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NEW YORK CITY! (day one)Steve
On Wednesday morning Sharon's cousin Lara dropped us off at the train platform and about an hour and a half later we arrived at Grand Central Station. I guess I was expecting Grand Central Station (GCS) to be some grungy old train terminal...well was I ever shocked. GCS is a BEAUTIFUL historic building full of shops, restaurants, bars and of course LOTS of people...and I mean LOTS OF PEOPLE. Sharon and I grabbed a quick cup of coffee got our bearings and headed out to begin our exploration of New York City. I had never been to "the city" and when we exited GCS I was at first overwhelmed with the numbers of people rushing around, both on the sidewalks and in their cars. It seemed that everyone was in a MAJOR hurry to get somewhere. After visiting Saint Patricks Cathedral we decided we would go to Rockefeller Center, I was expecting some sorta big office building and was once again surprised to find that "The Rock" had a very large underground mall like area..once again full of shops, restaurants and people....LOTS OF PEOPLE. The Rock has an observation deck that is on the 67th -69th floors where you have a 360 degree view of the entire New York City area. I'm not sure how long we were up at the "Top of The Rock" but it is mesmerizing to look out over the biggest city in America and her awesome array of skyscrapers and buildings. After leaving The Rock we headed over to Times Square to see if we could get some discount tickets to a Broadway show. Times Square is AMAZING...I think we've all seen it on TV at one time or another, but there is no way to truly appreciate the whole atmosphere unless you are there in person. Due to the very long line for discount tickets we decided to blow it off and head to our hotel to relax for a while. As we made our way through Mid-town Manhattan through the mass of people we started to feel more and more comfortable with the New York scene....In fact I think we even stawted tawlking like New Yowkas...ya know wadda I mean?
When I was visiting Vermont in June Sharon and I went to happy hour with Sharon's childhood friend Courtney and her husband Chris. After downing a few brewskis together, Courtney and Chris invited us to go on a camping trip with them and about 100 of their closest friends. This is an annual camping trip that they have been doing for several years. The trip was to be at a place called Kampersville. Kampersville is a Disneyland type campground with many different types of activities for both adults and children. The organizers of the trip reserve a complete street of campsites, including three sites that are used as a community gathering area. Of course we accepted their invitation...remember we were at happy hour and had had a few (quite a few) brewskis. As the date got closer I became a little apprehensive...I mean lets face it I was going on a 3-4 day camping trip with a bunch of people that I didn't know, but they had known each other most of their lives AND I was to be the oldest guy in the group. Would they snicker behind my back when I fell asleep after dinner? Would I be standing around twiddling my thumbs while they reminisced about the past? Well all of my apprehension was unfounded (I think). The group welcomed me in as one of their own as we gathered each afternoon and shared stories, jokes, food, games and of course drinks. Sharon and I went on hikes through the woods, we relaxed at our campsite and one day we rented a canoe and explored the lake. We entered a shuffleboard tournament, we played beer pong and we participated in other fun activities. As the weekend went on I marveled to myself at what a different life these guys had than the one I was raised in. As I said...many had know each for most...if not all their lives, they had gone to school together, been in each others weddings and now their kids were all playing together. The last night it rained and we all huddled together under a large canopy singing old songs, making jokes and partying until the wee hours of the morning.....AND I was still awake.
Small town USASteve
08/02/2011, Baltimore airport
I am currently at the Baltimore airport waiting for my flight to Hartford, CT to meet Shaybo. I REALLY enjoyed my stay with Ross and Carol, it was a very relaxing 2 weeks, which after nearly 6 months of cruising was just what the doctor ordered. It's kinda ironic that I left the Sea of Cortez to escape the heat and it has been close to 100 degrees here in the Washington area ever since I arrived. Although Ross and I did visit Mt. Vernon yesterday most of our time was spent in the Hancock area. We did lots of things that many people might find boring, but being a city boy I enjoy seeing small town USA. We visited some historical sites. We took meandering drives through the countryside, we ate at a truck stop, small local diners and exclusive resorts in the countryside.
Life on the farmSteve
07/29/2011, Hancock, Md. USA
After visiting Antietam, Ross and I continued on to Alexandria Va.. Ross has a rental in Alexandria that he is doing some work on before he rents it back out. Alexandria is a really cool suburb of Washington D.C., although we were mainly working on the townhouse, we were able to do a little exploring of some of the local restaurants and stores in Alexandria. I had agreed to help Ross tile a back porch in his townhouse and although neither one of us had ever done any tiling, we both worked together and I think we ended up doing a pretty damm good job.
07/25/2011, Antietam Battlefield
One of the many places that I wanted to visit while on my summer visit to the East Coast was a Civil War battlefield. I wasn't really paying much attention in school the day they taught us about the Civil War, (or several other days for that matter), so I wasn't really sure about many of the finer details of this horrible war. It turns out that my Uncle's house in Western Maryland is in the middle of what was a hotbed of the Civil War.
Hancock Md, USASteve
07/23/2011, mmmm...Hancock, Md
Soooo....here I am in Hancock, Md. visiting my Aunt and Uncle, Ross and Carol. Hancock is a small town in Western Maryland with a population of around 1,600. Hancock is struggling in the current economic climate as many towns and cities are. It didn't help Hancock that they lost 2 medium sized employers within the past 10 years. Ross and Carol live just outside the town limits on a beautiful estate with over 12 acres (more on that later). I always find Ross and Carol's home to be a relaxing place to be, it's pretty much like being on the farm without having to do a bunch of farm work. Their property sits just above the Potomac River, there is a really cool 22 mile long bike/walking trail that runs past their property (pic), and along the Potomac that I love taking my morning walks on. Ross and I are going to take a trip into Washington and hopefully visit a Civil War battle site while I'm here.
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