Oxford, OH

Friday, May 17th, 2019

We stopped in Columbus for lunch on our way to Miami University to celebrate Grace’s graduation. We stopped at Wolf’s Ridge which has become our go to place in Columbus . We had a great lunch as always.
We stayed at Hueston Woods State Park where we had three cabins. Two for us and 1 for the Meaney’s. We arrived late afternoon and quickly settled into our beautiful setting.
This has been the third time we have stayed in the cabins at Hueston Woods. We were really lucky that we got them for graduation weekend. Penny and I got on the phones over a year ago on the day they opened up and I lucked out and got through.  They sell out in less than an hour.

We had 20+ for dinner; hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and lots of things people brought. Worked out great.
17 year olds
turned into a beautiful night

Saturday, May 18, 2019

We went to Grace’s house for brunch along with the families of her three roommates.
The happy housemates
Grace had THE most amazing college house ever for Senior year.

chillin in Grace’s back yard
The commencement ceremony was BRUTAL. Super HOT and sunny, awful speaker. Over half of the crowd and graduates were gone before it was over. Really bad.
the future is bubbly!
celebrating graduation
our tree peony bloomed on the day we were leaving so we cut most of the blooms and brought them with us ūüôā
The age 25+ crowd left the partiers behind and headed back to Hueston woods and quickly settled into another great campfire evening

Sunday, May 19, 2019

love the early morning campsite

Courtney and I stuck around for Grace’s business school ceremony which was 1000 percent better than the commencement. Everyone else hit the road mid morning.
Grace receiving her diploma
Grace and Taylor with the paper
stuffed car selfie. great weekend.
Advertisements

Savannah, May 2019

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Courtney and I wanted to go on a trip to celebrate our anniversary so we found a cheap direct flight to Savannah a few weeks ago and decided to spend a long weekend there as it’s always been somewhere we’ve wanted to visit.¬† We both took the day off work and worked around the house as our flight was not until 5:00PM.¬† Sophia drove us to the airport and we had no trouble with the flight, car rental or finding our AirBnB.¬† We found a condo in the middle of the historic district which turned out to be nice and a perfect location.¬† We settled in and hit the street around 9:00PM looking for a late night spot.¬† We walked a couple blocks down to the Grey which we really wanted to check out and lucked out and found two seats open at the bar – we tried to get a reservation weeks ago but the whole weekend was booked.¬† Grey is a rehabbed Greyhound station that is now a trendy new southern place.¬† We recently watched an episode that focused on their young African American female chef on Netflix’s Chef’s table.¬† The place was very cool and we had cocktails, oysters, pimento cheese and crackers and fried chicken with biscuits and gravy.¬† All great.¬† We walked downtown towards the river after dinner checking out the old warehouses, bars and restaurants everywhere and made it back around midnight.

Happy to be in a warm city walking around
Happy to be in warm weather at last
the bar at The Grey
Georgia oysters
Savannah waterfront

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning.¬† We had breakfast at a place called J. Christopher’s a few blocks away.¬† We sat outside enjoying the nice weather and had a big breakfast.¬† We walked through the Colonial Park Cemetery which was beautiful with huge dripping trees and hundreds of year old gravestones and crypts.¬† We started exploring the area goggling at the beautiful houses, gardens and squares that have all been well maintained.¬† The live oaks with the hanging moss that are everywhere are amazing to behold.¬† We walked down to Forsyth park, checked out the farmers market that was going on there, stopped and got some coffee and sat on a bench in the park people watching and soaking in the sun.¬† We continued exploring the area, visiting each of the squares and went on a guided tour of the Mercer Williams House which is a 19th century mansion that was rehabbed in the 70’s by a wealthy art dealer – and part of the novel and movie Midnight in the Garden of Evil.¬† We were checking out the impressive Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) store and somehow managed to join one of their school’s admissions tours that started in the store.¬† Now we have been on dozens and dozens of college tours throughout the years and this one was quite amazing.¬† It was like you were at Disney World with secret doors opening up, projections, special effects.¬† It was crazy.¬† The story of SCAD is pretty interesting though… started only in the late 70’s it is now the largest design school in the country and was a big part in the recent revitalization of Savannah.¬† We were looking around for a spot for lunch and ended up in the City Market sitting on a patio in the sun, listening to a band, drinking beer and eating bar food.¬† A nice way to spend the afternoon.¬† After a nice rest we went to dinner at Husk which was just a block around the corner.¬† The original Husk is in Charleston, but they recently opened places in Savannah and Atlanta.¬† The restaurant was gorgeous in a beautifully restored mansion and we had a great table.¬† We shared some fresh shrimp as an appetizer and I had pan fried catfish on spring vegetables and Courtney had pork loin over farro.¬† All great.

view from our window in the early morning

breakfast spot

vacation selfie
one of the many squares

secret garden

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Unfortunately I got sick overnight with flu like symptoms and didn’t get much sleep.¬† Thankfully it didn’t last too long and I was feeling better enough by late morning to hit the rode.¬† We drove to an old plantation about 30 miles out of Savannah.¬† Wormsloe plantation is know mostly for it’s amazing mile long allee of live oak trees.¬† The trees did not disappoint.¬† A spectacular sight.¬† We walked around the ruins of the 18th century plantation that was set on the river enjoying the views, the tropical vegetation and the quietness.¬† After spending a few hours there we headed to a recommended restaurant called The Wyld Dock Bar which was a super chill place in the middle of nowhere on a dock.¬† We waited for about a half hour having a beer and playing bean bags and then had lunch at a perfect table on the dock looking over the river.¬† The food and drinks were A+ too. Great find.¬† We headed back to Savannah and had a rest.¬† We walked around some more in the evening admiring the gardens, squares and the trees, not really too hungry, but ended up eating at a diner place late night.

another beautiful morning
Wormsloe plantation front gate
amazing road of live oaks
the grounds of the plantation were pretty remote and tropical-like
not much left of the colonial era buildings
view looking out on the river and rice fields

The Wyld

secret garden

Monday, May 13th, 2019

We had leisurely breakfast at a coffee shop down the street and then checked out of the airbnb. Our flight was not until mid-afternoon so we had some time to explore.  We drove to Bonaventure cemetery about 30 miles outside of town and walked around for an hour admiring the crumbling graves and crypts and the old trees.  We then drove another 30 miles to the coast to Tybee Beach and said hello to the ocean and went for a nice long walk.  We had one last beer at a little place on the beach and then hit the road to the airport and made it back to CLE in no time flat.  Fun trip.

sad angel

poor Little Gracie

path to the beach
enjoying the mostly deserted beach
A corona on the beach… until next time

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 ūüė¶
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

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 Рhad hanger steak et frites Рand 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.