Posts Tagged ‘ Travel ’

Writing Retreat

  Last year when the trees were turning their brilliant colors and the air began to have a nip in it, my fiance and I went to the Finger Lakes in NY for a long weekend getaway. Now, as August winds down my mind can’t help but turn to what an amazing time I had there. Not only was it beautiful, but it was everything a writer could want. I would sit outside writing on a cobblestone patio next to the fire pit and surrounded by lush grass, ponds, and vibrantly hued mountains. Bliss….sigh.

One of my biggest struggles as a writer is balancing my writing with everything else in my life. These past few weeks have actually been great as I’ve gotten into a good habit of finding time to write almost every day, but it made me reflective as well. While I’ve been to various writing events, I’ve never actually been to a writer’s retreat. These, after I did a little research, come in all shapes and sizes, so writers can pick and choose based on what they’d like to accomplish. There are more structured writing retreats that feature speakers, workshops, and networking. There are more remote retreats with small cabins and more free time to find your muse in the wild. Both have merits, but for my personality getting to write while on vacation was the best fit for me. I could pair spending time with my fiance with relaxing on the patio snuggled into an Adirondack chair with a blanket (although for the next trip I really need to invest in a pair of fingerless gloves for typing outside for hours!).

Getting away helped remove many of life’s distractions and really focus on my work. Scheduling a writing retreat, even for a weekend, is a great way to energize yourself and your writing. Even if it’s a family vacation home or a VRBO rental (Vacation Rental By Owner – best site for getaways of all kinds) or a more planned writing conference-like retreat, finding time for you and your craft is bound to be invigorating.
Happy writing! 🙂

Falmouth Road Race

  This past week I went on a wonderful vacation to Falmouth, Cape Cod. I spent as much time as possible outside enjoying the ocean breeze, our B & B was right next to the ocean, walking around seeing the sights, or lounging on the beach. Glorious! While there I noticed how many runners and cyclists there were. Every morning as we enjoyed our breakfast on the outside deck, we saw many people of all ages cruising up and down the hilly roads next to the ocean. The only other time I’ve seen so many runners, outside a race or organized run, was when I went to Boston the summer before. Maybe MA culture breeds avid runners, but my guess is that where there are old, established races – i.e. Boston Marathon and Falmouth Road Race – there are going to be runners.

I didn’t know much about the Falmouth Road Race before my visit there this past week, but couldn’t help but want to run it myself after learning more about this historic event. In 1972, After watching Frank Shorter become the first American to win the Olympic marathon since 1908, Cape Cod resident Tommy Leonard thought it would be great if Shorter were to run a race in Cape Cod. Thus the Falmouth Road Race was born. With 100 participants its first year, 1973, the race threads its way along the Cape Cod coast up and down hills for 7 miles. Now it has become known as one of the best non-marathon races in the country, if not the world, with 10,000 people gaining entry through a lottery system each year. And with the Olympics in full force, it’s even more impressive that the race has attracted many past and future Olympians, both American and international, through the years.

Lottery opens online in May. For more info check out the website.

Happy Running! 😀

My Epic Journey

It’s finally here! My epic journey begins tomorrow morning at 5:30am! Inspired by my grandma Louise to embark on a quest to reach all 50 states, I am – if all goes according to plan – finishing my goal by this Saturday. Woohoo! 🙂

I turn 31 on July 10 and wanted to accomplish my quest while I was still 30. I’ve been knocking off the states for years now starting with my family trips to Vermont when I was just a wee babe. I’ve flown, rafted, biked, cruised, climbed, hiked, run, skydived, heliocoptered, and driven by cab, bus, car, train while visiting these great states of America.

And it all culminates into this final journey.

Tomorrow morning (after a mandatory stop at Starbucks) I’ll be driving to the first of my final two – Kentucky. It clocks in on AAA TripTik (a great road trip planning site and iphone app) at 9 hours and 52 minutes. I’m figured with gas and potty breaks it’ll be around 11 hours – ie. The Longest I’ve Ever Driven By Myself. Sweet.

Fear not though, because Day 2 I drive to Nashville to pick up my mom (the aforementioned grandma’s eldest daughter) to finish the last two days of my journey with me. We then head to Memphis for the evening, then it’s Day 3. We zip over the border between the great states of Tennessee and Arkansas and TADA! I’ve hit all 50 states! After I make my mom take epic photos of me smiling on the side of the road in who-knows-what-town, Arkansas, so I am able to pass on these cherished memories to my grandchildren in the hopes that they will one day emulate me, thus continuing the tradition, we head on our merry way to Roanoke.

The cool thing is that when I mentioned my plans to my mom, she said, Oh, your grandma went to school right around there. WHAT??!! What better way to end my epic journey and homage to one of the most influential women in my life than by visiting the school she attended for college. Double sweet. It’s my goal to learn more about my grandma through doing this or at the very least walk in her footsteps. (My mom told me that she was one of the few women who attended school during that time – WWII – and her family saved up their war vouchers – I think that’s what they were called –  just so they would have enough gas to drive her down to school in the fall. It makes me that much more appreciative of being able to jump in my car at a moment’s notice and drive anywhere let alone an EPIC ROAD TRIP.)  I am very, very pumped about this as it marks the perfect ending to a perfect trip.

I believe that everyone should have at least one EPIC JOURNEY in their lifetime. Something that you can plan for and feel alive doing it. Something you can look back on without regret. A  journey that you’ve always dreamed of and weren’t afraid to finish.

What’s your EPIC JOURNEY?

European Vacation

Sorry about the blog hiatus, I was running around Europe with my girlfriend and didn’t have internet access most of the time. It was absolutely amazing! We visited Switzerland, France and Spain. France was by favorite by far with cobblestone streets, fabulous boutiques and mouth-watering boulangeries (bakeries) and patesseries on every corner.

That’s me in front of the Cote d’Azur in Nice, France.

My favorite part of the experience was the bike tour that we took around the French Riveria. It was through Cyclomundo, a bike touring company that provides a variety of tour packages as well as the option of creating your own tour in various countries in Europe – most being in France. You are outfitted with a hybrid bike (very comfortable), water bottles, sidebags that hook onto the side of the rack on the back of your bike, and a binder of maps and directions. Each bike is outfitted with a kind of board that clips onto the front of your bike into which the maps and directions are placed so you can read while you ride. The trickiest part was figuring out the directions as we didn’t have any sort of odometer and the directions were in kilometers to boot. We only got lost a few times and even then it wasn’t difficult to find our way back to the route we were supposed to be on.

It was a beautiful three-day trek from Avignon to St. Remy to Arles back to Avignon. We biked past fields of poppies and vineyards and olive groves. One day was spent traversing the Alpinnes, the chain of mountains that stretches through the south of France. Our last day was spent battling fierce headwinds that would stop our bikes if we stopped pedaling for even a moment! One of the most difficult physical challenges I’ve ever done but it felt amazing to accomplish such a task.

It was wonderful to take such a great vacation, but it’s great to be back home. 🙂

Fifty States and Weezie

It started with a train ride across the U.S. of A. and it ends with a monumental (at least in my mind) road trip.

Louise Plage Neilon was a remarkable woman and one of the most influential forces that has ever entered my life. Affectionately called Weezie by her younger daughter (my mom being the elder of the two) – also the youngest of six children, all of whom are still alive – my Gram was a ball of unstoppable energy. She loved antiques and postcards and traveling and driving and experiencing life in all its eccentric glory. And I loved her. She taught me a lot about life and it’s because of her that I try to live mine to the fullest.

The summer after my eighth grade year, my Gram invited my cousin and me on the adventure of a lifetime. And, despite years and numerous adventures since, I still consider it as such.

Amtrak took the three of us stop-hopping through the northernmost states then down through California and back through Nevada, Utah, etc until we reached Penn Station once more. I had previously visited many of the East Coast states as a result of family trips up to Vermont for our yearly two-week mountain vacation that required our dad to rouse his three young children and thrown them in our minivan at 2am to “miss the traffic.” Train trekking threw a lot more onto my now growing list – a pretty formidable one for someone only 13.

I was with my Gram when she stepped off the train onto the Oregon soil and declared, “I have now visited all fifty states.” While it seemed significant at the time, it seems even more so now that I am about to follow in her footsteps and make the same declaration.

Two states stand between me and my goal: Arkansas and Kentucky.  I’ll drive down to Lexington (check KY off the list) then down through Nashville (where I’m picking up my mom who coincidentally will be there at the time and who is continuing the journey with me) and on to Memphis. From Memphis it’s only about an hour to the border of Arkansas where I will cross the state line, celebrate, and takes lots of pics to document the occasion! 🙂

This trip is my homage to my Gram, an amazing woman with a big heart.