In October of 16 we met up with Kelly's great friend Kristin from college at a halfway point between NJ and VT...Chatham, NY. We found a great little mountain house through AirBnB and spent a few nights catching up and letting the kiddos play. Such a great time!
How about that view? Worth every penny!
We took a hike to Bish Bash Falls, right on the border of NY and MA. You can actually hike into the falls from either state.
How awesome is this photo of the kiddos soaking in the view?
Can't wait to get back up this way again!
Oh...we tried to get one last photo of the kids before we shoved off...Mason wanted NO part of it!
Had the great opportunity to see one of my best buddies assume command of the USS Oklahoma City a few weeks back out at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego. Since this was just a quick out and back weekend trip we flew solo...girls stayed behind and camped in Nana's camper!
Made a b-line for the airport right after work on Thursday afternoon...
First stop...Ballast Point Brewery for a cold one with some of the crew. Stepping off the plane into the cooler, non-humid air of San Deigo felt sooo good!
The next morning we were up early...had to get some breakfast at a great spot, The Broken Yolk, right across the street from our hotel in the Gaslamp before heading over to the naval base for the Change of Command Ceremony.
Not a bad backdrop for a ceremony. These are normally done on the submarine, but since she's in dry dock right now getting a full overhaul they had to do it on land.
Not too shabby a spot for a post ceremony reception!
There's the actual OKC...she's in floating dry-dock, up on cinder blocks and no propeller right now!
Stopped for drive-thru burritos on our way back downtown!
Got some dinner and great Mexican with much of the crew later at night too...
We spent much of Saturday over on Coronado, pretty much just hanging out on the beaches and in town. What a great area! Not before a nice run along the waterfront and a hearty breakfast at Cafe 222!
A few shots while riding over the bridge from downtown to Coronado.
First stop was a stroll along the beach the Navy Seal's use for training...pretty cool to be essentially the only ones out here. The Navy sure does have some nice beachfront real estate!!!
That's the Seal obstacle course...looks like a lot of fun!
Got lunch at a great dive bar/Navy Seal hangout called Dannys...
Having a look at the famous Hotel del Coronado. Reminded me a lot of Congress Hall in Cape May!
So while we had a great time its hard not to think about the responsibility that Thomas will have once the sub is out of dry-dock and back underwater for the next three years. Pretty amazing stuff! I'm proud that one of my good buddies is out there lurking beneath the surface, keeping us all back home safe and sound. Not easy to say goodbye to these guys for the next 3 years, but I see a lot of FaceTime in our future. Best of luck out in Guam guys!
Lastly...check out this great set of poker chips that all of the fellas went in on and got for Thomas back in June at our 20th high school reunion. Each submarine that he's served on is represented on a different denomination. He'll be able to break these out when he's got a little free time on board to relax!
I still am way behind on a bunch of posts but I figured I'd get these photos up from our recent trip to St Petersburg, Florida for a family wedding and a little R and R. First time taking the girls on a plane...so it was a pretty big deal!
Van ride over from the parking place was a big hit...no seat-belts! Shhhh.
Next up...unloading, checking bags, and getting through security...no easy task with 2 little ones. Thankfully Kel and I both signed up for TSA PreCheck. Worth every single penny, especially when you've got kiddos! Kelly's super crazy good packing skills also helped. Check out that contraption she rigged up on the stroller to carry the car-seats through the airport. [it only tipped over once!]
The good folks at American let us get on first...made it much easier with the car seats!
Wheels down in Tampa...time to ride the little train and pick up a rental.
The girls hung in the trunk while we got their car seats strapped in. We made it over to the hotel downtown and got the girls settled...Kel headed out to meet up with some of the fam who was still up.
First morning view from the Hilton in downtown St. Pete. First night was "interesting" to say the least. Not a whole lot of sleep going on!
We got ready to head across the street to the weekly Saturday Morning Market, which we had last hit up 5 years earlier when we were in town for Kels grandmothers 80th birthday. Excellent spot to grab a local breakfast!
Time to hang out by the pool before the wedding started later that afternoon. Girls were super excited to hit the water!
Soon enough it was time to get everyone cleaned up and over to the church from Breann and Austin's big day!
The Brando's cleaned up pretty well too!
The Cry Room...best seat in the house!
After the ceremony we got the girls settled with a few baby sitters back at the hotel so we could head over to the reception at the St. Pete Museum of Fine Arts! Only in Florida would our Uber be a pick up truck! Ended up in the back with Renie...
We had the entire place to ourselves...
Unfortunately for me Ri didn't do so well with the sitter...so i wolfed down my dinner to get back to the hotel while Kel stayed and partied with the fam. Oh well.
Apparently I missed a good story of Renie falling off a chair while dancing and being forced to sign a waiver! She may or may not have given the guy her phone number!
I was able to get a good run around St. Pete Bay in the morning since I had gone to bed with the girls so early. We got breakfast at a great cafe called Cassis American Brasserie before heading out to St. Pete Beach for 3 nights.
TradeWinds Resort is only a short 30 minute drive from downtown St. Pete...super easy to get over to.
Of course the girls wanted to get in the water as soon as humanly possible!!!
Later that afternoon we headed over to Aunt Eileen's for a big post-wedding party with everyone else who hadn't bolted for Disney.
The girls also got to meet their great grandmother!
The next few days were spent between the various pools and the beach...and of course that awesome water slide!
Found this great playground right down the street that we had all to ourselves!
Time to head for home! Both girls did outstanding on the flights.
Been a while since I've posted, I know. Lots of photo editing the past month to catch up on things, so hopefully that means I can get more posted here in the near future.
This trip was back in early November...less than 48hrs in San Fran for my good buddy Murph's wedding. I think we were drunk for a majority of the trip!
Hell of a time!!!
You may have already seen the video I posted a few months back [which is very well done I might add!], but here's the complete recap with all the photos, information, and links to places we checked out during our time in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest!
We thought long and hard about where we wanted to go on this trip. There were 2 criteria that had to be met: #1. It had to be someplace new that we both hadn't been to before. #2. We had to be able to get a direct flight there. We didn't want to waste our precious time getting too and fro [Thanks to the US Airways/American Airlines we actually had to make a connection on the way home, but this happened after we started to book everything]. We batted around a number of locations but in the end Seattle won out. So glad it did!
Wednesday night flight out of PHL...
After the long flight and a cab ride going 100mph for no reason whatsoever, we arrived at our downtown hotel, the Hilton Seattle.
This is the view we had when we threw open the curtains in the morning. Not too shabby..even got a glimpse of the Puget Sound!
I did some internet research before the trip and found the name and email of the general manager of the hotel and sent him a note saying we'd be out for our 10 year anniversary. Guy gave us the hook-up...great room, free breakfasts, access to the executive lounge, bottle of wine, fruits and chocolates waiting for us in our room. Very well done and got the trip off to a great start!
First stop on Thursday morning was Seatown for breakfast. I had seen this place on Anthony Bourdain's old show, The Layover, about a year prior and once we know we'd be visiting Seattle I made sure we dined at this place.
We walked from the hotel and got our first look at the famous Pike Place Market...
We'd stop back here to explore later, but for now, Seatown was just around the corner and we were hungry.
Bourdain called this "Seattle on a Breakfast Sandwich". At $19 bucks its a bit pricey...but let me tell you, worth every single penny! Egg, cheese, avocado, and dungeness crab.
Great view of the Seattle Wheel and the port from this vantage point...
Bellies full...it was time to head out and explore the city. No better way to get a good overview than by hopping on a duckboat, Ride the Ducks of Seattle.
Very cool to be out on the water in a car...and like the driver told us...every car can drive into the water, but not too many can drive back out!
After the duck we made our way back across town on foot, getting to see more and more of the city. Even though its hilly, you can get around pretty easily.
After the Duck ride we thought we'd see how things look from up above. Best way to do that you ask? The Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center Building. [Don't worry, we'll get to the Space Needle soon]
We would be getting on one of those little ferries down there in a few days.
After the view from high above we stumbled into a great pho spot for lunch called Jules Garden. I think we grabbed a nap and chilled at the hotel for a bit at this point...
Dinner tonight was at a cool spot down near the stadiums called Taylor Oyster and Shellfish Bar.
The food just kept coming and we kept eating. Very tasty! [but not the tastiest oysters we'd have on this trip...those will come later!]
After dinner we walked through town a bit and found The Bookstore, a great cafe for dessert!
We'll pause here if you need to go and get a snack or just take a break. Plenty more photos below. Just click to keep going...
Over the first weekend in October of last year we rented this quaint lake house on Penn Lake with some good friends and their kiddos for a long weekend in the Poconos.
While the weather wasn't the best, we had a really fun time! Plenty of good stories, great beers, and some very inappropriate games of Cards Against Humanity!
The house is a bit dated, but there were plenty of fun things to do...
Bundled up and strolling around the lake...
A little rain wouldn't stop J from checking out the lake...
Kiddo yoga class led by M!
We were there for 3 nights and set it up so that each family had to cook one night. Worked out great!
Lots of running around the house burning off energy!
With all the rain we decided to hit up the H2Ooooooh water Park at the Split Rock Resort for the afternoon.
Didn't take any photos inside...but it was a great spot, and nice and warm!
The girls getting crazy after the kiddos hit the rack...
Must have been the PMC wine!
The sun finally came out on our last full day at the house...time to get outside for a hike, get out on the water, and to get a fire going!
We made the short drive up to hike around in Hickory Run State Park and to check out the famous Boulder Field.
Snack time on the trail...
Such a very cool spot. Gotta be careful you don't twist an ankle out there!
First attempt at a Team Photo!
Made sure we got some scooting in once we were back at the house...
Another attempt gone horribly wrong!
The lake is so beautiful once the sun comes out!
The wood was a bit damp, but we finally got it going!
On the way out of town we drove by the very cool France E Walter Dam, and of course the girls wanted to throw rocks in. That was all fun until R just walked right into the water. Wet shoes for the rest of the day!
Lunch was at a place along the way that a buddy had told us about...the Riverwalck Saloon. Its certainly more of a biker place on the weekends...but all was quiet on the weekday
Very fun LONGGGGGG weekend for sure...but soon it was back to reality.
Waayyyy behind in photo editing and blog posts, but I'm trying to catch up.
We made a day trip/scouting run to Ocean City,NJ this past summer to have a look around! Hit the beach at 16th street, rode the waves, even visited the boardwalk to take a spin on the rides!
Turns out the place is pretty cool and we'll be renting an oceanfront place for a week later this summer with my folks, and my sisters family. Can't wait to have all the cousins together on the beach!
We decided to change things up a bit one weekend this summer and try out one of South Jersey's many lakes instead of driving down to the beach for the day. This is Atsion Lake that's part of the Wharton State Forest. It's a "cedar lake" [something I'd never heard of before] which means the water has a very red tint to it. Takes some getting used to!
Below are a bunch of stills from the GoPro! The girls had a blast out in the water and didn't have to worry about waves knocking them over...