Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Planning for Providence

It looks like as long as my local airport gets its act together that I'll be heading to Providence. Sandy didn't do much damage in the city of Providence for which I'm grateful. Part of me didn't want to do this trip this week, but now that I've started making my schedule for the day, it's shaping up to look like a fun day reminiscent of Boston. Tonight as I planned, I learned the two cities are apparently only an hour apart.

I don't know yet what order I'll be visiting these places and I'm not sure I'll make it to all of them due to monetary restrictions on my part, but here's the list of where I'm looking to go:

-Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design
-Roger Williams Park Zoo
-Rhode Island State House (just a quick stop for pictures since it will be closed)
-Providence Athenaeum
-Benefit Street
-Macy's (Clinton Kelly will be there doing his makeover tour)

I'll have about eight hours in the city which is a good time frame since there's so much I want to do. I'd love to find a history museum to learn more about the state. I'm enjoying seeing the state houses of where I'm going and I know that I won't always be traveling to the city where they are so I think I'll be making sure I visit the state houses as often as it's feasible.

After trying to decipher the schedules for the trains, planes, helicopters, taxis, and whatever else you can think of, I'm leaning towards getting a rental again. It will depend on traveling within the city once I look at a map of Providence and a phone call to a taxi company up there that works with the airport.

It can get tedious planning these trips, but it makes it totally worth it when I get to see some really cool stuff and get some awesome pictures. Many thanks to the city of Providence for having a website listing all of the fun stuff to do and see in the city.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

#1 - Maryland

My birthday.

I'm totally not putting that out here for total strangers to see, but let's just say it was in 1987. Maryland is the wonderful place that I was lucky to be born in, grow up in, go to college in, and currently live in. It has some drawbacks to it, but overall I can't imagine spending my life anywhere else. There's mountains in the west, the ocean in the east, and cities, suburbs, and farms in between. We theoretically get all four seasons although most years the seasons are out of order and/or at least one is abbreviated. You can drive from where I live in MD all the way down to the end of Florida on Route 95 and not pay one toll. Unfortunately, to even go through the city of Baltimore which is just north of me, you have to pay a toll and many thereafter to head north. Thank goodness for the invention of the EZPass.

Maryland is right next to the beautiful Washington, DC. There are so many things to do there, but more on that later when I talk about my first visit to it.

I am beyond blessed to live in this area. It's one of the most prosperous in the nation and while that can prove quite entertaining and frustrating, it has also allowed me to have many opportunities that I would have never had if I grew up somewhere else. I will go ahead and say that we are some of the worst drivers. I'm sorry if I've offended my fellow Marylanders, but seriously? We slam on the brakes in the pouring down rain, we basically come to a stop just to look at an accident scene, we fly up the right lane next to a merge just because the lane was open, and signals are optional. I will say though that most of us can properly use a traffic circle.

In keeping with the topic of ridiculous things we like to do in our state, I have to talk about when the cold weather hits here. This is especially relevant because of the crazy storm that they're predicting might take place this weekend into next week. The weathermen are usually incredibly wrong with their predictions of how much or lack there of snow we're going to get which has caused this paranoia in all of us. If we're told there's a 0.00000001% chance that ONE flake of snow is going to fall from the sky, we flock to the nearest place that sells food and stock up as if we have to feed the entire state for a year off of only the supplies in our house. There have only been a few horrendous snow storms that I can remember and even then, we only needed supplies for a few days before we were able to make it to the grocery store.

I'm sorry I don't really have any pictures for this visit, but my whole life involves this state so in reality that would be a lot of pictures to look through. It will take a lot for me to move from this area. I love visiting other places in this great nation, but Maryland will forever and always be my home. It's where my heart will always be and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

#15 - Connecticut

October 13, 2012

My trip to Connecticut was a short one. My plane landed at Bradley International Airport at 8:45 and I took off for home at 4:45. After doing some research about where I wanted to go, Hartford, I was glad that it was my short day. I just went to Boston three weeks prior and that city is very tourist friendly with great public transportation and so many free things to do and see. Hartford really wasn't like that. There wasn't a good option for me to get twenty minutes south of the airport down into the city so I decided to rent a car. It was the first time I was happy that I was twenty-five.

I took the free shuttle over to Budget and a nice man named Danny helped me out there. We got to talking about my goal to see all fifty states after he confirmed that I was only renting my car for one day. He asked me if I was writing a blog about my travels and then asked if I was going to include the territories after he started listing the states he had been to and included Puerto Rico. I told him I hadn't thought about either of those things and we started talking about what I was going to do that day. He suggested I make the trek down to New Haven to look at the shore line. I told him I'd think about it and went outside to find my 2012 Jeep Liberty which was nothing like the compact car I had requested. It was beautiful.

I still hadn't decided whether to go to New Haven so I decided to plug in my GPS and at least get to Hartford. I didn't know where I was going in the city so I naturally chose the closest Marshall's. Once I got there I made the decision to just go for it down to New Haven so I searched for points of interest on my GPS and chose Lighthouse Park. The picture above was taken at the park and was my first attempt at parking that beast. As you can see, I failed miserably. I have a hard enough time parking my little Corolla on a daily basis. Lighthouse park was beautiful.

I then headed back up to Hartford to go to the one place I planned on visiting, the Connecticut Historical Society Museum. The helpful woman behind the front desk suggested I write a book about my travels and one of the other guys working there said that my dream was crazy, but in a good way. He seemed genuine about that. I learned about the history of Connecticut as well as dogs and cats and stamps. The museum had a lot of interactive opportunities so I left my mark in as many places as possible. After the museum I decided to head into the city and go to Bushnell Park. The ING marathon was still going on so I went in circles trying to find a place to park. I ended up right near the finish line for the marathon and cheered for some people as they finished. I then walked up a really big hill to see the Connecticut State House. I'm sorry Maryland, but their state house is way cooler than ours.

Isn't it beautiful? After that I walked around the city. I was way underdressed for the restaurants and the one clothing store I found had me imagining the scene in "Pretty Woman" when Julia Roberts first goes into that one clothing boutique while she's dressed how Richard Gere met her. You all know which scene I'm talking about. The clothing in there probably cost more than my car. The other stores in the city were closed already which seemed odd to me, but maybe I was just in the wrong part of the city. I decided to just head back to the rental place. Danny was still working so I got to tell him I drove down to New Haven and he wished me luck in my travels. I took the shuttle back to the airport and flew back home to the great state of Maryland where I was greeted by my best friend who was nice enough to pick me up and drive me home. Shout out to my dad for taking me to the airport in the morning and dropping me off and picking me up when I went to Boston.

Next up is Providence, RI so if you have any suggestions on where to go, leave them in the comments for me.

The Challenge

It all started this summer while I was sitting in church one Sunday morning. The senior pastor at church was on a sabbatical for the summer so the other pastors in the church were taking turns speaking on the topic of dreams. My friend and the youth pastor at the church, Mandy, preached a sermon titled, "Where is the Dreamer in You?"

She told a story of her dream to write a novel so she decided to participate in National Novel Writing month. It's November if you're wanting to participate. She talked about how accomplished she felt even though it's a story that will never be published. She had written a novel. As I sat there and listened to her speak and watched the excitement she felt talking about what she did, something stirred within me. I was finally able to articulate my dream. It's a dream that I had been vaguely tossing around in my head for a while, but was never quite able to put a label on.

I want to travel to all fifty states.

Dreams have been a tough subject for me ever since college when I decided to let go of a dream I'd had since I was seven years old. Ever since I gave up pursuing being a teacher, I partly felt like a failure and partly felt a lot of pressure to find my purpose in life. Since then though I've learned that no person has one single great purpose in life besides my religious views to love God and love people.

So I set off on my quest. I listed out the states and crossed off the ones I've been to for something besides passing through. My total was a sad and pathetic thirteen. One of my bosses told me about a special Southwest was running so I looked at my calendar and booked three trips. This blog will be the stories of my travels. I'm not traveling to new places all the time so that will give me time to go back and retrace the steps that got me to where I'm at. Come along for the ride - planes, trains, and automobiles are all included.