This continuation of our trip feels a bit full of the Martins. And I can’t help but gush about some beautiful places and some wonderful people. I guess because I began a trip report of sorts, I now feel like I need to finish, mostly for my own satisfaction. We the Martins just feel GRATEFUL about being able to travel like we did in the last four weeks. We took in a few highlights of so many places and can’t really make judgments of any of them, but it’s still kind of fun to do it….on a very uninformed basis. In my last post I wrote from Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. We don’t have a lot to say about New Brunswick because we weren’t there long. The people in the Tim Horton’s where we got a meal were really friendly.
Our collective impressions of the next part of the trip are as follows:
Newfoundland (from Dan and the 3 oldest): A long ferry ride to get there. Eating halibut. Rugged and rocky. Reminded them of how Scotland might be. Sad that all the young people are moving west.
Prince Edward Island: Quaint. Warm ocean breeze. Red soil. Cozy cabin with a view of the sea. Toothless elderly gentleman who mowed the cabin lawns and pumped up bike tires for the kids loved to talk. Lobster meal bought by generous friends from Alberta that we met up with in such a faraway place. I had Keurig decaf one night on the deck of our cabin as the sun set over the sea and had one of those “ahhh….for this we came on vacation” moments. Had a few more of those moments on the beach world famous Cavendish Beach there as well.
At a New Brunswick Subway on our way out of Canada, Andre left the red PEI cowboy hat with the maple leaf on it that Dan had bought for him the day before.
Maine: Rainy. Smelled of the sea. Ate expensive frozen yogurt with all kinds of fun toppings at gas station. Natalia left her purple hoodie there.
New Hampshire: A warm and muggy night. While the children swam in the quiet hotel pool, Dan & I walked down the street to buy Dominoes pizza to take back to them. Quiet and pretty.
Massachusetts: Paul Revere and other greats of US history seemed to permeate the place. Great (albeit bloody) film of the beginning of the Revolutionary War at a visitors’ center there. Absolutely wonderful colonial homes and gardens. Visit to Alcott House, home of Louisa May Alcott (writer of Little Women) and her three sisters. Louisa was a writer, May was an artist, Elizabeth was a musician, and Ann was an actress. Loads of history to take in through these places.
The morning in Massachusetts was fun, the rest of the day was kind of wild. We touched Rhode Island and then Massachusetts again. And Vermont and Massachusetts again. Just to say we’ve been there, just to take a picture of the state sign. (Yes. By that time we were convinced that our brains were more than addled.) Connecticut was beautiful because we took a little detour off the interstate and saw our friend Anna, who gave us a great meal and shared her immense backyard with us, full of huge trees and flowers and character.
Just a few hours from Newtown, CT, we followed our GPS into the heart of New York City, Elmhurst. There’s nothing like that big city feel, surrounded by heat and people and food and merchandise and traffic. We took unsuccessful shots of lighted high rise buildings while driving on bridges that night. We bumbled our way to the home of Joel and Crystal and their family, who met us with smiles and ice cream and popcorn and conversation from their second floor apartment which houses their family of 7. Their building also accommodates two other families and the basement is their church meeting place.
I think we could all say that NYC was a highlight of our trip. People told us that there’s nothing quite like it and they were right. So few of the polite Canadian stares at a big Mennonite family. New York is diverse enough for everyone to fit in.
Joel and Crystal were wonderful hosts. We slept in their missions training center building because it was empty the night we spent in NYC. The next day, they took us all about the city. That should be clarified. They took us to a few places in the vastness of things to see in a place like New York. We experienced the subway, complete with a singing performance by 3 cheerful gentlemen–and a scary man in the corner seat who had hair down over his face. We took the free ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island and the little girls got to see their Miss Liberty fairly close. We saw a bit of China town, walked near to the Freedom Tower-which replaces the Twin Towers-visited St. Paul’s Chapel, which housed and fed rescue workers during 9-11, ate Vietnamese food (scrumptious), and walked in Central Park. It was just a tiny dab of an amazing, flavorful city. Crystal and I talked and talked and our two littlest hit it off immediately with their two littlest. Joel and Crystal do a wonderful ministry of training mission workers for foreign missions or just taking a youth group for a weekend and giving them a taste of different cultures. Because of its diversity, New York is a great place, for example, to experience and study Muslim culture if you are going to Bangladesh. I am putting in a plug for DestiNATIONS International and sharing their website at http://www.MTCinNYC.com. (They didn’t tell me to.):)
From NYC we thought we had a 4 hour drive to our friends, the Klines, who live not far from Washington D.C. Well. Think again. I think it took us at least 7 hours. Picture country bumpkins in bumper to bumper traffic. Picture tired, hot children who have walked city streets and rode subways. Picture Andre leaving his NYC hat in a Denny’s restaurant in New Jersey. And his mother leaving her purse. Pity Delity. That was not a good evening for any of us. I don’t think I’ve ever left my purse in a public place like that. But life has great ways of teaching us humility. (Thankfully someone turned the purse and hat in, and a kind restaurant manager mailed it to Dan’s parents place for us. Cell phone, camera, and wallet were all intact and I said many a prayer of thanks.) We arrived at the Klines very late and they were waiting up for us on a warm, balmy night in Maryland.
Visiting the Klines was just a ball. I taught Mrs. Cretora Kline (then Miss Mast) when she was something like 15 and I was 19. (Only conservative Mennonites do things like that, I told someone.) We’ve been in contact only on Facebook since then, but we both have big families and pastor small churches now….and when we saw that we were going close to their home, we decided to “hotel” there and meet their family. (Dan was so gracious to me and let me look up various old friends that he didn’t really know.) I taught two of Cretora’s brothers and her little sister Kim as well. One of the brothers lives in Maryland and one lives in Mississippi and happened to be working in the area, so we had a grand reunion and catch up time. They have delightful families. Cretora made us all a wonderful brunch of biscuits and gravy and fruit and her children all gave up their rooms for our family. Bryant loved their place so much that he kept begging to go back the next day. Six boys to hang out with seemed like paradise to him.
Washington DC and New York back to back was a bit of a mistake. None of us had much steam for the sights of DC. We took a subway into the city, saw the White House, ate ice cream sandwiches on the street, took in a few of the memorials, and saw a tiny corner of the Smithsonian. I think the highlight of DC for Natalia, Andre, and Liesl was running in the sprinklers.
I thought of my friend Shanda in Connecticut. What if we drove by her doorstep?! 🙂 And I thought of SO MANY of you later on as we drove thru or around your state.
Link to photos on Facebook is here.
More of PEI is here.
Disclaimers: If you see ME, Luci, posing with friends in a lot in these pictures, it is because my family gets grumpy about pictures, so I spare them the bother and tell them to take pictures of me instead. Some of the state signs are not our own. It was hard to get them on the fly. I didn’t do the greatest job of picking the best photos. We had 3 cameras with photos on them. I am trying to keep things simple, but any time I try to post photos online I have trouble and spend WAY too much time doing it and finally say, “Forget it. This is as good as it’s gonna get.”
(to be continued. Hopefully in a condensed form.)