon, sugar, plain, round, crullers…and they also serve brownies, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods at a reasonable price. They have odd hours, though, so pay attention!

So, much more to Eastie than just crime, gangs, and angry people…history, great food, and some real hidden gems for people to discover.

Seek the Peak 2009

Next weekend, the Boy and I will join hundreds of others on a climb up Mount Washington as part of a fundraiser for the Mount Washington Observatory.   In April of 1934, the fastest surface wind gust in the world (231 MPH) was recorded there…I’ve seen the graph in person and it is just crazy.

I am $40 from the next level of fund raising and would love to be able to hit that mark, if you would be willing to support me I would be very appreciative. The link is here.

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Cannons away!

Finally can cross off a new summit from my 4,000 footer list! Thank god. Actually, there were many representatives for God on the mountain today as we were climbing with about 80 seminarians from around the world. It was slightly weird, but they were all very polite and eager to get up the mountain. Thankfully, though, they took the tram down or continued along the trail.

Its good, because then they (and no one else) got to see the Boy scrapped his knee and my pathetic attempts to apply first aid. AND they did not get to see my feet slide out from under me as I went ass first into a nice solid (and do I mean solid!) specimen of New England rock. I think I will have quite an interesting bruise and no running for the next few days.

The Obligatory Summit picture, taken on the observation tower with annoying tourists around us complaining about the cold and the walk over to said tower.
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I’ve been taking better self portraits lately, this is my favorite from the set:
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And finally, we found a really cool rock:DSCF0048