Summer Vacation

Cameron and I took what is now becoming our standard summer trip in August. Headed north and stopped for a short visit with Aunt Jean and Uncle Ken (and co.) in Slippery Rock. We then continued into Canada and had a short visit with my cousin and faux-niece Jenny. Then we headed up to the cottage in Muskoka for a nice relaxing 5-days of cool, sunny bliss.

Happily we mostly missed the hot and humid days that have plagued Canada this summer. My cool aunt and uncle Lisa and Mike and my grandmother were there for part of our trip and we also overlapped for a few days with my folks. This made for a somewhat crowded cottage at times but it was nice to see everyone.

On the way home we stopped in VA for a ride down the Creeper Trail. It was a bit overcast (ok, occasionally drizzly even) but very cool and it’s an easy ride. We bought a little carrier for Nala and Cam obligingly carted her around. Not sure she loved it… she tried to get out a lot but I think she really just wanted to wander around and smell everything.

As usual, photos are online – [ cottage ] [ creeper trail]. And a few pics here for easy viewing…

Congrats to Nicole and Babs!

My little bro Bobby got married this past weekend to a really sweet girl with an absolutely lovely family. They got married up in Portland, Maine so Cam and I took a couple of days up there to visit. It wasn’t really what I expected at all – but then again my last visit to Portland was the one in Oregon (so not the same). This Portland was much smaller and more quaint. And the people were so nice. We also got to do dinner with one of my best friends from college, Mandy, and her new hubby Apples, which was awesome! Miss her so much!

Got some photos here. I won’t lie: there was some drinking. But we had to in order to stay warm. That place has some ocean breezes.

The UK Superlatives

Jen’s Favs

Favorite city/location: Edinburgh
Favorite hotel: Oooh… tough. None of the hotels sucked (well, the Holiday Inn the last night wasn’t great) but they all had pros and cons. I guess my favorite room – and oh, the view – has to go to Cameron House.
Favorite meal: Another tough one. We ate a lot of good food. Calling it a tie. Waxy O’Conner’s in Glasgow (Bacon, brie, and cranberry sandwich with cajun chips and rocket) and the breakfast in Edinburgh with haggis, eggs, and a croissant (which was also really good at Culloden House, albeit with black pudding instead of haggis).
Favorite venue/attraction: Edinburgh High Street, I think. I’m cheating a bit because that covers a lot of ground, including the Edinburgh Castle, but it was all awesome.
Favorite transportation: We traveled by boat, car, train, bus, and plane. Train!
Place you’d most like to visit again: Kyle of Lochalsh and Isle of Skye. It was so wet while we were there we didn’t get to enjoy it. And there’s apparently an awesome castle in Lochalsh we didn’t even know about (not that we had time to see it).
Weirdest thing about UK: Umm… The fact that they don’t use top sheets on their beds. They have a bottom (fitted) sheet, and a comforter or duvet, but that’s it. I thought I was being punked when I pulled down the bedspread in London but none of the hotels had a top sheet. Weird. Also they call lettuce “rocket” which is so much better than lettuce.
Best thing you packed: My boots. Love those bad boys and I definitely was able to go place I might not have because I wasn’t worried about mud and things. Also our portable charger.

Cameron’s Favs

Favorite city/location: Edinburgh
Favorite hotel: the Doubletree in London. Loved the bathroom.
Favorite meal: the Bacon, brie and cranberry sandwich (Waxy O’Conner’s)
Favorite venue/attraction: Edinburgh Castle (Stirling Castle and Skye are close seconds)
Favorite transportation: Train. Buses were cool too.
Place you’d most like to visit again: Would love to do Skye again with more history about the island.
Weirdest thing about UK: Traffic signs
Best thing you packed: Phone. Came in handy all the time for looking things up or when we had downtime.

The Last Day. Sad Face.

Well, here we are. Last day. One note to interject before we proceed. Yesterday Cam and I talked it over and decided to check out of the Cameron House a day early. It’s extremely expensive, nearly £100 more per night than any of our other hotels, and it’s 30-40 minutes from Glasgow. Which means that in order to get our rental car back and make our 7:30am flight we’d have to wake up at what is, by my math, too damn early. So we informed the Cameron

House (they were very nice and let us out of our third day without a penalty) and then proceeded to book with the Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport. Continue reading The Last Day. Sad Face.

Loch Lomond Road Trippin’

We got to sleep in a bit this morning and then hit the road around 10am. We don’t have any specific plans for these two days outside Glasgow, though we do have some things we wanted to get done:

  1. Visit the McFarlane Heritage Center in Tarbet,
  2. Visit the Balmaha Boatyard  which is run by some McFarlane’s, and
  3. We wanted to tour the area some and see one or two of the many castles in the area.

Continue reading Loch Lomond Road Trippin’

Road Trip!

Cameron and I did set an alarm this morning but when it went off we had a mumbled conversation about how dumb alarms are and then went back to sleep. The house has large shutters that close over the windows, and curtains over that, and since it was so cold we were bundled up so it was nice and warm and dark. Plus it was a Monday an no one ever wants to get up on Monday’s. Continue reading Road Trip!

Mum’s Day

We woke up an hour early this morning thanks to an alarm malfunction and since we couldn’t get back to sleep we had a bit more time for showers and packing up. We had a great breakfast – best one so far – at our Edinburgh hotel, and it included haggis! This time it was not deep- fried, or in sausage form but just crumbled, and it was delicious. Breakfast also included cheese and meats like a real English breakfast, so other than the fact that we had to rush off to the train, it was awesome. Continue reading Mum’s Day