Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pittsburgh to Milwaukee

Friday morning we took our time getting ready and eating breakfast. We were a little early meeting a friend for lunch so we walked around a little bit. Pittsburgh seems like an awesome city and I have to come back someday to explore it more.

 We ate at Eat Unique and the food was dece but the really memorable part of the meal, besides awesome conversation, was the chocolate chip sea salt cookie! I found a recipe here that I'm hoping will satisfy my craving since this place is around seven hours away.

We made great time heading back to Milwaukee even though we passed right through a big rain storm. We got home around 9:30.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Driving from NH to PA

Today we did a lot of driving. About 10 hours. We're kind of crazy in the brain now. We're staying in a nice little town an hour away from Pittsburgh, called Blairsville. We got a room at a Hampton Inn and Suites and it's SO nice and the room is HUGE. It has really nice views of a golf course. Golf courses are pretty. It's just too bad they're dedicated to the sport of golf and not just, oh, picnicing and walking around barefoot.

We got a pizza to have in our room.

Tomorrow we're meeting a friend in Pittsburgh and then heading home!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Portsmouth, NH and Maine

We decided to book another night at our Portsmouth, NH hotel because we like it and if we stay here versus Maine, we'll be an hour closer for our looong drive tomorrow!

This was supposed to be a big day for me - we were going to visit the Shaker Village and museum, which I have been looking forward to for almost a year. I hadn't thought to check the website until this morning, but when I did, I discovered they start their open season Memorial Day. I was really upset and sad. Dan tried to keep my spirits up and we drove in the rain to Shaker Village anyway. We found it and drove near it to take some pictures. It's really beautiful and I'm trying to stay positive by telling myself I WILL come back there again!

We headed to Portland Maine to do some shopping and eat lunch at the Green Elephant (lots of green animals here!). The menu here is all vegan and vegetarian! That was pretty nice. I got a really great hot and sour soup and a ginger beer.

The stores were really cute and I bought a skirt and two dresses from resale shops. I've really gotten into tropical prints lately. Is there such thing as too tropical? Hm, maybe in Wisconsin. Oh well.

It was misting rain all day long and I think we might have wandered more in Portland if the weather were nicer, but I still feel like we got a great taste of the place.

On our way back we drove around York, which is a really cute touristy town. It reminded me of an old fashioned boardwalk. We also were reminded of how glad we are that we're here just before tourist season starts! These places would be cah-razy in the summertime!

York is where we found a great place to park and take a walk near the ocean. The rainy, windy day made the ocean really beautiful.

 After freshening up for dinner we drove into Portsmouth to The Friendly Toast. The decor was SO awesome and I wanted to take a bunch of stuff home with me! I ordered the Granny Melt - swiss, cheddar, apple slices and brown sugar carmelized onions on a croissant. It was heavenly as was my side of onion rings. I also ordered a mint cocoa. It came with a CUP of marshmallows and a BOWL of the most delicious whipped cream. So tasty.

Now we rest up for the long drive tomorrow. We're going to stay someplace outside of Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Portsmouth, NH

After grabbing a bite at the hotel's complimentary breakfast we hit the road to Portsmouth, NH. When we ate at Myers & Chang our waitress gave us some great recommendations and our first stop was one such. Strawberry Banke Museum has 42 buildings representing the span from 1695 to 1950. There are houses to tour inside, pretty gardens, and a WWII era grocery store.

 Pretty fancy dog house!

Here is the WWII era grocery store exhibit. It was so cool!

One of the houses had a demonstration of hearth cooking. The guide, Joe was super knowledgeable, entertaining and talked about food and cooking in general during colonial times. That was probably my favorite place there. Here he is making Indian slapjacks. You can see the chicken on the string in the back. It was kind of like a colonial rotisserie. You wind the string from the top down and let it go and do this about every 5-10 minutes.

We also visited an early Masonic Lodge and museum in one of the buildings.

There were a few actors dressed up in Colonial clothes that you could talk to. I was nervous to talk to them for some reason but we did chat with one lady and it wasn't so bad.

I want this bedding:
Where wooden casks, buckets and barrels are made. We missed the demonstration but it still looked cool.

We wandered around for many hours here and it was definitely a highlight. We had worked up an appetite so we got sandwiches at The Works coffee shop downtown. Really good food and all natural stuff, too. We stopped in a few shops in that area and I bought a cute top at a resale store (no sales tax here!).

Then we drove to our hotel, Port Inn. I was a little nervous about the motel-style - you can drive your car right to your hotel door, but this is way nicer than a lot of the places we've stayed in. They have a really nice outdoor pool but it is way too cold here today (mid 50s).

We have relied heavily on to research restaurants and destinations for this trip. Our dinner selection was no exception - The Green Monkey. I had the pad Thai (big surprise) but it was unlike any pad Thai I have had before. It was different but good and the tofu was prepared nicely. I had a rhubarb mojito with it and it was awesome! Dan got the macadamia nut encrusted mahi mahi with papaya buerre blanc and tahitian vanilla bean risotto (kind of reminded of us rice Krispie treats!). He had a white sangria with that and I loved it, too. I think I would much prefer a white sangria to a red because that's how I prefer wine in general.
Oh! And then Dan ordered a bluberry lemonade drink. It had blueberry stoli and blueberry puree. It was delicious! It came with a little monkey hanging off the edge of the glass.
Finally, we split the fresh rhubarb trifle (rhubarb is in season!): layer of cake, whipped cream, rhubarb custard, sandy pistachio cookie. This was a really memorable meal and I'm so glad we found this place.

Salem and Boston

Our second day in Boston we decided to take a day-trip to Salem. Our first stop was the Salem Witch Museum. It was really cheesy. You go into the main room and a voice from the loudspeaker tells the story of the 1692 witch trials as a series of vignettes light up around the room.

We walked to lunch at the Gulu Gulu Cafe and I had a cheese plate. Dan had a crepe. Nearby there was a Samantha statue:

We walked around Salem some more and saw this awesome ship:

Dan directed me to make a pirate pose:

On our way out of Salem, back to Boston, I got a ginger lemonade and it was so good. I want to remember to get some ginger so I can add it to things. We hung out at the hotel until dinner time. I chose an Ethiopian place in Cambridge, Asmara. The food was FANTASTIC. I got a vegetarian combination and honey wine.

This doesn't really fit in anywhere, but our hotel is near a Target and we went in to pick up a few things. I happened to find my perfect dream comforter for the bed; yellow, gray, and white! It was the last one. I can't wait to put it on when we get home.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Connecticut, Providence, and Boston

Yesterday when we left Philadelphia we headed to Hartford, CT. We intended on going to Abyssinian Ethiopian Cuisine but it when we got there it was closed! Kind of disappointing since we were in the car for a while. We went to a cafe next door and it was dece.

We also intended on going to the Museum of Natural Curiosities and other Oddities but we couldn't find it for the life of us, so we just headed to Providence. It was too bad CT was a bust but Providence is so beautiful! We wandered the neighborhoods and saw a lot of old colonial houses. All of the houses were so gorgeous.


After our stroll we hit the road to Boston. Okay, this city is awesome. We headed straight to Faneuil Hall Market and found parking (after a while). The weather was perfect for all of the walking we did - sunny, breezy, and cool.

I looked cool on a bridge:
We checked out a cool cemetery and a squirrel came right up to me.

Major props go to Pamela for giving us the heads-up about the Banksy sighting on Essex St. in Chinatown! This was a delight to find.
This child had just fit his whole body into this newspaper stand:
We discovered we look really good in tri-corner hats.
After grabbing our complimentary freshly baked cookie, that our hotel provides, we went to dinner. Myers & Chang was fantastic. The place is really cute and the food was really tasty. Our server, Gigi gave us some awesome recommendations for our Portsmouth stop, which we are really looking forward to.

Dan's Alaskan King Crab with chili and curry and stuff.
Crispy fresh rolls and tofu "steak" on soba noodles with a lemony cilantro sauce.

A couple hours later we got ice cream cones at Toscanini's (butter Heath bar for me, hazelnut for Dan)!