Weekend Ultimate Warriors

Christmas in NYC (Or, Kevin Lost in New York!)

I’m currently writing from the stunning Ace Hotel in midtown Manhattan. We are enjoying an upgraded hotel room with a view of the Empire State Building. Did Megan and I recently come into a large sum of money? Good question. Actually no. Credit card miles have covered the whole trip. And as a bonus, we originally booked a small room with no view and (hopefully) a toilet. To our wonderful surprise, the first room’s heater was stuck on high-heat, full blast, so the manager offered us a king size room on a higher floor with a better view. I like this place.

Also, a Stumptown cafe is located in the building (one of two in NYC), which is a wonderful surprise. In case you’re unaware, Stumptown is a Pacific Northwest coffee, so it’s great to have a taste of home on Christmas, even so far away.

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As a child, I watched Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and I’ve been dreaming of Christmas in the Big Apple ever since. Walking through snowy Central Park, eating a cheese pizza in a limousine, throwing a well-intentioned brick through the window of Duncan’s Toy Shop.

MSDHOAL FE016

Okay, so maybe it’s not really snowing. And I won’t be getting into a limousine anytime soon. And Duncan’s Toy Shop doesn’t really exist.

But here’s what does exist.

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Boston, MA

That’s right, folks. It’s time for another installment of our nation’s favorite weekend road trip blog: Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors! Or, it’s summer and let’s hit the road.

But wait a minute. It’s not summer at all. In fact it’s snowing everywhere.

Buffalo logged 6 feet of snow in one day.

Alright, alright. You got me. The wife and I went to Boston a few weeks ago, before all the snow. And yes, summer was definitely over, but fall was doing fine at the time. Amazingly enough, the Boston temperature was quite warm and welcoming, if not brisk. We lucked out wicked big time.

Here’s the thing.

I’m totally obsessed with Boston. It’s sort of a nostalgia thing, which I recently swore off, I know, but the nostalgia is earned. I had never been to Boston; however, the city of clam chowdery love had played a big role in my life, once a week, for at least a year straight.

Okay. Here it comes.

In California, years ago, when I shared an apartment with some friends, we hosted “Boston Night,” every Tuesday night.

Yes, dorky. I’m aware. Boston Night. Why would random young Californians obsess over Boston?

Well, Boston movies for one. They are their own genre. And the movies are frequently wicked excellent. Boondock Saints, The Departed, Good Will Hunting, Mystic River, Fever Pitch

Maybe not Fever Pitch, but you get the idea.

Really, Boston Night was an excuse to get together. To bring people under one roof. I always loved hosting Boston Night. I’ll never forget the movies and Sam Adams, the Boston Baked Beans and clam chowder, my friends and their bad “Southie” accents. It was a good time. (more…)

Taming the Travel Tongue: A Wanderlust Warning

Ahhh summer—that magical time when anything is possible and no destination is too far. It’s a time when plans change suddenly, and personal routines wave “bye bye”. We hit the road and chart a course to Getmeouttahere, in Somewherelse County, USA, leaving behind—in a crooked rearview mirror—our favorite hometown we love to hate.

Of course, when we come back, as we always do, we haul our pictures and magnets and receipts and stories and we tell and show everyone because we’re travelers, dammit. It’s what we’re meant to do. Facebook and Instagram, for instance, were practically built for us.

Friends, coworkers, and cashiers ask us about the trip, and then it happens: our eyes glow red and we latch on to them like a stamp on a postcard: “It all started at 5:15am on Friday morning. The day lie still before us, though we knew the journey would be treacherous!”

So it was good?

But we don’t stop there. No, instead, impersonating Ted Mosby, we recite How I Met My Roadtrip and the words bleed like an artery.

Movers and Shakers

I find that when someone asks about our trip that they are usually just being polite. We need to set limits and remember them. (Limits, I know, not the traveler’s favorite subject). We must revisit the thin line between sharing and bragging and learn how to better walk it. Because, really, everyone hates a bragger. Even braggers hate other braggers.

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Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Austin, TX

All of our previous trips have been via car, but Austin, TX is way too far to drive from Rochester, NY. This one deserved a couple plane tickets. We hopped on a plane Friday afternoon and arrived in Austin by midnight. It was still 100 degrees at night, by the way.

Austin, TX

Why go to Austin? A very special family reunion, that’s why. My family! I don’t usually go to these things. I’ve never been very close to my family. And honestly, being caged up with a bunch of them in a foreign area sounds less like a vacation and more like a nightmare, or at least a plot proposal for a new sequel in the Saw movie franchise.

But as it turns out, not all of my family is as crazy as the ones who raised me. More on that later.

Oh my god, the food. When I returned from Austin, all I wanted to talk about was the food. Still, all I want to talk about is the food. That Tex Mex is something else. Ughhh, I can’t find the words. Instead, I’ll just make stomach noises: euuuuuoooooo ggaaaraaahhhh vrrrruuuuuuuu euuhhooahhh.

Got it? Yeah, that’s how great it was. Here’s a place (Joe’s Mexican Bakery) we randomly found, right off the highway. The parking lot was bustling which we felt was as good a sign as any. (more…)

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: New Hampshire & Maine

Originally, we had decided to cancel this road trip. See, we’ve been traveling like bandits this summer, and though a budget has kept us in line, we still couldn’t justify another weekend getaway on our current funds.

But then an unknown monster broke into our apartment, and we said, “Hey, now’s as good a time as any to get out of town.” Sometimes you just need to leave.

There was no way we could swing Boston, the original destination, on our budget. So we had to think of somewhere new and cheaper. Megan was craving the ocean, and I didn’t blame her. Neither of us had ever seen an Atlantic beach town before. Ocean towns are generally cheap, since beaches are free (usually). We also decided to save on hotels and sleep in the car, i.e., the Walmart Parking Lot Express.

New Hampshire and Maine were both on my East Coast bucket-list, Maine especially (Stephen King fan, ova heer!). New Hampshire was intriguing because their state motto is “Live Free or Die,” so… As it turned out, New Hampshire has a small sliver of ocean-front property, just below Maine. Perfect.

Massachusetts

While we didn’t necessarily “do” anything in Massachusetts, we did drive through the entire the state. This was exciting for me because I have fantasized about visiting Boston for years. My California friends and I used to host “Boston Night” every Tuesday at my old apartment; we would watch a Boston based movie, eat Boston Baked Beans, and swear a lot. Just being in the state was enthralling. My big purchase? A slice of pizza and soda at a rest-stop. Go Sox!

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New Hampshire

Besides the motto, we didn’t know anything about the state. We Googled “Walmarts near coastal New Hampshire” and the results returned a town named Portsmouth. (more…)

Weekend (Ultimate) Warriors: Lake Placid, NY & Burlington, VT

Lake monsters, teddy bears, camping and ice cream—watch out, folks, this was the quintessential Number Kevin weekend. Megan and I have road-tripped and explored many new lands this summer, but this trip (I know I say this every time) was easily my favorite. It was my first time in the Adirondak mountains as well as in Vermont. Believe it, guys and gals, believe the hype.

Lake Placid

Our weekend began in Rochester, NY, where we live. Megan had Friday off, and I took a half day. This afforded us the extra time we needed to get into town and set up camp before sunset. From Rochester, Lake Placid is a five hour drive without hitting traffic or giant alligators. I’m referencing the monster movie, Lake Placid, of course, which was a favorite of mine as child. Sadly, the town seemed more interested in its Olympic history than its cryptozoology.

SIDE NOTE: IMDB told me the movie was actually filmed in British Columbia. Lucky for me, a neighboring lake held its own monster legend (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

As it turns out, the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics were both held in Lake Placid, home of the “Miracle” USA Hockey Team which I found pretty endearing. Also, I found a bobsled.

Not yet sponsored...

Not yet sponsored…

The town itself was quaint and beautiful; its downtown strip was among one of my favorites yet. We filled up on candy-by-the-pound, got some coffee, and did a little magnet shopping for our travel fridge. Because cheesy married couples need magnets. We’ve accepted it. Moving along…

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Main Street, Lake Placid

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