Archive for August, 2015


This is the last full day in Newfoundland.  Frown.  But it was a pretty nice day.  Smile.

It started with another boat trip.  This time through a fjord in the Gros Morne National Park.

And the scenery was absolutely gorgeous.

After the boat ride, we had lunch and a visit at the Gros Morne discovery centre.  This was home to the trip’s only moose sighting:

Okay, so it was a fake moose, but it seems to be pretty proportional to Leonie!

Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, so the discovery centre had a little exhibit for each of Canada’s UNESCO sites.  Since Leonie is from Quebec City, she got her photo with the Quebec sign:

After we spent too much time at the Discovery Centre, we headed to the Tablelands.  The Tablelands are actually the mantle of the earth (you know, that stuff under the crust) that has been thrust upwards.  What does that look like?  Weird colored rocks:

Here’s the only photo of Marjorie in Newfoundland:

After we didn’t spend enough time at the Tablelands, we went out to Broom Point.  At Broom Point, a family whose name I can’t remember donated their land and fisherman buildings to Parks Canada.  So we learned about Newfoundland fishing traditions and stuff.  I grabbed a photo of our tour guide Paul dressed like the guy on the fish stick package.  He was not excited to be photographed with Leonie, but he did it anyway:

And some lovely photos of Leonie with a lobster trap by the seashore:

And then we headed back to the hotel for dinner.  Tonight after dinner was a musical performance featuring some traditional Newfoundland music.  There were a lot of songs about drinking.  Interesting.

And then I packed my bags.  It was a bit of a challenge to fit the items I had accumulated back into carryon size bags.  I had expanded to make my day bag lighter, plus all my yummy Canadian snacks, and a few souvenirs.  But I did it.

I started to be sad to leave Newfoundland.  It’s a beautiful island, and the small population made it feel so undiscovered.  Like now I’m in on a secret.  The secret of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I’ll have one more post as I talk about the absolute last day of vacation, and then I’ll have to post because I bought 2 new dollies this week.  Do you know who they are?


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Hello!  I’m back to tell you about the 4th day of our trip to Newfoundland and Labrador!

This was probably second favorite day of the trip (yesterday was the first), but I don’t have too many photos for you.

We started our day with a whale watching tour!

And we saw lots and lots of whales.  Mostly humpback whales, and then a few dolphins, and then, toward the end of the tour, we found orcas!

That picture is really good, but most of the whale photos I took are only okay.  You know, whales move.  I’ve been whale watching before, and the fact that I got any good photos is proof that we saw A LOT of whales.

After whale watching, which ran late because it was so awesome, we grabbed a quick lunch, then drove and drove and drove to the Gros Morne National Park.  Here’s a photo of a garden on the side of the road:

Our hotel was fun because it was the home of the Gros Morne Theatre Festival.  Tonight’s show was a drama about a WWI-era love story.  It had just 2 actors and basically no props, but the story was so compelling.  It was delightful.

Whales and a love story add up to a great day for me.  I cried at the theatre, and I was sad that our vacation is nearing its end.

Have a nice day everyone!

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Welcome back!

This is the day of my trip that I was most looking forward to.  We hopped on the ferry to go back to the island of Newfoundland, heading to L’Anse aux Meadows.

We stopped at a pile of wood on the way to L’Anse aux Meadows.  Newfoundlanders keep the wood they’ve chopped down to heat their house on the side of the road to dry.  Not something we city slickers see every day.

L’Anse aux Meadows is an archaeological site at the very northern tip of the island (beautiful piece of property).  Remains of sod houses dated at about 1000AD.  These remains are strongly similar to those archaeologists found in known Viking settlements in Greenland and Iceland.  So L’Anse aux Meadows is recognized as the first European settlement in North America.  Awesome!

Let’s start with Leonie in a Viking ship in the visitor center:

and in front of a sculpture meant to represent the meeting of natives and Europeans on this continent:

First we walked through actual remains of the Viking houses.  Here’s Leonie in a doorway:

Then we visited the reconstructed sod houses.  They made bricks out of dirt and peat.

Inside the houses they had interpreters pretending to be Vikings.  The blacksmith volunteered to pose for a photo:

This site was my favorite part of the whole trip.  It lived up to my expectations for sure.  I was thoroughly entertained and educated, all while on the most beautiful piece of land.  One more shot of the landscape:

So after the Viking site, we headed to our hotel.  On the way we stopped at a tourist trap of a souvenir shop that was very much not my style, but then the owner brought out his dogs!  I saw Newfoundland dogs in Newfoundland!  Loved them!

Our hotel stop was at our biggest town so far, so I took another walk to the beach, but I also got to stop at the ATM and the supermarket and Tim Hortons for a doughnut (I got one with oreos AND one with Reese peanut butter cups…remember in Canada it’s Reese not Reese’s)

Dinner had a Viking theme, which was pretty fun.  Photo:

We stayed up later than I had the whole trip.  I was finally caught up on the sleep I lost that first day!  Hooray!

See ya tomorrow!

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Hello again!

We had an early start this morning because we had a ferry to catch.  If you’re on the Friends of Maplelea board, you may have noticed that my Leonie has a fondness for ferries.  Doesn’t she look radiant?

Or maybe she’s just excited because she knows the ferry dock is actually in Quebec!  This is the only photo I have as evidence that we were in Quebec:

It took us about 3 minutes of driving through Quebec to get to Labrador!

Our first stop in Labrador was the Red Bay National Historic Site.  We learned about Basque whalers that came to Labrador in the 16th century.  Here’s Leonie next to an actual whale fin bone:

And this is the majority of an actual 16th century boat, that was discovered in the 1970s.  The cold salt water around Labrador is actually really good for preserving artifacts:

Here’s a model that seems to be made just for someone Leonie’s size, so she can melt down the whale fat to make oil for Basque lamps:

And here are a couple of photos outside around the museum.  We even saw an iceberg!

The whaling station was really cool, but it was just the cherry on the beautiful sundae that is Labrador.  I found the landscape pretty amazing.  Tons of dramatic rocks and cliffs.  It was hard to fully capture in photos, but this is a pretty great one of Leonie:

We even had time to walk to the beach before dinner!  It was surprisingly sandy, considering that the beaches of Newfoundland were so rocky.

And today Leonie grabbed a photo with our busdriver.  His name is Gary.  He’s from Halifax, Nova Scotia, but lived in Vancouver for a while:

This was a really great day.  Labrador is fantastic, but we have more awesomeness ahead.  We caught the ferry back to Newfoundland the next morning.  More trip reports coming soon!

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It’s been ages since I’ve posted for Maplelea Monday, but I’m hoping this one will be awesome enough to make up for it.

On Friday, Leonie and I returned from a weeklong trip to Newfoundland and Labrador!  For those not in the now, Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost Canadian province, and it was the last to join the confederation of Canada, which it did in 1949.  Before that, it was an independent colony of Britain.  Here’s a photo diary from our trip!

The journey began in Seattle.  Leonie was happily secured to the Maplelea backpack:

First stop was Chicago.  We got Garrett’s popcorn, which is the most delicious popcorn I’ve ever eaten.  I got a big bag, and I snacked on it for the first few days of the trip:

After a 90 minute delay, we finally made it to Toronto.  Because of the delay, we had just 50 minutes to make our next flight.  Normally not a problem, but as we were entering Canada for the first time, we had to go through customs.  The line for customs itself was delightfully short because they had a dedicated line for those with connecting flights, but then we had to wait for the baggage:

This took forever!!  And as you may have guessed, we did not make our next flight.  I was sent all the way to the other end of the airport to the American Airlines ticket counter.  I waited for 45 minutes for the agent to help the person in front of me, who was in the same situation as me (was on my delayed flight and missed his connection).  I knew there was only one more flight to Deer Lake, NL that night, and the longer I waited, the more I knew we were going to miss that one too.

But it worked out okay.  There was a flight available if I went to St Johns first.  So I had a couple hours to wait in Toronto (I got poutine and rootbeer from A&W), then I flew 3 hours to St Johns.  Then a 2 hour layover at the St Johns airport, which is surprisingly small for an international airport, then finally 1 more hour to get to Deer Lake, NL.

Here’s a photo of Leonie at the airport in St Johns.  She was apparently as tired as I was:

I was originally scheduled to arrive in Deer Lake at midnight, but instead arrived at 7am.  We were meeting the tour at noon, so I’m actually lucky that I made it at all.  It was a bit challenging to check into the hotel that late/early, but I did, since it was already paid for.  I grabbed complimentary breakfast, a shower, and got about 2 hours of sleep in a bed.  Hooray!

We were joining a group tour of the North and West Coasts of Newfoundland, and even hopped over to Labrador.  The first day drove from Deer Lake, stopped for lunch in Rocky Harbour, and ended in Port-au-Choix.

Leonie got her own seat on the bus:

And here’s lunch.  We sat next to an old lady with a bit of dementia who insisted that we had already met.  We hadn’t.

After lunch, the first real stop was the Port au Choix National Historic Site, where we learned about the first peoples of Newfoundland.  The exhibit was pretty interesting.  I was super excited to get out of the bus and see Newfoundland for real!

and I bought a little doll at the gift shop.  Here’s Jenna holding it when we got home:

After the Historic Site, we had time to explore the town of Port au Choix before dinner.  It was somewhere around here that Leonie’s face got too close to a painted wall, so you’ll see that in these photos.  I was thankfully able to remove the paint later with a makeup remover wipe I had in my suitcase.

Port au Choix was an adorable fishing village, and the weather was delightfully drizzly.  But eventually, the wind was too much for my tired soul, so I went in for dinner, and Leonie went straight to bed without supper.

Okay.  I was gonna try to get all my photos into one post, but the computer stuff is no longer cooperating, so I’m gonna stop for today.  Stay tuned for more!

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New York! New York!

I went to New York on July 18!

And I brought Rebecca!

And I took photos!

We left really early in the morning.  Here’s a picture at sunrise:

I was happy to have an empty seat next to me on one of the flights:

We landed at the Newark airport around 4:30 pm, which was barely enough time to make it to the hotel for check-in and up to the theater.  We arrived at 8:04 for an 8:00 show.  Had time for a photo at intermission:

We saw An American in Paris, and it was lovely.  After the show we wandered around Times Square for a while.  I took a few photos, but it was far too crowded for Rebecca to get out and be in them.  Then we settled into our fancy hotel.  I was surprised because it was so fancy because I paid less for this trip (airfare+hotel) then I did for my trip to Denver on Memorial Day, and I booked last minute (as in the morning before I left).  Here’s a photo on the window seat:

We could see the new World Trade Center and the memorial fountain.  In the morning I just sat at the window and stared at it for a while.

The next day, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  The destination was Brooklyn Bridge Park for a Ramen burger.  Totally worth the walk!

A couple photos from Brooklyn:

Notice Rebecca’s outfit?  It’s a clue for our next stop, Yankee Stadium!

The last time I went to Yankee Stadium was 2001, and I was interested in seeing the new stadium, but not sure I wanted to spend that much valuable sightseeing time on baseball.  When I found out they were playing the Mariners, that seemed like a sign that I should go.  So I went to root, root, root for the home team.

Again lucky to have an empty seat next to me, Rebecca watched the game from the comfort of the Maplelea backpack:

After the walk to Brooklyn and the hours sitting in the sun for the game, I was so drowsy, so I went for a nap.  Planning to wake up for dinner, I woke up at 11:30 instead.  Too late to venture out for dinner on my own in a city I’m not very familiar with, so I went back to bed.  So sad to miss out on an awesome New York meal, but so nice to relax (mmmm, Westin Heavenly Bed).

The next day was the last day, so in the few hours we had we went to the Museum of Modern Art (loved it) and American Girl (how could I not).

Ate my breakfast (pie from Magnolia Bakery) at Rockefeller Center:

The New York American Girl was nice and big.

I was wishing for big historical displays like at the original Chicago store, and the New York versions were pretty cute.  Rebecca got photos in Julie and Rebecca’s sections:

And here’s a photo “hanging” out in the bathroom:

And finally on the plane ride home:

It was a really fun trip.  I could have done so much more sightseeing if it weren’t 100 degrees.  I could have wandered around the city for hours.  But at that temp, I couldn’t.  It was a good training weekend for the trip to Florida I made the following week.  But it was too hot for this Seattle girl.  I am feeling dehydrated now just thinking about it, so I think I’ll stop typing.  Here’s one more photo.  It’s of Coconut, wearing her AG New York souvenirs:

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