Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sabbatical Trip Part 2 - Day 9

June 16, 2017, was our 33 anniversary. We celebrated with a late start day trip from Annapolis to Baltimore. Scott found Nick's Crab Shack for lunch and it was tasty!

This picture is included because we were
eating outdoors and Scott found my solution
to the bright sun and reading the menu quite amusing. 

The next stop was one that I was really looking forward to and requires a bit of background as to why. There are two pieces of music that nearly always bring tears to my eyes: several parts of Handel's Messiah (especially part 3) and The Star Spangled Banner. My favorite version of our national anthem is linked to the title. It's a bit different but I love it and I love the energy with which Madison Rising sings it.

Anyway, why am I so moved by the song? Because of the story behind it - a story which took place at Ft. McHenry. Every time we get to the line, "Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave", I imagine the anxiety that Francis Scott Key and the men with him must have felt waiting to see if the fort in the Chesapeake Bay was secure. Then, I imagine the relief and excitement after this very important battle for keeping our country was over.

So there, now you know. Click here for 9 things you might not know about the Star Spangled Banner at History.com. And,  Here are a few pictures:


What would make an anniversary perfect? Glad you asked - a Cardinal baseball game at Camden Yards. I know this comes as a big surprise to readers who know me, but the Cardinals happened to be on the east coast while we were. I'll save most of the details for the baseball park blog I hope to do someday, but I will tell you that Camden Yards did not disappoint. It's the 16th stadium that I've been to and it makes my top three.

 First, a view of M&T Bank Stadium
Home of the Baltimore Ravens

Even the walk from the parking lot
to the stadium was nice. 

This is Eutaw Street from inside
the stadium. It is working alive
before, during, and after the game. 

 The "Iron Man", Cal Ripken, Jr.
He played in 2632 consecutive games
His number and his statute.

  You might also recognize Babe Ruth and Jim Palmer. The Babe was born in Baltimore and first played minor league ball for the Orioles.

 Picnic area inside the park:

Waino signed quite a few autographs
before the game. I tried, but I think you
needed to be under 15 or over 80. 

Our original seats were in the outfield
but if you know me, you know we didn't
end the game there. 

 After the game, there was a little
"Rocket's red glare."

And bombs bursting in air!

Sparks were flying on this anniversary! 
(some homes have "dad jokes" - ours has "mom jokes")

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sabbatical Trip Part 2 - Day 8

Last time I posted NYC was in the rear view mirror. We moved down the New Jersey Turnpike towards Annapolis, Maryland. Have you ever heard of highway robbery? That's basically what you run into on the NJ Turnpike! As I recall, it costs nearly $40 in tolls to get to Annapolis. At the first toll bridge in NY, we had no idea that we really needed to either purchase E-Z Pass or activate it on our rental car. This would have saved time and some money (not a lot). The non-toll option would have taken us deep into Pennsylvania, another 50 miles, and an extra hour of driving. If you are back east and use Google Maps, make sure to check the options button and look at avoiding tolls in the route options.

What I did like about the route was the bridges such as the Delaware Memorial Bridge taking us from NJ into Delaware:

And the mile and half Baltimore Harbor Tunnel under the Patapsco River:

Here's the 6 second video we made for our grandsons. I thoroughly enjoyed all the bridges on our trip!

That's pretty much it for the rest of Day 7. My apologies if you feel misled from by the blog title but I did have to end Day 7 and it really wasn't part of the NYC blogging! Besides, Day 8 was mostly laundry day so there's only a few pictures. You did need to know this - on a long trip, be sure to work in one laundry day!

I was a teenager last time I was in Annapolis and this was Scott's first time there so it was mostly new to us and we were very pleasantly surprised. Our main purpose was to see the US Naval Academy and to use Maryland's capital for a base to visit a couple of places in Baltimore.

Our photos of the harbor don't do it justice but here you go anyway:

And, we ran across a marker about America's favorite Frenchman, again, the Marquis De Lafayette. Just want to keep you up on your history.

This is taken at the Maryland State House. I'm sharing Lawyer's Mall  with the first African American to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thurgood Marshall served our country as a justice from 1967 to 1991. The Maryland capital is in the background.

 The Maryland State Capital Building

 The Maryland Inn with a view of some
of the shops in the background. For some
of you who are from our area, we described
downtown Annapolis as being kind of like
St. Charles, MO, on steroids.

I loved how close to the street these old houses were. You had to be careful driving because at some of them, someone could step straight out of the house and onto the street!

That wraps of laundry day. Stay tuned for Day 9, June 16, 2017 - which happened to be our 33 anniversary.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NYC - Day 7

They say that all good things must come to an end. The New York portion of the trip was a good thing but it was time to end. On our way out of the city to the second half of our trip, we went to the New Jersey side to catch the boat to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We rented a car so I got to drive in the city and enjoyed it.

George Washington Bridge


Don't buy your tickets from street vendors because only one company serves the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island - Statue Cruises. You can chose either of their start points - Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan or Liberty State Park in New Jersey. We drove to NJ for our departure. Skip this if you aren't into maps (but shame on you for not being into maps!). I love maps. Hardly a day goes by that I don't stare at one for some reason. My parents instilled this in me. Back to NY or NJ - whichever side of the center line (and the center red circle) that you are on. Manhattan is an island with the Harlem River to the north, the bay to the south, the Hudson River to the west, the East River to the... well yeah, east - this is where all the disposed bodies from Law and Order rest. Brooklyn and Queens are the 2 boroughs of NYC on Long Island but the eastern portion of Long Island (not pictured) is not part of NYC. Staten Island is at the bottom of this map and is one of the boroughs of NYC. The Bronx (another borough but not pictured) is north of Manhattan. It is the only portion of NYC that is connected to the main land. It gets even more fun because each of the 5 boroughs is a different county. This has to make for some really interesting local government interaction. You'll also notice that Ellis Island and Liberty Island are on the NJ side, but Liberty Island is in NY jurisdiction. So, you might go to NYC to see the Statue of Liberty but if you go to the Statue, you're in Jersey but you really aren't.

For those who survived the map lesson, thank you. Below is the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal.  Our journey of the bay from the Jersey side kind of put us on a reverse track from the immigrants of the late 1800's on in to the 1900's.This is where you would end up after being processed through Ellis Island.

1st landing, Ellis Island. I am fascinated and very moved by the plight of the immigrant. I can't blame someone for wanting to come to the United States of America. I'm biased, but it's the greatest country, not only in the world, but throughout history. Early in the 1890's, immigration went from being state regulated to federally regulated. Beginning in 1892, Ellis Island served as the entry point for immigration for 62 years. 12 million people were processed there. Over 100 million or the current 326 million U.S. citizens have had an ancestor go through Ellis Island.

 The Great Hall is a spacious area
for its 21st century visitors but was
anything but at the turn of the 20th century.

 Some of the currency that was
exchanged here.

The sleeping quarters pictured below give you a very slight idea of how crowded this place was. 3 rows high and 3 rows deep. Families would often be separated while waiting for their background and medical reviews. One of the most heart-wrenching stories that I read was about how children might get sick and end up in the infirmary for weeks and could only receive a visit for 5 minutes a week from one family member.

One of Scott's favorite pictures is
from one of the windows at Ellis Island.
I guess it reminded him a kid who wanted
to go out and play on the great big
playground called Manhattan! 

 From Ellis Island, you hop on the boat
again and cruise on over to the Statue
of Liberty. I know I posted pictures 
earlier but you're never really satisfied
that you got "THE Picture" so here are more:

 We had to get this picture when it occurred to us that we had seen many images of this lady but never her back side! This is where you enter to go up to the pedestal or the crown. Scott tired of waiting for the elevator and did climb those 192 steps but neither of us went on up the remaining 162 steps to the crown. Perhaps those who go on up to the top find it worth while, but we really didn't see anything particularly great about the view from or the walk around the crown. It definitely wasn't worth the frustration of going through security. They tell you that it is similar to airport security but there is one thing worse than TSA and this is it! We should have read better before we went so here's a warning to anyone visiting: you can only take your camera and any medication you might need. There are lockers for purses, camera bags, etc., but they require 2 dollar bills. You must have those bills. Nothing else works and no one bothers to tell you why your 5 isn't working. Then, when you finally get change, it may or may not like your bills. It's an incredibly insufficient system and the park personnel aren't sympathetic. We were by no means the only people expressing frustration!

These guys were in the bonus package 
of the Liberty Island

One last look...

 That's it. We went back to Liberty State Park, got in the car and quite literally put NYC in the rear view mirror as we headed to Annapolis, Maryland, for the beginning of the 2nd half of our trip. I must confess, I was very sad when I saw the skyline in the mirror. I truly understand why so many "I love NY" souvenirs are sold. 

I plan to do one more post on the city. It'll be some of the things that aren't necessarily touristy, but will feature some of what I really like about the whole new experience called New York City. Thank you for staying with me this far. Annapolis, New Jersey shore, and Westpoint are yet to come.