Monday, May 28, 2012

Southern Belles

We just wrapped up our 11 day road trip covering 10 states (+DC!) and 2200 miles! On our continued quest to visit all 50 states, we decided to take advantage of our East Coast location and Ferris’s inability to run away. 

Here is our crazy itinerary: 
New York, NY to Philadelphia, PA to Wilmington, DE, to Harper’s Ferry, WV to Leesburg, VA to Middleburg, VA to Chapel Hill, NC to Savannah, GA to Hilton Head, SC to Charleston, SC to Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC, to Baltimore, MD to New York, NY. Whew!

With the exception of Philly and DC, all of our stops were new to us, so this was a great chance to learn more about the different states. With few exceptions, most of our preconceived notions (both positive and negative) turned out to be pretty inaccurate. We had low expectations for West Virginia and Baltimore, but those were two of our favorite stops! I’ve heard so many good things about the research triangle of NC – Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, but it underwhelmed us. Downtown Wilmington, Delaware, tax/legal home to just about every credit card company, is sketchier than any block I’ve been on in NYC. One huge surprise was our impression that rumors of southern hospitality are overstated. Also, we encountered plenty of southerners (Virginia, Carolinas, Georgia) who seem to hate babies, and I’m a little sore about that. (Or maybe New Yorkers just really love babies? Or maybe I think Ferris shouldn’t count as a baby since he doesn’t cry?) Who knew! 

Philly, PA: a quick visit to the Liberty Bell on our way to Wilmington! 

Wilmington, DE: “Hi, we’re in Delaware.” – Wayne’s World. This was pretty much it, but with a side of, “Don’t go to that ATM, that’s not on a safe block.” We happened upon a hospitable group of businesswomen who travel to Wilmington so often that they hang out with the hotel staff and take it upon themselves to pour the wine for the happy hour. 
Harper’s Ferry, WV: This little town is home to tons of Civil War history and an entrance to the Appalachian Trail. The landscape of the area was beautiful, with a view of the Blueridge Mountains and old battlefields. We went on a ghost tour and “hiked” to the extent it’s possible with an 11 month old.

Leesburg, VA: We went to a couple of different wine tastings and a jazz festival. This was the first example of baby-hating. I wouldn’t make such a claim without providing examples! We showed up for the jazz festival and were told that children are only allowed within a certain fenced in area. The setup was a little awkward so we drank our wine (individually, since tastings took place outside the family jail) and headed to the next vineyard. 

Middleburg, VA: We spent a few hours wandering around this little town, which had some cute shops. 

Chapel Hill, NC: We drove around Duke and UNC, hung out in our gorgeous hotel room, and ate biscuits for breakfast. Second example of baby-hating: people would glare at us while Ferris smiled in their direction. Third example of baby-hating: Ferris was sleeping in his stroller in a nearly empty restaurant, but the waitress still glared in his direction whenever she found time. 
Savannah, GA: Fourth example of baby-hating: it took ages to find a hotel that allowed children. But Nick did such a great job finding us a gorgeous historical building in the middle of Savannah. Ferris loved Savannah, because it has so many trees!
Hilton Head, SC: We loved Hilton Head, it’s the only spot we could imagine making a point to revisit. Nick golfed, I got a massage, and we hung out on the beach and ate gourmet hotdogs. This was Ferris’s first time in a swimsuit. Heartbreakingly cute. 

Charleston, SC: Nick found another amazing place to stay – an old rice plantation with award winning architecture. We did a little bit of exploring downtown Charleston, but spent most of our time touring the plantation. Fifth example of baby-hating: Ferris was sleeping in the baby carrier, while we signed up for a tour of the plantation house. The guide lectured me that I would need to leave if the baby started screaming. A. He’s asleep. B. I have enough sense to leave with a screaming baby so blanket restrictions and lectures aren’t needed. C. You’re a bitch. 

Raleigh, NC: Admittedly, we just stayed here to break up a long stretch of driving. But Raleigh boasts the best coffeehouse I found along our trip! 
Washington, DC: Nick scored again, although by accident - we went to the wrong Kimpton Hotel, but they let us stay for the same rate, and.... drumroll.... upgraded us to an amazing suite with a jacuzzi. (Does this count as southern hospitality? The hotel manager was born in Minnesota.) The standard fare: walked around the White House, the Washington Monument, and a special exhibit at the Holocaust Museum. 
Baltimore, MD: Ferris went to his first baseball game at Camden Yard! Baltimore was a charming, livable city, and we discovered a lot of cute neighborhoods. When we’re traveling, I try to find the best coffee in the city, since that usually leads us to fun new places. (You know, the type with growly baristas and signs that say, “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.”) Despite the baby-hating, we had a fun time getting away from our familiar routines and locations. And thankfully, this trip made us so appreciative of how great Minneapolis is, and how exciting our new neighborhood will be!

Top: Delaware friends, ghost tour, trees!, mint julep, hot dogs
Bottom: beach, plantation grounds, DC, Orioles

Just one more photo of Ferris. This is me trying to show a little restraint. Can you believe the next post pretty much has to be about his first birthday?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ferris Theo's Day in Midtown

Well, I guess it's time to make it blog-fficial!
We're moving to Minneapolis! Yes! No! I was feeling a little angst-y about it, until I had lunch next to Jerry Seinfeld the other day. Since then I've been fine with it. I guess I did what I came here to do! Before we move, we're heading out for a nice road trip along the east coast to rack up some more states! We tend to have a really luxurious history of unemployment.

Here is a sweet little NY book I made for Ferris, one to play with and one to save and one digital version for the blog. :) If you don't know, there is a board book called Good Night New York City, and this is the exact layout and text, just replaced with photos from our wonderful time here. (And another book I made; I'm getting a bit obsessed with these, and I love that I can show off an online copy as well.)

Links if your flash player is finicky.
Good Night New York City
Just One Ferris

Today I had an early appointment in a super inconvenient location. I was a wee bit annoyed, until I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to walk 40+ blocks and say good-bye to all the New Yorky things in Midtown. So here we are! Enjoying a perfect, spontaneous, New York day. As we walked up Fifth Avenue, I did the unthinkable: I looked up and gazed at the majestic buildings like a tourist.

Radio City Music Hall, (napping in) Grand Central Station, Chrysler Building, Willa Cather quote on the sidewalk leading up to the library "... there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before..." (such a beautiful sidewalk filled with quotes!), humongous diamonds at Harry Winston, The Plaza Hotel, FAO Schwartz- hats and stuffed animals and $500 rocking animals that were a little bit scary (more parentheses, there was even a freaking unicorn!!), and the infamous piano.

Here is a nice vertigo inducing video of Ferris on the $250,000 Big piano! Our little underweight baby wasn't heavy enough to set off the keys so I tried to walk beside him and make it interesting!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The third annual visitors edition

Oh wowza. Ferris is 11 months old, and today is the last time we can truly celebrate his monthiness. There seems to be a grace period until "he's 24 months" but I know the truth. He (finally!) has 2 little tooth buds, is obsessed with opening and closing everything, and just discovered the joy of clapping.

Nick just discovered the joy of driving a Lamborghini. A belated execution of a birthday gift from me, the whole fam drove out to Jersey, yes, Jersey! where you can drive these around a track.

My grandma, who performs magic. She sews, cleans, and can make Ferris fall asleep just by sitting next to him. Today he debuted his latest fashion for Tuxedo Tuesday!

And Deena and 2 month old Yvey, who bravely traveled from Iowa for some girl bonding time. Most of our activity involved food acquisition, but we also fit in a visit to Times Square, and the WTC memorial. Deena's friend also gave us a backstage tour of Ghost on Broadway! Behind Ferris, you can see the darker tree that doesn't fit in - that is the survivor tree, which was found in the rubble of 9/11. Deena and I were college roommates that fall.

And my joy was taking my favorite photo evereverever, of anything. Deena and Yvey were walking with us past the Imagine memorial for John Lennon, which is almost always flooded with tourists and harsh lighting. The unplanned moments are the best.

Bonus favorite.

And if you need proof of the clapping.... or just want a dose of pure joy.