A Travellerspoint blog

Holidays Part 4

overcast 22 °C
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Our final leg of our whirlwind turn was Baltimore we took some time to go down to the harbour, and found another “pirate ship” for Eleni to climb aboard. When I asked one of the guides a question he ended up answering my question, but then had 3 of his own about Australia & New Zealand.

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We checked some very cool original ideas like the singing Fudge makers, we think it was a prereq for work there, hey at least they were pretty good and Eleni loved it. She also pestered us to take her on a “dragon boat” ride; we did that on Sunday afternoon after discovering that the duck tours were sold out for the next 2 hours. After our pedal boat tour of the harbour (hemmed in by a submarine on one side and the “pirate ship” on the other) we headed to the Irish pub overlooking the harbour, I can recommend the local beer, Clipper City.

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Our first big family gathering was at Icarus Greek Restaurant, which was where my grand father had lunched with his nieces and nephews 35 years ago. Great family but perhaps not our favourite food stop, Eleni just loved meeting her new cousins though!

Our 2nd big family dinner was on our last night in Baltimore at a clam-house. All the seafood in all the ports on the North East corner of the USA was totally wasted on me because I don`t like anything remotely fishy. It was a great feast though – even if I had steak not the famous local seafood.

Baltimore was very cool and Jen managed to track down another bead store full of goodies (so she says). We also met up with some very special family and managed to spend a little time with friends who have moved there from Australia. Oh yeah and I got to go to local Gridiron game with a cousin, great fun.

On the way back home we ended up staying outside Atlantic City. We went into town that night for dinner, and found a lovely Irish pub – the food was fantastic. The Atlantic City hotels and casinos didn’t really appeal to me. We did see a cool water, light and sound show from a fountain in one of the shopping malls and walked around the boardwalk, the surf was a bit wild and choppy, especially compared to all the lovely harbours and ports we had seen on the way South.

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We dropped Jane and George off at JFK airport and drove North, not quite sure whether we would drive through to Montreal or stay in the US one more night. I wasn’t tired so I kept driving; we arrived in Montreal at about 1:00am. The bonus of this was that we had the car on Thursday morning so we could do some local shopping before having to return the car.

So a trip filled with memories and new faces, gone too quickly and lots of ideas for future trips.

Until next time… Marty.

Posted by JenniM 17:22 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Maine in the Fall

Marty's early birthday present!

sunny 24 °C

We headed off to Maine for a quick long weekend away. Got a sweet car for the price of the economy, confusion reigned at the dealership but we came out the better for it!

Eleni was a dream on the drive. We went through a smaller border crossing on the way and were done in minues. It was like the customs guy was on a Sunday stroll, he commented on how quiet Eleni was (she'd gone into her shy mode) we had a few laughs and were on our way. The change from french to english was dramatic especially noted by the U.S. flags EVERYWHERE. We stopped at this 'cool' rest stop, combined 'gas' corner store, hunting shop and subway. Quite a combination, we really liked the enrmous dead moose on the wall. BUT we have to say everyone was really friendly and were happy to chat with us when we were sitting for lunch.

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The drive was really nice, I think it was just nice getting out of the city and got to get our first taste of Fall. It really does look like the movies with multi colour trees across the mountain top.

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We stayed in a hotel not far from our final destination - Freeport! A pretty little town which seems to have been built around LLBean (a huge outdoor store) Of course it wasn't but it feels like it when you get the there because it is soooo enormous, 4 different stores open 24hrs - no kidding. There are also mulitple outlet stores (other reason for going was to buy winter clothes, we had nothing for the winter here at all). The town is also by the river and we had coffee by the water at a crab shack! There were some beautiful b&bs using existing old homes, gorgeous!

We took a detour to Portland on the Sunday night for a wander and change of scenerey. Ended up in an awesome pub built using the original sea wall so technically two hundred years ago we would have been sitting under water. Like most towns they expanded the water front and changed where they wanted the wharfs. The strangest part was wandering around and feeling like we were in a familiar place. The English were very good at creating new towns that look similar around the world, cobble stones, mulitple wharves and English pubs (i.e. similar to Boston and Sydney). Basically a good time was had by all and a place we shall return to for a better look!

The weekend ended a bit too soon for us and unfortunately we had to take the slow way back, through the more popular border crossing. High point was so I could FINALLY get my work visa, low point I think it took a couple hours to wait in queue, pull over, get papers signed etc etc. But I have it now and well a last Eleni and I are covered by healthcare, well once the 3 month wait is over!

So here we are back in Montreal and waiting on the weather to get colder to try out the new duds!

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Love to all xxx

Posted by JenniM 16:26 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Holidays Part 3

Road Trip - NY, NY

sunny -17 °C
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Hi Marty here with the next instalment.

After Salem we drove South to catch a ferry across to Long Island, NY. Markotsis cousins Gus & Irene live "out east" as they call it on the North Eastern fork of Long Is. We stayed with them one night and while the ladies went bargain hunting at the factory outlets, we men & Eleni cruised the local vineyards to try some of the local wines. There were some really nice wines. When I asked about shipping to Canada they said they had too much trouble trying to ship their wines out of the state let alone the country.

The next day Jen, Eleni & I went into Manhattan. We had a ball! We went in by train and got out at Penn station, and started walking… through Macy’s… down the street to the Empire state building. I had been to the top of the Empire state building once before, in 2002, but it was Eleni and Jen’s turn to see New York from the top. It took a lot longer than last time to get through the queues and up to the observation deck, but we had great weather and could see for miles all around us.

Next stop, beads! We were walking down 5th avenue and Jen spotted a bead store and grabbed a few bargains.

After stopping for lunch, we came across the World of Disney shop, Eleni had a ball running from princess paraphernalia to Ariel (the little mermaid) and on to the next shelf.

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After dragging Eleni away from Cinderella and out of the store we continued uptown.

We even stopped so Jen could check out the Tiffanies window.

We made it all the way to Central Park and wandered through part of the South end without being mugged. We saw the horse drawn carriages, cyclists, sun bathers wedding couples – one couple even were serenaded with bagpipes!

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We then made our way down Broadway

M&Ms World!!!! Three stories of candy bliss! I had so much fun; they had all sorts of M&Ms souvenirs and M&Ms to eat. Mmmmm new raspberry M&Ms! I know that’s a lot of exclamation marks but it was truly great.

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We walked out of the store and into Times Square, with all its lights and signs.

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We were told to check out Toys “R” Us, and to ride the Ferris wheel inside the store. We were tired and had walked and walked and walked. But it was an experience and we’ve done it. We rode the Ferris wheel, then toured the store (which included scaring Eleni with the giant dinosaur in the Jurassic Park section).

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The three of us made our way back to Hicksville by train very tired but glad we got into the Big Apple.

Posted by JenniM 17:21 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Holidays - part 2

Montreal to New York

sunny 28 °C
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Our road trip begins -

We headed out for a drive through the mountains, stopped of at Ossippee Lake for a visit to an old family friend of Jane's (absolutley beautiful spot) and then onto Boston. It was very cool I got to go to Salem, just loved the history (can do without the tourist with shops) and a ferry across to Long Is. Sleep overs at the New York Markotsi homes and trips into Manhatten - I loved that place, I think I've seen too many TV shows 'cause I didn't think I would. Will add photos and try and give you a few stories. We had some fabulous times and I think there were too many to mention!

We wandered into Portsmouth on our way to Boston where George's family have a few roots. We had time to wander around Strawberry Banke, a historical village which gave us a real taste of how things were for families when it was first settled by Europeans.

Boston was another world wind tour but we managed to find a business building that allows you to go to the roof for free for a view of the city. Very cool considering these cost an arm and leg - the security had no humour though! We scored lunch at a Cheers bar (yes the TV show - we have the beer mugs to prove. We wanted to go about the ship related to the Boston tea party but alas it was in dry dock (would have been good to know before we walked for miles to get there!)

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Our tour of Salem took in a tall ship - check out the red line, through Boston and Salem you follow the red lines and they will take you past some fab sites. Salem gets confusing though, different maps, different red lines, old red faded lines all cross over. We survived however and took in the habour, indian spice shop - original candy shop - awesome old building all preserved. For the readers out ther we saw the seven gables. Owned by the guy who wrote the scarlett letter and 'the seven gables'. Also I followed some of the Witch trial sites including this awesome memorial to those killed in the trials.
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New York was a trip unto itself so I think I shall leave it to the next entry - great fun!!!!

Posted by JenniM 18:08 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Holidays Part 1

The arrival....

sunny 30 °C
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Marty's parents decided it was time for a visit so they made the long cros world journey - via a couple of scenic places to Montreal surviving the wonderful world of airports and security - just.

The first week of their visit we had the opportunity to show off our part of the world. In all our complaints and home sickness there really are some fabulous tourist places. They took in the sites of St Denis, drank Sangria on the strip and absorbed the atmosphere, lots of fun.

We took a trip into Old Montreal and took in the sites which is the Notre Dame Cathedral, yes Montreal's take on that 'other' famous Notre Dame. Pretty awesome but very touristy, between 1 and 4 dollars just to light a candle!

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We rode the cross mountain bus, experienced the tranquility of Beaver lake which is used in Winter as an ice skating rink and had some awesome sculptures in the area - we thought this one looked like a pair of sumo wrestlers.

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The bus took us a little further to the top and we experienced some of the histroy of where the early settlers lived (after chasing the local Indians out)

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The day ended with a fabulous trek Oratory of St Joseph - the most amazing multi story level Church begun as a simple little Church and has continued to grow ever since. Now a pilgrimage for the faithful or simply a daily exercise routine.

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The special part of the Oratory was the Stations of the cross garden. Filled with beautiful amazing scultures of simple stone. Without a 3 year old in tow one could really spend a lot of time contemplating - wow.

Stay tuned for part 2 - the USA edition!!

Posted by JenniM 17:38 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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