Last day : Lodi to San Francisco

Poppy has a sleep over last night so Jordan took her for a walk to get our coffee ! Great start to the last day.

Lisa went to work a little bit later to make the most of Poppy time and to farewell me.

Right on 10am John , Jordan and I set off for San Francisco. It’s a beautiful warm, blue day and they are taking me all the way to San Francisco. About 1.5 hrs with some great signs along the way.

It was an interesting drive past vineyards and into the delta area where we sang the song ‘ drove my chevi to the levy but the levy was dry ‘

There are a number of levy here which cater for the farms in the area. Many crops are grown here.

I could sing my way around America!

‘Are you going to San Francisco….’

‘Do you know the way to San Jose….’

Visiting any area of America produces the opportunity to sing about it!

We arrived via the rather beautiful Bay Bridge. It was replaced after an earthquake brought down part of the old bridge.

It has a great approach and is a rather lovely structure.

We arrived into SF and drove along the Embarcadero………

past all the rejuvenated piers until we reached pier 39.

We parked the car and walked out on pier to Scomos. It’s an old restaurant – like bring on a ship. I had a great shrimp salad. And a glass of Rose!

Last time I’ll see Jordan before baby M arrives!

The day was perfect so we walked along the water. I admired the people swimming! It would be just a little chilly!

Then John took me on a tour. Of course the famous zig zag Lombard St featured.

The views down Lombard St.

We arrived at Grove St at a rather small hotel, one block from the painted ladies of Alamo Park. John and Jordan helped me in and then it was goodbye. Next time I see my daughter in law will be with a baby in her arms.

As the weather was so lovely I headed straight out. Up the hill to Alamo Park and the infamous Painted Ladies. SF style houses painted different colours.

My hotel is just down the street to the left.

I then walked …… and walked……. past some great houses.

Past public buildings

City Hall
Love the circular rooms
Mosaics
Opera & Ballet Theatre
Great street art.

Until I had passed numerous homeless people to reach Union Square where I had stayed years ago.

By now I was quite exhausted so had a cup of tea! Watched the passing parade and caught an Uber back to the Grove Inn.

I refreshed in my little room and went to the Alamo Square Seafood Grill. What a find. It was a little FRENCH ! place and I had the best fish fish! Grilled blackened snapper with delicious veg. And a glass of Chardonnay.

First stop Sydney

Welcome back to my travel tales.

We’re off again!

This time London , Turkey and back to London.

But first a mini stay in Sydney as Steve has a board meeting before our flight tonight.

Last night we met up with my sister Catherine and David, nephew George and niece Helen.

Today a gorgeous ferry ride to Double Bay to visit my sister at her school, Double Bay Primary, where she works as a teacher librarian. So no lunch with her!

Then lunch with nieces Pip and Clare and little Max. We were so busy talking I forgot to take a photo.

But the ferry ride was wonderful so lots of photos. It’s a world beater ride. The views in the sunshine are breathtaking.

I haven’t been to Double Bay in years. It’s still has it’s Village feel but there are as many Beauty bars as espresso bars.

The little beach next to the ferry wharf is a beautiful place to chill.

The public Library is another place to spend time. It’s so inviting. Libraries are not dead!

I’m waiting on the ferry back to Circular Quay , meet up with Steve then out the airport. A Qatar flight to London.

So follow along for the next few weeks as we rediscover London and swim along the coastline of Turkey. Another swim trek based in Kas.

The Mansions of Newport. And the Craft Beers

Yay. The sun is shining.

Somehow everything looks gorgeous when the sun is out.

Our hotel right on Thames Street is perfect. We slept in, then decided to make it a walking day. The mansions, the cliff walk and the museums. Too much? Keep reading.

When planning a walking day you start with coffee. We had bananas and blueberries at our hotel. Enough we thought. We just needed coffee. So along Thames Street we walked and found a great Italian place open for breakfast. Suddenly Steve needed a French toast.

Oh my, was it delicious. I had a few mouthfuls. Must return tomorrow!

Then we headed up to Bellevue Avenue. Apparently it’s one of THE most beautiful streets in the US. First stop. The Elms.

Now if you haven’t been to this area you won’t quite understand the wealth on show. These people were wealthy and building big opulent houses was how they displayed their wealth.

We walked along Bellevue Ave and checked out the houses. They are amazing.

The Elms

The home for the Preservation Society.

As well as the houses, the fences and gates are so decorative.

We walked and looked.

Loved this clock on the corner of a park

A modest sized house!

Next stop was Marble house. Not so modest!

“Marble House is a Gilded Age mansion in Newport. Designed as a summer cottage for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt by the society architect Richard Morris Hunt, it was unparalleled in opulence for an American house when it was completed in 1892

Alva was quite the woman. She divorced William and married another multi-millionaire and moved down the street. Money attracts money!

Her daughter, Consuelo Vanderbilt was a encouraged to marry royalty! Her marriage to The English 9th Duke of Marlborough has become an emblem of the socially advantageous, but loveless, marriages common during the Gilded Age. She became a friend of Winston Churchill. ”

So off we went further down Bellevue Ave. Finally to the start of the cliff walk. It’s a beautiful walk along the cliffs in front of many of the grand houses.

Read more about it here.

https://www.newport-discovery-guide.com/newport-cliff-walk.html

They warn on a sign that it involves some rocky walking – and they were right. In lots of places there was no path. Just rocks.

We got talking to a lovely local couple. They gave us lots of information about the area and even suggested a drinks party tomorrow evening. It’s a pity we’re leaving !

Next stop was Breakers. It’s the big one! They are all big but this one is really big!

Another Vanderbilt mansion.

“The Breakers is the grandest of Newport’s summer “cottages” and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in turn of the century America. 
Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) established the family fortune in steamships and later in the New York Central Railroad, which was a pivotal development in the industrial growth of the nation during the late 19th century.
 

It is an amazing house. The Vanderbilts had 7 children and one daughter became a prominent sculptor.

The baths were wonderful and oh how I would love to have had a soak.

We continued walking after leaving the Breakers. We passed the Catholic University which looks so prestigious.

Finally arrived at the car museum – Steve loved it! And the tennis Hall of Fame Museum which we both loved.

The buildings are lovely and the museum has so much memorabilia. I felt so proud of the number of Australians in the Tennis Hall of Fame. Mind you we haven’t had any in recent years. I don’t think Tomic or Kyri – whoever, will be there any time soon!

The ticket officer was lovely and chatted to us for ages while we took photos in the photo booth!

He even suggested a good place for Steve to enjoy a craft beer. It’s called Pour Judgement.

We went there and it was indeed a very good place for locals. Great beers, food and friendly staff.

Huge meals. We ate about half each!

So I’m writing this with my feet up. The 22,000 steps today have taken their toll!

Boston. We love you ❤️

Despite the cool. Despite the rain – we decided we love Boston.

It’s easy to get around. It’s a great walking city. There’s lots to see and the food is great.

This morning, we had coffee, did our washing and headed off. First a visit to Faneuil Hall. What a great market place for food. The fresh food markets are nearby and the cooked prepared foods are inside.

We jumped in an Uber and were at Harvard Sq by 10.30. Our guide Mike was quite the performer. In fact half way through the tour he told us in was in a drag show that night.

He was a good fun guide and kept the large group informed and moving along.

We heard lots of stories about how Harvard got its name, how women were not admitted until the 90’s. Women studied at Radcliffe. Now it is coeducational and women are dominating the numbers. We heard about living in the houses. 90% live on campus.

We heard about the buildings. They are grand and lovely.

One of the houses for students. JFK lived here.

The Library in particular is stunning and built with money donated.

Unfortunately you have to be a student to enter but Mike told us to visit the Boston Public Library as it had a reading room identical to that at Harvard.

After the tour we visited the Harvard Art Gallery. It’s a very good collection. Much has been donated by past students.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Man Ray. I thought he only did photography!

Now it was time for a good piece of American history. We went out to the JFK Museum. It’s a very grand structure about 20 mins from the city centre facing the Boston Harbour.

An orchestra performed in the atrium.

Lots of film clips if JFKs speeches. He was charismatic.

Beautiful rooms with memorabilia of the times

Then it was back to the city to the Boston Public Library. What a wonderful building. Old at the front and linked with a courtyard to a new serviceable part at the back.

The old………

And the new

We walked back to North End past

Trinity Church

The Boston Common with a Japanese festival!

Through the theatre district, Faneuil Hall and straight to the Oyster Company. It was at this stage my phone died so no pictures ! 😢

But I can describe the big succulent plump oysters, the Prosecco to give them life, and the smart jokes from the oyster shuckers as we sat at the round oyster bar chatting to a lovely couple from New Hampshire. These Americans are so friendly.

We called into book a table at one of the many good Italian restaurants in North End. Tonight it was ‘Strega’. Steve was over the moon with his veal chop stuffed with prosciutto. I loved my risotto de mare. again!

We finished with a limoncello and planned our trip tomorrow.

Is there such a thing as too many Oysters! In Maine!

We headed off from our Portland hotel and walked the cobbled streets. It’s an up and coming tourist destination (perhaps it’s already arrived!) and the township near the port is filled with fun shops, bars and restaurants.

We followed the suggestion of the hotel receptionist and went to J’s oyster bar.

it’s a modest place but packed with atmosphere. We tried two types of local oysters. A salty and a sweet. Both delicious but the sweeter one won.

Washed down with a Prosecco for me and a Guiness for Steve it was a winner. After a big breakfast we had skipped lunch so we’re ready to eat.

We left J’s and walked along the sea front

Then headed to Oyster Bar #2 called Eventide. Back a few streets it was just superb. Right on trend I’d say!!!

Cool guys working there but very friendly, we sat at the bar and ordered 6 different Maine oysters each. They came with a choice of sauces. I chose horseradish ice and Steve had lemon pepper ice.

We worked our way through the menu. We definitely had our favourites.

But all were delicious. Again washed down with Prosecco and beer(s)!

The rock on the bar was set up for oysters and the guy shucking them was a machine.

After some time there we walked a little, went to the hotel to regroup then went to Scales for our last plate!

http://www.scalesrestaurant.com/menus

What a great place.

We just had to try local lobster. We ended up slightly messy but it was worth it. And so was the Santa Barbara Pinot Grigio.

Slightly messy plate. Well worth it.

Portland is a foody paradise.

The Sun Shines on Quebec City

We woke to brilliant blue skies which was sure to put a spring into our step.

Steve was keen to walk the Plains of Abraham after yesterday’s history lesson. I wasn’t as keen to walk through the snow! My Frankie4 boots are good but I didn’t want to slip and slide as the snow is hard and slippery.

I decided to visit the Morrin Library and the city public Bibliotheca. I’d also spotted a good book shop I wanted to browse. It had a magnificent glass ceiling.

So Steve headed off on his adventures and I on mine. Sometimes when travelling together we follow our own interests and when we meet up have lots to share.

I walked back along some of the streets we discovered yesterday. But with the blue skies and no wind it felt completely different.

I arrived at Morrin House – the site of the first jail, to find it didn’t open until midday.

That left me time to explore the Bibliotheca nearby , the bookstore, Simons, a department store and have coffee laced with clover flower essence. Delicious.

Steve, the explorer, met me for an early lunch time at a crepe restaurant. Then we took the funicular down to the port. It’s lovely there – quite touristy near the funicular but then interesting to walk further afield around the streets of the port. Lots of little galleries and antique shops.

We finished by walking back up the steep winding road and headed for the Morrin House. No tours but we went into the Library and the lovely man there – a volunteer, gave us quite a good overview of the history of the house. http://www.morrin.org/en/

It’s a centre for historical and cultural purposes and has a large beautiful library – an English speaking Library. All the books are in English. The language here in Quebec is absolutely French. Quebec city is a place where the French and English languages and cultures live together.

I noticed a sign saying ‘ the weather is cold and snowy, stay and curl up with a book’ What great advice and if I lived in Quebec this is where you’d find me!

I noticed a cutting from a Writers Festival they had there a few years ago. Louise Penny, a local , wrote a book set in this very library. So I just had to buy it. Has anyone read it? Will keep you posted.

They had a good children’s section

We spent some time chatting before heading off in the beautiful afternoon light stopping for a drink at the red roofed hotel near the Chateau.

We rested up and packed before a sit in the cocktail bar watching the afternoon light play on the tin roofs across the river.

A walk through the town to admire the lights before a delicious dinner at Boulay. A really lovely restaurant.

It was a pity out lovely day was finished by involuntarily listening to the American couple in the room next door arguing – shouting insults at each other at 11pm isn’t good for anyone.

I was tempted to knock on the adjoining wall but thought perhaps I might cop a mouthful for my trouble.

Hopefully we don’t wake them when we get up early to get to the station for an early train to Montreal.

Sunday Stroll in Sag Harbor

A beautiful sleep always restores you and Sag Harbor https://www.sagharborinn.com

is a beautiful quiet place to stay.

We had dinner last night at Lulu’s a rather smart restaurant run by Italians. http://www.lulusagharbor.com/index.php

I was still a little full from my chicken salad at lunch – it also may be from the beer at Montauk brewery.

Do you ever get to the stage in holidays where you just can’t decide what to eat when you are always in restaurants? Well it’s day two and I already feel that way! I’ll have to get over that. We’ve got three weeks of eating out! I have to pace myself.

So the girls – Jordan, Lisa and I ordered a few plates to share. Octopus with a touch of pork belly , burrata and grilled artichokes. Followed by a small shared pizza it was perfect.

We took a lovely Sunday morning stroll around the streets of Sag Harbor. It was clear weather and so quiet. The houses are lovely. Such distinctive Hamptons style.

The gardens have wrapped their shrubs to protect them from winter frosts. It looks like they have their pjs on!

There are many impressive buildings and churches in this lovely town.

I popped into the Catholic Church as the congregation were arriving. They were so well dressed! It’s Palm Sunday.

We continued down the street past the old clock and the Spring flowers.

We decided on a Mexican place for brunch and had a short wait for a table so sat in the large garden.

Estia. It’s a great place for brunch. http://estias.com/sagharbor/breakfast/

They had the best omelettes!

We seem to do a lot of eating !

This afternoon it’s back to New York.

Wandering the Hamptons

A slow start was in order after our 20+ hours of travel from Australia to New York.

Our hotel is just great. https://www.sagharborinn.com

Beautiful beds and large rooms overlooking the marina it is peaceful this time of year.

We sat in the comfortable breakfast lounge and planned the day.

It was raining but if it didn’t put off the runners passing our hotel in a fun run it shouldn’t worry us!

Our view from the bedroom!

We decided to go to Main Street for coffee then head off for the half-hour drive to Montauk to visit the Lighthouse.

The Main Street is a mixture of pretty businesses and shops. The flowers have been planted for Spring but the weather’s still cool and rainy.

The marinas are still empty waiting for the season to start, so the town is quiet which suits us.

We got back into the van and headed off through East Hampton to Montauk.

We visited the lighthouse which was shrouded in fog, taking the rocky path near the water to get the best views.

Moving on we went to the Marina which must be so lovely in season but is super quiet now.

Feeling thirsty we stopped at the Montauk Brewery. This was most crowded place we’ve been so far.

The beer is good and their marketing spot on.

I had the watermelon ale. A touch of sweetness to take away the bitter taste. A great aperitif for lunch to follow.

Driving through the still foggy streets I loved seeing the washed grey shingled houses. And the lobster shacks like the one featured in the TV series The Affair

The signs were catchy…..

And the beaches quiet and dreamy.

Back in Sag Harbour I couldn’t help think how different it would be in Summer.

Back to our hotel for a little R&R before dinner. The jet lag has just about gone.

Start Spreading the News!

Yes, we are flying off to New York tomorrow!

It’s almost exactly a year since our son Rob married Jordan in Santa Barbara. They have been living in NY and we haven’t seen them since then.

So we are excited!

We land in NY on Friday at 5pm and will head straight to Sag Harbour in the Hamptons for the weekend. Sounds good doesn’t it.

So follow along for our three weeks in New York, Quebec, Montreal, Vermont, Boston and Newport.

The Sari Six head to India: follow along.

Tomorrow I head off to India. I wonder if my idea of India and the reality of India are one and the same.

I’m going with the HoiAn group of 4 ladies I travelled with two years ago. Only this time we are 6! In a van !

Our chief organiser, Linda, is a wonderful traveller. She has an amazing interest in history and a curiosity about other cultures that brings together an itinerary that is unique, cost effective and fun.

We’ve been labelled the Sari Six and tomorrow we begin our journey on platform 4 at Roma St station on our way to Gold Coast Airport for our cheap and cheerful Air Asia flight to Chennai via Kuala Lumpur. No business class lounge for me!

Packing has been interesting. Four of the 6 travellers have opted for 7kg of luggage! I splurged and bought the baggage allowance. I packed today. Mostly floaty soft pants, covered tops, sarong and my trusty silver FRANKie 4 walking shoes.

https://frankie4.com.au

These shoes have been everywhere. Italy, USA, Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Spain, Cambodia, France and now India.

Come on FRANKie 4 send me a new pair!

My bag weighs only 9.5kg so I added in 2 bottles of tonic (large) for the Gin I’ll purchase in duty free on the way. Medicinal use only 😘

I’m hoping for a big sleep tonight as tomorrow night will be upright in economy with my attractive dvt avoiding stockings glued to my legs.

Keep reading……. I’ll post the itinerary tomorrow.

Goodnight and if you’ve been to India please post some hints in the Comments box.