Travel Theme: Intense

This week at Where’s My Backpack?, Ailsa has issued a really challenging challenge. One might even call it…intensely challenging. *nyuk nyuk nyuk* The theme is “intense”. Hmmmmmmm….

Here goes!

Recently, George and I drove to Point Pleasant Beach during a visit with family, and hooooooo-weeeeee! The wind was crazy that day. My mother came with us; we were worried that the winds would pick her up and carry her away.

Down where the trade winds play...

Down where the trade winds play…

Next up: the intense physicality of an NHL game. Last year, George and I went to a New York Rangers game in Madison Square Garden. (Welcome to Rangerstown. Now get outta here.) A thousand years ago I was always going to hockey games as the ex- and I had season tickets, but when the marriage ended, so did the subscription. C’est la vie. Now, when I get a chance to go, it’s a real treat. Though you know, I’ve always thought that if I went to work and a colleague knocked me to the ground with a big stick while another colleague made off with my work implements? Screw you guys, I’m going home. I’m glad hockey players think differently.


Get the puck get the puck GET THAAAA PUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!

I’ve spoken of Knoebels, our local gem of an amusement park, before. It’s always a thrill to go there and get flung about upside down and sideways.



Meanwhile in Venice, glassblowers use intense heat to make beautiful glassware. Bear in mind: this flaming red glass sculpture? Will cool and turn colorless, completely clear.

How'd you like a nice piece of molten glass?

How’s about a nice piece of molten glass?

For the last several years, the garden club in my little town has organized a summer garden tour, where select local homeowners with tour-worthy gardens graciously open their yards to the public for a day. I have world’s blackest thumb and can kill any plant you put in front of me; thankfully, I know lots of people who can make things grow at will. This was taken in my friend Steva’s amazing raised garden beds. Behold! The intense beauty of a perfect rose on a gorgeous summer day.

Welcome to Pleasantville.

Welcome to Pleasantville.

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoy the other participants in Ailsa’s photo challenge, or even decide to play along, yourself!

Here’s a little Bugs Bunny, singing about the trade winds, to enjoy on your way out.


A Frosty Morning in Vermont

George and I recently celebrated our 9th anniversary.  I just looked it up; the 9th anniversary traditionally is the “pottery” anniversary, updated in modern times to the “leather” anniversary, kinky tarts that we’ve become.  Rather than leather it out, we decided to take a fabulous long weekend at The Essex, a spa/culinary resort about 20 minutes outside of Burlington, VT.  Yes, this was our ultimate destination when we decided to detour over to Syracuse for our night of fun-filled musical tomfoolery.

There will be more about all of this later.

What’s important here is, I’ve apparently developed an internal timer that won’t let me sleep when we’re away, if I need to catch a sunrise on my camera.  On the one hand, that’s cool.  On the other hand…

We were up while the moon was still out.

We were up while the moon was still out.

…it’s not like I hate to sleep.  It just seems that way, most of the time.

Anyway.  It was cold that morning!  Colder than I have yet to experience at home, since winter’s just getting her chill on in central PA.  I stepped outside and I realized…ohhhhh…the world is shimmering and crunchy.

Bluebells in the morning frost.

Bluebells in the morning frost.

It’s not a bad way to wake up, if you can’t help but find yourself wide awake at 6:30AM on your last morning of vacation.  Anyway, let’s get right into this.

The grounds at the Essex have a lot going on.  They’ve got manicured lawns and secluded tennis courts, raised produce beds for their kitchens and things like hammocks and gazebos for hanging out in on days warmer than the one in which I was running around outside. Surrounding that are some pretty thick woods and a steep ravine or two.  We made a right turn, started our way around the building and…

Pretty, right?

Pretty, right?

I have no idea what kind of plant this is.  Suggest away!

I played with the black and white on this a little, since this picture didn’t have a lot of color to worry about to begin with.  It was still pre-dawn and the branches of this whatsitsface plant were thick with frost.

The noble..errr...frosty chickenfoot plant.

The noble..errr…frosty chickenfoot plant.

Fine.  If I’m going to be out in the world menacing nature with my camera, I suppose the least I can do is learn the names of various flora and fauna (though I’m pretty good with the fauna, I must protest).  I will, some day.  But it is not this day.

We walked back towards where the sun was starting to peek through: see gnarly woods and steep ravines.  I was in no mood for climbing, not before coffee, mmm mmmm, no way.  So.

This was about as close to a clearing as I could get.

This was about as close to a clearing as I could get.

You're getting warmer...

You’re getting warmer…

I mean seriously. It's practically like time-lapse photography.

I mean seriously. It’s practically like time-lapse photography.

We wandered back behind the tennis courts like a couple of bad kids in high school.  Only I didn’t care quite as much about the sumac trees back then.

Awww, he didn't have to go with me. <3

Awww, he didn’t have to go with me. ❤

And on our way back across the lawn, encountered a frosty rose:

"Nice Martian seed", said a friend of mine. Pah!

“Nice Martian seed”, said a friend of mine. Pah!

A cluster of grapes that had come on hard times:


Is it too late to turn this into ice wine?

And the remnants of a misspent evening.

I hope you're drinking white.

I hope you’re drinking white.

Ground cherries!

I couldn't help myself. I tried one.  Even frozen, it was delicious.

I couldn’t help myself. I tried one. Even frozen, it was delicious.

I kind of obsessed over this spigot.

I spent way too much time hanging around this spigot. But it's so cute!

I spent way too much time hanging around this spigot. But it’s so cute!

Photographed what may become Christmas cards from me and George.

Quelle rustic!

Quelle rustic!

And called it a day when we made our way back around to the front of the hotel and smelled bacon coming from the kitchens.

Soup's on! Figuratively speaking, that is.

YES! Soup’s on! Figuratively speaking, that is.

Stay warm, everyone.  And go to Vermont.  It’s extraordinary.  Just, you know.  Pack gloves and extra socks.

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