Sunday, April 12, 2015

Politics, Politicians, and Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers

Washington D.C.: March 25, 2015

Taking the VRE into DC bright and early. Gretchen's first train ride!

National Museum of American History!

This house is in the museum! It was built in the 1700s in Massachusetts. This house was threatened to be demolished in the 1960s so the Historical Society called Smithsonian and they came to collect the house and rebuilt it brick by brick in the museum! It has over 200 years of American history inside. 

NBC microphone from the 1930s used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Puppet Count von Count from Sesame Street c. 1972

Dorothy's Ruby Slippers on the Yellow Brick Road! One of 5 pairs Judy Garland wore during the film. These were specifically used for dancing. You can tell because all her shoes had felt on the bottom so they were quiet on set, except this pair was missing felt at the toe. 

How far Alexander Graham Bell's work has come.... On the right is one way he used to record sound. It's simply cardboard with some plaster and foil. 

It's the small details that really make the exhibits... Like the fake horse fake pooping in the fake street. 

Chicago Transit Authority. I had to.

I've sat here in real life in Chicago

Fancy new car with their fancy new tv... playing the History channel. Good job Smithsonian!

This carriage was used to transport President Abraham Lincoln and his wife to Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865. The night Lincoln was assassinated. On the door you can see Lincoln's insignia. 

Boxing Gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali. These were worn in the 1974 fight against George Foreman. 

Ice skates worn by Apollo Ono in the 2002 Olympics.

A 1980s Apple II computer! 

Video camera used to film the only known footage of the first plane hitting the North Tower on 9/11

An old school firetruck that was used by hand pumping water. 

Old school locomotive


Old school New York plate (obviously taken by Gretchen...)

Day 1 in the city: 
After 2 wonderful hours of sleep we woke up and my mother so graciously drove us to the train station where we hopped on and headed for Washington DC. We walked from the train station a few blocks to our hotel where we dropped off our bags and went exploring! We are staying very close to the National Mall! (To clarify, it is not a shopping mall, it is the strip of land containing the Capitol building, monuments, and the White House.) It is freezing cold so we walked straight into a cozy museum. The Museum of American History located on the Mall. We walked through for hours. Despite how exhausted I was, I completely nerded out the entire time! It was great and I'm sure Gretchen is growing less fond of me the longer we stay in this city. From there we headed to Potbelly's for a light lunch then back to the hotel to actually check in. We were given chocolates and water since I'm a platinum member! (well my mom is anyway... Thanks mom!) We were also given a room upgrade so we could check in early. I will from now on always check in early. We still had a full day ahead of us! So we passed out.. HARD. It was very deserved. We ended the night by having Thai food delivered to our hotel and eating wonderfully colored foods we couldn't pronounce. 


Connecticut: April 2-5. 2015

Pit stop on our way from New York to Connecticut

My best friend Randall (who traveled through Europe with me) moved to Connecticut for grad school a couple years ago. I have only seen him once since he moved in Florida. I was finally able to reunite with him on our RoadTrip! Our great friend Sarah flew up from Florida the same weekend so we could all be together. It worked out perfectly! We were introduced to Adrian and he, Randall, Gretchen, and I went to dinner our first night in town at a place called Geronimo's. We had great Mexican food and margaritas. It was so nice to catch up and learn more about Adrian. We went to another bar after dinner, but soon called it a night and headed home. 

While we were out enjoying each other's company Randall's wonderful roommate, Lauren so graciously blew up her queen sized air mattress, made the bed, laid out towels, as well as toothpaste, a new toothbrush, and floss in case we forgot anything. I don't think I have ever felt so welcomed into a strangers home. Needless to say: we crashed so fast. 
The Easter baskets Randall made for Sarah, Gretchen, and I for his YouTube video. 

Our first stop in DT New Haven. Geronimo's. Amazing Blood Orange Margarita.  

We woke up around 830 the next morning. Had to pick up Sarah from the Hartford airport. This crazy girl woke up around 2am to drive to Jacksonville to fly out on the first flight. So obviously the first thing we did was go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee. According to Randall Dunkin is to New England what Starbucks is to Florida. Which baffles me because I always have such an awful experience at Dunkin. But that's another story. 

We freshened up and all 5 of us crammed in the car to head to downtown New Haven. Randall gave us a nice tour of Yale. Where he works. My best friend is a genius. We saw the Rare book collection. Went to one of the biggest libraries I've ever seen. It was only built in the 1920s even though it looks like it could be 400 years old. We grabbed some caffeine from a place called Blue State Coffee and I adore their logo. The Yale Art Museum is incredible! I'm not sure why but I didn't expect much out of it. I assumed it would be some student stuff with a handful of popular items mixed in. So wrong. They had everything from Degá to Picasso. I saw my first real Roy Lichtenstein painting. I was so excited! They actually had 3 different works. I had no idea how big they were! They even housed a Salividor Dali painting. It was extremely cool. We also popped in and out of shops down the street and headed back to the house around 3. 

It took us about 2 hours to decide what to do for dinner. Thankfully we decided to go eat at a place called Modern Pizza. It has been around since 1934. Apparently New Haven has some of the best pizza in the states. There are actual articles and stuff about it too. It's not just locals saying that. And I will vouch that it is VERY good. (Chicago still takes the cake though... Well pie) we went back to the house again and then ventured out to karaoke. There is only one bar dedicated to karaoke in New Haven and it is called Karaoke Heroes! The decor was AMAZING and I'm totally redoing my entire house to match it. Unfortunately we were there for over an hour and weren't able to hear Sarah and Randall sing. We were getting very bored and poor Sarah was awake and going for nearly 22 hours straight. So we called it a night. 

Day 2: Sarah and Randall examining the Guttenburg bible in the Yale rare book collection. 

Rare books for miles. 
Easter Baskets!

Karaoke Heroes! Too bad Randall couldn't save us from everyone's terrible singing....

We started fresh the next morning and went for a hike up East Rock. It was very windy and I will say over and over how much I love Florida's flat land. When we made it to the top we posed for some pictures and recovered our breath. Then we headed back down. Randall took us down the mountain using the Giant Steps Trail. It was rock climbing. We made it and hiked to a super cute Italian market. We grabbed some sandwiches and had a little lunch. We also picked up some cheeses to snack on later. Their cannoli's were totally amazing too. 

After everyone washed up we broke out various snacks and alcohols. Sarah and Randall filmed a handful of videos together for their new YouTube channel. I filmed and tried not to laugh out loud. Everyone just talked and hung out all night. It was extremely relaxing and so nice to spend time with my favorite people. 
Day 3: the hike up East Rock
Bonding while exercising 

At the top of New Haven
Starting our journey down using the Giant Steps Trail!
Sarah and Gretchen about halfway down the giant steps!
Conquering the giant steps
Recuperating from the giant steps with yummy Italian sandwiches and canolli's
Filming a video. 

We woke up Easter morning to Randall cleaning and cooking. He's such a good homemaker! We then proceeded to eat and drink some more. What else do you do on a holiday? Randall had more friends over and it was a full brunch complete with mimosas and opening Easter eggs to read all the terrible things written in them. 

Gretchen and I left for New York in the afternoon. It snowed on the way home drovingn through windy roads in the mountains. It was so beautiful. But we had such an amazing time in Connecticut. I'm so thankful I got to see my best friends new life as well as a new city. There will absolutely have to be additional trips to New Haven in the near future. We can't go that long without seeing each other again! 

Day 4: Easter brunch with this bunch
Last photo together for a while 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Time Traveling

Our 'small' flight. 
Mom pouring out samples. 
The family that drinks together stays together?
Except Megan. She drinks water. 
University of Mary Washington bell tower
Such a pretty campus
Touring the art building
Mary Washington's house
George Washington's bedroom when he would visit his mother. 

We got to really sleep in since we were sleeping in a basement. It was wonderful. Right away we got ready for the day and Gretchen and I, along with my mom and cousin Megan piled into my mother's car and made our way to Blue and Grey Brewery! We were able to get a nice tour of the brewery and some wonderful tastings of some of the beers. My mother and I were able to pour a tasting right from the tank it's brewed in! From there we sat at the bar and ordered some wings and a couple flights of different beers. Cute little Megan drank some water. Poor girl. Maybe one day she can hang with the big kids.

Megan took us on a nice tour of her college, University of Mary Washington. It's right in historic Fredericksburg. We were able to see her messy dorm room and despite the cold she took us on a walk to show us the art building where she spends most of her time. She let us see some of the work she has done in class. All of which was very good! The campus was so beautiful when we were there, I can't imagine how it would look in the summer.

Our next stop seemed appropriate considering what school we were at. We went to visit and tour Mary Washington's last house that her son, George Washington bought for her. He purchased the house in 1772 and she resided there until her death in 1789. It was more fun than you would think. We got our own private tour of her parlor, bedroom, and kitchen. She had a large garden, but like everything else has been on the trip, it was all dead. We learned that Mary was extremely loyal to the British crown and loved her tea, but was still very supportive of her son.

We had a nice lunch at Capitol Ale House. There were so many taps I couldn't handle it... (haha) But somehow we all resisted and spent our lunch drinking water. We all shared a great lunch of Beer Cheese Soup, Spinach & Artichoke Dip, and a Stuffed Pretzel. Highly delicious.

After such a yummy and filling lunch we had to go home and take a nap. Only to wake up to a wonderfully prepared dinner by my stepdad. He deboned a chicken so he could stuff it and we had asparagus and yummy Virginia wine to wash it down with.