Cape Cod Hike: Monomoy River Conservation Lands

After finishing our windy walk at the Coy’s Brook Wetlands, we made our way over to the Monomoy River (on the Harwich / Chatham border). It was still windy and cold, so this woodsy walk with glimpses of water views made for some good outdoor exercise given the weather. According to the Harwich Conservation Trust website this hike is 1.25 miles and the parking lot is off of Bay Rd. There were a handful of parking spots (not a ton). We were only one of two cars in the lot, so on a wintery day it’s easy to park.

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You can actually kayak along this part of the Monomoy River, but be sure to check the tide and time your visit right. My dad kayaked here and got cut up trying to exit his kayak along the newly renovated bridge area (by Route 28 on the map).

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Yay, the trail head!

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It’s woodsy walking out to the cliffside overlooking the river.

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This is the viewpoint out along the river. See the benches? On a warm day, pack a picnic!

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We did some birding as we followed the path along the cliffside.

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Eventually the water falls from view and it’s back to being a woodsy trek.

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You’ll hit an open area with power lines and you can see about the trail clearly continues along this opening..

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Following the power lines…

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And eventually you’ll follow the path to the right back into he woods where the hike loops back to the  parking lot. This was a great hike to link with the short Coy walk for a fuller workout. We also stopped in nearby Chatham at the fish pier to look for seals (and sharks.. I’m always looking for sharks).

If you’re looking for more exercise, or coffee/lunch, head into Main Street in Chatham and stroll around this super adorable street full of shops and food options.

Cape Cod Hike: Coy’s Brook Woodlands

I’m getting a little backlogged in hikes to share with you, so I hope to post a couple this week. When I was in Cape Cod two weeks ago, it was blustery cold and SUPER windy. We did the Bells Neck Hike  on Saturday, and then ventured out on Sunday to two different hikes. The first was Coy’s Brook Woodlands. It was a woodsy walk, less than a mile, with water/marsh views for half of it.

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Click on the map above and it will take you to the Harwich Conservation Trust (who made the map) and you’ll see official details from the hike. Below are photos of this trek on a cold early March 2017 weekend.

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The trail begins off a small parking lot on Lathrop Ave in Harwich Cape Cod, MA. There’s not a ton of parking, but on this freezing day it was only us and a woman walking her 3 dogs.

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The trail very quickly loops down toward the marsh, so interesting views are seen for over 50% of this trail. The tress also helped cut down on the cold wind. This was a very easy trail. You can see from the path image above, it was relatively flat, wide, and not very long. We did this on the same day that we did another short hike, just to make it feel like more exercise.

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Marsh views.

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You can see above, the trail has some bumps but it’s not very hilly and at under a mile, it didn’t take long at all.

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For birders needing to sit and wait for their winged friends, there is a bench along the water. The loop back to the car was woodsy, but before you know it you’re passing a water tower and the back of a private home, and it spits you out in the parking lot. Beware dog (hopefully) poop! I managed to get it on my hiking boots and it was a mess to get off my shoe. Classic Bethany.

Hike: Bells Neck Conservation Lands

This past weekend (March 4th to be exact) my parents and I ventured out into the freezing cold winds to get some exercise out in Cape Cod. After a week of 60 degree temps, we were SO COLD doing this walk (as you can see from our Michelin Man layers). I feel like the photos show how cold it was, but don’t convey just how windy it was. We are lucky none of us were blown into the West Reservoir of Bells Neck. I’m sure Ill do this walk again in the summer and share the differences!

We started by parking at the lot on the right of the map and then we worked our way around the water clockwise. I want to note that this was a pretty easy walk, 50 minute walk. From the parking “lot” (only room for a handful of spots) to the Fish Ladder, it was a pretty wide path, not much close brush and had pretty views throughout. The loop from the Fish Ladder back to the car, that north side is more woodsy, and a much tighter trail. In the summer I can see this being over grown and scratchy/itchy on bare legs (in shorts), which clearly wasn’t a problem today in our arctic layers.

Difficulty: EASY level #2 (1 being a paved path – 5 being an intense up hill hike)

Length: 2.75 miles according to the website, but I imagine it depends which route you go. It took us about 50 minutes, and we stopped for pictures and to look for birds.

Best Time to go: This will be busy (limited parking) + over grown in the height of summer (ticks!). Slightly off season is probably best. Spring/Fall. It’s also a great place to kayak!

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Map Provided by the Harwich Conservation Trust

For the original map + official details about the hike click HERE. Above is my version with the pink path showing you the route we took.

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Look at the level of layers required! I think we just had an especially rough day, wind wise.

The map up above has “B”s marking the benches along the loop. It’s probably more fun to sit when you aren’t being blown over into the water.

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The plants and branches were frozen to the water along the edges.

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This is the view of the Herring River on one side of the fish ladder.

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Above is the view of the West Reservoir. So peaceful. Given the cold temps, I think we only passed one person on this trail (and another person along the bike path). So still.

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Above and below are shots of the fish ladder, currently unoccupied by herring fish but soon will have fish jumping along the ladder.

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After the fish ladder we continued on to make this a loop along the water. This route takes you by privately owned cranberry bogs. Such a fun punch of color in a wintery landscape. Keep an eye out for “trail” tags marked on the trees showing you were to jump back into the woods along the path.

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These two images above show you that the wide path snakes along the edge of the property untimely meeting up with the bike path.

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Here’s the entrance to the bike path, which also has a map of the area posted for reference. When you reach the bike path take a right and continue on the path until you see a clearly marked path back toward the water, also on the right.

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This is the view along the path- pretty!

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Above is my Dad in giant layers trying to hide behind a tiny map. Can you spot Waldo? This is the path heading off from the bike path. You can see, it’s easy to spot.

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This part of the path gets a little narrower, and you can see that poison ivy+ticks might make this part tricky in the summer.

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We did an added little loop on a peninsula that juts out into he water, and then made out way back to the car.

I was with my birding parents, so they were constantly on the lookout for birds and we did end up seeing a massive blue heron. It was good at hiding among the tall grass by the water, so I don’t have a photo of it worth sharing. Keep a lookout for them when you’re exploring the area.

As windy and as cold as it was, we were really happy to get out of the house and get some exercise along a woodsy path (that cuts down on the wind!) and with pretty views of the water. I’ll for sure be doing this walk again during a different season and show the contrasting images.

 

March 6, 2017: Locked Out

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How was everyone’s weekend? New England had a blustery weekend after such unseasonably warm weather for February, March rolled in and so did the cold WIND! This was a knock-me-over weekend of wind, for sure. I spent my weekend out in Cape Cod.. doing my best to get in some good walks/hikes (more on those later this week) while trying not to freeze. I’ve got lots outdoor Cape posts to share!

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My ride back and forth to the Cape is typically uneventful, but this visit was different. Since I drove separately from my family, I ended up arriving at 8pm on Friday (my 3hr ride had an extra 1 hr of traffic). I didn’t mind the extra traffic because I am listening to a FANTASTIC book on tape, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, and I was so engrossed in listening to this book that the time flew by. I highly recommend it for a long car ride. When I do a March book recap of what books I’ve read and listened to on tape this month, I will definitely include a write up on this piece.

Any who, back to the drive. I arrive at 8pm in Cape Cod only to find that the batteries are dead on the garage door key pad needed to enter my parents house. I also learned the hide-a-key-rock was now deeply buried due to a driveway renovation (sorry would-be-robbers). Crap. I was locked out.

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The back of Oscar’s head as he stood guard on my lap in the car, while we waited for my parents to arrive in Cape Cod with the house key.

With my puppy Oscar in tow, I couldn’t just go to the nearest pub for some dinner (and a badly needed restroom break) so I drove to the nearby Public Library just to wait in the well-lit parking lot for my parents to arrive. Thankfully my parents arrived around 9pm, so it was only an hour of waiting in the car on a cold night. This just felt like CLASSIC Bethany unlucky behavior. I did my best not to let it put a damper on the weekend getaway.

See some new changes at Life Absorbed? Now that the new header is up, Im trying to update the blog and hope you end up liking the changes. Today I added buttons along the right side of the screen to help direct new visitors to blog posts covering these topics: East Coast (covering all of my New England adventures and local explorations), Lifestyle (creative inspiration/what Im feeling at the moment/ and life updates), Hikes (+walks, to help be a guide for locals looking for a detail guide of local trails), Travel, Comedy, and Los Angeles (linking to my posts from when I lived in LA). It’s super hard to organize the posts (especially old posts) so Ill do my best to organize them from now on.

A Wintery Cape Cod Weekend

Sometimes you need to get away from you routine and have some adventure, which is what lead me to Cape Cod this past weekend. I was in need of escape and joined my parents on the Cape for a weekend of exploration. We arrived at their house on Friday night, and woke up early on Saturday to hit the road heading down to Woods Hole, MA.

We meandered down to Hyannis and did a drive by the Hyannisport compound of the Kennedy’s. This photo below was taken a little further down the street from the compound. What a beautiful day. Blue sky, snow on the ground and even mini-icebergs in the water. What a sight.

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While in Hyannisport we made a stop into Tim’s Used Bookstore on the main drag. They have a great collection of art/coffee table books at reasonable prices (fyi). Im trying to save my pennies, so I didn’t get anything although we did spot this hilarious book below:

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It’s trying to appeal to 50 Shades of Gray loving nuns? Why does the nun on the cover look like she’s 12?! Hilarious and horrible at the same time.

We got back in the car and continued on until we hit the Falmouth Public Library. It’s a beautiful building (with clean public restrooms). They have a fun Main Street, with cute shops and restaurants. We stopped into Quarterdeck for lunch. It was good food with generous portions and the decor is meant to make you feel like your in the captains quarters of a boat. It’s really fun and I recommend it. Below is a photo I took looking up at the ceiling over our table.

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After a quick walk around we got back into the car and continued on to where Woods Hole Rd. meets Water St. Most of Woods Hole seems dedicated to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. They have many buildings and dorms dedicated to ocean and animal life research. They are often on the scene if anything exciting happens along the east coast (with respect to science and marine life). They also have a FREE Science Aquarium that is for sure wrath the visit.  I took so many photos and had such a fun time watching all the fish swim around. I could stare at them forever.

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If you’re visiting Woods Hole, the FREE aquarium is a must. When my parents visit in the summer, they bring their bikes, ride around town and then stop in the aquarium to see the fish and enjoy the AC. Given that it was snowy this past weekend, it was nice to get toasty in the heat.

Eventually we left the aquarium and did a walking loop around Eel Pond. It was so frozen over that many people were out walking, ice skating and even playing hockey on the ice. It was quite a sight!

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After a walking loop we stopped into Coffee Obsession and grabbed some coffee for the road. Before leaving Woods Hole we visited a beach off of Gosnold Road, where we saw people kite-skiing! It was insane! They were really flying around out there on the water that had frozen over. Normally that would be a sandy beach with water hitting the shore and instead it was a kite-skiiers paradise. I had no clue that was even a sport, but it looks really fun.

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Back in Harwich Port, we had a puppy cousin reunion which involved lots of white puppy hugs 🙂

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Is Vacation Really Over?

It’s time to face facts- it’s 2015. Since Ive been on vacation the past few days I haven’t been able to really start my resolutions. Tonight I head back home and tomorrow really brings the start to 2015. As part of my resolution list, Ive decided to add a challenge a friend of mine is also doing: 100 miles by Valentines Day. It’s really a doable goal, and my go at it starts tomorrow. I also get the keys to my apartment tomorrow (woo hoo!) and I become a New Haven resident. I’m so excited to be down there and explore more as a local. And this begins all my 2015 adventures!

Before I move on just yet, I’ll catch you up to speed with the remaining Cape Cod adventures.

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We had a very cold, but clear day this past week where the Meyer’s got in a car and drove over to Brewster’s Wing’s Island (the John Wing Trail). This is a popular birding spot and a quick 1.5 mi (?) loop. We followed the trail on boards across a marsh land, and then made our way through some woods out to the beach. The tide was extremely low creating some fun tide pools to explore. Off in the distance we could see different clammers and oyster catchers collecting their goods. I highly recommend this path, as it was short (although you could walk the beach and make it a longer walk), had beautiful views and was a fun landscape to explore (even in the winter!). The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is also located by the parking lot of this hike. Make an afternoon of it, and check it out!

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Next we headed over to Eagle Point, also in Brewster for a very quick loop in their wooded lands. This loop is wooded, but along Upper Miller Pond so it has so beautiful views. It was also fun walking through the trees around 3:30p, as the sunlight cast a warm light on the trees.

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This hike is short and interesting because these are Punkhorn Trails. There aren’t any paved roads leading to cabins hidden in these woods, so the people living here look for complete privacy. I wouldn’t go hiking here at night, as this type of hard-to-reach place attracts people and activities that sound more scary than fun. But during the day, it’s an interesting web of trails to explore.

Another night we decided to walk to Neel’s Beach (Harwich Port), walk the beach, and then walk back. We did this right at sunset, so we got some great beach photos and made it home before it was dark.

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It’s time to pack up, and say “see you later” to the cape as we make our way back to Connecticut. Time to go back to real life, and I’m excited to get a start on all the 2015 fun!

Happy Holidays from Cape Cod!

Did you notice I’ve been MIA? Do This Today Posts will be back in full force in 2015, I swear. I’ve been on a Cape Cod winter hiatus.

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The hiatus started with a nasty cold that thankfully has passed. After a few days of rest I was able to get out and explore. Stop one was an evening Brewster beach walk (photo above) and a stop into some local shops (Chatham Town Center and Brewster General Store). Shop local!

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One day we ventured out to Monomoy Nature Preserve (below) and did a fun 3+ mile loop. Winter time on the Cape means very quiet beach walks and thankfully this was a calm 40 degree day so it wasn’t too cold.

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Yesterday we drove all the way out to Provincetown and did a walk along Herring Cove (below) before shopping in town and catching the sunset. It was so beautiful, but it was around 29/30 degrees and breezy. Yikes it was cold!

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Look at this gem I found in a shop in P-town! It’s a poster ad for the Rolling Stones doing a pre-tour show at Toad’s Place in New Haven. Ticket price? $3.01! Man that would have been a fun show. What a great find!

After visiting a few shops in P-Town we caught the sunset and drove to Orleans for a yummy seafood dinner at Old Jailhouse Tavern (a family favorite restaurant).

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Up next, I recap my 2014 resolutions and then I’ll share my 2015 goals. 2015 will be a big year! 🙂

I’m Baaaack!

You just can’t get rid of me! I’ve been on a moving/travel sabbatical for the past few weeks and I’m excited to be back blogging because I’ve got plenty to share. Before I introduce my new work digs (I have my own studio workshop!), explore my research on how to move cross country on a budget, and of course my last minute road trips and Los Angeles excursions, I want to start by sharing my trip across the US.

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Los Angeles to Hamden, CT is quite a journey. I took my time, but didn’t “dilly-dally”. As the map shows, I started in LA and drove to the Grand Canyon. From the Grand Canyon I passed through 4 Corners (where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico all meet) and headed on to Durango for the night. From Durango I went to Denver, CO where I stayed for several days over the Thanksgiving holiday. After Denver I spent a night in Omaha before connecting up with RISD friends in Chicago for a couple nights. I continued on to Cleveland after that, and then made my big push with the longest driving day getting me into Connecticut. This is the short story.

Here is the long story:

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My friends through me the sweetest going away party at Golden Road in Glendale. So many people came and of course I was crying. After I went out for sushi at Octopus (one of my LA favs), then I spent some time freaking out and panicking instead of sleeping. I left Sunday morning after packing up the car, going for my last regular Toluca Lake walk (not my last ever- no lasts!) with my friends and then I hit the road. I cried/weeped for most of my ride to the Grand Canyon. My cheeks had the ultimate cry bath and were very pruny upon arrival.

When I left LA it was 75 and sunny and when I arrived at the Grand Canyon, it was about 22 degrees and pitch darkness. I was poorly dressed in my tee shirt and yoga pants (perfect comfy driving attire but not perfect winter clothing). But this was all fixable with a winter jacket (thank you, Uniqlo!), a hot meal and a cold beer.

10326415_1505040636434287_1730050933_n10817857_805660969480510_2017350428_nI was very proud of myself, as the following morning I woke up at 6a to get dressed (in many many layers) and make the 7am sunrise at the South Canyon rim. As the child next to me said “I’m freezing my eyeballs off!!”. My sentiments exactly.

After watching the sunrise and tracking down a warm english muffin and coffee, I hit the road as I had a 7 hour drive ahead and so much to see along the way! One thing I didn’t realize is that the drive through Arizona takes you right by Monument Valley. It didn’t make sense for me to go there (the entrance was actually still a drive away and it would add many hours to my day), but it was fun seeing some of the “monuments” along the way. And this way I was seeing them for FREE! I cheated the system.

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As I made my way out of Arizona and onto Colorado, I had to stop in at one of my favorite childhood vacation spots: 4 Corners. 4 Corners is where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet and it’s gotten a whole lot fancier since I was a kid. As a child this was all dirt with a plaque in the center (where of course I sat, so my butt was in 4 states at the same time), with wooden shopping stalls surrounding the plaque. It has gotten a whole lot fancier:

10809543_1501063186840049_1570193732_nIt was freezing and windy so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time walking around.

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As I got closer to Durango, the weather and landscape changed pretty dramatically.
Thankfully while it was snowing in the air, not much was sticking so the roads weren’t too bad. I made my way into Durango after dark and enjoyed a beer and dinner at Steamworks Brewing company before making my way to my hotel and crashing for the night. Durango is an adorable town and I highly recommend visiting it.

The next morning I left around 9am and made the trek into Denver. I was most nervous about this day, so I allowed a lot of extra time and took a not-very-direct route to avoid snowy mountains. If this was summer I totally would have gone to Aspen and driven in through the Rockies and it would have been beautiful. Since this is December and I had all my belongings crammed into my little mazda 3, I opted for the longer but less mountainous route.

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But I made it! And in record time too. No snow and no ice, yesss! Above you can see some images from my several days in Denver. I stayed with my uncle (bottom right) who was very generous and always the perfect host. We even got to go to a night showing of the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens (top right). It was a really fun visit. I even got to meet up with a childhood friend who just moved to Denver, and I’ve known her since nursery school days. Ah, to be young again.

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But alas, I had to continue on my journey so I cleaned off the mazda and drove through Nebraska (above) to get to my destination for the night, Omaha. The following day I was up early to continue through more of a similar landscape as I went through Iowa and eventually made my way to Chicago!

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In Chicago I have some RISD friends I was excited to see. I also stayed at this awesome, cute and cheap airbnb in Wicker Park (message me if you want the info on it). Since I love walking and had been cooped up driving the past few days, it felt so good to park my car and just spend the day walking around the city and poking my head into the cute shops.

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I ended up walking all the way to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and saw the David Bowie exhibit. They were very fussy about cell phones/ cameras since this is the  only US stop for the exhibit, so sadly this is the only photo above. It was a very fun exhibit featuring a lot of his most famous outfits/costumes, Bowies lyric notes, and footage showing his progression as an artist. This exhibit really is only about Bowie as an artist and I wish we got more of an idea of his personal life. I would have loved to see photos of David Bowie eating breakfast in his kitchen on a Saturday morning, or anything to show that he’s human. Does he shop at Ikea?

After 2 fun nights visiting with friends in Chicago, it was time for me to continue onward to Cleveland. Why Cleveland? I’m glad you asked. In the tv show 30 Rock, Liz Lemon visits Cleveland and everyone asks if she’s a model because things are just different there. I was hoping to have my Liz Lemon moment in Cleveland. Also they have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were the natural place to stop and spend the night before getting into Connecticut.

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is right next to a sport stadium (football I think??) and is an awesome pyramid architectural shape. I took SOOO many photos in there, but I don’t want to bore you so I figured I’d share he most impressive iconic item they had (in my opinion): Michael Jacksons glitter glove. They had much more Michael Jackson clothing, about 8 of Beyonce’s outfits from different music videos and events. They also have a wall dedicated to the Rolling Stones and to the Beatles. This was a very fun place to visit and I highly recommend it to people driving through Cleveland. As for the sporting arena… sure, I bet you could visit that too.

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I made my last drive from Cleveland to Connecticut, which was the longest stretch. I knew it might be an 8 and a half hour drive but with traffic in New York and bathroom/coffee stops, it took about 10 hours. Bummer. But at least when I made it to CT I got to sleep in my own bed, and get started on all of the projects I have going on and there are SO MANY! Now it’s time to apartment hunt (anyone know of any apartments for rent in East Rock, New Haven?), setup my shop in Meyer Wire, and get going on all my design projects!

Next up: This week I’ll be back-tracking a bit to tell you about my road trip up the coast from LA to Portland and back. I’ll also do a post dedicated to the cheapest way to move cross country. And lastly, I’ll introduce you to my new digs: Meyer Wire. I’ll share all of what it entails. I hope moving forward to start updating you about Connecticut events and doing “Do This Today” posts, although it’l take me some more time to amerce myself in the scene to pass along all the details.

Balboa Island + Newport Beach

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Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last week. Since announcing my move back east I’ve been trying to check a lot off my to-do list. Moving is such a big undertaking. I’ll do a post talking about the most economical way to move in the future. I also owe you a post all about my northern road trip from LA to Portland and back. The trip was beautiful and we did it on a very tight budget. I swear all of this is coming soon.

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In addition to moving, I’ve been trying to enjoy my last few weeks in LA. One place I’d been curious about seeing is Balboa Island, Newport Beach area. They talked about it a lot on Arrested Development. My friend Jamie and I made the trek down and it was the perfect day. It was 75 degrees, and sunny with a light breeze. We walked a full loop of the island, stopped in some cute shops on the main drag and enjoyed a yummy lunch before heading to Newport Beach. We walked the pier and boardwalk before sitting down and watching the sunset. It was such a gorgeous beach day.

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Africa XXII: Stone Town and Heading Home

I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:

Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Artcaffe
Africa IV: Arriving in Moshi + The Good Hope School
Africa V: Kilimanjaro Details
Africa VI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 1
Africa VII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 2
Africa VIII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 3
Africa IX: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 4
Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5
Africa XI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 6 and 7
Africa XII: Nomad Tours Day 1, Visit the Snake Park
Africa XIII: Nomad Tours Day 2, Off to the Serengeti
Africa XIV: Nomad Tours, Our First Game Drive
Africa XV: Nomad Tours Day 3, Game Drives
Africa XVI: Nomad Tours Day 4, Game Drives!
Africa XVII: Nomad Tours Day 4, Maasai Warriors
Africa XVIII: Nomad Tours Day 5, The Ngorongoro Crater
Africa XIX: Nomad Tours Day 6 and 7, Overland to Dar es Salaam
Africa XX: Nomad Tours Day 8, Stone Town Zanzibar
Africa XXI: Nomad Tours Day 9+10, Northern Zanzibar

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Last I left off, Erica and I were with our Nomad Tours group for our Serengeti & Zanzibar 10 Day Trek South, where I finished my 10 day portion of the tour. Erica is continuing on with the group down to South Africa, but my time was now nearing an end. I continued with the group back to Stone Town where about half the group was splitting off and ending their tour. Back in Dar es Salaam, new people would join filling their place as the tour continued on. Instead of taking the ferry back to Dar, it just made more sense to spend an extra night in Zanzibar (heaven) and fly out through the Zanzibar Airport the next day.

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Before we left Northern Zanzibar we snapped this photo above. It’s everyone from our safari truck, minus Marjan who took this photo. I spent most of my time on the tour with these guys and they are defiantly my favorites 🙂 While Robin (on the left) and my sister (on the right) continued on the tour together, Marjan, Myrna (green tank-top) and Jorien (red and black) were also staying in Stone Town for their last night. This meant I could spend some more time with them before the trip had to end.

The van made it’s way back to Stone Town and they were nice enough to drop me at my hotel for the night (the Shangani Hotel). Once I got settled in my hotel, I decided to spend the rest of the day here exploring on my own.

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I was nervous about walking alone after dark (as a single lady and all), so I decided to spend the day packed with exercise and exploring so then at night I would crash. The hotel let me borrow this map above. and I went to a local coffee shop/book store to plan out my trek. My dutch friends were staying at the Zanzibar Coffee House (which was super adorable), so I decided to figure out the maze of old Stone Town to find how to get there from my hotel.

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And I made it! After getting super lost a whole bunch, I stumbled upon it! Funny enough they were in the cafe below and waved me in. We made dinner plans and I set off on more of my self-guided tour of Stone Town.

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I just love this maze!

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This is the view from my floor of the hotel.

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Here’s the view from the other end of the hall my room was on.

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I made another stop at the Freddie Mercury house, just a stroll down the street from my hotel.

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I then looped around the tip of Stone Town seeing as much of the water as I could.

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Zanzibar is famous for their specialty doors. Check out that detailing above.

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I took a ginger ale break by the water at Tembo House Hotel. This is also where we ended up having dinner. It was yummy and cheap! This place is also a swanky hotel.

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This is the view from my hotel room above.

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Here’s Jorien, Marjan, Myrna, and me enjoying my last meal in Africa (they had an extra day here). It was so nice of them to invite me to dinner. I miss them.

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The next morning I took an early morning cab to the Zanzibar Airport. My itinerary was to fly from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam and Dar to Nairobi, Kenya (both flights via Precision Air). From Nairobi, I was to fly to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to JFK (New York) via KLM Airlines. New York was my final destination, as I decided a 2 week East Coast layover was necessary after my Africa trip. I ended up only taking 1 of my 4 scheduled flights.

I arrived at the Zanzibar Airport to see I was the only person waiting for the flight. Curious. Also, there was no one at the desk I was supposed to check-in at. When I asked the Security Guard what to do the response I got was “you’re too early”. Also curious, because  the flight was set to leave in 45 minutes… then 40 minutes… then 5 minutes.. then I officially missed the flight as I sat their waiting for anyone to come to the airline desk.

Once someone finally arrived, I was told that the fight I had booked a ticket on didn’t exist. Greaaaaat. I still had 3 additional flights to catch this same day, and already I was behind.

They were very nice and booked me on a 10:30a flight to Dar. Since I would miss my Dar to Nairobi flight, they booked me on a later flight for that leg too. I would make it into Nairobi with enough time to still catch my KLM flights. So at 7am it was already clear I would only be making 2 of my scheduled flights for the day. But alas I would still make it to NYC on schedule.

***When planning travel, especially in foreign countries, allow a TON of extra time between flights in the event that this happens. Thank goodness I allowed time for error.

So I arrive in Niarobi in time and make my scheduled KLM flight to Amsterdam. YES! Finally I made a flight I was supposed to be on. I arrive in Amsterdam to hear that KLM has canceled my 2nd flight from Amsterdam to New York. I was SO close, and yet still not home. They rebooked me on a later flight, so I had an extra 4 hours to kill at the Amsterdam Airport.

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This happened to be the same day that Robin Williams passed away. I first heard of this while waiting in the Dar es Salaam Airport. There was one tv and it had the bbc news on. I was shocked. Then at the Amsterdam Airport I saw this headline. I can’t read it, but I know what it says. So sad. So sad.

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While in the Amsterdam Airport I had plenty of time to walk around and explore, and I saw the weirdest food flavors.

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Look at this HUGE mentos!?! I put my hand in the photo for a sense of scale. Crazy.

After waiting around wishing I were back on US soil and daydreaming of what my “first meal” would be, I made my rescheduled flight back to the US. I was sad to leave Africa but so excited to have something I really missed: CHEESE! My first meal on US soil was Chipotle! And it was sooooo good!

I must say that after contacting KLM and submitting a request for refund (which is within their rules, as if you are on a rescheduled flight that leaves 3 hours later than scheduled, you are entitled to a partial refund), they refunded part of my flight. I am very grateful, as arriving many hours later created a ripple effect making getting into Connecticut significantly more difficult and expensive (it was rush hour).

Both Precision Air and KLM messed up my flights, but both did an excellent job trying to make it right. The customer service at both companies was top notch and I appreciate their efforts to get me home.

I’m sad to say this is the end of my Africa posts… for now 🙂 Hopefully I take a trip back to do the rest of my Nomad Tour sometime in the near future. Than you for reading and be sure to email me (lifeabsorbed@gmail.com) with any questions!