Category Archives: Travel

Amazing Waterfalls at Watkins Glen

Last weekend, we camped at Watkins Glen state park. We’re not racing fans, so we’ve never been in the area before. What a mistake! The best part was hiking the Gorge Trail next to the campground. Because of heavy rains the proceeding weeks, the falls were really powerful.

The trail wasn’t crowded when we started at 9:30am, but by the time we were finishing up, it was getting harder to get past people on the trail. I would recommend getting there early if you want to avoid the crowd. Also, wear waterproof shoes because the rocky path can get really wet.

We will definitely be back to hike more of the park and also check out the lake. Maybe we’ll make it an adults-only trip and hit some wineries too!

Check out a video of our hike on the Gorge Trail:

 

Curing My Beach Envy

I see you.

I see you posting photos of your manicured toenails in the sand with the surf in the background, your sleeping toddler curled up on her towel, your family wearing matching shirts while sitting on an abandoned lifeguard chair. I look at your pictures and I can smell the sea air and taste the crab cakes. Envy wells up inside me as I imagine planting my lounge chair at the shoreline and letting the water wash over my un-manicured toes. I lament that we have neither the time nor the extra money this summer for a beach vacation.

Then, one of my children tattles on another while running down the hall and I remember: I am no longer a beach person.

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I’ve been on quite a few beach vacations, and I love the idea of going to the beach, but since becoming a mom I find a day at the beach to be exhausting. Maybe the rest of you have mastered the art of family beaching, but as a mother with small children I do very little actual relaxing on the beach because I’m too busy keeping our offspring from washing away with the tide. If they’re not in the water, they’re covered from head to toe like a donut that has been glazed with sunscreen and sweat then rolled in sand sprinkles. Heaven forbid they rub their eyes. Also, reapplying sunscreen over sand without causing brush burns is about is difficult as it sounds.

When I finally get back to my hotel or rental house, much of the beach has come back with me in my car. Before I can bathe the kids, I have to find a discrete spot where I can strip them down and cover them in powder to get the sand off their bodies before I stick them in the shower. Then, I have to vacuum up the sand AND the powder. Inevitably, there is still sand remaining on their bodies and only half of it rinses down the shower drain. They all go to bed with sand still stuck to their scalps, but we’ve paid so much money to be here we do it all again the next day.

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Yeah, I know. Memories are being made, my kids will appreciate the trip when they’re older, blah, blah, blah. I’m not saying I’d turn down a free trip to the beach or that we’ll never go again. But, as I’m pining over beach pictures on my Facebook and Instagram feeds, it helps to remember that the cute baby in the photo probably has heat rash and sand stuck is his fat rolls. The smiling toddler is probably crying now because her Dollar-Store sand toys washed away in the surf, and neither of their parents can drink away the whining with a cool beer because they have to keep their little ones from wandering down the beach and going home with another family.

Who knows, maybe we’ll go to the beach next year. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy my glass of wine on my porch while my kids don’t drown in our grass.

Rocks….so much fun.

I love rocks. Who doesn’t?

Granted, they’re not very fun when you’re digging….or when they hit your car…..or when you’re caught in a landslide…or when you’re being stoned to death.

Other than that, rocks are awesome.  After all, the wise man built his house upon the rocks. If he was really wise he would’ve built his house on Boulder Field because those rocks have been there for 20,000 years. But he didn’t, so the government took it over and turned it into a tourist attraction.Hickorya6

There’s some story about how glacial melt caused rocks to break and somehow magically end up there, but I choose to believe that there’s really an Asgard ship (Stargate, not Marvel) hidden beneath the 12 feet of rocks.  One day, when we need it, those little gray geniuses will send us a code to turn it on and Richard Dean Anderson will fly it out of the ground with his mind.

Or not.

Until then, tourists will skip from rock to rock (some more gracefully than others) and write stupid stuff on them, like “I love Betty” and “Shane rocks!”  By the way, very funny, Shane (who writes his name with an S shaped like a lightning bolt).  How clever of you to demonstrate your understanding of homonyms on a 700 pound rock that was just minding it’s own business.

Vacation, in Two Words

After a 10-hour drive that turned into a 13-hour drive home (due to traffic and potty stops), the kids and I are back from vacation.  I won’t spend 1000 words or more recounting every fun thing we did.  Here are some highlights in two words or less:

Wave jumping:DSCN0023

 Sand play:DSCN0100

 Mmm.….seafood:vacafoodMmm…..water ice:DSCN0042

 Big fishies:Aquariumb3

Family Fun:DSCN0104

 

We missed Jim very much, but otherwise it was a wonderful vacation!

 

Road Tripping

This week, while I’m on vacation, I’ll be blogging from my phone. Expect some weak editing. But go ahead and judge. I’ll be in a beach chair soaking up the sun with my toes in the water.

The kids and I spent 12 hours driving to our beach vacation destination yesterday. Overall, it was a successful and exhausting drive that we get to repeat in reverse in a few days.

This is not the first time I’ve taken a road trip without Jim, but it is the first time I’ve travelled by myself with a one-year-old. Fortunately, my kids are 5 1/2 years apart, so my family comes with its own little Mommy’s Helper. She’s great — you should get one. All of 1yo’s needs can be tended to by his big sister next to him.

Also, although I never really use Siri (on my IPhone) other than to antagonize her by asking for definitions to dirty words, she is now my best not-actually-alive friend (sorry, Teddy Ruxpin). I just plug my phone into my car’s speakers and turn on the Apple driving directions app and Siri becomes the best navigator anyone could ask for. She even gave me incremental warnings for upcoming turns. Not once did she wait until I passed an exit to say “Oh, that was it!” She also let me pick all the music.

I can’t say I’m looking forward to the drive back, but I am looking forward to seeing Jim when I get there. I’m also optimistic that the kids and Siri will be as cooperative as they were on the way down.

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On the Brink

This is me.Louvre

It is July 2001 and I am 22.  I have recently graduated from college, ready to join the “real” world.  But first, I think I’ll stop and soak my feet in the fountains of the Louvre.  Sure, why not?   Just look at how relaxed I am.

(Also, try not to notice how my arms are bent really weird so they look like they’re inverted…..Did you look?  Ha! Now you can’t un-see it.  Weird, right?  I’ve tried to avoid bending them like that since my senior year of high school when I was sitting on the heater in my AP English class and Chris Rash told me I had freaky, weird-bending arms and it grossed him out.  This, from a guy who would snort a string up his nose, cough one end out of his mouth, and pretend to floss his brain – and who also had a last name that was something you got from Poison Ivy or unprotected sex. Anyway, I must’ve forgotten about my freaky arms for this picture.)

I don’t even really know the girl in this picture anymore, and she certainly doesn’t know me.  I don’t remember what I was thinking in the quiet of this captured moment, but I’m sure it wasn’t about mortgages, diapers, grading, or any of the things that occupy my mind today.  She’s almost unrecognizable.

I don’t have that many pictures of myself that I like, but this is one of my favorites.  Artistically, it’s not really that good of a photo and I look like any other 20-something American female tourist in Paris, but I smile whenever I come across it in my photo album.  That afternoon, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, I was a blank slate.  Unemployed, unmarried, and unencumbered by adult life.   Even more, I like to think that the girl in the picture – the one who spent the summer of 2001 traipsing around Europe instead of job searching – would be really happy to meet me.  She would be pleased with how we turned out.

I’m sure we all have things we would like to say to our younger selves.  Personally, I would simply tell the girl in the picture, “Everything is going to be wonderful.  Don’t worry about it.  Enjoy this moment.”Parisb-horz