New York City, March 2019

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Grace and I went on a spring break trip to NYC. I haven’t been to NYC in 15 or so years and Grace has never been so we were excited for an adventure. I woke up at 4:00AM for our 6:30 AM flight, showered, got ready and then saw message that our flight was delayed an hour and a half.  We went back to sleep for an hour and then Courtney drove us to the airport and had no troubles on our quick flight to Laguardia.  We bought our subway cards at the airport and then took a shuttle bus to the nearest subway stop and then took the subway into Manhattan.  It only took about a half hour and only cost $2.75.  We were staying at Pod51 on East 51st and 2nd Ave in midtown – just a block and a half from subway stop.  We were able to check in early to our tiny little room,  dropped our stuff off and hit the pavement by 11:00AM.  Our first stop was Essa bagel, just down the street where we waited in line for about 1/2 hour.  I had an everything bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese bacon and onions.  Best bagel ever.  We walked downtown on Lexington happy to be exploring.  We went into Grand Central, explored, gawked and then caught the train to Hudson Yards.  Hudson Yards is a new development that just opened up a few weeks ago. We climbed the Vessel – an M.C. Escher-ist sculpture? photo op? stair master?… whatever it is its pretty cool and has amazing views.  The new buildings surrounding the plaza are all impressive and the soon to open shed looks amazing.  Billions and billions of dollars.  We walked through the mall with lots of glitzy stores, bought a few things at the Japanese store MUJI and then hit the high line which started next door.  Walked the high line enjoying the architecture, art and people; walked through the Chelsea Market half way through; bopped into the Diane Von Furstenberg boutique where there was an exhibit by Ashley Longshore that Grace was excited to see.  Walked the rest of high line and checked out the Whitney museum, walked around the meatpacking district for a bit and hopped back on the train back to the hotel for a much needed rest.  After sleeping for an hour an a half we hit the happy hour trail – took the subway down to the East Village and went to Upstate that was on our list of $1 happy hour oyster spots.  I had a half dozen oysters and a glass of champagne, Grace had a beer and then had clam linguine and I had some crab cakes.  The food and atmosphere were  great.  We walked around the neighborhood for a bit and then stopped at a little place called Maiden Lane and had another drink and people watched and then went to Rue B which was our original destination as they were advertising jazz with no cover.  We had one drink but weren’t feeling it – especially when they told us we had to pay a cover – so took off on the subway to walk through Times Square and then walked back to our hotel.  Total miles walked: 12.2

Our hotel room was two bunk beds and a sink. It was actually pretty nice and super cheap.
View from our hotel
Hotel had a nice rooftop lounge
real bagels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chrysler Building art deco
Grand Central
beautiful. Still didn’t make it to they oyster bar there though 😦
new buildings around Hudson Yards
The Vessel

 

 

 

Me holding on for dear life
it got bigger as you kept going up

 

 

playing at Muji

the start of the high line
start of the High Line

amazing buildings popping up all around the high line

flowers in Chelsea Market

outside the Whitney
checking out the humongous Restoration Hardware in meatpacking district
hello there

subway profile

Rockefeller Center

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Our little hotel offered free walking tours every morning so we decided to go on the one this morning that was going to the lower East side and Chinatown.  After a quick breakfast at a coffee shop around the corner it was a long subway ride downtown as there were traffic problems in the city.  The tour was good – we went to places we never would have gone to, learned a lot about graffiti and the history of Chinatown.  On our tour guides suggestion we went to Xi’An Famous Foods in Chinatown for lunch.  We had bowls of noodles that were fresh, spicy and delicious.  We hit the pavement again and walked south walking back through Chinatown, exploring the area around City Hall and then doing what was #1 on my NYC list: walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  The bridge was of course beautiful, full of people and the views were great on a bright sunny day.  We walked all the way across into Brooklyn and took the subway back to Manhattan to the World Trade Center area.  We walked through the Oculus – amazingly huge and modern – like you are in a Star Wars movie.  We got lost in there trying to find the way out but eventually made it out to ground zero to check out the memorial fountains and the plaza.  Serene and powerful.  The sky was bright blue just like that fateful day.  Hard to imagine.  We walked further down to Wall Street, checking out the famous buildings and banks, found the graveyard where Alexander Hamilton and Eliza were buried and wandered over to the 1/2 price ticket booth that was down there and bought some show tickets for that evening.  Took the train back to our hotel for a quick rest and then walked to Broadway.  We saw The Band’s Visit. Never heard of it before but it sounded interesting and we got pretty good seats for a good price (NYC prices that is). It was great.  Very different kind of musical.  Relaxed, cerebral, great music and great story.  It’s coming to CLE next year and I for sure would go see it again.  After the show we walked through Times Square a little bit and then went back to our midtown neighborhood and had a late night dinner at Cornerstone tavern – a sports bar on 2nd Ave around the corner from our hotel.  We stopped for cookies at Insomnia Cookies and then crashed.   Total miles walked: 10.8

lobby of our hotel
touring around lower east side

omg so good
omg so good
City Hall
City Hall

On the Brooklyn Bridge

so pretty
street entrance into the oculus

looking the other way from Ground Zero

Grace and One World Trade Center
Eliiiiiiiiiiiiza
Federal Hall
happy hour the bar next to our hotel
The great white way
great seats

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

We woke up early and took a quick subway ride to the ABC studios on W66th as we had tickets to be in the audience for The View.  We got there around 9:30AM, stood in line for awhile and after going through security they herded us into the cafeteria where they had a Starbucks so we had breakfast.  We sat with a couple of NYC women who were hilarious.  They were secretaries for HBO and one was a comedian and they were ripping on everyone.  We made it into the studio and was part of the live broadcast which was fun.  Stacey Abrams was the guest which was cool and we got a copy of her book too.  After the show we walked to Central Park right next door.  We met one of Grace’s friends from school who lives right there and we walked all around Central park with her on another beautiful early spring day.  We walked through the Plaza, ate lunch in the bougie food hall underneath the plaza and then went to Grace’s friends family apartment which they just moved into and was very nice.  We said goodbye and walked around the area some more, went into MOMA but decided to just walk around the grounds instead of going in the galleries and then walked back to our hotel for a rest.  After our siesta I went to Crave Fish Bar, a bar a few blocks away and had some oysters and a beer.  Grace met me there and then we went down to the East Village as we had tix to a comedy club later in the evening.  We stopped and had dinner at a bar down there somewhere that I don’t remember the name of.  The comedy club was fun.  There were all different comedians each doing their schtick for about 20 minutes or so and then it kept going.  We were right in the front row but just got picked on a little bit.  We stayed for about an hour and a half enjoyed our minimum of two beverages.  We wandered around the village for awhile, stopped at Momofuku milk bar and had the cereal milk ice cream and cake truffles.  OMG.  Hopped on the train back after a fun night.

waiting to get into ABC Studios
our seats. It was fun to watch the whole process.

skinny skyscrapers are the new thing

The Miami coeds

exploring the Plaza
directory inside Trump Tower – it says it all.
taking a breather inside the MOMA

hellllloooooo

Our front row seats at the New York Comedy Club

Total miles walker: 9.5

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

We packed our stuff up and checked our bags with the hotel and hit the streets for one last morning.  We went to a place called Remi Flower and Coffee that Grace wanted to go to a few blocks away.  It was a combined coffee shop and florist. It was pretty cool. Grace had a lavender latte that was beautiful.  We walked and walked all morning.  Walked to the NY Public library that unfortunately wasn’t open yet, walked through Bryant park that was very spring like, and then walked through the fashion district looking for Mood – which we couldn’t find.  We walked through Macy’s which had a flower show going on and then down to Union Square and did a bit of shopping at a couple of places.  We had an early lunch at Shake Shack in Madison Park and then walked all the way back to our hotel – another 20 blocks.  Grace wasn’t too happy with me that I made her walk.  We collected our bags, hopped on the subway and made it to LaGuardia in plenty of time and back to CLE with no troubles.  Fun trip.

Total miles walked: 8.2

fancy coffee at the coffee / florist shop
strolling through Bryan Park
inside Macy’s

helllloooooooo
au revoir NYC
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Washington D.C., January, 2019

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Grace organized a group of us to go to the Women’s March in DC. Grace picked up Sophia at  school at 1:00 and then picked Jack and I up in University Circle and we were on our way.  We drove to Pittsburg to pick up Grace’s friend Taylor and then had a not so fun ride through the mountains in dark, foggy and rainy conditions.  We made it to DC around 9:30 and quickly checked into our digs at the Hotel Harrington.  We hit the streets for a night monument walk.  We walked through the debris of the Right to Life march that occurred that afternoon and then walked past the Washington Monument, WW2 monument, Korean monument, and strolled down the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial.  Little did we know that just a few hours earlier the infamous standoff between the MAGA Covington boys and Native Americans was going on right there.  We then took the route back walking in front of a dark white house.  Washington was almost deserted.  Kind of creepy.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until 11:30 and then had some drinks at Harry’s Bar at the Hotel Harrington that was actually hopping with a bunch of DC millennials.

Right to Life crap
enjoying the deserted streets
line up
It was actually a beautiful night
Korean War Memorial
Happy to be back in DC and the Hotel Harrington

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

We all slept well, had a quick breakfast at au bon pain and hit the pavement.  The Women’s March changed locations about three times over the past week because of the government shut down and the political infighting of the group and the final location was actually just a block away from our hotel.  We got there around 9:30 and enjoyed walking around looking at the signs and enjoying the positive atmosphere.  The crowds quickly grew and grew and the march finally took off around 10:30 going down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Trump Hotel and then looping back around 2 blocks.  It took about two hours as there were so many people and log jams.  It was a great experience and it’s great that the weather held out as rain was threatening the entire time.  We hung out at the stage for a short time – not really into listening to the speakers.  Everything was still closed because of the government shut down so we walked down the other end of the mall and then went for a late lunch at Matchbox on 7th and H.  The girls went shopping for the rest of the afternoon and Jack and I slept.   We had dinner at Capital City Brewing Company and then hung out at the hotel for the rest of the night as it was pouring rain.  Grace and Taylor had another fun night at Harry’s bar and didn’t come back to their room until late.

no caption needed
Courtney knitted the girls pussy hats

getting crowded
View from our hotel window – convenient bathroom break
the glamorous Hotel Harrington
the stage
squad

afternoon cocktails at Matchbox
and some good pizza and salad

Sunday, January 20, 2019

We had a good breakfast at the old school Lincoln Waffle shop around the corner and then hit the road around 10:00.  We made it to to Pittsburgh and back to Cleveland before 5:00PM luckily avoiding the bad weather that stalled for awhile.  A fun quick road trip.

Navarre, Ohio

Friday, September 21st, 2018

Courtney and I both took a needed day off for a long weekend adventure.  We have been casually biking the Ohio and Erie towpath trail for the past two years.  The only part we had left was the very southern end which is almost an hour and a half drive away.  So we decided to make a weekend of it, find a nice place to stay and knock it all off at once.  The furnace people showed up right at 8:00AM as scheduled for boiler maintenance and were gone by 9:00 and we hit the road.  We stopped at the new Whole Foods that just opened up on Harvard/271 and stocked up with lots of goodies.  Thank goodness it’s not closer or it would drive us to the poor house.  We then kept driving south for a visit to Stan Hywett Hall in Akron – another item on our bucket list that we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t.  Stan Hywett Hall was built in 1911 by F.A. Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.  It was much bigger and nicer than we expected.  It’s actually the 6th largest residence in the US.  We went on a guided tour of the house that took about and hour and a half and then spent another hour wandering through the large well kept gardens.  The house and grounds have been kept in great shape.  Everything in the house is original to the family and the gardens are beautiful.  We spent way more time than expected at Stan Hywett so we adjusted our plans on the fly, eating our Whole Foods sushi in the car instead of going out to lunch as planned.  We wanted to get a loop in on the trail and a rain storm was forecasted to blow in around 5:00PM.  We got to the trailhead in Clinton, OH where we previously left off and biked for about 20 miles.  It was a hot and humid day – hopefully the last one – so we sweated like pigs but were happy to be on the towpath.  We got to our Airbnb around 5:00PM in the middle of nowhere Navarre, OH and were very happy with our great little house.  It was a teeny little stone house build in 1846 that has been beautifully restored.  Original wood beams, great open floor plans.  Really nice.  Also just $80/night and 1 block from the towpath.  Perfect.  Check it out.  We unpacked, took a shower, sat on the great front porch, drank (too much) wine, watched the storm roll in and watched the pick up trucks roll by.  We were enjoying the house too much so again altered our well though out plans and blew off going out to dinner and ordered a pizza and played scrabble.  Perfect night.

beautiful day
Stan Hywett Hall
The music room
the dining room
the gardens were beautiful and well tended
secret garden

japanese garden
birch allee
hitting the towpath – we had it pretty much to ourselves all afternoon
1846 stone
relaxing on the porch watching the storm roll in

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

After morning chilling and a leisurely breakfast we were on the towpath by 9:30AM to knock out our largest stretch from Navarre to Bolivar to Zoar to the anticlimactic end of the trail on OH Route 800.  30 miles total – the longest we’ve biked in one stretch. It was way cooler out after the storm which made it much more pleasant.  We stopped on the loop back at Bolivar for lunch at a place called Sublime Smoke Fine BBQ and Craft Brew.  It turned out to be a great place.  We each had a beer, Courtney had a brisket sandwich and I had the pulled pork sandwich and we split some collard greens and Mac and cheese.  All very good.  We hit the trail again and rode back with no troubles.  After relaxing for awhile we drove up to Gervasi Vinyard for dinner.  A 30 minute drive up to Canton.  We had a nice dinner in their dining room reconfigured from an old barn.  We had wine flights, had some more wine for dinner and then a nice meal.  They had a great patio that would be nice in warm weather and beautiful grounds.  We headed back to Navarre and fell asleep watching a movie.

morning sun
beautiful day and beautiful scenery along the trail
the anti-climatic end of the trail
break time

trying to psyche up to hit the trail again
old and new

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

We had about 20 miles left of biking to complete today.  We did the first 10 from the house in the morning.  We packed up, said goodbye to the house and then drove to the trailhead to finish off our last 10 miles.  Hurray all done.  We got a hold of Claire and Corey and met them for lunch at Mustard Seed Cafe in Akron.  It was nice to catch up with them and had a nice meal listening to the duo that was playing good songs in the restaurant.  We hit the road and made it home in the early afternoon.

somewhere in Massilon
trail selfie

Las Vegas, July 2018

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Grace is doing a twelve week internship at Boyd Gaming in Las Vegas so Courtney and I went to visit her for a long weekend of fun and frivolity.  We worked all day and caught the rapid to the airport to take an early evening flight.  We got to Vegas with no problems and Grace picked us up and drove us to our hotel, the  Mirage.  We forced ourselves to stay up to 11:00PM Pacific time by walking around for a bit and having a drink in one of the many bars in the hotel.

starting our journey at the Rapid station in beautiful CLE.
a quick pint and burger in the airport before our flight
We had the first row with extra leg room. nice.
in flight jack and gingies
the view from our room at the Mirage was spectacular
We liked the Mirage a lot. Great location and just cheesy enough.

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

We slept pretty well and didn’t end up getting up too early.  We hit the Mirage buffet around 8:00AM as it was included in the good deal we got for the weekend.  We don’t have much experience with buffets but this one sure seems awfully nice.  Everything we had was great – except the coffee,(No it was really bad-cbh) but I’m a snob.  I had fruit, cinnamon rolls, banana Nutella pancakes, bacon, pork belly, tamales on and on.  Just a little bit of each but it was a great meal.  We then took to the strip for a nice morning stroll taking in the sites: north past Treasure Island and then walked around inside the Wynn.  Went back to the hotel and were at the pool by 10:30. The pool was awesome with lots of palm trees, waterfalls and Pina coladas.  We had a lunch reservation at a place we wanted to go to but bagged it as we were enjoying lazing by the pool. We opted for a mid day happy hour meal later on instead.  After a short siesta we hit the pavement again walking through the humongous Caesar’s palace and then looped back to the Venetian where we were meeting Grace.  We had drinks and really good food at Canonita where Grace and her friend Julie eventually met us.  We took off for the Mirage afterwards as we had tickets for Cirque De Soleil’s  LOVE.  I have been wanting to go to this show for years and years and was so excited to finally be able to go.  It was great.  The staging, acrobatics, lighting, music and everything was amazing.  After the show we grabbed a daiquiri for the road and joined the throngs on the strip.  We walked through the Bellagio, watched the fountains a couple of times and  ended up back at the Mirage having pancakes for a late night meal.  We said goodbye to Grace who lyfted back to her place and quickly crashed after a long day.

view of the pool from our room in the early morning
vacation selfie
inside Wynn

strolling past the Venetian
assuming the position
It’s noon somewhere right?
loved the huge video screens they had everywhere
the Forum shops at Caesars Palace
enjoying margaritas at Canonita

ran into Fergie on the way out of the Venetian
going into the show
LOVE theatre pre show.
strolling through the Bellagio
It was a beautiful hot evening every night

late night pancakes

Friday, July 13th, 2018

We slept really well and were quickly getting acclimated to west coast time.  We hit the buffet again for another breakfast feast and then walked some it off checking out other spots.  We liked the Linq Promenade which was pretty new and found a nice store where we bought a few things.  We ubered out to the Orleans – a casino off the strip- where Grace’s office was.  Grace showed us around, introduced us to her colleagues and we had lunch at a place there with Grace and Julie.  Grace was able to get the afternoon off so we went back to the UNLV dorm where she was living to get a few things and then headed back to the Mirage to spend the afternoon at the pool like good Las Vegas tourists.  The pool was hopping but we managed to get a spot and had a good time cooling off in the pool, people watching and drinking too many pool drinks.  We ubered over to Fremont street.  We had tickets to see magician Mike Hammer at the Four Queens.   It was fun. 50% magic and 50% comedian. He was really good though.  Grace got pulled up to the stage for one of the tricks. After the show, we took in the crazy sights on Fremont street– people zip lining overhead, street performers, classy tourists…   We checked out the Container Park, an area with repurposed containers turned into small shops, restaurants and bars.  We sat outside at one of the bars. I had a very good Manhattan while we listened to a good Indigo Girls sort of band.  We then went a couple blocks down town and had dinner at Carson Kitchen and a great late night meal.  We sat on their roof top patio with the rest of the hipsters and split tempura green beans, gyro tacos, a butter burger and tater tots.  We walked back down Fremont Street and each headed back to our separate places after a fun night.

another beautiful hot morning. minus 10 for the fake grass though.
striking workers at Margaritaville – don’t go there!
working girl
Grace was staying at a dorm at UNLV that was pretty nice
pool time

view of pool action from our room
the lovely assistant
at least he’s honest
crazy Fremont street
pictures don’t do it justice
cocktails at Oak & Ivy at the Container Park
Another beautiful evening
off the strip

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

We slept in past 8:00AM Vegas time.  We got our stuff packed up and then headed down to the breakfast buffet which turned out to be a brunch buffet since it was Saturday and ended up having even more food… shrimp, prime rib, Chinese food, good desserts… can get used to this life.  We checked out around 10:30 and rented a car to go exploring.  We picked up Grace and headed to Mount Charleston – state park about an hour drive west of Las Vegas.  It was interesting to see how built out Las Vegas is getting and then it abruptly ends at the mountains.  The mountains were beautiful.  The elevation was pretty up there. We stopped at the welcome center in the park and soaked in the views and then went on about an hour hike up up up the mountain that was supposed to end at a waterfall but we never were able to find the waterfall.  It was fun to see something different – and so different than Las Vegas.  The elevation made the hike tougher than we expected.  We drove back to Las Vegas and went to Town Square Park – an outdoor mall place – and had late lunch/early dinner at Yard House – a sports bar with lots of beer choices.  It was nice to get out of the heat as it was super hot out.–it felt like we were standing in front of an open oven.  We still had some time to kill before we had to get to the airport so we did the Vegas thing and went to the Hooter’s casino and played blackjack for an hour.  The only gambling we did all weekend except for 15 minutes before the show on Friday.  Grace and I started with $20 each playing the cheap blackjack table and ended with a total of $100.  It was fun.  We said goodbye to Grace dropping her off at the nail salon to spend our $60 winnings and then headed to the airport to drop the car off and head back home on the red eye.  The red eye is as bad as it sounds, as usual,  but we made it back to CLE at 4:00AM, ubered home and were happy to be home after a fun long weekend.

Pictures fail to give justice to the beautiful landscape

…still looking for that waterfall.
beautiful country

chillin
living the dream
an airport with a view
back home to a beautiful Sunday on the beach

Washington DC, May-June, 2018

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Courtney and I flew into DC for a 5 night trip. Checked into our hotel quickly and headed for the subway.
We headed down to the waterfront to check out that new growing neighborhood. Lots of new buildings going up and of course everyone is super young.  Had a drink at Blue Jacket and then walked around checking out the dining options and ended up going back to Blue Jacket for dinner as we liked it.
We hopped back on the Metro and got to the mall just as the sun was going down.
It turned out to be a picture perfect evening.
Nighttime is always the best time to check out the monuments.
tired selfie

Hanging out on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a few other people.
Had the Viet Nam memorial to ourselves. Always emotional.
I love the DC Metro and our station was deeeeeep

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

Courtney had a conference to attend but it didn’t start until 10:00 so we had a quick Starbucks breakfast and then went for a long walk around the neighborhood we were staying in – Woodley Park, heading down to Embassy Row ogling at the big embassies and saying hello to Nelson Mandela.
Once Courtney took off for her conference I started walking down towards Georgetown. I like these lime green liriope.
The neighborhood we stayed in had beautiful houses everywhere.
I ended up somehow walking through this amazing park…
…with staircases leading to secret gardens (that I would discover the next day).
An oasis in the middle of the city
I eventually did ended up in Georgetown somehow and went to Tudor House to tour the gardens.
It was an old estate with a beautiful old sprawling garden.
lots of boxwood everywhere
note to self: nice option for a hose inside a wine barrel thingy

little garden spots were around every corner

So nice
the houses in the Georgetown neighborhood were amazing
I had lunch at Pizzeria Paradiso in downtown Georgetown.
I figured out the bus system and bussed downtown. I sat in the sculpture garden and took a break from the humid weather.
The Smithsonian Museum of Art was my destination to check out the Cezanne exhibit that was there.
The exhibit was focused on his portraits. It was amazing.
cut through to the modern wing
fell upon a whole room of Modiglianis – my fav.
One of my fav painting in person. So cool.
Went out to dinner with a big group to Roofers Union in Adams Morgan. Sat a long table with a view of the bustling street
Courtney and stayed after dinner and had another drink on their rooftop patio with the rest of the youngsters.

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

I started my day at the Renwick Gallery that had an exhibition of works from Burning Man.
Their large formal gallery was installed with all different balsa wood cutouts to look like a temple.
They encouraged everyone to write on everything.
I like the Renwick because the museum is different every time you go there.
Strolled past the White house after the museum. Trump helping any country…. ha ha ha… that’s a good one. Trump helping anyone besides himself… thats a good one. OK – enough of that.
Bussed back down to Georgetown area to visit Dumbarton Oaks.
I toured the amazing gardens.
more pea gravel transitions
L’Orangerie
Amazing spots everywhere

more nice brick edging

boxwood everywhere
liriope edging… coming to a garden near you soon

Courtney went out to dinner with colleagues and I met Ellen and Wally downtown at Central. We had a nice dinner – had hanger steak et frites – and caught up with them which was great.  I also stopped in for a peak at Trump Hotel in the old Post Office building that he RUINED.  More security than actual guests and just as tacky as you would imagine.

Friday, June 1st, 2018

breakfasted al fresco at a little place down the street
I walked to the zoo that was just a few blocks from our hotel and then walked toward the National Cathedral.
The Bishop’s garden there was another beautiful formal garden.

I likes this purple and green border. The plant in front is called ‘Pentagon: Dark towers bearded tongue’.

They were still doing repairs on the cathedral as a result of damage from the earthquake a few years ago.
I met Courtney for a late lunch.
Chilled out by the nice pool for awhile.
and then headed to the Smithsonian African American museum that we got tickets for months ago.
It was an interesting museum packed full of stuff.
The building was beautiful.
We were there for 2 1/2 hours before it closed and only got through about half of it.
We walked down the mall and were happy to be there for Friday Jazz in the garden.
Lots of people enjoying the hot weather and cool jazz.

We went to Zaytinya, a Jose Andres tapas place for dinner. We sat outside and had a really great dinner trying all sorts of different things.
Back on the Metro after a busy day.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

Jack and Ximena arrive in DC in the morning and we met them at the Hotel Harrington where they were spending the night. We quickly walked over to the Portrait Gallery but had to make a side track to In and Out as the museum didn’t open to 11:00.
Henrietta Lacks
Powerful Obama portrait. Can’t wait to see what the Trump one will be…
Mrs Obama looking cool
The portrait gallery is in the over 100 year old patent building. great museum.

took a quick stroll through the National Gallery
and the Hirschorn
where we saw this sad looking guy

Courtney and I had tickets for the Holocaust museum and were there for about two hours and then met back up with J and X at Dupont Circle.
We had drinks and appetizers at a South American place and then had pizza down the street at another Pizza Paradiso. Said goodbye and headed back.

Saturday, June 2nd 2018

We had a mid morning flight back to CLE and made it home with no troubles.  Another great trip.

Oxford, Ohio – April 2018

Friday, April 27th, 2018

We haven’t been down to Miami to visit Grace all year so we planned a weekend getaway and it turned into a great party.  Courtney and I, my Mom and Dad and Emily Jane took off from Euclid at 10:00AM with a car packed full of food and toys. We stopped at Wolf Ridge Brewery in Downtown Columbus for lunch.  We had a great lunch: my Mom and I had the vanilla coffee cream ale -the reason to stop there, and Dad had the Heferweisen.  Courtney and I split celery root soup and a salmon burger, Dad had an Italian sub and EJG and Mom had the chicken sandwich.  A great place.  It was just about a 2 hour drive to Oxford from Columbus and we checked into our two cabins at Hueston Woods.  We each had a 2 BR family cabin and the Purcell’s also had one – we had our own cul de sac – perfect spot.  We unloaded and drove to Miami to meet up with Grace.  It was a perfect sunny Friday afternoon and all the coeds were out sunning and enjoying life.  We took a nice tour of the amazingly beautiful campus and headed back to Hueston Woods.  Claire, Corey, Jack and Sophie arrived about 5 minutes after we got back and we quickly settled in to cocktail hour, enjoying the beautiful sunny afternoon.  Seamus, JP and pals all came over and Dennis and Penny who also rented a cabin for the weekend all came over for cocktails and a great dinner of Mom’s sloppy joes.  We started the bonfire that stayed going for most of the weekend and relaxed in front of the fire.  Jim, Patty P, Colin and Owen arrived around 8:00 or so.  All the older kids took off for the bars around 10:00 and us old folks hung out around the campfire.  Kathryn didn’t arrive until after 11:00 as she was with Shea at volleyball in Columbus.

I love the green wall at Wolf Ridge
its vacation when you’re drinking beer for lunch
enjoying the beautiful Miami campus on a perfect afternoon

Our beautiful coed
beautiful girls (selfie of me in Grace’s sunglasses)
cocktail hour – awesome spread from my parents
we played a lot of bocce during the weekend
happy to be together
sloppy Joe time
so it begins…
the best

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Jack and I were both up early and got the fire going as it was really cold.  It dropped about 20 degrees overnight.  Everyone was really slow getting up and we didn’t really eat breakfast until around 10:00.  The Purcell’s took off to campus to walk around and we went for a nice hike through the woods towards the lodge.  We hung out at the lodge for awhile, played some ping pong and found out we could get $50 off per night because grace had A’s last semester.  What a deal. Early afternoon we went to downtown Oxford and went to Steinkeller and had some great German beer, potato pancakes and pretzels.  Dennis, Penny and Seamus met us there as well.  Claire, Corey, Jack, Grace and I continued our day drinking expedition and went to Brick Street where hundreds of Miami faithful were having a fun Saturday afternoon.  We met up with Rachel’s parents there as well and the Meaney’s were there too.  We headed back to the cottages and got the fire going and happy hour under way.  We ended up with about 30 people for dinner –  grilling hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, salads, macaroni and cheese.  Nice spread.  Celebrated Mike’s birthday. Fun time.  We stayed up too late enjoying the fire and good cheer.

sitting by the fire early morning in my slippers
chilly morning
squad in front of the lake. – what a good looking group!
hiking through the early spring woods

ping pong in the lodge
…and pac man… yeahhhhh
good German beer at Steinkeller
…and bloodies
double fisted at Brick Street
…with a few of our friends.
college

Jack just HAD to stop at skyline on the way back

bonus points for the tumbler full of Manhattan

group shot with hot dogs
grilling success story – 20 hamburgers and 30 hot dogs and brats
…and some steaks for the birthday boy

 

cousins
girl cousins

serious gaming behind the cabin

Happy Birthday!!
dusk

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

We roused everyone up and gathered everything up.  We had some breakfast casseroles, Penny brought bacon and sausage and we had a good breakfast on a sunny morning.  We were all packed up and hit the road around 10:00 for the long ride back to CLE.  Great weekend.  We scored big time earlier this week and were able to reserve three cabins for graduation in May 2019.  Apparently everything sells out in less than an hour so we were really lucky to get through.

Grayton Beach, March-April 2018

Thursday, March 29

Courtney, Sophia and myself left home at 6:30AM happy to be going back to the beach. We arrived at Decatur AL at 5:30PM. It rained the entire drive but wasn’t too bad.  We stayed at the same Doubletree on the river as last year – in a nice big suite. We had dinner at Big Bob Gibson’s – our favorite north Alabama BBQ spot. I had Brunswick stew, pulled pork, greens and baked beans. Courtney and Sophie each had good platters and all was great. I had iced box lemon pie and Sophia had peanut butter pie and bought three bottle of their white BBQ sauce.  I was asleep by 8:30PM.

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great stuff at Big Bobs
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lemon ice box pie
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chilly evening in Alabama
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signs of spring

Friday, March 30

We left the hotel at 7:30AM and arrived in Grayton Beach around 1:30PM. We headed directly to Red Bar as we had a couple of hours to kill, and the place was hopping.  We had a few beers at the bar waiting for a table which is just fine! I had fish and chips for lunch, Courtney had some delicious smoked tuna salad and Sophia had a chicken sandwich.  We stopped at house to drop off some stuff and then went to Publix to stock up for the week and checked into our house right at 4:00PM.  They were very particular about check in time.  We liked the house. Perfect.  We moved stuff in and then I took of to pick up Claire and Corey at Panama City Beach Airport – 35 minute drive.  Their flight was on time and made it back in no time and had late dinner of pan fried burgers, tater tots and key lime pie – of course.

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chillin at the red bar
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first of many sunsets

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Claire, Corey and Courtney went to the bakery that we like around the corner as well as stopping at the grocery store again.  We had cinnamon rolls, scones and some GF goodies for breakfast.  We headed down to the beach where it was sunny and nice and started our daily routine: beach, lunch, beach.  Tough life.  Courtney and went to Goosefeathers during lunch break and got some nice looking grouper for dinner as well as shrimp and smoked tuna dip. The kids headed to Seaside for pickles pre-dinner which was super crowded and taken over by teenagers.  It stayed that way unfortunately all week.  Our house had a great patio looking over the state park land looking west so we got the late afternoon sun and sunset – excellent cocktail hour spot that we enjoyed all week.  We had grilled grouper for dinner that was fabulous.  We played dominoes after dinner to finish a great first day.

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full moon in the early morning

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Sunday, April 1st, 2018

We had chocolate and jelly beans for breakfast to celebrate Easter – and a few other things.  Sophie and I biked into Seaside after breakfast.  The bike path between Grayton and Blue Mountain was under construction which forced us onto the road in that section which was a pain.  But it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.  Amavida line was way too long so we just walked around enjoying the sunshine.  The rest of the day was all beach on a beautiful Easter Sunday.  We steamed shrimp and grilled chicken for dinner enjoying the patio in the evening and not eating until late.  We caught the second half of Jesus Christ Superstar on TV that I thought was really well done.

Our favorite courtyard in Seaside

Seaside redid the main walkway down to the beach
at a little shop in Grayton Beach

a beautiful day on the beach

Monday, April 2nd, 2018

Courtney and I biked to Seaside early morning.  Stopped at Amavida and walked around.  We biked all around Watercolor.  Claire and Corey biked later in the morning and went out to lunch at the Oyster bar.  Otherwise it was another beautiful day on the beach.  We went to the burger bar for dinner which was packed.  We were waiting at the bar for a table and ended up just ordering food and ate at the bar which was fun.

assuming the position
I love vacation
good sand castle day

sunburned knees
telling secrets at the burger bar

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

It was a foggy morning but cleared up pretty quickly and turned into another beautiful day.  The previous days sand castle was still there so we added on for another good showing.  Just another perfect beach day and stayed down until 6:00.  We had tacos for dinner and tried to go out for ice cream but everywhere was too crowded.

love the beach this time of day…
…so does Sophie

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

A strong storm blew through early morning and it rained pretty steady all morning.  We decided to go to the Destin outlets around 10:00. So did everybody else.  Big mistake.  The traffic was horrendous and the outlets were packed.  We tried to stop for lunch at Stinky’s and Perfect Pig but both were too crowded. We ended up at Black Bear, a new place in Grayton Beach which was very good. Courtney and I split carrot soup with shaved beets et un sandwich du jambon. Sophie’s friend from school whose family was staying a few miles down the road met us at lunch and spend the day and night with us.  Miraculously it cleared up in the early afternoon and lo and behold it was a great afternoon on beach.  We had a great dinner of grilled rib eyes, baked potatoes and more key lime pie.

another beautiful evening on the patio

perfect

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

It was a chilly morning. Courtney and I went for bike ride around Watercolor, through the back ending up at Publix and going back through a crazy busy Seaside. Way too crowded.  We didn’t go down to beach until 11:30 or so. Another nice day. Super calm and hot even though it was in low 70s. We stayed down beach until 4 and then went to Seaside for shrimp, oysters and fried pickles. We had late night dinner of boboli pizzas and then played cards against humanity.

my favorite blanket

one of or favorite spots at Seaside
oysters were small but tasty
Claire getting one more sunset in

Friday, April 6th, 2018

Courtney and I went on an early walk on the beach.  It was a beautiful morning once again.  Clear water and blue sky.  We spent the whole day down the beach with a quick break for lunch. We drove Claire and Corey to the airport around 4:00.  We ended up going to dinner at a place called Boon Docks off the bridge by the airport just following a sign that was there.  It turned out to be nice – on the harbor with nice view and lots of seafood.  We had fried shrimp, oysters, grouper and more fried pickles.  It was a good find.  We got home and packed everything up as we were planning to leave at 3:00AM for the long drive home.

beautiful light in the early morning

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

We left Grayton Beach at 3:00 AM and drove all the way.  16 hours.  Harsh but we did it with no troubles.  It was another great stay in FLA.

this about sums up the drive