Upcoming Massachusetts Adventures of the Triumphant Trio!

Boston trip by JulieAnn Corbin

My daughters and I at Long Wharf, Boston, 2014

Next Tuesday, my daughters and I hitting the road and heading to Massachusetts for our annual summer vacation. The triumphant trio rides again! The past two summers we stayed in cottages on Plum Island because I love the ocean. As my girls love the pool more than the ocean, I decided we’d stay in a nice hotel with a pool for this year’s trip. I chose a Homewood Suites by Hilton because of their lovely looking accommodations with kitchenettes, ideal location, daily hot breakfasts, evening socials and of course, the pool.

We’ll be closer to Boston and Salem this trip but we’ll still head up to the North Shore area of Massachusetts to enjoy our favorite areas there. We’re going to take a whale watching tour that heads out of Newburyport, visit downtown Amesbury and Cider Hill Farm, and head into Boston for a day like we always do. We haven’t gone on a whale watch in several years and the one we took out of Boston last time was full of interesting adventures that didn’t exactly equal fun.

tired girls by JulieAnn Corbin

How the girls looked heading back from the Boston Whale watch. Jordan wasn’t crying, just tired. Lol.

Aside from that, I have no set plans. I want to take the girls into Salem, MA because I’ve been there twice in October, but never during the summer. The girls have never been to Salem and I figure visiting in summer will be less “spooky” than visiting in October. I’d also like to take them to Plymouth, but I’m not sure if that will happen, it depends on how much energy we have.

I love these vacations with my daughters because it’s the only time I get to have an entire uninterrupted week with them. I share custody 50/50 with their father and while I’ve grown to like my alone time, I always miss my girls when I don’t have them. My daughters are the best part of my life and nothing will ever be more important than them. I love them more than words and I love being a mother.

My girls and I always have interesting and unforgettable adventures on our vacations. We retell stories from years ago that still make us laugh. Laughing is definitely something we do quite often when we’re together. We’re all happy and at ease when we’re together and as this is a vacation and I don’t plan on working, I won’t feel as conflicted as I do when we’re home. To say that I’ve been looking forward to this trip since I booked it in February is an understatement!

Although my girls don’t enjoy the driving out part as much as I do, we still have fun when we’re on the road. I’m up front as the pilot while they watch DVDs, write, color or read in the back seats. I do periodically have to tell them to “stop touching each other” but it’s in a joking way because they get along extremely well for sisters that are four years apart in age. Jordan is turning 14 the day before our trip and she’s a younger version of my sarcastic self so we tend to banter when we’re together. Jaycie is 10 and like me in her lack of tidiness and her love of daydreaming, so I’m sure she’ll be telling me interesting things and random facts she read in a book months ago.

It’s hard to believe that the time of our trip is almost here, but I know that time moves along whether we want it to or not. I’m going to cherish every moment of our vacation just as I do every moment with my girls and I look forward to the upcoming Massachusetts adventures/misadventures of the triumphant trio!

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Another Whirlwind Tour of New England

 

Massachusetts hills by JulieAnn Corbin

Tomorrow morning I head to New England once again and I’m so looking forward to it! Last time I visited was at the end of March/beginning of April and I had the misfortune of driving through an unexpected snowstorm on the way home. As it’s now May and very summer-like, I do hope that won’t be happening again!

As usual, I’ll be cramming a lot into my visits and it’s all of my own choice. My days in Upstate New York are relatively predictable, but I don’t consider that a bad thing as I’m quite happy and never bored. However, driving out to southern New Hampshire/northern Massachusetts offers me new, interesting adventures not possible where I live. I’ll be spending a day in Boston, hopefully visiting Newburyport and Amesbury, helping set up for the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness Spring Planting Moon Pow-wow in Marshfield, MA and attending the event on Saturday. I love visiting with my friends from the MCNAA, helping out however I can and dancing in the circle. I’m sure I’ll have a wonderful time!

One thing that surprises most people about my road trips is that I actually enjoy the drive out. The drive home always feels a bit longer, but on the drive out, I love watching the scenery change as I move east across New York State and enter the tall hills/mountains of western Massachusetts. I always know I’m getting closer to MA when the hills grow taller and the road becomes more winding. There are some who don’t do well in thruway/interstate traffic, but I’ve become accustomed to it and I set my cruise at a safe, reasonable speed.

So tomorrow morning after my girls get on the bus and head to school and I’ve dropped Jazzmin at the doggy hotel, I’ll be stopping at Dunkin Donuts to grab my usual large coffee and breakfast sandwich before hitting the thruway east. Look out, New England, here comes another whirlwind tour by yours truly! 😉

 

From out and about to forced inside

Yesterday's sunset, wanted to remember what the sun looked like...

Yesterday’s sunset, wanted to remember what the sun looked like…

Took this picture today during a brief break from pouring to only sprinkling.

Took this picture today during a brief break from pouring to only sprinkling.

It rained all day here! It’s still raining in fact! It literally put a damper on any plans to go out and about but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Spending a day inside just relaxing is perfectly acceptable when on vacation. I enjoyed not having to drive the car anywhere and the girls enjoyed just hanging out playing and watching DVD movies.

The girls playing in the sunroom.

The girls playing in the sunroom.

Remnants of the girls playing in the sunroom lol

Remnants of the girls playing in the sunroom lol

Up until today, we’d been going out and about to various places every day. Monday was our adventure in Boston and we all had a great time! Yesterday we did some general errands and shopping in Amesbury, MA to stock up on toys for today’s rainy day indoor play. I introduced my girls to Ed Justen from Workspace 36, Kathi from Attentif’ Design and Deb from Parke Place Boutique and I was happy my daughters could meet the nice people I call friends in Amesbury.

My daughters with Kathi and Deb in Amesbury, MA

My daughters with Kathi and Deb in Amesbury, MA

Our adventures in Boston require a whole separate blog entry that I’m too tired to tell now but hopefully someday! I used today’s indoor day to catch up on my beading and redo the clasp on my handmade bead chain for my key pendant. I also started a couple other projects, took a nap and tried up online odds and ends. Having a day to regroup after running around was exactly what I needed so I don’t mind Mama Nature’s usual Wednesday “attack of the bad weather” tantrum.

My new heart shaped clasp end for my necklace. One side is blue, the other is silver =)

My new heart shaped clasp end for my necklace. One side is blue, the other is silver =)

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and beautiful so we’ll be out and about on more adventures but for now, I’m still enjoying just relaxing. Oh hey! The sky is getting a lighter shade of gray! Maybe the rain will stop before it gets totally dark…

Expanding explorations

A rough idea of where I'll be going this trip!

A rough idea of where I’ll be going this trip!

Tomorrow I’m heading out to New England for one of my monthly adventures. I make it a goal every trip to explore a new area of New Hampshire or Massachusetts and so far, so good! My last trip I explored new areas of Boston, scouting out places to take my daughters in August and finding the best route to get there. Despite getting lost once or twice in Boston, I found exactly what I was looking for and know the girls and I will have a ball in Beantown.

For my trip starting tomorrow, my newest exploration destinations are Plymouth and Cape Cod, MA. I’ll be staying in Seabrook, NH as usual but on Friday I plan on leaving rather early to head south to the Cape Cod Bay area. I’ve encountered the traffic to the Cape on more than one occasion and I know that the earlier I go, the better. I plan on visiting Plimoth Plantation and the Wampanoag Homesite and then wander wherever the spirit takes me.

Before heading to Cape Cod Bay Friday, I’ll spend Thursday in my favorite city/town of Amesbury and the surrounding areas. I plan on visiting my favorite businesses in Amesbury and investigating a couple of the new ones for future write-ups. There are also trails I’ve yet to walk and sites I’ve yet to see! I’ll scope out where the girls and I will be staying on Plum Island in August and visit the beach at least once.

On Saturday and Sunday I’ll be attending the MCNAA Annual Summer Moon Pow-wow in Danvers, MA and have volunteered to help out there on Saturday. It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend and I’m looking forward to experiencing more of the Native American culture.

I cram a lot into my days in New England and I love having the freedom to go wherever I wish. This summer is going far too fast but I’m going to fill it up with endlessly expanding explorations as I pursue the path leading to my future in the area I love most!

The Steps of Amesbury, MA

An escaped hermit crab at Nest admiring the wooden Amesbury signs for sale.

An escaped hermit crab at Nest admiring the wooden Amesbury signs for sale.

There was a Block Party in Amesbury, MA the Thursday night I was in New England so I decided to attend. I’d never been to a block party before and I was curious and eager to experience something new. I visited Ed Justen at Workspace 36 shortly before the event started and I was impressed by how much the coworking space had expanded in the year since I first started visiting the area. I wished I’d taken pictures so I could do a fresh write-up but I forgot. Next time!

Ed said he’d be playing saxophone at the Block Party and I said I’d be sure to be there to listen for a bit. After a brief stop up the way at Parke Place Boutique and Attentif’ Design to speak with Deb and Kathi, I headed back to the hotel to freshen up and change into something warmer as the temperature had dropped considerably from the day before.

Once showered and dressed in a clean tank, lightweight sweater and capris, I returned to Amesbury and had no trouble parking in my usual lot. I walked up Main Street to where the block party was happening and things were just getting underway. A local stable was unloading ponies for pony rides and food vendors were busy making final preparations as people started to arrive.

Adorable ponies ready for the kids.

Adorable ponies ready for the kids.

In a very short amount of time, the grassy area in front of the church and the blocked off street were crowded with people. Couples, families with children in strollers or tagging along, people with dogs and others milling about near the beer truck. It was quite a busy scene!

Getting crowded!

Getting crowded!

I bought 10 tickets so I could sample the food available from local restaurants and shops. I had little pork sandwich from No. 8 Kitchen and Spirits, delicious paella from Amesbury Sports Park and numerous chocolate truffles from Ovedia Artistan Chocolates.

Yummy paella from the Amesbury Sports Park booth.

Yummy paella from the Amesbury Sports Park booth.

I stayed long enough to listen to Ed Justen play a few songs but then decided a block party just wasn’t my thing. I didn’t know anyone else there and felt a little out of place as everyone greeted familiar faces.

Ed Justen killing it on his sax!

Ed Justen killing it on his sax!

Carrying a bag filled with three chocolate truffles from Ovedia (I’d used my last 3 tickets on them) I headed back down Main Street toward Parke Place Boutique and Attentif’ Design. I found Deb and Kathi inside Attentif’ Design and we chatted a bit before settling onto the shared steps outside their stores.

It was a lovely cool evening and I really enjoyed watching all the people stroll by on the way to the Block Party. Deb and Kathi seemed to know everyone that walked by and greeted them happily and I was so thrilled to be there I’m surprised my inner glow wasn’t escaping to the outside.

Downtown Amesbury is so beautiful and I truly believe the people who live there are quite lucky. There’s no downtown like Amesbury anywhere near where I live and the level of friendliness doesn’t exist in the areas of NY I travel. To go to Amesbury and have people greet me by name with smiles and welcoming hearts is the most amazing feeling in the world! I fear I can’t seem to properly convey how much it means to me to feel like I’m part of Amesbury, even if it’s only an occasional, visiting part.

As we sat outside, Jon Mooers and his brother came along to work on hanging red, white and blue banners over the storefronts of Parke Place Boutique and Attentif’ Design. I dashed across the street quickly to take a picture of the scene and I think it captures the essence of what makes Amesbury such a wonderful town/city!

Locals visiting, talking, being social. It's lovely!

Locals visiting, talking, being social. It’s lovely!

Lots of people walked by with dogs and many of them stopped to chat. I learned that the large fluffy black and white dog/Shetland pony is named Lloyd but I didn’t catch the name of the other adorable pup that was sweet enough to give me kisses.

Lloyd

Lloyd

Deb and the sweet pup.

Deb and the sweet pup.

At one point Kathi asked me when I was moving to Amesbury and I said “Tomorrow if I could.” She thought that was very sweet and it was the honest truth. If not for the fact that I have shared custody of my girls and the divorce agreement states that I have to stay where I am until the girls are adults, I’d move to New England with them in a heartbeat! There’s so much more opportunity there than in NY and we could all learn a lot of positive things living there. When my girls are grown, I’ll definitely be moving to New England and then finally I’ll be where I belong.

I could have stayed there on the steps of Amesbury among all those friendly people all night but it was getting a bit cool and I had to get up early to head into Boston the next day so I headed back to the hotel. I am so grateful for the friends I have there and while I didn’t make it into town again this last trip, I’ll be back July 16-20 for more adventures!

Gorgeous Glistening Goddesses

Fiery me, fashion-forward Deb and creative Kathi represented as Goddesses. Image courtesy of VegaColors at DeviantArt

Fiery me, fashion-forward Deb and creative Kathi represented as Goddesses. Image courtesy of VegaColors at DeviantArt

When I arrived at the hotel for my latest trip to New England, I went about unpacking in the nice air-conditioned room. Once I’d driven out of the rain, the day had become hot, humid and sunny which left me feeling a bit bedraggled. After unpacking, I showered and felt much refreshed and ready to head out on some evening adventures.

I’m always pulled to Amesbury on my trips so I obeyed that pull and drove the 10-minute drive south from Seabrook, NH to my favorite little Massachusetts town/city. I parked my car in the lot by Crave like usual and then walked up main street breathing it all in. There wasn’t much of a breeze and the humidity was quite oppressive but I was still overjoyed to be back in Amesbury!

I walked up to Parke Place Boutique to see if the owner Deb was there and when I peeked inside I saw her and Kathi, the owner of Attentif’ Design relaxing and chatting. I was surprised their stores were still open at that hour on a Wednesday evening so I stepped inside and was happily greeted by both of them. That right there made my night! In NY, I’m basically a recluse with no local friends who spends most of her time with her dog. I live a good life but it’s not exactly exciting. That all changes when I return to Amesbury!

I sat and chatted with Deb and Kathi for a while and learned that they were both still open because they didn’t have anywhere else particularly important to be that evening. The subject of dinner eventually came up and as I hadn’t eaten anything in a while, I was very interested in a meal. It was decided they’d close up their stores and we’d walk up to Barking Dog Bar & Grill for food and that sounded divine to me!

I hadn’t eaten at the Barking Dog yet during my visits to Amesbury so it was obviously overdue. I enjoyed talking with Deb and Kathi and feeling like a social human being instead of a writing hermit. Deb, Kathi and I are all at slightly different stages of our lives but I didn’t feel out of place at all with them, in fact I felt very welcome and relaxed. We’re all strong, powerful, tenacious and determined women after all, goddesses in our own right. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was energetic and it was a great re-introduction into a social life for me.

During the conversation, the topic of the humidity and heat came up and the word “sweaty” was uttered. To which I said what my mother had always told me “Women don’t sweat, we glisten.” Glisten is a far lovelier word than sweat and as women are the lovelier gender, it makes perfect sense 😉 As the evening continued, the term “glisten” and “glistening” when referring to women perspiring came from the mouths of a few other people and I felt that to be an affirmation from the universe itself that it’s true wisdom.

When Deb, Kathi and I finished our meal and walked back down the street toward their shops, we were an impressive, beautiful and laughing trio of Gorgeous Glistening Goddesses, the likes of which Amesbury was truly fortunate to behold!

An anniversary of sorts

Amesbury mural by Jon P. Mooers

Amesbury mural by Jon P. Mooers

This coming Wednesday, June 25th, I’m heading to New England for one of my monthly/bi-monthly visits/adventures. I’m celebrating an anniversary of sorts because around this same week last year was the first time I made an official and well-planned trip to Amesbury, Massachusetts. I visited during Amesbury Days last year and this year’s visit is timed perfectly with that same event!

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I started visiting the area that I immediately fell in love with during my first official trip to North Shore. After that first trip, I wanted to visit as often as possible and quitting my office job to do freelance writing full-time gave me the ability to do just that!

I’ve visited the area through all seasons now. Walking the sandy beaches in summer was invigorating, seeing the  autumn colors around Lake Gardner was breathtaking and I even found the area beautiful and welcoming when it was buried in three feet of snow. I caught a glimpse of spring’s beginnings during my April visit and by the time the girls and I visited for Memorial Day, the splendor of spring was in full bloom! I don’t live there (yet) but I know New England’s charm remains through all types of weather.

 

Plum Island beach

Plum Island Beach, MA

The beautiful color on Lake Gardner in Amesbury, Massachusetts

The beautiful color on Lake Gardner in Amesbury, Massachusetts

The deep snow in Amesbury, MA after a February 2014 storm

The deep snow in Amesbury, MA after a February 2014 storm

Spring flower boxes in downtown Amesbury, MA

Spring flower boxes in downtown Amesbury, MA

Girls playing on the beach at Salisbury Beach State Reservation

Girls playing on the beach at Salisbury Beach State Reservation, MA

My plans for my upcoming trip are flexible as always and I tend to go wherever the fancy strikes me. There’s the 16th Annual Amesbury Chamber of Commerce Block Party on Thursday, 6/26/14 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. that I’ll definitely be attending and a variety of other happenings around town I might investigate. I also think I’ll venture into Boston this trip since I haven’t been into the city solo since November of 2011. That first trip to Boston inspired me to write and publish my first e-book New England Adventures: Boston, MA and was the beginning of what has become an amazing and ongoing chapter in my life. I can only imagine what another solo journey will bring!

The conviluted walking route I took during my first visit to Boston

The convoluted walking route I took during my first visit to Boston, MA

I’m planning another visit in July and then August brings a huge first: the first time I’ve had the girls for a whole week of vacation since the divorce. I’m indescribably excited about spending that much time together! We’ve rented a cottage on Plum Island that comes complete with bikes and kayaks and we can even bring Jazz! The drive there is going to be unforgettable I’m certain as I fit an entire circus in my little Matrix but I know we’ll all have fun!

Before the fun for my upcoming trip can begin though I have to finish my freelance work so off I go! Is it Wednesday yet??