Saturday, July 28, 2018

Road Trip to New England

I've really been craving an authentic lobster roll and while I still have dreams of going to Maine, I convinced the family to drive through seven states up to Cape Cod, where I definitely ate my fair share of some of the best seafood evah.

We broke up our trip on the way there after four hours of driving with a stay in Connecticut. I didn't realize it was Henry's first hotel experience as we've always stayed with family or in vacation homes, so this newfound concept of hotel was pretty great to witness ("Where's the kitchen? How are we going to eat?"...and then immediately bouncing on all the beds, with any fears of missed meals long forgotten.)

The next day, we drove 3.5 more hours to Buzzards Bay in Cape Cod, where we met up with one of Scott's former colleagues, who happened to be staying at the family compound. This house was amazing...along with all of the others in the neighborhood. Private beach access, sweeping vistas, windows galore. It would be real easy to just retire to one of the 15 bedrooms and go unnoticed for a few weeks. The kids swam in the pool after enjoying the rocky beach below and then we made our way to our own cottage about 25 minutes away in Plymouth.

I found our cottage listed on a vacation rental site and just kept coming back to it. It really had it all for what we were looking for-an easy vacation with some experiences available should we want to partake. The cottage sits right on one of Massachusetts glacial lakes-Long Pond- so the water is crystal clear, with a sandy beach, jumping dock, barge, and its own canoe. The cottage itself had all the amenities one might need in an upgraded cabin for family convenience. We enjoyed our meals and morning coffee on the sun porch with a swing, and the kids and I loved the Dutch doors. I was sold.
We spent our days swimming, canoeing, and exploring historical Plymouth (where Jo fell and left a fair share of her DNA in the old streets).

One of Henry's vacation bucket list items was to see a lighthouse, and the Cape is full of them, but not all are on land or offer the availability to walk up to them, as a few are vacation rentals for those who want to shell out $6k a week. This one, the Nobska Lighthouse about a 40 minute drive in Woods Hole, was perfect. We unfortunately missed the interior tours by one day, but Henry didn't seem to mind. We could see Martha's Vineyard, watch the ships going in and out of the Harbor, and amazing views from the hill.
It was here that I ate the most expensive sandwich of my life, but wowza was it worth it. Both Scott and I failed on asking for it to be with butter instead of mayo but it didn't even matter. That warm and crispy buttered roll hugged that six ounces of lobster perfectly, and washed down with a local beer sitting on the restaurant dock complete with drawbridge going up and down made for a perfect lunch for everyone.
Swimming daily at the cottage was a given. The lake was about 30 steps from the door and everyone loved the easy accessibility. We floated, jumped, paddled, and canoed through that water for hours.

We were in a pretty remote area of Plymouth, tucked off dirt roads and surrounded by nature. We saw bald eagles, deer, and hiked to a cranberry bog. While not in season, we could see the fruit and imagine how it would be in a few months. It was really cool.

It's unlikely that Jo will remember this vacation, but I am confident Henry will. It really checked all of my own boxes for a fun family vacation with beach, camp-like surroundings, nature, adventure, and relaxation. The kids did better than I expected on the long drive, had the best time, and really was such a great way to recharge as a family. I'll be riding the post-vacation high for a while. And thinking about that lobster roll. And scallops.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bowling and Baseball

This week we were able to check a pretty cool item off the Haselton Family Ultimate DC Bucket List-bowling in the Truman Bowling Alley. I learned that it's actually not under the White House, but the neighboring building, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which flanks the West Wing.

The spots for these opportunities come fast and furious so I was particularly excited to have this come up as a destination for a farewell party for a few of Scott's colleagues.

As pictured, the alley was built by President Truman in 1955 and was remodeled in the 80s, but it was still so cool to be bowling in the same place as former leaders of our country. Henry in particular was particularly stoked, as the boy loves to bowl, and a fun fact for Josephine's life-it was her first time bowling and for her first roll down the lane (albeit with an assist from the bumpers and framed metal "helper"), she rolled a strike. Pretty sweet.

It is not lost on me that we are getting to experience the highlights reel of DC moments during our time here!
As we were leaving, we went back to one of the entrances to the West Wing and took a proper family photo of four, since our last visit, just two weeks before Jo would make her arrival.
The MLB All Star Game is being held at Nationals Field in DC this week, and there are events and fanfare leading up to the series. While we don't have plans to make it to a game, we went down today for the fanfest and took in the sights, threw some pitches, and soaked up the baseball fever, particularly from our boys in blue.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Oh My, It's July

We had the most beautiful weekend here-low 80s, a cool breeze, and nary a drop of humidity in the air. It was heaven! It's the kind of weather that when it happens anywhere, it teases you into thinking it would be a great place to live for a long time. (But I now know you east coast/mid Atlantic weather-you aren't tricking me!)

Last week we took our dear friend and neighbor to visit the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where we went this time last year, and while it was early in the season for their lotuses and lilies to be in full bloom, it made for a great day outdoors.

I also took Henry to his first live theater experience, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," in Bethesda, MD, (a great production!) and he really enjoyed the entire theater experience-from the live action to the sound effects, lighting, music...and of course snacks. We've also had plenty of water time and a pool playdate with dear friends.

 For the Fourth, we opted to attend the party at the White House again, which was fun, although not nearly as magical as last year. Kids had a great time though and will still be cool to have spent two Independence Days on the south lawn.

As I previously mentioned, this past weekend was spectacular. I took the kids to Seven Oaks Lavender Farm, which is an hour's drive from DC into the heart of Virginia. We picked lavender, Henry had a ball chasing and catching butterflies, we dined on lemon lavender cupcakes, the kids played in a darling playhouse and sandbox, and we watched bunnies prancing around in their pen.

For the nearly two years we've lived here, I continued to be humbled by living in this metropolis but having such close access to country life. It's certainly been great to experience so many options of culture, recreation, and beautiful sights.