|(pas de sujets)
||[nov. 3e, 2010|02:06 pm]
So...what's new with me since I last wrote...
Well, most excitingly I got a job, so my position with the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows is secure. But I'll get to that in a separate entry.
Since I last wrote, I've been done some more tourism and done my best to enjoy autumn in New England. My mother came up for her second visit since I relocated up here. I took her on a big touristy tour of Boston because she hadn't been there before and it was quite fun. I took her through the Back Bay, Boston Common, Beacon Hill, some historical graveyards. We ate lunch at a really delicious Italian sandwich shop on Newbury St. and we went over to Charlestown/East Boston via ferry through the harbor (mostly for the ferry ride, but also to see the USS Constitution).
In an effort to make the most of the Halloween season, we drove to Salem, Massachusetts during the weekend. It was a really nice looking old town on the ocean and it was as kitschy and fun as I wanted it to be. Everything seemed to be themed around witchcraft-related tourism. We went to the Witch Museum which gave us a pretty good story about what went down with the witch trials and then gave us a tour of a hall of witches showing society's relationship with Wicca over time. They compared media representation of witches to the persecution of blacks, jews, muslims, and gays. It was interesting, to say the least. I bought what I thought to be a somewhat tasteful t-shirt as a souvenir. Later that night, we went to the last Waterfire of the season in downtown Providence. It was a really excellent Waterfire with good events and TD bank gave out free yo-yos and paper fans. There was also a Threadless t-shirt truck promoting the website and giving out free things. I got a few kind of lame notebooks, but my mom got a tote bag. All in all, it was a good visit.
Justin and I made it out to New Bedford, finally. It's only about 35 minutes away, so we should have visited sooner. We went to the Whaling Museum and it was fascinating! We spent a few hours there and I couldn't get enough of the history and artifacts they were throwing at me. The Seaman's Bethel, the church attended by Whalers and referred to in Moby Dick, was also there. So that was fun to explore. We also walked along the waterfront and got to see this sailboat that had no radio and was relatively primitive that has made probably hundreds of trips from New Bedford to Cape Verde. It was a gift from Cape Verde to America. I would definitely recommend a day trip to the place as it was once the capital of the Whaling industry and its history is really interesting.
Over Columbus Day weekend, Justin and I decided to take a longer trip up to Vermont. Visiting Vermont has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy watching the Newhart show on Nick at Nite. My life plan as a child: move to Vermont and either open up a bed and breakfast or become an orthodontist. Bob Newhart had the good life in Vermont and I was finally going to visit! We started driving up on Saturday morning and stopped first in Concord, New Hampshire. Justin and I have decided to make it a goal of ours to visit all 50 state capitol buildings and Concord was on the way. It was a really nice small city. Very clean, friendly and it had an attractive capitol building. From there, we drove straight to Montpelier, Vermont.
Montpelier was amazingly picturesque. It was very small, for sure, but it had an extremely active downtown business district and the community was out and about. It seemed that everyone knew each other, which was nice. The state house was beautiful and nestled right in the mountain surrounding it. We hiked behind it and got a nice view of the building and the town. It was everything you expect Vermont to be, I think. From there, it was on to Burlington. We booked rooms at a hostel in downtown Burlington just a few blocks from the shores of Lake Champlain. Burlington was very active and fun. It felt like a much larger city because the streets were constantly packed full of people and there were a ton of thriving independent businesses and restaurants. Very laid back and attractive city. I would highly recommend the hostel. Very friendly staff, nice beds, very comfortable atmosphere and breakfast was included.
The next morning we drove south of Burlington to Shelbourne Farms which specializes in Vermont cheddar cheese. We got to meet all of their animals, hike through their farm, and sample their cheeses. Everything there was delicious. We spent about 5 hours total at the farm because it was so beautiful and had so much to do. Before we left, we ate at their food cart that serves food made exclusively from ingredients on the farm. I got a grilled chicken and bacon sandwich on homemade bread with maple mustard, one year aged Vermont cheddar and a cookie on the side. It was heavenly, but weird to eat as the free range chickens were pecking around my shoes. After the farm, we took a tour of the Magic Hat brewery in South Burlington. It was hands down the worst brewery tour I've ever been on. The tour itself was run by a kind of annoying bro-y hipster and the way they handled the beer tasting was a horribly unorganized free-for-all that made getting a sample next to impossible. On the plus side, there were free tasting glasses.
We kept seeing signs for ferries to New York, so we decided that later that evening we would take a ferry from Grand Isle, VT to Plattsburgh, NY. Again, I mostly took it for the boat ride across Lake Champlain. It was quite nice, but once we got to the other side we realized downtown Plattsburgh was about 6 or 7 miles away and without a car we were kind of screwed. So we walked around, bought some coffee from the ferry attendant, and sat on the shore for a while before returning to Vermont. It was all together a very fun boat ride/mini-trip to NY. The evening was spent exploring Burlington more.
The next morning we got up and went to Waterbury, Vermont. It was seemingly the best place for Vermont food tourism. As we drove in we stopped at the Cabot cheese company's annex in Waterbury. We had already bought a pound of two year aged cheddar at the farm, so we were there mostly just to taste all the delicious cheeses. We visited a cider mill where we got freshly pressed cider and incredibly delicious cider donuts. They also made maple syrup and had bees on display producing honey. So, of course, we bought some syrup and honey, too. Both were/are excellent. We came upon a fudge making lady as well and from her we bought apple cider flavored fudge. She kept giving us more and more samples of fantastic fudges and it was a shame we couldn't buy them all. Finally, we made our last stop at the Ben and Jerry's factory to watch them produce ice cream. Their tour was really well done, although they did not allow photography of the ice cream making process, unfortunately. The tasting was excellent, though. They give you a full scoop of ice cream to enjoy at the end and just sort of let you enjoy it rather than talking to you and interrupting your tasting. On our way out, we did a tour of the flavor graveyard where they place tombstones for bygone flavors. We payed our respects and went on our way back to Rhode Island.
About a week after that, I took a trip up to New Hampshire with a couple of friends. We decided to climb Mt. Monadnock which was extremely difficult, but really fun. It had a wonderful view from the peak of the mountain.
Justin and I have made friends with our neighbors so we've been spending more time with them. They're quite fun guys and tomorrow we're going over for a game night. One of them is a pastry chef training at Johnson and Wales University here in Providence. JWU is one of the very top culinary schools in America so he makes some pretty amazing and delicious desserts and we get to benefit from this! On Halloween we went over to watch the premier of the Walking Dead, which was quite good. The Saturday before, Justin and I went to see Rocky Horror Picture Show in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. It was actually the best production I've seen of it live. They had a nice stage, good props and costumes and the actors did a great job of synching their actions to what was being projected in the movie. It was a fun Halloween, I'd say and on Friday I got a teaching position, so things have been going pretty well.