2017 Birthday Trip

OK, I’ve finally made it to the last item on my 2017 birthday list: my birthday trip to Sandwich, Massachusetts.

This is the 13th year that I’ve traveled to a new place for my birthday. I decided to go to another town on the Cape (Cape Cod for non-locals), since I’ve lived in Boston for 18 years and can count on one hand how many times I’ve been to the Cape.

Sandwich caught my eye, because it’s the first town on the Cape, and I found an Airbnb that was within walking distance of the town. The trip had a rough start. I took a bus from Boston, which dropped me off at a Park and Ride lot a few miles from Sandwich. I planned to pick up a regional bus from there that would stop in downtown Sandwich. It was raining very hard as I waited in a bus shelter at the Park and Ride lot for an hour until the regional bus arrived.

Well, the regional bus arrived and blew right past me. The next regional bus would be coming by two hours later. In a panic, I tried to find a local taxi service. All I could find were charter airport buses. I was unable to download the Uber app because there is something wrong with my Apple ID. I contacted my Airbnb host to ask if she knew of any taxi services, but she didn’t respond immediately because she was out running errands.

She did respond eventually and offered to pick me up. I was beyond grateful! She was lovely as was her house. It was built in the 1700s, and our room had a secret panel that an owner built in case he had to run from the Tories during the Revolutionary War.

The rain finally stopped, so I was able to walk around downtown and get afternoon tea at a teahouse. The downtown was very small, but I enjoyed walking past a beautiful church that was featured on an Elvis Presley album cover and seeing the Dexter Grist Mill, which was built in 1637.

My partner Allen drove down the next day, so we were able to see some sites that were farther afield from the downtown area. The Heritage Museums and Gardens was fantastic. The rhododendrons in bloom were beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is also an impressive car collection on display as well as a gallery of American art and a working carousel! You could easily spend an entire day there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had an early dinner and then drove to the Sandwich Boardwalk to watch the sunset. The boardwalk is 1,000+ feet long! Part of it does not have a railing, so I started feeling dizzy while walking to the beach at the end of it. But it was totally worth it. The sunset was breathtaking, but isn’t it always?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we left town the next day, we went to the Sandwich Glass Museum. Sandwich was a major hub of glass production in the 1800s. We were lucky to catch a glassblowing demonstration when we first entered. Then we spent more than an hour learning about the history of glassmaking in Sandwich and seeing hundreds of glass pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plates, glasses, vases, salt cellars, chickens…all different colors and patterns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandwich was well worth a visit and I was glad to spend a birthday there. So now I’m counting down to birthday list #43, which will commence in about 1.5 months. !?!??!

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DC in Springtime

I finally made it to DC to see the cherry blossoms in April. I stayed with a friend who had an appointment one morning, so she dropped me off at the Tidal Basin, where I spent almost two hours rambling and enjoying the cherry blossoms. The Jefferson, FDR, and MLK Jr. memorials are along the route, which was a bonus. Here are a few of the many photos I took:

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Later that day, my friend and I visited Anderson House, which was first owned by Larz and Isabel Anderson and is now the home of the Society of Cincinnati. I was excited to visit this house because the Andersons had a summer home in the town where I live. All that remains of their summer home is a carriage house with their car collection and a small exhibit about their backgrounds and travels.

Theirs is a privileged and romantic story. They both had more money than they knew what to do with, and Larz was a diplomat in several countries. They traveled everywhere and bought a new car each year. I learned at the auto museum that Isabel was the first woman in Massachusetts to get a driver’s license. Badass! Larz was a bit of a showman so their homes in DC and Massachusetts were opulent and housed many beautiful works of art. Here are a few photos of their DC home:

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The mural depicts their gardens at their Massachusetts home.

 

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I’ve only been to DC a handful of times, and I need to rectify that! There is so much to explore there…

A Promise to My Two-Year-Old Niece

Dear Niyah,

I promise you that I will do everything I can to ensure you are safe and supported (legally and emotionally) if:

  • You love, and wish to marry, a woman;
  • You decide you will be happier living as a male;
  • You want to use birth control; or
  • You want to get an abortion.

I promise to help your parents and grandparents teach you that EVERYONE is equal and deserves justice, no matter their ethnicity, national origin, religion, ability or disability, gender identity/expression, or age.

I also pledge to do what I can to slow the advancement of climate change. The current outlook on this is terribly bleak, but many Americans are mobilizing and ready to fight those who choose to ignore scientific research.

I admit that I’m scared for you (and every other American including myself), but hope is stronger than fear. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Light and love will see us through.

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No Snow, No Problem

A couple of months ago, my friend Cindy asked if I would be interested in going dog sledding. I was unaware that such an activity existed in New England.

Obviously, I said yes. And that is how I found myself hanging out with 4 mushers and 24 huskies at a campground in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, a few weeks ago.

One of the teams

One of the teams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We chose to go on a one-hour tour with Valley Snow Dogz. The company is owned by Lidia, a lovely woman from Manchester, England. Her lovely husband, Richard, helps out and was quite the adventure photographer on the day of our tour. Kim and Kelly are lovely twin sisters who also help give the tours.

Before we started the tour, we were introduced to the three teams of eight dogs. The dogs—all Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Huskies—were beautiful and SO sweet and gentle. Some even liked to give hugs.

There was little to no snow on the ground, so instead of sledding, we sat on the back of ATVs for our tour. The dogs were hooked up to the front of the ATVs.

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When we met them, they didn’t make a peep, but as soon as they started getting hooked up, one by one, they started barking in an excited chorus. Luckily it was a sunny day and the temperature wasn’t terribly cold. We took all kinds of windy paths in the campground. The “musher” would give commands when she wanted the team to turn left or right. Sometimes they were confused, but one of the “leader” dogs eventually got it right and led us in the right direction.

I expressed my surprise at how hard the dogs were working, but Lidia assured me that this is what they are bred for. They thrive in temperatures below freezing and heat is released through their paws, so they never get too cold.

Action shot of Kim and me (courtesy of Richard Dale-Mesaros)

Action shot of Kim and me (courtesy of Richard Dale-Mesaros)

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the tour, we said our farewells to the dogs and chatted with the mushers a bit. Their enthusiasm and passion for their work was a joy to witness, and I found it inspiring. Next year, I hope to try dog sledding

Cindy gets a kiss from a friend

Cindy gets a kiss from a friend

 

 

 

A House in the Country

My friend Linda and I toured the Lyman Estate, a Historic New England property, the other day. I was especially excited to see this property because it features one of the oldest surviving greenhouses in the country. We timed the visit so we could see camellias in bloom.

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The Lyman Estate was built by a wealthy shipping merchant in 1793. He and his family lived in Boston but wanted “a country home” in nearby Waltham. Four generations lived there; the fifth generation decided to donate the property to Historic New England. The estate is used for function rentals, so none of the furnishings are original. But every piece is from the time periods of the Lymans’ residence.

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After a guided tour of the house, we headed to the greenhouses. I love plants even though I struggle to keep them alive. So greenhouses really excite me. There are so many different plants crammed into a greenhouse! So much life in one place…

There were loads of succulents, for which I have a soft spot now, since I made my terrarium.

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Not all of the camellias were in bloom, but there were some pretty ones.

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Just lovely. If I ever live somewhere with outdoor space, I will have to try planting some flowers!

 

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40 things to do on the birthday list!

BirthdayJune 1st, 2015

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