Sunday, August 7, 2011

So yes, part of our job here is that we receive a very generous 5-week vacation twice a year.  if you’re gonna pick up and live on the other side of the planet, why not see a few places near your new home while you’re at it?  Last year, we were given one week and chose to go to Indonesia.  This year, we had some thinking to do.  One vacation in the summer, one in the winter.  Go home at the end of the year again when travel is hardest and weather is coldest?  Or perhaps, switch it up?  So we chose, after being home this past winter for eight weeks, to head right back home for summer instead.  Which means that this winter we’ll have a heck of a lot of Asia to traipse around.

But summer in the Midwest?  Sometimes there’s nothing better.

I saw nearly every family member and friend, barbecued, swam, and dined al fresco.  I listened to Tom Hamilton call the Tribe games on AM radio and was in the stands for an uh-mazing game-winning grand slam by Travis Hafner.  I squeezed in a campfire with my mom and dad when the hot weather subsided just enough for one night.  I sat around a lunch table of tasty sang-wiches with my grandparents while they showed me tattered pictures from the Old Country.  Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I reunited with childhood friends I hadn’t seen in 16 years.  Steve and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary by revisiting some old haunts.  I watched my niece grow up before my very eyes on her seventh birthday.  And I saw at least one mysterious fire on the side of I-90.  It was everything I love about summer in my hometown.

And in the spirit of adventure and seeing something new, we decided to take another good old-fashioned American road trip.  See the USA in a Chevrolet.  Rock, Flag and Eagle Part 2!  This time, New England addition.

The plans were simple.  Add six new states to our goal of seeing all 50 eventually.  Enjoy the breezy summer landscapes.  Eat a Maine lobster.  Eat any seafood caught fresh from the Atlantic, for that matter.  Get some history, preferably via walking tours by guides in costume (the cheesier, the better).  And see our East Coast family and friends.

It did not disappoint.  At Steve’s Nana’s house in Philly, there was a hearty family debate over which shop sold the best hoagies.  On Cape Cod, the air was the freshest and cleanest I’d breathed in long while.  The scallops were even fresher.  Maine proved to be, quite possibly, the most peaceful state in the Union; I swear you could hear a pin drop even over the bustling people and sound of the crashing waves.  In Boston, a cabbie told us that “you don’t need-ta go-ta Costa Rica to find somethin’ ex-aw-tic” because “you could catch a cawd the size-a ya leg” right there.  And the cheesy history tour exceeded my expectations when we were led around for 90 minutes by a joke-telling colonialist named Jeremiah Poope.  Need I say more?