Category Archives: Travel

New England 2013 – Part II, Provincetown, Massachusetts, “Just the tip”

For our second major stop on our New England 2013 tour we made the short two hour drive from Newport, RI to the very tip of Cape Cod to visit Provincetown, MA. Matt being more familiar with New England made the executive decision that Provincetown had the most to offer of the small Cape Cod towns, and from my limited experience I’d have to agree with his assessment.

Provincetown or “P’town” as it’s affectionately referred to by locals, is famous for its diverse culture and is a popular vacation destination for the LGBT community. I’m not really sure how it came to be that way, nor do I care. The atmosphere was that of acceptance, which I found to be quite refreshing and everyone was friendly. The main drag in Provincetown is called Commercial Street and runs parallel to the bay. It is lined with bars, shops, local color, and limited drama. There’s something to be said about a beach town that’s not laden with half naked people, hordes of children, or obnoxious frat boys.

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Commercial Street, Provincetown, Massachusetts

The drive out to P’town was easy going. We stopped at a place called Box Lunch in Wellfleet on our drive and had some wrap style seafood sandwiches. The lobster roll was as delicious as expected. We drove down to the pier at Wellfleet and had our lunch while admiring the view. It wasn’t a bad little detour but other than amazing views and one or two restaurants Wellfleet didn’t seem to have as much to offer as Provincetown. 

A few musts in P’town:

  • Our choice of lodging was perfect. Benchmark Inn is a little B&B within walking distance of Commercial Street and everything there is to do in P’town. The owners were welcoming and attentive without being overly intrusive. The European style breakfast with homemade bread and hand selected cheeses was a welcome break from the “continental” breakfast we were offered at the other stops along our trip. I would highly recommend this place and I fully intend to return. Matt and I spent a lot of time just hanging out on our deck enjoying the view.

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The view from Room 7, Benchmark Inn, Provincetown, MA

  • Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch was a fun touristy day outing and we actually saw a few whales and sharks. I’m glad we had the experience but I feel like this is one of those things I’d likely never do again.
  • Bicycle rental was very reasonable. We rented bikes for $20 each for a half day and road out to Race Point Beach. I’d suggest packing a bag and a lunch and spending the day at the beach before heading back. The trail is roughly 7 miles total and there are some hills. It was a breeze for Matt but I definitely struggled a little. A stop at the beach is a nice way to break up the trip.

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Me & Matt at Race Point Beach, Provincetown, MA

  • If you get sick of seafood as I’m ashamed to say I did, El Mundo was a great little Mexican treat with authentic margaritas, decent queso dip, and awesome service. They even worked seafood into a few of the specials if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • If you’re in the market for a nautical themed tattoo, piercing, or other abomination, I can’t say enough about the service at Mooncusser Tattoo; friendly, welcoming, and non-judgmental. Don’t ask me why I know this.
  • On our last night in town we mingled with some locals at Old Colony Tap bar and “restaurant.” Although we didn’t eat there, the beers were cold and fast and the service was friendly. The bartender is a bona fide Cape Cod native whose family has owned the bar since 1954. The only downside of this place is that I wish we would have discovered it on the first night instead of the last. That and the slanted floors.

A few disappointments (if you can even call it that):

  • I’ll have to admit as much as everyone talked up The Lobster Pot I was expecting more. It wasn’t one of my favorite meals and the portions were way too big. From what I remember though, the prices were reasonable and the service was good. Oh, and I did really like the Clam Chowder.
  • I was moderately annoyed with the service at The Squealing Pig. They advertise themselves as an Oyster House and yet the bartender gave us attitude when he had to shuck our oysters. It definitely gave me a bad taste for the place.
  • We happened into a place called Fanizzi’s one night and I thought the crowd was either really odd or really old. It’s hard to say from my notes. It could be the fact that I was drunk when we got there and knocked a candle over when we sat down. No, I didn’t start a fire, but it did get a little awkward after that.

Next up – Boston

New England 2013, Part I – Newport, Rhode Island

I’m back!!!

First, let me start by saying I had a truly lovely vacation to New England. Two weeks of hotels, restaurants, and site seeing is a bit overwhelming to cover in one blog post so I’ve decided to break this up into several entries based on where we made our overnight stops. I attempted to take notes along the way, but as you can imagine, eventually all the lobsters, tequila shots, and port towns started to run together. I will do my best to capture the highlights and lowlights of our road trip.

The first official stop on our trip was Springfield, Massachusetts. Matt used to live there back when he had more hair (I’ve seen pictures it’s wasn’t a good look), so we stopped in to to visit with some of his friends and family. Friday night we had dinner at a place called The Fort, which is a German themed restaurant with pretty cool décor and even more impressive food. Much to Matt’s disappointment, I don’t really like German food – and don’t get me started on my distaste for sausage. That being said, whatever the hell a schnitzel is was surprisingly good and the homemade dressing was an added treat. If all German food tasted like that I’d probably eat more of it. Just keep those damn sausages away from me (TWSS).

The Fort

The Fort, Springfield, Massachusetts

The second night in Mass we enjoyed a home cooked BBQ with some of Matt’s family which was a welcome beginning to our two-week adventure. They filled our bellies full of roasted pork, corn on the cob, and beer. Need I say more?

Before arriving in Newport, we made a detour to the little town of Mystic, Connecticut. Other than almost choking to death on a slice of Mystic Pizza (yes this really happened), our detour was rather uneventful. Mystic is a gorgeous small port town and if you’re up that way it’s worth a stop. Unfortunately, the only thing I now associate with the town is I almost died there and the pizza isn’t that great.

Mystic, CT

Mystic, Connecticut

Newport, Rhode Island was high in the running of my favorite destinations on our trip. I don’t know what I was expecting, probably something more like Mystic, but I was pleasantly surprised by the coastal location, the shops, the food, and the plethora of activities. I am convinced that New Englanders have been intentionally keeping Newport a secret from the rest of us. We stayed during the week so it was a bit quieter than it probably is on a busy summer weekend, though I’m sure I would prefer it that way. I could see it easily turning into a drunken, popped collar kind of crowd.

Newport, RI

Newport, Rhode Island

Robin & Matt, Newport, RI

Hanging out on our roof deck, Newport, RI

(not pictured, #allthechampagne)

Some Highlights

  • The clam chowder at Brick Alley Pub was by far my favorite of the entire trip and I had at least 10 different kinds over the course of two weeks.
  • The Mooring had some good fresh seafood. If you go you must try the Bag of Doughnuts which are basically little fried seafood fritters with some sort of amazing dipping sauce. Just thinking about them right now is making me want some.
  • Sailing! If you’re on the water, it’s the right thing to do. We tried Adirondack II which is a Schooner (I have no idea what that means but it made Matt happy and they served me mimosas so who am I to argue). The staff was incredibly friendly and the weather was perfect.

Adirondack II

Adirondack II, Newport, RI

  • The Clarke Cooke House has a great view and atmosphere. We had lunch there and were happy with it but I wouldn’t say it was my favorite food-wise. Booze helps.

Clarke Cooke House

The view from Clarke Cooke House, Newport, RI

  • The Cliff Walk is a must do while in Newport. It’s a short, easy walk along the cliffs with breathtaking views of both the Ocean and some of the historic mansions that line the cliffs. There is also a beach at the entrance that I wish we would have had more downtime to enjoy.

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The view of The Cliff Walk as seen from Easton’s Beach, Newport, RI

  • Matt insisted that I add The White Horse Tavern to the list, something about it being famous and old. It was definitely really cool. The food was good too, but the portions were huge. I would suggest sharing the Bouillabaisse. While delicious, I felt like I was wasting a lot. The atmosphere itself was a little stuffy. I don’t know how to explain it other than I felt like I had to use my inside voice and keep my elbows off the table. It’s also possible I saw a guy there who actually dates back to the 17th century.

Some Lowlights

  • Newport did not seem very dog friendly to me, which is a stark contrast to some of the other stops we made. Maybe not a deal breaker for some, but it may affect my decision to return should I decide to bring Olive on our next trip north.
  • The local wineries were not our favorite. Newport Vineyards was particularly odd. It’s located in an apparent strip mall which is currently in the middle of being renovated. In addition to the lacking décor, the employees were actually quite rude. It felt like we walked into their living room and asked them to poor us some wine. I would highly recommend avoiding both the winery and the wine. If you must visit a winery while in the area, Greenvale Vineyards had a much better view and a friendlier staff. That being said, we decided after those two stops not to try anymore New England wine – well, until Bar Harbor, but more to come on that.

Greenvale Vineyards

Greenvale Vineyards, Portsmouth, RI

Next up – Cape Cod

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that all opinions expressed here are personal and have not yet garnered me any monetary gain, though I’m not opposed to that option.

Going to the Chapel!

So the craziest thing happened last week. My mother got engaged!  It has been a bit of a whirlwind and probably hasn’t entirely sunk in, but honestly I could not be more thrilled. It may have had something to do with the three glasses of wine I had prior, but I actually got a little teary eyed when she told me.

Some of you may already know that she recently moved to the DC area after my grandmother passed away – like 5 months ago recent. I was initially quite worried that she’d have trouble adjusting from small town life to the big bad world of Washington, DC, but look at her throwing caution to the wind and proving me wrong!

In an effort to prevent unsolicited phone calls from Jerry Springer producers, (is that show still on?), we’ll just call her fiancé “an old family friend.” In all seriousness, he’s been a part of our family since before I was born and he has been nothing but wonderful to me. This could not be happening to two more deserving people.

Not only do they plan to marry soon (details to follow) but they intend to buy an RV and travel to wherever the hell they please; this coming from a woman who previously considered Lancaster, PA a vacation and hasn’t been on an airplane since the early 70’s. I don’t recall ever being more proud of her in my entire life. For the first time she’s actually putting herself first. And she sounds as giddy as a school girl. If I weren’t a full grown adult myself I’d probably be embarrassed.

This entire experience is further proof to me that the key to a happy life is not some preconceived “American Dream” that society has been jamming down our throats since long before I was born; that we don’t have meet the man/woman of our dreams when we’re 18 and live happily ever after complete with babies and picket-fences. Happiness comes in different packages, and a small few may even be lucky enough to experience it more than once.

And quite frankly, this is one of the most adorable packages I have ever seen:

 Mom & Mike

Congratulations to the happy couple. I love you Mom. I can’t wait to start helping you plan this little shot-gun wedding of yours. And you damn-well better throw that bouquet in my direction.

PS. Do you need help updating your Facebook status?

*Photo credit to Bridget Miller, who may or may not be related to me now or in the near future. It’s hard to tell at this point.

Oh hey there Raleigh, where’d you come from?

It was Matt’s birthday this past weekend so I agreed to a road trip to meet up with some of his Ohio friends who have newly transplanted to the great state of North Carolina. I’ll be the first to admit Raleigh, NC was not high on my list of places to see. While I love the weather in NC and the beaches – of course, I never felt the need to venture farther inland. So I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by Raleigh. Once again, it was the people and experiences that made the trip worthwhile; the weather and the BBQ didn’t hurt either.

We had some pretty decent food in general but the The Pit definitely took the honor of being my favorite stop. No matter how hard DC tries, it just can’t top good old Carolina BBQ.

We also did a little meandering on Saturday through the streets of Raleigh. It’s a pretty neat town: shops, bars, cobble stone sidewalks, awesome weather, and the like.

See “meandering:”

Walking 2

Oh and did you know Raleigh is the capital of NC? I probably shouldn’t have slept through civics class.

See capital building:

Capital

Then we popped into a local tattoo shop for a couple piercings. Hey, you only live once, right? Did I just drop a YOLO on my blog?

Check out my sweet, sweet nose ring:

Nose ring

Saturday night we hit up a couple local watering holes (some place called The Big Easy…apparently) and saw to it that the birthday boy had a thoroughly good time. If you look closely you can spot his drunk eyes.

See good time:

Group pic

And then Matt and I devoured a cake with our bare hands. Because, why not?

Mmm cake:

Cake

I’d say Raleigh and the birthday festivities were a success. Special thanks to Matt’s Ohio friends for making me feel welcome and letting us drink all the beer and eat all the bacon. Also, special thanks to Matt for listening to an entire Taylor Swift album during the drive down. That kid is a trouper. Now, who’s ready to do it all again next weekend with the DC crew?

Robin

Vegas 2013

I have been to Vegas more times than I’d like to admit and quite frankly I convinced myself I had no need to ever return. Once Vegas has thoroughly gotten the best of you it’s really hard to justify going back. I had seen and done more than I probably should have. But alas, The Fella asked and per usual I found it hard to turn him down. And as it turns out, I once again had a smashingly good time. The one saving grace of Vegas is that minus the 3-day hangover, no two trips are ever quite the same. This particular trip involved spending 4 days straight in exceptionally close proximity to The Fella’s friends and I found that they really are a good time. Despite most of the guys leaving Vegas in the negative, there was very little, if any, drama and I’m still giddy from the hilarity of it all.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmopolitan Hotel was arguably the best meal we had while in Vegas, if not the largest selection. They had everything from standard breakfast foods, to lamb shank, to sushi, to a mother-fucking gelato station. I repeat, mother-fucking gelato. If allowed, I would probably still be sitting there eating. Oh, and did I mention they have a bottomless mimosa and bloody-mary option, a rarity in Vegas. Just make sure you let them know up front. Our server ended up giving us free drinks because they failed to give us the option when we paid for our buffet. I’d show you a picture but I was too busy eating to take one.
  • All the bloody mary’s…all of them. This might have something to do with all the hangovers. If you’re staying at the Monte Carlo, The Pub had a pretty decent bloody that’ll help take the sting off after a night of drinking.
  • Julian Serrano’s Tapas Bar in the Aria hotel was a great treat. The portions were small enough to still allow me to fit into my club dress and the tapas were some of the best I’ve ever had…probably even better than Spain itself. My personal favorite was the Brava Potatoes but honestly I tried so many things I can barely remember which I liked best. I do remember the Lobster Gazpacho being a big hit with the table.
  • I had a surprisingly good time watching Peep Show at the Planet Hollywood Hotel. I even liked it more than Zarkana that we saw the night before, but I’m probably in the minority on that. I just really enjoy dancing and athleticism, and the boobs weren’t bad either. Side note: I’ve seen two other Cirque de Soleil shows; O and Zumanity, and I preferred both to Zarkana. If you’re going to spend the money, I’d go with one of those two.
  • Completely by accident we stumbled upon 80’s night at Gold Lounge in the Aria and had a really great time. The DJ kept us dancing for hours and we weren’t even charged a cover. Just don’t take your shoes off, they frown upon that.
  • And last but not least THE GORGEOUS RING THE FELLA BOUGHT ME AT SWAROVSKI, pictured below. (Don’t mind the lack of manicure, I couldn’t afford one at this point).

Vegas_ring

And here are a few lowlights:

  • We dropped way too much money securing a table at the Marquee Lounge in the Cosmopolitan. While I had a good time, the club scene just isn’t my thing anymore and for me the price just wasn’t worth it…I did look hot though.
  • The restaurant BURGR by Gordon Ramsay was more than disappointing. The service was horrible and the food was just ok. Perhaps we were just expecting more from someone who has a TV show about bad restaurants. I would recommend eating somewhere else, like McDonalds.

All things aside, it’s the company that makes the trip and I had a wonderful time. I’d still like to keep my dignity so I’ll leave it at that. We even discussed potential future trips, to anywhere other than Vegas!

And finally, check out the wonderful view from our friend’s hotel in the Cosmopolitan. If you can swing that kind of money, go for it!

Vegas_BlckWht

All the best,

Robin

A new beginning

I’ve had a lot of new beginnings in life; new cities, new relationships, new jobs, new hobbies. I’ve lived a fairly decent life and I’ve been blessed with great friends, great memories, travel, health, free will, a stable job, a handsome boyfriend, and the ability to remain optimistic despite life’s struggles. I am lucky. I don’t think I say that often enough. Writing comes easier to me when I’m sad, or lonely, or depressed, or feel I’ve been wronged in some way. Complaining makes for better entertainment somehow. But the truth of the matter is I’m happy. For this reason I’ve decided to make another new beginning for myself in the form of a new blog; a fresh start.

In 2013 I hope to accomplish a lot, mostly personally and physically. I find myself once again deeply immersed in my passion for dance and yoga, two things that I’ve neglected over the last few years. It feels good to be back to what I love. I’ve already accomplished things I didn’t think were possible. It makes me realize that age really is just a number. I can do anything I want regardless if I’m 23, 33, or 43 if I put in enough effort and dedication. I feel strong. There are also some exciting trips in my future: Vegas this weekend, driving up the east coast this summer, and Colorado in the fall. I hope to share them with all of you.

And another little tidbit, at the recommendation of a friend I started a video project using the app 1 Second Everyday. You should check it out, it’s pretty cool. It has more or less forced me to look for that one happy moment in each day and will likely result in 365 1 second videos of my dog, my boyfriend, Bloody Mary’s, and my friends wearing tiaras. There are so many wonderful things in life. It feels good to stop and acknowledge them, even just for a second.

In any event, thanks for sticking around.

Robin