kristen reNae

travel

Block Island, RI

This summer has felt crazy busy, so I was excited for our upcoming trip to Block Island. I had this picture in my head… sun, sand, and a drink in my hand. And I definitely got two of the three.

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Mike and I met up with his three sisters and niece in Newport, RI for brunch at Benjamin’s. A great way to start any vacation is with a mimosa. We then hopped on the Newport High Speed Ferry to Block Island. They weren’t joking when they said “High-speed”.

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We arrived to the island about 50 minutes later, grabbed some necessities, and walked up to the Atlantic Inn. Our rooms were not ready until three, so we decided to sit back on the amazing porch to relax, enjoy the view, and have a cocktail.

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After we cleaned up, Mike, Maria, and I decided to walk down and check out the scene, where we ended up at Los Gatos, or the Yellow Kittens Tavern. The rest of our party decided to join us for a drink a little later, where we soon headed over to Kimberly’s for dinner. After a regular afternoon of shenanigans, how could we not stop at the Ice Cream Place?! Not the brightest idea after drinks… I couldn’t finish mine. Sad face.

Saturday included renting a moped (my first time) and driving around the whole island! So. Much. Fun. We could not have asked for better weather.  While driving around, we noticed this place called The Oar sitting towards the back of some land that had a ton of umbrellas, so naturally we stopped for some lunch, where I had my first mudslide.

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View from the deck at The Oar
View from the deck at The Oar

Definitely enjoyed and would highly recommend the transportation of the moped, it allowed us to see so much of the island. We drove up the Mohegan Bluffs, along the coastline, and then to the North Lighthouse. After lunch, we drove up to the Southeast Lighthouse, and then made it back in time to drop off the moped.

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North Lighthouse
North Lighthouse
Southeast Lighthouse
Southeast Lighthouse

Usually I do a pretty good job of researching any place I visit, and yet all of us were unaware that it was a holiday that only Rhode Island celebrates (VJ day)… and it happened to be the weekend we were there. So, I’m not sure if this increased the amount of people, but it decreased our moped time. Thumbs down.

That evening we relaxed on the patio until all of us girls were ready, and then we headed down to a local seafood restaurant. After dinner, we decided to have a nightcap at our neighboring hotel, The Spring House. They have an amazing lawn, with the necessary white lawn chairs, that have a magnificent view over the ocean.

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While it is pretty hard to top a moped ride, on Sunday, Mike, Maria, and I decided to rent bikes and explore the island a little more. We had the intentions of lying on the beach and evening out my tan from the previous day. But, this did not happen. We rode along the coast and made our way to Dead Eye Dicks. Let’s just say those lobstah rolls are heaven. Maria had never had one before, so of course we had to try all three!!! The hot, cold, and the BLT lobster roll. There were no bad decisions and I could not pick a favorite from the three. From there we went to Beachead to have a refreshing beer and work on our sunburns, and then we biked it on over to National Bar and Grille. Their reviews showed a Goombay Smash, and if you know Mike, he is well known for them. So, of course we had to try it… let’s just say, Mike wins.

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Sunday evening was our last night on the island. Mike and I decided to relax on the patio of our Inn and enjoy some wine and appetizers. The weekend vacation was a little too short. I could have definitely stayed longer… and by longer, I mean live there.

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Famcation

I packed my bags in 2011 and left Oklahoma. But like the saying goes “home is where the heart is” definitely lies true, because there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about and miss my family. While living in California, my mother and brother both came to visit me. Now, living in Boston, I just had my first two visitors, my papa and brother! It makes my heart happy every time I get to see them.

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Papa and Tayler arrived early Friday morning. Although they were expecting to lie down for a few hours, I had different plans in store for them. We headed straight to a local diner to get some grub and a little caffeine to start the day. We then headed over to downtown Boston to begin the Freedom Trail. The one other time I walked the Freedom Trail, I started around 7 am. I find this to be the best time, especially in the summer. You beat the heat and the crowds.

We began the journey in the Boston Commons and then followed the red brick line. The trail starts in a space of serenity, and then you get mixed up in the crazy downtown eight am foot and car traffic, grabbing pieces of history along the way, and ending up at the Bunker Hill Monument.

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Along the way we walked through Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, and tried going into Paul Revere’s house, but it was too early for all of the above. However, it was awesome seeing it in a not so hectic environment.

On the way back from Bunker Hill, my brother had never tried a cannoli. So, of course, we stopped at Mike’s Pastry. T got the chocolate chip and I shared my Oreo cannoli. By far my favorite! And since my brother got a treat, my papa decided he was thirsty. So, first stop after the cannoli was Goody Glover’s Pub. And this is where the unintentional pub crawl began. We were the first people in there, so it didn’t provide the ambiance we were looking for, so we headed back down the trail to Bell in Hand, their claim to fame as being the “first tavern”. One beer turned into another and another. And what better pub food to grab then a cold lobster (lobsta) roll and some clam chowder (chowda). My brothers first time to try both… and he loved them! He isn’t the picky eater he was 10 years ago! The next pub was right across the ally at the Green Dragon, and although it was mid-day, this was our nightcap.

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The next day was a recovery day for some, but Mike had a Spartan race to be at in Connecticut at 830 in the morning. Needless to say, the drive there was long. After arriving back home, everyone was pretty comatose, so no field trips were done that day. We grabbed dinner at Legal Seafood’s in Chestnut Hill. The restaurant has nice ambiance, but with so many other seafood options around town, I’m not sure if we will be back. After dinner, we drove around the Newton neighborhoods to look at the beautiful homes and to learn some history on some of the Victorian style homes.

Sunday, we were up and at it again! We grabbed breakfast at another local diner, the New York Diner. Then we headed over to Charleston area to view the USS Constitution. It’s always great having people come visit, so you can also do all of the tourist things you wouldn’t normally do on your days off. This was really different from the aircraft carrier, USS Midway in San Diego. We walked around the Harbor area to view some more history and then headed back. With not much on our list, we decided to drive over to Harvard. What better timing to go than when school is out? The campus is beautiful, although there are many restrictions where visitors can not enter, so it definitely limited the trip. We grabbed a bite in Harvard Square and then headed back. My brother is an amazing runner, so we also drove over to Newton to the Heartbreak Hill store to pick up a couple souvenir shirts. After a bit of rest and soccer, we decided to cook out delicious turkey burgers for the evening.

USS Constitution

Monday, was a sad day. Unfortunately, I had to go back to work and my family had a flight out that evening. So, all of us had a case of the Mondays.

Although it is sad to see them go, I am so blessed that they had a safe flight and were able to visit me! Now I get to look forward to visiting them and trying to get my mother to plan a trip to the East Coast!

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