Places to go when you just can’t pay for gas anymore!

I just read an article in USA Today that will definitely appeal to everybody: about great car-free places to visit. CAN YOU BELIEVE GAS PRICES?! It’s to the point of unbearable where I don’t even know if I’ll ever make it back to Massachusetts with any money left in my bank account! So the clincher, of course, is that you have to GET to these places; but at least once you’re there you can park your car and make good use of your feet for a couple of days. Here’s where they recommend going:

Enjoy!

Best Florida Beaches and State Parks

I don’t BELIEVE so much time has passed since I last wrote. I think I last left you on my way to Rainbow, which was so long ago, that I can’t even begin to write about it except to say that it was awesome—a truly beautiful experience in a beautiful place, with beautiful people. I’ll write more about it later. While I was there I wrote in my journal (like the old fashioned paper type) so I’ve got things to say, but not now. Quick update: Ryan and I finally made our way back east to good ol’ Massachusetts (my parents missed me…awwww), but just a week later we got back in the car and drove down to Florida, which maybe isn’t the smartest thing to do I the summer because it’s a freakin’ sauna down there (oh, and it rains quite a bit!) but we’ve been staying cool, camping out a lot where there are cool ocean/gulf breezes, drinking a ton, and crashing at the occasional cheap motel when it’s just too painful.

Meanwhile, I came across some great lists while I was researching where to go next and thought that since summer in Florida stretches on forever, these should be quite up to date even in a few months from now. So here ya go!

From Associatedcontent.com: The Best State Parks to Visit in Central Florida During the Summer:

From Placesaroundflorida.com: Best Florida Beaches:

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Weekend roadtrip out of New York City

I have been too busy to breathe—I feel like I spend every second working that I’m barely getting a chance to hang out with Matthew these days and I’m barely getting to spend time with my new roommates, which isn’t good. So this past weekend, to try and rectify this time crunch, my roommate (Jeanie) and I planned a mini vacation getaway with Matthew and Bram (her bf) to Jeanie’s parent’s beach house in Southampton. We had so much fun—I think it was what we all needed: to spend some quality relaxation time away from the hot (and a bit rainy lately) city and to lounge around in a gorgeous house by a gorgeous beach and get to know each other a little better.

But we weren’t TOTALLY lazy. On the way out to the beach we stopped at Boomers where we made a bit of a scene on the go-kart tracks (we were asked to remember how old some of the children were around us…) and we played some mini golf. Friday night and Saturday we drank a lot of wine and grilled some burgers and really were totally lazy. and Sunday on the way home we stopped at another cheesy family park, Splish Splash, where we caused another raucous, which was worth every second of the lifeguard yelling at us. I know I sound like I’m 15 again… I’ll act more like a lady next time, mom, I promise….

Now I’m back in New York City and got back just in time to run to Central Park where my amazing friend Amy had secured us both tickets to see the last show of Hamlet in Shakespeare in the Park and it was with Lauren Ambrose (Clare of 6 Feet Under fame) so if you know me….you know I was happy. -)

And now…back to work. blah.
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Back on the road (or air, this time)!

OK, so I like New Jersey, but not THAT much. There’s only so much sitting around and watching TV and only so much Monmouth Mall I can take. Moving to NYC soonish so don’t really feel the need to hang out there now. So, I spoke to Granny a few days ago and she said I should come back down to Florida to hang out with her, but this time to her Miami condo (Granny did very well for herself as a young woman, as she likes to remind her grandchildren often). I found an amazing ticket on JetBlue and I’m off tomorrow! Knowing Granny, I’m sure it’ll be more malls and aquariums, but I’d say hands down that Palm Beach or South Beach beat the Great Egg Harbor River any day, sentiment included (ha, I won’t go into that…).

Meanwhile I have a friend nannying for a month at Fort Myers Beach, so I’ve already gotten permission to take Granny’s car and road trip across the peninsula to stay with her for a few days.

OK, just have to head to Monmouth Mall one more time for a new pair of flip-flops. Will update you on my travel whereabouts in a few days!

Trying to stay sane, take 2

Yes, that’s right, TRYING so very hard. I have 2 weeks of spring break (which is why I’m home and not in North Carolina) and I THOUGHT that I’d just get to chill at home (with that minor excursion to Virginia Beach. But instead, my parents just sprang on me that when they drive me back to school (which is always really nice of them to do instead of putting me on a bus – see I know how to be the grateful child too) we’re going to leave a few days early to spend some time at Stone Mountain State Park.

I actually just took a minute to google this place and in so doing, I’ve already calmed down a bit. How bipolar do I sound?? It just that the last few days that I was planning on being in Richmond, overlap with another friend coming home from college for the weekend, though the truth is, I think we’ll still overlap for a day. Anyways, apparently we’re going to Stone Mountain with the Casons b/c Jocelyn goes to school with me and we’re friends and all so I shouldn’t complain too much.

Also, I just don’t like surprises.

So actually this place looks pretty cool. There’s rock climbing and fishing and my mom said she didn’t know yet if we’d camp out or get a cabin. And we’ll be driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway to get there which is supposed to be pretty. Apparently it’s “a shame” that I now live in NC but haven’t really traveled through the state.

Though I have been to places on the coast like Hammocks Beach State Park on Bear Island and Carolina Beach State Park, which is so far my most favorite beach ever, but that could be because that’s where I met Ricky (the guy my parents hate), though it does also happen to be a pretty cool beach.

And last time my parents drove me to school we went to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. And another time to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher —have I told you about my fishmonging father?

Whatever. My mom asked me to go online and find things we can do at Stone Mountain so that’s why I’m here—any suggestions?

Trying to stay sane

I am in the worst mood ever, and sometimes the only thing that makes me feel better is to drive to Short Pump Mall. Besides the fact that it reminds me that Richmond doesn’t suck as bad as it used to, there also happens to be a Barnes & Noble right next door where I can go and mope over a cup of coffee and a self-help book.

I’m at home in Richmond visiting my parents (I’m in boarding school in North Carolina for my last year of highschool…b/c I WANT to, not b/c I’m a bad kid…) and every time I come home my parents get on my case about this guy who I’m seeing that they don’t really like so much. It just really stresses me out because I respect my parents’ opinion so much and they usually respect my decisions, so then I just start to doubt how I feel about Ricky and then I get all anxious and insecure and ARGH!!!

Anyways, that’s not why I’m writing here. I just found this site and like the idea of sharing nice travel experiences, so I thought it would be a good idea for me to focus on something fun my family did and then I got carried away with my rant so now I’m going to try and back up a bit.

Out of all my 17 years on Earth (all of which were spent in Richmond), my family has never once gone to Virginia Beach. I’d gone only once or twice with friends, but never as a family (i.e. never staying overnight in a nice hotel). So we went earlier this week, stayed in a Holiday Inn (that’s nice compared to the dumps I’ve crashed at) and actually had a good time. We spent a lot of time on the beach and on the shops that line the coast. Got some chotchkas and some food that’s probably really bad for you (and yet so good). When we needed a break from the sun we hid out in Lynnhaven Mall for a few hours. There’s a Barnes & Noble there, so we were all happy (we’re all big readers). I even begged my parents (who gave in!) to take me to the Build-A-Bear Workshop which was SO MUCH fun! (Yes, you read that right, I’m 17 and begged my parents for a stuffed animal…and got it, hee hee.) We actually went back the next day for a movie. Saw Shine a Light which was pretty good, but apparently I’m “too young” to get all the references. The Rolling Stones are pretty retro these days and since retro means kinda cool, I kinda know a thing or two about them (or at least that’s how I had to spell it out to my parents who for some reason thought my interest in 70s music meant I was snorting cocaine). Sometimes I feel like my parents are immigrants, though my family’s been in this country pretty much since it started.

At some point in there we also went to the Virginia Aquarium Marine Science Center for my fish-enthusiast dad.

Ok, I actually do feel a little better. See, self-help books do help! (I had read in one of the books in my stack to write about sometime good to take the focus off the bad.)

There’s more than just Starbucks and grunge…

I only have a few more months until I start my job (paralegal in NYC—eek!) so you might be seeing a number of posts for me. I’m seriously about to spend all my money traveling all over this beautiful country of ours! Anyways, a little over a month ago I roadtripped with some friends down the east coast, 2 weeks ago I visited my grandmother, and now I just got back from Seattle.

I got off the plane and was greeted by my cousin and her boyfriend whom I had never met. I hadn’t seen Jenny is over a year and was eager to meet the guy that she had met, fallen in love with really quickly, and was planning to marry way too soon (in my opinion). I had never been to Washington so wanted to see as much as possible in the 4 days that I’d be there. From the airport we were going straight to Spencer Spit State Park Beach which is on Lopez Sound, a bit of a ways out. Like halfway there though I realized that I had forgotten to pack a bathing suit, so we stopped at Alderwood Mall for a quick bikini hunt (why do I always forget SOMETHING when I travel?) and then we were back on our way. Just the drive itself got me excited for my trip. First of all, the scenery was stunning. Mountains and flowers and the sky was perfectly blue and sun was bright. Our windows were down and I got to breathe in luscious mountain air—what a high! Also, Jeremy (the guy) and I were hitting it off. You should see how he looks at Jenny—maybe people can really fall in love that quickly… Spencer Spit was beautiful. We were camping out that night, so set up camp and then spent the rest of the day lounging and hiking around the area. I’m not the world’s most interested birdwatcher, but couldn’t help but be awed by some of the birds nesting around us. The next morning, we woke up with the sun, ate leftover hotdogs for breakfast, and then headed back to Seattle. We dropped our stuff off at their apartment and then went straight to the Woodland Park Zoo, which was a lot of fun. Jenny and I used to go on family trips together when we were younger and our favorite stops were always the zoos—so this was no exception! We went out to eat later and then crashed at home in front of a movie at like 9pm.

The next day we went to the Seattle Aquarium for a few hours which was fun—I’m really not so into aquariums, but Jeremy is a fourth grade teacher and happens to know all about the aquarium, so it was actually rather cute seeing him getting so excited about every single fish we passed. We spent the rest of the day at Northgate Mall eating and shopping—2 of my favorite pastimes.

I was leaving the next afternoon, so in the morning we went to Alki Beach which is pretty close to downtown Seattle, and then we left for the airport. I was so sad! Well, at least I know I’ll be going out there again soon…for a wedding!