October 24, 2013

meet me tonight in atlantic city.

       Jason and I made a Sunday drive to Eatontown, New Jersey to show our love and support to one of my best friends from college who is leaving to serve an 18-month mission for our church in the Philippines. It had been such a long time, almost two years, since we’d seen each other for the last time at BYU – Idaho. She gave a fantastic farewell talk and it was so much fun to catch up and talk about what’s to come and her fears and what she’s looking forward to in the Philippines. I’m really glad we were able to take the time to see Brooke before she left. I know she will be a great missionary and will be able to touch the hearts of those she teaches in the Philippines.
Love this girl
So proud of Brooke
 While we were in New Jersey, Jason and I were both so lucky to have the following day off because of Columbus Day. So naturally, we found something to do to keep us entertained. We drove another hour or so to Atlantic City, which we now refer to as mini-Vegas because of all the lights and huge casinos.     
Caesars Atlantic City
Taking a late night stroll on the boardwalk
James' Salt Water Taffy
     We definitely went at an odd time of the year because there was seriously no one in the streets, in the casinos, on the boardwalk, and of course, in the ocean. It seemed like there were only old folks and homeless people. It felt strange being there because we couldn’t do the two biggest things people normally do: (1) swim because it was way too cold, and (2) gamble because we don’t do that anyway, but we still had an awesome time.

     The next morning, we walked the boardwalk and ate a delicious breakfast at Johnny Buffet’s Margaritaville. Despite the cold weather, the sun came out and made it pleasant to walk on the boardwalk to visit shops. Jason loved the view of the ocean underneath the 1,000 foot Steel Pier, which looked like a long tunnel with a light at the end. I had fun watching him race from one side of the pier to the other, trying to dodge the crashing waves and not get soaked. He’s such a California boy that is unwilling to let the summer go.
Best breakfast ever
Decisions, decisions
Of course, Jason went for the pancakes
Collecting seashells next to the great and spacious buildings
Underneath Steel Pier
Running around like a little boy
Underneath Steel Pier
     The rest of the time we pet stray cats, watched The Pier Shops at Caesar’s Water Show, enjoyed soft served ice cream on the boardwalk, and pointing out all the Monopoly streets we crossed, including the coveted Park Place. That’s right; the streets in the board game Monopoly are based on the actual streets in Atlantic City.
Walking along the boardwalk
Jason knocking for "Nucky" Thompson
Trump Taj Mahal
Stray cats living underneath the boardwalk
Petting Mr. Meow
The widest boardwalk I've ever walked on
Who says Summer's over?
The Pier Shops at Caesar's Water show
The Pier Shops at Caesar's Water show
Amazing view of Atlantic City
Pass Go and Collect $200
     Before heading home, we made a stop at Shipbottom (yep, that’s the name of the city) to visit the first Ron Jon Surf Shop. This shop was super cool and we both ended up getting shirts and free stickers with our purchase. Since we were so close to the ocean, Jason dragged me out to the ocean to see the waves. Jersey really does have a beautiful coast and I’m glad we had the time this weekend to explore it.
Sk8er girl, see yah later girl

Looking at skimboards
We both wanted to try this 24.8 foot surfboard
The first Ron Jon Surf Shop
Look at the new friend I made at Long Beach 
Goodbye, for now, New Jersey

October 3, 2013

can you canoe?

     For our last summer adventure and a celebration of the beginning of Fall, Jason and I drove up to Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire to visit our good friend Chase. We arrived late at night and actually spent the night in Dartmouth's dorms. The next morning we tasted our first hot cider of the season and sat on a bench on The Green facing the Baker-Berry Library.
The Baker-Berry Library

    That morning, we headed off for a hike on the Fire Tower Trail in Vermont. Hanover is just a 5-minute drive over the Connecticut River to Vermont. The hike was short, but  so steep. Jay and I felt like amateurs while we huffed and puffed and took in the gorgeous scenery of the Appalachians. Luckily, we saw a salamander during the trek and used it as an excuse to stop and catch our breath. At the end of the trail, there was a tall stairway in the middle of the forest. We climbed all 96 steps to the top to witness an amazing view of the Appalachian Mountains covered in trees with leaves of green, yellow, orange, and red. Up there, if you remained completly still you could experience absolute silence. Jason and I agreed that the only other time we had ever experienced that kind of silence was when we were in a hot air balloon over Southern California. When you're above the world, all cares and worries below just remain below.
I spy a salamander
Taking a breather
Tower of Babel?
Almost there
96-steps later
The view from Fire Tower was incredible
In the middle of the Appalachians
Next time we'll bring a bike
     I thought that was our adventure of the trip, but we then drove to the Connecticut River to rent a canoe. Yes, that's right, Danielle got into a canoe, in the water and in a life jacket, of course. I was freaking out before we got in the boat and the entire trip in the boat. But let me tell you, I rocked the rowing! I didn't like having to switch sides to keep it going straight, but I did like pushing the water with my paddle. Besides having my shoulders kill afterward, I actually had a lot of fun and would do it again.

A Huck Finn-esque island
Somewhere passed the bridge is where we started
Our fearless captain
Shoving off
Jason, clearly, not doing his fair share of the rowing
     Before heading back to New York, Chase showed us the Dr. Seuss room in the Baker-Berry Library that has a gorgeous collection of some of his original illustrations. Dr. Seuss graduated from Dartmouth in 1925. Our adventure was short, but it was so worth it to catch up with Chase. 
Dr. Seuss Room
More illustrations from Dr. Seuss
Dartmouth's unofficial mascot: Keggy