Less than 48 Hours in Boston…Part 1!

The easiest way to get me to go on vacation is to ask. The easiest way to get me to go on a last minute vacation is to put a few drinks in me and ask. I have booked multiple vacations under the influence of alcohol only to wake up and go, “oh well, I guess I am going to Baltimore to the see the Backstreet Boys” or “oh well, I guess I am flying to New Orleans.” Most recently, exactly two weeks ago, I was drinking and was asked if I wanted to go to Boston. I said, “when?” and they said, “next weekend” and I said, “sure!”. So I booked a hotel and drove on up to Boston seven days later.

20151204_170345.jpg

View from the hotel- Boston Marriott Cambridge

We stayed at the Boston Marriott Cambridge. It was a nice hotel with nice rooms, but I really hate two things about it and I try to avoid this when I book hotels (I did not choose the hotel, I booked where everyone else had already booked). First: if I am paying for a room in your hotel, do not make me pay to park my car. This room wasn’t cheap and I am not really sure where the money went since the Marriott has a thing about not changing sheets and reusing towels, which I get, but if you are scrimping and saving everywhere else, then let me park my damn car. Second: no free breakfast. There was a nice buffet, but it was not free. Again, if I am paying for breakfast, paying to park my car, and you aren’t changing a damn thing in my room (also, no fridge), then why is my room so expensive?! Furthermore, the hotel was in Cambridge. Cambridge is fine, but it’s Cambridge, not Boston. I had to take a cab or the T everywhere. It wasn’t some hot spot in the center of Boston. It was down the street from MIT and there were no bars or restaurants anywhere to be found. I really don’t understand what the expense was for and the lack of complimentary services at the hotel. Basically, it was nice and clean, but it wasn’t worth the money. If I am going to get hit with expenses like that, I want to be staying on the Freedom Trail.

So I arrived first, but this adventurer wasn’t going to sit in her hotel room and wait for everyone else. It was nighttime, dark, and I’m not familiar with Boston, so I didn’t want to aimlessly wander, but I wanted to see something. I have this cool book filled with 36 hour trips throughout North America, so I flipped to Boston and looked to see what it recommended. It suggested the Museum of Fine Arts and I love art, so I hopped in a cab and went to the museum. It is open late on Fridays, which is great, but I happened to be there on the first Friday of the month, which is a party night there. I did not join the party as I had no idea it was happening, but I did get to take advantage of hearing music throughout the museum all night and one friendly security guard asked me why I wasn’t in there dancing because I was so “dressed up” (I was wearing jeggings and a henley). Well, I wasn’t in there dancing because I wanted some culture. Also, it is a decent sized museum and I only had a few hours to knock it all out, which I was determined to do since I spent $25 to get in.

I began in the ancient cultures section. It was two floors of ancient Egyptian and Greek art and artifacts. It was beautiful. I was especially fond of the Greek/Roman section because marble sculptures are my absolute favorite form of physical art. Below are some of my favorite sculptures, but I want to note that not all were from the ancient Greek exhibit; some are American sculptures. I didn’t note who did what, so I am not giving credit to anything or anyone and I apologize for that, but I’m pretty sure all the artists are dead and they probably won’t sue me.

20151204_184918.jpg

They believe this is the body of Venus

20151204_210725.jpg

This was in the American Art section, but there were some sculptures in there that were not done by Americans

20151204_184808.jpg

Athena

20151204_190428.jpg

Diomedes with the face of a, dare I say, Greek god? That nose and those lips…I love Greek men.

20151204_203429.jpg

This one was also in the American Art section and again I am not sure if this was an American artist or not

20151204_211248.jpg

Juno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve read my posts before, you will know that I identify as pagan. I don’t practice any religion, but I definitely am spiritual. There were rooms here, especially in the Egyptian art section, that I felt like I was walking into somewhere sacred or that the artifacts in them had no business being removed from their original places. This museum does a really cool job of recreating rooms or temples, homes, and other locations of the time period they are representing. The first room that I walked into like this was in the Egyptian section and there were two smaller rooms that had the walls of two peoples’ tombs, and then in the middle, there was an archway with a few statues of a queen that I cannot remember the name of, Ramesses II, and Bastet.

20151204_191446.jpg

The Queen

20151204_191638.jpg

Ramesses II

20151204_191523.jpg

Bastet

I could not stay in this room long. I actually went in before I left a second time because I needed to see if what I felt was still there. I walked in and immediately felt like I was intruding. I could feel energy in there that wasn’t unwelcoming, it just didn’t feel right. I immediately got the feeling that those pieces didn’t belong. I wanted to single-handedly return them to Egypt to live in peace. I know modern day Egypt is not ancient Egypt, but I felt like they just should never have been moved in the first place. I had to leave the room and then was drawn back in the room because there was energy in there that wasn’t anywhere else. The only other room that gave me any type of emotional reaction like that was the overtly Christian room in the European art section that featured this statue:

20151204_205238.jpg

Knight praying…or in my opinion having the shit scared out of him.

Not pictured here is the painting of Jesus’ crucifixion on the wall next to him. This room was powerful and I couldn’t stay in it because I felt like I was being punished. The Catholic guilt that I have so successfully stored away deep in the parts of my brain that I tend to ignore pushed its way into the forefront of my mind and I immediately texted my pagan aunt telling her how miserable everyone is in the artwork depicting Christian scenes. This room made me feel fear. The church bullying everyone over the last thousand years fear. I probably overreacted and I am sure this picture doesn’t demonstrate it, but the presentation was incredible and I walked in, stared that knight in the face, and got the hell out of there.

The European art section featured some other really incredible exhibits and pieces. As mentioned in previous posts, my favorite era of painting is Impressionist art, and they have a significant exhibit dedicated to that. There is also a great display of pottery, tea cups, table settings, furniture, and musical instruments from different eras in European history. Another great section was the Asian, Pacific, and Oceanic exhibit. Here is sculpture of Ganesh, everyone’s favorite chubby elephant god:

img_20151206_194058.jpg

A belly like that and he still manages to get the ladies? Of course he’s happy!

I don’t know who this lady is, but she looks pretty terrifying:

20151204_194842.jpg

She does not look like a lady that I want to cross. The lighting on her is awesome though. She was incredible to see in person.

There was a contemporary art exhibit, which for the most part was dumb and a waste of space because when you glue garbage together or put a plain red square on the wall it is not impressive or worthy of my time. If you hang a piece of denim from the ceiling and make me walk around it and don’t put anything else inside I am not going to be impressed with your creativity, I am going to pissed I walked around a piece of material hanging from the ceiling and saw nothing cool. There was one piece in this section that was cool though. I am going to put the picture in, but I am not going to explain it because I don’t want to take away the only thing that made this exhibit worth entering. You can go check this one out for yourself. It was on the second floor if you don’t want to waste your time walking through the first floor of contemporary “art”.

20151204_194145.jpg

The only interesting piece in the contemporary exhibit. 

Here’s my little rant about contemporary art. Yes, I fully understand that art does not have to abide by certain rules and art affects everyone differently. I make art. I make art that speaks to me or helps me at certain points in my life. Sometimes my art is good and sometimes it sucks, but it doesn’t matter because I do it for me to make me feel a certain way. I get that and I am sure that the art in this section made the artist feel a certain way when they made it, and that is amazing, but that does not mean that this shit belongs in a museum. I don’t put my crap in a museum and expect people to be inspired by it. I know it is shit. So, contemporary artists, get your shit together, get your heads out of your asses, and stop being so damn conceited. I am not impressed that you hung lights from a ceiling, that you pieced together scraps of metal, or that you painted an oversized dish and hung it on a wall (all things in the exhibit). It does not take skill. I’m happy you are expressing your emotions, but do it privately. Some contemporary artists do have talent, like whoever created the piece above, but there are exceptions to every rule. Leave room for pieces of art that take talent. End rant.

I ended the night in the American section. I present you with two Presidents and all around impressive gentlemen:

img_20151206_194639.jpg

I love me a ginger. The first All American Red Hot…Thomas Jefferson. Also known as my favorite president and a total stud. 

20151204_210308.jpg

Good ol’ George and his White Horse. I felt super patriotic. 

I just swelled with American pride when I saw him standing there. And then I thought about America now and I died a little inside, but I tried to push that back into the part of the brain with the Catholic guilt, picked myself up by my bootstraps, hailed a cab, went back to the hotel, and prepared for the next day.

Part 2 will be continued when I am not fighting sleep. I shall be back to continue the tale of my less than 48 hours in Boston!

Good night and Slainte!

Advertisements

The Tea and Rose 2015 Holiday Sale

etsygifts_O43pxOWA (1)

30% off with coupon code HOLIDAY2015 over at The Tea and Rose!

Maybe I will actually finish some of the half-made pillows I have in time for Christmas…maybe. Nah, I’ll get there. I’m also going to make myself a t-shirt quilt and if that goes well, I may add those to the shop! Here’s to starting projects we never finish!

I think I may move to Vegas.

Don’t let my mom read this, she might freak out. There are some places that just feel like you can stay for awhile. I don’t know if I could live in Vegas for the long haul, but I could definitely stay there for a bit. It is my speed. I like places that stay up late and then stay in bed in the morning. I like day drinking. I like flashy things and music everywhere. It is clean too. I like shows, gambling, getting drunk and singing along. I like people watching and talking to drunk guys who think they are being slick when really you’ve just been messing with them. Basically, I like Vegas.

I love New Orleans, but when I go to New Orleans I go hard for two days and crash. When I go to Vegas, I go semi-hard for three days and leave wanting more. That is the key. I always want more. My life is essentially a struggle of me always wanting more and Vegas is that sentiment and struggle in the version of a city.

Now, I know that my vacations would not equal living in Vegas, but honestly, it has got to be more fun than living here. I would also probably tire of it quicker than I think, especially considering I tire of everything, but I think it would be worth going behind the curtain in Oz to live boldly for a year or two. Damn having a pension in NJ; it makes spontaneous moves a very difficult thing to do.

Well, if I can’t live there, I will definitely vacation there often. This time around I repeated some old faves and tried some new things. The Paris breakfast buffet was a repeat and for good reason…

wpid-20151105_095852.jpg

That is a fine crepe. Plus I ate about 3 other plates that morning. The Paris breakfast is even pretty reasonably priced compared to other buffets. It is about $23. The only downside is that mimosas are not unlimited. I was told that the Cosmopolitan had a pretty good breakfast buffet with unlimited mimosas, but I didn’t get there. I will have to try it out next time.

Absinthe was another repeat performance. I swear, that has to be the best show in Vegas because I cannot imagine anything being better. I’m not going to go into a detailed description of the show again (check out my last Vegas post), but I can tell you that I was equally impressed/amazed/in total awe of the show the second time around as I was the first. I’d go see it again. Hell, I probably will see it again.

Now, I have a favorite bar in Vegas, too. I went there the first time, probably didn’t know the name of it, just called it the piano bar, and then went there again this time and realized that the name is the Piano Bar.  I’m so smart. I should name things for a living. I just like dueling pianos and singalongs, as previously stated. I could stay there all night and just sing. I really wished that I practiced piano more as a child because my dream job is to play piano and just sing all night at a drunk and rowdy piano bar in Vegas. Damn my parents for not telling me that was a career option when I was in the second grade. I totally would have practiced more.

What else did I do? Hmmm, well, again I played a lot of arcade games. I don’t know why I want to play so many arcade games in Vegas, but I really just do. I stayed in Excalibur, which is a great place to stay if you have kids or don’t want to spend a ton of money. We went to the Tournament of Kings and had way more fun there than at Medieval Times, it was just a lot cooler, even though I am not a fan of Dragon being the bad guys. Hello writers of this show, you set it in Avalon, yet made Dragon (Island?) the bad guys. I’m shaking my pagan head at you even though you don’t realize what you did. Morgaine is not pleased. (Go read The Mists of Avalon if you are confused).

Okay, Arthurian legend rant over. That was hardly a rant, I could have gone on for days. So, what else. Oh yes, I took a burlesque class with some very nice gals over at the Flamingo. That was actually a ton of fun. One of my teachers was actually a former Rockette, proving that most professional dancers just end up taking their clothes off. Ah, thankfully I listened to mom and got a degree, but I still think I would have been happier trying and failing to be a Rockette and ending up a burlesque dancer…with a degree to fall back on. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, but I am a Master of Arts! Bow to me, peasants.

All in all, Vegas was another blast. We ate at Margaritaville, stopped in to Toby Keith’s bar called I Love this Bar and listened to some kid sing Eric Church songs better than Eric Church (I wish I remembered his name so I could promote him here, but I don’t). I think I like Harrah’s the best for night life. I did go to a fun country line dance bar in Treasure Island and spent a lot of time in New York, New York. There is a great Irish pub there with an awesome live band that is totally worth the $5 cover. We went to the Bodies exhibit in the Luxor where we came out weirdly hungry and then went to the Titanic exhibit where I cried and then bought a tea cup with the White Star Line logo. Seriously though, the Bodies exhibit is awesome. It isn’t gross at all and it mostly just showed me how fragile and complex our bodies are and I left feeling like I should be taking better care of mine. The Titanic exhibit was incredible. I did cry; it was incredibly emotional, but also incredibly educational and informative. They recreated some more famous aspects of the ship and even have the big piece of the Titanic on display. You can get a joint ticket for the Bodies and Titanic exhibit at the Luxor and I believe you can also add the aquarium at Mandalay Bay in, as well, which I did not do.

All in all, this was a trip for the ages. However, I did not see Celine Dion even though her gorgeous face was following me everywhere, and I have yet to go to the Grand Canyon, so there is definitely at least one more Vegas trip in my future. Near future because Celine, yo. She is the queen. I think next time I am going to treat myself to a fancier room or maybe just Harrah’s since that is where I seem to meet all the men anyway (I’m 2 for 2 at Harrah’s. Hey, I’m single, there ain’t nothing wrong with it). Snoochie boochies!

Broadway Week and More!

First things first, OMG TAYE DIGGS.

wpid-img_20150911_232746.jpg

Well, now that that is out of the way, I can proceed with actual sentences. Let me backtrack for a moment. We are currently in Broadway Week. Broadway Week is when you get buy one get one tickets for select Broadway shows. I selected Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Something Rotten. Yes, I chose two. I couldn’t help myself. I really wanted to get more, but alas, I’m saving for more adventures.

wpid-img_20150909_134300.jpg

First, I saw Something Rotten.  If you like Broadway and are well versed in literature, this show is phenomenal.  If you’ve never seen a Broadway show and you fell asleep in English Lit, you are going to get a few of the penis jokes and the rest of the show will go right over your head. This is the perfect show for English and Drama teachers alike, for your friend who always has a book in her purse, and for your friend that prides themselves in their collection of movie musicals. Otherwise, this show is not for you. The thing is, I just described myself and this show was basically written for people like me. I loved it. Brian D’Arcy James and Christian Borle (my mother was very focused on his “cute butt”) were fantastic (everyone was fantastic) and there was more tap dancing in this show than anything I’ve seen since 42nd Street.  Any tap dancing already adds bonus points for me, but there was SO MUCH TAP DANCING. I couldn’t get enough. Tap dancing really equals a win for me. So, if you are a theater/book nerd, Something Rotten will not disappoint.  If you are an uncultured swine, well then you disappoint and we don’t want you there asking us to explain every joke anyway. Also, the t-shirt I got from this show is probably my favorite show t-shirt of all time.

wpid-20150909_195856.jpeg

If you couldn’t guess, Shakespeare is a character in this show.

Friday night I went and saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Now, I lucked out in seeing Taye Diggs. Honestly, I do see how a smaller built guy would fit the part much better, like every actor who preceded Diggs, however, I don’t think any of them look like Diggs. I am very happy that I saw Hedwig before it closed (two days before!!) and I highly suggest going to see it on tour.  It is not a light subject matter and there are very intense scenes, but the humor and breaking of the fourth (and fifth) wall balances out the serious subject matter. Diggs was incredible, sexy, built like a brick shit house, and performed fantastically, but the real star was Rebecca Naomi Jones.  Holy shit that woman can belt out a tune. If you ever see her name on something, go see it because wow, that woman is a gift. Hedwig is going on tour in 2016, so keep an eye out for it.

wpid-img_20150911_232554.jpg

So on a totally unrelated note, I went to a Doobie Brothers/Steve Miller Band concert and holy cow was it awesome. Now, I like the Doobie Brothers, but I probably wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for Steve Miller.  Firstly, the Doobie Brothers were awesome and they just have such catchy tunes that there was really no way it could be bad.  Secondly, Steve Miller sounds exactly the same now at 69 as he did on the radio 41 years ago when The Joker was released. He was so freaking good, I still really can’t get over it.  If you have the opportunity to see him, go. His voice is awesome, his stage show was beautiful, and overall it was just a fantastic show.

wpid-img_20150905_211114.jpg

What a weekend!

I feel like I still haven’t quite recovered. Friday night I took my mother and aunt to the Philadelphia Art Museum for the Impressionist exhibit. The exhibit is open until September 13th and I highly recommend it. Degas, Monet, Manet, and Renoir are some of the heavy hitters, but there are lesser known and more obscure artists featured, as well. My one recommendation is go early because there are so many other exhibits and your impressionist ticket gets you access to the entire museum. We went at night and only had time to check out some very cool armour and one section of the European art exhibit (that small section was enough to make me wish I lived in Europe during any time period but now, really. Or now, I’m always ready to fly at a moments notice).

image

image

So this was a busy weekend. Sunday, my aunt and I went up to the New York Renaissance Faire for their “Celtic” weekend. It was a good faire, but there really wasn’t anything overly Celtic. Three Pints Shy was a good musical group doing some Irish drinking songs and the men in kilts competition was very fun, but there were no Highland games despite it being dubbed “Highland Games Weekend” on the schedule and that was disappointing. What was not disappointing was the guy playing Shakespeare. He was fantastic and if you go, you should watch everything he does. So wrap up: the Faire itself was good, just not celtic like advertised.

image

Slainte!

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

This weekend I went to Callicoon, NY up to my friend’s cottage for a pig roast. I’ve been to Ithaca and Lake Placid, but not to the Catskill region. I went for a two day trip and honestly, I could have stayed for the rest of the summer (the roads are probably way too treacherous for a winter stay). I’ve always considered myself a beach-lover despite my susceptibility to severe sunburn and was positive that I would do like every other obedient New Jerseyan and one day get a shore house. Well, the Jersey Shore will always hold a special place in my heart, but I might just be looking into mountain homes in the future.

I live right on the Delaware River and the Delaware River in my neck of the woods is really nothing to look at. It can be rough, it isn’t very pretty, and during the winter months I understand why it was so impressive that Washington crossed like he did (I live right near Washington’s Crossing). So when I took a walk down to the river and saw a gorgeous sight I naively asked what river we were on. When I was told the Delaware I nearly spit out my delicious fruit, vodka, and lemonade drink that I was so graciously handed upon my arrival.

Not the Delaware River that I know and would never step foot in.

Not the Delaware River that I know and would never step foot in.

As the picture states, I would never go in the Delaware River down my way. There is a “Beach” nearby me in the neighboring town that sits on the river and I’ve gone down there, but there is nothing tempting about sticking my foot in that water. In all fairness though, I happen to sit on the Delaware in Trenton. Down where the Delaware hits Philly, it is equally as gross. I think it is just the fact that it runs through a city that makes it less than savory. Well, up in Callicoon it is definitely not running through a city and I walked into that clear water immediately. It was ice cold and I could see a lot further down than I could ever imagine seeing into the Delaware. We then proceeded to tube down this tranquil water highway and then drive up and tube down it again. Let me clarify that this tubing was a slow-going adventure and that was wonderful. This isn’t white water rafting, this is I’m moving slower than I could walk this and we’re passing bottles of fireball around and drinking beers from the floating raft/cooler.

Upon getting to shore, I snapped another picture of the sun setting over the mountains and I fell in love. Technically these are pictures of Pennsylvania, but I was standing in NY while taking it.

Give me a book, a cup of tea, and this view and I will stay here forever.

Give me a book, a cup of tea, and this view and I will stay here forever.

We took one more float down the river the next day before leaving and I was sad to see it go. Fortunately, this pig roast is annual, so I will be back next summer, but I will miss it.  Mostly, I am happy that I had this experience because it was a different part of the US that I never really see. I always think go to the shore, go to the beach, head to islands if I want some great water, but this was awesome. There were hardly any people (something I am enjoying more and more the older I get), it was so affordable (obviously it was my friends house, but I drove up the RV and stayed in that, plus there are a lot of campgrounds in the area), and it was honestly one of the most relaxing weekends that I have had in a very  long time.

Callicoon is a tiny town, it looks like it is stuck in the early 1900’s, and everyone waves to everyone as you drive by. The road is wide enough for one car outside of the very tiny city center, and going down the mountain with the RV I really thought we were taking our lives in our hands. Going up the mountain took a while too…old Larry (what I named the RV) had to chugalug his way up slowly but surely, but I cannot wait to do it all again next year. Hopefully we won’t go on the same day as the Callicoon Country Fair like we did this time and be stuck taking back roads down the mountain which really tested my driving abilities and my friends’ faith in me since the main road was closed. It was poetic really; of course there was a Country Fair in this quaint little town. The sign for the County fair urged you to wear your cowboy hat (how could I go out in public without one, really?!). I didn’t even have cell service, which was wonderful. Maybe that was why the weekend was so relaxing?

All in all, I have become a believer in mountains, I have gotten waist-deep in the Delaware, wasted in the Delaware, and have christened Larry. I look forward to my next adventure that is relaxing, out of the way of a cell tower, and equally as beautiful as this past weekend.

Slainte!

How the West was Won

Flip cup. Oh yeah, little known fact. Well, that is how we won last night anyway at the Wild Wild West casino in Atlantic City.  I’ve never gone there and we only went as a second thought after going to Dusk in Caesar’s. We were staying in Bally’s and Wild Wild West sort of serves as a connector between Bally’s and Caesar’s. If you don’t like the club scene, but want a little more action than just sitting at a bar, then you may love Wild Wild West. Honestly, this may have just become my go to hangout in AC. THEY HAVE BEER PONG TABLES. So basically, there is a stage with a big open floor, a bar, and a section of beer pong tables. For $12 you get a pitcher and cups and can play for as long as you want to keep refilling the pitcher. Considering my friends and I are horrible at pong, but we are stellar at flip cup (we became pros in our college sorority days), we abandoned the balls, and started a game of flip cup. We were challenged by another table, and I warned them that we were going to be beat them, and then we went on to win every round over the next hour. We are the undefeated flip cup champs.

This really isn’t about my mad flip flip flipadelphia skills, it is more about finding a new gem of a place after going to AC for years and frequenting the same overcrowded and overpriced bars and now I do not have to anymore. It is great for meeting people, listening to some good music, and is actually priced pretty reasonably. It is just refreshing to be able to go to a place that was starting to become used up and find a new corner of it to reinvigorate an old favorite.

It’s a short post this weekend, but until next time, slainte!

First Celtic Fest of the Summer!

Celtic Fling 2015:  I normally go to this to watch sexy Scottish men in tights throw trees, but this year I went to watch some musicians play fantastic music. I would’ve done the former if it wasn’t pouring and there weren’t flood warnings. So Friday night of the Celtic Fling is always the kickoff concert. This year the acts were Carbon Leaf and Gaelic Storm.  Gaelic Storm is typically the headliner for this performance. I’m not sure if Carbon Leaf is a repeat, but I sure hope they are because they were fantastic. The lead singer’s voice is just wonderful.  They are actually playing at World Cafe Live in Philly on December 5th and I really want to go! Get your tickets here and maybe you can meet me! AAAAHHHHH I’m so cool. But seriously, tickets are about $20 and totally worth it. I am actually listening to them as we speak and I am becoming more and more obsessed with every song. If you aren’t in the Philly area, you can catch them at any of these shows.

FYI the concert tickets were $25 and you got Carbon Leaf and Gaelic Storm for that, so if you are near Manheim, PA, you definitely want to check out the Friday night concert next year. To put that in perspective, Gaelic Storm was playing another concert in Boston the next evening and those tickets were on StubHub for $98. So, yeah, seeing them at the RenFaire grounds is really the way to go if you are in the area. I am slightly far away so I decided to stay at a hotel and everything was booked other than the Days Inn Lebanon. Well, lesson learned, book eariler and don’t stay there. It was so shady. But, back to Gaelic Storm. You need to see them live, they are just so freaking entertaining. Yes, listening to their music is great, but watching them live is an experience. They are showmen. They are hysterical and can interact with the crowd like no other band I’ve seen. You need to see them live. End of discussion. You can check out their tour shedule here. Go.

If you are interested in going to the RenFaire it is ongoing all summer every weekend. If you would like to see some kilts, check out Irish and Scottish Weekend. Here is the link for the faire and the schedule of events. It is definitely a great time for anyone who has never gone to a Renaissance Faire before. I am going to try and check out New York’s this summer too if I can swing it.

So, just an update…I promised a review on Virginia Beach, but I got a new job so I had to cancel the trip. Yum! for new job Yuck! for canceling the trip, but alas, I’ve decided to put those days towards an Ireland trip in April. Salem this fall is still up in the air (again, it is a day I could use towards Ireland, so we’ll see), but Vegas part 2 is definitely happening. I’m trying to find some more day trips to fill in the gaps. I did go to Avon-By-The-Sea for a beach day this week and if you are looking for a good beach at the Jersey Shore that isn’t overrun by idiots and is clean and beautiful, Avon-By-The-Sea is the place to go. It is right north of Belmar, $9 for the pass, and has a boardwalk with a delicious restaurant, walkup grill/ice cream stand, and clean bathrooms. That’s about the only other place I’ve been for now, but I promise I will get some stuff on the calendar to review!

Back to the Earth

Maybe I am still feeling the effects of the Summer Solstice, or maybe I am horrified (yet not surprised) at the revelation that we are in the sixth mass extinction and this time it is being caused by humans, but I thought that right now was a perfect opportunity to write about my recent trip to Luray Caverns. I think it is important for people to get in the ground, get dirty, and see nature. I felt more energized leaving those caverns than I’ve felt in ages. Being out in nature, and not only nature, but nature so beautiful and impressive as those caverns, breathes a life back into you like nothing can. The energy from the Earth is the best energy.

wpid-20150411_112136.jpg

The picture above is from an underground lake inside the caverns. The lake is perfect mirror and honestly, I could have stood there all day and just stared at that. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and this picture does not even come close to doing it justice.

I ended up at the Caverns by accident.  I was down in Virginia for a conference and all down 81 I kept seeing signs for caverns. It was a beautiful drive, perfect weather, and the idea of sitting in a classroom all weekend was killing me. See, I love to learn, but I hate being cooped up. I figured I would learn more out in the wild, so after attending one very boring lecture, I decided to make like a tree and get out of there (bonus points if you get the reference).

wpid-20150411_113935.jpg wpid-20150411_111508.jpgwpid-20150411_113159.jpg

I decided on Luray Caverns despite having visited the caverns previously as a youth. There are other caverns in the area, but Luray is the largest. After driving about 30 minutes out of the way, I finally got to the Caverns. I met a very nice family in line when the little girl mistook me for her mother and then entered the caverns. I am always amazed by two things when entering places like this: 1st. The beauty. The beauty always leaves me speechless and in awe. I love that our planet can create such wonderful places without human influence. I think it is incredible.  These formations were not purposefully carved by the hands of man, but made over millions of years by water, natural disaster, and pure chance. I love it and I will always love it and I will forever judge people who don’t love it. I will never understand how people can be so thoughtless about this planet…which brings me to the second point. 2nd: I will never understand why people touch the formations when the guide clearly says DO NOT TOUCH THE FORMATIONS BECAUSE IT RUINS THEM. Yet, multiple ADULTS continuously touched the rocks. The two main emotions I had down there was awe and anger. Awe at the beauty of what I was experiencing and anger at the morons who couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.  Am I tempted to touch? Obviously. Guess what though, I can control myself and respect the magnitude of where I am and the damage I can do. So, if you are one of those people who touches old rock formations or uses your flash when taking pictures of art, dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow, dishonor on your whole family.

wpid-20150411_115425.jpg wpid-20150411_114534.jpg wpid-20150411_114506.jpg

So, lesson here…pay attention to the Earth, respect it, visit it, feed off the natural energy, and coexist. Marvel in its beauty and for the love of whatever you worship, DO NOT TOUCH IF SOMEONE SAYS DO NOT TOUCH. Visit Luray Caverns. Stay for lunch (the pulled pork is delicious), get some wine from the local winery, and shop. There is a gem sluice and some fun activities and museums for kids. I spent about 3 hours there in total, but I just did the tour, stopped at the gift shop (I’m a sucker for souvenirs), had lunch, pumped my own gas (3rd time ever), and got back on the road. It was the perfect stopover for me. I was tempted to stop a few other places (other caverns, battlegrounds, and the historical like), but I had a party to be at, so I just trudged on home with the windows down, music up, and hair blowin’ in the wind.