Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two decades of friendship....& one hell of a roadtrip!

I've known this bunch of friends since secondary school day (1988 - ok, now you know how old I am!). We were in the same uniform group - NPCC. We've always kept in touch and even though we don't meet that often.....we'd usually make it a point to celebrate Christmas & CNY together....once in awhile, we'd go on trips together....the last trip that I joined them for was to a kelong at Pulau Tunjuk and that was more than a year ago.

They visited me in late September and we had a FABULOUS time (almost 2 weeks) together. We saw lots of sights and did many fun things. We covered many different places/states too - Massachusetts (Boston/west Mass/Southeastern Mass/Cape Cod), Rhode Island (Newport), New Hampshire, Vermont & upstate New York. We visited an animal farm, a fruit/veg farm, toured Harvard University and Boston, drove through Cape Cod right to the Provincetown tip, went on a whaling trip, visited Niagara falls (the gals also crossed over to Ontario), attended the Bourne Scallop Festival, did the cliff walk and mansion tour in Newport. We also cooked together at my place and shopped till we dropped at both outlet/non-outlet malls. Of course, we also took the opportunity to catch up on the latest happenings in our lives as well as reminisced the past.

Because there were altogether 6 of us - including RG, we rented a 7-seater car from Thrifty (Cambridge)...and all for less than USD50/day! It was an almost brand new Chevrolet that was pretty spacious and comfortable.

The gals flew to JFK airport in New York, spent a night there and then took the Fung Wah Bus to Boston the for just USD15/pax!

We picked the gals up from the bus station and I must say they looked really cheery and fresh even after their 24+hr flight and 4+hr bus ride....impressive!!!

And 'cos they didn't look too sleepy (or perhaps it was the jetlag)....we decided to head down to the Bourne Scallop Festival that very evening they arrived at our place. We stuffed ourselves silly with scallops, chicken, chips & coleslaws. A live band was playing while we ate and after dinner....we popped by the craft fair to take a look and we bought some stuffs.

The next day, we headed up to Boston.......the traffic in/near to Boston is usually quite bad...& especially so during peak hours. We managed to zip past the long jam using the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane (which is meant for cars with 2 and more passengers).....wooohoooo000....that bought us a whole lot of time!

We visited the Boston Commons....

......Harvard University.......

......& Cambridge university town area......

The gals told me before they came that they wanted to experience the all-American grilled I prepared chops, chicken & vegs for grilling a day ahead of our dinner date. Unfortunately, it rained the night we were supposed to be grilling outdooor.....and I only managed to grill the chops (in the rain!!) & some sweet potatoes/corn.....the chicken (tandoori style) I had to bake in the oven instead.

Here's the all-American grilled dinner - pork chops & a Boston brew - Samuel Adams! Alas the coleslaw and grilled vegs weren't in the photo.
That's me.....cheating by baking the chicken in the oven instead 'cos the rain was getting heavier.

We also visited Newport (Rhode Island) which is slightly over an hour's drive from my place. We did the long cliff walk by the coast, had lunch at the Barking Crab restaurant and also visited Breakers.

On the way back from the cliff walk.....we all almost had an "heart attack" when HL drove into the wrong lane 'cos she wasn't used to the right hand drive.....all the approaching traffic (3 lanes) freaked out and started horning at us. I must say HL reacted very calmly by pulling over to an empty driveway before turning the car to face the right traffic direction. We all had a good laugh after that when we related the story to RG when we got back.
The gals had wanted to shop so I brought them to Wrentham Premium Outlet which is slightly less than an hour's drive away from Marion (yes, if you noticed, everything is quite a long drive away from my home! That's pretty common in the states unless you live in the big cities). Well, the gals shopped, shopped and shopped.....right till the outlet closed at 9pm!

I'm not a big outlet fan....when we were at Wrentham outlet....I only bought some kitchen stuffs. I actually walked through all the shops at the outlet and was done by 5pm....but the gals weren't even 2/3 through the entire outlet. So for the later part, I just watched them shop and held their bags for them.....of course, I also did my part to encourage them to BUY MORE!! Here's me waiting with all their bags of stuffs (don't be mistaken.....those weren't everything. They had already placed a big chunk of their shopping in the car!).

They tried to place all of their shopping on my stairs but failed miserably 'cos there were only 7 steps on my stairs! But just look at the amount of stuffs they bought. geez......
Mid-week.....we set off on our roadtrip to New Hampshire/Vermont/Buffalo/New York. RG came along as well.
LHL was at the wheel.....while SX helped with the navigation. The gals were really brave despite not having driven on the right hand well as the fast driving speeds in the states.
The gals were kinda too early for the foliage......we only managed to catch glimpses of some yellow and reds along the way. Another 1-2 weeks and the New England fall would be at its peak. Too bad gals!!

The following 4 photos were taken at one of our lunch stops in Quechee (strange name!), Vermont.

We also visited the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock (Vermont) where we saw Jersey cows, sheep, oxen & chickens.

We got to watch the milking of the cows.....

Up close and personal with the calves.....

That was a really strange looking chicken that I had seen for the first time in my's called the Silver Polish.

As fall is also the harvest season for many different types of fruits and vegetables.....we saw many farmers' markets along the way and we'd stop whenever we saw something interesting. I love farmers' markets 'cos the produce are always so fresh and inexpensive....and it's nice to support the local community instead of the highly commercialised mega marts.

A chubby bull dog seen at the farmers' market.

We spent a night at the Niagara Falls (US side). It was RG and my second time at the falls but the gals were visiting it for the first time so they were extremely excited.

On the day that we left Niagara.....the weather was absolutely beautiful...the skies were so blue and the clouds were so fluffy and white.
Our next stop was the Samascott Orchards. RG picked this farm for us 'cos unlike other specialised farms where you can usually only find very few types of produce.....Samascott has a very wide range of fruits and vegetables.

Being from the city......we have hardly seen/experience fruits/vegetables growing in their natural there were a lot of "oooohhhhs" and "waaahhhhs". We all had a great time looking, photographing, picking and eating the fruits and vegetables.

We had to pay for whatever we pick and carry out of the we just ate a lot while we were at the farm....hee hee

SX being naughty.......
I was holding a cauliflower......
Plum and plumper....

The hardy pumpkins were good for sitting.....

RG decided on a huge pale colored one.....that weighed a tonne!!!
There were grapes too......but really tiny 'cos it wasn't grape season yet
RG climbed the ladded to help us pick a pear......

And here's the pear........
Then it was HL's turn to climb the tree to try to pick something that was growing on the higher branches.....
We brought back many fruits and vegs i.e. bell peppers, corn, apples, strawberries, tomatoes & raspberries!!! All for just slightly over USD12.
We also bought freshly made apple cinnamon donuts & apple cider from the orchard and had a picnic at a nearby park. Yumzzz.....
The gals wanted to go on a whale watching trip so we drove to Provincetown (Cape Cod) where we took the whale-watch ferry out to the open ocean off Cape Cod Bay. And cause the winds were very strong...the sea was especially rough and choppy that day. We were given seasickness tablets before the ferry set off from the dock. We managed to see many dolphins and whales...we were tossed around ALOT and got really wet from the sprays but luckily we didn't throw up despite the wild ride (I saw a guy who buried his head in the trash bin throughout the entire trip - puking. Poor fella) . But on the return to the dock......the gals all fell under the influence of the sleep-inducing tablets!!! haha
We explored Provincetown a little after our whale watching trip and then ended our day with a very sumptuous lobster dinner at Lobster Pot 'cos we all ate very little for lunch as it was right before our ferry ride (thank god we did that!).
Before the gals head back to New York.....LHL volunteered to cook us risotto for lunch. It was very good indeed!

We then dropped the gals off at the Boston bus station where they took the bus back to New York.....where I heard they continued their second round of mega shopping at the Woodbury Common Premium outlets *roll eyes*

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