Archive for the Category »United States «

One Last Ocean Visit Before Heading Home

Since we were staying at the Belvedere, subject to demolition, we decided to check out its Coffee Shop & Diner for breakfast. It’s a small space so we had to get there early. There’s usually a line outside the door until closing time in the afternoon.

We were fortunate in getting what the hostess/waitress called the front row seat. It’s like a half-booth with one section cut off by the wall and window overlooking the beach. It’s designed for two people, but we somehow were able to fit two and a half.

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Spending the Day in the Virginia Beach Sand and Sun

Fortunately all the rooms at the Belvedere were ocean-facing. Not only for the view of the beach and ocean but the sunrise.

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Arriving at the Belvedere Beach Resort Club in Virginia Beach

With the summer slowly coming to a close, the ladies and I finally made our near annual trip to the beach. This year we chose Virginia Beach and decided to make it more than just a day trip. Initially we were going to pick a cheap(er) hotel further inland, perhaps a Holiday Inn or something. But the thought of having to trek it back and forth from the beach, pay for parking, riding back to the hotel with sand in our butts — we picked a place on the beach.

We left early in the day, before the afternoon rush hour, thinking we would make good time. Somehow, thousands of people thought the same thing and after crawling with traffic our of the extended DC area, we finally made it to Virginia Beach after the sun set.

Najwa, thinking the beach was around the corner, was harassing us, tripping about the sun going down, not leaving us enough time to play on the beach. As the the sky started to darken at dusk, she even told us to turn around because we were taking too long.


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Visiting Portland’s Sister City Suzhou While Still in Portland

Because of another conference being held after the conference we were at, the hotel was at full capacity. Meaning we had to check out at 12 noon. Meaning we had about five hours to kill before leaving for the airport.

So, though it was misty/rainy outside, I just bought a light jacket, Googled things to do in Portland, and headed east to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Chinatown.

Rainy Portland

Much different city when it rains

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Walking Portland, Burning Calories After One Serious Burger!

Work took me to a conference in Portland [Oregon, not Maine] for a few days. I heard a lot about Portland, about the Pacific Northwest in general, mostly about the rain, how much people like outdoor activities, and that they don’t do sweet tea like it’s done in the south.

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SW Hawthorne Bridge crossing the Willamette River.

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Passing by the Mercedes Superdome

I was in New Orleans for work and had a moment to walk around. I didn’t take many photos, though. But I did stop by the Mercedes Superdome.

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Day Trip Back Out to Annapolis

The ladies and I decided to take a day trip to Annapolis, MD. It’s just an hour or so down the road, but a good trip to get away for a few hours. We got something to eat, walked around, bought some souvenirs, but mainly took a boat trip around the bay.

Our first concern was how Najwa would like being on the boat, in the middle of the water. Not like we could get off if she determined this wasn’t for her and threw a tantrum. Surprisingly, though, the exact opposite happened. She enjoyed it so much that when it was time to get off the boat, she went crazy.

Najwa on a boat trip in Annapolis, MD

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Venturing Off The Beaten Path to a Place Called Nancy’s Airfield Cafe

On the way back from our New England trip, we decided to get something to eat. Instead of something cheap and easy just off the highway, we went way off the beaten path until we found a place called Nancy’s Airfield Cafe in Stow, Massachusetts. Nduku found it using an app for restaurants close by to wherever we were at that moment.

Great little place. It’s literally on an airfield — Minute Man Air Field — with planes taking off and landing while we ate. Someone even showed up in his helicopter!

The people there were nice. It’s obviously a close community since everyone had to know each other for us to stand out so much. The owner [I’m assuming she was Nancy; didn’t ask her name] even came out to greet us, welcome us, ask where we’re from and invite us back next time we venture out.

Who knows. Maybe next time in the area we just might stop by again.

Nduku and Najwa at Nancy's Airfield Cafe

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Spending the Night in the 3 Northern NE States’ Largest City — Nashua

The pre-wedding celebration that brought us to New England was in Lowell, MA. But we found a deal for a place to lay our head across the border. And I wanted to say we visited New Hampshire. A little place called Nashua.

See, to us it was little. One of those Anytown USA’s with a Main Street, a Walmart and a sign boasting it’s the first to do this or home of someone we don’t know. So, I Wikipedia’d Nashua, New Hampshire.

Nashua is a city in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census, Nashua had a total population of 86,494, making it the second largest city in the state (and in the three northern New England states) after Manchester.

Built around the now-departed textile industry, in recent decades it has been swept up in southern New Hampshire’s economic expansion as part of the Boston region. Nashua was twice named “Best Place to Live in America” in annual surveys by Money magazine. It is the only city to get the No. 1 ranking on two occasions—in 1987 and 1997.

So this little Anytown USA, with its whopping 86,000 people, is the second largest city in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine? And twice named best place to live in America? I became curious. Boston can wait.

So we ventured around and came across this little family restaurant. Roland’s. If I was doing a Yelp review, I’d give it 3 to 4 stars. Nothing fancy but no reason I’d protest about going back to. We just did breakfast. The cheese in my eggs weren’t my favorite, orange American cheese, and the bacon had more fat than meat, but it was well below what we budgeted for and Najwa ate her three Silver Dollar pancakes.

Najwa and Nduku at Roland's Family Restaurant in Nashua NH

Roland's Family Restaurant in Nashua NH

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Lightning Quick Day Trip to Boston

We really were on a short time schedule, with the pre-wedding celebration in the afternoon, but we headed out to Boston, 45 minutes away, to see what we could squeeze in. Even though the four energy drinks were still buzzing in my blood.

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