This is a sad, sad, day in my life. My East Coast vacation has come to a close. Too soon. Far too soon! It was a glorious 4 day adventure that I got to spend with two of my all-time favorite travel companions – Jess Miller and Heather Swanson. We’ve shared many a West Coast excursion together, including our Idaho Chrismtas Holiday of 2005, the Disneyland Roadtrip in 2006 and the great Sisters, Oregon adventure of 2008. After a four-year hiatus, we figured it was time to spread our wings and take a jab at the east side of the country. Jess has been living in Hartford, Connecticut for the past 3 years and now that she is one month away from returning to her Pacific Northwest roots, Heather and I figured it was time to make the journey.
After setting the record straight on Tom Finn, we made it up to Mark’s home only to find the tours had ended for the day. However, we did get to look around the outside of the house which was pretty amazing and I was quickly regretting my decision not to pack my white pant suit and Great Illustrated Classic copy of Tom Sawyer. Mark spared no expense on his lavish dwelling place but it wasn’t at all what I had imagined the home of Twain to look like. For one thing, I had always imaged there would be huge white pillars and assumed it was somewhere in the deep south. It was pretty cool just hanging out on his front porch where he most likely spent many a night puffing on cigars and thinking up memorable quotes that people like me would eat up and somehow work into every school research paper imaginable. Harford was just full of historical surprises and one being that Harriet Beecher Stowe was Mark’s next door neighbor. Pretty sure their neighborhood book club would have blown Oprah's out of the water! I can’t say I’ve read a single word of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, however I am a big fan of the creative interpretation of the story in Roger’s and Hammerstein’s “The King and I”. Big fan. Huge. Even in spite of the fact that the Simon character gave me nightmares as a small child.
The next day began the part of the trip I was looking the most forward to…..the journey to New York City. I had only been once and it was on a family vacation in 2004 so I was excited to experience the city as a young adult. After a two and a half hour bus ride and a hard lesson learned regarding the importance of sitting down when attempting to pee on a bus, we arrived at what a fellow passenger called "the heart beat of America". Our first stop was Washington Union Square where were we going to start a guided walking tour. We got there with time to spare so the three of us decided to go hunt down some grub. We had just left the park when Heather mentioned that the area looked a lot like the neighborhood where the TV show "Will and Grace" was set. Literally within 5 seconds of her saying this I am looking ahead and notice two men walking towards us and one of them bears a striking resemblance to Eric McCormack who played Will on the show. Serendipity!!! Before you know it, we were walking right past Eric McCormick and I am freaking the frick out and kicking myself for not having my my iphone out so that i could Instagram the crap out of this moment in time. So while I'm envisioning what sort of filter I would have used for my first celebrity sighting (Nashville and Toaster are my go-to's) I am assuming Jess and Heather are making the same discovery. Turns out they were not. Turns out Katniss could have been riding by on a chariot with her dress on fire without them noticing. All I can say is that it’s a good thing I was there. Once Eric and his friend had passed by I grabbed Heather and Jess and asked them if they saw Will (who by the way is incredibly handsome in real life and had quite the tan going…..oh, and I really want his jacket). As usual, no one believed me although just to be safe Jess took off sprinting (one would have thought Bon Jovi had been sighted) back towards the park where she did indeed verify my claim. We were pretty tempted to follow him and ask him if he knew where Debra Messing was filming SMASH but turns out Eric McCormack is quite the speed walker and we decided it was better to save our strength for the walking tour.
- The oldest tree in New York, which was used as a hangman’s tree back in the day.
- The Triangle Building...which was a bit of a downer.
- The “Friends” home ( Jess was beside herself).
- The apartment Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR lived in after the presidency because it was wheel chair accessible (fun fact: the ghost of her dog allegedly lives across the street where there used to be a dog run in the park…all dogs don’t go to heaven?
- The restaurant where a young Norah Jones worked before getting her big break.
- The hotel where the Mama’s and the Papa’s stayed when they wrote "California Dreamin"
- The home of Washington Irving, Jr. who is best known for writing “Sleepy Hollow”
- Bob Dylan’s old apartment the street where he shot the famous cover for "The Freewheelin Bob Dylan…Dennis felt it was necessary for Jess and I to recreate the famous album cover and I must say the resemblance is uncanny.
P.S. I just want to say thanks so much to Lyndsay, Stephon, and Janine for meeting up with me during my trip. It meant so much to see you guys after long two years! And Jess and Heather - thank you for never failing to fill my days with surprise and delight :)