Friday, June 26, 2009

South Dakota

Hubby and daughter are getting ready to leave South Dakota this morning to trek across Wyoming in anticipation of my arrival tomorrow in Jackson Hole. I planned them 3 nights in the Badlands/Black Hills region after their stints in Tulsa and Omaha. They stayed at the Fairfield Inn in Rapid City, for which I used up some Marriott points for their stay (pause to pat self on back). They shared some of their experiences and photos with me, which I will share with you as succinctly as possible.

Day One: Drive thru Badlands National Park... gorgeous (most beautiful thing Taryn's ever seen). Visit to Mt. Rushmore... awesome. Time at Crazy Horse Memorial... truly unbelievable (Did you know that the face alone is so big all 4 presidents on Mt Rushmore could fit inside it?). Buffalo burger at Crazy Horse... delicious. The Buffalo drive through Custer State Park... a little disappointing (more sleeping buffalo than walking near car).

Day Two (taken directly from Taryn's Facebook status yesterday): Deadwood... lame. Spearfish... lame. (Interjection: my family aren't gamblers) Devil's Tower... pretty sweet (They took the long hike around it and Gene said it was just incredible). Indian tacos... yummy.

Day Two Grand Finale: The evening lighting of Mount Rushmore program with Smoky the bear and the Park Rangers... spectacular.

As for me who was back at home: Father and daughter bonding during a once-in-a-lifetime trip... priceless.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Traveling Vicariously through the Midwest

The cross country trip we have been dreaming of taking our daughter on since she was very young has finally arrived. Unfortunately, the first leg of the 3 week trip began without me. On Saturday, Gene and Taryn flew to Kansas City and drove a rental car to Gene's Uncle Jack's in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, Taryn met her great Uncle Jack (her grandmother's brother) for the first time, as well as her dad's 3 first cousins and all of their children. These cousins are the same to Taryn as her cousins Devon and Bryce are here in Florida that she is so close to, so Gene felt it important she finally meet this part of his family. While there, they took a 4-mile walk at a park on the river Gene said was gorgeous, and then enjoyed a Father's Day bbq at Jack and Misty's with the whole fam. Taryn told me the town reminded her of quaint Wellesley Mass.  

Next, they were off again back thru KC and onto Omaha, where they again visited family Taryn had never met. This time, the other side of Gene's family - his father's brother Wink and wife Paulette, Gene's first cousin John Paul and his partner. From the ride, they mentioned many fields of corn and wheat, more corn and more wheat. Another object of interest, mostly to Gene, is the fact that the blacktop is pink. Not sure about that one. My family said John Paul's friend was a great cook, and another highlight of their night in Omaha was Taryn finding out they were staying at the same hotel as the Texas Longhorns, who were in town for the College World Series. College boys, oy!

On day 4, they headed north yet again (today). This time, the destination is Rapid City, South Dakota - where they will spend the next 3 nights. It's been a long ride, and I just hung up with them as they were driving through Badlands National Park. Taryn said it was the most beautiful place she's ever seen. Gene called it God's Country. Along the way, they made spontaneous stops at a Corn Mansion and a Prairie Dog Farm. Taryn took a roll of b/w film for her Senior photo class for next school year of the prairie dogs. The farm was attached to a family's home, and just 50 cents got them a bag of peanuts and access to feed the dogs. Their plan for dinner when they get settled in, Buffalo burgers. They want to eat local.

I promise to post more of their pics when I get them, and plan to follow along on the rest of their first week. Check back soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Anniversary on Anna Maria

I started this blog last Spring, just after my 20 year wedding anniversary trip to Charleston. This is blog post number 89, and it's about my 21st anniversary trip to Anna Maria Island. We went with Christine and Mike Bolebruch, our oldest friends in Florida (longest, not actually oldest). We met them shortly after we moved here, we were newlyweds and they were married a year. We have had countless good times with them over the years - both at home and on the road, including Marco Island, New Orleans and Vegas, to name a few.

It was a perfect trip for an anniversary, a quaint island only 7.5 miles long with 3 fishing piers and beautiful white sand beaches with the most Caribbean blue water. We explored the piers, shopped at my favorite Sanddollar and Ginny and Jane E's, swam in the pool and the ocean, and bicycled to Longboat Key. We saw two incredible sunsets and the guys took turns cooking dinners under the pergola next to our cottages. We stayed at Tradewinds Resort, a sister property to my favorite Tortuga. My first time staying there and I loved it. The cottages are adorable and convenient. The pool, which overlooks the bay, was literally 10 steps from our door.

This post wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention food. Gene did steaks on the barbie the first night, and Mike did shrimp, tuna and mussels the second. For lunch, I had my new favorite sandwich at Bridge Tenders on historic Bridge Street, a blackened grouper reuben, and black bean chili at Cha Cha Coconuts in St. Armand's Circle. Overall, the weekend was perfect, just like my marriage.

Ok, you can laugh now.