I will try to keep it short for this Wordless Wednesday post! However, my heart is overflowing with thanks for a wonderful trip up to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving. We just returned from five wonderful days in New England. The weather was crisp and cold with a bit of flurries in the air. We spent each day enjoying all the local sights.
Our Black Friday was spent touring the local artisan shops in Gilford and Meredith and we ended our day with a lovely lunch at Giuseppes Restaurant. If you are looking for gluten free pizza, visit Giuseppes! Over the holiday weekend, we visited a local craft fair and open house at Lake Opechee Inn & Spa. Some day I would like to stay at this Inn and I already have my room picked out! The Dottie Room overlooks the lake and has beautiful views of the sunset. I had a marvelous demo of the spa's warm wax paraffin dip and would definitely put it on my list of things to do during my stay! The staff was so friendly and helpful. We wrapped up our visit with a tour of a local vineyard: Stone Gate Vineyard. Who knew you could grow grapes way up there?!
What did you all do with your long holiday weekend?
I've been back in Virginia for an entire week and am just now getting to share these beautiful foliage images from my trip to New Hampshire! Unfortunately, I picked up a flu bug on my travels and have been hunkered down in my bed for most of the week trying to get back to my normal healthy self! I had high hopes for our trip…full of hikes through colorful forests, visits to local lighthouses, and walks on the coastal, sandy beaches. However, it rained every day making sightseeing almost impossible. We braved the weather one day with my parents and drove up to the White Mountains to visit The Mount Washington Hotel.
Mount Washington Hotel
"Conceived by industrialist Joseph Stickney, this National Historic Landmark opened in 1902 and has been attracting generations of families ever since." This place is absolutely amazing. If the drive up the entrance does not impress you, walking into the lobby will. The wide open space full of comfortable seating, a large wood fireplace, old school checker games and a view out the back to the landscaped golf greens makes you feel right at home. It was a bit foggy or we would have been able to see Mount Washington itself.
On a day with a bit more sunshine, I could picture my husband and I lounging on the outdoor porch reading the morning paper. For the more adventuresome couples, the hotel offered blankets for those looking to cuddle up and soak in the beautiful colored foliage.
While at The Mount Washington Hotel, we happened upon Stickney's Restaurant. They were quite helpful when it came to my gluten free food allergies and made accommodations for me. I started lunch off with a warm chai tea and enjoyed my view out the window. I could have sat there all day. A blazing fireplace was across the room and we were quite warm and cozy. I had a burger with grilled onions and a delightful side of fruit for lunch. Our food was prepared promptly and everyone gave it a thumbs up.
The rain subsided a bit after lunch and we ventured outside. The views continued to take my breath away. I kept wondering why I had not visited this wonderful place more often while I lived in New England!
We spied a small castle from the rooftop of the hotel. Who knew there was a castle in Bretton Woods?!
I'll leave you here with a few of the most colorful images I have from our trip. My grandparents took a drive up to see the foliage less than seven days later and all you see here was gone. Such a shame the foliage season is so short! Reminds me to take nothing for granted.
Another blog post to my favorite city of Newburyport, MA! While visiting New England on our week long vacation, my husband and I spent an entire day in Newburyport. We were able to get a few hours of sight-seeing and shopping in before the rains came down again. Every day of our seven day vacation included rain. However, it was hard to be disappointed when we were surrounded with such quaint, historic beauty. I absolutely adore the brick buildings and flower boxes that adorn the restaurants and boutiques in this lovely city.
If you are gluten free or have food allergies, Newburyport has several options for you! We had our morning snack at Revitalive Cafe. They have fantastic smoothies, soups and desserts to choose from. They just happened to be located right near WishBasket, which was oh, so convenient for us!
It was not long before our appetites were ready for lunch! My favorite part of vacation, eating out!! Not Your Average Joe's is located right in the middle of downtown Newburyport. It has indoor and outdoor seating. We chose to eat outside on the square. People watching happens to be one of our past times and it was a perfect location for it. I was beyond excited to see the large gluten free menu options. Not Your Average Joe's offers salads, sandwiches on GF bread, soups and more. I had the turkey BLT sandwich with a side salad. I saved most of my bread to finish off their amazing dipping sauce!
Once the downpours began, we decided to seek shelter in one of my favorite cafes in downtown Newburyport: Souffles. It is a little shop that sells unique kitchen accessories as well as coffee. I ordered a chai latte with almond milk. A perfect choice for a cold,blustery New England day!
With the wind and rain we are currently experiencing in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I almost feel like I am back on vacation. I think I'll head downstairs and make myself some tea!
Traveling the world is one of the goals in my husband and I’s lifetime planner. Before I married my husband, he had never left the country. Last year we traveled to Antigua for our honeymoon and we just returned Sunday from one week in Jamaica. Our next trip will be a little less tropical, but with a busy lifestyle, we all need a little ‘R and R’ sometimes. We loved the Sandals Luxury Resort we experienced for our honeymoon so much, that we decided to try another. Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa in Westmoreland, Jamaica, far exceeded our expectations!
The flight to Jamaica was fairly uneventful. Two quick two hour flights from Norfolk Airport and we landed in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The most difficult part of the travel was the 1.75 hour bus trip from Montego Bay to Westmoreland. It was an eye opening experience to view the Jamaican culture as we traveled the windy, narrow roads through the Blue Mountains. If you suffer from motion sickness, make sure to take several Dramamine before the trip. Once you arrive at the Sandal's lobby, you forget all about the crazy ride as you are greeted by several staff members gladly taking your bags from you and offering drinks and a warm towel.
Our room wasn't quite ready so we headed to Bayside, one of six restaurants at the resort, for a quick bite to eat. Afterward, a staff member helped us with our bags to our room at the Italian Village. Our room was quite spacious with a king size bed and a view of the whirlpool and ocean. One unique feature about this particular Sandal's Resort is that every room on the premises is on the beach.
Tomorrow I board a plane from Norfolk, Virginia that will take me to New Hampshire. I haven’t been there since Christmas and every time I return, I get a bit nostalgic. My parents are in Aruba soaking up the sun and beach, so it will just be my brother and I (and the dogs) at the house. The truth is…I am heading to New Hampshire to spend a few days of quality time with my grandparents.
The Lord has blessed me with many years of memories with my grandparents. My Gram taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies and to play Rummikub. She brought me to the arcades and played Skee Ball with me and then bought me my own personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut afterwards. I remember countless nights where I had “sleepovers” at Gram’s. Grandpa was usually off working in his wood shop on a customer’s cabinets or refurbishing his antique car. However, he was always home for dinner together. We would all sit together and watch a show before bed and he would carry me up to the guest bedroom when I was asleep. I cherish those childhood memories.
Here we are 20 years later and my grandparents have reached that pivotal point in life where they need someone to care for them. I am proud of how hard they have worked and stayed independent and strong. At 88 years old, they go to the gym 3 to 4 days a week, attend social gatherings and church, visit their elderly friends without family, and go out for the Senior Citizens Discount Brunch at Friendly’s every week. It’s hard to reach them on the phone they are so busy! However, that way of life is about to change for them.
One month ago, my grandparents put their home on the market and sold it to the first person that saw it. In this market, that is an incredible story. They are wavering between living with family and entering a nursing home. It’s a decision neither one has wanted to face for some time. Even I have wanted to push off that reality and keep them frozen in time, just the way I remember them. Life keeps moving onward no matter how hard I push on the brakes.
The past two years I’ve been in Virginia have been full of change. Marriage to my husband and entering a new family has been a wonderful blessing. However, the hardest part about my move was the knowledge of how far I was from my grandparents. Even though I know the Lord could take me home tomorrow, it seems more real to think of in the case of my grandparents as they are nearing their 90 year milestone. I’ve felt the pull of home more and more lately and the need to just see them and be with them, maybe for the last time. Some of my family may feel my quick decision to drop everything, hop on a plane and spend close to a week of time investing in my grandparents a bit rash. I don’t think so.
As I get on that plane tomorrow to see my grandparents, I thank God for giving me a husband who supports me and sacrifices so we can afford to send me on this trip. I thank Him for the wonderful memories I hold so dear. I thank Him for the Godly example my grandparents have always been to me, my family, the elderly, and the countless children from their AWANA ministry through the years. I pray that I can be a small blessing to them in this time and that the Lord would speak comfort and truth through me. I pray this trip will not be one of sadness, but one we will cherish together until that day we meet in heaven.