May 16 to June 1, 2019
This post is a summary of our recent trip to visit family and attend our daughter’s college graduation.
We flew to Hartford, then stayed 3 days with family in the New Haven area.
Highlights: While celebrating a family birthday and spending lots of time catching up, we visited places near New Haven that held significance for my husband.
East Rock State Park
Lighthouse Point was a favorite childhood summer beach, but nobody was selling lemon ice today.
Branford – A beautiful old church near our dinner stop.
Old Town Essex – The town and waterfront are steeped in early American history.
Many of the buildings in town date back to the late seventeen and early eighteen hundreds, and are very well preserved. I loved looking at all the architectural details, especially the half-circle windows.
West Rock State Park – We took a 2 mile walk with a friend around Wintergreen Lake and saw ladyslippers in bloom!
Hamden – We met a baby grandniece for the first time. We also got to see the damage from the tornado that knocked down 30 trees at the family home about a year ago (actually a lowlight).
We took the Metro North train to Grand Central Station. A lot has changed since my only previous visit in 1982. My husband’s cousins met us at Grand Central Station, then drove us to their home in Brooklyn. The next morning they rode with us on the subway from Brooklyn to Penn Station – seasoned New Yorkers and very gracious hosts!
Highlights: Cityscapes, wandering around near the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing the Freedom Tower from a distance (we had been to the top of the World Trade Center on my only other visit), a lovely meal and enjoying our cousin’s garden in Brooklyn.
Walking around the waterfront in Brooklyn:
Old buildings, bridge supports and massive amounts of noise dwarfed us as we walked around. It was a bit overwhelming. I was glad to see it, but cannot imagine dealing with it on a daily basis, especially the noise levels!
It was more peaceful in our cousin’s back garden.
We rode Amtrak from New York to Baltimore.
Baltimore Highlights: The highest light was spending time with my husband’s cousins, and enjoying their family stories, good company and hospitality. We spent a day in Annapolis, a bit crazy because it was grad week at the Naval Academy.
We took a short boat tour of the harbor.
We watched a Blue Angels performance.
My husband was able to take some excellent telephotos:
The next day we admired the natural beauty at Loch Raven Reservoir, north of Baltimore,
then had lunch at Ladew Gardens.
This old estate includes a beautiful manor house and gardens
and is renowned for topiary:
We ate plenty of free delicious ice cream, compliments of a family connection to this business:
May 31, 2019
We rented a car to drive from Baltimore to Ohio for the main attraction of this trip – our daughter’s college graduation. Along the way, we stopped at Washington Monument State Park in Maryland for a picnic lunch, then walked a short way on the Appalachian Trail.
On we drove, into
This was my first time driving across the eastern US and seeing for myself some of the geology I had studied in college. I had highway views of the folded strata of the Valley and Ridge province of the Alleghenian orogeny as I followed along on the map.
That afternoon we took a 4.5 mile hike along Slippery Rock Creek with a picnic dinner at McConnells Mill State Park near Butler, PA.
McConnell’s Mill and Bridge:
Spring wildflowers along the trail:
The next day we drove on to-
We spent a lot of time with our daughter, and met her friends, roommates, and their families, all in town for commencement. Despite rain and thunderstorms on the days before and after, graduation day was sunny but not too hot, and all went as planned. We are very proud of her, and excited for her next adventure – moving to Washington DC where she will begin a good job as a Research Assistant.
But first, we drove her to Pennsylvania so she could join a bicycle trip with friends who were already en route. We visited many places in the eastern US on this trip, as indicated by my camera GPS map.
Time to head west again, but only as far as
We were met at the Denver airport by my husband’s cousin, his only family member we didn’t think we would see, but who was unexpectedly in town – a great surprise, and one of the best moments of the trip! Highlights– Visiting with family, including my husband’s 99.5 year old uncle, and spending part of a day in real mountains!
The air was crisp, thin, pure. We walked about 2 miles on the trails above the pass – we were not equipped for snow hiking.
Precambrian rocks – I don’t get to see these where I live!
We stopped for views at Lookout Mountain near Golden:
We flew back to Portland on June 1st, after two and a half wonderful weeks of reconnecting with family, seeing new geography, and launching our daughter into post-college life. America is an amazing country, and we have nebulous plans to see more of it, but for now, there’s no place like home! Tap, tap, tap…