March 28, 2017

Staycation #2!!!!

a vacation spent at home or nearby-noun

On this past rainy and overcast weekend  Jeff and I embarked on our second attempt at a staycation.  Unlike our first attempt, spent at home, we went to a hotel, for one night, 26 miles away!  I’ve been home for a little over an hour and find myself not only refreshed, but thinking about the remarkable time we had at the Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI.  Comparing the two staycations we have had, this one was approximately 40 hours less than the one in January!  So how much fun can you have at a semi-isolated location, during a rainy 23 hour stay?  Loads of laughs and doing as little as possible and not actually going anywhere other than the bar and restaurant.  Castle Hill sits on 40 acres on a peninsula overseeing the East Passage and the Atlantic Ocean.  Our stay may have been short, but it certainly is memorable.  You are greeted warmly on your arrival by attentive staff, and ushered to a room with spectacular ocean views and a welcomed fireplace!  I didn’t take many photos, I was busy doing nothing, but here are a few!

Ariel view of the hotel, picture courtesy of Castle Hill!

Entrance to the Rose Room

Toasty and Comfortable!

Remnants of 3:30 PM High Tea!      

We ate, drank, and watched the world sail by until it was time to go home!  I realized you don’t need to name an occasion to slow down and enjoy life!  I’m looking forward to many more “cations” whether near or far, for hours, days, or weeks!  

January 31, 2017

Moving On!

No more sitting at home and waiting for the right time to move on, now is the time!  I’m craving a big adventure, and it is starting now!  Since being diagnosed with RA, I have not been on any vacation that requires air travel.  For the longest time I wanted to get back up and moving, but there was the fear that I may not be able keep up or the travel would spark frustration and pain.  So I’ve been investigating all types of tours and even looked into travel agencies that specialize in, “Travel and Arthritis”.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to create the adventure, and arrangements myself.  I’m not in need of any special access, wheelchair, accommodations, or attendant care, so I’m the only one responsible for me moving on!

I did what I do best, tackle the important parts of the trip first.  I ordered  a new passport cover and card case from Aspinal to travel with!  I narrowed the places I was interested in going to, places that I could take a direct flight from Boston,  Reykjavik, Iceland or London, England.  Both places are beckoning me to visit so I investigated the airlines and their answers to my specific needs when flying.  All I really wanted from any airline I contacted was to know about guaranteed bulk head seating (extra leg room), ability to move around the plane, and help putting carry on into the overhead compartment.  British Airway was contacted and has a priority status whereas I would supply a medical certificate, verifying that what I was requesting was necessary.  The representative also mentioned, when I arrived at airport, assistance is also available, with luggage or ambulatory assistance.  These accommodations are at no additional charge. Icelandair  airline was a whole different story!  They would be more than happy to make the seating accommodation for an additional charge, they couldn’t guarantee the help with the carry-on being put and retrieved from the overhead, but suggested I use a smaller bag and place it under my seat.  I was disappointed with the “try to assist” attitude of Icelandair and the additional fees there, but I am still considering going to either place.  Nothing is set stone yet, I will keep you updated on what I decide!  You may not think what I’m doing is such a big deal, but it is when you have RA!

January 24, 2017

Staycation

a vacation spent at home or nearby-noun

According to Merriam-Webster, the first known use of staycation was 1944.  I find it odd that Merriam-Webster has entered this word into online dictionary, yet my spell check doesn’t recognize this word, and suggests maybe I am trying to spell starvation or stagnation correctly. Taking a staycation is written about all over the internet, local chamber of commerce advertisements, and magazines write about the stay-at-home vacations!

So, never one to not jump onto a bandwagon, I made a unilateral decision that on January 20th at sundown to January 23rd at sunrise, we would be on staycation.  It seemed right up my ally, no housework, food shopping, cooking, laundry, only  take out, fun stuff,  and restaurants.  So that Tuesday night, after seriously reading about the different types of staycations,  I devised a plan.  Our staycation would be based from our home, not a local hotels/motels, there would be no cooking, cleaning, shopping, and limited electronic activity.  The only concession allowed, that Jeff would watch the Patriots game on Sunday night. 

The prep that was involved getting ready for this staycation began in earnest on Wednesday night, after returning home from work.  I made out a shopping list and went food shopping while the laundry that usually was done on the weekend was in the washer.  I made sure anything that would not be appropriate during staycation; bill paying, ironing, dry cleaner pick, for example was done before sundown Friday.  I was really gung ho, looking forward to this staycation until I bottomed out Friday night, totally exhausted. 

Saturday morning we both awoke to; “What are we going to do”?  I was looking around the house thinking that all I wanted to do was lay on the couch with my coffee and watch TV, but I didn’t.  I went for a walk with Sean Patrick and returned to find Jeff, washing my car, clearly in violation of the staycation itinerary.  He convinced me it was not work, he was just playing with water.  At this point, I knew this staycation was in trouble.  We ate and talked for the rest of the day, I finally went over to Jackie’s to knit and watch TV while Jeff read a magazine. 

We awoke Sunday with the best of intentions to do something cultural this day.  On the way to the RISD Museum in Providence, we came upon Hemenway’s Restaurant.    Mighty hungry and only having coffee for breakfast, since it was a staycation, we would do lunch and then attend a birthday party.  

We couldn’t deny how hungry we were, and had to stop for lunch!                                                                                                        

We immediately felt at home and ordered drinks! My kind of staycation!                                                                                                                    

Creamy New England Clam Chowder, perfectly cooked and succulent Shrimp Cocktail with cocktail sauce and horseradish. I was in heaven! But what most impressed me was our meals!

Jeff enjoyed a grilled rib chop with cranberry-apple chutney, potatoes au gratin, and broccoli rabi.                                                               

My Surf & Turf, a grilled petite filet, seared scallops, sweet potato gnocchi, spinach, pork belly, gorgonzola, with demi glace was much loved and enjoyed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

After our leisurely lunch, it definitely felt as if we were staycationing, I was ready for a nap! Next was a stop back in the neighborhood to wish Val a “Happy Birthday”, We then came home to compare notes on what we did do and what I expected to happen for the rest of this weekend.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you need to call living a balanced life boring, and if you are in need of a staycation, think again.  I thoroughly enjoyed preparing for this weekend until the exhaustion hit.  But I realize my life is pretty gosh darn good, so good I don’t need to pretend it is anything more than what it is!  So for that reason I am grateful enough that I shouldn’t make more work for myself by going on a staycation.  The next time I exert this much prep for any type of “cation”, my passport better be with me!  Have a great week!

a vacation spent at home or nearby

November 15, 2016

The Lawn at Castle Hill

 

You will be blown away at The Lawn at Castle Hill, Newport, RI!  

Magnificent views, delicious food, with my wonderful husband, we spent the afternoon here!

 

You are welcomed with a sign looking out to the East Passage, Narragansett Bay!

You are welcomed with a sign looking out to the East Passage, Narragansett Bay!

 

I don't know what happens, but you feel really something special when your here!

I don’t know what happens, but you feel really something special when your here!

 

You are seated at a table...

You are seated at a table…

 

with breathtaking views!

with breathtaking views!

The restaurant is warn and inviting.

The restaurant is warm and inviting.

The starters...

The starters…

were as delicious as they looked. New England clam chowder, hot and creamy, full of clams. The simple mixed green salad, pickled beets and goat cheese, delish!

were as delicious as they looked. New England clam chowder, hot and creamy, full of clams. The simple mixed green salad, pickled beets and goat cheese, delish!

 

Lunch was a halibut wrap with two types of relishes and Jeff's grilled angus cheddar burger, both served with fries. The meals were as good as they looked!

Lunch was a halibut wrap with two types of relishes, and Jeff's grilled angus cheddar burger, both served with fries. The meals were as good as they look!

Lunch was a halibut wrap with two types of relishes, and Jeff’s grilled angus cheddar burger, both served with fries. The meals were as good as they look!

 

Lo and behold, as full as I was I ate my desert, spiced sweet potato bread Poached pear, oatmeal lace cookie, sweet cream.

Lo and behold, as full as I was I ate my desert, spiced sweet potato bread,
poached pear, oatmeal lace cookie, and sweet cream.

I also helped Jeff with his chocolate parfait, with salted caramel. and roasted peanuts. Devine!

I also helped Jeff with his chocolate parfait, salted caramel, and roasted peanuts. Devine!     

It was a delicious lunch, with great views, and a totally relaxed vibe!

It was a delicious lunch, with great views, and a totally relaxed vibe!

Sometimes a very simple meal and beautiful surroundings will help erase the effects of a challenging three day work week!  I needed this!

 

My New Friend! (he lives in my tree)

 img_1513

XO - 1

July 12, 2016

Packing for a Quick Getaway!

Once I made the decision to spend the Memorial Day weekend in Boston, I was overwhelmed with excitement.  This would be the first time I had traveled alone since my RA diagnosis, and had only visited family once or twice in the last three years.  RA really cramped my style but I was ready to check into the    Fairmont Copley Plaza  and spend time with my best friend Irene, something I hadn’t done in years.  I only live a 64 mile train ride from Boston, but the unpredictable affects of RA made me nervous to make this trip alone,  but I didn’t back down!

So in anticipation of my trip, I downloaded a packing checklist from TravelSmith, that dazed and confused me!  By arbitrarily checking off small boxes and having a limited place on the sheet to write, frustrated me because I couldn’t figure out how this was helpful.  So I started over and swore I would not pack as I used to, by emotion and if something was pretty and I really liked it, I took it.  I didn’t say I wore it, but I took it!

I resorted to what I thought would best suit my circumstances, I would absolutely not take anything I was not going to wear and my suitcase would not be overpacked and difficult to maneuver.   The Delsey Helium 21″ Spinner Suitcase was taken down from the attic.  I picked up a ChicoBag Travel Zip Quartat Whole Foods that had everything I needed except deodorant and toothbrush.  It contained repairing Moroccan argan stem cell + argan oil shampoo  and conditioner, tangerine citrus African Black Soap, juice BeautyNutrient Moisturizer, Mineral Blushing Crystal nail polish, and Tom’s of Maine toothpaste.Memorial Weekend - 4  With this done I went home, picked out the chinos, jeans, a few polo shirts, seasoned loafers, and pajama bottoms/t-shirt and undies.  It seemed as if it wasn’t enough, so I added a cashmere sweater around my neck on the way up that would double for a top on the 2nd night at dinner.  It was easy to pack because our plans were to include casual walks, meals, & meet ups with friends at our favorite coffee shop.

When I first arrived in Boston, we met at LA Burdick, around the corner from the hotel.  We took a little while to catch up and then headed to the Boston Commons to visit the 33,000 American Flags & stop by the Public Gardens to watch the Swan boats.

Boston Common 2016

Swan Boat - 1

The weekend for me was terrific!  Nothing outrageous or unexpected happened, just an enjoyable two days with friends in my hometown.  With that being said, this brief rendezvous boasted my confidence that I can/will travel more often without any negative experiences because of RA!

XO - 1

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