Saturday, September 6, 2014

Summer Adventures

A few weeks ago we journeyed to the east coast.  We were able to set foot in eight states.  I’m not going to count stopovers at airports as that doesn’t quite register as “visiting” to me. We had an awesome time!

We began our adventure off on the wrong foot due to a flight delay out of Los Angeles. Initially, we were supposed to fly into Cincinnati via Dallas, but the flight out of Dallas had already departed when we arrived causing panic. Seriously, are flights always delayed now?   What were we to do?  We could stay at a hotel and fly out the next morning but out of the corner of my eye I saw a flight heading to Lexington, Kentucky that was in the final boarding stages.  I pleaded with the gate agent to let us on the Lexington flight, as I knew it wasn’t too far from Cincinnati.  Fortunately, they did let us board and we made it to Lexington.  The only other snag happened to be the lost luggage arriving the next night at 5 PM. 

Alexandria, Kentucky opened its arms to us and we nestled in quite nicely for a few days.   Banter drifted across living rooms, kitchens, basements, and backyards.  Christy’s relatives went out of their way to make the accommodations as cozy as possible. This ended up being the central get-away point for the week as we traveled near and far. 

My son was so excited to see the shark tanks and petting area of the aquarium in Newport, Kentucky.  The duck boat tour and aquarium in Newport were a highlight of the trip as he sang along with other passengers on the boat and was wide-eyed the entire time.

A few days later found us in Wheelersburg, Ohio for a family reunion on my wife’s side. It was nice to see dozens of cousins, aunts, uncles, and in-laws sitting around and discussing the good old days.   I might not be familiar with all the distant memories but it was great to hear the stories. The shared laughter reverberated across the small town.

Since we were in southeast Ohio, we decided to take a drive to West Virginia.  Country roads take me home!  Maybe West Virginia isn’t home but it sure is a beautiful state.  We ambled around Marshall University and Huntsville for the day.  Marshall has a wonderful campus and we felt an easy-going atmosphere around us.  The locals were quite kind and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

We landed back in Kentucky where we had some more laughs with family and friends.  With Alexandria, Kentucky being so close to Cincinnati, I got to see both Red Sox vs. Reds games. How ironic was it that I went with family and friends on two different days and ended up in the same section? The Red Sox were several games back at the time but that didn’t stop Red Sox Nation from cascading chants and loud claps in enemy territory.  The locals were so classy and handled the barrage with respect and dignity.  (I’ve now seen the Red Sox in 17 stadiums on the road and my goal is to see them play in every ballpark).  That’s a road-trip worth taking further up the road. 

Cincinnati is a great city.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t care for heights and crossing all those bridges made me a little uneasy at times, especially the one I walked…rather quickly raced across to get it over with.  However, the scenery in that city is amazing.  If you’ve never been, I strongly recommend a trip to that area. You might not know if you are in Kentucky or Ohio most the time but that is half the fun!  We didn’t run into locals George Clooney, Sarah Jessica Parker or Pete Rose but we did see a lot of historical sights. 

Next, our adventures took us to my beloved hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Boston, you’re my home, is one of my wife’s favorite cities in the world. I got to take my son and wife all over the city and they loved the sites. Visiting with family and friends made the trip extra special. 

Being one of six children coupled with six nieces and nephews never allows for a dull moment. Twenty-four family and friends attended a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.  That was awesome!  The Red Sox were on the wrong side of the outcome but the memories will far outweigh the score.  My mom and dad had an extraordinary time and we had a family photo taken that I’ll cherish forever.

The journey wound us through Connecticut, New York City and New Jersey.  My niece and her friend attended an Eminem/Rhianna concert and we made a two-day trip of the ordeal. They had a blast. We did like New York City, but my-oh-my is that city busy.  We took our son to the Hershey Store and Toys ‘R Us in Times Square.   There is so much more to see there.  Start spreading the news… we’ll visit again in the fall or spring one day!

Live Free or Die is the state motto of our neighbors to the north, New Hampshire.  New Hampshire is 85 % forest and boy does it show.  It seems there are trees or vegetation hugging every highway or distant view.  Rolling hills and picturesque scenery lurk around every corner. 

We got to spend the evening with my brother and his family at his campsite in Ossipee.  The aroma from the fire pits throughout the campground drifted effortlessly by like the summer’s breeze.  S’mores were the favorite way to end the evening.  Ok…I don’t eat them, but everybody else enjoyed this treat.

I can’t thank our family and friends enough for the hospitality they showed us throughout the summer.  We can’t wait to return to some of the same destinations next year.  In total, we traveled to Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire.

We flew back to Los Angeles and talked about our trip the whole flight home!



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