Monday, July 18, 2011

What 3900 Miles in a Toyota Sienna Can Bring You

So, about our long family journey--we left on Saturday, June 25, arrived home on Monday July 11, and in those 17 days had some wonderful times. (Some bad times too--uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, disagreements and arguments, mixed up schedules, etc.--but they were thoroughly outnumbered by the good times.) Most of what happened involved all of us together, making memories, laughing, and exhausting ourselves (and sometimes annoying each other) as we tramped from one site or city or family to another, but, for those who care, here's a selection of some of my favorite moments.

A little personal introspection:

It was overpriced, and I was probably the only one in the family to truly enjoy it (hence my spending about 90 minutes wandering around by myself), but I loved the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.

Getting as close as I could to Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, NY. No one else in the family wanted to get as soaked as I got that cool and misty morning. It was stunning.

Visiting the site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond, in Concord, MA.

A good number of my friends are the sort who find the sentiments inscribed on this marker, and the whole mystique which surrounds Thoreau's experiment with "simplicity", so precious as to be gag-worthy, if not simply outright nonsense and pretension. I disagree with them, to put it lightly.

Food matters, of course:

While walking the Freedom Trail in Boston, we stopped for some absolutely delectable cannoli at the famed Mike's Pastry in Boston's North End near Paul Revere's house. All sorts of flavors, and every single one of them were quickly consumed... the picture attests.

In New York City there was also some really, really good pizza at Franscsco's Pizzeria (too bad none of the inside pics turned out)... well as some homemade pastrami, which my old pal Ross Bailey and friend of his had slaved over, following the strict instructions of another friend of ours, Nick Zukin, co-founder of Portland's Kenny & Zukes. I was fantastic.

Most importantly though, there's spending time with friends, old and new:

Spending a hot Sunday evening wandering around Laumeier Sculpture Park with John and Rosalynde Welch and our families, St. Louis, MO.

Getting a personal guided tour around Harvard Yard in Cambridge, MA, through the generosity of our friend (and Dialogue boss!) Kristine Haglund, a Harvard alumni herself.

Ross, Ashton, and Wendy Bailey, our guides to New York City, in Morris Plains, NJ.

Finally, Ross and I meeting up with Damon Linker and Noah Millman at a cool outdoor lunch spot near Damon's Newsweek/Daily Beast office on the west side of Manhattan, New York City. Ross and I walked the High Line for a while after this lunch, and that just might have been the highlight of the whole trip for me.

There's a lot more I could put up: a wonderfully intimate guided tour of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House; a beautiful, sunny day swimming in the shockingly cold Atlantic ocean at Hampton Beach, NH; spending time at church historical sites like Kirtland, OH and Palmyra, NY...but that's enough for now. It was a great trip.


Rob said...

Oh, I've heard about the High Line! It's on my list as well, if I can ever convince my wife to go to New York.

Rachel Murphy said...

Sounds like a great time. Lots of memories for sure.