Showing posts from August, 2006

Back from vacation...

I had hoped to keep up with blogging about vacation while we were in Maine, but since the weather was so nice most of the time we were there, we didn't spend a whole lot of time on the computers. I'll write up more about the trip and post some pictures (from the whole three weeks) to my Flickr account over the next week or so.

I'm already missing the temperatures in Maine...

Saturday, August 5, 2006

In which we drive in seven states, go medieval and see a baby black bear.

Saturday was a long day, but actually quite fun. We left Philly at about 8 a.m. and started on our way to Maine. Since the drive up included going right by The Cloisters on the north end of Manhattan, we decided to stop off and see them on the way. It was something I had thought about doing when we were in New York, until Chris realized that the drive to Maine would include going over the George Washington bridge, which is right next to The Cloisters. After paying several hefty tolls, we got there right as they opened (which was perfect), so we almost had the place to ourselves for the first half hour or so. Part of the reason that I wanted to go there was a fairly famous corbel from 12th century France that has two figures once thought to be Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is the figure in the opening credits of The Lion in Winter (1960s version) and I love that movie. So I did indeed get to see it (see a…

Friday, August 4, 2006

Friday was a slow start after the traveling and heat of the previous days. We got a late start out of the house, so we ended up not getting to go into Independence Hall or to see the Liberty Bell. Yes, I managed to get to Philadelphia for several days and not see the Liberty Bell. Something to save for a future trip. We did walk around society hill, which has some wonderful colonial/revolution era buildings. We saw a very interesting group of re-enactors, including a lady spinning wool. Going to have to try that myself someday.

Part of the reason we didn’t hang around for the open time at Independence Hall was that we were going to dinner and music at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Dinner was nice and the music was great – a group called Scythian, who have a fusion of Celtic, Klezmer, Gypsy, and rock. Good stuff. We also wandered around the museum for a few hours. They have a very nice collection, and of course a Thomas Eakins gallery. One of the things I loved about Philly is it is t…

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Since Thursday was our last day in NY and we were only three blocks from the Empire State Building, we decided to start the morning off there. It turned out to be a good thing to do it early in the morning since it hadn’t gotten too hot yet and there wasn’t much in the way of crowds. It was $16 to go to the 82nd floor observatory. It would have been $30 total to go all the way to the 102nd floor so we passed on that. It was actually rather amazing how shameless they were in trying to get money out of you there. They tried to get you to get the upgrades and the audio guides and had everyone stop in front of a green screen to have a photo made (and then handed you a ticket to claim the photo if you wished to purchase it as you were leaving). It was also an interesting way to get a photo of everyone going up to the deck…

The view was amazing, although very hazy. It was hard to see the Statue of Liberty, which wasn’t all that far away. I did get a neat shot of the hotel though (which turns…

An Evening With Harry, Carrie and Garp

Whoopi Goldberg introduced the evening. Tim Robbins introduced Stephen King who read the Pie Eating Contest scene from “The Body”, which is the basis for “Stand By Me” (one of my favorite movies of the 80s!). Stanley Tucci introduced John Irving, who read from “A Prayer for Owen Meany”. And Kathy Bates introduced J.K. Rowling, who read the scene in book six when Dumbledore shows Harry his first meeting with Tom Riddle at the orphanage.

There were some great questions, but JKR was being evasive as usual. She did hint that there is more to Aunt Petunia than we’ve seen so far and had to let everyone know for sure that Dumbledore is in fact dead. Even did the throat slash at one point. When asked if she could bring one character to life to have in real life (besides Harry), she chose Hagrid, which would especially be nice when being confronted by fundamentalist Christians (presumably just the ones that just have a problem with Harry Potter!). There were some trickier questions, including o…

Wednesday, August 2, 2006 - New York City Day 2

Our second day in New York was an interesting mix. We decided to get up and have breakfast at the Tick-Tock diner at the hotel (which was tasty, although they could learn a little about making bacon from our Texas greasy spoons) and then take the subway down to the World Trade Center site. Our hotel was at a great location across the street from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, which made traveling by subway easy.

The WTC site was a hub of activity, prepping the site for the future buildings and memorials. WTC 7 was recently finished and the PATH station at the site was open. It was interesting to see the very obvious change from construction that was pre-9/11 and post 9/11 at the station. Up at the street level was a series of panels with all the names of those who died at the site (I think just those on the planes and in the buildings, since I didn’t see one or two of the names I knew from the Pentagon and Flight 93 in Shanksville). They also had a nice timeline series of sign…

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - Off to New York City

First off, why did we have to pick the three hottest days of the year to visit New York? And why isn’t the subway air-conditioned? Okay, I understand the reasons behind the second, but I think the first one is just my own bad luck. I’m pretty sure that entering into the subways was akin to walking into the mouth of Hades itself.

Other than constantly being hot and sticky, I did have a great time in New York.

We arrived from Philly at about noon, after taking the train up through New Jersey. We went to the hotel (The New Yorker) to see if we could dump our bags before check-in but were delighted to find that our room was ready and we could go ahead and go up. We dumped the stuff and headed up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met recently increased their “suggested” admission to $20, although we only paid $5 each. If I had more money to spend, I would have because I think it’s a good cause.

The Met was incredible, even though I don’t think we managed to see even half of what they ha…