First Train Ride

A couple of weekends ago we took Guyon to ride his first train. We spent the morning visiting the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and then rode the Strasburg Railroad in the afternoon.

Sean was super excited for this visit because Engine 460 was making its debut after being restored over a six year period of time. In honor of its debut, the Pennsylvania Heritage unit was also visiting and we were able to get up close and personal with an engine that runs on the rails today. It was really cool!
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It also happened to be right before Veteran’s Day. In the aisle ways around the trains, there were displays of war memorabilia and people dressed in period clothing. It was a neat display. After the museum, it was off to ride the train.
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Guyon loved it! So did his daddy and his grandpa! I am sure we will do many more of these in the future!
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We got Guyon his first wooden train too while we were visiting. He seems to really like to play with it.
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Charleston, SC – Anniversary Trip

Sean’s pick for Anniversary #3 was Charleston, South Carolina. I am not completely sure what he was thinking since we were going to be heading to a very hot place in August but I have to say even though it was hot, it was a great choice. Even though Sean had been before, we both agreed that we absolutely LOVE the city and we will be back.

We boarded the train in Wilmington around 5:30 pm on Friday night. We got a sleeper car so that we would be able to sleep since it was almost 12 hours on the train. We had dinner and then it was time to get the bed fixed up and fall asleep.
Charleston SC Anniversary 3 Charleston SC Anniversary 3Unfortunately for us, we arrived at 4:45 am in Charleston and neither one of us really slept very well on the train. By the time our cab picked us up from the station and dropped us off at the hotel, it was time for breakfast. We headed up the street from the hotel and found a great little place for breakfast. We knew that we were going to have a while before we were going to be able to check into the hotel so it was off to walk around the city for a while. We walked almost the entire point, the pier, down to the city market area and around there, and we still had more time. We sat outside of the hotel for a little while because we were both exhausted. We even met with the concierge to help get some of our reservations for dinner and tours scheduled. Right before we were getting ready to go grab some lunch, they came to get us to tell us our room was ready. That was a huge relief and it was immediately nap time. Charleston SC Anniversary 3 Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3 DSC_7390At 3pm, we had a 90 minute bus tour of the city. It was an interesting tour with a very eclectic gentleman for our tour guide. He took us all over the city and told us about a lot of the places that we had seen when we walked the city but had no idea what we were looking at earlier. I took some pictures with my phone but not with the big camera, it was a little hard to do with the big camera. The worst part though, I don’t remember everything that I took pictures of on the tour. Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3

Dinner that night was at Amen Street Oyster House. We had a free appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes(I only tasted a little bit of it.) I had shrimp and grits and of course Sean had oysters.
Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3 UntitledUpon arriving back at the hotel, there was champagne waiting for us in our room as a gift from the hotel. It was really cool and a big surprise. Charleston SC Anniversary 3
Oh and each night the hotel offered warm cookies and milk at 9pm. Sean visited every single night.
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Lunch was on the way back at Mac’s, which turned out to be a Big10 / Chicago Bar. It was really cool to see that type of decor in South Carolina.
Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3We tried to walk King Street, the shopping district, but it was very crowded and we didn’t really enjoy it so it was back to the hotel. Afternoon snack and walk were to the pier and Italian Ice. It was a great combination. Untitled

Nap time followed and then it was off to dinner. Slightly North of Broad of SNOB was on the menu for the night. I had Shrimp and Grits for a 2nd night in a row. The food was yummy but we decided that we liked Amen Street’s atmosphere a little bit better.
Charleston SC Anniversary 3Sean had found a place online called “The Gin Joint” and he really wanted to try it out. So after dinner drinks were there. There were very good. UntitledCharleston SC Anniversary 3UntitledCharleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3UntitledMonday it was off to see Magnolia Plantation. We decided that we wanted to try to see at least one of them and this one came recommended because there was transportation also available. We took a tour of the house and the grounds while there. It was just in time to get us back to the center of the city for lunch. DSC_7464DSC_7469DSC_7472DSC_7475DSC_7476DSC_7487DSC_7489DSC_7496DSC_7501DSC_7505Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Lunch was at Southend Brewery and Smokehouse. The pizza we had there was AH-MA-zing. BBQ and pizza go together so nicely. I also finally got my sweet tea and Sean had a brewery sampler. Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3
We went back to the room and napped again. This seemed to be a afternoon ritual we had. It also really helped to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Dinner was at Pearlz Oyster House. Sean had read many reviews about this place and really wanted to visit. We went a little earlier since they didn’t take reservations. The food was awesome! He enjoyed both his oysters and his lobster roll and my salad was crazy good.
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We walked around after dinner for a bit to walk off our large dinner and then we went to the rooftop bar at the hotel. It was a really neat view of the city.
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Tuesday was our anniversary. We decided that we were toured out by this time and that we were going to take it easy for the day. I wanted to take some pictures so we went over and walked the city market and then off to Ansonbourgh area because the doors were beautiful and that was going to be the subject of the photos. We went back to King Street and did a little shopping in a much less crowded area. I don’t remember what we had for lunch that day.

After we shopped till we dropped it was back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Dinner was at High Cotton. This restaurant was featured in the movie “The Notebook”. As we sat down at the table, we noticed that there was a card on the table for our anniversary and then the waiter came right over with champagne to celebrate. Dinner followed and it was awesome. We felt very spoiled. We had never told a restaurant before that we were celebrating our anniversary.
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We didn’t go out for drinks that night but we did take a long walk down to the point. Then it was back to the hotel for cookies and milk (at least for Sean).
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Wednesday we started the day a little later as we knew that it was going to be a long day. We checked out of the hotel and made our way through town to the dock. We had tickets to go to the South Carolina Aquarium. It was a little smaller than what we thought it was going to be but it was still fun. That was the first time that we had been to an aquarium together. We also witnessed a camper fall in the shark tank and get pulled up almost immediately but a employee that was watching him better than his camp chaperone.

Lunch was at a pizza place on King Street. It was super yummy. We walked around a little more before we headed back to the hotel for our cab. Our train was supposed to be there at 9pm but it didn’t make it there until about 10pm.
UntitledCharleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3On the train, it was time for sleep, breakfast and home. I dropped Sean off at work and I made my way home for the day. It was a great trip and hopefully we will make it back down to South Carolina soon. Like I said before, it really was one of our favorite places. Side note: My maternal side of the family is apparently famous in town because not only is there a street named after them but also a borough. Charleston SC Anniversary 3Charleston SC Anniversary 3

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

This year for Christmas we got my father-in-law a package on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad to be an engineer for the day. Well, we hadn’t gotten around to scheduling it and finally found a day where we were all free.

We went up on Saturday so that we would be ready to go on Sunday morning for the three hour train trip. We had dinner at The Baltimore Street Grill in the downtown section of Cumberland. It was a pretty small place but it had pretty good food.

The next morning, we walked around outside of our hotel. You can see the town of Cumberland in the distance and the train tracks. It is a neat way to see the city.
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We walked over to the front of the station and I tried to take a few pictures. It was really a neat building. (I don’t know who the statue was though.)DSC_6811DSC_6819DSC_6820

Then it was off to get ready for the ride. We watched it come into the station. It was neat to see the crew get it ready for the ride. DSC_6830 DSC_6832 DSC_6834 DSC_6838 DSC_6843DSC_6848DSC_6862DSC_6863

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These next couple of pictures of Helmstetters Curve. This curve is well known in the rail fanning world. Tons of cool pictures have been taken from that barn. Seeing it from the other side isn’t nearly as exciting. We thought that there would be more to it. Oh well!DSC_6887DSC_6897DSC_6907

When the train gets to Frostburg, everyone gets off of the train and then they flip then engine around. It actually is really neat to see, and it goes around pretty quickly. DSC_6936DSC_6970DSC_6987DSC_7000DSC_7004DSC_7018DSC_7023DSC_7026DSC_7033DSC_7035DSC_7047

Spring Break 2014 – Boston

You can tell by the pictures from the Acela Club Lounge that we were both exhausted. We both woke up not feeling great and completely, utterly exhausted.
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We were hoping to have a very productive day after our ride from NYC to Boston but we got to the hotel and pretty much crashed. Not completely, we did walk around for a little bit but quickly realized that we were much better off chilling out for the day. We think that a) the bed in our hotel in NYC was not comfortable, b) we didn’t sleep well, and c) we just did too much in NYC.

We went to dinner that night and we didn’t even eat it all. Part of it ended up in the refrigerator for the next morning.

It turned out to be a great thing that we rested. Tuesday we woke up refreshed and ready to go. We did accomplish one thing on Monday, that was the purchase of a Hop on Hop off Bus Tour ticket. The awesome thing was that we got three days out of the ticket. We hoped on and rode to the Boston Tea Party Museum where we went on the hour long tour.DSC01850

Edgar Allan Poe

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Row homes that are super crazy expensive.DSC01853

Where the outside of the show “Cheers” was filmed. The inside of the bar was filmed on a set. DSC01856DSC01858DSC01861DSC01862DSC01864DSC01867

The Boston Public Library. It is beautiful.DSC01869

The church of Scientology.
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The Boston Orchestra. Cool thing about this building, if you are inside the building you can’t hear anything that is happening on the street. So if sirens go by in the middle of the show, you can’t hear them. Pretty cool.
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The oldest fire department.
This would be in my little brother’s opinion, “That other stadium”. This is the outside of Fenway.
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More row homes.
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Frozen harbor.
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MIT campus.
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DSC01885This building was crazy. It is the computer science building and the inside has doors and stairways that lead to absolutely nowhere.
DSC01887DSC01888Gas lamps on the streets. All of the lights like this are all still powered by gas.
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DSC01896Potato Famine memorial.
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This is where the pictures from the Boston Tea Party Museum start. DSC01898DSC01899DSC01902DSC01903
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We also bought some tea while we were there. We had to, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time!

The bus tour took us all over and we were able to see many of the places we wanted to see just from the outside. We didn’t have enough time (or energy) to get out and actually visit all of the places. (AKA there will be a next time when it comes to Boston)

Lunch was at the James Hook, a little shack that had awesome lobster rolls(well at least according to Sean) and clam chowder.
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It was also St. Patrick’s Day so we had to do a little drinking. Cheers was the choice bar for drinks. Sean really enjoyed it.
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After a little rest, it was off to dinner at an Irish Pub. I know everybody told us to go have Italian but for me that is hard due to eating Gluten Free. When in Boston on St. Patty’s day, we felt it was better to go the pub route and it was really good! We had a great time.

Wednesday it was up and moving early. We had se out plans to walk and see the Union Oyster House,  the Bell in Hand, King’s Chapel and the cemeteries near that area. Well in true Boston fashion it was 26 degrees with a wind chill temp of 19 degrees. Needless to say we decided to ride the bus one full route. Walking from the hotel to the bus stop alone, my legs went numb from the cold. I couldn’t do almost to miles in one direction.

It was great though. We learned even more about Boston on the full tour and we enjoyed the warmth. Arriving at the train station, we were even more appreciative that we hadn’t walked all that way because the train station was not really heated much. Stone benches and cold weather don’t go together. I think it took me a full hour on the warm train to actually warm up.
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This is where JFK proposed to Jackie. Had it been warmer I would have wanted to walk in there but not quite with the cold.
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The way home took a little bit longer than we expected but it was a pleasant ride with some of the very best service we have ever had on the trains.

We ended our trip with the sun going down on Philadelphia as we went through that area. It was very pretty.

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Only about another month until our next adventure, off to the Biltmore with both sets of parents. We can’t wait! It should be very enjoyable.