On our final day we got Lobster Rolls in Muscongus Bay before making the drive to Portland where we checked out the Portland Head Light before catching our flight home. Driving through Portland – we were surprised at parts of it reminded us of the architecture in Church Hill in Richmond. It was certainly a fun trip and thanks to Laurie and John for having us along and showing us around!
Saturday took us on a ferry trip to a island just off the coast called Monhegan Island. The island is a fishing village a couple miles off the coast and is 1.75 miles long by .75 mi wide and has just 60 year round residents. In the summer a number of inns and rental houses have many times that staying there. The island draws everything from day trippers like us to artists who come for the summer for inspiration.
The ferry took about an hour and was a little breezy on the top deck. When we got to the island we walked through ‘town’ and hiked along the south and east coasts. We saw rock shorelines, a ship wreck and cliffs.
Hiking back through the middle of the island we went past a beautiful light house and had a gorgeous view of the inhabited side of the island.
We walked through a little more of the town and stopped at Monhegan Island Brewing before catching the ferry back at the end of the day.
Friday took us to Acadia National Park where we hiked Jordan Pond and Bubbles. We wanted to go up Cadillac but didn’t have a reservation and were tuned away. We stopped by Sand beach and hiked to Thunder Hole and back.
For dinner we went into Bar Harbor and had a great meal, some Ice Cream on the waterfront and checked out some of the shops.
The day after our wedding Jess and I headed to Warm Springs Virginia for a short honeymoon. We had grand plans to leave the country for a beach on an island that would some day be underwater but with COVID we didn’t want to leave the state. That lead us to a few days at the Omni Homestead. It is a beautiful property in the mountains and were upgraded to a corner suite in the tower on the 20th floor (10 floors above ground) that had great some great views. On the way out there we stopped in Staunton to visit friends Mark and Melissa who weren’t able to attend the wedding. The suggested a cool pizza join in Staunton for dinner. Staunton had closed one of the main roads downtown and all of the restaurants had seating in the streets. It almost had a European vibe to it.
We spent the first day exploring the grounds, relaxing at the socially distanced pool and having dinner at the restaurant. I went for a late morning trail run and startled a baby bear along the path.
The next day we left the property to do a hike about 10 miles away at Douthat State Park. To get there by car we had to go over/around a mountain and it took over an hour on some pretty rural roads. Early in the hike we both spotted 3 baby bears and a mother crossing our path. We were on high alert the rest of the hike. We made our way up to the top of a mountain, past a waterfall, along the ridgeline and then back down. There were a few beautiful views and some great terrain. Much of the trail looked to be seldom used and we had to do some bushwacking in parts.
That evening we got takeout from a restaurant in town and ate in our room.
The next morning we ate breakfast on the porch in the rocking chairs and started making our way home. We stopped at Pollock winery for a bit and then to Bold Rock to resupply some of the ciders we can’t get in Richmond and tried some others while sitting in chairs down by the creek.
Jess and I made a weekend trip to the Biltmore in western part of North Carolina. We’ve wanted to make a trip for a while and there was a Downton Abbey exhibit going on. When we got to town we noticed a tour bus at one of the hotels and while I was touring the Moog Music factory I asked about it and someone else on the tour knew that the Lumineer’s were playing. We had planned on a quiet dinner out and evening, so instead we quickly bought tickets and went. It was a great concert and we’re glad we went.
The next day we went early to the Downton Abbey exhibit, walked around and ate lunch at one of the restaurants near the main house. In the afternoon we toured the main house and some of the grounds. We followed that with dinner and headed home the next day.
While the Coronavirus hadn’t shown up in the US other than in a few places, we knew it was inevitable that it would come and change the way we travel, so it was a little bittersweet being on a trip knowing it might be our last for a while.
This year my family rented a house in Buffalo and my sister and her family flew in so we could celebrate Christmas together and visit with extended family. Jess and I took a side trip to visit Chautauqua where I grew up. During the weekend we visited some favorite buffalo restaurants, ice skated, visited the falls and did a variety of other touring.
I got to join Jess for a trip to DC for a long weekend. She has a tradition of taking a Friday off every year and visiting a museum with Farley and this year we visited the Museum of Natural History and saw the exhibits for fossils and diamonds.
In the afternoon we visited the National Gallery of art and focused on the 17-18 century Italian, 18-19th century French tour, Dutch and Flemish galleries and 17th centuries sculptures. Jess had some pieces that she had read about so we all played scavenger hunt to find them.
We tied to go to Jazz in the garden, but a few minutes after it started a thundercloud rolled south of us and so the event was cancelled. Nevertheless we improvised and ended up having dinner on the roof at Neil’s. We followed that by an improv comedy show that Celeste was in.
Saturday was brunch, shopping in Mount Vernon, lunch and going to Neil and Sonya’s engagement party. And Sunday Jess and I went running around the tidal basin and visited a market and a bookstore before making our way home.
The second leg of our trip took us to Sacramento to visit my sister and her husband to meet my new nephew. Monday afternoon we arrived in Sacramento and intended on checking out the art museum there only to realize it wasn’t open on Mondays. We explored old town Sacramento before meeting up with Cheryl, Dean and Calvin to visit a neighborhood sports bar to watch UVA win the NCAA Basketball Championship.
Tuesday we all piled in the car and headed towards Sonoma and dropped Calvin off at his grandparents house for the day. Calvin’s grandfather was a sailor and has a huge train layout in his basement that was fascinating. Our next stop was Iron Horse Vineyards for a sparkling wine tasting.
We got lunch in Boone and then went to Porter-Bass winery for another tasting and met back up with Calvin. Next we drove out to the coast to see the ocean and walk on the beach which was made a bit treacherous with the high winds blowing the sand around. It was still pretty.
Wednesday we took the dog hiking in the Auburn State Recreation area. We hiked about 6 miles around the North Fork American River across the No Hands Bridge and under the Foresthill Bridge – one of the highest bridges in the country. The views were amazing and the trails were very nice. The whole park was just under an hour away from Sacramento and an easy drive.
Jess and I returned to Dallas for a long weekend of seeing friends, revisiting favorite places and attending a wedding. We started out by visiting her old neighborhood and a taco joint we both loved to frequent. We did some shopping and got dinner with Sydni, Andrew and Doug.
Friday, we met max for lunch, visited Deep Ellum for an art festival, rode our first electric scooters, and went for an evening sail on White Rock Lake with with Tim & Griffin. Friday night was dinner in the Greenville neighborhood.
Saturday we slept in and relaxed before heading to Grapevine to check into our hotel – the Gaylord Texan which was nearby the wedding. The wedding of Ashley and Zach was held in a beautiful winery event space and we got to meet many more of Ashley & Zach’s family and friends as we celebrated. We also kept our eye on the score of the UVA/Auburn basketball game and stopped looking after the 3 pointer at the buzzer was missed only to find out later there was a foul that led to 3 foul shots to win.
Sunday we visited the Dallas Art Museum and went for dinner at another favorite Mexican restaurant with Andrew before checking into our airport hotel for the night.