Smith & Jones

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It's a Long Island

Gepostet am 21. August 2015 um 10:45 Comments Kommentare (0)

After a long day on the Montreal - New York train followed by a particuluarly frustrating queuing incident at Hertz, JFK we finally set off in our Dodge Dixi at around midnight, destination: Rocky Point, Long Island.

The following morning we went to the Laundromat which has actually become one of our favourite holiday activities, did some grocery shopping then went to Port Jefferson for a wander.

The following day we explored the south fork of Long Island, first Sag Harbour then out to the end of the south fork at Montauk.

We found a lovely beach in Montauk where we had a nice swim before buying some food and drink to take on our sunset cruise aboard the Mon Tiki .

For our final day on Long Island we decided to go to Riverhead and kayak on the Peconic river

We then had a drive to Hampton Bays in the hope of finding somewhere to eat and swim, we ended up in Westhampton where Billy had the "best burger of the holiday".

We are now packing up (Billy is at the Laundromat as I type this) ready for a long journey home ......

Montreal - Take Two

Gepostet am 17. August 2015 um 8:00 Comments Kommentare (0)

We left Toronto on Sunday to travel back to Montreal, arriving early evening.  We checked in to a charming bed and breakfast before heading for the old town, very European in feel but also very touristy. 

Toronto - Baseball and a Wedding

Gepostet am 17. August 2015 um 7:45 Comments Kommentare (0)

On reaching our Toronto accommodation we were pleased to see the swimming pool and almost immediately plunged ourselves in.  We had a few hours' break before heading in to the city to meet up with the groom and his friends for a north American experience everyone should witness at least once in their lives.  Baseball - a dull game but the locals love it, or at least all that goes with it, including a "foot long, fully loaded" hot dog, beer, baseball caps, gloves.......  The game we saw was between Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland As, made mildly more interesting by the fact that the Toronto Blue Jays were aiming for a 10th successive win, a club record.  Suffice to say, they got their 10th win, the first half was relatively exciting but the rest of the game had nothing much to offer.

The following evening, we were invited to the "Rehearsal Dinner", not being major players in the wedding we didn't actually have anything to rehears except for how to eat food and drink alcohol.  It was an evening of making new acquaintances and potentially setting up free holiday accommodation for future visits to Vancouver.

On the day of the wedding we woke up to a storm so spent the morning relaxing before the clouds parted allowing a run (Emma) and a bike ride (Billy) through the more salubrious areas of suburban Toronto.

The wedding was at 5pm in One King West, Toronto.  The Canadians are good at weddings, the ceremony took less than half an hour and the partying went on for a good eight hours!  Good food, champagne, cocktails and dancing - everything a wedding should offer.

Our final day in Toronto was spent on bikes riding around Toronto Islands before returning the bikes to the rental shop. 

Tourists Trapped on a Train

Gepostet am 16. August 2015 um 9:20 Comments Kommentare (0)

We got to Penn Station in New York in good time to catch the 8:15 to Montreal. Got on the train after queuing for a short millenium. The British have a reputation for queuing but we're nothing compared to the North Americans. All very orderly and polite. Getting on a train in America or Canada is like getting on a plane in Europe. The first eight hours of the journey up the Hudson River were a delight. Wonderful river views followed further north by magnificent lake vistas. All very pleasant until you are stopped near the Canadian border for a customs check. Two hours later with travel fatigue setting in we are off again. When we arrived in Montreal we staggered out grateful that our legs were still functioning as nature intended. We were especially pleased to get away from the Amtrak toilets. If you ever make such a journey be sure you have a strong bladder.

Two nights in Montreal were nothing special as the weather was miserably wet, so nothing to report other than Emma managed to find suitable footwear for the upcoming wedding in Toronto the following Friday.

Seafood, Motor Cars and Dollar Pizza

Gepostet am 16. August 2015 um 9:05 Comments Kommentare (0)

 Continued our holiday in southern Maine a paradise for those who like coves, harbours, islands and secluded beaches and seafood restaurants/shacks serving lobster, clams, crabs and fish of many varieties. The only problem with this neck of the woods is its accessibility. Unlike Cape Cod, you need a car to get anywhere. We did a lot of driving to get from point to point but it was worth it because the area is full of little coastal idylls.



Drove back to New York on Sunday morning – a journey of six or so hours. We dropped off our little Beetle rental car and took the A-Train over to Manhattan for the night. Spent the evening in a jazz club called the Metropolitan Rooms. On our way back to the hotel we stopped off for “dollar‑pizza”. We made sure we got to bed early to catch the 8am Adirondack train next morning bound for Montreal.

Operation Lobster

Gepostet am 7. August 2015 um 10:00 Comments Kommentare (0)

Left the lovely seaside town of Falmouth on Cape Cod and set off for Maine via Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Plymouth Rock is the place where English pilgrims landed in America on board the Mayflower in 1620. A replica of the Mayflower - the Mayflower II - was in harbour and it looked very small and fragile for such an ocean-going vessel. Still, the pilgrims made it and from 1620 onwards the European invasion of the America started in earnest.

We arrived at our destination - Harpswell, Maine - in the early evening and having unpacked drove down to a local restaurant so that Emma could indulge her passion for seafood and her ambition to have lobster for dinner. When the lobster arrived it came with a bucket-full of "tools" to crack open the various parts of the poor beast. Accompanying the "tools" was a plastic bib for Emma to wear as the operation of dismembering the lobster results in fluids spurting out of the animal in all directions. I was sitting opposite and wished I had brought an umbrella.

Sunset, Bailey Island, Midcoast Maine

Today (Friday 7th) we are off kayaking with the weather continuing to be sunny and warm.

Shining Sea Bikeway

Gepostet am 4. August 2015 um 21:40 Comments Kommentare (0)

Today we started at 7am with Emma going out for a run. It seems she is having withdrawal symptoms from running in the "Julyathon" which requires committed runners to jog each day in July for a minimum of either 30 minutes or 5 kilometers. I accompanied her today on my bike and halfway through we encountered the most massive thunderstorm, meaning both us got soaked to the bone - but it was warm summer rain and felt weirdly refreshing. Later we biked our way along the Shining Sea Bikeway which is to be recommended to anyone taking a vacation in this part of the world. On our way back we stopped off at a beautiful stretch of beach and went for a swim. The water was warm and very relaxing; Emma and I each managed to swim about 500 meters along the shore line you can see below.

New England - Full of Unspoilt and Uncrowded Beaches

We finished the day by taking the Cape Cod Trolley Bus to Woods Hole for a "fish and chips" dinner. Yes! Fish and chips in America. The fish was very similar to what you would get in Britain but the "chips" were "fries" not proper chips - Schade! We got the Trolley Bus back to Falmouth and went to a local pub for a few beers. Great day!!

The Falmouth - Woods Hole Whoosh Trolley

Extremes of Service

Gepostet am 3. August 2015 um 18:40 Comments Kommentare (0)

Day Two of our holiday was a day of extremes. After a trip up the new World Trade Centre, we went to a very fancy restaurant in Trump Towers and were treated to a fine meal with excellent service. The staff were very attentive and the model of courtesy. Soon afterwards we went to a bike hire shop near Colombus Circle and were "served" by an extremely rude individual who insisted on eating a kebab while doing the administration of the bike hire. If being charmless and uncouth were rewarded in gold he'd be close to the world's richest man. We rode the bikes round Central Park with approximately one million other tourists most of whom hadn't a clue how to ride efficiently. Their seats were so low that their knees were crashing into their chins with every rotation of the pedals. Still, we enjoyed the circuit of one of the world's most famous parks. Here, however, is a little known fact. Central Park was inspired by New York officials visiting Birkenhead Park where I used to live. Why is Birkenhead Park not as famous?? Finally on Day Two we went to see The Book of Mormon which is playing on Broadway. It's a wonderfully entertaining musical satire of the Mormon Church - it's very funny and worth seeing if you're ever in New York or London.

Day Three involved hiring a car to drive over to the ferry on Long Island to take us to New London from where we drove to Falmouth near Cape Cod. It's a lovely little seaside town. We hired bikes as soon as we got here and plan to do the Shining Sea Bikeway and to go over to the island of Marha's Vineyard where the Obama's and Clinton's are on vacation - so we are told. If we meet them I'll try and get a couple of selfies.

The Chardonnay Run

Gepostet am 2. August 2015 um 5:30 Comments Kommentare (0)

I'm pleased to report that, despite jet lag and a major lack of sleep I managed to run the 5k in under 30 minutes.

Getting in to The US

Gepostet am 2. August 2015 um 5:15 Comments Kommentare (0)

It took us longer to get cleared through passport control at JFK than the flight from Munich to Madrid.  Three hours from getting off the plane to getting out of the airport.  If anyone can tell me why the Americans need the fingerprints (both hands) and a photo of every non-US citizen visiting their country,  and that every time they arrive, please let me know.

We took a cab from JFK to our apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.  Unfortunately, unlike London cabbies, the New York taxi drivers don't need to have any knowledge of the places they are driving to.  We are almost certain our driver took us on the same road in different directions more than once but I actually do believe that it was because he had no idea not because he wanted to rip us off!

We reached the apartment at about 11pm and went straight to bed - 14 hours of travelling and 3 hours of queuing had taken its toll.