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Days 3-5, Rye, New Hampshire (July 31, 2008 - 10:57 a.m.)

With this entry, combining Monday through Wednesday, I'm caught up with our vacation activities! So here it is...also, I've added more pictures at my flickr site.

July 28, 2008

Monday morning we got up and packed up to check out. We were probably out of the hotel by 10am. All we had to do to check out was call a number on the phone and leave our key-cards in the room. We got the car and left the garage, paying our parking fee on the way out.

We had gotten directions from the concierge on how to get to the right freeway to get us out of Boston and on to New Hampshire. We had decided that we would wait to eat until we were on the road.

I need to insert a brief story here…it is funny now, but at the time, it was quite unnerving. Sunday night, while sleeping, I heard the door of the room slam shut. I jerked awake and said, “What was that?!” Christi, pretty much asleep, said that she thought Stephanie went to the bathroom. I said it sounded like the room door. Christi was up in a flash and ran to the door. She opened it and I could hear Steph crying from outside in the hall. She had sleepwalked, and went out of the room into the hall!!! Christi got her back in the room, and she was talking, saying that she didn’t know where she was. We got her calmed down, and back in bed. In the morning, she didn’t remember any of that. I guess we got her a bit too tired from the weekend. Just the night before, she had talked in her sleep and said, “Cash is coming.” Was she referring to Wakefield’s catcher?? Who knows?

There aren’t many places to stop on the highways up here, so we went ahead and found our house in Rye, New Hampshire. We got unloaded, checked out the place, took in the beautiful view for a few minutes, then headed out to find something to eat.

As is usually the case, there is a notebook of stuff in the house, including local restaurants, shopping, etc. So we chose “Ray’s Seafood” for our first meal here. Turned out to be quite good. Very good clam chowder. Christi and Stephanie had fish and chips and I had a haddock roll. It was ok, not great, but ok.

After lunch, we dropped Stephanie back at the house and went back to the grocery store that we passed on the way in to stock up on some stuff. It was kind of hard, because we were full from lunch and getting very tired. But we got that done, then came back to the house, where we just lounged for a few hours.

After that, we went back out to Ray’s for dinner, where we had more clam chowder (it was better than the first time), and this time, Stephanie had fried clam strips, Christi had a shrimp roll, and I had a tuna melt sandwich. It was all very good. The tuna melt was fantastic. The shrimp was delectable. I’m not a big fan of clams, but with tartar sauce, even they were pretty good.

After that, we took a brief drive on down the coast to see what we could see. It is a beautiful coastline and there are some really, REALLY nice houses along the way. We saw several sand beaches and also saw Rye Harbor, where we would eventually get on the boat for our fireworks cruise on Wednesday evening.

We went back to the house to spend the rest of the evening resting. And watched the Red Sox lose to the Angels.

July 29, 2008

Tuesday morning, I actually woke up kind of early. The sunrise over the ocean was very pretty (and quite bright, as well…very different from the sunset in California!). We basically just lounged most of the morning, and had frozen waffles for breakfast.

After breakfast, we got in the car and headed up to Maine, to go to Kennebunkport. We drove through Ogonquit on the way, a very picturesque little town with a beautiful coastline. We also drove through Kittery, the first town on the border, which seems to be mostly outlet malls.

We got to Kennebunkport and parked outside a small shopping area that included a restaurant called Federal Jack’s. So we decided to eat at Federal Jack’s. Last year, we came to Kennebunkport on a bus tour and ate at a place called The Landing. It was overpriced, and not very good. Federal Jack’s was pretty good. We got an order of nachos for an appetizer, and the were delicious. Christi and I both had a Pepperjack burger and Steph got Fish and Chips. It was all really good. I had to use a fork on the burger.

After lunch, we hit the shops. We didn’t get a lot of stuff there, but enjoyed walking around. Christi found a note pad to put on our refrigerator, and we got some fudge at the candy shop. Oh, and Christi got a chocolate-dipped strawberry and I got some chocolate covered cherries at this candy store. Yum, yum!!!

We drove on back to Rye and spent the evening resting, eating chips and guacamole and other snacks instead of a dinner out anywhere.

And we watched the Red Sox lose to the Angels. Also learned that the Braves have traded Mark Teixeira to the Angels. I’m thinking that the Angels are pretty much unstoppable this year.

July 30, 2008

Wednesday morning. Christi and I went to eat breakfast at a place we had seen by the grocery store called Hebert’s. Pronounced “ay-bare’s” maybe?? Anyway, it was pretty disappointing. Eggs were ok, but the potatoes were very bland and the service was only tolerable. Oh, well. Then we found a Radio Shack, where we got a car charger for Christi’s phone because she had left her charger in the hotel in Boston. At least that’s what we think, because we can’t find it. Oh, and Steph wasn’t with us, because she wanted to stay at the house.

After Radio Shack, we went into Portsmouth, a nearby town in New Hampshire. Portsmouth was absolutely charming! We loved it. Much better than Kennebunkport! Lots and lots of shops, along with some local color, a beautiful town square with a huge church in the middle. We had a blast. There was a Celtic store, along with some other places that we just had a great time shopping in. There was also a little store that had all kinds of sarcastic gifts and stuff…reminded us a bit of Spencer’s gifts, only more random. We got some gifts for relatives, etc., got a soda and headed back to the car (because our two hour parking was over). Right next to the car was a “chocolatier.” We bought some chocolate. It was divine!! We may find our way back there before we leave.

We headed on back to Rye to rest up for our evening cruise. Around 5, we went back to Ray’s for dinner. Another round of clam chowder, even better still (how do they do that??). Christi had the tuna melt, and Steph and I tried the lobster pie. It was ok, but I don’t think I liked the sherry sauce.

We got to the harbor with about 45 minutes to spare, so we just sat on a bench looking at boats and nearby houses.

Finally, it was time to board. We were a little concerned about the boat. It was smaller than I thought it would be (I seemed to think we were going on a kind of steamboat), but it didn’t go very fast, so Stephanie was ok on it. We went out about 9-10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire to the “Isles of Shoal.”

The Isles of Shoal consist of 9 small islands, some of which are in Maine, and some in New Hampshire. We got a nice narrative of history about the islands while cruising around them, including the wonderful tales of ghosts and murder involving the island known as “Smuttynose.” They never explained why it’s called “Smuttynose.” But legend has it that the ghost of Blackbeard’s 13th wife haunts the shores of Smuttynose, waiting for him to return. There is also a tale of two women who were murdered on the island and one who survived to tell the tale.

Then there is Star Island, where there is a huge conference center that is co-owned by a Universalist church and a congregational church. They host many conferences throughout the year there. That would be fun!

Another island had a nice lighthouse on it, called White Island. The lighthouse still works, but it is run by computer and has an LED lamp in it instead of the old style lamp. That’s kind of sad, but at least it’s still there. The house next to it is unused. They say that, during the Perfect Storm of 1991, the waves were actually going over the top of the lighthouse!

The other islands are mostly either privately owned or have nothing on them. One is run by a local marine organization (not the military marines, but, you know…oceanic studies), one is an experimental place that is attempting to recover a bird population. One is just a pile of rocks.

It was a very informative cruise and lots of fun. Also very pretty out there.

We went back towards the mainland and stopped about a half mile off of Hampton Beach to watch the weekly fireworks show that starts at 9pm. That was something we’ve never done before…watching fireworks from sea. It was pretty cool. The “booms” from the fireworks were surprisingly loud, and the echoes….wow! Water provides for some pretty amazing echoes.

Then we rode back to Rye Harbor, arriving around 10pm. We got in the car and headed back to the house.

And listened to the Red Sox lose to the Angels. This is depressing. I believe that this is the first time they have been swept at home since that dismal 5-game sweep against the Yankees in 2006. Well, we have Oakland in town tonight. Maybe we can recover some dignity.

Plus they have to decide what they are going to do with Manny. I think this may be it for him. He’s acting pretty badly now. Sigh.

Today, we are probably going to drive to Hampton Beach.

TTFN, y’all!

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