Sunday, May 31, 2015

Poem for Sunday, Udvar-Hazy, Rock & Roll

My Brook
By Helen Hay Whitney

Earth holds no sweeter secret anywhere
Than this my brook, that lisps along the green
Of mossy channels, where slim birch trees lean
Like tall pale ladies, whose delicious hair,
Lures and invites the kiss of wanton air.
The smooth soft grasses, delicate between
The rougher stalks, by waifs alone are seen,
Shy things that live in sweet seclusion there.

And is it still the same, and do the eyes
Of every silver ripple meet the trees
That bend above like guarding emerald skies?
I turn, who read the city’s beggared book,
And hear across the moan of many seas
The whisper and the laughter of my brook.


We celebrated my father's birthday belatedly on Saturday by picking my parents up and going to the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, where we originally planned to see a space documentary in the IMAX theater but they had taken it off the schedule for more showings of San Andreas and Tomorrowland. Which was fine -- instead we went to visit the space shuttle Discovery, the Blackbird, Enola Gay, Amelia Earhart's aviation suit, and various planes and helicopters. Then we went out for ice cream!

We all went out to dinner at Ted's 355 diner (I had eggs with feta and the biggest side of mashed potatoes in history), then we brought our kids home so younger son could work on calculus problems in anticipation of the summer class he starts on Monday and I could work on thrilling things like laundry and uploading trip photos. We watched the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction broadcast on HBO so we could see McCartney and Starr singing together, though I was very happy to see Joan Jett and surprisingly impressed with Miley Cyrus's introduction!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Greetings from Home

We are home from Delaware and watching Kingsman: The Secret Service (yes, I know, but I can't help myself) after one more lovely vacation day! We went to the beach in the morning and saw dolphins jumping in the ocean very close to shore, then we packed the car and drove to Dover, where we stopped in Bell, Book & Candle and met Heather at an Indian restaurant, which was awesome (both the food and getting to see her).

We drove the rest of the way home in lovely weather and had dinner with my parents, for whom we had brought Nic-o-bolis, and my mother provided a cake with which we celebrated my father's birthday belatedly. Adam went out with Christine to see Avengers: Age of Ultron since he wasn't here when the rest of us saw it, and after unpacking and laundry, I put on The Decoy Bride (pretty mediocre, apart from David Tennant). Pics:

Beachfront Castle

Sons and Seabird

Boardwalk Hotel

Seaside Kelp

Dolphin Just Offshore

Last Glimpse of Beach

Crossing the Chesapeake Bay

Sandy Point State Park

Friday, May 29, 2015

Greetings from Fenwick Island

Rain was forecast for the Delaware beaches on Thursday morning, but never arrived. Instead, although there was a cool breeze for a while in the afternoon, it was another gorgeous day, partially overcast which made it easier to be out in the sun for many hours. We went to the beach in the morning, where we saw dolphins leaping in the waves quite close to the shore, then we went to Grotto Pizza for lunch since it's a Rehoboth institution.

In the afternoon we drove to Fenwick Island, which we used to visit regularly when we came to Delmarva. We stopped at a couple of stores we like, particularly the Seaside Country Store, which has food downstairs and all-year Christmas and Halloween upstairs, and Sea Shell City, though we were sad to discover that the Discover Sea Shipwreck Museum upstairs was not yet open for the season so we couldn't see the RMS Republic and Senora de Atocha items there.

We also played Viking Golf, where we took the kids every year when they were young, though Adam shockingly found it tacky now! We drove through Sea Colony to see the lake before coming back to go to the beach again, then having Nic-o-bolis for dinner and Kohr Bros. soft serve for dessert. The sunset was gorgeous -- we saw it partly from the boardwalk and partly from our balcony, from which we can see both the Rehoboth water tower and the ocean!

Maritime souvenirs from the Seaside Country Store in Fenwick Island.

Sea Shell City ("Shell City is a gift shop??!!") where tragically the Discover Sea Museum was closed!

Playing miniature golf at Viking Golf, where there are dragons Midgard and Kangor...

...and trolls, and Thor and Odin, and longboats, and runes, and other very realistic historical portrayals!

Custom buoys at Fenwick Float-ors -- I love the Halloween one.

Fenwick Island Lighthouse was completed in 1858, when it stood alone on a peninsula on the Delaware-Maryland border. Now it is surrounded by houses and shops.

The Bethany Beach "totem pole" (actually a sculpture by Peter Toth from the 1970s).

Ordering Nic-o-bolis at Nicola's Pizza, a Rehoboth institution since my childhood.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Greetings from Cape Henlopen

We had another beautiful beach day! It's been slightly on the cool side -- water temperatures in the 60s, which was fine for wading waist-high in the morning at low tide when the temperatures were in the 70s, but quite chilly in the cloudy late afternoon with a cool front blowing through! We managed to find some sand crabs anyway, though we didn't do any proper swimming.

After lunch we went to Cape Henlopen State Park, stopping on the way at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal because we could see that Kalmar Nyckel was docked there and getting ready to sail. The ferry wasn't there -- we saw it later cruising in the ocean when we were in one of the observation towers -- but there's a model of it. We walked to the beach and through the fort at Cape Henlopen:

The Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse in Lewes as seen from Cape Henlopen State Park.

This frog lives in the little pond outside the Cape Henlopen State Park nature center.

A pair of horseshoe crabs lives inside in the touch tank, along with hermit crabs and fancy snails.

Apparently it is horseshoe crab mating season, and they really like the Delaware Bay. On the night of the full moon, the park is having an event to count all the mating horseshoe crabs. We saw these two doing their thing in the bay in the middle of the afternoon!

This is Fort Miles, built to defend the Delaware River cities during World War II, now being restored as part of Cape Henlopen State Park.

Here's one of the ferries cruising past one of the Cape Henlopen observation towers -- photo taken from atop another tower).

Kalmar Nyckel boarding students at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal.

A model of the ferry in front of the terminal from which it departs Lewes.

In the late afternoon we went to the beach off the Rehoboth boardwalk. The tide was high and very few people were swimming in the cold water! We cooked Indian food in the microwave in our hotel room, then went out for ice cream at The Ice Cream Store, famous for flavors like Bacon, Sweet Corn, Hella Good Lavender, and Ghost Pepper (which requires a permission form to try)!
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Greetings from Rehoboth Beach

We are having a very nice last-minute vacation! On Monday night I discovered that my sister, whom I had thought was still out of town for her birthday, was back in New York, so we decided to meet for breakfast on Tuesday morning at a diner near where she lives. We had a nice meal, then my family drove through New Jersey to Delaware, where we are currently staying just off the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach, a place I went often in my childhood and several times during my kids' childhoods, though we've gone to the Outer Banks instead for the past several years.

We have been eating Thrasher's fries and Royal Treat ice cream and walking on the beach, though the water's quite cold for swimming -- I suspect this will be a wading-only trip. We also wandered a bit along the boardwalk and Rehoboth Avenue, though I am sad to learn that both Mostly Irish and the Thunderbird Shop have closed! Adam has school friends camping at Cape Henlopen and went to have dinner and s'mores with them while we went looking for ghost crabs, though we suspect we went too early, while the boardwalk was too bright. We'll try tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Greetings from Manhattan

Tracey came to meet us at our hotel on Monday morning and we went into Manhattan, where we met Helene and Jean-Philippe at the Central Park Zoo! We did everything from testing the echo chamber in Grand Central Station to embarrassing our kids by walking by the body-paint-only models wandering around in Times Square. Here are some of the things we saw:

Central Park

The Delacorte Clock

The Central Park Zoo

Children's Zoo

Robert Indiana's Love (pic taken in honor of this one at Penn, where we all met)

The United Nations

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Rockefeller Plaza

Wafels & Dinges

Also lunch at La Bonne Soupe and visits to the Plaza Hotel, Trump Tower, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian, Radio City Music Hall, Broadway theaters, the Toys R Us ferris wheel, the New York Public Library, Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, Tudor City Greens, Ralph Bunche Park, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, St. Bart's, Lee Lawrie's Atlas, and the miniature Statue of Liberty at 61st and Madison!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Greetings from Elmsford

I am seeing two of my college roommates this weekend! We are staying near Tarrytown after driving up -- reaching the New Jersey Turnpike not long after the sad news of John Nash's death there hit the internet -- and walking around the lake at Rockefeller State Park Preserve:

We had dinner with one of my former roommates tonight at the excellent Greek restaurant Santorini, where we had lunch with her the last time we were up this way. We got back to the hotel in time to see Maryland beat North Carolina for the women's lacrosse national championship!