Saturday, October 3, 2009

To the East Again

My Better Half and I have had some hotel points burning holes in our pockets and when we saw flights to Baltimore for cheap, we decided to jump on the opportunity and go away for an extended weekend.

We woke up our first morning and headed to see the lovely Monticello. On the way there, we spotted a Civil War battlefield and pulled over to take a peek. It was such a misty, beautiful morning, and I could almost see the soldiers marching over the hill in the distance. It gave me chills... so many lost. So much pain and suffering. I am glad we were able to stop and remember. Remember the price of Freedom, even if it was just for a moment.

And then we were back on our way to Monticello. Here is the view of Thomas Jefferson's beloved home that can be seen on the back of a nickel. Very cool.

Followed by some views of his beloved gardens...of which are now beloved by me. They were gorgeous and I could have spent hours looking at all of the different plants, trees and flowers that he lovingly grew.

The next day we drove up to Philadelphia to see some sights there, such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (seen behind the Bell), downtown Philly and of course, the Rocky Steps.

I was then trying to take a picture of the both of us at the top of the Steps (72 to be exact) and a certain someone wouldn't hold still and smile, he kept pulling faces etc. (as bad as a kid) ...and so I snapped one accidentally in the midst of a fit of laughter and it turned out quite delightful.

The everfamous Steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of exciting.

For lunch, my Travel Agent/Husband did not disappoint and due to previous research we ate some of the best of Philly Cheesesteaks at Steve's along with superb cheese fries. Mighty tasty.

After which, and on the spur of the moment...we loaded back in the car for a 7 hour drive to Niagara Falls. I was stoked. I have ALWAYS wanted to see Niagara Falls... (And our trusty Garmin worked faithfully and wonderfully except for one time in the middle of downtown Philly when it decided to quit working for a few gut-twisting moments and we realized just how worthless we were without it. We bought a map after that.)

We were met with spectacular views along the way and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery until sadly, the sun went down.

The next morning we hopped over to Niagara Falls, which was as breathtaking as I had hoped and after watching the little Maids of Mist (boats) make their way into Horshoe Falls, we decided we had to go too.

The boat ride in was outrageous. Donned in our blue ponchos, we floated by American Falls making our way into the heart of Canadian/Horseshoe Falls. I couldn't get a picture once we neared Horseshoe Falls because of the mist...but imagine sitting in a little boat, surrounded on three sides by a 167 foot tall waterfall shaped like a horseshoe rising above you. Imagine the huge waves from the impact of water crashing over the falls that rock the little boat. Imagine the deafening sound and huge amounts of mist and spray swirling through the air. And then imagine throwing off the hood of your poncho and taking it all in...the water, the noise, the waves... that's surely what I did and it was great!

After we were entirely soaked...we climbed back in the car and drove another 2 or so more hours to Palmyra, NY to visit Joseph Smith's family farm, the Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah, the Grandin Press and the Eerie Canal.

It was so peaceful and pastoral and we enjoyed strolling through the Sacred Grove for quite some time. We especially loved seeing the remnants of a stone wall that defined the property lines of the Smith Farm. It was amazing and inspiring to see manifestations of work that Joseph and his family had done almost 200 years ago.

We made it to the Grandin Press just before closing and learned quite a bit about printing the Book of Mormon and the huge process that was involved in printing and publishing books in 1830.

We went to DC almost 2 years ago and were not at all able to see all of the attractions, museums, etc. so for our last day and a half we hit up some of the Smithsonian Museums (there are 19...I think we saw a whopping 3) and quickly re-visited some of our favorite spots from last time.

Some of my favorite museum sightings were C3PO, Dorothy's Shoes, the Star-Spangled Banner (which you can't photograph or I would have, because it most certainly got me all misty-eyed) and this totally awesome, self-driving, robotic car named Stanley. You can read more about him here.

And LOOK! My lovely shirt made it out unscathed and smelling fine after the Gas Incident of last month. Hallelujah!

We last came in December so it was fun to see the Tidal Basin with leaved-trees. It's such a beautiful spot...I am sure it would be absolutely show-stopping in the Spring when the cherry blossoms are in full swing.

My dear hubs also surprised me with this fabulous locket whilst we were travelling. I have ALWAYS wanted a locket and I don't recall ever telling him that...he just thought I'd like it and researched until he found the perfect one. And it IS perfect, I love it. It has a vintage finish on one side and is scrolly and swirly on the other making it reversible. Now to fill it with mini photos...

Anyway...we crammed in so many attractions, sights and tourist traps that we could barely walk when we got home and it took a few days to recover from the blisters and sore muscles. But it was so, delightfully worth it. With four kidlets, a house to run and bills to pay, I sometimes feel like a good friend pointed out to me...that marriage morphs into a business partnership. We definitely needed to take time to get away... to laugh, joke, talk and get to know one another again.

A huge THANKS to those of you lucky enough to watch our kids for us! I appreciate it so very much.


  1. So fun!! We haven't been there for so long - it brought back memories. It is beautiful!! Glad you guys had a fun vacation together!

  2. It's been a long time since i have been in that area. I forgot how beautiful it is! Looks like you had a GREAT weekend! Hope your good!

  3. I love Steve's! I love Niagra Falls! And I love the Sacred Grove - how wonderful that you got to go in fall when it's all sooo beautiful.

  4. Oh, it took me back to when we went to all those great places. That was one of the best trips of my life. Amen on the flag in the Smithsonian. I cried and cried. Glad you got to see all those neat things. Oh ya, D would NOT run the Rocky steps with me. I ran them and giggled at the top as I raised my hands in the air. It was awesome!

  5. Looks like a fantastic trip. Love all of the bright beautiful pictures.

  6. What a fun vacation for you both! You really did cram a whole lot into your time there! Your pictures are beautiful!

  7. LOU!!!! Niagra Falls, the Sacred Grove and the ROCKY STEPS??!! You hooped it UP, dude! What a MARVELOUS vacation. And you deserved every minute of it! It's kind of funny when you have to take a trip away from life to reacquaint yourself with your spouse, but it sounds like it was good all the way around! I'm so happy for you! Brian and I have been talking about going back east. And we have a chance to now... My friend Amanda (Bjorklund) Eardly just ran the SG Marathon and qualified for the Boston Marathon and she wants us to go back with her and her husband in April. I think we will!!! :D

  8. Please post more pics of your locket. Close-up, multi-angle pictures, please. :) It looks very charming and heart warming. I must partake of more of this...

  9. You guys look like honeymooners, I can't believe how sweet Landon was to even think of a pretty locket. I'm jealous!!! I love the pretty colors and all the beautiful scenery! I hope to someday do the same trip.

  10. Whew, I'm tired just looking at all the driving you did. I'm so glad you got some well needed,well deserved hubby time!

  11. What a wonderful trip with some great memories that will last for eternity! Love all the colors!

  12. Erika I am so jealous! It looks like you both had a great time and were able to see such wonderful historic things! I would love to go! And the locket is darling! What a sweet husband you have! And I love all your photography! I love looking at your blog just to see the beautiful pics!

  13. What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing. And I love all the photos!

  14. The trip looks amazing! I can't wait to go on an adventure like that some day. What a great country we live in--makes me get patriotic.

    I love the locket too, if I were to choose a locket, that's the one I would have chosen for sure :)

  15. What an awesome trip! I am truly jealous! ;) You guys got to do so much! I have only been to NYNY on the east coast...I want to go to all the places you did! That was such an incredible trip! Beautiful pics as always! :) And that locket, OMG amazing! I love it!!! He did a fantastic job!!! Props to L! ;)


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