Tag Archives: travel

Because I thoroughly enjoyed Stiff.

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With thanks to the ever charming Kenny Nines at https://theterribleidealist.wordpress.com/ who alerted me to the existence of sequels, I bring you Gulp.

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Another masterpiece by the delightfully quirky and sometimes bizarre author Mary Roach.

When Kenny told me there were other books like Stiff? I was all in! And ordered four from Amazon knowing I would blog the highlights here.

So let’s dive into the wacky and wonderful world of the human digestive tract shall we?

This book comes with a bit of a warning…

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Poopreport.com

If ever there was a website to avoid at all costs? That would be it .

While this book focuses on the digestive tract, it goes delightfully off course on tangents of smell, taste, flatulence, food culture and the occasional substitute.

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Hair is kosher.

You heard it here first.

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Human hairballs?

Damn, I love these books!

Much attention is paid to food. How we eat, why we eat, and what we eat. Food is cultural and while roasted bat may not be on your dinner table tonight, rest assured it’s on someone’s somewhere.

In Mary’s travels while researching this book, she met an Innuit man who served her Muktuk.

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Raw chunks of Narwahl flesh and skin. She assures us it was delicious and very nutritious, but I think I’d almost prefer the bat.

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Pig balls, coming to a restaurant near you!

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Screw you Facebook!

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Like it isn’t bad enough we haven’t travelled anywhere since Christmas 2019.

As if I don’t miss the annual large trip and three smaller vacations we used to take every year.

Because Covid hasn’t made life as sedentary and boring as possible? Facebook has to twist the knife in a little deeper with their constant “memories” feature.

On this day three years ago you were happy!

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On this day three years ago you were exploring Sedona Arizona!

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On this day three years ago you had no idea life would soon come to a screeching halt!

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So cut it out Facebook!

I don’t need to be reminded how much I loved traveling… I realize it every time we treat walking over to the man cave/Barn Mahal like a weekend getaway.

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I totally saw a yacht at sea.

How pathetic is that?

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Because after all the alcohol, we were in need of food.

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I sampled heavily at the distillery while my other half was busy talking.

I sampled lightly and drank heartily at the Whippletree winery.

And now, I was ready for a late lunch. But sadly, late lunch wasn’t ready for me because every single restaurant we tried in North Conway New Hampshire on a Saturday afternoon in December was filled to bursting. Damn those hungry Christmas shoppers!

Wasting a good hour hopping from place to place to no avail, we said to hell with it and drove.

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Through the White Mountains and over to Mount Washington.

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The closer we got the darker it became, and we arrived at the Notch Grill in the Glen House just as flurries started to fall.

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Thankfully they weren’t crowded and we settled in.

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Hibiscus rose margarita …

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With a view isn’t a bad way to end the day.

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Crispy pork pot stickers with Thai ginger dipping sauce to share…

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Followed by pan seared duck breast with apple rosemary jam, roasted fingerling potatoes and squash rings for me… baked haddock in white wine and buttered crumbs with mashed potatoes and carrots for the hubs.

It was all delicious and we were too full for dessert.

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I was also too full to sit and watch a slightly out of date Christmas program on the bar television.

Andy Williams?

Ho. Ho. Hum….

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Whipple what…?

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Upon leaving the distillery, I spotted a sign.

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And seeing that we had nowhere pressing to be, we headed for the woods.

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Or rather a house in the woods, up a steep driveway, to what looked like a converted garage.

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The fact that it was filled with antique radios…

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And vintage wooden snowshoe molds made my other half feel right at home.

We were warmly greeted, offered a plush seat at the bar and handed a sampling menu.

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For a small batch home spun winery, they had a large list and we each chose 5.

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Since vineyard grapes don’t grow in Maine (too cold dontcha know) the wines were heavily fruited alternatively. Apples, cranberries, pears, blueberries… even a coconut lime that I had to try even though I knew it would be awful.

No surprise – it was.

There were one or two that were tasty, but I have a hard time taking a winery seriously when they offer PB&J. 🤢

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And oh… if you were wondering how the place got its name, or what in the actual Hell a whipple is?

Here’s a hint: they made a lamp out of one and now my husband wants to make his own for over the new pool table.

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“Whippletrees are used in tension to distribute forces from a point load to the traces of draught animals(the traces are the chains or straps on each side of the harness, on which the animal pulls). For these, the whippletree consists of a loose horizontal bar between the draught animal and its load. The centre of the bar is connected to the load, and the traces attach to its ends. Whippletrees are used especially when pulling a dragged load such as a plough, harrow, log or canal boat or for pulling a vehicle (by the leaders in a team with more than one row of animals).”

And yes… of course my husband owns three of them, even though he’s never had a horse, ox or donkey.

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He did it!

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We’ve talked about it for years.

He’s come close a few times but was never able to pull the trigger.

I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

But today?

He actually did it.

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My husband finally sent in his retirement papers!

While most people dream of this day, my other half has been strangely dreading it. The man has worked since he was 12 years old and he’s going to have a hard time adjusting.

To be honest, he’s not handling the aging process well. Instead of looking forward to relaxing… he feels old and unproductive. Put out to pasture, next step death.

It’s been a constant struggle for me to lighten the mood and paint a rosy picture of our lives post employment. This shouldn’t be difficult, we’re debt free and financially secure….

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Well, that could be an issue…. but my workaholic spouse needs the challenge and feeling of accomplishment work provides, and keeping him upbeat is becoming a bit of a chore.

Our original plan was retirement in 2020 and then … sayonara baby, we were going to travel! But the global plague had other ideas and it’s kicked his health paranoia into full gear, so that’s out for now.

I have a honey do list that could keep him busy until the next millennia, but he doesn’t seem interested.

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That could work. But come on, how much time can you actually spend peeing?

The husband doesn’t fish, or carve duck decoys. He isn’t one for sitting still long enough to read a good book or enjoy a sunset from a rocking chair.

I know it sounds silly, but I swear he’s depressed at the very thought of retirement.

Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. My Suzy Sunshine routine is starting to wear a little thin.

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Let’s play.

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This one should be fun.

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For me it’s an easy choice. The Poconos.

We’d never been… and though we’re long past the heart shaped red velvet mirrored honeymoon beds the area is known for, 6 years ago we decided to take off for the mountains and spend Christmas there.

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I booked a week at an amazing place, full of atmosphere. ( Think the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining, minus Jack, his ax and the twins )

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It was old, built of stone, and so huge I couldn’t get a photo of it in one shot.

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It was an old resort like you see in the movie Dirty Dancing. Rich people would escape summer in the city and live here for months. It had multiple dining facilities, a spa, a theater, game rooms, multiple bars, a library, a stable and even its own post office… complete with a personal hotel zip code.

The best (read weird) part? We had the entire place to ourselves.

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I’m not kidding, we were there for a week and didn’t see another guest until Christmas Day. Talk about eerie.

And while the interior of this grand old dame was impressive…

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It was beyond strange being the only inhabitants.

Have you ever eaten dinner by yourself in a dining room that seats 400?

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Or breakfast in a room that seats 300?

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Trust me, it’s a little creepy.

Thankfully we weren’t murdered in our bed, but in retrospect the odd accommodations turned out to be the highlight of the trip.

For a full week we toured the area and never found anything the least bit scenic. Rows of strip malls, trash lined roads and extremely tacky “family fun resorts”?

There were plenty of those. And in true “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em… we’re going to have a good time if it kills us” fashion… we bar hopped every tacky resort we could find.

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Indoor purple waterfall?

Check!

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Bizarre robotic decorative Santas?

Check!

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Elephant driven sleighs at an African themed resort called Kalahari?

Check!

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Giant topiary squirrels?

Yeah, those too.

And while the husband and I manage to have a good time wherever we go?

The Poconos are definitely at the top of our been there, done that, don’t need to do it again list.

So how about you? To what place are you never returning…

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The Devil’s shingle and a foliage finale.

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Since we were unable to ride the actual train, we had to check out the little Cog Railway museum while we were there. I won’t drone on about the engineering wonder it was….

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But I will draw your attention to this…

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I simply can not imagine flying down the mountainside on a small piece of wood.

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And trust me, it was small. It’s hard to tell from that picture but look closely and you’ll realize big butt people need not apply.

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Although that dog seems to be enjoying the ride.

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A few more foliage pics from our drive home.

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Bye bye Mountains.

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We certainly enjoyed the show.

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The Cog

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The final stop on our leaf peeping day trip tour was the Cog Railway on Mount Washington.

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This is one of those “must do” tourist things that we’ve never managed to do and since we were in the area, we thought… why not?

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The answer to that question was hundreds of other tourists who thought the same thing. The place was packed and there was no space available on the trains for the next 3 days without reservations.

The Cog is a strange beast.

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And like no other train ride you’re ever apt to take.

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So even though we couldn’t find a seat, we stayed to watch.

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With a slowly dying beautiful remnant of summer.

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That’s the husband taking a closer look at the bridge.

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And this is the Cog.

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Beginning it’s climb up the mountain at a breath taking 2.7 mph.

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Here’s a shot of the unique rail line.

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I won’t bore those who don’t care about trains or history, but if you’re interested you can check this out:

https://www.sentinelsource.com/life_and_style/books/cog-railway-has-a-rich-interesting-and-sometimes-tragic-history/article_35ad4a9a-3e52-5bff-a50e-cfca3c804cd6.html

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In this part of the world, it’s pretty famous.

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Mountains, foliage and a little food.

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When you exit the Kancamagus Highway…

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You find yourself in the town of Woodstock, and when you’re in Woodstock?

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You have to visit the Woodstock Inn and Brewery.

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Of course if you visit this time of year.. you can expect to search endlessly for a parking spot, be unable to sit outside due to the high crowd volume, and find that the only indoor space available are two stools at the end of the bar.

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The brewery is a funky place, filled with all kinds interesting eye candy.

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But it was extremely crowded as well as extremely loud, so we decided to have a drink and an appetizer and be on our way.

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Pomegranate margarita and some fabulous duck wontons with sweet Thai chili sauce for me.

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And a French onion soup so loaded with cheese for the husband I thought he’d never get through it.

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After our snack we headed to Franconia Notch…

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Where the fall color was a bit past peak but still impressive.

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Trees.

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Fall leaves.

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And mountains.

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No narrative required.

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More from the glorious Kanc.

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Part two of Mother Nature’s amazing foliage display along the Kancamagus Highway.

No narrative required.

( And if you’ve never experienced autumn in New England? What the hell are you waiting for! )

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Now tell me your blood pressure didn’t just drop.

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