Martha’s Vineyard

Excerpts from my diary of our New England Coast, Sunday, August 19, 2013

IMG_3508Apparently President Obama has been vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard over the last two weeks at a 7.6 million dollar home.  We passed the driveway today…couldn’t see the house, just the dirt road.  Our tour guide told us he wasn’t allowed to do his normal route because of all the security around.  We had heard about the presidents visit when we were on Cape Cod and decided to wait until he was gone to visit the island.

IMG_3458The thing the kids liked the best was going on the oldest carousel in the world from Coney Island called “The Flying Horse”.  It didn’t look like much and the horses stayed glued on the ground, but the big attraction was catching the  “Brass Ring”.  Positioned on the inside and outside of the carousel was a lever that spewed out IMG_3436metal rings.  So as you are going around and around, you needed to reach over and grabbed one of the rings.  Then you catch any of the rings, you place them on the rod on your horse’s head.  If you managed to be in the right place at the right time and you get the Brass Ring (colour is different), your prize is a free ride on the carousel.  My kids loved it.  It cost $2.50, but the line up wasn’t too bad and they seemed to be on it a long time.  Neither of them got the brass ring, but that was a memorable experience.  I’ve never seen a carousel like that before.

Our Tour Bus

Our Tour Bus

We took a tour bus in the morning and went around the whole island, minus Edgartown because the roads were too small for our big bus.  The set up was kind of weird.  Three bus companies.  One was down in the wharf area; the other two, you had to call them.  We didn’t have a cell phone and there were no pay phones on the island.  Fortunately there was a lady there who was called the company that was ranked the highest on trip advisor, so we asked her to get us some tickets too.  They wanted $50 bucks per person and they weren’t going to come and get us unless we had 15 people.  We were six.  The lady told them she thought it was too expensive and she didn’t want her two tickets anymore.  I wasn’t about to waste my vacation time looking for 11 more people to book a tour with them, and we didn’t have a phone to call them back to arrange for them to come get us, so what the heck?  We went with the tour company that was there. I actually thought our tour guide was quite good.  There really wasn’t a lot to see, yet he had us laughing.  Around the corner is a boulder.  And here is our tiny post office.  We don’t have a lot of crime at Martha’s Vineyards.  This is our police station with all the flowers around it.  There are only 4 policemen here.  A few years ago, one of them was out of commission for a while because he put 4 bullets in a turkey. It was big news around here…a quarter of the police force wasn’t working.  Drove on the bridge where they filmed the movie Jaws.IMG_3459

Bridge where they filmed "JAWS"

Bridge where they filmed “JAWS”

We went by some dirt driveways of people who lived there, but you couldn’t see anything but an open wooden fence.  Jackie O., Kennedy’s wife, had lived on around 374 acres of land there…couldn’t see the place.  The tour guide said when people buy property at Martha’s Vineyards, there are many regulations.  You can only build on a small section of your land, the rest has to be left to grow cutting down trees.  The parcels of land are gigantic too and when you sell it, you can’t sub-divide and sell pieces of it.  Thirty-three percent of the island is natural.

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The kids were tired from getting up early this morning and fell asleep on the tour…until we got to a place called the Gayhead Lighthouse.  It was named that because of the colourful rocks around the place.  We had 30 minutes to roam around and we actually got to go up  in the lighthouse for $5.  That was really neat….’crept it was rather hot when the light went whizzing by our heads. After the tour we ate and walked around.  We saw the cutest gingerbread houses.  I think that’s why everyone likes Martha’s Vineyards so much.  The houses are really unique.

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Cape Cod, Provincetown

Excerpts from my diary of our East Coast/New England Coast Trip; Sunday, August 18, 2013


IMG_3211Drove up the coast of Cape Cod today.  The houses are gorgeous and the shops are so quaint.  I found a place where they sold shells and was able to get a seahorse and a blowfish…new additions for my art lesson on underwater sea creatures.


IMG_3265IMG_3261We drove all the way to Provincetown, where one of the Tourism operators told us to be aware that alternative people and families lived there. It was fun.  I wish I had a camera ready when I was driving by two large men in pink and white tights and tutus.  Frick did  get a good shot of a guy in a gold dress.


Beach Shot in Provinceton (northern point of Cape Code)

Beach Shot in Provinceton (northern point of Cape Code)

T-Shirt Hey Bob?  How's the water? Bob?  Bob?

Hey Bob? How’s the water?
Bob? Bob?

Tank of Lobsters Who Farted?

Tank of Lobsters
Who Farted?

Should have bought one of these Lobster           T-shirts for my husband!

Tomorrow we’re off to Martha’s Vineyard.

By the way, I found Dedo (remember him… He’s the gargoyle I was looking for in France with his fingers crossed…a nun put him high on the roof top of Notre Dame cathedral so that any angels coming down to earth wouldn’t be afraid of the scary gargoyles).  Well, I found Dedo in a quaint little shop in Cape Cod and brought him home.  So now he sits in our garden amidst the other gargoyles we have (Spike…who picks his bum, our chained gargoyle on a coffin, and the wacky one hanging on the wall of our house).









Spike busy scratching his butt

Spike busy scratching his butt



Boston, Harvard/Cambridge University, Cheers Bar & Plymouth Rock

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Didn’t get a chance to write much in my diary on August 16/17….so todays excerpt is some of the photos we took as we travelled through the Boston area.  We went on a bus tour of the area which encompassed … Continue reading

Having Some Health Issues

I’d like to finish my blog about my trip last year, but it’s been interrupted by the fact that I’m having some serious health issues right now and am needing some prayers.

I haven’t quite figured out what is happening, but my hemoglobin/red blood cells count is going down, down, down and there is something going on in my bone marrow.  Last month my hb count was 120 which is the bottom of the normal range, last week it was 98, and today it’s 91.  Oncologist said if it gets to 70, I’m going to need some blood transfusions.  Haven’t slept much for about 5 days worrying.

Seeing my radiation guy on Wednesday who will hopefully shed some light on my newest predicament.

Was at the hospital today to get an x-ray because I fell down 2 steps at my sister’s house and couldn’t put any weight on my right foot without excruciating pain.  Good news is I didn’t break my femur. The doc said I have something akin to shin splints.  Anyhow, I am okay right now with a healthy dose of oxycocet which I took with me to the hospital.  Wanted to offer it to another woman who was in pain because I think she broke her arm.  The x-ray machine was broken in the ER so we had to be sent to the general hospital’s machine.  There was also a young girl cyclist who got hit by a car.  Sounded like the guy who hit her tried to take off, but her bike was pinned underneath it so he didn’t get far.  She seemed okay though.

It was my sister’s birthday today, and she was stuck with me at the hospital for a good chunk of the day.  Sorry ’bout that!


New England Coast, Salem, Massachusatts

Excerpt from my diary of the East Coast/New England Coast Trip, Aug. 15, 2013

IMG_2742IMG_2771Boo decided to go to the Art museum in town while me and the kids went to check out the Witches  Dungeon, The Witch Museum, and the Pirate museum. My favourite one was the witches dungeon where some actors/actresses did a reenactment of one of the witches trials.

What happened in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 is really fascinating stuff.  A Puritan Minister had two daughters named Abigail and Betty who started acting crazy one day.  They screamed and threw their Bibles on the wall in church, crawled on the floor, barked like dogs, crawled into the fireplace, and had episodes of being in a catatonic state.  Their parents didn’t know what was wrong IMG_2805with them and  called for a doctor to examine them.  He told the parents that there was nothing wrong with them physically, but someone had “Bewitched” them.  (The children had a nanny named Tituba, from the West Indies,who often told the girls and their friends stories about voodoo and witchcraft and they would sometimes “act” it out which was a a real no no in those days).  The parents asked the girls to point out who was a witch, and so they did.  They started accusing the townspeople of witchcraft.

Innocent people were sent to jail even though they did nothing wrong.  During the witch trials, the judge would ask the accused if they were innocent or guilty of witchcraft.  If they pleaded innocent, they would lose their property and be hung.  If they pleaded guilty, they would lose their property, but were allowed to live because they “confessed”.  Tituba was asked if she was a witch.  She said, “Yes”; but she got off scott free because she didn’t have a property to lose and wasn’t sent to the dungeon because she “confessed”.

IMG_2744Some of the adults began directing Abigail and Betty to accuse certain people in town of witchcraft.  When the accused people were hung, their property and livestock would be sold cheaply at auctions. Entire families were sent to the dungeon simply because of greed. Prisoners were asked to pay for their own cells, hand-cuffs, food and drink, and even their own hanging.  If they couldn’t afford the cost of being in jail, family members were asked to pay.  If they were unable to pay, IMG_2762the prisoner would be sent to a special cell that looked like a vertical stone coffin in which they were forced to stand all day, hand-cuffed to the wall.  Not a nice place.  Constantly dark and dingy, and sometimes the nearby river overflowed into the dungeon making their lives even more miserable as they had to live in waist high water until low tide.

One day, a police officer openly stated that the girls who were accusing others in the town of witchcraft should be hung.  Unfortunately, he was then accused of witchcraft and they hung the police officer instead.  Two dogs were also hung on Gallows Hill because the girls said that the dogs were possessed by the devil and they gave them the “evil eye”.

IMG_2761The hysteria didn’t stop there.  Leaders of neighbouring villages would often hire the girls to point out the witches in their towns too.  At one point, there was over 150 people in jail (and they only had about 600 people in town).  The madness came to an end in May, 1693 when the girls pointed to the wife of the Governor of Massachusetts of being a witch.  No more putting people in jail just because someone said so.  The witches trials happened over a 1 1/2 year period.  Sixteen people were hung, three died in prison, and one person was “pressed to death”.

Here are some quick pics of other interesting things we found in Salem.



My favourite pirate wasRachel Wall.  She would lure boats towards her pretending to be “In Distress” and once people came to her rescue, they were ambushed.



There are some great stores to pick out wonderful stuff for Halloween.

Our newest acquisition was Ugh and Lee (photo on right).  Wish I bought the ghoul too. but we didn’t have much space in the car!

New England Coast…Salem, Massachusetts (Night Ghost Tour)

Excerpts from my diary from our “New England” trip on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It was raining a bit on our way out today.  I sped on the interstate behind a black car, not realizing it was a cop car.  He put on his lights.  I thought he was pulling me over, but lucky for me, he just took the next exit.  I guess he was trying to warn me that my lights weren’t on or something.  Needless to say Boo is driving now.  We are thinking of driving to Salem, witchcraft capital of America.  I think we’re going to get some good pictures there…not sure of what though.

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We made it to Salem (last few letters from the word Jerusalem) and went on a Night Ghost Tour. I’ll try to get some good day shots of the places we visited tonight.

Some of the most memorable places on this night tour included:

IMG_2903A house where a prominent man locked up his young maid in the attic when it was discovered she had smallpox.  He was afraid his wife and baby were going to come down with the fatal disease and locked her upstairs on the third floor attic without food or drink until she died… She scratched the boards and screamed until she eventually died.  The family ended up abandoning the house for several years until a new, young family moved in.  The husband went crazy one day and killed his wife by pouring hot wax and boiling water down her throat and then he smothered his baby with a pillow.  Kids stuck pretty close to me after that story!

IMG_2904IMG_2787A memorial where the last words the innocent people said was engraved in stone.  Stone seats with the names of the “witches” and how they were killed.  All those condemned were basically hung from a tree except one elderly man in his seventies…who was “pressed”.  Giles Corey was savvy about the law and knew that if he confessed to being a “witch”, he would be allowed to live, but would lose all his possessions.  He had 5 boys and was determined to keep his property to bequeath to them.  He also knew that if he claimed he wasn’t a witch he would be hung.  So he said neither that he was or was not a witch.  That angered the folks trying to get a “confession” out of him so they lay a flat board on top of him, placed three men on top of that, and then kept adding large stones as well .  It took three days for the poor old man to die in this manner.  The prosecutors were unable to get a confession out of him, so his family got to keep their land.

Then we saw a corner of a building (which I believe is now owned by Bell) where the witches were held captive until their trials.  Tomorrow I’m going to try to go take the kids to some kid friendly sites (a witches museum, the  witches dungeon, and a pirate museum with cove/boat), while Boo goes to the museum to see art and faberge eggs.




East Coast…,Pirate Ship “Jolly Breeze”, No Hotel Vacancy…Are You Kidding Me?

Excerpt from my diary of our adventures on the East Coast (Tuesday, August 13, 2013)



Today we booked a pirate ship called the Jolly Breeze and had a great time whale watching.  We were given delicious hot chocolate and fruit and bagels for breakfast on the Tall Ship.

It was eerily foggy at different times during the morning trip.  It was so gorgeous and I felt at peace overlooking the water.  Absolutely loved it.  We saw lots a whales….one was named Gonzo because he had a bump on his fin.


It got cold, but there were warm blankets available for us on the deck.  The kids had so much to do on this outing.  After we had breakfast, there was face painting and “pirate” colouring sheets.  There was an information session about whales, an aquarium touch table, and they children were allowed to set the sails and even steer the boat back to the harbour.   The captain looked like Nicholas Cage.  It was a great morning adventure and I am so glad we came here.


IMG_2559IMG_2611We then went into the towns aquarium were we saw some real seals.  it had a fabulous touch table were the kids could pick up clams, mussels, starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers…but that was about it.  I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting more for $45 bucks.  However, the kids loved picking up the clams and watching them open and shut and started spitting each other with them.  It was funny.  Boo taught them that trick.  I didn’t know clams could spit.



We saw a cool BLUE Lobster too!



Later that afternoon and we headed out to the U.S. border through a place called Calais.  Boo was convinced we would get held up at the border crossing because she was Australian and needed some special visa or something.  I had my letter ready from my husband to say he gave me permission to leave Canada with the kids.  Fortunately, the officer was kind and just chatted with us for a while and sent us on our merry little way.  We drove for awhile and decided to go to a local restaurant for some food called Helen’s.  It was pretty good.

thIt started getting dark and we were a bit concerned about hitting a moose or a deer.  We saw a lot of those signs all throughout New Brunswick and the road we were on was rinky dinky…no lights, virtually no one else was crazy enough to be driving at dusk on a one lane highway.  We had our sights on the map of what appeared to be a larger town called Bangor.   There was not much out where we were but bush.  Told Boo that even if the car stalled or we ran out of gas I wasn’t about to stop and knock on anyone’s door because we were in the U.S. now, the place where everyone is allowed to bear arms, and someone would probably shoot us.

Eventually we made it to Bangor and quickly found a Holiday Inn…no vacancies we were told, “Don’t bother going to the Econo Lodge next door either because they’re also full”.  There appeared to be a lot of other people milling about trying to find accommodations for the night and we kept trying to go from one hotel to the next to beat them there.  It was crazy.  The Ramada Inn was full too.  So was the  Marriott.  We started getting desperate.  There was some sort of World Series for Liitle League in Bangor this week, and everything was fully booked.

We were told the Super 8 had vacancies.  That didn’t go over too well with me because once upon a time that husband of mine took me to Niagara Falls for New Years at a Super 8 hotel (CAA approved for some reason, I do not know why), and there was no heating or hot water in our room.  Now every time I hear the name of that hotel, I shudder in horror.  We went to take a look anyway because the next town was at least an hour away on a dark, animal infested road.  The Super 8 smelled like smoke and my kids said forget it.  I agreed.  Boo didn’t think it was that bad though, but I really don’t do well with the smell of cigarette smoke.   We walked across the parking lot to take a look at the nearby Travel Lodge .  We asked the clerk if we could check the room before booking.  It looked okay until Boo pulled off the blanket from the head of the bed and found some long hairs on one of the pillows.   EWWHHH!  She screamed.  Needless to say, we were out of there.

By this time it was 10:00.  Told Boo I wasn’t staying at either of those 2 hotels, we were going to Tim Hortons, I was going to get a coffee, everyone could sleep n the car tonight and before they knew it we would be in Cape Cod because I would be flying high on caffeine all night.  However, once we got to Timmy’s, I had a little chat with the server… asked him about animals running in front of the cars at night and was it safe to drive the I95 right now.  He said he hadn’t personally hit anything but it does happen and if you see two glowing eyes, you are about to hit a deer; whereas if you are about to hit a moose, you wouldn’t see anything.  Boo thought that was hilarious, but it made me think twice about driving any further.

So we went back to the Holiday Inn and asked them to book us a room in the next town south because we weren’t about to stay in a hairy bed.  I think she felt rather sorry for us when she told us that next Holiday Inn was 3 hours away.  Lucky for us, the woman thought of another place (that was clean) not too far way that might be available, but it was north of us and we’d have to backtrack.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_2642She phoned the Black Bear Inn as more people came in asking for rooms.  We got directions and ran like hell out the door because I knew that if other desperate people beat us to that hotel, we’d probably wouldn’t be sleeping tonight.  Boo quickly typed in the address in my sister’s GPS and we were off like a shot.  ‘Cept there was another family behind us who heard our conversation about the only available hotel around and they started following us.  I felt like we were in the “Amazing Race”.  Yelled at the kids to quickly get their seat belts on, because we had to win or sleep in the car.  Michelle, our Gps, fired off directions turn right, turn left and we got there in no time flat.  Success!  The room was waiting just for us. We got the most adorable bear county room and it didn’t have any hairs Kleenexes in the bed!  We were so happy we happened upon this place.  It became one of my favourite overnight hotels of our trip.  Just take a look at the room….soooo cute!  Loved the comforter with all the bears!  And the staff were super nice too!




East Coast, Treego, The Reversing Falls, and St. Andrews By The Sea

Excerpt from my diary of our East Coast Trip (Monday, August 12, 2013)

IMG_2265There is a place in Moncton, New Brunswick called Treego.  My cousin and I thought the kids would like it because it had zip lines, various wooden platforms to walk on, rock climbing apparatus, etc. all on the tops of trees, so we booked a 10:00 appt.  There was also a Treego location in Fredericton, which we booked the day before, but we drove right past it twice and decided to call it quits, despite the grumblings in the back of the car from Frick and Frack in the back.  It is not nice travelling with two discontented children, believe me.  We wouldn’t have made that afternoon appointment in Fredericton anyway because we were in a different time zone and hadn’t changed our watches.  Not sure at what point in time during our road trip that the clock changed, but it did.

IMG_2283It took the kids about 1 hour to go through the course, and while they were high in the trees, having the time of their lives, Boo and I were being bitten alive by mosquitoes below.  And the situation became much worse after some kind woman let us use her bug spray (someone told me later that sometimes the local people are mean to the tourists and give them spray with sugar water in it).  Not sure what happened but I swear I had a steady cloud of mozzies after me after that.  You wouldn’t believe how many bites I have in my face and head, the lousy buggers.


Later we drove to The Reversing Falls in St. John’s and took a boat around the harbour.  This is another place I longed to see because my husband told about a neat waterfall where the water looked like it was cascading up instead of down (something about the moon’s gravity).   Part of the rock near the waterfall drifted all the way from the continent of Africa.  The captain let Frick and Frack drive the boat, which they enjoyed.  The tide was up so we didn’t see as much of the “reversing” effect that we would have seen if it was low tide…which was a bit disappointing.  We saw the ripple, a whirlpool or two, a carnival cruise ship in an adjacent harbour, and a seal (which was actually a garbage bag floating in the water), all for a mere $70.00.


We went to a local market square for a bit and made our way to the tourist information centre at our next destination (St. Andrews)where we were told that all the bread & breakfast places were full.  I always wanted to stay at a bed and breakfast place (part of my bucket list) and thought that this would have been a great place to try a B & B, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.  So we booked a place called St. Andrews Inn and Suites instead.  It had the most marvellous view of the Bay of Fundy and we had a great view of a red/oranage quarter moon at night on our balcony.  The hotel was in dire need of a retrofit, but it was okay for the night (until Boo screamed because she found a Kleenex in her bed and was totally grossed out by that).

Looking forward to tomorrow because we booked a whale watching expedition on a “Pirate Ship”.




East Coast Trip…The Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks, and the Giant Lobster

East Coast Trip…The Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks, and the Giant Lobster

Excerpt from my diary of last summers East Coast Adventure (Sunday, August 11, 2013).  Today we went to a place called Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy. Last year Frick did a project on New Brunswick and it showed … Continue reading