Wednesday, July 1, 2015

UMass Insiders Tour (almost earned the acronym MIT)

Drove these three lovelies to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for an official university tour. We're so comfortable and familiar on the UMass campus that I never thought to take pictures. The two who toured MIT the day before unanimously agreed that the UMass tour was MUCH more enjoyable (take note, MIT tour officials) and that they would be much more likely to want to attend here. We enjoyed a delicious (free!) lunch in their award-winning dining facilities courtesy of Enrique the employee alum,
Fun Fact: Families of UMass students eat FREE! at any and all visits
and just as we were leaving town, I pulled over for this 
"if-there's-no-photo-did-it-really-happen?" picture.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MIT means More Impressive Tuition

I took a couple of our future college students on an official tour of MIT in Cambridge. It's a pretty imposing place.
 Fun fact about MIT: every student who enrolls MUST pass a swim test. Has something to do with the founder and being on the banks of the Charles River. I doubt there are very many universities/colleges that require passing a swimming test to graduate. Another fun fact: If an enrolled student takes a swimming class, an archery class and a sailing class, they are eligible to earn the official MIT Pirate's License. 
My maternal grandfather went to MIT in the 1930s. We still have his report cards. Now I want to dig them up and see if the Pirate's License was a thing almost 100 years ago.
 Fun for US? We met our BFF Ellen across the street for lunch after the tour. She works in the office of the President, and hooked us up with some fine MIT yo-yo's. She also took us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the library, where we saw the very impressive dome. It's a beautiful campus and we heard some imposing statistics about accepted students' average GPAs and exam scores.
 It was fun to walk the halls and grounds of MIT and learn about this fine institution of higher learning. Another Fun Fact: After the tour, no one in my little group raised their hand when I asked 
"Now who wants to go to MIT?"
Already done that.

Friday, June 26, 2015

watch them whip

Leeli taught her dance moves to Teresa. She'll probably fly back to Italy and whip it up in her kitchen too.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bonus Day in New York

Because we had such kind and generous hosts, we enjoyed spending the night seventeen floors above the gorgeous nighttime skyline, and then awoke refreshed and ready to spend a few more hours exploring the city. Morgan kindly offered to play taxi for us so we could squeeze more of New York into the few hours we had left. She is a great tour guide, and knows just how to get around that crazy city with a good-sized crew.
 We especially enjoyed the 9-11 Memorial Site.
 We spent a few moments reflecting near the spot where our little town's own Kevin Szocik is memorialized. His mom retired from the High School just last year. He was in one of the towers on September 11th.
The New Freedom Tower is both impressive and beautiful.
 We then visited a place I've always wanted to see: The High Line Park. It's a beautiful converted public park area that used to be an elevated railway. I love how it weaves above the city and through the buildings, allowing visitors to walk in a peaceful, green area above the hustle and bustle.


 Just below the high line we also visited Chelsea Market. It's a lovely indoor food hall and shopping mall. I could have spent HOURS in there, but we settled for a way-too-quick walk-through.


 Some of us did not get enough of Times Square, so  we went back for more. The Disney Store and Toys R Us are favorites.
 Leeli fulfilled a childhood dream by playing in Barbie's dreamhouse.
Morgan drove us all over Manhattan, we took a detour to New Jersey for lunch (and cheaper gas) and then we said our good-byes. We did and saw SO so much, but still mourned the stops we didn't make and the places we didn't visit. It's good that New York is so close.

We suffered greatly on the ride home, with LeVain Bakery cookies as our only car snack option. Go big and go home.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's Wednesday: Let's go to New York!

Dub was off to the west coast.
It's SUMMER!
So we woke up and decided to schlep into New York.
We traveled light, and I left my good camera at home, so all the pictures are from my cell phone. Sometimes it's more about the memories than the photo quality.
It helps to have friends who live on the upper west side.
 Our friend Morgan gave us her prime parking spot, allowed us to dump our bags at her place, and then tiny Tess escorted us back down the elevator and we were off for a fun day in the city.
 There's a cute framed print by their door that says 
"Go Out There and do Amazing Things!" 
It's easy to imagine amazing things going on in the big apple every.single.day.
 We grabbed some lunch at a local BBQ place in the neighborhood, then jumped on the subway and rode to South Ferry, where we then hopped on the Staten Island Ferry, which took us across the harbor and then back to Manhattan. We enjoyed beautiful views of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. The ferry ride is a (free!) peaceful experience in a bustling place.



The gang wanted to window shop in Rockefeller Plaza. We stopped for a photo opp at our Radio City viewing spot at the 2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Great Memories! And MUCH warmer this time.
We walked and walked and walked... that's what you do in New York.
 Morning Boy LOVES the Lego Store,
 And the ladies LOVED Anthropologie and J. Crew.
 We made our way to Times Square, and I may or may not have ended up in a silly spot on The O'Reilly Factor where you have to identify faces of  political candidates, Fox TV News show hosts, television stars, and, oh, the Vice President of the U.S. and so forth...  Never put a busy hiker mom on the spot when it comes to face recognition. I scored a perfect zero. Too bad you missed it.
We rested our feet at a local crunchy earthy eatery where we grabbed some croissants and smoothies to boost our energy. We do NOT recommend their Sun Salutation Smoothie. But they did allow us to recharge our cell phones and they replaced the yucky drinks with something more palatable.
 Then it was off to Central Park's Summer Stage where Rooney and our Italian daughter saw The Kooks in concert.

 There was a lot for the rest of us to take in along the way back to the Moores; ponds, horse-drawn carriages, statues, The Beatles' Strawberry Fields, vendors and performers and several wedding and engagement photo shoots, including this one on the corner of a busy intersection near the park where the couple below literally held this kiss for about three.solid.minutes.

Oh New York.