Bridge Day 2015 | New River Gorge, West Virginia

Have you ever been to Bridge Day?  Have you even heard of Bridge Day?!?  When we moved to our tiny town 10 years ago, I don’t think that I had ever heard about it, or if I had that it even registered in my brain what it is.

Then my Daddy said very casually one day, “Hey, you should take the kids to the New River Gorge Bridge, it’s pretty cool.”  So we did.  And it was astounding.  Amazing.  Crazy.  Breathtaking.  And it wasn’t Bridge Day!

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I have to say, if you want to have a relaxing experience of the bridge in all of its glory, go on a day that isn’t Bridge Day.  There are just so. many. people.  But, you need to go on the weekend that they are holding Bridge Day too.  It’s A-MAZING.

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The New River Gorge Bridge is located just outside Fayetteville, West Virginia.  The bridge is 876 feet ABOVE the New River.  Did you read that?  876 feet.  On Bridge Day they shut both sides of Highway 19 down and let people JUMP OFF OF IT!!!  Want a visual of just how high that really is?

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Yeah.  We didn’t jump off of the bridge and it was exhilarating.  I cannot even imagine the thrill that the people who were jumping were getting.  Crazytown, people, crazy. town.

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As you approach on the day, you will be very aware that you are not going to be able to drive across the bridge.  They have it clearly stated along the way.

IMG_9657Since you can’t drive to the bridge and they don’t want 50,000 cars lined along the highway, they provide shuttles for $3.00 and will drop you at the entrance to the bridge.  You can park at the local Walmart or five other places you can read about here.

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The day we were there, our shuttle was a school bus.  I don’t think I’ve been on a school bus since I was in the tenth grade.  They’ve changed a lot!  Did you know that school buses now are automatics!?  Every school bus I have ever been on was a stick shift.

When they drop you off, you’ll have to walk down the highway to actually get to the bridge.  Try to keep yourself away from the welding helmeted man with the kettle corn.  You can try. 😀

And the Hillbilly Hot Dogs.

AND the thousands of people.

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It’s truly not a long walk to the actual bridge.

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I thought this was pretty ironic.  You know, since there can be up to 100,000 people walking it on Bridge Day.

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Good reminders along the way, especially if you have small children.

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Here are some things you may see on the way…..

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How.  How do you lose your shoe, adult person, and not realize it?

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And you are there!  Lots of people will be hanging over the rails, watching the people who have just jumped.  It’s a very long bridge.  My advice is to head straight to the platform they have built over the edge for the jumpers.

This is where I thought most of the excitement of the day happened.

Two people taking the plunge.  See the guys hand in the air?  Yeah, he’s already airborne!

This guy.  From what I gathered, he had been there all day.  Watching people, jump, waiting, watching people jump and waiting.  He was gathering his nerve.

He stood there a LONG time.  But he did it!

I mean, come on!  Look at that.  Seriously, I honestly don’t think I could ever do it.  Do you see that tiny red and white bull’s eye down there?

Yeah, there.  That’s what they are supposed to aim for.  Go back and look at the previous picture.  Those are humans next to it.  Uh-huh.

This poor guy didn’t make it to the bull’s eye.  He landed in the water.  That’s what all of the boats are there for.  To get people out of the river.  The frigid river.  We had winter gear on and it was still cold.  I can’t imagine what the river felt like.  But these guys did it over and over.  Jump, land, ride the bus back up, get on the platform and jump again.

If you’ve never been to Bridge Day I HIGHLY recommend it.  There are a lot of other things happening during the weekend too and you can read all about the plans they have for 2018 here.  Have fun!

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Pike Place Market

On August 17 in 1907 Pike Place Market opened in Seattle, Washington.

I keep a running list of things to see and do when I visit a certain place.  Seattle is on my bucket list of cities to see and I absolutely want to visit this farmers market when I go there.

Have you been?  Did you love it or hate it?  Anything special about it that I need to know before I visit?  I can’t rest until I know all the facts!

One thing I do know about it is that it is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States.  Woohoo!  I love things like this.

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5 Things You MUST Have in New York on Vacation

Note:  As always if you see something you like, click on the photos and it will take you to like items.   This post may contain affiliate links.  Check out what that means to you here.


These are the five things that I believe that you absolutely need to have with you no matter where you are on vacation.  They are especially essential in New York.  See if you agree with what made my top five list.


Number 1:  A good camera strap.

To carry that heavy camera around.  I love the one above.  It’s beautiful and functional, both requirements in my book.

Funny story.  I decided that I didn’t need to take my camera strap with me to New York.  Apparently I had a brain lapse.  Believe me, you need a camera strap.  That camera will get very, very heavy after a few hours.  I finally resorted to using my purse strap as a camera strap.  It worked in a pinch, but I don’t recommend a narrow strap like that.

Do yourself a favor, and buy yourself a lovely strap that you will want to use.

I also love all of these.

You can find more here and here.


Number 2:  A small wristlet purse.

 
To keep petty cash, metro cards, snacks – nuts, hard candies, a candy bar – your insurance card, identification, etc.  All things you need to have on you.  Like candy bars.
I started out carrying my cross body purse and that lasted exactly one day.   Something that you don’t think twice about carting from the car to the store becomes extremely heavy after a few hours.  I was so glad I had my wristlet with me.
One of the best tips I read about before we left was to never place your purse on the back of your chair.  That’s an excellent way to easily be robbed.  Carrying my wristlet solved this problem, because I just laid it beside my plate or in my lap whenever we stopped for a meal.  It was always in plain sight.  With the added benefit of being light and easy to carry.
You can find more here.

Number 3:  Water, water, water
You will not believe how much water you will consume.  Even Hayden, who used to avoid water like it had the plague in it, drank gallons.  Being a tourist is thirsty work.  Take a bottle with you everywhere.

Number 4:  Good walking shoes.
You will walk and walk and walk and walk some more.   And just when you think that you can’t go another foot, you will walk a few more miles.  This has to be why people in New York are so fit.  All they do is walk!
You can find more here.

Number 5:  Sunscreen.
You are definitely going to need it.  We were in New York the first week of June and we had perfect weather.  Perfect in my opinion.  High’s in the 60’s with lots of cloud cover.  Hoodie weather.  Not most people’s ideal, but mine for sure.  We still needed sunscreen.
So what makes your top five list for vacation?  How does it compare to mine?

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When things don’t go exactly as you planned. New York.

We’re home!!

We spent the last 9 days in New York City (one of the days was spent in Philadelphia, PA) and we had a blast.  We are already planning a return trip, because seriously, you could never see, do, taste, smell and just absorb everything there is in NYC in that short amount of time.

I took the photo above after we had walked the Brooklyn Bridge.  In 83* weather, with thousands of other people.  At one point, while we were trying to get a photo of us all, Hayden says, Mom, stop trying to make this into something fun.  No one on this bridge is having fun.  Hahaha, he was wrong, I saw plenty of people having fun on the bridge, but he was right too.  It was hot, we were miserable and it had been a long, long, week at that point.

I am slowly posting about everything that we saw, ate, and did – I’m also putting New York in the title of those post’s in case you have no interest in what we saw and did and  you can skip it.

What I wanted to ramble on about today is expectations.  And what we get out of those expectations.

I freely admit that I had a lot of expectations going into this trip.  I always do!  I feel like if you don’t have a plan, any kind of a plan, you are already halfway into the weeds (Gordon Ramsey reference) and probably aren’t going to get anything accomplished.  Denton knows this about me.  He is not a planner, he loves to fly by the seat of his pants.  That makes me cringe.  We know this about one another.

To head off a lot of arguments, we had a conversation before we even started packing the car for the trip.  He didn’t want me to plan out every single moment  – of every single day of our trip.  I didn’t want to get home from our Big New York Vacation and realize that we had just wandered around like chicken’s with our heads cut off and didn’t even remember what we had done.

So we compromised.  I made a list of all the things that we definitely wanted to do and see on this first foray into the city with the understanding that it was just a guideline for us to follow when we felt like it.

I feel like this is the first time that we got it right.  He wasn’t stressed out (too much) by my big list of things to check off, and I felt comfortable that we were actually going to see and do and eat at least some of the things on our my giant list.

One of the things that made this possible was the map I created on google maps that was personalized to us.  I shared it with everyone, that way we could see in an instant what was around us that we definitely wanted to see and do.  I used this tutorial to make ours and it worked perfectly!

The first thing that knocked us for a flip on this trip was Hayden getting sick.  He wasn’t feeling well on Thursday.  By Friday when we got to Philadelphia he was feeling very nauseous.  By Saturday when we had to check out of our hotel (which was AMAZING!) he was feeling really, really bad.

We made the decision to go ahead to New York and assess things there.  By Sunday morning we had already scoped out the nearest Urgent Care facility and were waiting on a doctor.  They ran a lot of tests, did blood work, did more tests, then more blood work and finally advised us to take him back to our brownstone, keep him hydrated and if his symptoms worsened to take him immediately to the ER, where they could admit him and do a better workup.

He slowly improved each day and now he is feeling absolutely normal.   In addition to this stressful situation Denton’s back decided it didn’t like being normal and tried to rearrange itself.  His solution was to eat Ibuprofen like Smarties.  That worked.

All of that to say that nothing went as planned.  Like having to pay to use the restroom.

Unusual food that you really didn’t like.  I hate wasting food and money.

We saw the beautiful memorial where the twin towers were, but had to skip the enormous lines for the museum.   

We had great pizza, but missed so many more that we had planned for.

We went up into the One World Observatory, but were really disappointed and wished we had spent the time and money at the Rockefeller building or the Empire State building.

We didn’t have the time or energy to go and see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but stumbled upon St. Paul’s Chapel completely by accident.

We also never made it to Dumbo or the Flea Market in that area.  😥 

Sitting in traffic for over an hour to get out of the city.

The whole point of this post though is to show you this.

We passed by this rosebush every single time we trekked our way to the Subway every day.  There are so many gorgeous gardens in Brooklyn, that I was amazed. 

Life is a journey.

While you are ticking things off of your list, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses, and take pictures of them too!  Those moments are the ones that are standing out in my mind already.

This was a truly amazing trip for all of us – we all actually agreed!  I am so glad that I convinced Denton to step out of his comfort zone (he is very, very protective of all of us – hence being very uncomfortable in a city with millions of people to watch out for!) and now we can’t wait to go back.

Enjoy every moment!  Even the hot, irritating ones while you are trudging along the Brooklyn Bridge with thousands of other people!

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The Price of a Restroom. $2.17. New York.

Sorry for the blurriness of the photo.  It was done very quickly, because of a time constraint.

$2.17.  That is the going rate to use a restroom in New York City.

We were in Chinatown and realized that we had no idea where a bathroom was and asked a New York City Patrolman who was standing nearby, who directed us to the local McDonald’s.

As we entered the three story building a guard – uhmm – employee was shouting “Paying customers only!” and directing everyone into the line to order.  So I quickly ordered the first cheap item that popped into my head.  A small ice cream cone.

Only then, after showing our receipt were we allowed to go upstairs to the restrooms.

After Hayden and I came out of the bathrooms, we found Denton and Olivia sitting at a table, where Denton informed me that we had a time limit of 7 minutes to consume said ice cream cone.  Seven minutes!!!  He said the same dragon guard lady told them as they ascended the stairs that the time limit started from the time of the receipt.  Wow!

I suppose that it is a small price to pay for the privilege of using indoor plumbing, but REALLY?!?

A friend of mine laughed and told me about an app that you can get – it’s free – that will tell you where free bathrooms are in your vicinity.  I immediately downloaded it, but didn’t need it for the rest of our trip.

You live and you learn something new every day!

Also, this!  How crazy, strange, weird and freaky!  Our customer number was the same as our total.  Yep, I am a strange person for finding this amazing.

Has this ever happened to any of you?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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enoteca OTTO pizzeria.  New York.

Todays lunch/supper – lupper? – was a huge success.  We ate at enoteca OTTO pizzeria, one of Mario Batali’s restaurants on 5th Avenue.  It. Was. Awesome.  

Denton ordered one of the days specials. Orecchiette​ with pancetta and spigarello.  Heaven.  Absolute heaven on a plate.

Hayden chose Quattro Formaggio.  It’s a pizza with four separate cheeses.  Mozerella, tallagio, cacio, and ricotta.

Liv ordered the Cacio e Pepe.  It’s a pizza with Mozerella, pecorino, cacio, Parmesano and black pepper.

I chose the Quattro Stagioni.  It has peppers, mushrooms, Swiss chard, Mozerella and Cotto.  It was delicious.  My favorite of all the choices on my pizza was the mushrooms.  Divine.

After we ate everyone wanted to get a gelato.  I was completely stuffed, and I knew that Liv and Hayden would never finish theirs so I didn’t choose one.

Denton got Lime/Basil.  Let me tell you, I couldn’t have eaten that one.  It was so tart I thought my jaws would lock up.  But it was good, just too much for my taste buds.

Hayden got Mango/Coffee.  If you like mangoes this is your choice.  It was mango heaven for Hayden.  The coffee was my favorite, it was lovely.

Liv chose Dark Chocolate/Cherry.  They were both excellent.  She loved her choice and our waiter laughed and said that she was the only one who made a logical pairing.

I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone.  It was one of my favorites!

Tonight’s supper was a bust.

Every single night (and day too,) we have tried something new to us for lunch and supper.   New York is a wonderful place to do this.  I mean think of the possibilities!

All four of us got something different so that we could mix and match our meals to be able to try the most dishes.

Tonight was a complete failure.  We tried Haitian food.

Liv ordered the Mixed Vegetable sandwich with kale, sweet plantains, avacado,  tomatoes and chickpea spread with fries.  It was sooooo sweet!

Hayden chose the cod fish sandwich which had tomatoes and avacado on brioche. Uhmmmm, the best thing we all had to say about that was, nope.  It was so, so fishy.

I ordered the burger with red onion chutney, roasted peppers and spiced herbed mayonnaise.  One of the main reasons that I didn’t enjoy my meal was the excess mayo that was on it and they also MADE you choose between cheddar and swiss cheese.  I don’t like cheese on my burger thanks.  I also chose for my side, Akra.  They are shredded vegetables fried into fritters.  These were just okay, but had was too much batter instead of veggies.

Denton ordered the Griot pan fried pork shoulder with piklis and sos,  fried plantains and a side of rice and beans.  I think that this was the best dish we got.  I loved the roasted red peppers and onions that came with the pork, but the pork was very, very dry.

So, all and all, we just didn’t enjoy our Haitian dinner.  The next time we try it will be with one of Denton’s cousins who lived in Haiti for two years.  I think this was just too different for us to go it alone on.  Maybe next time will be better!  

We won’t stop trying new things.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Have YOU ever had a crapola vacation?

BLOG 068Lovely, lovely place.

This morning when I was out and about, I was listening to Danny and Zack on the radio and their topic today was, “Have you ever had a crapola vacation?”.  Uhmmmm, yeah.

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A few years ago, we spent two amazing, solid weeks in Daytona Shores Beach, FL.  It was a magical fortnight in our lives, because we had never taken a solid two weeks straight for vacation.  It was heaven.

BLOG 005The beach was amazing.  There was almost no one around.  I loved it.  It was perfect.

BLOG 008We had cloudy, rainy days that were perfect for my rain loving soul.

BLOG 011And perfect, sunny beach days that everyone else loved.  And I cowered under my umbrella on the beach.

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We had a great pool and sauna that I spent an inordinate amount of time in.  (And lost 3 pounds those two weeks from all the swimming!  Woo-hoo!)

BLOG 046I found multiple thrift stores to haunt for two weeks.

BLOG 065They were awesome!

BLOG 047We spent a marvelous afternoon in Orlando at the Eye.  Check it out here.

Tracie eye 11We ate amazing food.

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BLOG 057We browsed numerous bookstores, new and used.

BLOG 071This one was very weird.  Interesting, but weird never-the-less.

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bookstore 2Every thing about this vacation was perfect.

Except for the fact that the condo we were staying in for our splendid vacation was remodeling the unit above us.  And we didn’t find out about it until we had been there for 3 days.

 

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I’m not talking about some hammering.  Nooooo.  Full on jackhammers, steel cutting, grinding, explosion type sounds from 8:00 AM until 5:30 PM, every. single.weekday.  (If I can find the video we made one morning I will upload it here.)

When I called downstairs to complain about the noise, they pretended ignorance.  What!?!  They informed me that Seychelles was not doing any work on any of their units.  Seriously!

Oh, but guess what.  Can you guess?  Some of the units are owned PRIVATELY, and those owners can do anything they want to their units at any time, so long as it’s between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 PM during the workweek.

When I contacted the man who rented us the condo for the two weeks, he insisted it wasn’t his place to inform me that there COULD be construction work going on during our stay.  When we talked to the owners in the elevators each day, they all, every single one of them, laughed and laughed.

One man actually told me that he had lived in the building for four years and he said that not a week had gone by that someone, somewhere in the building was doing some type of demo, construction work.

So beware sweet vacationer of where you intend to spend your well deserved vacation next summer.

And if it’s at Seychelle’s Condo’s in Daytona Beach Shores, FL, you might want to rethink it.