Back in North Carolina… with a car!

Back to school this year is definitely at its most exciting. First of all, it’s my senior year, which is pretty cool in itself, but more importantly…I have a car! My mom got a company car, so my dad took her car and I got to take his! I drove back down to school with another friend from Richmond and now I’m parked outside my dorm, ready to make a list of all the things in North Carolina that I want to do in the next few months. I plan on driving all over the state and seeing and doing everything! Senior year is supposed to be fun, right? This area I’m starting with is kinda near Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Asheville. Sort of near the North Carolina-Virginia Border in the Southern Appalachian Mountain region.

It’s gonna be a great year!
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New York Fall Foliage

Sure New York City is mostly cement and buildings, and sure in the winter whatever trees there are have shed their leaves and just look sad. And sure the summer is so hot and sticky (or rainy, like this summer) that whatever trees and flowers there are are overlooked on your run from the train to your air conditioned office. So, now that it’s fall, let’s make sure that we take advantage of the beauty in New York City’s fall colors that is so often overlooked during the rest of the year! There are so many scenic drives, beautiful hikes, botanical gardens, and other New York fall foliage options that can be explored before it gets cold and wet and the train to office dashes begin again!

There are more parks in New York City than people realize. Obviously there’s Central Park and Prospect Park, but there’re so many more, too! Check out Alley Pond Park, Forest Park, High Rock Park, Inwood Hill Park, the Staten Island Greenbelt, and Todt Hill. The best viewing time for these is the end of October through the first half of November. And the best way to appreciate them is with a bike, a picnic, and some good friends (in my opinion at least).

Going to botanical gardens is another way to appreciate the cool weather and changing colors of autumn:

You’ve only got a few months before it starts getting cold…so go have a picnic in the park and enjoy the beautiful weather!
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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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Alone on the road: South Dakota to Missouri

It’s been a long time…
Ryan flew back to Boston last week for his training and left me with the car and I drove by myself from Custer State Park to my sister’s house in Missouri, which was about 1000 miles. I did stop for a day in Omaha to visit my friend Tiffany who’s been begging me to come visit for years. And now I’m finally at Juliette’s!

Juliette is my sister and I love her so so so much and I’m so happy to be here! We’re 11 months apart and grew up as best friends, but over the last few years since she’s moved to Salem, I’ve barely seen her. She had a bit of a fight with our parents so doesn’t like to come back east so often…loooong story.

Anyways, she’s an artist and a musician and just keeps picking up new instruments and skills. I got the book smarts and she got the arts smarts (well, she really got both). What can you do?

I’ll be here for a few weeks until I head out to Wyoming for the Rainbow Gathering so have really just been taking it easy. She took me to Montauk State Park which is practically in her back yard and since Mark Twain National Forest is so close, we’ll probably be spending some time there as well.

Juliette just made me blackberry tea and we’re going to go sit out on the porch. laters!
(Ryan I miss you!)
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Attack of the falling veils!

I swear to god I was looking up the Bridal Veil Falls and not playing out some sort of childhood wedding fantasy…and I came across the fact that Bridal Veil Falls is a really unoriginal name for waterfalls in America, as there are quite a few. The one I was looking at is in Nantahala National Forest which is not as close to school as I thought it was. So I got distracted and read about all the Bridal Veil Falls in the country…oh, procrastination!

The most famous Bridal Veils are at Niagara Falls. It’s the smallest of the three major falls, but still looks beautiful (never been, but looking at gorgeous pictures). The Cave of the Winds tour (not really a cave) brings you 20 feet away from Bridal Veil Falls. I want to go!!!

There’s the Bridal Veil Falls State Park on the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway in Oregon. I’ve actually been to the Columbia River Gorge, like when I was 6, my mom took me to visit a college friend of hers. So there are pictures of me in front of some waterfall, but don’t know which one, and neither does my mom.

Utah has it’s own Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon (called bridal veil park).

There are Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite National Park.

I thought maybe I was being really ditzy and that maybe Bridal Veil Falls is like a specific type of falls, I dunno something to do with rock formation or atmospheric something or other. but they’re just pretty falls that look like a veil.

Wikipedia has a huge list. Here is a sampling:

I dunno. Maybe that’ll be of some use to someone. Ok, gotta do my hoooooooooomeeeeewooooork! Stop distracting me!


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Solo roadtrip: So far so good!

I find so much comfort in my daily routine, waking up in my home, going to the office, and returning home, that I was worried about changing that routine for the duration of a 3 week roadtrip. But something tells me I’ve got nothing to worry about. So far I’m adjusting quite well to life on the road. Of course, it’s only been a few days. My drive up to Las Vegas was phenomenal. I made a spontaneous decision on the way up to stop at Lake Mead National Recreational Area (home of the famous Hoover Dam), and while I had already gone out of my way, I decided to drive through Valley of Fire State Park, which had come highly recommended. And WOW, it was all worth it—what a beautiful state I’m in! The blue of the sky against the red rocks and the tan dunes—apparently Red Rock Canyon is more spectacular in terms of the color contrasts, so I’ll be seeing that tomorrow on my way out of here (I know I’m doing this area a little out of order…). I actually got to the Hoover Dam just in time for a tour that was leaving from the Visitors Center and we had a lovely tour guide who said she enjoyed all my questions! And then I joined another family who was renting a boat out on Lake Mead – Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the U.S.; it’s twice the size of Rhode Island!

So how did I have time to do all of this BEFORE I even got to Las Vegas? I woke up at 4 a.m.! I just couldn’t sleep. (You’ll understand when you’re older.)

The Venetian is a beautiful hotel, and I got there hot and exhausted and my room and the view were welcome sites. I’ve never been to Venice, so I suppose this is the next best thing, right? Cirque de Soleil was good, though, to be honest, not really my style. The music was a bit loud and while it is neat to see the amazing things that the human body can do (and the guts that people have!), I think the ballet is more beautiful and shows off just as much physical splendor. Also, there were 2 young girls in the row behind me who were screaming and cheering every 5 minutes and they gave me a headache.

Yesterday I walked around a lot – actually I just realized that my massage starts in 15 minutes. I’ll continue later… My first professional massage – wish me luck!


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Old Lady to visit Vegas…

I leave tomorrow for my solo-woman-on-the-road-roadtrip. I’m all packed, I’ve said my goodbyes at work, I’ve stocked up on maps that cover any route I may decide to take between here and Portland, Oregon. Slightly nervous about the long drives by myself, but I’ve got healthy snacks to munch on, lots of Beatles CDs to listen to, and eight audiobooks that’ll keep me entertained when I need some new voices around me. I’ve got an extra battery for my cell phone, a first aid kit, and a list of emergency contacts and doctors’ numbers.

I just have to take some deep breaths—I don’t believe that I’m going to do this! One month of driving, hiking, and seeing states I’ve never been to. Mostly I’ll be visiting national parks, gardens, and museums, but first…

First stop: Las Vegas! Do you believe that I’m going to do that? Is that not a place for a 60 year old newly divorced woman?—that’s my question. But I guess I’ll find out. It’s about a five hour drive from Phoenix and I’ve already booked a spot at the Venetian Resort, located on The Strip, and I’ve already got tickets to Cirque de Soliel and a spa treatment at The Spa at the Mirage Las Vegas which I think is where Siegfried and Roy have their Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Do you know that I haven’t ever had a professional massage in my whole life? I think I deserve one by now, don’t you?

Basically, I plan on giving myself the real “Vegas Experience” as I’ve always imagined it (plus or minus a few things that I’m just too….too old for, really). I’m going to indulge and relax and spend money, go to shows, and see the lights. For me, indulgences like that are as sinful as I get, so that’ll be my version of Sin City.

A young man at work even taught me how to play Texas Holdem!

There are some beautiful scenic drives in the area through the Mojave Desert and Red Rock Canyon, so after a few days in Vegas, I’ll head that way for a drive and then continue going north.

Wish me luck! We’ll definitely be in touch!
Martha


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