Stompin’ Grapes!!!!

I LOVE LUCY STYLE!!!   My favorite winery had a fun day of stompin grapes the old-fashioned way!  I love visiting our local wineries!

Everyone took their turn crawling into the big plastic tubs full of grapes that the winery provided.  Adults and kids alike shared stompin fun.

Except me, I’m still really achy from that blasted fall down the up escalator, I didn’t trust myself.  More like, I didn’t want to embarrass myself any further.  But I did find a huge tub of grapes that looked absolutely delicious!

Back in the day, grapes were macerated by hand or foot, which releases the juice for fermentation.  Grapes were dumped into a large stone tank where the workers crushed the fruit on the rough floor.  

It was believed that the warmth from the treaders legs helped to warm the crushed grapes and made the fermentation more successful.

This was also known as a celebration of the completion of a harvest.  And we celebrated!!

Modern vineyards use machinery such as destemmers and grape crushers that shake the grapes loose from the stem and then crush the berries.

The reds result from the mixture of skins, seeds and juice and is fermented with yeast to extract the color, flavors and tannin.  Once fermented to the desired  alcohol level, it is pressed to separate the young wine from the solids and moved to a barrel to age.

 

An afternoon with great friends, wonderful wine, and a beautiful view (minus all the wind that day), just doesn’t get any better!

Ahhh, red wine, my favorite food in the whole world…

A Blocks’ Worth of Potty Breaks

Took Jack for a walk on this spectacular autumn day.  He pee’d for a block.  On everything.  I didn’t think he could hold that much urine in his bladder.  Guess he proved me wrong. 

He pee’d on 10 telephone poles

He pee’d on 8 sign posts.

A couple of concrete walls

He pee’d on 4 hosta plants.  This one was a long shot.  But it helped enhance his manhood.

By now, I’m feeling kinda lonely.  I know, stupid.  But he doesn’t even acknowledge me.   I completely don’t exist to him right now.  All I want is a little of his attention.  I call his name and he totally ignores me.

He walks crooked too, I don’t think he likes the hook of the leash laying on his back, so he walks crooked.  It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen him do!  Is there an app for that??

He pee’d on 3 plots of grass.  He poo’d too but I didn’t take a picture of that.  I figured that was something you didn’t want to see, I know I didn’t.  But I’m his personal pooper scooper.  So I have to…

He also pee’d on ivy plants that were smothered in fallen leaves.

He pee’d on an iron fence post.

And he pee’d on 1 barrel flower-pot.

The End

Final Destination, Mystic, CT

Time to leave Boston and head on over to my aunt and uncle in Mystic, CT.  I love CT!  Haven’t been there in years and I’m very anxious to see the area again and visit with my family.    

So I’m waiting at the track for my train.  I met this incredibly sweet retired couple from Scotland that was visiting the states.  They too were traveling by train, must be how come I met them at the train station, their destination was Boston, NY and DC.  Their words of wisdom to me were “You Americans take so much for granted.”  And I whole heartedly agreed!

Busy busy Boston train station!

Then a pigeon wandered around.  I think he lost his ticket and was in a panic.

When this train stopped, the conductor jumped out I asked him if it was my train.  His rude response was “NO ma’am, this is NOT Amtrak.”  Well thank you very much buster and you go on and have yourself a super sweet day.

The train ride into CT was beautiful but it was raining steadily!  Saw lots of water and boats anchored out.  I loved anchoring out in lonely little coves when I lived on a boat.

It was pouring by the time I got off the train.  We went to this cute little place to eat, it was called The Mystic Market Place…… I think.  The deli/market shelves were full of products you just can’t buy at the regular grocery store.  I could have packed a suitcase with all sorts of yummy items!

We spent the day catching up and relaxing.  But the rest of the trip was busy!

We started the next day with a stroll down by the docks looking for some fresh fish.

Not this fish!!!

Then we hit the streets of Mystic.  I love the old seaport town!  The homes are beautiful.  The air is crisp and clear.  And there is water.  Sea water.  Sea water immediately relaxes me.  Maybe I should have put some in a bottle and brought it home…

Ran into this little cutie at the coffee shop.

Then we attempted to go to Stonington beach.  Just a small beach but nonetheless, a beach.  The last time I went to this beach it was for a picnic.  The storm that ensued was one of the worst lightning storms I have ever seen.  And now, here I am again, sitting in the car looking at the beach and still not able to enjoy it.  No storms today, but the winds had kicked up and were throwing waves against the rocks so hard that just attempting to get out of the car would have caused me considerable harm….I would have been soaked and possibly blown across the sandy parking area and tossed over the other cliff.  We decided to try the beach another day.

We went to the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Museum.  Wow.  We spent all afternoon learning about the indian tribe, in fact we closed the place but we still needed more time to finish everything.  Here’s a little info about what I learned:

It was rumored that the Pequot indians were not a very nice bunch, in fact, rather mean.  Dutch traders began a prosperous with the tribe in the early 1600’s.   A little later the English made their way to trade with the Pequots as well.  An english man made his way to the New England area and began to kidnap the women and children selling them into slavery.  He was quickly eliminated by the indians.  Englishmen returned looking for the heads of the indians that killed the man.  Eventually the english and the Mohegan indians attacked the Pequots practically wiping out the tribe.  Those that survived were sent into slavery, some to white men and some to other indian tribes.   In the early 1900’s there were about 66 Pequots left.  66.  Awful.   Those of you that are interested in more, google it, lots to learn, a few twists on the story depending on the website you visit but you will still get the history.

So the remaining Pequots did their thing with the federal government, got a huge piece of land, and those that could prove they  were at least 1/16th Pequot were allowed to live there.  They have a huge hotel and casino and the museum of course and this tower with views that were gorgeous.

On the drive back home we passed the eastern Pequots.  They could not prove their 1/16th and now live in poverty~shacks and run down trailers.  Sad.

The following day we hit some wineries.  My love of wine was probably home-grown within my own blood line.  My grandfather made his own wine, it just comes naturally I guess!  

Yummy wines!

We also visited a cider mill.  I have to tell you they make the very best apple cider I have EVER tasted!  We watched their entire process of making the cider. 

Had to have an apple doughnut of course and we took home apple dumplings and cider for dessert. 

We drank fresh cider as we strolled around their adorable little store.

I finally got to Stonington Beach and wiggled my toes in the sand.  Still kinda breezy but I still was in the sand!!

And then it was over.  I was back at the Mystic train station.  Saying my goodbye’s, fighting the tears, shouting I love you both before I disappeared in the train.  *insert hysterical sobbing

I just loved traveling by train to the New England area.  It’s been wonderful vacationing, sight-seeing and learning some of the history of the new England states.  I did however, end my lovely trip with a little dance on the escalator. The day I was returning home,  I did a little tumble back down the up escalator, thanks to the wheel of my suitcase getting caught.   I have the bruises to prove that a quick visit to Penn Station can be damaging to one’s ego.  Seriously though, I was in shock, the last thing I cared about was what people thought.  It was horrific.  I thought I was gonna get sucked into the New York escalator system for lunch, chewed up and spit out.  I thought I would end up making the 5 o’clock news.  I also ended up with sore muscles.  And a damaged camera.

Bruises and ouchies aside, I can’t wait to go back to New England!

Running the streets of Boston

The view from my cousins apartment is beautiful.  On most days.  I picked up rain along the way and brought it with me. 

We jumped in our jammies, munched on fruit and cookies and chatted the night away.  We shared dating stories, can’t say anything more on that subject, it was girl talk.  And fun.  Sometime after midnight we called it a night.  And sleep was so good.  Ahh relaxation.  I need to vacation more often.

Late morning I hit the streets on my own.  Exploring Boston should be adventurous right!  Except its one of those miserable light rain/kinda misty rain.  I brought my good camera just in case it clears up but I never used it.  All my pictures of Boston are from my point and shoot.

So, here’s how my day went:

I jumped on the “T” and took it into Government Center.  Brought me out into the Financial district, which I was told, is second behind Wall Street in NY.  I found Quincy Market along with the North and South Markets and Faneuil Hall.

I believe it was Faneuil Hall that has a gold dome, it was painted over in one of the World Wars to that it was not as visible from the sky, to prevent a bomb being dropped.

Grabbed a bit to eat and jumped on the Beantown Trolley tour.  Then I learned that I am NOT as smart as a fifth grader!  *sigh.   I realize I have forgotten most of my elementary education on the history of Boston. 

First let me tell you though, that the driver of the trolley is very knowledgable as well has very loud mouthed to the awful taxi drivers.  He had no problem turning on his outside speakers and giving them a piece of his mind.

So, back to my tour.  My driver Bill pointed things out such as to the left blah blah blah and to the right blah blah blah.  Sometimes it was very difficult to determine WHICH building he was referring to, and it was too fast to get a photograph.  But, I did learn that Jay Leno went to a communication school in Boston, saw the music school that Phil Collins attended (*slight excitement just shot through my body), Judge Judy was one of the first women to be accepted to a law school in Boston, and saw the oldest YM and library in the states.   Driver Bill also pointed out the oldest cemetery in the states, and Samuel Adams is buried there.

Bill pointed out the fire station.  When the old building was remodeled and updated, they wanted to restore and keep the building to its original condition. So, they now have to have all the fire trucks custom built to fit the station.

Here is the street that holds this awesome little pub called the Green Dragon.  It’s where a small boy heard the British talking about their attack, and he promptly told Paul Revere.

The homes and the streets are so beautiful.

Of course I had my new England Clam Chowda!  It was the best I’ve ever had.

I definitely have to go back to Boston, and take with me better weather.  There is so much to see and photograph!  So much history to relearn. So many pubs to try out!  And an awesome cousin to hang out with!!!

Train Trip #2

Kathy and I said our good-byes and talked of a future visit.  Oh, and she set me up with food.  Oh my!  I can feel the pounds pack on already.   I can’t event tell you what she packed for me cuz I ate it all! 

So, I boarded the train at Essex Junction for the next leg of my trip, on my way to Boston.  Again, the views from the train are spectacular.  I have to tell you, taking the train is a great way to travel.  A few have commented on the length of time that it takes and how driving would be so much faster.  Yea, but then I’d have to drive, I couldn’t relax and take in the gorgeous scenery.

I can sit and check email, read or nap.

It really is a beautiful way to travel.

Then I get to Springfield, MA and have a 3 hour layover until my next train *sigh.  The station was little and run down.  And dirty.  And stinky.  I didn’t even attempt to find a restroom.  I ate my delicious dessert that Kathy packed for me and downloaded my pictures.  Eventually my train arrived, and by now its raining, so I napped or at least tried to.

There was no conductor to help get my luggage up the train steps so a very nice young man helped me.  There was a couple that sat in front of me.  I wanted to smack them each on the top of the head.  They had to be in their 30 or 40’s but they acted like 13.  They picked on each other, jumped and bounced in their seats so bad I had to take my laptop off the drop down tray.  And there was a screaming baby on board.  She eventually fell asleep. 

Made it safely and happily to my cousins apartment.  Will post my adventures in Boston tomorrow.

Cheers!

My Day in Vermont Visiting Friends

Our day started with a delicious breakfast!  Kathy made this mouthwatering breakfast bread with walnuts and apples, then Jeff made yummie omelets.  Then we jumped in the car and took off for Stowe, VT.  The leafs hadn’t changed as much as I had thought but once I got to Stowe, that changed.  WOW!  All the photo’s I have posted now are just with my point and shoot.  Haven’t downloaded the photo’s from my other camera.

We stumbled upon a winery!

We climbed in this contraption to get to the top of the mountain in Stowe….

I was in awe of the beauty.

Had dinner on Lake Champlain.

It was a wonderful time together, catching up and enjoying each others company that was separated by too many years.  There is already talk of another visit, but more than one day!

Cheers!

Train Trip Day ONE

Vacation!!!  Haven’t had a vacation get-away since April of 2008!!!  Heading to VT, MA, and CT, visiting friends and family.  I decided to do a train to the New England states.  I figured a flight plan to all stops would kill me financially and I was feeling adventurous anyway, so the train was the perfect choice.  I logged on to the Amtrak website, was easily confused trying to find all the stations that I needed to go to so I decided to make it easy upon myself so I ran to the nearest Triple A place and begged for help!  Then a few days before leaving on the trip I logged onto the site again to check out the luggage info and to see if they had a “Bar Car” that some friends told me about.  I discovered they had a “Cafe Car” instead, but still serve alcohol, and I also got my luggage requirements.  The luggage as a carry on couldn’t be larger than 28″ x 22″ x 11″ and weigh no more than 50 pounds, lucked out on the size but not so sure on the weight….seriously.  I was concerned that I went over.  I had no idea on what to pack, figured layering my clothes would be the easiest as far as staying warm or cooling off.  Have I mentioned that I have a tendency to overpack???

Here’s how day one is going so far:

Jumped on the train in Lancaster.  Train station is VERY old and falling apart.  I snapped a few photo’s but they didn’t turn out so well.  However, the station reminded me of something out of a movie.  Old wooden benches, information booths with fancy ironwork on the windows, a big clock and tons of people milling about.  My fiend and I checked out the tiny little station, then sat and chatted until they called my train.  No where do I find a place to weigh my luggage, the girl at the ticket counter just swooshed me away to Gate 1 with no regard to my bags.

My train is called, my dear friend escorts me onboard, hugs and he’s gone.

I settle into my seat, pull out my granola bar and snuggle in for a long exciting ride.  And then there’s this announcement.  We all need to get off the train and board another train.  No I didn’t make a mistake, I’m assuming the girl at the window that told us all to board at Gate 1 was incorrect.  So I drag my large heavy suitcase off the train, head back up the elevator, head to the other side of the station, get on that elevator to finally arrive at the other train, along with about 100 other folks.

So I snuggle in yet again, finish my granola bar and pull out my book.  The Conductor made his way about the train gathering tickets and “punching holes” in the ticket.  The scene reminded me of  “The Polar Express”.  I didn’t hear Tom Hanks shout “all aboard!” nor did the hole punching create the snowfall of paper holes, but I was expecting it!  Can’t forget to mention the train whistle, love hearing that as we chug along, going clickity clack.  Okay the Amtrak does not chug nor go clickity clack but I’m pretending that it does okay.  I mean, it sort of does.  And ya get shimmied a little too, sometimes a lot.

There was this couple sitting across the aisle from me, he couldn’t stop talking.  The conversation was interesting and rarely was he quiet.  The train made several stops to gather more people.  And then another couple joined them, now he never shuts up.  Ever.  Learned a lot about him and his family!!  He did however, come to my rescue!  As we all were getting off the train, the door started to close on me and he jumped in to save me!  Whew!  I can see the headlines now, “Woman crushed in NY Amtrak train getting stuck in doors, she was beyond saving but the luggage she was dragging had not a scratch on it, bizarre details at 11″……

The girl at Triple A told me that when I get into NY to go upstairs to find out where to get my next train.  She cautioned me that it was a very busy and very hectic station.  She instilled fear in me.  Now, I’m quite confident in traveling alone, I’m a very independent person but she definitely put the fear in me.  And to top it off, she pointed out that I only had 30 minutes to do so.  Piece of cake!  I drag my suitcase, did I mention previously that it was overpacked?, out of the train, managed to survive the attack of the train door, found an elevator along with about 8 other people and their overpacked suitcases, go upstairs and I see Subway signs and Amtrak signs and New Jersey signs and screens with departure info all over the place!   I just twirled in a circle of confusion.  Standing not but 10 feet in front of me is a conductor, I show him my ticket and ask for direction.  I hit pay dirt baby!  Its his train he says, follow me.  So I did. And he takes off down the stairs, he flies faster than the train did!  Now, I’m  trying to get down the stairs with my freakin heavy suitcase one careful step at a time, while 750 people are coming up, two steps at a time!!!  And the conductor is GONE!  When I finally get to the bottom, the platform is deserted.  To make matters worse, there is a train on either side of me, hmmm which train do I choose???  Then I have flashes of movies.  Movies in NY subway stations where the bad guys appear shooting the confused girl standing all alone on the train platform.   Eventually I see another conductor 3 cars down the platform, I make a mad dash in his direction and ask about my train, lucked out again and boarded my train.

Many of my friends told me that the Amtrak “flies” through the countryside and cities.  I’m really expecting to only catch glimpses of the area as we sail through but it wasn’t like that at all.  At times we just stop, for whatever reason I do not know.  Then we heard that due to the recent storms that went up the east coast, many of the Amtrak lines were damaged and dangerous.  Tracks had to be avoided and for a while the train moved at a snail’s pace, really it did.  Squirrels were running faster than we were. 

I did hear one story though.  As we approached a turn to go over a bridge two young girls were sitting on the bridge dangling their feet over the edge, (gasping) the train applied its emergency brakes, they got up and ran just making it off the bridge inches before they were run over but managed to tell the engineers “sorry” as he went past.  What would their Mothers think??!! 

Again, the conductor punches holes in my ticket, and I ask him about the cafe car and get my directions.  Thankfully the train is equipped with electrical outlets at every seat.  I charge up my phone and laptop try to blog for awhile.

and my big fat heavy suitcase is sitting beside me, I’m snarling at it….

But i get to see beautiful scenery.

and cute little train stations.

Cute little outdoor markets.

It was a long day on the train but the destination was worth it!  I finally arrive and ask my new conductor friend to help me get that blasted suitcase off the train.  What happened next was exhilarating!  I see my girlfriends husband as soon as I get off the train, give him a big hug and he points in the direction of Kathy.   I took off running, well sort of a run since I was dragging that you-know-what with me, no not you Jeff, and I see Kathy!  I hear Jeff yelling something about he’ll take the luggage but I for some reason can’t let go.  But then I do.  And I run into Kathy’s arms!  A better movie scene.  Hugging and laughing and then I start crying!  I haven’t seen her in years, we’re guessing about 25ish.

We had so much to catch up on and little time to do it in.  I think another trip could be in the making.

More trip stories later, and pictures!

Cheers!