Saturday, June 17, 2017

Memorial Day in Cape Cod

Nauset Light.We wanted to go to Cape Cod for years it seems. The place is relatively close, but somehow we never went, in part because it gets pricey in season. It was not cheap this Memorial weekend as well — a little over $250 for a room per night, but definitely more affordable.

Salt Pond Bay.We booked Hampton Inn hotel by Hilton in Hyannis. The location is not ideal since it’s still a 40+ miles ride from Provincetown, but we wanted to book something with a big chain rather than a small business in case we will have to cancel the trip on the account of children getting sick.

Nauset Beach.The original plan was to leave at 15-16 o’clock, but after some consideration we’ve decided to go as early as possible in hopes to beat some of the traffic, which in our case was right after picking Arosha up from school at 14:20. I prepared chicken sandwiches and tea so that Arosha could eat in the car and save us some time.

Down to Nauset Beach.Well, what can I say? Getting out of a megalopolis on the verge of the long weekend is not pretty. It took us 4 hours to drive the first 90 miles. We did stop at some point to get a quick dinner at a Turkish restaurant, which kids really liked, but pretty much all we did for the rest of the day was driving and standing in traffic. We got to the hotel at 22:30 and went to bed after 23:00.

Eroding Cape Cod.On Saturday the plan was to drive to Provincetown and make a few stops on the way in order to see different lighthouses and maybe take a hike or two.

Balancing at Nauset Beach.Approximately midway we stopped at the visitor center, where Danya and the kids got their passports stamped, and then proceeded to Nauset Lighthouse and Three Sisters Lighthouses. We went down to the beach, but did not spend too much time there since we had a lot of other plans.

Streets of Provincetown.The children started climbing sand dunes on the beach, which apparently is not a good idea because it can facilitate coastal erosion. We did not realize it at first, but within a few minutes someone pointed that out to us, so we explained it to Arosha and Anюta. I think if they were allowed to proceed, they could have enjoyed this activity for a very long time.

Streets of Provincetown.We then went and looked at the Nauset Lighthouse and took a few pictures of it. There were no tours to the top available. We did not take a hike to the Three Sisters, but drove by them — the remnants of the replacement wooden lighthouses (the original brick ones fell into the ocean over a century ago) are not on the shore and only one of them looks like a lighthouse.

Streets of Provincetown.We then proceeded to Provincetown. The roads were quite busy, but no major traffics. In the city though it was tough to find parking. Luckily, we stumbled upon a big public parking lot (it was relatively inexpensive) and on the farthest parking field there were still some spots left.

Cape Cod Bay. View from Provincetown.What can I say? Provincetown seemed too busy for my taste. I guess, if we did not have children, it would have felt nicer, but it was a little unnerving for me to keep track of them in the crowds of people, especially considering the fact that Anюta stopped in front of every single dog and tried to communicate with it, and there were a lot of dogs in Provincetown that day.

Breakwater walk to Wood End Lighthouse.We picked one of the less popular places for lunch — it still had relatively decent rating on TripAdvisor — and got some beer, burgers, chowders and a lobster roll to share. The seafood in Cape Cod is fresh and tasty, and even though I am still not a huge fan of lobsters, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Breakwater walk to Wood End Lighthouse.We walked around the town for a little longer after lunch, and then drove to the Wood End Lighthouse. People at the visitor center warned us that we won’t be able to take a hike to it with little children in tow since the path to it is made out of huge rocks going through the water. We decided to see what exactly that looks like, but could not find any parking. Luckily, there was an inn with a big parking lot right next to the path, and the management let us park there free of charge for an hour.

National Seashore headquarters.The children were very excited with the rocky path — they were jumping from one rock to the next with the speed of a fit adult, but I was worried that one of them would slip and get into the cracks in between the rocks and break something. So we walked towards the lighthouse for about 15 minutes and then headed back to the children’s great disappointment.

Marconi Wireless Station Site.Originally, we planned to see one more lighthouse located in the area that day, and also to get another stamp at the farthest visitor center. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the center was already closed. Everyone was tired, so we decided to postpone the lighthouse visit until tomorrow, if we would feel like driving so far from our hotel again.

Authentic Cape Cod lunch at Moby Dick's.When we got to the hotel, the children went to the pool, which was also super crowded. Danya and I also changed into our bathing suits, but to be honest, neither pool, nor jacuzzi looked appealing enough to get in, although I did put my legs into the hot tub — I guess, Costa Rica spoiled us in this regard.

Lunch at Moby Dick's.We spent about an hour in the pool, and after a quick shower went to get dinner at local Peruvian restaurant. Danya and the children got fajitas and I got some Peruvian seafood dish that our waitress recommended. It turned out to be really good even though I oftentimes don’t like stuff like that. I think that the quality of the local seafood really makes all the difference.

Cape Code Lighthouse or Highland Lighthouse as it is known now.The next day we have decided to drive to the top of the Cape Cod again to see the Cape Cod Lighthouse. We stopped at some ranger station first in hopes to get an extra stamp, but it was closed. We did make it to Marconi Wireless Station Site though. We had lunch at Moby Dick’s restaurant. It was a nice experience — you order your food at the counter and take any table that you like and they bring the food to you, and the food was good too.

View from the top of Highland Lighthouse.After getting the passports stamped, we went to see the Cape Cod Lighthouse. Danya and Arosha took a tour to the top, but Anюta is not tall enough to be allowed in, so both of us waited for the boys outside. Daniel liked the tour and one of the interesting things that the guide told them is that the lighthouse was moved 3 times already due to coastal erosion.

Light lens itself up top of Highland Lighthouse.We wanted to see another lighthouse and maybe take a hike on the beach to it, but were not sure where to go exactly. A park ranger at the entrance to one of the $20 per car beaches (which we skipped) explained to us that there is a small hidden parking lot from which we can take a mile long hike to the lighthouse, and we even managed to find it, but it had no empty spaces. Oh well.

Highland Lighthouse.We ended up parking at Herring Cove Beach, which was free by the way, and taking an hour walk in the direction of the lighthouse on that beach. We could have walked longer, but it was just so windy and chilly that we could not take it any longer.

Herring Cove Beach.After this we went back to the hotel and the children enjoyed the pool once more. For dinner we went to Brazilian Grill, and it was a real treat. I think kids each ate about as much meat as I did, as they tend to do in this type of restaurants.

Hike at Herring Cove Beach. Windy.Our last full day at Cape Cod happened to be rainy. We didn’t do much. First the children went to the pool and spent 2 hours there. Then we drove to one of the restaurant streets in Hyannis, and had lunch at The British Beer Company and some deserts at the local cupcake store. We also checked out a few souvenir shops and got a cool looking magnifying glass for Arosha and small pink plush seal for Anюta — they christened it tюlenьka.

Herring Cove Beach.We then went back to the hotel and kids hit the pool and a hot tub again. This time around they spent 3 hours enjoying the water activities.

Collection of shells.Danya and I used the fitness center to get a workout on an elliptical trainer. I enjoyed it, but I still like our Peloton much more.

Seashell castle.Then at the evening I felt a massive migraine building up, so by the time we went to the restaurant and ordered dinner, I could barely sit straight. We took the food to go, and Daniel with the children ate their meals in the dining area of our hotel. I did not touch my meal, which was for the better, since I ended up throwing up a few times, which I suspected would happen.

Race Point Lighthouse from afar.Long story short, I was able to sleep most of the night and felt better the next day, although I still had a slight headache and queasy stomach.

Rhode Island Capitol.After breakfast on Tuesday we headed home. We stopped at Providence, the capital of Rhode Island. We visited the state capitol there — looked around, took some pictures, got special stamps.

Inside the capitol at Providence.We ate lunch later on at McDonald’s to save time and arrived home at 7 p.m. The total millage for the trip was 763 miles, which is a lot considering that it was just an extended long weekend getaway.

Arosha with Liberty Bell.I had fun overall, but at the moment have no desire to revisit Cape Cod. I understand that the timing was not ideal since a lot of people travel during this particular weekend, but it just felt so overcrowded. Our average speed for the trip was 30 miles per hour, which means that we spent 20 hours in the car altogether, and this was definitely tiring for everyone, especially Daniel.

Rhode Island Capitol in Providence.But then again, this was a quality time spent with my family and I am grateful that we were able to get away from our everyday routines and just explore new places together.

Providence.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sedona

Sedona under heavy rain clouds.It’s been almost 6 months since our southwest trip, but there is one place that we still haven’t said a word about — Sedona, Arizona. And I’d like to try to remember some things about it and write these memories down before they completely fade away.

Sedona is a town located in the heart of Arizona, surrounded by beautiful red mountains. It’s a very touristy town with a lot of shops, restaurants and swarms of visitors. At the same it seems very cozy with its small streets, uplifting colors and architecture.

One of cozy Sedona streets.For Alena and I this was not our first time here, so originally I didn’t even want to repeat the trip. We’ve been here on our Arizona trip in October 2005 and liked it a lot. But after driving through most of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona I thought it would be boring to revisit. On the other hand we had nothing to do and papa and mama haven’t been there, so off we went.

A simple BBQ place located at one of the back streets.It turned out to be a good decision. Papa and mama liked it very much and I found it, as I said, much cozier than I remembered. It was nice to remember some of the places in this town. We even managed to find a cheap BBQ place where we all ordered pulled pork sandwiches, just like we did with Alena in 2005.

Toozigoot National Monument and papa on top of it.On our way to Sedona we drove by Tuzigoot National Monument and got our mandatory stamps there. The monument itself wasn’t all that interesting — just some old dwellings that mostly fell apart.

And after Sedona we managed to get our stamps at Montezuma Castle National Monument. It consists of 2 distinct parts — the well and the castle. We were on time at the well, but castle was 10 minutes away and it was almost 5pm on the clock — that’s when they close it down.

Castle at Montezuma Castle National Monument.So we flew by the ranger right into the gate of the 2nd part, managed to get our stamps there as well and even had the time to run to the castle. On our way back I was worried that the ranger was going to be pissed at us for doing this, but when he saw us again he actually started smiling and waving. I guess he understood why we were seriously speeding.

And that’s pretty much all of the trip that I remember.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

New Hampshire

Us at the end of our XC skiing adventure.Our 2nd day was the most memorable for me I think. The reason is XC skiing. I was very lazy and was somewhat refusing to even try, but Alena wanted to go, so I reluctantly agreed.

Alena on skis at Gunstock park.The whole deal was extremely cheap first of all. We paid $35 per person for a ticket to the trail, 1 hour lesson with instructor and all the equipment rental. I think we spent a little over 2 hours on the trails — training and then putting our “skill” to use.

It all started with us getting some help from people “in the know” for putting our skis on. Right after that I saw Alena slowly, but steadily leave me, sliding down the slope. I tried to go catch her, but couldn’t move and couldn’t get out of my skis either. I just kept yelling: “Brake, brake!” ) She managed to ask some nice people on her way though how to stop and they were nice enough to help her. )

Skiing through the forest on an XC skiing trail at Gunstock.I actually managed not to fall a single time, which can’t be said of the rest of the trainees. Poor Alena was doing pretty well, but at one point while we were waiting for the rest of the group to catch up just lost balance while standing still and fell on her back. I felt so bad, but yet again was unable to free myself from the skis. She cried a little from the pain, but after a bit of consideration decided to continue.

The snow wasn’t great, but overall it was pretty fun. I think we might try it again some day on some fresh snow.


Last day of our weekend consisted mostly of driving home. We made 2 small detours on our way thought.

Lowell, MA. Historic city that leaves a dual impression.First one was a stop at a town called Lowell in Massachusetts. It’s designated as a National Historic area, so we went to get our stamps (which we did). The city used to be the beginning of American industrialization at the end of 19th century. However everything fell apart in the beginning of 20th and that’s pretty much how it went through the rest of the century. They say it was reborn, but it really doesn’t seem to be the case.

Waiting to place an order at California Pizza Kitchen at Foxwoods. She's clearly VERY hungry.After that we decided that Foxwoods Resort Casino wasn’t too far off our way and we decided to go there for dinner. Inside Foxwoods Resort Casino.Last time we really loved the food at California Pizza Kitchen (a chain restaurant of all things). We found another one at Scottsdale during our southwest trip.

Today was as great as before. We ordered one Greek Pizza and Chicken Piccata. Really really delicious stuff. And all that for $30. We enjoyed it.

Then we spent $5 on slot machines and went home.

We left for the trip at about 8pm on Friday and got home at about 8pm on Monday. It was a great weekend that I spent with my best friend — my awesome wife and I loved all of it.
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fire Island

Fire Island Lighthouse.Yesterday we drove out to Fire Island. Our main reason was really to get a new stamp in our passports. My dad and Ignat joined us as well.

Today was one of the first days of the spring — the weather was great. The sky was a bit dark, but it was really warm still. When we parked on the island and got out of the car the first thing we heard was the sound of the waves breaking on the sandy beaches of Fire Island, even though the ocean itself wasn’t visible. The air was amazingly fresh too.

National Parks Passport with StampsWe took a wooden path through the dunes right to the old lighthouse that is a museum now. That’s where the passport can be stamped. On our way we saw a bunch of deer and Alena spotted a rabbit eating something in the grass. We tried to see it, but just weren’t able, until the rabbit started scratching his ear with his back paw. His fur was the same color as the bushes and the grass and he was really hard to see.

When we got our passports stamped Ignat decided that he wants to get a passport as well. Luckily most of those places do sell the passports, so he got one right away and got it stamped as well.

Atlantic Ocean. Beach at Fire Island.Then we walked out to the beach. The ocean does look magnificent. The sky was covered with dark grey clouds and because of the wind the waves where very high. It was like the ocean telling us — don’t mess with me now!

But soon summer will take over and we’ll definitely have to go back to Fire Island for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean itself.

P. S. Today we got 2 more stamps at Floyd Bennett Field and at a park in Breezy Point, NY.
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