Category Archives: travel

Our month on Cape Cod—day 30

~Sunday~ And our month-long Cape Cod adventure—working really remotely—comes to an end. It was a nice change of pace, with seeing friends and family the highlight, and we’re thrilled to be heading back to our home—with all of its creature comforts—that we love.

We left Eastham, MA at 7 a.m. and pulled into our driveway in Raleigh, NC at 8 p.m. It’s a long time for two gentlemen of a certain age to sit in a car, but we persevered and were lucky with the traffic and the weather.

The timer on our car tripmeter seems to be off an hour, just like it was on the way up. It was almost 13 hours to the minute door to door. We stopped for about a half hour in total, so total drive time was 12 1/2 hours.

Raleigh, NC to Eastham, MA
Eastham, MA to Raleigh, NC

We were surprised and pleased to learn that the George Washington Bridge toll of $16.00 is only due when entering New York, not when entering New Jersey, so no toll for that on the way home. We exited the New Jersey Turnpike at exit 6, for $16.05, and paid just a couple of other—fewer-than-$5—tolls, at least one of which was a pay-by-mail toll.
NJT ticket

At home, we didn’t find any invoices for the tolls-by-mail that we hit on the way up a month ago, so we’re not sure what’s going on with those. We’ll pay them if/when they arrive or when we get served a subpoena to appear to pay.

We hit 2 short slowdowns—both due to police handling roadside situations—one for 15 minutes and one for 10 minutes. We pretty much sailed through the NYC stretch of I-95 only slowing down a couple of times to the actual speed limit of 45 MPH in some areas. We purposely avoided any potential fallout of the clusterfuck known as the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C. this weekend by taking the I-495 inner loop around the city instead of 95 through the city.

We made 2 stops for gas, to use the restroom, and to eat our signature traveling dish.

Our first stopWelcome to Delaware sign
A welcome welcome signBiden Welcome Center
Bob making our lunchBob making PB&J sandwiches
Deluxe divider plates for John’s food proclivitiesPB&J on a deluxe divided plate

At our second stop, my “dinner” consisted of our last massa sweet bread roll, which I stuffed a hard-boiled egg into. Bob had just a hard-boiled egg.

My concoction reminded me of the Easter massa breads my paternal grandmother used to make. Hers actually had the hard-boiled eggs hidden inside the bread, not visible like the ones in this recipe picture.

When we first walked in, our home smelled “new”—like the addition had just been finished or something—and it looked so spacious!

We unloaded the food and kitchen stuff first, and Bob started putting all that away, while I unloaded the rest of the car. Then, we both enjoyed a successful-trip-welcome-home cocktail—or two.

We both eyed “the beast in the corner,” which we haven’t cast an eye upon in a month, and then we weighed ourselves to shockingly find that neither of us had gained what it felt like we’d gained considering we’d done no rigorous cardio exercise for a month, not to mention the less-than-mindful eating we’d done.

Tomorrow, we’ll get right back to it. I intend to get back into my rigorous, pre-trip routine of daily workouts:

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 29

~Saturday~ We said goodbye to Vivian and Jeff early this morning as they started the long (~13.5-hour) trek home to Greenville, NC.

We decided that we’re going to head home tomorrow instead of waiting until Monday, and we spent part of the morning packing.
Packed bags

We took a 2.5-mile walk before lunch, a part of which included the Cape Cod Rail Trail:

A street/trail intersection
Stop sign
A campground off the trail1
A house off the trail2

1I can’t hear the word “tents” without thinking about this joke, which Bob introduced me to:

2I can’t hear the word “trampoline” without thinking about this meme:

Other signs of interest during today’s walk:

2 men & a truck sign
Holmes Road sign
An American Legacy sign
A taste of turnip sign

When we got back to the house, we ran into David and had a real nice chat. I wish we’d’ve gotten to know him a little better while we were there. Such a nice person and good conversationalist.

We finished up some plan-aheads (a.k.a. “leftovers”) for our last dinner here.

Meatloaf, baby carrots, and applesauce

And for dessert:

Coffee syrup add-inCoffee syrup
Maple walnut fudge add-inFudge
Ice cream with add-insIce cream

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 28

~Friday~ It was a post-celebration and drizzly day, and after a ride up to Provincetown, we mostly just chilled.

In P-town, we stopped at the Pilgrims First Landing Spot, and then drove slowly down the narrow main street, which is called Commercial Street.

[T]though many in this country know the story of the Mayflower, some might be confused about where the band of Pilgrims landed.

Many people would likely say that the Pilgrims landed at a spot to be known as Plymouth. True, the Pilgrims did land at Plymouth, dubbing it originally ‘New Plymouth,” since they departed from Plymouth, England.

But Plymouth was not the Pilgrims’ first landing spot in the New World.

Five weeks before coming ashore in Plymouth, the Pilgrims docked in at what is today Provincetown Harbor. In fact, the first written document alluding to government in the new colony, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by 41 Pilgrims while still aboard the ship in Provincetown Harbor.

Of course, with it being off season and the time of COVID, Commercial Street looked nothing like this, as it has when I’ve been there in the past. Happy times.

And there was no “Tea Dance” (gay people’s happy hour) at The Boatslip, where it’s usually “nuts to butts” with men:

Back at the house, we had a delicious vegetable soup that Vivian had made and brought, and Bob whipped up some delectable grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it.

Naps may have happened in the afternoon, followed by a light-alcohol happy hour, but with enough nibblies that we skipped dinner.

And since Jeff and Vivian are heading back in the morning, Vivian, Bob, and I only played Scrabble, forgoing a Catch Phrase game so Vivian and Jeff could get to bed early for their early-morning departure.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 27

~Thursday~ We started the day-long celebration of Vivian’s 60th birthday with a trip to the Chatham Pier Fish Market for a lobster roll.

Restaurant sign
Chatham Pier chairs
Chatham Pier menu
Vivian and Jeff

Our feeding frenzy included—Vivian and John enjoying the buttered lobster roll, Bob enjoying the grilled salmon burger, and Jeff enjoying the regular lobster roll:

Buttered Lobster Roll: Fresh lobster meat tossed in warm butter
Grilled Salmon Burger: Fresh salmon burger, lettuce, avocado, and lemon aioli on a brioche bun
Lobster Roll: Fresh steamed lobster meat with a touch of mayo

Vivian’s birthday festivities:
Vivian with Dom Perignon and shot glass necklace

Slice of lemon birthday cake with candle Vivian blowing out candle
Dom Perignon bottle Dom Perignon bottle with poppers

A Dom Perignon toast to the birthday girl

We also made a video, complete with a hanging birthday sign, happy birthday music in the background, birthday glasses (trigger warning for epileptics) with blinking candle frames, and a birthday hat for the honoree. There is also inadvertent running commentary in the background.

We were going to edit it, but ended up just posting it in its entirety. I can’t easily embed a video here, but if you’re a Facebook friend of John, Bob, Vivian, or Jeff you can watch it there.

John, Bob, and Vivian ended the night with yet another game of Scrabble and Catch Phrase.

Today was a good day.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 26

~Wednesday~ With more reading after visiting that cemetery on Sunday, I realized that that’s not the cemetery where those 3 Mayflower passengers were buried. To that end, Vivian and I went looking for the “real” Cove Burying Ground, which was a couple of miles away from the one we went to on Sunday.

Cove Burying Ground: “This is the oldest cemetery in Eastham, MA (Cape Cod) and very historical. Most of the people buried there are related to Mayflower families and were instrumental in the founding of the area.”

Giles Hopkins
Born: 30 Jan 1607 | Hursley, City of Winchester, Hampshire, England
Died: 26 Apr 1690 (aged 83) | Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA
Buried: Cove Burying Ground | Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA

Constance Hopkins Snow
Born: 11 May 1606 | Hampshire, England
Died: Oct 1677 (aged 71) | Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA
Buried: Cove Burying Ground | Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA

Lt. Joseph Rogers
Born: 23 Jan 1602 | Watford, Daventry District, Northamptonshire, England
Died: 15 Jan 1678 (aged 75) | Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA
Buried: Cove Burying Ground | Eastham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, USA

Other interesting graves we saw there included:

Here lies the body of Mrs. Hannah Snow the wife of Mr. Silvenus Snow, died August 1750 in the 37th year of her age.
Here lies buried the body of Mrs. Mary Knowls wife to Col. John Knowls, died Nov. 7, 1745 in the 73rd year of her age.
John Doane—deacon of the church, deputy to the general court, and one of the assistants to the governor.

While Vivian and I were out, we stopped at The General Store to see if they had any tchotchkes and for Vivian to check out the “penny candy.” She bought a refrigerator magnet and a Charleston Chew.

Our next stop was at the liquor store attached to The Superette, where Vivian was in hot pursuit of a bottle of red wine and some Narragansett beer, which is to say we hit the jackpot!

A quintessential “Fall River beer,” and one my dad drank all the time
Narragansett 12-pack
Narragansett can

Mid-afternoon, Bob and Vivian went for a 2-mile walk and reported back with some pictures:

For dinner, we cooked chicken, zucchini, and chouriço on the grill, having the chicken and zucchini for dinner tonight (with a few bites of chouriço) and some green beans for Jeff.

We ended the evening with a game of Scrabble followed by a game of Catch Phrase.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 25

~Tuesday~ It was a beautiful weather day to take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. We drove down to Falmouth (about an hour) to catch the ferry from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven.

The Steamship Authority ferry
Ferry boat picture
From the top deck
Top deck close
Also from the top deck
Top deck out
The mast
The mast
The mask
The masked man
Fairies on the ferry
The masked men
Arriving at Martha’s Vineyard
Approaching Vineyard Haven

We arrived in Vineyard Haven, walked around for just a little bit, where we found most things closed—between it being off-season (their season ended October 28) and with COVID-19 negatively affecting some of the few places that might otherwise have been open.
Vineyard Haven map
We caught “the city bus” from Vineyard’s Haven to Edgartown hoping to find more things open there, including a place to eat lunch.
Edgartown map

A couple of Edgartown businesses we passed, in what turned out to an arduous search for an open lunch place, included:

The Covington Restaurant and Bar
The Covington
The Boneyard Surf Shop (pirates are everywhere)
The Boneyard

Bob took a peek into Edgartown Books:

Edgartown Books’ staircase
Edgartown Books’ extensive Martha’s Vineyard collection

And we did finally find a place open for lunch:
Espresso Love restaurant
where John got the Turkey Club, Bob got the Chicken Avocado BLT:Espresso Love sandwiches
Vivian had their grilled chicken, havarti, & pesto sandwich, and Jeff had their chicken salad sandwich.

We got home after dark and had a “robust”—of both drinks and snacks—happy hour, and then we just had some clam chowder for dinner, before John, Bob, and Vivian played a game of Scrabble:
Completed Scrabble board
and then tried a piece of that maple walnut fudge that Bob and Vivian made, which was ready and cut up into 1-inch, 81-calorie-each squares.

Done fudge
Sliced fudge

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 24

~Monday~ We made the 1.5-hour drive to Fall River and back where Vivian and I showed Jeff and Bob many of the places we lived in that city.

Fall River is where both of our parents and their families are from, and we moved around a lot in that area as my dad did a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam and then was on “recruiting duty” (for the United States Marine Corp) and moved to wherever they needed a recruiter next.

Here are the houses we visited today:

914 Eastern Avenue | Fall River, MA | February 1961 – January 1963. While we lived here, John was 4-6 years old and Vivian was 1-3 years old. The street to the left side of the house (in the first picture) seemed like a very steep hill at the time, and John rode his new bike down it one time, gaining so much speed that he made a sharp turn into a driveway to try and slow down, lost control, and crashed with the handle bar going through his left (face) cheek. He still has the scar to prove it, because dad didn’t think it was worth going for stitches about it and just taped it together.

Front entrance
Side entrance

72 Dover Street | Fall River, MA | November 1964 – December 1964 and June 1966 – July 1966. We lived here the first time was when John was 7 and Vivian was 4, and the second time was when John was 8 and Vivian was 5. Our vovó (“vah-voh”) and vovô (“vah-voo”) owned this 3-story house—where they lived on the first floor, our aunt Vivian (my dad’s sister) lived on the 2nd floor, and our uncle Eddie and Aunt Laura lived on the 3rd floor—and we stayed with my grandparents for these 2 short periods of time until we found a house of our own to live in while dad did each of his 1-year tours of duty in Vietnam.

The 3-story view
This front porch used to be screened-in, and my grandfather sat on it a lot, sometimes playing his mandolin
Apparently a Martin (no relation) still resides on one floor of the house
We used to get “penny candy” from “Mr. Harris” at this store a hundred years ago

22B Carver Street | Fall River, MA. Our mémère and pépère, our maternal grandparents, lived here for a while, and it was virtually “around the corner” from my paternal grandparents’ house on Dover street. Their address was “22B” and it was the bottom right apartment.

56 Howland Street | Fall River, MA | July 1966 – December 1968. While we lived here, John was 9-10, and Vivian was 6-7. We remember a “mean landlord,” Mr. Daniels, who lived on the first floor of this house, while we rented the second floor from him. We went in that door to the right, which had the stairs to the upstairs just inside of it. Vivian remembers friends of hers while we lived here named “Norene and Dorene” and whose fingers were fused—two of their own fingers fused together, not one of Norene’s fingers fused to Dorene.

45 Breezy Lake Drive | Coventry, RI | December 1968 – December 1969. While we lived here, John was 11, and Vivian was 8. We lived in this split-level house for a year while my dad was in Vietnam the second time. My aunt Annette (my mother’s sister) and her husband, Uncle Frank, lived in the downstairs, which had been closed off as its own apartment. All the while (and for a total of 30 years), my uncle was building the house next door. He was a stone mason, and he cut each individual stone of the exterior of the house to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. There are a couple of other pictures of the house in this old posting of John’s. Breezy Lake was behind these houses and we had lots of fun ice skating on it.

The split level next door
The house that Uncle Frank built

Other places from our childhood that we visited today included:

This is a hot dog place we lived for as children, and one of the things we missed most moving down south. Sad, but true.

St. John’s Club
St John’s Club is “the Portuguese club” that my dad belonged to for years and years, and where he was sort-of a “local hero” (being a Marine, going off to war and back). There were 2 sides to the club, the bar (where only men could go), and the restaurant side, which included a jukebox that Vivian and I used to do The Salty Dog Rag and a line dance to a couples dance to Winchester Cathedral. Today, we ordered some steamed clams and some chourico (Portuguese sausage) sandwiches, 2 of our childhood favorites.

Notre Dame Cemetery
We brought Vivian and Jeff by to visit our grandparents, who Bob and I had visited the first week we were here.

Paternal grandparents
Maternal grandparents

We had a full day and completely forgot about visiting the Lizzy Borden house, about which we’re okay.

Back at the house, we played a game of Scrabble, skipped dinner in favor of appetizers, and later played some Catch Phrase.

Bob, John, & Vivian’s Scrabble game
A peach and jalapeño cheese ball

On our way out of Fall River, we dropped by to see our Aunt Vivian and Uncle Nibby, spending about a half hour sitting in their driveway catching up with them. So nice.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 23

~Sunday~ We showed Vivian and Jeff the Nauset Light lighthouse and beach, and they re-created the Cape Cod chip bag pic, and then we stopped by the Eastham Windmill and Memorial Buoy Tree.

Vivian, Jeff, Nauset Light
Vivian, Jeff, windmill

We had lunch at home, and then walked around the Evergreen Congressional & Soldiers Cemetery, marks the site of Eastham’s second meeting house and town center in the same way that the Cove Cemetery marks the location of the original meeting house and settlement.

There was a lot going on at this gravesite. The little animal in the right picture is a “zoom in” of one of those in the trees in the left picture.

A Bob-and-Vivian afternoon project. Today, this looks like a square pan of baked beans, but tomorrow it’s going to be obvious that it’s maple walnut fudge.

Tomorrow we’ll all be heading to “the homestead”—Fall River, Massachusetts, where we’ll drive around and look at these houses we used to live in in the area:

  • 72 Dover Street (where my paternal grandparents lived)
  • 22B Carver Street (where my maternal grandmother lived in her later years)
  • 914 Eastern Avenue
  • 56 Howland Street
  • Warren Street
  • 45 Breezy Lake Drive (Coventry, RI)

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 22

~Saturday~ We’ll always remember where we were when we heard the official declaration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.

We took a walk on the Cape Code Rail Trail, the first time I’ve been on it, and Bob’s fourth. We had beautiful weather for it with a high of 71° today.

This is mostly a biking trail, and in fact, we only saw one other person walking (her dog) the whole time. We were passed by many bikers, with maybe only a third of them giving us a verbal “Coming up on your left” warning, but no one being dangerous in any way. Some of the scenery:

Trail sign
CCRT post
Bob and John

I loved this sign that we saw at a point in the trail where you could step off it and into someone’s backyard. And it reminded me of the meme on the right that I’ve seen several times lately.

All day, we waited in great anticipation of Vivian and Jeff’s (my sister and brother-in-law’s) arrival as they made the 13.5-hour trek up here from Greenville, NC.

Vivian is turning 60 while she’s here (on Thursday), and her “peeps” made her a birthday basket full of snacks and spirits to take on her trip up here, and she brought a special bottle of champagne that we’re going to drink on Thursday.

Today was a good day.

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Our month on Cape Cod—day 21

~Friday~ Kathy and I ran to Mac’s Market & Kitchen Eastham to get 2 lbs. of fresh haddock filets for tonight’s dinner.

After dropping it off at home, she and I went to Nauset Light Beach and walked for a little while along the shore. Then, we made a quick visit to the Eastham Windmill and Memorial Buoy Tree.

We picked up lunch at Sam’s Deli, where I ordered The Turkey Club, Bob ordered The Basil Rathbone, and Kathy ordered a cup of their Clam Chowder.

After eating lunch back at the house, the three of us played a game of Scrabble. We were going to wait until we heard an election update to start drinking, but then Kathy—in all her wisdom—asked, “Why?” So, we enjoyed some happy hour cocktails and snacks while we played our game.

Dinner was a real treat tonight. Kathy recently made the news:

Maine Maple Haddock wins big at Maine Maple Producer’s Weekend
Katherine Vaillancourt of Georgetwon, won top entrée at the annual event.

She made this award-winning dish for us for dinner tonight, and Bob supplemented it with some zucchini sautéed in butter and garlic and some mixed greens with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. Kathy also made the iced raisin cookies for dessert.

Complete meal

This dish is award-winning for a reason. Absolutely delicious! Here is the recipe:


  • 2 lbs. fresh haddock filets
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 short sleeves of Ritz crackers (or 1 large sleeve)
  • ½ cup Maine Maple Cream
  • ½ cup milk


  1. Butter 4 individual baking dishes.
  2. Divide haddock into serving size and lay in buttered dishes.
  3. Crush crackers and distribute evenly over fish.
  4. Dot with remaining butter.
  5. Drizzle Maine Maple Cream over butter.
  6. Add milk to each dish to the level of filets.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden.

Makes 4 servings.

In the words of my dear friend, “We made some nice memories today.”

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