What a spectacular town! Since we moved to Detroit, I’ve been looking forward to exploring more of the Midwest. We got a bit of a preview of what to expect this summer when we followed the Erie canal on our trip to Cape Cod, stopping in Buffalo and Rochester, NY. These once proud cities still have a lot to crow about: because they were built around shipping, they’re all on the water and what’s left of the original housing stock and downtown architecture is typically stunning.
Cincinnati is no exception. While I was in townÂ for the USTA Midwest Semi-Annual meeting, I got a chance to explore a bit. There’s a beautiful waterfront park beneath the iconic Roebling Bridge. The downtown is bustlingÂ and walkable. I took the advice of a friend who grew up here and walked over to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which feels quite a bit like Old City in Philadelphia, with lots of cute shops and restaurants. It’s where I picked up the shirts for the boys and tried this delicious ice cream cone from Graeter’s.
I even walked to Kentucky! Check the box on another state I never thought I’d visit!
You know how I tried laughing off the shortcomings of the Outer Banks earlier this month? That’s a hoot! Let’s just chalk that up to post-traumatic stress in the aftermath of Irene, ok? I mean, who wants to see their vacation destination wiped off the map just as it’s time to kick back and relax?
Let’s get right down to it, shall we? The food: still terrible. If it weren’t for the Harris Teeter conveniently located in Corolla, we’d be at a total loss. The best meals we eat in the Outer Banks are those we make ourselves. There are I think now three places that I will give money for food and they are: Corolla Village BBQ, which we finally found after venturing into the island’s historic district; Lighthouse Bagels and Deli, though the bagels were much doughier than I remembered them being; and Bad Bean Burrito, located in TimBuckII stripmall.
Everything else? Forget it.
You can spend an awful lot of money trying to find something good to eat in the Outer Banks and it’s my belief that you shouldn’t even bother trying. There’s not a good seafood restaurant to be found. If anyone knows where to get a decent pizza, please let me know because our old standby, Cosmo’s, has fallen off since we discovered it in 2009.
Lodging is another matter altogether. We lived in three different houses in the five years we’ve gone to Corolla. Last year was our first week in a palatial house (pictured above) and we couldn’t have been happier after being holed up with our two month old in a rundown rental during back-to-back Nor’easters in ’09. This year the cracks have started to show. I guess familiarity does breed contempt! The couches are threadbare, the fridge won’t close, the beds are atrociously uncomfortable and, yes, the cable package isn’t exactly optimal. No interactive guide? No wi-fi? We may as well camp on the beach!
I kid, but you’d think rental companies would consider making upgrades regularly since the rental market is so soft.
Overall though, things went pretty well, considering we dodged two hurricanes and a tropical storm. Katia wrecked the beach for us, which meant spending more time in the pool (not a bad thing) and Lee just brought stifling humidity to the area. It’s still a great place to spend a week doing absolutely nothing and that’s what vacation is all about at this point in my life. Relaxing as much as possible while chasing Charlie up and down a beach and playing in the ocean. Wish I didn’t have to wait a year to do it all again.
Cannot thank my in-laws enough for giving Helen and I a nice weekend alone at a lovely B&B for Valentine’s Day.
We stayed in the carriage house (pictured) at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown, MD. It’s the perfect spot for anyone who’s had a bad experience at a B&B. Plenty of privacy and no forced socializing! Great, right?
It was a nice place to stay and dinner Saturday night hit the spot. Duck with foie gras hash? Absinthe after dinner? Yes, please!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that our suite was FREEZING, but the gas-powered fireplace in the bedroom did quite nicely.
All in all a great destination for two sleep-deprived parents in need of some quiet time.
One of the many highlights of our trip to Puerto Rico was our excursion to the storied Pork Road. Forgive the horrible picture, but it’s a whole pig roasting on a spit.
The Pork Road winds up a hill with pork purveyors lining both sides. We hit two lechonaras and ate all sorts of porky goodness: blood sausage, stomach, skin, ears and succulent pork!
Best part? Not a tourist trap! It reminded me of Gilbertsville farmers’ market Zern’s in its heyday.
Cannot stop thinking about our trip to Culebra. Taking the ferry there was like taking a vacation from vacation. Probably the most remote, beautiful place I’ve ever been. Hard to believe that I was on gorgeous Flamenco Beach just 8 days ago.
Culebra is magical. Home to beautiful beaches, the island transcends your typical beach destination. Never have I felt so relaxed and free of typical tourist troubles. Can’t wait to return next January.
What a fun tropical getaway in the middle of winter! Charlie and Helen loved it, too. Ask Charlie about his “iguana hunts” next time you see him!