Day 2 – Boston, MA

“Turned out nice again!”

So the day has indeed turned out to be a very lovely one, sunny and very hot. It was an early start because we were awake at 4.30 am, not being acclimatised yet to the time difference!

We decided to have breakfast away from the hotel so sought advice from one of the ladies on Reception. She directed us to The Paramount Cafe on Beacon Hill. It’s a small cafe that’s been in business since 1937. All the food is cooked to order in front of you and it was excellent. I’m sure some of you would like to know what we had for breakfast! We had omelettes, Si the Western consisting of ham, onion pepper and American cheese and for me the tomato, mozzarella and basil.

We first visited Boston about 25 years ago and it’s now a lot busier with many more tourists but it’s still a lovely place to visit.

Here comes the history ‘bit’ ……….

The history of Boston, the capital of Massachusetts plays a central role in American history. In 1630, Puritan colonists from England founded Boston and helped it become the way it is today. Boston quickly became the political, commercial, financial, religious and educational center of the New England region. The American Revolution erupted in Boston, as the British retaliated harshly for the Boston Tea Party and the patriots fought back. They besieged the British in the city, with a famous battle at Bunker Hill in Charlestown on June 17, 1775 (which was lost by the colonists, but inflicted great damage against the British) and won the Siege of Boston, forcing the British to evacuate the city on March 17, 1776. However, the combination of American and British blockades of the town and port during the conflict seriously damaged the economy, and the population fell by two thirds in the 1770s. The city recovered after 1800, re-establishing its role as the transportation hub for the New England region with its network of railroads, and even more important, the intellectual, educational and medical center of the nation.

We walked the city today stopping off at the Old Granary Burial Ground. It is Boston’s third-oldest cemetery, founded in 1660. It is the final resting place for many notable Revolutionary War-era patriots including Paul Revere, the five victims of the Boston Massacre, and three signers of the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine. The cemetery has 2,345 grave-markers, but historians estimate that as many as 5,000 people are buried in it.

One of the most popular places to visit is Quincy Market. Built between 1824 and 1826 it is now a food court serving just about anything you could wish for.

Quincy Market Boston 2

Faneuil Hall has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1743 and is today’s Government Centre in Boston. It was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. You can see from these two images that not a lot has changed.

Other images from today are The Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the citizens of Boston from the front balcony on 18th July 1776 and the Massachusetts State House which is the State Capital and seat of government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

We came across some very friendly locals on our walk. This one was very interested in what we were up to. I think he was worried that we would be watching where he was going to hide that nut!!

Boston Squirell 2

Then on to the seafront and thought it only fair that we show you a photo of our yacht that is tied up in the harbour!!!!!!! Compared with the other yachts ours is just a little rowing boat but it was all we could afford at the time!! 😉

Small Yacht

Here’s one of me telling Si that he needs to get himself a job so that we can buy one of those other yachts!!

San Boston Seafront 2

We are off to see the Boston Red Sox tonight, lovely evening for it, so decided we should eat early. I know, I know, all we seem to do is eat! We decided on a place called Joe’s right on the harbour. It was very hot so decided we would take shelter indoors where Si tried the one cider they serve called Angry Orchard. He was impressed. It went well with his half-rack of ribs. As for me, as we were sat overlooking the ocean, I decided on the fish and chips washed down with a Ginger and Lime Rickey. I’ve heard of a Rickey but have often wondered why it’s called a Rickey. Well, I know have the answer ……. I think!

IMG_1908

Si at Joe’s with his ribs!

The name Rickey is an English baby name. In English the meaning of the name Rickey is an abbreviation of Richard ‘powerful; strong ruler’.

I think I’ll start a book entitled, ‘Simon’s Eating Habits’, could be a best seller!!

A report on our visit to Fenway Park will follow tomorrow. I bet you’re all really excited to read it!!! 😱

See you tomorrow!

 

Day 1 – London Heathrow to Boston, MA

Welcome back blog followers, lovely to see you all again!

Well what a day!!

So, the day dawned, the chauffeur in his Jaguar was on time, the same driver as last year and we headed off to Heathrow Terminal 3. The weather was a bit iffy, heavy rain, wind and sunshine.

As we had checked in on-line on Sunday, it was a simple job of just dropping the bags off and on to Security. No queues at all so we were both through in a jiffy. No need to worry about anyone seeing my lumps and bumps, we didn’t have to go through the body scanner!

Next it was off to Duty Free for the perfume purchase of the year and it was a lovely surprise when the lady at the checkout told me I had £15.00 on my Heathrow Rewards card!! I had no idea as I never check my account. Wonder if that bodes well for the visit to Atlantic City!! Fingers crossed.

The necessary goodies for the flight were purchased. Just wouldn’t be the same without Cheddars, some kind of chocolate for me, soft mints, Starbursts and a bag of  Haribo for Si. We shall eat our way across the Atlantic. 👍

Talking of eating, it just wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t start off the 2017 blog without a photo of Si’s first holiday meal ……….. so here it is! It was something healthy for a change! Smashed avacado, poached eggs and tomatoes on toast. I had something healthy too, the Pilot’s salad which consisted of flavoured(?) quinoa, creamed goats cheese and various minuscule vegetables. It was delicious. Probably all down hill from here. We ate in the Pilot’s Lounge (not literally of course, it’s just called that) and very pleasant it was too before heading to the Aspire Lounge to wait for the boarding of our flight. I know, it sounds crazy to eat before going to the Lounge but that’s what we do!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, next stop Boston where the temperature is currently in the low 80’s so if that keeps up we’ll be quite happy. 🌞

Will finish today’s post once we’ve arrived in Boston. See you ‘across the pond’.

Well, here we are ‘across the pond’.

First of all, we flew on a new Virgin Dreamliner 787-9 called Mystery Girl. Lovely plane, food excellent. We were called to the gate at 4.25 pm with take off scheduled for 5.25 pm. The plane wasn’t full and they had us all boarded so quickly that were ready to go at 5.10 pm, fifteen minutes early. The captain came on the intercom and said how good it was that we were all aboard and ready to go but then a minute later he came back on and said that there was a plane jam due to the weather. We had had intermittent heavy rain showers  and we would have to wait twenty minutes before we could push back. Well, we all know what that means! We took off an hour late!!! One good thing was that we were originally told the flight would take 7 hours 5 minutes but now would only take 6 hours 38 minutes. We saw a rainbow just before take-off and that cheered us somewhat. Alas, that was the last piece of good fortune we were going to have for the remainder of the day!

In all of our 30 years of visiting the US our arrrival last night will go down as one of the worst we have ever experienced!! 😱

We landed literally with a very big bang as we hit the runway rather hard. We de-planed very quickly and headed for the Immigration Hall. Well, we couldn’t even get in the hall, we were stopped and separated into red rows and a blue row i.e. US citizens and those who had been here before and non-US citizens.  While most of our travelling companions were whisked off down the red row, because we had to renew our passports and ESTA this year, we were pushed in to the blue row. We had to wait for about twenty minutes before there was even room for us to fit into the hall. When we did manage to get in it was like a scene from Wembley Stadium, thousands of bodies everywhere. What a nightmare! We could see twelve gates of which eight were closed leaving only four to process the whole hall. This is allowing for about 30 automated gates that the red row people were using so you can imagine what it would have been like if they were not there to speed the process! We had passengers from two other flights in front of us and more coming behind. Talk about lack of organisation. If anyone ever hears me say we’ll fly into Boston again, please smack me round the head!!

After 90 minutes of standing, we just got to the head of the queue and they opened up four more gates and we were lucky enough to get moved to one of those and be processed.

Given the amount of time we were held in Immigration we didn’t have to wait long for our bags because the carousel ours was on had by know ‘given up the ghost’ and had stopped so any remaining bags had been dumped in a corner awaiting collection.

After leaving the airport we got a bus very quickly to the Car Rental Center. Now you know what happened next ……………….. all those who were in front of us in Immigration are now in front of us at the Avis rental desk!!!!! I’ve got to say all the other car rental desks (Hertz, National, Budget etc) were empty, it was just Avis that had the huge queue with only three people serving! By now I’m ready to lay down and die!!

The guy who eventually served us was very good and efficient. The car had already been booked and paid for (of course, the car we had ordered wasn’t available so they did the usual and upgraded us, so we are now driving a monster truck, a Chevy Treverse) so all that was left was for us just to ‘do the business’ regarding the sat nav, fuel option and now the EZ-Pass too! Massachusetts has decided to introduce non-cash toll roads and tunnels so we had to have the EZ-Pass. Doesn’t matter that we are only here for a couple of days, we’ve had to pay for the whole time we will have the vehicle, although the guy at the desk did set a maximum charge limit on it for us. Thank you Kenny!

The sat nav (for those who have followed us before on the blog, will know that we call it Margaret) was rather slow to connect but eventually got us slightly out of the airport when we went through the Ted Williams tunnel for about five miles with various exits along the way, but of course Margaret is not speaking to us as we’ve lost the connection so don’t know where we are supposed to be exiting!

Eventually, we rolled into the hotel very late and slightly worse for wear. At least the room’s lovely!

So, that’s why we are rather late posting our first day and only have two photos to show for it. Simon did want to take a photo of the Immigration Hall but decided it probably wasn’t a wise thing to do!

It’s now rather early Tuesday morning and we have a full day planned, including going to a Red Sox baseball game this evening (travelling there by subway!) so hopefully things will improve. The weather’s forecasted to be in the 80’s so can’t complain about that at least! 👍 😀

 

 

 

 

Well, just one week to go!

The year has just flown by and on 11th September we will be jetting off on our next American adventure!

It’s a late visit for us this year as we are hoping to catch some Fall colour. Holiday clothes are ready and waiting to be packed and even the Dollar rate improved slightly for a while! Fingers crossed it manages to climb a little higher before we jet off.

Hope you’ll check back next week to travel with us on our next journey!

 

Day 17 – Atlanta to Heathrow and Home

Well, we have arrived back at our abode and are now enjoying a good old cup of tea for Si and a cappuccino for moi. I only had one the whole time we were away!

Atlanta Airport is very nice but it’s huge and was extremely busy. Our flight was, once again, completely full. We arrived back at Heathrow an hour ahead of schedule but they wouldn’t let us land and so had to circle for about 45 minutes, eventually arriving on the stand one minute before our original scheduled time!

At least we were very quickly through Immigration, because we have the bio-metric passports so we can use the e-passport gates. You just put the passport on the glass and hey presto you’re through. Even our cases arrived quickly. We met our driver and where home within about an hour.

I am pleased to report that for the first time in like ages, our suitcases had not been opened and checked by U.S. Security! Hooray!

The one bad thing about holidays is having to unpack the suitcases and get all the washing on the go. A good lesson there not to take too much in the first place!

We’ve had another great time in the good ol’ U.S. of A, met some wonderful new people and connected again with some old friends, namely Denise and Desiree. We saw some memorable things, suffered in extreme heat and humidity but it was all worthwhile. We  drove 1416 miles this year, so not many compared with previous holidays.

It’s time to say ‘farewell’ once again, to sign off the blog for another year and to thank you all for travelling with us and for the comments you posted. It’s always good to know that it’s not just us reading it!

So, until we all meet again, we would just like to say, as always, ………………..

arrivederci, adeus, hejdå, 再见, zoi geen, zai jian, tot ziens, au revoir, tschüss, shalom, ciao, じゃね, anyeonghi gasyeo, poka/Пока, adios, hejdå, tạm biệt, vΘleft, farvel, ya sas, tókša akhé

and see you all next time. Bye!

Si and Sand in Cades Cove meadow

 

(I do not own the video or its contents)

 

Day 16 – Savannah to Atlanta

Surprise, surprise, I didn’t think I’d get to write the blog today but as we arrived at the airport in plenty of time and there’s free wifi I thought I would make use of the time and get it done.

We checked out of our hotel this morning at the latest time we could 12.00, because our flight tonight isn’t until 10.10 p.m.

It was another glorious day and the drive was very pleasant. We decided that we would stop for lunch once we found a Cracker Barrel (CB). We had to drive a couple of hours before we found one but I saw the CB sign from way, way down the road and shouted at the top of my voice ‘Cracker Barrel’. I shouted so loud that Margaret (sat nav) asked me to speak my instructions. It was so funny!

Cracker Barrel Blog

Cracker Barrel!!

Sadly, this one was not ‘up to scratch’. The service was awful! With CB you can be in eat and out in a jiffy but today it took well over an hour.

The food was good though. Si had his shrimp and I decided that as it was the final day of our holiday that I could ‘let myself go’ a little and I had a burger with cheese and fries! It was just fabulous. We ordered an apple dessert but the poor young waitress who was under great stress got all flustered and delivered us a cobbler with cream and ice-cream. It was huge and we didn’t manage to eat it all.

Si with his shrimp

Si with his shrimp

Sand with her naughty burger!

Sand with her naughty burger!

On the table they have a little game that customers can play while they wait for their food. It’s a form of solitaire!! We both had a go but of course after a few tries Si managed to win the game. Well he would, wouldn’t he!! Bless!!

Si's success

Si’s success

It was more or less a straight drive here to Atlanta Airport but at the last moment dear Margaret (sat nav), rather let herself down and started giving us instructions in all the wrong direction. Luckily, the signage was very good so we were able to follow that instead.

Road to Atlanta

Road to Atlanta

Saw this interesting water tower along the way!

Town of Effingham!

Town of Effingham!

When we arrived at the Avis Car Rental Returns we were met by a very pleasant young man who found great delight in telling us that his first foster Mum was English and how he loved our trifle, roast beef and yorkshire pudding and what fantastic cooks the British are! Crumbs, that’s a first, most Americans think our food is just awful.

It was a quick trip on the bus to the airport terminal and we waited anxiously whilst they weighed the cases!! I’m very proud to say that both cases weighed in just under our allowance!! Hooray!

For the regular blog followers you’ll know that whenever we come on holiday we usually end up purchasing an extra suitcase to accommodate all the purchases we’ve made during our travels. Well, we didn’t buy a suitcase this time but we did buy a back pack instead to take the extra load. I’ve made a note that the next time we come on holiday to remember to pack a back pack for all those ‘little extras.’ We must have six at home already!!

Thing is, the backpack is quite heavy and poor Si’s ended up carrying two, the new one and his camera bag! Hey ho!

After the bag weighing we made our way to Homeland Security and there was the biggest queue we’ve ever seen at an airport. It must have taken us 30 minutes just to get through. They use the full body scanner here. I made sure to hold my stomach in so as not to give the poor person watching the scanner a shock!

So, we’ve purchased all the nibbles to take on board. Although they give you things to eat and drink there are times when one just needs a few of their favourite things.

The flight coming out from Heathrow was an hour shorter than expected so we are hoping that the 8 hours 10 minutes back will just be 7 hours 10 minutes instead.

The weather forecast for tomorrow looks good so fingers crossed we won’t need the wet gear!

I suddenly remembered a couple of things I forgot to write in the blog yesterday!

First, do you know what they call peanuts in South Carolina? Answer: Goobers!

Secondly, there’s a house in Savannah called the Juliette Gordon Low (JGL) house that is open to the public. The owner was a very interesting lady and I wanted to tell you about her.

JGL was born in Savannah in 1860 and died in 1927.  She was the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. After her husband died she travelled to Scotland and met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. They shared a love of travel and support of the Girl Guides. In August 1911, JGL became involved with the Girl Guides, an offshoot of the Boy Scouts for girls that was headed by Agnes Baden-Powell, Sir Robert Baden Powell’s sister. JGL joined the Girl Guide movement, forming a group of Girl Guides in Scotland in 1911.

In 1912, JGL and Baden-Powell took a trip to the United States to spread the scouting movement. She hoped to spread the movement to her hometown, Savannah, as a way to help girls learn practical skills and build character.  She formed the first American Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia that year. In 1915 the United States’ Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts and JGL was the first president. She stayed active until the time of her death.

Thought that was all rather interesting.

Must close now as we are due to board shortly.

Speak to you again from ‘across the pond.’

Day 15 – Savannah

First of all let me just say that some of you may have noticed the blog is missing its sidebar! Why, goodness only knows. I’ll work on that when I get home. I think the humidity has affected it somehow!!

Well, goodness, gracious, I’ve just published this post and the sidebar’s back!! Who knows how long it will stay!?

So, today was our final full day here in Savannah. As the day was forecast to be hot and humid again we decided to spend the day visiting the  Savannah History Museum and then the Georgia State Railroad Museum Historic Site rounding off with a walk back to our hotel to make sure Si had as many photos as possible and then finishing off for dinner again at The Olde Pink House.

We walked to the Museums and along the way we came across this brass statue of Johnny Mercer. In 1961, he wrote the lyrics to “Moon River” for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Sand and Johnny Mercer

Sand and Johnny Mercer

The Savannah History Museum allows you to walk through the city’s history from 1733, spanning the American Revolution and Civil War, all the way to today! It was very interesting with one item in particular being of great interest, that was ………………. the bus bench from Forrest Gump.

Bench Blog

The Georgia State Railroad was constructed in 1853 by the Central of Georgia Railway before the outbreak of the American Civil War and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The complex is considered the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the United States. The historic railroad structures at the site include a partial roundhouse with operating turntable, partial machine shop, Tender Frame Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Boiler House, Storehouse and Print Shop, Lumber and Planning Sheds, Coach and Paint Shops, and a partial Carpentry Shop.

Train Depot

Train Depot

Turntable at the museum. We rode on the train!

Turntable at the museum. We rode on the train!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand on the train at the museum

Sand on the train at the museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si on the train too - looking thoughtful!

Si on the train too – looking thoughtful!

After that we stopped for lunch at The Six Pence Pub again and this time I tried their Cottage Pie. It was very good, just needed a little more gravy. Si had crab cakes.

Si and his crab cakes copy

On the way back and as it was rather hot, we jumped on the tour bus again to take us to Forsyth Park so that Si could photograph the famous fountain. The fountain was added to the park in 1858 and is reminiscent of fountains in the Place de la Concorde in Paris and in Cuzco, Peru.

Sand in Forsyth Park

Sand in Forsyth Park

We arrived at our stop to get off and who was getting on the bus but Forrest himself!! Well, obviously not the real one but a guy just like him. He was so funny.

Forrest Gump on our tour bus!

Forrest Gump on our tour bus!

Sand with Forrest

Sand with Forrest

For those who have seen the film, right at the start it shows a feather falling from a steeple. This is the steeple it is supposed to have fallen from.

Steeple from Forrest Gump

Steeple from Forrest Gump

One of the carriages showing people around Savannah

One of the carriages showing people around Savannah

Around Savannah we’ve seen a lot of these fish downpipes on many mansions, they are supposed to be considered good luck!

A fish downpipe

Fish downpipes

So, we had dinner at The Old Pink House again! They sat us in the ballroom but it was packed and so noisy we couldn’t hear each other so they moved us to a much smaller, quieter room. The meal was lovely. Si had fillet mignon and I had pecan-crusted chicken breast followed by blueberry pie and ice-cream.

Si with his fillet mignon

Si with his fillet mignon

 

Sand with her pecan-crusted chicken

Sand with her pecan-crusted chicken

Si with his blueberry pie

Si with his blueberry pie

And Sand with her's!

And Sand with her’s!

Tomorrow we drive back to Atlanta and then fly home to Heathrow so there will be no post tomorrow. The next time you’ll hear from us will be ‘across the pond.’ See you on Friday!