Thursday, June 1, 2017

Michigan to Massachusetts - The Highlights Reel

I am always hesitant to share my vacation photos here. I don't want to be that friend that invites you over for wine and cheese, and then locks you in a room with a big-screen television and makes you watch 500 unedited vacation photos. I am fresh out of cheese but enjoy the wine, here's the highlights reel...

Favorite City/Town

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
First day of vacation and we took the "shortcut" through Canada and Niagara Falls to get to our hotel in Rochester, New York. It was late lunchtime, we were hungry and ready to get out of the car for a while. I remembered my friend Kay telling me to stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake on our way through if we had time. We had time. We had lunch, walked to the lake, discovered the most beautiful cemetery full of flowering trees on the way back to town, and found a parking ticket on our car when we got back. Nonetheless, Glen and I both want to spend more time here, we will just make sure we pay for our parking first next time.

Best Don't Give Up

Watkins Glen, New York
My readers that have been with me for a while will remember a couple of years ago I went to Pennsylvania in the autumn to meet a blogging friend, Andrea, who lives in New Jersey. We were to spend a week photographing the fall colors in the Tioga State Forest area. We had a great half week until she slipped on some wet leaves, fell and broke her leg, going back to New Jersey much sooner than expected. You can read that post here. The day after she broke her leg we were suppose to take a day trip up to Watkins Glen, NY only a little over an hour from where we were staying, obviously we did not go. I stayed close to our rental cottage instead that day, a little afraid to now be on my own. But I had really wanted to go to Watkins Glen to explore the picturesque state park there. A year and a half later, mission accomplished. My husband and I had an extra travel day to explore the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, and Watkins Glen fit wonderfully into the plan. So glad I did not give up my desire to explore this destination.

Favorite Brewery

Rooster Fish Brewing - Watkins Glen, NY
We stumbled upon this brewery late morning on a Sunday, not busy, great variety of craft beer, and amazing window light.

Best Stumble Upon...

Norman Rockwell Museum - Stockbridge, MA
Our vacations tend to always have a theme, this year's theme was Stumble Upon...
I like to have my hotels booked for each night, but I am content to let the days take care of themselves, this does not always work well for my "need to know where he's going" husband, but truly this is often how the best places are found. Such is the case of the Norman Rockwell Museum. It was raining and we had time to kill before ending the day in Boston, so we began looking at the exit attraction signs in the Berkshire area of Massachusetts. I saw a sign for the museum and said to my husband that I would really like to go there, so we did. Best stumble upon ever!
I have always loved Mr. Rockwell's work, but knew very little about him. To see all his covers of the Saturday Evening Post framed and lining three walls of a room was mind blowing, to see the progression of his work, the themes in his work, his consistent color palette, made the artist in me pondering my own work.  We left the museum with four books, a new bookmark for me, and camera rolls full of photos.

Best Conquering Fear Moment

Figuring out the subway in Boston. We live in West Michigan, I drive my car anywhere I want to go. You do not want to drive your car in Boston, you want to walk or take public transportation. We were staying in Cambridge, so a little ways from the city center, we had to figure out the subway to get where we wanted to go. The subway intimidated me, but for that reason I was determined to conquer it. Thankfully our T station was only a five minute walk from our hotel, and my friend Karen gave me the stations we would need to get off at to go where we wanted to go. We only got on one wrong train, but quickly figured it out and got on the right one to get back to our hotel. Fear conquered!

Best Boston Moment

Meeting my blogging friend Karen for coffee in real life. Karen works in the city, and thankfully it worked in her schedule to take part of a morning and meet me for coffee. I love these kind of moments - meeting old friends for the first time!

Craziest Day

Cape Cod, MA
We left Boston and drove to the very end of Cape Cod because I wanted to say I had been to Cape Cod, wanted The Cape Cod National Seashore stamp in my National Park Passport book, wanted to see the ocean, and wanted a lobster roll. We drove through Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island during rush hour traffic looking for a brewery, which we found, but could not find a place to park. Shortly after leaving Providence our car shed the inner wheel well liner on the front passenger side while driving on the busy highway, which my husband had to go retrieve from the side of the highway. During all of this the temperatures ranged from 82 to 99 degrees for the day, all so I could say I have been to the Cape and Rhode Island. My poor husband!

Favorite Botanic Garden

Photo Credit: Glen Huizenga

Tower Hill Botanic Garden - Boylston, MA
We had a free day before the start of the photography conference I was going to in Southbridge, MA, so my husband Googled nearby attractions and came across Tower Hill Botanic Garden. He said, "We always have good luck at botanic gardens." Who is this man? Amazing bounty of color at this garden, even if it was 85 degrees. I would love to go back on an overcast and much cooler day.

Favorite Footwear

For the last decade, other than my running shoes, my go-to footwear on vacation has been my Chaco sandals. But the past couple of years I have had problems with the straps on hot humid days rubbing on the tops of my feet and giving me blisters. That doesn't make walking the next day enjoyable.
I was searching for something stylish and comfortable, two words that never seem to go together in the footwear world. For once the ads that pop into my feed on Facebook actually held something valuable - a link to these shoes - Taos Moc Star shoes. Perfect for wide feet, have amazing arch support and come in fun colors. Other than the two full days in Boston I wore these shoes all the time. They are the most fabulous shoes.

Favorite Restaurant

Cedar Street Grille - Sturbridge, MA
We ate a lot of places while on vacation, but this was the best. A wide variety of small plate options, each one we tried was awesome, but we highly recommend the lamb meatballs, cod sliders, mac and cheese with pulled bbq pork, although all the mac and cheeses sounded wonderful, and the grass fed beef sliders. Of course pair this with a bottle of local wine. We loved the place so much we returned for a second night. Recommend making reservations!

Favorite Wineries

Taylor Brooke Winery - Woodstock, CT
Give us a free afternoon on vacation and the first thing we will do is Google nearby breweries and wineries. It's not that we have to drink, it is because a winery or brewery done right is one of the best vacation experiences. By done right I mean we want you to take your time, tell us about your winery, tell us what wines are your award winners, and for me you get five stars if you have a wine dog. We will sample the maximum amount of samples and stay to enjoy a glass on the patio. Taylor Brooke got five stars.

Sharpe Hill Winery - Pomfret, CT
Sharpe Hill also gets five stars. A lovely garden setting and your wine samples are brought to you by sweet servers like Amanda. Amanda gets five stars just for putting up with my husband's questions, and being willing to pose for a picture for his new obsession - Instagram. The only thing this place was missing was the wine dog.

The End

Well the wine is gone and the film is coming to a close, so it's time to call it a day. Hope you enjoyed the highlights reel. There were so many stories on this trip, and stories make the best trips. 


  1. Wow! What an awesome tour you and Glen made for yourselves! I need to put those wineries on my bucket list. It was so much fun meeting you - and I still think I look like a crazy lady in that photo, but I guess that's not too far off the mark :-) Boston subways... yeah... good for you on conquering them! I loved this recap of your vacation and the idea of a glass of wine and slideshow doesn't sound bad to me!

  2. I love going on vacation with you! Don't ever hesitate to show me vacation pictures, I enjoy seeing the world through others! Looks like you had a wonderful vacation!

  3. Viewing YOUR vacation photos is always a pleasure. This was great!

  4. Such fun! I enjoyed viewing your vacation and reading the stories. Best of all...I've been in need of new pair of tennies, so I took your recommendation and stopped reading your post just long enough to order a pair. Thanks for the tip!!!!

  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip and did a lot. So glad you got to see Watkins Glen. I did it last year.

  6. Great Trip post . . .
    Wine Dog . . .
    Shoes . . .
    Eats . . .
    Gardens . . .
    Rockwell, (I am a fan too, I must go see . . .)
    And a blogger friend visit . . .
    I think I might have seen Karen here and there . . .
    Great photos, sounds like a nice trip for Mister and Mrs Paisley Rain Boots . . .

  7. Well you were right in my backyard. I happy to hear you enjoyed your vacation to New England. I smiled about your trip on the Subway in Boston. We never take the subway but always drive. The difference I guess of living in a place and knowing your way around. My husband worked "in town" for 42 years. The Cape is beautiful. There are a few places on your list "wineries". That we have not tried so we will add them to our list. Yes, Norman Rockwell museum is wonderful. So glad you choose to see that. Welcome back anytime. 🍷

  8. Looks as if you had a lovely trip and love your last shot of that winery. The lighting was perfect. Road trips are fun and I am looking forward to leaving on one in just a week! I used to live in Newport RI and think that area is really special. How much fun that you got to meet Karen!

  9. What a wonderful trip and fun and interesting visits! I would have adored the Norman Rockwell museum as I'm a huge fan of his art. So many lovely photos to enjoy and I really like the colour of your new walking shoes: comfort and good looks!

  10. It sounds like you had a fantastic vacation. So surprised to read that you made it to my neck of the woods (Rochester, NY), but yet we met in Southbridge. Watkins Glen and the Finger Lakes Regions are the prettiest areas around here. It's great that you both got to experience them. :)

  11. What an amazing vacation, Sarah!
    Thank you for taking us along with you.
    Have a wonderful week ahead.

  12. Enjoyed this travelogue of your East Coats adventures, Sarah. We now live in NH and we have been to several of the places mentioned in this post. Sturbridge was a delightful place to visit, including the museum. We also take the bus to Boston as it's only a hour ride and we don't have to do it!

  13. It sounds like a great vacation. I'm happy your husband shares the same interests to a degree. Mine is extremely patient and ready to stop or go where I want to also, such a gift.

  14. Sounds like a wonderful time and Massachusetts is a great area to vacation. During Allyson's senior year spring break at Wellesley I took advantage of her being in the area and got to visit with fellow bloggers Tamar (Randomosity) and Adrienne (creative memories) - wonderful experience.

  15. Loved the highlights reel, Sarah! I've never been to Massachusetts (or Michigan, for that matter), but hope to remedy that in the next year or so. But if you love fabulous places to photograph, great wine (and wineries), mountains covered in snow year-round, and seashores... you should visit the Pacific Northwest. I'd love to show you around!


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)