Category Archives: Travel

Travel Journal

For our first anniversary, October 26, 2003, Jennifer gifted us with the traditional first anniversary gift; paper. It came in the form of a spiral bound travel journal. We got off to a slow start with only a couple of entries until the spring of 2005 when the posting took off with our trip to Russia. Since then we’ve faithfully recorded our travels, large and small. Our most recent trip to Ohio gave us enough material to fill the last remaining pages.


The book is a hybrid journal and scrapbook of sorts. It includes narratives of our journeys (often with mileage notes and time markers) as well as having brochures, napkins, photos and ticket stubs pasted in. While I am the primary note taker, Peter has chimed in with his perspective from time to time. Even Catherine has made her mark in the book. Our entries are full of misspellings and grammatical mistakes (due to hastiness while trying to record everything) and poor penmanship (due to writing in moving vehicles).

I love looking back through the pages and reliving the memories that we’ve made over the past four years. We’ve been to Ohio, Russia, Canada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and a ton of places in between. We’re looking forward to finding a new journal and filling it with even more memories in the coming years. I wonder if my grand children and great grandchildren will have as much fun reading about our adventures as we have had living them.

More pictures are here: Travel Journal Album

Big Christmas Wrap-Up!

December 21-30 was a whirlwind of a Christmas vacation for the Wood family. We had a great time visiting with friends and family. I took lots of photos, so we’ll give you the brief rundown here with links to images from our trip.

* December 20: We had a sort of “Pre-Christmas” at home after I got out of work. We exchanged our gifts so that we didn’t have to bring the stuff for just each other all the way out to Ohio. The rest of our evening was spent packing for our trip!
* December 21: We left after I got out of [work]( and drove to a Knight’s Inn in Liverpool, NY. That helped break the trip up a bit.
* December 22: We left Syracuse early in the morning, and, after a stop in Madison, Ohio to visit with Melanie, we drove to Mount Vernon. [Pics from the drive](, [Pics from visiting Melanie](, [Pics from the first evening in Mount Vernon](
* December 23: We went to church at [Lakeholm]( in Mount Vernon, then headed down to Columbus to visit with Becky’s friend Heather and her husband Jeff. Then it was back to Mount Vernon for the infamous “Reindeer Hat Party.” [Pics from visiting Heather and Jeff](, [Pics from the Reindeer Hat Party](
* December 24: We attended the Christmas Eve service at Lakeholm, then had Christmas Eve dinner at home. [Pics from Christmas Eve](
* December 25: We spent Christmas Day at home with my family! [Pics from Christmas Day](
* December 26: On Wednesday, we went up to Mark and Kirsten’s place in Mansfield for a nice Birthday brunch for Mom! After that, we drove back to Mount Vernon to attend a Game Day that Amy Walton was hosting at her parents’ house. Later in the evening, we had a birthday cake and another little party for Mom. [Pics from Mom’s birthday brunch and that evening](, [Pics from the game day](
* December 27: On Thursday, we had some outings sans Catherine. Rebecca and I went out to breakfast at the Southside Diner while Mom and Dad watched Catherine. Then, Rebecca, Dad and I went out to lunch while Mom watched Catherine. Later that evening, Mom and Dad watched Catherine again while we went out to dinner and a movie with Mark and Kirsten. We ended the evening with a family photo shoot. [Pics from the Southside Diner](, [Pics from Thursday afternoon](, [Pics from dinner with Mark and Kirsten](, [Pics from the photo shoot](
* December 28: On Friday morning, we left Mount Vernon and drove back to the Knight’s Inn in Liverpool, NY. The hotel clerk recommended dinner at a delicious local restaurant, Mother’s, and gave us a free voucher to see the local [“Lights on the Lake”]( holiday light display. It was a nice evening with just the three of us! [Pics from the drive](, [Pics from Friday evening](
* December 29: On Saturday, we left Liverpool and drove to Townsend to spend the rest of the weekend with Becky’s family.
* December 30: On Sunday, we had lunch in Townsend with Becky’s parents, then they drove back to Danvers with us to help cart back our additional haul of gifts and see our new staircase. [Pics from the “After-Christmas Christmas” in Townsend](

[See all of the Christmas pics here](

Phew! Since then, we’e been unpacking our stuff and trying to get readjusted to a life back at home. 🙂 We hope that you have all had great holidays with your family or friends, and that you have a happy new year!

Headin’ out Ohio-way!

In only two weeks and two days, we’ll be packin’ up the wagon and headin’ out to Ohio!

As you can see, we’re dividing the drive up into two manageable pieces with a strategic hotel stay in Syracuse, NY.

We’ll be spending the week of Christmas with my family in Mount Vernon. We’re looking forward to spending some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa, Mark and Kirsten, and the rest of the Mount Vernon crew.

We’d love to visit with any of our readers who are in the greater Mount Vernon area. Drop us a line and let us know if you’re going to be around at any point December 23 through 27!

Mount Olga or “why I love hiking”

At the Molly Stark State Park you can find very clean bathroom facilities and a trail to the top of Mount Olga. As we hit the trail Peter turned to me and asked, “why do you love hiking so much?”

When I started to answer I came up with one or two reasons, but as I kept thinking I came up with many more. So, why to I love hiking?
hiking at Mt Olga

* It’s outdoors. I love the fresh air and sun shining through the trees. I love the smell of fallen leaves.
* There’s often a great view as a reward for all your work fighting gravity.
* It is free- for the most part. Usually if there’s a park fee it goes back into maintaining the trails and facilities, so it is totally worth paying.
* It is great exercise.
* It is quiet.
* There is very little commercialization surrounding it (minus EMS and REI and LLBean- but you can hike without spending one penny at any of those)
* It is family friendly. And I have great memories of hiking with my family when I was a kid.

Well, the list could go on and on. Hiking just makes me happy.

And I was happy last Sunday when we stopped into the Molly Stark campground and hiked to the top of Mount Olga.

Becca’s Wedding

Several months ago, my college friend Becca asked me if I’d play cello for her wedding. I gladly agreed, even though the last time I had played for a crowd was at [Jeremy and Angela](’s wedding several years earlier. It gave me the opportunity to dig out the cello, bring my skills back up to snuff, and reacquaint myself with the joys of playing music.

Tools of the trade

Last weekend we traveled up to [Bennington, Vermont]( to attend her wedding. We left early on Friday, drove up through central Mass and southern Vermont, and arrived to check in at the [Knotty Pine Motel]( The Knotty Pine was small and comfortable, and even had a nice play area for Catherine to take advantage of. Friday evening was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, where we got a lesson in [English Country Dance]( (to be featured at the wedding reception). We made some new friends at dinner, and had a chance to catch up with our friend Amanda who was one of the bridesmaids.

Catherine and Tom
Catherine and her new friend Tom

On Saturday, we did some exploring of the Bennington area, including the [Bennington Battle Monument]( Did you know that the Bennington Battle Monument is the tallest structure in Vermont, and the tallest War Memorial in the world?

Bennington Battle Monument

Becca’s wedding was in the afternoon. The prelude and processionals, which I played with Becca’s friend Lindsey on piano, went extremely well. The ceremony itself was beautiful – Becca sang a solo for Eric during the ceremony, and they recessed to “Sweet Caroline”, a tribute to their Red Sox fanaticism.

Becca and Eric

Becca and Eric Fiveland

At the reception, we did more English Country Dancing, talked with our friends Kate and Dave, and enjoyed some great food. We danced the night away and headed back to the Knotty Pine for some rest.

We had a great weekend up in Vermont. It’s a truly lovely place with some very friendly people. We wish Becca and Eric well in their new life together in upstate New York!

You can see all of the photos from our weekend [here](

a Road Trip by the Numbers

Catherine and Nonni driving
3 eager travelers
1 car
4 tanks of gas
1930 miles
$19.08 in highway tolls
31ish hours of driving
5 overnights
3 overnight locations
1 blushing bride
2 handfuls of crayons tasted

It has been a busy few days for Catherine, my Mom and I. We went from home to Buffalo, NY; Buffalo to Mount Vernon, Ohio; Mount Vernon to Springfield, Ohio…and then turned around and drove the same route in reverse.

My dear friend, Heather, was a beautiful bride and Jeffrey, her husband, a fine gentleman. Mom, Catherine and I had a lovely time celebrating with them.

We spent a long time on the road, but had a great time traveling. The weather was warm and sunny and we enjoyed watching the leaves change color along the highways.

One down, three to go

So I’m back from Katybeth’s wedding in Pennsylvania. I had a very good time at the wedding and reception, and Aunt Chris and Uncle John were hospitable as always.

The wedding itself was quite different from my usual wedding experience. Though I’ve taken photos at weddings before, this was the first time I’ve been “the” photographer at a wedding (well, for everything except the formal photos). It was definitely a challenge, especially since it was a family member’s wedding and I tended to gravitate toward photos of my family members. It was also somewhat bittersweet since, although I was present throughout the whole wedding and reception, it was my job to focus on the photography. If I stopped to listen to someone speaking or watch someone walk down the aisle, I’d probably end up missing a great shot. All in all, though, I’m glad I did it. I think everyone will be happy with the results.

I’d already deleted a lot of the photos I took before I got home, but I still have quite a few to process: touch-ups, removing red-eye, cropping, etc. I’ve done 125 and there are 351 to go (most of which are from the reception). I have a lot more thoughts on the experience of wedding photography, so hopefully I’ll be able to get those up here at some point.

In the meantime, I’ve got more work ahead of me; [Becca’s wedding]( is this weekend, and I’ve only got a few more days to practice my cello music for their prelude and processionals! Phew! At least this time I’ll get to sit back down after that’s done and enjoy the rest of the wedding. 🙂

Island Hopping

We were excited to show Peter’s parents a good time on Martha’s Vineyard during the Grand Illumination.

After we got a good night’s sleep and had wound down from the night’s excitement we made plans to visit Mytoi Garden on Chappaquiddick Island.

Despite all the time I’ve spent on MV I had never been to Mytoi before. The gardens were lovely and it was a very peaceful place to stroll around in. We even saw a few turtle, goldfish and bullfrogs.

While we were on Chappy (currently an honest to goodness island) we headed over to Dike’s bridge to look around and then back to the On Time Ferry for the three minute ride back to MV.

All told, we spent just under 48 hours on the Island with Catherine’s four Grandparents. It was a great little escape and a fun time. You can see all the pictures in our MV Album.

Portsmouth Children’s Museum

We have had a very (very!) busy week.

On Monday Catherine and I made a second trip to the Portsmouth Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We decided it would be more fun if we took Dad along this time! The three of us had lots of fun exploring the museum. Especially exciting was the Music Matrix. I’m not sure who had more fun with it- Catherine or her parents!

The museum is still a bit above Catherine- which is great because we still have many trips ahead of us before she outgrows it. Even so, there is tons of stuff for her to do. She played around with the exhibits meant for older kids and had a great time watching everyone else. The museum even has a special room on the top floor specially designed for the under 4 crowd. It has a train table, playstands, puppets, books and a great collections of random ‘things’ for the little ones to touch, turn, toss, and explore.

After a good time at the museum we headed into town for some lunch. Our destination was an old haunt of mine during my Strawbery Banke days; Dos Amigos Burritos. Yum, yum. Peter and I both had (and loved!) the sweet potato burrito while Catherine devoured her own kid sized order of rice and beans.

All the pictures from the day are here. Stay tuned for more news from the week!

Down To Earth

PRC on Pikes Peak

…and we’re back down to 48 feet above sea level. We arrived safely in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, and we’re slowly getting settled back in.

We had a terrific time out in Colorado. We attended events with other wedding guests every night up through the night of the wedding: Wednesday was the Moroccan Feast, Thursday was the rehearsal dinner, Friday was the barbecue, and Saturday evening was the wedding.

The days were spent making excursions to the surrounding area: Wednesday we visited the Cave of the Winds and downtown Manitou Springs, Thursday we went for a guided hike of Red Rock canyon, Friday we took the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak, Saturday we went for a horseback ride through Garden of the Gods and toured the United States Olympic Training Center, Sunday we visited Royal Gorge, and Monday we visited the United States Air Force Academy and hiked through Garden of the Gods.

The town of Manitou Springs welcomed us with open arms and we felt instantly at home there. We loved the small town atmosphere, the weekly market, the concerts in the park, the babbling creek, the crunchy and artsy shops and the views of Pikes Peak. The only thing it was missing was the ocean!

We were busy the whole week, but if we were to go back there would still be plenty of things to keep us exploring! That’s the mark of a great vacation destination!

You can view all of our photos from Colorado.