Newport Family Day Trip

Yes, we are Rhode Island residents. And yes, we don’t explore locally enough. However, once or twice a year, when our Cairn terrier needs to get groomed, we take the opportunity to spend some family time in the Newport, RI area.

Our Dog Groomer

Since our dog has a wire coat and my husband is very particular about how he gets groomed. And not a lot of places in the area offer hand-stripping dogs with a wire coat. We found one place and it’s located in Portsmouth, RI, called Perry’s Plush Pooch. They specialize in grooming show dogs. And while it is a hefty price to pay for our dog, it’s supposedly the proper way to groom a Cairn terrier.

Here’s some pictures of our shaggy Cairn…

and his post-groom look…

Castle Hill Lighthouse

Since our groomer requires he be brought to him by 8am in the morning and he be picked up around 3pm, we have typically gone for a day trip to Newport.

The first year we did this Kai was just getting comfortable with walking on uneven surfaces. So we just ended up taking him to a local playground and to Castle Hill Lighthouse.  When we went it was a cool and beautiful day in early April, so we got some nice pictures by the lighthouse and walking on the empty beach. And, it wasn’t super crowded/full of tourists that time of year.

Thames Street

After the lighthouse excursion, we decided to do some shopping on Thames. Kai had his snacks in his stroller along with his milk, while walked around.Snacking toddler with Ray Bans

Oh have I mentioned how much I LOVED using these WeeSprout Double Zipper Reusable Food Pouch – 6 Pack – 5 fl oz I found on Amazon while he was into eating pureed fruit? I would steam all sorts of fruits and vegetables and puree them all. Kai loved his snacks so much!

While he napped…

During his nap, we decided to go to a nice sit-down seafood restaurant, Mooring Restaurant. It worked out perfectly, and just as we were getting ready for dessert, our little one sat right up from his stroller looking SO ADORABLE with his cute/messy hair.

Just woken up toddler in stroller

What a wonderful way to end our Newport, RI day trip before we picked up our dog.

Mainely Maine

Michael and I kicked off our trip to Maine on Tuesday, August 12th after getting some much-needed rest at home. Our first stop was Portland, and we stayed at the Fireside Inn & Suites. Down the road from the hotel, there was a mall, the Maine Mall, where we decided to explore the evening we arrived. We ended up getting some hiking pants for Michael at Eddie Bauer and went on a search for mine. Because I am rather short, I needed to get a pair of petite or “short” pants. We must have checked three or four places, but had no luck. So we drove a bit further to a Cabela’s, which is rather similar to a Bass Pro Shops. It was very large, and I finally found a pair I was happy with.

Famous Dave’s Feast for Two

After finding the water resistant pants, we were famished so we stopped at a Famous Dave’s for some good ole BBQ. We got the Feast for Two and selected the BBQ Pulled Pork vs. Beef Brisket and were delighted with all of the food! We ended up saving half of the feast for later meals while camping in Southwest Harbor.

The next day we drove about 3 hours to get to our campsite, Smuggler’s Den in Southwest Harbor, ME. On our way there we headed to an L.L. Bean Outlet, and it was my first time going to one. It was HUGE! It had sections with all sorts of useful items for our camping portions of the trip. And, we decided to invest in a larger 4-person tent so Michael could stand up in it! It was called the King Pine Dome 4. It was perfect because it had an outdoor screened-in portion so we could put our chairs there in case it rained outside. It was just high enough for Michael to stand and not feel confined. He also decided to get a hatchet to chop firewood. So we were very happy with our purchases.

The first night we got there it rained into the next morning. That evening we wanted to explore the Southwest Harbor area to see if we could find food. We came across the Quietside Cafe and thought it looked really cute. We ended up getting the seafood pizza which had lobster, crab meat, and shrimp sauteed in garlic. It was so yummy! And we topped it off with some blueberry pie with blueberry ice cream.

I noticed there was a bus that came through the campground area and inquired within the campground office to see how it worked. I discovered it was a free bus that went all over the area, including downtown Bar Harbor and through Acadia National Park. So I convinced Michael to take it with me downtown. It took a half an hour to get down there. And, the bus was actually very crowded so we had to stand the entire time.

As we got up there, the sun peaked through the clouds, and it was beginning to look like a beautiful day! We were very fortunate that it cleared up…just in time too! We ended up heading to the small shops and got our moose magnet. We also placed our Frisbee in a cache which was along the rock wall facing Bar Harbor Isle. It took us a while to locate the cache because it was so well-hidden behind the rocks, but we finally got it! After we got back from Bar Harbor, we decided to check out Echo Lake because there was a trail leading from our campsite directly to the lake. We went for a light trail jog, and it was about 2.5 miles round-trip. It was so nice to see the serene lake, and then take some pictures.

The next day we decided to hike up to Cadillac Mountain. We did the South Ridge Trail, which was 7.2 miles round-trip. It was a different landscape because we were not used to hiking with mostly roots and rock underneath us. But it was actually really neat to go through the woods and then come to an open area on top of the mountain. It was a beautiful day with clear skies. We got to relax a bit and eat our packed lunches: two hard-boiled eggs, some sunflower seeds and two pink lady apples. Yum! We just laid on the mountain for about a half hour and headed back down. We were exhausted after that hike so we slept pretty well afterwards.

The last day we were there, we decided to head back into the downtown area. We got to sleep in a bit so we were well-rested to explore the town again. We wanted to see the sand bar when it was low-tide so we got there just in time. It was so cool to see and there were so many people just wandering on the other island. When we got there it was already too late to get to the other island, but we ended up walking across the bar a bit and took some pictures. Before we knew it the tide already started coming in, so Michael piggy-backed me across the the water because he had his waterproof hiking shoes on and I had on my sneakers. We then discovered the Shore Path, which is similar to the cliff walk in Newport, RI, only without the cement boundaries.

After we got back, we decided to head to Beal’s Lobster Pier where we had our lobster dinner with a baked potato and a corn and crab chowder! It was pretty fresh because we got to select our own lobsters to get steamed…yummy! That was a nice way to end our trip to Maine. The next morning, Sunday, August 17th we packed our belongings into the MINI, and were were off to the White Mountains in New Hampshire for three nights.

Ready…Set…Go!

Following our Chicago trip, we had an anticipated move-out date of July 15th to shoot towards. Throughout the week of July 7th, our tiny one-bedroom apartment was such a mess! We came to the realization that we had accumulated a lot of “stuff” over the years. It was definitely a challenge figuring out what items we needed to get rid of, and of course, me being the sentimental person I am, I tend to place a higher value on items I had obtained during my travels. We ended up donating about 10-12 bags of clothes and shoes in addition to one futon, a wooden dining room table with four matching chairs (which I had purchased from a local Salvation Army a few years ago), a TV stand, two end tables, and a coffee table.

Tennis:
On Wednesday, July 9th, it was USTA Appreciation Day at the Newport International Tennis Hall of Fame Annual Tournament. So, we got tickets to attend the grass court event, where we had the chance to see a few top-ranked players who included: John Isner and Nikolas Mahut, and Lleyton Hewitt, who ended up taking the championship! It was a gorgeous day to go for a stroll in Newport.

wpid-img_20140709_132630.jpg wpid-img_20140709_132523.jpg

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 12th we had additional helping hands, as Michael’s parents and our good friend Becca ended up offering to move some of the larger items, such as furniture we wanted to keep (our bed, couch, bookcase, and dresser) to his parents’ house. After that, our apartment felt very empty and it even echoed as we chatted. This was it. We really felt like we were doing this. We just needed to tidy up a bit before we left, and pack up the truck to our liking.

Truck Packing:
Michael is very particular about certain things, so he took the lead in organizing how his truck was to be packed. We decided it would be best to have our own sides with our clothing and items, such as shoes and a portable gas stove. We ended up purchasing a cargo carrier for the bed of his truck to put mostly our camping and outdoorsy items into, and used the trunk to store our toiletries and other camping supplies, such as our lantern, citronella candles, bug spray, sun screen, matches, pots, pans, ropes, grill, two different sized air mattresses, duct tape, hiking shoes, compass, bear bell, and more! Within the truck, we packed a cooler with everything we would need along the way.

We stayed overnight at Michaels’ parents’ house for one evening where they had been kind enough to let us set up our bed, couch, and store some of our luggage. Michael’s grandmother, Jacki, invited all the girls out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays at the Boat House Restaurant in Tiverton, Rhode Island. It was a Monday evening, and the restaurant was completely full with customers! I was so surprised, but it was such an enjoyable time to spend it with everyone, as we shared stories about our lives and caught up. Following the dinner, Aunt Pat had scheduled an appointment for a private gong meditation session. Unfortunately, I had to leave after the dinner as it was already approaching 8pm, and it takes about 3.5 hours for us to get to my parents’ in New York. We had to drive both our cars, and that evening it was tough because it was raining pretty hard: thunder and lightning and trucks everywhere! Truck drivers, especially FedEx ones, really like to drive really fast at night, and they kept splashing me! But, we finally made it there just after midnight, and my dad was waiting up for us. He helped us bring some of our belongings inside.

wpid-img_20140715_164525.jpgThe following morning (July 15th) we left the house at 7:30am because we wanted to get to the China Consulate around 9am to submit our visa applications for the first portion of our honeymoon in early December. We decided to drop off our passports in mid-July so we could pick them up in August, when we came back for the U.S. Open (tennis) towards the end of the month. This way, we could avoid having to wait until Friday for them to be ready for pick up. My parents took us to Flushing, NY for a traditional Chinese breakfast at a dim sum restaurant
ooh la la is right! I hadn’t had Chinese breakfast in the longest time
boy, was it yummy. On our way back from the city, we received flash flood warnings, and apparently the weathermen were spot on this time around. It literally took us three hours to get from the city to our house, which typically takes one hour


It was time to seriously start planning the first leg of our trip. Since my parents do not have internet at their house, we took a trip to the local library. We secured a “quiet study room” where we had a few hours to do some planning. Michael and I discovered this website called Roadtrippers where we were able to plan out a route. It has some neat features including being able to customize the trip and keep track of miles and gas prices in the area.

So where are we now, you might ask? Check out this link to our trip.

Now that everything was set, we felt more relieved! So because we had some time, we made it a point to meet up with one of my best friends from high school, Nicole and her daughter Ally at a local diner for a late lunch before they had to go to gymnastics. It was great for us to catch up since we rarely get to see each other nowadays.

Then, Michael and I went on a 5 mile jog/run around my parents’ house. I led the way and brought him down 9W, to two parks: Peck’s Pond and Haverstraw Bay Park, and then back around back to the house. We really needed it! It was about 7pm when we arrived back. By that time, my dad was starting to prepare dinner for us, and my parents wanted a mini MINI lesson from me as I was leaving my car at their house while we were away on our trip for their enjoyment. My dad made moo shu pork, steak, crab legs, vegetables, shrimp, and rice for our so-called “last supper” prior to our departure the next morning. And, they gave us a bunch of small things, such as soy sauce, vegetable oil and some comfort foods, such as congee in a jar, some tea eggs, blocks of ice and bottles of waters for our trip!

We wanted to thank everyone who has been supportive of our trip and who have been our mentors and role models. We cannot wait to embark on this journey of a lifetime!